A slight strike at the University had given them more time to explore their new found sensuality.
Fred was so taken with Emma that he’d gone out and bought her several Valentine gifts months before the revered day.
They couldn’t get enough of each other, they were already completing their sentences and the boys gagged every time they did it. And then they’d all laugh about it; it was a family that Fred was happy to have. The world was a better place with Emma and the boys, a family he didn’t have to take responsibility for, except having fun.
They’d been going steady for over two months. Their Christmas had been indescribably ecstatic and he couldn’t wait to present her with the gifts he’d bought. He wanted to make their first Valentine celebration a fantasy, he had it all planned out; he couldn’t wait to see how her eyes would bulge out…
There was a knock on the door.
Fred frowned, he never had visitors at this hour. And the only visitors he had, because they knew his house were the boys and of course, Emma. This early, he rushed through his bath so that he could pick up the boys and Emma and deposit them at school.
His heart skipped when he saw Emma standing there. At first it skipped in excitement.
“Emma…” he breathed her name, his eyes gobbling up the sight of her. Then he reached out and hugged her fiercely, sighing at the warmth he got from her body. Even though he’d dropped her off quite late last night, he discovered that he still missed her and would soon want her to stay over night.
The next time his heart skipped, he realized that she didn’t seem excited to be there, obviously, there was something wrong.
“Let’s go inside,” she said soberly, and Fred obeyed, suddenly feeling fear in the pit of his stomach.
Was she about to break up with him?
That thought widened his eyes and he stared at her stiff shoulders as she walked to the other side of the room. It was as though she wanted space between them to be able to do what she came to do; she also took a deep breath, obviously, to brace herself.
With trepidation, he summoned up courage to ask, “Poochie, what…”
“I’m pregnant,” Emma blurted with a heave of relief while she stood back to watch Fred’s reaction. The most difficult thing when she’d discovered her situation was how she would break the news to Fred who wasn’t a fan of responsibilities, at all, but she harbored some hope that…
The wind was instantly knocked out of him in a descending sigh, his question floating into oblivion in the process.
How did this happen?
But we used protection…Oh, sweet Lord, how long gone are you?
Are you okay; how are you feeling?
What do you want to do about it?
Have you told your uncle? What did he say? Is he mad? Why didn’t you tell me since? Jesus, Emma, what are we going to do? What ever you decide, I’ll stand by you.
The whole reaction to her news went on in his head while he remained dumb founded, staring at her with his mouth open. He wanted to ask all those questions but he couldn’t bring himself to get past the large lump of fear lodged in his throat.
Emma had been wrong, telling him wasn’t the most difficult thing; it was watching him flounder and not able to say one thing to her that was the most difficult.
Fred saw her face fall in abject disappointment, and his stomach plummeted in despair. One of the many things in life he couldn’t bear was Emma’s disappointment, he cared about what she thought of him. But, even with this, he still couldn’t say anything.
She stirred her motionlessness by shifting her weight from one leg to the other; it was a clear sign that she was ready to leave.
He still didn’t say anything.
Emma, sighed sadly and then flashed him her half smile, the one Fred had named the smile of conviction. The smile that showed a person that Emma had been right about his character all along…and that was the only other thing that was worse than her disappointment.
Yet, he couldn’t say anything.
Her eyes looked suspiciously moist, but she seemed to comport herself by swallowing hard, then she walked out.
Don’t go, Emma. I’m sorry, I was just shocked. Don’t be angry with me, please. When I opened the door, this isn’t what I was expecting. Bear with me a bit, I’m still trying to weather the shock. Hey, don’t cry, we’ll work this out together.
Ten minutes after Emma left his house, he still hadn’t said anything. Then as though his soul returned to his body suddenly, he dropped heavily on his tiled floor and sobbed.
The boys gathered round her at the Sculpture Garden on campus, when they had a reprieve from the litany of lectures they’d been attending through the hours of the morning.
“Emma, what’s up with Fred?” Paul frowned.
“Why?” Emma asked.
“He’s not picking his calls,” Obot supplied.
“And we almost missed first period waiting for him,” Ekong concluded.
Emma looked at them speculatively, she wondered if they’d freeze up like Fred had done in the morning. With a shrug, she decided that it wouldn’t hurt any less or more, if she told them.
“I told Fred this morning that I’m pregnant,” she announced as casually as though expressing her intension to visit the library.
“Oh shit,” Ekong whispered in shock, his face expressing the same emotion.
“What?” Paul exclaimed, louder than Ekong.
Obot took a little while before he reacted, “For real? Like, right now, some tiny guy is growing in you?” he was so shocked he was babbling.
Emma’s smile was serene as she looked at their faces one after the other.
“Blessed reaction,” she commented and then thought snidely, something Fred couldn’t manage.
“So, what did he say?” Paul ventured after his shock had subsided.
“Nothing,” Emma replied airily, as though all was well in the world.
“Nothing?!” the boys all exclaimed.
“Nothing …how?” Ekong asked seeking clarification.
