Ted arrived home to find some of Lucia’s clothes missing. He checked her cosmetics and they were gone too.
“As usual, she flees yet again,” he said to himself, closing the wardrobe.
For the next three days, they did not hear from each other and Lucia did not report to work either. With each passing day of Lucia’s absence, Ted grew more agitated. And as observant as Anita was, she was the first to comment on that.
“Where is Mrs. Bourbon, if I may ask?”
“Not here, obviously.”
“Did you guys have another fight?”
“Why do you ask?”
“You’re grumpy and agitated and she has been absent for some days now. It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots here, Ted.”
“We are sorting some things out.”
“So what, you banned her from coming to work?”
“Nope; it’s complicated.”
“It always is with you two, isn’t it?” Anita asked. Ted smiled at the thought.
Mrs. Baker joined her daughter at the poolside who was reading a book.
“You know I do enjoy your company here, right?” Mrs. Baker started. Lucia closed the book, waiting for her to finish her line of thought.
“But you’re married now, honey; you don’t have to always run and hide here when you and your husband are having problems. You have to learn to sort things out. Hiding doesn’t help the situation.”
“I’m not hiding, mum. I told you that. He said he wanted a break and I’m giving him all the space he needs so he can make up his mind.”
“Make up his mind about what?”
“About whether he wants to stay with me or not.”
“You think it is as easy as it sounds? The movies may make it seem as if divorce is easy with just a signature but the damage and scars it leaves behind, you have no idea.”
“And since we didn’t sign any pre-nuptial agreement…”
“Don’t even go there but it won’t get there. You’re going back to your husband and do everything in your power to keep him. I’m not comfortable with you leaving him alone in the house especially now that he’s upset and thus vulnerable. You could lose him in a snap of the finger,” Mrs. Baker warned.
“You mean Anita?”
“I mean you’re being silly staying here and abandoning him the way you did.”
“Even if I go back, he wouldn’t even look at me. Why bother?”
“You can make him and any other man look at you as long as you want if you wish it. He is your husband and he loves you. It doesn’t take much for you to have him where you want him.”
“But it’s going to be awkward…”
“You know what, if coaxing you to go doesn’t work, then I might as well just push you to do so. Get out of here this minute and go to your husband. This is my husband’s house, not yours.”
“Okay; no need to raise your blood pressure. I’m going.” Lucia got up.
“Better.” Lucia smiled at her mother and gave her a loud kiss on the cheek.
Ted entered the bedroom when he arrived home from work to see a duffel bag on the bed and the wardrobe opened. He walked over to the bed on which the bag was placed. There were a few clothes in there. His eyes scanned the wardrobe and found more clothes missing. The bathroom door opened and Lucia came in, wrapped in a towel.
“Hi…I’m sorry for barging in like that.”
“I can see you came back for more clothes.”
“Well…not exactly. I decided to take a shower…”
“Yeah sure; help yourself,” Ted said and sat on the bed. He took off his shoes. Lucia turned her back to him and sighed. She put on her earrings. She felt him behind her. She stilled herself, expecting him to make a move. Ted’s hand moved around her and picked up a pair of earpieces on the dressing table. He went to sit back down. Lucia sighed again. She was about to put on her dress but she suddenly felt awkward about that. She turned to find him watching her.
“Whenever I look at you, I remember the first time we met and I’m more convinced that you are the one for me. I look at your body and I know that’s the one I want in my arms for the rest of my life. But instantly, the image of you and Mitch together makes me so sick so that…”
“You find me disgusting, I get that,” Lucia said. Ted got up and walked to her.
“No, no, no; I could never find you disgusting. I just find it so hard to believe that Mitch tampered with my woman once again.”
“But I’m right here, Ted. I’m ready to make this work.”
“I know; I missed you,” he whispered as he held her face affectionately. Lucia showed her gratitude by rubbing her face against his hand.
“I missed you too.” They kissed.
Later on the bed, Lucia broke the kiss and said, “Ted, we need to talk.”
“Not now,” Ted said, kissing her neck. Lucia gently pushed him back. He looked at her.
“We can do this all day but sooner or later, we would have to talk about our present situation. I don’t know about you but I’d like us to deal with this and put it behind us. So the earlier we do this, the better.” He sighed and got off her and lay down. Lucia propped herself up on one elbow and gazed at him. There was silence for some moments.
“I don’t think I can father someone else’s child,” Ted finally said, staring at the ceiling.
“I married you a day after I learnt of your child with Anita. I was ready to live with that. How can you not do the same for me?”
“Well, the child didn’t survive.”
“If it had, I would have found a place in my heart to accommodate that lovechild. I am begging you Ted, to please not put me in this awful position. I want you both,” Lucia said, placing his hand on her tummy.
“It could be yours for all we know.”
“And it could be Mitch’s,” Ted said, taking his hand off her tummy. Lucia held his hand.
“What matters is that we love and have each other, right? Please don’t let me go.”
“Then stay with me. Believe it or not, the ball is in your court not mine. You made a mistake and it depends on you to make it right.”
“Wow…how naïve of me to think this could be much easier if we had sex.” She got out of bed and dressed up.
“Do you love me, Ted?”
“You know the answer to that question.”
“Do I? Because if you can’t forgive me for what I might have done and move past it, then I don’t believe you do love me,” Lucia said, emotion rising in her voice.
“I am trying, Lucia.”
“Try harder then! Asking me to give up my child is outrageous.”
“You made Anita miscarriage my child.”
“It was an accident! I can’t believe you’re playing that card. And I remember you saying it was good for us all. So what, if the child was to be alive, it would be okay then for me to keep the baby regardless of its paternity? That we’d both have lovechildren to cater for? How ideal!” Ted said nothing.
“I brought you some food. It is the microwave.” She opened the door and glanced at her husband who still had his eyes fixed on the ceiling. She walked to him and kissed his forehead.
“For better for worse, remember?” She walked back to the door.
“Wait.” She looked at him.
“You forgot your duffel bag.” Lucia glanced at the bag and back at him.
“We both know that’s not why I came here,” she said and walked out. Ted opened his mouth but no words came out. He sighed and dropped back on the bed.