Dana Collins laughed and dropped the phone in the cradle. Though she wanted to spin and twirl in a victory dance, movements like that had to wait. Client number five had signed the contract for her billing service for people in health care. This client had passed the info to a friend.
Yes. She rubbed her protruding belly. “We’re on our way, baby.” She could work at home and never return to nursing, the career she’d spent four years in college to earn a BS.
With a groan she pushed against the arms of the office chair. One hand went to her back to ease the nagging pain. Being nine months pregnant and seven months divorced should make her feel anything but happy. This morning the last of the documents had arrived officially returning her to her maiden name. As Randy had demanded during the negotiations, his name wouldn’t appear on the birth certificate. His ugly words still hurt.
“No child of yours is fit to wear the Grantlan name. Melanie’s baby will.”
Those words had crushed her and she had agreed.
Her memories flashed to the day she’d told him about the pregnancy. “We’ll be a real family.” She’d been wrong.
“Get an abortion.”
Stop it. Don’t go there. She’d soon have the family she wanted. Randy Grantlan was history.
Dana stretched. The nagging backache had come and gone all day. Was labor about to begin? Though she had book knowledge about pregnancy, other than at school, she’d never worked in obstetrics.
Her stomach growled. Dana groaned. She’d been so focused on her new venture she’d forgotten to eat lunch. She glanced at the clock on the mantle above the fireplace. Four o’clock. She needed to eat. As she left the family room for the long walk to the kitchen at the other end of the house, she smiled. She couldn’t wait to sell this place.
The doorbell chimed. Who?
She reached the foyer and nearly tripped over the small suitcase and the infant seat. Though she could drive to the hospital, she Knew Dr. Scott wouldn’t let her drive home after the delivery. The hospital parking lot was the last place she wanted to leave her car. When the moment arrived, she would call a cab.
Dana opened the door to find her birthing partner on the doorstep. The green scrubs meant Madge had come straight from work. “Don’t tell me they’ve changed your hours again.”
Madge shook her head. Wispy curls the color of dandelions bounded. “Not this week. Told the supervisor no evenings or nights until you have the baby.” She frowned. “Haven’t you heard?”
Madge hesitated. “Do you ever read the paper or listen to the local news?”
“Don’t have a paper delivered and spent the day on the computer.” Dana stepped aside. “Come in. I just signed client number five. I was about to have a late lunch or an early supper.” She let her friend down the hall past the huge living and dining rooms to the kitchen filled with every appliance needed to create a gourmet meal.
Madge sat at the table. “There’s something I need to tell you.”
“Wait until I make a salad. I’m so hungry I feel faint.” Dana’s stomach rumbled so loud she blushed.
“You need to take better care of yourself.” Madge said. “You’re eating…”
“For two," Dana finished. She grabbed and opened a bag of salad greens, diced a tomato, added some strips of ham and chicken, plus two slices of hard-boiled eggs with some light dressing. After pouring iced tea for Madge and fruit juice for herself she joined her friend. “I need to do some grocery shopping before I go into labor.”
Madge looked up. “Your due date’s tomorrow. Make a list. I’ll shop for you.”
“I’ll do that this evening.” She dug into the salad and sighed with pleasure. After she’d eaten half the food she looked at Madge. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing on my end. Since you didn’t read the paper or listen to the news, I’ll tell you. Randy died in an automobile accident sometime yesterday. The staff was buzzing with the news.”
“You’re kidding.” Dana wasn’t sure how she felt about the news. Though she’d tried, the marriage had ended long before she’d stopped trying to form a family with Randy.
Madge shook her head. “It’s true. Big splash in today’s paper. About the loss and about State Senator Blan’s daughter.”
“On that narrow road from the Club.”
Dana drew a deep breath. She’d been a passenger in Randy’s car down that road. “Was he drunk?” She knew the answer. He’d never known his limit.
“Nothing about alcohol was mentioned,” Madge said. “The nursing home was filled with gossip and most agreed he’d been drinking.”
Dana made a face. “I’m sure his father quashed any reports of alcohol levels.”
Madge nodded. “Robert Grantlan would do that. The Grantlan family has no faults. One of the orderlies ran into Patricia this noon. She’s accusing every woman Randy ever slept with of joining a conspiracy.”
Dana thought of her confrontations with Randy’s twin. Patricia had been angry about the engagement, the marriage and the divorce. Dana had stopped attending dinners at the Club long before the divorce. “What are you holding back?”
“He and Melanie Blan were celebrating their engagement.”
Dana met her friend’s gaze. “I know. That’s one of the reasons he wanted a divorce."