Chapter 15

Chapter 15

Shana did not want to let me go when I bid her farewell this morning. Although she knew good and well we'd be seeing each other on tour, I guess knowing that I couldn't see her in "that" way anymore is what was eating her up inside. I can't tell her about Shayla being pregnant. She'll find out in due time whether I tell her or not. But if it ever comes to the point that it has to be said, I'd rather her hear it from me than from the media. That would avoid a big mess. I'll tell her one of these days. We've got all tour.

I didn't want to hurt her when I told her we had to stop, but that was inevitable. You can't not hurt someone after being with them for a while, and while they know they have you, they don't have all of you. I guess that's what upset her too. But even if I tried to explain it to her, she wouldn't understand. I'm just glad I got a bit of me back while Shayla was gone. Maybe we can move forward for the children.

"Wait, my dress is stuck," Shayla stood at the top of the aircraft staircase as the flight attendant tried to loosen her dress from whatever it was caught in. Her black and white polka dot dress only hid so much except for the new melons on her chest and the larger bump that was her stomach. My wife had gone from a B cup to at least a D cup. Those twins were doing a number on her, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't appreciate the change.


"Michael, help me with my bag please," she handed me a roller board suitcase as she continued to walk down the staircase. Two weeks in Ohio had done her well. She had an even deeper tan than the one before, and she had gained a little more weight. Whatever her mom had her eating out there did her right. "Huh," she sighed once she got to the bottom. "Hey, baby," she smiled and pulled me in for a hug, but backed away just as quickly as she had pulled me in. "Breasts hurt."


"I see why," I looked down at her cleavage.


She pouted, "I can't wait for these big ol' things to go down. It'll be a while, but I feel fat."


"You look amazing. Come on," I handed Jamess (Zha-meese) the roller board and opened the back door so Shayla could slide in the back of the car. "How was your trip?"


"Much needed," she sighed. "Mama taught me pretty much everything I needed to know."


"That's good to hear," her new cleavage was now incredibly distracting.


"How were you? Lonely?" She joked.


I sighed, "yeah. I couldn't wait until you returned. I know your trip was for a good reason, but I wanted nothing more than to be with you. I got used to rubbing your belly at night."


"Well, you've got a lot more to rub now. We're eleven weeks, and these babies are proliferating. I've actually got a doctor's appointment scheduled this week."


My eyes lit up. "You do?"


"Mmhm. Dr. Rowe was actually wondering where you were the first couple of times, but that's neither here nor there. You comin' this time?"


"I wouldn't miss it for the world."


She smiled, "aren't you rehearsing this week?"


"I'll cancel or something. I have to be there. Especially since the tour begins next month, I can't not see my babies."


"Well, I'm sure Dr. Rowe will be happy to see you. Not gonna lie; she was getting on my nerves asking about your whereabouts. Guess she was excited that this was happening a second time."


"We're all excited."


She smiled to herself, then cleared her throat. I swear it's been such a long time since I've seen her so overjoyed. And her joy is slowly beginning to rub off on me. "Have you gone shopping for bottles or anything?"


I sighed, placing a hand on my forehead, "no. I've been so busy with tour stuff."


"That's fine. I figured, so I'll just have someone go shopping with me or something. Oh my gosh... We're going to need so many diapers..." she covered her mouth. "You know what? Let me enjoy this peace now because once these babies get here, it's going to be a whole new world for us."


"You can say that again." Hearing Shayla talk so much about the babies made me feel guilty. Since she's been gone, I didn't think of them once. And here she is so excited about shopping and mentally preparing herself for when they get here... I haven't thought of that at all. Shana has occupied my mind more than my children have. That's terrible. I'm beginning to feel like a terrible father already. I've got to make sure that thing with Shana never happens again and get my priorities straight. Shana is taking over a very critical moment in my life right now, and I can't continue to let this happen.


VII


"Home sweet home," Shayla sighed and dropped her purse on the ground. "Baby, can you help me take these shoes off? My feet hurt so bad," she groaned. I kneeled down in front of her and took her shoes off as she held onto my shoulder. "Thank you. Is that bath ready for me? I just want to soak."


"Yeah. They filled the gold tub for you. I added the candles."


"Aww, thank you," she kissed me on the cheek. "Care to join me?"


"No, I'm going to let you relax. Have you eaten?"


"Yeah. I just want to snack. Have someone make me some cheesecake. I've been craving it since I boarded the plane." Cheesecake? Who would have ever known? They do say your cravings change when you're pregnant. Before being pregnant and even when she was pregnant the first time, cheesecake was never on her cravings list. I'd know it. It's always been pickles, movie popcorn, and chocolate chip cookies. Never cheesecake. What are these babies doing to her?


I helped her to the bathroom and left to ask the chef to prepare a cheesecake. While I waited, I couldn't help but wonder how Shana was doing. It's taking everything in me not to call and check up on her. How stupid would I be to call her while my wife's in the other room? But still. I know I hurt her feelings, and I want to make it up to her. I brought her into this, but it isn't fair for her to suffer because of it. She deserves the world for being there for me, and she doesn't even know it.


