“Oh, you’re starting to show now,” Angie’s mother exclaimed in delight. “I can’t wait to be a grandmother.”
“You’re already a grandmother,” Angie said dryly.
“I know but it’s my first from you and Paul.”
“With your looks, the baby will be beautiful if it’s a girl and handsome if it’s a boy.”
“I hope it’s a boy.”
“And I hope it’s a girl. It would be our first grand-daughter.”
“How are you feeling, Angie?”
“I’m fine, Aunt Carla.”
“Did you have any morning sickness?”
“Lucky girl. I had morning sickness with all of my children.”
“Pregnancy suits you. You’re positively glowing.”
“You look like you have gained a little weight. I guess it’s because you’re eating for two.”
“Well, dinner is ready. Let’s go into the dining-room.”
Angie glanced up at Paul as he held out her chair. How she wished that they were at home instead of here. How she wished that things were like they used to be between them before…She sat down. This pregnancy was ruining her marriage but she knew that it was the reason why she was married. It was the only thing keeping Paul and her together. She couldn’t lose him. He was her life. She was so desperately in love with him even if he wasn’t in love with her. She hoped that that would change.
She forced herself to eat because she didn’t want her mother to be concerned. As a pregnant woman, she was supposed to have a big appetite. She needed the energy. She heard her grandmother mutter something about, “Trying days, mystical nights,” but she didn’t pay much attention. Grand mama was always going on about something or the other. Lately, she hadn’t been making much sense. Maybe she was suffering from Dementia.
The conversation was loud and lively and then, after dessert, everyone flocked to the massive and very elegant drawing-room with its Spanish decor. Angie’s parents were from Madrid. They along with Grand-mama came to America before Angie and her younger brother, Raul were born. They settled there in Wilmington. Delores served everyone Chamomile tea except Angie. She gave her hot chocolate instead. “Herbal tea isn’t safe for pregnant women,” she explained.
Angie smiled and took the cup of Hot Chocolate from her. “Thank you, Delores.”
“So, how many weeks are you?” her Aunt Teresa asked.
“So, you’re just beginning to show.”
“Make sure you’re getting a lot protein, calcium, iron, Vitamin C and Potassium. Eat sardines and anchovies for your omega-3 fatty acid,” her mother advised
“Don’t forget Folic Acid. It’s very good at preventing neural tube defects,” added Aunt Teresa.
“So, Paul, are you excited about being a Dad?” Raul asked, grinning.
“Of course he is,” his mother retorted. “Why wouldn’t he be?”
“Now, Angie make sure you still get some exercise. Go for walks. Get lots of rest. You won’t get much when the baby comes,” Aunt Teresa told her.
“Thank you everyone for your advice,” Angie said. She was tired of this and wanted to go home. “I’m feeling a bit tired.” She stood up.
“Oh, sure, Honey. I asked Delores to pack some food and dessert for you so that you don’t have to worry about cooking tomorrow.”
Paul went and got the jackets while Angie hugged everyone. After she and her grandmother hugged, the older woman looked her straight in the eye and said in a low voice, “Fear the LORD and depart from evil.”
Angie recoiled from her. Paul came in just then and helped her on with her jacket. Angie turned and hurried out of the room.
“What’s the matter?” Paul asked as they went down the steps to where his car was parked.
“Nothing,” she mumbled. Her heart was racing and she was greatly afraid. What on earth did Grand-mama mean? There was no way that she could know. Was there? She was just being senile.
Yet, all the way on the ride home, she couldn’t forget the look in her grandmother’s eyes or her words or shake the fear inside her.
As soon as they got home, she went upstairs and washed her face. Her hands trembled slightly as she dried her face. She undressed and slipped into a silk nightgown. She couldn’t let her grandmother spoil what was left of the night. When she went into the room, Paul stood there. He was still dressed. She wanted to strip him and ravage him. Her body was on fire. She moved closer to him.
“What did your grandmother say to you?” he asked, making her stop in her tracks.
Her heart lurched. “It wasn’t anything important.”
“I saw the look on your face. You looked upset. What did she say to you.”
“Please, I would rather not talk about it.”
“All right. I won’t press the matter.”
He went into the bathroom to brush his teeth. When he came back into the room, he undressed and put on a pajama bottom. “Goodnight.”
“Paul. I’m sorry. I’ll tell you what Grand-mama said.”
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
“I do. I’m sorry I made such a fuss about it. She said being a mom means more than giving birth to a child. I hope you’re ready for the responsibility.”
“That’s what your grandmother said?”
“Why would you get so upset over that?”
“I don’t know. I guess I felt like she was saying that I don’t have what it takes to be a mother. I felt like she was criticizing me.”
“She wasn’t. She was just telling you what being a parent entails and hopes that you are prepared.”
“I’m sure she wouldn’t have said that to you. And this is your first time being a father.”
“Don’t get bent out of shape over what your grandmother said. She didn’t mean any malice. Now, it’s getting late and I have to be at the office early tomorrow.” He drew back the bedspread and climbed in.
Fuming, she switched off the light and got in beside him. “What no goodnight kiss at least?” she demanded, frustrated. She wanted him so much it drove her crazy.
He rolled onto his side so that he was facing her. “Sorry.” He kissed her briefly on the mouth. “Goodnight, Angie.” He rolled back onto his side so that he was backing her.
In the dark, she glared at his back, hungry and frustrated. Another night without sex. She didn’t know how much more of this she could stand. She put her hand on the bump. How she hated this thing. How she wished she could get rid of it. No. She closed her eyes in despair. She couldn’t. It was her only leverage.
This is the prequel to Amy Spills the Beans and the sequel to Angie’s Hangup.