Ted’s phone beeped. It was a text message from Lucia informing him of dinner at his parents’. He dropped the phone on the desk after he had read it.
“Is Monique coming in today?” Anita asked.
“No; why, you need her for something?”
“No. I just enjoy the look on her face whenever she sees me. It’s priceless.” He shook his head.
“You smiled! I made you smile.”
“Yeah, you deserve an award for that, huh?”
Ted arrived at his parents’ home around 6p.m. His mother was setting the table.
“Hi mum,” he greeted her with a kiss on the cheek.
“Smells delicious,” he said. Mrs. Bourbon smiled.
“Your wife’s in the kitchen.”
“Is dad in?”
“He’s in his office.”
“Let me go and see him,” Ted said and walked away. Lucia came in and set a bowl on the table.
“Your husband just arrived.”
“Oh okay; where is he?”
“Gone to see his father in his office.” Lucia nodded.
When everything was set, they all sat at the table. They started eating after Mrs. Bourbon said grace.
“You won’t believe this Ted, I was driving through town last week and I think I saw that old friend of yours,” Ted’s mum said.
“Tudor.” Lucia almost choked on her food. She quickly cleared a throat with a glass of water.
“It has been quite a long time since you two reconnected. If he’s in town, perhaps you two could catch up.”
“He’s not,” Ted said and sipped his water.
“How would you know? The guy I saw really looks like him.”
“Because if he is, I would know.”
“I’m sure he hasn’t told you about his old friend, Lucia. He and Mitch were inseparable since childhood.”
“Until a girl came into the picture. It’s always the girl, isn’t it?” Mr. Bourbon said jokingly.
“Mitch was always the charming one. I’m not surprised he snaked Ted’s girl away. Ted felt so betrayed that his years of friendship with Mitch fell on the rocks. I wonder what he’s doing with his life right now.”
“Breaking up a marriage, I’m sure,” Ted said. Lucia glanced at him. Mrs. Bourbon chuckled.
“People change, Ted. You should find it in your heart to forgive him. Besides, that girl wasn’t worth it. If she was, you’d have ended up with her and not with Monique. And you and I know that she is the best thing that ever happened to you.”
“Your words,” Ted remarked. Tears threatened to fall onto Lucia’s face. She sniffed and excused herself to use the bathroom. She sobbed hard as she stared at herself in the mirror.
After dinner, Mrs. Bourbon joined her in the kitchen.
“Are you okay, honey? You seemed pretty quiet at dinner today.”
“Yeah I’m good.”
“Are you two fighting?”
“We’re not fighting; we’re just going through a phase.”
“I understand. I’m sure by now you’re familiar with the Bourbon temper. Just be patient and let him get the steam off. You two can talk it out and then things will return to normal,” she advised.
“Thanks. I needed that.”
“Good; leave the dishes and go home. Someone will take care of it.”
“Are you sure? It is no bother.”
“Yes I’m sure. Ted looks exhausted so he needs to rest.”
“Okay but what about my car?”
“You can leave your keys with me. I’ll get it to you tomorrow.”
The drive home was quiet except for the radio playing but Ted switched it off when it started playing love songs. When they arrived home, Lucia decided to break the ice.
“I am sorry for everything that has happened especially for making your rekindled relationship with Mitch go sour. I know you’re angry not with Mitch but with me because I created a wedge between you two and I’m sorry.”
“You’ve no idea what I’m feeling right now, Lucia so don’t talk like you do.”
“I’m sorry,” Lucia apologized and turned to walk away.
“I’ve been thinking of our situation right now and I came up with something. You went to take the paternity test, right?” Lucia nodded, folding her arms, arming herself for what was coming.
“If the baby is mine, I mean ours then we can work things out and get past this.”
Lucia nodded. “And if it’s not?” she asked, looking down.
“Then you have a choice to make.” That made her look up.
“What do you mean?”
“It means…” Ted said, walking towards her, “you have to choose.”
“Between us and…”
“And the baby?” Lucia asked, gasping. Tears filled her eyes out of shock.
“You can’t ask me to do that, Ted.”
“Why not?! You’re asking a mother to choose between her husband and her first child?”
“Well, it wouldn’t have been a problem if you hadn’t gotten rid of Anita’s baby…”
Lucia gasped again.
“Did you just call me a baby killer?”
“No I didn’t. You don’t expect me to live with a child who will constantly remind me of my cheating wife and traitor of a best friend, do you?”
“I found out about your infidelity with Anita a day before our wedding but I was strong and forgiving enough to show up at the church the next day to be your wife. And you can’t do the same for me?” Lucia asked.
“And I happen to remember the punishment you meted out to me because of that.”
“Punishment? I needed closure, Ted!”
“And you got it, didn’t you?” Lucia broke down into tears.
“And until the results get in, I think we need a break.” Lucia paused her sobbing and gaped at her husband.
“You need a what? You realize we’re not dating, right?” Lucia couldn’t believe her ears. Ted ignored her question and started up the stairs. Lucia blinked hard in shock watching him walk out on her.
“Ted?!” The slam of the bedroom door shut her up.
Ted left home the following morning without seeing Lucia. As he recalled the events of the previous day, he felt bad about the way he spoke to Lucia. He was in no position to judge. Lucia forgave him in a situation where none other would have. He knew he had to forgive her but why did he find it so hard?
Lucia arrived at her parents’ house with a duffel bag. Her mother stared at her and the bag, confused.
“What is this, Monique?”
“What does it look like, mum?” Lucia asked, picking up the bag and attempted walking past her. Mrs. Baker stopped her.
“Where do you think you’re going, young lady?”
“Mum, please…can we do this later?”
“No, we do this now! This is my husband’s house, not yours and don’t tell me anything about being your father’s daughter because such rights were slashed when you said “I do” at the altar. So why are you here holding a bag?”
“Young Bourbon says he needs a break.”
“From his cheating wife whose presence constantly reminds him of his traitor friend. Mum, could you give me Scott’s number?”
“Come on mum; how many Scotts do you know?”
“Just one and I’m wondering why you’d want his number.”
“Just taking precautionary measures.”
“You took one careless one and that’s what has landed you in your present predicament and you want to worsen it?”
“How much worse could it get, mum? If he says he needs a break, we both know what he’ll ask for next. Why not prepare ourselves for that outcome?” Lucia said and walked upstairs.
“I will not let you let go of your marriage, Monique; I won’t let you!”