Posts tagged “husband

Sanctuary, Chapter 32

Posted on 17/08/2017

Clement rolled his eyes as Bart’s laugh carried on longer than appropriate. He cast him a quelling glare that had his older brother finally ease off the laughter. “You done?” he drawled, not the least bit amused.

Bart dropped a hand on Clement’s shoulder and flashed a cavalier smile. “Not even close.”

Clement tossed an exasperated glance to the flight listings. “I don’t even know why I invited you here.”

“I just think it’s funny how you gave me such a hard time about Geri and you think I’m gonna let you off the hook now.” He nudged his younger brother. “Besides who else would keep you company on this drive?”

“I’ve driven to the airport by myself many times.” He glanced at Bart askance. “Can’t I greet my woman alone? Is that too much to ask?”

“Not at all… but then I distinctly recall saying the same thing and everyone ignoring me to go escort my woman from the airport while I was forced to stay at home.”

“To prepare for your proposal. And it was only a few months. I haven’t seen Karen in six months.”

“I could argue that’s your fault for sending her away.”

Clement sighed deeply, acknowledging his part to play in the prolonged separation. Bart patted his brother’s shoulder. “Your waiting is over. Does she have any idea what you’re planning?”

He didn’t answer, focused on the group of passengers exiting the arrival gates. Spotting Karen right away, a grin formed and he waved, moving toward her. She looked like sunshine in her yellow sundress and braids swinging as she rushed to meet him.

Catching her by the waist, Clement lifted her in his arms. A smiling Bart hung back, watching his brother and his girlfriend openly express how much they’d missed each other. Karen showered Clement’s face with kisses and Bart chuckled, marveling that this brother had once professed to remain a bachelor for life.

Love certainly had a way of changing a man’s plans. A good thing, in his opinion. His gaze shifted to the couple standing behind Karen and he smiled, stepping forward with a hand out. “You must be Mr. Wells. I’m Bart, Clement’s older brother.”

The man dragged his stare from his daughter to the man standing before him. A wistful smile twitched his lips as he returned the handshake. “Nice to meet you. Call me Gabriel. And this is my wife, Deidre.”

“Good to meet you both,” Bart said, giving Karen’s mother a smile. “I assure you, he’s not always this rude.” He cleared his throat and patted Clement’s back. “Junior, ease up.”

Clement lowered Karen to her feet and glanced over, realizing belatedly that her parents accompanied her. Releasing Karen’s waist, he moved to her parents. “I’m sorry about…that.”

Deidre looked more amused than her husband and tugged Clement into a hug. “Any man that greets his woman like that’s a winner in my eyes. Maybe Gabriel can learn a thing or two.”

“Dee…” Gabriel tossed his wife a warning look she ignored.

Bart gave Karen a hug. “Welcome back to Ethiopia.”

Karen acknowledged Clement’s older brother with a beaming smile. “Thanks Bart. You weren’t jetlagged?”

“Not really. We’ve been busy getting acquainted with everyone at the church.” He turned back to Karen’s parents. “I can assure you Karen’s in good hands. Junior and the guys have prepared a nice suite for you.”

Gabriel and Deidre smiled, albeit strained. They still battled over their second daughter being so far away from home. Gabriel draped an arm around his wife’s shoulders.

“I can’t wait!” Karen exclaimed, tucking an arm under Clement’s. Her parents glanced once at each other. It was plain to see what made their daughter overjoyed and excited for the first time in a long time. This man and this place were the source of her joyful smiles and longing sighs.

“Also, Karen, allow me this opportunity to thank you for saving my bro from bachelor—” Bart grunted when Clement ribbed him in the side. “Okay, yeah… l’ll go get your bags.”

Gabriel exchanged a look with Clement before steering his wife in the same direction as Bart’s, leaving the couple alone. Karen giggled as Bart gave Clement a thumbs-up before he ushered her parents toward the baggage claim. “I forgot how funny he was.” She gazed up at Clement. “I’m excited to see everyone. Not more than you, of course.” She lifted a hand to his cheek. “I missed you like crazy, you have no idea.”

“I think I do,” Clement brushed a kiss on her palm. “Only Abe, Geri and Bart are here. The children stayed behind with the rest.” Clement steered her toward the baggage claim. “How are your siblings?”

“Bummed they couldn’t come. Sammy kept whining about it until we had to board the flight.”

He smirked. “Same with Darah. She made us swear to let her visit once she weans Anwar.”

