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Writing is one thing I passionately love and sharing with you is my greatest joy…

What Was I Thinking? XLIX


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It has been five days. Five whole days. The frenzied texts from Sabrina escalated my worries. Adam had gone completely dark and I couldn’t tell if he wanted to be out of reach for a while following our last encounter or he had been taken. If it weren’t for Sabrina, I’d have comforted myself with the former because Fitz insisted he didn’t know where Adam was and I was inclined to believe him. I knew Adam’s confrontation angered him but I also knew he was too classy to do anything dirty. Besides, he had been more than a gentleman in this whole matter. The fact that he still treated me with respect after everything I had subjected him to, proved what an angel he was…but who can tell if he had something up his sleeves?
“Maybe if you told Sabrina what happened the last time you saw him, she’d understand how it’s possible that Adam could have gone MIA because he wanted to,” Karen said.
“No; she can’t know. She’s his best friend and I don’t know how long and deep their ties are. Even if I did, she might still expect Adam to reach out to her. And I don’t want her to hate me for what I’ve done to him.”
“And why should it matter to you if she hates you? She’s not your friend.”
“Because our generation loves to offload their frustrations on to social media and I can’t afford to drag Fitz’s name and reputation through that humiliation because I did something stupid.”
“Oh wow; that’s very thoughtful of you, Em. I haven’t even thought about it that way. I must say, matrimony has wised you up.”
“Maybe; I think living with Fitz has taught me a lot. And that is why I’m finding it hard to accept that Fitz might be involved in Adam’s unofficial missing status.”
“But you can’t deny the fact he going dark right after his altercation with your husband seems more than a coincidence,” Karen pointed out.
“Yep. Even he doesn’t want to talk to me; he should at least get in touch with Sabrina so I can sleep at night.”
“So you miss him?”
“Of course I do but I don’t have the right to. I can’t eat my cake and have it. Talking about cakes…”
“There is no patisserie around here, Em.”
“I beg to differ,” I said, taking my phone.
“We’re not going to change our route because you crave for a cake.”
“Not just any cake, honey. Cream cake or chocolate cake or we can have both!”
Karen shook her head as she concentrated on her driving. I felt a sharp pain in my tummy which made me wince. Karen glanced at me when she noticed me touching my tummy.
“Are you okay?”
“I felt something….aaarrrrggghhh!” Karen’s eyes widened.
“Is that…blood?” I looked down at myself. I felt panic rising inside me. I looked up at her and I could see the fear in her eyes as well. She upped her speed and another sharp pain slashed through me. My eyes began to fill with tears.
“Just breathe, Em. As much as I wanted to, I felt more comfort giving in to the oblivion swallowing me up than waking up to the pain which seemed to aggravate with every breath I inhaled.
“Emily, can you hear me?”
Oh boy, even if I wanted to die, Karen wasn’t going to let me do so in peace.
I tried to murmur something but my voice was gone. I felt pain all over. I screamed.
“Hold on, Emily. We’re almost there.”

As they rushed me inside, I managed to talk through my pain, telling Karen to call my husband. She nodded and stopped just as I was dragged into the OR. I forced a smile but she knew the smile was only on my lips.
She called Fitz. He picked up at the second ring.
“Karen, is everything okay?”
“No, Fitz. Emily is in the OR. She started bleeding and she was in very deep pain. I’m scared, Fitz.”
“I’ll be right there. Call me immediately you receive an update.”
“I will; please hurry, Fitz.”
“I will.” He ended the call.
After pacing around for a few minutes, Karen called Adam’s line but it went straight to voicemail.
“Adam, this is Karen. I’d not be calling you if it weren’t serious. Emily is in the OR and it’s not looking good. I’m not asking you to rush here or anything but you deserve to know what’s happening. For everyone’s sake, I hope Emily comes out alive.” She ended her message. She wiped the stream of tears on her face.
A nurse rushed out of the OR.
“Karen?” I turned.
“Your friend is very distressed. Could you come and help keep her calm till the doctor comes in?” I rushed after her.
She held my hand and touched my hair.
“Emily…”
“You’re here.”
“Yes, I am. We’re in this together, remember?” I nodded.
“In case I don’t make it, please tell Adam…”
“Don’t talk like that, Emily. You’re going to come out of this. I need you to believe that.”
“Tell him I’m sorry and I love him.”
“You tell him yourself, okay?” I tightened my grip on her hand with all the strength left in me.
“Promise me, Karen.”
“You’re going to be fine.” The doctor came in.
“Okay…what do we know?”
They started talking in terms that got my head swirling. Judging from my look on Karen’s face, she was lost as well.
“You’d have to leave now.” Karen looked down on me.
“Stay strong, okay? No matter how comforting it feels to give up, don’t give in. Fitz is waiting for you, the baby is counting on you and I need you so come back, okay?”
I nodded. She smiled through her tear filled eyes. I watched her as she was escorted out. I looked around the room and everyone’s face conveyed a different message. Was I dying?

“Fitz!” Karen rushed to him and broke into uncontrollable sobs in his arms.
“How is she?”
“Not good. She’s weak and she has lost a lot of blood.”
“If only she had listened to me and had gone abroad…”

I looked on as my two loves shared their fears but held on to their hopes. If only I could tell them I was going to be fine. Wait, how come I could see them? Wasn’t I supposed to be on the operating table?

The doctor came out and the look he wore wasn’t good news.
“Mr. Daniels, I’m afraid there’s a problem.”
“I don’t have the time to go into the details but the baby needs to come out now and the mother’s condition isn’t any good either. Just wanted to know what your decision would be when it comes down to saving one of them.”
“The mother; save her,” Karen said impatiently.
“I know you’re concerned but it’s her spouse’s wishes which will be considered here.”
“That’s what he wants. That’s what we both want,” Karen said.
The doctor glanced at Fitz. So did Karen. Why wasn’t Fitz saying anything?
“Fitz?” There was no time for this.
“Mr. Daniels, I need to know…”
“Save the baby.”
“What? Fitz!” Karen cried out in shock.
The doctor met his eyes to be sure and when he was, he gave a nod and headed back into the OR.
“What have you done, Fitz?”
“She’ll be fine, Karen.”
“Fine? If she was going to be fine, would he have come out to ask what your choice would be? I can’t believe you just sentenced her to die, Fitz!”
“She won’t die. I’m doing this for her.”
“How is signing her death warrant in her best interests?”
“She has always proved that the baby was more important than anything else. She chose the baby over me over and over again. I’m not going to take that away from her.”
“Oh so this is payback, huh? Trying to punish her for her choices?” He turned to face her squarely.
“Take it or leave it; I’m doing this for her.”
“And if she doesn’t make it? You’d selflessly care for the baby which isn’t even yours?”
“Watch it, Karen!”
“You’re doing this to spite Adam, aren’t you? You just offered up my friend to be slaughtered on the operating table!”
“Calm down, Karen.”
“Calm down? You’ve killed my friend! I hate you!”
She felt a hand on her arm, pulling her back.
“It’s all right, Karen.” She turned and saw that it was James. What was he doing here? She must have called him.
“Let’s go get some fresh air,” he said, pulling her gently. He nodded at Fitz and pulled her back.
“You killed Emily! You killed her! Emily!”

Karen threw up into the sink. She splashed water on her face and held on to the sink as she began panting.
“Are you okay?”
“Fitz is going to get Emily killed, James. He’s going to let her die.”
“What do you mean?”
“He chose the baby over Emily.”
“Why would he do that?” As much she wanted to, she couldn’t tell him the truth.
“Because he’s dangerous vengeful jerk!” She threw up again and wiped her mouth.
“Emily!”

I heard my name echoing from a distance. I felt myself growing fainter. Where was I? Where was I going?

***
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Celebrity Status: Role Playing or Life Living?


Feels great to be in front of the cameras but not every time…

You think you know all about me because you’ve read my profile on Wikipedia. You think I’ve got it all covered because you saw the preview of my ‘fabulous’ lifestyle on TV. You think I’m forever happy because you see me smiling on magazine covers and posing on red carpets looking all charming. If only you knew…

I remember staring at the movie and music stars on my TV screen in admiration when I was little. It was then that I promised myself I would end up like them when I grew up.
Since I was little, I prepared myself for the life of fame. Dressing the part, speaking the part, signing the part,smiling and waving the part, living the part but my wildest imagination couldn’t fathom was how to live with myself after losing myself.
I learnt in the hardest way that my life wasn’t mine to own anymore. The moment I entered your living and bedrooms on your screens, I lost the key to my private life.

In the beginning, I found it flattering that the world wanted to know every inch of my life, including my diet, my keep-fit schedules even down to where I do my grocery shopping. My tweets became others’ status updates, crowned with thousands of likes, retweets and favorites whether I made sense or not. I felt like a role model. I knew it was a huge responsibility and I was ready to take it on but how do I succeed when I’m doomed to fail before I could even start?

With the cameras zooming in on my every step and the paparazzi hounding me and buzzing like flies, it was only a matter of time for me to miss a step along the way. And guess who the people to cast the first stone were? The very people I was trying so hard to please!

