If we can just let go and trust that
things will work out the way
they’re supposed to, without trying to
control the outcome, then
we can begin to enjoy the moments
more fully. The joy of the freedom it
brings becomes more pleasurable
than the experience itself.
~ Goldie Hawn
RaShaun’s hand tightened on his cell phone. Before they’d taken the paternity test, he remembered that he hadn’t trusted Terri’s calmness regarding this whole situation. He thought it was her calm before the storm. He’d been wrong–it was her calm before the typhoon. The results had barely been delivered an hour ago and she was already blowing up his phone.
Glancing at Yvonne, who sat on the couch beside him, he stood and brought the phone to his ear. “Yeah.”
“So you got the results.”
“And…it would seem that we’re going to need to get together and go over some things regarding our…baby.”
“I agree. I’m free now.”
“I’m not coming over now, Terri.” There was no way he was leaving Yvonne alone right after they’d found out the news.
“Why not? Rah, we need to talk as soon as possible.”
“I said not now. We’ll talk, but it won’t be today.”
“Oh. I see. What’s wrong, your wife isn’t taking the news well?”
“No, RaShaun. You are going to be a father. That means your child comes first. Before everyone. That’s what your priority should be now, not sitting at home consoling your wife.”
“I don’t need you to tell me how to prioritize my life,” RaShaun replied with quiet control. He refused to let himself rise to the bait Terri dangled in front of him. He and Yvonne had promised themselves they were going to do their best to keep things civil with Terri, but it was painfully obvious she wasn’t having it.
“Apparently I do have to tell you. You and I both know the reason you won’t come over is because of that selfish, heartless, bitch of a woman you married and–”
“That’s enough!” RaShaun’s voice was cold and hard. “Terri, let’s get something straight. I plan on being there for this baby, but don’t think I’m going to jump when you say jump and ask how high. That’s not how things are going to play out here so you may as well cease with that shit now. The sooner you come to terms with that, the better off everyone will be.”
When silence dominated the line, he continued after a significant pause. “Now, I’ll call you soon so that we can get together and work some things out, but until then, don’t call my phone every other hour making demands because its not going to work.”
“Fine.” Terri’s voice had a definite bite.
RaShaun could tell that she was fuming inside, but she wisely held her tongue and left her answer at that. From experience, Terri knew RaShaun, and knew the more she pushed the harder he’d dig his heels in.
“And another thing,” he snapped. “Let this be the last time you call my wife out of her name. I don’t want to have to tell you that again.” The threat in his voice was easily heard. “We understand each other?”
“Good. I’ll be in touch.” RaShaun hung up the phone. He was so frustrated and aggravated with that woman. For what had to be the ten millionth time, he asked himself how he could’ve been so damned stupid to sleep with her again. His lapse in judgment now guaranteed that he’d be dealing with Terri and her devious, conniving ways for at least the next eighteen years.
“Fuck!” he yelled.
Yvonne got up and slid her hands around his waist and rested her head on his back. “Baby, we can’t let her get to us. That’s exactly what she’s trying to do, you know that.”
“Yvonne, of course I know!” he snapped, then just as quickly regretted taking his anger out on her. Turning around, he pulled her into his arms and hugged her tight. “I’m sorry, sweetheart, forgive me. I didn’t mean to yell at you.”
“I don’t know what I’d do without you.” His arms tightened as if the very thought made him want to keep her close.
“You wont have to find out. No matter how she tries to manipulate us, we’re not going to let her control our lives this way.”
RaShaun nodded in agreement, but he heard the note of doubt that slowly crept into her voice. It made him wonder if she was trying to convince him–or herself.
Two days later, RaShaun went to Terri’s house so that they could sit down and talk. Her next appointment was coming up in a couple of weeks, and she wanted RaShaun to go with her. RaShaun was going to suggest that anyway. He had questions he preferred to ask the doctor himself, and wanted to make sure the baby was healthy.
“I was thinking if it’s a boy I want to name him RaShaun Patterson II,” Terri mused.
RaShaun felt a twinge of pain in his heart, but didn’t show a reaction to Terri. He and Yvonne had talked many times about one day having children, and she said she wanted to name their son after him.
“What do you think?” she prodded when RaShaun remained silent.
RaShaun shrugged. “Isn’t it a little bit too early to be thinking of names? Besides, I thought you had one of those books with baby names or something, don’t you?”
Terri stared at him, sensing he didn’t want the baby named after him. “I don’t need it, at least not if it’s a boy. I think I’ve decided. That’s what I’ll name him.”
Ignoring the comment, RaShaun stood up to leave. “I’ll need you to get those insurance forms back to me as soon as you can so that I can turn them into HR.”
“Are you leaving now? If you wait, I can fill them out now.”
“No, apparently you didn’t notice how many pages are in the folder. You don’t have to do them all now anyway,” RaShaun answered, walking to the door.
“But, Rah, this is important. It won’t take long. Besides, I might have questions. You did say you didn’t want me calling your phone every few minutes, didn’t you?”
RaShaun paused and turned around to look at her. “Stop it,” he said quietly.
