Conspiracy at Desert One
By Bernace Charles
Fred Southgate returned to Laleh. He stood before the open door of the
house at Lake Reston. His journey had separated them. It now seemed hesitant
of delivering them back to the other. Laleh held their daughter. Fred said,
"Allen never told me you were expecting."
Laleh placed an arm around Fred's neck. She said between tears, "He
didn't tell you because he isn't the father."
Fred didn't know whether to allow himself the luxury of a smile. He
saw too much death the last years and he wasn't certain there was any emotion
left in him. He asked, "Allen didn't tell because he wasn't the father?"
"Allen was sterile."
"Did his parents know?"
"No, they believe she is their grandchild. I didn't have the heart
to tell them."
Southgate took the baby in his arms and Laleh held the door before taking
up Fred's suitcase and set it inside the hall. She had been cleaning the
house and Laleh knew she looked a mess. She didn't take time to change
after she nursed the baby.
Fred carried the baby to her crib and gently laid the child down. He
turned to Laleh and said, "It's okay. What's the baby's name?"
"It's Roya . . . Roya Ann."
"I'm sorry it turned this way. You deserve better."
Laleh laid her head against Fred's chest, "Allen's parents can
believe she is their grandchild. I love you. We don't have to marry but
we can be together. Nobody can take that away from us. If they assign you
a desk job, you can move in with us."
Fred felt Laleh's body against him. His hand roamed up her back and
beneath the blouse. He remembered their passionate lovemaking and touch
of her skin as he inhaled the fragrance in her hair.
Laleh said, " I love you," She brought her lips to Fred Southgate's.
Fred's next words stabbed at her soul, "I have to return. I'll
be back. I promise."
"For how long?"
Fred wasn't certain Laleh's question was for the length of time he would
be with her or how long it would be before he returned from Southeast Asia.
He said, "I have two weeks . . . then back to Saigon. >>>
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