Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 19

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Beatrice staggered out of the bank like a drunk woman, her mind replaying those moments with Shadreck when she should have questioned things instead of blindly putting her trust in the love of a sixty year old man over his much younger wife.

Beatrice’s confidence that age was enough to keep her man had made her so shallow that she could not imagine Shadreck betraying her or leaving her for another woman. In her head, he was the lucky one for having found himself such a beautiful young wife who could love him as much as she showed him she did.

She was aware of Shadreck’s wondering eyes once in a while but what man wasn’t like that? She had given him a home and a family that he so desperately wanted and she had faith that these things together where enough to seal their fate together until such a time when he died and she would start afresh with a much younger man.

Not once had she pictured that scenario playing the other way round.

The foul taste of the betrayal and the shock lingered in her mouth and made her stomach churn in disquietude. She clutched her stomach as she started walking towards the parking lot, stopping once in a while to find something to hold on and to catch her breath.

Her heart was racing, fast and loud, blocking out all other sounds around her. One of the shoppers at the mall, a gentleman in his early thirties approached her and placed a hand on her to help steady her.

“Are you okay madam?” the young man asked the emotionally and physically drained Beatrice who was holding on to a wall, anxiously waiting for her vision to become steady so she could cross the road leading to the parking lot.

Beatrice slowly lifted her head up to look at the man holding her and she shrugged his hand away.

“Get away from me!” She yelled at him, drawing the attention of everyone in sight.

“Calm down, am just trying to help.” The gentleman said. “You look a little disoriented. I am a doctor….”

“I have my own personal physician,” she snapped. “I don’t need some random stranger touching me and trying to take advantage of me. Leave me the hell alone.”

The poor man raised his hands in surrender and walked away from her.

Beatrice rushed across the road and was almost bashed by an oncoming vehicle. The driver went at his hooter with all his might and Beatrice stopped to shout at him.

“Run me over if you dare you jerk!” She shouted.

The man simply gaped at her in absolute disbelief and waited for her to cross over to the car park.

She got into her car and drove like a mad woman to her house, all the while desperately trying to get hold of Shadreck on his cell.

I lost my phone in the process and didn’t bother to get a new one since I knew I would be home soon. His words echoed through her head and she sent her phone flying in the air.

Finally at home, Beatrice busted into her house screaming her husband’s name but no response came.

“Mum,” Mark was standing at the bottom of the stairs calling out to his mother who was busy banging doors and shouting upstairs.

“Where is your father?” Beatrice shouted from the top of the stairs.

“How the hell am I supposed to know?” the teenager answered. “I got here just a few minutes ago.”

“And your sister, is she back yet?” Beatrice asked. “Moola!” She yelled out.

“Mum!” Mark yelled back. “You are going to break all the bulbs with your screams. Calm down. Did something happen? Is this about Moola’s wedding?”

“It’s none of your business young man,” Beatrice turned and walked to her bedroom.

Down the stairs, Mark was shaking his head slowly. “Tsk tsk tsk…menopause,” he said and went into the living room to watch TV.

Beatrice was on her computer furiously and desperately trying to log in to her bank account online but her password kept getting rejected.  She was about to throw the laptop down when she heard the door downstairs open.

She ran out of the bedroom and peered down the stairs and saw Moola enter the house.

“What’s wrong with you too?” the oblivious Mark asked his sulking sister.

“Don’t talk to me today if you want to live.” Moola said and started heading towards the stairs.

Beatrice met her at the bottom of the stairs. “Why is your phone off!” She asked her daughter.

“I have been trying to get hold of you for hours now. Did you talk to your father? I saw that you were the last person he called from the landline. Do you know where he is?”

Moola’s eyes as she looked at her mouth were packed with contempt and scorn.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Beatrice asked.

Moola started shaking her head slowly. “You disgust me.” She told her mother and tried to walk past her to get on the stairs.

But Beatrice grabbed her hand and pulled her back. “How dare you talk to me like that young lady!? So what if you were dumped? That doesn’t give you the right to be this disrespectful to your mother. Are you the first person in the world to be jilted?”

“Respect?” Moola pursed her lips at her. “Did I just hear you talk about respect, mother?” She deliberately stressed the last word and then scoffed. “You are one to talk.”

“Why are you talking to me like this?” Beatrice demanded to know.

Meanwhile, Mark was watching the two women in amusement, saying out scores depending on whom he felt gave the most astounding retort.

“I should have been recording this…if only my battery wasn’t low.” He said to himself, looking at his phone to see his battery life marked in red.

“I’m too tired and depressed to fight with you right now. I’m going to take a nap.” Moola said and started stepped away from her mother to get on the stairs but again, Beatrice grabbed her back.

“What do you mean I am one to talk?” Beatrice asked.

Moola looked down at the part of her hand where her mother was gripping. “You are hurting me,” she said.

“I won’t let go until you tell me why you are being such a brat!” Beatrice yelled.

“You want to know?” Moola asked. “Okay, am going to tell you. Dad is gone and it’s all your fault!”

The smile on Mark’s face disappeared within the blink of an eye.

“What do you mean your dad is gone?” Beatrice asked.

“He is gone! He has left us!” Moola shouted. “He got so tired of your lies that caused him to lose all of our money and he just couldn’t deal with all the misfortunes you’ve brought this family.”

“What are you talking about?” Beatrice asked, shaking all over and her eyes dancing in confusion.

“What are you talking about sis?” Mark had joined them at the bottom of the stairs to echo his mother’s words. “What do you mean dad is gone?”

Moola turned towards her younger brother, the puzzled look on his face immediately brought tears to her eyes.

“What’s wrong Moola? Did something happen to dad?” Mark asked again, his voice too shaking from the imaginations running through his mind.

“Answer your brother!” Beatrice shouted and started shaking her daughter. “Where is your father?”

Moola pushed her mother away with so much force and sent her tumbling backwards.

She then turned to her brother. “Go to your room right now and park all your stuff. We are leaving this house today.” And she ran up the stairs living her brother and mother in shock.

Beatrice quickly got up to her feet and ran after her daughter, catching her right outside her bedroom.

“Why are you behaving like this?” Beatrice asked. “What did your father tell you?”

“He told me everything mother!” Moola said. “About the lies you’ve told us all these years, your dirty secrets, how you seduced someone else’s husband, had a daughter with him and when he refused to marry you, you abandoned that child.

“I know that that child is that Evelyn girl who it turns out is now married to Kelvin, the man I was scheduled to marry tomorrow, the man who it turns out is the brother to the woman whose husband you seduced twenty something years ago.

“That woman died right outside your place and her father committed suicide a few days later because he could not live with the guilt of watching his daughter die right in front of him and not being able to protect her.”

The shock of Moola’s words sent Beatrice reaching for the top rails of the stairs. However, Moola was not, even for a second touched by her mother’s desperate and unfortunate state. She was not in the mood to be taken in by her manipulation.

She followed her where she was, crouched and desperately gripping the rail for support.

“How did you…how….” Beatrice’s quivering lips were keeping her from uttering anything sensible. She stammered her way through her sentences and Moola could only shake her head in disappointment at watching her mother crumble down so easily.

Unaware of Mark’s presence who was still standing at the bottom of the stairs, Moola went at her mother again.

“Mrs Kangwa?” Moola continued. “You remember don’t you?” She asked. “Of course she looks different now but that only goes to show just how determined she was to make you pay for what you did to her family.

“Because you were so greedy for other people’s things, things you did not deserve, you dragged us all down with you and now look where we are; I was engaged and then jilted by a man that didn’t even love me, dad’s businesses kept hitting stumbling blocks because there were people out there punishing him for the wrongs  that you committed.

“He lost all of his fortune due to a trap that Kelvin’s mother set up for him and now we have nothing. Thanks to you, some woman was sent into dad’s path to seduce him and take him away from you and now he would rather be with that family instead of us. That’s how much he detests you mother.”

Beatrice appeared almost out of breath. She was gasping for air, hitting her chest with one hand and using the other to steady herself against the rail of the staircase.

“It can’t be…that’s…that’s…not…true….” Beatrice was whispering, her hand softly hitting her chest in her desperation to calm her racing heart.

Slowly, the walls around her started drawing closer and closer, threatening to squeeze her into oblivion.

When everything else around started fading, Beatrice could no longer make out her daughter’s screaming words. She could see her mouth move when she tried to look up at her but she could not hear her.

Tasting for the last time the saltiness of all her sins now painted in liquid onto her face;

Beatrice hit the ground and right before losing consciousness, she heard her two children call out to her from a distance.

“Mum!!!!”

* * *

Somewhere in Zanzibar

Evelyn was awakened by the smell of bacon in the room. She opened her eyes and found a smiling Kelvin holding a tray of breakfast over her sleeping figure. She slowly sat up and rubbing her eyes said;

“That smells sooo good.”

“I know,” Kelvin said, laying the tray on her laps.

However, no sooner had Evelyn come in close contact with the food than she rushed out of bed and into the bathroom to throw up.

But nothing came out.

Kelvin was right behind her, watching her struggle to vomit with a proud grin on his face.

Evelyn raised her head to look at him in disapproval. “How can you smile like that when I am close to vomiting?”

“I told you,” Kelvin was saying, leaning the side of his body against the door frame and crossing his arms over his chest. “You are pregnant.” He said, still smiling.

“I am not!” Evelyn said. “It’s that shrimp you made me eat last night. I felt like vomiting the moment I put it in my mouth. I told you, am really not a fun of sea food.”

Evelyn spat, flashed and walked over to the sink to wash her face.

Kelvin went to stand behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist from behind.

She smiled and stopped whatever she doing. “What do you think you are doing?” She asked him.

Kelvin laughed. “Hugging my wife good morning.” He proudly stated.

“It still feels so surreal,” She told him, raising her hand to look at her ring. “Are we really married?” she asked.

“Of course we are,” Kelvin said. “And you could be carrying a Minnie-me or Minnie-you in here.” He was gently rubbing her tummy.

Evelyn grabbed his arms and pushed him away. “I told you, I am not pregnant. You can even iron something on my stomach without hitting any bumps.” She grabbed a towel from the rail, dried her face and walked passed Kelvin back to their room.

Kelvin followed her and grabbed her by the hand. He turned her to face him and with a serious expression on his face, he asked, “is it that you don’t want to carry my baby?”

Evelyn chuckled at the absurdity of his unexpected question. “Why would you think that?” She asked.

“I don’t know,” Kelvin shrugged his shoulders. “It’s just that…that first time I suggested lying to my mother about you being pregnant, you freaked out…and every time I ask you to get a pregnancy test, you insist that you are not. I was kind of hoping that you would be as excited as I am at the possibility of….”

Evelyn put a finger on his lips. “Shhh,” she said.

Kelvin stopped talking.

She put her hands on both sides of his face and pulled him down towards her, gave him a long deep kiss and then released him.

Satisfied by the sudden turn of events, but still confused by the meaning of it, Kelvin was smiling and giving his new bride a questioning look at the same time.

“I’m scared,” Evelyn said, this time wrapping her arms around his waist.

“What are you scared of?” Kevin asked.

