(Previously: A BIG SURPRISE)
Destiny’s supple body virtually glistened with rage. Stammering, Jack Rory did his best to explain the situation to her, but she was in no mood to listen.
Her eyes seemed to double in size, her elbows fanned the air like hummingbird wings, and her mouth puckered into a furious parody of its usual rosebud shape. Her words flew like nonsensical arrows, persistently wide of their mark.
Much to his surprise, Jack Rory found himself fearful for the baby’s well-being. So this is what fatherhood feels like, he thought to himself as his arms encircled the small neck protectively.
“Destiny,” he said, trying to keep the edge from his voice. “Please. Can’t we discuss this like adults?”
“Not until you put that thing DOWN,” she spat back.
Once Jack Rory settled the baby into her basket, Destiny appeared marginally calmer. She was at least willing to sit and listen to his explanation of what had transpired.
“And so, you see, I had no way of knowing that Karen was having my baby,” he said. “You saw how she reacted when she spotted me. Now we know what she wanted to talk to me about!”
Destiny wasn’t exactly accepting of the situation. She had a lot of questions. Jack Rory answered as many as he could.
“Jack Rory,” Destiny said. “How do you know that’s even your baby? Does Karen have any way of proving you’re the father?”
As Destiny prattled on and on about DNA tests and the like, Jack Rory found his thoughts turning to the baby.
For the first time in his life, he had someone who counted as family, his own flesh and blood. It was a revelation, an epiphany, even. His next words came straight from the heart.
“I don’t want a DNA test,” he said. “I know the truth. She’s mine.”
Before he knew what was happening, Destiny had flown lithely across the room like the dancer she was and locked her hands around his throat, choking off his air.
“How could you,” she said, sobbing. “How dare you?”
There was nothing Jack Rory could say. He struggled to remain conscious as a gray mist began to pool before his eyes. And still Destiny’s wiry fingers maintained their death grip on his windpipe, withholding the oxygen he desperately needed.
Just his mind submitted to the fog, he heard a faint wail from across the room. Again! There it was. As if by some miracle, he felt Destiny’s grasp slacken, leaving him gasping and gulping for air.
He followed Destiny’s gaze and saw that the baby had fixed her eyes upon them from across the room.
“Oh my god,” Destiny said, looking distraught at Jack Rory. “Oh my god.” Tears leaked from her eyes, slowly at first and then a deluge. She turned to the baby, as if to make amends for the madness of a moment before.
“She has your eyes,” Destiny whispered, clasping Jack Rory’s knee and squeezing lightly. He winced away from her touch ever so slightly; the marks of her iron grip were still fresh on his neck.
Destiny moved closer to the crib, tugging Jack Rory alongside her. Reflexively, he put an arm around her waist.
“Oh Jack Rory,” she whispered, gazing down at the baby. “I think we can make this work.”
Over the next few days, Jack Rory became a scholar of the art of compromise. Both Destiny and the baby had needs, and it wasn’t easy to fulfill those needs simultaneously. However, he learned quickly that keeping them both as happy as he could drastically improved his own quality of life.
He just wasn’t sure how long he could keep it up.
TO BE CONTINUED….