Fitz stood to face me and for the first time, I felt like a grasshopper in front of him. He was hovering over me like a giant. My body wanted to cower in guilt but my instincts told me otherwise. I gave a fake sigh of relief and a nervous chuckle.
“Then it must have been a mistake. This is all Karen’s fault. She said I looked unwell and she had this test kit that has been there since forever and insisted that I use it. You know sometimes these test kits give false alarms; I’m sure that’s what happened,” I rattled on. I searched his eyes to see if he believed my automated lie.
“So it wasn’t confirmed from a lab?”
“No, it wasn’t. Silly me, huh?” He touched my face.
“You do look unwell, though.”
“It’s the stress from the exam preparation. I’ll clear this up.” I was scared that he would hear the nervous and loud pounding of my heart.
“You wouldn’t cheat on me, would you Em?” he asked quietly. His words stabbed my heart sharply. I covered his hands on my cheeks with mine.
“I’ll never cheat on you, Fitz. I love and respect you too much to do that. You have to believe me,” I said as I looked deeply into his eyes. How I wish the doubt would vanish from his eyes!
“Okay; because if you ever do, I don’t know how I’m going to take it.”
“Don’t even think about it, Fitz; that won’t happen.” I leaned forward and kissed him. I didn’t feel his heart on his lips. He was getting distant. I deepened the kiss but before it could go any further, he pulled away.
“I’m sorry Em, but this news has kind of spoilt my mood. So I’d appreciate it if you could verify it as soon as possible.”
“Sure, of course.” He handed his plate of fries to me and walked away. I knew I was totally screwed. I was going to kill Karen. Her ridiculous dare was about to cost me my marriage, I fumed as I started towards the kitchen. I froze when a thought struck me.
Was it possible that I was indeed positive but not Fitz’s? Could it be Adam’s? Oh no, it can’t be; it was just once. What were the odds? Oh God, I know I’m not your favourite person right now but could you make this a false alarm, please? I promise I’ll make it to church every Sunday if you’d do me this favour? I prayed as I put the plate on the table. Something deep within me told me this was just wishful thinking. I had done something wrong and it had caught up with me.
I entered the bedroom. Fitz was lying on the bed awake. It was very obvious my news had really disturbed him. I had to clear this out of the way before it caused us any damage. I walked to him and kissed his forehead.
“I’ll clear this immediately. I’m sorry for messing up your day. Get some sleep, okay?” He nodded and I walked out. I felt like my personal apocalypse had befallen me and something told me this was only the beginning. I shuddered at the thought before starting the engine.
I didn’t know how I did it but after a seemingly eternity-long drive, I arrived on campus. I ran up the stairs and barged into the room. Karen and James were watching something on her laptop. I must have looked like the epitome of bad news because her countenance changed from wondering who-the-intruder-was to what-the-hell-happened-to-you? She got up.
“Are you okay?” She asked in a tone of concern as she walked towards me. All I could do was shake my head. Karen turned to look at her boyfriend who obviously knew what was coming.
“You said she was gone for the day,” James said.
“As you can see, she’s back,” Karen said with a tight smile.
“Well I hope when we get married, she wouldn’t end up being a permanent guest,” James said, getting up.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Karen said, touching my arm.
“You look awful, Emily. Is everything okay?” James asked.
“I’ll tell you everything later,” Karen said. I cast a sharp glance at her. She shook her head.
“All right; take care, girls.” He kissed Karen’s cheek and held my arm for a moment. I managed a smile in response and he walked out. We both waited a second after the door had closed before breathing out. I threw my bag on the bed.
“What is it, Em?”
“Spoiler alert, Fitz is going to leave me!”
“What are you talking about? He said he doesn’t want to have children?”
“I wish! He says he’s not responsible.”
“What kind of an April’s Fool joke is that? If he isn’t, who else is?”
I sat on the bed with a thud. She sat beside me.
“What is going on, Emily?”
“Apparently, my husband has had his tubes tied up for some time now even before we got married.”
“Fitz has had a vasectomy and you didn’t know about it?”
“But this doesn’t make sense. If he isn’t responsible, then who is?” When I didn’t respond, she stood up and faced me.
“Look at me, Em. Did you cheat on Fitz?” I buried my face in my palms. I can’t believe that my weeks of successfully keeping this secret from her had come to nought. She tore my hands away from my face, scratching my face with her nails in the process.
“Was it Adam? Did you sleep with Adam?”
I looked at her for a second with tears in my eyes and bowed my head in shame.