“What if we take a test and it turns out I am not pregnant?” She said. “I really want to be pregnant with your child but I also don’t want to jinx it by hoping. The only reason I am safe and alive is because we told your mother that I was carrying her grandchild. What if it takes a while for us to….”

Before she could finish, Kelvin grabbed her by the back of her head and planted a kiss on her forehead.

“I know you are pregnant,” he said with so much conviction.

“How can you be so sure? Have you ever made a woman pregnant?”

Kelvin laughed. “Hell no, you are definitely and most certainly my first womb.”

She laughed. “Then how can you be so sure?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just feel it.” and then he walked over to the dressing table, opened the top drawer and removed a pregnancy testing kit from a box.

“What?” Evelyn said in surprise. “When did you buy that?” She walked over to him and took the tester from him. “Unbelievable,” she said.

“I got it this morning while you were sleeping. There’s a pharmacy right outside the hotel. Go in there and try,” he was pointing to the bathroom.

“I am just from peeing!” Evelyn reminded him.

“Dammit!” he said.

Evelyn laughed.

“Can’t you force it?” Kelvin asked. “There’s always that bit that remains after….”

“Kelvin!” She threw him a disconcerting look.

Embarrassed, Kelvin turned and disappeared into the other room of their suite.

Evelyn followed him and went to sit on his lap, blocking his view of the TV. She held his head in place and told him, “I pee every five minutes, have you forgotten?”

Kelvin’s face completely lit up. He scooped her up in the air and started spinning around.

“I think I am going to vomit now,” Evelyn protested and he immediately put her down.

“I think breakfast might hasten things up,” She suggested. “What do you think?”

Without saying another word, Kelvin rushed back into the bedroom and came out with the tray they had left on the bed.

Thirty minutes later, Evelyn came out of the bathroom with a blank expression on her face and handed the stick to Kelvin who had been anxiously waiting, pacing around the bedroom.

“Two red lines, do they mean what I think they mean?” He asked as he examined the stipe.

“Umhu,” Evelyn replied and watched her husband lose control.

“We’ve been gone for more than a month now,” Evelyn said to Kelvin as they drove around the Island in their rented car a few hours later. “Isn’t it time to go back now?” She asked.

“I don’t have any motivation whatsoever to go back,” Kelvin answered honestly. “If I could have it my way, we would stay here forever.”

“Do you still think am not safe?” She asked.

“No,” he quickly answered. “It might take a while for my mother to get close to you but I know that she will eventually.” He assured her. “Before this revenge thing, she was a good person, strong willed, but still a good person.”

“I don’t expect you to say otherwise about your mother,” Evelyn said.

Kelvin chuckled. “Not my mother,” he said. “I have been through enough with her to know she is no saint. She has done enough things that could put her behind bars for many years but she’s been too careful in her plotting to attract the attention of law enforcers.”

“And what about you?”

Kelvin gave her a puzzled look. “What about me?” he asked.

Evelyn thought for a moment before opening her mouth. “How far did you go…as in terms of breaking the law to get revenge?”

Kelvin chuckled again. “You are asking if I killed anyone aren’t you?”

Evelyn looked away and gave no response, holding her breath as she waited for his answer

“I didn’t go that far Eva,” he told her. “I never took anyone’s life.”

Evelyn let out a sigh of relief.

“Ah,” Kelvin said upon seeing her release the breath she had been holding. “Did you actually think that I….”

“I don’t know!” Evelyn covered her face with her hands in guilt and shame for having doubted him, even if for a second. “You kidnapped me, stripped me naked and tried to rape me a couple of times. There was so much anger in your eyes I feared you might kill me.”

Kelvin shut his eyes for a few seconds as if to block out the horrible memories that made him feel the kind of shame he had never ever felt before in his life.

“Not my proudest moments,” he said, almost whispering the words. “I promised to make it up to you for the rest of my life and I intend to keep that promise. Do you believe me?” He was looking at her to hear her response.

“I believe you,” Evelyn answered.

Kelvin smiled. “Thank you.” he said and fixed his attention back on the road ahead.

“When did you tell your mother that we would be going back?” Evelyn asked.

“I told her next week,” Kelvin said. “She keeps calling everyday whining about the baby and how you should be under the guidance of an adult since you don’t have parents and what not.”

“Don’t tell me…”

“Yeah, exactly what you are thinking,” Kelvin confirmed her fears. “I told you, her bloodline is her weakness. She was raised at an orphanage for a while and she doesn’t know who her real parents are.

“My mother’s worst fear is dying and leaving no one behind to carry her legacy….like she dies and that’s the end; no one to carry her blood or to stay by her bedside holding her hand as the life slowly slips out of her. Her words,” Kelvin quickly added. “Not mine!”

Evelyn was quite for a while, but later she said, “I think I understand her fears.”

Kelvin turned to look at her, her heavy tone giving him extra concern.

“You know that you don’t ever have to feel like that anymore right?” He asked her.

Evelyn laughed softly. “I know,” she said, unconsciously rubbing her flat stomach.

Kelvin looked at her hands and smiled before turning his attention back on the road.

“We will go back home soon and I will build us a nice home for our family.” He was mostly talking to himself than to her.

Evelyn turned to look at his serious expression as he spoke.

“You will never be alone,” Kelvin said, his eyes still fixed on the road ahead. “I will protect you and my child with my very last breath.”

They drove in silence for a while, taking in the beautiful scenes of nature around them. This was the first time Evelyn had travelled outside Zambia and she ensured that she utilized every moment away from home to live the fairy-tale kind of life Kelvin had shown her in the past month…the kind of life that always seemed surreal even when she was right in the middle of it, experiencing every moment.

The kind of happiness she was experiencing was beyond anything she had ever dreamt for herself and that reality only heightened the fears and insecurities in her; that she might wake up one day and discover that it had all been a dream.

Thus, every night before she fell asleep, she prayed for the dream to last one more day….

And so far, it always did.

“What about Beatrice?” Evelyn later asked Kelvin as they drove to the nearest beach. “I know you don’t like me knowing about what’s going on back home but I overheard your conversation on the phone once when you thought I was sleeping. How is she doing now?”

Kelvin clenched his teeth at the mention of Beatrice’s name and tightened his grip on the steering wheel.

“What is it?” Evelyn could feel her husband tense up and wondered if there was something going on back home that she wasn’t aware of. “Is there something you are not telling me?” She asked.

Kelvin nervously smiled at her. “Of course not,” he said, turning to look at her for a few seconds.

“I just don’t like thinking about the woman, that’s all.” Kelvin said. “I know that despite everything that’s happened, she is still your mother….”

“I have never thought of her as my mother Kelvin,” Evelyn said. “I don’t expect you to feel bad or guilty about your feelings towards her. You are free to hate or loathe her as much as you want.”

Kelvin reached across to her and held her hand. “I am sorry Eva,” was all he could say in response.

* * *

Beatrice kept turning and tossing in bed, much to her daughter Moola’s chagrin who was sleeping next to her in their newly bought two-bedroomed apartment.

Moola sat up in frustration and woke her mother up. “Why did you insist on Mark taking that whole room to himself if you knew you would make it impossible for me to get any sleep?”

Beatrice sighed heavily and sat up as well. “Over my dead body will I let my only son sleep on the sofa in that tiny living room.”

Moola got out of bed and went to turn on the light.

This new bedroom was a far cry from the humongous master bedroom Beatrice had shared with Shadreck at their old mansion which the latter had sold behind her back.

It was only when Beatrice received an envelope with money in it that she learnt her now ex-husband had sold their home and split the money between them in half. She used that money to buy her children another house that was unfortunately twenty ties smaller than the house they were raised in.

She didn’t know whether to thank Shadreck for his consideration in leaving her half the money from the sale of their home or sue him for his betrayal. In the end, she had no choice but to move on since she could do neither as she had no idea where her husband was hiding.

Shadreck had secretly met with his children Moola and Mark the evening before he disappeared and made no efforts whatsoever to contact the woman he had spent the past twenty something years with except through his lawyers that came to hand Beatrice already signed divorce papers.

Moola went back to sit on the bed. “What do you think the people that did this to us are doing right now?” She asked her mother.

Beatrice grimaced and rolled her hands into fists at the thought of the people response for her fall from grace.

“Whatever they are doing, they better pray I don’t get my hands on them. This isn’t over.” She said sternly. “I will make every one of them pay for everything they’ve put us through.”

Moola scoffed. “How are you going to do that?” She asked. “We are broke. Apart from the money dad left Mark and I for school, we have nothing, absolutely nothing. So how do you plan on fighting giants when the only kind if ammunition you had was taken away from you?”

“Who says I need money to make them pay? I only need to touch one person and the rest of them will come crumbling down in pain.”

“What are you planning mum?” Moola asked, instantly growing perturbed. “You are not planning on hurting Kelvin are you?” She asked.

Beatrice threw her daughter a reprobating look. “He used you, dumped you and humiliated you. Why do you still care about him?”

Moola pouted. “I loved him for so many years,” she said. “My feelings can’t change just like that simply because I discovered he never loved me. He might have hated my family, but I still think that there was a part of him that cared about me. Dad even said that Kelvin begged his mother not to do me and Mark any harm.”

Beatrice felt like smacking some sense into her daughter. “Sometimes I wonder if maybe they switched you at the hospital.” She said.

“Maybe you should consider getting your other daughter back,” Moola suggested. “She managed to seduce another woman’s fiancé and even married him…. I say there’s no doubt she, is your daughter.”

Beatrice grabbed a pillow and smacked Moola at the back of her head.

“Ouch,” Moola said as she nursed the assaulted part.

“That’s for spouting nonsense,” Beatrice said and put the pillow back down. “That girl is no daughter of mine.” She added. “She is the worst mistake I ever made in my life. I should have gotten rid of her when I had the chance.”

Moola shivered at the sight of her mother’s deathly glow. “Stop looking like that, you are scaring me.”

Beatrice got out of bed and stood to the side, a new kind of conviction registering in her eyes. “To get rid of a problem, you must remove the root of the problem,” She said.

“What are you plotting to do mum?” Moola asked.

“You just wait and see,” Beatrice said. “You wait and see….”

A cold streak ran down Moola’s spine as she looked up at her mother. This was the first time since their father left that she had seen such conviction in her eyes.

Two Weeks Later

Kelvin parked to the side of the road outside the antenatal clinic when he saw his mother waiting for them by the gate.

“I am so nervous,” Evelyn said, tilting her chair back to avoid being seen by her mother in-law.

Kelvin laughed. “Even if you avoid seeing her now, you are still going to meet her the moment you get out of this vehicle.” He said. “I know it’s crazy that your first meeting is like this but what can we do? She insisted on taking you for your first visit and I am still feeling guilty about how I treated her so I couldn’t say no.”

“I know,” Evelyn said. “You did the right now. Who knows, maybe seeing the baby inside me will soften her up a little.”

Kelvin laughed. “That’s exactly what am hoping for. She’s seen us, she’s waving at me.”

Evelyn raised her seat up and nervously waved back at Mervis. “Ooh she looks pissed.” She said between clenched teeth so the woman wouldn’t be able to read her lips from the distance. “Is that your phone vibrating?” Evelyn searched for her husband’s phone.

