Karen and I took a break from unpacking our stuff in our hostel room by helping ourselves to some food when my phone rang.
“Hey,” I said, my mouth still occupied.
“If you two were planning on dropping such a bombshell on me, a little heads up would have been nice,” he hissed. I swallowed.
“What are you talking about?”
“Where are you right now? We need to talk.”
“Adam, I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to meet. Whatever it is, we can talk about it over the phone.”
“Well, I don’t want to. It’s either you meet me somewhere or I storm your house.”
“You wouldn’t try that.”
“I’m not at home.”
“So where are you?”
“I’m on campus…”
“Good.” The line went dead. I glanced at my phone and then at Karen.
“Fire on the mountain?” she asked.
“Feels like it. We’ve not spoken since the hospital incident and I was hoping to keep it that way for a while longer.”
“So ‘we’ll see’ is all Fitz said?”
“Yeah; very unsettling. I don’t know what he’s thinking. He’s been very cool about it but it has this dangerous undertone. I just hope Adam doesn’t get hurt in the end.”
“He will get hurt, Em. No matter how well this goes for you, he’ll end up hurt.” I sighed.
We had just finished arranging our books on the shelf when we heard a sharp knock on the door.
“Come in.” Adam entered. I had never seen him this angry before.
“Good day, ladies. Emily, we need to talk,” he said as he pocketed his hands.
“Okay. Have a seat. I’m sorry for not getting back to you after I got out of the hospital. Fitz got hospitalized…”
“I’m sorry for your marital troubles but I’m not here for that.” He sat.
Karen and I exchanged a puzzled look as we both sat down. Adam glanced at Karen.
“If you’re going to tell me to excuse you, I’m not going to,” Karen said.
“I am coming from your husband’s office.”
“He summoned you? What did he say?”
“He handed me a paper for me to sign waiving my rights to the child and making him the legal guardian.”
“Where is it? Let me see it.”
“I don’t have it. Were you in on it?”
“In on what?”
“In on this brilliant plan to cut me off from the baby.”
“I had no idea he was going to do that. We had a talk this morning and he said he wanted some fresh air so he left. I came here to help with Karen’s unpacking.”
“What did you talk about exactly?”
“I told him the truth, Adam. It was about time.”
“Why wouldn’t you tell me that?”
“What difference would that have made?”
“He hates me now, Emily.”
“Don’t worry; it will pass. It is me he is mad at but he doesn’t want to so he’s displacing it at you. I told him you didn’t know I was married at the time it happened and that you’ve always wanted to come clean about it.”
“But why does he want my baby? Can’t he make one with you?” I scratched my neck nervously.
“He wants us to be a family, Adam. Recognizing the child as his makes that possible.”
“Can you believe he threatened me?”
“What do you mean?”
“If I refused to sign, my career was over.”
“So did you sign it?”
“Of course not!”
“Why the hell not?”
“He was demanding I sell out my baby for my career. Who does that?”
“I don’t see any other choice you have here, Adam. Whether you sign it or not, he is claiming the baby. It depends on you if you still want to have the career you want,” Karen said.
“I’m not giving him my baby, Em.”
“He already has it, Adam. Don’t fight a battle you’ve already lost. He is furious and he’s being diplomatic about it. We should accept his good graces and play along.”
“How do you expect me to continue working with him under these conditions?”
“Fine, we can discuss severance details later. But you should know any attempt at that could damage your career. Fitz is influential; he could place a black mark on you and no one would want to work with you.”
“Oh so you know the kind of monster you’ve lying in bed with?”
“I made my bed and I’m lying in it; but you don’t have to pay for my mistakes.”
“I already am, Emily.”
“And I’m sorry; for my sake, please sign the contract.”
“Emily!” I could see the hurt in his teary eyes and that broke my heart. I held his hands in mine.
“Adam, I care dearly about you and you’ll always hold a place in my heart but it’s about time we let each other go.”
“You can’t ask me to do that.”
“It’s painful for me too, Adam but we need to do this. We’ve touched Fitz’s darker side and I for one don’t want to see what’s beneath the surface. If we get through this, I make this promise to you that this child will know you. I know it doesn’t sound enough but that is all I can give you right now. And I want you to know that giving me this baby is the greatest gift you could ever give to Fitz and I and I really appreciate it.”
