“But you are going to keep your promise, right?” Nicole asked, looking at him.


“Theo,” Nicole exclaimed, “you promised not to tell Nigel and June that I told you.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, rubbing his face with his hands, “I wouldn’t.”

“Okay, good,” she said, breathing out loudly.

“Yeah, yeah.”

“So,” Nicole said after a few seconds of silence between them, “what will you do?”

“I don’t know as yet.”

“I’m sorry, man,” she said, her expression pained, “but I had to tell you. I know how much you love Sam.”   

“No, no,” Theo said, reaching for her hand on the table, “you have nothing to be sorry for. You told me the truth. Thank you.”

A short time later, they parted ways, and Theo’s phone rang while heading for his car. It was June. He ignored the call. About five minutes later, while sitting in his blue Ford Escape with his head resting on the steering wheel, a text from June asking, are you on your way home? 

No, I’m going to my parents, he texted. 

Okay. Say hi to them for me, she replied. 

K, he typed and then dropped the phone into his shirt pocket.

Theo’s dad was out celebrating a friend’s birthday, and his mom was chilling, watching cable TV in the living room. Theo’s mom was short and a little less well-proportioned in the hips than two months ago. She has been going to the gym with three of her good friends.  

After sitting next to her in the living room, she stared into his face and immediately asked, “What’s wrong, son?”

Theo dropped his hand in his head and cried.

“I’m a joke. I’m a joke, Mom,” he kept saying as he wept.

When he stopped weeping, she wiped her eyes with the back of her hands and said, “Go into the washroom and wash your face, and in the meantime, I’ll prepare something for you to eat.”

“I don’t think I can eat right now, Mom,” he sniffled.

“Do what I say, son,” she replied, rubbing his back, “and then we can talk.”

Sometime later, they were back sitting in the living room, and the fresh cold that accompanied his tears and the redness in his eyes was all but gone. He covered his mouth after burping.

“Thanks, Mom,” he said, “you’re right. I do feel a little better now.”

She smiled.  

“Mom,” Theo said quietly, “do you think Sam looks like me?”

“Is that what this is about?” Mom asked.


“Children don’t always resemble both parents, son, you know this. Look at you! You took my features just like Sam took June’s.”

“Yes, but I still have Dad’s ears and nose, and I don’t look like your best friend’s husband.”

“What do you mean?” his mom instantly asked, frowning.

“When Cousin Mary visited us when Sam was about one, I overheard her saying to him, he looked like Nigel.”

“She said what?” she exclaimed.

“Then today, my friend Nicole told me that Nigel confessed to her about three years ago that he and June had a one-night stand shortly before we found out that she was pregnant with Sam.”

“You mean that same Nicole who’s jealous of June and would say and do anything to destroy her?”

Theo’s mouth fell open.

“Don’t be so shocked, son. Nicole may be your friend, but she is certainly not June’s, and your wife knows it.”

“But June and Nicole get along fine,” he protested.

“Not because a pet dog and cat live in the same house means they get along,” she replied.


“Never mind,” she said, “all I’m saying is that I would not take that girl’s words for Gospel.”

“But she would not just lie to me like that!”

“Did she ask you to leave her name out of it?”

“Yes, but only because she doesn’t want to be involved.”

“Well, she has a funny way of showing it when she is the one who dropped this bomb in your lap,” his mom said, her voice raising.

“Okay. Okay,” Theo said, “but why would she just make that up, especially now?”

“I don’t know, son, but have you ever expressed doubts about Sam being your son to her?”

Theo was silent momentarily as he looked around the U-shaped living room before his eyes landed on the floor TV and returned it to his mother’s steady gaze.

“Kind of,” he said, “once, but that was when I overheard Cousin Mary.”

“What did you say to Nicole?”

“Nothing really,” he said, shrugging, “I just expressed how interesting it was that all three of her children, with two different dads, all look like their fathers, but Sam looks only like June.”

“But why are you so caught up with Sam looking like you?”

“I’m not.” Theo said, rubbing his forehead, “But after overhearing Cousin Mary…”

He groaned, rubbing his face.

“Have June ever given you a reason to doubt her fidelity to you?”

“No,” he said, “but am I supposed to ignore everything else?”

“Okay, son, okay,” his mom said, tapping him on the shoulder, “Sam is your son, and if you go accusing your wife of infidelity with no cause, you will rip a hole in her and your marriage.”

“Then what am I supposed to do?”

“Let me think for a moment,” she said.

“Okay,” Theo said.

After a few minutes, his mom said, “Okay, this is what we’ll do. Get on your phone, order one of those at-home paternity test kits, and have it come here. You can pick it up when it arrives, and without June knowing, get the samples to be tested and bring it back to me.”

“Wow, that’s a great idea, Mom,” he exclaimed, “but how will I get Nigel’s sample?”

“Leave that to me.”

About half an hour later, as Theo drove home, he whispered, “Thank God for my mom.”

To be continued

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