“Alright start talking, and don’t you dare leave anything out,” I ordered Mandi while shoving a spoonful of strawberry yoghurt in my mouth.
Mandi took a deep shuddering breath but didn’t say anything. I was starting to think I would have to resort to torture methods to make her talk. But thankfully it didn’t come to that.
“I fücked up,” she muttered making my brows furrow.
“How?” I enquired wanting to get to the bottom of the problem that was troubling Amanda.
“I—I think I’m pre—pregnant,” Mandi stammered. I nearly spit out my yoghurt at the revelation. Pregnant? She couldn’t be pregnant! She was so young!
“How? I mean, what happened?” I questioned, my yoghurt forgotten.
“I–I slept with the photographer,” she told me softly, her voice barely audible.
“Who? The one who was going to talk to that model whatever to get you a job as a model?” I was bouncing with curiosity.
“Yes, I don’t how it happened, Lee, one minute we are talking and getting to know each other and the next I wake up naked beside him,” Mandi uttered looking down at her almost empty breakfast plate.
“Why didn’t you tell me all this before?” I asked feeling left out.
“It was one night, Lee, nothing permanent,” she replied softly.
“Still, you should’ve told me. But anyways, what’s done is done; by the way, what makes you think you’re pregnant?” I wish I could do something to wipe the forlorn look off my best friend’s face.
“I was suppose to get my period two days ago and I didn’t,” she answered, her voice breaking at the end.
“That doesn’t mean you’re pregnant, periods don’t always come on time, besides it could be the stress and all,” I tried to make her understand.
She shook her head. “No, I’m never late, never. My period is always on time, I mean always; it might be hard to believe but the arrival of my period is one constant in my life—was one constant in my life,” she mumbled the last part.
“Did you take a pregnancy test?” I enquired.
Amanda shook her head again. “I’m too scared, what if I am pregnant, I can’t be a mom, I’m not ready yet. And I can’t tell José that I’m pregnant with his baby, he’ll go ballistic,” Mandi said then covered her face with her hands as sobs shook her body.
I felt a pang of sympathy at seeing my best friend breaking apart. I hoped I could do something for her.
I got up from the chair and wrapped my arms around her. She clutched me tightly to her, letting out all her worries and fears through tears and body wrecking sobs.
“Calm down, Mandi, we’ll buy a pregnancy test and if you are pregnant then we’ll figure something out,” I rubbed her back soothing her,“don’t worry you’re not alone, I’ll be right there with you,” I assured her.
“You have a husband now, you should be with him, you can’t always be with me anymore,” Amanda complained.
“Well right now my husband’s not here, he’s at work, so I’m all yours, now, go clean up your face, you look ugly when you cry,” I teased and instantly felt better when she laughed.
When Mandi went to the bathroom to clean up I told Dan to take us to the pharmacy. Then I went into my room to grab my purse and cell phone making sure to check there was money inside.
As soon as Amanda emerged from the bathroom we both left for the pharmacy. Throughout the ride my mind kept pondering over the possibility of Amanda being pregnant. Being a single mother would be difficult, if Amanda had no intention of telling José, the photographer. I kept sneaking glances at Amanda, making sure she was alright. She looked like a marble statue—sitting stiffly, her back ram rod straight. To someone who didn’t know Amanda, they wouldn’t see anything wrong, but for someone like me who had known Amanda all her life, I could tell she was in turmoil. The way she sat—unmoving, unflinching; the way her hands were balled in tight fists; the occasional licking of her lips, were all the signs that Amanda was in distress.
We soon arrived at the pharmacy. I wasted little time in browsing the shelves for pregnancy tests. I grabbed a few tests—all of different companies, paid for them then left the pharmacy. Amanda didn’t accompany me to the pharmacy; she just sat in the car, frozen.
Dan drove us back home. Amanda didn’t say a word through our journey back. Her silence was starting to gnaw at my insides. I hated silent Amanda.
“Alright, read the instructions on these tests before you use them. Then let me know when you’re done,” I instructed Amanda while handing her the bag containing the pregnancy tests. She took them and went inside the bathroom without a word.
The ringing of the phone prevented me from cursing unwanted pregnancies. I checked the caller ID and my heart fluttered at seeing Theodore’s name flashing.
“Hi, how are you? Miss me already?” I was glad Theodore called. Just hearing his voice calmed me down.
“I miss you so much, sweetheart, but that’s not why I called. Dan told me you and Amanda went to the pharmacy, is everything alright? Are you okay? What about the babies?” Theodore’s rapid questions made me chuckle.
“I am fine, the babies are fine; it’s Amanda, she needed something so we went. And by the way, why do you have Dan reporting you of our every move?” I was slightly irked by this.
