“You are what?”, Maxwell asked with fear in his voice. He wished he had never placed the call to her in the first place and wished he had left her to suffer her fate alone. As he lay on his bed, silent on the phone, he recalled the fifteen second escapade he had had earlier with her. “How can this brief, abrupt and embarrassing moment of pleasure cause me a lifetime of responsibility and a ‘mini’ me after nine long months?”, Maxwell thought to himself. “I should have stayed at home on that day”, Maxwell thought. “Max, say something”, Alberta said, after her news had in a way caused Maxwell to become dumbfounded. “Oh, I am just surprised, that’s all”, Maxwell said, trying to wipe off the artificial sweat that had started to gather over his brow even though it was late on that chilly night. “Why are you surprised?”,Alberta asked. “It is not as if you didn’t know this was bound to happen after all that went on between us”, Alberta continued. “My mum is going to kill me” were the words that kept ringing like an alarm clock in Maxwell’s ears as Alberta spoke. At a point in time, all that Alberta was saying sounded like gibberish to Maxwell. “Can you guess who the father of the baby is?”, Alberta asked. The question brought Maxwell back to life. “What kind of stupid question is that?”. “Isn’t it obvious already?”, Maxwell thought to himself. “Me?”, Maxwell asked with one eye closed and with his left hand on his chest, feeling the throbbing beat of his heart which had taken on more speed with the minutes that passed. “I said guess”, Alberta said, with some level of firmness in her voice. It then dawned on Maxwell that the baby could possibly not be his. He repositioned himself on his bed with alacrity. He started to have some sort of courage and the artificial sweat on his forehead started to dry up. “Is the baby you are carrying not mine?”, Maxwell asked, hoping to hear a negative feedback. “Are you kidding me?”, Alberta started. “You remember the friend I told you about?”, Alberta queried. Maxwell tried to rack his brain to find a suitable answer. “The guy in whose room you watched TV when your brother was occupied with his girlfriend?”,Maxwell asked, shuddering in his speech. There was a brief moment of silence and then came the answer Maxwell dreaded, “Yes, that guy is responsible for the pregnancy”, Alberta answered. “But how could you,Albie?”, Maxwell asked. “How could I what?”, Alberta asked back in an almost angry tone of voice. “Your mum humiliated me over the phone”, Alberta started. “I wept for days and on one of those sad days, he came home and found me crying so as he tried to console me, both of us got carried away and it resulted in this”, Alberta revealed. “But I called you countless times so you should have known that I wanted us to make up after that incident”, Maxwell said in his defence. “What my mum did was wrong and I spelt it out to her plainly so I was expecting that you at least listen to me and forgive her”, Maxwell added. “You know that I love you very much and I would do anything for you”, Maxwell said in hopes of trying to salvage the situation Alberta had found herself in. “This is not the time to give speeches so spare me all that crap”, Alberta said. “I am in sort of a fix right now”, Alberta said. “What is the problem, Albie?”, Maxwell asked, sounding polite in such a manner not to get on Alberta’s bad side again. “The guy I am talking about has a girlfriend who he has been dating for years and he intends marrying her next year”, Alberta said. “This is messed up”, Maxwell started. “But did you know this before or after you guys slept together?”, Maxwell asked. “What does it change, Max?”, Alberta shot back. “The most important thing is that I am pregnant and he is responsible, that’s all”, Alberta said. “So what is he saying about the pregnancy?”, Maxwell asked, now fully confident that he had escaped the scandal by hair’s breath. “He says he is going to take the child abroad when it turns three years old”, Alberta said proudly. “Wow, that is splendid!”, Maxwell said. “You are one lucky young lady”, Maxwell added. “But does his girlfriend know about your condition?”, Maxwell asked curiously. “My dear, I don’t know and I don’t care because it is the least of my problems right now”, Alberta responded. “You need to do due diligence because for all you know, he might be up to something fishy”, Maxwell warned. “No need to worry, Max”, Alberta started. “He has been overly nice, caring and gentle ever since I told him I was carrying