Looking back on that day in the doctor’s office, several months later, Eve wondered if she had spoken too soon. Was she really fine?
Here she was now, sitting at home thinking how she would have loved to have Kendo with her. To have him make love to her the way he had their last time together, over ten months ago. She still remembered the tender attentions and she was wistful. How they could have procreated together, to later celebrate having a baby together. Raising and loving it as a couple.
Now she knew she would never have that. While she no longer cried about it, it still hurt.
Sighing, she spoke aloud. “Now I have to raise and love our baby alone, Kendo. I promise I will always protect him.”
Not that she cared for Kendo Jermaine Kunosawa entirely alone. No. All four of his grandparents absolutely loved him and agreed that even at the tender age of a month and half he had his father’s eyes and would be a handsome boy. His aunts and uncles doted as well, so she couldn’t honestly say she was without help.
When he was christened at four months, Michael was uncontested choice for godfather and Beverly Court was moved to tears when Yvonne asked her to be godmother. Beverly would never know just how much Eve appreciated the help she had given her through the nine months.
Being a single mother herself, Bev knew that no matter how many relatives gave support, it was a lonely road. No matter who was in one’s life, they would never take the place of the father.
Yvonne chose to take the first six months of Kendo’s life to fully focus on him. Come his seventh month she was working mornings. Mrs. Baker, Yvonne’s grandmother, offered to stay with her a while to help her with the transition.
At first, Yvonne had protested, saying, “Oh, Gran you don’t have to come all the way here!”
“Nonsense, I’ll fly over and it’ll take less than a day. San Francisco is not the end of the world. I would understand if it was winter and I was in Joburg… but I’m still in America, dear.”
So Johnson Baker’s mother flew to Detroit from California. The old woman was a lifelong member of the Kendo fan club. She sang him songs, took him on walks and absolutely adored him. Her extended visit gave Yvonne more time to focus on the work load. There was quite a lot for her to get into.
The two of them actually got into a routine where Yvonne would feed her son and say good bye in the morning in order to get to Paxell on time. Kendo’s great-grandmother would mind him during the day until around lunch time when Yvonne would join them once more and they spent their afternoons together. The three generations of Bakers would go on strolls, sit out by the swimming pool or in the cosy comfort of the nursery every day. Yvonne cherished those moments.
One afternoon when Yvonne had returned from work and changed, she sat in the nursery watching Jessica Baker fawn over her great-grandson. They had already covered what her day had been like and who was doing what in her department and what Kendo had spent the morning doing, so Yvonne just looked fondly at the old woman as she cooed gibberish to her only great grandson.
They both heard the doorbell rang. Moments later, the housekeeper came in and said to Yvonne, “Mr. Matthews is at the door.”
“Terrence? Send him up.”
When he appeared in the doorway, she smiled, “Hey, did I forget something at the office?”
He smiled back. “Actually, yes. Your copy of the contract you’re supposed to be looking at tonight.” He watched chagrin flash across her beautiful face and couldn’t hold the inconvenience against her.
There was a moment’s silence before her expression changed again and she smiled apologetically before saying, “Oops.” She turned to Jessica. “Gran, this is Terrence Matthews, the SECD. Terry, this is my dad’s mom.”
The surprise was off his face before it even fully registered. “Pleased to meet you, ma’am.”
Yvonne had forgotten that Terrence had been out of town at the time of her son’s christening and therefore did not know that her grandmother was Caucasian. A lot of people would have made some exclamation or other and stuck their foot in their mouths afterwards. She was happy that Terrence wasn’t like a lot of people.
It explained her green hazel eyes and wavy hair, thought Terrence, still smiling politely at Jessica Baker. Then he turned his full attention back to the subject of his thoughts in the flesh.
“How is the little one?” he asked.
In response, Yvonne went to the rocker where her grandmother held her son. Taking him, she walked over and handed Kendo to Terrence before he even had a chance to protest. To her pleasure and surprise, he held her son easily, without any signs of discomfort.
“Isn’t he beautiful?”
He looked up from the gurgling child who had his mother’s eyes, and when he spoke his voice was sincere. “Yes, he is.”
Her eyes twinkled. “You sound surprised, Matthews!”
“Huh? No. No- I’m not surprised. These things normally run in the family, so I’m sure someone in your family has the right genes,” he teased her.
She opened her mouth indignantly. “If you weren’t holding my son I’d hit you.”
“Would you like to stay for lunch, Terrence? I love anyone who loves my grandchildren… and their children,” she added rather smugly.
Terrence flashed a rather sexy smile at Jessica. “I’m sorry, I can’t Mrs. Baker. Have to get back to the office now.” He handed Kendo back to Yvonne and said his farewell, pointing again at the contract.
“Don’t forget that contract, Eve. Nice meeting you, Mrs. Baker.”
When he had left, Yvonne looked at her grandmother.
“What was that?” she asked.
“Well,” Jessica said, pretended not to hear her granddaughter, “he’s good looking isn’t he?”
A few weeks later, Jessica asked abruptly, “When are you going to start dating again, my dear?”
“Oh, gosh, I’m not really looking to jump into it, but I think I’d consider it after Kendo’s a year old.”
Yvonne looked up from her position on a float in the pool. Her grandmother pretended to be busy swatting bugs away from the baby’s face. With an amused expression, Yvonne pushed away from the edge of the pool.
She was in no mood for interference when it came to her dead love life. It was only a matter of time before all the men she knew would be shoved under her nose by friends and family with good intentions. She wanted to avoid dealing with it now. Michael had been trying to get her out of her comfortable mommy routine, her mother and grandmother were always trying to engage her in conversations about men... she just wasn’t keen.
