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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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