“I threw it in the laptop in the back seat,” Kelvin said as he waved back at his mother standing on the other side of the road. He opened the door and came out.

“We are coming mother!” Kelvin shouted.

“I am tired of standing here waiting for you people to show up!” Mervis shouted back. “I thought you were not coming.”

“Go back inside mum,” Kelvin said, but his voice was muffled by the sound of a vehicle passing by. “We will meet you inside.”

“What did you say?” Mervis shouted back.

Kelvin laughed. “She’s not hearing me.” Kelvin said to his wife.

“It’s a call from work honey,” Evelyn said whilst looking at his phone.

“Oh shit!” Kelvin cussed and quickly took the phone from her. “I forgot to tell Nzila that I would be late for today’s meeting. “Go inside, I will meet you guys there. I need to take this.”

Before Evelyn could protest, Kelvin had already answered the phone. Evelyn looked across the street to the entrance of the clinic where Mervis was standing and the hairs at the back of her head stood up.

She slowly got out of the car, grabbed her handbag from the back, checked both sides of the road for oncoming traffic and seeing no vehicle in sight, she slowly started walking towards her fierce mother in-law.

Breathe Eva, breath, she kept telling herself as she crossed the road.

Evelyn was too busy coaching her heart to calm down that she did not notice Beatrice parked on the other side of the road just a short distance away from the entrance of the clinic where Mervis was standing, shielded from sensing Beatrice’s presence by the mango tree looming over the wall fence.

The moment Evelyn stepped her feet onto the tarmac, Beatrice hit the gas and went at her with every cent she had lost.

“Evelyn nooo!”

Evelyn was still mustering her courage when she heard someone shout her name from across the street. She opened her eyes to find Mervis running after her.

The first thing Kelvin heard where tires screeching hard against the tarmac.

It was a deja-vu moment that made his blood turn.

The smell of burning tires and spilled oil…he recognized the smell of doom.

Gripped by a sudden overpowering fear, the phone slipped from Kelvin’s hand and the screen shuttered into pieces the moment it hit the ground.

He turned towards the sound of the vehicle and the then next thing he saw was his mother’s bleeding body rolling out of the road while Evelyn was on the other side, crouched on all fours with a look of horror on her face as realization of what had just happened slowly sunk in.

Kelvin had started running towards his mother when he heard the bang and found himself transposed back into time.

More familiar sounds of metal against metal, tires screeching and glass breaking.

Beatrice’s vehicle had become one with an oncoming truck.

Kelvin remained rooted to the ground, paralyzed by time when the past and the present collided, resulting in a single moment that was suffocating the life out of him.

Just before the darkness could completely envelop him, Kelvin caught a glimpse of Evelyn sobbing as she crawled towards his mother in agony.

“Mum.”

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Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 18

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“Where have you taken my children?” Shadreck asked Kelvin.

Mervis shot Shadreck a look that would have frozen any water particles in sight.

“Do you think this is the time to talk about those bastards of yours?” Mervis yelled at him.

“Your children are safe Mr Mwangala,” Kelvin assured him. “And do forgive me for using them in such a manner…I really had no choice.”

The calm with which Kelvin was carrying himself despite the gravity of the situation made Shadrecks blood boil.

Mervis too looked about ready to shoot something.

“How can I trust the word of the man who’s been after my family for all these years?” Shadreck asked.

Kelvin laughed. “I know,” he said nonchalantly. “But do you think that you have any other choice right now? Who would you have rather liked to have them; my delightful fiery mother over here or a newly married man anxiously waiting for the birth of his very first child?”

“Do you think that…wife….” The word tasted like a bitter pill on Mervis’ palate. “…that that wife of yours will be pregnant forever? The moment she delivers my grandchild, that’s the end for her.”

“You see mother,” Kelvin moved closer to stand right in front of his mother. “By that time, you would have realized that there are far better things to live for than dedicating the remainder of your life hurting people that have done you no wrong.”

“That girl has done everything wrong to me.” Mervis said. “If she knew whose daughter she was, she shouldn’t have seduced my son and made him lose his senses in such a manner. Because of her, you turned your back on your own mother.”

“No mum, because of her I became a human being, and no, she never seduced me or anything like that. I was the one who went chasing after her every chance I got. I am not proud of the methods I used to get her attention but I don’t regret anything. Thanks to her, I have been given a second chance to start over again and there’s no going back.

“I hope you too can do the same…if only for the sake of your grandchildren. However, if you continue to be this bitter old woman, I will move out of this country with my family and you will never meet your grandchildren. I am sure I have shown you just how calculative and vigilant I can be if I put my mind to it. You will never find us, no matter how much you try. Maybe with all your money and power, you can buy yourself a whole new family.”

“You wouldn’t dare!” Mervis snapped.

Kelvin laughed. “I think you know I can and that scares you. The choice is yours mother; do as I say or risk losing your son and grandchildren.”

Kelvin watched his mother battle her inner demons. He had made his calculations well and he knew exactly what buttons to press to get to her. He might not be her proudest production but he was still her only son…her only child…her only family.

If she didn’t know it better, Kelvin had for the past weeks forced Mervis to recognize the fact that she could just as easily lose her only surviving child just like she had lost her daughter.

Even in their volatile twenty year old relationship as partner’s in-crime, it was always Kelvin she ran to when she needed an ear to talk to or a wall to release her frustrations out on. A world without Kelvin is a world Mervis could not dare imagine.

Kelvin new that and he capitalized dearly on it.

And just like that, Mervis sucked on the bitter pill, she battled to swallow, letting the taste linger a little longer on her tongue before finally finding the strength to move her tongue.

“What…would you…like me…to do?” Mervis asked her son.

Kelvin was beaming from ear to ear having finally succeeded in moving his mother’s will to his.

“Give Shadreck a chance to save his family,” Kelvin stated.

Shadreck welcome the news with a sudden glow in his eyes. He could finally smell some hope.

“Don’t celebrate just yet,” kelvin told him. “You just tried to sacrifice my wife, did you think you would get away with that? I might be cooler than my mother, but I am still her son. Vindictiveness runs in my blood.”

Mervis had a blank expression on her face, unable to decide whether to applaud her son or to smack him in the face for that veiled insult.

“Tell me whatever you want and I will do it…but please, keep my children out of it, I beg of you.”

“I want to give my mother an opportunity to see her nemesis pay dearly for the crimes she committed against my family…and you sir are going to help her achieve that.” Kelvin said.

Shadreck appeared confused, unable to grasp the meaning behind Kelvin’s words.

“And just what would you like me to do?” he asked. “You people have already taken everything from me. What more do you want?”

“No, not everything,” Kelvin answered. “There’s still that twenty percent that was left untouched…the one in your wife’s name. My mother here left it for last but we all know that the moment Beatrice realizes that you are now a very broke man, she is going to take that amount and run as fast as her two feet can to get away from you.

“You cannot let Beatrice find out about your finances until you get everything in order. Half of that money in Beatrice’s name is to go into an account I set up for Lucy and the other half is for Moola and her brother Mark. If you choose to betray me, I will let my absolutely pissed off mother here to deal with you the best way she can…and we both know she spares no one when she means to quench her thirst.”

Shadreck mulled over Kelvin’s words for a moment. He was right, Shadreck concluded. He was not too blindly in-love when he met Beatrice to not see that his money was the major thing that drew her to him. She might have come to love him along the years but still, that love was more of a fondness than anything else.

“How do you suggest I go about that?” Shadreck asked Kelvin.

“Always a perceptive man,” Kelvin said and moved to pat Shadreck on the shoulder.

“Before my mother dealt you a severe blow, you were such a stoic and ruthless businessman. I have no doubt you will find a way to handle your lovely young wife.”

And turning to his mother, “Do you have any objectives mother?” he asked.

Mervis threw him an austere look. “Do I look like I have a choice?” She said.

Kelvin laughed. “Oh yeah, you don’t.” he said smugly.

“And to reward you for your corporation,” Kelvin had turned back to Shadreck. “You will find Lucy and the kids at Shaka’s Grill in Roma. Those three seem to have taken well to the Zambian weather.”

Shadreck wasted no time in leaving. He was out of there with his minions before Kelvin or Mervis changed their minds.

“You should have given him his family after he gets the money from Beatrice,” Mervis said to her son once they were alone. “Now he’s going to pack up all of them and run as far away as possible. He might be broke now, but he still has very powerful connections.”

Kelvin smiled at his mother. “Faith mother,” he told her. “You should have some faith in people. Not everyone is as calculative as you. For that man, family means more to him than any amount of money. Besides, you have way more powerful connections than he.”

“I just don’t think he has the balls to betray Beatrice like that.” Mervis argued. “He is in-love with her. He had many opportunities to leave her in the past but he never did.”

“That was before Beatrice costed him his entire fortune and put his family in the line of fire…both literally and figuratively.” He was giving his mother an accusing look.

“Also,” Kelvin added. “Staying married to someone does not necessarily mean you have undying love for them. For others, it’s simply the fear of starting all over again. You should know that already…since half of your marriage life with dad was like that.”

“I liked you better when you spoke less and did everything you were told to do,” Mervis said. “This new person you’ve become creeps me out.”

Kelvin laughed and went to put his arm over his mother’s shoulders. “You might hate it now, but I am exactly the kind of son you always wished you had. You just need some time to get used to it.”

Mervis tried to remove his arm but Kelvin held on tightly. “Now, would you like to meet your daughter in-law?”

“Don’t push it Kelvin,” Mervis warned.

“Can’t blame a guy for trying.” Kelvin shrugged his shoulders. “Where are you parked?”

“Over there,” Mervis pointed to where her car was parked a few rows from where they were standing.

“Do you know what the good book says about children who do not honor their parents?” Mervis asked her son as they walked towards her car.

Kelvin raised his eyebrows and looked at her in disbelief. “Wow,” he said. “I guess I know exactly how Jesus felt when the devil quoted scriptures to him.”

“Are you calling me the Devil?” Mervis asked.

“Not exactly, but maybe in the first cousins kind of way…” he laughed.

“I wonder what that makes you if your mother is first cousins with the devil.”

“That’s exactly why I married an angel like Eva,” Kelvin said. “Maybe some of her goodness can rub off on me.”

“Her name in itself doesn’t give much hope. You should ask Adam.” Mervis said.

Kelvin laughed and moved to get the door for her. “There’s hope for everyone mother…even for people like you and me.”

Mervis settled behind the wheel and started the engine running.

“What about your minions?” Kelvin asked, checking to see if they were coming but none of them was in sight.

“They know what they’ve done,” Mervis said. “They are wise enough to know not to show up in front of me when they’ve messed up this big.”

“You can’t blame them,” Kelvin said to her through the window. “I’m just that good.”

In response, Mervis pulled the window up to shut her son up and drove off without saying goodbye.

With his hands in his pockets, Kelvin stood back and watched his mother drive off, a wide grin on his face.

“In time mother…in time….” He said to himself as Mervis’ car disappeared from  his view.

* * *

Despite not hearing from her fiancé for the whole week, Moola still held on to the hope that her wedding was still to take place the next morning.

Shadreck walked into the living room to find Beatrice trying to grill reality into their stubborn daughter’s face.

