That evening as I drove back home, I kept replaying that scene I had just witnessed at the lodge over and over again. I was convinced, though with some doubt that Mr Mbulo’s sister in-law was the same woman that had hired me to go after him and his money.
As if she was watching me, her call came the moment I entered my house.
“Is that you I saw at the lodge?” Were the first words I said when I answered the phone.
She was laughing. “I always knew you are one clever girl.” She said. “Yes, that was me.”
I had not expected her to admit it so easily. Truth is, she could have denied it and said I was mistaken and I would have believed her since I had never seen her face before.
Somehow, the ease with which she admitted it made me feel even more suspicious and raised a lot of questions in my head;
Why would a sister in-law go to such lengths to punish her sister’s husband?
Did the two of them perhaps share some dubious secret past?
Or was something still going on between them?
Or, could it be that she was exerting revenge on behalf of her sister? If so, why not just let the sister take care of her own marital issues? Why so much interference from her?
I wanted to ask her all these questions but before I could start gathering the courage to do so, the lady I had come to know as Bana Bupe added;
“And no, I don’t owe you any explanations. Just do what’s remaining to be done and we can all go our separate ways.”
And just like that I was left to plot once again how I was going to get the lady what she needed without having to spread my legs for Mr Mbulo. Unfortunately, whatever plan I needed to come up with required that I be in the same room as the man in question.
How was I to survive that?
Mr Mbulo remained true to his nature and was very determined to have his way with me the moment my periods where done. Instead of the usual three days, the length of my periods increased to one week ever since I met Mr Mbulo and in the two months and 16 days we had known each other, I had attended six times already.
There were days when I would lie to his face and depending on my level of confidence; he would out-rightly believe even the most outrageous lies that fell from my lips. To this day, am still trying to figure out how a gullible man like him managed to build a successful empire for himself.
The mysterious woman’s admission of her relationship to Mr Mbulo ignited something in me that propelled me to want to get as far away from the both of them as possible. Unfortunately, this meant I had to get her all the information about his bank details and any other such related information.
During the short time I had spent with Mr Mbulo, I had learnt that despite having no respect whatsoever for his wife, he had no intentions of leaving her. At one point in one of our many conversations he had referred to her as a ‘mop.’
“She cleans up whatever kind of mess I create and she makes a beautiful home for me. She is necessary for my life, like we all can’t do without a mop. Why would I want to get rid of her? I can bet you that even Bill Gates has used a mop many times in his life.” That had been his response when I asked him why he was not divorcing her if she wasn’t giving him the kind of happiness he was searching for.
I felt like smacking the fool in the face…how he had easily uttered such nonsense like a man paying a compliment to his long suffering wife. He brought a whole new thick meaning to the word disgusting.
“Let’s meet tonight, usual time and place.” I surprised Mr Mbulo by calling him first and suggesting we meet for the night. It was something I had never done before, but I was very desperate and I needed to get things done once and for all.
“Oh yes my baby,” I could hear his blood pressure rising through the phone and I could imagine his little wiener dancing about excitedly in his huge boxers.
“I will definitely be there baby.” He said.
I immediately ended the call and regrettably regurgitated the saliva that had taken part in that conversation. Just the thought of arranging such a meeting with him made my insides turn in protest.
* * *
That particular night I was dressed for the part. Considering the fact that I was dealing with a man who was greatly aroused by visuals, I wore a tight black miniskirt that was only covering the most essential parts of my lower body.
I was not going to be doing any bending that night.
I desperately needed my body to do half the work the moment he laid eyes on me so as to reduce the amount of time my hands would have to be in contact with certain parts of his body.
My plan seemed to be going according to plan; I had him on his back, his pint-size manhood up and erect to its fullest potential, and the look on his face was screaming whatever evil thoughts were dancing on his unrepentant mind.
I immediately put my mouth to work and felt him shift excitedly on the bed. He placed his fat hand on the back of my head and started pulling me forward over and over again. Unfortunately, whereas my mind was determined to move ahead with the task at hand, my body appeared to have other ideas.
