Of Vice and Virtue: A Blessed Announcement (1)

“Mother, I’m having a baby,” said Annette Gardner, her voice filled with unwavering joy.

“Thanks be to God! My daughter is having a baby! I’ve watched you grow from a young girl to a beautiful young woman, and I don’t think I’ve been any more proud of you in all my life,” gushed Stella Bains. A woman of sixty now, Mrs. Bains had had high hopes for her family. A matriarch in every sense of the word, she wore the pride of the Bains family proudly, and displayed it for all to see. “Have you told Redmond yet?” she asked.

“Not yet, mother. He’s been in New York this week, and I couldn’t bear to tell him over the phone. I know he’ll be overjoyed. I just prefer not to distract him, I suppose.” Annette Gardner’s flowery voice had a hint of apprehension. A tall, thin young woman of 28, Annette had not possessed what one would call confidence. No, Annette Gardner would not call attention to herself.

“All the same my dear, you have so much to look forward to. I can’t tell you what a joy it was raising you three. All we mothers say it, but if I could go back again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.” The benevolent old woman smiled upon her daughter.


“I can’t meet you anymore,” said Redmond Gardner. He looked away from the woman sitting across from him. Guilt visibly ran across his well-defined face, suggesting profound remorse.

“You mean to tell me, that after six months, you’re going back to her? Red, honey, you got another thing coming. I left Chicago to be here with you, and now you mean to tell me that you feel guilty about messing around on the side? I think that ship has sailed long ago,” retorted Samantha Flint. The scorn in her voice matched the shade of her bleached blonde hair: fiery. Fiery and dangerous.

“She’s my wife, for God’s sake! Can’t you understand that?”

“Yes, she’s your wife. I’m your side-squeeze. I get it. That’s not the point, Red. You told me you loved me. I love you. I thought we had an understanding. I’m hurt, Red. Really hurt.” Samantha flashed the broken man a pair of bright blue eyes and crossed her leg as she lit a cigarette.

“I can’t now. I can’t ever. We’ve…we’ve been trying to have a baby.” The pain he felt diminished slightly at this remark. A subtle hint of pride came across his face. It faded quickly as he remembered that the woman sitting across from him was not his wife, and the pleasure they enjoyed together had been nothing but a sordid affair filled with nothing but lust. He was ashamed.

Samantha Flint was not worried. She would find a way. She always did. She took a long drag on her cigarette and exhaled, stared at the wreck of a man across from her. Oh yes, she would find a way.



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