“We’ll have a vacation for everyone once we’re settled…” She paused, sneaking a look at him. Her boyfriend’s expression was distant as if his attention was on anything but what she just said. Karen didn’t complain, content to finally be with him again. Six months was too long a separation, even if it was necessary.

After the first few calls from Clement and some groundwork on her part, her parents grew supportive about her move to Ethiopia. The months flew by, and her time with family and friends seemed too short. Clement was supportive and understanding, allowing her to cry and whine throughout the grueling process of breaking her lease and moving her things back up. Tying up loose ends would’ve been more painful than it was, and having Clement in her ear and on her mind made it easier. Their prayers late at night and early in the mornings were something she looked forward to. His love and respect for God strengthened hers also.

Overcome with love for her man, Karen squeezed his hand. “You shaved again. Did you miss me?”

Clement glanced down with a smile, showing he was listening after all. “That’s not even a question.” His gaze shifted and Karen turned to see Bart dragging two suitcases. Her parents trailed behind with theirs.

“Is this all you’ve got?” Bart asked, a furrow in his brow. “Your entire life fit in two bags?”

“Mom’s got one of my bags. Besides, a missionary doesn’t need much. Right Babe?”

“Right,” Clement echoed, a proud smile on his face.

Bart snorted. “Alright, Mrs. Missionary. Let’s get going. Everyone’s waiting to see you.”

She watched as Clement relieved her parents of their luggage and followed his brother outside. Giving her parents an assured smile, Karen tucked her arms under theirs and walked with them outside. She was happy.

Thanks to both Darah and Samina, she had imagined Clement waiting for her at the arrivals gate on bended knee, holding a diamond ring. Seeing him with Bart was not exactly how she’d envisioned their reunion after six months but just the sight and the feel of him was enough to dispel the initial disappointment.

A day later, Karen stared gobsmacked at Clement kneeling before her. She barely register the ring box. Tears pooled in her eyes and her tongue was stuck to the roof of her mouth.

Clement took her shocked silence in stride and reached for her hand. “I love you, Karen, and I don’t want to be parted again. Be my partner in life and service. Marry me?”

“Say yes!” Geri and Wubit called out, and laughed together. The Bichena orphans chanted the same words.

Karen laughed shakily as she looked with blurry eyes at her parents, Clement’s brothers and sister-in-law, and even the Bichena church community. Abe and Bart waved their phones, revealing that the proposal was livestreaming to the rest of the family overseas. She squinted at one screen, spotting a beaming Samina. The other was of Darah and Phoebe, cheering silently.

Clement tugged on her hand to get her attention. “So will you?”

“Of course,” Karen said easily and watched as he stood. She let him embrace her and the tears fell.

He leaned back and wiped her tears. “Today?”

Karen paused. “What?”

“Will you marry me today?”

Her mouth dropped open and she really looked at him, realizing only now that he was wearing a navy suit and she a white floral tea-length dress. She gasped and smacked a hand to her mouth. Everyone cheered.

Karen sought her parents, gaze settling on her teary-eyed mother and smiling father. “Guys…”

Gabriel stepped forward, looking dashing in his formal attire. “Ready to get married, my Princess?”

“Daddy…” Karen burst into tears, realizing that it’d all been planned. Her heart soared with joy amid the cheering and jubilating. She was getting married today!

Clement encircled her waist. “Ready?”

“Been ready six months ago,” Karen said, earning laughs and giggles from their family and friends. She only had eyes for Clement. “I can’t believe you planned this behind my back. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“Let the festivities begin!” Bart called out and everyone cheered as the couple embraced once again.

Dula presided over the ceremony, giving a brief message on the blessed gift of marriage from God to man. She felt the gentle squeeze of Clement’s hand around hers and marveled at how blessed she was to have met and fallen in love with such a man.

“If there be any among us who doesn’t think these two be wed, speak now or forever hold your peace…” Dula smiled at the worried look on Karen’s face. “Priscilla sends her congratulations.”

Karen let out an audible sigh of relief and could’ve sworn Clement choked on a laugh. She pinched his hand but kept her face forward.

“Keep going, Pastor!” Geri called behind them and both Clement and Karen chuckled along with their guests.

Dula nodded. “By the power vested in me by the constitution of the Federal Democratic Repub…” He paused when Clement cleared his throat and smirked. “Under God our Father and Creator, I now pronounce you man and wife. Mr. Clement Teka, you may now kiss your bride.”

Their family and friends, both present and via Wi-Fi, cheered as Clement gathered Karen in his arms.

Five months later.

