Ruth, unlike most people, had never believed in love. Her father left her mother when she was a toddler, which made her assume that all men had the same trait. Seeing her mother struggle, she never wanted to endure that suffering as an adult. So, she only dated men willing to provide her with a good lifestyle and sex.
To make her life better, she dated at least two different men simultaneously. Whenever one relationship failed, she would find another man to replace the one who left. Ruth had mastered juggling between men, so none of the men she had dated knew she had another man. From age 18 to 24, her life was simple.
During her 25th birthday, her friends decided to throw her a party at one of her favourite clubs. Most people knew her as the “rich girl who never entertained men” because she had never gone there with her boyfriends. One of her friends, Daniella, was always convinced that Ruth wanted to experience love but had too much pride to admit it. This prompted her to invite her cousin Bradley who she thought would be a perfect match for her.
At the party, she tried her best to make it seem like the two had met accidentally to avoid the both of them finding out her plan. Ruth was not interested in Bradley, knowing she already had everything she wanted, but she saw no harm in both of them enjoying their night. Bradley, on the other hand, took an interest in her and decided that he would find a way to make her like him.
After the day of the party, he found out from Daniella where Ruth mostly hangout and would strategically bump into her. Ruth always thought it was a coincidence but didn’t mind since he was fun to hang out with. However, she informed him that she was already taken, which meant they could only be friends.
Bradley accepted although he knew he had to try before settling for the friend zone. Being a good listener, he found out what she liked and every little detail about her. He would plan their meetups at the places she had always wanted to go to and get her the gifts she had always wanted. This was a surprise since the guys she was dating spent time getting her what they thought she liked and taking her to their preferred restaurants.
The more time they spent together, the more Ruth realized how different he was, and this stirred up feelings she had never experienced before. After a couple of months, Bradley decided the time was right to make his move, and she finally accepted. Ruth dumped her boyfriends and stayed fully committed to Bradley.
Their relationship improved each day, and she couldn’t believe this was what love felt like. All the assumptions she had made based on her mother’s experience had prevented her from having this happy life she now had. Bradley provided her with everything she wanted, and he also loved her, which seemed unreal. However, she decided to enjoy it, which led her to let her guard down.
A year into their relationship, Bradley asked her to move in, and she accepted. As she eased into the new environment, she noticed that the women who lived in his estate would shoot her glances from time to time. She assumed they wanted Bradley and were jealous that she had him, which didn’t bother her.
During one of her errands, however, one of them stopped her by the roadside.
“Hey,” She said.
“Hi,” Ruth replied.
“Are you and Bradley dating?” She asked.
Ruth was shocked at the audacity but didn’t mind answering.
“Yes, we are; why do you ask?” Ruth said.
“You need to leave him before it’s too late,” She replied.
“Excuse me?” Ruth asked surprised.
“It’s for your own good,” The woman replied before leaving.
“She’s just trying to mess with my head,” Ruth thought as she went about her errands.
Later that night, as she watched Bradley sleeping, she thought about what the woman had said but was conflicted. Her boyfriend was always there for her and had never done anything to make her doubt him. On the other hand, no human is perfect, meaning he had to have a bad side.
“This isn’t worth it; if he were a bad person, I would have known by now,” She thought to herself and went to sleep.
Ruth never saw the woman again, and none of the other women had spoken to her since that day. This made it easier for her to conclude that it was not something serious. Her relationship with Bradley remained solid, and during their second anniversary, she realized she was pregnant. Things went well for the first trimester; Bradley would leave work early to spend time with her and even hired a maid to help her during the day. Everything was going so well.
During the fourth month, things started going south. Bradley would come back home at 1 or 2 am, entirely drunk. On weekends, he was rarely at home, and if he was, he barely paid attention to her. Her first thought was he was cheating on her, but she couldn’t understand why he chose to do it while she was pregnant.
She realized that asking him would not get her the answers she wanted. So, the next day she went around the estate looking for the woman who had given her a warning. After describing her to a few people, she finally found her home and knocked on the gate. The woman opened the gate and didn’t seem surprised to see her.
“I see you didn’t take my warning seriously,” She said while looking at the baby bump.
“Can I come in?” Ruth asked.
The woman stepped aside and allowed her to walk in. They settled in the living room, where Ruth noticed many toys on the carpet.
“What did you mean by Bradley had colours I hadn’t seen yet?” Ruth asked.
“My name is Lucy, thank you for asking,” The woman replied.
“Sorry, I’m Ruth, and it’s nice to meet you. I wish it were under better circumstances,” Ruth said.
“Bradley usually has this habit of being good at first; then he turns abruptly when he gets a woman pregnant,” Lucy said.
“Okay, but he started behaving funny this month; he was okay during the first three months,” Ruth replied.
“Yes, after every failed relationship, he tries to do something different but makes the same mistakes,” Lucy said.
“So, he’s cheating on me, or what are you saying?” Ruth asked.
“The best advice I can give you is to leave Bradley; trust me, it will only get worse from here. He is not exactly the “father figure” you need for your child,” Lucy said.
“And how do you know so much about him?” Ruth asked.
“I was once you, and I had to learn the hard way. Being a single mother is hard but having a man who doesn’t care is worse,” Lucy said.
“So, how many children does he have out here?” Ruth asked.
“I don’t think you want to know,” Lucy replied.
As she returned to Bradley’s house, she couldn’t believe everything she had tried to avoid had happened, and it was all her fault. If she had stuck to her relationship system or at least listened to Lucy, none of this could have happened. She packed her things and left Bradley a note beside the bed.
Bradley never reached out to her since that day which meant that everything, she was told was true. Her mother knowing what she was going through, offered to help her during the rest of her pregnancy. A few months later, Ruth gave birth to a boy. Given what she had gone through, she promised herself that she would raise him to do right by women.
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