“How’s my dad doing, doc?” Jason asked anxiously. The doctor sighed as he took his spectacles off and laid it on his desk.
“I’m afraid to say your father’s case has become more complicated than it ought to be.”
“What do you mean?”
“Is his heart failing him?” Susan asked.
“Yeah, it looks like it,” he responded, giving Susan a suspicious look. Susan returned the look with a dark glare. He turned his attention back to Jason.
“It seems whatever triggered this heartache must have been great enough.”
“And you are doing all it takes to save him, right?”
“Of course; but there’s something else.”
“Your father’s system seems to be somewhat…poisoned.”
“Poisoned? How…how do you mean, poisoned?”
“Poisoned in the sense that he has been taking in a great dosage of some dangerous substance over a long period of time that it seems to be slowly killing him.”
“How…how is that possible?”
“Can…anything be done about it?” Susan asked.
“Unfortunately, the chances are almost non-existent. It seems to have reached its terminal stage.”
“Poisoned? I don’t get it. He rarely eats outside.”
“Which obviously means someone has been poisoning him in his own house. Would you have any idea of whom it could be, Mrs. Archer?” the doctor asked, looking at her.
She gave him a tight smile.
“How would I know since I’m as shocked as everyone else? I’d have to find out from the housemaids who are usually in charge of the food.”
“Usually? Does that mean they sometimes don’t handle the food?”
“What are you insinuating, doctor?” Susan asked, her temper flaring up.
“I’m just trying to find out who could possibly be the cause of this atrocity.”
“Well, that is a little out of your league, isn’t it, doctor? I believe it’s the cops’ job. Yours is to make sure you save my husband’s life. Stop trying to play detective here, doctor.”
“Oh it is my business. Since Gordon is my under my care right now, I have the right to know…”
“And would that help cure my husband? If my husband dies under your care…”
“Please stop it, you two! No one is going to die, okay? And please, do all you can to save my daddy’s life. I’ll find out where this poisoning came from,” Jason said and left the office. For a minute, Susan and the doctor glared at each other.
“We both know who’s killing your husband, Mrs. Archer,” the doctor.
“Well, that’s not your business, doctor. Just do your job.”
“When you’ve poisoned him beyond cure?”
“I could sue you for defamation; do you know that, doctor? Well, of course, you’re always cooped up in this office you probably don’t know issues of legality. You make sure my husband gets out of here alive or else, most probably, the innocent one would pay for his death. Have a nice day, doctor,” Susan said a sly grin on her face as she got up. The doctor watched her in amazement as she left the office.
“What was that about, mum?” Jason asked her.
“I wonder; he shouldn’t look after your dad and sister anymore. I don’t trust him.”
“Me too; he seems to be a little paranoid.”
“Let’s go and see how they are doing.”
Stacie was still unconscious and after spending a few minutes with her, they left to Gordon’s room. He was awake.
“Jason…” he said happily when his eyes fell on his son.
“Dad, you’re awake!” Jason said excitedly as he rushed to his side.
“How are you feeling today, dad?” he asked as he took his hand.
“I’m better now, son.”
“I’m glad to see you well, dear,” Susan said. Gordon turned to look at her. They shared a second of intense look.
“Son, could you please give us a minute?”
“Sure; please mum, don’t excite him. His condition is as critical and…”
“I’m aware of your father’s condition, Jason. Don’t worry, I won’t hurt him.”
“I’ll be right outside. If you need anything…”
“How are things at the office?”
“Don’t worry; things are under control.”
“Excuse me,” Jason said and with a squeeze on his dad’s hand, he let go and left the room. Susan sighed and put her bag down.
“Gordon…” She sat on the edge of the bed.
“How dare you, Susan?”
“Oh, please don’t act as if I’ve lost my memories! How could you betray me like this?”
“Listen, your heart is very fragile as at now and I don’t want anything fatal to happen, ok? Why don’t you focus on getting better for now so we can talk about this later?”
“We better talk now because we both know I don’t have much time.”
“Don’t say that…”
“Stop it, Susan! At least, have the decency to confess it.”
“You seem to be pretty excited right now…”
“Let me warn you…don’t touch Jason, Susan.”
“What are you talking about, sweetheart? Jason is my son.” Gordon snorted.
“Jason could never have been born out of a wicked womb like yours.”
“Gordon, now you’re crossing the line.”
