Read Chapter I here.
“Congratulations Mrs. Pratt, you’re positive.” Bisi sighed in relief. The doctor gave her the results’ slip. Eight weeks. She still had some weeks to look forward to before she could find out the baby’s sex. How she wished she could give her husband the news in its full package! He would be so excited that he’d pledge to give all he has to her; as if he hasn’t done that already. Father, let it be a boy, she silently prayed.
“Since this isn’t your first, you’re familiar with how this all goes. I hope to be seeing you here often.”
“Sure; I just have to readjust my schedule a little.”
“Please do; I don’t want what almost happened to Ewuresi to happen again, Bisi.” She nodded.
“It won’t; I know better now. Thanks, Eva.”
“Don’t mention it; my regards to Fiifi.”
“I’ll let him know.”
Bisi drove to work in a good mood. Should she tell Fii about it or she should hold on a little while? She’d decide when she got home.
Fiifi Pratt was working on his laptop when he received an email alert. He opened the mail.
I don’t want to come down. So come for your package and remember to bring along my balance. I’d appreciate it if you showed up sooner than later. I’ve my life to live.
He swore under his breath. He knew she’d pull a stunt like this. Even after all these months, it was obvious not even one trace of maternity resided in her. Referring to him as a ‘package’ was annoying enough. Maybe it was a good thing she didn’t want anything to do with him now that he had arrived. When he goes for him, he could bid her farewell…for good. Then there was the issue of breaking the news to Bisi. Just thinking about it gave him heart palpitations.
He picked up the office phone. The earlier he took care of this the better.
“Book a flight to New York for me. Round trip. Business class.” He put the phone down and sighed. How to go about the whole situation without causing much damage was a plan which still eluded him. I’ll cross the bridge when I get to it, he thought.
Kukuaa and Ewuresi got into their mother’s car and she took off.
“How come it’s you today?” Kukuaa asked.
“Why, I can’t pick up my own kids from school?”
“Not that, mum. You’re usually at the TV studios at this time. Where’s dad?”
“He texted that he had to see to something so I should come and pick you up.”
“Okay; please pull over in front of this shop.”
“Ice-cream.” When she looked at them inquiringly, Ewuresi said, “Dad always buys us ice-cream.”
“Always?!” Bisi couldn’t conceal the shriek in her voice. Kukuaa laughed.
“Don’t freak out, mum. Daddy doesn’t spoil us…that much.”
“Uh huh; well, no ice-cream for you today.” Ewuresi pouted. Kukuaa wasn’t surprised.
“If you keep doing that, your lips would be so large by the time you grow up that no guy would like you. Would you want to be that kind of girl, Esi?” Bisi said. Instantly, Ewuresi adjusted her lips. Bisi shook her head knowingly. She knew exactly how to keep her in line.
“You seem happy…any good news?” Kukuaa asked.
“Who, me? Yeah.”
“Another award?” Ewuresi asked, having forgotten her ice-cream craving at once.
“No honey; something even better.”
“Really? What is it?”
“I shouldn’t tell you yet.”
“Oh, it’s a surprise for daddy? Please tell us!” Bisi pretended to think for a moment.
“Okay, can you two keep a secret?” They both nodded eagerly.
When they arrived home, the man of the house was already in. The girls ran to him and he hugged them both. Bisi looked on admiringly. He was indeed a lady’s man.
“How was school today, my angels?” They began to rattle what went on in school. Bisi wondered how a busy man like him still found time to indulge the girls with their school drama. Good father, check.
“We’d have to eat dinner early today since I’m travelling tonight.”
“Tonight? Is there an emergency?” Bisi asked, concern ringing in her voice.
“Yeah, there’s something urgent I need to take care of.”
There was something elusive about his explanation, Bisi thought. She’d have to ask him about it later. She went on to prepare dinner. She could still hear Esi’s shrill voice narrating the day’s events.
Throughout dinner, Fiifi avoided eye contact with Bisi. He feared that she’d read his mind through his eyes. Although that was impossible literally, he knew if he engaged her, she’d sense his uneasiness. He making this trip was hard enough for him; he didn’t want guilt as an extra topping.
Fii is acting funny, Bisi thought as she ate. He kept fidgeting in his seat and his over-attention to Esi made it obvious that he was avoiding any interaction with her. Was he upset with her over something she wasn’t aware of?
She watched him as he zipped up his suitcase. He was tensed about something.
“What’s going on, Fii?” Oh no, she could smell it on him, he thought.
“Nothing. It’s just a business trip.”
“You had no plans of traveling this morning. So if it’s just a business trip, what’s with the urgency? Can’t you go tomorrow?”
“Nope; the earlier I sort it out, the better. Don’t worry; I’ll be back in two days’ time.”
“If there’s something bothering you, you’d let me know, right?” He forced a smile and touched her cheek.
“Of course, love. Who else would I share my worries with?” He kissed her cheek.
“I’ve to be on my way. See you, B. Take care of yourself and the girls.”
“Let me drive you to the airport.”
“Oh no; I’ll let the driver take me.”
“I don’t mind taking you, Fii.”
“I know but it’s getting dark. I prefer you to stay at home with the kids. I’ll be fine.”
“I’ll be back before you know it, okay?” He hugged her.
“Have a safe flight.”
Fiifi was in such a deep thought that he didn’t even sense that the driver had pulled over at the airport. When he came to himself, he got down and his driver handed him his suitcase. He entered the airport with heavy steps.
Fiifi knocked on an apartment door. It opened and he walked in.
“I’m so glad you kept your word and came immediately. I’m sure you are as eager as I am to get this over and done with,” she said. He only stared at her.
“Okay; let’s get to business. Got my money.”
“I want to see him first.” She laughed.
“You think I’ve sold him to someone else? I’m not that inhuman, Fiifi.” When he didn’t share her sentiment, she stopped laughing.
“Fine; I’ll get him.” She went into the bedroom and came back with a cute baby in her arms.
“My balance.” He placed a briefcase on the center table. She smiled and gave the baby to him. She took the briefcase and opened it. She smiled in satisfaction. She went back into the bedroom and came back with a file.
“These are all the papers you need. He’s all yours now. It was nice doing baby business with you, Mr. Pratt,” she said, offering her hand. He gave her a once-over and then gave her his hand.
“It’s a done deal.”
Back in his hotel room, Fiifi couldn’t help but stare at the baby boy in his arms. He finally had what he always prayed for; he wished he had him with Bisi, of course. But life took him down another turn. How to present him to his family without breaking their hearts was still a headache.
“Nhyira; that’s your name. Because that’s what you are to me: a blessing.”
After mid-week service at church, the pastor walked up to Bisi.
“How are you doing, Mrs. Pratt?”
“By God’s grace; I’m doing well, pastor.”
“And where’s your husband?”
“He’s on a trip.” He nodded.
“I have a message for you. God asked me to tell you to be strong. That something serious which would shake you to the core is on its way. But don’t give up, stay strong and pray for your family. And in the end, it will all make sense.” Bisi was puzzled. The pastor smiled and patted her back.
“May God be with you, Mrs.”
“And with you too, pastor.”
As she drove home, Bisi’s mind was busy trying to figure out what the pastor meant. Something serious? Did it have something to do with why Fiifi left in such a hurry? Oh God, please don’t let the enemy touch his business. And whatever it is, please give me the strength to endure it, she prayed in a murmur.
Whatever it was, with God on her side, she was going to get through it. She had to believe that.
Josephine Amoako (c) 2016
Read Chapter III here.