I recently became a big fan of the football (soccer) game. I enjoy watching the players display their skills and the whole art of teamwork on the field. I am always fascinated by the enthusiastic chants by faithful fans and supporters despite the score line. They never give up on cheering their team on till the final whistle. And even when the results are not in their favor, they still applaud their players for their hard work. One great lesson I have learned is that every player is important-no matter how ‘insignificant’ we may esteem him to be.That is why a 10-man team will lose a match no matter how good the ten may be. A team is handicapped when it is incomplete.
But I greatly underestimated the role of the manager (coach). I thought what mattered most was the quality of players and their chemistry on the pitch. Because plans made can always be modified when the game starts. But I was proven wrong when I witnessed the aftermath of Sir Alex Ferguson’s exit as Manchester United manager.
Every avid football fan can testify to the ‘grace-to-grass’ status of the Red Devils. Many people became dismayed as the once ‘feared’ team got beaten over and over again by teams we did not even consider to be match-worthy. What changed, I ask myself? Because it is the same players who play all the time.
I am not saying the new manager is not good enough; I am sure he is worthy of his salt and he is doing everything in his power to raise the team’s flag again. My point simply is when someone on a big stage succeeds, yes he deserves the applause but the crew backstage should also receive their due credit. Every performer has a manager who makes sure that he/she gives the performance to the audience but most of the time, we forget the one pulling the strings backstage and only focus on the one in the limelight.
So whatever you do, appreciate your mentor, supervisor or teacher. Without his or her input, your talent would not be as harnessed as it is today. You may think you don’t need him but you do. Don’t wait till it’s too late before you realize that.
Ted and Lucia entered the office together hand-in-hand to meet Anita with a broad grin.
“It is good to have my best rival back. It is good to see you, Monique.”
“Thank you, Anita.”
“It was beginning to get boring around here. And happy belated birthday to you, Ted.”
“Thanks, Anita. Is that what’s left of my cake?” He asked.
“Yeah; I’ll keep it in the refrigerator. And I have present for you.”
“Oh yeah? What is it?” Anita held out a ticket.
“A musical performance by your favorite group!”
“Are you kidding me? It’s been ages since I watched them!”
“I know! That’s why I got it!”
“Wow! Thank you but it’s only…” Anita slid the other one to the side so there were two.
“You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging, did you rival?”
Lucia smiled. “For a moment, I thought you did.”
“I would never do that,” she said, giving the tickets to Ted. He hugged her.
“I appreciate it, Anita. Very sweet,” Lucia said earnestly. She saw a pile of folders.
“Oh, that’s your backlog.”
“All for me?”
“Uh huh; when you went MIA, were you thinking that someone would do your work for you?” Anita asked. Lucia glanced at Ted, puzzled. Ted shrugged and sat down.
“So what, you left it there waiting for me?”
“Of course; we knew you’d come back. What else would make a big ‘welcome back to work’ package than a pile of work?”
“I can’t believe you two. How much time do I have to finish all this?”
“Till the end of the day.”
“But the musical show is today, right? How can I make it?” Lucia asked.
“Then you must as well get to it or else I’d have to go with him,” Anita said with a wink. She glanced at Ted who smiled at her.
“Welcome back, Monique,” Anita said and walked out. Lucia sat and looked at her husband.
“You seem to be enjoying this.”
“I am. It is the wish of every man to have the women in his life dwelling together peacefully.”
Later in the afternoon, Anita entered the office to find Lucia busily working. She glanced at her watch.
“It is four o’clock! What are you doing here, Monique? You should be heading home, getting ready for the musical.”
“Yeah, I just want to be done with this file and then I leave.”
“No, no, no. You’re going to be late. And I’m not letting you ruin my present for Ted so get up.”
“I’m almost done, Anita. Chill.”
“Oh I’ll chill when I see your behind out of that door. Come on.”
“What about my work? I hate to leave work unfinished.”
“I’ll handle that one. You can continue tomorrow.”
“But you said I had to finish today.”
“Yeah I did but that doesn’t mean you should be late to the musical.”
“Whatever,” Lucia said, dropping her pen and getting up.
“He went to meet up with some associate. He said he’ll meet me at home.”
“Then you better hurry up. He’s extra time conscious when it comes to his hobbies.”
