I said nothing more about it. The test was completed, and the results were good. Dr. Denardo concluded by telling Señor Bovio and me that the rest of my pregnancy should be “clear sailing.”
After that, I had good days and bad days. Sometimes I was simply depressed and glad that everything was being brought to me. Just like Señora Bovio, I found it easier to remain all day in my suite. However, despite Señor Bovio’s having a beautician and a manicurist visit frequently and despite the many new gifts, I seemed to sink into a deeper depression. Dr. Denardo had warned me about experiencing emotional highs and lows, but when I began the sixth month, I found myself stuck in the lows more often.
I began to suffer some of what Dr. Denardo had described would be the minor disorders of pregnancy. Everything that happened seemed to please Mrs. Newell. At first, I thought it was because it verified all of the things she had predicted, but I began to wonder if she wanted me to have the discomforts because I was an unwed mother. She never failed to add a comment such as “If you want to dance, you have to pay the piper,” “A night of joy can lead to a morning of regret,” or simply “You should have thought about this.”
When I complained about heartburn, she made my meals smaller and more frequent. She advised me to drink milk, and that did appear to help, which was what made it more difficult for me to complain about her. Her little quips were biting, but her treatments were soothing. It was the same with my constipation, backaches, and muscle cramps. Although I cringed at her touch, I couldn’t help but enjoy the massages, and she was right there with an antidote or a suggestion as soon as I uttered a complaint. Whether she was doing it to make things better for me or to impress and satisfy Señor Bovio didn’t matter. The result was the same.
One Saturday afternoon, while I was lying on the love seat, bored with what I had been reading, aching, and feeling sorry for myself, I heard a knock on my door.
“Yes?” I called, sitting up, and was happily surprised to see Fani.
She looked as beautiful as ever in a light blue, tightly fitted cotton sweater and designer jeans with sequins running up the sides. She had her hair flowing down under a USC cap. The air around her seemed charged with electricity as she burst into the suite wearing her best glittering smile.
“Where’s our teenage mother?” she cried, laughing. “Mi dios, you do look pregnant now.”
“I was always pregnant, Fani. I couldn’t help your not believing me.”
“Whatever,” she said, practically floating down to me. “How are you?”
“Miserable,” I said, which made her laugh again. “I feel like I’m becoming a blimp. Look at my legs,” I said, showing them to her.
“Ugh,” she said, sitting at the foot of the love seat. “I may never get pregnant. I might just hire someone like you to carry my egg and my husband’s sperm.”
“I don’t doubt it,” I said. “Where have you been, Fani? Why didn’t you ever come back or return my calls?”
“I didn’t think Ray wanted me to,” she said.
“Why not? He never told me such a thing.”
“He didn’t tell you, but he called my mother and complained about me blowing smoke in your face and not being the right sort of companion at this particular time.”
“I don’t like that,” I said.
“Forget it. He was just being overly protective. Anyway, as soon as school ended, I went on holiday with some friends to France. As you can see,” she said, tapping her cap, “I decided to attend USC.” She smiled, raising her eyebrows. “And guess whom I see quite often on campus.”
I sat up, excited. “Edward?”
“Sí, su primo Edward. He always seems uncomfortable when he meets me, but I deliberately go out of my way to force him to run into me. I enjoy teasing him. Jesse left him, you know.”
“No, I didn’t know.”
“Seems that even gay lovers can be fickle.” She paused. “Don’t you want to know if he asked about you?”
“You know I do, Fani. He tried coming here, but mi tía Isabela—”
“I know, I know. I heard all about the deal she made or the threat, whichever way you see it. At the time, I told him you were doing
rather well and being treated like Señor Bovio’s daughter-in-law would, if he had one. He was happy about it. I also told him I hadn’t seen you and why.”
“How come you’re able to visit me now, then?”
“For just this reason, I guess,” she said, holding her hands out to me. “Ray’s worried about you. Your nurse has told him you’ve been more depressed than expected, whatever that means, and he thought if I visited you, it might cheer you up and bring you out of your funk. Why are you depressed? You have everything you could want here, don’t you?”
“So? You’re not getting as spoiled as I am, are you? Then nothing’s enough.”
“No, Fani,” I said, smiling at her honesty. “The truth is, I miss my family. I am still quite unhappy about what has happened to Ignacio and his family. Señor Bovio has not yet worked out a way to get him out of prison sooner. I can’t see my cousin Edward. And I have a nurse who might once have worked for el diablo.”