* * * * *
Bishop Akron awakened from his Sunday evening nap to raised voices coming from the next room. His wife and daughter were at it again. He listened.
“What in the world do you mean by you don’t know how it happened? Things like this don’t just happen,” Andrea said. “And who is the father?”
“Don’t worry about who the father is. I’ll let you know in time,” Ebony said.
Bishop Akron tilted his head as he listened.
“That’s a shameful thing to happen to a preacher’s daughter. What am I supposed to tell the church people if they find out?”
“Well, you’re good at coming up with answers or excuses to questionable things,” Ebony said. “All I know is I will not abort this baby as you had me do the last one.”
Bishop Akron sat up with a start.
“It has been nothing but living hell this past year, and you never once reached out to me even though you’re the cause of it,” Ebony said in a shaky but strong voice.” You never once came alongside me and hugged me or even offered a reassuring word knowing the hell I was going through.”
“I did what was best for you, what was best for the family, what was best for the ministry,” Andrea said. “And always remember you’re the one who shouldn’t have gotten knocked up.”
“No, Mom. You did what was best for you,” Ebony said, ignoring her last comment. “You wanted to save face, so you did the only thing you knew to do—had me abort my baby, your grandbaby. Your grandbaby. How could you have even suggested that to me when I wanted to keep the baby? My baby. Does Dad know about it? Have you said anything to him about it as you told me you would do? If you did say something, he sure has not even bothered to ask me about it. How could you two be so uncaring?”
Bishop Akron swung his feet over the side of the day bed on which he was sleeping.
“No one needed to know how loose of a girl you were. Your father certainly did not need to know. That would ruin his reputation as Bishop of All Star. It would ruin his fame; he’s rising up in the group of recognized preachers; his name is becoming a household name. I couldn’t risk you ruining that,” Andrea said.
“Don’t bring Dad into this. You just didn’t want your name ruined. You are selfish and think only about yourself.” Ebony burst into tears.
Andrea continued talking without any regard to her daughter’s words. “You brought this on yourself. How dare you try to blame me for everything at the age you are now? All I know is you can’t keep the baby, and that’s final.”
“What’s going on in here?” Bishop Akron asked as he walked into the room. “What is all this back-and-forth about? And why is Ebony crying? And what is it you should have told me that you have not told me?”
“Don’t you worry about that. This is a mother/daughter thing,” Andrea said.
“Cut it out, Mom!” Ebony said. “Enough of your lying and deceit. Dad, I’m pregnant and this is not the first time. Mom had me abort the first baby. She took me to the clinic out of town because she was ashamed and did not want anyone around here to hear of it. She told me not to say anything about it to you.”
“What?” Bishop Akron said glaring at his wife.
“I’m sorry, Dad. I should have told you myself, but I tried to believe her being my mother she would do what was best for me. But I see now I was wrong. She did not care about me. She had me kill my baby.” Ebony burst into uncontrollable crying again.
As if in a daze, Bishop Akron reached out to hug his daughter.
“Dad, I’m so sorry. I have been living a nightmare this past year. I feel like I’m dying a slow death inside.”
“It’s okay, baby. It’s okay.” Bishop Akron said to Ebony. He glared at his wife who held a steady stare at him. “I can’t believe this. I simply cannot believe this,” he said to his wife. “How could you?”
“I was trying to protect your name,” Andrea said.
“No, you were not. I side with Ebony. You were trying to protect your name. You didn’t care anything about me, but most importantly, you didn’t care about our daughter. You are a treacherous woman for sure,” Bishop Akron said to Andrea.
“That’s not true!” Andrea said.
“It is true! I overheard everything you all said to each other, and I side with Ebony. I do not care what the situation is, what you did was wrong whichever way you look at it. Now get out of this room before I lose control.”
Andrea hurried out of the room.
Bishop Akron led his daughter into the room in which he was napping earlier. “Lay down and get some rest. I really wish you had come to me. Anyway, don’t you worry about a thing anymore. I’ll see you through this to the end. One thing is certain, you are going to keep this baby no matter how much shame it brings to us. I’ll be right by your side. Okay, baby?”
“You get some rest while I go talk with your mother.”