Two Hearts – Episode Four

Chapter Twelve

 

Rachael had been driving around for the past two hours since she left her home. She wanted to run away from the hurt and pain as far as possible. She never thought things could get this worst, but Chris had proved otherwise. His behavior made it clear that it was definitely Alex in his life and not her. She had been crying all through the driving around. She felt betrayed and cheated. Throughout the years of their marriage, she had always been on top of things. She never allowed any fight see the light of the day. She always took care of things; she did fix any argument before they became out of control. This was different; this was way out of order and she felt she had failed in her marriage.

YOU CAN’T FIX ANY MAN; YOU GIVE IT TO ME.

CAST ALL YOUR BURDENS TO ME

After a while, she did a quick  stop at Asda petrol station to buy some fuel and also a bottle of water. She later went to the central park and sat there. She watched as mothers brought their children out to the park to play. Her heart arched at the thought of not having any child of her own. She longed to be a mother and wanted a happy home. She felt nothing would ever be the same with Chris. He had hurt her badly and there wasn’t any way she would forgive him.

IF YOU FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST YOU, YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER WILL FORGIVE YOU.

No lord. He has hurt me so much and the worst part is that he doesn’t even realize it.

She sat there for a little while. It was getting dark and she knew she had to get going. She went back to her car and started to drive again, a route away from home. Couple of minutes later, she realized where she would go

Where do little girls go to when they are hurt?

Mommy always make things better.

Mommy always have a solution to every little girls problem.

Mommy is the best.

 

Rachael got to her parent’s house and narrated everything to her mother. Alice listened quietly as she went on to tell her everything.

 

“Mum, Chris did all these to me.” She said bitterly.

“It’s alright….,” Alice brought her to her embrace. ” Everything is going to be fine dear.”

She looked up to her mother. “No mum. Chris has walked away from me…, nothing will ever be the same again.” She sniffed.

“Hush…” Alice gently rubbed her back. “There is always a way my dear.”

Rachael shook her head in dismay. She could not understand what other way there could be. She is the one who is hurting. “What am I going to do?” She whimpered.

“I know this is difficult for you but I don’t want you making harsh decisions.” She gently said to her.

“What harsh decisions mum?” She demanded angrily.  “He left me mum. He left me for a woman he first fell in love with. I am nothing to him, I never even meant anything to him to start with.”

“No dear,” She tried to wiped the tears from her daughter’s face but she moved away. “Don’t say that. You are his wife and you mean so much to him.” She nodded her head to agree. “I think he needs you more than ever before. I know his methods are out rightly wrong. We all make mistakes my dear, even people we love make mistake and we have to learn to forgive them.

 

“What!” Rachael stood up and walked from her. “I knew you were going to say that.” She shot an angry look at her. “Why do we women have to always forgive them? Why do we always have to take the punch, the insult, the betrayal?” She was angry but tried not to raise her voice at her mother.

“They hurt us, cheat on us, betray us, disappoint us and yet we are still meant to forgive them. Why?” She shouted out. “That’s not fair!” She cried out. “I feel like we are suppose to give them a free pass when they hurt us. We are supposed to be the bigger man. We are supposed to be the one praying for their restoration, for their change of mind.” She threw her hands into the air in frustration. “Why can’t they take responsibility for their actions?”

Alice inhaled deeply. She could feel her frustrations. Old memories lingered through her mind. She’d been hurt too in her marriage. She had asked the same questions many years ago, but for the grace and healing power of God, things were restored back in her home. She wanted the same peace for her daughter. She wanted her to find joy in the Lord who only can bring restoration to our lives and home.

 

“I am sick and tired of all this mum. I am tired of forgiving a man who does not even realize that he has failed me. A man that cared less how much he hurt me. I want him to feel the kind of pain I am feeling now. I want him to know the pain in my chest,” She placed her hands on her chest. “Right here mum.” Her lips trembled.

 

Alice looked with compassion as she walked towards her. “My dear child, in marriage we need to learn to forgive over and over again; it doesn’t matter he deserves it or not; forgiveness is like soothing oil that heals the heart.”

Rachael whimpered wearily. “Am not you mum. I don’t have the strength or courage like you do.”

Alice smiled warmly and held her hands. “You have more courage in you than you realize dear. I am asking you to forgive, not because he deserved it, and it’s not also because you are weak. The freedom that comes with forgiveness is a powerful gift, but it must be entered into with caution —it comes with responsibility.” She reached out to touch her shoulder, this time, Rachael didn’t move away. “When forgiveness is necessary, don’t wait too long. We must begin to forgive, because without forgiving, we choke off our own joy; we kill our own soul. People carrying hate and resentment can invest themselves so deeply in that resentment that they gradually define themselves in terms of it.

Rachael looked up to her with her eyes moist.

“I know how you feel my dear. Forgiveness is not about another person who has transgressed against you; it is about you. Forgiveness is about doing whatever it takes to preserve the power to create your own emotional state. It is a gift to yourself and it frees you. You don’t have to have the other person’s cooperation, and they do not have to be sorry or admit the error of their ways. Do it for yourself.”

 

They both went to sit down. Rachael wiped the tears from her eyes.

“I know I have been saying this repeatedly but I have seen and known the power of forgiveness. Someone once said that you can’t heal until you forgive. Jesus used the analogy of setting someone free from a prison. When we get wounded by our spouse, what we do is we throw them in a little prison inside of our hearts, and we say, “You owe me, you hurt me, and I’m not going to set you free.” Her smile turned tender.

“But Scripture says it only poisons us. It’s only messing with our lives, and it messes with us spiritually with our relationship with God. Forgiveness is not saying that what they did was okay. It’s saying that I’m releasing my anger, I’m releasing this person out of a prison in my heart. I’m turning them over to the Lord, I’m turning my anger over to the Lord, and I’m going to show them mercy just like Christ showed me on the cross.”

 

Rachael wrapped her hands around her body. She wanted to hear more of what her mother was saying.

“When we face situations like this; things that are beyond our control. We need to fight the right battle, and not against one another. You and Chris are one. When you fight, you fight against the enemy who wants to steal, kill and destroy your home.”

Rachael arched an eyebrow.

“Now I’m not taking about Alex and her daughter.” She smiled warmly. “The enemy is the devil who wants to destroy your home and you won’t let him take it. You will rise up as the child of God you are and take what belongs to you.”

Rachael swallowed hard. She felt she understood what her mother was saying.

“I know that Chris loves you so much and he is committed to you. He is struggling now with a lot of emotions inside of him and you need to pray for him. I know it’s not easy as it sounds but your prayer is like you sowing seeds of kindness into his life. You are sowing seeds of restoration, seeds of forgiveness, seeds of unconditional love into his life. You stand in the gap for him and leave God to do the rest.”

Rachael nodded in agreement.

“For Alex and Grace,” She sighed. “As hard as it may sound, you also need to forgive and love them. Sometimes, things are not as we see them. Don’t think you have to do what other women would do in your situation. You my daughter have to do what God would want you to do – love them.”

 

After few minutes, Rachael was alone in her room. She thought hard about everything her mother had said to her. She knew the past few weeks of fighting with Chris had been tiring and depressing. She wanted to do something different. She wanted to try the right way. She knelt down by her bed and spoke to her maker – her God and father. She told him her deepest pain and the hurt she felt. She also told Him she wants to forgive Chris, and also Alex. She asked the Lord to please take away the pain and give her peace. She prayed for the strength and power to forgive.

