1. Leave a Message.
“Come on, Felicia. Let’s get you inside. You could do with a drink,” Levi insists, guiding me back towards the manor.
My knees are tingling where the cobblestone had left imprints into my skin. My eyes were stinging from where I’d been crying into Levi’s shoulder, but it was my heart that was bothering me the most. It felt broken, shattered into pieces, as if it was as fragile as glass. It felt similar to the feeling I once had when I found out Luke was cheating on me. But this feeling was a thousand times worse, and it stung much harder. It was absolute torment, and I felt like I was slowly dying inside.
“I can’t,” my words tremble in sob. “I mean, I can’t drink.”
Levi stares at me confused as we walk towards the manor doors, but doesn’t question me.
“I’m pregnant, Levi.” I confess.
His eyes widen briefly, before relaxing his face expression and rubbing my shoulder in a comforting way.
“Even more reason why we should get you inside and calm you down then,” he offers a sympathetic smile.
He guides me through to the lounge, and helps settle me onto the sofa.
“Mayson, we need a tray of tea in the lounge asap!” I hear Bradley calling to a butler in the atrium before he joins us.
“How can he leave me just like that?” I sob, “especially after what his father did to him and his mother,” more tears stream down my cheeks.
“I’ll admit, it probably wasn’t the best reaction and that he probably shouldn’t have left like that,” Levi begins, “but people deal with this kind of news in their own way, especially as he wasn’t expecting it.”
I cast him a slightly annoyed frown, even though I know he isn’t wrong.
“I’m not siding with anyone, Lisha. It’s not something you can pick sides on, but I’m just telling you the reality of it all.” He continues.
“When did you find out?” Bradley asks.
I look up to him as he offers me a box of tissues. It’s strange to see such a serious, yet caring expression on his face. He’s usually so boisterous and I didn’t think I’d ever see this side to him.
“Recently. Last week when we were at his mothers,” I reply, taking a tissue from the box. “According to one of the tests, I’m around five weeks pregnant.”
“Levi’s right. This is probably just Ren’s way of dealing with it. I’m sure he’ll come around, he probably just needs some time.” Bradley says.
“I’m beginning to wish I never told him. How can I possibly know how he’s feeling if he won’t talk to me,” I wipe away some tears and try to calm down.
“You had to tell him, Lisha. This isn’t something you can conceal, and it’s something important you both need to discuss,” Levi says. “Have you thought about if- you know- you want to-”
“It’s not what I planned, and not something I’ve ever thought about happening to me. It’s difficult, I don’t know what to do. All I know is that this is happening, and a decision needs to be made as soon as possible, for everyone’s sake.”
“That is true.” Levi agrees.
Mayson the butler walks into the lounge with a tray of tea, places it onto the coffee table and leaves after a quick head bow and a thank you from me.
“Do you want to know what is even more crazy?” I ask, pouring some tea from the teapot into a mug.
“What?” they both say in unison.
“The fact that I’ve been through a fake engagement, I’m currently going through a real engagement, I’m now pregnant to add to it, and my parent’s haven’t the slightest clue about any of it,” I sniffle, finishing off my tea and taking a sip.
“Are you close to your parents?” Levi asks.
“Well, we’re not estranged. I haven’t seen them in almost a year, but I do call them occasionally,” I say. “I’m worried they’ll be angry or disappointed in me that I hadn’t told them about all this. It’s a lot of news to take in at one time.”
“They’re your parents, I’m sure they’ll understand and support you.”
“There’s only one way to find out I suppose,” I say, wiping away the last stray tear on my cheek. “I’ve got to tell them, face to face.”
“When you thinking of doing that?” Bradley asks.
“Today,” I say getting up to my feet. “I’ll go pack now and then leave.”
“Do they live far?” Levi asks, “need a ride?”
“About two hours away, and no, thank you, but I’ll get a taxi.”
“There’s no need for that. Please, let me drop you off. I’m sure even I’ll be better company than a taxi driver with what you’re currently going through.”
I let out a sigh and agree, “fine. But only if you’re sure.”
“I am.” He smiles.
“I’ll go and pack. See you soon,” I say, leaving the lounge to go pack.
When I get to the room, I pack lightly, just a few essentials. I haven’t seen my parents in a while, and with everything going on, I think it’s best to stay with them for a few days.
With my case packed, I attempt to call Ren before leaving the bedroom. The room is filled with his cologne and whisky scent, making me miss him already, yearning for him to come back and tell me everything is going to be ok.
I dial his number and place the phone to my ear. It’s rings for about fifteen seconds before it goes to voicemail.
“Ren Charlton, leave a message,” his pre-recorded voice echos into my ear.
At first I thought he had answered, but my heart quickly sank when I realised it was just his voicemail.
I sigh yet again, placing my phone into my handbag and flinging it over my shoulder. I grab my case and walk back down to the atrium.