My stomach was churning, loudly, and my insides were turned inside out and ready to explode through my mouth. In my efforts to fight back the volcano of vomit threating to erupt, I ended up swallowing products from his body that had no business being anywhere near my mouth.
I was finally able to heave a sigh of relief when I watched and felt him surrender himself to nature.
It had only taken him about 53 seconds.
While he was busy busking in the results of my mouth works, I quickly rushed to the bathroom and reversed all the digestive processes that had taken place in my body for the past five years.
I went back to the room five minutes later and found Mr Mbulo seated on the edge of the bed and grinning at me like a well-paid politician.
“Come here baby.” He held out his arms to me, expecting me to go and sit on his laps. I stood back and looked at him quizzically.
“Why do you still have your clothes on?” He asked, getting up from the bed and walking towards me. I was taking steps back with every step he took forward and soon my back came into contact with the wall.
He yanked my skirt and panties down at the same time before I could mouth any words.
“What do you think you are doing?” I asked him, bending down to pick up the little pieces of my dignity but that move only put me at a greater disadvantage because the next thing I knew, his huge fat hands were around my waist as he spun me around to face away from him, my ass right where he needed it to be.
“Why are you fighting me my darling…when we are just getting started?”
I felt his other hand press hard on my back as he forced me to stay where I was…in that bended position. I knew in that moment what was about to happen and so I desperately tried to fight him off…but I was soon forced to come to terms with the fact that I was no match for a man of his weight and strength.
He was about to plug himself into my most private portal when I managed to raise one leg from the ground and landed it hard against his foot which sent him whimpering away in pain.
“You little….” I saw him come at me so I ran to the door. I was about to open it and run for safety when I realized my own state of nakedness.
I looked over at my skirt which was now lying on the floor a few feet away but I did not have enough time to go over there and pick it up because Mr Mbulo came hard at me, grabbed me by the sides and threw me hard on the bed.
The burning and menacing look in his eyes told me of his hunger and just what he intended to do to me.
“I am sick and tired of you playing me to your tune while you chew my money with impunity. It’s time for me to get what I deserve tonight.” Mr Mbulo’s words as he kept coming at me confirmed my very worst fears.
I tried getting out of bed but he kept pushing me back. In his arms I was nothing but an ant…a tiny little thing he could control with only a flip of one fat finger.
Afraid to attract attention and afraid of the scandal that might erupt if word of my unfortunate predicament got out, I could only beg my attacker to take pity on me, hoping to reach out to his non-existent conscience so as to reconsider his actions.
Neither the stars nor the heavens were in my favour that fateful night.
When it finally sunk into me that there was no hope for me, all I could do was bite down my lip to keep myself from tasting the salty tears coursing down my face. Every thrash he made from on top of me plunged into my body and served as a reminder of just how low I had fallen.
There was no turning back for me. I had been thoroughly raped of whatever little dignity a girl like me could have and in its stead was a deep hollow feeling of emptiness and guilt threatening to devour me into oblivion.
It took a whole three minutes for the ordeal to come to pass.
It was hard not to know the time when there was a huge clock chipping away and staring at me up on the wall ahead. Panting, exhausted and fully satisfied from all the efforts he had put in de-juicing me, Mr Mbulo got off from on top of me and dropped to the side with a thunder.
The blesser had finally collected his dues.
I felt useless and defeated with my back lying on that bed and my legs spread apart like a pleasure machine. I was sobbing and thinking about what had just happened when Mr Mbulo sat up and looking down at me he said;
“If you cared about me as much as you claimed, I wouldn’t have taken things this far.” And in one of his unforgettable signature moves, he tried to wipe at my tears with his hand but I quickly laid both my hands over my face and turned away from him, crying.
I heard him snickering as he got off the bed and headed to the bathroom, whistling the National Anthem to the beat of his flesh hitting against flesh as he walked.
The fact that he had the frame of mind to happily whistle the national anthem after what he had just done irked me to the point of madness. I got up from the bed and followed him into the bathroom.
“Have you come to join daddy in here?” He asked whilst sitting on the toilet pan. There was absolutely no ounce of remorse on his face or even his whole demeanour.
