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Finding Claire 6
Finding Claire 6

Finding Claire Ep. 4 – Grapevine

By; Dupe Kuku.

“Pregnant… It’s always these quiet ones… Desperate to be big girls but they don’t know the first rule…”

Slivers of conversation reached Claire from dreamland. 

She fluttered her lashes to get a view of the speakers and the person to whom they referred, and her heart jumped against her ribcage. Four of the meanest senior girls were at the foot of her bed. Watching her. Disdain in their eyes.

“Girls! Girls! Girls!”

A male voice.

It was beyond Claire’s lash-shadowed vision, but the effect on Senior Debola and co was instantaneous. In the blink of an eye, the scorn on their faces vanished. They transformed from Cinderella’s stepfamily into giggly, cute teenagers.

“You aren’t worrying my baby, are you?”

Senior… Wait! Had he just called her…

Three male bodies came into view. Two paused to shake and exchange pleasantries with the girls, while Thomas walked straight on to Claire. 

He sat on the bed next to her pillowed head, and Claire shut her eyes. He was close enough to catch her spying. Cold fingers landed on her forehead… her neck, and Claire jerked. Thomas’ hand cupped her scalp. Massaged as if calming a startled puppy.

“It’s me”, he whispered.  

Claire felt a sense of calm. She wasn’t sure why, but he was here. Taking care of her like he had done earlier. She wanted to curl into his body. To have him protect her from the senior girls. She was also scared of moving closer while they watched like eagles.

“How far?” Another male voice asked.

“There’s still a bit of temperature”

“Should we wake her? How will she eat? Let’s call Auntie” 

Claire felt Thomas’ hand over her stomach. More accurately, over her right hand that was over her stomach under the covering sheet. She splayed her fingers slowly, hoping he would sink between them. He did, and she almost sighed with relief. He also folded both their fingers into an interlocked clasp. 

Clank… clank…

Doctor Thuma’s heels announced her presence seconds before her voice. 

“Did you stay to eat at all?”

Thomas grinned. He’d needed to update Menace and ask Claire’s friend to fetch her backpack. The boys had packed lunch and cereals while he’d found the girl named Sewa.

“We’ll be going now. We just came to check…”

Debola pointed at Claire and Dr. Thuma smiled at the girl gang. The boys chorused thanks and waved bye, Thomas’ brow raising quizzically when they stalled.

“Shouldn’t we all…?”

They were staring at James and Olua.

“Nah. We’re good”

4 pairs of eyes watched the girls leave with plastered smiles; the boys’ hands suspended in waves. When the last uniform exited the ward, Thomas tapped Claire with their joined hands.

“I know you’re awake.”

Claire winced internally but sat.

“Good afternoon Ma. Good afternoon Senior James and  Olua” 

“Claire. Hey. How are you?” 

She mumbled fine and fixated on the pink cotton sheets. She was unused to being the centre of attention. Thomas had released her fingers when she sat up and reclaimed them. They were in public glare now, Claire realised. Alarmed, she wiggled her fingers to get free. Thomas pressed on them instead. Whispered “stop that” into her ear. 

Dr. Thuma smiled at the little war. Cleared her throat to speak.

“Your test results are back and you seem fine. Does your stomach still hurt?”

“Not like before. But I feel funny” 

Claire felt like she had peed herself. How would she go find out, surrounded by these many people? But, first…

“Am I pregnant?”

Thomas swung a look at Claire, then at Dr. Thuma whose eyes had popped.

“Are we pregnant?”


Olua exclaimed and his left palm slapped his forehead.

Dr. Thuma’s glabella gathered and her gaze xrayed the kids. She had been wrong to delay messaging Whispa for tips on teenage sex education; she realised. She had assumed herself too involved in Thomas’ life for this gravity of surprises. He couldn’t have gotten a girlfriend and started having sex without her knowing; could he?

“You’re not pregnant, Claire. Why would you think… Thomas Abdallah Benson, is there something you should tell me?”

Olua sighed. Chimed in.

“They can’t be pregnant, Aunty.” 

His parents had told him how children were made when Mummy’s stomach had swollen with his younger brother two years ago. He knew Thomas hadn’t touched Claire before today, though he’d nursed an affection since they’d first seen her months back.

“Why do you think you’re pregnant, Claire?”

“Them Senior Debola said it”

Claire frowned. This was all puzzling, and she felt wetter by the second. Was she peeing herself involuntarily? She decided to go see what was happening before the room started to stink.

“I need to pee”

She gathered the sheets about her. Rose. Poised to flee when gasps chorused barely two steps after. 

“Lenge lenge. Wait”

Embarrassed tears welled up. Dropped. Thomas’ arms wrapped her stomach and he stood behind her. He was turning her around. Chanting trust me, because she resisted. 

Dr. Thuma was smiling. It was soft, empathetic… motherly. James and Olua’s gazes expressed awe, not disgust. Claire looked down. To the bed she’d just risen from and the red puddle in its middle. 

Was that… could it…

Thomas’s palm stroked her stomach. 

“You’ve become a woman,” He said.

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