Johnson Baker’s birthday was the same week as Kendo Junior’s birthday. So they had a big bash the weekend before Johnson’s birthday. Of course, Kendo had no idea why people loved him so much those three days, but he revelled in the attention. The whole family had a wonderful time.
The following weekend, Michael finally convinced Yvonne to go out with a group of their friends. Though she agreed, she said she would meet them at the club. She put her baby to sleep and told her grandmother not to wait up.
It was a warm summer night and she had opted for a white halter neck dress that flaunted the fact that she had a child and it didn’t show. When she came upon her friends, some of the expressions on the men’s faces showed that her white ensemble was conjuring images of anything besides innocence.
Michael grinned somewhat wickedly, Terrence whistled, Jean-Luc’s jaw fairly unhinged itself. Even some men she didn’t know had expressed their appreciation when she’d handed her keys over to the valet.
“Gentleman, I can die a satisfied woman now. It’s gratifying to know that as a mother, I can still turn executives at the most dynamic company in town to drooling babes.”
Jean-Luc managed to close his mouth.
With a little laugh, Yvonne said, “Come on, let’s have some fun.”
She didn’t touch any strong spirits but Yvonne threw back a few wine coolers and danced until one in the morning. Plenty of calling cards and match boxes came her way, but she simply laughed and distributed them to the other girls in their posse.
No one knew how she tried to hide the pain that washed over her when she saw a tall man who, from a distance, looked like Kendo. Michael saw him too and took hold of her hand to give it a squeeze. She turned her attention back to her friend and he kissed the back of her hand. In return she gave him a grateful smile.
Soon after that Terrence returned from the bar and led her to the dance floor. He was an amazingly good dancer. Keeping a single hand at her waist, he let her enjoy the music. She closed her eyes and trusted him to guide her when necessary.
Raising her arms above her head, she began to move her waist to the beat as she and Terrence danced. They dipped, swayed and bounced to the bass line of the song, content to let the music take control. They carried on in that fashion for another song before a more upbeat song came blasting through the speakers.
Half expecting her to take her leave, Terrence was not prepared for Yvonne to open her eyes, smile at him and place on hand on his shoulder and the other on his chest. With no other option than to lead her in the dance, he took Eve’s hand off his chest and moved to the Latino undertones of the song.
At one point, Yvonne threw her head back with a smile of pure satisfaction on her face. Terrence almost tripped. Then something happened that would disturb Yvonne in the calmer hours of the morning.
Riding the steady rhythm of a song, Eve’s hands were now both on Terrence’s shoulders, his were at her waist. Then almost unthinkingly, Yvonne stepped forward with one foot and began to rotate her hips. Terry gasped and Yvonne looked at him. The slight smile on her face didn’t waver as she moved closer and closer to his body.
It was a clear challenge and Terrence was more than ready for it.
So they kissed.
She didn’t kiss him, he didn’t kiss her. They kissed each other. Very willingly.
It wasn’t a long kiss, but it happened.
Yvonne stepped back abruptly, her hand flew to her mouth, eyes wide.
“Oh, what was I thinking?”
“That wasn’t supposed to happen!”
Terrence shut his mouth, thinking better of saying whatever he wanted to. He watched tears well up in her eyes and it took his breath away.
That was not the reaction he’d have liked.
When he reached for her hand, she quickly put her hands out in a protective gesture.
“No, don’t touch me.” Her brow furrowed as she fought to control the tears threatening to spill over in public.
Turning away from him quickly, Yvonne fled to the safety of the ladies room.
Twenty minutes later, she was speeding off in her Maserati Spyder.
On Monday morning, Terrence was the first person Yvonne went to see.
He looked up from his work and smiled at her. “Good morning, Eve.”
Eve on the other hand, had a slight frown on her face. “Morning, Terry.” Pause. “Look, I’m sorry about what happened on Saturday, on the dance floor.”
If she hadn’t been looking at him, she may not have believed what she heard. “I- I see.” She looked at the floor momentarily. “I don’t know what to say now.”
“Then don’t say anything. I’m just saying the kiss is not on my life’s list of regrets. You’re very attractive, Eve and maybe I shouldn’t have done it, but it’s happened already and it was nice.”
She was still silent.
“I understand if you’re not ready for it though. It was relatively harmless- don’t worry about it,” he finished kindly.
“Yeah. I’m not ready.” An image of Kendo Sr. flashed unbidden in her mind.
“Forget it happened,” he said calmly.
“Right. Thanks.” She got up to go and he smiled at her.
The smiled faded the moment she closed the door.
Since Yvonne had come back to work after the baby, she and Terry had had to work quite closely together because he was the one carrying part of her workload as she took parental leave. It had been the same after Kendo’s death, so they were used to being in each other’s space now.
On a few occasions she would have dinner with him at Michael’s place while they worked on business documents. Mike would sit on the side and give input, but for the most part it was figures and legal matters.
Terrence had come to enjoy her quick wit and her amazing ability to calculate figures. He had come to enjoy her company and every opportunity he had to hang out with her or work with her. And comparing it to how she had shied away from several men after Kendo died, she was now used to working with him and spending a lot of time with him, too.
He didn’t want to scare her off or make things awkward for her, so he let the matter of the kiss drop. It had been a nice little moment but he wasn’t going to have a chance to repeat himself and he valued her professional presence enough not to pursue it any further.
Maybe he’d blown it because it was still too soon.