Nina, torn away from the whole world, concentrated on preparing a festive dinner. Only in films, men on the eighth of March become angels and take all the load off fragile female shoulders. In real life, at best, congratulations will not be forgotten.
Mimosa in an elegant salad was placed in the center of the table, the bell rang. Forgetting about the hassle, the hostess ran to open the door.
On the threshold stood mother-in-law Lyubov Ivanovna and Husband Sasha with huge bouquets of roses.
– Imagine, – Sasha began indignantly, – I barely forced him to go, I didn’t want to go to any. Come in, Mom, don’t stand there.
A short woman entered the apartment, quickly threw off her coat and slipped into the hall. She went to the window and froze as if spellbound. Nina, who became an orphan early, became alarmed, went up to her and awkwardly put her arm around her shoulders.
– What happened, Lyubov Ivanovna? the girl asked.
The mother-in-law silently shook her head and hugged her back.
– Don’t worry, Ning, everything is fine.
We sat down at the table. Sasha made a toast, praised and thanked his women, Nina tried in every way to give her mother-in-law more delicacies, but she sat aloof and thought about something of her own.
The woman refused champagne, which was strange, only listlessly picked at the shrimp salad. A couple of minutes later, Lyubov Ivanovna turned pale, jumped up sharply and hurried to the bathroom. At the exit, she was met by a terrified Ninochka.
– Is everything all right? Maybe poisoning? The daughter–in-law asked excitedly.
The mother-in-law shook her head and led Nina into the kitchen, closing the door in Sasha’s face, and whispered:
– Nin, you know, I’m pregnant, – she said with a sad smile, – the doctor said ten weeks.
The daughter-in-law, clearly not expecting such a situation, slid into a chair with her mouth slightly open.
– How did this happen?
Lyubov Ivanovna shrugged her shoulders:
– I can’t even imagine, I’m not young, after all, I turned fifty-six! I didn’t think it was possible, but here…
Nina gradually began to come to her senses:
– And what to do? Who is the father at least?
The mother-in-law shrugged her shoulders in confusion.
– Nikita Stepanov, we work together… Or maybe Mikhail Ivanovich, our neighbor in the country, remember?
Seeing the reaction of her daughter-in-law, Lyubov Ivanovna put her head on her folded hands and began to cry.
– You see, it’s all the New Year, damn it! We had a corporate party, we went to the boarding house as a team, I don’t remember how I ended up with him after the banquet. Maybe there was nothing, but I don’t remember!
The woman poured water into a glass, wanted to drink, but her hands were shaking so that the water splashed on the table.
– And Mikhail Ivanovich looked after me so beautifully, he said such words. We celebrated the New Year together when I went to the country, remember?
Nina, recovering from the shock, nodded her head. She cast an angry glance at her husband, tried to drive him away.
Sasha heard everything, but unlike his wife, he never panicked and approached solving problems exclusively from a practical point of view. The son sat down at the table.
– Yes, Mom, I was surprised. What did the doctor say?
Lyubov Ivanovna raised her tear-stained eyes, brightened up a little.
– Good health, you can give birth. Is it worth it, do you think?
– And why not? – Sasha replied, – especially since you will wait for grandchildren from Nina and me, not all of you will be alone, we will help.
– What if something happens to me? I’m not young anymore, how am I alone with a child?
– Mom, what are we for? We’ll help, we’ll lift, don’t worry! You decide the main thing yourself, we will support any word you say.
The mother smiled and thought, and Ninochka was finally convinced that ten years ago she married the same one.
Lyubov Ivanovna decided not to make hasty decisions and to think longer. I still went to work, having changed my outfit to a looser one, but in the women’s accounting team, everything secret becomes clear in a matter of seconds.
Soon colleagues drew attention to the changed behavior of the woman, constant mood swings, absences to the toilet.
Questions after questions and Lyubov Ivanovna gave up. She told her best friend about the pregnancy, in her opinion. But thanks to the long tongue of the employee, the whole team learned about the news.
At the end of the week, when Lyubov Ivanovna was about to go home, her boss intercepted her at the exit.
Andrey Ilyich looked at her sternly and coldly said:
– Lyubov Ivanovna, you will excuse me, of course, but when I hired you, I did not expect that the chief accountant would not get out of sick leave. And now what? To issue a decree? This, of course, is not my business, but think about it, there is no husband, age…
The woman said nothing, nodded and left. It was decided to devote the next day to cleaning. But the plans were disrupted by a sudden doorbell.
