CAN’T HOLD MY TEARS
I have never had so much fun in my life. I have danced with virtually everyone in the sitting room, except my mother-in-law of course. Tina had cooked so many things and I could not stop eating. I had a feeling that I would be twice my current size within the next twenty four hours if I did not reduce my consumption.
Several hours after, the door opened and Alex entered. His eyes found me and he seemed to freeze on the spot. I watched in irritation as his eyes raked my body slowly; what surprised me though was that I was not reacting to him the way I used to. My skin did not break out with Goosebumps, or anything. I nodded internally and gave myself a good pat in the back. This was definitely a good sign.
“Is this the time you are supposed to be arriving for your wife’s birthday? Where have you been? You definitely were not at work and neither did you sleep here” the senator scolded.
Alex ignored him totally, obviously angry with his father.
“You look really beautiful Amara” he said, surprising everyone into complete silence. I stayed there for several seconds, unable to believe he had just said that. Instead of feeling delight, anger ran through my veins at his audacity. I turned to grab a cold cup of water to quench my sudden thirst and anger, passing by my mother-in-law but she suddenly grabbed me; the first time we actually touched all day.
I was stunned. “Did I do something wrong ma?” I asked, instinctively knowing that the excitement was finally over.
“Can’t you greet your husband? You have no respect for my son” she snarled.
“You are hurting me ma” I squealed in pain as her nails bit into my flesh.
She caught her husband’s eye and instantly let go of my hand. I hurried past her and filled a cup with a much needed cold water. As I drank and walked back, my mother-in-law shocked me again by grabbing me. Something seemed to have caught her eyes and she froze. Before I could think, she turned me around suddenly and tugged on my left ear. “Where… where did you get that?” she stammered.
“What is the meaning of this nonsense Katherine?” the senator boomed, calling his wife’s name for the first time.
“Do you have a problem with my daughter?” my mum asked, moving closer.
The senator’s wife looked pale. “Where did she get that black dot behind her ear?” she asked shakily.
My mum shifted. “It has been there since her birth. Why?”
The senator’s wife released me and shook her head furiously. “N… No… Nothing…” she stammered. “It is nothing.” She laughed nervously. “I feel sick. I want to go home” she hastily said and headed outside. The senator looked stupefied at the drama and hastily said.
“Uhhh… Don’t pay attention to her. She is like that when she does not get enough sleep. I think we have to go” he came towards me and kissed my cheek before going after his wife with a confused look on his face. I stood there frozen, trying hard to come up with a reasonable explanation for what just occurred.
Mrs. Bello exited the discomfort of the car before it even parked fully. Her brain was in overdrive and being confined in a car with her husband, whose silence was more dangerous than a pointed gun was almost running her insane. He had been quiet throughout the drive home from Amara’s party, with his gaze outside the window and she knew that he was trying to come up with a logical explanation for her actions in the party. She had been too obvious in that gathering and, thinking of a logical lie to give her husband when he finally probes her was a major worry. She did not even know what was scaring her most right now.
She hurriedly entered her personal room and locked the door before the senator thought about probing her but he did not seem in a hurry to do that. She flung her purse onto the bed and started pacing restlessly. “No! It can’t be! It just can’t be!” She wiped sweats of perspiration off her forehead. This had to be a great coincidence, she thought shakily. Of everyone in the world, it can’t be Amara! It cannot be HER!
“Oh my God!” she exclaimed and crumbled onto the bed. She rubbed her sweaty palms across her face before burying her head in it. Her mistake could not be closing in on her! Not now! Never! And Alex? The pregnancy in Amara’s womb? “OH God, it just can’t be!!!”
20+ YEARS AGO
Katherine Bello arrived at the hospital, finally deciding to allay her fears before the situation got out of control and becomes exceedingly obvious to all. She could not explain what the problem was, but heaven knows she definitely had her suspicions and it scared the hell out of her. The fear of the unknown had prevented her from going to the doctor because she did not want the doctor’s diagnosis to tally with her instincts. As she was allowed into the doctor’s office, she prayed to heaven that her thoughts were wrong, because if not, she was in for deep s***.
“Hello doctor” she said as she entered the doctor’s office and sat down instantly, to hide her shaking legs. She was using a hospital distant from home now, so this was not their regular family doctor. She could not afford to risk it.
The doctor smiled. “Good evening ma’am, how may I help you please?”
Mrs. Bello sighed softly. “I have been feeling somehow lately, for some weeks now to be precise. I expected it to go away so I ignored it but it is not going away” she said, beating about the bush.
The doctor nodded, with her professional look firmly in place. “Can you explain the symptoms you have experienced?”
Mrs. Bello nodded vigorously. “Erm…I am sure it is nothing serious. Just some feelings of dizziness, desire to eat all the time and also irritation and nausea” she rambled. “I mean, I don’t erm… feel nausea or urge to vomit all the time, just once in a while, it can even be overlooked… I hope it is nothing serious”
The doctor smiled and her eyes seemed to probe Mrs. Bello like her eyes alone was enough to carry out the needed examination. She smiled further. “I think I know what the matter is” the doctor said. “But since I am sure you don’t expect me to ‘think’, I would call someone to run a test on you. The results would be out within minutes, so it would not take long” she said, frightening Mrs. Bello.