Eleazar set his bags on the stone floor and scanned the humble furnishings of his older brother’s living room. Noticing the wedding frame propped on the cabinet, he studied it closely.

Half the family attended the impromptu wedding ceremony. He couldn’t since his passport hadn’t processed by then. Eleazar suspected Abe purposefully delayed finding his birth certificate in time.

The door opened and a bearded stranger stepped inside with a welcoming smile. “You must be Eli, the little brother.”

Travel-worn and hungry, Eleazar merely arched a brow.

“I’m Dula,” the man continued. “A good friend of Brother Clement. Did you enjoy the ride over here?”

“It was decent,” Eleazar answered, looking past him at the open doorway. “Where is my brother?”

“He’s… out.”

Eleazar arched a brow at the slight hesitation. “When is he coming back?”

It was already suspicious that Clement had sent another bearded stranger to meet him at the airport, and even that one named Ejigu, gave him a roundabout answer of his brother’s absence.

He squinted when Dula silently shrugged in response. “And you don’t know when he’s coming back?”

“It’s… hard to say. It’s been two days, but that’s normal.”

“Okay…” Eleazar frowned. “What about my sister-in-law?”

“She’s… out also.”

Just then, a girl stepped around Dula, carrying a bottle of cold water and a bowl of popcorn.

“This is Eddie,” Dula gestured to the girl. “She lives and works with us here at the church.”

She flashed Eleazar a welcoming smile and approached the table in front of him. Eleazar watched as she set down the refreshments, flashed him another smile and retreated from the room. Dula eyed him openly.

Face burning, Eleazar feigned nonchalance. “So are they together at least?”

“Your brother and sister-in-law? Oh yes, they’re always together when they go out.”

His brow furrowed. “And you don’t know where they are or when they’ll be back?”

“Nope.” Dula gestured to the snacks. “Why don’t you refresh yourself while my wife makes your dinner? Hopefully they will be home this evening.”

Eleazar warily eyed the man before lowering to his seat and reaching for the bottle of water. Gulping down the refreshing liquid, he continued his open perusal of the bungalow.

“We expanded the living quarters before your brother got married,” Dula said as Eleazar attempted to read the Amharic print on one of the snack bags. “Then we built this left wing for him and Sister Karen just a few months ago. And then he told us you were coming to visit for a month or so.”

Eleazar paused at opening the snacks. Although he’d agreed to stay just a month, he hoped Clement would let him stay longer. He couldn’t go back home now, not when—

A door slammed outside and Dula smirked wryly. “That must be your brother now.”

Eleazar shot to his feet as his brother and wife stepped inside and beside Dula, both covered in dirt and grass with their clothes disheveled and frayed. He gaped openly at them, not knowing what to say first.

Unfazed, Clement smiled in welcome. “You’re here.”

“Hi Eli.” Karen grinned through the grime on her face. “Welcome to our humble abode. Salam, Dula.”

Salam,” Dula answered, amusement clear in his tone. “Although I think you scared the boy to silence.”

“Oh right. Eli, we’ll chat later. Uh, Dula, could you help me and Ejigu with something outside…”

“How many do you bring this time?” Dula asked, following her out through the door.

Once the two exited the room, Eleazar turned to Clement with a frown. “Did you go mud sliding?”

Clement chuckled. “You don’t know the half of it.” He gestured for his brother to sit. “How was your flight?”

“Decent,” Eleazar sat down and noticed the glint of Clement’s wedding ring. “Congratulations again.”

“Thanks,” Clement perched on a chair, regarding Eleazar openly. “What’s the plan for your month here?”

Eleazar shrugged, reluctant to divulge his plans just yet. “Not much. Maybe chill and relax. See the sights.”

“Sights? Chill?” Clement smirked, not buying it one bit. “Hate to break it to you but Bichena is not a chill-and-relax type of place. And you forget I know you better than anyone else. What’s really going on?”

“I’m serious. It’s just for a break.” Eleazar shoved popcorn into his mouth.

Deciding he had time to figure out why his youngest brother sought refuge a thousand miles from home, Clement nodded. “Fine.” He smacked his palms on his thighs and stood. “Let’s get you settled in first.”

“Aren’t you gonna take a shower first? You smell horrible.”

“After we eat. I’m starved.” He slung an arm around his brother’s neck and tugged him toward the exit.

