I pulled up in front of Hayvenhurst to find my Mother outside attending to her flowerbed. She turned around and notice me pulling up.
"Hey, Mom." I managed a smile. She waved to me and turned back to her flowerbed. I wonder if she's ashamed of me right now. "How have you been?" I asked as I went up to hug her.
"I've been good. Just have a lot of my mind."
"How are you and Victoria doing?" Perfect.
"...she kicked me out." I couldn't lie to her.
"Oh, so she finally came home?"
"So what brings you here? The fact that she kicked you out?"
"No, ma'am." I sighed. She turned around to attend to her flowers again. "Actually, I wanted to tell you something." I managed to say. "You might want to sit down for this one." We went to the Gazebo on the side and sat on the bench.
"Is everything okay?" She asked me.
"Not exactly." I shook my head.
"What's going on?"
"Remember when I told you I cheated on Victoria?"
"How could I forget?"
"I don't want to stress you out. So, I'm just going to make the story short."
"You won't be stressing me out."
"I'm just going to get straight to the point."
"If that's what you want to do..."
"The woman I cheated with is pregnant."
"With your child?" That was quick... She didn't even take time to process it.
"I believe so."
"Believing so is not the same as the child actually being yours. Is it yours, Michael?"
"She told me that I was the only man-"
"No. I don't care what she had to say. Is that your child?"
"Mom, I'm going to go from what she said and say yes."
She nodded, "how long has she been pregnant?"
"I don't know," I shrugged. "All I know is that she is in the early stages of the pregnancy."
"Women can be so sure of themselves."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm saying that she probably has been with more than one man and if she wants you so bad, the child she's pregnant with couldn't be yours, but she's convincing herself that the child is yours. You ought to get a background check on this woman."
"Mom," I groaned. "I believe what she told me. She's a good girl. The only flaw she has is the fact that she thinks she's in love with me."
"Shouldn't that be a hint?"
"It could be, but I don't want to pin that on her. She couldn't lie about something like that."
"Looks can be deceiving." I looked elsewhere. Lord knows Mom is right. I don't know why I'm trying to take Jennifer's side. I really should get a background check on her.
"If the child isn't mine, I'll still be a father figure... I can't just leave if the child is mine."
"Why should you stay? The child isn't yours. That's absurd, Michael. She should have to find the father of the child. You shouldn't be playing dad for a woman who doesn't know who the father of her child is. Plus, you're not even with this woman. You're married. Why play daddy for a child and for a woman whom you have no connection with other than sex?"
"You remember all those girls who lied on your brothers?"
"That didn't stress me out."
"But it concerned me. It hurt me deeply. It's bad enough your brothers had to deal with this, your father... and now you."
"Sorry means you won't do it again."
"I won't do it again."
"I'm sure you won't. You shouldn't be apologizing to me anyway. You should be apologizing to Victoria."
"Where would I be without you?" I hugged her.
She sighed, "does your sister know about this?"
"No. I haven't told her yet. Do you think I should tell her?"
"Not yet. She's still calling me asking if you got your mail yet. What is she talking about, Michael?"
"It should be pretty important since she's asking me about your mail."
"If it happens to be something, you let me know."
"I will." I lied. I couldn't tell her that I have HIV. That would kill her. I can't even believe it myself... "I have to go. I'll see you soon." I hugged her.
"I pray you're not hiding anything from me, Michael." I was about to say I would never hide anything from her, but instead I kept my mouth shut. I don't want to have a guilty conscious because I lied to her again.
"Love you." I called as I made my way back to my vehicle. I have to do a background check on Jennifer.
~ ~ ~
"Victoria, you can't just wallow around in your misery. You have to get up and do something about it." Janet looked me dead in the eyes.
"I know, I know."
"Victoria, I can't let you lay here like a lump on a log. I wouldn't be a good sister-in-law and friend if I did that kind of mess."
"He's your brother. I don't see why you won't let me cry about it."
"I know he's my brother. There must be a reason why you came here. I know for sure it wasn't to lay around here and have me baby you. Because I'm not doing that."
"I knew that." I rolled my eyes.
"You must have known that I was going to talk to you about this."
"Why aren't you listening?"
"Because I actually thought you would tell me that Michael never loved me in the first place."
Janet looked taken aback, "is that what you wanted to hear?"
"Michael, has loved you from day one. You and I both know that I would be lying if I told you some shit like that."
"I know..." I sighed.
"Victoria, look at me." I looked at Janet and only saw Michael... I swear they're twins. "Michael loves you. He always has and always will. Somebody, preferably me or my mama, just has to knock some sense into his dumb ass. Now, what was that big deal you wanted to tell me?"
"Michael gave me HIV."
Janet looked at me weird for a second, "did you get the results?"
"Yeah. It said we have it."
"I don't believe that."
"I didn't want to believe it either, but-"
"That's not true."
"It is and we have to live with this."
"No, Victoria... This can't be happening. Michael doesn't have HIV."
"I tried convincing myself too. Trust me."
"What did Michael have to say about it?"
"I didn't give him a chance to speak on it. I kicked him out, remember?" Janet sat down with her head in her hands. "Janet, if you could just recommend some help. I never thought I would live like this. I just..." I began crying, but regained my composure. "If Michael hadn't fucked around in the first place, we wouldn't be in this position."
"I can't believe my brother has HIV. I won't believe that. I just won't." Janet managed to say. What could I say to her to make her believe that Michael does have it?
"I'm divorcing him." I whispered.
"You're what?" Her head snapped up.
"I'm divorcing him. I can't deal with this anymore. I don't want my children exposed to this lifestyle."
"Victoria, don't do that. I know Michael messed up, but you have to believe me when I say that Michael could not bear being without you."
"Yeah, well, I can bear not being with him since he gave me HIV. If this is what I have to do, then so be it."