“In your dreams you son of a bitch!” I said as I yanked the keys from the bathroom door, quickly got out, banged it shut and locked it.
Mr Mbulo was laughing from behind the door. “You might have the keys to this bathroom baby but I am the one with the keys to the room.” He proceeded to ring them in the air for my benefit as he cackled his lungs out.
I rushed to the door and tried to open it but it was locked. I searched everywhere for the pair of keys hoping he was just bluffing but they were nowhere in sight.
“Bastard!” I cussed again but instead of admitting defeat, I quickly put my mind to work and went about putting my plan into motion.
And then I remembered the photo of Gerrard and I and the sudden presence of Mr Mbulo’s sister in-law at the lodge last time and figured that there were probably cameras planted in the room. Thus, I went about in search of the hidden cameras.
“Oh my Tiff Tiff….” Mr Mbulo was still calling out to me as I searched every corner of the room. I looked up at the small chandelier were three bulbs hang and climbed on the bed to examine them closely but there was nothing.
And then the shiny two lamps on either side of the bed caught my attention and I quickly went to examine them. For sure I found the cameras carefully placed on each lamp. I yanked them out and continued searching the rest of the room just in case I had missed anything.
It appeared I had them all.
Concluding that I was safe, I set my eyes upon the briefcase neatly placed on the bedside table on the right. I didn’t want to risk being filmed touching it just in case the mysterious lady decided to blackmail me further in future by holding me responsible for whatever money she intended to steal from him.
I went for the briefcase that was always by Mr Mbulo’s side everywhere he went and unlocked it using the passcode I had seen him use for the past two months.
He truly thought he was James Bond, the fool.
It opened at the first try. I celebrated I silence.
“Tiffany honey!” Mr Mbulo sarcastically squeezed out the words at the same time he was squeezing out some other waste products from his behind. There was really no end to the pit that was his soul.
Fortunately for me, that briefcase was exactly what I needed to resurrect my expiring fate. The fool kept all of his bank information in there bringing the centuries old adage to reality; you can take a man out of the jungle but not the jungle out of the man.
Even chimpanzees would cringe at the sight of his uncivilized state.
I wrote down all the information I thought I might need into my small note pad and when I was done, I put everything back in order and locked the case again. The cheating bastard was saying something but I was too busy calculating my next moves to pay attention to whatever noise he was emitting into the air.
After securing my notepad and getting fully dressed, I went to unlock the door for him and he came out wearing the smirkest smirk I had ever seen on any breathing human.
“I knew you would eventually come around.” He said as he walked over to where his briefcase was quietly sitting. He traced his fingers over the security panel and satisfied that it had not been tampered with, he picked up his trousers from the floor and started putting his clothes back on.
“I need some pocket money.” I told him, my arms locked over my chest as I leaned against the wall facing him.
It was the first time I was directly asking him for money and the surprise was written all over his face.
“I knew making love would loosen things between us,” he smugly remarked.
Did he just say making love? My face was drowning in disdain.
“What you did to me is called rape,” I accused him. “You do not have the slightest idea what is involved in love making. You are a rapist.”
“If I am a rapist then you are a prostitute my darling Tiff.” He fired back.
“What did you just call me?” I couldn’t believe what I had just heard.
“That’s what they call a woman who asks for money from the man she just slept with…a man she is not in-love with.”
“Well, now that we have that out of the way, can I have my money?” I asked, without shame.
I had nothing more to lose. I was in no position to report rape considering the kinds of worlds we both came from and I certainly did not want my business plastered all over the papers for everyone to feast on, especially my friends and those at school.
“It’s the least I deserve after what you just did to me.” I told the nefarious nit.
“Don’t you think I have already paid you more than enough?” He asked.
I scoffed. “Paid me more than enough?” I asked. “Are you kidding me? I gave you my time, my company and my body during all this time but what happened today beats any of that.
“You had no right to force yourself on me like that. That’s a crime and as far as I know, there’s no crime in accepting money that’s been voluntarily offered to me. I never asked you for it; you gave it to me out of your own pompousness.”
