I wanted to meet my father, and Mel wanted to meet her mother. It was all arranged, we, of course, did not tell either of them what and why we were meeting at the restaurant Mel choose. Her treat she told me, I wanted to pay my way, but she knew I could not and told me next time. I nodded and waited the three days until we would meet. It was awful waiting. I could not sleep, I was tired, working and trying to act normal.
I opened my door to make my way to work the morning of the meetup, my mother said she would be there. I hurried to my car, wanting the day to be over so I could meet my father. Key in the ignition I attempted to start the car, but nothing happened, nothing. Had I left the lights on, was the battery dead? Or had the car simply died, I was not sure, but if it was dead, I had no money to replace it. My plans were ruined, and I would be late for work. It was all I needed, I had planned to pick my mother up, I had to, she may not come if I asked her to meet me there. I had to find a way, dare I ask Brad. I would take the bus to work, but my mother would not go on a bus.
I waited outside his office and inhaled sharply before knocking on his door.
“Morning,” he said. “Rents not due for another few weeks.
“I know, I need a favour.”
“I need you to drive me to my mothers and pick her so I can go and meet my father, and Mel can meet our mother. Would you please drive us?”
He picked up a book of the table, and flicked it to today’s date and narrowed his eyes.
“Don’t worry if you can’t I will find another way.”
“Naya, I, of course, will drive you, but can I ask what is wrong with your car?”
“I don’t know, it won’t start. Sorry, but I have to go catch the bus, thank you so much.”
“Okay. Just tell me when.”
It was sorted, all in place. I made my way to work, with a smile on my lips. I did not even mind riding on the bus. It made a change, and allowed my mind to wander, to him, and how attractive he was. I shook the thought from my head and changed it to meeting my father.
I arrived home hours later, the bus journey taking twice as long as the car journey. I knew I would have to leave earlier to get to work, as I had already been late to my morning job. The moment I entered my home, I kicked off my shoes and removed all my clothes until I was fully naked, and entered the shower, the water running down my body as I washed away the day.
I dressed to impress, wore my favourite outfit, one my mother approved off. Brad arrived on time to drive me to my mothers. I gave him directions and we were soon on our way. She climbed into the back of the car, telling me how nice the car was, better than the car I drove. I rolled my eyes; I did not dare tell her that my car was dead.
My mother rambled on; I did not deny or give her the impression that we were dating. Yet she implied it, if he understood, he did not once mention that he did. He drove the car to our destination. Brad pulled over and waited for us to climb out, my mother waited in the back, not moving. Was she waiting for me to open her door, it was then I realised she was expecting Brad to do it. I turned to face him, as he realised too, what my mother wanted. He climbed out and walked around the car, opened the door and helped my mother out, as I set to open my door, my mother insisted he did the same for me. She closed my door, almost trapping my foot if I had not snapped it back inside.
I held my breath as he opened my door and took my hand as he helped me out. His hand on mine sent electricity throughout my whole body. I snatched my hand back.
“I will pick you up later,” he said, as he went to lean behind me to close to the door, I misread the sign as his face brushed mine, something told me to kiss him on the cheek.
“I am sure you can do better than that, give her a proper kiss goodbye, and don’t be late, I will wait inside.”
“Don’t be shy Naya.”
My mother scuttled inside, I could see her watching from the doorway. Before I could say a word his lips were on mine, I responded, I did not want to, I should not have. He released me.
“Pick you up in a few hours, if you are not ready. I will be waiting right here.”
He nodded and ushered me towards the restaurant, the kiss had taken me by surprise, I was not expecting him to do it. It was of course for show, for my mother.
“He seems very nice.”
“He is, now come on before they give my table away.”
“Okay, okay, I am coming. I don’t know why you kept him a secret though, he is gorgeous.”
“It’s very new and I am not sure we are you know…”
“Don’t let this one go, he is a keeper, I saw the way he looked at you.”
I smiled and led her to the stand, told the woman behind it that I had a table booked for four. My mother’s face dropped.
“What is going on, Naya?”
“We are having lunch with old friends that’s all, a surprise.”
“You know I do not like surprises.”
“I know, and me either, but this one I…”
The waiter led us to the table and Mel and our father already sat at the table. Our parents looked at each other.
“What is this?” my mother began.
“I think you and him,” I said, pointing to my father. “Have some explaining to do, now sit, both of you.”
“I will not.”
Mel stood. “You will sit, you two have some explaining to do, now let’s order dinner.”
My mother sat, arms across her chest.
“We promised we would not tell them, you broke your promise,” my father started.”
“I never told her,” he insisted.
“Neither of you did and why not, why promise not to tell us, how cruel are you? I had a sister my whole life, a twin sister and you kept her from me, you had no right.”
“How dare you tell us we had no right?”
“Why?” I asked.
“You want the truth?” my mother said.
“Yes,” we said in unison.
“Fine, the truth.”
“You know as well as I do, Bert that I loved you, but you did not love me.”
“I cannot lie and say I did, maybe in the beginning, and there was no way we were going to stay together because you were pregnant. The idea of each of us taking a child to raise was your idea.”
“Yes, because you said you wanted nothing to do with us.”
“That I wanted you in our daughter's lives.”
Mel and I watched our parents as they spoke, watching with similar expressions on our faces.
“Because I wanted you to be part of their lives I decided, that it would be an idea if we took one each to raise. It was an idea that came to me, but never expected you to take me up on it. I expected you to say you would share taking care of them.”
“And I expected you to not allow me to do it, to take one of the girls.”
“You had a contract drawn up, saying once they were born I would never be allowed to contact you and Mel.”
“I did, but I never thought you would sign it. Mel, I agree in the beginning I did not want to be a dad, but the moment they laid you in my arms I loved you. I did not hold Naya, if I did I would never been able to walk away.”
“And I never held you, Mel, because just looking at you broke my heart, but it was done. We signed contracts, made a promise, it was done.”
“And you two agreed never to tell us?”
“We agreed on that, yes,” my mother said.
“Now we know, and we will be in each other's lives, no contract can keep us apart.”
“We never thought you would meet.”
“Worked out well for you didn’t it, because if we told you how you would not believe us.”
“Can you forgive us?” my mother asked.
“No,” we said in unison.