He bowed his head and was silent for a while. He covered his face with his hands. I whispered to Karen to give us a minute alone. She nodded, took her phone and stepped out.
I got down on my knees and took his hands away from his face. His beautiful eyes were red. I was sorry that I had caused him this much pain. I bit my lower lip to stop me from crying. I had to be strong for the both of us. We looked into each other’s eyes, saying everything we needed to say with each gaze.
He touched the sides of my face and the first drops fell on his face. I wiped it away with my thumb.
“What have you done to me, Emily?”
“The worst thing a woman can do to a man. Please forgive me.”
If I could turn back the hands of time, I’d have spared this sweet guy the pain of knowing me. He deserved much better…something I could never give him.
He pulled my face towards his and poured out his heart in a passionate kiss. I became so overwhelmed with the emotions that I broke it off. He got up without another word and walked out of the room. I burst out in sobs when I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
I wanted the best of both worlds…love and money; passion and security and I hurt both men in the process because of my selfishness. I hated myself for doing this.
I arrived home to find Fitz seated comfortably on the sofa listening to business news.
“Let me guess, Adam ran to you like a wet puppy crying about the contract I showed him,” Fitz said, sipping his drink. I dropped my bag on the sofa.
“Why would you drop such a bombshell on him without letting me on it?”
“What difference would it have made?”
“Maybe I could sweeten the pot a little; make the offer a little more presentable.”
“He’s already had his way with you and planted his seed in you. What other pot sweetening does he deserve?”
“Ouch,” I winced.
“Just being honest. That would save us a lot of words, honey.” I sat down.
“Are you mad at me? I thought you’d be okay with it since you mentioned you wanted us to be a family or did I get the message wrong?” Fitz asked.
“No; you should have let me handle it.”
“So, is he going to agree to it?”
“I don’t know, Fitz; he’ll do what he thinks is best for him.”
“What is best for him is to focus on his career; it’s all he has left now. And I’m ready to keep things professional between us if he is.”
“I doubt that.”
“Your point being?”
“Would you sever ties with him amicably if he asks?”
“Would you be professional enough to let him go without damaging his career?”
“It sounds you care a lot about Adam; I’m surprised I never noticed that before. Who can blame me since you covered it up with expert indifference towards him?”
“Please let’s not fight over this. Of course I care about him, Fitz. I put him in this unfortunate situation and how it turns out falls on me as well. Besides, how could I not? He’s the fath…” Fitz got up. Oops, I just added salt to the raw and still bleeding wound.
“Tell him he has 48 hours to make up his mind,” he said and walked out of the room. I winced at the uncomfortable twitchy feel in my tummy. I wasn’t looking forward to the labour pangs but I couldn’t wait to push this weight out of my body. I was almost due and it was all but a bittersweet feeling.
When I entered the bathroom, Fitz was about leaving the room. I stood at the door, blocking his way.
“You’re not sleeping outside this room, Fitz,” I said, pushing at his chest.
“You love Adam too, don’t you?” He held my wrists, pushing me back.
I sighed and held his hands.
“I won’t deny I have a fond feeling towards Adam but I choose you, Fitz. I enjoyed Adam’s company as long as it lasted because you were hardly home at the time but that is all it ever was. I choose you because I know I’ll grow up to be a better person by your side. You’ve shown me love, care and patience in a way I’ve never known. With Adam, the future I can envisage with him is being his arm candy for photos on the red carpets and being his muse for his next hit song whenever we had a fight or we made love but where would that leave me?”
“Oh gosh…all those songs were about you?” I smiled in reply.
“But with you I know I will have a stable life, I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m being selfish here but the choice all boils down to what I stand to gain by being with either of you. And I’m glad to say that I stand to gain a lot being yours, Fitz Daniels.”
My heart melted when a heart-warming smile curved up his lips.
“I have a favour to ask me. Please grant it according to your good graces.”
“What is it?”
“Give Adam a little more time about the contract. He’ll come around.”
“You know that for sure?”
“No; but I’m willing to stick my neck out for him.”
“Fine; for you I’ll give a little more time.” He hugged me and kissed my forehead. I sighed.
My husband was back.
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