Kondwani’s Debt of Love – Part 15

(Still in draft form, to be edited later)

Alicia needed Kondwani to stop kissing her. She had heard and witnessed for herself what he did with women’s hearts and she knew without a doubt he wasn’t what she was looking for in a man. Her mind needed him to stop.

But her heart wanted him, every part of him and every pull he made towards her, she wanted him badly. Like a surfer braving herself to confront the roaring waves, Alicia threw caution to the wind and in a moment of weakness gave herself up to the burning desire seeping through her lips and sending shivers through every part of her body. In that moment, she had no desire whatsoever to bring to a stop the strange yet wild feelings coursing through her…and how could she when she had never felt anything like that before.

Paradoxically, it was Kondwani that was to drop her forcefully from an ecstasy high to a cold gripping reality; on his bed, naked, yearning and unashamed, but only for a little while.

“Why did you stop?” Alicia asked in a very weak voice, looking up at Kondwani who was now standing away from the bed, away from her, like a man watching a scene unfold before him of all the sins he had ever committed in his lifetime. There was absolute petrification on Kondwani’s face, shirtless, panting, sweaty and shaking his head as if the act itself could erase the past few minutes that would haunt him day and night in the coming days.

Alicia sat up. “Are you okay?” She asked him.

Without responding, Kondwani started looking around for her clothes but quickly remembered they must have been dropped somewhere along the way upstairs in their heat of passion, he went into his bathroom, grabbed a towel and handed it over to her.

Alicia’s face was full of questions that where slowly culminating into embarrassment.

“Put that on.” Kondwani said in a very tight voice.

Quickly, Alicia wrapped the towel around herself. “What’s the meaning of this?” She asked, her voice slightly shaking. “I’m so embarrassed right now I-“

Kondwani surprised her by putting his arms around her. “I’m sorry.” He said. “I know am being a jerk but soon when you come to your senses or when you are no longer mad at your parents, you will thank me for this.”

Alicia said nothing in response. Kondwani was right. What had she been thinking?

“This is so embarrassing.” She said, burying her face in his chest.

Kondwani laughed. “Watch yourself now,” he warned her. “Just because I was able to stop myself doesn’t mean that-“

Alicia stepped away from him before he could even finish his sentence, her gaze narrowing down to his bulged centre. Kondwani innocently shrugged his shoulders and turned to leave the room.

“Will bring your clothes.” He said and disappeared before she could even get her two lips to separate and utter a word.

Alicia dropped on the bed, covering her face in shame as she replayed everything that had just happened.

z

“Are you still planning on sleeping here?” Kondwani later asked Alicia as they sat down in the dinning room to eat some of the food his mother had left in the fridge.

“Yes.” Alicia replied.

Kondwani raised his eyebrow. “Woman, are you okay?” He asked.

Alicia chuckled. “I know I shouldn’t love you, but I do.”

Kondwani almost chocked on the food in his mouth. “You what?” He asked.

“It’s not like you didn’t know.” She said.

“Well,” he said and stopped to drink some water. “How is something like that so easy for you to say Alicia? I can’t seem to figure you out. You just said that with a straight face. What happened to the stammering Alicia that always-“

“I’m so embarrassed right now that I have to keep acting cool because the moment there’s some silence between us, my thoughts are going to run wild.” She said.

“Why are you embarrassed?” Kondwani asked.

Alicia rolled her eyes and gave him an ‘are you kidding me?’ look.

“That’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” He responded. “If anything, I should be the one feeling like that.”

“Why should you feel embarrassed when you are the one who saved the one that tries to act holier-than-thou often?” Alicia asked.

Kondwani laughed. “We all have our moments of weaknesses,” He said, a far-off look in his eyes.

“You are doing it again.” Alicia intently observed.

“What?”

“That look in your eyes.” She said. “You did that when…when…you know.” She couldn’t bring herself to describe what had just happened between them. “Why do you have that look in your eyes when you look at me sometimes?”

Kondwani busied himself on the plate of food in front of him. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He said whilst chewing.

“I think you know exactly what am talking about.” Alicia said. “You look like a man who’s guilty of something. I am not as naïve as you might think I am Dr Chileshe.”

“I think we are passed honorifics now don’t you think?” He said with a mischievous glint in his eyes. “I’ve told you before, just call me Kondwani, when we are just the two of us.”

“Are you going to just ignore my question?” Alicia refused to barge. “You should stop looking at me like am some innocent little girl you are afraid of defiling. I am someone’s mother Doctor…Kondwani.”

“What do you think would have happened between us if I didn’t stop?” Kondwani asked.

Alicia shook her head profusely as if to wade off the memory. “Let’s not talk about that please. Let’s just pretend nothing like that ever happened.”

Kondwani laughed. “That’s never gonna happen. Thanks to that, I now know without doubt that Alicia is in-love with me.”

“Can you please stop saying that?” Alicia winced in embarrassment, covering her face with her palms.

Kondwani laughed. “You will never hear the end of it.” He warned her. “Tonight is like a trophy am gonna keep and shine every single day as I busk in my glory. But are you sure it’s a good idea you spending the night here?

Alicia shook her head. “I know it’s a mistake but I have nowhere else to go. Just bear with me for tonight please and remain the surprising gentleman you’ve proved yourself to be so far.”

“What if it was just an act to get you to think wonderful thoughts about me?” Kondwani asked.

“I thought about that possibility,” She admitted.

“What?” Kondwani asked.

“I did.” She said. “I know from experience that you are not the type to pass up an opportunity like that one but something about your eyes told me you are battling something more powerful than your desires. Is it because of Gwen?”

“What about Gwen?” Kondwani asked.

“You must miss her a lot.” Alicia muttered under her breath.

“Whatever gave you that impression!?” Kondwani said. “Why should I be missing a woman who’s pregnant with another man’s baby? She’s moved on with her life and so have I.”

“Is that the reason why you and Dr Kayombo don’t talk anymore?”

“What do you mean don’t talk anymore?” Kondwani said. “I talk to that guy almost every day of the week.”

“You know the kind of talking am talking about.” Alicia counted. “The whole hospital has been on edge around the two of you ever since it came out that your fia, ex fiancé is pregnant with his child.”

“And I know exactly what they’re saying behind my back.” Kondwani said bitterly. “I deserve it since am a son of a bitch right?”

Alicia said nothing in response.

“See? I was right.” Kondwani said and pushed his plate aside. “I should fire that bastard but-“

“Hey,” Alicia said. “That bastard is a very good friend of mine if you must know!”

Kondwani gave her a look. “How can you still like him when he was pursuing you at the same time he was sleeping with my fiancé?”

“Because he is my friend.” She answered. “It doesn’t matter who he was or is sleeping with. You don’t stop being friends with someone simply because they made some stupid decision in their life. I happen to-“

As if he had overheard their conversation, Kayombo’s name appeared on Alicia’s phone. “Speak of the devil.” She said smiling, showing the screen to Kondwani whose eyes immediately lit up in anger as he grabbed the phone from her.

“What does he want calling you at this hour?” He asked.

Alicia got up from her chair and rushed over to Kondwani’s side to get her phone back but he had already answered it. “Doctor Kayombo.” Kondwani said sternly.

Alicia continued fighting to get the phone back but Kondwani grabbed her by the waist and forced her down on his laps, both his legs pinning her down and his free arm holding her upper body in place.

“Doctor Chileshe?” Alicia could hear Samuel’s voice through the phone from where her head was pressed against Kondwani’s chest. “What are you doing with Alicia’s phone?” Kayombo asked.

“She’s sleeping so naturally I had to answer her phone since it was disturbing me.” Kondwani said.

Alicia was ready to scream a rebuttal but the warning shot from his eyes made her close her lips tightly.

“Sleeping?” Samuel Kayombo asked. “What do you mean sleeping? Are you at the hospital?”

“No, at my place.” Kondwani said smugly. “Is there any particular reason why you are calling my woman at this hour Doctor Kayombo?”

“Since when have, anyway, never mind.” Kayombo said. “I will talk to her tomorrow.” He cut the line without warning.

Alicia ripped her head away from him and glared at him. “Your woman?” She said, looking him straight in the eye.

“Yes, did I say something wrong?” Kondwani asked with a straight innocent face.

“I thought-“ Alicia started to say.

“I know,” Kondwani said. “I thought I could put a lid on my feelings but just seeing that guy’s name on your phone and hearing your name fall out of his lips almost made me jump through the phone and wring his neck.”

“And what if I don’t want to be your girlfriend?” Alicia asked.

“I don’t think you have a choice in the matter.” He answered. “You should have thought about that before coming to my house and stirring up my emotions. Don’t worry am not gonna ask you to sleep with me, just yet. I still have a few things to take care of and until –“

“Just yet?” Alicia interjected him as she tried to get up from his laps but Kondwani wouldn’t let her go.

Looking down at his pants, “don’t wake him up if you are not going to pat him back to sleep again.” He said with a smirk on his face.

“You are impossible you know that!” Alicia complained. “I need to go to the bathroom anyway.” She added.

“Seriously?” Kondwani asked, looking at her suspiciously.

“Unless you want physical evidence-“

Kondwani lifted her by the waist and helped her to her feet before she could even finish her sentence. Chuckling triumphantly, Alicia went to the bathroom while Kondwani remained behind to think about the decision he had just made. He had not been thinking when he made the call to officially date Alicia. The anger and resentment he harboured towards Kayombo had driven him over the edge and forced him to make a decision he had been struggling to make from the time Alicia had forced herself into his heart and stayed there. And now that the decision had been made, what was he to do? What about the truth he was keeping from her? What would happen to them if…no, when the truth came out?

