Mitch entered the apartment to find a suitcase seated on the sofa.
“Monique? I’m here.” Lucia came into the room.
“Yeah, I’m going home.”
“So soon? You just got here!”
“Yeah; I came to find out what happened and now I know. I don’t see why I should stay here another day.”
“Come on; at least stay for today and let’s hang out. You can go tomorrow; I won’t stop you,” Mitch urged, approaching her. Lucia stopped him by placing her hand on his chest.
“I need to go home, Mitch. I wish I could stay, I do but it is my marriage we’re talking about here. Ted and I have not be in contact for some time now and every minute that passes by is a moment too long for us which could actually end us being separated together. And I’m not ready for that. We haven’t spent much time with the baby and I don’t want to rob him anymore of the little precious memories. I understand there may be some feelings involved here but I love my husband Mitch and I long to be in his arms again. If you care about your friend the way I know you do, you’ll let me go,” Lucia said passionately. He nodded and stepped back.
“Okay; but I’m coming too.”
“Why would you do that? I don’t need an escort.”
“I need to tell Ted exactly what happened.”
“That wouldn’t be necessary. I don’t need you to fight my battle for me.”
“But I caused this mess in the first place. I know how Ted must be feeling right now because I was there the first time when a similar thing happened. If nothing happened between us, he needs to hear it from me.”
“That is non-negotiable. I’m coming.” Lucia conceded with a sigh and smiled. She hugged him.
“Thank you, Mitch; not everyone would do this.”
“Well as you rightly said, there are feelings involved here and that’s why I’m doing this.”
“Whichever way, thank you.”
Ted opened his front door. Mitch placed his hand on it to stop him from slamming the door in his face.
“What are you doing here? How dare you show your face here?”
“We need to talk, TB.”
“The hell we do; get out of my property,” Ted shouted, attempting to slam the door at him again.
“We need to talk about what you think happened between your wife and me.” Ted glared at him. Mitch entered the house and closed the door.
“Can we please talk about this?”
“Did she send you here, to do the talking for her?”
“In fact she didn’t. She did come to see me to find out the truth since apparently she has hazy memories of that fateful night.”
“And that’s supposed to make me feel better? Well it doesn’t! Just imagining you being near her makes me sick.”
“So don’t. You shouldn’t make something that didn’t even happen poison your heart against someone you dearly love. Nothing happened between us, Ted. She was drunk, sad and heartbroken. And she kept talking about leaving you in the arms of another woman…she was bleeding within…”
“And you were there for her…being her knight and shining armor.”
“You’re not listening to me, Ted. She loves you and she wants to make things right with you. She misses you dearly…”
“She told you all that?”
“She didn’t have to. She was in a hurry to come back home when she found out the truth. But I also wanted to come here myself and clear things with you.”
“This still doesn’t change anything because I do know you have feelings for my wife.”
“That fact I won’t deny but that’s the reason why I’m here. She loves you and she’ll only be happy with you and I want to ensure that she’s happy.”
“Aren’t you the sweet guy?” Ted said with a heavy tone of sarcasm.
“Just give her another chance, Ted. Because if you let her go, someone else will grab her and that person could be me,” Mitch said honestly. Ted fisted his palms, his insides boiling with rage.
“I wish we could put this behind us and be friends again, Ted. I do miss our friendship.”
“Yeah, not in a thousand years. Now get out.”
“Fine.” Mitch walked out of the house. Ted glanced at the envelope lying on the center table. He took it and stared at it. He was tempted to tear it open and read the contents but he overcame the temptation and put it back down.
Ted entered his office and got startled out of his skin when Anita shouted, “happy birthday!” She grinned broadly.
“You startled me. It is, huh? I can’t believe I didn’t remember it myself. Probably because I’ve had a lot on my mind lately,” Ted said, sitting down.
“Or mainly because your wife is still MIA.”
“Please don’t try to ruin my birthday for me. She not being here is enough torture. No need to rub salt into my injuries.”
“Didn’t mean to.” Her phone beeped. She looked at the screen.
“Who is it?” Ted asked.
“I’m not sure. Excuse me,” Anita said and walked out. She called the number.
Hours later, Anita entered Ted’s office again.
“Okay; so I’m taking you somewhere after work today.”
“Okay; is that supposed to be where my surprise birthday party is going to be?”
“You can be such a buzzkill!”
“So I’m right,” Ted said with a smile.
“I appreciate the gesture but I just want to go home from here.”
“Oh no, that’s not happening. Too much work has gone into…I shouldn’t have said that.” Ted chuckled.
“I’m enjoying this.”
“Come on, tell me you’ll come with me.” He glanced at her.
“Fine; if I don’t, you’ll never leave me alone and I do cherish my moments of tranquility around here.”
“Great!” Anita said excitedly and walked out. Ted shook his head with a smile.
They got out of the car. Ted locked the car doors. Anita took his hand and pulled him inside.
“Wow! All these people…I can’t believe you got all of them to come. I appreciate it, Anita.”
“Oh it wasn’t me. I helped though but this beautiful setup wasn’t my idea.”
“It wasn’t? Whose was it? My mum?” Anita pointed to someone. Ted’s gaze followed her pointed finger. It landed on a very serious-looking Lucia on the phone. Ted rubbed Anita’s arm in appreciation and started towards her.
“What kind of irresponsible people are you? I told you I needed this cake here at 4p.m.! And you’re telling me it’s now on its way? I don’t blame you! I blame myself for trusting Anita’s recommendation. Better get me my cake or we’re going to have serious problems,” Lucia said angrily and cut the line. Before she could lift up her head, a hand pulled her out of the room.
“Ted…” She breathed out.
“We need to talk.”
“I know. Wanted to do this for you…”
“And I appreciate that but I’d choose spending the evening with you alone over the people in there a thousand times over. Let’s go home,” Ted said, taking her hand.
“No; we can’t leave. You have no idea what I’ve been through pulling this off. I’ve ordered your favorite cake and it’s on its way. Let’s at least wait for it and cut it, okay?”
“Then we leave.”
“Yeah sure.” They went inside. Anita walked up to them.
“The cake is in.”
“Your people are not serious at all. I will never take any recommendation from you again, Anita,” Lucia said.
“Oh come on, you wouldn’t have pulled this off if it wasn’t for me.”
“So it was Lucia who called you this morning when you were in my office.”
“Guilty as charged. Let’s go cut the cake, shall we?”
The couple cut the cake together and the people applauded. Lucia fed him with a piece and he kissed her. Anita took over with the sharing of the cake.
“Now let’s get out of here,” Ted said hurriedly, hugging her from behind.
“Don’t you have anything to tell your friends before you leave?”
“I’ll send them a note of gratitude tomorrow. Come on.”
“Anita, we’re leaving,” Lucia informed her.
“We have some things we need to talk urgently about,” Ted replied.
“Okay sure; I’ll take charge from here.”
“Thanks.” They walked out and sat in his car and drove away.