Eleazar wrinkled his nose but let his big brother lead him out to the adjoined living area where Karen, Dula and the tour guide Ejigu awaited them. They turned toward him and Clement froze. Eleazar stopped also, noting of their worried expressions. Karen looked especially conflicted as her eyes darted between Clement to Eleazar. Taking a hint, Eleazar turned to Dula. “Mind showing me the kitchen? I’m starved.”

“Okay!” Dula said with a bright smile. His gaze flitted over the couple and back at Eleazar. “Let’s go eat.”

They waited until both exited the room. Then Ejigu turned to Clement. “Ashon just called, he needs backup.”

Clement’s stomach flipped. They just came back. “Where?”

“East of Debre,” Karen replied. “He sighted someone resembling Petra at another auction. But Eli just got here. How do we explain leaving again?”

He frowned down at her flat stomach. “We are not leaving. You’re staying and I’m—”

“You got to be kidding me.” She scowled. “I already told you I’m not leaving you—”

“I’ll go,” Ejigu smiled when they looked at him. “Sister can’t go in her condition—”

“So I’m the last one to know my wife is pregnant?” Clement frowned at Ejigu. “What were you thinking not telling me about this? You knew and kept quiet, knowing it was dangerous.”

Ejigu held up both hands. “I was sworn to secrecy.”

“Way to go throwing me under the bus, Ejigu.” Karen rolled her eyes. “Relax. I was careful.”

“Careful is staying home and taking care of yourself and our baby.”

Ejigu cleared his throat, uncomfortable as always when they argued in front of him. “I’ll tell Brother Ashon that I am coming. We will take care of it. You two stay low and spend time with your brother.”

Karen placed a hand on Clement’s arm, silencing his protest. “Let them do it this time. They can handle it.”

“And you’ll be careful,” Clement said firmly to Ejigu. “Don’t do anything stupid this time.”

Something akin to regret flashed in Ejigu’s eyes and he nodded solemnly. Clement warily eyed his friend’s barely-healed arm from the gunshot and nodded. “When will you leave?”

“As soon as I get two servings of Wubit’s porridge,” Ejigu grinned and walked out to join the others.

Karen turned Clement to face her and framed his face between her hands. “Don’t worry. They’ll be fine.”

“I know.” His eyes moved over her face, his expression remorseful. “Sorry for freaking out earlier.”

She smiled, love shining in her eyes. “It’s my fault. I should’ve told you even if you’d make me stay behind.”

“At least you know.” He brushed a thumb over her mouth, silencing her protest. “You’ve made me a happy man, Karen.” He pulled her into his arms. “Happy and blessed.”

“You and me both, Babe,” Karen said as she leaned into him, content in his embrace.

– The End –

<<Chapter 31 || Story Page>>

Lighthouse, Chapter 5

Posted on 20/04/2016

In silence, Bart and J.R. watched the construction workers standing in front of the overpass, Geraldine gesticulating as she instructed them on the new changes.

When a couple of the construction workers saluted Geraldine before turning back to their duties, Bart smirked. “Glad I didn’t make the mistake of demanding that she become a housewife. This is what she does best, bossing folks around.”

“You two have a good partnership,” J.R. agreed, watching Geraldine pause to speak with another construction worker.

“Not to mention she looks good in jeans.” Bart nudged J.R.’s shoulder. “It’s all thanks to you.”

J.R. glanced at his friend, wishing Bart would stop referring to the past. Any lawyer could’ve helped Geraldine escape her wicked ex in-laws; his involvement wasn’t all that special. He shrugged. “It’s nothing. Just did my job.”

“I meant this. She’s kept me awake every night, going over the blueprints.” Bart grunted. “There are three occasions a man’s woman looks the most beautiful. The wedding day, the day she gives birth and when she’s doing what she loves. I thank you, my friend.”

J.R. smirked. “I wouldn’t know about all that…”

“You would if you stopped chickening out. You’re the only brother-in-law we’d accept.”

J.R. refrained from rolling his eyes. “Don’t start with this. Besides, doesn’t she have five years left?”

“If you’d make your decision soon enough, we’ll decrease her sentence.”

J.R. snorted but didn’t get to respond when Geraldine joined them on the top floor. He smiled in greeting since she’d been too busy earlier on. “Everything going well?”

“Yep.” Geraldine flashed him a grin. “We should be done with the lobby and kitchen by next week.”

Bart clapped a hand over J.R.’s shoulder. “That’s not an issue. Everything cool on your end?”

J.R.’s smile waned. “Yep, fine.”

“You say one thing yet your face says another, my friend.”

Geraldine’s brow furrowed in concern. “You haven’t told your dad, have you?”

J.R. sighed. “No.”