“Come on, Emily; you couldn’t be that careless and downright stupid! What is wrong with you?” I began sobbing.
“Oh I’m sorry but I’m not going to feel sorry for you, Emily. You have gone way too far! You just can’t keep to a pact, can you? Growing up, we both decided to wait till marriage before having sex but you had to break it with the clown of a guy who calls himself Tony. We also promised to be faithful to our partners and here you are!”
“I know I’m a horrible person but my life hangs in the balance right now, Karen. Fitz suspects I cheated on him and we both know men don’t take infidelity issues lightly.”
“Suspects? Why, what lie did you come with for him to just suspect?”
“Well, thankfully, this was some test kit not a valid result from a lab so I said it might have been a mistake.”
“And he bought that?”
“Not really; he asked me to verify it immediately.”
“If you knew you had slept with Adam, why were you so sure it was Fitz’s?”
“Because it happened once and it wasn’t even planned so I didn’t think it would count. And besides, I also slept with Fitz later that day so of course, I…”
“You slept with both of them on one day? Whoa, my girl’s got some stamina!”
“Please don’t mock me, Karen. I’m in real trouble here.”
“Of course you are. What are we…?”
“I can’t go back home with this baby in my tummy.” She looked sharply at me.
“This is the smartest option here, Karen. It’s still very young. Flushing it out…”
“Just stop it, Em! So what, you’ve made it your personal mission to break all of the commandments in your lifetime?”
“First fornication, next adultery and now possible murder?”
“You make me sound like the devil’s incarnate, Karen. Drop the judgmental tone and let’s be practical here. I need a way out of this.”
“You are not going to touch this baby.”
“Hello, it’s my womb bulging with every breathing second, not yours,” I retorted.
“You always said we were in this together and I say no.”
“Well, as at now, my vote outweighs yours since there’s a little one in me and it gets a vote too. And I’m pretty sure it wants out too. I’ll be a terrible mother and you know it, Karen.”
“We’ll cross the bridge…”
“No…This is not a bridge we’re going to cross. It is a case we are going to close now.”
“No, Emily; we are not going to do that.”
“Then what do I do? Because I can’t go back home with this in me. The only acceptable explanation is that the test kit gave me a false alarm but it has been clarified. Anything short of that would not end well for me and Fitz.”
“Have you informed Adam about this?”
“Informed? What has he got to do with this?”
“Hello, it’s his baby you’re thinking of terminating!”
“I doubt he’s prepared emotionally and every other way to be a father. In actual fact, it’s not even a baby yet; it’s just a foetus. It doesn’t even know it exists. We would be doing him a big favour by sparing him the hard life he’d face with me as an unprepared and possibly single mother. I can’t believe my one indiscretion is going to ruin my life forever.”
“We’ll think of a way out but termination is out of it.”
“Then I can’t go back home. I can’t look into his eyes and lie to him again. It’s too heavy a burden for me to carry.”
“Fine; call him and tell him something came up.”
“Yeah, that’s perfect. He’s supposed to be travelling tomorrow. By the time he gets back, this baby thing would be history.” Karen glared at me and bit my lower lip.
“Call him, Em.” I took my phone but my hands started shaking.
“You’re such a mess; I’ll call him myself,” Karen said and called Fitz on her phone. She put it on loudspeaker.
He answered on the second ring.
“Karen? Is everything all right?” Karen exhaled deeply.
“Hi, Mr. Daniels. Yes, everything is fine. I’m only calling to tell you Em cannot come back home tonight. Something came up.” Fitz sat up.
“What’s wrong? Are you two at the hospital?”
“No…There was this assignment we both forgot to work on before the exam started. We’re to send them in on Monday and it’s quite loaded.”
“So why didn’t she call me herself?” Karen glanced at me.
“Because she’s going to pick up her copy of the assignment and she left her phone in the room. Her emotions are all over the place especially with the pregnancy scare and all…”
“Are you saying it was a false alarm?” Fitz asked hopefully.
“We haven’t been to the hospital yet. We’ll do that tomorrow. I wanted us to start work on the assignment immediately. I’m sorry for prying your wife away from you when you’d be travelling tomorrow.”
“Don’t worry; tell her to call me later tonight.”
“I’ll definitely do that. Thanks Fitz. Take care and have a safe flight tomorrow.”
“Thanks, Karen. Bye.” The line went dead. I sighed in relief.
“Is that the best thing you could come up with?” I asked.
“I just lied for you! You’re unbearable! What are you going to tell him?” Karen asked.
“I’ll think of something.” I threw myself on the bed.