Now that he had her, he was not ready to let her go. Was it selfish of him to want her so badly despite everything? Why did it have to be Alicia of all women? Why was she the one to melt his stone heart and make him wish for something else other than chasing his economic and political ambitions? How can he so deeply love the woman who had the potential to tear his familiar apart and everything else he had built all these years? Was this what they called karma? Was the universe really that angry at him for a past he could not control?

But Kondwani was not the only one doing the thinking in that house. Alicia too found herself immersed in thoughts about the sudden turn her life had just taken, her hands placed under the running water in the bathroom sink.

There was no doubt in Alicia’s mind that she was in-love with Kondwani, this she had known for some time now. But she was just as sure of this fact as she was about him not being a good match for her. She had once fallen trap to her emotions when she gave in to Nicolas and even though she had been blessed with a very beautiful son, her life after that had not been the same again.

As a doctor, Kondwani trusted more in his own strength and intelligence to heal even the most complicated of ailments rather than in a much higher and greater power. As a man, he pursued his interests based on what benefitted him the most and he was quick to lay aside that which didn’t. But she had also seen him fight for her to get her son back and she had felt his heart beat to near rapture against her flesh.

Kondwani was a lot of things she did not want in a man but he was also a lot of things she had never before seen in a man. Just where would she stand in the life of such a man? Alicia finished washing her hands, dried them and went back into the living room.

“What are you thinking about?” Alicia asked Kondwani who had his back to her, hands in pockets and gaze fixed on something beyond the closed curtains in front of him.

Kondwani turned around. “Nothing,” he lied. “I think we should go to bed now. I’ll sleep downstairs in there.” He pointed to the door right next to the bathroom she had just stepped from. “You can take my room upstairs.”

“Are you okay?” Alicia asked again.

“Yeah, I guess am just realizing now how tired I am.” He said dismissively. “Give me a call if you need anything.”

“Okay.” Was all she could say, afraid to press him for information. It was obvious he was not okay but she just didn’t have the courage to pressure him into talking to her. They might have crossed the huge boundary that had separated them all this while but Alicia was still Alicia; the zeal to put up a fight was still low within her. She found keeping her silence easier than anything else.

“Good night.” Kondwani said and left the room without stopping to look back at her.

“Good night.” Alicia said to his retreating figure.

Suffice to say, none of them got a good night’s sleep that day.
***

Alicia woke up very early the next morning, hoping to leave before Kondwani was up but her plans were thwarted when she found him immersed in work in the living room.

“Good morning.” She greeted him.

Kondwani looked up at her from where he was seated. “Taking the walk of shame?” He asked, a smile on his face.

“No!” Alicia answered a little too quickly and loudly. “I just didn’t want to disturb you.”

“Are you going home first or straight to the hospital?” Kondwani asked.

“I have to see my son first. He called me crying on my sister’s line in the middle of the night saying he misses me. I was so mad yesterday I left without seeing him because I didn’t want him to see me crying.”

Kondwani finally stood up and went to put his arms around her. “I love you Alicia. Even if it kills me, am gonna love you like a crazy man.”

Alicia hugged him back. “Why do I feel the same Kondwani?”

“How I love the sound of my name from your lips.” He pulled her away from him and kissed her on the forehead. “Better get going now before you are late for work.”

“I’ll see you later.” Alicia said, stood on her toes and quickly planted a kiss on his lips before running out of the house.

Kondwani remained smiling to himself, his hand over the lips she had just grazed.

When Alicia got home, she could hear her mother’s and sister’s voice from the kitchen, obviously preparing breakfast while her father watched tv in the living room.

“Where have you been?” Her father Joseph roared the moment she appeared through the door, getting up from the sofa to confront her before she could fully enter the house. “Do you have any idea how worried we all were?”

“I was at a friend’s house.” Alicia said in a very low voice, her tone void of any remorse. She made a move to walk past him but Joseph pulled her right back by the shoulder to stand before him.

“How old are you that you should be rebelling like this?” Her father asked. Both Henrietta and Belinda appeared from the kitchen.

“Sis?” Was all Belinda could manage amidst the cold air in the room.

Alicia sent a glacial stare her mother’s direction and said; “I’m going to see my son.” She started towards Buseko’s room downstairs but before she could complete her third step away, her mother fell down at her knees in front of her, sobbing.

Shocked by the sudden turn of events, Alicia took a step back, as if to avoid setting her feet on fire.

“Rita!” Joseph rushed to his wife’s side. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“She is going to tell me today what I have to do to make up for what I did.” Henrietta cried. “If she wants me to jump into the ocean and die, I will. If she wants me to drive a knife through my stomach, I will do it, but please…don’t leave home like that again.
“Do you mean it?” Alicia looked stoically at her mother. “Are you going to kill yourself if I ask you to?”

“Licia!?” Belinda gasped.

Joseph could only gape at his daughter in disbelief.

“I will do it.” Henrietta said. “I don’t want you to cripple your life because of this bitterness you have towards me. I am not worth it.”

“Honey, get up.” Joseph tried to take his wife’s hand and help her up but Henrietta wouldn’t budge.

“I won’t get up until Alicia talks to me.” The mother of four stated matter-of-factly. “I can’t live my life in fear like this anymore…wondering what she’s up to whenever she’s upset. You all know what happened the last time she didn’t come home. What if-“

“Where were you sis?” Belinda asked. “Tell her everything is okay and make this stop. I trust you. I know you couldn’t have done anything stupid.”

Alicia scoffed and looked at her young sister. “You trust me?” She asked. “What would you say if I told you that I went and did exactly what I did with Nicolas six years ago?”

Joseph was about ready to hit his daughter again but Henrietta quickly jumped in front of him and instead received the wrath of his hand.

Both girls gasped, their hands to their mouths as Henrietta slowly went down.

“Honey!” Joseph quickly rushed to remedy his mistake.

“Grandma.”

Little Buseko’s voice had everyone’s gaze I the room turned towards his bedroom door.

“Honey.” Deeply embarrassed, Alicia ran to her son. “What are you doing up so early?” She asked as she put her arms around him.

“Why are you fighting with grandpa?” Buseko asked his mother.

“We are not fighting.” Alicia said as she positioned herself to block the five year old from seeing what was happening behind them.

Joseph and Belinda quickly helped Henrietta to her feet and she rushed to her grandson. Alicia surprised everyone by letting go of the boy so that her mother could get him. Feeling extremely ashamed of her actions, Alicia cried silently as she rushed up the stairs to get ready for work.

************

When Alicia got out of the shower a few minutes later, she found Belinda sitting on her bed, waiting.

“What are you doing here?” Alicia asked.

“What’s going on with you sis?” Belinda asked.

“What do you mean?” Alicia busied herself by the dressing mirror, her back turned to her sister as she applied lotion on her body.

“Where did you sleep?” Belinda asked.

“I told you, at a friend’s place.” She answered curtly.

“How many friends do you have Alicia?” Belinda said. “They are less than a handful. I called all of them and they said you weren’t with them, you didn’t even call them. Only this girl you work with…Carol or whatever her name is tried to lie to me.

“She said you were at her place but she refused to give me directions, then I remembered that you said she was out of town and you were lonely at work because of that. So who were you with? Did you go to the doctor’s house?”

Alicia’s shocked reaction at Belinda’s mention of Kondwani immediately gave her away.

“Oh my God.” Belinda said. “You were with him. I knew it. I called Nicolas’ friend Kayombo and he suggested you might be with the doctor but I never, oh my gosh. You slept at his place?”

“Calm down, mum and dad will hear you.” Alicia warned her.

“What is going on with you sis?” Belinda asked again, her voice filled with concern.

“Nothing’s going on.” She answered as she started dressing up.

Belinda got up and forced Alicia to look at her. “Sis, talk to me.” She pleaded with her.

“I’m going to be late for work Linda. Let me go.”

“I won’t let go until you tell me what’s going on with you?” Belinda insisted. “I thought that you would become happier when Buseko was brought home but you’ve been the total opposite. You are ever in a tight mood, you look gloomy when you get home from work and you don’t want to be with the family during meals.

“I have never heard you talk to mum or dad like you did. I can’t believe you are the same person am looking at. Just talk to me, please.”

Alicia’s eyes became teary and she quickly looked away from her sister. “I’m really going to be late for work Linda.”

“What can be so bad that you can’t talk to me about it?” Belinda pressed on. “You know I love you right?” Here, Belinda’s voice was shaky, she too fighting the tears threatening to pour.

“If I were to choose between our parents and you, you know that I would choose you right?” Belinda asked.

Those words finally broke Alicia into tears and she gave herself up into her sisters arms, sobbing. And together they cried in each other’s arms.

“It’s Buseko,” Alicia finally confided in her sister as they sat down on the bed. “Him and someone else.” She added.

“I know who that someone else is but let’s talk about Buseko first.” Belinda said.

“He asked me the other day if he was a bad boy,” Alicia said. “He looked me in the eyes and asked me; ‘mummy, do you love me now?’ I asked him why do you ask me that? He said that Grandma Mary told him that she was raising him because she loved him more than I did.” Alicia cried as she repeated the words spoken to her by her son.

“What?” Belinda asked, disbelief registering all over her face. “How can that woman tell a child something like that?”

“I swear to you Linda I cried that day in front of my son. I had all these crazy thoughts running through my mind…i kept thinking; so all this while my child has been thinking he’s not good enough for me that’s why I dumped him at his grandmother’s. How much pain do you think he must have felt every time I left him there?

“My heart broke even more when I realized that my son’s fears and his desperate need to receive acceptance from me was exactly what I went through growing up in this house. But he is only a child Linda.” Alicia cried. “He’s just a child but because of my foolishness he’s had to question my love for him.

