Consequences Ch. 06byLiquidFyre©
To all those who have patiently waited, thank you. Over the past two! years life has moved along at a rapid pace. I thought it was finally time to let these two finish their lives.
Zane stood next to Randy under the graveside tent, each watching helplessly as the sisters clutched one another, their grief palpable as the casket was lowered into the grave.
In the limousine on the ride back to her mother's home, Zane held Dana against his chest as she cried, her sobbing broken by the occasional hiccup. He stroked her back gently and glanced quickly at his parents who had flown down for the funeral.
Her voice was so low that he didn't hear her at first, the steady rainfall outside drowning her out.
"She was the first person to love me. The first person I loved. What will I do without her?"
Zane didn't have an answer to the question. He could only hold her.
Dana spent a month in Memphis, working with her sister to sort out their mother's belongings and pack up the house. She also spent considerable amount of time thinking.
"I'm coming home."
Zane waited. Dana had put off retuning home for a month. He didn't doubt that she had a lot to do, but as time wore on, he was afraid of what she might be thinking.
"I'm here, love."
"Did you hear me? I'm coming home."
Zane wanted to ask her if she was sure, but settled for asking her when she would arrive. Dana declined his offer to pick her up from the airport. She needed time alone.
Dana walked into her home, noting the fresh flowers in a vase near the door and the neatly piled mail on the dining room table. She dropped into a leather arm chair and looked around. The world seemed less bright without her mother. Her sister was now six month's pregnant and Sam's grief was gently giving way to excitement.
Dana had been home for an hour when the doorbell rang. She didn't bother checking through the peephole, anticipating that it would be Zane. She threw open the door to find the delivery guy from her favorite Pan-Asian restaurant on the landing. He handed her the bag and nodded.
"Wait, I didn't order this."
"Someone ordered and paid for papaya salad and spring rolls."
Those were two of her favorite dishes. She closed the door and walked to the kitchen. She called Zane at the office and hung up when his voicemail greeting played.
Twenty minutes later, having eaten and stored the leftovers, Dana walked out of the kitchen, just as the front door opened and Zane walked in. Before she could speak, Zane reached out for her hand and led her to the sofa, tugging her onto the sofa next to him.
"Are you staying?"
"Zane, we need to talk."
"All I want to know is if you're staying. If the answer is no, then I don't have anything to say. If after all"
She cut him off, "I'm pregnant."
"we've been...Did you just say that we're pregnant?"
Dana felt a frisson of hope at we."
"Yes, we are."
He finally raised his head to look at her. She was more beautiful than he remembered. She was glowing though the sadness remained in her eyes.
"Then why did you stay away so long?"
"Zane, I needed time to think. I don't want to live my mother's life. Unmarried and pregnant by my white lover."
He nodded and placed his hand on her still flat stomach. "I understand."
"Yes. I understand that you've lost your mind."
He looked at her in astonishment. "We aren't having a child out of wedlock, Dana. We'll be married when all our children are born. There's a church and minister in Alton, ready when you are."
She exhaled a nervous breath. "Are you certain you want to get"
He cut her off by cradling her head in his hands and pressing his lips to hers. "Don't you dare ask me that question, Dana." He tugged her head back, exposing the length of her throat and running his tongue along it. "If you need to ask me if I want to spend the rest of my life with you, to raise children with you and to take care of you, then we have a big problem. Understand?"
Dana nodded as Zane suckled the skin at the curve of her shoulder. "Will your parents be disappointed?"
"Are you kidding? They love you. If they were disappointed, it would only be in me, for not getting you to agree to marry me sooner."
He whispered roughly before standing and pulling her up with him, "I told you once before that you're not your mother, Dana. I'm not your father, either."
Dana followed him up the stairs towards the bedroom, careful to keep the smile off her face.
Randy handed a babbling toddler off to Dana as he bent to tie his pregnant wife's shoes. "Maybe for pregnancy number three I could invent some type of shoelace tying contraption."
Randy dodged the playful punch Sam aimed at him.
Dana held her nephew, moving her head side to side as he reached for her earrings. She looked around Zane's parents' backyard, full of family and friends celebrating Labor Day. Kids were running around and babies were in abundance.
Zane was standing with his parents, reaching out to take his daughter, Zoe, from his mother when he caught his wife looking at him. He lifted the 6 month-old above his head, grinning at her excited babble before cradling her to his chest and walking across the lawn. He bent his head and kissed his wife's head as Zoe's hazel eyes lit up at the sight of her mother. Zoe reached for Dana and she cradled Zoe in one arm, while holding Tyler on the opposite hip.
Zane took one look at her, holding two children and grinned, bending to whisper in her ear, "See, you can handle two at once. I think we should get started on a sibling for Zoe."