The door was ajar. From time to time, a gentle breeze raised the long curtains running down the living room wall. Eve overheard the conversation of the women outside deep in gossip, and who occasionally broke into a hearty laughter that got her smiling. She sunk deeper into the couch and crossed her legs as her eyes took a lazy tour of the room and everyone in it. Danny was seated at the dining table, holding his now three months old daughter. Seeing him with his muscled arms holding this delicate little girl who made him look so vulnerable was a sight to behold. She imagined how one day, in a week’s time actually, Tony would also be holding their baby. This thought made her wish the due date could come sooner.
When Danny looked up, their eyes met. They flashed each other quick smiles before he focused back on his daughter who was raising her cute tiny hand to pinch his nose. Eve laughed when he feigned pain and made this groaning sound much to the delight of the young girl. Right next to Eve was Tony. He sat with his legs spread out before him and his hands tucked between his thighs. His eyes were closed, probably taking a nap. He looked tired. He, after all, had driven them to the village the same day to celebrate the addition of a new member in Danny and Clair’s family. It had taken three months to hold the celebration because Danny wanted to give Clair time to heal and recover before entertaining guests, an idea which Clair agreed with.
And so they waited. Keeping the baby to themselves like she was a top secret. Battling sleep because the young lady couldn’t let them fall asleep for two consecutive hours without waking them up with her sharp cry which cut through the dark night like a sharp razor. But after three months, things were calming down. The baby was calmer and they had pretty much mastered her schedule. Once, when the baby had only woken them up only three times, Clair had said, “You know, I was considering putting her up for adoption if that’s all it was going to take for me to have a peace of mind again.”
Danny chuckled, “Don’t count your chicks yet. I think she is on a sabbatical and she will resume her duties in no time.”
But she hadn’t. And so they felt it was the right time to celebrate their joy with the rest of the world.
And so on this day, people streamed in. Those with invites and those with gate crashing genes running in their blood. Men with oversized suits and large ties, and others who wore windbreakers and spoke in soprano. Women who dangled on their heels and others with print lesos wrapped around their waists. And the few who had spoken, including Danny and Clair’s parents, had poured their blessings as others nodded and clapped in agreement. Now that almost everyone else had left, Eve took this moment to reflect.
She was almost giving in to sleep when she heard footsteps. When she looked up she saw Clair, dressed in a long blue dress that curved with her body. Her body was in good shape Eve was tempted to ask if she was working out already.
“I see you are bored,” Clair said as she poured herself a glass of water.
“Not really, just feeling lazy like these two gentlemen over here.”
Clair drunk her water and set the glass on the table, “Come with me, I would love us to speak in private.”
Eve followed her to her bedroom, which was so big it could as well have been another living room. Clair sat down on the bed and tapped on the side of the bed beside her, gesturing Eve to sit.
“Congratulations, by the way,” Eve said as she sat down, the mattress sinking with her weight. “I could have come sooner to see you and the baby but Tony’s mother did not think it was a nice idea for me to travel a long distance in this condition,” she pointed at her baby bump.
“No need to apologise. Besides, you showed up today and that’s all that matters.” She then placed her right hand around Eve’s neck and said, “I missed you.”
She could be wrong, but Eve thought this was the first time Clair confessed that she missed her. “Of course you missed me, I am your big sister!”
They both laughed. When the laughter died down Eve noticed that suddenly Clair had this far away look on her face like she had just remembered something.
“Is everything okay?” she asked.
“You don’t look like it.”
Clair stood up and faced the wall. “I am sure you already know about Danny and the fact that he has a child with his Ex. I keep thinking about it and can’t help but wonder if maybe it will pose a problem to our relationship in future.”
“I don’t think you have any reason to worry. I was there when Danny broke the news of him fathering Jane’s child and I remember him saying that it’s you he wants to be with.”
“But you know how men are. They say one thing today and another thing tomorrow.”
“Trust me, everything will be okay. Danny loves you. He chose you, remember?”
“I needed to hear that.” Clair turned around and resumed her seating position. “Thank you, sis.”
“Enough about me, how have you been? I see you have added weight. I am not sure if it’s because of the pregnancy or its because your mother-in-law is overfeeding you.”
“Are you saying I am fat?”
“I am just saying that we will need to replace this mattress since it will not be the same now that you have sat on it!”
Eve grabbed a pillow and gently hit her on the shoulder. Then they talked some more. About life. Their love life. And about how everything finally worked out for both of them. Later, when they appeared in the living room holding hands, Tony was already on his feet. He told Eve that they needed to leave and so Danny and Clair walked them to their car.