Once the chef was done, I took the cheesecake to the bathroom to find Shayla laying back against the edge of the tub with her eyes closed. Any other time, I'd find it disgusting to eat in the bathroom, but it's just cheesecake, plus Shayla's relaxing. I'm willing to do anything to make sure she doesn't suspect a thing.


"Shayla," I said as I pulled up a stool beside the tub. Her eyes fluttered open and landed right on the dessert.


"Ugh, thank you so much, baby," she sighed as she sat up. The bubbles that once covered her breasts were now nonexistent. She really did go up a couple cup sizes. I cut off a bit of the cake with the fork and fed it to her. "Mmm, that's good. So, besides rehearsal, what'd you do while I was gone?"


I took a deep inhale and sighed, "nothing really. Rehearsals wore me out."


"I'm sure. I can tell you weren't here the whole time."


"Nah, I stayed in the city. It's closer to the stadium."


"That's right," she nodded. "As much as I wish I can go with you on tour, I'm actually glad I'm not going. Just make sure to tape them for me, okay?"


"Absolutely. How's your family doing?"


"Great. Oh, babe. You'll never guess who I saw out there." She smiled and leaned back. I put the empty plate down and moved my stool closer to the end of the tub so that I could give her a foot massage.


"Who?" I wondered as I began kneading her foot with my thumbs.


"Roland."


I stopped rubbing her feet. "Roland?"


"And his wife."


I sighed a breath of relief. "He's married?"


"Mmhm. She's a lovely woman, Layla-Marie. She talks a lot, though. I don't know how Roland does it."


"How did that happen?"


"How did what happen?"


"You saw Roland. What happened?"


"Oh," she swallowed and averted her eyes from me. I tensed up again. "He actually called me at the office one day. I had no idea who it was, but we started talking, and I took his number. When I got to Cincinnati, I told him I was in the city and wanted to catch up."


"How long ago did this happen?"


"What?"


I sighed. She knows what she's doing. "The phone call."


"Oh!" She sucked her teeth. "Months ago. You were still filming 'Ghosts.'"


"Hmm." I continued to rub her feet. "He's not still attracted to you, is he?"


She let out a light laugh. "Michael, he's married."


"So were you when he kissed you."


Her smile fell. "No. He's not still attracted to me."


"What'd you guys talk about?"


"You."


"Me?"


"Yes. You." I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I'll just let it be. He's married. He's not a threat. It's not like he ever was.


"I hope he's doing well."


"He is. I want to invite him to the baby shower, but I figured I'd ask you first."


"Why?"


She squinted at me. "Why what?"


"Why do you want to invite him?"


"Why not? He's an imperative person in our lives. Or he was..."


"Exactly. Was. We'll be fine if he doesn't show up. I don't know why you met up with him anyway."


"Because it's been two years. That's why. But you know what? I'm not about to let you stress me out over this. Hand me my towel," she unplugged the tub and stood up. I handed the towel to her and helped her out. Even though the children have made us happy in one area, we still manage to find something to taunt the other with? Something to irritate the other with? Something to upset the other so quickly? This thing with Shana cannot end.


"Babe, the last time we had sex was when the twins were conceived," Shayla said as she pulled her satin nightgown over her head.


"When was that?" I took my clothes off and pulled on some pajama pants.


"Four months ago? But who's counting?" She laughed. "I'm actually shocked you've been able to manage this long without."


"Me too."


"Dr. Rowe says it's perfectly fine and healthy to have sex."


"Did she now?"


"Yep. So basically, drop them draws, babe, because these hormones have been all over the place." She walked up to me and traced the brim of my pants with her nail.


"Don't you want some rest?" I kissed her forehead. "You've been flying all day."


"Fuck sleep." She took my hand in hers and led me over to the bed. If I say no, she might suspect something. I can't say yes, though. I was just with Shana. But how stupid would I look to deny my wife whom I haven't had sex with for four months? It would look suspicious. But I can't put my wife and children at risk for anything. "Baby."


"Uh, let me take a shower first."


"Whyyyy?" She whined.


I couldn't tell her that I'd feel clean after thoroughly scrubbing Shana off of my body, so instead, I said, "I'll be back before you know it" and kissed her forehead.


"Long day?"


"Very much so," I said as I went into the other bathroom and shut the door. I turned on the water and stood in the shower. I can't do this. This isn't right. I can just say no. Save it for another time. I'm conflicted. I don't love Shana. She's my get away from my marriage. My calm outside of the storm. And although I said when we go on tour, this will have to stop, I know it won't. I need her.


"Why are you taking a shower?" Shayla opened the shower door and walked in, still wearing her silk nightgown.


"Babe," I shook my head no as I watched her kneel down before me.


"Hmm?" She looked up at me as she took me in her mouth.


"Fuck..."