“Ready?” Levi asks, waiting at the manor entrance with his car keys in hand, Bradley stood beside him eating a packet of crisps.
“Yes,” I smile. “You coming too?” I ask Bradley.
“Yeah, I thought I might as well tag along with nothing else to do. That ok?”
“Sure, why not?” I reply, rolling my suitcase behind me towards them and the doors.
We’re about 10 minutes away from my parents house. I’ve still had no contact from Ren, and I’ve called him at least three more times during the journey. It went straight to voicemail, again. I’ve decided to give him time and let him come to me when he is ready to talk and discuss the news.
Levi and Bradley agreed to drop me off only, suggesting it wouldn’t be the best time to meet my parents under the circumstances and the conversation I need to have with them.
“This is quite a nice village,” Levi says whilst cruising past the village shops at the speed limit.
“Yeah, it is. I grew up here and often miss it. It’s a lot more quieter with a tight-knit community, unlike Dalford. Upper Berkeley village is only a small population of around three thousand too.” I reply.
“Do you have any siblings, Felicia?” Bradley asks.
“No, I’m an only child.”
“Damn, there goes my luck.”
I half chuckle, “what happened with that girl you met at the wedding? Cara’s childhood friend.”
“She wasn’t my type after all. All she would go on about was horses. I’m not really into horsey people to be honest.”
I roll my eyes, to which he can’t see from the back seat, but its awfully typical of Bradley to not keep a girl for long.
“Take the next left, and follow the road ahead. It will lead us to a cul-de-sac, and my parents house is the third house in on the left.” I direct.
Levi drives as directed, and a few moments later we’re parked outside my parents house. I thank them both for the ride and company, grab my case from the car boot and let them know I’ll make my own way back in a few days.
I knock the white PVC door at my parents house, glancing around the small front garden as I wait for an answer. The garden is beginning to look a bit overgrown, weeds thriving in the cracks of the pathway. Now that it’s colder weather, I suppose they’re busy inside renovating. They’re always busy renovating something.
The PVC door opens, revealing my mother in a lilac, calve length dress, a white, wool-knitted cardigan on top, her face now full of surprise.
“Hi mum, can I come in?” I gesture with a half smile towards my suitcase.
“What are you asking for?! Come in you silly girl, it’s nippy out here,” she steps outside, placing an arm around my shoulder, ushering me inside. “What are you doing here? Not that it’s not a pleasant surprise, its just unexpected. You normally call before hand. Is everything ok?”
I leave my belongings in the hallway, and walk towards the kitchen with her.
“Can we have a cup of tea first? I’ll explain everything then.”
“Of course, love. I’ll put the kettle on.”
“Where’s dad by the way?”
“He’s just nipped to the shop for some essentials, he should be back any minute now.”
I pull out a wooden chair from beneath the kitchen table, and take a seat.
“How’s everything with you and dad? Has work been ok?” I ask, making small talk.
“Oh you know, same old, same old. Work is good though. My manager has been speaking to me about a possible promotion to supervisor. He wants to give me a weeks trial first, see if I like it and all that.”
“Wow, that’s great mum.”
Mum works at a well known clothing store in town. She’s worked there for years and for some reason genuinely enjoys it. It could be down to her being a people’s person, she loves socialising and meeting new people.
“Well, I’m not sure how stressful it’s going to be yet. I’ll have more responsibilities, so we shall see,” she begins pouring the tea into two cups. “My manager is really enthusiastic about promoting me though. He said I’ve been there long enough and have proven my loyalty to the company.”
“Well I think that’s great news mum, and you’re great at your job, so you should go for it.”
“The extra money will come in handy for the mortgage, I suppose.”
She doesn’t know yet, but before I leave here I’m going to be paying her mortgage off in full and leaving her and dad money for an early retirement if they wish to do so.
“And everything is ok with dad?”
“Yes, your father is fine. He’s started getting into this golf business with his co-workers, and spends Saturday’s at the golf course just outside of town.”
“Oh that’s good, some peace and quiet for you on the weekend then.” I humour.
“Indeed! It gives me a chance to catch up on my reading. Though, he’s invited me along a few times, says the wives have afternoon tea in the café there, but I’d prefer to catch up on my book,” she places our cups of tea onto the table in front of us before taking a seat herself.
As she does so, the front door opens and my dad walks through into the kitchen with two shopping bags.
“Felicia, what are you doing here?” he places the bags down onto the worktop.
“Nice to see you too dad,” I laugh, taking a sip of tea.
“Oh, I didn’t mean it like that mun, you know what I meant. Your mother didn’t mention you were coming so I’m surprised.”
“Mum didn’t know, I’ve just recently showed up. I was hoping to stay a few days, but that might depend on what I have to tell you both first.”
They both stare at me and my stomach begins to become unsettled with nerves.
“Tell us what?” my dad asks.
“Well-” I begin.
Here it goes.
End of Chapter One.