“I felt so ashamed Linda.” Alicia continued. “I thought I loved him enough but hearing him say something like that-”

“Licia,” Belinda took her sisters hand. “Why are you even entertaining such thoughts? She asked. “You didn’t give up Buseko because you wanted to. You gave him up because it was the right thing to do at that time.”

“It wasn’t the right thing to do!” Alicia said. “There’s never a good enough reason for a mother to give away her own child. That’s why I’ve been so mad at mum.

“I can’t find the right reasons to defend myself other than that I felt guilty for my boyfriend’s death. At the end of the day I chose my man over my son and mum chose you guys over me. And I can’t punish myself so I keep taking it out on mum because it’s easy to resent her. I feel like she is the reason am such a bad mother and even when I know I can’t really blame her, I still can’t help myself. I Keep-”

“Oh my God Alicia,” Belinda hugged her sobbing sister. “What have you been doing to yourself?”

When Alicia calmed down a bit, Belinda asked her; “Do you honestly think that mum was a bad mother to you?”

Alicia nodded. “Yes.”

“And do you think that you’ve been a bad mother to Buseko?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know…I don’t think so…but maybe I wasn’t.”

“Do you think that Buseko really thinks that you are a bad mother?”

“I don’t know. But i think he knows that I love him, because I love him sis. He’s my whole world.”

“And yet there’s some guilt you feel towards him right?”

Alicia nodded.

“And I bet you are dying to have him know just how sorry you are or how wrong he is to think you don’t love him right?”

“Yeah, very much…but how can I make a five year old understand that?” Alicia asked.

“That’s a good question.” Belinda said. “So don’t you think that, just like you feel you are a good mother and you love your son deeply but still have certain guilt about him, don’t you think mum feels the same about you?”

“The situation between mum and I is different Linda. She willingly and openly put me aside and made you guys her priority. I was always the old one out. In other homes I saw older sisters leave clothes for their younger sisters but in our home mum always bought the latest and most beautiful things for you and only after you used them would they come to me…or if you felt pity for me then you would give them to me brand new without mum knowing.”

“Do you really think that mum didn’t know that I gave you those things?” Belinda asked.

“I don’t know.” Alicia answered. “She never acted like she knew. This one time she saw me wearing your brand new white shoes and she passed a funny comment.”

“What did she say?”

“Eish, I can’t remember,” Alicia said. “Something about white looking better on me than it did on you-”

Alicia froze mid-sentence.

Belinda smiled triumphantly. “Have you realized what I’m trying to tell you?” She asked.

“She had bought those shoes for me right?” Alicia asked, her heart suddenly beating very fast.

“I know for a fact that she did, with those shoes and with most of the dresses that somehow always turned to be slightly loose or too big for me.”

“Oh my God.” Alicia covered her wide open mouth with her hands. “Oh my God.” She kept repeating as she stood up from the bed.”

“Rather than think of mum as always putting us first, can’t you think of her actions as the desperate actions of a widowed mother trying to secure a home for her child?

“By appearing as though she worshiped only dad and I, don’t you think that that was her only way of ensuring that you always had a home to live in and a father to take care of you?

“I was very young when I discovered what she was doing and I could have easily resented her for using me like that but somehow, I understood why she felt she had to act like that. For some strange reason, I was flattered by the fact that she considered me good-hearted enough to share those things with you without even asking me to. She had lost her husband at a very young age and she thought no other man would accept her the way dad had when she already had a child and been married before.”

Alicia dropped down to her knees and started sobbing loudly. Belinda quickly went to her and tried to skiffle her sobs. “Buseko will hear you crying like this and what are you going to tell him?” Belinda cautioned her sister.

“I didn’t know.” Alicia kept crying and shaking her head. “I had no idea.” She kept repeating. And very so suddenly, Alicia leaped to her feet and ran out of the room, taking two steps down at a time shouting for her mother at the top of her voice until Henrietta appeared at the kitchen door, a spatula in one hand and looking deeply perturbed by the desperate sound of her daughter’s calling.

Without warning, Alicia threw herself into her mother’s arms, weeping and repeating the words; “I love you mum,” while the whole familiar looked on in deep shock.

Only Belinda had a knowing smile on her face from the top of the stairs where she was standing, looking down at the miracle unfolding below.

“It’s about time sis.” Belinda said to herself as tears silently cascaded down her cheeks.
********

Consumed by the disturbing thoughts that always seemed to accompany Kondwani whenever he thought about Alicia, instead of going straight for work, he decided to pass through his mother’s house to see the only person that could help ease the guilt building up inside him.

“Oh my gosh, you scared me!” Chilufya gasped as she came out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around her.

Kondwani immediately turned his back to her. Dress up quickly,” he said. “I am going to die young if I don’t get stuff out of my system right away.”

Chiluya immediately rushed to her closet and found something to wear. “What if I walked out of there naked?” She asked her brother as she dressed.

“Are you dressed now?” An impatient Kondwani asked.

“Oh my God what has you all worked up this early in the morning?” Chilufya said. “Give me two more seconds. Okay, you can turn around now.”

Kondwani went straight to sit on the bed. “Mum still sleeps up to 8 in the morning right?”

Chilufya sat on the chair by the dressing table. “I’m not sure.” She said. “I usually leave home at 7 and sometimes she’s awake and sometimes she’s fast asleep. It all depends on where her menopause has taken her that day.”

“I’m in deep shit.” Kondwani said.

“Language bro.” Chilufya said. “What did you do?”

“Alicia slept at my house last night.” He stated plainly.

Chilufya bolted up from the chair. “No way!” She said.

“Sit down,” Kondwani instructed, appearing to get a headache from her excitement. “You are making my head spin even more.”

Chilufya obediently sat back down but her eyes were bulged out wide in anticipation of more riveting news. “What happened?”

Kondwani explained most of the details of what had transpired between him and Alicia and at the end, in a very shaky voice he stated; “I know it’s wrong, I know I shouldn’t love her but.”

“But what bro?” Chilfufya said. “Honestly, I have never seen you like this before and to think that you have to give up on the one woman that has made you alive like this…no, am not going to let you give up on her. Don’t even entertain such weird thoughts.

“A few months ago I would have probably told you to stay away for the good of everyone involved but not after today. Just look at you.”

“I look like a fool like?” Kondwani laughed at himself, quickly wiping away his tears.

“No,” Chilufya comforted him. “For the very first time in your life, you look like a human being.”

“But I can’t afford to be human Chilu.” Kondwani reminded her. “I have a business to run, I have to protect you guys and mum. I can’t do that if am like this.”

“When are you going to realize that we are not kids that need your protection any more?” Chilufya said.

“I am old enough to take care of myself and my younger siblings.” She said. “You’ve done your part very well so it’s my turn now. Give me that opportunity to make you proud as well bro. live your life, be happy.”

“I can do that for you, but what about mum?” Kondwani asked.

Just as he was asking that question, Claudia their mother had just woken up and stepped into the kitchen to drink some water when she spotted her son’s vehicle through the open curtains parked in the front yard.

“Kondwani!” She called out to him and when no response came, she took the stairs up to the only room she knew he would be.

“I can take care of mum from over here so you don’t have to worry about anything.” Claudia heard her daughter say and a proud smile crossed her face.

She was just about to open the door and ask them why they were talking about her behind her back when she heard Kondwani say; “how can I bring Alicia before mum knowing very well the truth that lies between them?”

“You just said it yourself,” Chilufya muttered. “This issue has more to do with mum than it has to do with you so why are you feeling guilty like you were the one behind the wheel?”

Claudia froze by the door, both her eyes and ears opened wide.

“Lower your voice for pete’s sake what if someone hears you?” Kondwani said. “And what do you mean this has more to do with mum? I was right there at the scene!” He placed emphasis on every single word.

“It was me who saw the body first and it was me who disturbed the scene, not mum.” Kondwani continued. “It was me who was supposed to call paramedics but because I didn’t want mum to see what she had just done, I went back to the car and pretended everything was okay. Perhaps if I had called for help in time instead of selfishly worrying about my mother, that man might still be alive. I am guiltier of his death than the poor inexperienced driver that had been behind the wheel that rainy night.”

Claudia pushed the door open and caught the both of them by surprise.

“Mum!” Both Kondwani and Chilufya jumped from where they were sitting.

“What do you mean his death?” Claudia asked, her hands that were hanging loosely to her sides shaking profusely.

“Mum,” Kondwani ran to her side. Claudia turned fully towards her son, the fear written all over her face was the nightmare Kondwani had been avoiding for the past six years.

Was this how it would all come to an end? Kondwani thought as he looked at his mother. Just like that? Before he could even live a little? Not like this.

Dear God, not like this. Kondwani silently prayed to the God he had last recognised when he was a little boy.

Not like this, he kept repeating. 

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An Untimely Love – Part 9

The following night at the awards ceremony, Alex stayed true to her word and shocked Oliver when she showed up at the red carpet on the arm of Sam Daniels looking nothing like the student he was used to seeing. The Vivienne Westwood figure hugging royal-blue gown with an everlasting train and exposed back that Sam had bought the twenty-three year old made her a favourite for the flashlight snapping people around the place.

“You do know you look hotter than every female here tonight right? Celebrity and non-celebrity, you top the list.” Sam whispered into Alex’s ear as they posed for photos. “I bet everyone is wondering who the beauty beside me is. Let me go and introduce you to the world my lady.”

He posed with her at every stop on their way down to the first exclusive reporter on the carpet who was still talking to Oliver and his thirty-eight year old date Miranda Rose.

“Do you think they can see how nervous I am?” Alex whispered back as they continued posing for the cameras.

In response, Sam wrapped his arm around hers and drew her closer to his side. “I’m right here with you baby.” He said proudly.

