Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Chapter 1.4: Unexpected Consequences

Several days after Gustave left Evelyn started to realise that something was wrong. She was constantly nauseous and tired. The mere sight of food only served to make her more nauseous. When the nausea didn’t go away after a week, she knew it was time to buy a certain product at the pharmacy, if only to confirm her suspicions.
They were. It seemed that her and Gustave’s actions on the last night of his vacation yielded some unexpected results. She was pregnant.
Her mind kept drifting the entire day after she found out about her condition. She knew she had to let Gustave know, but a large part of her was afraid. How would he react? Would he support her? Or would he cut away completely, refusing to have anything to do with her (or their child)? She knew he wouldn’t move to Sunset Valley to be with her – his job was too important – just like she wouldn’t move to Champs Les Sims. For the first time in her life, she was completely independent, never having to worry about meddling relatives trying to influence her life. If she moved to Champs Les Sims, his relatives might want to meddle in her and her child’s lives. She couldn’t do it.

As time passed and she became visibly pregnant, she knew she couldn’t postpone calling Gustave any further. She gathered her nerves and punched his number into the phone, finally calling him.
A few terse seconds later, he finally answered the phone.
“Hi. It’s me,” Evelyn said nervously, her heart beating in her chest as she mentally reviewed what she was going to tell him. “I need to tell you something.”
“Sure. What is it?”
Evelyn stared numbly out of the window as the dreaded words crossed her lips.
“I’m pregnant.”
A tense silence followed her words as she waited for his reply. After a long moment she couldn’t take the silence any longer.
“Please Gustave, just say something,” she begged. Another short silence followed before he finally replied.
“Uhm, I, uh…well, wow,” he stammered, a shocked tone in his voice. “I don’t know what to say. Are you sure?”
Evelyn scowled slightly at his words. Seeing as she was the one who was steadily getting bigger and fatter, she was pretty sure that yes, she was pregnant.
“Yes Gustave. I’m sure,” she told him flatly. Another silence followed her statement.
“Uhm, okay then. Listen, can we talk about this later? I need some to time to think about it,” he told her. 
 “Fine,” she snapped. “Do what you want.”