“Great.” She took her handbag.
“Thanks again for the tickets, Anita. You put a smile on his face and I’m grateful for that.”
“You’re welcome. Now go!”
Lucia watched Ted humming happily to the tune being played on radio. His face glowed with happiness as his fingers tapped on the steering wheel rhythmically.
“You seem to be in a good mood,” Lucia observed.
“Of course I am! I’m going to watch a musical! It has been ages. They have a way of making me feel lighter. You’re going to love it, Lucia.”
“I know I am. I’m just happy to see you this excited. I guess keeping the ex around has its perks.” Ted laughed.
“Yeah, it was really thoughtful of her. Her present was on point.” Lucia smiled.
The couple enjoyed every single minute of the classic performance. They shared everything from wholehearted laughter to tears and awe. When it ended, Ted was beside himself with joy. On their drive home, he couldn’t stop talking about it. Lucia held on to every word as she soaked in the moment of his joyous heartbeats.
Her heart melted to find him this happy.
She sighed when she sat on the bed to take off her shoes.
“Are you tired? I’m sorry; I must have worn you out with all my blabbing,” Ted apologized.
“No, you didn’t. It is just the stress of pregnancy kicking in.”
“Yeah and you had to work throughout the day.”
“Aha, talking about that; whose idea was it to punish me like that? Your or Anita’s?”
“What difference does it make?”
“It was yours, wasn’t it? You wanted me to pay for leaving like that.”
“Well we’re business partners and you have to pay your due.” He knelt in front of her.
“Huh; you weren’t planning on letting this go without making me sweat, right?”
“Just a tiny bit.” He kissed her tummy.
“How are you doing in there, buddy?”
“Buddy? It could be a girl.”
“In that case, sweetie. Growing in there? Hope mummy isn’t starving you.”
“Oh not at all. I can literally feel him or her gulping down everything I swallow.”
“It is good to know you have such a healthy appetite,” Ted said excitedly and kissed her tummy again. Lucia giggled.
“I missed you very much. The days you were gone were the longest and loneliest in my life.”
“I’m sorry.” She saw a yearning in his eyes which put her heart at peace. She touched his face.
“I missed that look. Honestly I got a little jumpy when you didn’t touch me last night. I thought you still had that ridiculous image of Mitch and me in your head. I was scared you wouldn’t look at me the same way again.”
“I restrained myself last night because I wanted us to talk and be conscious of where we stand as a couple. I wanted us to clear out any unfinished business before I lose myself to you. Yeah that’s what happens whenever I’m with you and I wanted to keep a straight head last night.” She nodded.
“Okay. So do you want to keep a straight head tonight too? Because if that’s what you want…”
“Oh no…last night was enough.” Lucia chuckled. They kissed.
Anita looked up from her computer to find Lucia leaning on the wall, looking at her.
“What did I do this time?”
“Nothing bad. I’m just here to say thank you for yesterday. It was amazing. You should have seen Ted. He was so excited and happy and I owe it all to you.”
“Thank you but you shouldn’t give all the credit to me. Yes he was excited about the musical but I am sure he was really excited because he got to spend that precious moment with you. You make him happy and I like that.”
“Are you saying you’re over him?” Lucia asked, cautiously, not sure which angle she was from. Anita chuckled.
“Yeah I think I am. I think I’m beginning to like someone else.”
“Oh really? Who is this fortunate/unfortunate guy?” Lucia asked curiously. They both chuckled.
“Mitch.” Lucia’s eyes widened.
“You two have been in touch?”
“Yeah. He showed up at Ted’s party. That was after you both had left. I am starting to believe that there might be something in there for us.”
“That’s good news. What about Allen?”
“He’s nice but there’s no future. I just kind of used him to get to you.”
“I know. I hope you’re choosing to be with Mitch for the right reason, Anita.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I hope you’re not substituting him for Ted in your heart.”
“Ted will always have a place in my heart and I can’t help it but I really do have feelings for Mitch.”
“Good to know. He is a great guy; a lot like Ted.”
“Yeah, I think that’s what attracted me to him.”
“We’ve been through a lot, you and me. We have been at each other’s throats just because our lives revolved around Ted. I am happy that through it all, we can still count on each other and sit and talk like friends. I’m beginning to see you as a friend, Anita.”