“Those screaming females over there would stone me to death if they heard you call me that.” She laughed. “This is the first time am walking the red carpet. Mr C and Anton always wanted me to pose with them but I never imagined I would have the courage or the grace to pull off something like this. Am sweating like a pig under there, am too dame nervous.”

Sam laughed out loud at her bluntness. “Am amazed you can say that to my face without blushing.” He said. “However, I’m honoured to be your red carpet first.” He said. “Okay, are you ready?” He asked just before they stepped in front of the microphone as Oliver and his date were being led away.

Alex nodded and he gave her hand a little squeeze. Oliver chose that very moment to look behind and see the intimate moment between the two. Smiling nervously, Alex waved at him for a second and immediately went back to being Sam’s perfect date.

“Is that the girl you told me about?” Miranda asked Oliver as they walked towards the entrance, posing every now and then for screaming fans and camera men and women.

“Yes,” Oliver answered simply.

Miranda laughed. “Now I understand why you begged me to play your date tonight.”

“I never begged, I asked and you had no trouble agreeing. I had no idea she would be coming. I knew Anton already had a date so,” Oliver said in a tight voice even though he kept his lips in check for a smile for the cameras. “I just wanted her to feed off the presses when they start speculating stories about us. You do know you are the very first woman I’ve walked the carpet with after Sophia right?”

“Coward.” Miranda said under her breath. “How can I not know?” She asked out loud. “And how long do you think it’s gonna take until they discover my real preference for dates?” She chuckled mischievously, eyeing the cleavage of the lady that passed by.

“As long as you control yourself and quit staring at every boob that passes you by.” Oliver said. “Woman, have you no self-control? What was I even thinking asking a beast to be my date?”

Miranda laughed. “Because of you are too scared of your feelings for a twenty-three year old and you couldn’t risk asking a real woman with real feelings on a date because you didn’t want to deal with the after math.”

“My question was rhetoric.” Oliver remarked.

“I know,” she said. “And so was my response.”

Oliver shook his head. “You are impossible Miranda.” He said, smiling for the cameras.

“I know.” She returned.
Behind them, Alex kept her mouth on guard as Sam professionally attended to the questions being thrown their way.

“I know she looks like a doll tonight but she’s actually very legal.” Sam laughed with the reporter. “She’s twenty-three.”

“We always see you in the company of the Coopers but we’ve never been graced by your presence on the red carpet before; what changed this time?”

Alex chuckled nervously before answering and Sam gave her another squeeze to assure her he was beside her. “The Coopers are like family to me so, I guess I never really bothered about the red carpet, it always seemed easier to just go straight in and sit but since I came specifically as someone’s date tonight…I thought I could rise up a bit to his standards.”

“And rise you have Alex. You look smashing!” The reporter said. “I am green with envy right now because that dress is a killer.” And she turned back to Sam. “So is it safe to say you are off the market now Sam?”

Sam laughed and looked at Alex. “Only if she agrees to go on a second date with me.”

“So?” The reporter placed the microphone in front of Alex, her face beaming with expectation.

“I will give him a response when he asks me out in private.” Alex answered.

“Oh dang! The reporter exclaimed in disappointment. “Looks like Oliver Cooper trained you well on how to keep the media guessing.”

Great. Good going, just keep bringing up Oliver’s name won’t you? Alex thought as Sam attended to the rest of the questions before they were ushered forward.

Minutes later, Oliver got the second shock of the night when Sam and Alex were ushered to their table. But he was not the only one shocked by Alex’s presence that evening. Anton too who was sitting with his girlfriend Cathy on the same table couldn’t seem to get his lips back together when he saw Alex.

“Alex?” Anton said and Oliver stood to welcome them to the table.

“Great to see you here Sam.” Oliver said as he shook Sam’s hand. “Alex,” he turned to shake her hand. “You look stunning.”

“Thank you Mr C.” Alex said, smiling as she sat down on the seat Sam had pulled out for her.

“Hi Cathy.” Alex greeted her nemesis. “You look very stunning tonight.”

Cathy did not return her greeting. Instead, she pouted and turned her attention on Anton.

“You look great Alex. “Anton said.

“This is Miranda, my date.” Oliver quickly remembered to introduce his date who couldn’t seem to take her entranced eyes off Alex.

“Pleased to meet you.” Both Sam and Alex said at once, winning themselves stares from everyone around the table.

“You are one hell of a beauty Miss.” Miranda said to Alex. “Now I see why-“

Oliver kicked his date under the table and she winced in pain. “I see why Sam here can’t seem to take his eyes off of you.”

Sam laughed. “Her name’s Alex.” He introduced her. “She’s my date tonight.”

“I thought you were going to say girlfriend.” Cathy chipped in. “Weren’t you guys on a date last time? It appears every guy you meet wants to keep you in the friend zone Alex. You should up your feminine wiles.”

“Cathy, right?” Sam addressed her. “You are the one we met at the club that evening when you almost had a fight with Alex over Anton missing classes to chill with you at-”

“What club?” Oliver asked. “And what fight?”

Oh, it’s nothing Mr Cooper!” Cathy answered quickly.

Sam turned to Oliver. “Alex here was upset that the reason your son Anton had skipped classes that week was because he had been out relaxing at the club.”

Disgusting sneaky bastard. Anton thought as his eyes shot daggers at Sam.

The only thing Alex could do was smile nervously. She understood why Sam felt he had to come to her rescue but she didn’t like the fact that that revelation was going to put a strain on Oliver and Anton’s already strained relationship.

“We will talk about that after this.” Oliver told his son sternly. “I am not up for ruining my mood this early in the night.”

“And you need to be all smiles when you go up to receive your award honey.” Miranda said, wrapping her hands around his arm. Oliver’s eyes instinctively went to Alex who was seated across him just as she turned her head to look at what was happening on stage.

Towards the end of the show after Oliver had received his award, Alex excused herself to got to the bathroom and Cathy followed her right behind.

“Why are you trying to make my man jealous?” Cathy had grabbed Alex by the arm and pulled her to the toilet stall at the far end of the room and locked it behind them.

Alex tried to get away but Cathy pinned her against the door thus making it hard for her to turn and unlock the it. “What the hell are you talking about?” Alex asked.

“You think I haven’t seen what you and Sam are up to?” Cathy accused. “I used to have such respect for Sam but what kind of man is he that he’s allowed himself to be used by someone like you?”

“Let go of me Cathy.” Alex said. “I am not interested in your boyfriend and Sam isn’t playing any games with you or anyone here tonight. Even if you don’t like me, can’t you trust your own boyfriend? Why are you attacking me?”

“I wouldn’t be like this if I wasn’t aware of the soft spot Anton seems to have for you. He considers you family but we both know it’s not possible for people that aren’t related to act like family to each other.”

“It’s not possible for you, but it’s possible for some. I always thought of you as family Cathy. You are the one who never wanted me around.”

“No I wasn’t the only one! Mum too wanted you gone! You had just been a temporary substitute and the moment you were of no use to her, she got rid of you! Dad too allowed her because he couldn’t stand some strange child getting in the way of his family’s happiness.

“You always thought you had his back but do you know what he said when he discovered you go to his school? He said he feels suffocated. Suffocated Alex.”

“Why are you telling me all this?” Alex blinked back her tears. “I am not interested in your family anymore. You can keep them.”

“But you are interested in my man.” Cathy said. “It is my job to keep leeches away from my things…just like I did many years ago.”

“I really need to use the bathroom so please-“

“What?” Cathy asked. “Are you going to pee on yourself like you did when you were kicked out of our house?” She laughed as she towered over her. “What is a dirty orphan girl like you doing in such a place? If your own parents could not accept you, do you think the rich folks here will? Go home Alex, you don’t belong with this crowd.”

Cathy grabbed Alex by the shoulders and pushed her to the side. She opened the door only to find Miranda standing on the side, glaring at her like she had just committed murder. Embarrassed, Cathy quickly ran out of the bathroom.

Alex who had remained inside was unaware of Miranda’s presence in the bathroom. She closed the door behind Cathy and dropped to the fall crying. Miranda could hear her stifled sobs from outside but when Alex came out of the stall five minutes later, her eyes were dry and she had a huge grin on her face.

“Are you okay?” Miranda asked her as she pretended to wash her hands by the sink.

Alex finished washing her hands and turned to look at Miranda with a huge grin on her face. “I’m great, why do you ask?” Alex lied. She then walked to the dryer and reached her hands out to dry. “Oh, you mean that I’ve been here for a while?” Alex added. “I was on a call with someone so-“

“I see,” Miranda came to dry her hands next to her. “See you back there then.”

“Yes, thanks.” Alex said and exited the bathroom quickly.

“Oliver,” Miranda said to herself. “You have a lot of work on your hands buddy.”

Two hours later at the shows after party, Sam struggled to keep Alex from drinking that he had to go searching for Oliver to help him.

“Where’s she?” Oliver asked, ready to go to her.

“She is up on the balcony and she refuses to get up.” Sam informed Oliver and Miranda. “She’s crying and keeps saying I should leave her alone on her own terms…she’s not making any sense but I think something must have happened while I was attending to something.”

“Let’s go.” Oliver led the way to the balcony and for sure they found Alex sprawled out on the floor looking half-dead with a bottle of wine in her hands.

“Alex-“ Oliver rushed over to her. Alex lifted her head up and smiled when she recognized Oliver.

“My Knight in Shining Armor.” She said, pointing her drunken finger at him. Oliver grabbed the bottle from her and tried to help her up on her feet but she was too drunk to stand. Sam came to the side to help but Oliver scooped her up into his arms and started leading her down the stairs. Miranda and Sam followed him behind.

“She had a fight with that Cathy girl in the bathroom.” Miranda informed the two gentlemen as they walked the flight of stairs.