“I always knew that there was something fishy about that guy but you and your hormones kept insisting on marriage now look what has happened!” Beatrice was yelling on top of her voice.

“Don’t walk away from me, am still talking!” She grabbed her crying daughter by her sweater and forced her to sit back down.

“What’s going on here?” Shadreck finally made his presence known.

“Where have you been for the past three days?” Beatrice had found a new target for her tongue lashing.

“I told you that I went to take care of a few things concerning that contract,” A visibly tired Shadreck explained. “I lost my phone in the process and didn’t bother to get a new one since I knew I would be home soon.”

“What are you going to do about your daughter?” Beatrice asked.

“What about her?” Shadreck asked.

“Are you kidding me?” Beatrice yelled. “Have you been too busy with your business that you forgot your daughter’s wedding was scheduled for tomorrow morning?”

“Oh, that,” Shadreck said resignedly. “There isn’t going to be any wedding.” He pronounced nonchalantly, sitting down next to his daughter.

Both women were gaping at him in disbelief.

Moola was up on her feet. “What do you mean there isn’t going to be any wedding?” She asked her father.

Beatrice too came to tower over his sitting figure. “Did you manage to contact the Kangwa’s?” she asked.

“I did,” Shadreck said.

“We have been searching high and low for that mother-son duo but we haven’t been able to locate them.” Beatrice was saying. “Even their lines have been off for the past week. How did you….”

“Why don’t the two of you sit down first?” Shadreck instructed them.

Beatrice and Moola obediently went to sit down.

“What’s going on honey?” Beatrice asked. “I know that they paid for everything concerning the wedding but that doesn’t give them the right to cancel at the last minute without discussing things with us.”

“They didn’t cancel out of nowhere,” Shadreck explained. “They informed me last week but I just didn’t know how to broach the subject to you guys. Moola was looking forward to it so badly and I …I just couldn’t….” Shadreck searched for the right words to say, stammering in his deceit and betrayal.

Beatrice was beside herself with furry. “How can they do this to us!?” She yelled.

“This isn’t about you mum,” Moola cried. “This is about me! It’s my wedding!”

“In case you haven’t heard, there won’t be any wedding.” Beatrice reminded her sulking daughter.

Moola was up on her feet again. “I don’t want to believe any of this,” she said. “I am going to look for Kelvin and he will tell me that you are wrong. There’s no way he can do this to me. He loves me!”

Before her father could get in another word, Moola was out of the room, rushing upstairs to grab her car keys and handbag.

“Did they tell you why they cancelled the wedding?” Beatrice asked her husband.

Shadreck looked at her, dying to tell her how this was all her fault but controlling himself. “I was too upset to ask them any questions,” he lied. “Maybe you should ask them yourself.” He then got up and started walking upstairs.

Beatrice followed him.

“What’s been going on with you lately?” Beatrice asked him once they were in the privacy of their bedroom walls.

Shadreck threw himself on the bed and closed his eyes.

“You’ve been acting strange ever since you signed that huge contract of yours,” Beatrice said as she sat down on the bed. “Did something happen with that deal?”

“I would have told you if something went wrong,” Shadreck said, his eyes still closed. “It’s this wedding thing that shook me up. We had invited a lot of VIP’s and the thought of informing them last minute that they won’t be a wedding makes me so mad.”

“Your daughter just got dumped and yet you seem more concerned about your business contacts than her feelings.” Beatrice stated accusingly.

Shadreck sighed heavily and sat up to lean his back against the head board. “How can you accuse me of not caring about my daughter?” He asked his wife.

“I have been killing myself over and over again ever since I learnt there won’t be any wedding…wondering how to tell my daughter and imagining her reaction. She has been too obsessed with that boy that I couldn’t bear to give her the bad news. It breaks my heart to see her looking so helpless.”

Beatrice had a moment of self-reflection. “I’m sorry I yelled at you,” She said, moving closer to hold his hand. “I’m just so mad and I don’t understand what the hell is going on. I thought that woman needed this wedding as much as we did. What could have happened?”

“I think Kelvin fell in-love with some other girl,” Shadreck said.

“What?” Beatrice asked. “Which girl would dare to steal from this family? Which family is she from? I won’t take this sitting down, I can promise you that.”

“I hear it’s a girl named Evelyn…Evelyn Nanyangwe or something like that.” Shadreck was watching his wife’s reaction as he slowly said out the name.

The horrified look on Beatrice’s face told him everything he needed to know. But he still needed to know if she would open up to him and tell him the truth.

“Do you know who she is?” Shadreck asked. “She was there at that charity event last month.”

Beatrice was blinking copiously. She got up from the bed and gave her husband her back. “Of course I don’t know who she is,” she said. “Why would you ask me such a question?”

“Why are you talking with your back to me?” Shadreck asked.

Beatrice turned to look at him but she avoided meeting his eyes. “I was just taken aback by your question,” Beatrice lied. “I need to go….” She was nervously pointing to the door. “I need to look for this Kelvin so I can get some answers.”

“What are you hoping to resolve by confronting him?” Shadreck asked.

“I don’t know, but I just need to see him.” She grabbed her car keys and purse from the top of her dresser and rushed out of the bedroom.

Shadreck got up from the bed and walked over to the window. He watched as his wife struggled to get her car door open because she was shaking all over.

She dropped the keys a couple of times before finally succeeding and speeding off out of the yard at a speed that could give Hamilton a run for his money.

He then walked over to the phone by the bedside and called his daughter’s line.

“Did you find Kelvin?” He asked.

“I just left home a few minutes ago dad. I am still on the road.” Moola shouted.

“Meet me at Mandahill by that Noodles place upstairs when you are done searching for Kelvin. You and I need to talk.”

“Okay dad, am hanging up now, I’m driving.”

“Okay.” Shadreck said and put down the receiver.

* * *

Thando was watching TV in her living room and enjoying some snacks when she heard the pounding on the door. Before she could stand up, the door flung open and in busted Beatrice, panting and sweating like a dog on heat.

“Where is she?” Beatrice asked, her eyes searching the room for any signs of Evelyn.

“Who the hell are you?” Thando was now standing at looking at the intruder in shock.

Without answering, Beatrice went opening doors around the house, shouting Evelyn’s name and banging doors.

“Evelyn isn’t home!” Thando shouted at her when she came out from checking the bathroom.

“Where is she?” Beatrice asked.

“How can you just barge in here and expect me to answer your questions?” Thando asked.

“Who I am is no concern of yours,” Beatrice snapped. “Tell me where that whore is before I turn this place upside down.”

“Do whatever you want,” Thando said and went back to make herself comfortable on the sofa.

Not one to accept being dismissed or disrespected in such a manner, Beatrice walked over to the 24inch Samsung TV, pushed it with her finger and sent it crushing down on the floor.

Thando got up from her chair and went at Beatrice with all her might. Her attack was so sudden and unexpected that Beatrice had no time to dodge the punch that landed had on her cheek and sent her tumbling back onto the pieces of the broken television set.

Like a mad woman, Thando went after her again, pressed her leg hard on the back of Beatrice who was struggling to get up and pinned her to the floor.

“I bought that TV with my very first pay,” Thando said between clenched teeth. “That is the money I was supposed to give my mother but she died before she could enjoy her only daughter’s hard earned money.”

As she was talking, Thando bent down to grab Beatrice’s purse that was lying on the side from her fall and she opened it. 

“Now why would anyone be moving around with this kind of money in their wallet in this day and age?” Thando said as she counted the many K100 notes she found in the purse.

“Don’t you dare touch that money!” Beatrice yelled, trying to get up but Thando pressed her leg hard into jer to keep her in place.

At that moment, Beatrice regretted having spent the whole morning arguing with her daughter instead of taking the money from the salon to the bank.

“And I am going to take a little for the emotional stress you’ve put me through by barging into my humble home uninvited.” She grabbed a few more notes and then threw the purse back down.

“Now, tell me,” Thando continued. “Who the hell are you?”

“You are going to regret treating me like this when you find out who I am,” Beatrice threatened.

Thando chuckled. “I doubt that, but please, humour me.”

“I am Beatrice, Mrs Mwangala. I am one of the….”

“Are you that idiot that abandoned and rejected my Eva?” Thando asked before Beatrice could finish utilizing her bragging rights.

“You will not be able to walk with your head high the moment my husband and I finish with you.” Beatrice said.

Thando laughed, really hard and loud. “Again, that’s never gonna happen.” She then removed her leg and went to sit back on the sofa.

Humiliated beyond comprehension, Beatrice picked herself and her purse up from the floor and glared at Thando.

“Evelyn went on her honeymoon,” Thando candidly informed her.

“What honeymoon?” Beatrice asked.

“You know, the kind of thing that newly married couples do…shagging, lazing around, and more shagging….”

“I know what a honeymoon is!” Beatrice yelled. “When did she get married? And to whom?”

“Who else? To Kelvin of course.”

“Kelvin is supposed to be marrying my daughter tomorrow. What marriage to Evelyn are you talking about?”

“You obviously need a software update,” Thando told her. “You can check the facts for yourself because I won’t be giving you no explanation.”

“How can that son of a bitch do this to me? To my daughter?” Beatrice said. “I am going to make those two pay dearly for this.” She started walking towards the door.

“Where do you think you are going?” Thando rushed to block her way to the door.

“You need to clean that mess before you leave.” She pointed to the broken TV. “You made the mess, you clean the mess.”

Beatrice couldn’t not believe what she was hearing. “You can’t be serious.” She said.

“I am dead serious.” Thando said defiantly.

Beatrice opened her purse, removed a K300 and threw it on the floor. “That’s how the rich clean their mess,” Beatrice said smugly.

Thando laughed and bent down to pick up the notes. “I bet you’re gonna remember these few Kwacha’s in the very near future but thanks, now I can get those jeans I’ve been dying to get my hands on.”

Beatrice banged the door hard on her way out and left Thando laughing out loud.

Moola joined her father at Mandahill a few hours later, her eyes red from bawling over her missing fiancé.

“Didn’t find him?” Shadreck asked when his daughter joined him. He had picked a table at the far end to give them some privacy.

“You knew I wouldn’t find him didn’t you?” Moola asked him.

Shadreck handed his daughter a glass of water and Moola drunk half the contents.

“Where could he be daddy? Why is he doing this to me?” the former heiress asked.

Shadreck handed her a napkin and waited for her to calm down a little.

“Kelvin married another girl my love,” Shadreck dropped the bomb.

Moola stopped crying and looked at her father in shock. “How is that even possible dad? Him and I are supposed to….”

“I know,” Shadreck said, reaching across the table to hold her hand. “Kelvin never planned on going ahead with the wedding.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Moola asked.

“It means he was in-love with someone else.”

“That’s impossible!” Moola shouted. “Kelvin was in-love with me. I know it. That’s something a girl knows. We were together for….”

“He wanted you to think he was in-love with you but he never was. He had ulterior motives for being with you.”

“That’s a lie,” Moola insisted. “There’s no way that’s possible. Kelvin loved me…he still loves me.”

“Then why did he marry someone else and is even expecting a child with her despite his engagement to you?”