She swallowed. “Are you sure I don’t need to come back?” she asked nervously.
“No! The results of the test would be out very fast” the doctor assured. She picked her intercom and called a nurse, who appeared almost immediately. The doctor gave her a few instructions which Mrs. Bello did not listen to as her mind raced on the possible outcome of the test. With stiff legs, Mrs. Bello followed the nurse into the lab where the test was carried out.
Mrs. Bello sat in the waiting room, looking at the ticking hand of the wall clock. She had never been so frightened in her life. Her brain rotated on whether or not to leave. She could not afford to have her instincts right because only doom was hers if the result of the test proved that she was indeed pregnant. She stood up and she turned towards the door to leave, a nurse called her. She turned with a shaky smile on her face.
“The result is out ma, you can go in now” the nurse said. “Were you about to leave?”
She shook her head, ignoring the question. “That was fast, are you sure it is ready?” she had turned as pale as sheet.
“Yes. Please, come with me ma”
The nurse led her back to the doctor’s office where she hastily sat her pale form. Without wasting time, the doctor declared. “This is the test result” she gave her a brown envelope. “My assumptions were confirmed” she smiled affectionately. “Congratulations ma, you are three months pregnant”.
The news landed like an atomic bomb, rubbing her of her speech. “There… there must be a mistake” she stammered shakily.
The doctor frowned. “There is no mistake. This should be good news, are you not married ma?” the doctor asked, looking from the patient’s pale face to the ring on the left hand. Mrs. Bello totally ignored the doctor and stood up, leaving the office without a backwards glance.
Mrs. Bello roamed her sitting room with nerves all over the place. Her son, Alex was taking his nap, and she was glad that he was not down, disturbing her.
Pregnant? How can she do this? Her husband had been gone for over four months now, to the United States, establishing a new company there. Because of the rigor of starting a new company and the necessity to be there to pioneer and kick start this initial stage, her husband had gone to be there personally and had been there for more than four months, so there was no way in this world that this pregnancy could be her husbands. It could only possibly be for one person; their driver.
Being away from her husband for months had been more than she could handle, and when she complained to her friend, Bimpe, she had given her a ‘solution’. Her friend had pointed out her strong and sexy-looking driver who had been driving her for about two years now. Though she was still very young, he was definitely older than her, so she would not be a sugar mummy to him or anything like that. Cheating on her husband seemed like a ridiculous idea at first but when his absence became irritating, she gave in to the advice. It proved to be a really difficult thing to do because all her seductions seemed not to be working on Habeeb, her driver.
He was a strong man who did not seem like one to easily fall into temptations. She wore really exposing clothes, he noticed, she knew he did but his reactions never exceeded simple glances which could almost be overlooked. Katherine Bello almost thought there was something wrong with her own appeal. Getting Habeeb had taken all the feminine cunning tactics she could have or even come up with, but eventually, Habeeb fell for her charms and beauty. He had treated her better than any man – even her husband – had ever treated her. He had treated her like a teenager, even though she was thirty. He had given her flowers, taken her on dates, but still kept the relationship hidden from all and sundry.
But now, this is the result. She waved the pregnancy result and crushed it in her fist. She was carrying the result of her infidelity in her womb. Right at that moment, she hated the child she was carrying. She had risked her happiness and home for moments of pleasure. It had seemed like a good idea then, but now, she was face to face with reality. How could she hide this? She had always feared abortion more than anything on earth. Ever since she watched her best friend die from abortion, she had sworn never to attempt it. As bad as this situation seemed, Katherine still did not want to die. But how could she hide the pregnancy from her husband who would be coming back in a week?
Ever since she gave birth to Alex, four years ago, Katherine hadn’t been pregnant ever since and she had been glad because it had been really tough for her when she carried Alex in her womb; it had been even worse during labor, that she had to go through Caesarian Session when her life was threatened. Now, she could not afford to lose her family. She could not lose her husband or make her son lose his happy home, which might happen if her husband found out about her infidelity or the ungodly result in her belly. What could she do?
CAN’T HOLD MY TEARS
The day Mr. Bello was to arrive, Katherine Bello made sure she used a really tight girdle to flatten her already bulging belly. The belly looked perfectly flat after using the belt and she was a bit relieved. Her next worry had been how to keep it on for the rest of the week before her husband returned to the States. She thought of pretending to be sick, knowing that her caring husband would be too concerned about her health, to even think of making love to her. That would be hard though, because they had been apart for months. It was natural that he would want to perform his husbandly rights.
Mr. Bello had arrived and the excitement had been great. Alex had fussed over his father and Katherine’s nervous state hadn’t been so obvious. She had carried out her plan of being sick. Her husband had been really caring, taking care of her even when it was obvious that he would rather be doing something else. He said it so many times but whenever he tried to remove her clothes, she would pretend to catch a cold and he would let go of his desires to take care of her. It was a really stressful week and she could feel the tension in her husband when the week elapsed. Her suggested staying longer to take care of her but she quickly turned it down, asking him to take care of the company abroad instead.
