|Karim & Natasha|
And then it was crunch time for Karim …
Mom wasn't exactly the touchy-feely type, so the fact that she sat next to me holding my hands had to mean something.
Uncle Brian, Kyle and she had returned from St. Ann's Bay forty-five minutes ago and she'd sent them off on an ice-cream run. Knowing Kyle, he'd drag his father half-way around the city while they were at it. The look in her eyes now told me it had been a deliberate move.
Before I returned to the island, I told her I didn't want to know the results of the test I'd asked her to do until I was home. She'd attempted to tell me on Friday, but I stopped her. I wanted that one evening with Tasha before I had to deal with anything potentially life-changing.
An envelope with the logo and address of a diagnostic facility lay on her lap. She lifted the flap and had a slip of paper halfway out before I stopped her. Since she already knew the results, she was only doing this for my benefit.
"Mom, just tell me."
She ran her fingers over the back of my hand, the way she used to do when I was much younger. Leaning forward, she kissed my cheek.
I swallowed, grunted and prepared myself for what I knew was coming.
"Reem, Zoey isn't your daughter."
Her words came at me from a distance and my head felt as if it was stuffed with cotton. I swallowed, and the sound of it echoed inside me.
The first thing that came to mind was how Tasha had examined Zoey yesterday and then turned her eyes on me. She hadn't said anything, but from her expression I could tell what she was thinking. Whether I wanted to face facts or not, Zoey didn't look anything like me, which most people would consider odd. Being a fool, I hadn't thought about it much until lately.
I scraped my teeth over my lip, pulling hard, wanting to ground myself in reality. I'd had so many clues that I'd ignored. I closed my eyes, hearing the echo of Mom and Dad's voices.
If you didn't have sex with her, your name wouldn't have come up.
You made your bed hard, now you have to lie down hard.
You have to man up to your responsibility.
We'll help you, but you're the one who made the choice to sleep with her.
She says you're the father, so you have to take care of that baby.
I wanted to lash out at Mom. Between Dad and her, they had ensured my involvement in Zoey’s life. I could have walked away because Sonya wasn't my girl and we’d had a one-off encounter. Plus, she wasn't a virgin when I slept with her.
When she said she was pregnant and I told them, they ganged up on me and insisted I do the right thing.
I covered my face with both hands, thinking about all the shit I had taken from Sonya in the last two years—her demands, dropping Zoey on me whenever she thought I was interested in any girl and her complaints about how I ruined her life, although she wasn't doing anything to further herself.
I ground my teeth together, wishing I could throw a fit, break something, but that would be childish, not to mention pointless. I relaxed my jaw and scrubbed at my eyes. My parents were right. I'd put myself in this predicament, but still …