Moola was at a loss for words, tears welled up in her eyes as her fathers words sunk in.

“A child, you say? Married? Who is the girl?” She asked.

“You know her, Evelyn.” Shadreck supplied.

Moola finally broke down unreservedly, remembering all those encounters she had had with Evelyn and the conversations she had had with Kelvin…how she had believed him when he said that nothing was going on between them.

“I was such a fool,” she sulked. “I knew that something was going on but I didn’t want to believe that he would be cheating on me with a girl like that. How can he do this to me daddy?”

Shadreck moved over to sit next to his daughter and he wrapped her into his arms. “I’m so sorry my baby girl,” he comforted her. “I am so sorry that I couldn’t protect you from all this.”

They stayed like that until Moola was able to calm down again.

“Where are they right now?” She later asked her father.

“I don’t know,” Shadreck said. “There is something else I need to tell you….”

Moola gave him a dead look. “Could there be something worse?” She slowly laid down her folk.

Shadreck pushed his untouched plate to the side and looked at his daughter. “I am very sorry my baby,” he said apologetically.

“What are you sorry about dad?” Moola asked. “You are scaring me now.”

Shadreck took a long breath before dropping his second bomb.

“I am leaving your mother.”

Everything suddenly went quite. Moola could only hear her father’s words replaying in her head.

And then she laughed, catching her father by surprise. “I thought I heard you say that you and mother are divorcing.” She said. “I think this Kelvin thing has knocked me out real bad I am now hearing things.”

“My love….”

The look in Shadreck’s eyes only confirmed Moola’s worst fears.

She started shaking her head. “No,” she said. “You are joking.” She continued shaking her head. Even though her mouth refused to accept the reality, her brain already did as two thick lines of tears cascaded down her cheeks.

Shadreck tried to reach for her hands again but Moola pulled them away from the table. “Why are you doing this to us? Tell me this is some bad joke you are playing on me…please.” Moola begged.

“I am so sorry Moola.” It was the only thing he could say to her.

“Does mum agree to this?” His daughter asked.

“Your mother doesn’t know. I have not told her yet. I wanted to talk to you first.”

“How can you do this dad!?” Moola yelled and attracted the attention of the few patrons eating at the restaurant.

“I wish I could explain everything to you….”

“You owe me an explanation!” Moola raised her voice again. “You can’t just wake up one day and say that you are leaving us. I thought you and mum were happy.”

“We were happy,” Shadreck said.

“Then why do you want to leave?”

“It’s very complicated my baby….”

“I have nowhere else to go today and I have no wedding to keep me busy so you can start telling me from the beginning. Is there another woman?” She asked.

Shadreck didn’t answer.

“Not you too dad!” Moola cried.

“This is way too complicated for me to explain to you. You are young and….”

Moola got to leave. “There’s no need for me to sit here if you think I don’t deserve an explanation.”

Shadreck grabbed her hand and begged her to sit back down. “I will tell you everything,” he said.

Moola sat back down.

“Many many years ago before your mother and I met, she fell in-love with someone she was not supposed to and later gave birth to a baby girl.”

Moola gasped. “Mum had another child?”

“That girl, Evelyn, she is your mother’s child.”

“What!” Moola shouted.

“Try to calm down my child,” Shadreck said.

“That’s not possible, that girl can’t be mum’s daughter…she can’t be my sister, no. Do you have any idea how much mother hates her? Her whole mood changes whenever she hears that girl’s name, worse when she meets her anywhere. You saw it too, that time at the charity event, you saw mum’s reaction.”

“Didn’t you ever think that there could be another reason why your mother would hate a girl like that who’s never done anything to her?”

“How can I think of something like that? This is my mother we are talking about. She told me that she was just some bothersome relative of yours from the village and I believed her.”

“Your mother had a painful past and that girl was like a constant reminder of those old wounds, that’s why she didn’t like her very much.”

“Even though she is her daughter?”

“Yes,” Shadreck said. “I cannot explain to you everything that happened in the past, best your mum telly you everything you need to know.”

“But what does all this have to do with you leaving? It all happened in the past, before you guys even met. Did that man from the past reappear?”

“It might have happened in the past but, everything that’s going wrong in our lives right now is because of that very past.”

“Is that Evelyn girl trying to take revenge on our family because mum rejected her? Is that why she stole my fiancé?”

“Strange enough, it’s not Evelyn who’s taking revenge for the past. Evelyn is simply the forgotten daughter.”

“Then who’s responsible for all this?”

Shadreck hesitated for a moment before revealing; 

“It’s Kelvin and his mother.”

Moola froze.

By the time Shadreck finished catching her up to the past and present, Moola was in a state of shock and mental paralysis, unable to think rationally or move her lips to speak.

Beatrice reached the bank just a few minutes before lunch time and found a slightly longer queue than usual. When it was finally her turn, she removed the cash from her purse and handed it over to the smiling teller.

She then handed her a slip of paper with her account number and waited.

“Ma’am,” the teller stopped to look at her. “This account, when did you last use it?”

“Last week, on Friday. I always make deposits on Friday.” Beatrice said. “Is something wrong?”

“This account was closed yesterday.” The teller said.

“What do you mean closed? I have all my money in this account.”

“That’s the thing, all the money from this account was removed and an application to close the account was submitted on Tuesday. How is it possible you are not aware of this development?”

“I should be the one asking you that question. How can my account be closed and all my money gone when I never made such transactions in the first place?”

And then Beatrice remembered something.

“Sign me into your account so I can print the statement.” Shadreck had said to her a few nights ago just before they went to bed.

“What do you need the statement for?” She had asked him.

“Now that this deal finally went through, I am thinking of getting you a loan so you can build those fancy flats you’ve always dreamt of building.”

Overwhelmed by the great news, Moola had given her husband the password and told him;

“Do whatever you want with that account and let me become the richest landlord this country has ever seen!”

“No,” Beatrice shook her head in disagreement to whatever conclusion had brain had conjured up. “No, it can’t be.” She kept repeating.”

But as events of the past few weeks kept replaying in her head, she knew without a doubt that Shadreck had something to do with this strange development.

“Ma’am,” the teller called out to her. “Are you alright?”

By now, everyone in the bank was looking at her.

No longer able to hold herself steady against the world spinning around her, Beatrice finally gave in to gravity.

CHRONICLES OF MY MOTHER: CHAPTER THREE (3) – THE UNHOLY CASE OF KAFULA AND DANIEL

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

 

Diary entry: 22nd August, 1997

Today I had one of those sessions that have the potential to send you straight to hell just by listening to someone speak. Dear Lord, wherever you are, I hope you can look kindly upon me.

Kafula…oooh, what a woman!

She is not very different from the many women that have walked into my office before and humbly sat down in that chair only to rain shock unto my old soul.

“I am in a pickle Aunt!” Kafula declared. “You remember you asked me what would be the cause of my regret in future.” She said, “I think I have finally found the answer…and the devil really played a fast one on me this time around because I didn’t see it coming.”

Today’s meeting with her was not our first, obviously. She had come to me three years ago to seek relationship advice when the man, who is currently her husband, proposed marriage to her. I still remember how confused she was the day she narrated to me how the two of them had met….

*                       *                           *

The weather was just perfect for a Sunday morning. 21 year old Kafula touched her chitambala again to ensure it was still in place. There was no way she was going to risk revealing her loud blonde weave to the new pastor from Washington D.C who was to be introduced in church that day. There was electricity in Kafula’s movements as evidenced from the stares she was getting from the opposite sex as she walked the short distance from her home to her church. She was excited, and it showed on her youthful and beautiful face. She made it a point to royally wave at familiar faces along the way. There were certain perks to growing up in a middle-class neighborhood. Despite the clothes that seemed to threaten her very womanhood into oblivion, she was still a sight to behold.

Kafula was just about to enter the church hall when she felt her phone vibrate in her hand bag. There was only one person who could be calling her at that time. She still had about twenty-five more minutes till service started so she walked to a corner outside the church to take the call.

“What’s up boo!” She probably thought she was whispering, but her excitement betrayed her. She looked around to see if anyone had heard her but she was in the clear. There was only a man standing a few feet away with his back to her. He was talking to an elderly woman who seemed completely taken in by whatever the tall man in the well cut and expensive suit was telling her.

“This is me waking up, imagine,” said a male voice from the other end of the line. “I haven’t called at a bad time, have I? …I think you still have about….”

“Yeah, still got about twenty more minutes so we can chat. What time did you even sleep last night?”

There was a long sigh first and then, “I think that was around 03…you know how I hate Labour Law. That fool only talks too much about himself in class and doesn’t teach a thing so we have to find all the data for ourselves. I managed to find an old essay online and spent most of the night going through it. I think I am ready to ace that test tomorrow, babes.”

“And when you do,” this time she managed to successfully whisper, tilting her head further into her shoulder. “I think I will also be ready to let you taste something even sweeter.” Kafula’s hand was absent-mindedly making circles around her breast.

“Hmmm hmmm….” She heard someone make a play of clearing his throat and quickly looked up. She wasn’t sure whether to cover her whole face or her mouth but in trying to decide, she sent her phone flying to ground as she caught a glimpse of who was standing in front of her.

She had never seen him before, but she could guess from his suit and his looks who he was. He was very good-looking and had an air of elegance and charisma about him that only made her blush even more. What was a young sexy man like that doing coming all the way here to Africa to be a pastor? Kafula thought to herself.

“Well, are you going to continue standing here Sister, or go in and get ready for today’s sermon?” His voice was something to die for. His American accent only served to deepen his already masculine voice. Fortunately, his tone was neither menacing nor disapproving and the huge smile playing on his face helped ease Kafula’s embarrassment at getting caught talking dirty right in front of the church.

Blinking profusely and internally searching for her tongue, Kafula managed to let out a few words. “You must be the new Pastor from America….” She was debating whether to extend her hand in greeting or not when he put out his and waited for her to reciprocate, still smiling. He must think I am some naughty child in need of deliverance, doesn’t he? She thought as they shook hands.

“Yes indeed I am. You can call me Pastor Daniel Jackson. And what’s your name?”

“My name is Kafula.” She was quick to provide. Finally, her tongue back in full service. “I am very sorry about…” she looked at her phone in embarrassment. “It’s not what you think….”

“I do not think it matters what I think as long as it well with your conscious and with God. C’mon, let us go in before we are late.” He motioned for her to go ahead. Kafula took the aisle and searched for Melinda in the already filled-up church. She spotted her childhood friend and now college mate immediately in their usual sitting place, furiously waving her hand in the air so as not to be missed.

“What took you so long?” Was the greeting Kafula received from Melinda. “You know very well how special today is. Even the people that haven’t been to church in ten years have finally shown up today. I don’t know whether I should be impressed or if I should judge them. They have no shame.” Melinda was one year Kafula’s junior in age and the girl was never one to hesitate when it came to speaking her mind. She believed in speaking the truth even if it would hurt the recipient and she expected all her friends to treat her in that regard, always.

Kafula looked behind her to see if the sexy pastor had followed her but he was nowhere in sight. There was a look of disappointment in her eyes. “Who are you looking for?” A very curious Melinda asked, her gaze following the direction her fiend had just been searching.