Then, she went on to surrender everything to him. She told the Lord he was the head of her home. She prayed against the spirit of confusion and bitterness in her home. She spoke against the enemy who had come to steal her joy, the one who came to kill the peace in her home and destroy her marriage – to pack his things out of her home. She took control of her life and her marriage in the name of Jesus.

 

Chapter Thirteen

 

It was 11:00pm. Chris sat in his car staring at the house to his left. He got home and realized Rachael wasn’t in the house. He had gone to pick up Alex and the rest of their things from her house when he left earlier in the afternoon. He waited for several hours and still no sign of her. He was getting agitated that he called the hospital even though he knew she was off for the day. He also tried her mobile phone but still no answer. The remaining hours he waited made him think deep about the things he’d done to her. He remembered how he had walked out of her this afternoon. He had been so absorbed in making things rights, doing right by Alex and forgetting two had become one. Rachael was part of him and he had left her in the dark. He took advantage of her kind heart and broke her heart. He did wanted to tell her everything. He also wanted to tell her before moving Alex and her daughter to their home. He had even lied to Alex that Rachael was fine with them moving in. He had been afraid of her saying no so he decided to take it by force.

 

After several hours of waiting and no sign of her, he decided to take a drive and realized that there could only be one place she would have gone. He was right as her car was parked in the driveway.

 

These past few weeks has been so difficult for him but now he has to make things right by his wife, he realized that he needed her now more than ever. He needs her counsel, support and above all, he needed her love. No matter how much he cared for Alex, he wasn’t in love with her. he knew his actions may have said others but the circumstances surrounding their relationship couldn’t let him walk away.

 

************

 

 

Alice looked through her bedroom window again for the third time. It’s been more than an hour since she noticed Chris’s car parked in front of her house but he made no move to get out of the car. She decided to go out and meet him. She saw that he was already asleep so she gently tapped on the window.

 

Chris jolted out of his sleep. He rolled down the window.

“How long are you going to sit here?” Alice asked sharply, “Get down son and go do the right thing.” Her face was stern.

Without hesitation, Chris followed behind.

“She’s upstairs.” Alice said and went back into her own room.

 

Chris waited for his mother-in-law to go into her room. He knew where Rachael’s room was so he quietly walked towards there. He knocked faintly and entered, there, he found her in a coiled position, sleeping in the middle of the bed. He stood staring at her and felt his heart tightened.

 

“Rachael!” he quietly called out.

 

Rachael had thought she was dreaming when she heard someone call her name.

 

She opened her eyes. “Chris!” She looked surprised.

 

Chris immediately went to her side. He had so many things to say to her and this time, he had to do the right thing.

 

“What are you doing here?”

He looked unsettled. “I thought I could fix things all by myself, but I was wrong. I have been lost these past few weeks. I have been struggling, but…” He felt short of words. “I can’t do this without you, Rachael. I love you so much and I cannot live without you.” Tears sprang to his eyes. “I have been so self absorbed, tying to make my own way but I am wrong. I have hurt you so much these past few weeks.” He bowed his head. “I am so sorry.” He whimpered.

 

Rachael felt hot tears flowing down her face.

“I have never been so scared like this all my life. I wanted to fix things. I wanted to make things better but I can’t.” He said in tears. “I can’t change this, I can’t fix Alex and I can’t fix myself…..

Rachael wanted to say something but her mouth was trembling. She had never seen Chris this way before.

“I love you so much and I cannot live without you. I have been terrible to you. I have been selfish….I know I hurt you……

Rachael held his hands together and brought his face to look at her.

“I am sorry….” He cried brokenly. “I love you so much, please don’t leave me…..”

Rachael held him tightly into her embrace. “I love you so much…” She whispered. They held each other and cried.

“I am so sorry Rachael…..Please….I am so sorry.” He said in tears.

Rachael brought his face to hers again. “You know I will do anything for you, dear,” she said gently to him. “I will be here with you and I will also be here for Alex and Grace.” She held his hands. “When we have no strength of our own, God will see us through these challenging times.”

 

She brought him into her embrace as Chris continued to weep on her shoulders. It was a time of weakness for him, but he needed to let out his pain and sadness to someone who could walk through those hard times with him, holding his hands all the way.

 

They held each other all through the night and fell asleep right there on the bed. In their hearts, they felt stronger knowing they were together and that whatever happened, they would be there for each other.

 

 

Chapter Fourteen

 

A few days later, Rachael had come to terms with Alex and her daughter staying with them. In fact, after that night, Chris had said he was going to lodge them into an hotel until their house was ready, but Rachael insisted that they stay.

 

Alex had been becoming weaker and would stay in bed all through the day, sleeping most of the time. Rachael had brought in a heart monitor to monitor her. One night, she went into the room to check on her, but Alex was sleeping; after checking everything was okay, she was about to leave when she heard Alex’s voice.

 

“Hey.” Alex whispered.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry; didn’t mean to wake you up.” Rachael apologized.

 

“No, that’s okay; I have been waiting to see you,” Alex said weakly. “Sometimes when you come in, I’m too weak to speak.”

 

“It’s all right,” Rachael said, and returned the smile.

 

“Please…” Alex lifted her hands towards Rachael, beckoning her to come nearer. Rachael moved to Alex’s side and gently held her hands.

 

“I’m so sorry for everything we had to put you through.” she said. Alex held her tight with her fragile hands.

 

“It’s all right, Alex.”

 

“You are a good woman and Chris is lucky to have you.” Her smile was tender. “You know, this is hard on him but I know he will be all right because of you.” She looked into her eyes. “Thank you, Rachael.”

 

Rachael was almost moved to tears. She’d heard her dying patients speak to her before, but Alex’s case was different; she felt she was losing someone close to her heart even though she’d only known her for a few months.

 

Rachael gently sat by her side.

 

“Alex, you don’t have to worry about anything,” Rachael reassured her. “Grace will be fine; I know I can’t replace you as her mother, but I sure will do my best to be everything she needs. Chris is a good father and he will never allow any hurt to her. You know that, right?”

 

Alex nodded with tears down her face.

 

Rachael gently wiped the tears away.

 

“You have done a good job with her and she will always remember you.” She smiled at her.

 

“Thank you, thank you for everything.” She said weakly.

 

“Now, I want you to go back to bed, dear, you need to save your strength.”

 

“Good night.” Alex whispered.

 

“Good night.” Rachael replied, and then quietly left the room.

 

She was so emotional that instead of going back to bed, she went straight to the living room. The better she knew Alex, the more difficult it became to let her go. She could only imagine what Chris would be going through since he’d known her all his life. She sat there in the darkness and all she could ask for was strength from the Lord during this period of their lives. Strength for Chris, for herself and for Grace, and then she asked for the peace of God upon Alex, to make her know beyond all doubt that God was in control.

 

Chapter Fifteen

 

Rachael parked her car at the hospital. It was 7:00am and she was already exhausted, not out of any physical work she’d been doing, but from the emotional turmoil lately that had been difficult to bear. She found herself loving Grace more and more as the days passed, and she couldn’t imagine what she would be going through from losing a mother. Her relationship with Alex had gone beyond that of a doctor and patient relationship, and they had become friends in such a short period. Alex would relate memories of her childhood with Chris, telling Rachael about how Chris would always defend every little girl in the foster home, how he would gang up with the kids to speak against anything they didn’t like, and how he would also plan surprise birthday parties for everyone, even for their foster parents. Rachael began to see Alex as a friend and part of the family, rather than as a patient.

 

She got down from her car and noticed her  ‘morning stranger’ standing by his car. She smiled at him as usual, and instead of returning the smile, he walked quickly to her. Rachael stood there, surprised at him coming towards her; they had always exchanged greetings most mornings, but it had never gone beyond that.