Oliver stopped and turned to look back at her. “What was the fight about?” He asked sternly.

“What do you think she must have said to the poor girl to make her drink like this?” Miranda said.

Sam ran down the stairs passed Oliver and turned. “Let me carry her out since she’s my date.” He told Oliver. “There are too many cameras here and-“

“She is my responsibility first before she’s your date Sam so let me handle this. You can go back inside and celebrate with your friends. I will take Alex home. Take care of Miranda for me.”

“At least let’s all escort you to the car so that we can avoid media speculation tomorrow.” Sam suggested.

“He is right.” Miranda said. “If they see Alex leaving in your arms while Sam continues to party inside, they will have a field day.”

“Okay.” Oliver agreed and the three of them walked together to his car.

“Where’s your designated driver?” Sam asked when they found no one waiting for them by the car.

Anton who had been standing close to the window in the lounge where the party was being held spotted his father carrying someone in his arms and laying her in the back seat. Without saying a word to Cathy who was standing next to him deep in conversation with the elites, he excused himself.

“I’ll be back.” He said to her and rushed out of the room without giving her a chance to respond.

Cathy was too star struck by the celebrities around her to even notice that her boyfriend was gone.

“I sent him away.” Oliver explained as he laid Alex who was now passed out in the back seat. “I don’t drink on such days so I prefer to drive myself back home.”

“Thanks for doing this for me.” Sam told Oliver when they were done getting Alex sleeping comfortably in the back.”

“There’s no need for you to thank me.” Oliver said in a very authoritative tone. “She is my girl. I promised her I will always take care of her and I intend on keeping my word.” He kissed Miranda on the forehead and got behind the wheel.

“I don’t know why I keep replaying his last words in my head.” Sam said to Miranda as they watched Oliver’s car disappear into the night.

Miranda walked over to the twenty-nine year old and put her hand over his shoulder. “You have a very keen sense young man. Embrace that.” She said and started walking back to the party.

They bumped into Anton right at the entrance. “Where’s Alex?” He asked Sam, his eyes searching where his father’s car had been parked.

“She wasn’t feeling so well so your dad has taken her home.” He explained.

“I think you need to re-evaluate your taste in women my dear Anton.” Miranda said to the young man. “Do you have any idea how wicked that girl you’re dating is?”

“You don’t know my girlfriend that well aunt Miranda so-“

“I don’t need to know her that well to come up with that conclusion.” Miranda said. “She said enough in the bathroom when she attacked Alex for me to draw sufficient conclusion as to what sort of character she is.”

“I have no idea what went down in that bathroom but I also don’t appreciate anyone that disrespects my woman.” Sam told Anton in a no-nonsense tone. And turning to Miranda he said; “am going up to excuse myself. I don’t think am in the mood to party anymore.”

“Have a good night Sam. It was very nice meeting you.” Miranda said and turned to Anton. “Aren’t you going back up?”

Anton hesitated as he kept his eyes fixed on the car park ahead but after a few seconds, he turned and led the way back inside.
Because he had never been to Alex’s apartment, Oliver took her to his place instead. He carried her into the house and laid her down in the spare bedroom downstairs, not trusting himself to have the energy to carry her all the way up to the room she used whenever she visited him.

After laying her on the bed, Oliver removed her shoes from her feet and was about to take off her earrings when Alex opened her eyes and stared straight into his.

“You are up.” Oliver said.

Alex suddenly sat up and without warning threw her arms around him.

“Alex, what’s wrong?” Oliver asked, trying to get her to stop hugging him so he could have a conversation with her but Alex tightened her arms around him.

“It’s fine, am here.” Oliver said and hugged her back.

After a while, Alex released her arms from around him and instead passed them around his neck and locked her hands behind his head, their faces only a few inches apart. “Why won’t you love me?” She asked Oliver.

Oliver grabbed her arms and led them slowly down to her sides. “You need to rest.” He said. “You are drunk and it’s been a long night.”

“Can’t you treat me like a woman, just for one night Oliver.” Alex begged with tears streaming down her cheeks.

The sound of his name from her lips caught Oliver by surprise. She had never before called him by his first name. With just one word, Alex had managed to erase the gap that had always separated them in their usual banter. She had dared cross that line and catch him off-guard.

With her back leaning against the bedpost, Alex stared at Oliver unflinchingly, desperately waiting to hear his response.

“Do you even know what you are asking of me Alex?” Oliver asked.

“I know.” She said.

“Unless you don’t want us to continue being family I beg that you don’t ask me something like this again.” Oliver said and stood up from the bed, turning his back to leave. However, Alex surprised him again when she hugged him from behind and pulled him back towards her, resting her head hard against his back.

“Please.” Alex begged. “Why can’t it be me?”

Oliver just stood there, not sure what to do or how to respond. “I love you. I am in-love with you. I don’t want to but I do.” Alex cried.

Oliver tried to turn around.

“Don’t.” Alex said, tightening her grip around him. “I don’t want you to look at me if you are going to tell me to stop.”

“How can we talk with my back to you like this?” Oliver asked.

“Just answer my questions truthfully and I will let you go.” She said.

“What questions?”

“Is it pity that makes you act the way you do towards me or is it something else?”

“What do you mean act?” Oliver asked.

“I think that you like me too but you constantly avoid me these days but when I need you, you are always there…like tonight. I’m confused.”

“Okay,” Oliver said. “Can I at least turn around to look at you as I answer? I promise I will be honest.”

Alex let go of him and Oliver turned around to position her comfortably on the bed lest she fell from her drunken state. He made her legs rest on the side of the bed and positioned her back straight, getting down on his knees and holding her steady by her arms as he spoke.

“How old am I Alex?” Oliver asked her, looking straight up at her.

“Forty? Forty-one?” Alex said.

“Forty-three.” Oliver said.

“Forty, forty-three, it doesn’t matter.” Alex said.

“And how old are you?”

“Twenty-four.” She said.

“Twenty-three. You are still twenty-three for a couple more months.”

“I know where you’re going with this. It doesn’t matter to me. Age is only a number. What does it matter when we love each other?”

“I never said I loved you like that Alex.” Oliver said.

“Then are you telling me you love me like a daughter?” She asked.

“Yes.” He said.

“Fathers slap their daughters when they kiss them the way I kissed you that night.” She reminded him. “But you didn’t. Instead, you kissed me back!”

“I never kissed you back.” Oliver argued. “I was fighting to stop you-“

“Only after you kissed me back. Why are you lying?” Alex cried. “I felt you kiss me back.”

Oliver sighed deeply. “Okay, maybe I did, but it was only for a second. I was confused. You surprised me and-“

“What sort of father gets confused like that by his daughter?”

“Alex,”

“Why won’t you just admit the truth!?” She yelled, wriggling her arms from his grip.

Oliver rose to his feet. “Because you are a child dammit!” He snapped. “I watched you grow up and play with my son who by the way happens to be older than you. Not so long ago you were in-love with him. You are his best friend for Christ’s sake so how can I even begin to imagine something happening between us? I am old enough to be your father Alex don’t you get it?”

Alex put her feet on the floor and tried to stand but everything was spinning so she failed to hold her ground against gravity. Oliver held her in time and sat her back down on the bed and went back on his knees before her.

“I beg of you Alex, let’s not do this. Just continue thinking of me as the cool dad you never had. Isn’t that what you used to tell me? Fall in-love with someone younger and live your life to the fullest. You don’t need to have an old guy like me dragging you down.”

“Who says you are dragging me down?” Alex asked. “I don’t want to be with anyone else. It’s you I love so why can’t I be with you? Are we going to be the first couple with such an age different? True love doesn’t look at such things.”

“True love also cares about the welfare of the other person so why would I allow you to make this kind of mistake?”

“That means you love me too isn’t it?” She said.

“Like a father loves his child.” Oliver insisted.

Alex sulked and dropped her back onto the bed. “Cathy was right.” She said resignedly, closing her eyes and dropping her arms on either side of her head.

When Oliver stood up to check if she was sleeping, he saw tears cascading down the sides of her eyes as she fell asleep. Afraid to lay his hands on her, Oliver put a cover on top of her and quietly walked out of the room. He carefully closed the door behind him and closing his eyes, he dragged his back against the door slowly down to the floor. Once on the floor, he dropped his head and sighed like a man who had just lost a great battle.

After about a minute, Oliver opened his eyes to find familiar legs standing in front of him. He raised his head to find Anton glaring down at him, total disdain written all over his face.

“Son?” Oliver quickly got to his feet. “When did you get here?”

If eyes could shoot fire, Anton would have burnt his father to ashes that night. “How long has this been going on?” He asked.

“Come,” Oliver grabbed his hand. “Let’s talk somewhere else.”

Anton flipped his father’s hand away but still followed him into the living room.

“When did you get here?” Oliver asked when they stopped in the living room.

“How long has this been going on between you and Alex?” Anton asked.

“What are you talking about?” Oliver tried to brush his suspicions aside. “What would be going on between me and Alex?”

“I heard it all dad.” Anton said. “I heard her say she’s in-love with you!”

“Please, keep your voice down.” Oliver said. “Do you want her to overhear this conversation?”

“Why didn’t you tell me that she had developed feelings for you?” Anton asked.

“Because I also only discovered recently.” Oliver answered.

“And you, how do you feel about her?” His son asked.

“If you heard her say those words then am sure you heard my response too.” Oliver said, turning to leave the room and put the conversation to a stop.

“I don’t want to hear the answer you gave her.” Anton said. “Man to man, I want to know your true feelings.” He then moved closer to stand in front of his father. “Do you love her?” He was looking him in the eye, daring him to give a lie.

“I’m too tired.” Oliver said dismissively. “I don’t have time to get into it with you tonight.” He tried to turn again to walk away but Anton grabbed him by the shoulder and forced him to look back at him.

