Against All Odds

Chapter One

Tamara was preparing to go out. She was under pressure from her parents to get married. According to them, she was ripe for marriage and was of no use being in her parent’s house at such an age. She was only 27. Three days back, her fiancé came to see her parents for a formal marriage introduction like he had promised. Her parents failed to appreciate the gesture despite them mounting up pressure on her to get married. They said he was not fit enough to be with because of the difference in their social status. They wanted someone with an equivalent status to them. It was for this same reason that Harrison decided to quit a relationship they had built for almost a year now.

What bothered her the most was the fate of their unborn child that only she knew of. She had kept it as a secret. She wanted it to be a surprise to Harrison after her parents gave them their consent. And as usual, they didn’t.

“Where are you off to at this time of the day?” Her mother asked her as she came down the staircase from her room.
“To see a friend,” she replied with a pale voice. The question irritated her. She had not come to terms with the embarrassment they had caused her before her fiancé. She wished she had the courage to stand against them in defence of her lover.
“You are just telling me now? What am I supposed to tell your father when he returns?” Her mother asked.
“You know what, I am sick and tired of the both of you trying to control my life every now and then. Must you be the one to decide what I do all the time? I am not a kid anymore,” she attacked with vengeance. The pain and agony she was going through since her breakup lit up the vehemence in her. Tamara’s heart was filled with hatred for her parents.

“Ooh, so you know you are a grown up now, is it? Are you just realizing that, huh, Tamara. Grown-ups are in their husband’s houses. Get married and move to your own house,” her mother replied harshly. She was angered by the fact that her own daughter now disrespected her. Before she said anything else, Tamara was gone.

As she drove to Vivian’s place, her mind was preoccupied with thoughts of not returning back home that day. Probably, she was never going back there, she needed a change of environment to clear off the ugly incidences that she had gone through the past few days. Even though she knew her parents would find her in the long run, she knew within herself that she was never going back home again.

“Vivian, truth be told. I am tired. What have I done to deserve this kind of rejection from my own parents, my own family! My mates are probably married or in healthy relationships that would eventually lead to marriage but here I am. Every time I take a man home it’s either one excuse or the other. Is it always about money and class all the time?” She wondered.

“To be honest I feel sorry for you. Harrison was a nice guy. He was doing just fine. At least he had enough to take care of you,” Vivian stated.
“Tell that to my parents. They will look at you on the face and say that is rubbish. I don’t know what they want. Is it them getting married to the men they keep rejecting or I am? These people should allow me make my own decisions,” she concluded.
“Maybe they want you to get married to the richest man on earth,” Vivian said jokingly. “After all they too are rich,” she affirmed.

“Please don’t give me that. I’m here going through the pain of my life and you are joking about it. Are you even ok?” She asked.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. But seriously, you need to do something about your parents. You are not growing any younger my friend. Before you know it you’ll get to 30 then no man will want to look at you. Remember women are like flowers, take advantage of this time when you still attractive,” she advised.
“Don’t worry I know what to do.”

“And Vivian, I don’t plan on ever going back to that house again. I hope you be of help to me now that I need your help the most. I don’t have anywhere else to look.”
“Don’t worry, you can stay here for as long as you want. What are friends for?” She reassured. “Have you…” before she could finish, someone knocked at the door. “Come in, the door is not locked,” she yelled.
The door flung open and to their surprise, Harrison walked in. Tamara stood up in surprise. She could not believe who she saw.

“Harrison, I am really sorry for what my parents said to you. Please, forgive me. I didn’t mean to embarrass you that way,” she pleaded.

“Tamara, I forgave you a very long time ago. I hold nothing against you at all.” He stated. “I heard clearly what your parents said and I know they want the best for you. A lot has changed after that encounter.”

“Thank you for your understanding,” she said and moved towards him. She wanted to embrace him but Harrison held her by her arms and stopped her.
“I’m sorry but I can’t continue with this. I came here for someone else.” He stated.

“What do you mean you are here for someone else, I don’t get you,” she said in disbelief.
“You see, since your parents didn’t consider me suitable enough for you I decided to move on with my life. I don’t want to be with you then someday your parents start harassing me. We all know what your father said that day and we all know as well that he was not joking. So, please, I advise you also move on with your own life. It’s never going to work between us without the support of your parents.”

“So this is it now, right? You are going to give up on us after all that time? Because you are scared of what my father will do? Is that it?” She asked angrily. “What happens to all the promises we made to each other, what happens to the love we shared, what happens to our unborn child?” She wondered.

“Wait! Wait! What do you mean our unborn child, I don’t seem to get you.” He asked anxiously. He was now beginning to get uneasy with the turnout of events. First, Tamara was not aware of his newly found status with Vivian. Now she claimed to be carrying his child when everything between him and Vivian was just beginning to fall into place.
“Are you asking me? I have never been with any other man apart from you.” She reaffirmed.