Knowing that his departure would be for another couple of months, Katherine decided to take care of the mess before he finally arrived. The first thing she did was to fire Habeeb. It had been really hard, especially when she saw the hurt and betrayed look on Habeeb’s face. She tried to pay him off but he refused like the arrogant man he was. He left without a penny but Katherine could not even think of calling him back. She could not allow him find out about the pregnancy. No one was aware, only her friend. Thanks to her stature and girdle, the pregnancy stayed hidden, but as she approached seven months, she had to put on loose clothes to hide the really bulging belly, despite the girdle. She had done really stressful things, hoping that it would bring down the pregnancy but nothing worked. Finally, she gave up attempts to have a miscarriage and decided to see how she could discard the child after birth.
When she was seven months plus, she took Alex to her friend’s place to spend his two months long vacation there. That way, she knew that she would have an excuse for her husband if he called to ask of Alex. She wanted to go to a faraway place to give birth to the child; somewhere where she was not known. A place where gossip could not float to her husband’s ears. Her friend told her of a village and a woman there, who could help with what she wanted to do.
Mrs. Bello travelled to the village and was able to breathe freely for once. She stayed with the woman that Bimpe, her friend, told her of, until she finally gave birth to the child. The baby girl had been pretty but she had hated her at once for all the trouble she had to go through because of her. She would have left the village immediately after giving birth to the child but the woman told her to wait for two more weeks before leaving, in order to use the time to shrink the size of her belly and also feed the child. After the two weeks, she made sure the woman abandoned the child in a dumping ground where anyone could easily see her. After that, she left the village, glad that it was over at last.
Now, Mrs. Bello could fully agree that nothing is hidden under the sun. You might hide it for a while but a secret would always bounce to the surface sooner or later. She had thought that that mistake with Habeeb was gone and gone forever and that her secret had been successfully buried, but now, she had to face the glaring reality of the situation at hand. Her mistake of years back was back, and not only was it back to taunt her, but it was ready to destroy everything and everyone in its path. The woman had given the baby girl a permanent black (+) mark at the back of her left ear. She had told her that it might be very helpful in future and that it was always important to have a mark on the child with which the child can be identified, in case her path crossed with her child in future. She had prayed it never happened then but now, it was obvious that her prayer has gone unanswered. If Amara was truly that unwanted child of hers, then…
“Oh No!” she said with a sickly pale face. “My son cannot be married to my daughter” she whispered in fright. She shook her head. “No! It is a coincidence” she tried to reassure herself. “Amara can NEVER be my child. My Daughter cannot be married to my son. IT HAS TO BE A COINCIDENCE”
I sat at the edge of the bed and put my head in my hands. Try as I may, I could not forget the scenario of the past hour. What could have been Mrs. Bello’s problem? I knew my mother-in-law was so harsh and wicked but she had seemed almost insane. She had been totally different from the composed woman I knew her to be and she had looked completely shaken and scared.
And she had noticed my birthmark! It was totally confusing. She was not only noticed the birthmark, it seemed to be the main reason why she was agitated and scared. Thinking about the drama again, my brain was in overdrive. It almost looked as if Mrs. Bello recognized my birthmark! I frowned and shook my head as I stood up to wash my face in the bathroom, hoping that it would at least clear my mumbled thoughts. It didn’t though.
I had only been able to see the mark with the aid of a mirror and the feel of my fingers. Why did it seem as though my mother-in-law knew the mark? And why had my mother seemed uncomfortable by it? She had remained uncomfortable even after Mrs. Bello’s departure, until she finally left with my dad. The whole drama was beginning to confuse me and I hoped something would distract me from my thoughts before I run mad from thinking too much.
I heard a knock and heaved a sigh of relief, ordering the person to come in without even noticing the difference in the knocking pattern. The door opened and I was so surprised to see Alex. It was so surprising that I found myself gaping idiotically.
“Sorry to disturb you Amara” he said, gaining my attention.
I blinked several times to gather my scattered wits. “What do you want with me Alex” I was impressed that my voice was very firm.
He stood straight, confident as ever, but he looked a bit uneasy. “I… I have not wished you happy birthday, and I wanted to do so before you went to bed” he said.
I stared in surprise. I have had too many surprises in one day. First, he said I was pretty, now, he is wishing me happy birthday. “Why do you want to do that?” I asked.
He shrugged, “I just wanted to” he responded.
I did not know what it was, but somehow, he looked different. For a second, I could almost glimpse the man I had fallen in love with in the village. Did he think that he could win me over by being sweet? I almost laughed. The easily deceived Amara was already gone, replaced by a cautious one. “Why? You want to acquire my sympathy? Since Lisa is not home, you are looking for a woman to share your bed right?” I laughed. He looked a bit hurt but I really wanted to slap his face for his audacity. “I am not a fool Alex, I have a brain, and neither am I an object of sexual sport. If you are looking for someone to roll with in your bed, go outside and get one, I am not available for such rubbish. Now, can you leave my room?” I boomed in a perfectly pitched voice, with my feet tapping the floor in anger.
For some seconds, he stood there, frozen. He looked at me and I stared back boldly until he finally turned, opened the door and left. I breathed deeply and sank onto the bed.
