I sat quietly; brooding over what Fitz has said whiles Karen went on and on how inconsiderate and monstrous Fitz Daniels was and what a big mistake it was that I married him against her better judgment and how she was not going to allow him to ruin my life completely. My own worried thoughts drowned out her voice and I found myself trembling.
Was he right? Was I unstable enough to raise my child? My fingers rubbed the scar on my wrist which only reminded of when I reached rock bottom. Where was I, what was my name? I couldn’t recognize myself anymore. Emily, full of life, a happy-go-lucky girl is all but a shadow of what I used to be, I thought forlornly. How did I get here? What the heck was I thinking?!
When we arrived at the hostel, I went straight to the shower. When I was sure that the sound of the shower was loud enough to drown out my sobs, I broke down in tears. My time of isolation had affected me in ways unknown to me yet. I was breaking down from the inside out and I had no strength to hold myself together. Where did I go wrong? Lying to Fitz about the baby in the first place? Maybe I needed to talk to someone…wow; did I just become a shrink material?
“Do you feel better?” Karen asked when I came out of the bathroom about thirty minutes later. I nodded and sat on my bed.
“Want something to eat? I could warm up something for both of us.”
“Thanks; I’d love that.” When Karen walked away to attend to the food, my phone vibrated. Tons of messages from Fitz. Not now, I groaned as I threw the phone on the bed. I knew he didn’t mean the threat he meted out to me but he needed to shake Karen up a bit since she was pushing his buttons too hard. But if push got to shove, did she have what it took to fight for custody of lil’ Karen?
Karen put the tray of food on the bed and sat. I took a fork and started to dig in. I paused when Karen began praying. I mumbled “Amen” and we started eating.
“I’m sorry for what transpired today. It was a shocker,” Karen apologized.
“At least we both get to know what’s going on in his mind.”
“So what are we going to do? Were you serious about finding a lawyer?”
“I just said that so he would believe I’m not that powerless but you and I know better.”
“Let me talk to James. I’m sure he knows someone from the law school who could link us up to…”
“And how do we expect to pay for his services?”
“Who knows, we could land an attorney who likes you and decides to take on your case pro bono.” I laughed at that.
“Be serious, Karen.”
“Oh, I am serious. You haven’t lost your charm. All you need to do is blink those magic eyes of yours and they will melt like butter.”
“Yeah right,” I said dryly.
“Or…if everyone knew that he wasn’t the father, then he couldn’t fight to keep the baby.”
“What do you mean if everyone knew?”
Karen shrugged. “You know…leak it?” I dropped the fork.
“That would be scandalous!”
“Yeah, for him! But you get the baby.” “No, I can’t handle that. It would jeopardize Adam’s career and Fitz would hate me forever.”
“Okay, fine; it was just a thought but now that I’ve said it out loud, it does sound like a terrible idea.”
I was glad she had dismissed the idea. I definitely wasn’t ready for any drama.
I was helping Karen out with her assignment (yeah, I was a good friend when I wanted to be) when we heard a sharp rap on the door.
“Ah, who’s that?” Karen said, irritated by the sound as she got up. The one behind the door knocked again.
“I’m coming!” Karen said and opened it.
“Of course you had to be the one. I couldn’t think of anyone else who would prefer breaking down a door instead of gently knocking it,” Karen said in an unconcealed tone of sarcasm.
“Good day to you too, Karen. I’m here to see the resurrected lady everyone has been talking about,” Tony said, making his way inside the room. I groaned. Tony was the last person I wanted to see at the moment.
“Hey there! Aren’t you going to give me a welcome back hug?”
“Oh no, she wouldn’t if she loved her ribs. You’d crush her if we considered how you tried to break down our door,” Karen said.
“Oh come on, for old times’ sake,” he said with his arms open wide. I stared at him. He wore this sheepish grin which made me roll my eyes.
“I’m not leaving till I get my hug.” I got up resignedly and walked to him. I thought he just wanted to make fun of me by making sure I was there in the flesh but the sigh he gave when I got into his arms felt like that of relief.
“Glad to have you back,” he whispered. I nodded, fighting back my tears. He held me for sometime just rocking me softly.
“I don’t know what happened when you were away but whatever it was, I hope you are okay now.” I hugged him back and held in my breath.
“Okay, okay; you’ve had your moment. Time to break it off,” Karen announced with a clap in a referee-tone. He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and we broke it off. I forced a smile as I lifted my eyes to meet his.
“You’re going to be fine,” he said warmly, rubbing my arms. I nodded.
“Thank you, Tony.” He smiled in response and turned to face Karen who had crossed her arms.
“What about the beastly sister of a friend?”
“Not even in your dreams.”
“Come on, your dead friend is back to life, can’t we bury the hatchet and move on?”
“Fine, if that will get you out of my room in the next minute.” They hugged. He tapped her back loudly.
“I call it love.” She pushed him away. He laughed.
“If you happen to need anything, just holla, okay?” He said to me. I nodded. He winked at me and left. I felt Karen’s eyes on me. I stopped rubbing my arms.
“Are you okay?”
“Oh yeah; it felt like Tony actually cares about me.”
“Please don’t go there, Em. He’s no good.” We sat down. I’d admit Tony was kind of a jerk when we were together (felt like ages ago) but his demeanour felt different. Well, he had always been a sweet guy. I freaked him out and he ran away. Who could blame him?
“Hey Tone, what’s up?”
“Hi James; all’s good. Just coming from your girl’s room. She’s as feisty as ever, that one.” “I know; that’s one thing I love about her. What were you doing there by the way?”
“I went to the see Emily. Wanted to see the risen girl for myself.” They both laughed.
“How’s she doing?”
“She’s okay; she seems to be struggling with something. She was a bit emotional.”
“She’s been like that since she got back. It has been hard on her…having to deal with her control-freak of a husband who is trying to keep the baby even though it’s not even his…”
“Hold…hold on; what do you mean it’s not his?”
“I’m sorry; that slipped out. I shouldn’t have said that.”
“Whatever concerns Em concerns me as well. What’s the deal with her baby?” “Her husband happens to be sterile.” “He’s a vegetable?”
“So who’s the father?” Tony asked curiously.
“I don’t think it’s my place to disclose it….”
“Is it that new artiste…that Adam guy?” James swallowed.
“What makes you think that?”
“I know Emily; I know her type of guy. I used to date her, remember?”
“Why did you let her go?”
“I was stupid; that’s why. It’s him, isn’t it?” When James didn’t respond, Tony exclaimed, “I knew it! Right from that dinner, I knew there was something going on.”
“I got to go. We’ll catch up later, “James said and they shook hands.
“Sure, man. See you around.”
Oh, so Mr. Daniels thinks he can rob Emily of what was hers just because he could afford to? Maybe he had forgotten the power of social media, Tony thought mischievously. He took his phone and sent a message to a Gossip page on Facebook.
“Close source reveals that Business mogul Mr. Fitz Daniels may not be the father to his baby after all. How about checking it out?” He tapped on ‘Send’ and smiled to himself.