“Mommy. Mommy, can we go outside and play?”
“I’m coming, baby. Oh, and offload the canned sardines before anything. The mangoes should go in the crates.” I said to the caller and ended the call.
“Mommy,” Alexa, my daughter called again, and I looked down at her.
“Baby, what’s that? And where’s Alex?” I rolled my eyes around for him.
“Ally’s with aunt Maya, Mommy.”
I smiled and carried her. “Is that so, baby? Why aren’t you with them, then?”
“Cause Alex is making fun of me again.” She rubbed her eyes.
“Oh, he’s just playing, baby. And no. You can’t go outside. You know what Mommy says about going out to play.”
“I know.” She said with a frown, as she played with her fingers.
“How about this, hm? When we’re done having lunch, we can go get some ice cream. You like that, huh?”
“Uh-huh. Then we can go to the playground. Jason and Suzy will be there.”
“Of course, baby. Anything for you.” I pecked her on the cheek.
“Mommy. Mommy, where are you?” Tiny feet scampered towards us.
“Oh, baby, stop running…”
“Ooh… Ally’s in trouble!” Alexa made fun of him, and I gave her left cheek a pinch.
“Oh, stop teasing your brother, you. You want something, hon?” I looked down at Alex, and he answered with arms folded and face squeezed.
“Oh, look who’s being silly,”
“Oopsie!” The little girl laughed and buried her face in her palms.
“Now, baby, what’s with that face?”
“Lexi broke my toy car.” He whined, and they began arguing.
“Okay, okay, guys. What really happened?” I brought Lexi down and made to listen.
Turned out Alexa was the one that broke it, and after confessing to me that it wasn’t intentional, she apologized to her brother, and they both hugged.
“There. Now give Mommy a kiss.” I positioned my cheeks as they planted a kiss on them together.
Maya, my housekeeper, walked downstairs some minutes later, and I asked her to take them outside for a while… only for a while.
Alex and Alexa were the charming angels God has blessed me with. They were six and a half years old and the thought of them growing up really fast made me happy.
Alexa looked a lot like me while Alex had most of his father’s features, that wasn’t hidden. Sometimes, when I looked back at what had gone on in the past, I couldn’t help but feel sorry about not telling Ian that I was pregnant when I left home. Well, at least my babies were better off without him.
☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆
“Where’s Daddy?” Alexa’s question made me freeze.
I wasn’t expecting her to ask me such, and I didn’t know the right answer to give. But I knew I had to say something. Moms ought to make things right.
“Yes, Mommy. Tell us why we don’t have a daddy like other kids at school.” Alex dropped the building blocks he held in his hands and made to sit beside me.
“Well, babies. Your dad traveled outside the country and he won’t be coming back anytime soon,” I tried to sound as convincing as possible. And besides, they’re just kids. They’ll believe anything.
“Really, mommy?” Alexa’s eyes shone with excitement.
“But can we talk to him?” Alex suggested, and I tried not to frown.
“No, sweetheart. Not for the mean time.” I shook my head and patted his. “Now come on, you two. Let’s go have some candies.”
“Yay! Candies, candies!” The twosome sang with delight, and I couldn’t help but smile at how charming they looked.
☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆
Alex had this allergy problems when he got to eat too much sugar in a day. I had that same problem, and I had no idea Maya had bought some cotton candy for them that same day.
I was really terrified when I found out he wasn’t feeling well. And we were out of meds, so sweet were left with no choice but to go to the hospital.
“Mommy, where are we?”
I woke up to the sound of Alex’s voice. “Sweedy, you’re up. How are you feeling?’
“Mm. I feel fine. Where is Lexi?”
I smiled and answered, “Lexi’s at home. She’s with aunt Maya, baby.”
“Really, Mommy? Why aren’t they here? Is Lexi still angry with me?”
“Oh, come on, baby. You know your sister can never be angry with you.” I rubbed his hand. The twins have never been apart for so long, so I knew exactly how he felt. “And why didn’t you tell me you had cotton candy before? I told you not to have too much sugar, remember?” I scolded softly and he bowed his head.
“I’m sorry, Mommy. I just didn’t want you to shout.”
I laughed softly at his tender voice and gave his knuckle a rub. “It’s okay, baby. “I’m just really glad you’re okay. But know aunt Maya and I are going to have a chat. Why didn’t she tell me that you guys had cotton candy?”
“No, Mommy. It’s not aunt Maya’s fault. We told her we wanted to. Please don’t shout at her.” He begged with frightened eyes.
“Oh, all right. I won’t yell at her.” I smiled and kissed his hand.
