Cornered: A Blesser after his Dues – Part 2

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.

“What!?”

“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 nodded.

“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.
THE END.

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Shaken: A Love by Proxy – Part 4

“Who is she?” was the question Chizu came to ask me at about 2am.

Even the ancestors could feel the chill in the air.

I looked over at my son sleeping soundly next to me and then back at my wife.

“Can we talk in our room?” I asked and got up from our son’s bed.

“Who is she?” She asked me again the moment we were alone in our bedroom.

I sat down on the bed. I knew this was going to be a physically and emotionally draining conversation. Chizu remained standing, looking like the before image on a plastic surgery clinic ad.

“Does it matter who it is?” I said. There was no way I was going to put Susan on the chopping board again. I immediately regretted having given in to my emotions by confessing to my wife about my faltering heart.

Chizu was smelling poop in the room…at least that’s what her facial expression was telling me. “Don’t you think I deserve to know the name of the woman my husband has fallen in-love with?” She asked me.

“You don’t understand Chizu,” I tried to reason with her. “The name doesn’t matter. What matters is how I feel. I did not tell you about it so you could go out and start a witch hunt. That person doesn’t even know I feel this way about them. They have no idea!”

“When I insisted that you were cheating, you looked me in the eye and kept denying it.” She said, starting to cry again.

“That’s because I haven’t cheated on you Chizu,” I said.

“What you are doing right now is also cheating!” She yelled. “It’s not just about physical contact. You are in-love with another woman! That’s the worst kind of cheating there is.”

I didn’t know what to say. She was right. I might not have touched a single hair on Susan but I was feeling things in and outside my body that I wouldn’t want the Lord knowing about.

My feelings were beyond anything I had ever felt; not for Gloria, and not even for Chizu. I wanted nothing but to be that woman’s protector, guardian, lover, comforter…I wanted to be her everything.

For the first time in my life I wanted to be something meaningful to somebody. Before I only cared about what I received from a woman. It was never about what I could give. With Gloria it was the fact that she was head over heels in-love with me and would do anything for me if I asked. With her I always had a home to go to.

Chizu on the other hand brought a whole new kind of love into my life. Chizu gave both physically and emotionally. She gave her whole when she loved…enough to kill herself and those around her if anyone tried to take that love away from her.

All those kinds of love made me feel good about myself, a feeling beyond just flattered. Because these two women had loved me like that, it was easy for me to love them back.

But Susan was a whole different case. I had not received anything from her…at least not anything she had sent my way intentionally. Even though there was a huge part of me that longed for her to return my affections, I had not gone out of my way to make her consider me.

I was not planning on leaving my wife and I had no intentions of repeating history. Susan had entered my life at the most unexpected time and events that followed that meeting somehow culminated into me developing feelings I had not planned on having.

She had shaken me by surprise.

What had started as merely a misunderstanding somehow turned out to be true. In Chizu’s head, I was in-love with another woman…a woman I hardly even knew. In a strange twist of fate, that proxy kind of love imposed on me by my wife eventually became a reality.

I could no longer love Susan through my wife’s imaginations.

Thus, I took a love by proxy and turned it into reality.

However, I had learnt my lessons from the past and I knew what it meant to start a relationship on grounds of betrayal. Gloria had warned me that there was a price for every tear she had shed for me and I knew for a fact I was still paying that price.

Newton, I learnt was a very very vindictive man.

Susan was different…and because my feelings were different this time around, I refused to taint my love for her by going behind my wife’s back. I wanted to keep that kind of love pure and deep inside me.

Even though I was reluctant to give up on such intense and overwhelming emotions, I had no desires to pursue Susan in reality.

Whether that decision to not pursue Susan was made out of loyalty and respect for my wife…or whether it was from the realization that Susan might… or would never return my feelings, I cannot tell.

We had been arguing about the identity of the mystery woman I was in-love with for close to thirty minutes when Chizu finally asked;

“Is it her? Is it that Susan girl?”

“No!” I answered a little too quickly. “Why are we going back there again?”

“Because I can’t think of any woman that’s been in your life in the past month or so.” Chizu said. “I know you changed ever since that visit from that girl’s parents. I know that you resent me for not apologizing to that girl…and for what your mother did for us…..”

“Did for us?” I asked her, my voice rising a little. “I was not the one who jumped to unnecessary conclusions and made an innocent girl attempt suicide. YOU did that!” I yelled.

“I wouldn’t have done that if you cared about me enough and made me feel secure.” She countered.

My eyebrows raised, I glared at her. “So it’s my fault that you acted the way you did and humiliated our family and Malambo’s?” I asked.

By now Chizu had reached level two of her crying campaign. At this level, there’s an increase in the speed of tears flowing but no sound of crying yet.

“You’ve never made me feel like I was good enough!” She was slowly heading towards level three. “Just because you never said it out loud does not mean I never got the message.”

There we go again…her reading into things like some dame psychic. I was guilty of something if I opened my mouth, and I was still guilty if I kept quiet.

“I have seen how you look at the food I cook,” Chizu continued. “Every time I call you to the table you frown and sigh and you have this look on your face the whole time you are eating. You never compliment me on anything good I do but you are quick to notice my mistakes.

“I have never hidden from you the fact that cooking isn’t your best suit.” I could have easily said that she sucked at it but I was already treading on thin ice so I couldn’t risk it. I had to be diplomatic in my delivery.

“I know that you’ve made your feelings known about my cooking but still, you could have done something to help. Just because I am the wife does not mean you need to act like you are allergic to kitchen utensils or the stove.

“Even when I was heavily pregnant you never lifted a figure to help me out.” She complained. “I had to stand by the stove with my swollen feet and even when Daniel was born you would keep snoring…not once did you wake up in the middle of the night to help me.

“You were acting like I made that baby alone. Why was I being punished alone when I didn’t even cum that night!?” She had reached Level 3.

“What are you complaining about?” I asked. “Is it about your terrible cooking or my fathering skills?”

“I am complaining about everything!” She shouted, throwing her arms in the air. She was slowly approaching Level 4. At this stage, arms are waving, legs kicking, sound is on maximum and there is a dire need of a napkin.

“I am bitter, I am mad as well.” She wailed. “You go around acting like you are a victim in this marriage when you chose this kind of life for yourself. I never forced you to marry me. You are the one who got down on your knees and begged me to marry you.

“No one was holding a gun to your head. In just less than a year you changed, you became a different man. You forgot about the vows you made to me and started acting like I was the lucky one for marrying a guy like you.”

At this point, I really had no idea what she was nagging about but I listened quietly since she obviously had a lot on her mind…and since I had obviously done something to deserve her scorn.

“Every chance you got you compared me to Gloria your ex.” She accused.

I was gaping at her, stunned. “When did I do that?” I asked.  I think now she was just looking for anything that would make me out to be a bad guy. Soon she was going to claim I inhaled more oxygen in the house and left nothing for her, or that the amount of carbon-dioxide I was releasing was responsible for her bad moods.

“You do that every time!” She yelled. “The cooking, the dressing, sex, personality, everything! You said some of those things thinking you were paying me compliments but no woman wants to be compared to another no matter the reason.”

“I never compared you to Gloria,” I defended myself. “You were the one constantly bringing her up, forcing me to counter your insecurities. And yes, maybe you are right, there were times when Gloria came to mind in the past years but how can she not? The two of you were best friends, I was her boyfriend when you and I started going out but I never deliberately made comparisons between you two. That was just your conscious jumping to conclusions.”

“You once told me that I should try dressing more like a married woman…that you knew single women that dressed better than me.” She said. “Wasn’t it this very type of dressing that made you go crazy every time you looked at me? But why after marrying me did you want to turn me into a Gloria?”

She was right, I had been thinking about Gloria when I made that statement but I had been careful not to mention any names.

“Gloria isn’t the only woman I know Chizu,” I said. “You only thought about her because you had her on your mind.”

“That’s the problem with you Bashi Danny, you never admit to anything even when you know you are wrong. You never apologize, you don’t give compliments and you are a selfish lover.”

“I am a selfish lover?” I asked. That was the only part of that statement that stood out in my head.

“Yes you are a selfish lover,” she said. “I am always going out of my way to please you but you never make any effort to return the favour. There is such a thing called foreplay, haven’t you ever heard of it?”

I think she was waiting for me to answer because the pause was way too long for the question to be rhetoric.

“Do you even know what I like in bed?” she asked me. “I know everything you like, but what about me? There’s more to foreplay than dipping your thick fingers in me. Are you an archaeologist? What are you hoping to find in there that you haven’t found up to now? Am a woman and that’s painful.”

If getting a rise out of me was what she was going for, then she was winning this fight. Ah, she was soaring on Level 4 now, every now and then slightly touching Level 5 – that was the maximum Level…when yellow smoke would pop from her ears.

“You get hard the moment you enter the bedroom even when I’m not there but it takes work for me to be aroused.” I could sense she was going for a home run at this point and it took everything in me to not get up and walk out of there.

“You expect me to be ready just because you are, that’s unfair. You might think that you are the answer to every woman’s prayer but there’s more to being a man than just a fat pay check and good looks.”

By now I was starting to feel insulted. I was the one riding on Level 5, but without the tears…just the smoke from the ears. Chizu had gone for my belt and went straight for my nuts.

However, as I mulled over her words, I started to understand that her words were more than just a jab at my manhood, she was genuinely frustrated by my actions as a lover, and as a husband.

I had never heard her complain before so I naturally assumed everything was okay. How was I supposed to know that she was unhappy in that department when she never opened up to me about it?

I thought I was a killer lover when she got pregnant the very first time I retired the condoms…but it turned out I just had nature on my side. I learnt at that ungodly hour a truth I was not yet ready to confront;

That the strength of my swimmers was not equivalent to my skills in pleasing women.

It was a bitter pill for me to swallow…and so I did not swallow it. I wanted to ask Chizu why she never mentioned anything before but my pride was too bruised for me to delve deep into that topic.

That morning Chizu unloaded all the feelings she had been harbouring against me for the past four years that left me shaking in my boots. Had she not mentioned all those things, I would have continued living my life acting like a victim of fate.

Thanks to my miscalculated confession, I got to hear what Chizu really felt about me, every single word. It is hard for a man to zone out of a conversation when something is squeezing his nuts tightly.

And Chizu has one hell of a tight grip.

I was a terrible lover, selfish, unromantic, pompous, unrepentant, uncaring, distant, not gentle enough… and some other not so subtle adjectives my wife of five years had used to describe me.

At the end of it all, she looked down at me and said;

“And you come to me crying and begging me to help you get over some woman you’ve fallen for? What makes you think you have the right to ask me, your wife something like that? Am I supposed to feel flattered that you came to me for help instead of going ahead and cheating on me? AM I?”

