It was Saturday morning, and from her bed, Michelle could see through her bedroom window that the sun was already gracing her neighbourhood, Scottford, with its beauty. She smiled and turned towards Leon, her husband of three years, whose back was facing her. He’s wearing his usual plain white T-Shirt and cream shorts, but a white and pink flower queen-size sheet covers his lower body. His muscles pushed against the shirt.

Michelle, dressed in her black and white silk sleeping dress, drew closer to him and gently threw her arms around him.

“I love you so much,” she whispered, “and I’m glad you are home. I missed you.”

“I love you too,” Leon said.

His deep voice was made deeper from sleep.

“I didn’t mean to wake you,” she said, moving her body as he turned to lay on his back.

“That’s okay. I should have been up hours ago.”

Michelle lifted her head and propped it up with her arms. She then slowly moved her free hand across his chest.

“No rushing off to do anything,” she said, “you just got home, and you’re going to rest.”

Leon opened one of his eyes and smiled at her.

“Not if you keep touching me like that,” he said.

She laughed and kissed him on the nose.

He closed his eye and then opened both of them.

“Sleep,” she gently commanded, touching his light-brown oval-shaped face.

“I would, I want to, but I promised Shela, my coworker, I will see if my Mom can take her on as a patient. She’s pregnant.”

“Oh, how far along is she?”

Leon rubbed his forehead before saying, “I think she said three months, and she’s worried that something may be wrong with the baby.”

“Really, why does she think so?”

“She said she’s been having some back pain and severe headache,” he said.

“Hum,” Michelle said, “do you think your Mom will take her on?”

“I don’t know,” he said, scratching the stubble on his chin, “I know that she always carries a heavy workload, but she never talks about how many patients she has.”

“Yeah, that’s your Mom.” After a few seconds of silence, she added, “if your Mom can’t take her on, maybe she could suggest another doctor because it sounds like your coworker desperately needs a gynecologist.”

Leon lifted his right hand and cupped her face, “I love you, and you are the best woman and wife a man could ever ask for.”

His words sent warmth through her body, leaving her with little strength.

“I love you,” she replied, gazing at him.

Sometime later, while Michelle was showering, Leon talked with his Mom. When she was finished showering, with a clear plastic shower cap still covering her cornrowed, weaved hair and a light blue towel wrapped around her body, Leon told her that his Mom agreed to have at least one appointment with Shela. He then texted Shela with the news and the phone number to call his Mom’s office to book an appointment.

“Great,” Michelle said, “and now that you’ve fulfilled your promise to Shela, I have you all to myself.”

“Oh yeah?” he asked, smiling and wrapping his arms around her waist.

She took another shower with him.

Leon was one of his company’s IT guys for the past three years, and the company was opening a new branch out of state. Therefore, he has been flying out there to help with the necessary set-up work bi-weekly.

“How much longer will you have to keep going out there?” Michelle asked at home during their supper of restaurant fried rice, baked chicken, cole slaw and Pepsi on Sunday.

“They haven’t said as yet, but judging from how quickly things are moving along, I think about two more months and our part will be over.”

Leon picked up the full plastic bottle of Pepsi and drank some of it.

“Then we can go back to working on adding to our family?” Michelle, looking at him, asked and suggested at the same time.

Leon coughed suddenly, and some Pepsi flew through his nose.

“Are you okay?” she asked, grabbing some white tissues from the center table in the living room and giving one to him.

“Thanks,” he said, taking it from her.

After he’d wiped up, Michelle asked, “Are we still going to work on having our first baby, Leon?”

“Yes, for sure,” he replied, nodding.

“Then what was that all about?”

“What? Me coughing? The drink just went the wrong way.”

“Oh, okay. You had me worried for a few seconds.”

“Why? I love you and can’t wait for us to have a baby,” he said, staring into her eyes.

They slowly leaned forward and gripped each other in a passionate kiss. Their supper was forgotten but later eaten ravenously.

As Leon predicted, two months later, his travelling out of state was over, and they went to a restaurant to celebrate. When they returned home, as he sat and she lay in front of their smart TV looking at a show on Netflix, gently but firmly, Leon massage her feet.

“I keep forgetting to ask you about your coworker Shela,” Michelle said.

