Gabriel went on to tell her the content of the conversation.
‘So it means you may not be Austin’s father?’ She asked.
‘It appears so,’ Gabriel replied. ‘I have a few calls to make.’ He said while he paced up and down the sitting room. He only did that when he was either nervous or excited. This time around, it was a mixture of both. He hoped and prayed he wasn’t the father of the boy not because he couldn’t take care of him but because he just didn’t want to add any more mess to his already messed up life. He didn’t know the fate of his marriage and now Cynthia and the boys’ coming into the picture made things just too complicated.
He called her. ‘Hello Cynthia,’ he said immediately she picked the call.
‘I hope you are calling me to tell me you’ve informed your wife about our son because I really don’t want to go through that stress,’ she said.
The word ‘our son’ disgusted him. He, no doubt, wanted a son of his own but definitely not with Cynthia.
‘That’s the least of the issues now, Cynthia. When were you planning to tell me you had something with Chucks? Only God knows if there were more men?’ Gabriel confronted her.
‘What are you talking about? You are the father of the boy; don’t even try to deny it.’ she replied hotly, avoiding the question.
‘Chucks just called me,’ Gabriel told her and paused to hear what she’d say.
‘Sh*t!’ She cursed. She had been caught red-handed.
‘How could you Cynthia? You wanted to dump the boy on me as my responsibility, right? Well, I have news for you. That’s not going to happen at least not without a paternity test.’ He told her.
‘And when the result comes out showing that you are the father of the boy, the whole world will know what kind of a man you really are.’ She tried to play smart and manipulate him.
‘I don’t care what the world thinks. The truth must be out.’ He said and ended the call.
He placed a call to his friend, Dr Tunde, to ask for the phone number of a doctor he knew that does the paternity test. Tunde sent the number to him and immediately, he put a call through.
‘Hello good evening, please am I on to Doctor Folusho?’
‘Yes, that’s me; how can I be of help to you?’ The doctor asked politely.
‘My name is Gabriel Okafor, I got your number from Dr Tunde Ogunsanwo. I will like to inquire about paternity testing.
Dr Folusho gave him the information he needed and booked him an appointment. ‘Come along with the child; the cheek swab of both of you will be taken and the result will be ready in about 10 days.’ The doctor told him.
‘Alright doctor, thank you.’ Gabriel knew the test was expensive but he was willing to pay. What is the price of a test compared to the lifelong expenses of caring for a child that might not even be his?
On the appointment day, Gabriel went to the clinic as planned. Sharon offered to go along and he didn’t object to it. In fact, he was really pleased and amazed at her support immense support ever since he told her about Austin. He didn’t expect the warm reception he got from Sharon and frankly speaking, he knew he didn’t deserve it. He was beginning to be grateful for the person his wife had become and the help she perpetually offered.
He had informed Cynthia about the appointment and asked her to bring Austin. That was going to be Gabriel’s first time of seeing the child. They had agreed to meet at the lab by 9 am. Gabriel sat at the edge of the seat constantly checking the time on his watch, trying so hard not to jump up to pace about. Sharon was sited right beside him, frequently encouraging him that all would be well. He gave Cynthia a grace of 30 minutes and by 9:30 on the dot he called her.
‘Hello Cynthia, where are you?’ He asked her.
‘Please, please, don’t rush me. We are on our way. There is traffic.’ She replied rudely.
‘Alright,’ he ended the called. It was there and then it occurred to him she might have made up all these. Then he turned to Sharon and asked, ‘What if there is even no Austin?’
‘Ha, it won’t be funny o,’ she replied.
‘I’m telling you; this case will land in court.’ He said.
‘I’m sure it’s not what you think. She’ll definitely come with him.’ Sharon assured him.
‘She had better did.’ He said.
After another 30 minutes, Cynthia walked in through the main door with a young boy of about 9 years.
Gabriel and Sharon stood and walked to them. Neither Sharon nor Gabriel said a word for about 10 seconds. They starred at the boy. Sharon who had always wanted a child began to wish he was hers while Gabriel looked at the boy and felt pity for him. He squatted to the boy’s height and greeted him.
‘Hey little one, how are you?’ He was so good with kids.
Sharon smiled as she watched how her husband interacted with the boy. She had missed that part of him and really desired to see him become a father again. She didn’t know when she placed her hand on her belly and secretly prayed that God would give them their own children.
‘I’m fine, thank you sir.’ The cute little boy said.
‘My name is Gabriel, what’s yours?’ He asked.
‘Austin.’ He replied.
‘Nice to meet you, Austin.’ He smiled and got up to speak with Cynthia. ‘The doctor said that the procedure wouldn’t be long. All that is needed is a cheek swab.’ He told her.