Nikita and a strange woman were standing on the threshold.
– Can I come in? – the woman, without ceremony, slapped a ringing slap on the back of Nikita’s head, – I am the mother of this young lovelace.
Lyubov Ivanovna walked away, letting the guests into the apartment, but they were clearly not going to enter. Nikita’s mother threw herself at her feet without any conversation.
– This blockhead told me everything about that corporate party, spare the fool, the wedding is coming soon, and here it is… We will pay for the operation, just get rid of the child, you are both to blame for this!
Lyubov Ivanovna pointed the couple to the exit.
– Get out, it’s my responsibility! All the best to you!
Slamming the door behind the unkind guests, the woman decided to talk to her daughter-in-law.
– What pigs modern men are, there are no words! – Nina was indignant, – mommy solves problems for us. A rag!
Closing the door behind the unpleasant visitors, the woman hurried to the phone. She desperately wanted to talk.
Lyubov Ivanovna stared out of the window. How did it happen that her own child became an unaffordable burden? What is the best thing to do? Maybe not to complicate life either for yourself or for people? She ended the conversation and began to get ready, only in one place will she be able to get the right advice.
The woman immediately hurried to the church. She went up to the porch, crossed herself and pushed open the heavy carved door. Having entered, she began to wander around the temple with her eyes, saw an elderly priest and approached him. Distracted from prayer, he turned around and looked disapprovingly at the woman.
– Have you come to confess, daughter? – seeing the tears in Lyubov Ivanovna’s eyes, the priest softened, – tell me what happened? Done what?
Thoughts scattered, not knowing where to start, the woman blurted out:
“I am a sinner, Holy Father.
Lyubov Ivanovna rarely attended church, did not know how to properly confess, but she felt the importance and participation in her fate of this completely unfamiliar person.
At some point in her story, the priest frowned:
“I won’t give you a blessing to kill!” Sin is mortal.
The woman shook her head.
“I want this baby,” she said in a low but confident voice.
The priest thought for a moment, paused, then looked straight into his eyes and said with a smile:
– So you’re going to give birth? This is not a sin, but God’s providence! You will give another person to the world. Go, don’t worry, you’ve made the right decision. If you become a good mother, all your sins will be forgiven. Everything will get better.
Inspired and filled with determination, Lyubov Ivanovna was returning home. On the first working day, I wrote a letter of resignation on my own and left the bored team.
On Sunday I stopped by Sasha and Nina, I wanted to say goodbye. She decided that she would live in the country to avoid uncomfortable questions, Nina tried in every way to dissuade her, but her mother-in-law was unshakable.
– The air is good there, you know? And the hospital is not far away, I will register there, and I will come here to give birth, I have thought everything out.
Sasha nodded approvingly:
– Go, Mom, if it makes you feel better, I’ll take you myself and chop wood. We’ll come often, won’t we, Nin?
Six months flew by like one day, Lyubov Ivanovna easily endured such a late pregnancy, Nina chose vests for the expected girl, the weather was warm. On one of these days, the doorbell rang.
On the threshold stood a neighbor in the dacha, Mikhail Ivanovich with a huge bouquet of flowers and a cake.
– How soon will you be? – the man was nervous, – we are late at the registry office, Lyubochka is about to give birth, it is necessary to have time, my daughter cannot be born without a father.
Anticipating Nina’s question, the neighbor in the dacha continued:
– Yes, I know everything, I know, Lyubasha told me. Yes, but this is my daughter, I feel it in my heart, mine! And if not, it doesn’t matter.
Nina and Sasha hurried to their mother, who was waiting downstairs.
The ceremony went well, the event was celebrated in a small, cozy cafe. The next morning, the newly-made wife began to have contractions, the excitement made itself felt. The future father ran around the house in a panic, preventing him from going to the hospital, only Sasha kept calm. Despite the early appearance, the baby was born healthy.
The family who arrived for discharge admired the newborn. The pink envelope was moving, yawning and frowning.
Sasha encouraged his father, who was swallowing a sedative, Nina admired the baby.
A DNA test confirmed the paternity of a retired military man, Mikhail Ivanovich cried with happiness. Nina turned to her husband with tears in her eyes:
– Sasha, look at what happiness! Maybe it’s time for us too?