“You love her don’t you?” He asked.

“Are you drunk?” Oliver said.

“I know you dad. You only avoid questions when you don’t want to tell the truth. You can easily tell me you don’t love her so why are you running away?”

“I’m not running away.” Oliver said sternly. “And anyway, what’s it to you how Alex feels or how I feel about her? She is old enough to make her own decisions and I am your father so I don’t deserve this line of inquiry from you.”

Oliver turned and started walking away.

“I won’t let you have her!” Anton shouted at his father.

Oliver stopped right before the staircase and looked back at his son. With his hands in his pockets, he took the few steps back to where Anton was standing and stopped right in front of him.

“Just out of curiosity,” Oliver said. “What makes you think you have the right to make such a declaration?”

“What is wrong with you?” Anton looked disgustingly at his father. “She is young enough to be your daughter. I am older than her!”

“Lower your voice Tony or hell I will lower it for you.” Oliver thundered. “Let me tell you this and am only going to say it to you once; I haven’t made a decision to pursue Alex but if ever I do, her age would be the least of my worries. Don’t hide under the veil of looking out for her when we both know exactly why you are acting like this.”

“Yes,” Anton said. “I love her.”

“Bloody fool.” Oliver muttered.

Even when that fact had been obvious, that Anton had said those words out loud made Oliver shake in his boots. In that moment, he realized the power of the spoken word and how it could change everything. He had seen the look in his son’s eyes when he saw Alex earlier that evening and he had known exactly what lay there but hearing him come right out with his feelings made him feel worse than he had been feeling a few minutes ago.

“I know am a fool for realizing it this late,” Anton said. “And I am embarrassed to admit that I first had to see her on the arm of another man to realize my feelings but I will be dammed if I just ignore my feelings after stumbling on them so suddenly. I love that girl and I won’t give her to anyone else!”

“Do you think that you can just act on your feelings whenever you have them?” Oliver asked his son. “Have you forgotten that you have a girlfriend or that you sacrificed your friendship of over ten years the first chance you got without even realizing it? Is that how you love son? When are you going to grow up?”

“Oh don’t use your age over me dad.” Anton retorted. “You know as much as I know now that I’ve always loved Alex…I was just too busy doing other stuff to realize it.”

“You were too busy chasing skirts to realize what a great girl you had right beside you so don’t blame anyone for how things have turned.” Oliver said. “We all have to pay a price for the decisions we make and you need to take responsibility for your stupid and careless actions.

“The world doesn’t come to a stop simply because you need it to. You need to grow up and stop acting like a spoiled brat. I’ll be dammed if I let you into Alex’s life so you can ruin it. Whether she loves me or not, I will never let wishy-washy punk like you, even if you are my son anywhere near her heart.”

“Let me worry about that dad.” Anton said. I don’t want to have to fight you over Alex and even though you’ve always won over me in everything, this time around I won’t let that happen. Alex might think that she’s in-love with you right now but she’s just confusing her feelings of gratitude with something else. If you are that lonely just find someone your age and leave Alex alone.”

With that, Anton stormed out of his father’s house, leaving Oliver alone to stew on his words for the entire night.

An Untimely Love – Part 8

“Mr Cooper?”

Sam’s voice forced Oliver out of his delirium and he released Alex immediately.

“Alex?” Oliver said as he quickly regained his senses.

“Are you okay Mr C?” She asked, her hand reaching for his forehead.

Still in a mid-trance, Oliver could not take his eyes off of her. The concern in her eyes and the warmth of her hand against his skin as she examined him gave him a brain freeze.

What’s happening to me? Oliver asked himself. Why Alex?

“You don’t look so well sir.” Sam said, closely watching Oliver. “I think you should sit down.” He held him by the arm and led him to sit down by the piano where Alex had been sitting.

“He doesn’t have a fever.” Alex said, coming to kneel down by Oliver’s side and drawing her face close to examine his eyes.

Oliver covered his eyes with his hands and sighed. “I’m fine.” He said upon dropping his hands, relaxing his facial muscles into a smile and getting up on his feet.

“Everyone has always wondered why you never remarried after all these years but I think today I’ve unlocked the mystery.” Sam said.

Oliver’s heart skipped a beat, afraid that his weakness might have just been uncovered before he could even learn how to deal with it himself. “What have you unlocked?” He asked, deliberately turning and leading the way out to avoid Sam or even Alex herself looking at him.

Walking next to him and with his hands in the pocket, Sam said; “I think you are the most romantic billionaire I’ve ever come across, to still love your wife after all these years.” And looking at Alex walking on the other side, he added; “I guess it kind of makes sense why you went and adopted a girl that looks so much like her. I heard from your team that Alex is like a daughter to you, and yes, I was snooping around for info.”

Alex laughed with Sam but the expression on Oliver’s face was a stoic one.

“You know, everyone says that I resemble Aunt Sophia but apart from my red hair, I don’t think I look like her. She was waaay waaaay too beautiful!” Alex laughed. “Don’t you agree Mr C?”

Oliver chuckled, still walking slightly ahead of them. “We never actually adopted Alex, she just naturally kind of fitted in our family and Sophia grew too attached to her because she always wanted a baby girl.”

“So we can say that Alex is more than just adopted,” Sam said. “She is the daughter you never got the chance to have with your wife.”

Oliver chuckled half-heartedly. “I guess you could say that.”

They had reached the car park and Oliver turned to Alex. “How did you get here?” He asked.

“Sub.” She replied. “I needed to clear my head so I took the long drive here.”

“If you don’t mind, I could give you a ride.” Sam offered. “Roger loaned me his car to use since he had to head somewhere with the team. Where are you going?”

Alex’s eyes were dancing about in excitement and if not for the grave expression on Oliver’s face, she would have started jumping up and down in joy. A popstar had just offered to give her a ride!

“Mr C-“ Alex was about to seek his consent when he said;

“You can go with him. It’s not often that a girl gets a ride from one of her biggest crushes.”

“Mr C!” Alex went to hide behind Oliver’s arm.

Sam laughed. “I feel very honoured that you have a crush on me Alex. You seem like such an interesting lady.”

Alex blushed all the way to her feet.

“Am off now.” Oliver announced. “Take great care of her okay?” He said to Sam.

“Yes Sir!” Sam joked. “She is in very good and safe hands.”

Alex went over to Oliver and gave him a hug and a peck on his left cheek. “Good night Mr C.” She said.

“Good night Alex.” Oliver said and got into his car without uttering another word. He had spotted the paparazzi that had been following him the whole day hiding behind a car a few meters away from them.

“I hope you took a great shot you bastard.” Oliver said to himself as he drove away.
Sam was just about to drive out of the parking lot when Alex said; “Stop!”

Sam froze. “What?” He asked.

“There was a paparazzi lurking around earlier today what if he sees you taking me home and blows things out of proportion?”

Sam laughed. “I saw him.”

“You did!?”

“I don’t think he’s someone we should worry about,” he said. “I think he’s specialty is Oliver Cooper. Everyone seems to be dying for a story on the poor man especially now that he’s taken the movie industry by storm.

“All media houses are dying to bring his very well kept private life into the open so you who’s so close to him better be on the lookout. These people have the flexibility of a gymnast; they can turn and twist any story around to suit their taste.”

“You sound just like Mr C.” Alex said.

“I do?” Sam gave her a surreptitious look. “So what’s up with you and him?”

The smile on Alex’s face faded. “What do you mean?”

“You seriously didn’t expect me to go quite about what happened in there did you?” He said.

“Is that why you asked to give me a ride?” She asked, her tone as cold as ice.

Sam didn’t miss the disappointment in her voice. “I think I just lost a few good points in your books.” He noted. “That’s not why I gave you a ride Alex. I had dubious personal reasons for offering.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Dubious?”

Sam laughed. “Can I be honest with you?” He asked.

“Please, by all means.” She answered.

“When I first saw you,” Sam said. “I didn’t think much of you. I thought you were the usual regular fan I always bump into every now and then…if not always. But then I saw you seated behind the piano and heard you play, everything changed!”

Alex laughed. “Are you serious?”

“Yes.” he said. “I guess I am that vain of a person. There’s something about music that always speaks to my soul and with you…well, I guess it was the surprise element. Everything about you screams nerd, minus the weird glasses of course so I didn’t imagine you would have such fine taste in music.”

“I am not quite sure whether to be offended or not by that.” Alex said.

“I am also not sure whether am giving a compliment or not but the original intention was a compliment…if you get what I mean.”

“I do,” Alex said. “I guess I should say thanks right?”

He laughed and took a sudden turn into Sunset Boulevard.

“Where are we going?” Alex asked. “School is in that direction.” She pointed in the opposite direction.

“Did you have plans already?” He asked.

Alex gawked at him. “You ask after you’ve turned already?” She said. “Are all celebrities this presumptuous?”

“Again, you sound very disappointed.” Sam said. “I just keep losing points with you, don’t know why, I always seem to hit it off with females. Is it because you’ve lived around celebrities most of your life?”

“What celebrities?” Alex innocently asked.

Sam raised his eyebrow. “Mr Cooper and his son?”

“Oh, you mean those?” she said. “I think I’ve become so accustomed to them that they don’t feel like celebrities anymore. They are more of family to me than anything else. You on the other hand are a full-blown celebrity stranger. Where are we going?”

“There’s a cool place right ahead that I want to show you.” He said. “You will fall in-love with it so much that it will inspire you to start composing your own music.”

Alex turned her body fully towards him. “Compose what?” She asked.

“Music.” Sam provided. “Why do you look so surprised?”

“Are you kidding me?” Alex said. “What would I be doing hunting for places that would inspire me to compose music? I am a psychologist; I study people’s minds and behaviour, not music sheets.”