That morning Chizu packed some clothes for me in a suitcase and chased me out of the house. Unlike most people, Chizu was of the belief that the person at fault was the one to leave the house.

* * *

Two weeks later I was at my parents when I received the divorce papers. I was finally forced to come clean to my mother about what had happened between my wife and me.

I was soaking wet from another round of nagging.

“You fell in-love with another girl?” She asked me, disbelief written all over her face. And then she scoffed. “Unbelievable,” she said. “How can a man have such a small heart? Don’t you have any friends son?”

I sent her a puzzled look. “I have plenty,” I said. “But what’s that got to do with what’s happening?”

“Don’t you and your friends ever talk?” She asked me. “I told you last time that cheating isn’t for everyone. Most men I know cheat only with their balls. You on the other hand…you cheat with your heart. What are you, a woman?”

“Are you trying to tell me its okay to cheat as long as you don’t fall in-love?”

My mother laughed. “I never said that,” she said. “It is not okay for anyone to cheat on anybody, man or woman. There’s no excuse good enough. If you are unhappy in a relationship, leave, don’t cheat because then all those little things you thought were inadequate about your partner become invalid, even if they had been the ones in the wrong at first. You the cheating part become the worst scum of the earth…like you are right now.”

During moments like that, I wondered if I was her real son but then I remembered that talk twenty-four years ago. Only a mother can embarrass her son like that.

“I never actually cheated on Chizu,” I reminded her.

She laughed even louder this time around. “That’s what you think,” she said. “Most people think that cheating happens only when physical contact is involved, but that’s not the case.

“The moment you start thinking about another woman, entertaining those thoughts every chance you get…you’ve already started cheating.” She was saying. “But you my son…you fell in-love with someone else. That’s even worse…like that little difference that exists between Second and Third Degree Murder.

“Falling in-love with another woman means you are not just willing to give your body…which belongs only to your spouse…but your heart too…your soul. Then what’s left for your wife?” She asked me. “People think that a man’s infidelity cannot break a home but look what we have here?” She was pointing to the papers lying on the table.

“In as much as I don’t like your wife, I have to ask; do you really want to divorce? Can’t you work things out?”

I didn’t know what to tell my mother because I had not considered divorce even after Chizu kicked me out of the house. I thought she just needed some time to think and she would get over it.

It appeared she was very serious.

That evening I went home to have a talk with her. I needed to be sure if she was really serious with the divorce or if she was simply using it as a ploy to get back at me.

“How about yourself,” Chizu asked me. “Do you even want this marriage?”

Just like with my mother, I couldn’t answer her question right away, but after a few seconds I answered; “Yes.”

“It took you 56 seconds to answer that. That’s not good enough James.”

She was already calling me by my first name. Not baby, not honey, not Bashi Danny…but James.

She was very serious alright.

And had she been counting the time it took me to respond?

“I don’t want to be with a man who is in-love with another woman.” She said. “Before when I would accuse you of cheating, I knew there was a possibility there could be other women but, I never imagined you would be in-love with any of them.

“And that’s the thing with us, there’s no trust. I doubt if we will ever trust each other. I am tired of fighting, nagging…I was never a nagging woman but I turned into one when I became your wife.

“I too hate who I’ve become, I know you do too…and I cannot blame you. Maybe other people can survive something like this…but after this, that little trust I was clinging onto has completely vanished. Gloria was right, this is our karma.”

I was shocked. I never expected Chizu to give up on us so easily. I thought if anyone was going to fight for our marriage, it would be Chizu. She had done it in the past…and I thought she would this time around as well.

At the back of my head I kept hoping that we would turn things around. Our foundation might have been shaky but I was willing to try and start over again. I just never imagined I would be the cause of our break-up. In a split second I had turned from victim to perpetrator.

Chizu never changed her mind.

I signed the papers one week later. Chizu and I were done.

Just like that.

* * *

A month had gone by after Chizu and I decided to go our separate ways and I had not made my feelings known to Susan despite attending the same church. I didn’t have the courage to broach the subject to her.

Fortunately, I managed to get her aside one evening after Bible study. That day I simply meant to inform her that I was a divorced man…you know…just to set the ground work.

“I already know that you are divorced,” Susan told me nonchalantly.

I had not calculated for that. “How?” I asked.

“I had the misfortune of bumping into her at the mall a few weeks ago. She stopped me, asked me if I was the one….”

“The one?” I asked, looking very puzzled.

Susan chuckled. “That was my exact reaction.” She then took me through the meeting exactly as it had happened:

“I don’t understand your question,” Susan had said to Chizu.

Chizu snickered. “You look and act exactly like the type James would fall for. Are you happy that he’s divorcing me?”

“You and Mr Kaunda are getting divorced?” Susan asked.

“Don’t act like you didn’t know. I know that it’s you he’s fallen in-love with.”

“Listen ma’am,” Susan tried to get a word in but Chizu was not in a very listening mood that day.

“I am not going to fight with you,” She said. “I just have a word of warning, say from….from someone who’s been there, someone who knows. You might have won his heart now but you won’t always have it. Soon he will get tired of you just like he did me.

“James is that kind of man. He has the most weak disloyal heart you will ever encounter. This is just friendly advice. Take it or leave it, not my problem.”

“My wife…I mean, my ex-wife said that to you?” I asked Susan. I couldn’t believe it. 

But Susan was laughing, obviously finding the whole thing amusing.

“Yes she did,” she said. “I didn’t want to argue with her so I just let her talk and when she was done, she left.”

“About what she said….did….” I was shaking from nervousness, unable to express myself confidently. It was the first time I was feeling like that in front of a woman.

“I won’t ask about the things she said to me, I don’t want to know Mr Kaunda.” Her expression had turned serious, leaving no room for me to have any misunderstanding.

I had just been friend-zoned.

“At least you should give me a chance to explain,” I said.

She was shaking her head. “No,” she said firmly. “There’s no need for that. I already told you, I don’t want to have anything to do with you or your family. I am sorry to hear about your divorce.”

Then she started walking away.

I had heard the conviction in her voice and saw it in her eyes. She wanted absolutely nothing to do with me.

Shuttered, I turned around and walked over to my car.

It’s now been two years since my divorce from Chizu. She’s now married to some guy, a pastor…can you believe it?? He is one of those holy-ghost-fire-bind-it kind of pastor with very shiny hair that’s blacker than black, pointy shoes, and fancy expensive designer suits that look cheap on him.

Bana Mapepo…my ex-wife.

Both the devil and I were shocked when we received the news.

I want to be happy for her but I really can’t. I can’t lie to myself, I don’t trust the guy. Any guy that wears white pointy shoes on a white suit and with a white hat is not to be trusted.

He is clearly up to no good.

Anyway, it’s not my place to judge. I guess I just hate the guy because my son gets to call him ‘daddy’ too. The thought itself makes me cringe.

Gloria has four children now with her Diplomat husband and I hear they are in the US now. I can picture her on her knees begging the Lord not to let Donald Trump win the elections. I can only wish her the best in life. She was a great lesson in my life.

Susan still refuses to accept my advances. Even though we’ve been going to the same church for the past two years, she avoids me like a plague and all my efforts to talk to her always end with;

“I have to go now. I have somewhere I need to be.”

She has managed to improve her body mass during this time and even though she is still skinny, she is a healthy kind of skinny. This time she might be able to withstand any strong winds that might come her way.

She is still single…as far as I know but it’s only a matter of time before one of those parasitic men that are always surrounding her manages to win her heart.

And I do not intend to let that happen.

I am not a man that gives up easily. I have come such a long way and I have picked up a few hard lessons that have turned me into the kind of man I am today. I have made some pretty dumb decisions in the past but I never let them beat me down.

I have learnt and I have grown.  I just wish that the woman I love more than anything else on the face of the earth can see that about me and give me a chance.

Even though our relationship seems to be progressing at a snail’s pace, I’ve managed to turn her frown whenever she sees me into a gentle friendly smile now. It took two years to achieve that. I just hope that I won’t be sixty by the time I get her to hold my hand.

But I have hope.

I refuse to simply remain a proxy love for her.

I will do whatever it takes to be the kind of man that’s good enough for her.

So…wish me luck…!

The End

Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 18

image

“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.

Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 17

Kelvin felt the world around him spin and spin out of control. He reached over the reception counter, grabbed the visibly confused and shaken receptionist by her jacket and asked;

“Who took my wife?”

Everyone down in the hotel lobby was now starring at the two of them.

With her lips quivering and her feet off the ground, the girl stuttered her way through her response. “It was a tall man…sort of, like your height…young, I think in his late twenties…or early thirties…I don’t know! I’m not sure. Why are you doing this to me?”

Kelvin released her immediately as realization dawned on to him. Lebogang, he thought. How the hell did he know to find us all the way here in Zim?

“Is there a problem sir?” The thundering masculine tone of the man standing behind Kelvin sent a chill down his spine before he could slowly turn to look at who had addressed him.

The gigantic frame dressed in a well-fitting black designer suit hovering over him forced Kelvin to take a deep breath and calm himself down, if only for a few seconds.

“I am sorry sir,” Kelvin quickly apologized for his behaviour. And then he turned towards the receptionist and bowed his head at her in sincere commiseration.

“My name is Simbarashe Chiruvhu, I am the manager.” The giant had reached out his hand and Kelvin extended his as well and the two men shook hands.

“Sincere apologies for losing my cool,” Kelvin apologized again. “It’s just that, I thought something might have happened to my wife and….”

“I understand sir and thank you for apologizing,” Mr Chiruvhu said. “Safety for our guests is one of our top priorities and if there’s anything I can do to help….”

“Surveillance cameras,” Kelvin quickly said. “I saw that you have some by the entrance when we came in yesterday.” He was pointing to the entrance of the hotel. “Do they work?”

“Yes they work perfectly fine.” He answered.

“Then I think we’ve found a way you can help me.”

A few minutes later, Kelvin was looking at Evelyn rush out of the hotel with her bag in hand and was met outside by none other than Lebogang.

Forgetting where he was for a moment, Kelvin banged his fist on the table and won himself questioning stares from the technician and the manager.

“Can you zoom in,” Kelvin told the technician operating the cameras. “I want to see that car’s number plate.

Kelvin quickly wrote down the number plate, thanked the two gentlemen and went back to the suite.

He called his PI.

“Get a pen,” Kelvin said the moment his call was answered.

“Who’s this?” The PI asked.

“It’s me, Kelvin.”

“Oh sorry boss,” the man said. “I couldn’t recognize the number. When did you travel to Zim?”

“You have a pen and paper ready?” Kelvin asked, completely ignoring the PI’s efforts at civility.

“They’re ready,” he replied.