‘Alright,’ she said a bit nervous. While Gabriel went to the receptionist to inform him about their appointment, Cynthia looked at Sharon. She knew she had lost; there was no way she could threaten to blackmail Gabriel again with Sharon right ‘beside’ him.
‘Hi I’m Sharon, Gabriel’s wife.’ Sharon greeted Cynthia not minding if she was going to reply or not.
Cynthia looked at her but didn’t respond.
Gabriel came back and told them he and Austin were to go into an inner room while the two ladies wait outside. Leaving Cynthia and Sharon together seemed like the worst thing to do but Gabriel had no choice.
They sat at the waiting area. Sharon felt a need to start up a conversation. She felt Cynthia was hurting and the solution to her problem was not just a father for her child or a husband but God. The love of Jesus was what she desperately needed but she didn’t know it. She needed God to help her heal from all the hurt of the years that had made her into what she had become.
‘Cynthia, I can’t say I understand what you are going through’, she started. ‘Frankly speaking, I don’t but I know that there is a way out and that way is not by any man coming into your life but by Jesus taking over those burdens you’ve carried all these years.’
Cynthia looked at Sharon and initially wanted to shut her up but she felt an overwhelming force compelling her to be quiet and listen.
‘We all have our pasts, some worse than others but irrespective of how terrible your past might have been, Jesus is ready to wipe it all off and give you a fresh start.’ Sharon told her.
Tears formed in Cynthia’s eyes. No one had ever spoken to her about Jesus the way Sharon did. She had always seen herself like a mess but for the first time in a long time, she began to see hope.
‘Cynthia, God loves you so much. He is crazy about you. He wants you to give Him just one chance. He heals hurts and has never broken anyone’s heart. Why don’t you allow Him into your heart? I promise you, you won’t regret it.’ Sharon assured her.
‘I’m a mess Sharon, a total mess. I don’t see how Jesus can fix me.’ She began to cry.
‘I, too, was a terrible mess till I allowed Jesus in. It’s not up to you to know how He’ll do it; just allow Him.’ Sharon told her.
‘Oh God, I don’t deserve this,’ she lamented and cried some more.
‘Can I pray for you, Cynthia?’ Sharon asked and held her hand.
Sharon hugged her and asked her to repeat after her, ‘Dear Lord, I know that I am a mess and I cannot fix myself. I need You Lord. Please fix me and give me a new start in Jesus name I pray.’
Cynthia repeated after her and cried as she did. She didn’t care who passed by or looked at her.
Gabriel came out with Austin and saw the two ladies hugging. He was shocked. He couldn’t believe it. ‘What is happening here?’ He looked bewildered.
They looked at him and stood up. Cynthia cleaned her face and took Austin’s hand, ‘Let’s go dear.’ She told him.
‘I’ll give you a call.’ Sharon told her.
Gabriel watched them leave and asked, ‘What just happened?’
Sharon smiled and said, ‘God.’ Then she added, ‘Hope the procedure was successful?’
‘Yeah, yeah, it was; the result will be ready next week.’ He told her still distracted by what he had just witnessed.
On their way back home, Gabriel couldn’t stop thinking about what happened. ‘Okay you win, tell me how you did it?’ He asked.
‘How I did what?’ Sharon smiled. She knew what he was talking about but wanted Gabriel to come out clear.
‘You have changed, Sharon. You are a different person. You are always happy and cheerful. Nothing I do or say gets you mad. What is it? Don’t you think I need to know?’ He asked.
‘But I’ve told you over and again. It is God. I asked Him into my heart and He changed me. You should do the same, you know?’ She told him.
Gabriel sighed, ‘The reason I totally locked God out was that truthfully, I thought He failed me when we lost Chidi.’ He opened up to her, occasionally glancing at her as he drove.
‘It was hard for me too. But do you know God is not only faithful when good things happen to us? He is equally faithful when we face terrible situations. Job in the Bible went through ten times what we went through yet he didn’t curse God and in the end, God gave him double of what he lost. What excuse do we have to stop serving God?’ She asked him.
Gabriel began slowing down.
‘What’s happening? Is the tank empty?’ Sharon asked as she tried to look at the fuel indicator.
‘No,’ he replied, parked the car and looked steadfastly at her, ‘Please pray for me.’ He added calmly.
‘What!’ Sharon exclaimed in shock. She covered her mouth with her hands while she shook her head in amazement. This couldn’t have been anything but God. When she had regained some level of composure she responded, ‘Sure.’ She then took his hands and bowed her head in prayer. ‘Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for this moment. We are grateful to You for our lives and for this home..’ she prayed with quivering voice; tears filled her eyes and began to flow through her shut eyelids.
‘..Thank you for Your son, my husband Gabriel. Dear Lord, we come before the throne of mercy and we ask that you give him a fresh start. Be his Lord and Savior and teach him Your ways in Jesus name.’ She finished.
They both said, ‘Amen.’