“Let me tell you all about it after the service. All I can say for now is that I feel like the ground should just open up and swallow me. I.am.so.embarrassed!” Kafula covered her face with both hands as if the act itself would wipe out the past few minutes.

That Sunday, the moment the service was done, Kafula was more than ready to grab her handbag and run out of the church. But just when she thought she was in the clear, she bumped right into the masculine frame of Pastor Jackson at the church entrance. He had a wild smirk about him, as if to say, I have caught you in the act, again.

“You really don’t like me much, do you?” A visibly embarrassed Kafula said while her friend Melinda stood to the side, visibly gawking at the handsome 30 year old pastor.

“Quite the contrary Sister Kafula,” replied the charismatic man. She almost laughed at the sound of her name from his lips. He remembered my name!” A little voice screamed inside her head. “Since I am the new head pastor here, I have plans to implement a few programs for the youths and I thought you might be the perfect candidate to be in charge of one of them. I have someone coming through from the RFL tomorrow evening; I would really love it if you were part of that meeting. Of course you are free to invite your guardian to the meeting since this will be on-going and will take up most of your free time.”

“Don’t worry Pastor, she will definitely be here,” replied an excited Melinda.

Kafula threw her friend a warning look that sent her locking her lips in silent. “It sounds like a great program if it has to do with the RFL…but I have to think about it first. You see, I am in my first year at college and….”

“Even better!” Pastor Jackson said. “This will definitely be good for your resume and it won’t get in the way of your studies whatsoever. Ask your parents to accompany you tomorrow and I will try to convince them about why this is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss.”

Kafula had just known him for a couple of hours, but he had a way with words that would even convince a blind man he really saw the blue giraffe that had walked by. She did not know it then, but she had already given him access to the most intimate of her thoughts in more ways than she could have ever imagined.

Three months later, Kafula’s two year relationship with her boyfriend Andy was on the rocks. The two had been having constant fights like never before and there was no denying the constant tension between them.

“All you ever talk about is Pastor Jackson, Pastor Jackson.” Andy complained one day. “Do you know that you sometimes even call him Danny? Who the hell calls their 30 year old pastor by their first name? Are you sure you haven’t already surrendered your gold to him?” Andy threw his girlfriend a look of disgust, scanning her from head to toe. Suddenly, his collage room which he had always considered big was too small to contain the two of them. Kafula was already on her feet ready to throw whatever she could get her hands on at him before walking out.

“What are you trying to say Andy?” She retorted. “How many times do I have to tell you that nothing is going on between the Pastor and me? Since when did you become so insecure?”

“Since my girlfriend who loved me to the moon came to me one day and told me that her pastor said that I am a bad influence on her and she should break-up with me if she is to attain everlasting life. And as if that is not enough, my girlfriend,” Andy deliberately emphasized the phrase, “…is gullible enough to believe that God actually came to this pastor in a dream and told him that she was his soul mate. Tell me, would you be feeling secure at all if you were me?”

“I never said that we should break up Andy. I merely relayed to you what the pastor told me.”

“You don’t need to actually say the words for me to get them. Everything you’ve been doing ever since that man came into our lives has been suggesting a break-up. You don’t call or text, you are always grumpy or absent-minded whenever we are together, if you are not with him then you are constantly on the phone with him. It’s like I don’t exist to you anymore. Right now you have no right to make me feel as if I am being paranoid. That is very unfair because you know very well that I am saying the truth. All I need is the truth from you, not this cat and mouse game you’ve been playing with me lately. Do you want us to break up or not?”

The silence that followed was enough for Andy to sing all the verses of the National Anthem backwards. “I would be a fool to still hold any hope for us if your silence is anything to go by. Get out of my room right now Kaf before I do something to you I might regret.”

“But Andy….” Kafula stammered.

“Oh, so you finally have something to say? C’mon, say it now, I’m waiting.” He went to sit on the bed, his arms resting across his chest. He didn’t need her to say anything else to validate his fears. That bus had already gone and somewhere in Kulima Tower, a conductor was very pleased.

“What you said…” Kafula stammeredall through her speech. “Well, I really don’t know for sure…but…but…what the pastor said…it really got to me. Ever since he told me, I have been thinking and thinking. What if I ignore him? Wont God punish me?”

Just listen to yourself Kafula?” Andy cut her off. “For the past two years I was under the impression I had the most intelligent woman by my side. The Kafula I know wouldn’t be standing here telling me she believed the words of a wanna-be prophet instead of using logic to assess things. These people calling themselves pastors are busy feeding you fables and presenting them to you as gospel truth and you are not wise enough to tell them apart. I am telling you, God does not appear to men and deliver useless messages like that. This has nothing to do with God. Just tell me that you were flattered when he told you that he traveled all the way from the States just to meet with you after God had come to him…in a dream? Do you think you are the only he is feeding such stories?”

“I trust my pastor, Andy; he is a man of God. I won’t have you say such horrible things about him. I have always known you have little faith. I just didn’t know it was this serious. You are right, I have already made up my mind,” she spoke with conviction this time around. “I do not wish to continue this relationship. Of course I am flattered that a man like Pastor Jackson has shown interest in me and wants to marry me. What red-bloodied woman wouldn’t? I have heard him speak the word of God in church and there is no doubt the spirit of God resides in him. That is the kind of man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I am really sorry that things turned out this way between us. Until Danny, I truly believed I was in-love with you. I am truly sorry.”

“Yeah, so am I.” These were the last words that Andy said to her. Six months later, he heard through his friends that she had dropped out of college and gotten married to the charismatic Man of God. He knew it was time to move on.

^                 ^                 ^

What Andy didn’t know was that just a week before Kafula’s wedding to Pastor Jackson, she had come to my office to voice her confusion over the men in her life.

“There is a part of me that thinks that this is too good to be true and that I might end up regretting the choices I have made.” Kafula said, not hiding her worries at all.

I had my own concerns over her decision to get married so soon but while I was busy debating how to relay the message without hurting her, she beat me to it. “I know that we haven’t known each other for a long time but I feel as if I have known him all my life,” said Kafula. “I feel like I have known him all my life.” She repeated. “He makes me feel…different…nice.” She was literally blushing.

“Do you believe that he genuinely loves you?” I asked.

She nodded, “I have no doubt about that.”

“And how do you feel about Andy, your ex?”

“I used to think that I was crazily in-love with him until I met Danny. I don’t think I have ever felt this way for anyone before. This truly must be love.” She proudly announced.

“So, tell me again why you came to see me my dear?” I asked.

“Well, I heard from a friend at school that you are really good at helping someone get a piece of mind.” I couldn’t help laughing a little at that. “You see, ever since Andy and I broke up,” Kafula was saying, “I have been feeling a little guilty. I want that guilt to go away before I get married to Danny. He doesn’t deserve this.”

“Why do you feel guilt over Andy?”

“…I really don’t know,” then she paused, scanning the roof of my home office. “He was really a great guy. Even though I told him I wasn’t yet ready to have sex, he was very patient with me and never pressured me or anything. Despite his challenging classes, he still made time for me. He is a really good guy and I can’t help feeling bad about how I treated him.”

“Are you perhaps confusing the feelings you still have for him for guilt?” She was more than ready to refute my theory but then I cautioned her, “I need you to really think about this before responding.”

I could tell she was having a hard time sorting out her feelings for the two men. She obviously didn’t seek me out for guidance. She just wanted me to tell her what she wanted to hear so she could have a free mind.

It took her about two minutes to come to a conclusion. “I really don’t know…I am really confused,” she admitted. “There is no way my feelings for him could disappear suddenly even if I am now in-love with someone else. After all, we were together for two years and we knew each other long before we started dating. So isn’t it understandable that I might still feel a little confused about my feelings for him? It hasn’t even been long since we broke up, don’t you think?”

“Is it me you are trying to convince, or yourself?” I looked at her keenly.

She didn’t reply immediately. I am sure her mind was busy at work somewhere. And then, “One thing I know for sure is that my feelings for Danny are way more than my feelings for Andy.” She revealed.

“…and, are you sure those feelings are indeed love and not just sexual attraction? I have heard that he is a very good looking man.” Kafula was smiling and blushing all at once.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with sex…although I have thought about it several times. He is even the one who has kept on insisting we do nothing intimate until the wedding.”

“That is very noble of him.” I said. It was meant to be sarcastic, but obviously that was not how it came out looking at the proud expression on Kafula’s face.

I had my own feelings about the man but I was not about to impose my suspicions on a 21 year old riding high on an oestrogen wave. She was in a better position to see things for how they really were and there was nothing anyone could tell her that would make her change her mind. And what if the pastor’s intentions where truly genuine? There was no way of confirming that or anything else otherwise. “I know why you came here to see me,” I said. “But I am not in any position to give you the response you so desperately want to hear. I would only advise you take your time to get to know each other…get to know more about Pastor Danny and where he comes from, his family and other things like that. As it happens now, the only thing you know about him is what he has told you. I understand that trust is essential in a relationship…but it is also not a crime to question certain things sometimes. Try to find out a little more about his background and what sort of family he comes from. When you marry someone, it is not just them you marry, but their family too. So try to find out about that as well.”

“He said that he has no family. He grew up in an orphanage. He even showed me a picture of him and his siblings at the orphanage when they were young.  He had a tough life after leaving the orphanage so he lost contact with most of them. Only two of his close friends will be coming but that will be only a day before the wedding.”

“That’s quite unfortunate…about his life I mean. Do you think that there is a possibility you might regret your decision in future?” I asked.

“When it comes to love, there is always a possibility of regret aunt.” She replied confidently. “Love is a risk we all take and we never really know the end unless we allow ourselves to succumb.” I was amazed. Perhaps I should have been the one sited in her chair and not the other way round.

“Besides,” Kafula added, “he did say that God revealed to him that I was his soul mate. I believed him.”

“Let’s do hypotheticals…hypothetically speaking, if you were to regret in future, what do you think would be the one thing you wish you had known or avoided today? Or, let me rephrase…what do you think would be the cause of your regret?”

She paused to think about this one before replying. “The devil,” she said. “The devil always has a way of ruining good and pure things so I can’t really tell which route he might use to get at us but I will always be prayerful.”

“That’s a good response Kafula.” I said and made preparations to end our session.

*                       *                           *

 

“What do you mean you have found the answer?” I asked the young lady. “Did something happen?”

“Not something, someone, to be more precise.” She said.

“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked.

“My husband, he isn’t who he said he was. I only found out the truth yesterday, after I discovered his affair and he found out about mine.”

Now there was something I wasn’t expecting. “Wait a minute, you mean the both of you cheated on each other that early in your marriage? I don’t know about him but what’s your excuse, Kafula?”

“At first I also thought I was a Jezebel kind of woman just like you are thinking right now, but not anymore.”

“There is really no excuse for cheating on your spouse Kafula, especially if it happens only three months after the wedding.” I tried to reason with her.

She laughed, but sarcastically. “I might have been the one who ‘cheated,’” she raised her fingers as if to literally put her words in inverted commas. “But he is the biggest cheat of them all. It turns out, our marriage wasn’t even valid to begin with.