“Tamara, you mean you are pregnant?” Vivian asked in surprise.
“Yes, I’m carrying his child and now he wants to leave me all alone to take care of it. What is going…” “No! No! Let me understand one thing here, how come you didn’t mention this to me?” Vivian interrupted.
“I was going to…before he walked in.” She said in defence.

“Listen, if you think this is how you are going to pin me down, it won’t work. You go find the father to that unborn baby you’re carrying because I’m not.” Harrison stated although he knew deep down him she could be correct. But he did not want to bring to an end whatever he had started with Vivian.

“Harrison, what has gotten over you? Are you going to deny your own child because you want to be with another woman? Who is she anyway, huh! Who?” She asked.
“You want to know her? Well here she is,” he said as he moved towards Vivian. He held her by the shoulder as if presenting her. Tamara gazed in surprise. “What do you mean Vivian is now your girlf…she is my best friend.” Tamara could not come to terms with the fact that Harrison had chosen to go for her best friend just three days after their break-up. Vivian was tongue tied. She did not know on whose side to be. Tamara was her best friend. But she had longed for Harrison even when he was still Tamara’s fiancé. Now she had got what she ever wanted but everything seemed to crumble down from the very beginning.

“Vivian, is this true? I mean whatever he is saying? My own best friend? How could you?” She asked in disbelief. She reached for her handbag and left the house. She could not hold her tears anymore. Her visit to Vivian’s place was with the thought of getting support from her as a best her best friend. She felt like the whole world was against her.

Chapter Two

Several months had passed since the last incidence at Vivian’s place. Although the life she lived was not one she wished for her unborn child, she was happy to be at peace.
Earlier on when she had just turned a new page of her life, her mother had come to her house to plead with her so she could return home but she didn’t give in. She said she wanted a place of her own where nobody bothered her. A place where she would have peace. A place she now had.

Three years down the line, Tamara has been able to salvage her condition and now her life has turned around. One day while she was in her office, Harrison walked in. He had learnt of her whereabouts from a friend who equally directed him to her office. He was astonished to see her. She looked elegant.

“I must say you are looking good. And your office as well.” He said with a soft voice.
“Thank you. I appreciate your compliments but may I know what you are doing here please?” She asked politely. She was still getting to terms with her past and she wouldn’t condone anything that would remind her of it. Not even Harrison himself. His presence alone irritated her. She wished she had never met him.

“You know that girl Vivian? It never worked out for us. I came to realize she never loved me when she abandoned me at the day of our wedding.” Harrison said remorsefully.
“I am sorry but that does not in any way concern me. You chose what you thought was best for you, so I don’t see the need of you telling me about whatever transpired between the two of you. And for another time, may I know what brought you here? I have a lot that I need to attend to.” She stated. She was beginning to get angry at how Harrison reminded her of her past. The more he kept talking about it, the more she hated him for what he did to her.

“I’m sorry if I offend you but, how is our baby doing? It’s been long. She or is it he should be about 3 years now..?”
“So you don’t even know the gender. Harrison, leave my office. I can see you don’t have anything meaningful to say. Please leave.” She ordered. She got up from her desk and walked towards the door, opened it and signalled him out. She considered her day spoilt. Certainly, she was angered by Harrison’s sentiments.

“How can he even begin to ask about a child he abandoned before she was even born?” She thought to herself. “If he knows what is best for him let him never come anywhere close to my child.”

That night, Tamara could not sleep. The events at the office earlier on denied her peace. For a moment, she sat and thought about her life and everything that had happened in the last three years. From the antagonism she faced from her own parents, to the betrayals from both her fiancé and best friend and now the fact that Harrison was beginning to bother her. Despite everything, her daughter remained her center of joy. She was determined to protect her from anything or anyone whatsoever.

The following evening, she returned from work with the need for a quiet rest. He had spent a good portion of her afternoon at work trying to settle issues with Vivian. Both of them had reconciled but she had assured Vivian that she no longer needed her as her friend.

The sight of her parents disrupted her thoughts as she got into the house. She had walked in and found them talking but immediately they noticed her presence, they both went silent. Her father in particular could not stand the shame.

“May I know what you people are looking for in my house? Probably you are looking for someone else and not me, is it?” She asked with anger written on her face. She had been through enough that particular day. It seemed to her that the rest that she was longing for had turned out to be yet another emotional exchange of words.

“Tamara, we came to say we are sorry. We have come to realize that we haven’t been the best parents to you like you expected. Please, we are sorry.” Said her father in a rather remorseful tone.
She fell short of words to tell them and she remained silent and just watched as they pleaded for her forgiveness.

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