Ted entered the bathroom to find Lucia hugging the toilet seat as she puked.
“Are you okay?” He asked, concerned. She looked up at him.
“Does anything about this scene tell you I’m all right?” Lucia asked back and her head disappeared back into the bowl.
“I don’t understand; we ate the same thing so how come you are reacting to it like this?”
“Because my stomach isn’t that tolerable to new food. I told you I didn’t want to try that sushi.”
“I’m sorry, I thought you’d like it.”
“Well I didn’t!” She retched again. Ted approached her and knelt beside her. He rubbed her back.
“What are you doing?”
“Giving you my support.”
“Would you like to puke for me?”
“I wish I could but I hate puking.” Her head disappeared into the bowl again. Ted held her hair back.
“Are you sure it’s the food?”
“What else could it be?”
“It has been a while since you came back from your little getaway. Did you by any chance…make a mistake?” Ted asked cautiously. Lucia looked at him.
“You mean did I have a one night-stand?”
“I can’t believe this! How could you even ask me that?”
“You left angry…and sometimes people let off a little steam but doing something crazy,” Ted explained.
“Is that how you let off a little steam? By picking up strays from the streets for a deliberate mistake of a one night-stand?”
“No, I’m just saying…”
“Stop talking.” She puked again.
“I was just checking in…wanted to make sure that I don’t have to raise a bastard for a first child.” Lucia cast him a sideway glance.
“It was a joke.”
“And I’m not laughing…oh gosh!” She puked again. He rubbed her back. After a few minutes of silence, he asked, “Are you done?”
“Yeah I think so. I’ll never take food tasting advice from you ever again,” Lucia swore as Ted helped her up. She flushed it away.
“Oh come on, it wasn’t that bad. I’m sure you’ll like it better next time.”
“Are you kidding me, right?” She rinsed her mouth and washed her face. Ted held her from behind and stared at her in the mirror.
“We’ll be married in a week. I can’t wait.”
“I’m beginning to have second thoughts…” His countenance changed. “…if all you’re going to do is make me puke my insides out.”
“It won’t happen again, I promise,” he said and kissed her hair.
“You don’t have any barf in your hair, do you?” he asked jokingly. Lucia glared at him. He laughed.
“I love it when I succeed in getting under your skin. You look cute when you’re mad. Come and let me get you something to eat before we set off.”
“No sea food stuff,” Lucia said.
“Of course, come on.”
Lucia’s phone rang as they were on their way back home. It was Allen. She hesitated. Ted glanced at her.
“Is everything okay?” He asked.
“Yeah,” she said and answered the call. “Hello.”
“Hi Lucia…it has been a while.”
“Yeah, and deliberate. What’s up?”
“A bird just whispered to me that you’re getting married.”
“Figuratively,” Allen said and chuckled. “I was just calling to say congratulations.”
“I’m sorry for everything and I want you to know that I wish we could have a do-over as friends.”
“Thanks for the offer but I doubt it’s necessary. Thanks for calling. Bye,” she said and ended the call. She sighed. Ted glanced at her. She smiled back.
“My darling is back!” Mrs. Baker said when they entered her parents’ house.
“Hi mum, I missed you.” They hugged.
“I hardly did.” They laughed.
“Thanks for bringing her back safely, young Bourbon.”
“Don’t mention it, ma’am.” Ted dropped her bag.
“I hope your stay there was restful.”
“On the contrary, your favorite boy here made me work most of the time. We even had a business video conference. Can you believe that, mother?” Lucia said.
“Just one and you’re complaining? Brace yourselves because you might even be meeting investors on your honeymoon,” her mother said. Lucia’s eyes widened.
“I’m joking but don’t be surprised if it happens. It happened to me.”
“You’re not going to do that to me, are you Ted?” Lucia asked, turning to face him. He shrugged. “I can’t promise you, honey. If it happened to your parents, then it is very likely.”
“Then I’ll have divorce papers with me the whole time,” she said with a smile. Ted smiled back as he tapped the tip of her nose with his finger.
“I’ll be on my way now, ma’am.”
“Oh you won’t join us for dinner?” Mrs. Baker asked.
“I wish I could but I have a meeting with my father within the hour. Rain check?”
“Sure, son. Escort him to his car, dear.”
“Of course.” They walked outside.
“I really enjoyed this getaway with you. I know I acted up a few times…”
“A few times?” Ted asked. Lisa chuckled.
“But on the whole, I enjoyed every minute and I hope you did too.”
“Of course I did. At least I know how the next phase of my life is going to be like and trust me, I like the thought of that,” Ted said, touching her face. She smiled.
“Come here,” he said, pulling her into his arms. He kissed her forehead and sat in his car. They waved at each other and he drove off.
“So how was it? Tell me all about it!” Lucia’s mother asked excitedly when Lucia returned. Lucia grinned.
The following days were pretty hectic as the final preparations were being made. The only way Ted and Lucia could keep in touch was by chatting on phone. On the eve of the big day, Lucia drove over to the Bourbon’s after her appointment at the beauty salon.
“Hey!” She said breathlessly as they hugged.
“I almost forgot how you looked like,” Ted teased.
“Very funny. I just came over to check up on you…if you’re still alive or you’re getting cold feet,” Lucia asked.
“Me, of course not! Are you?”
“No…not yet. I hope not. My mum will kill me if she found out I was here. She said I should rest and not be seen all around town.”
“She’s got a good point though.”
“Are you saying you’re not happy to see me?”
“Of course not…I was just…I’d rather not say.”
“Good choice.” Her phone rang.
“Speak of the…speaking of my mother…” Ted laughed. Lisa answered the call.
“Hi dear, where are you? You should have been back a while ago.”
“I know; I decided to make a drop in at Ted’s,” Lucia said and flinched, awaiting her mother’s response.
“What? I told you to come right back. You need to rest so those tired eyes would look better tomorrow!”
“I know, mum. I’ll be there in a jiffy. See you,” Lucia said and ended the call.
“She wants you back, huh?” Ted asked.
“Yep. I have to go. I’ll see you at the altar tomorrow, honey,” Lucia said and kissed him. They walked to the door. When it opened, they both went aback.
“Hi,” Anita said. Lucia swallowed.
“What are you doing here, Anita? If you’re looking for my mother, she isn’t around at the moment,” Ted said.
“I’m not here to see your mother. It’s you I came to see.” Ted and Lucia exchanged a confused glance.
“May I?” She asked as she let herself in.
“Okay, so?” Ted asked.
“I thought you were on your way out,” Anita said to Lucia.
“I guess I can spare a few minutes to hear what you have to say to my fiancé. I don’t think he’d mind that,” Lucia said with a tight smile.
“Sure; you may need to hear this too. I know tomorrow is the big day and I hate to be the bad guy here but the thing is, I can’t keep quiet about this. I have to…”
“Out with it already, Anita,” Ted said.
“I’m pregnant.” The words hang in the air for some seconds.
“Okay…I don’t see why that should Ted’s problem. The last time I checked, he wasn’t a gynecologist,” Lucia said. Anita glanced at Ted who slowly took his hands off Lucia’s waist. Lucia looked at him.
“Ted? Why aren’t you saying anything?” Lucia asked.
“Okay, if he doesn’t have the balls to say it, I will. You remember when you left town for some weeks, we kind of…had a moment,” Anita said. Lucia blinked hard.
Lucia turned to look at Ted waiting for him to say something.
“So the whole guilt trip you were on when I came back was because of her? Ted, of all the women you wanted to let off a little steam with, it had to be her?”
“Well, you gave me access by letting me into your private office,” Anita sneered.
“Shut up! Oh, so that is why you asked me if I had slept with someone when I left town? Come on Ted, I trusted you!”
“I told you bringing her over to the office was a bad idea,” Ted simply said.
“So why didn’t you fire her?”
“He couldn’t do it,” Anita replied.
“Wow…so it seems you would be fathering a bastard after all, Ted,” Lucia said and walked out of the room. Ted stared at Anita who only stared back with a cool smile. He walked towards her.
“If this is some kind of sick joke to interfere with our wedding, then you have something coming.”
“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t true, Ted. Can’t you see we were meant to be together?” Anita said.
“I would have slapped those silly words out of your mouth if you were not a woman,” Ted said and walked out. Lucia was in the dining room.
“Lucia…I’m sorry about this…”
“We can’t get married,” Lucia blurted out.
“Are you seriously asking me what, Ted? That witch out there is carrying your baby and you still want to marry me?” Lucia asked.
“Come on Lucia, it is Anita we are talking about. This might be one of her schemes to stall the wedding! She might not be pregnant at all and even if she is, it could be anyone else’s. Anita can be quite the slut when she wants to.”
“And I wish I could say something different about you, Ted. I can’t believe this.”
“Don’t give her the chance to come in between us, Lucia,” Ted pleaded.
“What do you want me to do Ted? Ignore her?”
“We can look into this later. We can make her perform all the necessary tests to verify.”
“And if it turns out to be true? What happens then? I can’t risk it, Ted.”
“Risk what, my heart, my loyalty?”
“I wish I could count on that but I doubt it now. What I’m concerned about is my children’s inheritance,” Lucia said.
“What do you mean?”
“Can’t you see what is happening? She is pregnant for you before we even got married. She’s carrying your first child perhaps God forbid, your son. This means, that bastard would compete with my child for my child’s inheritance: both from your parents and mine. And there is no way I will let Anita’s child inherit a penny from my parents’ hard earned money,” Lucia said, tears forming in her eyes.
“That will not happen. Our children will be the only heirs to our property.”
“So what, you’re going to neglect your other child?”
“Who says it’s mine?”
“Who says it isn’t? Your five minutes of releasing steam has cost us everything, Ted, our happiness and the financial security of our unborn children. And goodness, what if I don’t give birth? Her bastard child will have everything!”
“No, he won’t. I won’t allow it to happen. I won’t let him earn a penny from your parents’ wealth, Lucia.”
“It still doesn’t make me feel any better, Ted. This is over,” Lucia said and walked out.
“What proves you’re pregnant?” Lucia asked coldly. Anita took out a photo and gave it to her.
“That’s the sonogram.” Lucia stared at it. She glanced at Anita and smiled.
“Thank you, Monique.”
Lucia handed the photo to Ted and walked out of the house.
“Lucia, wait!” Ted followed her outside.
“Please talk about this. We haven’t come this far just to quit.”
“If the tables were turned and I was pregnant for Allen, would you still marry me?” Lucia asked. Ted swallowed.
“Yeah, I thought so,” Lucia said and sat in the car.
“So what, you’re calling it off?” He asked. Lucia drove away. Ted walked back inside the house.
“What do you want, Anita?” Ted asked.
“I came to inform you that you are a father so step up to your responsibility.”
Ted held her and pushed her against the wall.
“If I find out this is a scam and you cost me Lucia, I’ll end you, you hear me?” he threatened.
“You should have thought of that before making love to me in the absence of your beloved sweetheart, don’t you think?” Anita said slyly. He let her go.
“Sure and just so you know, I don’t want to give birth to our child outside wedlock,” she said and left.
“This can’t be happening,” Ted said to himself. He took his phone and called Lucia’s number. She didn’t pick up. He sighed.
Lucia locked herself up in her room all evening. Her phone kept ringing but she ignored the calls. Her mother knocked on the door.
“Honey, you’ve been in there since you got back. Are you okay?” she asked.
“Would you like to come down for dinner?”
“You need to eat something.”
“Okay, not now. You go ahead.”
“Okay.” Lucia wiped the tears from her face but a new trail came running down.
“What do I do? What do I do?” She asked herself as she fidgeted with her engagement ring.