A Final Kiss

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I let the curtain fall back into place

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I let the curtain fall back into place. "What do you mean, 'stay home for the time being'?"

"It's for the best—"

I don't allow him to finish. "It's my newspaper. How can I take a break? I have work to do. We're selling the building. The paper's been at the same location for a hundred and fifty years. I need to oversee the move. Or have you forgotten about that, with everything else that's going on?"

There's a long, audible intake of breath on the other line, and I imagine his plush lips pursing in anger. "You're going to step down as publisher until this situation with Christina dies down. It's best for your health, the baby's health, and the bottom line for the paper. I don't want to drag your business into my scandal. Not any more than it already is."

"I feel fine. Better every day," I snap. "And what do you expect me to do if I'm not going to work?"

"I want you to try and relax and be healthy. Get massages, do prenatal yoga, work on decorating the baby's nursery. I'll make sure you have everything you need delivered. We'll get you a private yoga coach..."

As he ticks off the list of things he thinks I want—the things most women would want—my teeth clamp together so hard that my jaw aches.

"That's ridiculous. The paper's my job. It's my life. I have to be there." I'm not going to tell him about the nagging back spasms that have bothered me off and on for a couple of weeks or the small cramps I've been having. My doctor says both are likely due to stress.

"Justine." His voice is suddenly loud and angry-sounding. "I don't want you harassed while you're working. And I don't want the paper's advertising to suffer from bad publicity."

"Oh, you don't want to lose money, that's it."

"It has nothing to do with the damned money. I could give a fuck about that. I don't want the stress of being stalked by paparazzi to affect the health of our baby. Or your health. If they stake out your house, we'll consider moving you to a safer location."

"Oh, please. I'm sure they'll go away after a few days. Jesus, Rafael. Don't be dramatic."

"I don't know when, or if, they will. I want you to stay home."

"No. Not going to happen. Why can't I work from home?"

He swears in Spanish. "Just listen to me for once. You need to take it easy. I talked to your doctor today, and she told me all about the cramps."

"I can't believe you. I can't believe her."

"You signed the release form saying I could have access to your medical records and information."

I pause. He's right. And he probably knows about my back pain, too. "So you checked up on me?"

"I always talk with your doctor after you have an appointment. It's the least I can do, considering I can't be with you. I told you when you signed the release form that I'd probably check in with the doctor. I have a lot of questions, too. I'm the father. And I'm worried about you and the child, after everything that happened when we were younger."

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