James was furious. He charged towards Alice and suddenly pulled back. He snarled at her, “Who did you call a prostitute? Kiki?”
Then, his face transformed from anger to something Alice couldn’t just make out. “Gawd, I love that woman! If she agreed to marry me, I would have kicked you out of the house long ago,” he said.
Alice stared at him, mouth agape.
“Oh, you’re in love with your brother’s wife? Are they aware? If you had married her, she would still have gone to a real man to make her a mother.
Anyway, I didn’t set out to try another man. You pushed me out, an unscheduled tumble in the hay made all the difference…”
Alice realised she had gone too far. James had left home and hadn’t been seen in four days.
Things are getting clearer for James. He doesn’t want to believe what his mind is telling him.
If his wife is disturbed about anything, who does she run to? Who does she confide in?
His belly churns. He turns to the bottles and made them his comforter.
Dave had asked James for Kathryn’s car keys the day they left the hospital.
There’s no point pretending anymore. He had asked James how it got into his hands and he gave some lame excuse.
In the spirit of the season, Dave had not pushed further.
But James had worried about his supposed son, David. He visited Dave in the office one day after more than enough alcohol in his system.
“Bro, there’s something that has been bothering my mind for a long while. I’ve been wondering who made me a father,” he had said and Dave stiffened.
Dave was tired of living the lie. He had been discussing it with Alice and she agreed that they should manage the issue very well.
She felt sorry for James. She was ready to forgive him for everything he had done wrong. “Do you suspect anybody?” Dave asked.
“Yes bro…you! I suspect you’ve been stealing from me! The bitch! Do you know she’s a prostitute just like your wife? I loved your wife, I still do. She’s such a good lay, a pity she’s into that trade. We could have married…”
James stopped abruptly. “Gawd! What has he done? Oh no! Dave stared at him and asked, “What did you just say?” Within him, he didn’t know exactly what he meant. James sat down hard on the table. “Bros, I didn’t set out to tell you this.
But since I’ve said it, there’s no point denying it. So, you slept with my wife and got her pregnant?
I have a choice to call family members together and tell them this, but I will also be revealing to the world that I’m not fertile.
Very few brave men will do that and unfortunately, I’m not one of those few men. I don’t have the balls to say that. I have thought about it for long. My wife didn’t go out of the family. My blood runs in David. I’m accepting him as mine.
Thank you for hiding my shame. I really don’t feel as bad as I had felt before.
I contemplated suicide, I nearly killed Alice for this, but now, I think I want to go back to my wife. You know what? We’ve always betted on who will have a son first, I win, because I have a son before you. The rivalry between our fathers continues.”
Dave sat, stone faced. Was it a dream or reality? He shook his head and the thought remained. He picked his car keys and left for home.
Kathryn had found it difficult to sleep since she had a heart to heart with Alice two days earlier.
They had been talking everyday on the phone since they got home from the hospital. Somehow, no matter the problem, they realised that the bond of friendship was strong between them.
She remembered the blood oath they took years ago, before she was admitted into the nocturnal business. Alice gave her protection and made her a bonafide member in their business locality.
They were together in Alice’s house two days ago and the issue of David’s paternity came up again. Alice had look her in the eyes and told her, “Sis, there are secrets you can’t hide forever, especially, when the facts are there, staring you in the eyes.
This is one of those secrets. I met your husband many, many years ago, before I got into the university.
He helped me into the university. We became lovers but lost contact when he graduated. We met again many years after, when James introduced me to him. We became very close but we were not lovers. We didn’t set out to make love.
This pregnancy was actually a mistake. I had gone to him to complain about James’ attitude. I was emotionally unstable that night.
Funny enough, he was too because the woman he loved and wanted to marry wasn’t encouraging him. By the time I got to his house, he was high on spirit.
Our mating then was two drunks’ way of wishing away their respective sorrow…by the way, I got to know that the woman that made him get drunk was you. So dear sister, here I am, you can kill me if you want.”