“Write this down,” he said, giving him Lebo’s full names and the car plate number he had written down. “Find out everything you can about this guy and give me his current location presently. I need this info as soon as yesterday.”

“Yes boss, on it.”

“And my mother?” Kelvin asked.

“We still have people on her and also on her people,” the PI answered. “We are keeping a close eyes on them you don’t have to worry about a thing. She tried to get someone to give her access to the list of names of all S&A secretaries but we managed to block that too. But Mr Kelvin….”

“What is it?” Kelvin could sense something in the PI’s tone.

“You do know that it’s only a matter of time before your mother gets to someone…could be an employee there or just someone else connected to the law firm to give her names. She is a very well connected woman…and she always gets things done no matter what it takes.”

“Harry,” Kelvin interrupted his PI. “Have you forgotten that this is my mother we are talking about? I already know what she’s capable of so don’t waste my time talking about the obvious. I don’t doubt that she will find out soon. I just need you to get me everything you can on that person immediately.

“Yes sir, apologies.” Harry said.

“If that happens, there’s nothing we can do on our end to stop it.”

After the call, Kelvin went back to the reception and was about to inquire about car booking services when the receptionist addressed him first.

“Sir, this was left for you a few minutes ago.” She handed him a small white envelope.

Kelvin grabbed it from her and ripped the envelope apart. The letter inside was short but it’s brief content was enough to rip his heart apart.

Please forgive me for leaving like this. I heard what was said on the phone and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I am so scared for my life and I hate to see you struggle between keeping your loyalty to me or to your mother.

Because I love you, I don’t want to put you in this kind of situation where you have to choose and that’s why I’ve left. I am sorry that I couldn’t trust you all the way to the end…and I am sorry for letting us both down. Please go back home and don’t try to look for me. If you can find me, so will your mother so please I beg of you, don’t look for me.

Take care of yourself.

Love, Eva.

“Who left this here?” Kelvin asked the receptionist, his eyes wet and heavy with unshed tears.

“A little boy, about ten years old.” She answered.

“Where did he go?”

“This way,” she pointed to the left.

“Describe him for me.”
Kelvin went out and searched for a tall, light-skinned skinny boy dressed in red shorts and grey t-shirt but he found nothing.

Wild thoughts kept running through his head as he searched high and low around the hotel for the skinny looking boy.

Why couldn’t you trust me?

Why him of all people?

Why couldn’t you give us a chance Eva?

You looked me in the eye and promised to stick with me and stay with me till the very end. What changed? What did that guy tell you to convince you?

I said I would protect you…why couldn’t you believe me? Is it because am her son?

After hours and hours of searching, Kelvin finally gave up and went back to what had once been his and Evelyn’s honeymoon suite.

He picked up the pillow she had used and held it to his nose for a very long time, taking in her scent and trying his best not to break down.

How could you do this to me? Kelvin thought as tears welled up in his eyes.

How could you Eva?

He carried those thoughts with him into the shower as he just stood under the cold shower for minutes that felt like hours, with his head bowed and the water falling on his head uninterrupted.
Kelvin was getting ready to check out of the hotel early the next morning when he received a call from Harry his PI.

“It doesn’t look so good boss,” was the first phrase that Harry said the moment Kelvin answered his call.

“Did something happen?” Kelvin asked.

“I think you need to come right away Mr Kelvin.”

For a moment, Kevin froze as he listened to whatever the PI was telling him but he soon recovered and grabbed his small suitcase and he starting running out of the hotel.

“Your reciept sir!” the receptionist shouted after him but Kelvin neither stopped nor did he look back.

* * *

Two days had gone by since Evelyn had last seen Kelvin. Even in her thickest determination to part ways with him, there was still a huge part of her that wanted to be him, that missed him and that cared about him deeply.

“You are doing it again,” Lebo appeared in front of her out of nowhere. He took her hands that where holding on to the rails of the balcony behind their suite and he held on to them in front of her.

“What have I done?” there was discomfort written all over her face as she looked down at their hands.

She tried to free her hands but Lebo tightened his hold and smiled at her. “Your body might be here with me but your mind is still with him.” Lebo noted.

Evelyn’s face flashed with guilt and she quickly avoided meeting his eye.

“I’m right,” Lebo was forced to admit. He let go of her hands and went to sit down on one of the two chairs by the balcony table.

One leg crossed over the other, he looked over at her with a pained expression on his face. “Do you regret coming with me?” he asked her.

“Lebo….”

“Wait, don’t answer that.” He said.

“You need to understand something Lebo, this isn’t easy for me.”

“I know…I want to understand, I swear am trying my best Eva but, it breaks my heart when I think about how you chose the son of the woman who’s after your life over me.”

Evelyn was nervously rubbing her ring finger, unable to give a response to what Lebo was talking about.

“I can only imagine how you must have been moved when he offered to go against his mother to protect you but Eva,” Kelvin continued.

“How can you still trust him despite everything that he put you through? He spent twenty years of his life avenging his sister’s death…twenty years Eva. That’s not a joke. And if he can so easily betray his own mother, what do you think that says about his level of loyalty?

“I admire the courage you have and your willingness to forgive people but I think you are making a huge mistake right now sulking over someone like that. As long as that guy is in your life, his mother will also be there, lingering around and waiting for the opportune moment to take her revenge.”

“Please, let’s not talk about them anymore.” Evelyn said, and rubbing her forehead she said, “I need to rest for a bit, the migraine is back.”

Evelyn walked back into the room and was about to open the door to her room when she heard a knock on the door.

She turned to look at Lebo who had followed her inside. S

“Are you expecting anyone?” she asked him.

Lebo walked over to her, took her hand and led her to sit down on the couch. “Sit here for a moment,” he said as he knelt down before her.

“What are you doing?” Evelyn asked as a number of wild thoughts went through her head.

“What’s about to happen,” Lebo was saying. “I need you to know that I am doing all this for you…for us. It’s a chance for us to start a brand new life away from all the drama. It’s an opportunity for us to put everything that’s happening right now where it belongs…a chance to buy you the freedom you’ve always wanted.”

Evelyn’s face had turned into a question mark. “What are you talking about?” she asked.

There was another gentle pound on the door again.

“Wait here,” Lebo got up and went to answer the door.

“You came?” Evelyn heard Lebo tell whoever was standing by the door.

Lebo held the door wide open and stepped aside to let the person in.

Evelyn jolted up in her seat and gaped at the guest.

“Good morning Eva,” Shadreck greeting her with a smile on his face.

“What is he doing here?” Evelyn was shaking all over as she waited for Lebo to give her an answer.

Lebo walked over to her and tried to put his arms around her but she flinched at his touch and moved away from him.

“What do you want with me?” Evelyn asked Shadreck Mwangala.

“I came to make you an offer you can’t refuse.” Shadreck said, still smiling smugly.

“Make me an offer?” Evelyn asked. “Did someone tell you that I am looking to make deals, especially with someone like you?”

Shadreck chuckled. “You break my heart little Eva. I thought you and I had an understanding. I happen to like you quite a lot.”

Evelyn threw him a disgusted look.

“Oh no,” Shadreck waved his hand. “Not like anything you are imagining,” he quickly corrected her. I am a business man, not a paedophile.”

“What do you want from me?” Evelyn asked again.

“Why don’t we all sit down and….” Lebo was saying to the both of them but Evelyn’s glacial stare sent him shutting up immediately.

“Why did you tell him where we were?” Evelyn asked Lebo.

“He told me that he had a way of protecting you against Mervis so that she can never harm you?”

“And you believed him?” Evelyn asked.

“At first I didn’t,” Lebo answered. “But when he told me who he was and what he can do to help, I knew that we needed him if we are to live our lives in peace forever.”

“You really have no idea do you?” she was shaking her head slowly as she talked.

“What are you talking about?” Lebo asked.

“You shouldn’t have meddled in my business Lebo.” Evelyn stood up. “I was such a fool to put my trust in you.” She went into her room, picked up her handbag and walked back into the room where Lebo and Shadreck where standing.

“Where are you going Eva?” Lebo went over to her.

“I have no business whatsoever with this person here,” Evelyn sternly said. “The two of you talk amongst yourselves and leave me the hell out of it.

She yanked the door open to get out but her exit was blocked by two huge masculine figures.

“Are these your men?” Evelyn turned to Shadreck.

“If you do not want anything to happen to your best friend Thando, I suggest you come back and sit down so we can talk business.”

The two men pushed her back inside and shut the door.

As Evelyn stumbled back into the room, Lebo rushed to keep her from falling back.

“What have you done to her?” Evelyn yelled

“What do you think you are doing?” Lebo asked Shadreck whilst helping Evelyn gain her footing.

The moment she was stead on the ground, she pushed Lebo aside and faced Shadreck, defiance written all over her face.

“I think you should sit down first,” Shadreck told her and followed his own advice by sitting down as well.

“What do you think you are doing?” Lebo went at him but the door immediately opened and the two guys gave him threatening looks. He held himself back and stood back to address him instead.

“We had a deal,” Lebo said. “I trusted you because you said we had the same enemy. You said you had a way of ensuring her safety as long as you knew where she was but what’s this you are doing?”

Shadreck was chuckling like a man on a thrill of entertainment. “She was right when she said you shouldn’t have meddled in her business.” He said.

“What are you talking about?” Lebo asked.

“Ask her,” Shadreck pointed at Evelyn. “She knows exactly what am talking about…the reason why she’s very afraid right now.”

Lebogang turned to Evelyn, a desperate look on his face.

“He is not here to help me,” Evelyn informed Lebo, but her eyes were fixed on Shadreck. “He is here for purely selfish reasons.”

“What do you mean? He is basically your step father isn’t he?” Lebo asked.

Evelyn scoffed. “Despite everything I told you about my past, you still think he is someone I can consider my step father?”

“When he told me that Mervis had stolen from him and that he was on a mission to ruin her, I thought we could trust him as an ally.”

“And just how did you imagine this alliance playing out Lebo?” Evelyn quizzed him.

“I didn’t think much about it, I was desperate and he sounded so convincing so….”

“So you put my life at risk by signing a deal with the other devil after my life?”

“Maybe we should hear what he has to say first….”

“Are you kidding me?” Evelyn yelled. “You should have talked to me first before making decisions behind my back Lebo. You have absolutely no idea what’s going on here for you to have made such a weighty decision without consulting me.”

“I have no intention of sitting here and listen to the two of you have your lovers fight so am going to lay it down for the both of you so that we are all on the same page.” Shadreck said.

“Your other boyfriend,” Shadreck was pointing at Evelyn accusingly. “That Kelvin,” he said. “I recently had the misfortune of learning who he really is. Him and that mother of his worked hard to bankrupt me and on top of it, they are holding my children hostage. I want my children back, and that Kangwa lady wants you.