“How much do you need?” He asked me.
“K30 000,” I stated unflinchingly.
“You heard me. I was going to go for 50 but then I remembered you saying that you always move with at least 30k on you and since I do not wish to have anything to do with you from this point on, I want to get my money and get as far away from you as possible.”
He went to open his briefcase and next thing he said was, “twenty-five, that’s all you are getting, not that you deserve it…but something to keep your mouth shut.”
He opened a compartment I had missed in my raid and counted some bundles of money for me before throwing them on the bed.
“I know you will be coming back to beg me for some more…they always do.” He said.
I went at the money and quickly packed it in my bag. “The door,” I said once I had secured the money.
He threw the keys on the bed as well.
I was out of there faster than the speed of light.
“I want to meet you right now,” I commanded my not so mysterious sponsor as I drove back home, reeling in anger.
“Do you know what time it is young lady?” She asked me.
“Do I sound like I care? I need you at my place in 30 minutes.”
I had never been that rude or stern with her before so am sure her curiosity over my sudden change in attitude is what brought her to my place so late at night.
“Since when do you get off talking to me like that?” She asked upon busting through the doors of my living room.
I had been pacing to and from the whole time I was waiting for her, an empty bottle of wine in my hands. I stopped and turned to face her.
“That man raped me!” I yelled.
“What?” she asked.
The ground kept coming up towards my face and all I could do was hold on tightly to the sofa in front of me to keep my balance.
“He forced himself on me and he was not sorry about it, not even in the slightest because he felt entitled. And who can blame him? You….” I was pointing an accusing figure at her. “You promised me that…that nothing….” I couldn’t speak any more. I was too overwhelmed by my emotions to think straight.
I had thought about all the things I wanted to say to the woman that had put me in such a position but now that I had her standing in front of me, the only thing I could do was cry.
The impact was a little less when he was on top of me because for a moment I had made myself believe that what was happening was not happening to me. It was like an out of body experience…one that had nothing to do with me at all.
But after being alone for a while, all through the drive back home, the images of him on top of me kept replaying through my mind and I wished for nothing but to lose my consciousness. I thought that maybe if I slept and woke up in the morning, it would have all been just a bad dream.
I had already downed a whole bottle of wine during the short time I was at home and I just wanted to drop to the floor and sleep.
I didn’t know how to respond to the shocked expression on her face. She closed the distance between us and tried to touch me but I shoved her away.
“Don’t you dare touch me!” I spat at her.
“I don’t know what to say Tiffany,” she said, looking as apologetic as anyone in her position could be. I didn’t buy her act. Gosh I couldn’t even tell if it was all an act or not. I just needed someone to blame for what had happened to me and for the way I was feeling. She felt that she must have known that something like that was going to eventually happen.
It’s not like the thought had not crossed my mind before. It was a fact I had pushed the man to every possible limit but there was a part of me that believed in his disillusioned love for me…. that part had made me comfortable in the belief that he would not be capable of such an atrocious act against me no matter how unfairly he thought I was treating him.
I had been wrong, dead wrong.
“So what do you want to do, press charges?” the lady asked me.
“Pressing charges would mean that this whole episode will haunt me for the rest of my life. Everyone already suspects I have some mysterious blesser now imagine what they are all going to say if I accuse the man who’s responsible for my current lifestyle for rape?
“They are all going to say I am a gold digger and you know it so don’t try to act like you want me to press charges. My silence over this issue probably means more to you than it does to me.”
The expression on her face told me that I was right in my deductions.
“I have access to his financial affairs,” I announced.
Her eyes added thirty more watts to the lights in the room. “You do?”
“Yes I do but I will not give them to you unless you agree to my terms.”
The smile immediately evaporated from her face. “What do you mean agree to your terms?” She asked.
“You have something over me that you can use to control me for the rest of my life; the pictures of Gerrard and me, and the recordings of all my encounters with your brother in-law…yes, I know that you have been watching us.” I added. “However, I have access to something that you desperately need; Mr Mbulo’s money.”