his baby”. “He comes home early from work to be with me and gets me anything I want on his way back”. “Sometimes I even feel that I am being over-demanding”, Alberta added. “That is all well and good but with all of this being said, you should still be careful because it is better to be safe than to be sorry”, Maxwell preached. As they chatted, Maxwell heard a masculine voice in the background and the door creaking open. “I have to go”, Alberta whispered. “I will call you some other time”, she added and hang up the call. Maxwell lay on his bed with mixed feelings. He did not know whether to be sad or happy. He was filled with a sense of satisfaction by the fact that he had been absolved from pre-mature paternal responsibilities. “At least, I have a reason to be thankful”, Maxwell said, looked at his watch and went to bed. With the weeks that passed, Maxwell tried to check up on Alberta when he had time on his hands for a little chit-chat. He did so in moderation because he did not want to create the impression that he was taking the space of the baby’s daddy. On one chilly night, Maxwell was preparing for bed when he received a text message from Alberta. His face lit up when he saw the sender of the message but fear and horror gripped him as he read the contents of the message. “Maxwell, blame the guy if anything should happen to me”, the text message read. Immediately, Maxwell tried to call Alberta to find out if everything was okay. He trembled in the process and his mind was filled with all sorts of gory images. All of a sudden, the sleep had vanished from his brain and he was wide awake once more after a very tiring day. He called Alberta severally but there was no answer. After two hours of waiting, Alberta finally called Maxwell. It sounded like she was in pain. “Thank God, you are alive”, Maxwell said, with a sense of relief as he answered Alberta’s call. “What happened?”. I asked the guy to get me a drink on his way back home”, Alberta started. “He asked that we take a shower together which we did but he left the shower earlier”. “When I got into the room, he had served me the drink and added a few biscuits to go with”. “After minutes of drinking the juice, I started feeling very funny inside so I thought it was because I had taken in too much sugar”. “All of a sudden, I felt some sort of warm ooze coming from down under so I checked and I realized that I was bleeding profusely”, Alberta said with a trembling voice. Maxwell could sense that she had been crying and was in pain. “Where is the guy now”, Maxwell asked in anger. “Immediately I started bleeding, I prompted him to help me but he just dressed up and left me here all alone”, Alberta responded in tears. “How could he be so heartless?”, Maxwell questioned. “I told you to be careful of him didn’t I?”. “I think he has managed to drug you in hopes of terminating your pregnancy”, Maxwell added. “But why would he do that in the first place because I thought you said he wanted to fly the child overseas”, Maxwell queried. “That was what he told me”, Alberta answered naively. “Apparently, his girlfriend met me here last week and when she asked I told her that I was carrying her boyfriend’s baby”. “I don’t know what happened after that but he was distant these past few days, it was only this morning that we got back to old ways and now look at what he has done to me”, Alberta said looking down at her abdomen. “Maxwell, I am scared”, Alberta confessed. “Take it easy, sweetheart”, Maxwell tried to console her. “Are you still bleeding?”, Maxwell enquired. “Yes, I am”, Alberta said trembling. “I have already used up one full pack of sanitary pads”, Alberta said sounding very alarmed. “Give me directions to your school”, Alberta asked out of the blue. “What?”, Maxwell asked. “You want to visit me now?”, Maxwell asked. “No, not now, maybe some other time”, Alberta responded. “Okay”, Maxwell responded and reluctantly gave Alberta the directions to his campus and to his hostel. Alberta quickly thanked him and Maxwell asked her to take good care of herself and to call her if she needed anything. It was past midnight when Maxwell ended the call but he was not too worried because he had no lecture to attend the whole day. Maxwell woke up in the morning feeling very tired. He looked on his phone and it was 9:48 AM. Another thing caught his eye; he had missed eight calls from Alberta and he became very alarmed fearing something awful had happened in the course of the night. As he tried calling back to find out, Alberta’s number was busy. Almost instantly, Maxwell’s phone rang and it was a call from Alberta. “Are you okay?”, Maxwell asked as he answered the call. “Yes, I am cool”, Alberta stated. “Where have you been?” “I have been calling you since 7 AM and you refused to answer”, Alberta said. “I was asleep then”, Maxwell replied. “Well, that is fine”, Alberta said. “Guess what?”