Terri blinked. “What…what are you talking about?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. You think I don’t know that you’re trying to find a way to keep me here? Didn’t you hear anything I told you the other night? I’m not doing this with you.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she snorted.
Battling to keep his temper, RaShaun tried once more to reason with her. “Terri, we’ve known each other a long time, since we were kids. We’re gonna have a child together. I don’t want us to be fighting and bickering every other day. It’s not good for you and it’s not good for the baby. I definitely don’t want to have to put up with your scheming and plotting to try to be with me. I’m married to Yvonne. Happily.”
“So you say,” Terri snorted under her breath.
“I love my wife, and she’s going to be apart of this baby’s life. Nothing–and no one–is going to come between us. I hope eventually, we’ll all be able to get along for the sake of our baby. Yvonne’s willing to try, and I hope you will too.”
Terri went to the window to watched RaShaun leave. She didn’t turn away until his car was no longer visible.
“You must be joking, Rah. It’ll be a cold day in hell before I smile in that bitch’s face and make nice. She can rot in hell for all I care. I didn’t work this hard and come this close to just give up without a fight.” She rubbed her hand over her stomach. “I have something that you want, Rah, and she knows it. That’s why she’s trying to keep you away from us. But we will be together. You’ll see. Just the three of us.”
Before long, Yvonne and RaShaun’s life managed to settle back into some sense of normalcy for them. The weekend coming up, Quincy and his wife had invited them and a few other couples over for dinner one, something they were both looking forward to. It was nice to get out and laugh for a change.
Yvonne was finally beginning to feel as if things would be okay. After she and RaShaun discussed turning one of the guest bedrooms in to a nursery, she’d even gone out and bought a few things for the baby. Warming to the idea, they’d picked out a crib, a bassinette and a changing table. RaShaun had left the colors and decorating of the room up to Yvonne. She surprised herself at how much she was enjoying it.
She glanced at RaShaun now, laughing and talking with Quincy and a bunch of his other friends. He must have felt her gaze because he turned his head and winked. Feeling warm and tingly and head over heals in love, she threw a kiss back at him then turned around to continue the conversation with the other women.
RaShaun watched her for a moment more, turning to Quincy when he nudged his shoulder. “What?”
“Man, look at you. I never thought I’d see the day. You act more like an old married man than I do, and I’ve been married five years.”
RaShaun shrugged. “You know I told you I was going to marry Yvonne the first night I met her.”
“Yeah, you did. I thought you were crazy at first, but the more time I spent around you two the more I knew how much you loved one another. Hell, the way both of ya’ like to fight other people, you could damn near be a tag team boxing team,” Quincy snickered, obviously thinking about RaShaun kicking Brandon’s ass, and Von stomping Kiki’s.
RaShaun shook his head but eventually joined in with a laugh. “Nah, man that’s all behind us. I’m determined to keep the future as drama free– or drama free as I can keep it.”
RaShaun grimaced as he thought about Terri. She’d gone to the hospital in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago, then called him sobbing that she was having cramps. Praying the baby was okay, RaShaun had jumped out of bed and raced to the hospital. Once he’d gotten to her room, he hadn’t known what to expect. The doctor examined her and said everything seemed to be okay, but suggested she see her obstetrician first thing in the morning. RaShaun had gone with her; thankfully, everything turned out fine.
Quincy seemed to be reading his mind. “So how’s everything with Terri and the baby?”
“It’s good. Her due date is around Christmas.” RaShaun was unaware of how much his face lit up when he talked about the baby.
“Rah, just be careful, man. You know I’m not Terri’s biggest fan, but I don’t trust her. I just have a bad feeling about this.” Although Quincy, RaShaun, and Terri had all grown up together, Quincy had never liked Terri and had tried to warn RaShaun many times about how deceitful she was.
“Q., come on. I’m the last person you have to warn about trusting–” RaShaun paused when his phone rang. He frowned, not recognizing the number.
“May I speak to RaShaun Patterson?”
“This is Regional South Hospital. I’m calling to inform you that Terri Johnson has been brought into the emergency room. She’s had slight spotting and severe cramps, although she seems to have stabilized.”
“I’m on my way.”
“What is it?” Quincy asked in concern.
“It’s Terri. She’s in the emergency room again,” he said before rushing over to Yvonne. Heart racing, RaShaun quickly told his wife that he had to go and the reason why. “Q. said he’ll take you home. I’ll call you as soon as I can, okay?”
Giving her a quick peck on the lips, he rushed out without waiting for a reply.
Yvonne watched him leave with a frown. Terri calling RaShaun because of complications and having him rush out was becoming a routine. She wouldn’t put anything past Terri, but surely she wouldn’t stoop so far as to fake problems with the baby. But then again…it was Terri. Yvonne had a feeling that, once again, the other woman was manipulating things to turn out just the way she wanted it. And RaShaun, out of fear and concern for his child…was falling for it.
Once again, RaShaun rushed to the hospital, and once again the doctor could find nothing wrong with Terri. The young, African American doctor was the same one who had been on duty a couple of weeks ago when Terri had come to the emergency room complaining of a pain in her stomach. He scratched his head as he finished examining her.
“I can’t find anything wrong, Ms. Johnson. In fact, you and the baby seem to be in excellent health, and I don’t see any evidence of spotting. You did say that’s what–”
Terri cut him off abruptly. “Yes! Are you saying I’m lying?”
RaShaun frowned at her, taking notice of her defensive tone. He had been quiet the whole time, watching and studying her. The moment he walked into the room, she had sat up and smiled at him. Her eyes hadn’t left him until the doctor began telling them his findings.
“How long have you been a doctor anyway,” she sneered, continuing to berate the physician. “You look far too young to have had any significant experience.”
The doctor’s features turned stiff and cold. He straightened defensively in the face of her attack. “I assure you I’m extremely qualified, ma’am.” He paused and glanced at RaShaun and then back at Terri. “I can’t diagnose something that’s not there.”
“What? So you are saying I’m lying. I want the doctor in charge right now! I don’t know who you think you are but–”
“Terri.” RaShaun spoke her name quietly, but Terri instantly stopped talking and looked at him. Then as if remembering she wasn’t supposed to be feeling well, she lay back and closed her eyes.
“Dr….” RaShaun paused to read the nametag on the doctor’s coat. “Reynolds. If you’re finished examining Terri, I’d like to have a word with you outside.”
Terri’s eyes popped open. She quickly sat up in bed. “Why do you need to speak with him outside? Why can’t you speak with him in here?”
With his back to Terri, RaShaun closed his eyes and asked the powers that be for strength before turning around and walking over to her. He gave her a look that caused her to slowly laid back down on the bed. RaShaun used the same quiet tone he’d gotten in the habit of using with her to try and stop from yelling at the top of his lungs from frustration.
“I’m speaking with him outside because I don’t want to upset you…although you seem to be just fine now.” His face conveyed the growing skepticism he was feeling about her frequent emergency room trips. “Is that okay with you?”
Terri bit her lip nervously and gave him a quick nod. RaShaun and Dr. Reynolds stepped outside and walked a few paces away from the room.
“How can I help you, Mr. Patterson?” Dr. Reynolds asked
“I just want to be sure that you’re saying you don’t find anything wrong with Terri or the baby? We saw her doctor after the last time we were here, and she said the same thing, that everything was progressing satisfactory.”
Dr. Reynolds hesitated. “Can I be frank?”
RaShaun folded his arms. He appreciated the brotha’s direct attitude. “Please.”
“If I may ask, are you and Ms. Johnson together?”
“No, we’re not. In fact, I just got married a couple of months ago and to say she hasn’t taken it well is an understatement.”
Dr. Reynolds nodded, his expression showing his immediate understanding of the situation. “Mr. Patterson, I’m going to be blunt. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with her. She seems like she kept herself in excellent shape before her pregnancy, and her health is excellent as well. Those factors have contributed to her having an easy pregnancy so far.”
“So, there’s nothing wrong with her.” It wasn’t a question.
“Not physically, at least.”
A look of understanding passed between RaShaun and the doctor. RaShaun held his hand out and shook Dr. Reynolds hands.
“Thanks, man. I appreciate it.”
“No problem, bruh. Good luck.” His look told RaShaun he was going to need it.
It was almost one o’clock in the morning by the time RaShaun got Terri home. She had taken a cab to the hospital, claiming she had been hurting too bad to drive. RaShaun finally realized all of it was designed for her to be able to spend as much time with him as she could.
RaShaun was angrier with himself than he was at her. Terri was just doing Terri. She wasn’t perpetrating anyone other than who she was. He was livid with himself for allowing his fear of the baby’s health to blind him to what she’d been doing.
Terri tried to make casual conversation on the way back, but after his grunts, one word answers, and then just out and out silence to her questions, she sat back and kept to herself until they pulled up to her home. After he walked her to the door and waited until she was safely inside, he turned to leave.
He stopped and turned around to stare inquiringly at her. He didn’t trust himself to open his mouth to answer her. He was that close from going off on her.
“You barely said two words on the way here.” The attitude was thick and heavy in her voice. “Look, I’m sorry if me and your child are such an inconvenience to you. I just thought you’d want to know when there was some type of problem. Next time, I just won’t bother you.”
RaShaun noticed the conniving gleam in her eye. He knew at that point he was supposed to reassure her that she needed to call him no matter what.
Instead, all he said was, “Get some rest, Terri.”
Turning to leave, he left her standing in the doorway staring at him with her mouth open.
By the time RaShaun got home, it was close to 2:00 in the morning. A lamp was on in the corner in the living room, and in the dim light, he saw Yvonne curled up on her side asleep on the couch.
RaShaun sat on the coffee table in front of the couch and just stared at her. She had been so strong throughout all of this these last couple of months, not just for herself, but for him as well. Many times he would’ve lost his mind if she had not been there to calm him down and give him some perspective.
Even when Terri would get on one of her rampages and call almost every other hour, she never once let her emotions get the best of her although RaShaun knew she was tempted many times. He also knew she was doing it more so for him to try and keep his stress level down. Just last week, he had been on his way over to Terri’s house to curse her ass out for yet another stunt she’d pulled, which he was sure wouldn’t have ended well. Thankfully Yvonne had been his voice of reason and talked him down.
She stirred and turned over on her back. Throwing one arm up over her head, she kicked a leg from under the cover as she sank further into the couch to get more comfortable. RaShaun smiled. He told her all the time she slept bad as hell, but she denied it to the end.
His eyes roamed down her body, clad only in t-shirt and panties. RaShaun loved her body, thick enough in all the places a man loved to grab. Her ass. Her thighs. Her plump breasts. He looked at her exposed thigh again, wanting to feel her legs wrapped around his waist. Without thinking about it, he stood up and pulled his clothes off.
Her left leg was bent at the knee and rested against the back of the couch. His eyes went from her knees to the juncture where her thigh connected her femininity. He reached a finger down and softly traced the thin, elastic leg of her panties, before slipping his finger underneath.
Yvonne moved her hips against the light pressure of his finger as he touched the smooth lips of her sex. His finger paused when she moaned. He didn’t want her to wake up. Not yet.
Pulling her panties to the side, he guided his dick to her opening and slowly but steadily pushed himself inside of her, closing his eyes as her soft and pliable warm flesh enveloped his hard, rigid length.
Yvonne screamed in pleasure and opened her eyes. She started to speak but RaShaun kept up a steady rhythm of deep strokes without giving her a chance to fully wake up. He stared into her eyes. The ecstasy he saw reflected there urged him to go faster. Harder. Deeper. Her hips rose to meet his as she threw her leg over the back of the couch. The leverage allowed her to move faster and slam upwards, feeding him her pussy and giving as good as she got.
“Damn,” he said under his breath, eyes closed and in awe of how good it always was with her. “Fuck!”
“Started something you can’t keep up with, baby?” Her voice goaded breathlessly.
He opened his eyes and looked down at her after hearing the challenge in her voice. “You know I ain’t never had a problem keeping pace.”
“So you say.” She ruined it with a quick gasp of pleasure, but didn’t let that stop her. “Is this all you got? Show me who this belongs to, Patterson. Think you can do that?”
RaShaun’s eyes narrowed. She was really feeling herself tonight. And with the mood he was in, she was getting ready to get exactly what she asked for. He pulled her legs up and around his waist. Her eyes widened as he stood up with them still joined together. Fucking her from a standing position, RaShaun bounced and slid her up and down the long span of his thick dick.
“RaaShauunnnn…” Yvonne screamed. “Ooooo babyyy!”
“That’s right, Von. That’s who this pussy belongs to,” he replied. “Am I keeping up now, baby? Answer Daddy.”
“Is that a yes?”
“Yesssss. Baby, YES!”
“Yeahhh,” he stretched the word out in a deep growl. “That’s what I wanna hear.”
He walked her over to the wall, his hands on her ass, sliding her up and down his greased pole. His male ego needed to make a point, and he wasn’t going to stop until he was sure there wouldn’t be any more misunderstanding. And then he might not even stop then.
Resting her back against the wall, he gave her a long, slow screw, grinding her clit against the steel pipe of his dick. Slow. Up. Deep. Down. In and to the left. Out, then back to the right.
He kept at it until he felt a stream of fluid rolling down his thigh as Yvonne's cream flowed plentiful amid the two orgasms he gave her. Only then did he allow himself to cum just as hard, while her sweet, wet, cunt gripped him tight.
Afterwards, Yvonne barely had the strength to wrap her arms around him and hold on as he carried her into the bedroom. He chuckled as tremors continued to quake throughout her body.
“Guess you’ll be careful of what you ask for next time, won’t you?” he teased softly
“Shut up.” Her words barely came out above a whisper.
RaShaun laughed and gently laid his exhausted wife in the bed. She slept like a newborn baby the rest of the night.
The weeks and months passed by seemingly at lightning speed. Towards the end of one workday, Yvonne and her co-workers talked about how crazy it was that Thanksgiving was right around the corner.
“My God, before you know it, Christmas will be here, and then New Years. It seems as if this year just started,” Susie, one of Yvonne’s co-workers, complained.
“Tell me about it,” Yvonne agreed. “But I love the holidays, especially New Years. I agree, though. Makes you wonder where the time went.”
“Funny,” a familiar voice behind her responded. “I was just asking myself the same thing.”
Yvonne froze. She swung around and looked into the dark, watchful eyes of Brandon Valentine, just as handsome as ever, standing several feet away.
Yvonne strove to keep her tone even. “What are you doing here?”
“I was in the neighborhood, so…”
When a charming grin accompanied his answer, the other women in the office literally swooned. Blushing and whispering to one another, they all but undressed Brandon with their eyes, but Yvonne remained silent, her expression telling him she was still waiting for an explanation.
The smile inched off of Brandon’s mouth in the face of her stoic expression. “Do you think I could talk to you in private?”
Yvonne hesitated. She was well aware of the curious audience they had in her nosy co-workers as their heads swiveled from her to Brandon.
“I…there’s really nothing for us to talk about,” she said as casual as possible.
“Five minutes. That’s all I ask.” When he saw the unyielding gleam in her eyes, he added, “Please.”
Yvonne glanced again at her co-workers, before she reluctantly nodded and led him to her office. She frowned as he made himself comfortable in the leather chair in front of her desk. Instead of sitting down herself, she folded her arms and stood waiting for him to tell her what he wanted to talk about. Her stance told him they wouldn’t be long.
“How’ve you been, Von?”
“Brandon, what do you want?”
“Damn. Not very welcoming, are you?”
“Look, if you’re here trying to start trouble….”
“Wait, wait…” Brandon stood and held his hands up in front of him. “I ain’t here to upset you or nothin’ like that. I just wanted to check on you. See how you doin’.”
“I’m great. Wonderful. Never better.” Yvonne pasted an overly bright smile on her face. “If I were any more satisfied with my life and my husband, I wouldn’t be able to stand it. Marriage agrees with me,” she told him pointedly.
“And does the imminent arrival of your husband’s lovechild also agree with you?”
Yvonne glared at him, her hand itching to slap the taunting smirk off his face. Instead, she turned on her heel with the intention of going to the door. “Get out.”
Brandon quickly stepped in front of her. “Hold, up, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” Jaw jumping, he looked at her desk and picked up a picture of RaShaun and Yvonne on their wedding day. “I really do hope you’re happy. Don’t let anybody come between you… no matter how hard they try to make that happen.”
“Like you tried to do?” Yvonne snatched the picture out of his hands. “I’ve given you your five minutes. I want you out of my office now.”
“I'm goin’. I, ah, I’m actually leavin’ town for a while, but before I go…I just wanted to come by and tell you that I’m sorry for–”
But before he could finish, the door to Yvonne’s office opened. Both Brandon and Yvonne turned around to see who it was at the same time. Yvonne’s heart dropped when she saw RaShaun standing in the doorway glowering at them. His eyes went from Yvonne, to Brandon, then back to Yvonne. He closed the door…softly.
“Am I interrupting something?” His voice had that undertone that told Yvonne a volcano was brewing just beneath the surface.
“No. No! Of course not,” she answered quickly. Stepping around Brandon, she hurried to RaShaun’s side, but RaShaun’s eyes remained targeted on Brandon. “Uh, what are you doing here, honey?”
RaShaun slowly turned his head to look at her with pure disbelief at her question. “What?”
Yvette swallowed the lump that had settled in her throat. “Brandon was just leaving.”
RaShaun turned his attention back to Brandon. “What I wanna know is why the fuck is Brandon even here?”
Brandon sent RaShaun a look designed to intentionally provoke. RaShaun’s frown grew fierce. He took a step towards Brandon, but Yvonne quickly moved in front of him and grabbed him around the waist.
“H-He just showed up. I was just telling him to leave when you walked in.”
Brandon didn’t move. It was obvious that he enjoyed the fact that his mere presence seemed to get under RaShaun’s skin.
RaShaun loosened his tie. “You have ten seconds to get out of my sight.”
“RaShaun, look, like I told Yvonne, I didn’t come to start trouble, I–”
“I don’t give a fuck why you’re here!” RaShaun roared. Setting Yvonne to the side, he barged forward and crammed his face in front of Brandon’s. “What part about staying away from my wife don’t you understand?”
Brandon shoved RaShaun in the chest. “Get off me, man. I done told you–”
“Mothafucka…” RaShaun shoved Brandon with enough force to send him flying into Yvonne’s desk. “Done lost your got damn mind.”
Yvonne screamed when her laptop and papers she had stacked on her desk went flying to the floor. “Stop it! Stop it!”
But Brandon rushed towards RaShaun, tackling him around the waist and ramming him back into the wall behind him. By that time, a couple of men from the office apparently heard the commotion in Yvonne’s office and ran in to pull RaShaun and Brandon apart.
RaShaun pushed them off of him. Walking backwards a few paces, he nodded and pointed at Brandon with murder in his eyes. “You’re dead. You’re dead, you hear me?”
“Shaun, calm down, man!” one of the men said. He shouted to the other two guys holding Brandon. “Hurry up and get him out of here!”
Yvonne held on to RaShaun’s arm, but he jerked it away and shot her a venomous look.
“RaShaun, it’s not what you think!” Yvonne pleaded in a voice that trembled with emotion. She looked around at her horrified co-workers who had gathered in the doorway to gawk at the action. “Could…Could you all please excuse us?”
They slowly walked out whispering amongst themselves about what they had just witnessed. RaShaun walked over and slammed the door closed. He glared at Yvonne, his jaw clenching furiously from anger.
“What the fuck was he doing here?”
“Will you please calm down!”
“I’ll calm down when you answer my question!”
“He had only been here a few minutes, Shaun. I don’t know what he wanted. I can’t believe you made a scene like that! At my job RaShaun?”
“Believe me, Yvonne, me making a scene at your office is the last thing that’s on my mind right now. For the last time, what was Valentine doing here?”
RaShaun looked at Yvonne, pacing and trying to cool his temper. Truth be told, yeah, he trusted Yvonne, but Valentine? Not as far as he could throw him. The fact that he kept finding reasons to show up around Yvonne made his blood boil all over again.
“Yvonne, I swear to God, that lil motherfucka is not gonna stop until I kill his ass! I’m tellin’ you!”
By now Yvonne, was beginning to get just as angry. “We need to go home and discuss this. I think we’ve given everyone around here enough to gossip about for a lifetime if you don’t mind!”
RaShaun opened his mouth to tell her he didn’t give a damn when his cell phone rang. The ring tone told him it was Quincy. He finally realized it had been ringing nonstop almost for the last fifteen minutes, but he hadn’t paid it any attention. As Yvonne stalked to her desk to get her purse, RaShaun answered the phone.
“Q., I’m gonna have to call you back, its not a good time–”
“RaShaun, wait! I’ve been callin’ you for the last twenty minutes and–”
“Quincy, man, I’m gonna have to call you back–”
“RaShaun, shut up for a minute! There’s been an accident!” The words rushed out of Quincy’s mouth.
RaShaun stopped pacing as the urgency in Quincy’s voice finally penetrated his brain. “What kind of an accident?”
“Shaun, I don’t know how else to tell you this. It’s Terri. She’s been in a car accident. Man, she…she’s dead!”
RaShaun felt the room spinning until it left his dizzy and unbalanced. He took deep breaths. Surely he’d misunderstood. “Quincy…what? What did you say?!”
Forgetting her anger, Yvonne rushed to his side. “RaShaun what is it? What’s wrong?”
RaShaun blindly reached for her hand and squeezed it hard as he listened to Quincy.
“There was a five car pile up on the interstate. I was passing by when I saw the accident and went to help. That’s when I recognized her car. They rushed her to the hospital, but…I’m sorry, RaShaun.”
“My…my baby?” he asked in a hoarse voice. He could barely form the words. “What about my baby?”
Quincy hesitated. “You need to get to the hospital as quick as you can, Shaun.”
RaShaun and Yvonne hurried out of the elevator at the hospital, looking around for Quincy. RaShaun had driven like a bat out of hell and made it to the hospital in less than half the time it would have normally taken. According to the information he’d gotten from Quincy, Terri was in surgery now as the doctors performed an emergency C-section to try and save the baby‘s life.
“Quincy!” RaShaun took off running as soon as he saw his friend speaking to a doctor.
“RaShaun! Doctor, this is the baby’s father, RaShaun Patterson.”
“Doctor, how’s my baby? Is he okay? Did he make it?”
“You have a daughter, but I’m going to be honest with you, Mr. Patterson. She’s two months premature, and very tiny, a little over two and a half pounds. Of course being born so early, her organs have not fully developed. She’s being put on a respirator to help her breathe, and she’s susceptible to infection. We transferred her to the neonatal intensive care unit a few minutes ago.”
RaShaun squeezed Yvonne’s hand as he asked. “What are her chances?”
“We’ve made a lot of progress with premature babies, and our hospital has one of the best NIC units in the country. The mother died right before they brought her into the hospital. Thankfully, the EMT’s kept the oxygen flow going or severe brain damage would’ve been a factor. The next few weeks are crucial; it’s going to be touch and go. Only time will tell.”
“Doctor, can RaShaun see her?” Yvonne asked.
“It’ll be a while. The NICU is on the tenth floor if you want to go there to wait, although I have to caution you, I can’t promise how long that’ll be.”
“It doesn’t matter. We’ll wait as long as we have to,” RaShaun responded.
About three hours later, the nurse finally came to get RaShaun, explaining that he could only stay for a few minutes. RaShaun kissed Yvonne, and quickly followed the nurse to get scrubbed and prepped with a gown and mask.
Minutes later, he was looking down at his baby girl. His heart swelled with a love more powerful than any he’d ever known. He bent down so that he was eye level and able to see her better through the glass incubator. She was so tiny she could practically fit in the palm of his hand.
“Hi, baby girl. It’s your Daddy,” he whispered with tears in his eyes. “Hi, honey.” Her little body jerked and twitched before she became still again.
RaShaun’s gaze went over the incubator. So many tubes. The nurse had given him a quick rundown on what to expect, but he was still a little overwhelmed. There would be round the clock care with nurses and doctors monitoring vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and pulse rate.
His heart ached for his daughter. She was so little and defenseless and had a huge fight ahead of her in order to survive. He wanted to hold her in his arms so bad, at least touch her. Closing his eyes to pray, RaShaun asked God to stay with her and watch over her and help her grow strong and healthy. He stared down at her again, wishing she could open her eyes and see her Daddy by her side, and know that no matter what, he would always take care of her.
“Please God”, he whispered. “Just let my baby survive. Please.”
Suddenly, machines started beeping and going off beside her bed. Nurses rushed over. Something was wrong.
“Sir, you’re going to have to leave now.”
“What’s wrong? What’s happening?”
“Sir, please. I have to ask you to leave. Now, please.”
A doctor came rushing into the room. RaShaun stepped back and walked to the door, trying to watch them as long as he could. He heard the nurses updating the doctor. The doctor looked frantically at the machines as he began working on the baby.
“Her heart rate’s dropping! Come on! Come on! We’re losing her! Dammit, she’s not breathing. If we don’t get her stabilized now…”
A solemn silence fell over the team of caregivers. The nurse that had brought RaShaun to the emergency room glanced at him, her eyes expressing her sympathy before she quickly looked away.
RaShaun slowly walked out and stood outside the door, leaning weakly against the wall. He pulled the mask down and covered his face, his shoulders trembling with sobs of sorrow.
Yvonne raced over. “Shaun, what’s wrong!”
RaShaun could only shake his head as he looked at her through the tears that streamed down his face.
“Oh, RaShaun. Baby. Is she…”
Shaun put his head down and closed his eyes. Tears rolled down Yvonne’s face as well when she saw the hopelessness on his face. She pulled him into her arms and held him tightly as he cried for the baby girl he’d only had a chance to meet for a few brief moments.
One week later…
RaShaun and Yvonne stood at the gravesite and watched as the casket was lowered into the ground. RaShaun’s parents had flown in for the funeral. His father put his arm around his mother as her shoulders shook with soft cries. RaShaun could feel his throat burning with the tears he swallowed and not allowed himself to shed.
Dark shades covered his eyes as he stepped forward. Drawing one of the delicate pale, pink roses from the floral arrangement that stood beside the grave, he brought it up to his lips and kissed it, then gently threw it down on top of the casket. Closing his eyes, he said one final goodbye then went back to stand beside Yvonne. She reached for his hand. RaShaun clutched it as if it were his life preserver in stormy waters. And that’s exactly what she’d been.
She had taken control and made all of the arrangements, including choosing an outfit for her to wear and picking out the casket, which was the palest of pinks. RaShaun had been in no shape to even attempt to oversee such a task.
A tear began making its way from beneath the glasses and down his cheek as dirt was thrown down on top of the casket. He turned to leave, not wanting to watch anymore. He held his arm out to let his parents go first as they made their way back to the car. He was stopped every few feet by people who had attended the service.
Feeling yet another tap on his arm, he turned around and saw Quincy and his wife, Gina. He reached down to hug and kiss Gina on the cheek, then turned to the man who he couldn’t have been closer to if he were his own brother. They hugged each other tightly in understanding, not having to say a word. Yvonne hugged Gina and then reached up to hug Quincy. They along with countless other people were coming back to RaShaun and Yvonne’s house for the repass.
RaShaun stood by the limousine used to bring the family to the service as his father helped his mother inside. Then he glanced back at the gravesite.
“Are you okay?” Yvonne asked him softly.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Yvonne moved to get in the car, but he reached for her hand to keep her there. “I don’t know what I would’ve done without you. I love you so much.”
Yvonne touched his face softly and smiled before getting in the car. RaShaun looked up at the sky. The day had been overcast and rainy, but the sun seemed to be fighting its way through the gray storm clouds. Sort of like life. No matter how dark and gloomy things seemed, eventually light would shine through and cast a warm glow throughout to chase the dark shadows away.
A small smile touched RaShaun’s lips as he continued to look up to the sky. Something told him that heaven would never be the same. Turning towards the car, he joined his family and drove away.
One year later…
RaShaun unlocked his front door and walked into his house, glad to finally be home. It was Friday, and he had only worked half a day, and even that was only because he had some meetings this morning that couldn’t be postponed. Otherwise, he would’ve taken the entire day off. It was his and Yvonne’s second year wedding anniversary. He had a big surprise planned for her the entire week, and couldn’t wait to begin celebrating…just the two of them.
Hell, I might just take off the week after, too. Being a Vice President does have its perks, he thought to himself with a huge smile on his face.
RaShaun had been on the fast track with the company almost from the moment he started. His hard work and diligence had paid off when he’d been offered the promotion six months ago.
“And just what is that self satisfied smile on your face for…. or do I have to even ask, Mr. Vice President.” Yvonne came out of the kitchen smiling as she saw him. She knew he was still on a high from being named the youngest Vice President ever at his company, and she was so very proud of him.
“That’s right. And don’t you forget it,” he grinned as he walked towards her and pulled her in his arms for a kiss. “In fact. The next time you’re at the height of an orgasm, I want you to scream ‘I love you Mr. VicePresident. You da man’ at the top of your lungs.”
Yvonne burst out laughing. He was so damn silly. “I’ll try to remember that.”
“Are you about ready to leave? Our plane takes off in about three hours. And you know it’s going to take you every one of those hours to get ready,” he teased as they walked to the back bedroom with their arms around each other.
“Whatever.” She smiled when he patted her bottom as they stepped into the room.
“You know I’m telling the truth. You–”
His face lit up when he turned towards the crib with his arms outstretched. The baby was standing up holding onto the railing, her chubby legs wobbling up and down with excitement. Her wide, watery grin showed all six teeth as she held her arms up, ready for RaShaun to pick her up.
“Hi Daddy’s Princess! How’s my girl?”
He reached down and picked her up out of the crib. She squealed with excitement and happiness from being in her daddy’s arms. Her little body wiggled as she threw her arms around his neck.
“Did you miss your Daddy? Huh, baby girl?”
Her head bobbed up and down.
RaShaun rained kissed over his daughter’s face. She laughed, her full cheeks showing the same deep dimples that her Daddy had in his. His smile was big and full of love as he looked at her.
“You did? You missed me? ‘Cause Daddy missed you. Yes I did,” he cooed.
Faith LaTerrica Patterson leaned back and patted her Daddy’s cheeks with her plump little hands. Opening her mouth wide, she leaned forward and gave RaShaun a big kiss full of baby drool, which RaShaun claimed was the bestest kiss he’d ever gotten. That earned him another one, even more wet and slobbery than the last. RaShaun and Yvonne laughed.
Faith turned to look at Yvonne, as if finally realizing she was in the room too. Seeing that she was once more the center of her parent’s attention as usual, she clapped her hands together and continued to milk it for all it was worth. She pointed her little baby fingers at Yvonne and grinned again.
“MAMAMAMAMAMA!” she chanted
“That’s right, that’s your Mama. Give Mama a kiss.”
Faith leaned over, mouth wide open, and blessed Yvonne with one of her kisses, leaving her wet mark all over Yvonne’s mouth as well. Her beautiful little face, so much like Terri’s, gleamed with love as she looked from her Mommy to her Daddy.
It had been touch and go for a moment with her after she was first born. They’d had many close calls, but Faith had fought hard to live. Against all odds, she had survived and thrived. After she’d gained four more pounds and was deemed no longer an at risk baby from the amazed staff at the hospital, RaShaun and Yvonne had been allowed to take her home. She had continued to gain weight and flourished very quickly. By God’s miracle, she’d had no side affects from being born prematurely, and was a healthy, well adjusted baby who became more active every day.
With Terri having no close family, RaShaun and Yvonne had taken on the responsibility of planning her funeral. Yvonne had taken care of the details. With the shock of Terri’s death, and unsure if his daughter would even make it, he had been in no frame of mind to do so.
After that first night when they had to work to gently resuscitate Faith, the doctor had given her only a slim chance for survival. A couple of nights later, RaShaun had fallen into a fitful sleep and had the strangest dream. He’d been in the room with his baby. She was in the incubator hooked up to the machines while shadows quietly stood in the background, as if waiting on her to join them.
Suddenly, Terri had appeared, transparent and surrounded by a subtle glow of light. A serene smile had crossed her lips as she looked down at her baby girl. Terri reached down to pick her up. The tubes that had been connected to Faith’s body had dropped away as Terri held her baby in her arms. The funniest thing is that Faith looked healthy and full of life in the dream, kicking her fat little legs and cooing and smiling up at Terri as if she knew her.
Terri had looked towards RaShaun and smiled. Her face had been clear and untroubled. He had never seen her look so at peace. Leaning down, she’d kissed baby Faith and then gently put her back in the incubator. Giving RaShaun a final look, she had slowly disappeared.
RaShaun had sat up straight in the bed, looking around as if she was in the room with him. Body drenched in sweat, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. His heart beat double time in his chest. The dream had felt so real. And although his head told him there was no way Terri could’ve physically been there, he did she was there in spirit, looking out for her daughter. He’d never told anyone about the dream, not even Yvonne, but from that day forward, RaShaun inexplicably known that his baby would be okay.
He glanced at Yvonne now, his eyes filled with love. “Sweetheart, where’s Mom and Pop?”
“They went to the store to pick up a few things. They’ll be right back.”
RaShaun’s parents had come to town to keep Faith for the week while RaShaun and Yvonne left for their anniversary trip. Neither one of them knew how they’d make it without Faith for the next seven days.
Yvonne looked at Faith. The love she felt in her heart overflowed for her daughter–and that’s exactly what Faith was. Her daughter. When she got older, they would tell her about Terri, and how much she loved her. Although she’d had many faults, Yvonne chose to believe that Terri loved her baby, and would have eventually put the child’s needs above her own. That’s what a mother did.
Yvonne placed her hand over her stomach and smiled. She planned to tell RaShaun the news tonight. He was going to be a father again. She looked up at him with a small smile.
Feeling her gaze, he turned his head and returned the smile before leaning down and tenderly kissing her. “I love you, Mrs. Patterson.”
“And I love you, Mr. Patterson.” They grinned at each other before their daughter reclaimed their attention.
Yvonne knew RaShaun thought he had planned a big surprise for her, and she was sure she would enjoy it. But her anniversary surprise for him would be the biggest and best of all, for both of them.
(Stay tuned for a sneak peek at the next episode as this dramatic web serial continues...)
© 2017 S.K. Hardy
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means without the written permission of the author. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.