“And because of that you think you have the right to negotiate with me?” she laughed.
“Yes,” I confidently answered. “As a matter of fact I do. I just so happen to have proof of you blackmailing me into running errands for you. Imagine what I would do with all this information if push comes to shove?”
“You wouldn’t dare!” she thundered.
It was my turn to chuckle. “Would you like to try me?” I said. “Apart from an already bruised reputation, I have nothing more to lose. So what if I have been sleeping with my tutor? I am certainly not the first student and I am sure as hell not ashamed of the things I have done to survive in this cruel world.
“But you…it will be your word against mine. If I tell people that I was blackmailed into servicing some old fat man, that will explain my side of the story nd probably even gain some sympathy…but what about you? Your own brother in-law? What do you think people will say about the things you’ve done?
“That expensive ring on your finger tells me that you are married and the fact that Mr Mbulo called you Bana Bupe tells me that you have a child…or children. So tell me, who stands to lose more in this crazy cycle of ours?”
“What are your terms?”
It seemed I had gotten through to her.
“I need you to tell me why you were doing this to your brother in-law…and, we share 50-50 of the money you plan on stealing from him.”
“I knew I was going to regret picking an intelligent bitch to run my errands,” she said under her breath but it was loud enough for me to pick out every single word. “I should have gone for the dumb one.”
“Well, it’s a little too late for regrets now.” I said. “So are we on?”
The lady sighed heavily and went to sit down on the sofa. I followed suit and sat down on the other side, facing her.
“50-50 is a non-starter. I say 35-65. That money we are getting is not going into my pocket. It belongs to someone else.”
“Who?” I asked.
“My name is Carolyn Chama, might as well get that out of the way.” She said. “Catherine Mbulo, John’s wife is my elder sister…you know that already.”
“I am also known as Mrs Kamanga.” She continued. “For years my family has been begging my sister to leave that disrespectful cheating bastard but Cathy won’t listen because according to her she has sacrificed too much over the years; physically, emotionally and financially to be where she is today.
“Her most vocal argument is that she can’t leave and let another woman enjoy the fruits of her labour. It was last year during an end of year party when I watched in dismay as John shamelessly flirted with almost every beautiful woman in sight despite his wife being in the same room.
“Even if my sister could stomach such levels of disrespect, I couldn’t. I thought, something needed to be done to teach the bastard a lesson. Even though Cathy refuses to leave, she cries night and day because she feels she has become invisible to her husband, a man she had taken care of on her teacher’s salary for over five years when he was jobless.
“I figured that the only way to get Cathy out of that living hell was to give her what was due to her. Mbulo is a very selfish man and now that he has some power, he will do whatever it takes to make sure Cathy leaves with nothing if she sues him for divorce. They only married traditionally and they don’t even have a marriage licence.
“So I had to find a way to get my hands on his money…not everything, just enough to help my sister get back on her feet and start a brand new life with her kids. She deserves to be paid for what she’s had to put up with for all the years and it’s my job as her sister to protect her.”
I had to believe her. I had played numerous scenarios in my head trying to figure out what her deal was and the one she had just given me made a lot of sense.
“How do I know if what you are telling me is the truth?” I didn’t want her thinking I was so gullible. I had to play hardball.
“What if this is just a jealous sister trying to steal from under her sister by using her brother in-law’s weakness?”
She scoffed and proudly raised her shoulders. “Do some research and find out who I really am. When you do, you will discover that Mbulo’s money is only worth a penny in my books.
“Yes I can easily take care of my sister if she divorced the bastard and left with nothing but that wouldn’t be fair. Cathy is entitled to that money as much as he is. It is also her money. So many times I have heard him threaten her that she wouldn’t get a penny if she divorced him and I could tell he meant it. This will teach him a lesson.”
I wanted to applaud her for standing up for her sister but at the same time I was mad that I had been used in such a manner in her scheme. I wanted to make both her and Mr Mbulo pay for what they had put me through.
“What if Mr Mbulo comes after me when he discovers his money is missing?” I asked.
“That’s not something for you to worry about. Did he see you check his briefcase?” She asked.