“Are you saying this because I’m not eyeing your husband anymore?”
Lucia chuckled. “Partly yes but I do acknowledge the fact that you do sincerely care about Ted and you did take care of him when I was away and that I owe you big time. Can we put the past behind us and be friends?”
“Sure; in our own twisted way, I believe we already are.” They smiled.
“Should we hug it out?” They stood, chuckling. They hugged.
“That’s too girly.” Ted walked in.
“Am I dreaming?” They broke apart.
“My wife and my ex hugging? The dream of every man.” They laughed.
“Anita and I have agreed to bury the hatchet and move on as friends.”
“Huh; can’t wait for the drama.”
After sharing the cake, Anita put the leftover cake and wrapped it up. Someone tapped her on the shoulder. She turned.
“Hi…I heard a surprise party was being thrown for my friend so I decided to show up.”
“Oh I’m sorry but you missed him. He left for home already.”
“So soon, but it’s his party, right?”
“Yeah but he wanted to spend time alone with his wife so he whisked her away.”
“How romantic. Then I guess you’re stuck with me for the rest of the evening. Can I have some cake, please?”
Ted killed the engine when they arrived at the compound of their matrimonial home.
“I can’t believe we didn’t spend an hour at the party. You have no idea how much I’ve invested into it,” Lucia said.
“I’ll reimburse you,” Ted said and got out of the car. She got out too.
“Yeah, that would be great. I think I need a change of wardrobe for my condition.”
“Done.” They entered the house. Ted entered the kitchen and poured wine into glasses.
“Wine, huh?” Lucia asked, taking the glass offered her. They clinked the glasses.
“Yeah; non-alcoholic,” Ted replied and sipped. Lucia sat down and Ted leaned on the wall.
“So how have you been doing?” Lucia asking, wanting to go first.
“You were gone for quite a long time,” Ted said.
“You said you needed a break. I just wanted you to have the space you wanted.”
“Yeah; I shouldn’t have said that. All we have is each other and you should be the one person that I should take a break with and not from. I’m sorry for pushing you away.”
“And I’m sorry for the whole panic attack I gave you about the baby probably not being yours…”
“We can put that behind us now,” Ted cut in.
“What do you mean? You’re ready to accept the child despite his paternity?”
“We don’t have to worry about that because the baby is ours…”
“How can you be so sure?” Lucia asked cautiously.
Ted took the envelope from his pocket and held it up.
“Oh, the results are in.”
“Yeah but I haven’t looked at it yet.”
“Because it doesn’t matter.”
“What is going on here? I don’t understand your attitude.”
“Mitch came to see me.”
“Aha! No wonder the relief in your voice,” Lucia remarked. Ted walked to her.
“I won’t deny that what Mitch had to say put my mind to rest but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t ready to make this work. I saw your package in your room when you left town.”
“The divorce papers.”
“You saw them? You were not supposed to.”
“But I did and I was hurt that you were that quick to arrive at such a decision.”
“I was just preparing myself for the worst. But now that we have the results, we can have a look at it and finally put this matter to rest.”
Lucia watched him walk towards her when she suddenly witnessed him tear the envelope up.
“Why would you do that?”
“Because we don’t need it.”
“Come on, I don’t want this to come back and haunt us.”
“It won’t. This baby is mine and I believe that. I’m sorry for not being there for you when you were in that confused state of mind but I’m here now. And I’m saying we are going to be parents soon. I have already lost enough time being with you and the baby and I don’t want to lose any more. So would you forgive me?” Ted asked as he went on his knees and took Lucia’s hands in his. Lucia smiled.
“I would even if I didn’t want to. How could I when you’re looking at me with those beautiful eyes?” Ted smiled. He pulled her down to him and gave her an affectionate kiss.
“I’d like to hear it anyway,” he said.
“I forgive you. And forgive me for making you doubt me in the first place.”
“Forgiven and forgotten.”
“Gosh, I miss home. And I’m hungry. We should have brought a piece of the cake home.”
“I’m sure Anita will bring it to the office tomorrow,” he said, standing up.
“Sure about that?”
“It is my cake; of course she will.”
“Yeah but you made it obvious you didn’t care about the cake.”
“Why would I when I have you?”
