Jessica was trying to make a pot of porridge for herself, her husband had been left the house as he had to fly immediately to Enugu to view a site so, she was alone for the night. She was so happy, Zach had shown her the true meaning of love at the hospital because all the while she was there, he never really left her side.
“To think that Queen isn’t who I really think she is…mtchewww…she would have made a great friend though but then, what do I know?” She said to herself.
She had just placed the yam on fire and was about to turn on the gas when she heard the doorbell.
“Who is that? At this time of the night?” She hissed as she looked at the clock on the wall of her kitchen which showed that it was about seventeen minutes past seven pm.
She left the kitchen and made a way out to the sitting room, she walked to the door and opened it.
“Jude! What are you doing here?” She asked surprised to see her brother.
“You have to come with me.” He said.
“Come with you? Why? What happened?” She asked, annoyed that her brother was demanding that she follow him.
“Mom is really ill…” He said.
Jessica’s hand flew to her chest and tears sprang to her eyes.
“Mom? What happened….tell me…what happened?” She asked in a panic.
“You just need to come with me now! Everyone is already at the house and she’s asking for you.” He said.
“Wait…lemme go and errmm…turn off the fire…no, on second thoughts, I had not turned on the fire so…let’s go.” She said as she wore her slippers and made to follow her brother.
“Where’s your husband?” Jude asked peeking into the house.
“He…he had to go to Enugu on a site visit.” She said.
“Alright then…come with me.”
Jessica cried as she locked the door to her house and followed her brother out of the house to the place he parked her sister’s car. She got in, wore her seatbelt and said.
“C’mon! Drive…drive…” She said sobbing uncontrollably. “My mom…oh my God, my mom…”
“Calm down, don’t overwork yourself, you know that you just came from the hospital.” He said.
“I know…but mom has been through a lot and now that she has to reap the fruits of all her hard work…she’s ill…” She sobbed.
Her brother didn’t speak
As Jude drove away, all Jessica could think of was how much her mother meant to her.
Lola walked into Ella’s house and was stunned, it was obvious that Ella came from a very wealthy and affluent home.
“Na wetin carry Ella come jam Jacob ehn? Dis one na serious grace to grass ooo…” She whistled in wonder.
“Are you Miss Lola?” A young woman in uniform said to her.
Lola turned to look at the young woman who was obviously a maid in the house and who looked better looking than she did and said.
“Yes, my name na Lola.” She said.
“Please come with me, Miss Tamara will see you at the patio.” She said.
“De party? Una dey do party for hia?” Lola asked.
“No, she will see you at the patio.” The maid said again and walked away while Lola followed her closely.
The maid led Lola to a large veranda where she sat down and waited.
“Would you like something to eat while you wait?” The maid asked.
“Wetin una get for inside?” Lola asked.
“We have tea, coffee…fruit juice…cakes, muffins.”
“Fruit juice.” Lola said and watched the maid walk away. “Na wah for money ooo…even maid wey dey help for house fit to speak proper English.”
Soon, Tamara walked up to the patio and smiled at her.
“It’s so good to see you, Lola.”
“Good evening…ma…” Lola greeted, standing from the chair.
“Please sit…” Tamara said and sat beside her.
“Thank you.” Lola said in gratitude.
“You called me and asked to see me.”
“Yes ma…I wan confess to you wetin I do to ya sister.” Lola said and burst into tears. “I do bad thing ooo…I do bad thing…and I dey try to confess to Ella but she talk say I wan destroy her home.”
Tamara watched her cry and said nothing, she sat silently listened to Lola’s story.
Jessica stepped into her mother’s house and stared at all her family members present.
“Where’s mom? Where’s my mother?” She screamed.
“I’m here Jessica…” Her mother said with a firm voice, she was seated at the far corner of the sitting room.
“But…Jude…Jude said you’re sick.” Jessica said turning to look at her brother who was walking over to take a seat with Evanesa and their eldest sister.
“Sit down Jess.” Nancy, their eldest sister said to Jessica.
“What is going on here? Jude just told me that mom is ill.” Jessica said.
“No, mom’s not ill but Evanesa called every one of us here tonight to speak to us about your husband.” Nancy said.