“But I’m not going to die, right,Mommy?”
I laughed at his funny question. “Of course not, sweetheart. You are not going to die. Mommy won’t let anything happen to you.”
“She’s right, you know.”
My heart skipped at the recognition of the voice. It can’t be –
☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆
“So, you’re a… um… a”
“A doctor?” He raised a brow, and I nodded.
“Yes. That. You know, you look seasoned and all. Fresh even.” I shrugged my shoulders and sighed with regret. “God, Richard. I have a lot to tell you.” I felt really awkward being with him. I didn’t expect us to meet like this, not in this way. But I was really happy seeing that he was living his dreams.
“Me, too. I see you’re married now. That’s good.” He said, the excitement in his voice not recognized.
How am I to tell him that I’m not? I thought, and tucked my loose hair strand behind. So, um, how did you know I was here?”
“My dad owns this hospital,” He replied. “So I know every patient that goes in and out of it.” He continued.
“Uh. I see. Well, um, I have to go back to my son. He’ll be probably needing me now.”
“Y-yeah. Sure.” He added, “It’s nice seeing you again, though.”
A blush coated my cheeks and I tucked my hand into my pants pockets and nodded in agreement.
It was really nice seeing Richard again. He looked really different from the guy I knew. And I could say I missed seeing that jolly face of his, and I looked forward to seeing him again.
☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆
“Ally!” Alexa rushed towards us as she gave Alex a hug.
“Oh, thank you.” I sighed as I handed Maya my bag.
“Hi, baby. Mm, I missed you.” I bent forward to give her a kiss. “Hope you didn’t give aunt Maya here any trouble?”
“No, Mommy. You can ask her.” She pointed to Maya and wrapped her tiny arms around my legs.
“Ha-oh. I’ll sure do that..”
“Mommy, is Ally feeling okay now? I miss playing with him.”
“Uh-huh. I’m fine now. Right, mama?” Alex tugged at my coat.
“Yes, baby. But the doctor said you need plenty of rest.”
“Awe.” They said with puppy eyes, and I smiled and clung to their arms.
“That’s right, babies. Now let’s go upstairs.”
☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆
It’s being a long day and I just couldn’t wait to get back home to my kids. I walked to where my car was packed, making to open the door, as my keys slipped and fell to the ground. I groaned and arched forward, as some man made to help me with it.
“I-Ian?” I gasped as he raised his head up.
Guess I wasn’t the only surprised one there. I couldn’t believe I was staring right into the eyes of the man that had almost ruined my life – the man I have long forgotten. “Could I be dreaming?” I thought aloud.
“No, Alice. You’re not dreaming.” He replied, like I was actually seeking for an answer.
“I-I have to go,” I breathed and collected my car keys from him, as he stopped me from taking any step.
“Let go of me, will you?!” I boiled and snatched my hand away. “Just who do you think you are?!”
“Alicia,” He started. “I know you’re mad at me for everything, but please hear me out. I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”
“Looking everywhere for me?” I jeered at his remarks. “You’ve been looking everywhere for me?”
“B-baby, please. Please just come back to me. I’ve missed you so much.” He made to touch me, and I moved backwards, giving him a disdainful look. “I hate the day I ever called you dad. Aargh! You disgust me.” I spat in his face and opened the car door.
“Just let me be. Humph!” I pushed him off and got into the car, ignoring the fact that he was there, as I drove off.
I got home unwell, feeling completely out of mood, as I had Maya tend to the twins. I was burning up so fast as I was getting sick from the father of my kids being back again. I wondered what would happen if he got to know about Alex and Alexa, and was determined to keep them away from him. I sat up and looked to my right, as I caught sight of the pain pill that I had earlier kept on the stool. I made to pick it up as the door of my room came open.
“Hey, babies,” I put down the pills and beckoned to them to come.
“Thought you two might be asleep by now.”
“No, mommy. We want to stay with you.” They both said, rushing towards me with happy giggles as they struggled for who will be first.
It was really nice watching them do so, and it helped me ease my mind and made me not worry about anything… just for the time being.
“I see you two are cozy in your jammies, huh?”
“Yes, Mommy.” They chorused.
“Mommy, are you feeling well?” Alexa asked.
“Yes, baby. Why did you ask?”
“Your body’s a little hot, you know.” She pulled away from me and felt my neck with the back of her hand.
“Mm-hmm. Mommy’s okay.”
Deep down, I wasn’t!
Sometimes you had to lie to protect your kids. I wasn’t going to let Ian know about them. I knew he would try taking them from me, so I couldn’t risk that. I loved them, and I was ready to keep the truth from them if it meant not having a monster raise them.
☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆
It was common wealth’s day – the kids and I decided to spend the day at the park. Having given Maya a day off, we drove right off to Cumberland Falls. Richard and his family had also chosen the state park that day. I was happy to have bumped into him again, and he invited us to come stay with them.
Mr and Mrs Miller were really happy on seeing me, and I was surprised that they were able to recognize me, even though it’s been a long time.
“So, Lisha. How’s Kentucky treating you?” Mrs. Miller asked in her usual friendly tone, reminding me of the time she called me that.
“Kentucky’s a nice place.” I took a brownie out of the flower plate in front of me and put into my mouth.
I looked to where Alex and Alexa were playing on the slide as they waved at me and I waved back.
“You know, a little birdie told me that you broke me Richy’s heart.”
“Mum!” Richard shouted and I forced a smile.
“Ha! Kidding.” She raised the glass lemonade jug. “Lemonade? Anyone?”
☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆
The thought of what Richard’s mother had said ran through my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I wondered if Richard had said just that, or she chose to make it up herself.
Ian still pestered me, knowing that I was in Kentucky. I didn’t know how he had gotten my address, but I didn’t need anyone telling me that was a problem.
“What are you doing here?” I asked disdainfully as he made to hug me.
“Hey-hey,” I stopped him immediately. “Just who the hell do you think you are trying to barge into my home?”
“Baby, you have to listen to me…”
“Just stop! Enough with the pretence. I am so fed up with you pestering me all the time. Haven’t you had your fun?!” I spat and eyed him, as he made to kneel. “What the hell are you…”
“Look. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry, okay? I know I’ve wronged you in so many ways. Just please come back. I promise to make things right when we’re back together.”
‘Like we were ever a couple?” I said in a mocking tone with my eyebrows arched up.
“I promise to do anything – anything just so I could get you back in my arms.”
“All you care about is my body, I-A-N. Now get out!”
“I said, get out! Get out of my house before I call the cops!” I made to close the door and he stopped me.
Oh, no. Why isn’t Alex upstairs?
“M-Mommy?” His eyes grew wide.
“Goodbye, stepfather!” I slammed the door shut and turned around, panting for breath.
“Mommy, who is that man?”
“It’s no one, baby. No one.” I moved towards him and carried him.
It seemed like I was running out of time, and I didn’t want to think of the day I’d have to give up my precious babies… not to that monster! Alex and Alexa meant the world to me, and if anything ever happened to them, I don’t know what I’ll do. I was ready to fight for them, even if it meant taken my secret to the grave. Ian has no right over them, and I’ll make sure that whatever happens, he’ll never be able to get ahold of them!
☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆ ~~~ ☆
Oh, how time flies when the day goes by so fast. Who knew the twins seven-years old birthday party could turn out really stressful? They loved the presents I had given them, and Richard’s weren’t left out.
He was growing fonder of them by the minute, and I could see the love he had for them was nothing but genuine.
Richard and I became friends again not long after our encounter at the park. We’ve been really close… close not to have sex, though, as he wanted to keep things normal between us, which I understood.
I told him everything about me, leaving the details of my past out, but going right ahead in telling him that I wasn’t married, as he didn’t mind. Our friendship was blossoming really well and my love for him was growing stronger by the minute. I couldn’t think of a better man than he. And just as if he knew what I wished dearly for, he asked me to marry him in the sixth month of our friendship.
“Richard?” I stared with eyes wide open as I looked down at him.
“Yes, Alice. Marry me and make me the happiest man on earth.” He smiled sweetly and I just gaped at him, thinking of what to say. Richard has being good to me… and also to my kids. But I was scared of giving in to his advances, and was scared of losing him again – but I had to do this. I couldn’t say yes just yet. Not so sure if it was the right thing to do.
“I’m sorry, Richard, b-but I can’t,” I moved backwards as tears trickled down my cheeks.
“Huh? Why not, Alice?” He got up to his feet and clasped my arms. “Tell me. What’s making you back out now?”
“You won’t understand!” My tears flowed even more, and I was left with no choice but to leave before he came running after me.
Memories of seven years ago crowded my mind and I remembered how I had ignored his call and ran upstairs. I just didn’t know why I was doing this, but a part of me knew that things were definitely going to get ugly if the truth eventually came out. It’d be drastic seeing my kids getting caught up in the middle of everything. ‘Getting caught up’, I emphasized, not feeling any better. I just wish things would be a lot more easier than it seemed and I wouldn’t have to worry about anything, I stared blankly and wished, hoping my actions wouldn’t make Richard hate me.