 

“Good morning.” the man said.

 

“Hello.” She replied, still mystified.

 

“My name is Josh, Josh Burke.” He said.

 

Rachael nodded.

 

“I need to speak with you.” He face was blank of every emotion except sadness.

 

“Sure, I have few minutes before I start my shift,” she said. “By the way, I’m Rachael.”

 

“Thank you, Doctor Rachael.” He smiled faintly.

 

They walked towards the hospital building and found a bench in the garden area, where they sat on.

 

“I have been coming here for quite some time now,” Josh started. “You know my wife…” He looked up at her to see if she understood what he meant. “I just couldn’t let go. I feel guilty, I feel so terrible, and I miss her.”

 

“It’s okay to miss the one you love, but you don’t need to feel guilty,” Rachael gently said to him.

 

“You know, that day when the accident happened, I had been so angry with her,” said Josh. “She had asked me to buy some skimmed milk from the grocery store and I picked the whole milk instead. Kathleen was so angry, I couldn’t understand what the big deal was. All she wanted was skimmed milk. I told her milk was milk, so she would just have to live with it. She got angry at my insensitivity, and said I was inconsiderate about her needs and every time she wanted something, I just couldn’t accept it.” He bit his upper lip.  “I felt this was just milk.” He looked gloomily at Rachael. “She went out angrily, back to the grocery store to get what she wanted, and was hit by a teenage boy who had been so drunk on the wheel…” He turned his face away to hide the tears about to roll from his eyes.

 

“I should have bought the skimmed milk. She wouldn’t have had to go out that night. Or I should have apologized and spoken softly to her… You know, it’s true about a quote in the bible that says, ‘soft words turns away anger,’ but I just didn’t bother about the way she felt. I am the reason she’s been lying here for five whole years in a coma.” He covered his mouth with his hands, unable to speak as anguish filled his heart.

 

Rachael felt her heart sunk in sadness. She wanted to tell him everything would be alright. She wanted to tell him he was a good man even though she barely knew him. “Don’t do this to yourself, Josh; don’t be too hard on yourself,” she gently said  to him. “I’m sure she wouldn’t want you to feel this way.”

 

“I miss her so much. I miss the little differences we had, I miss the smirk on her face each time I was stubborn around her… she was the most amazing woman, she was my woman.” He whimpered and then wiped his face quickly, embarrassed. “I’m sorry.”

 

“No, it’s okay.” She smiled to assure him.

 

“I have decided to switch off the life support, this afternoon.” He lowered his head. “I have to let her go, you know.” He looked up at Rachael, whose eyes were moist. “I don’t want to, but I have to.”

 

“I understand.” She nodded.

 

“Do you think I’m doing the right thing?” He waited to hear her response.

 

Rachael sat there in silence for several minutes and thought about his question. She wasn’t in a position to tell him if he was doing the right thing or not.

 

“I can’t tell you if you are doing the right thing or not, but this I can tell you: taking her off the life support doesn’t mean you’ve stopped loving her or that you’ve given up on her. It doesn’t stop the love you shared together, and it doesn’t make you a bad person. Losing the one you love is a difficult thing to go through, but you have to be strong for both of you. The memories you shared will always be in your heart, the good times will always be treasured.” she said gently to him.

 

His mobile phone started to ring. “Sorry” he said as he disconnected the call.

 

“She will always be a part of you, in your heart,” she continued.

 

The phone began to ring again.

 

“I think you should answer the phone.” Rachael smiled to let him know it was all right.

 

“Hello,” Josh answered the phone and then just froze in shock. The phone slipped from his fingers.

 

“Are you all right?” she asked.

 

But he just stared into the air with streams of tears pouring down his face.

 

“Josh!” She touched his hands, which made him turn to her. “Are you okay?”

 

“I’m not… sure,” he stammered. “Does this happen often?” he asked, mystified.

 

“I don’t understand what you mean.”

 

“I mean, is this a test of faith?” he asked, then suddenly stood up. He saw the confusion on her face. “They called to tell me from upstairs..… she… suddenly opened her eyes.” He stammered.

 

“What?” Rachael gasped in disbelief.

“She’s awake.” He sat back on the bench.

“What are you waiting for?” she said, excited. “Go!”

 

At the sound of her voice, Josh ran into the hospital building. He didn’t mind the caution from the staffs who told him to stop running, but ran as fast as his feet could carry him.

 

At the hallway to his wife’s room, he could see some nurses and staff at the entrance, and when one of them saw him coming, they all turned to his direction, beaming at him. They parted and let him inside.

 

He entered the room but suddenly stopped a few meters away from her bed as he stared at his wife. The doctors were still attending to her, but when they saw him, Kathleen turned to the direction the doctors were looking at and she saw her husband standing there, crying. Their eyes locked, and Josh moved closer to her. His trembling hands touched her face and he slowly hugged her.

 

“Kathleen…” He was trembling. “I love you.” He kissed her forehead and looked at the doctors and nurses standing there. “She came back to me,” he said in tears. “She came back…” He suddenly broke down in tears again.

 

Rachael, who had also been standing outside the room was overwhelmed in tears.

 

“Welcome back, Kathleen.” The doctor said and then left the room briefly.

“Josh…” Kathleen struggled to speak.

“I am here, honey, and am not going away.” He held her hands.

 

Chapter Sixteen

 

A Month Later.

 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace……”

 

Rachael inhaled deeply as she read this passage of the bible in Ecclesiastes 3. For the time first in many years, this passage meant so much to her. There was always a time for everything. She looked over at Alex, who was sleeping peacefully in her bed. The heart monitor attached to her continued to beep as evidence of life, but that didn’t stop her heart from aching. Knowing someone you care about was dying and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it brought so much sadness to her.

 

For days now, Chris and Rachael have been taking turns every night at Alex’s bedside. This night, it was Rachael’s turn to stay with her. She was dozing off in the armchair when she heard Alex’s faint voice.

 

“Rachael.” Alex called out.

 

“Hey.” Rachael stood up.

 

“I need your help.” Alex said in a weak tone.

 

“What do you need?”

 

“In the drawer by my bed, can you please bring the pink journal out for me?”

 

Rachael got it out and passed it over to her.

 

“No, you hold onto it; it’s for Grace.” Alex smiled. “I have been writing notes for her over the months, but these past few days, I have been too weak to write anything. But I need to write one last thing…” She looked up at Rachael. “Please, help me,” Alex whispered.

 

“Tell me what you need,” Rachael said to her.

 

Rachael took a pen by the dressing table and sat by her bedside, ready to write.

 

My dearest,” Alex started. “You have been  my joy and you have been the grace given to him. All I have to say now is, ‘I love you.’”

 

For days now, Alex had thought of her final words to her daughter, but nothing could be perfect. She wanted to say so much to her and she wished she had more time, but she knew her death was drawing near. All she wanted Grace to know was the best she’d been to her. She had been like God’s grace to her. After Alex ran away many years ago from Chris, she had thought she needed no one else to survive: not Chris, not anyone. Not until she gave  birth to her daughter and during the years that had followed, she realized that her daughter had indeed been a blessing to her. It wasn’t just her daughter who needed a mother, she also needed her; Grace gave her a purpose and fulfillment after God.

 

“You know,” she said as she looked up at Rachael, “I had thought I would have to write a long note for her, a last long note, but I don’t have to. You know why?” She smiled at Rachael.

 

Rachael felt every emotion penetrating her as a feeling of sadness and fear filled her.

 

“Because I am at peace,” Alex said confidently. “I have faith and hope in God that everything will be all right.”

