“Yes, he’s hungry again.” They had found out the baby’s sex. They were having a boy!
They hadn’t known it, but as they stood waiting for the hostess to seat them at a table, Noah’s stepfather Will had seen them there. Will knew that Melina had forbidden Noah from any contact with Sharlee. However, he didn’t say anything to her about having seen them.
A few days after that, Noah walked into the kitchen from the garage. His mother wasn’t home and he heard Will in the livingroom talking with someone on the phone. From the romantic tone of the conversation, Noah had assumed that Will was talking with his mother.
Will called her Charity and told her that he loved her. Will had confirmed plans to meet that evening. Noah heard him describe the sexual things that he wanted to do to her when they were alone that night. There were a lot of nights when Will had told Noah’s mother that he was working late. With his job as the manager of a large grocery store in town, it had been easy to believe.
Noah raised his eyebrows. A sly look came over Will’s face. “I think that we can help each other. I saw you and Sharlee together at Quaker Steak and Lube a few days ago.”
“I’m sure you don’t want your Mama to know about that. Just like I think it would be best if you don’t tell her about my little phone call.”
She’d gone to her father’s office to bring him some files that he’d left at home. Will was there with Melina and his stepson Noah. Noah and Melina were in a meeting with her father, and Will was sitting in the waiting room.
He’d invited her to have lunch with him. He’d said that his wife was returning to work and his son was going home. So he was free for the entire afternoon. Charity had agreed. That had been the beginning. Charity had known that he was married and known that it was wrong, but there was something about Will that had drawn her in. Before long they were sleeping together.
Charity loved Will and after a year of hiding their relationship from their families, Charity was tired. She gave Will an ultimatum. “Will, I’m through with hiding and lying. It’s time you made a choice.”
Will told her that he would divorce Melina. That had been six months ago, and nothing had changed. She had tried to break it off with him, but he had become like a drug for her.
Harvey Thorne walked into the restaurant with Elsa and Lulu Schlick on each arm and waited for a table. They were twins and he’d been dating them for a while. Neither of them seemed to be in a hurry for him to make a choice. This restaurant and club was an out of the way place just outside of Bridgeport. Most people went to the big new places in town, but tonight he and the girls wanted something quieter, and they had remembered this place. As he waited, he heard a familiar laugh.
“Will you ladies please excuse me for a few moments?”
At first, Charity didn’t know what to say. They had always been so careful to go to out of the way places. She knew that now there was no way that she could keep her father from finding out about her relationship with Will.
Finally she said, “Hello Harvey. Do you know Will?”
“This isn’t your usual kind of place, Harvey. What made you come here tonight?”
“The girls and I wanted a quiet night and remembered this restaurant.”
Harvey looked at his sister sadly. Did she really believe that? She wasn’t even the only one that Will was seeing. He’d seen Will just a few weeks ago at another club with a different woman. Who knew how many women Will was using to cheat on Melina.
“Charity, what you do is your own business, but I guarantee you that I’m not the only one who knows about the affair. It’s only a matter of time before Father finds out about it.”
He hesitated. Charity was his sister and he didn’t like the way that Will had used her. “Take my advice and dump him, Charity. He’s a loser. I don’t want to hurt you, but you’re not the only one he’s seeing. He was just at the Banzai Lounge two weeks ago with a blond.”
That evening Noah had heard when Will made the excuse of having to go back to work to oversee a new shipment. Noah was torn as to the best way to handle it. He knew that if he told his mother that Will was cheating on her and a liar, Will would tell her that Noah and Sharlee were still dating. Although he and his mother had problems, he didn’t want to see her deceived by a snake like Will. He needed advice. For some reason, he thought of calling Alissa.
Alissa was truly surprised to see Noah’s name on the caller ID. Noah poured out his heart to Alissa. He told her about his childhood and the problems between him and his mother. He told her about his mother refusing to allow him and Sharlee to see each other and that they were still dating although hiding it from her. Then he told her all about Will, and that he had discovered that Will was having an affair.
“Should I tell my mother? I know he’ll tell her about me and Sharlee if I do. Of course, I would still continue to see Sharlee no matter what my mother says, but it would be so much more difficult for us.”
Alissa stood silently for a few moments, trying to decide the best way to handle the situation. She’d wanted to talk with Melina herself for a good while now. Sharlee had finally told her about Melina’s attitude toward her, but Sharlee hadn’t said that Melina had forbidden Noah and Sharlee from seeing one another.
She looked down at her belly. She was heavily pregnant and close to her due date. She knew that Dale would not want her to make that trip to Bridgeport, but Noah had finally opened up to her and trusted her to help him.
“Noah, I’m flying out to Bridgeport tomorrow. It would be better if you let me talk with your mother. It’s long overdo. I think that your mother has a good heart, but she’s lost her way. We have very similar backgrounds. I think that she will accept some of the things that I have to say to her because I can understand the way she feels. Of course I’ll bring Sharlee with me and you can see her after you get home from work. We’ll be at your place tomorrow evening.”
Noah felt very relieved. “Thank you so much, Mrs. Stallworth.”
“You don’t have to thank me Noah. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Dale, Noah called me today and asked for my help with his mother. He really opened up to me and told me some things about their relationship. I told him that I would go to Bridgeport and talk with his mother.”
Of course she didn’t tell him everything that Noah had confided in her. She didn’t feel that would be fair to Noah.
Alissa wrapped her arms around him. “Dale, Noah asked me for my help. I know how hard for him that had to be. I don’t think that I’m putting the baby in danger by going. If I do go into labor, you know that the doctors and hospitals in Bridgeport are excellent. Sharlee was born there. We have a lot of friends there who are both doctors and nurses.”
“Alright, but I’m going with you!”
After her conversation with Harvey, Charity was furious. The pain had not yet set in. She returned to the table. “Who is the blond that you were getting all cozy with at the Banzai Lounge a few days ago?”
Will was sweating even more. He realized that Harvey had told Charity about Linda. Linda had insisted on going out to that club even though Will had wanted to stay there at her place. He thought quickly.
“She doesn’t mean anything to me. She’s just a business associate. Really it was just a mercy date!”
She stood up and quickly left the restaurant.
When Charity got home her parents were sitting in the living room. Although she was very upset, she wanted to get this conversation over with. Dedric and Phyllis looked at her as she walked into the room. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying all the way home.
Phyllis spoke first. “What’s happened Charity?”
Charity sat on the sofa. She felt like such a fool and deeply ashamed. She looked at her parents knowing that once they knew about the affair, it would change their high opinion of her. She cleared her throat and started speaking.
“Dedric calm down. Can’t you see how much she’s already hurting? Honey this isn’t like you at all. How did this happen? Did you know that he was married from the very beginning?”
Charity hung her head in complete humiliation. “Yes, I knew, but I ignored my conscience. I don’t know what it was about him. He’s not the most handsome guy I’ve ever dated or even the most charming. He just seemed to satisfy something inside me. I don’t understand it myself, but I’m completely ashamed. I feel so dirty and so guilty!”
Although he was still very upset, Dedric loved his daughter and saw how much pain she was feeling. He moved over to her and hugged her close. “Whatever happens, we love you Charity and we’ll always be here for you.”