“What do you mean by that?” My walls have heard and witnessed crazy things, but each new day always seems to bring with it a whole new flavor of sin.

“My husband…oh, I can’t believe I am still calling him that after all that happened!” She pulled a disgusted face. “It turns out Danny is already married and I am the other woman.” She dropped the bomb.

“Dear Lord,” I said. Yes, it also happens to me. Sometimes I get so shocked I run out of words too.

“You remember last time, I told you he had invited two of his close friends to our wedding? Well, it turned out that one of them was actually his wife.”

“But why did she come to the wedding if she was married to your husb…I mean to the pastor?”

“Wait until you hear the whole story then you will understand just how sick this whole thing really is. I feel like going for surgery just to have all my insides flushed out. Just after the wedding….”

*                       *                           *

The day after the wedding, one of Danny’s friends had gone back to the States while the other had remained behind to stay with the new couple. It had been brought to the Jackson’s attention that Hilary had no home to return to in America as notice of repossession had been served and there was no place to call home. Wanting to please her husband, Kafula had persuaded him to let Hilary stay with them since that was as close to family he would ever be. Only two months had passed after the wedding when Danny started keeping late nights away from home. In a dramatic turn of events, the interest he had shown in her before the wedding had suddenly waned. It was as if a switch had been turned on…or off and a whole new person was born.

Kafula couldn’t believe just how things had ended up taking such a dramatic turn. She had envisaged a wild night of uninhibited sex on her honeymoon but her new husband would not hear of it. He feigned illness that night. Kafula woke up the next morning to the sound of her husband packing and getting ready to check them out of their honeymoon suite.

“What are you doing honey?” A confused Kafula immediately came to full consciousness. “Are you packing?”

“Yes,” he answered nonchalantly. “I have some visitors from Cameroon who arrived earlier than scheduled. I need to attend to them. They are very important people and likely to bring more funding to the orphanage. I really can’t miss this opportunity honey…we can’t afford to miss this…” he moved in closer to her and planted a kiss on her lips. “I know this isn’t good but I promise to make it up to you as soon as they are gone.”

“When are they supposed to leave?” She asked, her lips tight in a pout.

“They are here to ensure that everything is set up nice and running smoothly before the official opening.”

“And how long is that supposed to take?”

“…say…about three months? C’mon, get up right now before we miss our flight.”

Kafula wanted to complain but his flight announcement distracted her, as was intended. “You already booked us a flight out of here?” She found herself asking.

For the next three months, Danny worked non-stop and rarely came home. Kafula was still impatiently waiting for her first night with her husband and she still couldn’t believe that she was already three months in marriage and still a virgin. There were times she truly appreciated the company of Hilary otherwise she would have died from boredom. The two of them stayed up in the lonely hours of the night chatting. Hilary would tell Kafula stories of Danny growing up and his life in the US and Kafula would tell her new found friend stories of her childhood, all the way to when she met Danny.

One night Kafula had been worn out from crying after her husband had mercilessly rejected her, again and went off on a supposed business trip. She had been so wrapped in in her emotions that she cried herself to sleep on Hilary’s laps. At first, she thought she was dreaming; after all she was a sexually starved woman. She could feel a soft hand caressing her face before slowly moving downwards to her arms. She could feel the tingling slowly move to her breasts and she wanted to be touched there. As if reading her mind, the buttons on her blouse where loosened and her whole breast was cupped into the gentle hand that went right to work. When she moaned, she knew it was no dream and her eyes immediately flipped open.

“Hilary!” She almost jumped up from his embrace but he held her down.

“Shh…” He held a finger to his lips. She had never noticed before just how good looking of a man he was because she was so enamoured by her husband she had no time to look at other men. But there he was…for the first time she could clearly see his eyes, blue they were. From where she was lying, she had the best view of his face, and his lips. He had the best lips she had ever seen on any man. His long hair that always made him look so feminine fell on either side of his cheeks. There was nothing about the look in his eyes that said anything about femininity. The eyes, piercing through her body and tearing her into total nakedness were those of a man hungry for a woman. Without saying a word, he told her exactly what he wanted to do to her…and he did.

She made no effort to stop him.

That night Kafula had touched the whiskers of temptation and fallen into the chambers of everlasting lust. Not once did the thought of her husband come to mind. Without shame or resistance, she had allowed herself to be taken in by the unspoken charm of a man she had not once considered a man. She had allowed him to drive her to a world she had never been and he did so with pleasure. It was only when she awoke the next morning and found herself sleeping in her own bed that events of the previous night started playing in her head, and then the guilt sunk in. She looked around the room for signs of her husband but there was nothing. Then she paused, how did she end up in her bedroom? Did that night really happen or had she dreamt it? Then she noticed the clothes on her. She had clearly allowed someone to strip her naked in the night yet her clothes were all in place.

What is going on? She wondered.

Kafula ran out of the bedroom and headed towards Hilary’s bedroom but he was nowhere in sight. She shouted his name across the house and finally got a response when she went downstairs. “In the kitchen,” she heard him shout and quickly rushed there. Hilary was in his usual somewhat feminine look; short-shorts, pink apron on top of a tight t-shirt and his blond hair was tied in a neat pony-tail. This couldn’t be the same man that had awakened things in her body she never imagined she possessed, could it? She could still feel him inside her, a feeling so strong she wanted to hold on to it for eternity. That feeling…that feeling couldn’t have been a dream.

“Good morning Mrs J,” he greeted her excitedly. “Figured you would wake up hungry…you had such a rough night after all.”

“Do you know what happened last night? I seem to have….” Kafula scratched her head in frustration. “Last night…did we….”

“Calm down love,” Hilary waved his hand as if to brush off her worries. “You cried so hard last night after that unfortunate episode with Danny and then you fell asleep. I kept talking and talking only to later realise that you had fallen asleep on my laps. I thought about laying you on the couch but figured you might get a headache so I took you to your room…hope you don’t mind.”

“Is that all that happened?”

“Yeah, that’s about it,” Hilary replied nonchalantly. “Juice or tea?” he asked.

For a moment, Kafula stood in the doorway of the kitchen starring at Hilary as he worked, looking so carefree.

Weeks had passed and Hilary carried on as if nothing had happened between them until Kafula finally convinced herself that she had dreamt the whole thing. One afternoon, Kafula was at work supervising the employees at her restaurant when she got a call from Melinda. The two of them had not seen each other after the wedding as Melinda had to go back to campus to continue her studies while her friend stayed behind to run her new home.

“Am on my way to your place,” Melinda announced excitedly.

“I’m not home right now sweety. How far are you?” Kafula asked.

“About thirty minutes I think. I just got off the bus right now.”

“Cool, then I’ll start off from here right away. You’ll find me home. I can’t wait to see you!”

Kafula was surprised to find her husband’s vehicle parked at home when she opened the gate. He had been gone on his usual trips for over a week already. She wasn’t expecting him back till Tuesday the next week. Excitedly, she parked her car next to his and rushed into the house. Wanting to surprise him, she tip-toed upstairs to his study where she figured he would be preparing for Sunday’s sermon but he wasn’t there. She then headed towards their bedroom and slowly opened the door. She finally found him, all covered up and snoring as hell. She laughed to herself as she went to uncover his head. “Sleepy head,” she teased him and planted a kiss on his forehead.

Not wanting to disturb him, she turned around to leave the room only to turn right back around when she saw thought she saw an outline of another figure next to her husband. She threw off the beddings immediately to reveal two naked figures of her husband and Hilary whose long legs were wrapped around him as if for dear life. No sooner had the meaning of the revelation sunk in than the two men bolted straight up in bed, both in utter embarrassment. Daniel was the first one to get out of bed to try to calm down his wife who stood frozen on the spot, her hands covering her mouth in disbelief.

“I can explain this honey,” he tried to touch her but she flinched and the look in her eyes screamed for him not to even dare. She started backing away from the room and the moment she was outside, she ran downstairs sobbing, one hand pressed against her heart as if to keep it from exploding. But she was already on fire. By the time it took Daniel to put on his boxers and chase after his wife, she was already outside getting back into her car and ready to speed off, if not for Melinda who chose that particular moment to appear right in front of the car, arms stretched with a huge smile on her face.

“Guess whose home?” She shouted excitedly. However, it only took a split second for her to realise that her friend was not in the mood to play catch-up. Just then, Daniel appeared from the house, almost out of breath and in nothing else but his boxers. A shocked Melinda almost missed her breath as her hands went straight to cover her eyes, dropping her small luggage bag to the ground in the process.

“Get in the car right now Melinda or I will leave you!” Kafula shouted as she hit the gas. Melinda was wise enough to not ask any questions and got in the car. While Kafula kept her sight focused on the road ahead, Melinda took the time to look behind them and saw Hilary also come out of the house, but unlike Danny, he completely had no clothes on. She could see Danny say something to him in anger and his hands immediately went to cover his nether parts. The whole thing looked comical and Melinda couldn’t help laughing despite the situation. He is quite packaged that sissy fella, wow, was what was running through her mind. When she turned back around, she could feel Kafula’s glare and she quickly apologized. “You have to admit the whole thing looks ridiculous Kaf.” She stifled her laugh. “But then again, it can’t be like that from your end…right?” She patted her friend on the shoulder.

A week had passed when Kafula finally decided to confront her demons. She checked out of the hotel and drove back home to confront her husband. There were still a lot of questions she needed answered and as long as things remained like that, she would have no peace of mind. The two of them had probably already forgotten she existed and went back to shagging each other as if they had no care in the world. She couldn’t let them have that.

The first person Kafula ran into when she entered her house was Hilary. He was sited in his usual spot in the sitting room, his long legs stretched out on the sofa. It seemed one week was enough for him to recover from the bolt of embarrassment he had felt that day because he was smiling at her as if they were the best of buddies.

“Where is Danny?” She threw him a stern look. She was in no mood to play games with anyone.

“He’s at church for his usual counselling sessions. He said he would be back later in the evenings.” Hilary replied, slowly losing hold of his act. Before he could say another word, Kafula was already on her way upstairs. “He already knows…Daniel, he knows everything.” Hilary barked from behind her.

She told herself to just ignore him but for some reason, her body and mind seemed at odds with each other. She reluctantly turned around to face her enemy. “What is that supposed to mean?” She asked.

Hilary took steps to cover the distance between them. He stood just a step below her and with one hand holding on to the stairway rail; he leaned in closer and whispered in her ear, “…what happened between us that night….”

Kafula held her breath. “I don’t understand what you are trying to say.” She was truly confused. As if to confirm her worst fears, Hilary started stroking her hair with his free hand, tilting his head from side to side in her face and every now and then leaning in even closer as if to kiss her. This whole time, his eyes were fixed on her lips and nothing else. He could not see the petrified look in her eyes otherwise he would have stopped to help her to a seat.

“I don’t…know…what….” Kafula was more than ready to feign ignorance but reality had finally sunk in.

“There is no way you could have forgotten your very first time… and with me.” Hilary could not let her have the luxury of doubt, “you seemed to have loved every second of it. I still get hard every time I look at you after our special night.” He was still playing with her hair.