 

“Oh, Alex,” Rachael whimpered. She knew the time was now, she could sense it.

“Rachael, you are a good woman and I thank God for your life….” She paused. “Please, I need to ask of you one more thing,”

 

Rachael nodded.

 

“Whatever you do in life, always trust in God….. you can be rest assured that everything will be okay.” She slowly closed her eyes.

Rachael stood there in tears.

“Thank you, Rachael,” she said slowly, her eyes were still closed.

 

“I have to get Chris,” Rachael said and quickly went of the room.

 

As she opened the door, Chris was startled. He turned and saw Rachael in the room and knew instantly what it meant.

 

“You have to come now,” Rachael said to him.

 

Chris felt as if his heart just skipped a beat; he stood up from the bed and followed Rachael.

 

When they entered the room, Alex’s eyes were closed; quickly, he moved to her side and held her hands.

 

“Alex,” Chris whispered as he feared the worst.

 

Alex weakly opened her eyes and smiled faintly.

 

“Christopher…” She whispered.

 

“I am here, Alex.”

 

“I am… at… peace,” she whispered. “Everything is going to be all right.” Her voice was faint.

 

“Alex…” Christopher whispered.

 

“He makes all things beautiful.” Alex smiled warmly and looked straight into his eyes.

 

Chris felt tears pouring down his face, but made no attempt to wipe them off.

 

“Don’t cry, Christopher. I’m going to be all right.”

 

“I don’t know what to do.” Chris whimpered.

 

Alex wanted to say more to him, but was too weak to speak. She slowly looked from Chris to Rachael and felt joyful. Peace overwhelmed her and she knew God was there with her, and she felt his presence in her life. It was a love that she could not comprehend. She closed her eyes for a moment and knew beyond words that she was going home, back to the presence of God.

 

“Beautiful….” She whispered.

 

The flat line of the heart monitor jolted them both.

 

Chris looked at his wife and the tears pouring down her face made him realize Alex was gone. He bowed his head on her bed and cried.

 

Rachael walked towards him; he stood up and held her in his arms. There were no words that could be used to compare or explain the feelings within when you lose someone.. Nothing could be compared to that. Knowing that person was gone forever broke the heart into pieces. They held each other as they wept.

 

Chapter Seventeen

 

It had been six months since Alex passed away. The first few weeks were the most difficult, especially since they had to explain to Grace that her mother wasn’t coming back again. It saddened them, but God was with them. He gave them his strength when they needed it most.

 

Rachael and Chris continued to grow in their love. The experiences they had those past months had brought them closer together and strengthened their relationship. They learnt to appreciate one another and to appreciate each day as a gift. The two hearts beat as one with unending love that was joined by a cord that cannot be broken.

 

Two months later, Rachael discovered she was pregnant, and that brought so much joy to their family. Grace had been so happy over the news and she looked forward to having a baby sister or a brother.

 

Josh Burke and his wife continued in their love. With the help of physiotherapy and necessary treatment, Kathleen was discharged from the hospital after a few weeks and both remained friends with Rachael and her family.

 

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two hearts.

‘Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.’ I Corinthians 13.

The End.

 

Thank you for reading. I hope you have enjoyed reading this series. Please leave your comments here and continue to visit Circles of Love for more inspirational stories. God bless you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Two Hearts – Episode Three

Chapter Six

 

Rachael could not sleep well on the two seater sofa in her office. Not that this was the first time she had passed the night over at work, but this time around, the hurt and the pain in her heart made it difficult to have a good night sleep. She had been so furious yesterday that she could not bear to go back home and see his face. After she finished her shift, she had sat back in her office to ponder on all that happened between them. The more she thought about it, the harder it was to let go of her anger. She did checked her phone several time since she left the house and back to the hospital. He still had not called. Not even a text message to say he was sorry or even to check on her whereabouts, considering how she felt the house. She was hurting.

Oh Lord, have I lost him?

She opened her eyes wearily and checked the time on her phone. It was six-thirty. She knew she couldn’t avoid him forever. She would have to face him again. She would have to look into his eyes and wonder if he still loved her. That thought scared her to death. She loved him so much and did not want nothing short of that. She wanted to be the only love in his life. She wanted her life to mean something to him. She wondered if she had been the second best to his heart all along. Her heart tightened. She couldn’t bear to lose him.

Is this the punishment to my sins Lord? Am I paying for the mistake I made several years ago? She wondered.

She remembered the verse in proverbs twenty verse thirteen.

He who covereth her sins shall not proper but whosoever confess will have mercy. Maybe sins are really not forgiven, or rather the Lord had not forgotten and chose this time to punish me.

Her mind trailed back to when Alex walked into her office that fateful afternoon. Although she had contacted her several weeks before then on the phone and through email. She did received all her case file from her previous doctors in Australia and had studied it well before she finally arrived in the United Kingdom. She had taken immediate likeness to the young woman who had flown thousands of miles to find cure to the sickness eating her body away. She got to know during their talks that she was a mother and had no family to take care of herself and even her daughter. she had taken pity on her and promised to do all she could to help her.

Rachael knew her mistake had been her promise to Alex. Doctors should never make promises they can’t keep. She realised few weeks later that the cancer had spread to her bone and other vital part of her body. There was nothing more she could do for her. That thought had torn her apart for some days when she received the result. She couldn’t bear the thought of giving a hopeless result to a woman who had little or no hope of securing the future of her child. Now, that pity was gone. She wanted to be angry at her. She wanted her to suffer for the pain she had brought to her family.

Maybe Alex knew what she was playing into. She wondered how Alex had chosen to contact her of all the doctors in the United Kingdom. She couldn’t help but think she had planned all these. She probably wanted to find out who Christopher Ross’s wife was. She wanted her in the picture before destroying her family.

 

Abruptly, she rose from the couch and straightened. She knew what she must do.

The Kingdom of God suffered violent and the violent must take it by force. She had to take what belonged to her and fast.

She straightened her hair and put on her coat. Her glance caught the picture she had on her desk. It was of her and Chris. Her mother had taken that picture after they came back from their honeymoon. Alice said she wanted them to always remember what it felt like at that early stage in their marriage. The love, trust should never go away. That did helped for a number of occasion. Every time they did had a quarrel, she had looked at the picture to remind herself of what she wanted in her marriage. That feeling is different this time around. She took her face away, and picked up her bag from under her desk.

She walked out of the hospital building and into the car back. Then, she walked passed her ‘morning stranger’ and shared a warm smile with him. He was on his way to his wife’s room, as usual. Rachael couldn’t help but feel jealous of the love he had for his wife. Despite the fact that his wife wouldn’t know if he was there or not, he was still committed to her.

This is a lesson Chris should learn. Maybe a stranger can teach him to love and stay commitment to his wife.

 

Apart from having Alex back into their lives, Rachael felt his daughter would always take her mother’s place even when she was gone. All her life, Rachael had carefully guarded her relationships with men when it came to them having children outside of marriage. She just couldn’t bear raising another woman’s child or sharing his attention with them.

She got into her car and sat there for several minutes; every day for many years, she had always looked forward to going home after work, but today, a feeling of sadness and uncertainty overwhelmed her. The years waiting  to conceive had also been tiring for her, but now that her husband’s unknown child was in the picture, it saddened her.

 

Chapter Seven

 

Rachael woke up at around 2:00pm later that day. She checked her phone again, but there were no missed calls from her husband. Chris had already left when she got back at morning. Although a part of her had been relief he wasn’t there. So she took a long shower, had a slice of toast with a cup of tea and went back to bed.