“Aww…isn’t that sweet?” Lucia said girlishly.
“Why don’t you go take a shower and let me put something together for us to eat?”
“You’re not going to join me?”
“As much as I’d like to, I have to prepare my lady something as a welcome home gesture.”
“What if I asked for something else instead?” Lucia asked, walking up to him.
“I’d say go take the shower and come eat something or else I know you’ll start whining about hunger pangs and I’ll begin to regret bringing you home so go.”
Lucia chuckled and kissed his cheek.
“I’ll be right back. Please don’t mess up my kitchen.”
“Will try.” She went upstairs.
She came back downstairs to find Ted setting the table.
“Pasta…of course. Why would I even think of anything else?”
“Hey…don’t underestimate my pasta. It tastes…”
“The same everywhere, honey,” Lucia said, sitting down.
“But mine tastes different because I cooked it…with love.”
“Yeah, smells good. Did you put something in it?”
“I’m not telling you my secret.” He sat. He took Lucia’s hand and said grace.
“Thank you Lord for bringing my wife back home and thank you for this meal. I pray that we have many more love-filled meals like this for the rest of our days, amen.”
“Amen.” They ate amidst hearty chats.
When they settled in bed about an hour later, Lucia said, “I think we should host a family dinner; you know to apologize to our parents for our separation scare.”
“Hmm…sounds like a good idea. We should do that.”
“Maybe you can prepare your love-filled pasta again,” Lucia teased.
“Very funny; it is good to have you back,” he said and kissing her hair.
“It feels good to be back.”
Life like a book has many chapters. Each page is filled with details of your story. Some good, some joyful and memorable; others bad, others messy and downright ugly. But every good story has a dark side, doesn’t it? What is my point?
It’s simple: your life is your story to tell. Some say life as we see it has already been laid out and fated for us to live out. Others say it all depends on you. The choices you make determine how the story ends. Whichever it is, it is your life and you are the only one living it.
It gets to that critical point in everyone’s life which seems pretty dark like a tunnel. You can only see light from a distance and all we want to do is run to where the light is. And we forget how and why we landed in the dark in the first place. Sometimes it a result of some bad choices; other times, it is just life trying to teach us a lesson.
When reading someone’s life in a book, you get the advantage to have a perspective which often eludes the character concerned at some critical times. For the one facing the situation, all that matters is survival. But for the one looking on, it is about seeking and picking up what is needed for the journey ahead. Sometimes we miss them (not all); at other times, we get the hint and move on.
My message is this: there is a reason why you are alive this day. Your life has a purpose. You may not get the full picture yet; all you have are some pieces which don’t seem to add up anyway. But surely all the dots will connect in the end. Some may not see where you are headed and hence do not understand why you do the things you do but don’t give up.
It is normal to hit a rock, to get stuck sometimes but it is at those moments that you get to rethink where you are going and if you’re still on track. It doesn’t matter how many times you have fallen; what does is that you got up each time much stronger and more determined to make it to the end.
It is your life; your story. Make it interesting; make it real; make it your legacy.
Every passing day presents new and evolving lifestyles and standards which are often contrary to the Christian way of life. And for the youth especially, having a sense of belonging is a priority such that, we are even prepared to compromise on certain key values so we are not counted as a social outcast statistic.
Most young people are in a dilemma. They know the assured blessings of living a godly life but they also don’t want to miss out on the fun side of life. What is wrong with being the ‘cool’ Christian? Why does it always have to be about church and fellowship meetings, acts of charity and evangelism? What’s so wrong about having a foot at both ends of the game?
My dearest, when it comes to God, there is nothing like ‘anything goes.’ There is no room for compromise. It is either you’re for Him or you’re not. Sitting on the fence actually means you belong to the ‘against’ camp so make up your mind and stick to it. And it is very possible to be a Christian and live a good life. People find it impossible because of what they wish to do on the other side.
Some unbelievers try to make a big fuss of some Christians living the comfortable life because to them, the Christian faith is associated with countless tests and trials. Riches and wealth belong to the world. That is a pitiful misconception. We who are of the Kingdom of heaven are actually the ones who have riches and peace and joy as our portion.
