Fitz’s eyes opened weakly. It took some minutes for his eyes to focus well. He panicked a little when he realized he was in a strange room. He felt a hand in his and looked down.
It was Emily, his wife. A smile crept up his face as he watched her sleep in the chair beside him. He just loved this woman. But why was he here? A memory of him seeing her on the hospital bed with Adam beside her flashed through his mind. Anger began to rise within him. He let go of her hand which made her open her eyes.
“Fitz? Oh thank God you’re awake! Nurse!” I called out. I stepped out of the room and called one. I waited at the door whiles the nurse conducted quick tests on him.
“You look good. I’ll get the doctor.” She stepped out of the room. I walked to him and took his hand.
“I’m so glad you’re okay.”
“I’m surprised to see you here. I thought you’d have eloped with your lover by now,” Fitz said dryly as he freed his hand from my grip. I swallowed.
“And why would you say something like that?” He gave me a sharp glance.
“Are you still playing dumb? I asked you over and over again hoping you’d come clean and you denied it fervently each time. I almost died, Emily. Finding out the way I did…was such a blow that I almost died. And if I’ve been able to pull through and I’m awake, you still think it’s wise to keep lying?”
“What are you talking….?”
“You’re sleeping with Adam, aren’t you?”
“Oh no, I’m not.”
“Emily, I’m way older than you. Don’t dare treat me like a fool. Is he the father of your baby?”
I felt my chest constricting. I held on to the bed.
“Is he or is he not?”
“Fitz is awake?” Lizzy rushed inside the room. I couldn’t believe how terrible her timing was. She walked to his side and took his hand.
“How are you doing?”
“I’m fine, Lizzy. How did you know I was here?”
“Apparently, I’m still your emergency contact.”
“Oh yeah; forgot to update that. Remind me to get that done before we leave here,” Fitz said to me. I nodded.
“What happened, Fitz? I know you to be healthy despite your stubborn workaholic ways.”
“These things happen, Lizzy. I’m just glad I’m fine now.”
“I’m surprised to find out that your new wife is pregnant. You never mentioned it.”
“Well…it never came up.”
“Or it is not yours and that is why you couldn’t tell me.”
“Excuse me, what goes on in our matrimonial home is none of your business,” I spoke up.
“She’s right, Lizzy.”
“All that confirms my suspicion because we both know we tried, Fitz.”
“Maybe you were the problem,” I said. She looked at me.
“You couldn’t get pregnant by him but I did.”
“That’s not possible. I’ve had two kids…”
“It could be you two were just incompatible.”
“I don’t think that was the case…”
“Lizzy, there’s no point trying to prove anything. We couldn’t have kids but Emily and I have one on the way; let’s just leave it that way.”
“Sure of course. Whatever you say.”
“Well, it seems Fitz isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so I guess your expectation of having your piece of the cake which is Fitz’s property has been thwarted. I believe your business here has come to an end,” I said. Fitz turned to look at Lizzy.
“What is she talking about?”
“Nothing, Fitz,” she replied, giving me a dead-cold stare which I returned with a cool one.
“Yeah, it’s nothing. I think it’s about time you left, Lizzy.”
“Let me know when you get out of here, will you?” she asked Fitz. He nodded. She squeezed his hand and with another cold stare at me, she walked out of the room. I sighed.
“You never told me you were still in touch with your ex-wife,” I said, sitting down.
“It never came up. Besides, I didn’t think it mattered.”
“Oh but it does. You can’t imagine the shock when this lady turned up in one of my horrifying moments only to lay claim to your property if you were to pass.” He chuckled.
“It’s not funny, Fitz.” He held my hand and squeezed it.
“You have no idea how flattered I was to see you this defensive about us and our life together. I enjoyed watching your squabble with Lizzy. I felt…wanted and loved.”
“And you are, Fitz.” He stared at me for a while and let go of my hand. I knew we were back to the Adam issue.
“I wish I could believe that.” The doctor entered and I gave a mental prayer of thanks for the intervention.
“Glad to see you awake and well, Mr. Daniels.”
“Would he be able to come home today?” I asked.
“If he looks well enough after a few tests, yes he would.” I sighed in relief.
When Fitz was given the green light, I called the help to prepare a few of Fitz’s favorites.
On our drive back home, I must have started dozing off because Fitz pulled me into his bosom. I wrapped my arm around his middle and closed my eyes.
Fitz must be an angel, I thought. It was his right to get angry and order me out of his house after discovering my long time deception but here I was, in his arms. He must be an angel.
I quickly warmed up dinner and ate quietly. When he seemed to have relaxed well enough, I tried to talk but he hushed me up began immediately I began.
“Not now, Emily. I’m exhausted. We can talk about this tomorrow, can’t we?”
“Sure, we can. I’m sorry; that was insensitive of me,” I quickly apologized. He pushed his plate away from him and got up.
“I’ll go and take a shower.”
“Okay.” I watched him as he made his way to the bedroom and shut the door. I sighed and pushed my plate away. I had also my appetite despite the meal being as delicious as usual. I cleared the table and washed the plates.
When I got to the bedroom, Fitz had finished taking his shower. I sat down and took my phone. Karen had sent a message and I quickly sent a reply. I saw him heading towards the door from the corner of my eye and I looked up.
“I think I’ll spend the night in the other room.”
“Is that really necessary?”
“I need a very good rest and I can’t have that with you beside me so yeah, it’s really necessary.”
“Okay then…good night.”
“Thanks; I need it.” He walked out of the room.
If he knew the truth and was mad at me, why was he being such a gentleman about it, I wondered. I had less than twelve hours to come clean and not make him angrier in the process. What was going to happen? Was I going to end up as a divorced single mother? Or would he prove himself once again to be beyond human and forgive me?