She had not expected he would not have called in to check on her or come home since then. She was filled with anger and resentment. Just a word from him is what she needed, and he had denied her of that. She got out of bed to clean up the house before she would leave for her night shift later in the evening, hoping she would at least have a chat with him when he came back from work.

 

After a few hours of waiting, Chris still wasn’t back from work. She wasn’t sure if he was tied up at work or ignoring her, so she decided to call his office.

 

“Hello, could I speak with Chris, please?” She asked the receptionist.

“I’m sorry, he’s left for the day. Can I take a…” the secretary started to ask.

But before she could finish her sentence, Rachael hung up.

 

That was around 5:00pm and his office was just roughly twenty minutes to get home. Two hours later, Chris was not back. By this time, Rachael was raging inside of her. she knew exactly where he was and what he was doing; her husband wasn’t the type that visited friends and since she’d known him, he was always on his way home after each day at work. There could only be one explanation for this, and that pointed to Alex. She felt betrayed.

How could he do this to me? He just didn’t care enough of her  feelings and would forget her at his first chance he got. This was beyond what she could handle. She carried her bag and left the house. Filled with anger, she knew exactly what she would do; if he wasn’t going to speak with her, she knew what to do to get his attention.

 

When Rachael got to work, she went quickly to Ben’s office, her friend and colleague.

 

“Hey Ben! Are you leaving now?” She stood at his doorway, seeing him taking off his overall.

“Yes sweetheart, I’m off.” He beamed a smile at her.

“I need to ask you a favour please.”

“Alright.” He gave her his full attention.

“You remember the favour you owe me, I think I’m ready to take you on that offer.” She walked into the office and shut the door behind her.

He chuckled but seeing she wasn’t smiling, he wiped the smile off his face.

“I’m listening.” He said.

 

Rachael gently placed the file in her hands on his desk.

“I have this patient; she’s in the final stage of cancer.” She tried to avoid his gaze as she passed the files to him.

“I need you to take the case off me please.”

“Why?” he asked, surprise. He knew Rachael wasn’t the type to pass her patients around.

“Let’s say, too much on my desk and there isn’t any much I can do for her nw.” She retorted.

“Are you sure about this?” he asked in doubt.

“Please, I need you to do this for me.” She stressed out.

Seeing how determined she was, he nodded. “Alright then.”

“Thank you.” She said and walked hastily out of his office.

As she walked back to her office, her heart felt heavy. She knew she wasn’t making the right decision, but part of her just wanted to make Chris suffer and get his attention. Just as she got back to her office, she found a text message on her mobile that read, ‘Hi, how was your day? Sorry I missed you at home. Hoping to talk to you tomorrow.’ She hissed and dropped the phone into her drawer in annoyance.

 

That was it! That message from Chris made her even more furious. That was all he had to say; after spending the rest of his day with his so-called lover and forgetting all about her. Rachael felt resentment towards him; she felt he was taking her for granted and couldn’t care less about her feelings. She sat back in her chair to compose herself before starting her shift.

 

Chapter Eight

 

Alex struggled out of bed and looked at the clock. It was almost 10:00pm. For days now, she’d been getting weaker and weaker, and things like getting up from bed or walking around the house had proven difficult for her. She was grateful for Chris who had been here with her all through the day. He had come in early to take Grace to school, and even went to pick her up afterwards. They had spent almost the day together, although he briefly went to work to sort some things out. They talked and laughed together. Alex was glad he was here with her. Grace had also warmed up to him and had been excited when he told her he would be coming over to take her to school again the next morning.

 

Alex walked quietly to her daughter’s room to check on her; slowly, she opened the door and found Grace sleeping peacefully in her bed. She sat down by her side and watched her sleep. Part of her was grateful for the recent events, with Chris back in her and her daughter’s life. She was grateful there would be someone there to take good care of her when she was gone. Despite her effort to explain everything about her condition to Chris, he stubbornly still believed she would get better. Over the days, he’d been doing more research and speaking to some specialists to book an appointment to discuss her condition, but when they heard the stage of cancer she was in, the specialists all told him there was nothing they could do. But Chris would not give up, he was determined to do everything he could to make things right.

 

Alex stood up to open the drawer; she had carefully kept a journal under her daughter’s clothing. Over the months, she’d been writing to her daughter, telling her things she wouldn’t be able to say to her in the future, and she hoped that this journal would answer any questions Grace might have when she grew older and, most importantly, she hoped it would make her daughter feel closer to her when she was gone. She opened the journal and started to write.

‘Hello, my dearest; it’s another night as I sit in your room. I feel so much content and grateful. My angel, I love you as always and I want you to know that nothing can change that. I’m sorry this is how close we can communicate. Today you completed your seven times table. You had struggled with it for many days and thought you will never get it. But you did my angel. You read it out loud, and completed it. Just as I saw you today, I know in my heart that you can do all things you set your mind to do. You know, I once heard a preacher say that God has given everyone of us talents and abilities. We need to believe more in ourselves and never give up. To be honest, I wished I had known this a long time ago; maybe I would have spent more time focusing on the talents and abilities that I had. I have come to know that nothing is impossible with God. God loves us despite all we do and he holds us in the palm of his hands. Sometimes we don’t understand why things happen, but he does have a good plan for us. I think I’m a slow learner ‘smile’ as it took me a long time to know this. But I want you to always believe this no matter what comes your way dear. I love you now and always.

 

She wiped the tears from her face. Alex remembered the first few weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer; she had been so upset and depressed. This happened just as things were looking bright for her: she had been tremendously successful in her career and had been building up a comfortable life for herself and her daughter. She felt this was not something that should happen to her. Not now, not ever. All her life had been a struggle ever since her own mother had left her at the orphanage at the age of five.

After few months she settled in Australia and the news of her pregnancy. She had found comfort at the community church at the market place. She went every evening and listened to the minister preach. She wanted to find some sense of hope and strength in all these and she found it. She knew Jesus had died for her; she knew the tremendous gift of life he gave to her. However, a few years after the birth of Grace, she drifted away from church and needless to say, also from God. She found comfort in her rising career. The rush of the job gave her something to look forward to every morning. She was successful and that made her satisfied.

 

Then, came the news of her sickness. That had been the biggest blow. She felt weak to the bone. She had asked God many times if that was her punishment for walking away from the church. Maybe God was trying to get her attention back to him.

Alex inhaled deeply and put the journal down. She had so much to write but her heart ached the more. She wished she would be there to say these things to her daughter in person rather than a voice from the grave. She wished things would  be different.

She laid beside her daughter and held her close to herself, trying not to wake her up. Grace shifted and made a faint sound. Alex gently rubbed her back, and slowly started to sing.

This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

 

 

Chapter Nine

Rachael got home the following morning and was surprised to see Chris’s car still in their driveway. She inhaled deeply knowing how angry she’d been all night. She walked into the house with uncertainty.

 

“Morning,” She heard Chris say. He was sitting at the dining table with a cup of coffee in his hands.

He stood up and went to the coffee maker and poured some into a mug.

 

She ignored him and walked straight to the fridge. Chris came to her and offered her a cup of the coffee. She looked angrily at him and walked away.

Like a cup of coffee can make up for this.

He shrugged. “How are you?”

“What do you think?” She rolled her eyes at him.

“All right. I know I should have called, but I was just giving you time…”

“Giving me time for what?” She said out of spite. “Time to properly take in the fact that you have been lying to me and possibly cheating on me?”

 

“What?” He gasped in disbelief.

“Exactly what I said.” She snorted.

“What is this crazy talk?”

“Now, I am crazy?” She let out a short laugh and then looked at him with disdain.

“God!” He threw his hands into the air in frustration. “This isn’t my fault, you know.” he shouted.