The senator stared at his wife, who sat opposite him in the dinning, trying hard to eat her food. He saw the shake in her hands and watched her trembling lips as the half-filled forks went in periodically. It was already hours since they arrived home, yet, they have not exchanged a single word. He smiled to himself and pretended to concentrate on his food, making noticeable noise with his cutleries.
“I am sure you have come up with a perfect explanation for your actions earlier” he said, seeming unconcerned. “Tell me Kate, what lie would you tell me?”
He heard the fork drop from his wife’s fingers and refused to raise his eyes from his plate. “What… what do you mean?”
He raised his eyes slowly. “You know what I mean Katherine. What was the meaning of your display earlier? I sense there is something you are hiding from me” he said bluntly.
She fixed a brave look on her face and faced him. “Without listening to me, you assumed I was planning to lie to you. Why is that? Are you calling me a liar? Why would I need to lie to you?” she looked hurt.
The senator decided to go subtle. “I am sorry then. Can you now explain the drama?”
“Yes!” she declared. “I told you, didn’t i? I told you it was a bad idea to allow that girl marry Alex. Did you see that mark behind her ear? It is a diabolic sign; only incarnates have that mark behind the ear.” She said.
The senator looked at his wife in complete surprise. “Kate! Since when did you start believing in all these trash? You said you do not believe in witches or stuffs like that, and now, you know the marks?”
“I don’t forget things, a friend told me that mermaid queens exist in the normal world and they destroy the lives of people they are associated with. She told me of the mark. Just imagine, since she came into the family, Alex has turned into something else. She destroyed the relationship between Lisa and Alex, now; she is making you turn against him. Now you have suspended him from your own company. Isn’t that enough proof? You need to drive her out of our lives. She is evil” she declared.
CAN’T HOLD MY TEARS
Today, the Senator slept in his room without his wife. They had had a heated argument over a totally bizarre issue. Nothing his wife could say could convince him that Amara was a ‘mamiwater’ or whatever it was that his wife was insisting she actually is. Nothing she did could also make him agree with the fact that their son needed to divorce her. Maybe the reason why he could not make himself believe anything she said was because he knew her too well. She gets shaky and tense when she is hiding something really important, and would always hide secrets under believable shades of lies. It was disheartening that he never could trust his own wife to be completely honest with him.
A lot of times, he wondered why he married her, and now was one of those times. Katherine was keeping something from him, and if all her fretting was any indication, this was not something small. What he did not know was what Amara had to do with this. What was it about Amara that unsettled Katherine so much? He had never seen his wife this distressed before; she was almost like a moth skipping through fire. No doubt, Mr. Bello surmised, that birthmark was the key to this. That plus mark definitely had a history if his wife had looked ghostly immediately she saw it. The ridiculous explanation of Amara being with an evil spirit was senseless to him. He needed to find out what this was all about.
Finally decided, he picked up his phone and dialed the number of a secret private investigator. He waited patiently until the investigator picked up. Without waiting for pleasantries, he went straight to the point. “Luke, see me in my office tomorrow. I need you to do something for me”
“What the hell is the matter with you?” Toba asked in anger. “Are you really sure there is nothing going on between you and your village bet? You seem to have changed”.
“of course there is nothing going on, besides, even if I want it to, Amara would not accept anything with me on a platter of gold” Alex retorted feeling anger creep into him as he remembered the way his own wife chased him out of her room like a piece of trash.
“Why do I have a feeling that you already want it?” Toba bellowed.
Alex fixed Toba an angry questioning look. “And why does it seem to bother you so much?” he asked.
Toba glowered at him. “Why should it not bother me? You come running to me for help, yet I give you advices and you don’t follow them. Don’t come bothering me if you would always do what you want to do”
Alex’ eyes narrowed. “You asked me to beat her up, see where that led me?” he returned in anger.
“The only thing I see here is that you have become a chicken just because of that thing you keep in your house. She is keeping you on your toes like a puppet. When did you become so soft?” Toba bellowed, looking at Alex as if he could not quite believe he was the one.
“Say that one more time and I would show you how unsoft I am with my fist” he said with clenched fists. He looked just as dangerous as Toba knew he was, or used to be before Amara surfaced.
“Oh, you can display your fists here but when you see Amara, you turn to jelly” he spat out.
“I am warning you Toba”
Toba saw the telltale flash in Alex’s eyes and knew he had to tread softly if he would be leaving the bar without a swollen eye. He sighed. “Alex. All I am saying is that this girl is too small to keep you locked firmly in her small palm, how old is she? She just clocked twenty!” she exclaimed like he could not quite believe it. “You are a whooping five years older, yet she seems to be the boss in that little house of yours, where is your edge? Why can’t you put her in her place?”
Alex grimaced. “I let her have her way. I have really destroyed her life”
Toba’s frown deepened. “And now you are regretting your actions!” he exclaimed in bewilderment. “Are you sure something is not wrong with you? What has that girl done to you?”
Alex stared long at Toba. His coming to meet his friend was not helping matters at all. After listening to his friend rant and rave like a frozen dock, he was certain that he would not be able to help him in any way; not like he had been of any help ever since. To be sincere, Alex did not know the type of help he sought. His head had been in the clouds lately and he was beginning to wonder at what he actually needed. “I think I need to go home now” he said, paid the bill and stood up. Toba shook his head and trailed after him.
