Jessica fell down heavily with a thud. Susan rushed to her. Rose and the other maid rushed into the room.
“Oh gosh! What happened?” Rose asked, alarmed.
“I think she lost her balance and fell,” Susan said, checking Jessica’s head for any injuries. Rose cast a suspicious glance at Susan. Susan looked at her and saw the look in her eyes. Rose quickly looked away.
“Thank God she’s not hurt. Call the driver to carry her to the car.”
The driver rushed into the house and carefully carried Jessica outside. Susan took Jessica’s handbag.
“Please take care of the house. I’ll be right back.”
“That is Jason’s girlfriend, isn’t she?” the other maid asked Rose.
“Will you stop asking questions and attend to your work?” Susan snapped. She left the room. She sat at the back seat with Jessica’s head on her lap. The driver took off. Susan glanced at Jessica’s unconscious face and shook her head.
What a liability, she thought. What would Jason do if….oh gosh! She quickly took her phone and dialed Jason’s number.
The doctor was checking up on Stacie when Jason’s phone rang. He took it and looked at the caller ID. He ignored it and put it in his pocket.
“Jessica checking up on you?” Stacie asked.
“I wish; it’s mother.”
“Why would she be calling you?”
“Don’t you want to find out?”
“Not now; whatever it is, I’m sure it can wait. Now what’s important that you get out of here today.” Stacie smiled as Jason touched his cheek.
Susan sighed when Jason did not answer the phone.
“Great! What a time to ignore my calls, Jason,” she said to herself. She put the phone down.
“If only you had done what I asked you so well, I wouldn’t be going through this stress right now. But no plan plays out perfectly; I know that. I just should have prepared for such eventualities better. What the heck, I’m going to get what I want, anyway,” Susan murmured. She looked out of the car window.
“I’m so glad to see you better, my dear,” Gordon said happily as Stacie hugged him.
“I’m also happy that you’re getting better, dad. When are you coming home, dad?”
“Really? Jason told me…”
“I’m definitely coming home, Stacie. Don’t worry about anything, all right?”
“Now take your sister home, Jay and make sure she gets all the rest she needs. And go and see the lawyer.”
“Go and see the lawyer for what?” Stacie asked.
“It’s nothing you should be bothered about. It’s a business necessity,” Jason said assuredly as he placed a hand on his sister’s shoulder. Gordon and Jason exchanged a quick knowing glance.
“We’ll be on our way now. I’ll come by later, okay? Take care,” Jason said as he held his dad’s shoulder. Gordon put his hand on Jason’s and gave it a squeeze.
“Take care son and hurry up with what you have to do.”
“Yes dad.” Stacie pecked her dad and they left his room.
When they got to the entrance of the hospital, lo and behold, they saw their mother coming out of her car with an unconscious Jessica being put on a stretcher.
“Jessica!” Jason cried out as he rushed to her.
“Excuse me; we’ve to rush her inside,” one of the nurses said.
“What…what happened?” He stammered, his eyes beginning to fill with tears.
“I believe the one who brought her can explain that to you. We have to go.” They rushed her inside. Stacie stunned, looked at Jessica as the nurses rushed past her with the stretcher. Stacie rushed beside Jason.
“What happened, mum?” Jason asked, restraining himself from flaring up.
“It was an accident.”
“Where? You found her on the street and you decided to play the good mother-in-law and bring her here?” Stacie asked. Susan glanced at her.
“I can see that you’ve recovered well enough to get your sharp tongue flapping again,” Susan said, eyeing her. She turned her attention back to Jason. “As I said, it was an accident.”
“I heard that mum. What…exactly…happened?” Jason asked, stressing on each word.
“Well, she came over to the house…”
“For what? I didn’t tell her to.”
“Well, I did. I wanted to speak to her.”
“What about, mum?”
“I don’t think this is the time to talk about that.”
“Let me guess…mother and daughter-in-law bonding,” Stacie chipped in.
“Then what happened?” Jason asked hastily.
“She simply tripped and fell from the stairs,” Susan said, shrugging. Both Jason and Stacie were puzzled by the simple explanation given by their mother.
“What…she suddenly just tripped and fell from the stairs?” Jason asked, confused.
“Wait, if you guys were talking, what was she doing on the stairs? And where were you when she suddenly tripped and fell?” Stacie asked.
“I was also on the stairs…ahead of her,” she added.
“And she tripped and fell,” Stacie asked emphatically.
“Why were you two talking on the stairs?”
“We were done talking actually. But Jessica wanted to make a point whiles I was going upstairs and started after me. In a twinkle of an eye, she just fell over.” Jason and Stacie glanced at each other.
“Why do I feel like some parts of the story are not being told here?” Stacie asked wryly.
“You just came out of the hospital bed. You wouldn’t want to get back inside right now, would you?” Susan scolded.
“Just like you did to Jessica, right?” Jason asked. Susan looked at him.
“Jason…you don’t think I caused this, do you?”
“I don’t know what to think, mum. After everything that has happened recently, I’m not even sure who you really are anymore, mum,” Jason said and walked inside the hospital. They both watched him enter the hospital. Mother and daughter looked at each other.
“Aren’t you going to congratulate me on recovering without complications?” Stacie asked.
“After your little display here, I don’t know if I should feel happy that you’ve been discharged. The way things are right now, the last thing I need is you’re your squeaky beak chirping piercing sounds at the least appropriate time. I must confess, the few days without you in the house have been like paradise to me. I’m only sad that those days ended too soon for me to enjoy them,” Susan sneered and walked past her into the hospital. Stacie stood there in shock with her mouth opened as she watched her mother entered the hospital. It took a while before she realized her mouth was opened. She quickly closed it and slowly entered the hospital.
“Why are you back, son?” Gordon asked Jason when he entered his room.
“What about her?”
“She was just brought in.”
“She was involved in an accident?”
“Something like that. She fell off the stairs at home.”
“You mean her house.”
“No, our house.”
“What the hell was she doing at our home?”
“Apparently, mother called for her.”
“She wouldn’t say. How she ended up on the stairs and fell off is still not clear to me.”
“What did your mother say?”
“She tripped and fell.”
“And you don’t believe her, do you?”
“I don’t know what to believe, dad. These few days, I’m beginning to see mum in a different light and I feel bad about it. Mum has always been a strong pillar in my life. She’s my mother for crying out loud! So why does it feel like I’m fighting an enemy, dad?”
“Things are not what they seem, son. You should open your eyes and see things as they truly are.” Stacie entered.
“Hey, I’m sorry for leaving you behind,” Jason said. Stacie quietly walked to the bed and sat on the edge.
“What’s wrong, Stacie?”
“Mum…said she wished I was kept at the hospital longer….that my being away from home has been her best days ever at home. Can you believe that?” Stacie said, tears falling onto her cheeks and her voice choked with emotion. Jason got up and hugged her.
“It’s okay…she doesn’t mean it, Stacie.”
“She did, Jay. You should have heard her.”
“She’s just stressed out. After everything that has happened…”
“She hates me.”
“Of course not. How could she hate her own daughter?” Gordon said.
“You need to go home, Stacie. I wish I could take you home but I need to stay behind to check up on Jessica. Let’s go; I’ll get a cab for you.” Stacie nodded and got up. Her dad squeezed her hand affectionately. Stacie forced a smile.
“I’ll be right back, dad.” They went outside.
“Promise me you’ll go straight to bed when you get home,” Jason said.
“I promise,” she said quietly. Jason stopped a taxi.
“I’ll be home shortly, okay? Take care.” He hugged and pecked her. Stacie sat at the back seat. They waved at each other as the driver took off. Jason walked back inside the hospital.
“How’s she doing, doctor?” Jason asked.
“She’s conscious and out of danger. You may see her if you want.”
Susan entered Gordon’s room.
“I wasn’t expecting you here, Susan,” Gordon said.
“That’s disappointing for me to hear, Gordon. You’re my husband. The fact that we had an argument the last time doesn’t mean I should neglect you. After all, you’re still the loving husband I’m so blessed to have.”
“I see.” Susan walked to him and kissed his forehead.
“I love you, Gordon. After being together all these years, I don’t think it’s flattering to know that we’d start fighting now.”
“What did you say to Stacie minutes ago?” Susan sighed.
“Stacie….she started her insinuating comments again and I wanted to shut her up. That was the only way I knew how. Apparently, it worked.”
“She’s pretty hurt right now, Susan.”
“I’m sorry, I promise I’ll apologize to her when I get home.”
“So how are you doing?”
“It’s getting better. The poison is still there, though.” He glanced at Susan. Her facial expression was blank.
“What do you know about it, Susan?”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I mean.”
“You think I poisoned you, Gordon? How could you?”
“Okay, okay….no drama scenes…I’m tired of them already.” He sighed.
“Whenever you want to own up to what you did and why you did it, I’d always be ready to listen.”
“Gordon, for heaven’s sake, I’d never…”
“As I said, no drama scenes! If you have nothing else to do here, you might as well leave me alone so I can rest.” Susan stared at her husband for some time and got up. She took her bag and started towards the door.
“You didn’t push the poor lady down the stairs, did you Susan?” Gordon asked. Susan turned, pain vividly drawn in her eyes. Her eyes were watery.
“How I wish that I could wake up from all this and find it to be a bad dream. We trusted each other very much, Gordon. What happened to that?” Susan asked.
“It so seems that, that trust was nothing but an illusion we were both holding on to,” Gordon replied. Susan nodded and walked out of the room. Tears filled Gordon’s eyes. Susan broke into tears when she got of the room. She rushed to the bathroom.
“Hey sweetheart,” Jason said softly as he walked towards Jessica and kissing her gently.
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m feeling fine, Jason.”
“Are you sure? No funny feelings anywhere?”
“No, I’m fine.”
“What happened, Jess?” Jason asked.
“She tripped and fell,” Susan said as she appeared at the door. They both turned to look at her. Susan’s eyes met Jessica’s. Jessica swallowed.
“Isn’t that right, Jessica?” Susan asked. Jason looked at Jessica. She hesitated.
“Yes…yes, that’s what happened. I tripped and fell.” Tears flowed from the sides of her eyes onto the pillow.
“I’m sorry for that, dear. Hope you’re discharged soon,” Susan said as she approached her and touched her hair. Jessica bit her lip. Jason noticed that Jessica’s hand was trembling in his hands. He cleared his throat.
“Mum, I think you should excuse us,”
“Why, is it wrong for me to check in on Jess?”
“No, of course not. But Jessica looks uncomfortable.”
“Oh, does she? You don’t want me here, Jess?” Susan said sweetly. Jessica squeezed Jason’s hand very hard that he winced.
“Mum…mum!” Susan stopped touching Jessica’s hair and looked at Jason.
“Please leave us alone.”
“Fine. Take care of yourself and have a speedy recovery.” She touched Jessica’s tummy lightly and walked out of the room. Jessica touched her tummy.
“Are you okay?” Jason asked.
“My…our baby, Jason.”
“The other time, I wanted to tell you that…we were going to be parents but you had a lot on your mind…”
“You mean…you’re pregnant?” Jessica nodded expectantly.
“I don’t know…if I still am…” Jason rushed out of the room and came back with the doctor.
“My baby, doctor….how is it doing?” Jessica asked anxiously. The doctor smiled.
“There’s nothing to worry about, miss. The baby’s perfectly fine and safe.” Jessica sighed with relief.
“Thank you doctor.”
“You are welcome. Excuse me,” he said and left the room. Jason hugged her excitedly.
“I’m going to be a father,” he said.
“Yeah, are you happy about that?”
“Of course I am. Why won’t I be?”
“Well…because it was a bit unexpected.”
“It is…but I love the news all the same. Thank you for this gift, Jess.”
“Thank you, Jay.” They kissed.
Later, Jason pulled up in front of the chambers of his father’s lawyer. He went inside and greeted the secretary.
“Good day; I’m Jason Archer, son of Mr. Gordon Archer. I’m here to see Lawyer James.”
“I’m sorry but he’s not around.”
“He just stepped out? When is he likely to come back?” Jason asked, looking at his watch.
“He’s out of the country, sir.”
“What? Since when?”
“Since yesterday. He said he has to take care of some matters abroad.”
“And when will he back?”
“Probably next month.”
“Next month! All right, can I get his contact number? I need to speak to him urgently.”
“I’m sorry but I can’t. He explicitly ordered me not to give his contact number out to anyone.”
“For what justifiable reason? Has he forgotten that he has clients he has to attend to whenever they call on him?”
“I understand but I believe he has good reasons for what his actions.”
“Well, I can’t see them.”
“Okay…give me something to write a note for him when he returns.”
“Sure.” She gave him a notepad and a pen. He scribbled something down.
“This is my number. Please call me immediately he gets back.”
“All right; thanks. Have a nice day.” He turned to go.
“Archer?” Jason turned.
“I’m a bit confused. Do you know a lady named Susan Archer?”
“Susan…of course. She’s my mother, why?”
“She was here two days earlier. I believe that’s why Mr. James left the country.”
“And do you know exactly why she came over?”
“I’m sorry but I’ve no idea.”
“Listen, I really need to talk to him. Please give me his contact number. It’s very urgent.”
“I’m sorry sir; the thing is, I personally don’t know. I could only get it from him via e-mail after giving a tangible reason for asking for it.”
“And I believe my reason is tangible enough.”
“All right; I’ll try. If he does, I’ll let you know.”
“Thanks.” He left the chambers. He sat in his car and drove away.
“What was mum doing here and why did she send him out of the country?” Jason asked himself.