“What about her?” Leon asked, still massaging her feet.

“If I recall correctly,” Michelle said, looking at him, “she would be about five months pregnant by now. Is everything okay with her and the baby?”

“Oh! Yeah,” he said, “She said Mom is taking good care of her.”

“Oh good.”

“She’s having a baby boy,” he said, laughing.

Michelle’s heart suddenly skipped a beat, and an unexpected fear grabbed her, but as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared.

“Thanks for the massage,” she said, slowly removing her feet from his lap.

“Is Shela married?” she asked, sitting up.

“Why do you ask?”

“I don’t know, just wondering, I guess.” She shrugged her shoulders.

“Well, I don’t think so, but I recall her mentioning living home with a boyfriend some time back.”

“Okay,” she replied, “well, I am glad everything is okay with her and the baby.”

“Yeah,” Leon replied.

The following month when Michelle’s period was a no-show, hope jumped into her heart, and this hope remained alive when she did a home pregnancy test. However, it was only when her mother-in-law exclaimed, “we are having a baby!” that joy burst through her heart.

Michelle jumped out of the soft grey and steel office chair and into her husband’s strong arms. Leon was also out of his chair, and he lifted her a few inches off the floor and then spun them around for a few seconds.

Michelle was wearing a red and white button-down, thin-strap dress, and Leon was in long black jeans and a yellow and black polo shirt.

When they left the office, the receptionist looked up and said, “congratulations!”

“Thank you,” they said in unison.

As they were about to exit the building, Michelle saw a pregnant woman dressed in a blue and white maternity dress was about to enter. Michelle quickly pulled open the door for her.

“Thank you,” the woman said, turning to look at them.

She was about Michelle’s height, her black hair was in a bob weave, and she was glowing during her pregnancy.

“Leon,” the woman cried after recognizing him, “what are you doing here?”

Leon opened his mouth, but before anything came out, the woman said, “what am I asking?” This is your Mom’s office, duh.”

Leon laughed, and Michelle immediately let go of the door and turned to look at him, and suddenly her heart skipped a beat and fear settled on it.

“The baby moved. He’s moving,” the woman suddenly announced. She grabbed Leon’s hand and put it on her stomach.

“Can you feel him?” she asked, gazing up at him.

Leon looked at Michelle, but immediately his eyes went to the woman’s stomach as he felt the baby moving under his hand.

“I can feel him,” he said, looking at Michelle.

Michelle nodded and quietly whispered, “okay.”

Leon took his hand from under the woman’s hand and away from her stomach.

“We have to go,” he said to her, “I’ll see you at work.”

Michelle opened the door again and stepped out into the sunshine.

They drove home in their black Mazda, and Leon did most of the talking. When they arrived home, Michelle struggled to walk inside because her feet felt like rubber under her.

“Are you okay?” Leon asked.

She nodded, “I think I just need to sit down.”

“Yeah, sure,” he said and quickly opened the house’s door.

Michelle silently commanded her feet to carry her into the kitchen, and after washing her hands, she drank some cold water. Leon did the same, and then they went to sit in the long black leather chair in the living room.

“Are you the father of Shela’s baby?’ Michelle asked, looking over at him.

“Yes,” he exhaled, “but let me explain.”

“Are you in love with her too? I can see that she certainly has a lot of affection for you.”

“No, I’m not in love with her,” he said, “I’m in love with you. I love you.”

Leon reached out for her hand, but thinking better of it, he pulled his hand back and allowed it to drop into the chair.

“Then why wasn’t that enough to keep you faithful to me, to us?” she asked, her voice cracking, and when she couldn’t contain it anymore, Michelle cried.

Her quiet, mournful sounds pushed Leon out of the chair, and his hand flew to rest on his head. He paced in circles for a few seconds before dropping to the floor and resting his head on her lap.

“I’m sorry, Michelle. I’m sorry,” he cried, wetting her dress with his tears.

The End

A. M. Linton is a wife and mother of two. She is also the author of Torn Between Love, Religion and Responsibility, A Little on Puberty for Boys and A little on Symptoms Associated with Menopause. A few of her short stories were also published in The Barbados Advocate Newspaper.

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