Part XIII: No Matter What!
“Anna, I got my pay-check to-day!” announced Gale as he entered through the open doorway.
His lovely wife appeared in the living-room even before he completed his sentence.
“That’s great! I hope you didn’t forget to deposit it on your way back!” she said, wiping her hands on her dirty white apron.
“Of course I didn’t,” he replied with a pleasant smirk. He set down his briefcase and removed his tie, before he walked up to hug Annalise. “So, how was your day to-day?”
It was a month after the events of their first big fight.
Annalise snuggled into his chest and sighed in contentment. “Well, not so good, actually,” she said. “After you left, our dear neighbour came knocking on our door, flashing a shiny strapless dress that she claimed one of her secret boyfriends brought in. I told her it was nice…” She sighed. “And she left me with a bad headache – what with her incessant chatter.” She pouted, head bent down.
Gale lifted her chin in order to look at her clearly. “Did you go to the doctor?” he enquired, concerned.
She shook her head. “No, it wasn’t all that severe. Just coming and going throughout the day.” She gave him a small smile. However, when she saw him staring at her grimly, her smile disappeared.
“You know…you actually don’t look too well,” he observed. “Your eyes…they don’t look like they usually do.”
She gaped at him with a blank expression. “Well, how do they usually look?”
“How do they look?” he repeated. “Shiny ocean-blue orbs, round and innocent, and...beautiful!”
She chuckled. “I see. So, are they not ‘shiny ocean-blue, round and innocent, and…beautiful’ now?” she whispered.
“Actually, that’s the whole point.”
“All right. If I feel the same tomorrow, we’ll go. It’s a weekend anyway.”
“You better be good on that promise!” He winked at her. He pulled away from her just enough to take her hand and drag her towards the sofa. He sat her down and knelt down in front of her. “Now, tell me, any progress with the family?”
She sighed. “I feel like myself as ever,” she replied. “I think we should try more.”
He nodded thoughtfully. “Yes, I think we should. Anyway, to be on the safe side, why don’t we go to the clinic tomorrow and find out if there’s something wrong. You know what I mean?” he enquired, peering at her half-fearfully.
She nodded her head cheerfully. “Yes, I do, Gale. But, promise me one thing.”
“And that is?”
She leaned closer to him and whispered in his ear, “That you won’t be unhappy if we’re unable to do anything about it, okay? We’ll always find ways to have a baby and start a family.”
Gale stared at her and she thought he was going to cry. However, he shook his head and gave her his trademark smile, which made her heart race faster. “Of course, Anna – anything for you!”
She sighed, as if a huge burden had fallen off her shoulders. It probably did, for she did seem like she was afraid he would be angry at her again. He had learnt his lesson that day, one month ago, and he would keep it fresh in his mind.
His heart had shattered to innumerable pieces when he had seen her crying her heart out to her parents that day. He had vowed to keep his beloved wife close to his heart, never leaving her out of his sight, even for a moment, unless he absolutely had to. Her love was the only thing he would ever want and making her cry that day was the worst thing he had ever done.
“So,” Annalise spoke now, a smile lighting up her beautiful features, “now that you got your month’s salary to-day, I think we must start saving. What do you think?”
“Well, depends on where you’re leading this conversation to,” he replied.
“All right. Well, when we get a baby, for instance – and, mind you, we will get one, for sure!”
“Ah, yes, child care expenses, edu –”
“Child care! Whatever I’m here for?!”
“Anna, you’ll be too stressed out in the first few weeks to take a good care of our baby. Remember, that’s why you weren’t ready in the first place.”
She nodded. “Yes, I do. In fact, I think you’re right. We need to hire a babysitter – at least for the first few weeks…you know, just to help me out! Of course, we could ask our mothers to come over, but that’d be such a trouble for them… What’s the matter, Gale?!”
Gale was shaking his head in wonder. “You never ask for help, do you? You’re so stubborn!” he added, when she dissolved into peals of laughter.
When she went on laughing, he said, “All right, I think you should stop now. We were talking about saving money, remember?”
She nodded, trying to suppress her laughter, with little success. When she finally became sober, she turned to face him.
“Good. Now…so,” he began ticking off the list on his fingers, “child care, education, and some additional.”
“Yes. So, we need to find out roughly how much this will cost us.”
“Right. We’ll find out tomorrow when we go over to your parents’ for Lunch!”
The next morning, Annalise awoke first, as was the case every day.
She slipped off her bed on her nightgown, slid into her slippers, and padded towards the bathroom. She freshened up and came out, to see that her handosme husband was awake and just stretching his arms.
“Morning, sunshine!” she greeted him a bright smile.
He lowered his arms and turned towards her. “Good morning, lovely!” he replied with an equally bright grin. He sat up and tried to grab hold of her arm when she walked past to hang her towel, but she deftly got away.
“Nah-uh!” she chided. “Remember we have a Luncheon to attend?”
“That’s all the way at noon…it’s only seven now!” he groaned.
“We need to be our best! Otherwise think what they’d say!”
Gale frowned in confusion. “What would they say?”
Annalise now reached the other side of the bed, farthest away from his grasp. “That you’re not treating me well enough!”
“Hey!” he yelled as she ran off in giggles.
“How’s life now, Gale?” Annalise’s father asked, folding the newspaper he had been reading, before the guests had arrived.
Gale, his father, and father-in-law were settled down in the living-room. His young wife had followed the two older women kitchen-wards, chattering excitedly.
He smiled, heat creeping up his face, but he ignored it. “Very well, actually, sir,” he replied, confidently. “And for that, I thank the both of you. If it weren’t for you, I think our marriage would’ve been short-lived, leaving us both heart-broken…and it would all have been because of my naïve foolishness!”
“Now, child,” his father-in-law consoled him, “it’s not your fault…it was nobody’s fault! Both of you were naïve, that’s true, but you did love each other enough to patch things up rather quickly. Other young newly-weds I’ve known in the thirty years of my married life, I’ve seen people being torn apart just because of some silly feuds like yours.”
“He’s right, Gale,” his father spoke up. “You and Anna are made for each other – it’s like a match made in Heaven, by the Almighty himself! You complement each other so perfectly! You need not worry about breaking apart, for neither of you will ever have the heart to do so!”
Gale sighed. “I hope not.” Then, after thinking for a moment, a sudden fire seemed to light up his eyes. “But, you know what, Father? I’ve decided I’d never let go of her, no matter what! She’ll be mine and mine alone!”
Annalise could not help but listen in on the conversation, as she approached the living-room door to announce that Lunch was ready.
She waited outside to let the gentlemen finish, but soon realised that the topic was about her. Naturally, she was curious. She was just barely able to listen to the conversation, till Gale’s clear raised voice floated up to her:
“But, you know what, Father? I’ve decided I’d never let go of her, no matter what! She’ll be mine and mine alone!”
Tears of joy welling up in her eyes, Annalise walked away. ’No matter what,’ she thought. ’I get to keep him no matter what! Well, I’ll never let go of him again…it’ll only break my heart, anyway. I love him so bad…I don’t think I’ll have the strength…’