Romance

Monocular Tutor E5

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EPISODE 5 – CREATIVE JUGGLING

With the hormonal immaturity of a teen, Lloyd tries to juggle a publicly flirtatious classmate with a secret fiancé.

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Lloyd recognizes his behavior with Vicky was improper. Despite thanking her and trying to end on good terms, she threatens to smear his name on social media. Without favorable options, he retracts his objection to becoming her boyfriend. Jeff congratulates him.

“Stick with me, Bro. I’m gonna borrow a van next weekend. Now we’re one double-date away from becoming real college men.”

Lloyd’s guilt deflates his enthusiasm. He is unfaithful, and the situation is escalating with Vicky. But in his immature mind, he rationalizes that his fiancé urged him to pursue a public relationship.

Worried that Rebecca will discover details of his side hustle through some other means, he must edit the narrative. So the next time Lloyd shares dinner with Rebecca, he is downplaying somber news.

“To maintain my cover of a normal college student, I’ve been out with Vicky, in a group, like we discussed. Somehow, she has it in her mind that I’m now her boyfriend, and is likely to post photos of us together. You might even see us kiss or hold hands on campus. But none of that changes my feelings for you. I’m fully committed to our long-range plan.”

With her head leaning on her hand at the dining table, Becky looks into the distance before closing her eyes and replying, “Thanks for the warning.”

“What? Why are you reacting like that? Are we good?”

Intuition. It’s all over your face, your body language, and your tone of voice. Youth is your excuse for not seeing what’s happening. But with my maturity, I recognized the pitfalls of this relationship and ignored them. There’s no way that girl is going to be satisfied with handholding and selfies. How far are you willing to go? And how am I to respond to her relationship status updates on social media?”

“I admit that this is a problem. But it’s one we discussed from the beginning. How I treat her matters. I can’t tell her that I’m already in another relationship without shining a light on us. If I dump her without giving her a chance to prove her value, she will post some hurtful things that may not be accurate about me.”

“By proving her value, are you asking to have an affair with her? Or am I the affair, since she’s the one everyone would view as your girlfriend?”

“I’m asking you to understand that I’m handling it. We agreed that she would camouflage our relationship. By the summer, I’ll break up with her and she’ll change her social media status back to single.”

“I can’t believe this. Is our engagement real to you? My suggestion was to go out with platonic peers—not find a girlfriend. We are in the first semester of a relationship and on top of all the other secrets we have, I’m the third wheel in a ménage à trois.”

“Hopefully, it’s not that bad. I’m being very transparent about everything. She’s a good study partner who’s become attracted to me. You and I are doing much more than she ever will. Don’t worry about her. No one can compete with you.”

Going Too Far

His female study mate invites Lloyd to her home when the parents are away. There, she takes their relationship far beyond handholding and kissing. This becomes an insatiable habit during the weeks that follow.

“I’m looking forward to an active summer with you.” Vicky asks, “As your girlfriend, when am I going to hear you say you love me?”

Lloyd’s reaction complicates the temporary platonic relationship. “It’s obvious that I love being with you.”

As the words pass his lips, Lloyd realizes he shouldn’t have spoken them. He begins wondering if he loves two women. To justify his emotions, Lloyd reasons that when with Vicky, he must be vicariously expressing love for his fiancé.

During the last week of the school year, Rebecca is anxious for Lloyd to break up with Vicky, convincing herself that, at most, they’re passionately kissing. He receives an unsurprising A+ in art. Shockingly, he also receives news of Vicky’s positive pregnancy test. This will expose his secret extracurricular activities, so there is no joy on his face. Lloyd’s reaction is terse, responding that they’ll talk about it later.

Lloyd’s first commitment is to his fiancé. He prepares his mind for an emotional outburst during an admission of his mistake. But an announcement of Rebecca’s pregnancy pauses his confession.

“Wow. This is a little earlier than we planned. I’m, going to be uh, uh, father. It’s good news, but I thought you were on the pill.”

“The pill had some adverse side effects, so I stopped taking them about six weeks ago. Don't be angry with my unilateral decision. I realized that you’re the man who deserves the privilege of initiating life within me. With these being my most fertile years, delaying a few more seemed risky. I want to have at least two children before reaching the age of 30.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the risk of having a baby with Down syndrome is approximately:

  • 1 in 1,250 at age 25
  • 1 in 1,000 at age 30
  • 1 in 400 at age 35
  • 1 in 100 at age 40
  • 1 in 30 at age 45
  • 1 in 10 at age 50

Prenatal testing options include noninvasive screening tests, such as cell-free DNA testing or maternal serum screening, as well as diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS).

“The ethics committee might chastise, but they can’t fire me for having a child with my husband. Among the many things we discussed, you said I could decide when to go public with our relationship. Let’s get married this summer so I can share this happy moment with my family and friends.”

Facing a whirlwind of repercussions, Lloyd begins trembling. “I want to be your loving husband and a good father. But there’s something else you should know….”

Rebecca implores compliance. “Please don’t raise any objections. Someone who shares both our characteristics is forming, and I can hardly wait to meet him or her. I no longer want to act ashamed of my fiancé. You don’t have to work until finishing your education. I have a home and a job to support us. This might seem a little overwhelming for you, but we’re going to face it together.”

“Keep in mind how much I love you. It’s been a tough year for me, trying to maintain good grades while splitting time between my fiancé and a fake girlfriend. There’s no easy way to prepare you for this. So here goes. Vicky is also pregnant.”

Through troubled eyes of disbelief, Rebecca responds, “Do you mean pregnant, as in she cheated on you, or—?”

“She’s also pregnant, with my child. But I haven’t discussed any options with her.”

Rebecca purses her lips and grits her teeth, as anger wells up to a fierce countenance. “Did you misunderstand that Vicky was supposed to be a platonic relationship? Do you have any idea how much this hurts me? That’s it. I’m done. I’ll request a transfer to a different college so you and Miss Vicky can sort out your lives.”

Lloyd knows he made a mistake, but cannot fully comprehend the disparity between his true feelings for Rebecca and his actions. “Separation is not the solution I want. In my attempt to mask our secret engagement, like you said, things went too far. Vicky isn’t my soulmate. I’m sorry. Let’s talk this through like the other obstacles we’ve overcome.”

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