My control went AWOL and I shoved away from the table and stomped around to where she sat. I stuffed my hands into my jeans pockets, because if I didn't I'd wrap them around Sonya's neck and squeeze until her eyes exploded and then I'd end up in jail.
I stopped next to her. "Not this kind, Sonya. There were three samples. Yours, mine and Zoey's. There is no way the test is wrong."
I glanced at my mother. "My parents had enough faith in me to do this so I could put my mind at rest. This cost them a lot of money and will eventually cost me, so do me a favor and come up with something that makes sense."
Moving closer, I stabbed the test results again. "This proves you are Zoey's mother and that I am not her father. I'll do what I have to, for now, but you need to find out who she belongs to—that's if you don't know already."
Sonya got up and folded her arms, throwing her head back. "Say whatever you want, but I'll take you to court if you stop supporting Zoey."
I breathed in and my lungs were blazing hot, as if my insides were burning up. My fury and shock must have
been written on my face because Mom put up both hands. "Karim, don't say another word."
The fire in my blood turned to ice and I folded my arms, imitating Sonya's pose. "Mom, can you leave for a minute? There's something I need to say to Sonya in private."
Mom's mouth opened and I cut her off before she got a word out. "Don't worry. I have this."
She walked to the door and pulled the handle, reluctant to close it between us.
"Trust me," I said. "It'll be all right."
The door clicked shut, and I moved closer to Sonya. "I know you feel you're going to lose face or something, but you're not the first girl this has happened to and you won't be the last."
Her shoulders lifted, but I wasn't taking any shit from her, so I kept on talking. "I've been looking at Zoey since Mom laid this on me."
I smiled, although I had no reason to do so and didn’t feel like it, except for acknowledging myself as the biggest jackass in town. "I don't know why it wasn't obvious to me before, but if I know who the father of your little girl is, how can you tell me you don't know?"
Her head dipped lower and she moved so one of her hips jutted sideways, which hinted she still had some resistance going on.
I tipped her chin up with one finger. "You and I know I'm not Zoey's father."
Her shoulders drooped as if all the air had gone out of her and she sucked her lip into her mouth.
"Look, I'm sorry this happened to you, but you need to sort out your business, because I'm not going to keep shelling out for a child that isn't mine, especially since we're not seeing each other."
She didn't move, but a tear rolled down her cheek. I watched it, fascinated, as it dripped on her chest and was sucked up by her tank top. She didn't make any attempt to wipe her face, and I sure as hell didn't want to touch her and give her any ideas. After staring at her like an idiot, I patted her shoulder and walked past her.
"You should get Zoey and go home."
I left her standing there and went to my room, closing the door behind me.
Frowning at the floor, I sat on the side of my bed. I'd thought about what it would mean if it turned out Zoey wasn't mine, and how my life would change. I expected to be relieved, happy—joyous even.
Instead, I was empty.