Then I realized it was a lost cause, how my efforts to make my life make sense were all in vain. The media extends its matchmaking services to me without me soliciting for them. My love life was everyone’s business and TV panelists thought it was their God-given right to judge my choices.
I had to run to rehab not because of the cover story that I was depressed or anything of the sort; I just wanted to have a few weeks to myself. I needed time, space peace and quiet to figure out the pieces which was my life. I couldn’t believe I was running from everything that I had toiled so hard for so I could at least catch a good night’s sleep. Away from my queen sized bed with the soft fluffy pillows! All was vanity!

So don’t assume that my life is perfect because the various entertainment shows brand it so. Behind the envious glam is the incomparable desire to stay covered under the naked glare of the camera flashes. I’m not saying it’s all bad; it has its perks so it makes sense to enjoy it as it lasts.

Photo credits to Google Images.

But if there’s anything I have learnt from this life, it would be that it’s the little things that make life meaningful. As they say, there is beauty in simplicity. If I could trade the fame I had dreamed of for years for a simple life, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second.
Who knows, maybe when my time in the limelight expires and someone else gets the spot, maybe I could live the life I really want. This is not to discourage anyone from living the life they wish in the near future but not the make the same mistakes I made.

Being a celebrity is a privilege to do something which will last in the sands of time. Fancy parties will come and go and scandals are like a taint which will never fade. So it is not who you wear and where you wear it to that count, but the legacy you leave behind after the spotlight has moved on from you.

So as you plan to get on stage, plan well on how to keep your life together both on and off the red carpet. Your life is going to be a channel for many people to watch. Make sure it’s not about your life being a nose dive, travelling from something to nothing. Instead, let it be a documentary of a life worth emulating and forever remembered.

***
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Scarred but not Damaged


I have always admired people with bodies ‘without blemish.’ I always perceive them to have lived comfortable lives thus not having to engage in tasks that would taint the body. Or even if their lives were not that comfortable, they took enough care of their bodies such that their hardships would not be visible to every watching eye.
In the same way, no matter how accomplished someone is in his/her field; I find the presence of black spots especially on the legs gross. I’m tempted to think, ‘Perhaps he didn’t know he’d grow up to be this important so he didn’t think of taking better care of his body.’ Thus, I found it almost unforgivable when people mar the lives of others by scarring the bodies with acid and other weapons.

But I’ve realized how vain I was to focus on the perfection of a body that would end up six feet down anyway. Because at the end of the day, when we go up to meet the Father, we will be given heavenly bodies devoid of all blemish and we will have this amazing body for all eternity.
And one sort of scar which isn’t drawn on a person’s face but deeply damages him is the emotional one. These scars could be well concealed with cool looks, charming smiles and conservative moods. You wouldn’t know what someone is dealing with till you draw closer.

Photo credits to Google Images.

We are all born the same but life deals with each one of us differently. We all go through the fire; some come out well refined like gold, others come out burnt like wood. Some scars remind us of where we’ve been on the way to where we are headed. It doesn’t matter what people perceive of you when they see the scars, what matters is what they mean to you.
Instead of looking down on your scars with disdain, look at them with pride because they made you stronger, wiser and well prepped for whatever lies ahead.

Life isn’t fair and no one is perfect so it’s nearly impossible to live out your days without scars. Physical ones are shameful but the emotional ones are dangerous. Let them strengthen you on your journey, not retard you. After all, we are made of clay and dust we will return to after we’ve drawn our last breath.

So never again will I look down on someone with scars because I don’t know what he/she has been through. I am dealing with mine and I expect others to respect that so why make someone else’s my business? Smooth skins don’t necessarily mean smooth lives; the same way scarred bodies don’t mean irreversibly damaged lives. No need to pay much attention to a canvas which will end up rotting anyway when what really matters is where we will end up beyond this world.

What Was I Thinking? XLVIII


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He got up when the grey Ford pulled up in front of him. He walked to the other side, opened the door and sat inside.
Fitz opened his palm. The younger man handed him a brown envelope. Fitz opened it.
“Nothing happened, sir. No communication whatsoever.”
“You’re sure?”
“Yeah, they came face-to-face at the campus party but that lasted for a few seconds. They haven’t met ever since.”
Fitz nodded. He picked the stuffed envelope beside him and handed it to the young man.
“Thanks, sir. Nice doing business with you. Till next time.”
“I don’t hope for a next time.” He nodded and got out of the car. The car drove away. He glanced at the photos in the envelope. Fitz sighed in relief.
“I can trust my wife again.”

I was painting my fingernails whiles Karen helped Rose set the table.
“Wow…just look at the Queen having a jolly time whiles we make lunch ready for her,” Karen said cynically.
“Don’t grumble, my loyal servant. You shall be duly rewarded when my Lord arrives,” I replied.
“Epitome of annoyance.”
“I just want to make sure I look perfect for my husband when he gets home.”
“And what if the food is burnt?”
“Well, he’d know it wasn’t my fault because I wouldn’t even cook in the first place.”
“Amazing how you can say that with pride.”
“I’m not saying I’m proud about it, honey. I’m just being honest,” I sang out.
Karen shook her head and joined me on the couch. I showed her my hand.
“Looks good.” I smiled proudly.
The door opened and we both turned.
“I’m home!” I got up.
“Finally!” I started my way towards him.
“You’re still pregnant? Thought you’d have delivered by now,” he said mockingly.
“Very funny.” We hugged.
“Hi Karen; thanks for taking care of her for me.”
“You’re very much welcome, Fitz. Having to deal with pregnant Em has indeed an experience.”
“She hasn’t done a good job, Fitz.”
“Oh really?” Karen placed her hands on her hips. I pulled out my tongue at her.
The driver brought in his suitcase. Rose took it upstairs.
“Lunch is ready, honey. Would you want to freshen up first?”
“I’ll just have a change of clothes. And thanks for making lunch, Karen,” Fitz said.
I gaped at him. “How do you know it wasn’t me who prepared lunch?”
“Come on, honey,” he said and kissed my hair, “we all know that as the gospel truth.” Karen laughed.
“I’ll surprise you both one of these days.”
“Can’t wait for that day!” Karen said. We all laughed.
“I’ll go and get changed.”
“Thanks for being here, Karen. Means a lot to me.”
“What are friends for? Let’s go sit down.”

We began eating after Karen said grace. I asked Fitz about his trip and he narrated his schedule which included intermittent visits to some old friends.
“Did you see Lizzy?”
“No. I haven’t seen her since I was at the hospital. How is campus?”
“Same old same old; lectures, assignments, eating, sleeping.”
“Heard from Adam yet?” Fitz asked. I looked at him curiously.
“What do you mean?”
“The contract. Has he come to terms with it?”
“Well, I haven’t heard from him so I wouldn’t know.”
“Okay, I’ll call him.” Karen and I shared a look.
“So…have you two come up with baby names?” Karen asked.
“Not really; I was thinking…” I began.
“I think Adam will do just fine.” I turned my head sharply to look at him. He shrugged as he sipped his water. I waited for him to put his glass down.
“I don’t think that’s a good…”
“If we’re compelling him to waive his rights, the least thing we can do is name the child after him.”
“Then maybe we shouldn’t make him waive his rights,” I said.
“What are you talking about?”
“He feels like he’s selling out his child to make a career and he hates that. He hasn’t made any move challenging you over the paternity of the child. Why stir up trouble when trouble is nowhere near?”
“I think it’s better if we clear this issue before the baby arrives.”
“Whatever you say.”
“Name her Karen if she’s a girl.” Fitz and I glanced at her. She smiled coolly and I shook my head.

