‘He has a visitor, Lizzy. I shouldn’t have come to Lagos. It was a big mistake.’ Rebecca told her sister with a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. Her lips trembled to her horror and she turned sharply on her heels, heading out of the office.
‘Becky, wait, please. I didn’t know he has a visitor.’ Elizabeth hurried after her elder sister but she didn’t slow her pace.
‘I will see you later. I can’t talk now.’ Rebecca’s voice cracked with tears, and then she broke into a run.
The pedestrian gate was opened when she approached the company entrance as a staff just walked in. She ran through the gate to the consternation of the security guards on duty and crossed the road without checking for oncoming vehicles in her haste to get away.
The Car screeched to an abrupt stop but not before she was hit with a gentle thud and she went down like a log.
‘No!’ Elizabeth screamed in horror as she ran onto the road.
The car driver put the Car into a reverse and drove away at top speed.
Joseph was a few feet behind Elizabeth and felt as if his heart had come to a sudden stop as he witnessed the accident. He walked back into the company premises to give orders to the security guys on duty before turning around to join Elizabeth where she was holding her sister to her chest, crying in earnest.
‘How bad is it?’ He crouched beside her.
‘Go away. Don’t touch her. This is your fault, you arrogant baboon.’ She screamed at him, batting away his hand away as he tried to touch Rebecca.
‘I am sorry. I am truly sorry. I hope she will be alright?’ His voice trembled as he stared down at the still figure on her lap. She looked too still for his peace of mind.
Blood trickled from a cut on her forehead.
‘If anything happened to her, I will never forgive you.’ She spat distastefully at him.
‘I will never forgive myself.’ He mumbled under his breath as the sound of the company’s siren cut through the air.
The van pulled up beside them and the ever-ready paramedics came down to lift Rebecca’s limp body into the van.
Elizabeth rode with her at the back of the van while Joseph ran back into the compound to get his Car. He followed the siren and was soon driving closely behind the fast-moving van. Jumbled prayers ran through his mind as he speeds dialed, Andrew.
‘I am in trouble, Andy’ He said hoarsely, sticking close to the Van, even as other motorist blared their horns angrily at him.
‘What is the problem? Becky?’ Andrew guessed right.
‘You are right.’ He told him what happened.
‘You messed up, guy. I thought you have discarded the babe long before now.’ Andrew’s disgust was obvious.
‘I thought so too. I swear the woman is like a leech. It is as if she has an informant in the company. She always turned up immediately I stepped my feet on Lagos soil. I am glad she doesn’t know where I stay. I am sure she would have packed her baggage and moved in.’ He complained bitterly.
‘That served you right for everything you put Becky through. I sincerely hope she is alright?’
‘I hope so too. I know I overreacted. I was so angry.’ He sighed resignedly.
‘Do let me know how she is faring when you get to the hospital. I may pop in tomorrow morning.’
‘Thanks. Give my love to Bella and Stanley.’ He put an end to the call as he drove into the hospital premises.
Elizabeth was pacing the waiting room like a caged tiger when he walked in.
‘Where is she? Who is attending to her?’ He asked anxiously.
‘She has been taken to the emergency room for treatment. I can’t remember the name of the Doctor on duty.’ Her voice was hostile.
‘What is Becky doing in Lagos?’ He asked curiously.
‘She has been looking for ways to talk to you in person since you threatened to take her son away from her and then disappeared off the surface of the earth. I informed her when I learned you would be coming to the office today. She arrived yesterday evening and stayed in my house. I regretted giving her that information’ she muttered bitterly.
‘How did you know I will be in the office today?’ The level of his curiosity increased as he turned to stare at her in surprise.
‘Does it matter? I have my sources.’ She mumbled as she walked away from him. He watched her closely. ‘What the hell happened in there?’ She narrowed her eyes at him. He sighed heavily.
‘She met Barbara in my office. I have broken up with the girl but she took that unfortunate time to kiss me goodbye.’ He scrubbed his palm down his face in a weary gesture. She scowled at him.
‘That bitch again?’ Her scowl deepened as she turned to him. ‘Are you trying to hurt my sister just because you thought she deliberately kept your son away from you?’ Her scowl turned into a frown.
‘No. How will I know she will be in my office today of all days? I had every intention of getting back home today to meet her. That was why I was rushing through all my schedules.’ He sat on the edge of the seats in the waiting room, his shoulders hunched forward with his hands dangling between his legs. ‘I was hurt. I was furious that I have missed almost five years of my son’s years on earth.’ He closed his eyes briefly.
‘I thought you love her? If you truly do, you will find it in your heart to forgive her. It was circumstances beyond her control.’
‘I know. I realized that now and I hope I am not too late.’ His voice grew hoarse and he coughed to clear it.
‘I hope so too, especially in her present condition.’ She sighed forlornly.
‘What condition are you talking about?’ His eyes sharpened as he looked at her.
‘I hope my mouth won’t put me in trouble one day.’ She mumbled to herself.
His eyes narrowed at her as he got to his feet.
Fortunately, the doctor came out of the emergency ward at that moment and she breathed a sigh of relief as she moved forward.
‘Good afternoon, Mr. Coker’ He beamed at him as he held out his hand and Joseph gave him a firm handshake.
‘Good afternoon, Doctor. How is your family?’ Joseph smiled at him.
‘We thank God. Do you know the young lady in there?’ He asked curiously.
‘Yes, Doc. She is my fiancée. Is she going to be alright?’ He asked with concern.
‘She is very lucky indeed, especially with her condition. She is well stabilized now and no longer unconscious. She has slipped into normal sleep.’ He assured him.
