BY BLESSING SILVER
Maurice parked the car in the driveway and got down.. A wave of déjà vu washed through him with memories; sweet and the uglies. Memories of his happy childhood, happy laughter, and celebrations. After Nora’s death Maurice couldn’t recollect when last he visited, even though the memories were still fresh in his mind. He noticed nothing had changed In the surrounding, everything was still how they were.. He hadn’t expected anything to anyways, he knew his father as a man with no time for decorations, new styles or flashy things, he used what seem okay to him and decent to anyone else. Nora and Joliet had been the one making plans, renovating and changing things they felt was becoming outdated. He breathed in the clean air and smiled down at Bella when he felt her arm across his.
Bella returned his smile and they walked to the classic porch, Maurice rang the bell and the door slid open at recognition. They moved in.
“Bella!” Joliet called, walking out of a room. Bella moved from Maurice to her and they pecked. “I’m glad you’re here on time”
“Where’s dad?” Maurice asked.
“Oh he’s getting the ice cubes” she responded.
“Come Bella, I need assistance with dessert” she said and dragged Bella away. Maurice settled on a couch and watched as maidservants set the table and filled Every space with food.. He wondered if they were going to have all of it for just dinner.
“You’re here Maurice,” he heard his father’s obvious excited voice behind him and he turned and stood up. He assisted him with the glass of cubes and set the wines in it.
“I’m glad you’re here” Maurice simply nodded.
Few minutes later they were surrounded at the table, in different chairs and having dinner. Maurice couldn’t remember the last dinner he had with his family, it’s been a very long time since they last sat like this, having dinner. He looked at Bella, she seem to be enjoying the meal and the little chitchats.. A smile curved on his lips as she smiled at Pablo.
“You know mom would love this if she was here,” Joliet said, holding a forkful of chicken. “She cherished times like this the most”
“I remember her saying ‘oh sit for more, it’s not over yet Maurice’ ‘Joliet? Come-on have some more spaghetti’ she never wanted it to end” she said and they chuckled, including Bella.
“I can’t forget those commanding voice and look.. ‘Joliet, dessert’s yet to be served, kindly get your butt on that cushion'” Joliet mimicked and they laughed again.
“She must be a foodie and a pretty deep family-woman” Bella said.
“Oh you can say that again” Joliet responded and Maurice giggled. Gazing at his dad he noticed the unexpected sad look on his face, his face was on his meal’s direction but it was obvious his mind wasn’t there. Maurice watched his face twitch, sadden and then brighten up, still in a not nice way.
“Dad are you okay?” Joliet beat him to the question and Pablo, startled, raised his head up. Maurice noticed his tear duct filled with tears ready to crawl out. “Oh y-yes” his voice was husky yet gentle and he quickly put his head down.
“Are you sure dad?” Bella asked.
“Yes. I’m sorry. Excuse me” he rushed his words, stood up and literally ran out. They all exchanged quizzical glances and Maurice stood up. “I’ll go get him” he walked away to the restroom and knocked. “Dad, are you in there?” He got no response and he pulled the door open and stuck his head in, the inner door was locked from the outside, meaning no one was in. “Dad?” He called, moving away from the restroom to another room which he believed should be his dad’s since he couldn’t remember much about where the rooms were located, it’s been too many years since he had a tour Here. He opened the door and it was empty, he turned to head to another room when he heard soft whimpers from the balcony.. He slowly moved to it and stood at the door, he saw Pablo sniffing repeatedly, his eyes were w€t and his palm held a picture, which got squeezed as his body trembled.
“…that’s what you’ve always wanted Norita, for us to be a family again. I’m glad I’m at the brink of getting your last wish fulfilled. I was just too emotional back there sweety, I miss you so much” he sniffed then smiled at the picture which Maurice was sure now, was his mother.
“I’m not sure yet but I think Maurice is beginning to accept me, we’ve started getting close like father and son even without me revealing what happened that night, he doesn’t know about the real cause of your death but he’s getting to accept me, I can feel it Nora, just like you’ve always wanted it to be-
“Dad?” Maurice called, his voice emotional as his father’s last statement struck his heart. Pablo stilled and turned, he turned back again, trying fruitlessly to hide his tears and the picture in his hand.
“Maurice wh– I mean what–
“What else happened that night?” He asked, moving from the door to his dad who was visible shaken.
“I heard it all, every single thing so don’t think of hiding anything dad.
How did mom die? You said she drowned in the pool. That’s not it right?”
Pablo sighed and slowly shook his head negatively.
“What happened to her? How did she die?” He asked but Pablo kept mute.
“Answer me dad!” He shrieked, and Pablo sighed again.
“She died trying to find you,” Maurice shifted at the revelation..
“That night after you ran away from home when I scolded you for getting a B in your test. Nora had been diagnosed with a cancer few days back and she had few months left to stay, she didn’t want you and Joliet to know about it..
We had a fight after you ran and Nora ran after you, I was too angry at myself to follow.. I couldn’t stop cursing myself for hating you so much then, I was mad about the fact that I’d be losing my wife soon I just had to put the blame on something and I chose you” he paused and sniffed, holding the tears back. Maurice face was etched all over by sadness.
“Then it started raining and I remembered the doctor talking about how cold weathers could trigger a sick patient. I had to follow you guys, it was late and I couldn’t see anything but I didn’t give up, the rain torrents was getting higher by each minute that passed, I cried and prayed that nothing happened to her but I guess I prayed too late.. She was on the floor when I found her, completely drenched in the rain and half-d-dead,” Pablo paused and cried, Maurice wiped a tear and sniffed. His mother had died because of him, because he ran away from home.. Why was he too angry?