“You are being pathetic Alex. What do you plan on doing about Lisa uhn? You did not get her out of jail until her poor parents were able to pull the required strings to get her out on bail. When she surfaces, you would be in for it; remember, Amara is not the only one carrying your child in her womb” he said with piercing clarity.
Alex swallowed as he marched to his car. “You don’t have to remind me that I have two babies on the way; if I don’t remember, who will?”
“I think the only child you remember is that of the little whore in your house. How sure are you that the child is even yours?”
Alex stopped suddenly and fixed Toba with a firm glare. “As much as I am not overjoyed at the prospect of having a baby at this early stage of my life, I know the child is mine. The reason is simple – I was the one who made her a woman, and there was no other person, I assure you. She has never lied to me, despite all I have done; I am the only lying party here, that much cannot be denied” he said and entered his car without waiting for another annoying comment from his friend.
As Alex drove home, his anger grew until it became gravely unbearable. He almost started soliloquizing in anger as he drove home. What angered him most was that Toba had been right. He had changed! Even the blind would see it vividly. He could not tell what triggered it. He was beginning to blame himself for what he did to Amara; and why? He could not even tell. Maybe because Amara had picked up her pieces so bravely, doing the damnest to put the past behind her. Or maybe it was because she had become so bold that she now had the effrontery to stand up to him; even Lisa could not that effectively as Amara did; it was as annoying as it was amusing. It was probably her growing beauty that was getting to his head, he mused. With each passing day, she grew in beauty and it was not half as annoying as it was fascinating. It was even more surprising that she was that way with the bulging pregnancy.
Alex rubbed his palm over his face and stroked his thumb against his day’s growth of beards, in frustration. He did not understand what was going on. There was this strange feeling he had towards Amara that could not be named. He felt a strange connection between them. It was not a feeling he identified with. He had loved before, yes, but he was did not think this growing feeling was love. On the contrary, he would have known instantly if it was love; or wouldn’t he? Lisa did not hold his heart, there was just this strong sexual attraction between them that Alex could not do away with. He had loved a woman only once in his life and got burnt from it. But now, what was this that he was developing for Amara? He groaned in frustration. He hated something he could not name or identify more than anything. He sighed and drove into the compound.
Mr. Bello marched into the house like the fires of hell were in pursuit. “Katherine” he bellowed like a madman. The maids in the house squirmed and skipped off, wondering what on earth was wrong with their usually calm boss. “Katherine…” he yelled again, feeling as if he were about to fly into a million pieces.
Mrs. Bello ran down the stairs from her room. She had been at the edge of her nerves for the past one week ever since Amara’s birthday and her husband had also been equally quiet. She had been doing all her research, but seeming helpless because she had to be extra careful so as not to be found out. She found out nothing. The only way to find out would have been to meet with Amara’s parents and that was the last thing she would think of doing. Now, hearing her husband shouting her name scared her half to death. She appeared before her husband and he was breathing very hard. You can join us through+233544142683 to geh more exciting stories from him.. His eyes bore into her like daggers and she knew she was doomed.
He turned instantly and made for the door. “Follow me. Now” he barked and she instantly obeyed in fright. She had never been this scared of her husband in her entire life. He looked like a deadly animal, ready to devour anything in its path, and right now, Mrs. Bello felt like the prey.
“Bello” she rushed shakily. “Please talk to me”
He did not appear to have heard. He entered the car, not even calling his driver. “Get in” he barked as he fired the engine. The gateman was wise enough to open the gate without being told. All the servants were staring in bewilderment as the car flew out of the compound with lightning speed.
Tears were beginning to form in Katherine Bello’s eyes as her husband drove the car like a mad man. All her intestines shook with fright as she gripped the handle of the door for support. Mr. Bello’s features were set in firm hard lines and his veins were in clear view. “Bello” she called again as tears slipped down her cheeks.
Mr. Bello gripped the steering harder, to prevent himself from beating his wife into a pulp while on motion. When Mr. Bello drove into Alex’s compound, there was no doubt left in Kate’s mind that the secret was already out. “Please Bello” she pleaded but her husband simply alighted from the car, slamming the door so firmly, it nearly shook the ground. He marched towards the entrance and turned to see her standing shakily by the car.
“If you don’t get in now and I descend on you, you would be alive to tell the colour of your skin” he growled.
CAN’T HOLD MY TEARS
I adjusted my silk night robe about my body as I walked down the stairs to grab a cup of water. I was finding it difficult to sleep. It was one of those nights when my memories would come floating back through my mind, getting my emotions all worked up. Many times, I thought I had gotten past the hurt and anger and bitterness, that I have them successfully locked away never to resurface; but more often than not, they always came back to haunt me, especially when I find myself alone in my massive bedroom.
As I walked fully into the sitting room, I found Alex sitting at the mini bar in the sitting room, drinking. His head turned and his eyes bore into me as I stood transfixed, staring back at him.
“Are you willing to join the party?” he slurred. “It seems you also could not find sleep”
I noticed the drunken state he was in by the way his voice dragged. I shook my head slightly. “It startles me that everything I knew about you was wrong” I said in amused anger. “So you are also a drunkard”
His posture still seemed composed even though he was obviously drunk. Only his voice could make someone realize it. “I am not drunk madam, only tipsy” he said and raised a half-filled cup. “You should join me”
I eyed him. “You are pathetic, you know? You need help” I said as I made my way to the dispenser.