She opened her eyes and saw Gabriel smiling at her. She could not remember when he had last done that.
He came down from the car and walked to her side of the car. He opened the door and extended a hand to her. She held his hand and he gently pulled her out and hugged her. He didn’t care how many cars were passing or who was looking. When they got home, they held hands and prayed committing their home into God’s hands.
Sharon called her mother-in-law to give her the good news.
‘The Lord will perfect that which He has started in Jesus name,’ the elderly woman prayed with excitement audible in her voice.
‘Amen,’ Sharon said.
The following week, Dr Folusho called Gabriel and told him that the result was ready. Before Sharon and Gabriel left home, they agreed that if he was the father of the child, they’ll receive it as a blessing from God.
At the doctor’s office, Sharon and Gabriel held hands as the doctor opened the result’s envelope.
‘Mr Okafor, the result shows that you are not the father of the boy.’ The doctor told them.
The couple looked at each other and smiled.
‘Thank you doctor,’ Gabriel shook the doctor’s hand, then they stood up and left.
When they got into the car they decided to call Cynthia to tell her the news. They put the phone on speaker.
‘Hi Cynthia,’ Gabriel started, ‘We’ve just left the doctor’s office,’ he paused.
‘What was the result?’ She asked.
‘I am not Austin’s father.’ He informed her.
‘Thank God,’ she said with a sigh of relief.
‘What? Why did you say that?’ Gabriel wasn’t expecting such a reaction to the news.
‘I’m so happy for you guys. The truth is I’ve been praying that you won’t be Austin’s father. I didn’t want to be a burden to you or anyone else. I know we will be fine.’ Cynthia answered.
‘Aww, you aren’t a burden dear.’ Sharon said. ‘My husband and I have agreed that even if Austin isn’t his, we’ll regularly send you something for his upkeep and welfare.’
‘Thank you so much. I’m so grateful. May God bless you.’ She prayed.
‘Amen,’ they said in unison.
Some weeks after, Sharon was in the kitchen preparing lunch. She had hardly put the pot of rice on fire to boil, before she started feeling sick. She then went to the living room to tell Gabriel who was reclining on a sofa while he watched TV to help monitor the rice. ‘Baby, I think I might be having malaria. I’ve not been myself these past few days. Just as I started boiling the rice, I suddenly felt weak again. Would you mind watching over the rice while I go upstairs to lie on the bed?’ She said.
‘Does this mean we need to get to the hospital? I can drive you there once the rice is done. I’ll eat when we get back.’ He said.
‘Ok thanks dear, I would appreciate that.’
When they got to the hospital, some tests were carried out on her. The doctor called both of them into his office.
‘Mr and Mrs Okafor, the malaria test was negative. It appeared we found something else growing in her body,’ the doctor said.
Gabriel sat up in his chair and cut the doctor short, ‘My wife can never have cancer in Jesus name.’
‘Not that kind of growth, Mr Okafor.’ The doctor said and stretched his hand to give him a folded document, ‘Here is the picture; your wife is pregnant.’ He said with a broad smile.
‘My wife is pregnant?’ Gabriel beamed with joy as he collected the ultrasound report from the doctor. ‘Baby, did you hear what the doctor just said?’ he turned and asked Sharon who was laughing at him. ‘Why are you laughing at me?’ He asked smiling.
‘I knew all along. The doctor and I planned it,’ She said and smiled.
Gabriel was so excited. He didn’t know how to react to the news. ‘Sharon, thank you.’ He carried her up and hugged her. He turned to the doctor, ‘Thank you very much.’ Then they left the office.
On their way home, Gabriel was still excited and he kept rejoicing. ‘We are going to be parents again. I can’t believe it. God is faithful dear.’
‘Yes He is,’ Sharon said.
‘What will we name her?’ Gabriel asked.
‘Her? What makes you think she’s a girl?’ Sharon asked wondering how come he was so sure.
‘I just know it. You want to bet?’ he smiled.
‘No, thank you,’ she smiled. ‘I’ll love the baby to be a girl too.’
‘I think Peace is a beautiful name,’ Gabriel said. ‘What do you think?’ He asked for Sharon’s opinion.
‘Peace Okafor, Sounds perfect. God has given us His peace.’
Two days after her EDD, Sharon went into labour and had a baby girl. You can be sure what her name was, Peace Okafor.
***Gabriel and Sharon developed a passion to reach out to married couples who were experiencing marital crisis. They seize every opportunity they got to share their experience. They later had two more children, a boy, Chukwuemeka, and his younger sister, Favour.
***Cynthia met a young man who loved her and was willing to take Austin as his own. They got married and had two children.
Thank you for following Behind Closed Doors! I trust you were blessed and ministered to. Please take a little bit of your time to comment and share one thing you learned from this and what you thought of these series.
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