“Nothing, he just said nothing,” she replied, snatching a pack of biscuit from her bag and proceeding to open it.
“Like he doesn’t want it or is he denying that he’s responsible?” Paul asked, his brow furrowed in confusion.
“Fred just went mute when I announced that I was pregnant. He stood there staring at me for about ten to fifteen minutes after my big announcement. He said nothing until I left and he hasn’t called…”
“Shit,” Ekong whispered again.
“Yes, Ekong, shit it is,” she agreed while crunching away at the biscuit with relish; the boys noticed that she didn’t seem worried at all.
A MISERABLE MONTH LATER…
Fred had moved back to his father’s house, a week after Emma’s announcement. He had not been able to cope being at his rented apartment by himself and his giant guilt, and like the shameless big baby that he now knew he was, he ran back home.
Paul had come visiting though, before he’d moved home.
“Jesus, you look fucked up,” Paul had greeted when he’d been woken up by the banging on the door.
“I feel fucked up,” he had replied in a croaky whisper.
“Why haven’t you spoken to Emma? We know you as a stand up guy, but this attitude is seriously not flattering to your persona.”
Fred had broken down then, “I don’t know what to do…what to say to her.”
Sniffing, he had crawled wearily to the half drunk bottle of whiskey, up turned it into his mouth and swallowed a large gulp. He had squeezed his face while the drink burned a fiery path down his throat to settle warmly in his belly.
“You are a miserable drunk,” Paul had surmised in a pitying tone, after looking over Fred’s obvious untidy appearance.
“Don’t sound so forgiving, Paul, I’m a terrible person. I did this same thing to my brother, I abandoned him when…” he choked on his breath and sobbed heart wrenchingly.
“You did not abandon Jeff, you were studying hard then and Jeff told me that he and your father had decided not to tell you that his crisis moments had extended; Jeff really wanted you to make it.”
Fred shook his head, “Apart from that, Paul, he was my brother, we grew up in the same house, I was very aware that he had sickle cell. I grew up handling his crisis; I was his only confidant then, his best friend before you. But when my dad mentioned my taking over the company, I just…I abandoned him, I ran and purposely blanked my mind of his existence.”
He sighed forlornly, “After his death, it occurred to me that I must have been running from the whole stress of… and now I’m doing the same thing to…”
“So talk to Emma,” Paul had pleaded.
He shook his head, “I can’t face her, I’m so ashamed, I don’t deserve to breathe the same air she is breathing.”
Paul had rolled his eyes, “If you told her what you are saying now, I’m sure she’d forgive you.”
“Every time I make up my mind to reach out to her, my stomach twists, my throat becomes so tight, I have to fight for air.”
“That’s just your mind deceiving you. Stop being so afraid, Fred, this is Emma…”
“Have you seen her, how is she?”
“She’s…fine, I guess and eating a whole lot.”
Fred frowned for a moment, “Fine; shouldn’t she be in despair that I’ve destroyed her future?”
“No, Fred, she isn’t in despair.”
“Has she cried, at least, she’d cry and be scared of telling her uncle?”
Paul had shaken his head in the negative, “No, Fred, she hasn’t cried, she actually is quite jovial and she has told her uncle already.”
Fear had risen in his chest like a life serpent, crawling ominously around his heart; her family might be gathering to visit him and he dreaded such confrontations.
He must have spoken aloud because Paul had replied, “No, her family isn’t doing anything. Just talk to her, you guys need to discuss this issue.”
Paul’s visit hadn’t helped and so he’d returned to his father’s house.
But he’d made a mistake to believe that he’d have some sort of relief when he returned to his father’s house; the big, fat guilt followed him there.
And routine returned too, his father didn’t care where he’d been for the last months, he went right back into bothering Fred about work, it was as if he’d never left.
Because he didn’t have anywhere to go out to, he had to listen to everything his father had to say, whenever he was home, for a whole freaking month.
Fortunately, it helped him see everything in perspective. He knew he had issues with responsibilities, and Emma’s situation entailed a lot of responsibilities. Now he had to work, and make enough money to take care of the kid and Emma, and be available, physically to take care of the child…it was daunting to think of, but he had decided to have a talk with Emma first.
As he dressed up on Valentine’s Day, he made the decision to grovel for Emma in apology for being such a coward. Even though he was sure he wasn’t going to be able to present her with the Valentine gifts he’d bought, but, it was a way forward.
He sighed wearily and closed his eyes. He had almost been at the door, wanting to escape his father’s harangue, but the man must have been watching out for him.
“Yes, dad,” he answered with so much obvious reluctance.
“Tell me you’re going to the office,” he demanded, walking into the sitting room, his wife, Fred’s step mom, behind him.
Fred turned wearily, the smidgen of courage he had was for facing Emma, not his dad. “I can’t tell you that, dad.”
This was just the beginning of the unpleasantness he would be facing on lover’s day.
The story continues
LagosConvo family, I greet you all. Its your girl Emem Bassey. So, people have been wanting my stories as a full novel, I have done this and even added hotter scenes to it. Please help my ministry.
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