“So now we are shouting!”

“This is the exact reason why I left you for days to think this through. Why can’t we be civilized about this? What is wrong with you?”

 

“You are what is wrong with me. I hate this whole attitude you are giving to me, as if you should be justified or given an award or something. You lied to me, Chris; you kept something very important away from me and then you left me all alone.” Tears were now threatening to fall down her cheeks. She desperately tried to avoid that. She didn’t want him  to see how weak she was. Part of her also didn’t want him apologizing when he sees how upset she was; she wanted him to make things right. Make all these go away like it never happened.

 

“I said I’m sorry, how many times do I have to say that to you?”

 

“All right, you are sorry; but sorry for what, exactly?” She shouted. Tears were bunching in her eyes. It wasn’t what he said that made her angry. It was the way he said it that bought heat to her cheeks.

 

“For heaven sake!” he raged. “What exactly would you like me to do?”

 

“You can do whatever you want, for all I care.” She threw her hands into the air in frustration.

 

Chris stood there panting angrily as he stared at her furiously. The longer he stood there, the angrier he became, so he turned back into the living room, picked up his suit and keys and walked towards the door.

 

Her heart drummed; her body hummed. He was leaving again. “Exactly what you know how to do best, walk away.” She shouted in tears.

 

Chris stopped and stood there for a moment. He inhaled deeply and then turned back and walked towards her.

 

“What do you want from me, Rachael?” His voice was much calmer. “This isn’t my fault. I am so confused here, and you are not helping matters. What do you want me to do?” He looked straight into her eyes.

Rachael felt he was trying to put the guilt on her. Trying to make her feel pity for him. “No, don’t you patronize me; all you ever wanted is her. From the very beginning, Alex was the woman you always wanted and you have proved me right.” She said in tears.

He turned his face away, like he was dismissing what she was saying.

“You know what? Do whatever you like; I don’t care what you do!” she said, and ran upstairs.

 

Chris stood there in utter confusion.

 

After a few minutes, She heard his car in the drive way. Rachael swelled up in tears and cried bitterly. She couldn’t understand why he just couldn’t be here with her. Why he had to justify whatever feelings he had going on in his head. She hated Alex and her daughter the more. She hated what they were doing to her family. Her heart ached.

 

Chapter Ten

 

Rachael was in her office when suddenly, someone barged in.

 

“Chris!” She called out, startled.

 

“How dare you?” Chris said as he walked straight to her. “Who do you think you are?” he shouted.

 

“What is it Chris that can’t wait until we get home?” She walked past him to shut the door.

 

“Why did you pass her case to someone else?” He was fuming and panting heavily like he had ran all the way here.

 

“Oh!” she whispered to herself and walked back to her seat. “I have a caseload—

“Oh, shut up!” He interrupted. “You did this on purpose. What kind of a professional are you that cannot separate her personal life from her profession?” He asked angrily.

 

“This has nothing to do with my personal life; there’s nothing I can do for her and I have other cases where I can be of help. I just asked a colleague to help out.” She tried to talk calmly and avoid the intense look on  his face.

 

He scoffed. “Help out, indeed! If this is your way of getting back at me, I am really disappointed in you. What kind of a woman are you?” He asked in disgust. Chris walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

 

Rachael jolted at the sound of the door; she felt hot tears pouring down her face. Guilt and sadness came over her. She knew her motive for passing down her case was revenge. His last words pierced right into her. What kind of a woman was she? Maybe she’d gone too far in her anger. Maybe it was time to let go and forgive him, and help him rather than making things more difficult for them both. She felt weak to the bone.

Chapter Eleven

 

The following days were spent in silence. Chris refused to talk to Rachael, and would come home late than usual, and even when they were both at home, Chris was away on his computer. Part of her was still angry and expected him to beg her to forgive him, instead of making her feel bad about herself.

A week later, Rachael was on her way to the supermarket when she saw a van parked in front of her house. She didn’t make anything of it, as she was in a hurry. it wasn’t until she got back that she knew something was different in her house.

 

The door leading to the spare room was slightly opened. She went to close to the door and then she saw it.  The room had been transformed. The spare room didn’t have any furniture in it. The room was meant to be a baby room and she wanted to specially decorate it herself. Rachael couldn’t believe what she was seeing. There was bed and a small chest door in the room. She felt her heart leap. Then she heard her husband’s voice coming from the other guest room. She followed the voice and found him on the floor with a little girl, helping her unpack her things into the drawer.

 

They both turned when she opened the door. Upon seeing the two, she froze for several seconds until she was able to get her strength and walked hastily to her own bedroom. Shortly after, Chris entered.

 

Her jaw clenched. “What is going on in my house?”

Chris shut the door. “They needed a place to stay, so I asked them to come here until we could figure something out.” he said calmly.

 

“What?!” She gasped in disbelief. She felt somehow she needed to wake up from this terrifying nightmare.

‘We’ echoed in her ears. who are the ‘we’ he’s talking about.

He straightened and walked towards her. “The electricity and water suddenly stopped working since the last few days, and I decided they should stay here while they waited for it to be fixed.”

 

She was struggling to control her rising anger. “You decided?”

He arched an eyebrow. “Yes, I did.” He answered bluntly.

 

“Without consulting me?” She looked bewildered.

 

He swallowed hard seeing how hurt she was.

 

Rachael stared at him in disbelief. She couldn’t believe what was happening. “You brought strangers into my house and didn’t have the guts to let me know.”

 

“She is my daughter!” He said solemnly.

 

Rachael felt a hard lump growing in her chest. Her lips were pale, her hands were shaking. He just called her daughter. Someone she didn’t even know existed. 

 

Chris inhaled deeply, seeing her in tears, he went to sit by herself. Rachael didn’t move away.

 

Her eyes moistened as they searched his. “Look at me,” she said gently to him. “Why are you doing this to me? What have I done to deserve this from you.”Tears coursed down her cheeks. “Why are you tormenting me Chris?” She whimpered.

 

Just then, there was a faint knock on the door.

 

“Daddy, it’s me.” Grace said.

 

Rachael felt her heart leap. This was the first time she had heard anyone call her husband ‘daddy.’ It felt strange when someone you know nothing about suddenly became part of your life.

 

“Grace!” Chris stood up to open the door.

 

“Your phone has been ringing.” Grace gave him the phone and went back to the room.

 

Chris looked at the screen, and seeing the caller ID, he looked back at his wife.

 

“I have to take this.” He said, feeling uneasy. Then, he left the room.

 

Rachael stared in confusion; few seconds later, Chris walked back into the room.

 

“I’m sorry Rachael, I have to go now, but I will be back soon,” He said and hurried out of the room, and following behind him was Grace, who just smiled at Rachael.

She stared at the door, hoping he would turn around and come back. She was looking, arching inside. she began to shake her head, struggling to contain the turbulent emotions twisting and churching inside her.

Just then, she burst into more tears.

This is the last straw. I can’t take this anymore.

She remembered a quote she did read some time ago, ‘I didn’t give up, I walked away. I had enough of accepting actions that were less than I deserved. So… I made a conscious choice. To honour myself.’

Like the quote, she realized what she had to do. She went into her closet, brought out a suitcase and began to throw some clothing into it. Then, she carried it and walked out of the house.

 

 

To be continued.

 

Thank you for reading. please leave your comments below. Next episode would be on Wednesday.

 

 

 

photo credit: dsgnhomeanyar

 

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Two Hearts – Episode 2

Alex blinked back tears, looking straight at him.

“I am sick.” She said.

Chris wasn’t sure he’d heard her right.

