“That means something sinister is coming this way,” a small frail voice said as we all turned to my great Aunt who sat down in a chair with her cane, “that baby is telling us something is about to wash over this family and yall need to be ready. Change is coming,” holding her trembling arm out. Her hand was balled up in a wet fist before she slowly released her fingers to show the wet blue sheet of paper in her hand. My dad grabbed the paper to unfold as he stood in the center of the room to read it out loud.
“Powerful,” he stated, voice booming with purpose as he turned to look at me, “powerful.”
“Coming from me?” I pointed with uncertainty. “I don’t….” shaking my head as I looked at Junie who looked like he was ready to throw salt at my stomach at any given moment, “I don’t think that’s right. Maybe--”
“We’ll do a proper reading closer to the time to confirm or see for ourselves. It’s too early to say,” Delilah said in a low voice as I watched Tallulah roll her eyes behind her drinking glass.
“Careful letting Delilah do anything, you know she’s been off lately since she had her son. She’ll make it worse---”
“Is there a problem you wanna address Tallulah?”
“Here we go,” I sighed.
“A girl came to you a year ago trying to get pregnant, did you know she was trying to get pregnant with my boyfriend?” Lu asked as a few of us gasped. Homer motioned for Piru to grab a toddler and usher them out of the way as Francesca stood looking wide eyed from me to them.
“Yall don’t start this here. Not with family----”
“What’s the problem?” Delilah asked, turning to face Lu, “Travis still fucked her. I didn’t tell him to do that---”
“BUT YOU KNEW SHE WAS TRYING TO GET PREGNANT BY HIM!”
“Not here! We’re not doing this here at a baby shower!” my Mama yelled, “take that outside!”
“Aunty, I just need to get a few things off my chest real quick! That’s all. Let me say what I have to say and then I’m out---”
“Tallulah, I know you have nothing to say to me,” Delilah said in a calm manner as she looked at her cousin like she was beneath her, “I know you have nothing to say or speak to me about other than I hope all is well with the baby, and my relationship. You chose to mess with Travis after he continued to cheat---”
“YOU ARE MY FAMILY! I DON’T CARE WHAT I DECIDED TO DO! YOU DON’T DO THAT!”
“I DIDN’T KNOW SHE WAS USING IT FOR HIM!”
“Pooh, don’t do that to me. I’m not dumb. She gave you something of his and you had to know. Delilah you not as dumb as you try to be. You’re not slick nor am I stupid. Everything you do is for a reason but since we love messing with people’s lives, lemme start off by saying I’m glad Ben isn’t here because I surely would love to tell him you still try and fuck with yo ex boyfriend...married man? Talk to him all the time.. What’s his name? Stace---”
“OHH!” Omni gasped as I clamped my mouth closed.
“It wouldn’t shock me if yall was messing around---”
“Tallulah come here,” Dai Skye said from the kitchen, trying to drag our cousin away from the mess but Delilah kept a calm composure, not giving anything away that she was in fact messing with Stacey still, but I knew where this was going and I knew where Delilah could take it.
“You still think you’re a family huh?” Delilah said in a low voice as Tallulah’s eyes began to water.
Oh no no nooo… I looked at Junie who was engrossed in the drama like everyone else but I knew exactly what Delilah was about to say, and Lu knew too. She had to know if she was bold enough to call Delilah out.
“Even after everything, you still think you’re family?”
“What does that mean?” one of the Uncles asked as he stepped forward. Uncle Skye, Tallulah’s father looked anything but amused or entertained by any of this as he held his plate of chicken in his hand, “what the fuck does that mean?”
“Baby brother, don’t cuss at my child like you---”
“Tallulah is family---”
“You sure about that? You sure she thinks that? You sure your nephews think that? Maybe we should ask Hom---”
“Ahh!” I winced, gripping my stomach as I attempted to kneel over. I glanced at Junie, giving him that look as he jumped into action causing everyone to turn their attention towards me. I knew what Delilah was getting ready to say and the last thing we needed was secrets as big as that one to come out. Not even our parents knew about it. Nobody knows about the night a few of the male cousins with Homer and Michael included got drunk. It wasn’t clear on who did what or how. Nobody but Tallulah and Homer knew what happened between the two of them, if anything happened. Delilah was there and witnessed the whole thing but even she wouldn’t talk about it so for her to bring it up now had to mean she was bothered by Lu or that Stacey comment really got to her. Either way, releasing that type of skeleton was bound to have a domino effect.
“Come on, we need to get her out of these wet clothes anyway,” my mama said, helping me to my feet.
“WHOA!? WHOA?! AYE!” someone shouted as the commotion of bodies hitting the wall caused everyone to look back seeing Tallulah practically jump on Delilah, moving over our great Aunt like she was nothing to get to her but Delilah’s back hand nearly knocked Tallulah to the floor with the loudest smack. Everyone was attempting to break it up with the screaming and hollering at one another while Junie was trying to get me out of the door.
“You better than anyone know that I never fucked Homer! We never had sex that night!”
“WHAT?!” my mama shrieked as I dropped my hand from my stomach, it was no damn use at this point to fake it. “You didn’t what?!”
“You should have checked your nasty ass brother who was trying to fuck on me---”
“BUT YOU LET HIM!” Delilah yelled back. “YOU---!”
Junie and I were outside on the porch when the screen door slammed shut behind us. I could just see the look on everyone’s faces. Nobody, none of the parents or adults in the room had any idea. None of the cousins had a clue and when Homer walked up, his expression said it all.
The rain came to a slow downpour as Junie flipped out his hoodie before hovering it over my head with the keys dangling in his hand.
“You enjoyed the baby shower Nay?” he laughed. “Shit, you know it's serious when Mama just forgot all about you faking yo pain.”
“I’m just ready to lay down and hear about all of this on the phone,” I told him as we walked towards our car, “they can drop our daughter off along with the gifts. I’m not fooling up with them anymore.”
“Nah, hold on now Nay. I’m going back in for that Louis bag,” he said as I laughed, “and maybe fix a few to-go plates. They can keep the drama, the kid and everything else.”
“Definitely,” I smiled.
“Am I already too late?!” someone yelled out as I looked up to see Indigo crossing the street with her blue gift bag and a black umbrella over her head, “I got held up at the damn DMV this morning.”
“You’re not too late,” I assured her, “we’re just heading home because they did what they usually do.”
“Well here,” she laughed, handing me the bag as she turned right back around, “I can go home then and catch up on some sleep.”
“Delilah and Tallulah got into a fight, a real one,” I called after her as she stopped walking and turned around with her mouth dropped, “Delilah let it out about the incident with the boys. You know how sensitive Tallulah is about---”
“Why would she even do that?!”
“Nay, baby we either gotta get in the car or back in the house, I’m not standing out here holding this over yo head forever,” Junie snapped.
“I’ll go in,” Indigo said, already running past me with the umbrella to rush into the house. If anybody could calm the two down from having world war three in the house, it would be Indigo.