He smiled. “Yeah! I need help to get to my bedroom safely. My legs feel shaky”
I hissed. “You can sleep on the bar, even sleep on your feet; it is none of my concern” I drank my water and replaced the cup. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw Alex rise to his feet. He seemed stable enough until he took a step and swayed. My first instinct was to hurriedly grab him but I caught myself in time. ‘I don’t care’ I told myself again. I don’t care if he falls and breaks his pretty nose; it won’t mean a thing to me!
He closed his eyes tight for some seconds and later opened them. He seemed to be trying to keep his gaze straight. He took four unstable steps again and nearly fell over; before I knew it, I was at his side. Realizing it, I became so angry; more at myself that him. I should happily watch him fall without helping him. I should even walk over his fallen body; so why am I here, worried that he might hurt himself by falling over? I sighed slightly and grabbed his hand roughly. I but it around my neck roughly, supporting him with my shoulder. “I guess it would not hurt to prevent you from breaking your neck” I said as I dragged him up the stairs in anger.
He smiled annoyingly. “I guess you still care about my neck” he drawled.
I felt the great urge to topple him down the stairs. “It would be better if you keep your mouth shut if not, I would gladly watch your head roll down the stairs”
He continued smiling but kept quiet. I had a cause to enter his room for the second time since I entered the house and it brought back the remembrance of the terrible day Alex told me I was nothing more than a bet. My teeth bit into my lips as I shook away the overwhelming emotions and anger that took over me. I practically tumbled Alex onto the bed and straightened.
Alex looked sleepily at me. “It feels so good to have your arms around me again” he said with half open eyes.
I stiffened and almost slapped him at that. Controlling myself with great difficulty, I turned to leave. “Savor it while you can cause it would never happen again, you can count on it”. I exited the room and slammed the door shut.
An hour later
I sat in confusion as I stared at my parents. Why on earth would my father-in-law ask them to come over so suddenly? Was he in for one of his pleasant surprises again? Of everyone in this new family I found myself in, the only person I like is the senator and I had a respect for him that would not be rivaled. What was more confusing was my mother’s tense state. She was constantly asking to leave and if not for my persuasions, she would have fled the house.
I heard the door fling open and the Senator materialized, looking quite odd. Anger seemed to have enveloped him and he stood there with clenched fists, glaring at me like he had never actually seen me before. Have I done something wrong again? I wondered. Would the only person I like in this family desert me also? My mother-in-law surfaced, also looking the exact opposite of herself. Crying? I would never have believed it if I did not see it myself.
“What the hell is going on here” I did not notice that Alex had left his study to join us until he spoke. He looked at his parents in alarm and confusion.
The senator stared at his son and then rotated his eyes from Alex to me and back. He shook his head vigorously and ran his fingers through his hair.
“Can someone explain the meaning of this?” I asked in total alarm. They were all beginning to scare me to death because my parents were also beginning to behave strangely, looking at one another with pale faces.
The senator stared at my parents. “Tell her” he boomed.
My father glared at him. “Tell her what? We are not hiding anything from her”
The senator’s anger sparked. “For God’s sake tell her” he boomed and my parents shifted.
“Tell me what?” I asked palely
My parents were silent. “Won’t you tell her?” the senator boomed. “Won’t you tell her that you are not her real parents?”
My ears rang as the words repeated over and over again. I grabbed a couch for support as the wind knocked out of me. “That is an expensive joke sir” I murmured weakly with a tight smile. “I don’t find this surprise very amusing”
“Do I look like I am laughing?” he roared. “On the contrary, I feel like dying because I have spent my whole life in deceit just like you”
I did not even care to understand the meaning of that. I faced my white-faced parents. “Mama, papa, won’t you talk?” I asked. “What is he saying?” I asked louder. They remained annoyingly silent. “He is not saying the truth is he?” I yelled.
The senator laughed bitterly but his face did not even show any sign of laughter. “Of course I am saying the truth because I am here with your mother” he dragged a shaking Mrs. Bello to the front and she nearly tumbled. “Amara, behold!” he roared. “This whore here is your real mother”
Everything fell silent as I stood like a pillar, looking at the people before me. I gripped the chair harder as I replayed what I just heard because I was certain I hadn’t heard correctly.
“I am sorry but what nonsense are you saying that?” Alex roared. “This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard you say”
I laughed suddenly and my laughter increased by the second until I was barking in laughter with everyone looking at me. “Sir, this is the most…” I laughed. “Hilarious thing I have ever heard you say” I said between laughter. “I never knew you were a comedian too. She is my mother-in-law, how can she be MY OWN MOTHER” Controlling my shaky laughter I looked at the senator who looked about to explode in anger. He glared at his wife.
“You had better open your filthy mouth woman, or God help me, I would choke you to death” he roared and my mother-in-law faced me in fright.
My laughter vanished and my face blurred, swimming as my gaze ran over her. “He… He is… He is right” she declared. “I abandoned you in the trash twenty years ago… and… they probably picked you up. I am your birth mother”
I shook my head vigorously. “No! No… Noooo………” I screamed as the bomb settled. My gaze blurred again and did not seem to clear as the ground rose to meet my falling form.