“I am dying…” She blurted out. This time, her voice was much louder.

He felt a hard lump growing in his throat. “What!” he withdrew backwards.

“I have cancer.”
Chris was dumbfounded; he continued to stare at her.

“I honestly didn’t want things like this.” She sighed. “I realised I had waited too long and had to make things right with you, I had to take care of Grace.” She whimpered. “I did tried all I could; the right treatment, chemotherapy, so many specialist to get better but…..” she gulped back a sob. “Nothing can be done.”

She looked up at Chris and couldn’t tell what he was thinking.

He looked straight at her. He couldn’t feel anything. He felt he was supposed to  feel some sympathy but nothing of such. He still felt the anger, betrayal, despair and then came fear.  “The only reason you came back is because you are dying?” he uttered. “You would never have come back, would you?”

“What!” Alex was dazed.

“Answer me, would you?” he shouted again which made her jolt.

Alex jumped. She shivered.

“Mummy…..?”

They both turned and saw Grace standing in the middle of the stairs with her face fixed on them both. She was frightened.

Chris looked at the little girl and saw how scared she was. He turned back to  Alex and stared at her for a moment. Then, he walked out of the house. He went hastily to his car. He could feel blood draining from his face. He couldn’t really understand what he was doing and the emotion penetrating his spine. He felt anger, anguish and fear.

He switched on the ignition, and drove off. His mind was racing and felt his heart pounding very fast; he didn’t know what to do. He was angry and could feel the hurt over again. He felt she had no right to do that to him.
Just as he turned away from the Alex’s street, he saw a car approaching from the other lane flashing its headlight and just then, he realised it was Rachael; his heart started to beat twice than usual. He pulled to the side of the road and waited for Rachael to do the same. Before he could get out of the car; Rachael was already walking towards him.

“Hello honey.” Her grin turned into a smile. “I was hoping to catch you for lunch; been to your office but you weren’t there.”

“Oh, sorry. I was out viewing some properties” He lied, trying to put his act together.

“Hmm, I was hoping to spend some time together,” suddenly, she pulled him closer as she covered his mouth in a long kiss. “Like this.” She giggled.

“Oh, I….” He had not expected that gesture.

“Don’t tell me you are shy honey?” She laughed. “Anyway, see you back at home; I have a house call.” She kissed his cheek and hurried back to her car.

“Love you honey.” she said aloud.

He was still frozen. “Bye.” his voice was barely a whisper.

Chris stood there, still dazed. Then he got into his car, and sat quietly for several minutes pondering over things. The new revelation of having a daughter baffled him.

 

Chapter Four

Chris had not seen Alex again or spoken to her for two weeks since the news of him being a father and of her sickness. However, these past days had been torture for him. He couldn’t sleep well and had lost his appetite. He had no idea what to do and even the thought of telling Rachael had made it more difficult.

Rachael had asked if he was alright considering his sudden withdrawal in normal activities but he gave series of excuse. He wasn’t sure of what to do yet so he didn’t tell her anything. His mind was drawing back to Alex. He had to see her once again. There were questions he needed her to answer and most of all he longed to see Grace again.

Once again, he pulled his car in front of Alex’s house. This time, he was more nervous than the first time possibly because he was about to meet his daughter again and desperately wished she would be willing to see him considering his first impression on her. She might probably hate him for making her mother cry, but Chris was determined to make things right this time.

He pressed the bell and shortly the door was opened but this time a nurse stood before him. He knew this because of her uniform. She greeted him nicely and asked him to come in. As he walked into the living room, his heart was racing so fast, ‘a nurse opening the door isn’t a good sign’. He gave his name to her while the nurse went upstairs to announce his presence. Chris could hear someone receiving a call from the Kitchen, he heard the other person at the receiving end on speaker giving some medical instructions so realised it was the doctor. He was about to walk into the kitchen to see who it was when the nurse came back downstairs. She told him he could go up and see Alex now.

He tried pulling himself together, but his emotion was getting ahead of him. He ran upstairs and even forgot to knock. Opening the door, he saw Alex trying to get up from the bed, then, he relaxed a little.

“I’m sorry,” he apologised, realising he had just barged in.

Alex pulled her bath robe over her tiny body.

“What’s going on? Are you alright?” His eyes swimming with concern.
Her smile was tender. “I’m okay. The doctors are only making a fuss of me,” She got down from the bed, and then walked towards him. “I’m glad you came back.”

All these while, Chris had been so absorbed of with his own feelings and emotions and had not really comprehend the issue of her being sick, let only dying. However, right there in the room, he knew something was wrong. She looked so pale and fragile.

“Please, sit here with me.” She patted on the couch beside her

Chris went without hesitation and sat beside her. Oh God! what am I going to do? He thought. Please make her better. I can’t lose her all over again.

He looked into her eyes and feared for the worst. “I am so sorry. What was I thinking the other day? I was so angry and selfish. I shouldn’t have walked out on you…”

She bit her lips and frowned. She didn’t say anything for a moment. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I brought all these on you suddenly and don’t expect anything less than what happened.”

“I should have been more understanding.”

“No. I deserved more than that. I walked out first and broke your heart. I should have looked back or kept in touch. I mean, I was the only one you had, the only family, if nothing, I should have been here for you.” Tears were threatening to roll down her cheeks.

Chris felt his heart tightened in despair. He loved her. Old memories lingered through his mind. it felt like everything he did felt for her started back from where it had stopped. He wanted to bring her into his embrace right there and tell her he had everything under control. He wanted to take care of her like he did many years ago.

“You have to know that I regret ever walking out on you, I regret not having my chance with you, and every day was a reminder of that.” She swallowed hard. “Please Chris, I ask for your forgiveness. I am sorry…” Tears flowed freely down her cheeks. “I know the timing is wrong, but I had to come back. At first I didn’t have the courage to, but after the surgery, I knew I had to come back home, to make things right…” Her gaze fell on him.
Chris reached out to touch her face and slowly caressed it. Oh God! He thought. Help me. I’m not sure what I’m feeling here, I loved her once Lord, I loved her so much and I am desperate now.

Alex slowly rubbed her cheeks on his hands. Her eyes were moist.
“Please don’t cry Alex, please…” he settled his gaze on her. “I am glad you came back; you did…” he gently rubbed her hands.
She had a soft smile on her face. Her face had lilted up at the sound of those words.

“I forgive you Alex; I already did a long time ago…” he smiled at her. “We are still family and have a long time to live together.”

Alex suddenly withdrew her hands. She stood up and went to sit on her bed.
“Chris, I’m not getting better.” She said in a calm tone. “I was diagnosed of ovarian cancer three years ago, and I have been battling with it since then. I’ve had surgery, chemotherapy and every necessary treatment …. The doctors tried their best but nothing could be done anymore…, I was told to go home.” She quivered.

He glared at her and watched the turmoil on her face. He was afraid of what he saw. It was void of hope. She was giving up. He trembled inside. No Lord. You are not going to take her away from me.

“No, you are not going to die Alex.” He stood up and went to sit by her side. “Remember I always take care of things.” He reached out to touch her hands. “I am going to take care of you Alex.” He made eye contact but she took her face away. “I know people, good doctors that can make you better,” He gently brought her face to his. “Everything would be just fine Alex.”

“Chris,” She whispered. “Listen to me dear,” She said tenderly, “I came home to you. I came home to the one man who fought for me whilst growing up, I came home to the man who would fight the bullies at school because of me, I came back to the only family that I have.”

Chris swallowed hard.

“Grace needs her father. I have told her so much about you and she’s been looking forward to meeting you…., my one request is that you will be there for her, that you would love her…..”