A few days passed and Fitz said nothing about the Adam issue so I assumed he had let it go. Little did I know…
“Honey, I’ll be out for a little while. I’m meeting a colleague for a short talk. I’ll be back before you know it.” I nodded and he bent to kiss me when we heard the doorbell ring.
“Is Karen coming over?”
“No; I’m not expecting anyone. Are you?”
“No. Let me go and see who it is.”
Rose opened the door whiles Fitz was making his way downstairs.
“What are you doing here? I told you to meet me at the…”
“I know. But I have something to say and I want Emily to hear it too.”
“You have no right to…”
“Honey, who is it?” I asked as I came out of the bedroom.
“It’s me, Emily.”
“Adam?” I came downstairs. Fitz looked very aggravated and Adam looked like he had just gone a marathon.
“What is going on?”
“Your husband asked us to meet at his office but I wanted to come here. He wants the contract over and done with.”
“Fitz?”
“I don’t have a copy of the contract here. It is at the office; that is why I asked us to meet there.”
Adam turned to face him.
“Well, I didn’t come here to sign any document.”
“Then why are you here?”
“We all know that I knocking your wife up was doing you a big favor so it’s about time you acted like it.”
“Adam!” He looked at me.
“I figured it out. When you said, the baby was a gift to you two, I realized that his vasectomy story was a sham.”
“You told him?” Fitz asked me, shocked.
“Of course I did. I had just realized I was carrying another man’s baby. How else could I have explained it to him?”
“You don’t go round telling your one night stand your husband’s private details!”
“Don’t shout at her. Who could have imagined that a powerful man like Mr. Fitz Daniels would be the kind shooting blanks and paying off guys who knock up his wife?”
“Don’t you dare to talk to me like that!” Fitz charged towards Adam. I pushed Adam away and stood in between them.
“Everyone, calm down! We’re not going to go anywhere like this. Now listen to me Adam, the fact that you fathered this baby doesn’t give you the right to talk to my husband like that. This was my fault, no one else’s. We had our fun while it lasted but even if we could turn back the hands of time, I’d still choose Fitz.”
“Emily…”
“Fitz is a man of his word and he will honor the business contract with you but I need you to give him his due respect. I made you commit an unforgivable sin even before you met Fitz and I’m sorry. But please don’t say anymore.” I turned to face my husband who was still glaring at Adam.
“And you are not going to make him sign anything, Fitz. It’s enough ripping Adam from his flesh and blood. He’s not going to challenge you from playing the father role. Or are you?” directing the question to Adam. He only stared at me.
“Then this settles it.” Fitz and Adam continued to lock angry gazes.
“Adam is going to have his fair share of access to the baby…”
“Wait, what? Are we having a threesome marriage or something? I don’t know why I’m even tolerating this. Some men would even have…”
“Even what, thrown her out? Why don’t you? Because I’d love to take her as mine.”
I held the sides of my head. This would have been every woman’s dream; to have two great guys fighting over her but here I was, heartbroken over it all.
“You’ve really got some balls to talk to me like that.”
“Of course I do. My balls got juice. The evidence is right in front of you. What about yours?” he said, pointing to my tummy. I short-lived his gloating moment by slapping him hard on the face. His shock was visible to all.
I had to before Fitz did and something told me if he had, Adam would be deeply hurt.
“That is gross disrespect, Adam. He is my husband and your sponsor and nothing changes that. Just leave before you say something you can’t take back.”
He rubbed his assaulted cheek and glared at Fitz.
“Just so you know, I’ll be filing for custody when the baby is born. Let’s see how your marriage can stand that,” Adam warned and walked out.
“Did you hear that? That’s what I wanted to avoid,” Fitz said.
“He doesn’t mean it. He’s just trying to get under your skin.”
“Well, he succeeded because he got into my bones and take it from me, he’s going to pay for that,” Fitz vowed and went back upstairs.
I sat down in exhaustion and rubbed my tummy. You’re not even out yet and there’s a war between your two daddies, I muttered.

Some days passed and Fitz seemed to have gotten over the confrontation with Adam. I came out of the bathroom one evening to find my phone ringing. It was an unknown number.
“Hello?”
“Emily?” It was a female voice.
“Who wants to know?”
“It’s me, Sabrina.”
“Oh hi. I asked Adam of you some time back. Hope you’re good.”
“I will be. Have you heard from Adam today?”
“No, I haven’t. Why, what’s up?”
“I haven’t heard from Adam for three days now. At first, it would go straight to voicemail but now it’s off. Adam isn’t the kind to just go dark and even if he wants to do so, he’d let me know so I don’t get worried. But I don’t know…I have a bad feeling about this, Emily.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“We haven’t really been chatting these days so I had no idea. What do you think we should do?”
“I don’t know if it’s too early but I was considering going to the police.”
“You think he’s missing?”
“I don’t know what to think, Emily and it’s freaking me out. Three days is too long.”
“I agree. Let’s wait tonight out and if he doesn’t turn up tomorrow, then you can go and tell the police.”
“Okay; and if he happens to call you…”
“I’ll let you know immediately. Thanks for informing me, Sabrina.”
“Sure. Bye.” She ended the call.
I dialed Adam’s number but it was off. Where was he?
Well, he succeeded because he got into my bones and take it from me, he’s going to pay for that, Fitz’s words rang out in my mind. Fitz couldn’t have… I shuddered at the thought.
I quickly dressed and went downstairs where Fitz sat, listening to the news. I approached with slow, steady steps. He glanced over at me.
“Are you feeling okay?”
“Not so much. When was the last time you heard from Adam?” I couldn’t waste time beating about the bush.
“I was hoping we wouldn’t have to talk about that brute ever again.”
“That doesn’t answer my question.”
“Since the day he came here. Why?”
“His friend just called. Apparently, Adam has gone MIA for at least three days.”
“Which friend? I didn’t know you two had any shared friends.”
“You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?”
“I’m sorry you lost me.”
“Do you know where Adam is?” Fitz chuckled.
“Excuse me? Are you accusing me of something?”
“No, it was an innocent question. Do you…?”
“No, I don’t. Besides, why would I? I’m not his bodyguard.”
“Fitz, I know this whole situation hasn’t been easy on you but if you’ve anything to do with his disappearance…”
“What would you do?” He got and walked to me. I fisted my palms so they wouldn’t tremble.
“Huh, would you report me to the police as a suspect?”
“Fitz…”
“You were here when that twit was running his mouth telling me his balls got juice and I was shooting blanks…”
“We both agree he was out of line with that statement.”
“Out of line? He insulted me, Emily!”
“Fine; what has that got to do with what I’m asking right now?”
“What it’s got to do with it is my answer that I don’t give a rat’s ass if he’s been thrown into the Atlantic Ocean.”
“He’s under your management. If he really is missing, don’t you think people would be asking you questions?”
“The PR will handle that. And so that I’m absolutely clear, I have no idea where your lover boy is,” he spat the words at me. I winced. Fitz started to walk away.
“Don’t you walk away from me, Fitz. We’re not done talking.”
“I’m done so if you’re not, you can talk to the baby. After all, it’s his, right?”
I let out a groan and managed to sit down. Keeping this baby was clearly a mistake.
Where are you, Adam? I muttered.

What Was I Thinking? XLVII


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Karen’s face broke into a smile when Fitz pulled the car to a halt in front of the hostel.
“Hey,” she said when the windows rolled down.
“Hi Karen; how are you doing?”
“By God’s grace, I’m well. How about you?”
“We’re good too. I’m sorry I have to bring her here, I know she’s my responsibility.”
“Oh don’t mention it; I love to have her with me.”
“I even suggested you coming over to our house instead but Emily said you’d prefer it here on campus.”
“Yeah, we don’t have to deal with traffic here on campus.”
“Sure; I’ve instructed the driver to bring the car for your use whiles I’m away.”
“How long will you be gone?”
“Two weeks but I hope to return earlier than that.”
“Okay.” I glanced at my husband and then at my best friend as they talked as if I was being dropped at my babysitter’s.
“Promise me you’ll take good care of yourself, Em,” Fitz said.
“I will, Fitz. And you take care too.”
“I will.” He kissed my cheek and I opened the door. Karen held it and helped me out of the car. She took my suitcase from the back seat and closed the door.
“Let me know when you arrive,” I said.
“I will, honey.” I blew him a kiss and he waved. He drove away.
“Welcome back to campus, darling. I hope the college girl is still there in you somewhere.”
“Of course she is. I’m having some cravings right now.”
“Oh no, I forgot how irritating that can be. Let’s go in.”

I scowled as I glanced through the course outline Karen had just handed me.
“We are going to study all these?”
“Yep; you should see the other ones. It looks like the lecturers conspired to give us a hard time this semester.”
“I see. Do you know anyone who has a thing for pregnant yet sexy girls?”
“Why?”
“I need someone to cover the many assignments yet to come.” She chuckled.
“Very funny. Maybe you should call Tony. Who knows, he might still be interested,” she teased. I rolled my eyes at her.
“I have enough drama going on in my life. I don’t need a Tony-ful dose of it.”
“Talking of drama, how are things between you and Adam?”
“Haven’t heard from him since he came here a week ago. It’s been dead silent. His withdrawal is actually creeping me out. I know I asked him to let go but now that he has, I feel like I lost a piece of me.”
“You want to see him?”
“No; it’s better this way. I’ll get over it. I have to.” Karen nodded.

Transiting between the hostel and the lecture halls got easier thanks to the car made available to me. Karen was more than glad to chauffeur us around. When too exhausted to prepare lunch, we’d get some food to buy after which we’d catch a nap before the next one.
I lay on my bed during one of our siesta times looking at my contacts’ display photos on WhatsApp since I wasn’t sleepy. Some were cute, others funny and others…all I could say was “what were they thinking?!”
I paused on the scrolling when it got to Adam’s name. I clicked on his photo to take a better look. I stared at his photo for some time. I missed him though I had no right to. I went on to read his status: The only direction left for me is to move forward but I’m heartbroken about the One I have to leave behind. 
I blinked and tears gathered in my eyes. I exited the app and put the phone down. If I have to forget about him, this wasn’t the way. But how could I when every heartbeat reminded me of him?

We were goofing around when someone slipped a mini poster under the door. Karen went for it.
“Aha! I was beginning to think it wouldn’t come off this time.”
“What is it?”
“The back to campus paaarrttyyy!” She said excitedly.
“Ah yeah, forgot we used to have those.”
“Please don’t tell me pregnancy is making you lose your edge because I miss her.”
“Well, it depends. Who’s on the bill?”
“Well…the usual.” She hesitated when she saw Adam’s name.
“What is it?”
“Nothing. You’re coming, right?”
“I’ll think about it.”
“Come on, Em! Shake off this gloomy mood. I’m sure the baby is tired of your mood swings as well. Let’s go and have fun. I’ll get you a chair if it comes to that.”
“You’re a terrible babysitter, you know that?” She chuckled.
“I didn’t think I was babysitting anyone unless you’ve become a baby now.” I threw a pillow at her. She laughed. There was a knock and the door opened.
“Got you your crave of the hour: shawarma. Here you go.” I looked at it.
“What is it, Em?” Karen asked. I gave her one of my childish looks.
“I really don’t feel like eating it anymore. What I’d like is…”
“Ugh…ugh, you’re not doing this again, Em! Do you realize how much we’ve spent on your on-and-off cravings so far?”
“Don’t worry about that. Fitz will reimburse you.”
“That’s not the point! Go take a look at the fridge. It’s full of your neglected cravings.”
“So eat them.”
“And have you request them again after I’ve finished them? Not again. Once bitten, twice shy.”
“Fine,” I said as I took the wrapped snack from James.
“Got to go. I’m going to watch an EPL match with the guys.”
“Let me guess…Chelsea is playing.” James grinned. He kissed Karen on the cheek.
“Thanks, Jay.”
“My pleasure.”
“Oh so you wouldn’t mind buying…?” They both glared at me so I shut up.
“I was testing you which you have obviously failed.”
“Hope I’ll be seeing you both at the back to campus party.”
“Ah well, if baby mama over here doesn’t ruin it for me, sure.”
“I might consider it if you make one more round for me.”
“See you ladies,” he said and walked out. I laughed.
“Maybe Fitz doesn’t even have a business meeting out there, he just dumped you on me because he couldn’t take it anymore.”
“Ouch; that’s mean, Karen.”
“I’m just being honest,” she said with a shrug.

“How do I look?”
“Go girl, this is the Emily I know and love. You make pregnancy look hot,” Karen said.
I beamed with smiles. I missed campus and campus missed me. I had to let campus know that I was back…baby bump and all.

The party had just begun when we arrived. I saw some of my course mates and we exchanged hugs and pleasantries. It was going to be a good night, I thought.
The MC interrupted the music playing and shouted, “The sensational lover boy just dropped. Let’s show him some love, shall we?” This was greeted with loud cheers and applause.
“Who’s he talking about?” I froze when I saw Adam approaching. Thankfully, he was being flogged with a lot of fans so he didn’t see me.
“Hey…got you your sausage,” Karen said as she came up behind me. I turned to face her.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Tell you what?”
“I’m so glad to be back among you guys. The last time I was here was awesome and I have a lot of fond memories of that night,” Adam said over the microphone.
“Oh that…wanted it to be a surprise. You still do like surprises, right?” She said with a silly grin on her face. I snatched the sausage stick from her and bit into one.
“That’s my girl,” Karen said, rubbing my back.
“Fond? Sounds like a girl was involved,” the MC teased. Laughter rang out. Adam chuckled.
“Yeah, you’re right. I kissed a girl that night.” The guys whistled. I rubbed my forehead.
“Oh so there was a kissing? I don’t remember any such account from you,” Karen said. I arched a brow at her.
“Do you tell me all the details about your moments with James?” Karen conceded with a nod.
“So is she here tonight?” the MC probed.
“Not too sure; we are at a…what should I call it…a crossroad right now.”
“Uh huh.”
“But we’re here to have fun, right?” The people cheered in response.
“Yeah, so let’s all put our love troubles on hold for tonight, all right?”
“Yeah!”
Karen looked at me when I nudged her arm with my elbow.
“What should I do with the stick?”
“I don’t know…throw it away?” She snatched it from me.
“You’re lucky Fitz asked me to be nice.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.”
James joined us a few minutes later.
“Let’s go get some drinks,” he said to Karen.
“I don’t want to leave…”
“Oh don’t worry about me. You two go; I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m pregnant, not invalid, Karen. I’ll be fine.”
“We’ll be right back.” I hugged myself. I felt a soft tap on my shoulder.
“Hello, Mrs. Daniels.”
“Hi Tony. How did you notice me?”
“Well, you don’t find a lot of pregnant ladies in a crowd like this. It was good for you to come.”
“Yeah, I missed this.”
“Where’s your Siamese twin?”
“She went to get some drinks.”
“Do you mind if I keep you company?”
“No; I don’t. Thanks.” He was quiet for a while.
“How are things between you and Mr. Lover Boy over there?”
“What do you mean?”
“You know…you two still cool?” I shrugged.
“We’re okay.”
“Are you two on a crossroad?”
“If you’re going to bombard me with questions, I suggest you leave me alone.”
“Fine. You look good though.”
“Thanks.”
“It was a mistake for me to let you go.”
“No, it wasn’t. We were not meant to be, Tony.”
“Maybe but we could have parted on friendlier terms.”
“Yeah maybe but it’s all good. Look at us now, chatting like old friends.”
“I’m also glad you found a good man like Mr. Daniels. He’ll take great care of you.”
“He has. And I’m sure you’ll also find someone worthy for you to take great care of,” I said, looking at him. He smiled.
“Thanks.” I shuddered a little.
“Feeling cold?”
“No; I’m good.”
“Who do we have here?” Karen’s voice rang out behind us.
“Hello to you too, Karen,” Tony said. Tony and James shook hands.
“I was keeping her company.”
“Aww…so kind of you.”
“I’ll take my leave now since your other half has arrived. Enjoy the rest of the night, Em.”
“Thanks, you too; Tony.” He hugged me sideways and kissed my cheek. He walked away.
“Kiss on the cheek, was it? No love lost there,” Karen pointed out. I ignored her as I took my can drink from her and took a swig.
“Adam is available for anyone who wants to take a selfie…just make your way to the spot over here…”
My phone rang. Fitz was calling.
“Excuse me guys,” I said and made my way towards quieter place.
“Hi honey.”
“Hey, how are you holding up? Karen informed me about this campus party. Is that where you are at the moment?”
“Yeah; it’s pretty fun. Where are you?”
“Just closed from a meeting. On my way to my hotel room.”
“Eaten something?”
“I’ll order room service. Let me not take you away from the fun. Have a good night, sweetie.”
“You too, darling. Thanks for calling.”
“Anytime.” The call ended.
I smiled at the phone and turned to the way I had come.
“Ouch.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bump into…” There he was. I had a lot to say but all I could do was just stare.
“You two know each other?” A lady asked.
“Yeah, hi,” I said weakly.
“Hi.”
“Ex-girlfriend?”
“No, just someone I used to know,” Adam said and walked away.
My head began to ache. I walked to Karen who paused in her chat with James.
“Are you okay?”
“I just have a headache. I think I’ll go back to the room now.”
“So soon?”
“Yeah. Let me have the keys.”
“You want to drive?”
“I want to go but you have to stay so yeah.”
“Come on, please let’s hang around for a few minutes then we can go back together.”
“I wish I could but I need to go.”
“Fine; let me drive you.”
“No, Karen. I can drive. James will be more than glad to bring you, right?” He nodded.
“I’ll see you,” I hugged her and touched James’ arm.
A text came in and I opened the chat whiles walking to my car. A screeching tire made me stop in my tracks. My heart was pounding in fright. I looked up at my potential killer.
We locked gazes and for a moment, a déjà-vu memory came to mind. He drove off after we had both recovered from the shock. I walked to my car and sat inside. I sighed and started the car.

A mixtape of memories played in Adam’s mind. He pulled the car to a halt to find himself breathing heavily. He hit the steering wheel in frustration. He had to move on, he knew he had to but he didn’t want to leave her behind. Not after all that had happened. He put the gear in reverse.

Karen turned when she noticed someone coming toward her.
“Adam…”
“Where’s she?”
“Who?”
“Karen, please.”
“She’s gone, Adam.”
“Where? I need to see her.”
“You know you can’t, Adam. For everyone’s sake…”
“For my heart’s sake, I need to see her.”
“She’s not here. She’s gone home.”
“Home as in?”
“Home in as her husband’s house, Adam. You’ve got to let her go.”
“Uh huh, I’ll do that when she lets me go first.”
“What are you talking…?” Adam walked away. Some guys approached him and began chatting.

I was nibbling on some crackers on my bed when Karen entered.
“How was the after party?”
“There is no after party without you, Em.”
“I’m sorry I ruined it. I just had to leave.”
“Yeah because you and Adam met face-to-face.” I looked at her.
“He came back looking for you.” I sat up.
“What did you say? Is he here?”
“No. I told him you had gone home. Emily, I thought you were serious about ending things with Adam.”
“Of course I was; I still am.”
“Then why did he say he’d only let you go if you let him go first?” I blinked hard.
“I have no idea what that means.”
“I’m sure that was a coded message for you but whatever it means, please don’t let him back. Fitz has been more than generous. You shouldn’t take that for granted.”
“I know.”
Having another sleepless night, I opened WhatsApp on my phone, scanning through my contacts to find someone to chat with. I noticed Adam was online. I stared at the phone for many minutes mustering the courage to type something.
Should I or should I not?

She’s online. What’s she doing? Chatting with her girlfriends or waiting for me to type first? Adam asked himself as he also stared at his phone. He was sure Karen would send her his message but he couldn’t tell if she would want to speak to him.

I sighed and exited the chat. There was no point in doing this, I thought as I put the phone down. I closed my eyes and willed myself to sleep.

***
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Stay-At-Home Mum, Runaway Dad


Photo credits to Google Images

Gone are the days when the perfect picture of a ‘normal’ family was that of a married couple living under the same roof with their children. The father drops the kids at school, the mother goes grocery shopping and the family eats a home-made meal for dinner. The parents alternate in reading bedtime stories to their kids before they sleep after which they spend some quality time together before the day ends.

Parents were careful of what they said to each other in front of their kids even in a heated argument. The kids boasted about how much their parents love each to their friends in school. Every guy wanted to get married a woman who would cherish him the way his mother did his father and every girl wanted a guy who would love her the way her dad loved her mother. Or was it just the ideal picture our favourite soap operas tried to paint in our head?

Because it seems that the latter years have not done much justice to preserving the family system. Single parenting appears to be the most popular style in this part of the 21st century. The longest time spent together as a unit is when there is a special dinner (when the child insists on it).

One has to endure living with the mother who seems to have a hard luck landing the next Mr. Right to complete her. She goes out on a date with a different guy every month; some nice enough to smile at you and a few others considerate enough to try to know your name. Then every weekend is a shuttle service to the dad’s. He does his best to convince you that you’re the best thing that ever happened to him and he loves you so much. Whatever misunderstanding between himself and the mother does not make him love you any less. You ask him if he still loves your mother. He says yes. So come home, you plead but he shakes his head. Sometimes, it’s easier to love from a distance, he says.

Your mum also says they just need some time apart to heal and I wonder why invite other men in if all you want is space? She also says the door is always open to your father whenever he wants to come back home but you always see her with crossed arms at the door whenever he drops you home. When you ask what happened, she says when things became tough, he ran away.

This makes me wonder if love is as all-encompassing as it is described to be. All the promises of forever and always are quickly forgotten when one feels cheated, betrayed and lied to. Or maybe for better for worse is too much of a promise to fulfil. So we invest what we can for a moment and hope for better returns. When it yields much, then we consider whether to invest a little more or hold on a little. And when the returns are below expectation, we withdraw our investments and find another bank that promises better profits. Uh huh, romance has gone corporate now.

If a family living together under one roof is becoming an unfamiliar concept to children of this age, then the future of a complete family is at risk. Now that statistics is the new gospel, people will walk down the aisle knowing deep down in their hearts that they would not grow old together.

If almost all kids classify their parents as ‘stay-at-home mum and runaway dad’ then soon it would end up being ‘a mum with unknown dad’ or vice versa very soon. If only parents would realize by their actions they are raising a generation of people who would not cherish family and thus won’t even bother to salvage one if it falls on rocks. If only they would think of how altered their children’s lives turn out because they couldn’t keep it together…

But you and I could change the pace if we put our minds to it. No splitting when the times get hard, when one crosses the line. But for the sake of the vows taken in holy matrimony, we would build stable homes for posterity to emulate. Family is the seed of all societies and so if it breaks, how could any other institution stand?

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What Was I Thinking? XLVI


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Karen and I took a break from unpacking our stuff in our hostel room by helping ourselves to some food when my phone rang.
“Hey,” I said, my mouth still occupied.
“If you two were planning on dropping such a bombshell on me, a little heads up would have been nice,” he hissed. I swallowed.
“What are you talking about?”
“Where are you right now? We need to talk.”
“Adam, I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to meet. Whatever it is, we can talk about it over the phone.”
“Well, I don’t want to. It’s either you meet me somewhere or I storm your house.”
“You wouldn’t try that.”
“Dare me.”
“I’m not at home.”
“So where are you?”
“I’m on campus…”
“Good.” The line went dead. I glanced at my phone and then at Karen.
“Fire on the mountain?” she asked.
“Feels like it. We’ve not spoken since the hospital incident and I was hoping to keep it that way for a while longer.”
“So ‘we’ll see’ is all Fitz said?”
“Yeah; very unsettling. I don’t know what he’s thinking. He’s been very cool about it but it has this dangerous undertone. I just hope Adam doesn’t get hurt in the end.”
“He will get hurt, Em. No matter how well this goes for you, he’ll end up hurt.” I sighed.

We had just finished arranging our books on the shelf when we heard a sharp knock on the door.
“Come in.” Adam entered. I had never seen him this angry before.
“Good day, ladies. Emily, we need to talk,” he said as he pocketed his hands.
“Okay. Have a seat. I’m sorry for not getting back to you after I got out of the hospital. Fitz got hospitalized…”
“I’m sorry for your marital troubles but I’m not here for that.” He sat.
Karen and I exchanged a puzzled look as we both sat down. Adam glanced at Karen.
“If you’re going to tell me to excuse you, I’m not going to,” Karen said.
“I am coming from your husband’s office.”
“He summoned you? What did he say?”
“He handed me a paper for me to sign waiving my rights to the child and making him the legal guardian.”
“Where is it? Let me see it.”
“I don’t have it. Were you in on it?”
“In on what?”
“In on this brilliant plan to cut me off from the baby.”
“I had no idea he was going to do that. We had a talk this morning and he said he wanted some fresh air so he left. I came here to help with Karen’s unpacking.”
“What did you talk about exactly?”
“I told him the truth, Adam. It was about time.”
“Why wouldn’t you tell me that?”
“What difference would that have made?”
“He hates me now, Emily.”
“Don’t worry; it will pass. It is me he is mad at but he doesn’t want to so he’s displacing it at you. I told him you didn’t know I was married at the time it happened and that you’ve always wanted to come clean about it.”
“But why does he want my baby? Can’t he make one with you?” I scratched my neck nervously.
“He wants us to be a family, Adam. Recognizing the child as his makes that possible.”
“Can you believe he threatened me?”
“What do you mean?”
“If I refused to sign, my career was over.”
“So did you sign it?”
“Of course not!”
“Why the hell not?”
“He was demanding I sell out my baby for my career. Who does that?”
“I don’t see any other choice you have here, Adam. Whether you sign it or not, he is claiming the baby. It depends on you if you still want to have the career you want,” Karen said.
“I’m not giving him my baby, Em.”
“He already has it, Adam. Don’t fight a battle you’ve already lost. He is furious and he’s being diplomatic about it. We should accept his good graces and play along.”
“How do you expect me to continue working with him under these conditions?”
“Fine, we can discuss severance details later. But you should know any attempt at that could damage your career. Fitz is influential; he could place a black mark on you and no one would want to work with you.”
“Oh so you know the kind of monster you’ve lying in bed with?”
“I made my bed and I’m lying in it; but you don’t have to pay for my mistakes.”
“I already am, Emily.”
“And I’m sorry; for my sake, please sign the contract.”
“Emily!” I could see the hurt in his teary eyes and that broke my heart. I held his hands in mine.
“Adam, I care dearly about you and you’ll always hold a place in my heart but it’s about time we let each other go.”
“You can’t ask me to do that.”
“It’s painful for me too, Adam but we need to do this. We’ve touched Fitz’s darker side and I for one don’t want to see what’s beneath the surface. If we get through this, I make this promise to you that this child will know you. I know it doesn’t sound enough but that is all I can give you right now. And I want you to know that giving me this baby is the greatest gift you could ever give to Fitz and I and I really appreciate it.”

He bowed his head and was silent for a while. He covered his face with his hands. I whispered to Karen to give us a minute alone. She nodded, took her phone and stepped out.
I got down on my knees and took his hands away from his face. His beautiful eyes were red. I was sorry that I had caused him this much pain. I bit my lower lip to stop me from crying. I had to be strong for the both of us. We looked into each other’s eyes, saying everything we needed to say with each gaze.
He touched the sides of my face and the first drops fell on his face. I wiped it away with my thumb.
“What have you done to me, Emily?”
“The worst thing a woman can do to a man. Please forgive me.”
If I could turn back the hands of time, I’d have spared this sweet guy the pain of knowing me. He deserved much better…something I could never give him.
He pulled my face towards his and poured out his heart in a passionate kiss. I became so overwhelmed with the emotions that I broke it off. He got up without another word and walked out of the room. I burst out in sobs when I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
I wanted the best of both worlds…love and money; passion and security and I hurt both men in the process because of my selfishness. I hated myself for doing this.

I arrived home to find Fitz seated comfortably on the sofa listening to business news.
“Let me guess, Adam ran to you like a wet puppy crying about the contract I showed him,” Fitz said, sipping his drink. I dropped my bag on the sofa.
“Why would you drop such a bombshell on him without letting me on it?”
“What difference would it have made?”
“Maybe I could sweeten the pot a little; make the offer a little more presentable.”
“He’s already had his way with you and planted his seed in you. What other pot sweetening does he deserve?”
“Ouch,” I winced.
“Just being honest. That would save us a lot of words, honey.” I sat down.
“Are you mad at me? I thought you’d be okay with it since you mentioned you wanted us to be a family or did I get the message wrong?” Fitz asked.
“No; you should have let me handle it.”
“So, is he going to agree to it?”
“I don’t know, Fitz; he’ll do what he thinks is best for him.”
“What is best for him is to focus on his career; it’s all he has left now. And I’m ready to keep things professional between us if he is.”
“I doubt that.”
“Your point being?”
“Would you sever ties with him amicably if he asks?”
“Define amicably.”
“Would you be professional enough to let him go without damaging his career?”
“It sounds you care a lot about Adam; I’m surprised I never noticed that before. Who can blame me since you covered it up with expert indifference towards him?”
“Please let’s not fight over this. Of course I care about him, Fitz. I put him in this unfortunate situation and how it turns out falls on me as well. Besides, how could I not? He’s the fath…” Fitz got up. Oops, I just added salt to the raw and still bleeding wound.
“Tell him he has 48 hours to make up his mind,” he said and walked out of the room. I winced at the uncomfortable twitchy feel in my tummy. I wasn’t looking forward to the labour pangs but I couldn’t wait to push this weight out of my body. I was almost due and it was all but a bittersweet feeling.
When I entered the bathroom, Fitz was about leaving the room. I stood at the door, blocking his way.
“Emily…”
“You’re not sleeping outside this room, Fitz,” I said, pushing at his chest.
“You love Adam too, don’t you?” He held my wrists, pushing me back.
I sighed and held his hands.
“I won’t deny I have a fond feeling towards Adam but I choose you, Fitz. I enjoyed Adam’s company as long as it lasted because you were hardly home at the time but that is all it ever was. I choose you because I know I’ll grow up to be a better person by your side. You’ve shown me love, care and patience in a way I’ve never known. With Adam, the future I can envisage with him is being his arm candy for photos on the red carpets and being his muse for his next hit song whenever we had a fight or we made love but where would that leave me?”
“Oh gosh…all those songs were about you?” I smiled in reply.
“But with you I know I will have a stable life, I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m being selfish here but the choice all boils down to what I stand to gain by being with either of you. And I’m glad to say that I stand to gain a lot being yours, Fitz Daniels.”
My heart melted when a heart-warming smile curved up his lips.
“I have a favour to ask me. Please grant it according to your good graces.”
“What is it?”
“Give Adam a little more time about the contract. He’ll come around.”
“You know that for sure?”
“No; but I’m willing to stick my neck out for him.”
“Fine; for you I’ll give a little more time.” He hugged me and kissed my forehead. I sighed.
My husband was back.

****
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What Was I Thinking? XLV


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Fitz’s eyes opened weakly. It took some minutes for his eyes to focus well. He panicked a little when he realized he was in a strange room. He felt a hand in his and looked down.
It was Emily, his wife. A smile crept up his face as he watched her sleep in the chair beside him. He just loved this woman. But why was he here? A memory of him seeing her on the hospital bed with Adam beside her flashed through his mind. Anger began to rise within him. He let go of her hand which made her open her eyes.
“Fitz? Oh thank God you’re awake! Nurse!” I called out. I stepped out of the room and called one. I waited at the door whiles the nurse conducted quick tests on him.
“You look good. I’ll get the doctor.” She stepped out of the room. I walked to him and took his hand.
“I’m so glad you’re okay.”
“I’m surprised to see you here. I thought you’d have eloped with your lover by now,” Fitz said dryly as he freed his hand from my grip. I swallowed.
“And why would you say something like that?” He gave me a sharp glance.
“Are you still playing dumb? I asked you over and over again hoping you’d come clean and you denied it fervently each time. I almost died, Emily. Finding out the way I did…was such a blow that I almost died. And if I’ve been able to pull through and I’m awake, you still think it’s wise to keep lying?”
“What are you talking….?”
“You’re sleeping with Adam, aren’t you?”
“Oh no, I’m not.”
“Emily, I’m way older than you. Don’t dare treat me like a fool. Is he the father of your baby?”
I felt my chest constricting. I held on to the bed.
“Fitz…”
“Is he or is he not?”
“Fitz is awake?” Lizzy rushed inside the room. I couldn’t believe how terrible her timing was. She walked to his side and took his hand.
“How are you doing?”
“I’m fine, Lizzy. How did you know I was here?”
“Apparently, I’m still your emergency contact.”
“Oh yeah; forgot to update that. Remind me to get that done before we leave here,” Fitz said to me. I nodded.
“What happened, Fitz? I know you to be healthy despite your stubborn workaholic ways.”
“These things happen, Lizzy. I’m just glad I’m fine now.”
“I’m surprised to find out that your new wife is pregnant. You never mentioned it.”
“Well…it never came up.”
“Or it is not yours and that is why you couldn’t tell me.”
“Excuse me, what goes on in our matrimonial home is none of your business,” I spoke up.
“She’s right, Lizzy.”
“All that confirms my suspicion because we both know we tried, Fitz.”
“Maybe you were the problem,” I said. She looked at me.
“What?”
“You couldn’t get pregnant by him but I did.”
“That’s not possible. I’ve had two kids…”
“It could be you two were just incompatible.”
“I don’t think that was the case…”
“Lizzy, there’s no point trying to prove anything. We couldn’t have kids but Emily and I have one on the way; let’s just leave it that way.”
“Sure of course. Whatever you say.”
“Well, it seems Fitz isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so I guess your expectation of having your piece of the cake which is Fitz’s property has been thwarted. I believe your business here has come to an end,” I said. Fitz turned to look at Lizzy.
“What is she talking about?”
“Nothing, Fitz,” she replied, giving me a dead-cold stare which I returned with a cool one.
“Yeah, it’s nothing. I think it’s about time you left, Lizzy.”
“Let me know when you get out of here, will you?” she asked Fitz. He nodded. She squeezed his hand and with another cold stare at me, she walked out of the room. I sighed.
“You never told me you were still in touch with your ex-wife,” I said, sitting down.
“It never came up. Besides, I didn’t think it mattered.”
“Oh but it does. You can’t imagine the shock when this lady turned up in one of my horrifying moments only to lay claim to your property if you were to pass.” He chuckled.
“It’s not funny, Fitz.” He held my hand and squeezed it.
“You have no idea how flattered I was to see you this defensive about us and our life together. I enjoyed watching your squabble with Lizzy. I felt…wanted and loved.”
“And you are, Fitz.” He stared at me for a while and let go of my hand. I knew we were back to the Adam issue.
“I wish I could believe that.” The doctor entered and I gave a mental prayer of thanks for the intervention.
“Glad to see you awake and well, Mr. Daniels.”
“Would he be able to come home today?” I asked.
“If he looks well enough after a few tests, yes he would.” I sighed in relief.
When Fitz was given the green light, I called the help to prepare a few of Fitz’s favorites.

On our drive back home, I must have started dozing off because Fitz pulled me into his bosom. I wrapped my arm around his middle and closed my eyes.
Fitz must be an angel, I thought. It was his right to get angry and order me out of his house after discovering my long time deception but here I was, in his arms. He must be an angel.
I quickly warmed up dinner and ate quietly. When he seemed to have relaxed well enough, I tried to talk but he hushed me up began immediately I began.
“Not now, Emily. I’m exhausted. We can talk about this tomorrow, can’t we?”
“Sure, we can. I’m sorry; that was insensitive of me,” I quickly apologized. He pushed his plate away from him and got up.
“I’ll go and take a shower.”
“Okay.” I watched him as he made his way to the bedroom and shut the door. I sighed and pushed my plate away. I had also my appetite despite the meal being as delicious as usual. I cleared the table and washed the plates.
When I got to the bedroom, Fitz had finished taking his shower. I sat down and took my phone. Karen had sent a message and I quickly sent a reply. I saw him heading towards the door from the corner of my eye and I looked up.
“I think I’ll spend the night in the other room.”
“Is that really necessary?”
“I need a very good rest and I can’t have that with you beside me so yeah, it’s really necessary.”
“Okay then…good night.”
“Thanks; I need it.” He walked out of the room.
If he knew the truth and was mad at me, why was he being such a gentleman about it, I wondered. I had less than twelve hours to come clean and not make him angrier in the process. What was going to happen? Was I going to end up as a divorced single mother? Or would he prove himself once again to be beyond human and forgive me?
I woke up still drowsy but my semi-cleared eyes noticed something which made me sit up with a start.
“Fitz! You startled me.” I put my hand on my chest in a vain attempt to calm my racing heart.
“Sorry. Couldn’t sleep so I thought I would just watch you sleep.”
“How long have you sitting here?”
“Almost an hour.”
“It’s kind of creepy, Fitz.”
“Watching you sleep made me think of how far we’ve come as a couple. And reminiscing on how things have progressed since Adam came into the picture.”
“Fitz…I just woke up. Can we…?”
“How long have you two been seeing each other?”
“We haven’t been seeing each other, Fitz.”
“But he is the father of the baby, right?”
“Fitz, it’s complicated.”
“Simplify for me then. I have all day.”
“It was a mistake. We met before you did.”
“What do you mean?”
“We met at the mall during those times when you were hardly at home. We became close and it happened.”
“You were having an affair.”
“No. We were friends who just happened to cross the line one day. Obviously, we both erred in judgment. I was vulnerable…”
“He took advantage of you knowing that…”
“No; it was my fault. He didn’t know.”
“Didn’t know what?”
“He didn’t know I was married.”
“What?”
“So please don’t get angry at him. It’s me you should be mad at. I put him in an awkward position especially when you signed him on and trust me; he has always felt bad about it.”
“Uh huh; he requesting that the baby be named after him doesn’t feel like someone regretful about his action. He was actually rubbing it in.”
“Fitz, please…I know how much you liked Adam and the plans you had concerning him. Please don’t hate him on my account. It was my fault and mine alone.”
“And the bogus story about being taken advantage of at a party, whose idea was it, yours or his?”
“Mine…he didn’t know about it then.”
“I see…”
“I’m sorry; I didn’t want to lose you. I said that hoping that it would touch the humane part of you and let us stay together…as a family.”
“And it did.” No one spoke for a moment.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked softly.
“Pardon?”
“Why you broke it off with Lizzy?”
“Why, you wouldn’t have married me if you knew?”
“I don’t know…maybe. I was in a different place when we married. So I doubt it would have mattered even if you did. Is that why you let me stay after you found out I was pregnant?”
“No, not really. I let you stay because I loved you, Emily. I loved you more than I ever loved Lizzy. So I was ready to battle with all my insecurities rather than see you go. So for some time, I managed to convince myself that this was the work of God, you know. God giving us a child and keeping this family intact without me having to tell you I was sterile.”
“But you said you had a vasectomy.”
“Yeah, that’s the cover story I concocted. At least it sounded like I was in control of who got impregnated by me. You bought that story.”
“I surely did.”
“I bet Lizzy told you the real truth.”
“Yes, she did.”
“How did you feel?”
“Honestly, it didn’t bother me much since I had other matters on my mind. I don’t know if this would make you feel any better but Adam always wanted to come clean about the baby. I stopped him each time.”
“Why?”
“Because I thought if the identity of the father was unknown, it would help make the baby feel more like ours. As long as there was no other face to the identity, we would be fine.”
“It was.”
“I am so sorry, Fitz.”
“Yeah, so am I.”
Wow…look at us. Speaking about such a huge deal like infidelity coupled with deceit and multiplied with several months of denial as if we were discussing houses. No wonder many girls preferred older men. They were more matured, more collected and definitely more civilised. If it were to be someone like Tony, things would have ended as dramatic as a typical Nollywood movie.
God bless this man.
I got startled a little when he suddenly stood up.
“I’m going out for a while. I need some fresh air.”
“What’s going to happen to me…to us?”
“Who’s us? You and the baby or you and me?” I swallowed as I stared into his distant eyes. I meant the former but admitting that would mean I was being self-centred. I had to play the smarter card.
“I mean you, me and the baby.”
“We’ll see.” And with that, he stepped out.
Was he for real? No angry bursts, no insults, no tears? Maybe he was too good for me. Or maybe God was just having mercy on me. Where would I go if things went haywire? I couldn’t go home and face my parents. And I wasn’t going to crash at Adam’s end either. That would make me look pathetic. I had no choice but to wait and see what Fitz meant by that.

Adam’s phone beeped. A message from Mr. Daniels. Oh no, was he going to cut him off?
MEET ME AT THE OFFICE IN AN HOUR.
This was the end, he told himself.

He entered the office and he shuddered at the harshness of the air condition blowing at full blast.
“Good…”
“Have a seat.” Fitz ordered, cutting him off. He sat down. He appended his signature on a document and slid it towards Adam. He looked at him questioningly.
“I want you to sign that.”
“What…what is it?”
“A legal agreement saying that you waive your right to Emily’s baby in any way.”
“What?”
“Which part of what I had just said wasn’t clear?” His tone was deadly.
“You want me to…?”
“Make me the legal guardian. In case you were wondering, this is non-negotiable, gentleman.”
“And if I don’t?”
“We both know what will happen.”
“You’ll kill my career,” Adam said.
“Your words, not mine.” Adam glanced at the paper in front of him.
“Can I think about it?”
“You mean can you get Emily’s permission first? Trust me, she’s in on it.”
Adam looked up at him. Emily had always wanted him to give up his rights to the child but this felt different. This definitely wasn’t coming from her.
“No, I meant can I go and take a careful look at this contract?”
“Why?”
“Just wanted to be sure my interests are protected.”
“Trust me, they are.”
“I’m sorry but that doesn’t make me certain.”
“Because you broke my trust in the first place?”
“Mr. Daniels, I don’t know what Emily told you but…”
“Don’t you ever mention her name again! You have no right to. For your own sake, sign the damn papers.”
Adam stood and started towards the door.
“If your foot steps out of this office, this deal is gone and so is everything else between us,” Fitz threatened.
“I’ll take my chances,” Adam said and walked out, slamming the door behind him.
He began panting as he trotted out of the place.

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Heart on a Chess Board


Every move counts…

Gambling has always been a ‘guy thing,’ everyone knows that. A harmless pastime to keep the bond between the buddies-especially in sports. But it seems when the times changed, so did the categories under which this hobby fell. I thought it outrageously ridiculous when I first heard that guys bet on girls too. Like seriously? Had the premier and champions leagues become so boring now that they had to play a girl’s heart on a chess board?

Ah well, I’m sure the girls who fell victim to that had it coming, I figured dismissively. But how would one know if she is a viable candidate for such a game? Little did I know…
I wouldn’t say I carry myself about in a high and all mighty fashion. I have my standards, yes; maybe an inch or two higher than the average uptown girl but that doesn’t make me proud, right? I just know what I want and let’s just say compromise isn’t one of my favorite terms.

And one of them is dating someone at my workplace. Aside it being a virtual universal office rule, I just imagine the awkward torture I’d have to subject myself to when we were in the middle of a fight or worse still, an ugly breakup. And since I’m a boss (yes, I order guys around), I’d be tempted to subject the poor guy to the whims of my fluctuating moods especially when it looks like he was having a good day and I wasn’t. You see, I’m the considerate, selfless one here, right? But the fact that one has good intentions doesn’t mean everyone knows of them and respects them.

It all started when my mother started preaching the “it’s your time to get settled” sermon. I tried playing hide-and-seek for a while which got me a little break time but when I had exhausted all my excuses, I knew I had to find someone so she could back off me for a while. So looking at my circle, most of them were already taken and the others, clearly not my type.

So I let down my guard a little; brought down the walls a little so the guys struggling to scale them could do so. Soon, out of the lot, my eyes on Q. Q for Quentin. He wasn’t at my office; he worked for one of the companies I normally consulted for. He seemed very sincere in his affectionate expressions which I appreciated; not like the asphyxiating sycophants who would literally kiss my bum if I asked them to.

At the beginning, it felt strange having one person constantly in mind; making me smile and even giggle at myself. I used to think only silly young girls did that. I later learnt that love causes one to lose herself no matter how old you get. Yes, I said love. I fell in love with Q.
It felt dangerous having to let myself go and become vulnerable to someone. I had grown up always looking out for myself, making my happiness my sole business as well as my troubles. But having to share a part of me with someone else had its perks and I enjoyed it.

So Easter came along and there was a long weekend ahead of us (with Good Friday and Easter Monday as holidays). Q suggested that we went to the Kwahu Mountains. Of course, I replied. I get to have a change of scenery for one and also get to breathe in the unadulterated fresh air of nature. Did I mention he had been a gentleman all this while? He never rushed me into anything which made me sometimes wonder if he was a warm-blooded male after all.

But one can never tell the thoughts that linger behind a charming smile.

The Kwahu experience was beyond my wildest imagination. I enjoyed every ticking second of it. And the night breeze was perfectly cozy. After making me feel like the college version of me again, I considered waiving one of my strongest absolutes: making myself unknown under the sheets to any man.

His phone rang whiles he was in the shower. I chose to ignore it till he called out of the shower telling me to answer it. After informing the male voice on the other end of the line that Q was occupied, something caught my eye just as I was putting the phone down. A WhatsApp message from Josh in a group called “Bad Boyz, Good Men.” That didn’t sound so good. Was it the same Josh in my office?
“Have you won the conquest yet? Your $1,000 is still waiting for you. It expires at midnight. Good luck, man.”

Did I just discover that I’ve been a pawn on someone’s twisted chessboard? How stupid of me! How could I not have known? The next half hour went by without any clear recollection of its events because I found myself driving out of Kwahu by the other half hour.
One thousand dollars? At least those jerks had the decency to price me in US dollars and not in the pathetic depreciating Cedi currency. But seriously? My Mercedes was actually worth more than that. My phone began ringing. I put it off.

I went to work on Tuesday and when Josh met me in the hallway, he gave me a look which I couldn’t interpret but I also gave him one of my own plainly letting him know that I’m onto him.
So let’s skip to the time when he came to my office demanding why I was ignoring his calls and texts.

“I’m surprised you’re still here. I thought your claim to the $1,000 bid expired on Sunday night.” It was downright priceless seeing the color drain from Q’s face. He didn’t waste time trying to talk his way out of it. He immediately apologized and he did so profusely. But my guard was back up and my wall so high up that his seemingly honest pleas seemed like Arabic tongues.
I asked for space and he granted it. That gave me time to think. I loved him. I really did. But I was just a game. A game which would have ended if I had opened my legs to him that fateful night. But since I didn’t, did it mean the game was still on? Perhaps the other guys that he had a chance to still win the ‘conquest’ and thus decided to give him an extension?

He swore he really liked me and that it was rather an unfortunate incident but if it weren’t for that, he wouldn’t have come to know and love me for who I really was. I didn’t want to believe him but my heart was fighting my resolve.

I didn’t think it could happen to me. But it did. He says the game is over and he is for real. My clock is ticking pretty loud these days and as much as I hate to admit it, I may be out of options. Do I forgive him and give this player a second chance who could just be playing round two? Or do I forget him and hope not to fall prey to another emotional scam like that?
Any advice for your poor sister? Sad face.

What Was I Thinking? XLIV


wpid-images-14.jpeg

A million thoughts raced through my mind as my feet carried me through the corridors. What have I done? What was happening? My mind played back to the moment I felt my whole world crumbling down:
“Maybe I should head home and talk to him,” I said, attempting to get out of the bed.
“No, you shouldn’t. You need to lie down. We have a few tests to conduct to make sure you’re out of danger,” the doctor said.
“But I need to know he is okay.”
“I will; I’ll personally call his number to make sure. Give me his number.” I told him the number. He excused himself out of the ward.
“I think I should be on my way,” Adam said uneasily.
“You think?” Karen said with folded arms.
“The damage has always been done but yeah, you should go. Karen will look after me.”
He nodded and gave my hand a squeeze. He walked away. I sighed.
The doctor came in and his face had grown pale.
“What is it, doctor? Did you get in touch with him?”
“The driver picked up. Apparently, they are on their way back here.”
“Okay…but why do you look so distraught?”
“Your husband was found on the floor, passed out.”
“What happened?”
“I have no idea. I’ll let you know when he gets in. Excuse me.”
“He definitely knows. Oh God, what have I done?”

“Doctor, is he all right?”
“The primary conclusion the cardiologist has given is that your husband suffered a heart attack.”
“I don’t understand. Fitz is the healthiest man I know. He eats right and he exercises whenever he has the time. How could he have a heart attack?”
“Sometimes emotional trauma could cause it too,” the doctor replied giving me a cold stare. I swallowed.
“Is he going to be fine?”
“We’re doing everything in our power. But I have to go now,” he walked away.
“Have a seat before you pass out yourself,” Karen urged. We sat down.
“Oh my God, he knows for sure.”
“If he doesn’t, we’d have to tell him sooner than later. It is obvious that it’s the fear of him finding out that is causing you and your baby such distress.”
“He’s never going to forgive me.” I sniffed, fighting back the tears threatening to fall.
“You don’t know that.”
“He pointed a gun at me, Karen.”
“It was just a dream, Emily.”
“A dream which is playing out in reality. What am I going to do?”
“We’ll take one step at a time. Don’t worry about that now. Let’s just pray Fitz wakes up.”
“And if he doesn’t?”
“Ah well…”
We both fell silent. A well-dressed woman walked past us towards the counter and made an inquiry. I sat up when the nurse pointed to me. The lady approached us.
“Good day; you must be Fitz Daniels’ new wife.”
“I am. And who are you?” She offered her hand.
“I’m Lizzy; Lizzy Daniels.” I took it, gave it a brief shake and let go.
“A relative?” She smiled.
“His wife; sorry, his ex-wife.” I could only stare back in reply.
“So why are you here?” Karen asked.
“Some way somehow, Fitz kept me as he emergency contact. I wonder why.”
Karen and I shared a confused look.
“I’m sure he forgot to change it,” Karen replied.
“Seems so. You’re pregnant.” I gave her a puzzled look.
“Is that a question?” I retorted. I had a feeling she wasn’t likeable.
“Oh I’m sorry. I’m just shocked. I just wonder how that’s possible since it was the main reason we separated.”
“I don’t understand,” I said.
“Fitz is sterile.” Karen and I shared another look. So Adam was right after all.
She gave an aha smile. “It’s not his, is it?”
“Okay lady, it’s unfortunate that you had to come all the way here but as you can see, Fitz already has someone here to attend to him,” Karen said.
“I don’t mean to overstep but since I was called to be here, I’m going to stay till he asks me to do otherwise,” she said with a sly smile.
“Suit yourself.” She gave me another once-over.
“Amazing; we’ve been in touch but he never once mentioned you were pregnant. I wonder why.”
“I’m really not in the chit-chatting mood so if you could make yourself comfortable somewhere else, I’d appreciate it,” I said, my stare turning icy cold.
“Sure. Nice to meet you…?”
“Mrs. Daniels will do,” I replied.
“Right. I’ll sit over there.” She could go and sit on the moon for all I cared.
She walked away and I rolled my eyes.
“What the hell? After months of being married, he still kept his ex-wife’s number as his emergency contact?” Karen asked.
“It seems I wasn’t the only one leading a double life.”
“Do you even know if he changed his will after he married you?”
“Why bring up this issue again, Karen? Fitz isn’t going to die.”
“Oh it’s about time we talked about this, Em. His wife has appeared by his could-be deathbed. Who knows, she might stand to inherit everything!”
“I doubt it.”
“Well, I don’t. You are pregnant for goodness’ sake.”
“It is not even his child, Karen.”
“Exactly my point! That’s a secret Fitz should take to his grave if it comes to that.”
“Fitz isn’t going anywhere!”
“Emily, she might be just an ex-wife but the fact that they still keep in touch makes her a threat.”
“I have my own burdens right now; I’m not going to add her to the pile.”
“I’d suggest you put her on the priority list, Em. Look at the smirk on her face. She looks like she has a stake in whatever happens to Fitz.”
“And maybe she does.”
“No, she doesn’t. You’re Mrs. Daniels and you’re carrying his heir. She let him go and that’s her loss. Don’t give her the impression that she is still a part of Fitz’s life.”
“Well, it seems she always has been. Wait, are they divorced?”
“Well, she mentioned that they were…”
“Separated, yes but that doesn’t necessarily mean divorced, right?”
“If they weren’t, he wouldn’t have been able to marry you, Emily.”
“How sure are you about that?”
“You didn’t ask the right questions before you got married.”
“Uh huh…you have no idea how I regret that now.” I buried my face in my palms.

Karen and I got up when the doctor came out.
“He’s in a coma.” I touched my chest in shock.
“Is it good news or bad news?” Lizzy asked.
“Excuse me, who are you?” he asked.
“I’m Lizzy; Fitz’s ex-wife. A nurse asked me to come. I’m still his emergency contact.”
“He just forgot to update that,” Karen said.
“He will be fine; nothing out of our control.”
“When is he expected to wake up?” I asked.
“We hope sooner than later. So you sit tight; we’ll update you if anything changes.”
“Thanks, doctor.” We turned back towards our seats when Lizzy spoke up.
“You look exhausted. Why don’t you go home and take a nap? I don’t mind waiting here. Then maybe I’d leave when you get back.”
“No, thank you. Fitz is my husband and I’m not leaving his side till he wakes up.”
“All right, then.” She went to sit down.
“Okay, Fitz better wake up soon,” I said as we sat down.
“I’m with you there. The longer he stays under, the longer she lingers around. And she has already irritated me enough. Another day with her around will definitely drive me crazy,” Karen said.

Karen nudged me awake and gestured at me to look at Lizzy. She had just hugged an older looking man and pointed at me.
“Who is that man?”
“I have no idea.” They both walked towards us.
“Mrs. Daniels, I don’t think we haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet,” he said, offering his hand.
“No, we haven’t.”
“Well I’m Donald Quayson, Fitz’s lawyer.” I stood.
“Okay…why are you here?”
“Well, Fitz and I were supposed to have a meeting but he didn’t show. I was worried since Fitz never bails out of a meeting without an explanation. So I had to rush here when Lizzy called to tell me the bad news.”
“Why would you call him?” I asked her. This woman was working my nerves and I wasn’t in the mood to create a scene.
“Well, Fitz is in a coma. Who knows what could happen? I thought it would be better…”
“Next time keep your thoughts to yourself, Lisa.”
“It’s Lizzy,” she corrected.
“I don’t care if you’re the misplaced twin of Queen Elizabeth but I don’t need you butting your nose into matters that no longer concern you.”
“Oh Fitz’s well-being does concern me and he has assured me that he won’t forget me in his will if he…”
“Oh really?”
“I’m sorry if this is such a big revelation to you. We should have met on much happier circumstances but it is what it is. I called Don because we two go way back,” Lizzy said.
“I bet; you calling him by the first name and all that. But you don’t intimidate me, Liz. My present condition doesn’t permit me to…”
“It’s not Fitz’s, is it?” She asked bluntly. My eyes widened at her brusqueness.
“She is Fitz’s wife and any child conceived to his knowledge is Fitz’s child,” Karen replied.
“Okay…things are getting heated here. I advise we all calm down,” Mr. Quayson.
“I will calm down if Miss Ex-Wife over here leaves this premises,” I said.
“I am not going anywhere.”
“You don’t have any business here.”
“The nurse who called me here didn’t think so.”
“Lizzy, I think we should go. You can come and see him when he wakes up,” he said.
“The voice of reason has spoken,” Karen said. Lizzy scowled.
“Is that okay?”
“Fine.” She put on a plastic smile. “It was a pleasure meeting you.”
“I wish I could say the same.”
“Have a nice day, ladies,” the lawyer said and they walked away. We both sat down and sighed.
“I can’t believe Fitz was married to such a woman.”
“Well I’m glad she’s his past,” Karen said.
“Glad? This past is invading the present and I don’t like how it redefines the future,” I said.
“Fitz better wake up today,” Karen said. It was the only prayer in my head.

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