Two-Sided Heart
by Patricia Anne Phillips

Excerpt from Chapter 1

Feeling weak, Leah laid her head on the pillow and rubbed her hands across her stomach. Randal sat back in the chair next to her.

“We have a problem, Leah. We can only take one baby home.”

She tried to lift her head off the pillow, but she didn’t have the strength. She felt lightheaded. “What are you talking about? The nurse said both could go home in two or three weeks. They’re doing fine, Randal. Don’t worry.”

“The darker one has a weak heart and will have to stay until her heart gets stronger. The doctor says there is a slim chance.”

Leah sat up in bed. “The nurse didn’t say anything about her heart. I don’t understand.” She started to cry and Randal gently pushed her back against the pillow and kissed her cheek. He was compassionate with his wife.

“I told the doctor and the nurse that I would tell you, but don’t worry yourself sick about it. Did you get a good look at the child? She looks Black. She doesn’t look White, by no means at all. How can we take her home anyway, even if she does get stronger?”

“You’re not suggesting we leave her here when she has a home to go to. We have two children, Randal, and two will go home with us. I can’t believe you would even think of something so cruel about your own child. What on earth has gotten into you? You need to think about what you just suggested. My babies are going home with me.” Leah wondered what had gotten into him. What could he be thinking? She closed her eyes, but her body shook like a leaf on a tree. Their baby was too dark for him; she felt as though he threw a glass of ice-cold water on her face to wake her up.

Randal kept his voice low, but his tone was cold. “I fell in love with you before I discovered you weren’t White. The baby doesn’t look White at all, and everyone will know we’ve been living a lie. She can’t go home with us,” he said adamantly, his ice-blue eyes hard on her.

When she looked in his eyes, so cold and relentless, there was no way to convince him otherwise. They were disagreeing about their children, and as far as Leah was concerned, both babies were going home; both babies were hers.

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