+Positively Unexpected Part 7
Tasha told herself she would tell Kingston the truth. When he could handle the truth. If he only called 911 for the sake of the child she carried, she did not want to give him an excuse to end his life for good.
Tasha’s mother sent an old fashion postcard from Cancoon. She and Pat enjoyed riding horses on the beach, eating shrimp cocktails by the pool, and getting massages from their room balcony whenever they requested one. Her mother made no mention of the scandal Tasha recently found herself in, and for some reason, Tasha was relieved her mother ignored the drama, but at the same time, felt like her mother didn’t care enough by ignoring the subject all together.
Jenny had been helpful… For the past three weeks, she had been Tasha’s best friend all over again. The paparazzi wouldn’t leave Tasha alone and bombarded the front doors of her apartment building. Jenny delivered groceries, pre-natal vitamins, and most helpful of all, Jenny and Humphrey had delivered comforting company. Tasha wanted to spend Christmas with Jenny, but Jenny suggested Christmas with the Rourkes was best, since Hope graciously offered. Granted, Jenny made the suggestion thinking Kingston was the father of the baby, not Dax.
On several occasions, Tasha nearly broke down and told Jenny the truth, but she partly feared Jenny would support her notion to lie and help Tasha perpetuate the lie of paternity. Jenny growing up was the one that said a good lie never hurt anyone. Tasha in her innocence said truth and transparency was the only way to live. Tasha wondered where that sweet, honesty hungry girl went, because she was a total stranger to her and the world now.
Kingston would text Tasha here and there. He would ask her how she was and if she needed anything, but with Jenny taking such good care of her, she didn’t need anything from him.
Hope stopped by last week and brought Tasha some paperback books on pregnancy. The gift was significant because Hope selected the best literature from all that she read through all three of her pregnancies. Tasha felt worse about her looming lie on that day, but the fear of Hope going public with Tasha’s lie fueled Tasha’s silence.
Hope extended an invite to come a few days before Christmas and spend a few nights, but Tasha only agreed to Christmas Day and that was all she was going to do.
Tasha spent Christmas Eve with her father, Jenny, and Humphrey. After dinner, they sat in the living room and allowed Humphrey to open one gift. He selected the one from Tasha and was blessed with a dinosaur toy Jenny swore he wanted more than anything. By his reaction of sheer joy and enthusiasm when he tore the paper to reveal what the toy was, Jenny didn’t lie about that. The plastic raptor was the only thing Tasha could afford.
While Humphrey ran around the living room with his new toy from his sister, and Jenny went to get dessert ready, Tanner handed Tasha an envelope. Inside was a transaction slip for a large sum of money and the code to get the amount released to any account she wanted. It was enough to pay off her fines and legal fees. Accepting those funds would cancel her debt.
“Dad, you don’t need to do–,” Tasha tried to hand him back his offer.
But he walked away from her.
Humphrey sped toward Tanner making raptor noises as he led with the raptor toy out before him like a sword. Tanner crouched low and pretended to be a dinosaur whisperer and the two cautiously danced in a circle, waiting for the other to make a move first. Impatiently, Humphrey lunged first and Tanner rapidly picked the boy up as they spun in a circle. He held Humphrey by the legs holding him upside down. Humphrey giggled and begged to be put down.
“Please daddy! I have to go pee!” Humphrey squealed as his father tickled his stomach and he dangled by his father’s clutches. “DADDY!” Humphrey screamed.
Chuckling Tanner finally listened to his son’s request. Humphrey sprung toward the first floor restroom, dropping his toy on the rug by the tree.
“Children are expensive. Your money should be invested in your child, not spent paying for one mistake you happened to get caught doing.”
“What if I place the child in adoption?”
“Pay off your debt anyway… in case you ever want a child one day…”
“You’re so good with him…” Tasha said, safely placing the envelope in her purse.
“I wish I was better with you… I remember the day you were born as clear as day. When I held you I never loved anyone as much as I loved you then and still do… Every fiber of my being and molecule of my body loved you so much… I was so freaked out I was going to destroy your whole life… I was glad you were a girl… I figured you had a better chance of being sweet and innocent, I prayed to God that you would be…”
“You’re not religious…” Tasha wondered if Jenny finally convinced her father to attend mass regularly. Jenny’s entire family were devote Roman Catholics. Dean was always open about his faith, even in the workplace, that was part of the reason Dean and Tanner would clash in business decisions, when actions necessary to take would violate something about Dean’s religion.
“No, not really, but if you were to ask me with all the years I lived if there was a God, I would say there has to be one… For if humanity had the power we think we did, we would have already destroyed each other eons ago. There must be some power in the universe that loves us too much to let us do away with each other like that…”
That evening Tasha left her father’s house feeling loved. The words that he said about her. That he loved her with every fiber of his being and every molecule in his body. For a second, she imagined having a daughter and loving her the same way or maybe even more. Tasha couldn’t remember the last time she truly loved anyone or anything. Did she ever love someone? And the sad reality that she had never been in love made her realize she would fail as a mother.
After the Happy Holidays, Tasha was going back to the clinic to enter NYSAPP: New York State Adoption Placement Program. The greatest act of love she was ever going to do was find a family that functioned normally and knew how to love properly.