“Well, I told him to report me of your whereabouts initially, but I guess he hadn’t gotten over this,” he replied like it was no big deal.
“Well tell him to stop,” I commanded, while glancing at the bathroom door to see if Amanda needed me.
“No, I like knowing where you are at all times,” he responded.
“Control freak!” I gritted out.
Theodore chuckled, the same dark chuckle that had ice sliding down my spine. “You love me, anyways, take care darling, I’ll be home soon, love you, bye.” He hung up.
I would’ve thrown my phone against the wall in annoyance if it hadn’t been for Amanda calling my name softly. I huffed and went inside the bathroom. Amanda stood facing, her back against the bathtub.
“Hey, what did the tests say?” I asked nervously.
“I don’t know, I haven’t checked yet, I’m scared,” she answered, her voice barely audible.
Giving her hand a reassuring squeeze, I turned her around where the pregnancy tests lay side by side on the corner of the tub.
“You check, Lee, I can’t do it,” Mandi pleaded. I would’ve laughed at her if the situation hadn’t been so serious.
I ran my eyes over every single pregnancy test—double checking to see if I was wrong. Then, a smile slowly crept over my face, until I was practically grinning.
“Negative, you’re not pregnant,” I told Amanda, relief dripping from my words.
“What?! No way, that’s impossible.” Amanda pushed me out of the way, then crouched down and scrutinized each pregnancy test—staring at each one for a full minute before discarding it and picking the next one. When she had no more tests to double check she stood up, her face blank.
“Uh, Mandi, are you okay?” I asked worried over her silence once again.
“I’m not pregnant,” Mandi mumbled.
“Yes, congratulations, let’s celebrate.” I grabbed Amanda’s hand to lead her out of the bathroom but she didn’t budge.
“I. Am. Not. Pregnant,” she said each word slowly, as if reassuring herself that she really wasn’t pregnant.
“Yes, I know, let’s go and have ice cream, I’m craving it.” Damn pregnancy hormones, making me crave stuff.
“Oh my God, Lee, I’m not pregnant!” Amanda shrieked, grinning from ear to ear.
“I get that, let’s go now.” I all but dragged her out of the bathroom.
“You have no idea how happy I am; not that I don’t like babies. I’m just not ready for a kid yet, you know; I want to be a model first, then maybe somewhere down the road I might marry the man of my dreams and have babies with him, but right now, no ways,” Amanda rambled as I pushed her on the sofa and went to the kitchen to grab a tub of ice cream along with a couple of spoons.
“So are you going to tell José about this false alarm?” I asked while tossing the lid of the tub on the coffee table and digging my spoon in the creamy goodness.
“Are you kidding, of course not, he would freak the hell out,” Mandi responded shoving a spoonful of ice cream in her mouth.
“Well, just so you know, I’m happy either way, you pregnant or not,” I told her sincerely. This ice cream was really good!
“I still don’t get why I didn’t get my period though,” Mandi said.
“You’re obviously stressed, or maybe you haven’t been eating properly; oh, maybe you’re experiencing early menopause or something,” I said, but the ice cream had 98% of my attention. I love the person who invented ice cream, God bless that man or woman.
“I am not experiencing early menopause; however, I can’t dismiss the possibility of me being stressed,” Amanda replied, ignoring the glare I was sending her when she took another spoonful of ice cream.
“I suggest you relax, take a week off from work or something,” I suggested, feeling more possessive of my ice cream as every minute passed.
“Maybe, I’ll think about it.” Amanda was about to steal more of my ice cream but I turned to my side, taking the tub with me, hiding it from Amanda.
“What the hell, I was eating that!” She exclaimed.
“My ice cream, go get your own,” I said then shoved some ice cream in my mouth.
“You got two spoons, which means we share,” Mandi pointed out making me roll my eyes.
“Stupid, I got two spoons, yes, but I only expected you to take a couple of bites, not share the whole tub; you gotta know your limits woman,” I stated.
“Honestly, pregnancy is seriously messing with you.” Amanda gave up fighting for the ice cream.
“I love ice cream what can I do about it,” I said nonchalantly.
“Does Theodore know about your new obsession with ice cream?” Amanda enquired.
“First of all, this obsession is not new; second, he is aware of it and has stocked up the freezer with loads of ice cream, enough for a couple of years if I consume two tubs a day,” I informed her. I contemplated whether I loved ice cream more or Theodore. So far, they both were neck and neck.
“The guy seriously loves you,” Mandi muttered as if Theodore loving me was unfair.
“I love him, too,” I pointed out.
Just then the fromt door was opened by Julie and Theodore sauntered in, looking as sexy as he did when he left for work.
“Hi, boss man,” Amanda greeted.