“In exchange for my children, I offered to bring you to her since you are the reason why all this is happening. Because of you I lost all my money, everything I have ever worked for is gone. My reputation has been dragged to the ground and I can’t even walk with my head high in public.

Because of you my life has been torn apart so I would rather she takes out her revenge on you than on any of my children. Perhaps is my wife cared about you, I would feel some guilt over what am doing but fortunately for me, she doesn’t seem to care whether you are dead or alive. So, if I hand over to Mrs Kangwa, I get to have my children back.”

“Is that what she told you, that she has your children?” Evelyn asked.

“She already told me everything,” Shadreck said. “I sensed something was off when Kelvin disappeared at the same time my investment deal went south. Even though I can’t take back all the money I lost to her, at least I can have me children back, even if that means sacrificing you in order to achieve that.”

“What are the two of you talking about?” A confused Lebo asked. “What children?”

“She lied to you,” Evelyn informed Shadreck. “Mervis doesn’t have your children, she lost your children…it’s been over a week now.”

Shadreck was up on his feet. “What do you mean she lost my children?”

“Do you need me to say it in Lozi?” Evelyn asked sarcastically.

Before she knew it, Shadreck was on her, grabbing her by her blouse and demanding answered from her. Lebo tried to interfere but he was yanked away like a piece of paper and he went flying across the room.

“What do you mean she lost my children?” Shadreck thundered at her.

“You should ask her who took the children from her yourself,” Evelyn answered. “Someone knew what she was planning against you and used the children to blackmail her into doing something for him. That deal didn’t go so well so the kids haven’t been given back to her.

“So you are wasting your time if you think that handing me over to her will bring those children back to you. She has played you for all these years and you had no idea. Do you think that you are fit to play games with her right now? She has you exactly where she needs you to be because she is still using you.”

“Kasonde!” Shadreck yelled and the two buffed up men entered the room. “Take her to the vehicle right away.” He instructed them.

Evelyn tried to run away but the two men where on her, each holding her by the arm while Lebo desperately tried to fight them, like a dog backing at a wall.

“Where are you taking me?” Evelyn asked.

“Taking you back home,” Shadreck answered. “It’s time for you to say goodbye to the Chobe weather. You are going to follow these men like a good girl and if you so much as attract unnecessary attention to yourself, you will not get to see your friend Thando ever again. Is that clear?”

“I will do whatever you say but please leave Thando out of this. She has nothing to do with any of this.”

“Then she should have picked her friends well.” Shadreck said. “We all have to pay for the decisions we make at some point in our lives.”

“I guess Mervis was right by that logic then,” she said. “Whatever your children are going through right now, it is because of the decision you made to marry a woman like Beatrice.”

“Take her away.” Shadreck commanded his minions. “If you want to see her and her friend alive, you better keep your mouth shut and go back where you came from.” He told Lebo. “You have more to lose fighting enemies that are not even your own and you have already done enough damage.”

Lebogang had never felt so useless in his life as he watched Evelyn walk away with the two men to her sides and Shadreck right behind them.

What have I done? He asked himself.
Shadreck and his minion’s trip to their car down in the dark parking lot was intercepted by the appearance of Mervis in the company of four gun wielding minions that surrounded them.

Shadreck looked around him and found that there were no other people in the car park despite it being in the morning.

“Hand her over to me,” Mervis said to the two men holding on to Evelyn. One of her men who had long dreadlocks on moved closer and before he could say anything, they let go of her arms.

The dreadlocked man grabbed Evelyn and let her to the vehicle.

“Where are my children?” Shadreck asked Mervis.

Mervis was laughing at him.

“They say you can take a man out of the village but never the village out of him,” she said mockingly. “And yet people have the audacity to call you my rival? Just look at yourself….tsk tsk tsk.”

“You have the girl,” Shadreck said. “Take me to where my children are or at least tell me who has them.”

“So you heard….” Mervis said. “It’s true, I am not the one who has your children. Just like you, I have no idea where they are.”

Shadreck lost his cool yet again and was going after Mervis but the three guns pointing at him from all directions stopped him in time.

“Then at least tell me who has my children,” Shadreck pleaded.

“I have your children.” Kelvin was standing behind them.

From where she was seated behind the SUV closely guarded by Mervis’ minion, Evelyn’s heart skipped a beat when she saw Kelvin. She wanted to wave at him but with her hands now tied behind her back, she could only manage a nervous and frightened smile in his direction.

“Kelvin.” Mervis and Shadreck said at the same time.

“How did you….” Mervis was asking.

“Surprised mother?” Kelvin said, completely ignoring the guns that had been turned on him. “Let Evelyn go right now.”

“Don’t point those things at my son you fools,” Mervis shouted at her minions who immediately pointed the guns back at Shadreck.

“And what makes you think that I would do such a stupid thing?” Mervis asked her son. “How could you betray me like this? You fell in-love with her of all people? How could you do this to your father and sister?”

“I have no time to get into this with you right now,” Kelvin said. “Until a few days you were the most important thing in my life mother but because you keep insisting on being a villain all through the end, I gave me no choice but to reconsider my priorities.”

“Are you telling me that she has become your first priority?” Mervis pointed over to where Evelyn was. “You have chosen the girl that caused you to lose your family over your own mother? Have you lost your mind?”

“You can choose to look at it like that, I don’t care anymore.”

“Who the hell does that girl think she is to come into this world and wreck my family apart like this?” Mervis grabbed a gun from one of her minions and started walking towards the car.

“Because she is my wife.” Kelvin shouted from behind.

Mervis stopped and turned back around to face her son. “What did you just say?”

“She is my wife,” Kelvin repeated, very proudly. “And she is the mother of your first grandchild.”

Mervis felt the ground below her start spinning and immediately after, then everything else around her was spinning.

“W-what?” She asked.

While Mervis was taking in the shock her son had just dealt her, Shadreck was looking from son to mother bemusedly.

“When did the two of you get married?” Mervis asked.

“It’s been a week now,” Kelvin said. “But the pregnancy is old enough.”

“Do you really need to go this far just to spite me? This joke of yours is too cruel son.”

Kelvin chuckled. “It would be, if I were joking,” he said, and suddenly turning serious, “You are very good at digging around for the truth, why don’t you conduct your own research?”

 

“What are they talking about?” Evelyn asked the dreadlocked man guarding her.

“I think your husband just informed his dear mother that she’s going to be a grandmother.” The man said with a smile on his face that Evelyn could not seem to understand.

And then then the meaning of his words finally sunk into her. “How did you….” she started to ask but the man surprised her when he held out a knife towards her.

Evelyn tried to scream out but his next words shut her down real quickly.

“You better keep your mouth shut if you want to get out of here alive. Without looking suspicious, give me your hands.”

Evelyn’s eyes registered the shock first but she remembered his warning and moved her arms so he could cut the rope.

“Why are you doing this?” Evelyn asked the man as he was cutting, using one arm to avoid being detected by Mervis and the others.

“Let’s just say that I am paying back a debt to Kelvin.” He said. “Now, quietly, open that door and slip to the back. Use the stairs to your left. You will find someone waiting for you at the top.”

“What about you?” Evelyn asked. “Mervis will kill you when she finds out what you’ve done?”

“Worry about yourself Eva. There,” he said when the rope completely came off. “Best for you to slip out right now while he’s keeping her busy.”

Evelyn looked over at Kelvin and saw him still talking with his mother. She then grabbed the door handle and slowly started moving it.

“By the way,” the dreadlocked guy was saying. “Congratulations.”

Evelyn paused for a second, smiled and said, “thanks.” She finally opened the door and quietly slipped out.

“How could you do something like this Kelvin?” Mervis asked her son for the umpteenth time.

“Because it’s the only thing I could do to keep you from doing her any harm.” Kelvin said. “So what are you going to do now mother? That girl you hate with everything you’ve got, she’s carrying your blood in her womb. Tell me, do you still feel like killing her?”

Mervis turned to look at the girl that had turned her world upside.

“Where’s she?” Mervis asked. “And where’s Donald?”

There was no sign on Evelyn or the Donald the dreadlocked guy that had been put in her charge.

Mervis furiously turned to face her son while her men went in search of the fugitives. “What have you done?” She asked him, her eyes flaming red and shooting daggers at him.

With a triumphant smile playing at the corners of his lips, Kelvin simply shrugged his shoulders, put his hands into his pockets and spread his legs apart like a man who had just won a long fought war.

He was looking from Mervis to Shadreck when he said;

“Can we talk about Lucy and the kids now that I have both your attention?

Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 16

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Evelyn did not understand Kelvin’s words and so she asked, “What do you mean break her heart and give her a brand new one?”

Kelvin then sat up and removed all the pillows that had been separating them on the bed.

“What are you doing?” Evelyn was clutching her hands to her chest as if to protect herself from whatever Kelvin was planning on doing. However, Kelvin made no effort whatsoever to reach out to her.

He was seated on the bed, his upper body resting on his lower body.

“There’s something that my mother said to me today that’s kept ringing in my head and I didn’t understand why until I came here.”

“What’s that?” She asked.

“I am going to suggest something to you,” he said. “It’s only going to be a suggestion and it’s up to you to decide whether you want in or not. I won’t pressure you and I will totally understand if you can’t.

“This is the only way I have thought of protecting you because nothing will stop my mother from doing you harm the moment she realizes who you really are or that I am in-love with you. She won’t even try to understand my reasons for wanting to end this whole thing. She will think that you are the reason.”

“And would she be wrong in thinking that?” Evelyn asked.

“Not really,” kelvin answered. “Yes you have a huge part to play in my sudden decision to stop with the revenge but that’s a feeling I’ve always had even before I met you. You coming into my life and me falling for you is what gave me the courage to put my foot down and confront my mother.

“However, that is not to say that I am an innocent victim that was manipulated by my mother, no. I am just as guilty as she is because I knew from the very beginning what I was getting myself into. I willingly did my part to aid her…and,” he dropped his eyes to look on the bed.

“I…I willingly did all those awful things to you.” He added.

“I know,” Evelyn’s eyes were fixed on him. “It’s your face that haunts me at night and awakens me in cold sweats every now and then, not your mothers.”

Kelvin slowly raised his head up again to look at her. “If your point was to hurt me deeply, you did a fantastic job.” There was no missing the shame written deep into his eyes.

“I also can’t believe that I did those things to you so I don’t expect you to forgive me.” He continued. “Whe I did those things…I was no worse than my mother, and didn’t even send me to do that. I won’t even ask for forgiveness because I don’t think I deserve it. I am just going to do everything in my power to make it up to you for the rest of my life.”

“How?” Evelyn asked.