Tasha arrived to a happy, cozy home in the suburbs outside Manhattan. The finest suburb upper-middle class had to offer. The two story home was modern age, with a flat top roof as sections of the home stacked like skewed blocks.
Blue, yellow, and purple icicle lights hung from the first and second stories. The walk way to the door flashed with strobe lighting with each step Tasha took. From the front door, Tasha heard Christmas music and laughter. She rung the door bell and the H.A.I. (House Artificial Intelligence) asked her to state who she was, without hesitation, the door popped open and announced her arrival.
“Tasha Turner has arrived…” said the H.A.I. with a soothing, female voice.
Kingston’s whole family stopped their fun in the living room, playing a virtual game on a holo-sphere and stared at Tasha, holding a tin of fruit cake. Normally, as a guest at dinner she usually brought wine, but as a pregnant woman, she thought wine would send a negative message. Plus, with how religious Hope was at the hospital, Tasha took a bold guess to assume the family didn’t drink wine.
Everyone in the room were adults. Only two people were familiar to Tasha. Kingston sat in a recliner smiling at Tasha. Hope stood near the foyer, closest to Tasha, standing by a man that had Kingston’s jawline and dimpled cheeks. He was too young to be his father, therefore, that must be his brother, Logos.
Looking over their shoulders to gaze at Tasha, sitting at the couch, were two men on each side and a woman in the middle. The man on Tasha’s left was black with long dreads. He had his arm on the back of the couch around the woman’s back. The woman had Kingston’s hair and Hope’s eyes and nose. She had to be Kingston’s sister, Genesis aka Gen. The other man with a bald head and a long gray beard was clearly the man where Kingston and his brothers got their eyes, Mr. John Luke Rourke.
“Welcome Tasha,” Hope said.
Kingston rushed over to Tasha. Logos took her coat and hung it up as Hope took the tin of fruit cake gratefully. Kingston greeted Tasha with a sincerely warm hug, which brought Tasha a great deal of comfort. Not just because he was a great hugger, but a hug like that meant the man had hope, and could bare to hear the truth. The truth she craved to get off her chest.
Immediately, everyone broke the awkward tension and sat her down on another recliner in the living room. Hope laid gifts at her feet and on her lap. Gen made small talk. Logos brought her fresh hot chocolate. John Luke introduced the black man. He was Gen’s husband, Cress.
Overwhelmed, Tasha asked where the nearest bathroom was. Kingston jumped to her rescue to show her the way. Through the kitchen and toward the garage. The door to a half bath was in the nook to a second staircase that led upstairs.
“I don’t need to go to the bathroom…” Tasha confessed.
“I figured…” Kingston laughed. He looked into her eyes with intrigue like he wanted to kiss her. “They just want you to feel welcomed.”
“Yeah…” Tasha averted her eyes, and began to pick at her thumbnail nervously. “I may not be welcomed here much longer, when everyone finds out…”
He took her by the shoulders and bent his head to catch her gaze with his, “Just take a deep breath and don’t worry about anything. You’ll learn nothing stops this family from loving anyone… That’s what make them pretty great.”
Tasha was about to blurt it all out, when a framed newspaper clipping caught her eye with the title: Wayd v. Rowe. Pointing at the frame of history, she asked, “You’re mother was alive during this case?”
Wayd v. Rowe was the very case that helped shape modern abortion law and led way to the adoption placement program across the country. A man sued the woman pregnant with his unborn child, and by some miracle won. The judge ruled for the woman to carry until the fetus was viable outside the womb.
The man’s lawyer was a genius. Arguing the fetus was not part of the woman’s body but was a life temporarily a resident in the woman’s womb. And that if the abortion was carried out, it should count as murder, since in Manhattan, if a pregnant woman was murdered, the murderer was prosecuted for two murders.
By the time the case made it to supreme court, the baby was born, placed in the NICU, where the child miraculously survived and was 9 months old when the Supreme Court finally ruled.
“Um… sort of…” Kingston huffed, coming behind Tasha. Standing so close behind her she could feel his breath against her neck. “My grandfather was the man who sued for the right to have a choice, whether his child should live or die.”
Shocked but not shocked, Tasha turned to Kingston, “Your mother is the fetus that reversed Roe v. Wade?
Tasha felt closed in a box. She walked toward the kitchen, needing the relief a spacious area brought. Hope’s passion for Tasha’s child to live wasn’t just for religious reasons but for heritage reasons too.
The urge to blurt out the truth ate away at Tasha’s soul. She was able to fight it off around Jenny and at home, but in this house it was like being placed in a furnace and the heat begged her to scream the truth. For the lie alone tormented her. Lies usually were easy for her to keep, but this lie was too heavy. Tasha no longer cared if her career died or survived, she wanted out from the weighty burden of her child’s false paternity.
Tasha rested her hands on Kingston’s shoulders as she stood on her toes to whisper loudly in his ear, “You’re not the father…”
A Quick Note from the Author
This section is short but sweet. Turns out there’s a law in Arkansas that gives father’s the right to slap an injunction to stop a woman from getting an abortion. The article I read on it was really biased and left-wing. A little interesting how my story may not be that far fetched after all.
Storyteller via writer, actor, filmmaker, and artist.