King's Unknown Black Baby Daughter(3)

By: Ciara Cole


Exhaling so deeply it surprised her how much air she was holding in, Viv broke out a huge smile.

“Yes.”

***

Ten years later

“Traffic,” Viv belted out once she caught the exasperated look on her best friend’s face as she sat across from her. More than fifteen minutes late to their brunch, Viv tried to catch her breath while settling at their table within the local tavern-styled restaurant. It had big wraparound booths and flattering lighting that made the place feel cozy.

“I’m over it,” Chelsea replied, picking up her menu while glancing at Viv’s hair. “You look sassy. This new cut really suits you.”

“I keep trying to convince myself to believe you,” Viv mumbled as she pulled out a mirror from her purse and glanced at her hair to make sure her dash over hadn’t messed it up. It had been just a week since she’d chopped it into this bob, and Viv felt somewhat insecure about it. Had she gone overboard with her new look?

Getting the haircut had been a spur of the moment decision to commemorate Viv taking some much-needed time off work. She’d barely ever had a holiday since starting up the global tourism company she co-owned with Chelsea when they’d met during college. Together they’d grown the business into one of the topmost travel companies owned by women in the state. Viv and Chelsea had worked hard to make their company profitable, and it now ran tours in over twenty countries.

Chelsea was busy shaking her head and rolling her eyes in response to Viv. “As if I’d let my business partner and bestie be seen looking a hot mess with me. Besides, why do you think I elected you the face of the company?”

It was now Viv’s turn to shake her head in disapproval. “You ain’t right, you know that?”

“Now that I agree with,” Chelsea murmured. “But I wasn’t lying, you look fine with shorter hair. I don’t even have a nine-year-old kid, yet I never seem as put together as you do. And I absolutely love the nude lipstick. It actually looks nude, not one of the white people nude too.”

“Thanks a lot, but that’s enough talk about my looks. How has it been at the office?”

“You mean on my own? I’m holding up.” Chelsea shrugged and reached for a muffin from the middle of the table. “Honestly, I’m far more interested in how your vacation is going.”

“Getting to spend more time with Charlotte is great, but everything else is bleh.”

“That’s not good.”

Viv expelled a sigh. “I have so many blessings, with being a mother of a wonderful nine-year-old daughter, to being a successful entrepreneur—but deep down I know my life is missing something worthwhile.”

“You don’t need to explain.” Chelsea waved her hands eagerly. “I don’t mean to play Dr. Phil, but I think I know just what you need to do.”

“Buy a cat?” Viv smiled.

Chelsea grunted before narrowing her eyes. “Time to broaden your horizons, woman. I have this friend…”

“No, thanks.” Viv wasn’t ready for any of Chelsea’s matchmaking.

“Do you have to be so difficult all the time?” Chelsea whined in frustration.

Viv’s answer was to bury her head in the wine list.

The waiter appeared to take their order, and Chelsea looked up at the handsome young male with a smile. “I’ll have the rosé—as well as your number for my best friend over here.”

Chelsea wriggled her eyebrows at Viv who smiled tightly before turning to the waiter. “A rosé for me too, and never mind about giving me your number.”

He smiled, showing his straight white teeth. “I wouldn’t have minded. Alright, ladies, I’ll be back with your wine in a few.”

Once they were left on their own, Chelsea swatted her newspaper at Viv. “He was cute, Viv. Why not live a little instead of acting so stodgy?”

“I don’t act stodgy, and can you stop being so embarrassing?”

“You’re right. After all, I’m older than you, so I should be thinking of settling down myself and giving my goddaughter some friends to play with.”

“Chelsea, you’re thirty not sixty. Neither of us should be pressured about getting a husband or even a boyfriend.”

“So…you won’t even consider going out on a double date with me this weekend?” Chelsea asked hopefully.

Viv sighed in frustration at Chelsea’s determination before pointedly focusing on her menu once again. “Nah, I’m good, luv…enjoy,” Viv muttered mostly to herself.

“Okay, how about this. If you had the chance to date a handsome royal, would you take it?” Chelsea asked out of the blue.

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