“By saying what am about to say to you right now,” he was whilst smiling nervously. Just remember, I am not forcing you to do it. If you want, I can give you some time to think about it and if your answer is still no, then I will have no choice but to find another solution. Either way, I will not allow my mother to do anything to you.”

“Okay, ow you are starting to freak me out,” Evelyn said. “”Just tell me what you want to say so we can go to sleep.”

Kelvin burried his face in his hands and bent down for a few seconds before straightening up, sighing heavily and finally dropping his hands so he could look at her.

This time, there was a serious expression on his face.

* * *

When Kelvin went back to his place the next morning, he got his mother on the phone right away.

“Have you finally come to your senses?” Mervis asked sternly.

“Good morning to you too mother,” he said sarcastically.

“There’s nothing good about my morning so let’s cut to the chase. Where are Lucy’s children?” She asked.

“I didn’t call to tell you where the children are mum. I called to ask you to give me more time to think about it.”

Mervis scoffed. “Do you even hear yourself? Kelvin, stop playing games with me and tell me what I need to know.”

“Mother, this situation we are in right now is different from what you and I have been through together for the past twenty years. You want the children, I have the children and I am still not willing to give them to you.

“I know, you threatened to harm Moola if I don’t tell you where the kids are but we both know that you wouldn’t risk doing anything to her when the marriage is scheduled to take place in a few days time.”

Kelvin could feel his mother shift position from wherever she was. “The initial reason why that marriage was set in motion was only because we needed that family to be indebted to us after bailing them out from their financial woes. As their son in-law, they wouldn’t have hesitated trusting you to take care of their businesses after we invested in them.

“That was the original plan son.” Mervis was saying. “But you just told me that you are in-love with that Moola girl and you still expect me to believe that you would carry out our plans as before? Do you think am a fool?”

“I never told you that I was in-love with Moola,” Kelvin replied. “You came up with that conclusion all on your own.”

“Right now you would do anything to get the freedom you desperately desire so I won’t trust anything that comes out of your mouth. Just give me the kids and you can do whatever the hell you want with your life. Just don’t come running back to me when you realise how tough the world is without dear mama.”

Kelvin could sense how his mother was lowly backing him to a corner. There was never a moment in time when he had won an argument against his mother. Mervis Kangwa always had an answer to everything and she never lost at anything. She was a shrewd mother just as she was a businessman.

But Kelvin was no longer under her spell. That realization made him stop hitting his head against the wall and he stood up straight to drive his point across with as much conviction as he could master.

“I need a week mother,” he candidly stated. “I will be meeting Moola’s family over the weekend and I will inform them that there won’t be any wedding.”

Mervis was on her feet. “What?” She said.

“Exactly what you heard,” Kelvin said. “You have a choice to make; wait for me to make up my mind or go ahead and do whatever you feel like doing to Moola because I won’t be the one losing out.

“I asked for a week because I want to give you time to think thing through mother. It was never my intention to make you feel betrayed. I only did what I did because I care about you and I care about myself. It’s time to move on, to let go so we can live our lives in peace. Unlike you, I have never ever had the chance to fall in-love, date whoever I like, makes mistakes, get married and have my own children to protect and fight for.

“But you…you had the chance to do all that mother.” Kelvin’s voice was on the verge of breaking but he was too determined to say his piece without breaking down. It was time for him to be a man.

“You, dad and Nora, you all had the chance to have all that. Not me.” Kelvin pressed on. “If you truly loved me as a mother ought to love her children, then you should be the first one wishing those things for me. But instead, you want to drag us both to infinity fighting demons that we’ve allowed to control us when we can easily say no and walk away.

“I want to walk away mother, and I want you to do the same. Punish Beatrie all you want but do it now and get over it. I am not trying to stop you from exerting your revenge, I am simply saying, do it now. How much satisfaction do you intend to get for all this that you are willing to lose your only son in the process?

“If even after a week you don’t change your mind, I will give you what you want and I will walk out of your life forever. I will settle down, have a few kids and you will never get to meet your grandchildren because you will be too much avenging the lives of those that are no more. Think about it mother.”

Throughout his monologue, Kelvin had been expecting his mother to interrupt and dismiss him rudely but he was shocked to have been able to say all that out without interruption.

A huge part of him was dying to know if his mother had heard any of the things he had said because even though he could hear her breathing on the other end of the line, he was not sure if she had actually been listening.

“You have really thought hard about this haven’t you?” Mervis’ voice finally came through.

“As a matter of fact, I did.” Kelvin said.

“One week, that’s all you get.” Mervis said after cold moment of silence.

Kelvin was finally able to smile. He let out a deep sigh of relief. “Thank you mother,” he said.

“Don’t thank me just yet, I haven’t made any decisions yet.” And she cut the line.
An excited Kelvin immedately called Evelyn to deliver the good news.

“She bought it!”

“Seriously?”

“Yes, she gave me a week.”

“I don’t know Kelvin,” Evelyn didn’t seem to take the news as well kelvin had hoped.

“Why, you don’t sound too happy?” He said.

“Your mother scares me,” she said. “I think she’s too clever to have bought into that. What if she….”

“We talked about this Eva,” Kelvin reminded her. “I thought you trusted me.”

“It’s not that, I trust you…but, now she’s going to want to know everything that’s going on around you. Who knows what she might do the moment she discovers the truth? A week is too long for her to outsmart you Kelvin, no disrespect or anything, but she’s been doing this kind of thing longer than you have.”

“I know,” Kelvin said, his voice heavy with emotion.

“Why did it have to be a week?” Evelyn asked. “Couldn’t you have just said a few days or so?”

“Because whatever conclusion my mother comes up with, she will still need to have her revenge and I happen to hold the cards to two of her major projects; Lucy and Moola’s marriage.

“For her to get her ultimate revenge, she needs me. One week because she will need that much time to plan anything and I know for a fact that she will do everythig in her power to put me at a disadvantage so that she can yield me to her power and control again.”

Just like Kelvin had suspected, Mervis too was on another call immediately after talking to her son.

“I want you to follow him everywhere he goes and find out everything you can about everyone he meets, talks to or even waves at.”

“Yes ma’am,” a male voice returned and Mervis ended the call.

“Kelvin,” she said as she paced back and forth around her living room, turning her phone around in her hands as her mind took her on a deep long journey.

“You actually think that you can out-smart me?” Mervis said with a look of derision on her face.

And then she burst out laughing like she had just been possessed by something.

* * *

With only less than ten days remaining to the biggest day of her life, Moola was quickly growing weary of her man’s lack of contact. There had never been a time in their relationship when Kelvin had stayed without contacting her for more than two hours and now for close to a week, he either missed her calls or said he would call her back and never actually did.

To make matters worse, she could not find him at his office or office and the idea of not knowing what was going on with him eat at her to near madness. The excuse everyone around her was giving her was wedding jitters but no matter how convincing that theory was to everyone else, something told Moola that there was something else at play than just jitters.

Thus, she turned to the only person she knew could give her the answers she was seeking; Mervis.

Moola found Mervis sunbusking by the poolside in front of her house and looking like the perfect portrait of a very fit modern rich woman. Moola puckered her lips tightly thinking about her disdain for the woman who acted like she owned the world and treated her like she was not good enough for her son.

Unfortunately, Moola had over the years been forced to reconcile her mind to the fact that the disdain she felt for her mother in-law was equally, if not thrice reciprocated and that even though she could not openely express her feelings, the latter would, could and gladly did so whenever the opportunity presented itself.

However, the nature of Moola’s visit that mid-morning required that she fold her pride and feelings and lock them somewhere she could not tap into for at least the length of the pending meeting.

Thus, she forced a smile on her face and proudly defying gravity in her eight inch designer heels, she graced the tiled ground of Mervis’s yard that led to the swimming pool like a debutant from a British colony.

Even though Mervis could see Moola approaching from her sitting position, she made no effort to sit up and welcome her. Instead, she raised her hand to the sky as if to will the sun that had just disappeared behind the clouds to shine again.

“Good morning Mrs Kangwa?” Moola towered over her, in the process blocking her from the sun that had unceremoniously picked that very moment to appear from behind.

“Don’t you know that it’s very rude to address your mother in-law whilst standing like a tree over her? Didn’t your mother teach you anything?” Mervis hissed.

Moola slowly took off her sunglasses and glared at her mother…but only for a few seconds before putting the smile back on.

“You told me to relax around you the first time we met,” Moola reminded her. “You said you were a modern mother in-law. You should have informed me when you decided to change to a traditional one.”

Mervis was still too fluid, soft and bruised from her recent conversation with her son and if Moola knew just how much on thin on ice she was treading, she would have changed her usual brat attitude before Mervis unleashed her wrath on her.

Mervis slowly sat up from the chaise lounge she had been laying on and taking off her glasses, she sent Moola one cold and long contemptious look.

“This is exactly why I dont like you,” Mervis said as she put laid her sunglasses down on the table on the side of her chair.

“The problem with you little girls of nowadays is that you are o excited about getting married when you know nothing, not even a single thing about what it means or what it takes to run such a kind of responsibility.

“So I told you that I am a modern mother in-law and you took it to mean that I shouldn’t be respected?” Mervis berated her, and then sneered at her.

“Get down on your knees,” Mervis commanded. “Now!” she added when Moola appeared hesitant, looking at her in disbelief and then looking down at her beautiful white lace dress that reached exactly above her knees and was shimmering against the sun’s rays in all it’s angelic glory.

“You want me to to kneel down on this dirty ground?” Moola quipped.

Mervis shot her another disapproving look that ripped through her skin and sent her blood cells running for cover.

She dropped to her knees in a heartbeat.

“What are you doing here unannounced?” Mervis asked.

“I need to talk to Kelvin,” Moola said, her pitch too had gone a few hertz down in response to gravity.

“I don’t live with Kelvin,” Mervis retorted. “I thought you knew the ins and out of his house like a cockroach. Why are you looking for him here?”

Even though Mervis was acting smug with Moola, she too was curious about Kelvin’s movements lately. For the past few days, the mother had to embrace a new fact about her relationship with her son; she knew nothing about him.

Inevitably, that realization also came with another fact; that Kelvin might…or could after all control her to his will.

It is easier to defeat or plan a strategy against an enemy whose methods of attack you are aware of or familiar with. But with Kelvin, Mervis could no longer be sure of what he was capable of or what weaknesses he had.

She had hoped that Moola might turn out to be a weakness but her presence at her house meant only one thing; that he was going ahead with his plans of calling off the wedding.

But even with that highest probability that came with that possibility, there was no way Mervis could be sure if her son had meant his threat or not, or if he was simply waiting for her to fold in her revenge.

Mervis needed answers and she needed them as soon as yesterday.