I shook my head. “He has no idea I had opened it.”
“Then there’s nothing for you to worry about. I will make it look like he made the transaction himself…in this day and age, anything is possible.”
“What if even after doing all this your sister refuses to divorce him?” I asked.
“Then that’s her problem. She can stay until he gives her some deadly disease or until she shoots him. If she refuses my help, at least I can move on with my life knowing I had done my best to get her out of there.”
After the lady I had come to learn was Carolyn…after she and I finished calculating how we were going to go about securing the money and sharing it, she said goodnight and I remained alone to nurse my self-inflicted wounds.
One month later, as per agreement, I received my share of the money through a middleman. It was way more than I had expected. I had not spoken to Carolyn since our conversation that unfortunate night even though she had texted a few times to ask about how I was holding up but I never replied.
I could tell she was feeling guilty for my rape.
* * *
Two years had gone by since I had cut all ties with Mr Mbulo and Carolyn his sister in-law. Because I wanted nothing more to do with them, I did not bother to ask about whether Catherine had divorced her useless husband or if she had accepted the money secured for her by her sister.
I had moved on with my life and vowed to never revisit my past. None of my friends got to learn about the things that had happened to me and even though my financial status had tremendously improved in a very short period of time, they had never seen me with a sugar daddy or blesser.
I simply told everyone that I had inherited some cash from a distant relative and had invested it wisely. I was comfortable in the belief that my past was deeply buried where it belonged and not once did I dream that it would come at me with the kind of vengeance it did that fateful afternoon.
Cuthbert, whom I had been dating for the past one year had invited me to one of his family’s major end of year parties where all of the important family members would be gathered and I was excited and nervous at the same time.
It was the first time a guy had shown that level of seriousness in a relationship and made his intentions towards me so boldly clear.
As fate would have it, Carolyn was the first person I laid my eyes on when I stood by the entrance waiting for Cuthbert to come lead me inside.
Our eyes locked and she walked towards me with a calm that sent chills running down my spine.
“Tiffany?” She was now standing in front of me, half a question mark and half a smile on her face. “Oh my, it really is you. You have matured gracefully and beautifully, as expected.”
“Ms Carolyn,” I said. I was thinking about something else but the words that came out where not the intended.
“You look gorgeous!” She was scanning me from head to toe. “Certainly different from the look you had…is it two years ago?” She whispered.
What are you doing here of all places? I asked her in my head.
“Aunt Carol, I see you’ve met my Tiffany.” Cuthbert had appeared from behind Carolyn.
Aunt Carol? Did he just say what I thought he said?
I should have figured out something the moment I heard his name. Did the whole family have names starting with C? How Kardashian-like of them.
“My Tiffany?” Carolyn looked from nephew to me. “Is she the girl you told us about?”
“Yes!” The oblivious and excited Cuthbert came to put his arm around me. “This is the woman I intend to marry.” He proudly announced to his visibly shocked aunt. “Look there’s mum, mum!” He called out to his mother from the crowd.
“Cuthbert,” Carolyn was trying to say something to her nephew but Cuthbert’s excitement could not be contained.
“Come over here mum,” he was motioning at his hand to come closer. The whole time I had been watching Carolyn’s reaction and she too had not taken her eyes off of me.
“Tiff, meet my mother,” I heard Cuthbert say. “Mum, this is the lady I told you about.”
At that moment, I had no choice but to raise my eyes to meet the person who was being introduced to me and Lord behold, it was Catherine Mbulo…the wife to my former blesser.
Had I just been sleeping with the son of my former sugar daddy? I wanted to throw up but the welcoming smile on the face of the woman extending her hand to me froze me on spot.
“You are as beautiful as my son described you.” Cuthbert’s mother said as she shook my shaking hand.
“Oooh, don’t be so nervous,” she added upon noticing my discomfort and placed her other hand over mine. “I see you’ve met my sister,” she was looking at Carolyn. “I am the eldest in the family but she acts like she is the big sister. Come, let me introduce you to the rest of the family.”
Carolyn quickly jumped in and grabbed my hand away from the woman who just a minute ago had been my potential mother in-law.