“Hey Mandi, how are you?” Without waiting for her reply Theodore captured my lips and kissed me with so much passion that I felt as if we were meeting after a year and not a few hours.
“Ice cream and you, my new favorite flavor,” Theodore whispered seductively in my ear. My cheeks heated while my s3x clenched.
“You’re early,” Mandi commented.
“I was going to wait until evening to come home, but I couldn’t resist coming early and having her in my arms.” Theodore winked at Amanda.
“Well, that’s not fair, I was suppose to have her for the whole day,” Amanda complained.
“You did have her for the whole day, it’s afternoon now, so she is mine now,” Theodore replied kissing my cheek.
“Guys, I’m right here,” I said. My heart sank when my spoon came in contact with the plastic bottom of the tub.
“Enough,” Theodore snatched the tub away from me. “Tell me, Hailey, did you eat fruit, or did you drink any juice?” Theodore questioned, putting the lid back on the tub.
“She didn’t, she just had a strawberry yoghurt for breakfast,” Amanda told him. I shot her a glare. Traitor!
“I can’t even leave you on your own. Starting tomorrow, you’re going to have breakfast with me, and only if and when you finish your breakfast will I leave for work, understand?” Theodore stated.
“You’re treating me like a child again,” I told him.
“Try not to act like a child, and maybe I would not treat you as one.” Theodore kissed my forehead then went to the bedroom to do God knows what. I was especially sad to see him taking the ice cream tub away.
“Why did you have tell him about the strawberry yoghurt?” I gritted out, throwing daggers at Amanda with my eyes.
“Hey, you are pregnant with twins, you got to eat more than a cup of yoghurt, I’m surprised you don’t get hungry, women in pregnancy usually do—atleast I think they do,” Amanda said.
“I do get hungry, more than I normally did, but because of your pregnancy episode I lost my appetite,” I pointed out, blatantly accusing her of my vanished appetite.
“Stop blaming her, darling, come and have lunch.” I nearly jumped at hearing Theodore’s voice so close to me.
“Don’t sneak up on me like that,” I ordered clutching my heart.
Theodore ignored me. Instead he grabbed my hand and led me to the dining room, Amanda following right behind us. Amanda sat next to me while I sat on Theodore’s right as he sat at the head of the table.
Lunch was pleasent. All three of us talked throughout the meal, the episode of Amanda’s so-called pregnancy now a joke which made us laugh. Julie made scrumptious dishes which I didn’t let go to waste. I ate majority of the food, which Theodore was pleased with, while Amanda was looking at me as if I had five stomachs.
“What are you working on?” I asked Theodore.
Both of us were in the living room. Theodore was sitting on the sofa working, his fingers flying over the keyboard. I was curled up next to him, watching him work. His forehead creased in a small frown, telling me that whatever Theodore was working on was important.
Amanda had left a couple of hours ago. I was glad that she was smiling again, her silence could seriously terrify me.
“Just finalizing stuff for the approval of the contract,” Theodore answered, his gaze glued to the computer screen.
All of a sudden, yesterday’s text message slammed to the forefront of my brain. Three days, then it’s game over. If yesterday meant three days, then today meant two days. Two days until Ian would follow through with his threat. Two days until it was game over for Theodore.
No, I wasn’t going to let that happen. I would get to the bottom of this, and no one—not even Theodore would stop me. I just need to find out what’s going on. Theodore would tell me everything, he had to.
“When will you be done?” I questioned, wishing he would finish his work soon so I could ask him about Ian.
Theodore put his arm around my shoulders, while kissing my temple. “Miss me already?”
“What can I say, I don’t like not having your undivided attention,” I told him feigning a pout.
“Well, give me ten minutes, then I’m all yours—you’ll have my undivided attention,” Theodore told me then went back to working.
I let him work. Even though it was only ten minutes, it felt like ten hours. I wanted to ask Theodore about Ian, my mind was whirling with curiosity. But I had to wait. I had to wait in order to get to know about creepy Ian. I wondered if Theodore would give me a history lesson about him and Ian. If he did, then it was one history lesson I was eager to listen to.
After ten minutes, which felt like hours, Theodore shut his laptop. Placing it on the table, he turned to me with a smile.
“Okay, I’m all yours, sweetheart,” he said squeezing my hands, “what’s on your mind?”
I was nervous now, although I didn’t know why. But I knew that if I didn’t ask about Ian now, then it would be too late. If I didn’t ask now, then Theodore would have to fight this battle alone, and I couldn’t let him do that. I wouldn’t let Theodore fight his battles alone.
Taking a deep breath and vowing to slaughter Ian if the situations demands it, I uttered the four words that would be the beginning of a very long yet a very interesting history lesson.
“We need to talk.”