Kathryn felt like she would faint. “No sis, tell me it’s a lie!” Kathryn shouted. But alas, that’s the gospel truth. Kathryn wondered if she could face her husband with that piece of news.
Dave was livid with rage. He stormed into his living room with bloodshot eyes. James had been sleeping with his wife? And they pretended to hate each other? NO! Kathryn was playing with Angel, their baby.
She looked up when Dave entered and the smile froze on her face. Dave took some long strides and was before her before she could get herself together. He took the baby from her and smacked her so hard on the face that she sprawled on the ground, tasting blood.
“So, you and James had been making a fool of me? He was sleeping with you all these while and you pretended you couldn’t stand each other?”
He smacked her the second time and she saw stars. She stood up, blood on her face. “If you raise your hand to touch me again, I’ll carve your face and scrotum with a kitchen knife, I swear,” she said quietly. Dave stepped back.
That was a street voice. Whoever has such a voice is street savvy. Kathryn was grateful that Alice had confessed to her.
“Whoever told you that is right. I couldn’t have told you that because I didn’t want to kill your spirit. I didn’t hide my past from you but you didn’t ask me to list my patrons for you. That was my past.
The present is that you slept with my sister, your brother’s wife, and she’s had a son for you,” she said icily. “You knew all this while,” he said, slumping into a chair.
“Yes, I knew. I suggest we each live with our secrets, unless you want the whole family to hear about it,” she replied. Dave nodded, the thought of family members getting to hear about this abominable act gave him a migraine. That was about a month ago.
The guilt is becoming unbearable for Alice. She had thought she could live peacefully with her secret. But is it possible? No! James is back home, so it appears, and there’s seeming peace.
They seldom talk to each other when they are alone in the house though. Of recent, James always has reasons to be out of the house. At times, he may not come back for three nights in a row.
Mercifully, there’s the nanny, so Alice has company everyday except nanny’s off days. David is three months old and is just a mini copy of Dave. Everyone who sees him marvels at the resemblance.
Mercifully, they all believe that Alice’s son took after his grandpa. On this particular day, the nanny has gone to the market to pick up a few things needed in the house. Alice is alone with David in the house. James has not returned to the house in two days.
Of course, he calls when he feels like and asks after David. As the doorbell chimes, Alice thinks it’s the nanny that is back.
She goes to open the door, only to see James standing at the door. “Oh…thought you have your keys with you,” she says, smiling.
She has accepted the fact that he can come and go as he wishes. She makes sure there’s food in the house for him whenever he comes in. Since she has not started going for her business, she’s always been home, unless she takes the baby to the hospital.
“Lemme get a meal for you,” she says and disappears into the kitchen. “Where’s the nanny? Why is David crying?” he asks, picking him up from the couch. “Nanny went to the market. David wants attention. Will feed him after getting your food,” she replies.
“No, feed him first. My food can wait,” he says. “I fed him now. He’s not hungry, he simply wants attention,” she says, wondering why he’s sounding so nice.
After eating, Alice clears the table and washes the plates in the kitchen. David is sleeping peacefully in the room. As she turns, James is standing at the kitchen door.
“Come to me, my honey,” James says in a cool, calm voice. Alice takes a few hesitant steps and he pulls her into his arms. “Honey, thank you for giving me a son.
My blood runs in him. I know you tangoed with Dave. I ain’t gonna kill you over it. I’ve accepted my son, David. Fortunately, Dave gave me the weapon to nail him.
We’ve always had a bet on who would have a son first, he made me win him…funny right?
“I need you my honey. Right now, I feel the way I felt when I first met you.
Hope you’re healed enough because I want you to twerk your hips for me. I’ve missed you so much, my love,” he says, kissing her all over.
He picks her up and carries her to the bedroom.
Hmmmmmmmmmm…can we say all is well that ends well?
My dear readers, thank you for being with me on this very long ride. It can only get better.
Send your observations to: julietbumah@ gmail.com