VII


Immediately after rehearsal, I hightailed it to Dr. Rowe's office. I wouldn't miss this appointment for the world. It's the only one I'll actually be able to show up to since I'm going on tour. I'm going to miss everything in between, and it really pains me to know that, but I at least want to hear the twin's heartbeats. I need to have it recorded to put it on a future album or just for memories sake. I really haven't been this excited in a while. That says a lot.


"Hey, baby," I kissed Shayla on the cheek when I walked into our designated room. "I didn't miss anything, did I?"


"No, I told her to wait until you got here. How was rehearsal?"


"Okay. I couldn't wait until it was over so I could hurry over here."


She nodded. "Your mother called while I was at the office picking up some things. I told her we'd come by to visit after this. She practically chewed me out for not telling her sooner. You just told her?"


"Rehearsal has had me tied up." I sat down in the only available seat.


"No worries. I was just surprised that she just found out. I just knew she was going to be the first you told."


"I know, but you and I would have never imagined we'd get pregnant around a tour." I pressed my lips together.


"Hmm," she nodded. "You're right. Well, we're gonna see her after this. Jamess dropped you off, didn't he?"


"Yep. So, I guess I'll drive your car."


"Good. I'm exhausted anyway."


"Helloooo," Dr. Rowe came in, smiling. "Michael, I've been telling Shayla how important it was for you to be here. Now, here you are! Right in time before the tour. How are you feeling, daddy? Lay back for me, Shayla."


"Excited," I watched as Shayla laid back so Dr. Rowe could lift her shirt and rub the gel on her stomach. "Shayla and I have twins in our families, but I never would have thought in a million years that I'd be able to produce them."


"Well, aren't you lucky? Are you all hoping for boys, girls, or both?"


Shayla and I looked at each other, scrunched up our noses, and shook our head. It was apparent Shayla and me were thinking the same thing. "We'll be blessed with whatever God plans to give us," I told her.

"Well, let me tell you all one thing because I know you're both thinking about it. We're eleven weeks going on twelve. Shayla, you're over thirty-five, so I know you're probably worried. Still, I'm going to tell you all now, your chances for a miscarriage are massively low at this point. So, you can put that thought as far back in your mind as possible." Shayla and I couldn't contain our smiles at the news. I'd be lying if I said the thought didn't cross my mind. So, hearing her say that lifted a massive weight off of my shoulders.


"Is there anything I need to know to make sure this pregnancy goes full term?" Shayla asked as Dr. Rowe turned on the ultrasound.


"Well, you're going into your second trimester. I'm sure you're getting tired more frequently now, huh?"

Shayla rolled her eyes. "I don't think I've ever been this tired."


"You just need to relax. The tour is coming up," she looked at me. "Mom intends to stay home, right?"


"She doesn't have a choice." I looked at Shayla. As much as she wanted to give me an attitude, she knew I was right. She said it herself.


"Well, that's all. Relax. Don't do anything too strenuous, Shayla. Take this time to shop for the babies. Feed them healthy foods and..." she looked at the screen on the ultrasound. "See that?" All I could see were two clumps. Identifying the head and arms was pretty easy. Still, I've got to admit, seeing them for the first time really put a lot into perspective. "Right now, your babies are the size of a lime. Do you all want to know if they're identical or fraternal?" We nodded. "See how that one's over there and the other one is right here? They've got their own placenta, so these babies are fraternal," she smiled. "Does that change your mind about any sets you're excited for?" I ignored her question as I continued to stare at the screen in amazement. I'm really a father of twins.


"When do we find out the sexes?" Shayla wondered.


"In seven weeks. Once you hit that eighteen-week mark, I'll be able to tell you whether your miracle babies are boys or girls. Oh, Michael, can you hear the heartbeats? Let me turn it up a bit." The once faint "thump-thumps" became amplified in the small room. They each beat to their own drum and not in sync as I expected. "This one is Baby A." She made it to where we could hear their heartbeat more than the other. Baby A's heartbeat was strong and quick, whereas Baby B's was softer and not as sharp as their sibling.


"Is there a reason why Baby A's heart sounds stronger than the other?" I asked.


"No reason," Dr. Rowe shrugged. "They're just beating to their own drum." I was slightly worried. Thank God she cleared that up. "Any name ideas so far?"


"If we have a boy or boys, Michael has to have a namesake." Shayla nodded. I nodded slowly as I looked at my babies through the ultrasound. I often wonder if I want my son to have the burden of my name, but in the same breath I can't have a son and not give him a name as powerful as mine. Now, if we have a girl or girls, I'd have to name her Katherine. Maybe throw my name in there for the sake of it. But other than that, I honestly have no idea what I would call my daughter.


My mobile phone rang so loud and clear that Shayla and Dr. Rowe were both looking at me. I pulled my phone out of my pocket to see that it was Shana calling and declined it.


"Who was that?" Shayla inquired.


I shook my head. "Someone must have gotten a hold of my number."


"Oh," she rolled her eyes and looked at Dr. Rowe. "Happens all the time. Guess we're due for another number change."

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