. “I am in front of your hostel so come out and get me”, Alberta said. Maxwell could not believe his ears and for a moment, he thought he was dreaming. “I shouldn’t have given the directions to my school to this girl”, Maxwell thought to himself. He looked out of the window and saw Alberta standing beside a taxi and instantly he knew she was not bluffing. Maxwell quickly summoned his roommates and briefed them about the situation at hand. Ben was not in favour of the idea of keeping Alberta in their room for fear of being held responsible should anything happen to her. Maxwell managed to convince his roommates to finally agree even though Ben stated in no uncertain terms his earlier warning. Maxwell quickly rushed downstairs and met Alberta in front of his hostel. “What are you doing here, Albie?”, Maxwell queried as he tried to catch his breath after descending the flight of stairs leading to the ground floor. “I thought you said you loved me and would do anything for me if only I asked”, Alberta said. “I know I said that but it did not mean you could just turn up here uninvited and without notice”, Maxwell scolded. “I would just stay a few days because I can see you don’t want me here”, Alberta said, with tears in her eyes. “It is not like that but looking at your condition, it would be best if you stayed at home close to a clinic for emergency reasons”, Maxwell stated. “And you plan on staying a few days?”, Maxwell asked, trying hard to hide the fear in his eyes. “Yes”, Alberta responded. Maxwell took her little travelling bag from the back seat of the taxi and ushered her into his room. As the climbed the stairs, Alberta asked Maxwell to check if she was still bleeding but Maxwell blatantly refused and looked at her behind and said, “I cannot see any blood from here”. When the two of them got to Maxwell’s room, he did an introduction addressing Alberta as his girlfriend. Even though Ben was not in favour of Alberta’s stay, he instantly took a liking for her because the moment she settled in, she tidied up their dirty room and went out to the mart in Maxwell’s hostel to personally get foodstuff to prepare a sumptuous meal for all four of them including herself. That night, Maxwell created a partition with a big blanket to separate his side of the room from his roommates to in a way, give Alberta some privacy in case she wanted to change her clothes. That night, Alberta managed to get Maxwell to make love to her but this time, Maxwell was up to the task and managed to make up for the first time. Alberta bled throughout the intercourse but she encouraged Maxwell to keep going although quietly to avoid alerting his roommates. The next day, Alberta was the first to wake up and quietly sneaked out to get stuff to prepare breakfast for the boys. The boys woke up to a sumptuous breakfast and could not thank Alberta enough for giving them the special treat. Many of Maxwell’s neighbours in the hostel now wanted to spend the day in Maxwell’s room so as to make them eligible to partake in Alberta’s amazing dishes. Alberta had stayed for three days and on each of the nights, she and Maxwell made love to each other. Maxwell had now become very popular because of Alberta. She was gracious in all her doings and she was a classic example of ‘a sight for sore eyes’. Maxwell could not believe why any man would want to treat such an adorable young lady with so much unfairness as exhibited by the guy who got her pregnant. On the seventh day, Alberta asked to take her leave and return to her house. During that time, she had stopped bleeding and she bought a pregnancy test kit from the hostel’s pharmacy and a urine test proved that she was no more pregnant. On the day she had to leave, the boys had all gone out for a lecture so she took the time to thoroughly clean the entire room and prepared a big bowl of stew for the boys. She had informed Maxwell earlier that she was waiting on a friend to take her back home. Finally, she was done with the cleaning and cooking and was waiting for the boys to return so she could leave… IS THIS ALL FOR SHOW OR IS THERE A HIDDEN MOTIVE BEHIND ALBERTA’S ATTITUDE?