Determination – Part 9
By Thiyam Ningol Dr. Nalini
Alex could not pay attention at work. He could not shake off Grace’s picture from his mind. Everyday, after work, he used to drive around looking for the restaurant “Grace”. Not successful. He was contemplating whether to tell Lucy everything or learn more about Grace and Arnold first. He needed some help. The only person whom he could trust and rely was Satellite, his old school mate.
John was a jolly man. He kept track of all his old school buddies. Through him all the buddies got information about each other. Even though they met rarely, at least once a year they would gather for an evening. They all promised to keep the tradition alive as long as they lived. The one person to keep that tradition rolling was John. They nicknamed him “Satellite” because he always knew where to find each one of them.
Alex contacted John. Not surprisingly John knew where restaurant Grace was located. Alex lied. He told John that he needed to order some bites for the birthday party of his daughter and somebody recommended restaurant Grace. John was jolly but difficult to fool. He suspected something fishy the moment he heard Alex mentioning about restaurant Grace. He had a gut feeling that it was not restaurant Grace that Alex was enquiring about but Grace, the restaurant owner. “Let me see how long he can hide from me. After all, they don’t call me satellite for nothing”- John calmed himself down.
Alex drove to the restaurant. When he came in, he saw Grace, as pretty as ever, was greeting some of her customers and welcoming them. He sat down in the nearest chair. She looked even more graceful, matured and well poised. A pang of jealousy about the man who so ever got Grace, hit him hard in his mind. He could not move away his eyes from staring at Grace. One of the attendants came and told him politely to wait for few seconds for his Madame to be free. Grace had made it customary to greet every customer by her personally first and then she would call one of the attendants to come and take the orders. Alex felt his heart beating faster and faster. Few, naughty sweat beads were appearing on his forehead.
Grace turned to greet her new customer adorned with the “killer smile”. The word “hello” remained hanging in the air. Alex stood up to greet her. They looked at each other for few seconds. Then Alex saw her eyes rolling up, the eye lids coming closer to each other and Grace loosing balance. He stretched out his hands to reach her but the table in between them prevented him from reaching, Grace dropped flat on his table then slid on the floor.
Her attendants rushed quickly to lift her and took her to her private room.
Alex remained stand-still in his place. After few minutes a gentleman came out and assured all the customers that Grace was O.K. and a doctor would soon be attending her. In the meantime, the gentleman requested everybody to continue enjoying their meals.
Alex continued standing there and decided not to leave till he saw the doctor. The gentleman apologized to Alex personally and brought him a glass of juice and told him it was on the house. Alex wanted to refuse the offer but he needed to push down the lump in his throat. He gulped two sips, felt better and waited for the doctor.
When the doctor came out after attending Grace, Alex followed him.
-She is a strong lady with an iron will. She is very stable-the doctor assured him.
- Is she pregnant?
- As far as I know Grace does not have a man- the doctor smiled.
- Sorry for the silly question.
He was ashamed of the silly question but was happy and relieved equally. He did not know why. He left the restaurant in a hurry and came home straight.
Lucy greeted him warmly. While they were having dinner his mobile phone rang. He saw John’s name. Before John said anything he told him to pass by his office the next day. He took his family out for a late night ice cream treat. Lucy did not ask anything or argue.
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