“He hasn’t called me for days now and he keeps ignoring my texts and calls. The last time we spoke was when he called me over the weekend and told me that the families need to meet over the coming weekend. He never explained why, just said it’s got something to do with the wedding and he cut the line. Does he want to break off the engagement Mrs Kangwa?”

Mervis was laughing, not the kind of response Moola was expecting after pouring out her concerns like that.

“Not as far as I know,” Mervis answered. “It’s probably just wedding jitters.”

“That’s exactly what my mother said and my father said that you are too greedy for money to let him walk away from this wedding so I shouldn’t worry about a thing…but am getting scared now.”

Mervis was dumbfounded by the girl’s lack of tact. “There should be a law against pretty girls being so dumb,” she said whilst giving her potential daughter in-law a pitiful look. “Your kind of stupid goes against all the laws of nature…tsk tsk tsk.”

Moola’s lips were more than ready to offer a retort but she remembered why she was there and immediately redirected the air flowing to her diaphragm.

“You can insult me all you want, I am already used to it by now. Just tell me, where could Kelvin be? I have searched for him everywhere but he’s nowhere to be found and his phone is off most of the time.”

“Do you honestly think that a man that age would tell his mother everywhere he goes?” Mervis asked.

“Kelvin would,” Moola answered. “He’s always been a mama’s boy.”

Mervis had a bitter-sweet smile on her face. If only you knew, she thought as he mulled over Moola’s words.

“I have been debating whether to go and see that girl he’s been hanging around with but Cassie tells me she hasn’t seen him around that area for a while now.”

Moola finally had Mervis’s full attention.

“What girl? And what area?” she asked.

“Can I stand up now and sit over there?” Moola was pointing to the chair next to Mervis and rubbing her knees with her other hand.

“Tell me what girl you are talking about first and I will let you sit.” Mervis was almost yelling.

Moola was smiling as she studied Mervis’ reaction. “I knew you wanted this marriage as much as I do! And dad was right after all.”

“Moola, don’t test my patience.” By now, Mervis has fully turned her body around and was facing Moola.

“It’s that same girl he met when he was trying to help your brother with that case.” Moola explained. “I only know her as Evelyn.”

The first image that flashed across Mervis’s mind was of a beautiful and elegant ly dressed Evelyn walking into the hotel on the arm on Lebogang.

Mervis remembered how quickly her son had dragged her away and asked her to leave so early despite forcing her to attend the function in the first place.

And then she remembered the number of times her brother’s case had come up in their conversations and suddenly, very so suddenly, she had found the first piece of the complicated puzzle.

“Why didn’t I think of that?” Mervis asked in a very low voice. The question was mostly directed at herself than her companion.

“That girl you mention, where does she stay?” Mervis asked, anxiously waiting for an answer.

Moola was looking at her suspiciously. “Why the so much interest in this girl?” She couldn’t help asking. “Do you think that he is cheating on me with her?” She had a petrified look on her face as she asked the question.

“Calm your lungs down,” Mervis said, grabbing a towel, standing and wrapping it around herself. “I have also been meaning to meet that girl because she knows something about my brother’s case but Kelvin kept telling not to get involved.”

Without waiting for permission, Moola quickly stood up and started wiping the dirt off her knees whilst mumbling some inaudible’s under her breath.

“Her address!” Mervis yelled.

“She lives in Handsworth, I can text you her address if you like.”

“Text it, now.” Mervis said and started running towards her house.

On the drive to the address, Mervis called her PI and gave instructions;

“Find out everything you can about a girl named Evelyn that works as a secretary for Sibu & Associates Law Firm…yes, just the first name; I don’t know her last name also. Find out everything you can right away. That’s why I pay you. Give me a call in the morning tomorrow.”

Evelyn…Evelyn…Evelyn…just who the hell are you and where did you come from? Mervis thought as she drove like a mad woman to Evelyn’s place.

After knocking like a wild dear on Evelyn’s door and no response came, Mervis went to the one place she thought she might be during a weekday; her place of work.

Mervis walked into S&A like a woman with a bone to chew with the firm. The angry expression on her face almost made Helen the receptionist want to jump under her table for cover.

“Good….” Before Helen could even finish her greeting and deliver her forced smile, Mervis cut her off and went straight to the point.

“Where’s Evelyn? I am looking for a girl named Evelyn.”

For a brief moment, Helen had this knowing look on her face but it quickly disappeared when she realized Mervis’ glare was burning into her skin.

“May I ask for her last name ma’am and if you had an appointment?” Helen asked politely.

Mervis leaned in towards her from the other side of the reception desk and banged her hand against the desk. “Do you have any idea who you are talking to like that young lady?” Mervis asked the twenty-five year old petite receptionist.

“I am very sorry ma’am, I never got your name,” Helen said.

“That’s because I never told you my name in the first place and I am not the kind of woman that needs an introduction anywhere I go.”

Whilst Mervis was going off about herself, Helen was looking at her computer monitor at the reply she had received from Sibu after she had sent her a short text alerting her of Mervis’ presence in the building the moment she had seen her walk through the doors.

Keep her busy until I get there, read the message from Sibusiswe.

“Well, it would really help me to know who you are and the full name of the person you are trying to meet because there are a lot of females with that name in this place.” Helen said and she literally had to move a few steps backwards behind her desk to keep Mervis who looked more than ready to strive land one on her.

“What’s your name young lady?” Mervis asked, taking her phone out from her handbag and looking ready to call someone.

Without hesitation or fear, Helen provided her name. “Helen Bwalya,” she candidly provided. “And without meaning to be rude, I would ask that you take one of the seats over there while you make your private calls as I would like to get back to other clients.”

She was pointing at the switchboard on her desk that was blinking all kinds of red.

It appeared Mervis’ temper had reached a boiling point. she was about to follow Helen where she was standing when she heard a voice behind her that made her stop.

“What’s going on here?” it was Sibu.

Mervis turned to look at the intruder. “You must be the owner of this place,” she said. “I have seen your face in the papers a couple of times. Don’t you people have any standards for picking employees?”

Looking unperturbed and not in the slightly intimidated, Sibu said, “You are Mrs Kangwa. We’ve met a few times at different events. It’s my pleasure to have someone of your standing pay our firm a visit.” She reached out her hand but it wasn’t taken.

Sibu dropped her hand and folded her arms across her chest, a smirk dancing provocatively on her face.

“I didn’t come to this small law firm to do business. As you might already know, I happen to have higher standards.” Mervis said.

“I see, that’s too bad,” Sibu replied. “Then did you perhaps make an appointment with someone working here?”

“I need to see a girl named Evelyn. She is a secretary here?” Mervis answered.

“And what’s her last name please?” Sibu asked.

“How the hell am I supposed to know her last name? How many secretaries named Evelyn do you have?”

Sibu turned to Helen. “Helen dear, how many?”

“Four ma’am,” the receptionist replied.

“How about you ask all four of them to come here instead of wasting my time like this?” Mervis snapped.

Sibu closed the distance between her and Mervis and putting a hand over her shoulder she said, “Madam Kangwa, how about you and I talk in my office? You appear very agitated and it makes me even more uncomfortable to summon my employees down here when I can sense that you did not come here in good faith. How about you and I talk in private and we can determine how best I can be of help once I know what your need is.”

Mervis shot her a grave look. “My business with this Evelyn girl has absolutely nothing to do with you so don’t go feeling high and mighty asking to talk in private about things that aren’t any of your business.”

Sibu was smiling the whole time Mervis was talking, much to the latter woman’s chagrin.

“I was actually hoping you would say that,” Sibu said. “I am very glad you are aware that this is a place of work for whoever you are looking for. You coming here in this manner shows no respect for this firm and everyone under it.

“If you have personal business with an employee, I suggest that you make time with them and meet them outside these premises. You seem to be a very educated and proper lady, you run businesses too so I don’t doubt that you understand exactly what am talking about.”

Mervis appeared to be at a loss for words for a moment, something she was very unfamiliar with.

“I will leave now,” Mervis huffed when she finally found her voice. “It’s not like I have no other means of fishing her out. Good day.” And she walked away from them before they could say another word to her.

“Good job Helen,” Sibu had turned to the receptionist once they were sure Mervis had disappeared from the building.

“Is Evelyn going to be okay ma’am?” A visibly disturbed Helen asked. She had known Evelyn for just a few months but the two of them had grown fond of each other in just that short period. It was hard for anyone that met Evelyn to not like her.

“Of course she will be,” Sibu said with enough conviction to put the girl’s mind at rest. “She is not alone after all. Just be vigilant, that woman is too determined to find her. She might send someone else to come snoop around. Let me know immediately you sense anything suspicious.”

“With pleasure Mrs Lungu!” Helen excitedly answered.

Back in her office, Sibu made a call to Kelvin.

“Your mother just left,” she told him.

Sibu could hear him sigh heavily on the end of the line.

Kelvin was rubbing in frustration the part of his face just between his eyes. He was standing in the middle of a living room that appeared to be part of a hotel suite.

“So she’s already found out…” he said.

“Not much it appears,” Sibu informed him. “Just her name at most. She didn’t seem to know her last name but it’s just a matter of hours before that information comes to her.”

“I know,” Kelvin said.

“Is she with you?” Sibu asked. “Can I talk to her?”

“Yes, she’s with me,” Kelvin said and started walking towards the closed door on the other side of the suite. “She hasn’t been feeling well since yesterday…I think the stress if finally getting to her.”

Kelvin opened the door and froze there.

“Kelvin, is everything okay?” Sibu could sense something when Kelvin suddenly went quite.

“I left her sleeping in bed,” Kelvin said whilst looking at the huge bed in front of him. He then entered the room and started calling out her name and when no response came, he checked the bathrooms…there was still no sign of Evelyn.

Kelvin was now in a state of panic. He checked every corner of their hotel suite and couldn’t find her.

“Her handbag is gone too Sibu,” Kelvin said as he stood helplessly in the bedroom.

“When was the last time you saw her?” Sibu too was now restless. “Have you checked the rest of the hotel? Maybe she didn’t go far.”

Kelvin was running out of the room before Sibu could even finish talking.

“Where could she have gone?” Sibu asked, but Kelvin who was running down the stairs because he could not wait a second longer for the lift that seemed to be taking forever to reach their floor.

Kelvin headed straight to the reception desk and almost fell forward in his frantic state.

“Did you see my….”

“Your wife sir?” the young woman asked. “I saw her walk out of here a few minutes ago. A man stopped her right outside there,” she was pointing to towards the entrance.

“They talked for a little bit before he led her to his vehicle that was parked on the other side of the road.”

“A man? What man?” Kelvin asked.

 

Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 15

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The confrontation between Kelvin and his mother Mervis went exactly as he had expected it to go; emotionally draining and physically exhausting.

“You don’t look so well mother,” Kelvin as he opened the door to let his mother in.

