BWWM Interracial Romance 8: Mutual Attraction
observed him for a moment as though trying to read his thoughts, ultimately opening the door and stepping back with a gesture for him to come inside.
    “Thank you for talking to me,” said Neil after he’d taken a seat on the couch. “It’s I who should apologize to you, Mrs. Woodward. I’ve behaved terribly towards your daughter, and I wasn’t very respectful when you came to see me.”
    Neil wrung his hands together nervously and licked his suddenly dry lips. He’d almost not come to see Barbara’s mother, and sitting there now, he still wasn’t sure if he’d made the right decision.
    “I suppose we’ve both acted foolishly,” said Lydia from her seat opposite him. “It’s good of you to come here to say that.”
    “I’m not the kind of man who ever felt regret over any of my choices,” Neil explained. “I’ve lived a rather fortunate life, and when I look back on those things I saw as hardships, I realize that they weren’t really anything so difficult compared to what many others have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s a terrible cliché to say that I was too accustomed to always having things be easy, but it would be a lie to say otherwise.”
    “I’m not sure what you’re getting at,” said Lydia. “What does this have to do with me or my daughter?”
    “Barbara is the first thing in my life that scared me,” he said. “She’s so strong and stubborn, and don’t tell her I admitted this, but I’m pretty sure she’s smarter than me.”
    “I know how special my baby girl is,” said Lydia.
    “I knew it from the moment I met her,” said Neil, “but I let it intimidate me instead of welcoming it. For the last few weeks, I’ve been living with my regret over losing her. I pushed her away when I should have pulled her in, and chose what I thought was the easy road of retreating and not dealing with the fact that having a baby with someone I loved would change my life.”
    Lydia nodded slowly, encouraging him to continue.
    “I love your daughter, Mrs. Woodward,” he said. “It’s my greatest shame that I never told her as much, but I do love her. It terrified me to think about what that meant for my future, and I was so stupidly selfish that I let the best thing in my life slip out of my hands before I even knew what I was doing.”
    Barbara leaned forward and clasped her hands together, resting them on her knees. “Those are some emotional words, Neil, but I have to wonder why you’re telling me this instead of telling them to the person who needs to hear them.”
    “I came to you because I don’t want to bring any more pain into Barbara’s life,” he said. “It feels like I’m still being selfish in wanting her to take me back in light of everything that’s happened, and I was hoping that you could help me figure out what to do. No one knows Barbara better than you do, and if you tell me to walk out that door and leave her alone, then that’s what I’ll do.”
    “You really do care about her?” asked Lydia. “And about the little girl she’s about to bring into this world?”
    Neil’s face went white, and after a moment of shock, a large smile spread across his lips.
    “It’s a girl?” he asked, his voice a mixture of awe and bewilderment. “My little baby is going to be a girl?”
    “You didn’t know?” asked Lydia.
    Neil shook his head. “She hadn’t found out last time we talked.”
    “Raising a daughter isn’t easy,” said Lydia. “I should know. Are you ready for what it means to be a daddy to a little girl that’s going to need all of your love and protection?”
    “Honestly? I didn’t think I was capable of it when I first found out that Barbara was pregnant,” said Neil. “It’s all I’ve been able to think about these past few weeks though, and I realized that I was just too afraid to admit to myself how much I wanted it. I am fully ready to commit to Barbara and our daughter if it’s not too late for me to be a part of their lives. I

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