“Look, they are fighting over you already!” Cuthbert completely misread the whole situation. My heart moaned at the innocence of his heart. How did he end up with someone like me of all female species out there in the world?
“Tiffany told me that she needed to use the bathroom to freshen up a bit. Let me take her there before you start parading her around.”
“Oh, forgive me,” Cuthbert’s mother gave me a knowing smile before taking the hand of her son. “You and I should go and secure some food for our special guest before your cousins devour everything.”
“See you later my love.” Cuthbert planted a kiss on my cheek before walking away with his mother.
Inside the house, Carolyn took me to a room I guessed was the master suite since there was a huge portrait on the wall of her and her husband. She locked the door behind us.
“How is this possible?” Was the first question she asked me. “Aren’t you a little too old for that boy?”
She was right, I was three years older than Cuthbert but biology and nature seemed to be on my side in the physical department. No one could tell I was older…unless they asked to see our passports or other forms of ID.
“I thought your sister only had three kids,” I said. “And they were much younger.”
“That’s because she had Cuthbert before she married Mbulo.” Carolyn explained. “Gosh,” she brushed her hand through her perfectly styled razor cut and plopped herself down on the bed in frustration. “How is this even possible?”
“Is Mr Mbulo here as well?” That was the question raking my brains in that moment. What the hell was I going to do if I bumped into Mr Mbulo?
“Cathy divorced that idiot two years ago.” I was duly informed. “He would not even dream of being anywhere close to where this family is gathered.”
I heaved a sigh of relief.
“What are you going to do now?” Carolyn was watching me closely.
“What else can I do? I have to break up with Cuthbert. How can I get married to the son of the woman whose husband I….” I couldn’t bring myself to finish the sentence.
“You will do no such thing!” Carolyn got up from the bed and came to glare at me closely. “There is no way I am going to let you break the heart of that sweet innocent boy out there. What are you going to tell him? Sorry love but I used to shag your ex-step-father for money?
“Catherine has no idea about the methods I used to secure her money and knowing her, she would give it all to charity and go back to that bastard to beg him for forgiveness the moment she discovers the truth. Over my dead body will I let that happen.”
“I don’t know!” I said, crying and feeling absolutely hopeless. “I don’t know what to do….”
“Pull yourself together.” She grabbed a towel from somewhere and put it in my hands. “Clean yourself up and walk back there with a huge smile on your face like nothing ever happened.
“You and I have never met before and until today you did not know who my sister is. Is that clear?”
I nodded and cleaned myself up right away.
* * *
It’s been three years now since Cuthbert and I got married and we have a two year old son that looks exactly like his father.
I never told Cuthbert about my past since Carolyn made me promise to carry that secret to my grave. I have not met Mr Mbulo since my last encounter with him and I hear he now lives in Kabwe where he remarried.
I live each day to the fullest, hoping that my past is safely locked away where it belongs but even in my happiness, there are moments when I wake up at night sweating in fear from a nightmare threatening to bring my past to surface.
I have thought about coming clean to my husband about my secrets but the idea that I might lose him and the family I have created for myself scares me to death and locks me back in silence.
There are days when I find myself crying just looking at my husband and thinking about what my lies would do to him if he ever discovers the kind of person I was before I met him.
But there are also days when I embrace my happiness without guilt…days when I strongly believe I have been reborn and that the past has no effect on me whatsoever. On such days I glow and my husband feels it too.
He has come to think of my change in behaviour as simply moods and he has adjusted well to them. But still, I keep asking myself;
Would he forgive me if he learnt the truth about my past?
I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. I want to believe that his love for me is enough to shoulder the burdens of my past but then I am reminded that he’s only human.
In his heart I am the best woman he has ever come across and in his love I am perfect and flawless.
Every now and then he innocently asks me what did he to deserve someone as good as me and all I can do is drop my gaze and embrace him, hoping he can feel the beat of my heart and understand just how much I love him.
But, what if my sins are beyond human redemption?
What if I come clean to him and he walks away?
My prayer is that I never get to find out.