Musings“Erm…” Jeff began clearing his throat while trying to think of the most appropriate answer to give, “it was supposed to be a surprise and we were planning to announce it over a bottle of champagne but since you’re already in on it and it’s causing so much confusion, I might as well announce it” he said looking to see if Lola was going to spoil things for him; luckily, she didn’t, she just continued to stare, wondering what he was about to say.
Lara had stopped tapping her feet on the ground by this time and was listening intently to what Jeff had to say. He studied her expression, she seemed to be buying his story so he continued, “you remember that course that Lola had been having so much difficulty with? The one she had to carry over that made you so worried she might not graduate?” Jeff asked, “yes, what about it?” Lara asked wondering what the link between Lola’s academic problems and the situation at hand could possibly be, ” well…she passed!” Jeff announced with all the enthusiasm he could fake “…And in flying colours too” he added with a smile to go with the good news, he could see the expression on Lara’s face changing from anger to happiness all at once, he knew he had her right where he wanted so he continued telling his cover up story with all confidence, “she shared the news with me when she returned home earlier today and we decided to break it to you in grand style. We were not sure how to do it until you suggested we go out for dinner and the opportunity presented itself; she actually sent the message to me so we could go to arrange with the waiters to bring champagne and sparklers while dessert was being served. It was all Lola’s idea, she said you’d be excited when you saw it and I thought it’d be a perfect way to end the night too” Jeff concluded looking to make sure Lola didn’t attempt to spoil his cover-up story.
“I’m sorry we ended up getting you upset instead of surprising you like we planned” he added trying to make Lara feel guilty, he knew Lara well enough to know that it would break her.
“Wow!” Lara began looking for the words to say, “I’m sorry for overreacting” she finally managed to say burying her face in her palms, “I feel so ashamed for the way I acted” she added looking round at her audience in embarrassment, “I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“it’s okay” Jeff said consoling her, “there’ll be better surprises ahead…..I guess we can have our dessert now, he said motioning to Lara and Lola to sit down at the table.
“We’d still like to have that bottle of champagne…” He said turning to face the waiter, “…but without the sparklers now” he added with a wink. “I definitely deserve a glass of champagne for that awesome performance” he thought to himself as he sat at the table with them.
Lola remained quiet throughout, she was still in awe of how Jeff handled the situation, she had been so scared of getting thrown out by her sister that she had blamed everything on Jeff without thinking, now she had to find a way to make up for what she had just done to him.
Jeff on the other hand, started avoiding her after the incident, he was unusually quiet on the drive back home; in fact, with the way he was being so anti-social, anyone meeting him for the first time could have concluded that he had an autism spectrum disorder, a condition that affects social interaction, communication and behaviour that usually starts in childhood. Children with this disorder usually have delayed speech or don’t speak at all, lack facial expression, don’t understand simple instructions, may be aggressive and usually play alone and show lack of interest towards other children their age. The disorder has no cure and usually progresses to adulthood although behaviour and communication therapy have proven to be helpful.
“Jeff you’ve been unusually quiet since we left the restaurant” Lara finally asked when she finished carrying out the bank transaction that had led to all the drama in the first place, by this time they were just few minutes away from home, “I’ve had a long day” Jeff replied, “all I want to do right now is go to bed”,
“you took the words right out of my mouth” Lara said, “I can’t wait to jump into bed” she said yawning, “thanks for an amazing night guys” she added, ” and sorry for almost ruining it totally.”
By the time Jeff finally drove into the house, she was so tired that she went to bed almost immediately, “I’m going to pour myself a glass of juice” Jeff shouted to her making his way to the kitchen while she climbed up the stairs, “I’ll be with you shortly”.
He knew deep down that he didn’t really need the glass of juice, he just wanted a few minutes to be alone to think about everything that had happened earlier that night, he kept thinking about how disastrous things could have turned out if it hadn’t been for his “fast thinking and smooth acting skills” as he liked to call them.
He still couldn’t understand why Lola had set him up at the restaurant, he had resolved not to ask her and made up his mind to have nothing to do with her after what she had done.
Almost as if reading his mind, Lola came down to the kitchen to join him some 10 minutes later. Jeff had gotten carried away just recapping the day’s events while he sat in front of the kitchen counter sipping his juice and was startled by Lola’s footsteps when she entered the kitchen; she had initially pretended to go to her room and waited till Lara had gone to bed before coming back down.
“You again?!” Jeff exclaimed picking his glass and heading out of the kitchen as Lola walked in, “please wait, I really need to talk to you” Lola said pulling him back into the kitchen”
“I have nothing to say to you” Jeff said yanking his arm out of Lola’s firm grip, “please just hear me out” she begged holding onto his shirt, “I didn’t mean to put you on the spot earlier today, I was just scared” she began, “really? And you thought pushing the blame to me and putting my marriage at risk was the best thing to do right?” Jeff hissed, “I was scared she would throw me out. I thought she had discovered about our secret love affair” She added.
“love affair?” Jeff asked looking confused, “what nonsense love affair?” He questioned looking disgusted, “what do you mean by that question? Are you saying what we have is just sex and nothing more?” Lola asked trying not to raise her voice, “yes that’s what it was” Jeff replied, “sleeping with you earlier today and the other day was a mistake that should never have happened” Jeff barked.
Suddenly, they heard a loud noise, it sounded like one of the doors slamming shut. “what was that sound?” Lola whispered, “I thought Lara was supposed to be sleeping?” She asked looking puzzled,
“Yes.. she’s….supposed to be asleep” Jeff stammered standing frozen against the kitchen counter and listening to see if he would hear footsteps coming from the staircase, “Not again! Not again!” Jeff panicked wishing the ground would open up to swallow him, “this can’t possibly be happening” he cried to himself, “what am I going to say to her this time? I don’t even know how long she has been listening for?” he thought, “Do you think she heard anything?” Lola whispered, “I don’t know” Jeff hissed, looking at the glass of juice in his hand like he wanted to smash it on the wall for causing his current dilemma, “I really hope not” he added, as they both fell silent thinking of how they were going to escape Lara’s wrath this time…