“Titi! Titi!!” nurse Sharon called just as Titi was about to go into the cafeteria.
Titi paused.“How far?” She asked. “Any better?”
“Na you I suppose ask na. Going to eat for two abi?”The nurse said with a pointed look at Titi’s protuberant stomach.
Titi giggled and placed a possessive hand over the bump.
“You get visitor sha. Him dey somewhere around” Nurse Sharon said her neck twisting round in search of Titi’s curious visitor.
Titi felt her pulse racing. Visitor? A He. She hadn’t had one of those in a loong time.
“Ermm, thank you Sharon” she murmured.
Nurse Sharon frowned at her. She could not help but observe that Titi looked disturbed. Before she could inquire Titi had scurried backwards, nearly running into some interns in her hurry.
She took the elevator down to the 6th floor to see Henry Chuma who had not only been her OB/GYN but was also one of her few friends at Bethlehem hospital.
As soon as the door swung open, Titi nearly fainted.“Hello Titi! “ Lanre said coolly.
He was sitting on the edge of Henry’s desk while Henry reclined back in his swivel chair. They seemed so comfortable together.
Did they know each other?
“Titi is the old friend you came to see at the hospital?”Henry said, a look of incredulity on his handsome face.
His eyes never left Titi. She looked a little pasty.
“Yes” Lanre replied without looking at Henry. “How are you?” He asked Titi.
She ignored the question. “What are you doing here?”
“I came to see you. Isn’t that obvious?” Lanre replied.
“No it isn’t” she answered tartly.
Lanre sighed deeply. “No one would show me your office. I thought my old friend Henry would know you, and apparently I was right. Is he your ob/gyn?”
Titi shot Dr. Chuma a loaded look but he did not seem to get the message.
“Henry, can we borrow your office?Titi and I need to talk please”
“Talk away. I need to have lunch anyway. Something tells me I’ll be needing it”.
The doctor heaved himself out of the chair and on his way out gave Titi’s shoulder a friendly squeeze.
As soon as the door closed, Titi’s glare magnified.
“What is wrong with you Lanre? I work here. You can’t bring my personal life in here” she snapped.
“I want a paternity test Titi!” He said matter-of-factly.
“On what grounds Lanre?. Do you have an injunction?”
“Don’t make this nasty. I just want to know if the baby is mine”
“So you can do what? The right thing?”She yelled sarcastically. “A little too late for that don’t you think?”
“You shouldn’t yell. It’ll make your blood pressure spike”
“Don’t be patronizing” Titi yelled louder.
“You’re in a hospital,Titilayo”
“And YOU are annoying,oww!”.
A sharp pain along her back made her pause.
“Sit,Titi” Lanre said as he came over to led her to the seat Dr Chuma had only just vacated.
The tears started before she could stem them. Damn the hormones! Titi wanted to wail. She just felt so tired.
“Why did you have to come back Lanre?…”
“I never went anywhere” he cut in.
“I know! Dammit! Now I know” She sniffed. “But to me,you did. I set you free and now you’re back in my life with a shiny new fiance and wanting to be the father of my child”
What did Lanre hope to achieve by accepting responsibility for this child? Did he hope that herself, her baby, him and Heather would make a happy albeit bizarre family?
“I am the father of your child” Lanre said firmly.
“God told you this?” She quipped.
He sighed. “I’m not stupid Titi. I did the Math and except you jumped into another man’s arms or were dating someone while we were together, there is no way that baby is anyone else’s but mine” he said his voice rising with each utterance.
Usual calm Lanre was losing his cool. He rubbed his forehead and she remembered. All his eccentricities. All those nights jacking for classes they had together. Him the doctor, she the biochemist. All those days when there was no money for food, and she had to rummage for Indomie and crayfish to make any kind of concoction.
“Look, this pregnancy doesn’t look easy. Let me take care of you”
A maniacal laughter bubbled out of her.
“Ironic,isn’t it? You wanting to take care of me.” She shook her head. “I have all the care I need Lanre. Now excuse me, I need to eat lunch”
He watched her struggle to get out of the chair. The back pain could be pelvic girdle pain and she still looked anemic. Still he let her go.
He let the woman he had thought he loved for Eight years walk out of the office.
Titi met Dr. Chuma in the cafeteria. He had finished his lunch and as soon as she sat to eat hers he came over to her table. She had often suspected that his interest in her went beyond professional courtesy or doctor-patient relationship. However, she didn’t want to seem too suspicious.
“So….” He began.
She quirked a brow at him.
“So, Lanre Adepitan is the mysterious boyfriend who ditched you after eight years…wow! Small world” Dr. Chuma said.
“Henry! I don’t want to talk about it” she hissed.
“Did you tell him?”He asked.
“No” she replied.
“Hmmm,does he suspect? Is that why he came here looking for you?” Dr. Henry Chuma pressed on.
Titilayo gave an exasperated sigh. What was it with all these smart men?
“You don’t wanna talk about this I see” he said pensively.
She gave him a look that said ‘go figure!’.
“Are you taking the iron supplements?”
“I haven’t gotten them yet sef” She dropped her spoon on the plate and took a deep breath. “I’m not sure what his knowing will achieve. He’s marrying someone else” she said in a small voice.
“You’re even lucky sef. This particular man is even willing to accept a baby as his. Not many men are that ‘accommodating’”
Henry’s last words remained with her long after she had gotten home. Her feet hurt like she’d just climbed Kilimanjaro. She was almost always tired these days. It would be nice to be taken care of. She thought to herself. Before she had time to chastise herself on her train of thought, she heard a knock on the door accompanied by the chiming of the door bell.
She eyed the couch she’d been about to sit on longingly and then proceeded to open the door.
“Heather” she cried in surprise.
“Titi” Heather said pushing her way in.
Well, hello to you too. Please, come right in. Titi thought sardonically.
“I’m sorry to barge in on you like this but when Lanre told me about you two’s…history. I just had to see you”
Heather nearly choked on the word ‘history’.
See me for what? Titi wanted to ask.
“I’m so sorry about what happened between you two. There’s a reason it didn’t work out. There’s always a reason”
Yes. And that reason is YOU!!! .Titi wanted to scream instead she sank into the couch, let out a sigh of bliss and pretended to listen to the jargon Heather was about to speak.
What does she have that I don’t? She wondered. Granted her family has money. She dresses well too, like a Doctor’s wife. Not like…me. Titi thought with distaste.
And she’s so confident. She would never let Lanre have the last word.
Heather could not seem to stop pacing the living room. Her heels would wear the carpet thin, Titi mused.
“I’m sure Lanre has been to see you. I know he has. He won’t tell me but I know something has been eating at him since we ran into you” Heather rambled on. “I just need to know, is the baby his?”
“What?!” Titi exclaimed, blinking up at Heather.
“Don’t be offended. I just NEED to know” Heather pleaded.
“Why? Will it mess up the wedding plans?” Titi sneered.
“No, Titi. Infact it would be perfect” Heather said wistfully.
Titi gaped at her like she had lost her senses. “Perfect in what way?” She asked warily.
“You see,I can’t have children and if there’s a possibility this child is his I want him to have a part in the child’s life” she continued.
It was confirmed….Heather was stupid!
What kind of woman wanted her fiance’s former lover of eight years to let him have a part in their love child’s life?.
A woman who loved that fiance very much perhaps?
Or a woman so confident in her man’s love she felt safe in her prime position in his life?
Titi did not know what to think.
“If the child is his,it’s not your decision to make” she finally said to Heather. “So don’t use the words ‘I want him to’ “.
To be continued