Lisa lifted her head when she heard a knock on her office door.
“Come in.” Sue came in holding an envelope.
“This just came in for you, Liz,” she said as she handed it to her.
“Thanks.” She took it and opened it. She pulled some papers from the envelope.
“What is it?” Sue asked as she sat.
“Divorce? Is that what our new client wants? She wants you to be her divorce attorney?”
“No; they are for me.” It took some seconds of silence for Sue to soak it in.
“What? I…don’t get it. Why?”
“Why do people break up?”
“Infidelity….” She gasped. “Did Ethan cheat on you?”
“He’s almost there; I don’t want to get to that bridge before I take action or else I’d definitely drown myself in pain.”
“So what, you’re going to throw away your beautiful marriage because there are symptoms of infidelity? Aren’t you even going to try fighting for your husband?”
“Sue…please stay out of it. This is none of your business.”
“Indeed it is, Lisa. You are a busy lawyer with a toddler. I don’t think you’re fit to be a single mother.”
“My mum can help me take care of Jer.”
“Are you planning on ripping Ethan from his son? That’s not right, you know.”
“And who made you a marriage counselor, Sue? Shut up about this before I give you the sack and this time for good.”
“Lisa, I consider you to be a very good friend to me and I admire your marriage very much. I’d hate to see you heartbroken and messed up because of a nasty divorce.”
“So what advice do you have for me, counselor?”
“Just talk to him, Lisa. Tonight, take time and just talk.”
“Well, he’s not staying at home at the moment.”
“You kicked him out?”
“Well, I offered to leave but he preferred I stayed with Jeremy…”
“This shows how much he cares…”
“Good men like Ethan are getting rarer each day. If you let go of him, someone else will take him. So hold on to what you have and never let him go. Whatever it is, I know you still love him. So prove to him that your vows at the altar still hold.”
Lisa nodded as she put the envelope in her handbag.
“I hear you, Susan.”
Ethan looked at his phone after trying to call Lisa. He dropped it on the table and sighed in despair. The door opened.
“Doctor Richards?” His eyes met Betty’s.
“What can I do for you?” She entered.
“You look terrible. Are you okay?” She walked to him.
“I’m okay; what do you want?” She touched his face.
“You haven’t been sleeping, have you? I’m sorry if I’ve caused you any problems…”
“I don’t want to talk about it, Betty.”
“If you don’t want to talk, that’s fine. Silence is even better.” She leaned down and kissed his forehead.
“What are you doing?” Ethan asked, confused.
“Shush…just trying to make you feel better. You look like you need to let off some steam. I can help you do that,” she said that enticingly.
She kissed him. He pushed her away. He stood.
“Stop that! I’m married!”
“I’m not disputing that fact, doctor. I just want to help you feel better, that’s all.”
She held him. “No one needs to know about this; it could be our exclusive little secret,” she said with a wink. She kissed his neck.
Ethan’s body was burning. He wanted to push her away but he couldn’t find the strength. He just needed to be held and comforted and Lisa was nowhere around.
“Betty stop this…”
“It’s all right; I know you want me too. Just relax and let me relax you, okay?” She said as she looked in Ethan’s weary eyes. She kissed him.
Her lips felt cold, strange to him. They were not as warm as Lisa’s. But there was something about Betty’s…they were teasing…
“Ethan, I’m sorry…” The door flew open. Lisa froze in her tracks. So did Betty and Ethan. Lisa felt her heart slowly stop beating. She dropped her handbag.
Betty stepped back from Ethan. Ethan closed his eyes for a second and when he opened them, tears rolled down his face.
“I’m sorry,” Betty apologized and hurried out of the office. Ethan and Lisa still remained at where they stood. Lisa was still in shock.
“Lisa…” His voice broke her out of the shock spell. Her palm landed on her chest and inhaled deeply as she tried to find her heartbeat. She started sobbing. Ethan walked to her. She stepped back. She reached down and took her handbag from the floor. With trembling hands, she took the envelope from the bag. She threw it at him. Ethan caught it before it could hit him in the face. Their eyes met. Both pairs were filled with unspeakable hurt and pain.
“Lisa…it’s not…” Lisa turned and left the office. She literally run out of the premises.
Ethan looked at the envelope and opened it, his heart beating to find what he knew was inside. He pulled the papers out. Both papers were not filled. He ran his fingers through his hair in anguish.
Lisa sat in her car and broke down in tears as she put her head on the steering wheel.
Where did I go wrong? What did I do to deserve this? The questions began to flood her mind as she cried. Did I push Ethan away? Wasn’t I a wife good enough for him?
The clouds gathered and within minutes began to pour out heavy rain. Lisa began shivering; not out of cold but of hurt. She was trembling all over.
When the downpour had eased a bit, she started the engine and drove off.
Lisa sat in the living room with Jeremy on her lap, her mind anywhere but in the room. Jeremy tucked at her arm. She looked at him blankly.
“What is it, Jer? You’re hungry, aren’t you? You sit here, I’ll be right back,” she said, placing him on the sofa gently. Her phone rang. She took it and canceled the call.
She went to the kitchen. She was preparing his cereal when her phone rang again.
“Don’t pick it up, Jer!” It rang for some time. Then it stopped. Lisa sighed in relief but it was short-lived when she heard Jeremy say, “Daddy!”
“Jer!” She went to the room and took the phone from him.
“What do you want?”
“I just want to speak to my son.”
“You know he can’t say much.”
“But I just want to hear him making sounds.”
“Fine; are you done?”
“Lisa…how are you doing?”
“We have a meeting with our attorneys at 10a.m. tomorrow. Be there on time,” she said and cut the line. She glared at Jer.
“Daddy?” Jeremy said softly; hoping to see him.
“Don’t do this to me, Jer; this is not easy for me too. Let me get your cereal and get a nap, okay?” She went back to the kitchen.
Ethan was ready to leave the next day when Mike burst in.
“Are you going somewhere?”
“Yeah; I’ve to meet the lawyers; I’m dreading it already. Why, what’s up?”
“There has been a terrible accident not far from here. Someone was just rushed in. I’ve been told others are on their way. The victim suffered a massive head trauma. We need you to see him.”
“Right now? I told you I’ve…”
“Someone’s dying, Ethan! Whatever it is, Lisa and the lawyers can wait. This is more important. Hurry up,” he said and left the office. He sighed and looked at his watch. It was 9:14a.m. Maybe I could take a quick look and still make it, he thought. He rushed out of the office.
“Barrister Anderson, where is your client? It is thirty minutes past ten already,” Lisa’s attorney complained.
“I’m sure he’s on his way.”
“Please contact him and tell him to please hurry up. I’ve other appointments to keep.”
The lawyer took out his phone and dialed Ethan’s number. He shook his head after waiting for some time.
“He’s not picking. It went to voicemail. He’s a surgeon. I’m sure something came up.”
“I thought he was on probation,” Lisa said.
“It shows how long it has been since you had a proper conversation with your husband, Mrs. Richards,” Barrister Anderson pointed out.
Lisa was about to talk back but her attorney restrained her. An hour passed and Ethan was not present. Lisa tapped her feet impatiently.
“Are you sure you don’t know where your husband is?” Ethan’s attorney asked. Lisa glared at him.
“And if you were abreast with our current situation, you’d have known that we don’t sleep under the same roof. So much for proper conversation, huh?” Lisa blew at him.
“It’s okay, Lisa; you’re a lawyer too. You know how this works. Calm down. How much longer should we wait?” Lisa’s attorney asked.
“Well…” He started.
“I can’t wait any longer. I’ve to be in court in forty five minutes,” Lisa said. Anderson tried Ethan’s line again. Still no answer.
“I can’t believe he just wasted my time…,” Lisa said, shaking her head.
“Maybe an emergency came up at the hospital.”
“And that’s why he has something called a cell phone. You know what, I need to leave,” she said, getting up.
“Right now? You have 45 minutes more…” Barrister Anderson said.
“Well, I need to be on my way if I plan to get to the courtroom on time. If he considers his work more important than this, so would I. Schedule another time and let me know. See you two,” she said and left.
Ethan sighed when he saw the many missed calls from his lawyer. He called him.
“I know…I’m sorry; that was a terrible accident and a couple of people suffered head traumas. I had to be there to perform surgeries on them instantly. So what happened?”
“Your wife left and wasn’t in a good mood at all. I think you should see her and apologize to her.”
“I will; thanks barrister. I’ll talk to you later,” he said and cut the line. He called Lisa’s number but she didn’t pick up.
He took his car keys and rushed out.
“So what happened with the attorneys?” Sue asked.
“Nothing; Ethan didn’t show up.”
“How would I know? He didn’t even have the courtesy to pick up a phone and call to reschedule. He just wasted my time.”
“I’m sure the hospital kept him…”
“The last time I checked, you were my assistant and not his attorney, Sue!”
“Is everything ready for court?”
“Good; let’s go.” They left the office.
Ethan rushed into the chambers. He saw her approaching.
“Lisa…. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there.”
“I don’t have time for this, Ethan. I’m on my way out.”
“Please give me a minute…”
“If there’s anything you have to say to me, say it to my attorney. He’ll convey the message to me. Sue, let’s go,” Lisa said and started walking away.
“I still love you, Lisa!” He said out loud. Lisa ignored him and exited the chambers.
“We won!” Sue said happily as they left the courtroom.
“Yes we did. At least something good happened today.”
“So you really want to get a divorce?”
“Don’t start, Susan. Don’t ruin this good moment for me.”
Her phone rang.
“Yes, this is me. What is it?” She listened for some time.
“What? When? Oh no, not now….okay, I’ll be there. Thank you.” She cut the line.
“What is it?” Sue asked.
“It’s my mum. She fell and her condition seems critical.”
“So you’re going to see her right now?”
“Yeah I’ve to. I’ve to still go back to the office. Let’s hurry up.”
Lisa’s eyes were filled with tears as she sat in the doctor’s office.
“How bad is it?”
“Very; her joints are very weak and she seems to have problems giving accurate details of the incident.”
“What’s the worst case scenario?” Lisa asked.
“Let’s not talk about that for now….”
“She may be bedridden and she may have few months to live.”
That sent the tears running down her face. She wiped them away with her fingers.
“Can I see her?”
“She was given tranquillizers so she’s asleep. She’d be out for a while. So I suggest you go and come back later.”
“Sure. Thank you, doctor.”
Lisa lay in bed, sobbing and clutching the pillow tightly like her life depended on it.
She felt sad about her mother’s condition and her deteriorating relationship with Ethan. She really wished he was around at a time like this. His arms would have been a great comfort for her right now. She really missed him. She took her phone and contemplated on calling Ethan.
Ethan also lay in bed in his hotel room staring at his phone in his hand. All he had to do was to press the call button.
Lisa pressed the call button.
So did Ethan.
Phone busy, the service provider alerted Lisa.
Problem in connection, Ethan was informed.
“Mommy?” Jeremy’s voice called. Lisa sat up.
“Jer?” Lisa put her phone off before getting off the bed to carry Jeremy.
Ethan tried her number again. Her phone was off. He sighed as he threw the phone on the other side of the bed.
“I miss you, Lisa,” he muttered to himself.
“What is it, sweetie? You couldn’t sleep?” Lisa asked her son.
“You want to see daddy? You’ll see him soon, okay? I promise,” she said and kissed his head.
“Now try and sleep,” she said as she placed his head on her shoulder and tapped his back gently.
Ethan was on his way out of the hospital at the end of his night shift when a doctor approached him.
“Hi there….it’s been a while, doctor.”
“I know…I thought you might pass by since your mother-in-law is back here.”
“You mean Annie? When was this?”
“Two days ago. Didn’t your wife tell you?”
“Well, because of my shifts, we don’t get to talk much…”
“I understand. Please tell her to come and see me whenever she gets the time. It’s important.”
“Sure; what happened to Annie by the way?”
“She fell incurring some injuries and some mental dysfunctions. It’s partly due to old age. Please don’t forget to inform Lisa for me.”
“Sure of course.”
“I’ll see you around,” he said and walked away.
As Ethan approached Lisa’s office, Sandra came out of the washroom with Jeremy.
“Daddy!” He screamed.
“Hi buddy!” Sandra gave him to his dad. Ethan kissed his son.
“How are you doing? You’re good? Hey Sandra, how are you?”
“I’m fine, sir. Lisa told me you’ll be here to take Jer.”
“Yeah; is she in her office?”
“Yes she is; she’s in a meeting at the moment.”
“With her assistant, Susan.”
“Can I speak to her?”
“As I said, she’s…”
“Okay… I need to speak with her. You either inform her or I enter. Your call.”
“Fine.” Sandra walked over to the door and knocked.
“It’s me, Mrs. Richards.” She opened the door.
“I’m sorry to disturb you but your…”
“Hi Lisa,” Ethan greeted as he entered. Lisa lifted her head. Susan turned to look at him.
“Hi Ethan; it’s been a while. You look good,” Sue complimented.
“Thanks Sue; just ended my shift so I passed by to pick up Jeremy.”
“Okay.” Lisa looked back at her computer screen so as not to meet Ethan’s eyes.
“Um…could you ladies give us a minute?” Ethan asked politely.
“Sure…take all the time you want,” Sue said, getting up.
“I’ll go and make the calls you requested, Lisa,” Sue said and left the office with Sandra.
“How are you?” he asked.
“I’m fine,” she said, her gaze still fixed on the monitor.
“I miss you.” She didn’t reply.
“I was just informed that Annie has been admitted at my hospital for two days now. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Well, she’s my responsibility not yours.”
“We are married, Lisa; that makes it mine too.”
“Well it won’t be for too long.”
“Lisa, look at me.” She did.
“Why are you trying so hard to act like you don’t need me anymore? We love each other and we’re each other’s helper. Yeah, I almost messed up that day but trust me, there’s nothing between Betty and I. I know she looks like a threat and I’m doing all I can to get her transferred.”
“I believe it’s too late for that, Ethan,” Lisa said, resuming her work on her PC.
“No it’s not, Lisa. Look at Jeremy. Do you really want him to grow up without his father?”
“You should have thought of that before yielding to Betty’s lures.”
“It was a moment of weakness, Lisa. We were at a bad place and I needed…really needed your comfort and you weren’t there…”
“Oh so this is all my fault, is that what you’re saying?”
“No… I’m just saying I wasn’t in a clear state of mind to handle the situation as I should have. Please give us another chance to make this right and give Jer the full life he deserves.”
“I’m not depriving you of Jeremy, Ethan. I’m not that heartless. You can have him anytime. He’s your son.”
“He’s our son; please don’t break us apart.”
“Stop saying that, Ethan! I didn’t break us apart, you did! I’m just making sure the legal papers are signed to clarify that.”
“So the vows we made to each other don’t mean anything to you?”
“Ethan, please don’t get on my nerves this morning. I’ve a very long day ahead of me and you being here is killing my vibe so please, back off.”
“At least let’s go see a counselor. I’m sure we can get past this.”
“Don’t you have somewhere to go because I’ve something to do. You have Jeremy the whole day. I advise you utilize the time well.”
“Fine; aren’t you going to kiss our son goodbye?” Ethan asked. Lisa sighed as she got up and walked to them.
“I’ll see you later, darling,” Lisa said as she touched Jeremy’s cheek and leaned in to kiss him. Instinctively, Jeremy drew his head back so Lisa’s lips landed on Ethan’s. Ethan seized the opportunity at once. He realized how much he missed Lisa’s body. He held her face to keep her from pulling back. When they finally did, they both breathed in heavily. His hand rested on her waist.
“You really want us to be over? You need me as much as I need you. Stop hurting yourself and stop hurting us.”
“Goodbye,” Lisa said and kissed Jeremy’s cheek. He held her hand as she turned to go back to her desk. She looked at him.
“The doctor says he needs to see you. He says it’s urgent.”
She nodded. “I’ll be there.”
“And let me know when you do.”
“That’s not necessary; I…”
“I’m not asking you, Lisa,” he said firmly.
“Fine.” He released her.
“I’ll see you,” He said softly and turned. He opened the door and left. Lisa sighed heavily and bit her lower lip. She touched it as she sat.
If he continues like this, I’ll definitely lose my ground, Lisa thought. But it felt good to be his arms again. She smiled to herself. Sue opened the door.
“Okay… I called them and they said…”