Eve’s hand was rested on his thigh all the time he was driving, only lifting it up when she wanted to rub her baby bump. He took his eyes off the road for a split of a second to look at her and when he looked ahead again, asked if she was already thinking of how she would miss her baby bump now that she was almost putting to bed. She chuckled and waved her hand at him dismissively. There was a brief silence between them in the car before Eve arched her back and made a sound. A sharp sound like she had just been pierced with an arrow right through her stomach. Tony quickly swerved the car beside the road and stepped on the brakes too suddenly, bringing the car to a screeching halt
“What is it, are you okay?” His body was now fully turned to face her, his face wrinkled with worry and confusion.
“I just felt something.”
“Something like what?”
They stared each other in the face for a while before she slowly lowered her face to her lower region and said in a panic, “The baby. I think the baby is coming, my water just broke!”
“Are you serious? I thought you were supposed to be due in a week’s time?”
“Seriously?” she looked at him, her forehead sweating, her chest heaving, “You think now is the best time to interrogate me on when I am supposed to be due?”
“I am sorry, sweetheart, I just . . .”
“Tony. Stop. Talking. And. Drive. Me. To The Hospital. NOW!”
He drove like a mad man to Sahara General Hospital where she was quickly led to the Labour ward.
His feet ached. He fiddled with his car keys. Pacing the hospital’s hallway, he curled his wrist and sneaked a peek at his watch. It was only fifteen minutes since he was kicked out of the delivery room because he couldn’t hold himself together, and yet it felt like seasons had come and gone with him still on that hallway. Visions of Eve kicking, tugging on his shirt and cursing the day that she first met him came to him in flashes. Her cries, stifled cries, echoed off his head. At some point, he stood still, took in a deep breath and let it out through his nose, closed his eyes, and tried to mumble a prayer. But his prayer was incoherent. He froze when a hand touched his shoulder, and then slowly turned around to see Sam followed by an army of everyone he knew.
“We came as soon as we could.” The words came out of Sam’s mouth like they were being blown by a soft wind so they were a bit shaky. “How is she?”
“I-I don’t know, man,” Tony turned to pint at the delivery room, “No one has stepped out of there since the nurses kicked me out.”
“Why? I mean why did they kick you out? Are those nurses insane? You deserve to be in there!” Valentine said.
“It wasn’t their fault . . .”
“Don’t worry,” Danny said, stepping forward to hug him, “She will be fine, bro. She will be fine.”
Clair was standing a safe distance from everyone else, her arms wrapped around herself. She seemed to be mumbling something like a prayer.
Half an hour later the nurse who kicked Tony out, a short plump woman in a white lab coat, walked out the door. Tony walked towards her and before she could open her mouth to speak, he said, “I am sincerely against gender violence but if you start your sentence with ‘We tried our best but . . . nonsense’ I will hit you.”
The nurse smiled, “Glad to know that you can still find time for humour even during such a tense period.”
“I wasn’t joking.”
“Well, no reason to worry, your wife has successfully . . .” her voice trailed off as Tony couldn’t pay attention to what she had to say next. He found himself sinking on the floor, mumbling a million thanks to the Big Boy up there. Everyone else surrounded him with congratulatory messages which flew around flapping their wings hard enough to jolt him back to the reality. When he stood up, flashing everyone smiles, he led the way to the delivery room. When the door cracked open, he breathed in and out again before finally pushing it further open and walking in. She was there, lying on the bed with her head tilted to the left. Her left hand was holding the baby who lay on her abdomen with the nurses cleaning him up. Eve lifted her eyes to look at him, a weak smile crossing her face.
They stared at each other. Everyone was talking but their voices fade off into the background as the two stared at each other as if they had just discovered each other. Tony’s eyes were by now swimming in tears and so were Eve’s. If they could explain this moment and how it felt, they would say it felt like how it would feel when you finally turn to the last page of a romantic novel you have been reading, one filled with twists and turns, with heartbreaks and making up, with beauty and sadness, and now everything was falling into place with the air, finally smelling of triumph.
“Tony?” Eve called him out.
“It’s a boy.”
It’s been an honour writing this story for over a year now and sharing it with you. It’s been a pleasure reading your comments, passionate comments each time I post this story. But everything has to come to an end, so this is it for Love Scandal. But before you pack your bags and leave, I request that you hold on. Subscribe instead. Because a fresh series, which I hope will be greater than Love Scandal, is coming. I will be taking a short break though and then I will be back. If you haven’t liked my page, kindly do so. If we are not friends on Facebook, surely, do you know what you are missing? And finally, Peter Prince, my man, you have read everything I have written since December 2014 though we have never met. God bless you, bro. Rozzy Njeri, you wrote in on Tuesday to ask whether I was okay since the story was not up, thanks for checking on me. And to you all, God bless you. Your love is what keeps this blog going.