“Get the hell away from me you pervert!” Kafula tried to get away from him. “I think you have overstayed your welcome in this house. Get the hell out of my house right now before I call the police.” She tried to break away from him again but he held her in place by her shoulders, this time using both his hands. His strength always seemed to take her by surprise.

“I think you should really reconsider how you treat me from now on love,” He instructed, in a very controlled tone. “I am the only one who can get you out of this mess you so carelessly put yourself in.”

“I would rather die than seek any kind of solace from you.” She gripped his arms hard and pulled them off of her. If she didn’t know better, she would have read sadness in his eyes but she was not going to be fooled by him anymore. She was back on her voyage upstairs when she felt him right behind her. She was just about to turn around to ward him off when his arms went around her waist and he held her tight in an embrace from behind. She violently tried to set herself free but she was no match even for his slim frame.

“Just hear me out this once, Kaf.” He pleaded, but Kafula would not hear any of it.

“Get off of me before I do something to you that we will both regret!” She yelled, but Hilary still kept the position.

“I will not let go until you hear me out,” he insisted, resting his head on her back. “I know what was done to you…what we did to you is unforgivable….” His voice was almost breaking.

“Wait a minute,” Kafula interrupted. “Don’t tell me you’re crying?” She scoffed. “Aren’t you taking this act a bit too far Hilary? The cat is already out of the bag. Everything is done now. Can’t you get it? Save those crocodile tears for someone else who’s going to fall for such rubbish.”

“I really don’t blame you for thinking that.” Hilary tried to hold back his tears but it seemed they had a mind of their own. “You still don’t know the half of it Kafula. There is nothing about this that is even close to what you might be imagining. Daniel isn’t going to let you go despite what you found out.”

“What?” Kafula asked, trying to turn around to look at him but only managing to put them both in an awkward tight position.

“I will let you go now since it seems I have managed to get your undivided attention.” He let her free and stepped back from her. “How about we talk in the living room?” Without waiting for her response, he took the few steps back downstairs and into the living room, back in his spot.

“What do you mean Danny has no intention of granting me a divorce?” Kafula had followed him and was now sitting on the other side, facing him. “After what you two have done, there is no way he would expect that I would stay quiet and continue with this charade of a marriage. I will take him to court if I have to.”

You see,” Hilary got up and went to sit next to her. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.” He said nonchalantly. “Danny is no fool. He knew that one day you would find out and so he made sure to have leverage for when the time came.”

“What leverage are you talking about?” A very perturbed Kafula asked.

“There is a video….” Hilary paused for effect. “…of you and me…that night.” Kafula almost jumped out of her seat.

“You are joking, right?” She kept praying that it was only a dream, a very bad dream. “This is just a way of threating me, isn’t it?”

“If you don’t believe me, then you can go in his study and open his safe. I have his password; I don’t mind sharing it with you.”

“Just what is he planning on doing with that video if I don’t corporate?” Kafula looked defeated, but she knew the fight was far from over.

“You don’t need me to tell you that,” Hilary said. “You are a smart woman. You can figure it out on your own.”

“What have you people done to me?” Kafula cried. She furiously tried to wipe away the tears but they kept coming. “I trusted you guys, both of you.” She said whilst crying. Hilary tried to get closer to her again but she pushed him away from her hard. “And you,” Kafula continued, raising her head up to look him in the eye. “You are even worse than Danny. You took advantage of me in my most vulnerable state and went on with life as if nothing ever happened. As if that wasn’t enough, you filmed the whole thing!”

Hilary looked like he had just been hit by a brick. “I know, I know,” he kept repeating himself. “I might have been part of the plan from the very beginning but I stopped the moment I realised my feelings for you. Please believe me when I tell you that I had no idea he was recording us. Had I known, I wouldn’t have gone ahead with the arrangement.”

“And you actually expect me to believe that?” Kafula muttered something under her breath in vernacular but Hilary had an idea of how grave an insult it likely was. He moved to position himself in front of her and quickly took her hands in his before she could move away from him. As he expected, she tried to free herself but his strength seemed to surprise her again. Her eyes instinctively went to the hands that were holding her hostage.

They were long fingers, lean, soft yet strong. Unfortunately, that realization seemed to trigger memories of their night together; the night that almost never happened but actually did happen. She could remember how he had looked that night…his scent, his eyes…his hands on her. No one had ever touched her like that before or let alone make her feel like the most beautiful woman alive. In a sudden turn of events, Kafula could see that man again standing right in front of her. How was it possible that she could have such complicated feelings for the same man?

“Your body doesn’t lie Kaf,” Hilary was looking at her nipples threatening to reap through her blouse. “And your eyes are telling me how much you want me…” his hands where caressing the side of her eye while his head leaned in as if for a kiss.

“Aren’t you supposed to be gay or something ?” Kafula found herself asking, her shaky voice betraying her show of confidence.

“I am the kind of person who doesn’t look at the sex of a person to fall in-love with them.” Hilary confessed.

“Ah, so you are actually in-love with my husband…yet you claim to be in-love with me.” Kafula took the opportunity to quickly free herself from him and went to stand by the window, putting as much distance between them as possible.

“Technically speaking,” Hilary sat on the arm of the sofa she was sitting on, his arms crossed over his chest. “Daniel isn’t really your husband. He is mine…married for six years already.”

“What nonsense are you sprouting now?” Kafula wasn’t about to be dragged down the deception road again.

“You can ask Danny if you like, he will probably tell you the truth since everything is all out in the air now…and, he has something to ensure your silence, forever.”

“What can that be? I have no secrets….” Before she should finish, she realized exactly what Hilary was talking about. “…the video.” She was shell-shocked. “That bastard, he wouldn’t….”

“Oh yes he would,” Hilary confirmed her worst fears. “He is the kind of man who would do anything to survive, and I mean anything., well, maybe except murder.”

“But why is he doing this to me? Why me?” There was no missing the anxiety and disappointment in her voice. All along she had thought she as the most outstanding woman in the world because out of them all, the most eligible bachelor had chosen her and not anyone else.

“Because of your money…your family’s wealth, to be specific.” Kafula’s parents owned one of the largest local chain stores in the country and she was the only heir to that fortune.

“Dear God,” Kafula said. “So all of this is for money? Does he think that my father will let me lay a finger on that money while he’s still alive? Wait a minute…he is not planning on killing my father now, is he?”

“Danny might be a bigamist, but he is no murderer.”

“Easy for you to say.” Strangely enough, Kafula found herself relaxing a little. “So is that why you are pretending to be in-love with me as well, because of my money?”

Hilary laughed. “I grew up very poor so I have always loved money, and you just happen to have a lot of it.”

“Should I applaud you for your honesty?” Kafula said sarcastically.

“I never said that that was the only reason I love you. I am just fortunate that it is part of the package that comes with you but it never even crossed my mind the first time I realised I had fallen for you.”

Kafula was starting to feel uncomfortable again. “I don’t want to talk about this again…your feelings. I think I have heard more than enough today….” She was getting ready to leave. She picked up her handbag from the floor but Hilary was already in front of her, blocking her way.

“I have a way to get you free from Daniel and make sure he doesn’t use that video against you?”

“Let me guess,” Kafula said. “You will only help me if I accept your feelings?”

Hilary was shaking his head in disagreement. “No, I intend to help you whether you accept me or not. I happen to be a sucker for love.”

“And what happened to that love with my…with Danny?”

“I don’t know…. I don’t know who changed between us but something or someone definitely changed. All I know is that, talking to you…spending time with you has made me realise exactly what I need in my life. I never planned on falling in-love with you Kafula. It just happened…and that night between us, that changed everything. I haven’t been able to think about anything else.”

“I take it you were thinking about me while you cuddled up with Danny after a steamy session a few days ago?”

She didn’t miss his look of guilt. “I needed Danny to tell me where he kept the video of us…you and me and the only way to do that was…you know….” He shrugged his shoulders.

“And did you find out…where he kept them?”

Hilary smiled. It seemed she was going to accept his help after all, but what about his love? He wondered.

*             *                  *

“I take it you accepted Hilary’s feelings for you?” I asked Kafula. I really couldn’t tell what she was thinking. She was like a time bomb, just waiting to explode.

“I don’t know what to do aunty. Although Hilary managed to help me get rid of Daniel by threatening to expose the videos of them together, I am still not sure about my feelings for him. What’s worse, I ran into Andy a few weeks ago with his new girlfriend. I thought I had gotten completely over him a long time ago but seeing him with someone else…it didn’t make me feel good at all. I could tell by the way he was looking at her that he was in-love with her because that is how he used to look at me.”

“What you feel for Andy isn’t love per se. I think it is just jealous…which is natural to feel towards people that we once cherished. Realising that those special feelings he ponce had only for you have now transferred to another person can leave you feeling like you lost something. However, instead of dwelling on the past, it is better to move on with your life. I am sure Andy must have felt the same, if not worse when you left him but look at him now. If you truly loved him before, then you will let him move on with his new life while you try to bring some order to your own love life.”

“I guess I needed to hear that from someone else.” Kafula said, looking a little defeated. “Melinda has said something in those lines before but I thought it was only because she didn’t like me and Andy together. But you know what still bothers me about all this drama with Danny? I still find it hard to accept the fact that he was once a woman. I mean, everything about him seemed so masculine. I even saw him naked and…” Kafula threw her head into her hands.

“There are a lot of procedures one can undergo to change like that and modern medicines are helping to speed up such progress. Although it is not very common here, it is not like that where he comes from.

“So where is Hilary right now since Daniel went back to the states?” I asked.

“I doubt if Danny went back to the States. He is probably in another country in Africa trying to trap another desperate and gullible girl like me. Good luck to whoever that is.” She said. “As for Hilary, he is staying with one of the many friends he managed to make for himself during the period he’s been here. That man could get along even with a serpent.” She was smiling proudly as she spoke.

“You like him, don’t you?”

“Me? No!” She vehemently denied it with her voice but her body said something else. “He really confuses me.” She finally admitted. “I can’t really tell whether he is a man or a woman…what with his long hair, his weird clothes sometimes…and he also likes men! How can I possibly go out with someone like that? And what’s worse, I don’t know if I should trust him or not.”

“At least he has told you exactly what he wants from you but as for the issue of trust, that is not something you can teach someone to do. It is obvious you like him too but you are not sure of his intentions. Why don’t you give it some time…get to know each other first and perhaps in due time he could earn your trust or you can choose to start afresh with someone else.”

“What if I really lose him while I am trying to get my thoughts in order?”

“Then you would have known for sure exactly how much he loved you in the first place. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for you.”
“I see what you mean.” Kafula said.

“Don’t be too anxious to fall in-love.” I cautioned her. “It will happen when it wants to happen, whether you like it or not. However, it is important to guard your heart against things that only look right with the eye and not with the mind. Questioning something that seems too good to be true does not mean you love it less. It simply means you have devoted much of your precious time thinking about it because that’s how much it means to you.”

As I watched Kafula drive away from the house, I had a feeling that I would be seeing her again soon. When I got back to my office, I prayed that our next meeting would be on a good note and that she would have matured into the kind of woman any man would be proud to have. Despite the terrible decisions she’s made in the past, she is a lovely girl desperate to find a man who would have eyes only for her. Isn’t that what all of us want and need?