Upon hearing Vanna’s news, a mixture of emotions attacked Royal all at once. He was happy, suspicious, and sad at the same time.
Royal was happy about possibly being a father for the first time. He loved kids. To have a child of his own would be like a dream come true.
Royal was suspicious about the timing. Why had Vanna waited three whole months to tell him that she was pregnant? Plus, could she really be pregnant by him? They had always used adequate protection during their intimate times. Always.
Finally, Royal was sad because this news now signified one more reason he couldn’t pursue Delia. Even if he wasn’t her doctor, he couldn’t go after Delia with baby-mama drama hanging over his head. That wouldn’t be fair to any of them.
After reassuring Vanna that he would be there for her every step of the way if the baby was his, Royal got off the phone and called his closest friend – Layla. As he dialed, he pulled out of the drive-through line and headed home. His appetite was long gone by now.
“For a smart man, you sure are dumb!” Layla blurted out after Royal shared his news with her.
Royal was taken aback by that unexpected outburst from someone that was usually so composed and emotionless. From someone that he thought he could trust not to judge him too harshly when he erred in life.
I obviously thought wrong, Royal mused, ready to end this call right now. But first he had a few things to say to his hypercritical friend.
“If I was so dumb, I wouldn’t be slanted to call Dr. Cho right after I hang up with you,” Royal told Layla in a cold matter-of-fact tone. “Especially since I’ve never had unprotected sex with anyone, including Vanna, and so the baby might not even be mine.”
Realizing that she’d upset him, Layla instantly grew calm again. Penitent, too. “I’m really sorry about my outburst, Royal,” Layla apologized, sounding like her old self again. “I don’t know what came over me,” she lied, knowing full well that it was jealousy that had come over her. Winter-green jealousy at that.
“I forgive you,” Royal replied, not in the mood to argue with her or be unforgiving. He had to conserve his energy for more important things.
“So you’re really thinking about having a prenatal paternity DNA test done, huh?” Layla asked, fully aware of what Dr. Cho specialized in.
“Invasive or non-invasive?” Layla asked, referring to the various methods of prenatal DNA testing. The fact that Vanna was in the five to thirteen week pregnancy range made her a prime candidate for such testing.
“Non-invasive, of course,” Royal replied, letting her know that he was opting for safely by choosing the fetal genetic material testing method. Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) were difficult, invasive, and there were risks to the baby involved with those methods.
“Good plan. Is there anything I can do to help?” Layla volunteered, finally acting like a real friend by putting herself at his disposal.
“Yes, you can promise to keep this between us. I don’t need my mother making a bigger deal out of this then it needs to be.”
“You have my word on that,” Layla promised.
Whether Royal knew it or not, Layla would rather sell a kidney than tell Carmen that some other woman was about to bear her son’s children. Especially when the two women had already secretly agreed to find some way to make Layla his wife and the future mother of Royal’s offspring.
* * *
“Will this be all, ma’am?” Delia asked, smiling at the pregnant customer who’d just bought a boatload of baby items during today’s grand opening of the Baby-This-and-That store.
“For now,” Vanna replied, handing over a gold credit card. “I’ll be back next Saturday with my baby’s father for more things. He’s a doctor, you know, so be prepared to make an even bigger sale that day.”
“A doctor, huh?” Delia asked, trying hard not to think about a certain doctor as she gave the card a good swipe through the proper slot. This was not the time or the place for hot tingles and another hot flash. Plus, Delia really didn’t have time to go buy a change of underwear from the clothing store next door.
“Oh, yes. My man is one of the top in his field,” Vanna bragged, looking pleased with herself for landing a man with such high earning potential.
Delia blinked twice to make sure she hadn’t seen actual dollar signs in the mahogany-skinned woman’s eyes just then. Even if she was hallucinating, that didn’t negate the fact that she’d accurately picked up on the woman’s greed.
I feel sorry for her baby-daddy, Delia mused, handing over the credit card that had just been maxed out. Whoever he is, he’s about to get took for every dime he has, she thought, suddenly reminded of her cousin Cami.
Distracted by memories of the past now, Delia forgot to thank her customer before the woman sashayed away with her purchases. Had she known who Vanna was reportedly pregnant by, she might have withheld her gratitude anyway.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier