Authors: Tierney O'Malley
Tags: #Erotic Romance Fiction
She was so glad for not listening to Doctor Sanders about freezing her eggs. Not only that she would be a mommy soon but that she’d also had the best time of her life with Henry. Interestingly though, when she’d told Doctor Sanders that she was pregnant, he’d frowned, pursed his lips then excused himself from the examination room to make a very important call. When he’d come back, he’d gone on to say that the longer she postponed the treatment, the lower her chances of winning the fight. Ovarian cancer was a beast, Dr. Sanders had said. Of course, he was right, but she wasn’t afraid. Either way, she’d win—and her baby would be her prize.
Tying her hair in a bun, she looked at herself in the mirror. June touched the ring. It nestled just above her breasts. She didn’t want her parents to ask questions about it so she’d decided to put it on a silver chain that she wore under her shirt all the time. She would never forget Henry. With or without his ring, he’d be a permanent part of her life—a memory, a secret love.
Last time she saw him, he’d stood by the dock with his hands in his pockets, his hair, which he’d combed back with his fingers only to be disturbed again by the wind, in disarray. He’d been wearing his faded low rider jeans and a white Ralph Lauren shirt, which had made him look unbelievably delicious. She’d waved at him one last time then walked away and didn’t look back.
She missed him so terribly it hurt.
According to Vivienne’s sources, Henry had been seen lounging on his yacht and at the club as if waiting for someone. But after a month, he was hardly at the marina at all. Most likely, he’d already moved on.
Someday, Jelly Bean would know about Henry. She wouldn’t deny her child that right. But that would be someday. Right now, she had to face her parents. They would most likely be disappointed with what they’d hear. Still, they deserved to know the truth. Well, part of it. They would understand her. And without a doubt, Mom and Dad would love the life now growing inside her.
The smell of fried bananas welcomed her as soon as she left her bedroom. Every Friday afternoon Mom would make Dad’s favorite dessert. It had been a tradition for as long as she could remember. She was glad the smell didn’t make her sick. Unlike pancakes. Kind of sad, really. She loved pancakes in the morning.
Her dad spotted her right away. “Hello there, sweet. You look awake.”
“Wide awake. Smells good in here.”
“Of course. Mom made the best batch.”
Rebecca shook her head. “Oh, James. You don’t have to butter me up. I’ll make you fried bananas as long as you want me to.”
Rebecca poured June tea. “You look better, Junie.”
“I feel much better.” She picked up a plate and served herself two fritters.
James handed her the bowl of fine white confectioner’s sugar. “Whoever invented this stuff is a genius.”
“Dad, in your eyes, whoever invented anything with sugar is a genius.”
James laughed. “What can I say? I have a sweet tooth.”
June finished her bananas. She didn’t want to sour the good mood, but there was no better time to tell her parents about her pregnancy than now. “Mom? Dad?”
Both her parents looked at her. Seeing their smiles, June’s resolve began to wane. Her parents would be disappointed. Their feelings would be hurt. She hoped they’d forgive her for this. Like always whenever she’d made mistakes.
“Mom. Dad. I’m not sick with a flu or food poisoning.”
“That’s good, then,” Rebecca said. “I wonder what had made you sick?”
“Pregnancy.” June cleared her throat. “I’ve been sick because I’m pregnant.”
James kept eating his bananas while Rebecca sipped her tea. They were staring at each other. Well, at least no one had dropped dead from a heart attack. She knew they wouldn’t toss her out or scream at her, but this non-reaction reaction was too much.
Oh, my God.
“Please say something.”
“We figured as much,” James said.
“Sweet, when we heard you retching, at first we really thought you were sick. Then it continued. Mom had this feeling that you hadn’t eaten a bad fish because there’s nothing in, you know, the garbage bin that’s usually there once a month.”
“You mean my… Oh, God. But you didn’t say anything?”
“We know you’ll come to us. You always have whenever something is bothering you. We waited for you to tell us the truth, although your mom is close to dying from waiting.”
“I’m sorry.” God, they didn’t deserve to be lied to.
Her parents would give their lives for her. Both had been good citizens, paid their taxes and would never hurt anyone. They deserved to have a healthy child, not her. June’s chest tightened. She shouldn’t cry. Not yet, not now. But her parents’ kindness was irrepressible. Her vision blurred from unshed tears seconds before they rolled down her cheeks. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I feel horrible. I lied to you both. You probably think I’m an evil child.”
“Spoiled rotten, yes. But not evil.” James tried to lighten the mood, but even he didn’t laugh.
“Do we know the boy?”
“No, Mom. He’s a guy at work.” She took the napkin that Rebecca handed her.
“You met him at work. Does he know?” James looked at June with compassion registering in his eyes.
“No. You see, I don’t know him at all. I met him at a party.” That was the truth. “But I don’t think he’ll remember me.”
“I hardly doubt that, Junie. Anyone who had the opportunity to meet you will remember you.”
“Dad, we had a fling. He was… I’m sorry I didn’t tell you right away. It’s just that I didn’t know how and where to start.” She felt horrible for keeping a secret from her parents but not about getting pregnant. Her baby was a gift, a dream come true. She was just sorry for hiding the whole truth from them.
“Well, you made us worry, but not anymore.” James smiled. “You don’t really know this guy, but did you at least get his name?”
“Colchester. His name is Henry Colchester.”
Her parents looked at each other. Just as she began to think she’d made a mistake of telling them Henry’s name, her dad shrugged. “Henry. Nice name.”
“Yeah, sounds like a royalty,” Rebecca agreed.
“Now, Junie. The baby is yours. He or she is a part of you. We love you. And by God, we’ll love this baby too.”
“I agree.” Rebecca nodded vigorously. “This baby is ours. Have you seen the doctor?”
“How far along are you now?”
“Going on three months.”
Rebecca placed her hands on June’s stomach. “Three months? You’re too small. I can’t even tell.”
“Because I always wear baggy clothes, Mom.”
“Junie, are you sure the boy doesn’t know about this?”
“I’m sure, Dad. I don’t want him to know.”
“Why?” Rebecca and James asked simultaneously.
Because I tricked him.
“He’s probably not going to be happy. I heard he’s engaged. He belongs in a different world.”
“Rich, you mean?” James asked, his voice flat.
“Almost three months,” Rebecca sighed. “I wish you’d come to us right away. The first trimester is very important. You sure you did the right thing the first time you learned about this? Like, are you taking prenatal vitamins? You don’t drink coffee, thank you for that. You’re too thin. Because you’ve been throwing up. I told you, James. We should have asked her right away instead of waiting. I could have helped. What if—?”
“Rebecca,” James sighed.
“Sorry. I’m just…my emotions are running crazy right now. I told you to vacuum the other day!”
Despite the situation, June found herself laughing. When James stood, June and Rebecca followed. Just like that, they found each other in a circle of embrace.
“We are not angry, sweet, but don’t think that we approve of what happened one hundred percent. I have to admit, I’m disappointed. We taught you better than this, Juniper Ivy. We wish this had happened differently, but we accept it. I’ll probably lose sleep over it, think where we went wrong and—”
“Dad, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s me. I did this.”
Wiping her tears with the edge of her sleeve, Rebecca poured more tea in her cup and began drinking it again. June thought her mom was so shocked that most likely she didn’t feel the hot liquid.
“I had my suspicions but now that I’ve heard the truth, I don’t know what to say.” Rebecca sighed.
“Rebecca, you do.” James’ words were firm. “We take care of our own. Our daughter came to us. She told the truth and that’s all that matters. She’s carrying our grandbaby.” He looked at June sternly. “Everything happens for a reason. This is our own baby we’re talking about here. If anything, we should celebrate.”
Her parents didn’t ask any more questions. Instead, they looked to the present and the future. June could tell by looking at the way they furrowed their brows that the news hadn’t fully sunk in, but they accepted it nonetheless. Her mom started asking about doctor visits and what she should do to keep the baby healthy. Dad mentioned a crib and fixing the guestroom into a nursery. June made comments only when she was sure the question was directed at her. Most of the time her parents seemed to be talking to themselves and making plans in their heads.
June sat back, her shoulders sagging in relief. She’d known her parents would accept her no matter what, but not this quickly.