Bart shook his head and removed his hand. “He’s bound to find out that his only son’s building an immigration and refugee center. Better to tell him sooner than later.”

“Indeed.” Geraldine parked her hands at her hips. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

J.R. didn’t answer, predicting how badly his father would react if he caught wind of what his son was using his hard-earned money on.

Immigration was a sticky subject for his father who steered clear from the issue after several incidents involving their firm in the past, some explicitly noted and some not. After a few federal government investigations were done on his establishment, L.J. rejected any immigration cases from that day forth and began planning out J.R.’s career as an attorney and finally director of the law firm, hoping his son would be too busy with civil cases to feed his compassion for refugees or ‘illegal immigrants’.

“By the way, Darah’s home,” Geraldine’s voice pulled J.R. from his thoughts.

“For the weekend?” Bart drawled, scrolling through his phone.

Geraldine snuck a glance at J.R.’s face before smirking. “Nope, the summer and maybe even longer.”

Bart looked up in alarm. “Something happen?”

Thankfully Geraldine looked away before reading his expression. J.R. grew weary of maintaining nonchalance whenever Darah was mentioned, especially when he too worried about her.

“We’ll probably find out at dinner.” Geraldine’s gaze swung back to J.R. and he gave her a blank stare. Her lips twitched in amusement. “As always, you’re invited to come.”

As much as he wanted to see Darah, he shook his head. “Can’t.”

“Running away again?” Bart muttered beside him.

J.R. sighed. “Have to play host at home. My father’s got visitors from back home.”

Geraldine’s brows raised. “Oh really?”

J.R. nodded. “Maybe next time. But tell her I said hello.”

Bart snorted and Geraldine rolled her eyes. “Or you could tell her yourself. Call her.”

“She changed her number,” J.R. mumbled, though admittedly he’d only texted her once after their misunderstanding years ago.

“I’ll give the new number to you.”

J.R. tamped a sigh, wishing Geraldine would leave well enough alone. “Doubt she wants to talk to me.”

“You won’t know until you try calling her.” Geraldine nudged her husband. “Give him the number. Let me go check on the guys in the backyard.” She walked away before Bart could respond.

“I was like you once,” Bart remarked, his eyes watching Geraldine sashay across the open field. “Battled a boatload of conflicted feelings about that woman, and because I didn’t face them, face her, I lost her for a while.” His gaze shifted to J.R. “Don’t make the same mistake I made.”

J.R. frowned. “Why do you insist on me? What if she wants someone else?”

“You’re the best man for her.” Then Bart smiled and clapped a hand over his shoulder. “And if Darah doesn’t pick you, she’ll have to wait five more years before she has permission to marry someone else.”

J.R. watched in silence as Bart ambled in the same direction as his wife Geraldine, and his shoulders slumped. He didn’t deserve Bart’s confidence, not when he was too much of a coward to be with someone as brave and bold as Darah.

Hours later and J.R. wished he’d accepted Geraldine’s invitation to join them for dinner. He would rather face an irritated Darah and her meddlesome sisters-in-law than his own father.

Seated on a cushioned chair that felt like he sat atop rocks, J.R. maintained a pleasant expression in front of his father and guests; Dabir and his wife Jaswinder, and their only daughter Hana.

“So Raju,” Mr. Dabir finally spoke, the leather of the chair squeaking as he shifted in his seat. His dark eyes studied J.R. as if he was on an examining table. “Lalana tells me you are a director at the law firm.”

“Yes,” J.R. simply answered, feeling the weight of the women’s stares. He preferred Phoebe and Geraldine—at least he knew what was on their minds.

“It is my hope he will be able to take up my role,” L.J. interjected.

“But of course,” Dabir chuckled. “Although I’m still shocked that you retired.”

Bhaiyaa, you are too young to retire,” cooed Jaswinder.

Lalana’s eyes danced with mischief. “I can’t keep up with this generation. It’s time to step down and let them get the chance to lead.”

J.R. wondered at the truth of his father’s words, when dictating every aspect of his son’s life was his full-time job after retiring the law firm.

“I hear Hana is graduating top of her class,” L.J. continued, turning to the quiet girl seated between her parents. He gave her a gentle smile only reserved for her. “Have you decided what you will study?”

Hana dipped her head, the thick plaited ponytail sliding along her shoulder. “Internal medicine, Babuji.”

J.R. frowned at the endearment of her calling his father hers, saw the warmth of his father’s smile grow and Hana’s parents sneak a glance at each other. He stifled a groan.

