By: Tamara Black

“What are you doing now?” she asked.

“I’m actually heading to a class. I have a pop-quiz today.”

“Did you study?”

“All night,” I answered, stopping outside the Med-Sci building.

“You sound like a hard-worker.”

“I am.”

“I just wanted to say thanks again for yesterday. Without you, I’m not sure what would’ve happened.”

“You would’ve been fine, I’m sure,” I said humbly. “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time finally.”

“Well, I thank God and you that you delivered that pizza late and my baby just on time.”

“Oh,” I said, excited. “I almost forgot the good news.”

“Good news?”

“Yeah. One of my professors is running a study on new mothers, and he said you could participate. It’s fifty dollars for each interview I give you. It only takes about an hour.”

“That’s nice, but I don’t think I have the time for that right now,” she said.

My heart sank.

“I hate to hear that, but it’s okay. You have my number now, so call if you ever need anything. Absolutely anything.”

“I’ll do that, Daniel. Thanks. I better let you get to class.”

I laughed. “I don’t want to go, but I need to go.”

After she disconnected the call, I went to class, unable to take my mind off her. Why had she refused the basically free money? Did she have a problem with me? Should I care so much? The questions were more difficult than the ones I easily answered on the pop-quiz.



August 13th, 2016 - Saturday

I stood in the kitchen and stared into the empty cupboard. Danny slept soundly in his cute crib in the living room. The battery on my car had died a few days earlier, and I hadn’t had a chance to get a new one. Well, I’d had plenty of time but no extra money to get it done. Diapers were expensive, I’d found out.

Delilah was busy, so I couldn’t call her for a ride. Out of desperation, I dug my phone out and swiped until I saw Daniel’s name and number in my contact list. He had already done so much, but I didn’t have much of a choice. I tapped the number and put the phone to my ear.

“Hey, Steph, how are you?” Daniel said, answering after the first ring.

“Hey, I’m okay. How are you?”

“Not bad. Thanks.”

“I hate to do it, but I need to ask for a favor.”

“What’s up?” he asked, sounding concerned.

“My car battery died, and I need to get to the store to get some food.”

“I can give you a ride,” he offered without me even having to ask.

“Are you sure? I don’t want to put you out.”

“Not at all. It will give me a chance to try to talk you into participating in this survey so I can get some extra credit and you can get some extra money.”

“You didn’t tell me you were going to get extra credit.”

“I didn’t? Maybe I was just excited you could make a few extra bucks. Diapers can be expensive.”

I laughed. “I was just thinking that earlier.”

“Great minds think alike,” he said.

Is he flirting with me?

“Whenever you have a moment to spare today…”

“I’ll be right over,” he said. “Unless you wanted to go later?”

“Now would be great.”

“I know where you live. Give me about ten minutes or so.”

“Thanks, Daniel.”

“No problem. See you soon.”

I disconnected the call. Danny cried in the next room. After rushing in, I picked him up and cuddled him against my chest, causing him to stop crying right away. He looked so adorable and small. The thought of his father Orlando not being able to see him made me want to cry, but I fought the emotions.

You have to be strong, I told myself.

While waiting for Daniel to arrive and pick us up, I got little Danny wrapped up in a blanket and put into a car-seat that also worked as a stroller. Orlando had sent it to me as soon as I told him about our baby. I took another deep breath.

A few minutes later, I heard a knock at the door. Answering it, I saw Daniel with a smile on his face.

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