“Speak to you about who?” Jessica asked in anger.
“Jess, your husband isn’t who you think he is.” Evanesa said with a catch in her voice.
“So, you dragged the issue we were speaking about in the hospital to the house ehn? Why can’t you just stay away from my marriage?” Jessica screamed hotly. “I trust my husband completely! He’s the only one I trust in the whole world.”
“Sit down Jessica.” Nancy said.
“You can’t order me around. I’ll sit down when I want to and if I want to.” Jessica fired.
“Sit down now and listen to what we have to say.” Her mother said, standing up from the chair.
“I can’t believe this…how can you guys lie about mom’s health all because you want me to come for a family meeting?” Jessica asked incredulously. “I’ll pretend like nothing happened and leave this place right now.”
Her mother walked up to her and turned on the recording in Evanesa’s phone. Jessica wanted to speak when the voice of her husband from the recording cut her off. Jessica stood there, listening to the recording and not saying a word when she heard the Zach refer to her as a senile woman, she felt tears rush into her eyes.
“Jessica of course! You know that she’s so irrational and she really has no sense. The fact that I told her family that I wasn’t going to continue that sham of a fake marriage has made her feel very resentful.” Zach was saying.
“Resentful? How would you know that? Have you seen her of recent?” Queen’s voice floated down the phone.
“Of…course…not.” Zach said.
“When was this recorded?” Jessica asked in a hoarse voice.
“Today…this afternoon after he’d dropped you at home.” Jude said. “All these while, your husband has been living two lives, when you and Queen figured it all out, he made up lies to set himself free and continue living his lie. Evanesa and I confronted Queen and luckily, he came to the house when we were there and she hid us in the toilet and recorded the conversation she had with Zach, with my phone.”
“Where is he?” Jessica asked, her voice trembled.
“He’s with Queen at her house, the house where you had the accident.” Her sister responded.
“We lied to you that mom was ill because we knew that if we’d told you that we were had suspicions about your husband, you wouldn’t have listened to us.” Jude said.
Jessica wasn’t listening, her eyes were blinded with rage. She turned around and fled from the house. Her siblings raced after her but she was too fast. As soon as she got outside the gate, she hailed a bike, jumped on it and was off.
Queen was in her son’s room, she had discreetly brought out a big bag and was packing her son’s clothes. She was going to flee with her son, first thing tomorrow morning and never come back. She was going to inform the company that she wanted to be transferred back to Calabar and there, she’d file for a divorce from her husband. She hadn’t told any member of her family what had happened but she knew she would have to tell them sooner or later.
“Honey…are you in there?” Zach’s voice called out.
“The door is locked, can I come in?” He asked as he turned the door knob but it refused to budge.
Queen began to shove the bag into the wardrobe in a panic.
“Did you errrm…take Junior to the toilet? He wanted to pee…” She asked.
“Yes, I did…ages ago…he’s in the sitting room, watching television. I was trying to convince him to go to sleep but he’s refused. I think he’s excited to have me around. What are you doing in there, by the way?”
Queen looked around at the room, the whole place was a mess. The clothes and shoes of her son were on the bed and on the ground too. She had hoped that Junior would have been able to keep her husband occupied, while she packed his things and prepared for their trip out of Lagos.
She was still thinking of what to do and the lies to tell as regards the scattered clothes when the doorbell rang.
“Can you see who’s at the door?” She called out to her husband, thanking the heavens for her ‘being saved by the bell’.
“Sure…but who can be calling at this time of the night?” He asked.
“Just go and see who it is. I’ll soon be out.” She said.
While her husband answered the door, she was able to quickly toss all the clothes and shoes into the wardrobe and when she was done, she unlocked the door to the room and stepped out.
“Zach…” She called out.
There was no answer. She walked out to the sitting room and saw her son standing and staring at something on the ground.
“Junior…where’s your daddy? Who left the door wide open?” She asked referring to the door leading outside the house.
She walked to where her son stood and froze.
Queen couldn’t breathe and neither could she speak. There was a lifeless body on the floor of her sitting room.
When she finally opened her mouth, it was to let out a loud scream.
To be continued….