I woke up still drowsy but my semi-cleared eyes noticed something which made me sit up with a start.
“Fitz! You startled me.” I put my hand on my chest in a vain attempt to calm my racing heart.
“Sorry. Couldn’t sleep so I thought I would just watch you sleep.”
“How long have you sitting here?”
“Almost an hour.”
“It’s kind of creepy, Fitz.”
“Watching you sleep made me think of how far we’ve come as a couple. And reminiscing on how things have progressed since Adam came into the picture.”
“Fitz…I just woke up. Can we…?”
“How long have you two been seeing each other?”
“We haven’t been seeing each other, Fitz.”
“But he is the father of the baby, right?”
“Fitz, it’s complicated.”
“Simplify for me then. I have all day.”
“It was a mistake. We met before you did.”
“What do you mean?”
“We met at the mall during those times when you were hardly at home. We became close and it happened.”
“You were having an affair.”
“No. We were friends who just happened to cross the line one day. Obviously, we both erred in judgment. I was vulnerable…”
“He took advantage of you knowing that…”
“No; it was my fault. He didn’t know.”
“Didn’t know what?”
“He didn’t know I was married.”
“So please don’t get angry at him. It’s me you should be mad at. I put him in an awkward position especially when you signed him on and trust me; he has always felt bad about it.”
“Uh huh; he requesting that the baby be named after him doesn’t feel like someone regretful about his action. He was actually rubbing it in.”
“Fitz, please…I know how much you liked Adam and the plans you had concerning him. Please don’t hate him on my account. It was my fault and mine alone.”
“And the bogus story about being taken advantage of at a party, whose idea was it, yours or his?”
“Mine…he didn’t know about it then.”
“I’m sorry; I didn’t want to lose you. I said that hoping that it would touch the humane part of you and let us stay together…as a family.”
“And it did.” No one spoke for a moment.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked softly.
“Why you broke it off with Lizzy?”
“Why, you wouldn’t have married me if you knew?”
“I don’t know…maybe. I was in a different place when we married. So I doubt it would have mattered even if you did. Is that why you let me stay after you found out I was pregnant?”
“No, not really. I let you stay because I loved you, Emily. I loved you more than I ever loved Lizzy. So I was ready to battle with all my insecurities rather than see you go. So for some time, I managed to convince myself that this was the work of God, you know. God giving us a child and keeping this family intact without me having to tell you I was sterile.”
“But you said you had a vasectomy.”
“Yeah, that’s the cover story I concocted. At least it sounded like I was in control of who got impregnated by me. You bought that story.”
“I surely did.”
“I bet Lizzy told you the real truth.”
“Yes, she did.”
“How did you feel?”
“Honestly, it didn’t bother me much since I had other matters on my mind. I don’t know if this would make you feel any better but Adam always wanted to come clean about the baby. I stopped him each time.”
“Because I thought if the identity of the father was unknown, it would help make the baby feel more like ours. As long as there was no other face to the identity, we would be fine.”
“I am so sorry, Fitz.”
“Yeah, so am I.”
Wow…look at us. Speaking about such a huge deal like infidelity coupled with deceit and multiplied with several months of denial as if we were discussing houses. No wonder many girls preferred older men. They were more matured, more collected and definitely more civilised. If it were to be someone like Tony, things would have ended as dramatic as a typical Nollywood movie.
God bless this man.
I got startled a little when he suddenly stood up.
“I’m going out for a while. I need some fresh air.”
“What’s going to happen to me…to us?”
“Who’s us? You and the baby or you and me?” I swallowed as I stared into his distant eyes. I meant the former but admitting that would mean I was being self-centred. I had to play the smarter card.
“I mean you, me and the baby.”
“We’ll see.” And with that, he stepped out.
Was he for real? No angry bursts, no insults, no tears? Maybe he was too good for me. Or maybe God was just having mercy on me. Where would I go if things went haywire? I couldn’t go home and face my parents. And I wasn’t going to crash at Adam’s end either. That would make me look pathetic. I had no choice but to wait and see what Fitz meant by that.
Adam’s phone beeped. A message from Mr. Daniels. Oh no, was he going to cut him off?
MEET ME AT THE OFFICE IN AN HOUR.
This was the end, he told himself.
He entered the office and he shuddered at the harshness of the air condition blowing at full blast.
“Have a seat.” Fitz ordered, cutting him off. He sat down. He appended his signature on a document and slid it towards Adam. He looked at him questioningly.
“I want you to sign that.”
“What…what is it?”
“A legal agreement saying that you waive your right to Emily’s baby in any way.”
“Which part of what I had just said wasn’t clear?” His tone was deadly.
“You want me to…?”
“Make me the legal guardian. In case you were wondering, this is non-negotiable, gentleman.”
“And if I don’t?”
“We both know what will happen.”
“You’ll kill my career,” Adam said.
“Your words, not mine.” Adam glanced at the paper in front of him.
“Can I think about it?”
“You mean can you get Emily’s permission first? Trust me, she’s in on it.”
Adam looked up at him. Emily had always wanted him to give up his rights to the child but this felt different. This definitely wasn’t coming from her.
“No, I meant can I go and take a careful look at this contract?”
“Just wanted to be sure my interests are protected.”
“Trust me, they are.”
“I’m sorry but that doesn’t make me certain.”
“Because you broke my trust in the first place?”
“Mr. Daniels, I don’t know what Emily told you but…”
“Don’t you ever mention her name again! You have no right to. For your own sake, sign the damn papers.”
Adam stood and started towards the door.
“If your foot steps out of this office, this deal is gone and so is everything else between us,” Fitz threatened.
“I’ll take my chances,” Adam said and walked out, slamming the door behind him.
He began panting as he trotted out of the place.
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