Sweet Anger(8)

By: Sandra Brown

Kari laughed and it felt good. Pinkie eyed her closely. “You don’t look so hot, but I’ve seen worse.”

“Thanks, I think.”

“Did you move?”

She nodded. “Into a condominium out by the reservoir. It’s small, but spanking new with all the amenities. Pool and tennis court privileges. Security twenty-four hours a day.”

“Sounds like you plan to hibernate.”

“How could I hibernate when I’m seen by thousands of people every night?”

Pinkie wasn’t satisfied. He poked a stubby index finger close to her nose. “I won’t let you, so don’t even think about it. Thomas is dead, but you’re not, and I’m not going to stand by and let you pretend that you are. So,” he said, jamming the cigarette between his lips and clapping his hands together, “end of sermon. You get your act together and cook up a good segment for tonight’s broadcast or I’ll put Booby Brain in your slot permanently.”

Kari returned to her desk. Yes, she’d been right to plunge back in. This was what she needed, Pinkie’s ribaldry, the constant deadlines to meet, the hustle and bustle.

If she could only take it home with her and not have to spend the nights alone.

Chapter Two

SHE STEPPED ONTO THE SIDEWALK AND LET THE SUNSHINE bathe her with light and warmth. Tears dewed her eyelashes, but they were cleansing tears, happy tears. The rushing noonday foot traffic eddied around her. She paid it no heed. Like an idiot she laughed deliriously and hugged herself.

She was pregnant.

For the past two months, since Thomas’s death, she had pretended to live. She had gone through all the right motions, but her heart hadn’t been in it. She had approached each day lethargically. When the annoying physical discomforts had beset her, she attributed them to the lassitude plaguing her spirit. But her pervading illness hadn’t gone unnoticed, and at Pinkie’s insistence, she had consulted her doctor. Only a few minutes ago, he had informed her that her malady was one to be celebrated.

“I estimate you’re in about your tenth week.” Her face was awash with gladness, but the doctor’s wore a frown. “You’re run down, emotionally and physically. You’re far too thin. Eat. Drink milk shakes. Gain some weight before I see you next time. You’re anemic, so I’m putting you on an iron supplement. Get plenty of rest.”

She had listened to the doctor’s instructions like a supplicant at the mouth of an oracle. He had looked at her kindly. “Under the circumstances, I hope the news that you’re carrying a child doesn’t distress you.”

“Distress me? Far from that, doctor. I couldn’t be happier.”

Relieved, he had smiled back at her and gone on with his list of do’s and don’ts.

Now as she stood outside the doctor’s downtown office, the euphoria still ran through her like a crystal river. She was carrying Thomas’s child! A living part of him was growing inside her body.

She skipped toward the parking lot where she had left her compact car and drove to the television station. Pinkie looked up from his intent perusal of the morning newspaper when she stepped in front of his desk. “Well?” he asked, scowling.

Kari hesitated. Should she tell him now? Or was the secret too precious to share just yet? Wouldn’t she rather savor it for a while? Besides, Pinkie might not take the news too well. What was the station management’s policy on pregnancy? Especially since she was an on-air personality.

“The doctor prescribed a tonic,” she said, her eyes dancing.

“Gin and tonic. Good for you. I always thought so. I think it’s the lime.”

“Not gin and tonic, you idiot,” she laughed. “Vitamins and iron and stuff. I’m going to be fine. Wonderful in fact. Are you free? Let’s go to lunch.”

“I sent out for a hamburger.”

She grabbed his arm and hauled him from his chair. “From that greasy spoon across the street? You’ll get ptomaine. I’m on a diet to eat right and you’ve got to help. Let’s go someplace where they serve salads and vegetables. Things like that.”

Pinkie made a grimace of distaste. But he wasn’t about to refuse her invitation. For the first time since she had become a widow, Kari was acting more like herself and he didn’t want to reverse that trend.

“I just got an interesting call.” Three weeks had gone by since she had learned of her pregnancy. She had had her hair trimmed. Her complexion glowed, thanks to the facials she had resumed giving herself once a week. Her cheeks had filled out and no longer looked ashen. There was a sparkle in her eyes. Because it had a purpose, her life was good again.

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