“Here is the girl who returns from the dead to take my girlfriend from me,” James announced when he entered the room. We both chuckled.
“Hi James,” I said.
“Aren’t you going to give me a hug so I can tell if you’re alive for real?” He said, opening his arms. I got up and hugged him. It felt good to be back.
“It is you; you’re back.” He looked at me.
“You’ve lost weight. Are you feeling better now?”
“Way better. Seeing you both has been really therapeutic.” We both sat down.
“I’m sorry that my being alive inconveniences you.”
“Don’t be silly; you know I like pulling your legs. You hold a significant part of Karen’s heart and I prefer her heart complete than broken, you know?”
“So you need me to hold her heart together.”
“Not exactly; I was just trying to sound sweet.” They all laughed.
“But all jokes aside, I’m glad to see you alive. I can’t believe your husband kept you away all this while.”
“Uh huh, the perks of marrying a rich obsessive man,” I remarked drily.
“So what’s going to happen? You’re going to resume school next year?”
“I have to. I need to talk to Fitz about this. I don’t know whether he deferred it or something. He always said my ‘situation’ was temporary and that I’d always come back to my life. So I’m hoping he made arrangements about my education.”
“You’re going to see him?” Karen asked.
“I can’t avoid him forever, Karen. He is still my husband and he has my baby. He messed up my life and it is up to him to fix it.”
“I don’t know…I don’t know.”
“Are you going to get a divorce?” James asked. I gave him a sharp look and glanced at Karen only to see a similar expression on her face.
“I don’t know. How will a divorce benefit me right now?”
“Freedom from a rich dangerous psycho? Wait, did I mention dangerous?” Karen said emphatically.
“Um…you also mentioned rich,” I chipped in lamely. She gave me a scolding glare.
“If I divorce him right now, it would defeat my whole purpose of making him the father of the baby and securing a good future for her.”
“Wait, he isn’t the father of your baby?” James asked, puzzled. I arched a brow questioningly at Karen.
“Well, I haven’t told him everything. I thought some things needed to be kept between us,” Karen explained. I glanced at James who still wore a baffled look.
“It’s a long story, James. Maybe one day, we can all sit down and reminisce but…” “I know; I just came to come and see you for myself. Can I get your gals pizza later tonight?”
“Pizza, yay!” Karen said excitedly. James eyed her.
“It’s a treat for the resurrected lady. You just happen to share a room with her.”
“Thanks, James. I’d love that.”
“So I’ll see you both later,” he said and gave each of them a peck. He left the room.
“He is a good guy,” I remarked.
“James…he is a good guy. Don’t lose him, okay?”
“I’ll do my best,” Karen said with a smile.
“I have a class in the next hour and a half,” Karen said, checking her watch.
“Go get ready. I’ll sleep the time away.”
“Yeah, you need it. I’m so glad you’re back with us, Em.”
“I am too. I guess I have nine lives, huh?”
“Yeah, so it seems.”
I waited about thirty minutes after Karen had left for lectures before leaving the room. I knew she would bite my head off if she knew where I was going but I needed to do this. Alone.
“Madam!” Rose screamed in excitement when she opened the door. She hugged me much to my surprise.
“My boss said you’d pass by soon but I couldn’t believe it. I…we all thought…”
“I know. It’s a long story. Where’s my baby?”
“She’s in her room. Let me show you.”
“Is he…at home?” I asked cautiously.
“Your husband? No, he left for work.”
“Okay, good.” Rose opened the door and there lay my beautiful baby. I walked towards her crib and smiled at her.
“Hello baby,” I said breathlessly as I took her in her arms.
“I’ll be in the kitchen. Would you want anything?”
“I could whip up something quick for you.”
“Sure, okay. Thanks, Rose.” “You’re welcome, ma’am. And welcome back.”
“Thank you.” She walked away and I kissed lil’ Karen loudly on the cheek.
“How are you, baby? I missed you so much!” She squirmed.