Dread was binding itself tighter and tighter around his heart. “You are not giving up Alex. No! I will not have you give up. I will fight for you Alex; I’ll go on my knees and fight in prayer…” Tears were bunching in his eyes and he made no attempt to wipe them away. “You are my family, and I will do everything to make sure you are alive here with me…” He swelled up in tears.

“Don’t do this to yourself Chris. Listen to me,” She wiped the tears away from his face. “I am not afraid of dying as long as you are here with me and I have a home for my daughter-”

“You will not do that to me Alex, you cannot come back to me and then lose you all over again. No!” He interrupted looking straight into her eyes.

 

Just then, the door opened and to his surprise, Rachael walked in.

Chris froze up beside Alex.

“Oh Doctor!” Alex wiped the tears away from her face. “I’m sorry, have I been keeping you waiting?”
“Chris!” Rachael called out in shock. “What are you doing here?” She asked looking from Chris to Alex.

She glanced at his hand, he was still holding Alex’s hands.

Chris immediately stood up, releasing his hands.

“Ms Curtis,” She looked over to Alex. Instantly, she knew.  “Alexandra Curtis.” She whispered to herself trying to make sense of the whole thing. “Alex, you’re….” She pointed to Chris and then, ran out of the room.

 

Chris had been gob smacked. He had not planned for his wife to find out things like this. He wiped his hands down his face and looked at Alex. He saw she was confused.

“I have to go.” He said and walked quickly out of the room. He didn’t want to leave Alex like that. He turned back into the room and found she was still sitting where he had left her, still dazed “I will be back Alex, I promise you.” He said and went off her.

 

He hurried down stairs to see if Rachael was still there, but she wasn’t. The nurse was standing in the middle of the room with a tray of injection. Chris noticed the confusion on her face, but he walked out of the room nonetheless.

 

She’s gone. He rubbed his hands down his face again as though to push away the confusion but that didn’t help. So he hurried into his car and drove off. He knew Rachael would be going home and he had some explanation to do. Help me Lord.

 

Chapter Five

 

Rachael was disconcerted. She couldn’t believe Chris would keep that away from her. The whole scene just made sense to her now. She had been on house calls today to check on her patients receiving treatments from home. Alex was her third house call for today; she had been her patient for a couple of weeks since her transfer back to the United Kingdom. She had gone into the kitchen to receive an important call from the hospital and waited a while in the living room when the nurse told her Ms Curtis had a guest in her room. When she realised she had no more time to spare, she had gone in.

How long has he been seeing her and what was he doing up there? Then she remembered two weeks ago when she met him on her way to see Ms Curtis. No wonder he was so tensed. All these became clearer now; his recent withdrawal and the lies to cover up his tracks.

Twenty minutes later, she pulled up in her drive way and went straight inside without locking her car. She noticed Chris’s car behind her but went straight in.

Shortly after, Chris entered. She faced him squarely, locking eyes with him.
“Tell me it’s not what I’m thinking?” She shouted at him.

“I can explain.” He flustered.

“Were you ever going to tell me?” she asked furiously. “What exactly is going on? I mean, isn’t that the same Alex? She asked in disarray.

“I’ m sorry, I was planning to tell you everything.”

“What!” She stared into his eyes, confused.

He reached out to touch her but she jerked away from him. “Honey, I was planning to, but was still confused at the whole thing.”.

“Confused?” What for?” She flashed an angry look at him. “Confused about going back to your first love or keeping up with me?”

His face went grim. “You know better than that Rachael; this is not what you think?”

“Tell me what I should think, tell me?” She was struggling to control her rising anger. “Seeing you both locked up in the room for so long and holding hands.” She rolled her eyes.

“It’s not what you think Rachael. She dropped in my office two weeks ago and then told me everything; I didn’t even know she was back.”

“Two weeks ago?” She stared at him and fought the surging anger inside her. “Christopher Ross, you knew all about these two weeks ago, and you are still planning to tell me?”

“It’s not what you think?” he barked hard.

“Don’t you dare.” She warned. “You have no right to shout at me here.” Tears were bunching in her eyes. She was disappointed at him.
Chris realised he was taking his anger on his wife. He pulled his emotions together.

“I’m sorry. I’m just overwhelmed. Honestly, I was planning to tell you but wasn’t sure of what I was dealing with.”

“I really don’t understand. You kept saying you were planning to tell me. I am not convinced still. What exactly did you want to tell me?”

“What do you want me to say Rachael? What?”

“I want you to tell me the truth and drop the attitude.” She was infuriated. “What about the girl?”

At that, he drew back and sat down.

He inhaled deeply. “She’s my daughter.”

Rachael gasped.

“Honestly, I didn’t know about her, she never called to tell me.” He added quickly.
She was quite for a moment. She felt pain in her chest. Tears sprang to her eyes. The Old pain rose up, gripping her by the throat. She remembered when she first met him and the couples of weeks into their relationship, he did always compared her to Alex. Rachael knew he was still in love with her despite the fact that she had been gone for many years. She had doubted his true love for her several times, and she even ended the relationship but he came back begging. He said he had been so absorbed in his past life and held tightly to the pain. He assured her he was over Alex and wanted a new life with her. He said he loved her more than anyone in the world and she was his true love. Rachael knew it was not as easy as he had said it, but she was willing to give him another chance.
She glanced at him and could see he was in deep thought. “From the very day I met you, the first person you told me about was Alex. She was everything to you. You never got over her but pretended to be; part of you still longed for her. I fought for you Chris; I loved you even when I knew I was the second best but I stayed.. In your heart, you have always compared me to her. Alex was the best thing that ever happened to you…” Rachael moaned in tears.

Chris stood up and walked up to her. “Why are you doing this?” Chris asked. “Alex was in my past….she was family to me irrespective of the relationship I shared with her-

“No.” She interrupted. She isn’t family. She was your lover and I am your family.” She blurted out.

He turned away from her.

“If she means nothing more to you. Why then have you kept it from me. Why have you been so distracted for weeks now. You are still in love with her?” She felt a lump in her throat when she said that. The raging on her chest wouldn’t stop either.

“What!” He turned to her. “Don’t be absurd.” He had a dismissal look on her face.

Rachael wasn’t convinced. “Yes you are! You have been torn apart for many days now, and the same thing that built a wall between us is here to stay forever; the child would always be a reminder of her even when she’s gone.” She made eye contact.

He frowned. “What do you mean ‘when she’s gone’?” His eyes darkened ominously.

“You do know she’s dying or is she hiding that from you?”

He flashed an angry look at her. “She is not dying” He shouted.

“What!” Rachael was startled at the sound of his voice.

“Nothing is going to take her away from me now, not even death.” He yelled at her.

“What!” Rachael gasped in disbelief.
“She came back Rachael, she did and that matters and I am not about to lose her all over again. She was the only family I grew up with. We did everything together. She took care of me and I did took care of her. You think am going to sit back and watch her taken away from me again. No, nothing would take care away from me now, not even death.” He was panting heavily.

Rachael stared at him in utter confusion. She couldn’t believe the words coming out of his mouth.
“Even if she wasn’t sick, would you walk away?” She asked staring into his eyes.

“Of course not”! I will not walk away from the only family that I ever had; she was all that I had and for crying out loud. She is the mother of my child.” He blurted out.

Rachael was shocked to hear those words. She flushed and felt her heart sinking in dismay. She stared at him; tears streaming down her face. She took her  car keys from the table and rushed out of the house, got into her car and drove off.

 

To be continued.

Thank you all for reading. Appreciate all your comments. Next episode would be on Friday 5/02

 

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