She already looked out of breath, panting and looking at him like he had just pulled off her life support.

“I haven’t slept a wink from the time you called me.” Mervis said as she sat down on the sofa. “I have been telling myself that it was only a bad dream…that I heard you wrong…that my own son wouldn’t betray me like this.”

“I’m going to bring you a glass of water,” Kelvin said and turned to head into the kitchen.

“Do not patronize me Kelvin!” Mervis shouted from behind him. She was up on her feet. “How could you do this to me!”

Kelvin slowly turned back around to look at her.

“What have you done?” Mervis asked.

“Seat down,” Kelvin said, pointing to the sofa where she had been sitting and then he sat on the other chair facing her.

Mervis did as instructed and waited for her son to talk.

“Before I tell you what I did,” Kelvin started. “I need you to know that I did all this for you, because I love and care about you mother.”

“Have you seen me Kelvin?” Mervis asked. “Do I look like someone who’s just been showered by love? How long have you known about Lucy and why did you pretend you didn’t know?”

“Because I wanted you to feel in control,” Kelvin answered. “I needed you to have all the control in this revenge scheme so I could feel some level comfort knowing that you were doing your best to make the people that took your loved ones away pay for their crimes.”

“Then explain this to me,” Mervis said. “why would you go behind my back and do something like this whe you know very well how much this means to me…to us?”

“Not to us mum, to you.” Kelvin calmly corrected her.

“This isn’t just about me young man!” Mervis yelled. “He was your father and she was your sister.”

“I was never up for taking revenge mother. Even as a young boy I understood very well the reperccusions on undertaking such a journey. I never wanted us to go through all the hurt and pain…constantly reminding ourselves of what we lost instead of letting go and allowing those people to rest in peace.”

Mervis could not believe what she was hearing. “Then why did you beg me to let you help if you knew you were going to do something like this?” She asked.

“Because it was the only way I could think of to make you notice me,” he said as tears welled up in his tears. “Ever since the two died, you forgot I existed. We made us move to a foreign country and you left me all alone for days on end while you drunk your life away and fell into depression.”

“I didn’t leave you alone, there were a lot of people taking care of you.”

“I didn’t need strangers taking care of me, I needed my mother. You kept acting like you were the only one who lost something but I lost something as well my mother. I was only ten years old and I saw my own sister die right in front of me. I watched her die mother!” Kelvin cried.

“And that should have been enough to toughen you up but you kept whining for my attention like the little boy you were. You and your pathetic father watched my daughter die and you did nothing to save her. And yet you expected me to take care of you?”

“I know,” Kelvin said. “I have spend the past twenty years or so blaming myself for what happened that evening but you know what mother, I am done. I refuse to keep holding myself responsible for something I had no control over. I went played that day in my head over and over again and I came to the same conclusion; there was no way either of us would have saved her in that situation.”

“That’s just you trying to make yourself feel less guilty. At least your father took his own life when he realised his mistake but here you are still breathing and crying like a baby.”

Kelvin froze for a moment and was staring at his mother wide-eyed. “Did you just say that father committed suicide?”

Mervis scoffed. “Did you actually believe that story of depression?” She said, smiling at him sarcastically. “For days he tried to find excuses to justify his reasons for not running to your sister’s aid when she was obviously in pain.

“But I made him see just what a coward he was and like the big coward he really was, he swallowed some pills and put an end to his miserable life. I can tell you this, that was the only time in his life he acted like a man.”

Kelvin was standing now, shell-shocked with tears poring down his face as he looked down at his mother gloating like she had just said something that deserved praise.

“I never forced you to join me in this revenge because I knew how spineless you were,” Mervis continued. “When you finally offered to help, I was still skepticle but I thought that since you had my blood running in your veins, perhaps you might rise to the occassion and surprise me. I thought you were doing great all these years but I guess the little boy inside you was just dying.”

“You are right, I was never okay from the get-go.” Kelvin said. “I thought that offering my help would eventually make you see me…make you realise that you still had one child, one member of the family still alive. But no matter how much I tried to please you, to do things your way, the two dead people were always more important than me.

“You never came to my school meetings or other such events. For years I watched with envy other kids who had the privilege of having their parents come watch them at play games and I was always alone like an orphan. You turned me into an orphan even when you are still alive and that hurts even more than losing a parent in death…because when you eventually leave, you would have left me twice.”

Kelvin had raised his two fingers in the air, desperately fighting back the tsunami of tears pouring down.

“You were so obsessed with making money and becoming a billionaire that eventually, I became a pawn on your elaborate chess board. You might not have loudly asked me to take on this revenge with you but your actions forced me to, because that was the only way you were finally able to recognize my presence in your life.”

“How did you expect me to continue living a normal life when the people that had taken away my loved ones where busy living large and acting like nothing ever happened?” Mervis asked.

Kelvin gaped at her in shock. “It is not people mother,” he said to her. “It is only one woman, Beatrice. You don’t need to drag all these innocent people into the picture and punish them for something they have no idea even happened.”

And then a look of realization finally dawned on Mervis’ face. “You have fallen for that girl haven’t you? That’s why you are acting like this.”

Kelvin’s heart dropped. Did she already know about Evelyn?

Mervis was quick to pick on the fear written all over Kelvin’s face.

“I am right,” she said. “You allowed yourself to fall for that Moola girl and that’s why you’ve betrayed me like this.”

Kelvin’s heart went back in place at the mention of Moola’s name, relieved that Evelyn had still not crossed his mother’s radar. It would be nice if things remained that way, Kelvin thought.

“You can think whatever you want mother but I will not let you harm those innocent kids just so you can get your revenge,” Kelvin said.

“Do you actually think that you can pull off something like this against me?” Mervis asked.”You have always been a mama’s boy and you will never be able to break off this ambilical code unless I do it for you.”

“Maybe you are right,” Kelvin said. “I never intended to forsake you when I contacted Lucy. I only did that because I want to put an end to this. You are getting old now yet you’ve never allowed yourself to breathe a moment of peace because you’ve been consumed by revenge.

“You breathe, eat and shit revenge day in and day out. How long do you intend to drag this along? Aren’t you tired? I know I am tired but I can’t walk away and leave you behind to be eaten alive alone. I want us to put an end to this, right now mother.”

“And you think that hiding those kids will change anything?” Mervis asked smugly.

“I hid those kids because I know you. As long as you have access to those kids, you were going to drag this far until you raised them to be pawns in your schemes. This revenge has no way of ending as long as those kids are under your control. Just like you’ve done over the years, you’ll find new ways of inflicting pain on that family.

“At first it was business deals, you managed to take away business from those people over and over again but that still wasn’t enough. You became bored because you had become so good at it you needed something even more challenging. It was no longer revenge for you, at some point it became a hobby, a game you were addicted to and you kept chasing a rise on a level higher than the one before.

“I thought that getting me to marry someone I never loved was as low as you could get but I soon realised that you had much bigger plans in store. That’s how I learnt about Lucy. So I know mother, as long as Beatrice is still breathing, this revenge will never end. The only thing I can do is cut off the roots that are helping you grow, and that includes me, Lucy, those two innocent kids and everyone else I know is helping you run this scheme. I will keep doing that even if it means I die by your hands…something I know you would gladly do.”

“Kelvin!” Mervis snapped. “You might not approve of my ways of doing things but don’t insult me like that. I would have to kill me first before I can kill my own flesh and blood. You might have greatly disappointed me right now but that doesn’t change the fact that you are my son, so watch what you accuse me of.”

“Then tell me mother,” Kelvin walked over to where his mother was and knelt down before her. “What do I need to do to make you stop?” He asked with tears streaming down his face. “Tell me what you want and I will everything within my power to help you but please…let’s put an end to all this hate. I beg of you.”

“Bring those kids to me and I will I just might reconsider removing that fiancé of yours from my top two enemy list. Anyone capable of turning a son against his own mother deserves to be stoned to death. I might not lay my hands on you son,” She said whilst wiping the tears off his face with her bare hands. “I might not kill you but that doesn’t mean I can’t get to those you care about.”

Kelvin was left kneeling on the floor feeling hopeless and defeated as Mervis got up and started walking towards the door.

Once at the door, she stopped and turned to address her son for the last time. “You have forty-eight hours to present those kids in front of me…or watch what I do to the woman you love to see if that’s motivation enough.” And she was gone.

If Kelvin had doubted it before, he was now convinced beyond reasonable doubt that twenty years ago he had lost more than just a father and sister, he had lost his whole family…and that that woman parading as his mother was nothing but a shell of someone he used to know…someone he could no longer recognize.

Feeling like a man carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, there was only one place Kelvin could think of going to lay down his heavy load.

* * *

With her best friend out of town again, Evelyn found herself dreading the long night ahead alone in the house. Ever since she could remember, she never liked sleeping alone.

Having always lived in tiny apartments, Evelyn had become accustomed to sharing a bed with her grandmother. It was only when she moved in with Thando who was constantly on the move that she was forced to adjust to sleeping alone in bed.

Unfortunately for Thando, it meant that on days she was at home, she had to contend with Evelyn waking up from her bed in the middle of the night to join her in hers.

Once she was sure all doors and windows where closed, Evelyn got into her pyjama shorts and t-shirt and was about to get into bed when she heard a knock on the door.

“Who could it be this time?” She wondered out loud, waiting for a few more seconds to check if the person would knock again…and again.

They did, persistently.

Evelyn pulled out a chitenge wrapper from her washing basket in the corner of her room and wrapped it around herself before going to answer the door.

“Who is it?” She asked before opening the door.

“It’s me Eva,” came a male’s voice.

She didn’t need to ask who again to know who it was. That voice haunted her even in her sleep. She quickly unlocked the door.

“Kelvin?” Evelyn gasped when she saw the state he was in; drenched in sweat, feet and slippers drowning in dust, and looking like a man on the verge of collapse.

“Water,” Kelvin said, sounding out of breathe as he pushed passed her and fell to the floor the moment he was safely inside.

“Close the door,” he said to a visibly shocked Evelyn who was still holding the door wide open and gaping at him like she had just seen a mad man for the first time in her life.

But she still closed the door the moment she heard his request.

“Is someone chasing you?” Evelyn asked. “Where’s your car…or cars?”

“Water,” Kelvin begged again.

“Oh yeah,” Evelyn said and quickly ran to the kitchen, appearing seconds later with a glass in hand. She handed to him and watched him ferociously gulp down the contents.

“It’s at home,” Kelvin answered the moment he was done quenching his thirst.

“Is your friend around?” he asked her.

“No, she travelled for work. She will be back next week.” She answered.

Slowly getting up from the floor, he said, “show me where the bathroom is and give me your towel.”

“Huh?”

“Is it this side?” He was pointing and moving in that direction.