‘What condition are you talking about?’ He frowned as he looked at Elizabeth who refused to meet his gaze.
‘She is pregnant. Thank God the baby wasn’t hurt.’ The Doctor smiled at him.
‘My God!’ He whispered in awe.
‘Congratulations sir!’ The Doctor pumped his hand enthusiastically, smiling widely.
‘Thank you, sir.’ He said in a dazed voice, feeling dizzy.
‘The Nurses will let you know when to see her. We will prepare the bill and sent it as usual.’ He walked away to attend to other patients.
He moved to sit down as if he was sleep-walking. She nearly died because of my foolishness! I would have lost her and lost my baby as well. The thought went round and round his head.
He closed his eyes and groaned out loud.
‘Are you angry again?’ Elizabeth asked tentatively as she sat beside him.
‘Angry?’ He looked at her. ‘I nearly lose her. I hope she finds it in her heart to forgive me.’ His voice was full of despair. She breathed a visible sigh of relieve.
‘You, guys will be fine. I will go and harass those nurses a bit so I can see her.’ Elizabeth walked away to the nurse station.
He continued staring into space for several minutes longer.
Sunlight filtered in through the open blinds and caressed her eyelids. They fluttered open slowly and it took her a few moments to realize where she was.
‘Good morning, Miss Badmus. How are you this morning?’ The slim nurse greeted her with a smile.
She frowned as she tried to sit up and winced slightly when pain radiates down her right leg. She sat back with a whoosh as the nurse put a restraining hand on the shoulder.
‘Take it easy. You have a sprain in your leg and few bruises on your back. You are very lucky indeed.’ She said soothingly as she went about her business of cleaning the wound and putting fresh bandages and ointment.
‘Your breakfast will be here shortly. I will come back to give you your injections and medications after you have eaten.’ The nurse picked up her tray and turned to leave. ‘Good morning Sir. You are welcome.’ The nurse addressed Joseph who was standing just inside the room, with a smile.
‘Good morning, Nurse. Thank you. How is she this morning?’ He returned the smile.
‘She is improving. She just needed to rest more for the wound to heal nicely. She is good as new.’ The nurse smiled at Rebecca to include her in the conversation but her gaze was on Joseph.
‘I am happy to hear that.’ He hides a yawn behind his palm. He looked tired.
‘You should try and get some rest, Mr. Coker. I am sure dozing in a plastic chair is not the best way to spend the night.’ Her smile was full of understanding.
‘It is not. I will get the much-needed rest as soon as Elizabeth comes in this morning. I appreciate your empathy.’ He smiled at her.
‘You are welcome, sir.’ She went out of the room.
Rebecca wasn’t aware tears were running down her face until he sat beside her on the bed.
‘Please don’t cry. I am sorry, Becky. I didn’t mean to hurt you.’ He took her cold palm in his and kissed the back.
‘Who was that woman you were kissing?’ She blurted out.
‘I wasn’t kissing her. She kissed me and it was a goodbye kiss. I dated her briefly before we met again. Please believe me.’ She searched his gaze for several moments before she sighed audibly.
‘How are you feeling now?’ He asked quietly.
‘Dizzy. Lighthearted. I am hungry but I have no appetite.’ She closed her eyes tiredly.
‘Is it because of the baby?’ He asked quietly. Her eyes flew open and she stared at him.
‘How do you know about the baby?’ She frowned at him.
‘The Doctor told me. He is a good friend of the family.’ He smiled at her.
‘You are not angry about it?’ Her voice sounded unsure. He sighed heavily.
‘I have been such an animal that everyone believed the worse of me. Why will I be angry because you are carrying my baby? I love you, Becky. I really do.’ He looked into her eyes tenderly.
‘You were angry when you found out about Michael. I didn’t keep him from you deliberately. I am sorry I hurt you but it was never intentional.’ Her eyes were full of remorse.
‘I know. I realized that when I sat down enough to think it through or better still when Titi talked some sense into my head. I took the next flight back to Nigeria after dropping Michael with Rose. I am sorry, Love.’ He caressed her cheek.
‘Promise me you won’t get angry at me like that again. It was terrifying.’ She rubbed her cheek against his palm.
‘I promise. Will you marry me now? I want to wake up beside you every morning.’ He pulled out a box from his trouser and flipped it open.
‘You are so sure I am going to take you back?’ She teased as she stared down at the glinting ring.
‘No, I bought it on my last trip before I find out about Michael. We have wasted too much time. Destiny has brought us back together and I don’t want to lose this opportunity again. Please marry me and complete my life.’ He pleaded solemnly as he took her hand and put the ring where her wedding rings used to be.
‘I hope I am woman enough to keep my man this time around.’ Her lips trembled as she stared at her ring.
‘I am not going anywhere. You are stuck with me forever if you will have me.’ He told her fiercely.
‘It is simple and beautiful. I love it. I love you.’ She turned her full smile on him.
‘You are so cheap, Becky. You ought to make this man suffer till kingdom come.’ An amused voice said from the doorway. They both turned to see Andrew grinning at them.
‘You are such a bastard, Andy.’ Joseph glared at him as he got to his feet.
‘He was begging for my love. I just took pity on him.’ Rebecca laughed heartily.
‘How are you, sweet? Congratulations.’ Andrew went to hug her.
‘Thank you. I appreciate you for everything.’ She hugged him back.
‘You deserved the best and more, dear.’ He drew back and sat beside her. ‘ Bella and Bobo sent their love.’ He smiled at her.
‘I will get that breakfast, Becky. I am starving.’ Joseph announced as he left the room but they didn’t pay him any heed as they chatted with each other.
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