When his arranged marriage went haywire, James has to juggle from being a father to his eleven months old son, keeping his job, finding love in the strangest place, maintaining a balance and peace between his family and that of his in-laws, who are lost in the battle of power and authority.
James entered the ward where Junior was and found Helen feeding him with cereal. He smiled and rubbed Junior’s head. Junior leapt for joy and stretched to be held by him.
“No, prince, you have to eat first,” he said touching his hand.
“The nurse said he was crying and they fed him cereal,” she told him.
“Oh! That’s great. I will go see them,” he muttered and moved to the bed and sat down.
“I took care of it,” she cut in, focusing on Junior with undivided attention.
“You took care of what?” he asked, shocked, as he glanced at her.
“I told him what to do,” she replied, unperturbed as she focused on feeding Junior.
James was shocked, confused. Helen, who earlier proved that their relationship was a priority to her, bailed him out again. She was always on time to set right every wrong, yet he has a strange feeling about it. He looked at her and smiled, even though his smile has no basis.
Helen, after waiting for a response that did not come, paused Junior’s feeding and squinted at James. She saw the smile on his face and automatically knew it was fake. He was only trying to interpret what she said; a task he clearly failed.
“You don’t understand, right?” she asked.
James shook his head without wasting time. She stood up and slowly laid Junior on the bed. He cried in protest and she quickly lifted him up, cuddling him. Then she turned to James’ curious stare.
“Can you be a little bit faster? I need to know that I am not in any trouble,” he said anxiously, and walking up to her he took Junior from her. Junior smiled.
“Oh, Prince! Yeah, I have missed you too,” he grinned at him, cuddled him gently so as not to hurt him. Junior laid his head on his shoulder and closed his eyes. “So?” he asked, looking at Helen.
She smiled. “It was simple. As I was walking inside, I figured out we needed to completely cover our tracks, so I stopped over to see Charles.”
“And told him what?”
“I made a deal with him. He is your friend so I know he would keep to his promise.”
“What exactly did you make him promise?” he asked restlessly. The suspense was tormenting him.
“That he would not tell her family it was us who brought her in,” she said in reply. “He promised he would do that and also take care of the nurses who might have seen you when we came in.”
James heaved a sigh of relief. He trusted Charles; he has been his friend for long and he knew the entire story, so he would definitely keep to his word to save him from trouble. He smiled.
“He need not bother about the nurses. I noticed they were all new. I doubt if they know me,” he said, as he sighed heavily with his mouth wide open in amazement and relief at the level of smartness Helen exhibited in one day. Though still strange to him, yet he loved her more, and with a smile on his lips he kissed her forehead, forgetting the initial thought about her unknown traits.
“I think he has slept,” she said, pointing at Junior.
James brought Junior’s head off his shoulder and looked at him, he was fast asleep. He gently lowered him on the bed, minding the wounds. Junior shook his legs and opened his eyes. They both maintained absolute silence. He looked around for some time and when he did not hear any sound, he closed his eyes and slept off. James sighed and Helen giggled behind him. He turned and hugged her.
“I love you so much,” he muttered.
“I love you, too,” she quickly replied. “And I think we should go check on Queen,” she added. James frowned. “We should,” she reinforced.
James shrugged and looked at his son, who was sleeping peacefully on the bed, then took Helen’s hand and made for the door.
Smith kept knocking on the door the nurse directed him to as the doctor’s office. He would have thought the nurse a fool if he didn’t see a name boldly inscribed on the edge of the door frame, with a ‘Dr’ title. His anger was then redirected to the doctor for not opening the door. He hissed and made to leave.
“I don’t think he is around,” Charles said striding towards him. He had a handkerchief on his hand with which he patted his smooth face.
Smith stopped as he saw him. He noticed blood stains on his white lab coat as he approached and got tensed.”You are a doctor right?” he asked.
“As you can see,” Charles grinned. “But it depends on the type you are looking for. This is a big hospital and we have different specializations,” he added, dipping his hand in his back pocket in search for his office keys. He brought out a bunch and, stopping at the door adjacent to the one Smith was knocking at, he looked for the marching key.
“No specialty, just one that can direct me to my…” he paused, flashing his weary eyes at the blood stains at Charles’ lab coat. “Where did you get that blood from?” he asked.
“Oh!” he intoned, glancing at the stained coat. “So sorry about the sight, there was an emergency. A lady was accidentally knocked down by a car and was rushed here by some strangers,” he replied, unlocking his door.
Smith rushed to him. “That accident victim is the person I am here for. She is my sister. How is she? Is she alright?” Smith asked, terrified.
“She is your sister?”
“Yes. I got a call and…”
“Well, she is stable.”
The door opened and they both entered into the office.
“It was just a minor fracture, tears and bruises, unless her X-Ray says otherwise. But for now, she will be fine.” He pulled off the blood stained coat and threw it into a big basket by the corner of his office, probably a laundry basket. As he sat down he noticed the rage on Smith’s face as he scrutinised the coat, it was scary.
“The stranger didn’t say who this driver was?” Smith asked, fully expressing his anger.
Charles shook his head and Smith hissed. “If anything happens to my sister, that stranger must account for it. Where is this stranger if I may ask?”
Charles never met Queen’s family, but from the way Smith raged, he concluded instantly they were indeed a troublesome family. He now understood why Helen made that awkward request. He was relieved. The thought of what would have happened if he refused to play along, or maybe faltered when he first met Smith tormented him. He knew all James has been through and it was only wise he saved him from further trouble by complying with Helen. He sighed.
“I am sorry he is gone,” he said. “He left almost immediately, we didn’t even know he was gone.”
“How could you let him go?” Smith roared. “Did it ever occur to you that he might be the reckless driver?”
“My duty is to save life and not to prosecute criminals. I was more concerned about the survival of your sister than who hit her. And now that she is alright, you can wait till she’s conscious to identify the culprit,” he concluded, giving Smith a stern, confident look. “And he brought this,” he added, giving him Queen’s phone which he pulled out from his pocket.
Smith furiously grabbed the phone from him. His sister’s condition really got him, and even though his relationship with her was never cordial, the thought of losing her was more tormenting to him now than the rivalry.
“Thank you for saving her life,” he muttered, calming down. “Can I see her now?”
“Sure. Emergency room 23,” Charles said, with a gesticulation that could pass for a map.
Smith quickly stood and left the office, leaving the door open. He walked down the hallway in search of room 23 as directed by the doctor, while going through his sister’s phone.
Charles heaved a sigh of relief, stood up and locked the door. He was about sitting down when the thought of seeing James struck him. Things were not alright and he needed a quick update lest he marred the well schemed out plan. He needed to understand what exactly was going on. He picked his phone and left the office.
E.C Michael, a graduate of Theater Arts, is a passionate writer who believes that stories should blend with education so as to help correct social vices in the world. His watchword is edutainment.
He writes screenplays, novels, short stories and essays. When not writing, he is blogging or watching Game of Thrones and Designated Survivor.