Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Professor - Ch. 33.2

At the age of sixteen, Aurelia lost her father due to complications stemming from his improperly managed diabetes. Overwhelmed with grief, she found comfort in the arms of Marshall Pierre Jean-Baptiste, the nineteen-year-old nephew of her mother’s then wealthy St. John employer.

Marshall had been secretly in love with Aurelia for years. He never approached her because of their age differences, social class differences, and his general lack of self-esteem due to his weight issues. Had it not been for Aurelia making the first move by kissing him after he finished tutoring her in French one day, Marshall might have secretly pined for her for the rest of his life. He definitely wouldn’t have taken that kiss and ran with it all the way to his bedroom.

When Aurelia later told Marshall that she was pregnant, he was overjoyed. He immediately saw the pregnancy as a sign that they were meant to be together forever. A marriage proposal soon followed.

Since Marshall had lost both of his parents at an early age and since Aurelia had lost her father a month prior, he asked his uncle and her mother for their blessings of the union. Only one of them gave it.

Marshall’s uncle outright refused to bless the union. In fact, Oliver Jean-Baptiste flew into a rage about those pending nuptials. He called his nephew stupid and careless. He had more degrading names for Aurelia.

After having it out with Marshall, Oliver paid a visit to Aurelia at her St. Croix home. During that visit (which took place while her mother was at work), Oliver accused her of being a gold-digger, who had used sex to ingratiate herself into the pockets of his rich nephew. He even tried to pay her off.

When Aurelia declared her love for Marshall and refused the money offered her, Oliver balked at her claims. Then to add insult to injury, the man actually tried to sexually assault her at gunpoint. Had it not been for a neighbor’s teenage son persistently knocking on the door to inquire about buying one of her father’s five lawn mowers, things would have gotten even uglier in the Bunting house that day.

Unwilling to marry into a family that contained the likes of Oliver, Aurelia decided to call the wedding off. The threat that the older man gave her before he left that day, which hinted at his ties to organized crime, gave her even more incentive to break the engagement and to also maintain her silence about his visit.

Unfortunately, Marshall refused to accept Aurelia’s abrupt change of heart or her excuse about not wanting to get married without his uncle’s blessing. Determined to make her his wife, the young man insisted that he would do whatever it took to make Oliver accept their union. That he would make sure their child lacked nothing before and after it was born. That he would continue to woo her until his dying day.

That dying day came a week later.

Marshall drowned at sea on one of his uncle’s boats, causing many to wonder if the Jean-Baptiste family was cursed. Especially since his parents had also died at sea.

Needless to say, Aurelia was crushed to hear the news about Marshall. She’d lost two very dear men in such a short span of time and thus couldn’t be anything but devastated. Plus, she was pregnant and had yet to finish high school.

Aurelia was further devastated when Marshall’s uncle paid her yet another visit. This time her mother was at home. During that meeting, Oliver revealed even more of his wickedness and made Aurelia wonder if Marshall’s death truly was accidental. If even his parents’ death was accidental.

With his big girth taking up almost half the sofa he sat on, Oliver outright demanded that Aurelia terminate the pregnancy. He claimed that he didn’t want such an unfortunate situation to malign his nephew’s memory or the Jean-Baptiste’s esteemed reputation.

Aurelia countered by insinuating that Oliver likely didn’t want another heir to the Jean-Baptiste fortune. Marshall had told her all about how the totality of his parents’ assets would belong to him on his twenty-first birthday, officially ending his uncle’s custodial tenure. About how one day those assets would belong to their child.

Oliver looked like he was either going to have a stroke at Aurelia’s words or else pull out his gun and kill her and the baby on the spot. Instead he quickly composed himself, told her that she was going to get that abortion or else suffer dire consequences, and then gave her a large sum of money to take care of the situation. Those funds were also a one-time payoff for Aurelia’s continual silence.

As for Emile, Oliver fired her during that visit. That was all fine and good since she no longer wanted to work for the evil man anyway.

Terrified of the man for sure now, Aurelia took the money and promised to abort the child. But she couldn’t. She couldn’t kill the only part of Marshall she had left.

Aurelia found her mother equally supportive of her decision to keep the baby, despite Oliver’s threats. After putting their heads together, the two women decided to relocate to Florida and rent their V.I. house out.

Stateside, Aurelia laid low and awaited Trent’s birth, not even leaving the house to check the mailbox. That act was necessary in order for Emile to claim the child as her own. Emile also deliberately gained weight and wore maternity clothes to appear pregnant to the outside world.

In preparation for the baby’s delivery, they hired a midwife to deliver the baby at home. A midwife who agreed to certify that Emile was the birthmother and not Aurelia…for the right price, of course.

That plan might have worked perfectly if Aurelia hadn’t changed her mind at the last minute. All it took was one look into Trent’s amber eyes, which were exactly like Marshall’s, and she knew that she could never legally disown him. Not even at the risk of her own life. Besides, since they had no intentions of ever returning to the Virgin Islands anyway, she figured it wouldn’t matter as much.

However, as a special precaution, Aurelia left the father’s name blank on the birth certificate. She also named Trent after her own father, but left the junior part off since he was not actually her father’s son.

Six weeks after Trent was born, Aurelia went to get a long overdue check up. She’d skipped prenatal care altogether, relying on the prayers of her mother to avoid exposure. To throw the doctors off at the clinic, she lied about having a recent abortion to explain the obvious signs of childbirth that had been left in and outside of her body. Either the doctors didn’t care enough to investigate or they were just lazy, because they simply took Aurelia at her word about the faux abortion.

After getting a clean bill of health, Aurelia enrolled in a local night school. She finished her high school diploma in a matter of three short months. She nursed and took care of Trent during the day while her mother worked freelance housekeeping jobs. They saved every penny they could and lived very modestly, banishing pride as they subsisted off of Ramen noodles, hot dogs, and day old bread.

Although the money Oliver gave them was long gone within two years’ time, neither of them ever thought of asking him for another dime, not even this last time when Trent needed an operation. Quite frankly, they were still scared of the wicked man, downright terrified of what he might do to them if he ever found out the truth about Trent.

Had Oliver not left the V.I. completely and moved to France soon after Marshall’s death to pursue business interests overseas, and had Gladys not reported how bad their renters had trashed the house, Aurelia and Emile would have stayed in Florida. Yet it didn’t make sense to continue to pay rent stateside while rowdy tenants destroyed the only thing they owned. The fact that those same tenants were often delinquent with their rent payments was another deciding factor.

And so Aurelia and her mother returned home. With Trent, yes. But also with a well-crafted lie – Trent was to be the son of Emile and Trenton. Not even Gladys and Samuel questioned them about it…at least not for very long. It helped that Trent bore a lot of Bunting features, despite his unique eyes.

Aurelia and Emile also crafted a long-term plan of prosperity upon their return to St. Croix. That plan consisted of Emile taking care of Trent while Aurelia went off to college, which is what Mr. Bunting always wanted for their daughter. Then after she graduated, she would return home and use her degree to help prosper the family.

That plan successfully stayed on track until…until Aurelia fell in love with Baron.

© 2009 by Mi’Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier


  1. This was a long post, but hopefully it helped to clear up everything about Aurelia and Trent.

  2. Jessie2:26 PM

    It is time to "spill the beans" to Baron about Trent. How will he react to this discovery? How will Trent react to finding out that the person he has grown up loving as his sister is actually his own mother? Can't wait for the next portion of the story.

  3. I agree with Jessie she needs to tell not only Baron, but also Trent who his father is. She also needs to have Baron and Marquess get Trents inheritance because that KILLER, & RAPIST SHOULDN'T HAVE IT.