What a lucky girl I am.
Her mind went back to her dad’s question.
Does the father know?
No. And Henry would never know. It would be up to little Jelly Bean. The thought, for some reason, made her feel sad. A gift such as a child should be celebrated by the parents. After all, a baby was the product of their union, of uniting their blood, their passion. But her baby was created for a different reason. She wanted this baby because after her cancer treatment she would most likely never conceive again. Henry…well, he really didn’t want to have a baby. During their first night, he had made sure she was on the pill and that it was safe to forgo the condom.
June glanced at her parents. They were deep in thought but with smiles on their faces. She’d only told them half her secret. The other half would most likely kill them. She didn’t even want to think about that.
For the first time in her life, she’d deceived her parents. God, she’d deceived Henry too. She didn’t like the feeling at all.
But what about her baby? Was it right for her to bring this baby into this world because of her condition? What would she tell him or her about not having a father? June shook her head. The more she analyzed her situation, the heavier the guilt pressed on her shoulders.
She could do this. And why worry about what was at the end of the bridge? She’d face it when she got there. She had far worse things to think about—her health, for the baby’s sake. She’d do everything to bring this baby into this world healthy.
“…yellow. It’ll suit whether we have a boy or a girl. Right, June?”
“Hmm? Sorry, Mom. You were saying?”
“Your mom ate too much when she was pregnant with you. What is your excuse for not paying attention? Don’t tell me my grandbaby is already stealing your brain.” James’ eyes twinkled. “That’s scary.”
“We’re just asking about the color for our baby’s room, Junie.”
Our baby’s room.
June smiled at her mother. “How about I let you two decide what to do with the baby’s room and I’ll take care of this little jelly bean.”
“No. We’ll all take care of the baby. We have only one car. You’re not going to ride the bus to your appointments. So, your dad or I will take you to your doctor visits. Is that okay with you?”
“Good. I’ll cook, you help. But not too much. Um, we don’t have to shop like crazy, but I think it would be good to check what’s out there. Are you going to breastfeed?”
.” June sighed. God, that was embarrassing.
“What? Don’t be embarrassed about these things. It’s important.”
“I know. So, we’re still going to Las Vegas, right?”
“It depends on how you feel.”
“Mom, I feel fine. Except for the throwing up, I’m good. But I think I’m kind of past that now.”
“All right. We don’t want to waste a free trip anyway. I don’t think I can sit on another seven-hour seminar about condominium time-sharing just to get a free trip.”
“You might win a trip to Hawaii next time.”
“Next time we’ll have a little one running around here. I don’t want to think about another trip just yet. Oh, Lord. We have to childproof this house. James, go to Home Depot and buy the covers for the sockets. And duct tape.”
“Yes, dear, to cover sharp edges. We did the same thing when Junie was a baby. Remember?”
June listened to her parents for a minute. She laughed when her mom pinched her dad because he didn’t move fast enough when she told him to fix the wobbly coffee table. “Do you guys mind if I go back upstairs?”
“Are you okay?” James asked.
“I haven’t been sleeping right since I got pregnant. Now that I’ve told you my secret, it feels like I could sleep for a month.”
“You should eat first, dear.”
“Feed your daughter, Rebecca. I’m going to the store. Let me know if you need anything, Junie.”
“I will, Dad.” She started to walk away when she realized she hadn’t thanked her parents. She turned around and looked at them. “I don’t know what I have done to deserve you both. Other parents would have yelled, berated or thrown their daughter out for disgracing the family name. But you, you welcomed my news with open arms. I’ve brought you disappointment and I am sorry for that.” Her voice began to quiver. She cleared her throat. “This is not what you dreamed of and hoped for me. Again, I am sorry.” As she stared at the two souls who would do anything for her, tears quickly rolled down her cheeks. Two souls whose hearts would break in million pieces if they found out she was sick. “Our name will most likely be the topic around every dining table once I started showing. People will talk. Gossip hurts.”
“Only if you let them affect you. Let their tongues wag. Remember, every family has a skeleton in their closet. Don’t worry, sweet. We’ll handle this. Right, Rebecca?”