I focused on the camera and bit hard on my trembling lips to at least stop the tears. I took several seconds to breathe in fully before I was able to talk again. “My whole life has been spent in lies and deceit. Nothing is as it ought to be. I don’t have the straight-forward life that most people in the world have.” I said, facing the camera. “How do I live with this? How can I live, knowing that my brother’s child is growing in my belly? How can I go a minute without remembering that I had commited the greatest abomination imaginable? Incest!” I exclaimed.
“My life is in shambles. Life is not worth living. Now, I wish Lisa had succeeded in getting rid of my pregnancy. How can I give birth to a child who would live the rest of his life knowing that he was a product of abomination?” I shook my head, looking at the camera and the audience I hoped would watch this one day. “This is too much for me. Just because of one mistake. That one mistake has wrecked my life and brought me nothing but pain and endless tears. I had hoped that one day, I would be able to bid farewell to tears, but now, I know that would not happen. Do you think my mistake was having sex with Alex?” I asked. “No! My mistake was losing focus! I had my dreams a step away, all I had to do was remain focused; but I got distracted. I destroyed my own life because of momentary pleasures…” I breathed and took a deep breath.
“I am sending this message to you all, hoping that you would learn from my story. Nothing but pain would come from pre-marital sex. Please, never make the same mistakes I made. I should be in school now, pursuing my dreams with little regrets but I strayed. I strayed and found myself in the lion’s den; unfortunately, I don’t think I am Daniel because getting out is practically impossible. One last thing: Beware of Corpers”
I tied the rope firmly on the tree, tying the knots over and over again. I tied the other end also, securing it around my neck. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I gazed for the last time at the world. Life is not worth it. I consoled my child with my palm, apologizing over and over for putting him through this pain, although, I was sure he would thank me for doing this. I swallowed hard, removed my wedding ring and threw it on the ground. I shook my head and wiped my tears. It is over! Finally over!
I swallowed hard in resolution and kicked off the stool from beneath my feet.
CAN’T HOLD MY TEARS
Alex entered his father’s house and slammed the door behind him in anger, shaking the house. His mother who was busy pacing the length of the sitting room froze in her strides as her son stormed into the sitting room.
“Alex” she called nervously.
“No” he barked. “Don’t ever call my name. You have destroyed my life. What sort of a mother are you?”
“I am sorry my son; I am so sorry” she cried.
“My son? Don’t ever call me that! I would be extremely glad to hear that you are not my mother. You are not worthy to be called a mother” he roared. “I always boasted of you but now, I am forced to realize that you are just a filthy harlot. My sister! I married my sister” he exclaimed in complete bewilderment. “She is carrying my child” he yelled again. “Oh God!!! A product of incest”
Mrs. Bello did not even bother to hinder her flowing tears. “I am sorry” she cried.
“Sorry?” he returned. “Is that all you can say? Would that change anything? You destroyed the lives of your children. You threw a child away! A human being! And now, I am expecting a child from my sister. I have always wanted a sibling or a sister but now, I am married to her. Imagine, I unknowingly placed a bet on my sister’s pride and innocence. What goes around comes around right? I have unknowingly stabbed myself in the back. I am as guilty as you are” he declared in anger.
“She is your half-sister” she said.
“Half?” he roared in laughter. “The word ‘sister’ is still there. How can you still speak? I hate you just as much as I hate myself. You are the worst thing that ever happened to me”
I opened my eyes and everything my eyes saw was white. Yes! I have heard of heaven and this was no doubt heaven. I have never seen any place as white and an unfamiliar cool breeze blew me, making me feel good. But there is a problem. Why does it feel like I have been breaking firewood for a very long time? I wondered vaguely. My open eyes opened wider and for the first time, I noticed a fan above my head. This couldn’t be heaven! I shouldn’t feel so weak in heaven; neither should I see a ceiling fan, I thought vaguely.
A rumbling sound came from my side and for the first time, I tried turning my head to see the cause of the noise but the pain I received from my neck almost made me pass out. What is wrong? Everything seemed blank. A face appeared before me and I had to focus on the face. The guy before me was exceedingly handsome and I remembered vaguely that only two men have seemed that way to me. Kelvin? What on earth am I doing with him? A deep frown crossed my face, matching his equally worried and slightly frowning face, and my brain started racing.
“Easy now” Kelvin whispered in his baritone voice. “I am glad you are finally awake” a soft smile touched his face and he seemed to relax a bit. He brushed what I assumed to be a strand of my hair out of my face and my frown deepened as the situation became confusing.
I opened my mouth to talk and my mouth felt so heavy.
“You don’t have to talk honey” Kelvin said hastily.
Honey? I wondered in alarm. Despite my distress and sore throat, I forced my mouth open. “Where am I?” I whispered in pain.