Shades of grey are not allowed-choose which flag you would rather hoist. Let no one make you feel small or insignificant because of your faith. Remind yourself of the eternal life you’ve received and the many blessings God has bestowed on you since you joined His family. Then you’ll realize it is nothing compared to the so-called ‘fun life’ of this world.
Inspired by “No Grey” track by Jonathan McReynolds.
Mitch entered the apartment to find a suitcase seated on the sofa.
“Monique? I’m here.” Lucia came into the room.
“Yeah, I’m going home.”
“So soon? You just got here!”
“Yeah; I came to find out what happened and now I know. I don’t see why I should stay here another day.”
“Come on; at least stay for today and let’s hang out. You can go tomorrow; I won’t stop you,” Mitch urged, approaching her. Lucia stopped him by placing her hand on his chest.
“I need to go home, Mitch. I wish I could stay, I do but it is my marriage we’re talking about here. Ted and I have not be in contact for some time now and every minute that passes by is a moment too long for us which could actually end us being separated together. And I’m not ready for that. We haven’t spent much time with the baby and I don’t want to rob him anymore of the little precious memories. I understand there may be some feelings involved here but I love my husband Mitch and I long to be in his arms again. If you care about your friend the way I know you do, you’ll let me go,” Lucia said passionately. He nodded and stepped back.
“Okay; but I’m coming too.”
“Why would you do that? I don’t need an escort.”
“I need to tell Ted exactly what happened.”
“That wouldn’t be necessary. I don’t need you to fight my battle for me.”
“But I caused this mess in the first place. I know how Ted must be feeling right now because I was there the first time when a similar thing happened. If nothing happened between us, he needs to hear it from me.”
“That is non-negotiable. I’m coming.” Lucia conceded with a sigh and smiled. She hugged him.
“Thank you, Mitch; not everyone would do this.”
“Well as you rightly said, there are feelings involved here and that’s why I’m doing this.”
“Whichever way, thank you.”
Ted opened his front door. Mitch placed his hand on it to stop him from slamming the door in his face.
“What are you doing here? How dare you show your face here?”
“We need to talk, TB.”
“The hell we do; get out of my property,” Ted shouted, attempting to slam the door at him again.
“We need to talk about what you think happened between your wife and me.” Ted glared at him. Mitch entered the house and closed the door.
“Can we please talk about this?”
“Did she send you here, to do the talking for her?”
“In fact she didn’t. She did come to see me to find out the truth since apparently she has hazy memories of that fateful night.”
“And that’s supposed to make me feel better? Well it doesn’t! Just imagining you being near her makes me sick.”
“So don’t. You shouldn’t make something that didn’t even happen poison your heart against someone you dearly love. Nothing happened between us, Ted. She was drunk, sad and heartbroken. And she kept talking about leaving you in the arms of another woman…she was bleeding within…”
“And you were there for her…being her knight and shining armor.”
“You’re not listening to me, Ted. She loves you and she wants to make things right with you. She misses you dearly…”
“She told you all that?”
“She didn’t have to. She was in a hurry to come back home when she found out the truth. But I also wanted to come here myself and clear things with you.”
“This still doesn’t change anything because I do know you have feelings for my wife.”
“That fact I won’t deny but that’s the reason why I’m here. She loves you and she’ll only be happy with you and I want to ensure that she’s happy.”
“Aren’t you the sweet guy?” Ted said with a heavy tone of sarcasm.
“Just give her another chance, Ted. Because if you let her go, someone else will grab her and that person could be me,” Mitch said honestly. Ted fisted his palms, his insides boiling with rage.
“I wish we could put this behind us and be friends again, Ted. I do miss our friendship.”
“Yeah, not in a thousand years. Now get out.”
“Fine.” Mitch walked out of the house. Ted glanced at the envelope lying on the center table. He took it and stared at it. He was tempted to tear it open and read the contents but he overcame the temptation and put it back down.
Ted entered his office and got startled out of his skin when Anita shouted, “happy birthday!” She grinned broadly.
“You startled me. It is, huh? I can’t believe I didn’t remember it myself. Probably because I’ve had a lot on my mind lately,” Ted said, sitting down.
“Or mainly because your wife is still MIA.”
“Please don’t try to ruin my birthday for me. She not being here is enough torture. No need to rub salt into my injuries.”
“Didn’t mean to.” Her phone beeped. She looked at the screen.
