The days that followed felt odd. At breakfast, Fitz would hardly speak to me. When I tried making a conversation, he would kill it immediately with curt straight answers. What was going on? I was the pregnant one; I was the one permitted to act out like that and not him. Was the baby thingy now getting to him?
“You’re free today, right?” I asked.
“It depends. Why?”
“I’m going for a check-up today. Would you like to go with me?”
“I’d love to but I can’t. I’m expecting a call.” I arched a brow.
“You can take a call anywhere, Fitz.” He looked at me.
“It’s a business video call. I can only do that at the office or here at home.” I nodded.
“I thought when you said you meant it about this baby being our baby, you really meant it.”
“Well, your recent attitude is giving a totally different vibe, Fitz. Is there something you want to talk about?”
“Nope; we’re good.”
“Are we really?”
“Seriously Emily, I’m not in the mood for your hormonal nagging fit this morning.”
I gasped. Did he just call me hormonal and nagging? Before I could retaliate, he got up.
“I’ll be in my study.” And with that, he strode off. I rubbed my forehead hoping it would take away the lingering ache in my head.
“He’s becoming very distant lately and it bothers me. It seems the mere sound of my voice infuriates him. I don’t know how to get through to him,” I told Karen over the phone.
“That’s strange. Did you two have a fight recently?”
“No; he started acting like that after the dinner party. I don’t know if he saw me and Adam talking or someone said something…I have a bad feeling about this, Karen.”
“Don’t worry yourself, Em. Just give him time to get used to you carrying another man’s baby. Perhaps he thought he could handle it at first but the reality is harsher than the thought. He’ll come back to himself,” Karen said reassuringly.
“Okay; thanks. I knew talking to you would make me feel better.” Karen smiled.
“Glad to know that. Sorry I have to go. My break time is up.”
“Sure; how’s the internship going anyway?”
“Stressful as hell. It would have been more bearable if you were in it with me.” I laughed.
“I know, right? We would have caused them enough headaches for them to pray us out of there.” We both laughed.
“Take care, Karen. I’ll call you later.”
“Sure; take care too, dear.” The line went dead. I startled when I heard a knock on the door.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to alarm you. How was the check-up?” Fitz said, entering the room.
“It was okay. Everything is normal.” Fitz forced a smile and sat beside me on the bed. He rubbed my back soothingly.
“I’m sorry for not making it with you to the clinic today.” I nodded.
“I’ll be travelling out of town over the weekend and I want you to come with me.” I glanced at him.
“You want me to come along on your business trip?”
“Yeah, I’ve always gone alone because of its busy nature but I can’t leave you by yourself in your condition.”
“Oh you don’t have to worry about me, Fitz. I’ll be fine; you go ahead.”
“You don’t want to come with?” He looked disappointed.
“I’d love you to travel with you, Fitz but this isn’t some romantic vacation. We won’t have time to ourselves and I’ll be a distraction to you,” I explained.
“But at least you won’t be utterly alone. I’ll make it worth your while,” he promised.
“Fine, if you say so.”
“Great. Would you like me to get you something?”
“No, I’m good; thanks. I just want to take a nap.”
“All right. I’ll leave you alone now.” He kissed my forehead and got up. I watched him walk out of the room. I exhaled deeply. My gut told me there was something wrong. Fitz had been distant but his eyes seemed to follow my every move like a hawk. What was he thinking?
Fitz summoned Adam to his office the following day.
“Good day, Mr. Daniels.”
“Have a seat, Adam,” he said flatly, not meeting his eye. Adam sat and removed his earpieces. Fitz ignored him for a good five minutes before turning away from his computer and looking at him.
“It’s been a while since you gave me a progress report.”
“Um…well, because I always gave you an update whenever I came to your house for dinner, I thought that was covered.”
“But that is verbal and thus informal. I need a formal report.”
“Okay; I’ll prepare one immediately. Would you want me to pass by your house to deliver it?”
“Oh no; from now on, we’ll meet here…in my office.”
“Is there a problem, Mr. Daniels? Did I misbehave the last time I was at your house?”
“Oh not at all; I just want us to keep it strictly professional henceforth.”
“Did Emily say something to you about me?” Fitz arched a brow.
“No, she didn’t. Why would she? This arrangement is between you and me. She being present is just a cherry on the cake. Or is there something you think she’ll tell me about you?” Fitz asked, his tone dead-serious. Adam sat back in his seat.