He gave me a weak smile. “In a hospital. You have been here for more than a day now. You need your rest. Let me get the doctor”
He scrambled out of the room and all I could do was stare blankly after him. My brain ran wild with thoughts, trying to come up with a suitable explanation. What on earth am I doing in a hospital? I wondered. And of all the people in the world, why should Kelvin be here with me? I raised my hand weakly and rubbed it against my throbbing neck and all of a sudden, it all came flooding my senses. I almost jumped out of the bed but all I succeeded in doing was jerking into a sitting position. My eyes became dizzy and I swayed even in my sitting position. The door jerked open and Kelvin walked in with a doctor. He hastened to my side. “You should be lying down” he scolded and gently pushed me to a lying position before the doctor got to my side.
The doctor loomed over me and smiled. “How are you feeling miss?” he asked.
“Angry” I replied in anger. “What am I still doing on earth? Who is the unfortunate person who saved my equally unfortunate self from dying?” I spat out despite the difficulty I encountered from talking.
Kelvin looked at me. He did not look hurt, instead he looked very worried. “If you put it that way, I guess I am the fortunate person because it would be highly unfortunate if I allowed such a spectacular person slip from the face of the earth”
“Well, that is so unfortunate” I returned. “You should have minded your own business, because if you have, I would be spared the trauma of staying alive.” As my own words sank in, I began to see the truth in those words. But they would not understand, would they? They would not know that suicide is a great option for me, would they? They would not know that there were times when death is the best option.
I fully looked at Kelvin for the first time, and apart from noticing his handsome features, I noticed that his hair was slightly longer than most men’s, just long enough to envelope my fingers, I thought strangely. A faint smile crossed his face. “I am glad you are checking me out because if you see something you like, you might consider living”
That statement effectively drove my thoughts away from my failed suicide. I raised my brow. “Even if I was checking you out, what makes you think I like what I see uhn? I don’t see anything I feel I should like” I returned cheekily.
Instead of frowning, he actually grinned. “Oh, I am sure you like what you see”
I resisted shaking my head, knowing it would hurt like hell. “You are just too full of yourself if you think so”
“No, sweetheart. The way your fingers twitched when you looked at my hair was a telltale sign that you liked what you saw a lot” he said grinning.
I froze slightly and quickly gave him a blank look. “You are just imagining things”
He smiled. “A really good imagination that must be.”
I sighed and shifted my eyes to the doctor who seemed to have also been infected with the ‘grinning’ disease. I sighed again. “I have seen grinning faces enough to last me a lifetime. It is just ironic that I find nothing substantial enough to grin about” I said in annoyance.
“Watching you are a good cause to grin” Kelvin said before the doctor had his mouth open.
“Absolutely” I exclaimed. “My life is such a terrible heap of mess, if I were not the mess, I am sure I would also be laughing. I don’t blame you guys for doing that”
The smile on their faces wiped out. “You know that is not what I mean” he said seriously.
“Well, it is a delight to see that you are not whining about pain and distress like every other woman in your situation would, and that is why we are smiling. You are interesting to watch, you are almost making me forget my professional etiquettes” the doctor said.
I winced. “You cannot imagine just how interesting I am; my life could make a fantastic movie. In fact, I won’t be surprised if a movie is in the making just because of me” I said as my predicament loomed over me. The smiles on their faces were non-existent again. I looked at Kelvin. “Don’t expect me to thank you for preventing my death because you did not do me a favour, you just succeeded giving me another chance at pain and tears. Don’t worry, I am already used to tears.”
Silence reigned until the doctor cleared his throat and went about his duty, fussing over me like I was puppy in distress. “You are responding well. You should be out of here in another twenty four hours. This should at least calm Kelvin down; he has been glued to you like a second skin”
Although this was no good news to me, I had to blame myself for the haughty way I have been behaving. No matter what my problem might be, these people were at least showing some kindness and I ought to show some gratitude.
“I know what you are thinking” Kelvin said suddenly. “You promised not to thank me and I am holding you to your word. I hate being appreciated, it makes me feel ancient. Now, stop thinking too much”
I blushed slightly, wondering why I always felt on guard and spontaneous with this guy. He always gets me on my toes, ranting like an idiot and saying some things that I don’t really mean. “You don’t have to stay here” I said quietly. “Please go, I would be fine”
He smiled. “I won’t give you a chance to repeat what you did. I am going to make sure that you and your child are protected. Once you get out of here, you are coming with me.” I opened my mouth. “No arguments” he said, silencing me, not with his words but with his look. “If you can’t take care of yourself, I would gladly do that for you. I won’t watch the flower wither before my very eyes” he said quietly, reminding me of the last time I saw him. I swallowed painfully and sighed.
“Bello” Mrs. Bello called softly as she approached her husband in fear. They have not shared a word since the whole confession took place. Mr. Bello did not move a muscle as he read the newspaper. He opened a page and did not even seem to notice the presence of his wife.
“Please talk to me Bello. When would we talk about this? I am sorry” she said in tears.
He remained quiet and she shifted nervously. “Would you ever forgive me?”
He raised his eyes to her and finally opened her mouth and talked. “We are strangers and we would continue to live that way until I am able to get a divorce” Mrs. Bello gasped in shock. “Just tell me something” he continued. “Who did you cheat on me with?” he asked. “Who is Amara’s father? Or are they many?” he asked with a sneer.
She swallowed and took a step back.
“It is Habeeb”
He frowned deeply. “Which Habeeb?”
“Habeeb Sinja; my former driver” she declared.