“Who is it?” Ted asked.
“I’m not sure. Excuse me,” Anita said and walked out. She called the number.
Hours later, Anita entered Ted’s office again.
“Okay; so I’m taking you somewhere after work today.”
“Okay; is that supposed to be where my surprise birthday party is going to be?”
“You can be such a buzzkill!”
“So I’m right,” Ted said with a smile.
“I appreciate the gesture but I just want to go home from here.”
“Oh no, that’s not happening. Too much work has gone into…I shouldn’t have said that.” Ted chuckled.
“I’m enjoying this.”
“Come on, tell me you’ll come with me.” He glanced at her.
“Fine; if I don’t, you’ll never leave me alone and I do cherish my moments of tranquility around here.”
“Great!” Anita said excitedly and walked out. Ted shook his head with a smile.
They got out of the car. Ted locked the car doors. Anita took his hand and pulled him inside.
“Wow! All these people…I can’t believe you got all of them to come. I appreciate it, Anita.”
“Oh it wasn’t me. I helped though but this beautiful setup wasn’t my idea.”
“It wasn’t? Whose was it? My mum?” Anita pointed to someone. Ted’s gaze followed her pointed finger. It landed on a very serious-looking Lucia on the phone. Ted rubbed Anita’s arm in appreciation and started towards her.
“What kind of irresponsible people are you? I told you I needed this cake here at 4p.m.! And you’re telling me it’s now on its way? I don’t blame you! I blame myself for trusting Anita’s recommendation. Better get me my cake or we’re going to have serious problems,” Lucia said angrily and cut the line. Before she could lift up her head, a hand pulled her out of the room.
“Ted…” She breathed out.
“We need to talk.”
“I know. Wanted to do this for you…”
“And I appreciate that but I’d choose spending the evening with you alone over the people in there a thousand times over. Let’s go home,” Ted said, taking her hand.
“No; we can’t leave. You have no idea what I’ve been through pulling this off. I’ve ordered your favorite cake and it’s on its way. Let’s at least wait for it and cut it, okay?”
“Then we leave.”
“Yeah sure.” They went inside. Anita walked up to them.
“The cake is in.”
“Your people are not serious at all. I will never take any recommendation from you again, Anita,” Lucia said.
“Oh come on, you wouldn’t have pulled this off if it wasn’t for me.”
“So it was Lucia who called you this morning when you were in my office.”
“Guilty as charged. Let’s go cut the cake, shall we?”
The couple cut the cake together and the people applauded. Lucia fed him with a piece and he kissed her. Anita took over with the sharing of the cake.
“Now let’s get out of here,” Ted said hurriedly, hugging her from behind.
“Don’t you have anything to tell your friends before you leave?”
“I’ll send them a note of gratitude tomorrow. Come on.”
“Anita, we’re leaving,” Lucia informed her.
“We have some things we need to talk urgently about,” Ted replied.
“Okay sure; I’ll take charge from here.”
“Thanks.” They walked out and sat in his car and drove away.
“I guess I was right to keep this apartment. I knew in my heart you would be back,” Mitch said.
“I might be here but I’m not here in the sense that you think. We need to talk, Mitch,” Lucia said coolly.
“We can talk later but I’m taking you out for dinner tonight. It is on me.”
“No Mitch; I didn’t come here to socialize. I came to clear things up.”
“Looking at your bag, you do not intend to leave anytime soon. Let’s hold it off till tomorrow at least.”
Lucia was about to insist when he stopped her by putting his index finger on her lips. Lucia froze by his gesture.
“Shush…I say let’s talk tomorrow,” Mitch said with a tone of finality. Lucia stepped back and nodded.
“I intend to leave the minute I get the information I’m looking for. I won’t spend an extra hour here. And don’t you ever touch me like that again,” Lucia warned and entered the bedroom. Mitch pocketed his hands.
Anita entered Ted’s office the next morning.
“So how did it go last night?” Ted’s moody look gave her the answer.
“What happened? You guys fought again?”
“She wasn’t at home.”
“She wasn’t? Where could she be?”
“Apparently she left without revealing her plans.”
“Of course you don’t believe that, do you?”
“Nope but what can I do? And the worst part is, I went to meet divorce papers in her room.” Anita’s eyes widened at the juicy information.
