Lisa entered the doctor’s office after seeing her mother in the ward. Ethan was pacing the room, tapping Jeremy gently on the back.
“Are you okay?” Ethan asked with concern.
“Yeah I am,” she said with a nod. She sat. Ethan did too.
“So what did you observe?” the doctor asked Lisa.
“Well, she looks to be recovering which is a good sign but….” She paused, trying not to let her emotions overcome her. Ethan rubbed her back in support.
“But she doesn’t seem to…remember exactly what happened. What is going on, doctor? Is this old age talking?” she asked, scared.
“It is indeed, Lisa. But our latest scans reveal something else. There happens to be a tumor nudging in your mother’s brain.”
“A what? Since when? How come you never mentioned it?”
“Because it was benign when we first saw it so we didn’t pay much attention to it…”
“So it’s malignant now?”
“It’s not…. It just happens to be nudging the part of the brain responsible for memory storage; hence the headache and flashes.”
“So what are you saying?”
“I’m saying we need to get it out.”
“What? You are going to open her brain up? No way!”
“It’s no big deal, Lisa. It’s quite a simple procedure.”
“Oh no; my mum is old and fragile. She’s not up for any surgery.”
“And you seem to forget you have one of the best neurologists in the country as your husband, Mrs. Richards.”
“I could perform it or better still, supervise whoever you choose to perform it for you,” Ethan added. Lisa shook her head.
“It’s too risky. My mum has a phobia for surgeries.”
“If we leave her, her life expectation isn’t even worth mentioning, Lisa. Don’t you wish to spend more time with her?” the doctor asked. Lisa glanced at her husband.
“How long does she have if she doesn’t?”
“Lisa…” Ethan started.
“Maximum of six months.”
“And if she does?”
“As long as it’s possible. You don’t have to make the decision now. You can go home and think about it but let me know your decision very soon. The earlier we take it out, the better.” Lisa nodded.
“Thanks, doctor,” Ethan said. “Let’s go, Lisa.” They got up and left the office.
“Do you want me to drive you home?” Ethan offered.
“Yeah; that would be helpful. Thanks.” Ethan gave Jeremy to her.
“Okay.” They walked to her car and sat inside. They drove home.
Lisa looked absent-minded the whole way home. Ethan wanted to hold her hand but didn’t know how she would react. When he killed the engine, he said, “We’re home now.”
Lisa looked at him. “Do you mind….staying over? I’d appreciate the company,” she asked softly. He stared at her for a moment.
“Sure; you know I’d love to stay.” He leaned in and kissed her forehead. Lisa gave a weak smile. They got out of the car and entered the house.
“Wow…I must say I miss this house.”
“It is your house, Ethan,” Lisa pointed out.
“Well, I could lose it after the divorce.” That made Lisa stop. Ethan turned to look at her.
“Is everything okay?”
“Yeah…I just realized something. You know, forget it. You want something?”
“It’s my house, remember? I can get it myself. You take Jer to bed.”
“Okay.” She went upstairs. Ethan went to the kitchen.
They ate dinner quietly. Ethan sipped his water and placed his glass down.
“Still thinking about your mother?”
“Huh…no…I mean yes, I’m thinking of many things right now,” Lisa replied.
“Are you done?”
“Yeah…I just remembered, there’s going to be a soccer match today. May I…”
“Ethan please, you’re not going to ask me if you can, are you? This is your home. Do as you please.”
“Well, you can’t blame me; I’ve been absent for some time now so it does not feel like home to me…” Lisa glanced at him and saw the hurt in his eyes.
“And I’m sorry for that.”
“Don’t apologize. It’s my fault, remember?” He said and got up. He walked to the living room and sat down. He took the remote control and switched the TV on. Lisa cleared the table and washed the dishes.
When she finished with cleaning up the kitchen, she went upstairs and took a shower. When she opened the door, Ethan was going through his things in the drawer. He turned when she closed the door behind her.
“I just wanted to change…”
“Go ahead,” Lisa said. He closed the drawer.
“I’ll be in the guest room,” He said and started to leave.
“Why don’t you just the bathroom?” Lisa asked. He stopped and turned.
“I mean, since you’re here, it would make more sense if you just showered here. I don’t mind,” she added anxiously.
“Okay; thanks,” he said and entered the bathroom and closed the door. She sat on the bed and sighed.
“What am I doing?” she asked herself breathlessly.
When Ethan came out of the bathroom, Lisa wasn’t in the room. He went to Jeremy’s room. Lisa was holding him and staring through the window.
“Is he asleep?” he asked.
“Yeah; he just did.” She gave him to Ethan. Ethan kissed him affectionately on the forehead. He put him carefully in his cradle. He hugged Lisa and kissed her hair.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said as he let go of her.
“Wait,” Lisa said as she held onto his arm. He looked at her.
“I just want you to know that I’d never take this house or anything precious to you away from you. This house is yours.”
He folded his arms and looked at her intently.
“You and Jeremy are the most precious ones in my life right now,” Ethan said. Lisa swallowed.
“I won’t take Jer from you either.”
“And you? You’d still leave me?”
“Ethan, you cheated….”
“Yeah for five seconds and you’re going to throw away everything we have because of it. I don’t blame you, you’re hurt and you feel betrayed but are you really prepared to put us behind you? Are you, Lisa?”
“Well, I’m still thinking through it…”
“Okay; I’ll give you the space to do that,” he said and turned to leave.
“Ethan, wait,” she said desperately as she held on to his T-shirt.
“What?” He turned. She leaned forward and kissed him. He held her and with every restraint in his body, pulled her back.
“Hey…what are you doing?” Ethan asked.
“I….please spend the night with me; I hate being in there alone,” Lisa pleaded softly.
“Are you still divorcing me?”
“Ethan please let’s put that behind us for now, okay?”
“Oh no, I’m not; this is something I may have to live with for the rest of my life so I need to be prepared for it. I’m not going to lay by you and most probably make love to you and then have the reality of divorce hit me tomorrow morning. So think about it; if you want me, call it off and I’m all yours. If you still want to be free of your commitment to me, then you’ve no business wanting me in your bed,” Ethan said flatly and walked out of Jer’s room.
Lisa sighed and tears dropped down her face. She went to the bedroom and lay down.
She fidgeted every minute. Sleep wasn’t coming to her anytime soon.
Ethan lay wide opened on the bed. He kept staring at the ceiling. His eyes darted to the door when he heard the main bedroom’s door open. His breath was caught in his throat. Lisa walked to the door of the room where Ethan lay. She stood there for some time and lifted her hand to knock. Ethan’s eyes never left the door.
Lisa dropped her hand and took two steps back. She went downstairs. Ethan sighed when he heard her footsteps on the stairs.
Ethan came downstairs the next morning to find Lisa setting the table for breakfast.
“Good morning,” she greeted.
“Good morning…whoa…I do miss home-made breakfast. Thanks, love,” he said as he sat down. Lisa joined him later with Jeremy. She fed Jeremy whiles sipping her tea.
“Are you just taking tea?” Ethan asked.
“Yeah…I’ll be fine.”
“You need to eat something…”
“You know breakfast isn’t my favorite meal of the day….oh, don’t be naughty, Jer!” Lisa scolded, wiping his mouth with tissue paper. Ethan was puzzled.
“You…love breakfast,” he remarked.
“Well, sometimes the body rejects it.”
When they were done, they drove to the hospital.
“I might as well pass by and say hi to my mum,” Lisa said as he pulled over.
“Sure; would you like me to come along?”
“No; I’m fine. Thanks.”
“Okay.” He kissed her cheek. “Have a nice day, Liz.”
“You too.” They got out of the car. Ethan held his son in his bosom as they entered the hospital. He gave him back to his mother after kissing him goodbye.
“I’ll see you.” They parted ways.
“How did it feel being back at home?” Mike asked Ethan over lunch.
“It felt tensed.”
“How do you mean? She didn’t want you there?”
“Of course she did; she asked me to stay over, remember?”
“So is she calling off the divorce?”
“I don’t know; most probably. I did push some sensitive buttons so I’m sure she has thought of what she really wants. She wants a divorce just to punish me for kissing Betty but she still wants me because obviously she’s still in love with me,” Ethan said.
After a pause, Ethan remarked, “I noticed Lisa was pretty emotional last night. I don’t know if it’s because of her mother or it’s just her hormones.”
“It’s being about six weeks since you two came back from your little getaway, right?”
“Well, maybe she could be knocked up.” Ethan glanced at him and chuckled.
“No, I think so.”
“How would you know? Maybe she herself doesn’t know.”
“Yeah that’s possible. She’s too busy with her work that she doesn’t even notice when she’s ovulating. It’s that bad.”
“Are you serious?”
“How do you think I was able to get her pregnant without her noticing?” Ethan asked.
“Yep; that’s the incredible lady I fell in love with.”
Barrister Anderson cleared his throat as he opened a file.
“My client Ethan Richards has noted the following to be made known to his spouse, Lisa Richards…”
“Okay, go on,” Lisa’s attorney said.
“My client wishes that his wife keeps the house she’s living in…”
“No, wait; he should have it. It is his house and he acquired it without me so it’s only fair that he keeps it,” Lisa interjected.
“My client insists that you keep it because he doesn’t want you nor his son to live anywhere else than the home he’s provided; where he believes his son would be safe and brought up well.”
“Hold on, Lisa,” her attorney stopped her, touching her hand. She exhaled.
“He also wants you to have full custody of your child, Jeremy Richards…”
“What?” she exclaimed. She looked at Ethan who only stared at her coolly with folded arms and crossed legs quietly enjoying the discomfort she was feeling.
“…because he strongly believes you’re the best mother for your son and he doesn’t want to make any arrangement that would disturb the peaceful atmosphere in which Jeremy is being brought up.”
“What are you doing, Ethan? You don’t want Jer anymore?”
“Of course I do; he’s my son.”
“You’re the one who’s pushing for this divorce, right? I’m giving you everything you want so you don’t lose anything. After all, I’m the one who’s being punished here, right?” Lisa opened her mouth to say nothing but no word came out. She bowed her head and sighed as she closed her eyes.
“Could you gentlemen please give us a minute?” Ethan requested.
“Lisa, are you all right?” her attorney leaned in and asked her. She nodded.
“Could you please?” Ethan asked again. The two attorneys got up and exited the room.
Lisa got up and started pacing the room.
“What are you doing, Ethan?”
“What does it look like?”
“It looks like you’re not fighting for anything…you’re just…giving up.”
“What is left to fight for when who I want most is the one who wants out? I’m just giving you what you want, Lisa.”
“What I want? You think I want this?”
“Then what the hell are we doing here? Why are we wasting our time here if you don’t want this?”
“I don’t know,” Lisa confessed. “I don’t know, Ethan.”
Ethan got up and walked to her.
“There are better ways to correct this problem than signing the divorce papers, Liz. If you’d just give us another chance, we could go see a counselor or something… anything to make us tick again.”
“We’ve never stopped ticking, Ethan.”
“Exactly my point, Lisa! You’ve no idea how much I wanted to be with you last night but I didn’t want anything to get in the way of this procedure…I mean, if you still want to go ahead with it.”
“My head’s reeling right now, Ethan. This thing with my mum…”
“Don’t use your mum as an excuse here, Lisa.”
“I’m not; my body’s confusing me. I feel this way one minute and that way the next minute. It’s driving me crazy.”
“And what’s your heart saying?”
“I can’t hear it say anything…my body is too loud for me…”
“Lisa…” She passed out. He held her.
“Lisa….wake up, please! Anderson!” He called out. The attorneys came in.
“I don’t know; she’s exhausted. I’ve to take her to the hospital. We’ll be in touch,” He said as he carried Lisa and took her to his car. He drove off.
“She’s fine, Dr. Richards. It’s just stress, I believe.”
“Yeah and so is your baby.”
“Uh huh, you’re going to be a dad again. Congrats, Ethan.”
“How…old is it?”
“Six weeks…I’m sure she doesn’t know herself. I’m sure you’d want to be the one to break the news to her, right?”
“Sure of course. Thanks.”
“I’ll be in my office if you need me.” He left the room. He glanced at her and chuckled.
“So Mike was right; and as usual, you didn’t know.” Memories of the times they were together at the beach resort came to mind. He smiled. He knelt by her and touched her face. She opened her eyes. She startled when she looked around the room.
“Where am I?”
“Shush….it’s okay. You passed out at the meeting. You’re at the hospital.”
“Okay…” She sighed. He held her hand.
“Lisa…” He waited for her to look at him. “I believe Jer is going to be a big brother soon.”
“What are you talking about?” It took a few seconds for the words to sink in. “What?”
“Yeah…the doctor just told me.”
“I’m pregnant…again? Oh gosh, I’m such a poor planner! I couldn’t plan for any of them.”
“That’s the beauty of life, love. Both children were conceived at a time of pure bliss,” he said with a smile.
“Are you happy? Do you want to be a father again?”
“Are you kidding me? It’s the best news for us at a time like this.”
“So I guess the divorce is off?” He asked cautiously.
“Yeah I guess so.” Ethan kissed her deeply.
“Thanks love; I promised not to hurt you like that ever again.”
“Let’s pray so.” They smiled at each other.
Jeremy’s head lay on his mother’s lap as he slept with a hand on her tummy. Lisa smiled as she looked at her son. Ethan looked at his watch and took his hand away from around Lisa’s neck.
“Where are you going?” Lisa asked.
“I’m going to make us dinner.”
“Oh no, you shouldn’t do that. Let me…”
“No, relax. You wouldn’t want to wake Jer up, would you? You know how he can be when he doesn’t get enough sleep. Don’t worry, I won’t burn your kitchen,” Ethan said reassuringly. Lisa chuckled. He kissed her forehead.
“I’ll be right back.”
“Whenever you need help, call me.”
“I won’t but thanks,” he said with a wink and went to the kitchen. Lisa shook her head as she took the remote control and flipped the channel.
After a lovely dinner, Ethan took Jeremy to bed. When they finally retired to bed, Ethan offered to rub and massage his wife’s feet.
“Awww…thanks; that feels really good,” Lisa moaned as she relaxed into her pillow.
“That’s good.” Lisa closed her eyes with a smile on her face.
“Yeah…” Her eyes still envisaging dreamland.
“About your mother….what have you decided?”
“I don’t know…”
“Lisa…the longer she stays like this…”
“I know; the risks get higher. I don’t know whether to go for it or not. I don’t want to lose her to the hands of some surgeon.”
“I’ll be there, Liz. I could perform it if you want. And I can assure you, Betty would be far away from the O.R.” Lisa chuckled.
“I tried talking to her about it but she wasn’t getting it. I’d have to try again. I don’t want her to wake up and find out I took the decision without consulting her first.”
“Sure…but please be quick about it, okay? I don’t want you to lose your mum too…not this soon.”
“I know; I’ll go and see her tomorrow.”