Ted and Lucia entered the office together hand-in-hand to meet Anita with a broad grin.
“It is good to have my best rival back. It is good to see you, Monique.”
“Thank you, Anita.”
“It was beginning to get boring around here. And happy belated birthday to you, Ted.”
“Thanks, Anita. Is that what’s left of my cake?” He asked.
“Yeah; I’ll keep it in the refrigerator. And I have present for you.”
“Oh yeah? What is it?” Anita held out a ticket.
“A musical performance by your favorite group!”
“Are you kidding me? It’s been ages since I watched them!”
“I know! That’s why I got it!”
“Wow! Thank you but it’s only…” Anita slid the other one to the side so there were two.
“You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging, did you rival?”
Lucia smiled. “For a moment, I thought you did.”
“I would never do that,” she said, giving the tickets to Ted. He hugged her.
“I appreciate it, Anita. Very sweet,” Lucia said earnestly. She saw a pile of folders.
“Oh, that’s your backlog.”
“All for me?”
“Uh huh; when you went MIA, were you thinking that someone would do your work for you?” Anita asked. Lucia glanced at Ted, puzzled. Ted shrugged and sat down.
“So what, you left it there waiting for me?”
“Of course; we knew you’d come back. What else would make a big ‘welcome back to work’ package than a pile of work?”
“I can’t believe you two. How much time do I have to finish all this?”
“Till the end of the day.”
“But the musical show is today, right? How can I make it?” Lucia asked.
“Then you must as well get to it or else I’d have to go with him,” Anita said with a wink. She glanced at Ted who smiled at her.
“Welcome back, Monique,” Anita said and walked out. Lucia sat and looked at her husband.
“You seem to be enjoying this.”
“I am. It is the wish of every man to have the women in his life dwelling together peacefully.”
Later in the afternoon, Anita entered the office to find Lucia busily working. She glanced at her watch.
“It is four o’clock! What are you doing here, Monique? You should be heading home, getting ready for the musical.”
“Yeah, I just want to be done with this file and then I leave.”
“No, no, no. You’re going to be late. And I’m not letting you ruin my present for Ted so get up.”
“I’m almost done, Anita. Chill.”
“Oh I’ll chill when I see your behind out of that door. Come on.”
“What about my work? I hate to leave work unfinished.”
“I’ll handle that one. You can continue tomorrow.”
“But you said I had to finish today.”
“Yeah I did but that doesn’t mean you should be late to the musical.”
“Whatever,” Lucia said, dropping her pen and getting up.
“He went to meet up with some associate. He said he’ll meet me at home.”
“Then you better hurry up. He’s extra time conscious when it comes to his hobbies.”
“Great.” She took her handbag.
“Thanks again for the tickets, Anita. You put a smile on his face and I’m grateful for that.”
“You’re welcome. Now go!”
Lucia watched Ted humming happily to the tune being played on radio. His face glowed with happiness as his fingers tapped on the steering wheel rhythmically.
“You seem to be in a good mood,” Lucia observed.
“Of course I am! I’m going to watch a musical! It has been ages. They have a way of making me feel lighter. You’re going to love it, Lucia.”
“I know I am. I’m just happy to see you this excited. I guess keeping the ex around has its perks.” Ted laughed.
“Yeah, it was really thoughtful of her. Her present was on point.” Lucia smiled.
The couple enjoyed every single minute of the classic performance. They shared everything from wholehearted laughter to tears and awe. When it ended, Ted was beside himself with joy. On their drive home, he couldn’t stop talking about it. Lucia held on to every word as she soaked in the moment of his joyous heartbeats.
Her heart melted to find him this happy.
She sighed when she sat on the bed to take off her shoes.
“Are you tired? I’m sorry; I must have worn you out with all my blabbing,” Ted apologized.
“No, you didn’t. It is just the stress of pregnancy kicking in.”
“Yeah and you had to work throughout the day.”
“Aha, talking about that; whose idea was it to punish me like that? Your or Anita’s?”
“What difference does it make?”
“It was yours, wasn’t it? You wanted me to pay for leaving like that.”
“Well we’re business partners and you have to pay your due.” He knelt in front of her.
“Huh; you weren’t planning on letting this go without making me sweat, right?”
“Just a tiny bit.” He kissed her tummy.
“How are you doing in there, buddy?”
“Buddy? It could be a girl.”
“In that case, sweetie. Growing in there? Hope mummy isn’t starving you.”
“Oh not at all. I can literally feel him or her gulping down everything I swallow.”
“It is good to know you have such a healthy appetite,” Ted said excitedly and kissed her tummy again. Lucia giggled.
“I missed you very much. The days you were gone were the longest and loneliest in my life.”
“I’m sorry.” She saw a yearning in his eyes which put her heart at peace. She touched his face.
“I missed that look. Honestly I got a little jumpy when you didn’t touch me last night. I thought you still had that ridiculous image of Mitch and me in your head. I was scared you wouldn’t look at me the same way again.”
“I restrained myself last night because I wanted us to talk and be conscious of where we stand as a couple. I wanted us to clear out any unfinished business before I lose myself to you. Yeah that’s what happens whenever I’m with you and I wanted to keep a straight head last night.” She nodded.
“Okay. So do you want to keep a straight head tonight too? Because if that’s what you want…”
“Oh no…last night was enough.” Lucia chuckled. They kissed.
Anita looked up from her computer to find Lucia leaning on the wall, looking at her.
“What did I do this time?”
“Nothing bad. I’m just here to say thank you for yesterday. It was amazing. You should have seen Ted. He was so excited and happy and I owe it all to you.”
“Thank you but you shouldn’t give all the credit to me. Yes he was excited about the musical but I am sure he was really excited because he got to spend that precious moment with you. You make him happy and I like that.”
“Are you saying you’re over him?” Lucia asked, cautiously, not sure which angle she was from. Anita chuckled.
“Yeah I think I am. I think I’m beginning to like someone else.”
“Oh really? Who is this fortunate/unfortunate guy?” Lucia asked curiously. They both chuckled.
“Mitch.” Lucia’s eyes widened.
“You two have been in touch?”
“Yeah. He showed up at Ted’s party. That was after you both had left. I am starting to believe that there might be something in there for us.”
“That’s good news. What about Allen?”
“He’s nice but there’s no future. I just kind of used him to get to you.”
“I know. I hope you’re choosing to be with Mitch for the right reason, Anita.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I hope you’re not substituting him for Ted in your heart.”
“Ted will always have a place in my heart and I can’t help it but I really do have feelings for Mitch.”
“Good to know. He is a great guy; a lot like Ted.”
“Yeah, I think that’s what attracted me to him.”
“We’ve been through a lot, you and me. We have been at each other’s throats just because our lives revolved around Ted. I am happy that through it all, we can still count on each other and sit and talk like friends. I’m beginning to see you as a friend, Anita.”
“Are you saying this because I’m not eyeing your husband anymore?”
Lucia chuckled. “Partly yes but I do acknowledge the fact that you do sincerely care about Ted and you did take care of him when I was away and that I owe you big time. Can we put the past behind us and be friends?”
“Sure; in our own twisted way, I believe we already are.” They smiled.
“Should we hug it out?” They stood, chuckling. They hugged.
“That’s too girly.” Ted walked in.
“Am I dreaming?” They broke apart.
“My wife and my ex hugging? The dream of every man.” They laughed.
“Anita and I have agreed to bury the hatchet and move on as friends.”
“Huh; can’t wait for the drama.”