“I remember you,” Delia said as soon as she saw Vanna at her open office door.
“Do you?” Vanna asked casually, crossing the threshold to the office, though she had not been formally invited in.
“Yes, you were at my grand opening.” Delia got up and closed the door behind her unwelcome guest. She didn’t bother to tell her to have a seat. Blackmailers didn’t deserve courtesy.
“That’s right. I was here that day.” Vanna sat down in one of the green cushioned chairs in front of the desk.
“You bought a lot of baby items as I recall.” Delia returned to her desk chair.
“I also remember you bragging about being pregnant by some prominent doctor.” Delia suddenly gasped in realization. “Prominent doctor? Is all this about Dr. Seeger? Is he the father of your child?”
“Yes,” Vanna lied. “Except he doesn’t want anything to do with me or my child. He won’t even provide support for him.”
Delia shook her head in disbelief. “That doesn’t sound like Dr. Seeger. The Dr. Seeger I know loves children. I can’t imagine him not loving one of his own or taking care of his own, regardless of the situation surrounding that child’s birth.”
“Right now, Royal only seems to love you!” Vanna retorted, telling the truth in that statement. She’d called him personally and asked if he was in love with the baby store owner. The man said yes without hesitation, wounding Vanna to her core, making her even more vengeful and jealous of Delia.
Delia’s brows rose. Ire flamed in her temper. So the woman knew about her and Royal, too.
She must have really done her homework, Delia mused, taking a deep breath to ventilate her temper.
“Look, Dr. Seeger is a free agent in every way. I’m not even seeing him as a doctor anymore, so really there’s no need for all this,” Delia said, trying to let the other woman know that she wasn’t going to stand in the way of her happiness. She’d mentally let Royal go weeks ago, despite what her heart and body wanted.
“Oh, there is definitely a need for all this,” Vanna said, raising her voice an octave. “Until I can change Royal’s mind about us, my son needs things. Things that you seem to have an abundance of in your store.” Her voice lowered again, menacingly so. “So here’s how it’s going to go, Miss Valentine. In exchange for me keeping mum about your past, you leave Royal alone and agree to give me the same deal you gave that Donita girl. Except I want an open account at your store for the next five years.”
Now Delia was really hot. Her store was doing well, especially with all the recent publicity, but it was not doing well enough to have a leech attached to it for five whole years. What was going to happen once customer interest or the current baby boom died back down?
“Two years,” Delia negotiated, keeping a tight rein on her temper by the grace of God.
“Five or I will have your face on the front page of the largest newspaper in this city by tomorrow with the headline ‘Local Heroine Helps Bring One Life Into The World After Brutally Taking Another’.
Delia got very quiet. Prayerful even. She was going to need God’s help to let this woman walk out of her office with all of her hair and teeth intact. If only she had prayed for help with her tongue, because that was what she would use now instead of her fists.
“I don’t know what’s the deal between Royal and this baby you claim is his. But I do know that he likes his women in shape. If you lose some of that baby fat around your waist, he might give you the time of day again,” Delia said, slicing deep with the sharp edge of her tongue.
Vanna bristled in her seat. Her hands and her eyes instantly went to the pudge at her belly. She’d been too lazy and depressed to work it off. Now she had all the motivation in the world to get back in shape. Especially after seeing Delia’s flat stomach and hourglass figure in that pink double-knit scoop-neck dress. It was hard to believe she’d had one kid, much less the three mentioned in recent newspaper articles.
“Do we have an agreement or not?” Vanna asked, scowling up at Delia now.
“It doesn’t appear that I have much choice at the moment,” Delia replied through tight lips.
“You don’t.” Vanna smirked and stood to her feet, sucking her stomach in as she did. “Here’s a list of the things my son needs and where I want them sent,” she said, thrusting a sealed brown envelope upon Delia’s desk. “Oh, and if you even think about telling Royal any of this, I will leak the story about your past so quick that your head will spin.”
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about me talking to him ever again,” Delia assured her, deeming the man more trouble than he was worth right now.
“Good.” Vanna smiled triumphantly. “Let’s keep it that way.” Then she turned around and left, making no mention of the interview she originally came here for.
There never was an interview, Delia realized as the door slammed shut behind Vanna. It was all a sham just to blackmail me into getting what she really wanted.
Just then, her cell phone rang.
Pulling it out from her purse, Delia looked down and saw Royal’s office number on the display panel. She scowled before pulling the phone up to her right ear. “For the last time, don’t call me no more!”
Ending the call with the press of a button, Delia threw the phone in the small green trash can by her desk. It was time for a new cell phone anyway.
‘Now’ what did I do? Royal mused, hearing the distant click of his call being terminated. What he should have been asking himself was, how much more rejection was he going to take from Delia before completely giving up?
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier