“I’ve been thinking of names for our unborn baby,” Ted said excitedly as he massaged his wife’s back.
“You have….that’s…that’s sweet. What have you come up with?”
“Nathan; Nate for short. Nate Bourbon sounds cool, doesn’t it?”
“Nate…yeah, it has a ring to it.”
“Great and if it’s a girl…let’s see…” Lucia closed her eyes and felt the pang of guilt hit her chest. Did she really consider doing away with her baby just because the uncertainty of its paternity? Because if her fears turned out to be true, she will ruin her marriage, that’s for sure. And she was not ready for that. She loved Ted so much to risk it.
“Hey, are you going off already?” Ted asked, snapping her out of her thoughts.
“No. My mind just wandered off a bit.” She sat up and held his face.
“I am happy that you’re so excited about this baby but it scares me too. Because it is my responsibility to keep it safe and I’m afraid that if something should happen to it, it would crush you and damage us as a couple,” Lucia said.
“You need not worry about that. I do know nothing is going to happen to our child and if it does, God forbid it, we will get through it and try again, okay?”
Lucia nodded, tears forming in her eyes. “Okay.” He hugged her.
His compassion made her burden of guilt even heavier. She must be cruel to take this away from him. Maybe she wouldn’t go ahead with it after all. Who knows, she could be losing sleep for nothing.
Anita entered the office and watched Lucia closely as she had her eyes glued to her computer screen. Lucia felt a presence and raised her head.
“Anita, need something?”
“No; I’m just handing in a report. You seem to be in deep thought,” Anita said, giving her a file. Lucia put it down.
“Work does that to you.”
“Are you sure it doesn’t have anything to do with Mr. Tudor?” Anita asked curiously, sitting down. Lucia cast a sharp glance at her.
“What are you talking about?”
“I saw how he held you when I walked in on you two the other day. And that says everything but a dude acting harmlessly towards his friend’s wife. There couldn’t be more to it, could it, Monique?”
“I don’t have time for this kind of talk, Miss Morgan.”
“I’m just giving you a fair warning that if it is what is I suspect it is, I’d not hesitate to use it to my advantage.”
“I thought you two were getting somewhere,” Lucia said.
“Well, it so seems that the men who take an interest in me see something more profound and worth chasing in you. I wonder what it is,” Anita said. Lucia shrugged.
“I guess that’s something you should research on. You could finally land yourself a hubby,” Lucia said with a tight smile. Anita got up.
“I’m watching you, Monique.” She walked out.
Ted arrived at a cafeteria located right opposite the Peace General Hospital. Dr. Grant waved at him when he entered. He walked to him and sat down.
“Good day to you too, doctor. What was so important that you had to drag me all the way here?” Ted asked and signaled a waiter over.
“Did you tell Lucia you were meeting me?”
“No, I didn’t. Should I have?”
“A glass of lemonade, please,” Ted requested. The waiter nodded and left.
“What is this about, doc?”
“I know it’s not my place to meddle in your marital affairs but I consider you and Lucia as my friends so it is out of concern for me to confront you about this.”
“I remember you calling me very excited about Lucia’s pregnancy.”
“Uh huh.” The waiter brought him his glass and left. Ted sipped.
“I was just wondering what the problem could be for you two to be considering termination.”
“What? What are you talking about? Who is spreading such a poisonous rumor?”
“It is no rumor, Ted. I understand you two are both busy people and workaholics even but having a child at such a time like this could strengthen you two as a couple.”
“I have no idea of what you’re talking about, doc. None of us is considering that option. In fact, we were discussing baby names last night. Who told you that?”
“Lucia came over to the hospital yesterday.”
“She did? I didn’t know that.”
“She told the obstetrician that you two were having problems and the baby could complicate matters so she wanted…”
“She wanted what, an abortion? I don’t believe this! Lucia and I are perfectly fine. Are you sure it was Lucia she attended to?”
“I spoke to Lucia myself when she walked out of the room. Ted, whatever it is, you two can sort it out. I just think termination is too drastic an action.”
“I don’t know what to say. I think I should leave,” Ted said, getting up.
“I’m sorry if I ruined your day. I just wanted to help.” Ted took out his wallet.
“Don’t worry; I’ll take care of that,” Dr. Grant said. He nodded and left.
Ted drove straight home. How he got there, he didn’t know but he did. As soon as he arrived, he got himself a beer bottle and downed the content. The doorbell rang and he went to open the door.
“Young Bourbon! Good to see you. I thought you would still be at work.”
“Yeah, I decided to come home early. Come in, please.” Mrs. Baker came in.
“So where’s Monique?”
“Still at work, I suppose.”
“Nah, she told me to come over because she would leave the office early.” She sat.
“Any particular reason why she asked you to come over?” Ted inquired.
“I told her I was coming. A friend of mine brought me some pie and lasagna and I decided to bring you two some.”
“Ah I see,” Ted said, sitting down.
“Are you okay, son? You sound a little out of it.”
“I’m fine; just overwhelmed.”
“Work does that to you sometimes.”
“It has nothing to do with work.”
“So what is it about?” The door opened and Lucia entered.
“Mum! You’re here already! I feared you would come and meet a locked and empty house. Hi sweetie, I tried calling you but your phone was off.”
“Yeah, needed a moment.”
“Is everything all right?”
“It depends.” Mother and daughter exchanged a ‘what’s-going-on’ look.
“Anyway, I brought you two some pie and lasagna. Tastes pretty good.”
“Thanks, mum.” Lucia took the bowls from her and they both walked to the kitchen.
“What is going on, honey? Your husband really looks upset.”
“I have no idea, mum. I’m sure someone pissed him off or something. I’ll probe into it later. I’m hungry,” Lucia said and helped herself to some pie.
“Honey, would you like some pie?” Lucia called out.
“I’m not hungry.” Lucia glanced at her mum.
“That’s weird. He’s always hungry at this time of day.”
“Go talk to him right now, Monique before he explodes. Go on, I’ll wait here,” Mrs. Baker said, pushing her to the door. She stood behind him and wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing his forehead.
“You are warm, honey. Are you feeling okay?”
“What’s going on?”
“Why didn’t you tell me you went to the hospital yesterday?”
Lucia’s heart jumped.
“I…just went for a checkup. It’s no big deal.”
“Oh it is if you’re trying to get an abortion done,” Ted said, getting up.
“What, who told you that?” Lucia asked, alarmed.
“Are you going to deny that you inquired about aborting our first baby?!”
“What is going on here? Why am I hearing the word abortion?” Mrs. Baker asked as she entered the room. She glanced at both her daughter and son-in-law.
“Honey, it is not what you think. It was just a harmless question, I swear.”
“Harmless? By insinuating that we are having problems and so the baby should go?”
“Lucia Monique, did you really consider doing away with my grandchild?”
“No…it’s not like that. I just asked the obstetrician about it. I wasn’t planning on going through with it,” Lucia said, her voice trembling.
“But why would the thought even cross your mind?”
Tears began to roll down Lucia’s face.
“Who told you, the obstetrician, Dr. Grant?”
“Does it matter? Just answer the question, Lucia. Why think of terminating the pregnancy without my knowledge?”
Lucia looked at her mother for any kind of support but when she couldn’t find it in her hard look, she sat down and intertwined her fingers.
“I am so sorry, Ted. I was confused, I didn’t know how else to erase it all. I’m sorry.”
“You haven’t answered my question!”
“Because…I fear…the baby might not be yours?”
Those stinging words hang in the air for some seconds.
“What? What are you talking about, Monique?” Her mother asked. Ted sat down quietly as the words sunk in. He buried his head in his hands.
“I am so sorry, Ted. I just wanted to get rid of it so I wouldn’t have to second-guess it my whole life.”
“If it was the paternity you weren’t sure of, why not request a paternity test? Why go all destructive by considering termination?”
“Because asking for a paternity test tells the doctor what you’ve been involved in and I was so ashamed to do that.”
“So you rather blame it on marital issues, seriously Monique?”
“Who was it?” Ted asked quietly.
“Ted, please…I am so sorry.”
“Who was it?!”
“When did you even find the time to cheat?” Mrs. Baker asked.
Ted found the answer in Lucia’s eyes.
“When she left town…” He slowly stood up. “Was it Mitch?”
“Was it him? Is that why he is here? Is that why you wanted him gone?”
“I can explain what happened.”
Ted took his car keys.
“Ted, wait; don’t do anything stupid.”
“Nothing surpasses the stupidity of what you’ve done,” he said and stormed out of the house.
“What is wrong with you, Monique? I raised you better than this!”
“I don’t know what exactly happened, mother. Goodness, aren’t doctors supposed to respect confidentiality of their patients’ medical conversations?”
“You better hope you sort this out or else get ready for a brutal, nasty divorce, honey.” Lucia sobbed as she buried her face in her hands.