Sam laughed. “So I was right about you being a nerd.” He said. “Why Psychology of all things?”

“What do you mean of all things?” Alex asked.

“You are the cleanest amateur piano player I’ve ever heard in my life. I don’t know why, but there was just something about you behind that machine that made my heart skips a couple or more beats…and I am someone who deals with musicians of all sorts on a daily basis.”

“Oh wow, is it okay for me to feel absolutely flattered?” Alex asked.

“Of course!” Sam said.

“I wonder why a smooth talker like you is still single, or do you do a lot of secret dating?” Alex asked.

“Smooth talker?” Sam laughed. “Why can’t women just take a compliment?”

“It took me a whole year and a half of practice to play like that!” Alex confessed. “Mr Cooper was right, I was terrible that’s why I was saving the reveal for a big day like his birthday. So you telling me this and that is sort of making me feel like you’re just saying stuff to make me feel good.”

Sam took a left turn and drove for about ten minutes before taking another left that led them to a private property with tight security.

“What’s this place?” Alex asked.

Within seconds of them arriving, the gate came open and closed again the moment they were inside and onto the long driveway ahead of them. “This is the place where the rich and famous hang out just to cool off. How come Mr Cooper hasn’t brought you here yet? I have no doubt he is a member.”

“I don’t always hang out with them everywhere they go. Even for shows or Awards, I prefer to stay away. I only go when Mr C is receiving an award. I find those kinds of events too pretentious and tiring. Oh, am sorry, I didn’t mean-“

Sam laughed. “Don’t apologize,” he said. “I actually agree with you except unlike you, I can’t afford to stay away.”

“Wow,” Alex said as she took in the surroundings. “Should I even ask how much it costs to become a member here?”

“Let’s keep that a mystery okay.” Sam said as one valet came to take the keys from him and another went around to get the door for Alex.

“I already feel like a celebrity.” Alex said, giving her hand to the young handsome valet helping her out of the car. “Are there any people here? It’s too quite.” She asked Sam as he led them down towards the waterfall on the other side.

“There are not that many people during the week but come weekends, it’s packed like hell.” He said. “I hope I am not keeping you from anything Alex, school assignments and what not.”

“You should have asked that question before you showed me this beautiful place.” Alex said, running towards the water, her eyes beaming with excitement and her arms stretched wide. “This is heaven!” She shouted to Sam who appeared amused by her excitement, taking his dear time joining her on her run down the stairs towards the ground.

“I told you you would love this place didn’t I?” Sam said when he finally joined her down by the waterfall, her pants pulled up and three quarters of her legs dipped in the water.

“I feel like taking off all of my clothes right now and getting in this water.”

“And what’s stopping you?”

Alex stared at him, her brow raised into a question mark. “I don’t have a bathing suit.”

Sam gave her a full body scan. “Are you telling me you are commando under there?”

Alex almost chocked on her saliva from Sam’s line of enquiry. “Oh my God no!” She said.

“Then what’s the problem?” He asked.

“Any other person I would have been out of my clothes already but I didn’t want to come off as…you know…. What would you think of me if I allowed you to see me naked on our very first meeting? I was trying to save you and myself the embarrassment of being stuck with an overzealous fan.”

“I thought you and I were passed the fan stage.”

“What do you mean?”

“Didn’t you agree to be my friend?” He reminded her.

“Oh you mean that,” Alex said. I thought you were just playing nice. I didn’t really think-” She paused when she thought she heard a familiar voice.

“What’s wrong?” Sam asked.

“I think I heard Anton’s voice.” Alex said and then a male’s laughter echoed in the air as the voices drew closer.

“I think there are people coming down.” Sam said, getting up to check on the other side. “It appears you know your best friend very very well.” He said and Alex quickly got out of the water and went to stand next to him.

Immediately, she spotted Anton walking hand in hand with Cathy in their swim wear heading down towards them.

“Alex?” Anton said the moment he saw her.

“Sam?” Cathy gasped but her excitement dwindled the moment she recognized the girl standing next to her favourite singer.

“I know you,” Anton shook Sam’s hand the moment they reached where they were. “My dad said something about signing you last summer. But, you two know each other?” He looked from Sam to Alex.

“We actually met today.” Sam explained. “All thanks to your father. Is she your girlfriend?” He asked in reference to Cathy.

In response, Cathy interlocked her arm with his.

Smiling, Anton answered, “Yes, she’s my girlfriend. It appears my best friend has been busy while I’ve been away.” He sent Alex an accusing look.

“Are you guys just getting here or you’ve been here?” Alex asked, a serious expression on her face.

“We’ve been here for two nights actually.” Cathy eagerly answered. “This is our third day and I keep begging Tony to let us stay one more night.”

Alex fixed her gaze on Anton the whole time Cathy was talking, and when she was done, Alex asked; “Is that why you’ve been missing class for the past days?”

“Alex-“ Anton started.

“What’s wrong with missing class for a few days?” Cathy jumped to her boyfriend’s defence. “And stop mothering my boyfriend Alex, you are just his friend, not his wife.”

“Cathy!” Anton yelled at her.

“What?” Cathy protested. “The whole time we were here you kept talking about how Alex is going to flip, oh Alex will kill me, Alex this and Alex that. Why should my boyfriend be scared to live his life the way he wants just because of you?”

As if Sam could feel Alex’s pain, he put his arm around her protectively. “I think we should go now.” He said. “I have work to do and Alex needs to study. It was nice meeting you Anton.” And without waiting for a response from either of them, Sam led Alex away.

“Would you like to join them?” Cathy asked Anthon who was still starring after them.

“Did you have to say all those things to Alex? There was someone right there with her Cathy.” Anton admonished her. “I don’t feel like swimming any more, it’s getting dark.” He turned and started walking back.

There was silence in the car for more than five minutes as Sam drove Alex to her apartment.

“Does he know?” Sam finally broke the silence.

“Know what and who?” Alex asked.

“That you like him.” He inferred.

Alex shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “What made you think that I like him?”

“I could feel your breath beside me and you were shaking when I took your hand and led you away. And now you just confirmed everything when you answered my question without waiting for me to address the who part. So does he know?”

“He doesn’t.”

“And his dad?”

“What about his dad?”

“Does he know that you are in-love with his son?”

“He does.”

“I see.”

“What do you see?”

“Shrugging his shoulders, “Nothing,” he answered.

“Thanks for taking me to that place.” Alex said. “It’s a wonderful place…despite everything.”

“So will you go there every now and then to cool off and get inspiration? The place is actually very massive. What you saw was just one side of it. There’s plenty of activity to do over there.”

“I am not a VIP citizen so why would I even go there?” She said.

“You can come with Mr Cooper or Anton, they are obviously members there. Or, you could come with me.”

Alex looked at him suspiciously. “Aren’t you tired of giving me fan service? Aren’t you scared I might fall in-love with your stardom and start asking for more?”

Sam laughed. “You are the first girl I met who almost started crying over some other guy whilst in my company so no, I don’t think I have anything to worry about with you…except if you are okay.”

“How you always say the right things.” She said. “I think your girlfriend will be very lucky.”

“I know right!” He laughed heartily at his own arrogance. “Oh thank God, you just smiled!” he pointed to her lips. “I thought I was gonna have to start wiping your tears soon. I am not very good at comforting people. I suck at it.”

“But you sing love songs.” Alex said. “And you always seem so deep and sincere.”

“I didn’t say am emotionless Alex, I said I just suck at giving comfort. I never know what to say!”

“Is it a celebrity thing?” Alex said, more to herself than to her company.

“You know someone like that?” Sam asked.

“Anton’s dad, he’s exactly like that too.”

“Maybe that’s why I like him a lot these days. I used to think that he was too much of a recluse, hates mingling with others because he thinks he’s all that but he’s proven me wrong time and time again.”

“Oliver Cooper is the coolest person I have ever met in my life. Coolest.” Alex announced proudly.

“How come you ended up falling for his son and not him instead?” Sam asked. “He might be older but his looks put all of us youngsters to shame. That guy is too fit for an old timer I think his mother lied to him about his age.”

Alex laughed. “That’s what I always tell him!”

“Careful, you might just end up falling for him in the end.” Sam warned.

Alex said nothing in return, her mind replaying the moment at the studio when Oliver had put his arms around her.

“Did I say something off?” Sam asked, moving in slightly towards her to look at her face.

“Sorry,” Alex said. “I just remembered that my supervisor at work asked me to pass through somewhere tomorrow to meet someone that can help me with my research paper.”

“Research paper?” Sam asked. “Are you in your last year? You work?”

“I’m interning at Packers Hospital and yes, am in my final year.”

“Oh wow, you must have big brains if you managed to get an internship at Parkers. Isn’t that like one of the biggest hospitals in the country?”

“It is.” Alex answered. “It was solely by chance that I got the opportunity to work there.”

“So you’ve never ever thought about doing music as a career” Sam asked.

Alex gaped at him. “Why music? I can’t even sing! I have always wanted to do psychology because I wanted to understand certain things about my life and at the same time help others that might be going through the same things I went through. If not Psychology, I was going to be a writer.”

“Gosh, how old are you?” Sam said. “You just sounded like an eighty year old woman. You look like you’re around twenty-three twenty-four, what things could you have possibly gone through that would make you have that look in your eyes as you do right now?”

Alex’s phone rang just then. “It’s Mr C, she told Sam before answering. “Mr C?” She greeted him.

“You don’t sound like you are home yet?” Oliver said. “Where are you?”

“Sam and I made a stop somewhere but he’s driving me home right now. Is everything okay?”

“No, I just wanted to check if you are safely home. Let me know when you are.”

“I will.” She said and cut the line.