And as if Hana heard him, her light-brown eyes peeked at him through thick lashes.

He stood abruptly, alerting the adults. “Can I get you tea?”

“Thank you, Beta…” said Dabir, referring to J.R. as his son.

J.R. nodded stiffly and rounded the couch for the kitchen without hearing what kind of tea they wanted. Closing the microwave door and tapping the start button, J.R. leaned against the counter and breathed out a shaky sigh.

What happened to letting him pick who he wanted to marry? Why couldn’t he dream of having a partnership like Bart and Geri or Abe and Phoebe? Could he really let his father pick a bride for him like he did a career?

The sound of shuffling feet behind him had J.R. look over his shoulder. Hana stood there, her hands folded in front of her. J.R. stifled yet another groan and arched his brows. “Did you need something?”

Her caramel eyes skittered from his face to the microwave behind him. Then her lips twitched as if holding back a smile. “Do you need help?”

J.R. shook his head. “Nope. I can make tea.”

“Uncle Lalana said I should help you.” Hana rounded the counter toward him.

‘Of course he did.’ He held back the thought, instead replying. “It’s fine. I’ve got it covered.”

“Oh?” She cocked her head slightly. “Do you know what type of tea my parents like?”

J.R. blinked. “I assumed they’d like the same as my dad.”

A slow smile lifted her lips and she shook her head. “That’s why I came to help. Relax, Bhaiyaa.”

Bhaiyaa was a term to mean ‘older brother’, and her off-handed use of the word should’ve set J.R.’s mind at ease. But that smile on her heart-shaped face and the knowing gleam in her caramel eyes made his stomach roll with apprehension.

Darah groaned over the toilet bowl after expelling what was left of the night’s dinner. She winced when Phoebe pounded her back. “Hold on…”

Phoebe’s hand stayed on her back, stroking in a soothing motion. “This is your third time tonight. What did you eat?”

“I only ate what you gave me.”

“No one else is sick—”

Darah dry-heaved into the toilet before letting out a wrought moan.

“This won’t do. We need to go to the hospital.”

Spent and disoriented, Darah sagged against the toilet. “Maybe it’s a delayed reaction. I did have some suspect burrito on campus days ago.”

Phoebe grunted as she handed Darah a cup of water to swish her mouth. “It doesn’t matter. You can get dehydrated while hurling your guts all night long. Get dressed.”

“It’s three o’clock in the morning, Phoebe,” Darah protested before gargling the water. She spat into the toilet and then flushed the contents. “I’ll try to sleep it off.”

When Phoebe didn’t answer, Darah snuck a glance at her and the deep frown on Phoebe’s face made her sigh. “Don’t worry. I’m sure it’s just food poisoning.”

“Well if this continues through the night, we’re going to the hospital. Got it?”

Darah nodded begrudgingly.

Phoebe sighed and held out a hand to help Darah stand. “I don’t know why you are like your brothers about hospitals.”

Darah didn’t answer, following her sister-in-law out of the bathroom. It was best she didn’t know why any of them hated hospitals. “Goodnight, Phoebe.”

“First thing in the morning, we’re going to the hospital. No protesting, got it?”

“That’s if I still feel badly,” Darah insisted, waving over her shoulder at her. “Goodnight.”

“… Goodnight.”

Entering Eleazar’s room, Darah leaned against the door. Her stomach was a jumbled mess and her throat felt raw from vomiting. She rubbed her belly and trudged to the twin bed. Even though he’d taken most of his clothes to his grandmother’s place, Eleazar’s scent lingered and made her miss him.

“At least call home, jerk…” she mumbled, climbing into his narrow bed.

At dinner, Abe seemed more subdued and his eyes drifted occasionally to Eleazar’s empty chair. Apparently J.R.’s presence was to detract Eleazar’s absence but even J.R. flaked, making the dinner a most awkward affair.

Darah’s lips twitched derisively. “Of course he’d flake… Jerk.”

To distract Abe and Bart from getting upset about Eleazar’s absence, Phoebe and Geraldine interrogated Darah about her sudden change of heart to live at home.

Her stomach turned violently and Darah shot off the bed and out the bedroom. She met Phoebe standing in the hallway with her arms folded.

Phoebe arched a brow. “First thing tomorrow.”

Nausea pushed up her throat and Darah slapped a hand over her mouth, nodding at her sister-in-law. Phoebe then stepped aside, clicking her tongue in disapproval as Darah rushed into the bathroom.

<<Chapter 4 || Chapter 6>>

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