Evelyn rushed in time to stop him by the door. “This is the kitchen,” she said, blocking his way in. “You just saw me enter and come out with a glass of water. Did you think I gave you water from the bathroom?”

“It’s been known to happen,” Kelvin said, his play at nonchalance gnawing at Evelyn more than the pain in his eyes.

“Here,” she was saying as she led him to through the door on the left. She had a billion question running through her mind but she knew better than to press a man that looked like he had just lost the battle between angels and demons.

“You will find my towel hanging somewhere in there,” she said and closed the door behind him.

She was expecting him to have a quick retort for her but instead he simply said, “thank you Eva, and turned on the shower.

Evelyn remained standing outside the door, something she could not understand kept holding her back from moving away…and then she heard Kelvin stifle his sobs against the running water.

Her heart sunk and her eyes followed in kind.

What had happened? Evelyn wondered as she silently walked towards her bedroom to prepare some dry clothes for him.

It took about twenty minutes for Kelvin to come out of the shower, looking like a brand new man with the forced smile on his face as he stood outstand Evelyn’s bedroom with just a towel wrapped around his waist , waiting for her to welcome him inside.

Evelyn blinked and blushed profusely at the sight of his exposed buff chest, stuck between starring in awe and looking away in embarrassment and ending up doing both simultaneously.

Kelvin was smirking at her expense.

“Wait here, I will bring some clothes for you,” Evelyn gushed and quickly turned to walk back inside but Kelvin was right behind her.

“It’s looks particularly clean,” he commented as he looked around her room.

“I didn’t say you could come in,” Evelyn was looking at him despondently, at a loss for what to do to or about him.

“I always suspected there was something peculiar about you, turns out you are a neat freak,” he looking at her severely arranged room with each time exactly where it was supposed to be.

“You know OCD is an actual disease ka.” he asked.

Evelyn was laughing. “It’s not a disease, it’s a disorder. And look who’s talking? Have you seen your house?”

“That’s exactly why I made an accurate diagnosis,” he was smugly shrugging his shoulders. “I was speaking from experience.”

Evelyn picked up the clothes she had laid for him on the bed and handed them over to him.

“I think the show is over now. The audience is pleased so you can dress up,” she told him.

Kelvin was smiling innocently. “I have no idea what you are talking about.” And he put on the white t-shirt she had given him.

“Are you sure you weren’t expecting me over tonight?” He asked. “This t-shirt is too much of a perfect fit to be a coincidence.”

Evelyn was aware that all the happy conversation was a façade he was putting on to avoid talking about the real reason why he had shown up at her doorstep but she still played along just fine.

Once he was done dressing up, he threw himself on the bed, back first as he sprawled his legs.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Evelyn asked.

“You are not planning on sending me to Thando’s room right?” Kelvin asked nonchalantly.

“What do you mean send you to Thando’s room? Are you planning on sleeping here?”

“Yes,” he answered simply.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because I want to spend the night with you.”

“With whose permission?”

“Mine of course.”

“That’s not how it works Kelvin.”

He then sat up, a serious expression suddenly appearing on his face as he looked at her. “Let me sleep here tonight,” he said pleadingly. “I promise I won’t try anything funny. If you want, I can even sleep on the couch in the living room, I don’t mind. Just don’t kick me out, please.”

“What’s going on Kelvin?” Evelyn finally asked.

“I had a fight with my mum, that’s all I can tell you for now.” He said.

“Is that why you came here looking like someone was chasing you?”

Kelvin fell back on the bed, using his arms as a second pillow. “I needed to make sure that no one followed me here so I circled around for a while before finally knocking at your door.

“Who could have been following you this late at night?” Evelyn asked.

“I’m tired Eva,” Kelvin complained. “Can’t we just forget about it…for today?”

Evelyn went to sit on the bed, looking over at his sleeping figure. “Wake up Kelvin,” she told him, and tried to make him sit up by pulling his hand.

A very reluctant Kelvin eventually sat up and moved to sit next to her, both their feet hanging by the bed.

“I can feel a nagging sermon approaching,” he said sarcastically.

“I have never had a man sleep on my mind before and if I am to allow you to do that, I think I deserve to hear an explanation as to why I should extend that charity.”

“Wow, I am now a charity case!” and he let out a heart breaking laugh, hanging his head low over his chest.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” Evelyn quickly tried to explain herself. “In any case, you are here and you obviously need my help…” she hesitated for some time before adding, “I don’t think I will be able to sleep knowing that something is obviously wrong with you.”

Kelvin raised his head up and slowly turned to look at her, a huge grin playing on his face. “You have totally fallen for me haven’t you?”

Evelyn scoffed and made a face at him. “Can you try to be serious for just a moment? Stop trying to change the topic…and no, I haven’t fallen for you. I am just being a concerned neighbour.”

The disappointment of Kelvin’s face was too vivid to ignore. Evelyn quickly looked away from him.

“I had a huge fight with my mum…it didn’t end so well.” He finally told her.

“Did she find out about me?!” The kind of fear that Kelvin saw in her eyes made him realise yet again just how much of a stranger his mother had become. Since when did the mere mention of her name bring such fear in people’s lives.

Is she really my mother? Kelvin wondered.

And if she is not, then who is that woman I have called mother for all these years…and what did she do to my sweet kind-hearted mother?

“No she didn’t, relax.” He said and he could hear her breath a huge sigh of relief.

“Then what happened?” Evelyn asked. “What was so mad that you came here looking the way you did? Did she disown you or something?”

Kelvin looked straight into her eyes and with tears welled up in his eyes he asked her, “You really think the worst of my mother, right?”

Evelyn didn’t know what to say in response. The pained look in his eyes was enough to freeze all her mental faculties.

Just what had happened to have broken this ever brazen and bold man to this extent? Evelyn wondered.

“Kelvin….” Evelyn was still at a loss for words.

“She really is a horrible person isn’t it?” Kelvin asked.

Evelyn was now wondering whether Kelvin was really looking for answers or if he was in desperate need of someone to tell him a lie…anything different from the truth he already knew.

In the end, she could only stare at him blankly.

She had heard about how the little boy at the orphanage that had been mistaken for her had been ruthlessly killed. The things surrounding his death all pointed to one person and anyone capable of doing something like that to an innocent child was someone to be hated and feared.

But how could she look Kelvin in his deep brown eyes and tell him that his mother was a monster?

He was already a man on the verge of destruction. Ant slight push and he would come crumbling down. He had set aside his pride and ego walked all the way to her place and here he was desperately trying to push away his tears because he still needed to be a man in front of her.

Seeing the desperation in his eyes, Evelyn did the only thing she could think of that would help him keep his pride. She got onto the bed, positioned herself behind him and before he could ask any question, she wrapped her arms around him from behind, her chin resting on top of his head.

Even if you can’t bring yourself to cry in my presence, could you at least let it all out when I am not looking at you? Evelyn thought as she fought back her own tears, pressing her upper body tight against him.

As if answering her question, Kelvin finally broke down…and even though Evelyn could not hear him, she could feel his body convulsing against her as he tightly gripped with both hands the part of her arm resting just below his face.

When Kelvin finally told her everything that had transpired between him and his mother, Evelyn could finally understand why he looked like a man whose wings had just been clipped off.

“So are you going to hand over the kids to her?” Evelyn asked him later while they sat in bed watching tv, each on his or her own pillow.

Between them was an aisle of much three pillow separating them; the Isle of Virtue, as Evelyn had coolly coined it.

“No way!” Kelvin said determinedly.

“Do you actually think that she would harm them in any way?” Evelyn asked. “It’s not like they are Beatrice’s children.”

Kelvin laughed. “You don’t know my mother,” he said. “There’s nothing in this world she can’t do. Those might not be Beatrice’s children but they are children of the man Beatrice is in-love with and that, that on its own is a sin against my mother on Shadreck’s part.”

“Now you are really scaring me Kelvin,” Evelyn said.

“It also pains me to know that I am capable of saying such awful things about my own mother. I keep wishing that this whole revenge thing is just a bad dream, that I will wake up one day and it would have all been just a nightmare.”

“She is going to hurt Moola if you don’t give her the kids…you are aware of that? Evelyn asked.

“Of course, how can I not?” he said, almost whispering the words. “I might not love her but I wouldn’t live with myself if something happened to her because of me. I have already hurt her enough all these years…dragging her along and making her think that I was in-love with her.”

“Are you still going to marry her?” Evelyn asked, shutting her eyes tight as she waited for him to respond.

Kelvin could feel her tense on the other side of the bed and so he moved his head over the pillow to peep at her.

Kelvin laughed upon finding her in that position. “You really don’t want me to marry her.” He said to her.

Evelyn opened her eyes only to find Kelvin’s head looking down on her. Feeling embarrassed at having been found out, she pushed him back to his side and put the pillow back where it had been.

“When did you realize you were in-love with me?” Kelvin asked, his serious tone catching her by surprise.

“If you want to talk about feelings then I suggest you grab a few blankets from there,” she was pointing to the wardrobe on the side of the wall where he was.

“You should know by now that I keep my promises no matter,” Kelvin said. “I said I wouldn’t try anything with you tonight and I meant it.”

“I know,” Evelyn said, remembering that day in his bedroom when Moola came knocking at the window and she begged Kelvin to hide her in the basement where he had previously held her captive.

“Aren’t you going t answer my question?” Kelvin said.

“Does it matter?” Evelyn tried to brush him off.

“Yes it does,” he said. “Maybe that’s the kind of motivation I need to get through this.”

“This evening,” Evelyn said.

“What about this evening?” Kelvin asked.

“I realised I am in-love with you when I found you standing by the door outside.” She said.

There was no response from Kelvin and the room was filled with silence for about a minute or so.

“Kelvin?” Evelyn called and leaned over the pillow to look at him.

The stern expression on his face scared her to death.

“Did I say something wrong?” she asked him.

“I am not going to marry Moola,” he announced.

“Is that why you look like that after what I just told you?” Evelyn sounded disappointed. She had expected him to be jumping up and down.

“Knowing that you love me too means that I now have no choice but to break my mother’s heart,” he said.

Evelyn finally understood and slowly dropped back to her sleeping position but Kelvin’s head popped up above her immediately. This time he was wearing the smile she had been longing to see a few seconds ago.

“I love you Eva, daughter of Beatrice.” He said.

“You really don’t know how to be romantic, eish!” But she was smiling and hiding his face with her hands so that he would not see her blushing cheeks.

Kelvin slowly removed her hands from his face and planted a kiss on her forehead before returning to his side of the bed.

“From now on,” Kelvin said after a while. “I am going to love my mother the best way I can.”

“And how are you going to do that?” Evelyn had asked him.

“I will break her heart first, and then give her a brand new one.”