What was going on? Why was he acting so cold? Did he suspect something?
“Oh of course not. I thought all was well between us so if your sudden change of arrangement made me assume it’s because of the third person,” Adam said, choosing his words carefully.
“Well, it’s not. I just think we should keep this formal…for the next foreseeable future.”
“That’s fine with me.”
“You do have a girlfriend, don’t you, Adam?”
What was going on? He blinked hard.
“Well, I’m in-between relationships at the moment,” he said, clearing his throat.
“In-between? Like, you’re out of one at the moment?” Fitz inquired.
“I’m seeing someone at the moment but it’s nothing serious.”
“I thought you mentioned that you were seeing this wonderful lady who inspired you to write all those lovely songs. Did you break up with her?”
“It’s…complicated, Mr. Daniels.”
“Not that complicated. It’s either you’re single or you’re attached.”
“I don’t see how that has anything to do with my business with you, Mr. Daniels.”
Fitz gave a tight-lipped smile.
“It doesn’t. But I wouldn’t mind putting a face to the name. What was her name again?”
“Bernice.” The name rolled off Adam’s tongue before his brain could think of one.
“Bernice; lovely name. Would you mind bringing her over for dinner?”
“Tonight? I…I thought there would be no more meetings at your place.” Everything was going on so fast that his mind was failing to keep up. What name had he used again?
“I wouldn’t mind seeing her. Would that be inconvenient?” Fitz pressed.
“I’d have to ask her if her schedule is open. If it is, I’ll let you know.”
“Good. You may see yourself out now.” Adam stood.
“Have a nice day, Mr. Daniels.”
When he got to the door, Fitz said,” Don’t forget to bring along your progress report.”
“I won’t.” He left the office. He exhaled deeply. He didn’t even realize he was holding his breath all this while. He found himself sweating under his shirt despite the air-condition being on full blast in the office. What was all that about? Was Emily in trouble?
He took out his phone and dialled the number.
I answered my phone at the third ring.
“Hi Adam. What’s up?” I asked, happy to have someone to talk to.
“Are you okay?” His voice sounded concerned.
“Yeah…what’s going on?”
“I just left your husband’s office and his demeanour was kind of strange. He first said I wouldn’t come to your home anymore and later said he wanted to meet my girlfriend.”
I sat down to digest what he was telling me.
“Has my name come up in any quarrel recently?”
“Nope; we hardly talk these days much less quarrel. He’s been a bit distant recently. What do you think is going on in his head?”
“I have no idea, Em but it’s nothing pleasant; that I can assure you. I now have to find someone to pose as my girlfriend for dinner at your place.”
“You’re coming here? I thought you said…”
“He made an exception to me coming with my girlfriend who is non-existent.” I stifled a laugh.
“You seriously don’t have a girlfriend?”
“You know I don’t, Emily. My mind has been preoccupied of you and our baby.”
“How sweet. But you do need one, Adam to keep you company.”
“Thoughts of you keep me company enough.”
“All right, sweet mouth. So how are you going to find a fake girlfriend under such short notice?”
“I don’t know, Em. Can you help me out?”
“You want me to fix you with someone?”
“You have some available girlfriends, don’t you?”
“If you want to sell it to Fitz, it would be better if it were a girl I don’t know. I would act indifferent and things would get back to normal.”
“But you could explain it to her better so she would know how to play her part.”
“I don’t know anyone who would willingly sign up to act as your one-time girlfriend. You should have a long list. You’re a celebrity now. Most of your female fans would jump at the opportunity,” I said.
“I want to keep this within the inner circle. Involving an outsider poses a risk to both of us. Things could get complicated; she could become demanding and even blackmail me. I’m not ready for such headaches.”
“You have a point. Since you want to keep this within the ‘inner circle’ as you call it, let me talk to my partner-in-crime and see what we come up with, all right?”
Adam smiled. “Tell Karen I said hi.”
“I will. Take care of yourself, okay?”
“Oh, is that concern I hear in your voice?” Adam asked teasingly.
“Come on Adam, you know I care about you. We share a history, remember?”
“How could I forget? You’re carrying it. But it’s heart-warming to hear you say it.”
“It was nice speaking with you, Adam. I’ll let you know what Karen and I come up with.”
“Sure; take care, love and say hi to my baby for me.” I smiled as I ended the call.