The next day at the office, Ted hardly paid any attention to Lucia. He kept his answers short and he avoided eye contact. When Lucia could not take any more of the cold treatment, she decided to confront him.
“What is going on, Ted?”
“What?” Ted asked, flipping through some pages.
“Could you at least look at me?” He lifted his head. Lucia raised her hands.
“What?” He asked again.
“Do I need to spell out the tension that is threatening to break down the walls? You’ve acted cold all day. What is it?” He dropped the file on the desk.
“I think I saw Allen at the dinner meeting yesterday.”
“Did you meet him at the bathroom?”
“Okay, maybe you didn’t even make it to the bathroom. Did he come to see you?”
“Ted, why are you doing this?”
“Did he or did he not? Because the last time I checked, he wasn’t a businessman.”
“What if he did?”
“Why wouldn’t you tell me about it?”
“The last time I checked, we were not really talking.” Ted sighed.
“You’re making loving you very difficult, Lucia.”
“What does that mean?”
“You’ve started keeping secrets and I can’t have that.”
“Are you saying you don’t trust me?” Lucia asked.
“Well considering your choice of hangouts, yeah I don’t.”
“My choice of hangouts…what does that mean?” Lucia asked, folding her arms.
“Well considering the fact that he’s the kind of person who disrespects a woman’s privacy and keeps tapes…”
“And we are back to the tapes? I thought you didn’t mind that.”
“I don’t. Look, I love you Lucia, I really do but I’m having a hard time trusting you and if I can’t trust you, I don’t see how we can be together.” Lucia blinked hard as her jaw dropped.
“Are you saying…?”
“No I’m not; far from it. I’m only saying…”
“Yeah, I think I got it,” Lucia said, walking out. Ted sighed.
Ted arrived home and threw himself on the sofa. His mother looked at him warily.
“Is everything okay? It seems you’re in early today,” she said.
“Yeah, we closed early.”
“Uh huh, still not talking?”
“Yeah kind of,” he replied, staring at the ceiling.
“Is it about the tape thing?” Ted glanced at her sharply, shocked.
“Who told you about it?” She chuckled.
“You seem to forget that you have a bird on your shoulder.”
“So what are you doing about it? You know we can’t afford to have such a potential scandal on our hands. It could do serious damage.”
“So what do you suggest, that we cut the cancer off before it spreads? Are you giving up on us so easily?”
“Oh no, far from it. Lucia Baker is the choicest woman for you. Aside from the major fact that she makes you really happy, our families joining mean…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, a brighter future for our posterity.”
“Exactly. She doesn’t strike me as the type of girl…”
“She didn’t know about it till they got stolen from her ex’s apartment. She’s only a victim.”
“I figured. You’ve been in love with her ever since you met her at the hospital. You’ve never been the same since then and I like the new you. She completes you and you know it so whatever you two have to talk out, do so soon before it drives a wedge between you two.”
“So why are you still sitting down?”
“You came early; you better do something worthwhile with the time.” Ted sighed as he got up. He kissed her mother’s cheek and took his keys.
“I’ll see you,” He said and left the house.
“What do you mean?” Mrs. Baker said on the phone. The doorbell rang. She put the phone down and opened the door.
“Good day ma’am. Is Lucia back yet? I’d like to speak with her.” Ted said.
“I’m sorry, son but she’s gone.”
“What do you mean, gone?”
“When is she coming back?”
“How will I know? The last time she left home, she stayed out long to have a nursing degree and started practicing at some hospital. Who knows what she’d do this time?”
“So what, she might go get a law degree this time?” Ted asked.
“I have no idea, son.”
“But she just can’t leave. She knows we have a business to run, right?”
“I hope she’ll keep that in mind as she takes time off.”
“So what, when we get married and we have a fight, she’ll leave her home to wherever she wants?” Mrs. Baker shrugged.
“Maybe, maybe not. But at least, whenever she comes back, she does so with a renewed attitude. This might be a good thing.”
“Right; when she calls you, please tell her to call me.”
“Yes of sure; that is if she’ll even call at all.”
“What kind of woman did I just get involved with?” He muttered.
“Oh I’m sorry; I shouldn’t have said that,” He apologized.
“It is okay; I understand your frustration. I felt the same way the first time she did but it turned out for good. Don’t worry, she’ll come back.”
“Okay; thank you.” Ted noticed the phone on the table.
“Please tell her I’d be expecting her call.”
“Will do.” Ted left. She closed the door behind him and took the phone.
“When are you coming back, Monique?” Mrs. Baker asked.
“I don’t know, mum.” The line went dead.