Delia's Gift (Delia 3) - Page 7

Mrs. Newell turned back to me. “You don’t want to gain too much weight, anyway. Dr. Denardo will tell you about where you should be, but most of the pregnant women for whom I have worked stay around twenty-two to twenty-eight pounds heavier by the time they come to term. Again, that’s not luck. That’s good scientific dietary planning,” she added. She smiled a little more warmly this time. “Any questions?”

“Yes. Since you’ve kept Teresa here for this, I’m sure she might like to know what RDI means,” I said. I knew what it meant, but I couldn’t resist teasing her.

“RDI simply means recommended daily intake,” she said, looking at Teresa.

Teresa immediately started to shake her head again. I could see the almost palpable fear in her face, fear that Mrs. Newell might complain about her to Señor Bovio.

“One final thing,” Mrs. Newell said. “I am vigilant when it comes to preventing a listeria infection. Again, I’m sure you don’t instinctively know what that is.”

She had me. I didn’t know.

“This bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes,” she said pedantically, “can contaminate some foods. There is great danger to an unborn baby, an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature labor. Some foods are more prone to this contamination, and we’ll exclude them, but I can’t follow you everywhere you go outside this house. Avoid precooked or ready-prepared cold foods that aren’t reheated, foods you might get in some fast-food joint you’re probably accustomed to eating in, unpasteurized foods, soft-serve ice cream or yogurt, and soft cheeses. Do you understand?”

“Clearly,” I said. “And I never ate in dirty fast-food joints.”

“Good. Teresa, you can go now,” she said, dismissing her. Teresa hurried out. Mrs. Newell waited for her to leave before turning back to me. “This part is more private,” she said. “Pregnancy does not mean a woman cannot have sexual relations, but I have seen pregnant women miscarry because they were, how shall I say it, too vigorous or too compliant when their male partners wanted them to be so. Most men don’t have the control or care to control themselves to protect a woman carrying a baby. Now, if you go out—”

“Don’t be concerned about it. I don’t intend to have sexual relations during my pregnancy, Mrs. Newell,” I said quickly.

She pulled her shoulders back and pursed her lips for a moment. “Well, I don’t imagine you intended to be pregnant, now, did you, dear?” she said, blinking her smile.

I looked away.

“I’m sorry, but I’m just giving you my best professional advice. What you do and don’t do is your own business, Delia.”

“Good,” I said.

“After you give birth, that is. Until then, it is both our businesses.”

She waited for my response, but I said nothing.

“Enjoy your lunch.”

I looked at the salad, the salmon, and the slice of whole-grain bread. There was a plate of strawberries and some walnuts for dessert.

“I could have just as easily gone down to the dining room for this,” I said.

“Mr. Bovio wanted it brought to you.”

“Why? Isn’t it better for me to walk?”

“I’m not saying you shouldn’t walk. Of course, you should walk. I’m simply following Mr. Bovio’s orders. You’re my patient, but he’s employed me,” she replied, and finally left. I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my chest.

I ate and thought that the food, although adequate, was basically tasteless. Mrs. Newell was more of a nurse than a cook, I decided. I felt sorry for all the well-to-do married and pregnant women for whom she had served. Like me, they were probably happy to get her out of their homes and get back to eating what they wanted.

I pushed the bedside table aside and sprawled on the love seat in the adjoining sitting room. I was emotionally exhausted and just wanted to calm myself and relax. I know I dozed off for a while, because when I opened my eyes again, my tray was gone. I closed them again.

For a few moments, I tried to forgot all that had happened to me since my parents were killed in the truck accident in Mexico. With my eyes closed, I could pretend I was in my and Abuela Anabela’s bedroom back in our little village. Before our family tragedy, I had been a happy young girl who never thought of herself as poor and unfortunate. We had worked hard for the little we had, but we had found ways to be grateful and happy. Nevertheless, I would never deny that I didn’t fantasize about living in a palace and having servants and a beautiful bedroom just like the one I was in now. I would imagine that my and Abuela Anabela’s little room with its concrete floor was suddenly magically quite different.

There were beautiful velvet curtains over the windows just as there were here. There was a carpet that also seemed like a floor of marshmallows, and my bed was just as big, with pillows as fluffy, and with a canopy and four posters. I had pretended I had a magic wand and could wave it over the old mismatched furniture, the crates and boxes we used for dressers and drawers, the clothes line that served as our closet, and the cracked and pitted walls. I had turned it all into a wonderland for a princess. Imagining that I had enchanting powers, I would travel to places I had seen only in magazines and occasionally on our snowy black-and-white television screen when the electricity worked.

But as soon as I would hear Abuela Anabela’s or my mother’s voice, I would blink my eyes and come crashing back down to reality. Never did I really believe I would be living in such a luxurious hacienda after I blinked. I had immediately felt foolish even dreaming of such things, such a place.

Yet here I was, only not under the circumstances I would have included in my fantasy.

I had been living in a beautiful hacienda my aunt owned, but just before Señor Bovio brought me here, I had been sent back to the dingy, dark, and dirty servant’s room in a separate building, the room in which I had been placed when I had first arrived from Mexico. That now seemed much farther in the past than it really was. All of the recent events in my life were jumbled and twisted in my mind, anyway. I wished it really had all been a dream, every moment. This wasn’t the first time I had made such a wish. Many times, I would have gladly woken to find myself back in that small bedroom I shared with Abuela Anabela. I would trade all the clothes, the glamorous events, the mansions, any and all of it, to return to that simple life, if only my parents were still alive.

Because this bed

Tags: V.C. Andrews Delia Horror
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