“Evelyn, please. Just give me some time,” he requested. “I just need to think about what’s going to happen next. I won’t abandon you in this, I promise. We’ll get through this, together,” he reassured her. Evelyn hesitated for a second before her face relaxed as she accepted his words.
“Okay. We’ll talk later then,” she promised.
A couple of days later, Gustave finally called back. Evelyn was at the library, reading a pregnancy book when the call came. She closed the book and stared numbly in front of her for a second before answering the phone, dreading Gustave’s answer.
It turned out that she had been worrying over nothing. As she had expected, Gustave wouldn’t move to Sunset Valley to be with her, but he wanted to be a part of his baby’s life as much as he could. They exchanged promises to visit the other as often as possible, so that their child could experience both of the cultures he or she was going to be a part of as much as possible.
Time passed as normal for Evelyn. She went to work, spent time with her friends and gradually started to prepare her house for its new occupant that was scheduled to arrive within a couple of months. She and Gustave spent hours on the phone, discussing possible names for the baby who they had since discovered was going to be a girl. All in all, life had settled into an easy rhythm for Evelyn.
That is, until an unexpected call from her brother disrupted her rhythm.
“Kyoko, I’m sorry. I couldn’t stop her,” her brother babbled over the phone the moment she answered, causing Evelyn to frown in confusion.
“What are you going on about?” Evelyn asked, trying to get clarification. Her brother hesitated a second before answering her.
“Mother. She managed to find out where you are. I tried to stop her, but…well, you know how stubborn she is. We’re on our way to you right now. I’m coming with her so that you don’t have to face her on your own,” Takuo explained.
Evelyn’s eyes widened in dread.
“No! She can’t come here! She’s going to ruin everything I’ve worked for!” Evelyn exclaimed in horror. It couldn’t be happening; not when she had finally managed to create her own life completely free of her mother’s influence.
“I’m really sorry Kyoko. I did try to stop her, but she would hear nothing of it. I only now managed to let you know. We’ll probably arrive in about an hour, so best prepare yourself,” he suggested. “Anyway, I got to go now, but I’ll see you soon,” he told her and hung up. Evelyn remained standing with the phone against her ear for a moment, staring at the air in front of her in horror. Her biggest fear had come true: her mother was going to try and interfere in her life again.
A couple of hours later, Evelyn’s doorbell rang. She stared at the door in dread for a couple of seconds before taking a deep breath, trying to gain courage. She fixed a neutral expression on her face before opening the door, revealing the person she wanted to see the least of all: her mother.
“Kyoko,” her mother greeted coldly. “Are you going to invite me in or are you just going to stand there?”
For a moment, just a moment, Evelyn stared at her mother. She seriously contemplated refusing the woman entrance into her house until she noticed her brother looking at her from behind their mother. She sighed heavily before moving away, allowing her mother access into her house.
Her mother cast her glance over the objects in the house, inspecting them and clearly finding them lacking before turning her attention to Evelyn. She stared at Evelyn with scorn and disappointment in her eyes.
“After everything I’ve done for you over the years, this is how you repay me,” Evelyn’s mother sneered. “You throw away my teachings, ignore my lessons and you abandon your morals,” the woman accused Evelyn with contempt on her face, causing Evelyn to scowl in anger.
“I did not abandon my morals!” Evelyn objected angrily.
Her mother sniffed disdainfully in reply.
“Then where is your husband? Why wasn’t I notified of the wedding?” Evelyn’s mother interrogated her. “I wasn’t notified because there wasn’t one in the first place!”
The scowl on Evelyn’s face deepened.
“So what if I’m not married?” Evelyn questioned. “It has nothing to do with you! This is my life!”
“You are with child and unmarried!” Evelyn’s mother retorted and pointed at Evelyn’s abdomen to emphasise her point. “You are a young lady who has never been married, yet you are defiled because you’ve been with a man!”
“So I slept with someone!” Evelyn agreed, throwing her hands in the sky. “So what? I told you, Mother, this is my life. It has absolutely nothing to do with you.”
“On the contrary, Kyoko,” the woman disagreed. “I am your mother. It has everything to do with me.”
Evelyn stared coldly at her mother, the scowl still firmly fixed in place.
“It’s Evelyn, Mother. My name is Evelyn. I changed it,” she interrupted the woman before she could continue her rant.
Hesitation slipped across the woman’s features for a split second before anger and indignation replaced it.
“You dare deny the name I gave you? You dare deny your heritage?” Evelyn’s mother enquired indignantly. “You would throw away generations of familial history just to get your way?”
Evelyn stared at her mother with a cold expression on her face.
“Yes Mother. I would, if that means I can escape your meddling.”
The argument escalated quickly after that until Evelyn’s brother intervened, preventing the argument from escalating into a full-blown fight. Evelyn’s mother turned around indignantly before stalking away, muttering angrily beneath her breath.
“I really am sorry,” Evelyn’s brother apologized. “I tried everything I could to stop her, but she would hear nothing of it.” Evelyn shook her head in response.
“It’s okay, Takuo. I know how she is. Thank you for trying, at least,” she replied, causing her brother to smile in relief.
“So when’s the due date?” Takuo asked after glancing at Evelyn’s tummy. Evelyn smiled and laid a hand on her swollen abdomen.
“Next month,” she replied. “I’m a bit nervous, but really excited.” Takuo smiled in response to her enthusiasm.
“It’s great being a parent,” he agreed. His own children had recently reached the dreaded stage of toddlerhood. Evelyn had often babysat them when she had still lived in her mother’s house.
They talked about small inconsequential matters for some time until their mother stalked back and curtly told Takuo that they were leaving. Takuo offered Evelyn an apologetic smile and hug before joining their mother and leaving the house.

Evelyn was sad to see her brother leave, but she was still glad. If she had to see her mother anytime within the next couple of years it would be way too soon. She just hoped that her mother would leave her and her baby alone, now that the woman knew of Evelyn’s pregnancy.
She had had enough of people meddling in her life.