“She’s filing for divorce? Seriously? I didn’t think that if push gets to shove, she’d be the first to throw in the towel. Wow…does that mean there’s still a chance for us?” Anita asked teasingly. Ted gave her a ‘you’re-not-serious’ look. Anita laughed.
“I’m sorry; okay now I’m serious. So what are you going to do?”
“What can I do but wait for her to get back?”
“Have you tried calling her?”
“And why not?”
“I want to speak to her face-to-face. Tempers could rise over the phone and we could say regretful things.”
“The same is more likely to happen face-to-face.”
“Nope. It is better for me to wait for her to get back.”
“And when will that be exactly? Have you asked yourself where she could be at the moment?”
“Does it matter?”
“Oh it does. The last time she went out of town, she met Mitch and we both know how that turned out.” Ted turned sharply to look at her at the mention of Mitch’s name. His heart missed a beat. He immediately took his phone and speed-dialed Lucia’s number. It went straight to voicemail. He put it down, shaking his head.
Anita took out her phone.
“Who are you calling?” Ted asked.
“Mitch.” She listened for some time and canceled the call.
“He cut it,” Anita said. They stared at each other, wondering what that might imply.
Lucia watched Mitch tap ‘ignore’ on his smartphone.
“Why didn’t you pick up?”
“It is nothing important. I can always attend to it later. But now, you’ve got my full attention. I remember you being pretty distant when I came over so how can I help you now?” Mitch asked.
“I want to know exactly what happened the night you stayed over at my apartment the other night,” Lucia asked and sipped her tea.
“What do you mean, exactly what happened?”
“I drank a little too much so I don’t really remember the details of that night. So I would like you to clarify them for me.”
“And why is that?”
“Okay, I’ll go straight to the point. Did we get involved that night?”
“What? Why would you think that?”
“Because I turned out to be pregnant a few weeks after that night and I want to be sure if the baby is my husband’s or not.”
“Oh so that is why Ted stormed into my place and punched me and ordered me to leave.”
“I’m sorry about that. The whole thing is a mess. I just want to clear it up.”
Mitch burst out laughing. Lucia blinked hard, puzzled.
“And what’s so funny?”
“I can’t believe you think that lowly of me.”
“You were sad, frustrated and downright drunk. What makes you think I’ll take advantage of you like that?”
“Are you saying nothing happened?”
Why would you even think that?”
“Because when you came over, you made certain gestures, always referring to my pregnancy and touching my tummy. What else was I supposed to think?”
“I am sorry if I messed with your head. It wasn’t my intention; trust me.”
Lucia sighed in relief.
“Whew…so I didn’t cheat on him, after all.”
“But now that you’re here all sober, we could do a little something,” Mitch said teasingly with a wink. Lucia hit his hand playfully.
“Thank God. You have no idea how much damage my wrong insinuations have caused me.”
“How is Ted taking it?”
“What do you think? If I came all the way here, then you should know how serious it is.”
“I am sorry to hear that. Anything I can do to help?”
“No; I’ll handle it. I created this mess and I’ll fix it myself. I’m sorry for destroying your friendship this time. I’ll do my best to repair the damage.”
“Don’t worry yourself about it. If this hadn’t happen, I’m sure I’d have messed it up myself. I’ve taken his friendship for granted a couple of times and when it came to you, I was ready to do it again. I do have regrets about that but if the opportunity should present itself again, I’m sure I’ll make the same choice. Ted was a wise dude to marry you. You are a precious jewel.”
“Okay, enough with the buttering up. Thanks for being honest with me, Mitch. It means a lot to me. I wish we could put all this behind us and move on.”
“I wish that too.” They smiled at each other.
Ted picked up his phone when it started ringing.
“Hi Doc, what’s up?”
“The results to the paternity test are ready. Wanted to know if I should mail it to you or if you prefer to come pick it up yourself?” Dr. Grant asked, looking at the envelope.
“Um…I’ll come for it. Thanks, doc.”
“How are things between you and Lucia?”
“We’re still married. That’s good news, right?” Dr. Grant chuckled.
“It will get better, Ted. Just take heart. You love each other; you should use its strength to keep you together no matter the odds.”
“Yeah, thanks doc. I’ll come over tomorrow.”
“Okay; see you then. Bye.”