Why didn’t he stay?
He had known Pablo hated him for no reason, he knew about Pablo complaint of little careless things that he did so why didn’t he just ignore him or apologize and walk out on it.. Why did he have to run.
That harmless run had killed his mother..
“I was able to take her home and drive her to the hospital,” he sniffed “And on her dying bed she made me promise her to never tell you that you were the reason she was like that, she didn’t want you to blame yourself for anything. She also made me vow to treat you like family and take you as my son.. You know how she is. I had to agree to it. The doctors couldn’t do anything to save her, I credited all i had to them, every single dime to save her but they couldn’t. Sh-she died. She died right in front of me and I couldn’t do anything…” He started crying again and Maurice went to him “I watched her die Maurice. It was my fault–
“No dad, it isn’t.
“I watched her die Maurice, I watched her breath her last breath and I didn’t do anything to save her”
“That’s because you couldn’t. Mom died because of me dad..
“No Maurice I-I couldn’t do anything”
Maurice hugged him.
“If I hadn’t run away then maybe, maybe mom would still be here. I’m sorry Dad,” he said, Pablo sobbed softly. “All this while I accused you, I disliked you for something I did.. I insulted you Dad because I thought you killed mom. I’m sorry for everything”
“No son, it’s me who should be apologizing.. I’ve hurt you too in the past, I’ve been mean and wicked to you. Since I knew that I became impotent after we had Joliet, I just couldn’t accept you when Nora took you in, I wanted us to have our own children.. That came from us, has our blood flowing through his vein and our traits. I’m sorry son” he said and Maurice tightened the hug.
“I’m sorry too. Dad”
The atmosphere got emotional and when they pulled away they hugged again and pulled away, Pablo wiping his teary face. “I’m glad we’ve finally settled our differences. I love you son”
“I love you too Dad” they smiled at each other. “Now let’s go back in before the ladies start getting worried” he said and Pablo chuckled.
Lunch was over and they had dessert, a rich chocolate. Joliet and Bella assisted the maids in clearing the table and they played a poker game after.. Bella learnt it and joined, she got the lead twice and was cheered.
Maurice drove her home since Joliet was staying the night with Pablo.
Somehow after the whole confession and forgiving moment Maurice felt peaceful within him. He could freely admit how much he had missed a father figure and how glad he is that they’re back to normal. He could imagine his mother’s smiling face flashing at them and he had no doubts that Pablo was happy too.
They got into the house and after changing went to the pool to relax into the evening breeze. Bella head was rested on his chest and their feet was stuck into the waters.
“I’m happy you’re in good terms with your dad now” Bella said. “I noticed your reactions all through the rest of lunch. I knew there had been some transformation when you both took excuses from lunch” she said, as if answering his question.
“I’m happy about it too”. He replied her, caressing her hair.
“Oh right! I have something to give you” she said and stood up, “wait here” she said and walked into the house. She came back minutes later with a gift box, wrapped with a gift wrapper. She sat back beside him and handed it to him, he took it with struck brows from her and started loosening the knot that bound it. He tore the wrapper and took out the large box, he opened it and his eyes grew wide when he took out the new armani sweatpants and shirt juggled up in a transparent nylon. He looked at Bella questioningly. “Is this for me?” He asked and she nodded.
“I wasn’t sure about what you’d like but I was told that’s the newest brand, so I chose it. Happy birthday Maurice, I know this is coming at the wrong time, I should’ve done it days ago but during that time we were apart from each other and I was mad at you. I hope you don’t mind me doing it now. I wish you happiness and every good thing in the world. Sorry it’s coming pretty late”
“Wow,” Maurice checked out the clothes. “It’s really nice. Thank you” he said. Then turned to her.
“Permit me to ask but how were you able to get this, I mean —
“The money?” Bella completed for him and he nodded, she scoffed “I worked for it. Those times when I leave early and come home late, that was because I was working. I worked as a waitress for Patty and she paid me” she said and he smiled.
“But how did you know about my birthday date? I don’t remember mentioning it to you”
“Dad Pablo told me about it. I wanted to get you a present too so I had to work to get money for it”
“You’ve been working from daytime till night because you wanted to get me a present?” He asked, unbelievably and Bella nodded.
“You used all your earns to get me this?” He said, still not believing what he was hearing and Bella nodded.
“But why? I’m sure they’re many things you could’ve used the money to get for yourself, why did you use it for me?” He asked, his voice soft.
“Because you’ve been the one doing everything for me, I wanted to do something for you too, because I wanted to show you that I can do some thing too without your help and because you’re special to me” she answered and his heart melted at her words.
He is special to her?
He took a small card in the box and opened it, it had written words and few drawing designs and he read them.. The amiable words made him smile and at the end it had ‘From Bella to the one dearest in my heart, Maurice’ his smile deepened and turned to soft chuckle as he faced her.
“I’m not really good at writing love letters, you can throw it away if it’s bad” she said, blushing.
“I didn’t say it’s bad”
“Then why are you laughing at it, It took me so much time to write”
“I wasn’t laughing at it” he said.
“Then why were you laughing?” She asked, her arms folded across her chest. Maurice put the gift aside and shifted to Bella, pulled her close to him, rested her head on his chest and inhaled the smell of her hair.
“I’m just really happy for having you in my life. I’m happy seeing you right here with me and knowing that I’ll still keep on seeing you daily” he said. “I love you Bella” he said that Bella smiled in ectasy before pulling away and looking at him. “I love you too Maurice” she said “very very much” she added and he chuckled before leaning in and engaging his lips on hers and they kissed under the moonlight.
Who else wishes to have this kind of love?
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