Delia waited anxiously while the paramedics checked Royal out. The police had already questioned her and written up a report. A tow truck had been dispatched to collect the white Mercedes.
The whole time Delia waited her mind never thought about how much her car insurance was going to go up from this accident. About how expensive it was going to be to get Royal’s S-Class Mercedes fixed.
No, all Delia thought about was how grateful she was that the man driving the Mercedes was still alive. She had one death over her head. She didn’t want or need another.
Delia’s wait was also accompanied by apologies. They seemed to spill from her lips like raindrops from the sky. She apologized to anyone that would listen - the police, the paramedics, but most of all to Royal.
As soon as the paramedics gave Royal the okay to go home, Delia walked up to him and apologized again. “I’m so sorry, Dr. Seeger.” Tears pricked at her eyes. Guilt pricked at her heart from the large bruise on his forehead. It was pink now, but it was going to be black and blue by dawn.
“I know,” Royal replied. “I heard you the first hundred times.” He gave her a forgiving smile before turning briefly to wave goodbye to the departing police officers. He knew them personally from his mother’s church.
When Royal’s gaze returned to Delia, she had a wide-eyed look of amazement upon her face. “What? Why are you looking at me like that?”
“You mean you ain’t mad?” Delia asked, blinking away her tears. Though she usually tried to speak more articulately these days in her quest for a different kind of life, whenever she was nervous or upset, Ebonics always slipped in.
Royal smiled wider, finding her use of Ebonics simply adorable. “No, I’m not mad at all. It was an accident. Could have happened to anyone.”
“I guess so.” Delia looked doubtful. Too many bad things had happened in her life for her to fully believe that. “Can I do anything for you, Dr. Seeger? Maybe give you a ride home?” She needed to redeem herself somehow.
Mirth danced in Royal’s eyes, despite the stirring in his loins. “I don’t know. It might not be safe riding in a car with you. Maybe I should drive.”
At his unexpected display of humor, Delia’s eyes widened again. The man really wasn’t mad with her. Wow.
“I promise to drive very slowly and very carefully.” Delia smiled, relaxing for the first time since the accident.
“I believe you.” Royal really did believe her. How could he not?
Delia’s eyes reeked of repentance, of concern for her fellow man. This was no cold-blooded killer. Dr. Jamestown and countless others had been so wrong about Delia. Royal was so glad he never bought into those accusations. That he’d always given her the benefit of the doubt thanks to that frank talk with Charlize.
“So you’re really gonna let me take you home?” Delia looked ecstatic to do so.
Royal suppressed a moan at her eagerness. “Yes,” he replied a bit on the husky side, before clearing his throat. “Just let me tell the tow truck guy that I won’t need that lift from him after all,” he added, doing his best to keep his thoughts focused on the situation at hand.
“No, let me do that for you. You go wait and rest up in my car,” Delia volunteered, clearly ready to assist him any way she could.
Discerning her need to redeem herself, Royal complied with her request. When he entered the passenger side of the black jeep a few seconds later, his senses soaked in his new surroundings.
The car had a soft floral scent to it. The black leather upholstery was comfortable and without a tear in sight from a child’s wayward pencil. The carpet and mat looked as if they received regular cleanings and vacuuming. Only a few things were in disarray and those looked like they’d been flung during the accident.
In the backseat were the usual things a driving mother would have - car seats for the younger kids, a booster seat for the older one, and a big bag of toys for all the kids.
Returning his gaze to the front seat, Royal suddenly saw a different kind of toy. It was hanging two-thirds out of a brown paper bag between the brake and the gas pedals.
I guess she decided not to have sex with anyone after all, Royal mused, recalling something Delia once told him. Baby, I can do you so much better than this. Just give me a chance. One chance, he thought, bending to retrieve the adult toy.
Returning the item to its discreet brown bag, Royal quickly tucked the bag under the passenger seat as Delia approached the car. He didn’t want to embarrass her.
In the time that it took for her to reach the driver’s door, Royal gave Delia’s appearance a sweeping gaze from head to toe. His lower body twitched with need from the way that shimmering gold top clung to her full bosom. The way those chocolate pants accented her shapely hips.
Still sexy as ever, Royal mused as Delia opened the driver’s side door and climbed into the seat beside him. A frown suddenly tugged at the corners of his mouth as realization set in. Why ‘is’ Delia dressed so sexy this time of morning?
Royal wanted to yank that brown bag from underneath his seat and check the receipt. That little piece of evidence would tell him what he wanted to know - if Delia had indeed been making a late night trip to an adult store. Or if she’d just come from another man’s house…bed.
Royal caught himself before he got too far into the double standard zone. Delia wasn’t his woman…yet. Which meant he had no right to be angry about anything she did in her personal life. Plus, it wasn’t like he’d been a saint this past year.
“So where’s home?” Delia asked, interrupting Royal from his ponderings.
Wherever you are, baby, Royal wanted to say. Instead he gave her the address to his bachelor’s pad, hoping that she’d stay awhile once they got there.
Royal also hoped that this would be one night that Layla did not drop by. He wanted the house all to himself the first time he made love to Delia. He would need the whole house since he planned to get real rowdy, planned to ravish her in every room…if Delia let him, of course.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier