“So how did you two meet?” Mitch asked over dinner.
“In a hospital. She was my nurse then.”
“Nurse, huh? I’m not surprised. Ted has always had a thing for dramatic encounters. So did a nurse end up being the heiress of a business guru?”
“It is a long dramatic story and I don’t want to get into that right now,” Lucia said with a tight smile. Mitch nodded.
“So what brings you here?” Lucia asked.
“Well, since you ran back here without finishing up your work, I had to come and deliver the wrapping up documents.” They stared at each other.
“Thank you for that. I’m sorry she left before she had to. She had run out of Teddy love juice so she had to come and top up her dosage,” Ted said lightheartedly with a wink at Lucia. Lucia shook her head with a smile.
“Huh; she must really have a thing for love juices for her to be knocked up this fast,” Mitch said cynically.
“Uh huh, you can say that again,” Ted said proudly, rubbing Lucia’s tummy with his palm. Lucia dropped her fork.
“And I think I’ve lost my appetite,” she said, getting up.
“Are you okay?” Ted asked.
“Oh yeah, you two continue with your meals. I’ll be in the kitchen. Excuse me,” she said and walked away. The two gents glanced at each other.
“Hormones?” Mitch asked. Ted shrugged to imply he had no idea. They continued to chat like the old buddies that they were. Lucia poured herself a glass of juice and sat down. About fifteen minutes later, Ted entered holding two plates. He put them in the sink and sat down beside Lucia.
“Are you okay?” He asked softly, holding her hand. She nodded.
“I’m sorry if we made you uncomfortable with our comments. We can get carried away like that sometimes,” he apologized.
“I understand and I wasn’t really bothered. I just wanted to sit alone for a while.”
“So we’re good?”
“Yes we are.”
“Good; then let’s go and see him off.” He helped her up and they walked to the living room.
“Thanks for dinner, Monique. It was amazing,” Mitch said.
“You’re welcome and it was nice seeing you again.”
“Great so I’ll see you both at the office tomorrow, right?” Mitch asked.
“Sure of course. We can go through the papers together,” Ted replied.
“Good; I’ll be on my then. Goodnight you two,” Mitch said, extending his hand to Lucia for a handshake. She took his hand. He kissed it.
“The charming type, huh?” Lucia asked.
“He did the same thing to my crush back then,” Ted said.
“Are you sure you’re over her? You seem to be still reeling over that.”
“Well, seeing you today has brought back a lot of memories, most of them not pleasant by the way.” Mitch laughed.
“I’m glad we can live past that.” He shook hands with his long time buddy.
“Goodbye.” He left. Ted closed the door.
“It is nice to finally meet someone who knows you apart from Anita, of course,” Lucia said. Ted chuckled and hugged his wife.
“You seem happy. I’m glad to see you this lighthearted.”
“Yes I am happy to see Mitch again. It has been a long time since we saw each other and we didn’t part on good terms so for us to reconnect like this, it is kind of therapeutic. I feel better.”
“I’m happy to hear that.” Ted gazed at his wife.
“And I’m extremely overwhelmed with joy over our baby so forgive me if I go overboard sometimes broadcasting the news,” Ted said.
“I understand and I couldn’t wish for anything less. You’re going to be best daddy ever.”
Lucia was restless the entire night. No matter how hard she tried to think about other things, all her brain was concerned about to process was Mitch and his attitude that evening. His gestures and comments made her uneasy. He seemed like the jovial type but she felt threatened by his presence. Was it real or was it all in her head?
The alarm went off at 6:00a.m. Ted glanced at Lucia who was still asleep. He leaned over and softly said hey into her ears. Lucia squirmed and opened her eyes.
“Good morning, love,” he greeted, kissing her hair.
“What time is it?”
“6 o’clock. Time to get up,” he said, getting out of bed.
“Give me five minutes.”
“Come on Monique, we have to leave early if we are to dodge the rush hour.”
“I’m not coming to the office today.”
“I’ve an appointment with my dad.”
“I thought that was on Thursdays.”
“Yeah, but he asked me to come today. Apparently, I’m the one he trusts enough to handle it.”
“Oh okay.” Ted entered the bathroom. He came out to find Lucia still sleeping.
“Still in bed?”
“I couldn’t sleep last night. I think I caught just a couple of hours’ worth of sleep.”
“Why, what were you thinking about?”
“I don’t know; my brain was working all over the place. I couldn’t shut it down no matter how hard I tried,” she said and yawned.
“I should get your breakfast ready,” she said, getting out of bed.
“No, don’t worry; I’ll have breakfast with Mitch. We’ll have more time to chat then.”
“Oh okay; that sounds like fun.”
“You want to join us before you go and see your daddy?”
“No, no, no; you go ahead. Perhaps another time.”
When he was done, he kissed his wife goodbye and left home. Lucia sighed and lay down in bed. She couldn’t wait for Mitch to leave.
“Hey buddy; you’re in early,” Mitch said when he saw his friend walk in.
“Yeah, I decided to report early so we could go and have breakfast together.”
“That’s great. Where’s your wife? Won’t she be joining us?”
“No; she won’t be coming in today. She’ll go over to her dad’s company today.”
“I see,” Mitch said.
The next day, Ted and Lucia came to work together. Lucia was working alone in the office when the door opened.
“Here you are.” Lucia looked up.
“Hi to you too, Mitch,” Lucia said and resumed working.
“Where have you been hiding?”
“Hiding? I’ve been working, Mitch.”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’re avoiding me.” She glanced at him.
“Avoiding you? And why would I do that?”
“I don’t know; perhaps because you feel uncomfortable around me…is it because of how we left things before you returned home?” Mitch asked.
“I have no idea of what you’re talking about, Mitch.”
“Oh okay, denial…such a genius way to go. Something tells me you’re acting edgy because of the connection we had back then.” Lucia scoffed.
“Don’t flatter yourself, Mitch. There’s no such thing.”
“Oh yeah? That’s not what I…”
“Listen Mitch, I am married to none other to your best friend, the one you betrayed years ago. So if fate has made it possible for you two to patch things up, I wouldn’t mess this second chance up if I were you. If you respect yourself and Ted as a friend, you will back off,” Lucia said firmly.
“And you’re pregnant; you forgot to add that,” Mitch said.
“And yes I’m pregnant so I might not always be in the mood for any silly jokes and innuendoes.”
“You must be high on hormones this morning. And I’m sorry if I offended you in any way. I didn’t mean to. Where’s Ted?”
“Out on an errand.”
“Okay could you tell him…?”
“You can tell him yourself. You have his number, right?”
“Yes I do.” Mitch stared at her as she continued her work.
“Anything else, Mitch?”
“Good.” Mitch stared at her for a moment and walked out.