“I wish I could take you with me but we both know this is the best place for you to be.” I kissed her again. My phone rang. I took it out of my pocket and answered it.
“How are you doing?”
“You’re with Karen?” “Which one?” He chuckled.
“You know which one.” “How did you know?” “I have my means. Hope you won’t rush out. I wish we could talk.”
“I’m in no rush to leave. I want to spend time with my baby.”
“Okay; I’ll be there within the next hour. Please don’t go.”
“Bye, Fitz,” I said and ended the call.
“Your daddy is acting all sweet now, isn’t he?” I kissed her again.
I watched lil’ Karen sleep and she looked so peaceful. She was just perfect. My mind kept painting pictures of how she’d look like growing up. I was still daydreaming when a voice interrupted me. I looked up.
“Welcome home, Emily.”
“I’m not back, Fitz. I just came to see my baby.” The baby fidgeted. Fitz called Rose and asked her to take the baby to her crib. When she left us, we both sat down.
“Emily, can we put all that has happened behind us?”
“Now that I’m back, what happens to my schooling?” I asked back, totally ignoring his question. He sighed.
“I’ll get you to resume next academic year.”
“Because of what you did, I have to be by myself in school next year! Do you know how hard that will be for me?” “You have me.”
“I meant a student friend and having you is nothing to write home about by the way.” “Ouch.” I rolled my eyes at him. “What do you want?”
“My space, my freedom, my life.” “Meaning what exactly?” I looked at him.
“You know what I mean, Fitz.”
“You can’t…want that.”
“You don’t want that. It’s Karen pushing those thoughts in your head.”
“And maybe I should listen to her. Failing to listen to her the first time is what has landed me in this state right now.”
“What did she say the first time?”
“That it would be a regrettable decision to marry you.”
The words stabbed him sharply. He bit his lower lip.
“And you regret…marrying me?”
“What do you think? Killing me off and locking me away God-knows-where and keeping me away from my baby? Do I need to say anymore?”
“You cheated on me, Em. You pushed me to do this.”
“I asked for your pardon. You said it was behind us. I was ready to make things work with us. Putting me away was not necessary.”
“I felt threatened, okay? The baby out in the world meant having to allow Adam into our lives in a more intimate way and I wasn’t ready for that. You wanted him to be a part of our child’s life in a way I felt uncomfortable with.”
“And dialogue wouldn’t have ironed that out? Did you really have to…?”
“No, I didn’t!” He said, getting up.
“But I did, okay? I wanted you to see me as the only one you should hold on to.” I got up.
“So please make sure you sort out my school issue. I need my first degree.” I started to walk away. He held my hand.
“I missed you,” He said softly. I gave him an odd look.
“You’re talking like I moved out.”
“If you haven’t, spend the night with me.”
“You must be delusional if you thought that was going to happen.”
“How long are you going to crash at Karen’s hostel?”
“As long as I wish! It’s paid for, remember?” “Let me take you back then.”
“Don’t bother, I drove here.”
“Need fuel money?” “No, I don’t. But since you’re in the giving mood, I wouldn’t mind having my debit card back.”
“Sure. Wait here.” I watched him walk away and smiled to myself.
Nothing had really changed. I still had him wrapped around my finger. I held all the cards. It was either he played nice or I reported him to the police and made life ugly for him. I had to be smart about this because a baby was in the picture now and however things would pan out would gravely affect her.
He came back downstairs and handed me two.
“Do I get a goodbye hug?”
“No, you don’t.” I walked to the kitchen.
“Thanks for the meal, Rose. It was superb as usual. I really missed your cooking. I’ll be on my way now.”
“When will you move back in?”
“Not too sure when. Take care of my baby.”
With a last glance at Fitz, I walked out of the house. My house. I sat in the car and started the engine. Being a young divorced rich woman didn’t sound bad at all. Maybe Karen was right.
I will win her back; Fitz thought when he heard the car drive away. Willingly or not, I will prevail, he determined.