“He’s asking why you’re not home yet?” Sam asked.

“Yes.” Alex answered. “He worries too much that one.”

“So one treats you like a daughter and the other treats you like a sister.” Sam observed.

Alex nodded.

“So one is dumb and the other is cautious.” He added.

“What?” Alex asked.

“Nothing, was just thinking out loud.”

On the other side of town, Oliver found himself constantly looking at his watch and checking his phone. An hour had passed since he had spoken to Alex and she still hadn’t called him.

Wait, why am I worrying like this? Oliver caught himself thinking. It’s not like she is a teenager or something so why is my heart restless?

Oliver almost jumped when his cell finally rang. He stopped pacing and jumped at the phone that was lying on the bed.

“Alex?” He said, sounding almost out of breath.

“Mr C, were you jogging? You sound out of breath?” Alex asked.

“No, yes. Are you home now?” He asked.

“Yes am home and what do you mean yes and no? Were you working out or not?”

“I was but not right now. “ He said.

“Thank you for introducing me to Sam Mr C.” Alex said. “He’s such a great guy. I had so much fun hanging out with him today.”

“You did?” Oliver said. “I’m glad you did but just be careful not to get too attached to him. There famous people tend to live in the moment most of the times with no regard to what happens to others after.”

Alex laughed. “I think that sometimes you forget that you are famous too Mr C.”

“But I am not young,” he said. “I have no desire to ingratiate myself to fans so they can say good things about me.”

“Um, you sound sour tonight, are you okay?”

“I’m okay. I just wanted to check if you’re home.”

“Did you talk to Anton today?” Alex asked.

“No, why? What did he do?”

“Nothing. I just haven’t spoken to him in a while so-“

“Don’t worry about him, he will come back to his senses soon. He’s just going through a phase. You are probably dying to get back to your books now. Have a good night.”

“Good night Mr. C.” Alex said.
For the next week that followed, Alex religiously kept her appointments with Dr Sanjay, desperate to fix whatever problems she had. When she was not getting shrinked, she was in class or at work. She was determined to forget her embarrassing encounter with Oliver that was still weighing heavily on her mind that it kept coming in almost every session she had with Dr Sanjay.

“What do you want me to say?” Alex asked the good doctor. “If I say that I can’t really remember how I felt you will shrink me some more and if I say that I remember and I liked kissing him or didn’t, you are still going to shrink me.”

“I don’t want you to tell me what you think I want to hear Alex.” The doctor said. “I want you to be honest with me about your feelings.”

“What feelings?” Alex asked.

“Okay,” the doctor gave up on that line of questioning. “Let me ask you this instead; do you still have fears that once Mr Cooper remarries, you will be all alone?”

Alex kept quiet for a few seconds before answering; “Yes.”

“I see.” Dr Sanjay said. “And how do you plan on addressing that?”

“I will keep myself very busy until the fear goes away.”

“And if it doesn’t?”

“It will. Maybe I will forget about it just like I forget everything else in my life.”

“Then why haven’t you forgotten it up to now? It’s already been more than two weeks since it happened.”

“My mind seems to have a mind of its own. It forgets whenever it wants and remembers stuff whenever it wants. I wish I could forget and remember at my command.”

“So you are saying that you have no control over what happens to your memory?”

Alex sat up from her reclined position. “Does it look to you like I enjoy remembering that night?” She snapped at the doctor.

“Why are you mad Alex?” Doctor Sanjay asked.

“You think I don’t know why you are asking me these questions?” She answered. “In case you’ve forgotten I have read the same books you’ve read and sat in the same classes you sat in. I know how this thing works.

“I don’t force myself to forget or remember stuff! It just happens. Every day I go to bed scared that I might wake up in the morning and not know who I am. Am scared that I might forget the faces am used to seeing all because I saw or heard something that my mind could not deal with.

“I am scared every single day and night of things I hear or see. I keep thinking, what if I hear or see something that will force me to remember how I was abandoned by my own parents when I was a baby? When others have forgotten about their childhood memories I remember every single dirty detail.

“I want to forget. I want everything to just go away. I don’t want to remember anything anymore. I just want to be normal. I want Oliver to stop looking at me like a child and start treating me like an adult but because of this…whatever this is, all he sees is a broken girl that needs fixing, that needs protecting, not a woman. He doesn’t see a woman when he looks at me.”

“Why do you want Oliver to look at you as a woman?” Dr Sanjay finally asked.

Alex stared at the doctor like she had just uttered something ridiculous. “Oliver?” She asked.

“You just called him Oliver, not me.”

Alex shifted nervously in her seat. “I said Mr Cooper. I don’t know what you heard.”

“You still haven’t answered my question.” Dr Sanjay said. “Why do you want him to look at you as a woman?”

Alex dropped her gaze to the floor and quietly answered; “Because only then will he stop feeling bad about liking me.”

“Liking you?”

“Yes. I know he likes me.”

“How?”

“I am not a child doctor. I might have issues but I know that of the things that man grapples with, liking me as more than just a daughter is one of them.”

“What other things do you think he’s grappling with?” The doctor asked.

“His late wife for starters. I know that he only started developing feelings for me when he confused me for Aunt Sophia on his birthday. I never had any feelings for him back then but for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking about how my heart raced when he put his arms around me.

“And then it happened a second time at the studio and I thought I was going to die from my heart beating so fast. At first I thought I wanted to get married to him because I was scared of losing him but I didn’t know then what my heart already knew; I am in-love with him.”

“Why have you decided to tell me this now?” Dr Sanjay asked.

“Because I need you to understand that I have no control over whatever is happening to me. I don’t consciously ask my mind to forget things I don’t like. It happens without my consent. There are times when I want to forget my feelings and pretend nothing ever happened but I can’t. I still wake up with the same memories, intact.”

“Why do you think that what you feel is love rather than misplaced feelings of –“

“Don’t even go there doc.” Alex said. “I know what you are going to say and it’s not it. I have asked myself the same question over and over again and the answer is still the same; I am in-love with him. It’s not because I have father issues and have transferred or confused my feelings for something else.

“I need you to fix me so that I can become a full normal woman. I am tired of being scared and am tired of watching Oliver treat me like a child simply because he wants to remind me and himself of how incompatible we are together.”

“What do you think needs to be done for you to become ‘normal’ as you call it?” The doctor asked. “You said it yourself, you are familiar with this field. What do you think needs to happen for your mind to stop shutting away experiences it thinks you can’t deal with?”

“I don’t know.” Alex answered honestly. “You are the one with the licence, you tell me.” After pausing for a few seconds, Alex looked up at the doctor. “Doctor?” She said.

“Yes,” Doctor Sanjay answered. “What is it?”

“When did you find out about my feelings for Oliver?” Alex asked. “How did you know about it when I clearly told you I had feelings for Anton? How come you haven’t asked me about him?”

“Do you want me to ask about Anton?”

“No,” Alex answered. “I’m just curious I guess.”

“I like the kind of progress that comes from you opening up on your own, not from me forcing you into it.” Dr Sanjay said. “So are you going to tell me?”

Alex smiled. “I guess for a while I was traumatized by how quickly he put me aside when Cathy came into his life…how he preferred to hear her version of events rather than ask me about it.

“It’s like that feeling a child gets when she finds the father she’s always considered a superhero crying in the basement. I felt like that when I saw Anton with Cathy. I remember thinking; so he’s just like everyone else.”

“And what makes Mr Cooper different?”

“He’s always there and he’s always been there in my darkest of moments.” She answered. “I can’t remember a time when I called out to him and he didn’t show up but it’s not the same with Anton. I can stand losing Anton but I can’t stand losing Oliver. If I lose him, it won’t be because he doesn’t love me. It would be because he can’t comprehend his feelings for me.”

“I know Oliver to be a straight cut kind of guy.” He doctor said. “What if he never comes to terms with those feelings you think he has for you? What if he continues to push you away by treating you like a child?”

“I know that’s very possible.” Alex said, remembering the last time he had done something like that. “You know he’s been nominated for best director for the California movie right? I’ve always been his plus one but this time he invited someone else and he made sure I heard about it, said it couldn’t be helped. Instead, he gave me three tickets to a musical but I intend to give him the shock of his life.”

“What are you planning?”

“I won’t tell you. Oliver has legal access to my sessions so-”

“Just as we agreed, I won’t tell him about anything that you do not want him knowing. You are allowed to stop me from disclosing certain things to him even if you gave him permission to know.”

“I know.” Alex said. “I already know that you don’t tell him everything, just like I know you won’t tell him about my feelings for him.”

“Why are you so sure?” The doctor asked. “If I think that your feelings are likely to cause you to do something like you did that night you tried to take your life-“

Alex raised her hand to stop the doctor from talking. “That was one stupid incident and I regret it. We already spoke about it and I said it won’t happen again. Anyway, I know you won’t tell him about this particular session because you don’t like interfering in such situations,” She added.

“What makes you think that?

“Because you are aware of his feelings for me and you’ve never betrayed his confidence even though he’s not your client. You could have easily let it loose today that he might or might not like me but you didn’t.” She stood up. “I have to get going now.” She informed the doctor. “I have a lot of preparations to make for tomorrow and I intend to give someone the shock of his life. Thanks doc for today!” She added as she started for the door.

Doctor Sanjay stood up as well and followed her behind. “You do know that am the one who gets to decide when the session ends or not right?”

“I do,” Alex laughed. “But I think you and I are more of friends than a doctor-patient relationship. You know too much stuff about me to kill me even in my sleep so what’s the point of playing by the book?”

“I’m glad to see that you are returning to your chirpier old self Alex.” The doctor said as she moved ahead of her to get the door for her.

“Goodbye doc!” Alex shouted and ran to where her bike was safely packed under a tree.