“You crossed the line the very day you lied to me, Susan.”
“Don’t do this to me, Gordon. We’ve been through a lot together. I’ve always loved you.”
“Then why am I here?” She looked up at him.
“What do you mean?”
“Do you really want me to spell that out too? The doctor told me what’s going on with me. Why, what did I do to you?”
“That doctor,” Susan murmured.
“I don’t know what the doctor told you but you must believe me Gordon, they are all lies. I’ve no idea why he’s doing this but he certainly is an enemy.”
“Oh, I think I’ve been married to an enemy for twenty years or so.”
“No enemy stays that long, Gordon. You should realize that it is a silly thought.”
“Oh, I know some enemies stay as long as they can so as to get their dirty hands on much of the treasure as they can.”
“Did you just insult me, Gordon?” Susan asked, getting to her feet.
“Oh no I didn’t; I just painted a perfect picture of your mission in my life. Did I leave anything out?” Susan took her bag and looked at her husband straight in the eye.
“You’re going to regret this, Gordon.”
“I already have….having to been married to you.”
Tears filled her eyes as she gazed at her husband for the last time and left the room. Jason noticed the tears in his mother’s eyes.
“Mum, are you okay?”
“Yeah, go and say your goodbye. I need to be somewhere else.”
“What? Aren’t you going to stay by dad now that he’s awake?”
“I would but I can’t. obviously, the doctor doesn’t approve of me being here.”
“That’s ridiculous. I’ll go and talk to him.”
“Jason,” Susan said as she held his arm and stopping him, “that won’t be necessary. I need some fresh air. I’ll definitely come back after a few hours.”
“Okay; let me talk to dad then.” He entered the room.
“Son…there’s something important I need you to do.”
“What is it, dad?”
“I need you to contact my lawyer and tell him to come and see me immediately. If he doesn’t get the chance to, tell him that he should stick to the original will not the recent one.”
“What is it, dad? Why are you talking about wills now?”
“Just make sure you get to him…first.”
“What do you mean?”
“Hurry up, son. You don’t have much time.”
“Okay dad; I’m going to the office. I’ll come and see you later in the day.”
“Okay; take care son.”
“You too, dad,” he said, touching his shoulder.
“How’s Stacie doing?”
“She’s out of danger for now but she’s still unconscious.”
“It was my fault; I distracted her from paying attention when crossing the road.”
“Please don’t blame yourself, dad. It was nobody’s fault. Get some rest.”
“All right; take care.” He left.
The following day, Jason drove over to Jessica’s place after work.
“How are your dad and Stacie doing?”
“They are getting better. I’m a bit worried about dad, though.”
“Why, what is it?”
“He keeps stressing on talking to his lawyer. I’m beginning to have this gnawing feeling and I don’t like it.”
“Don’t worry….Jason, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“Can you believe even the doctor has started making funny insinuations?”
“Like my dad is being poisoned and it’s probable it’s from the house.”
“Huh…I see. How did your mother react to that?”
“She handled it well. Knowing her, I expected her to explode but surprisingly, she didn’t.”
“She was dumbfounded, huh? Yeah, it happens sometimes.”
“Yes, you said you wanted to tell me something.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it. It can wait. Now, what is important to be sure your father and sister are discharged safely and soon.”
“Yeah. My head is pounding.”
“Want a painkiller? It would soothe the pain.”
“I’ll go and get it.”
The next day, when Susan and Jason arrived at the hospital, Stacie had become conscious.
“Hey there, glad to see you awake,” Jason said cheerfully as he leaned forward and kissed his sister’s forehead. Stacie smiled.
“I’m glad too; I’m glad to see you both. Where’s daddy?”
“You mean your ‘boyfriend?’ ” Susan said mockingly. Both Jason and Stacie turned to look at her.
“Well, it seems he’s fighting for his life because of you, dear,” Susan said with a tight smile.
“Mum!” Jason shouted.
“What? What happened to dad?”
“He had another heart attack, Stacie. It seems critical at this point. You see what your silly stubbornness has gotten us.”
“You seriously think this is the time for such talk, mum?” Jason said.
“Dad’s ill because of me?” Stacie asked, her voice trembling; choked with emotion.
“No sweetheart; it was just coincidental. Don’t pay attention to mum,” Jason said soothingly.
“Oh yeah? You were the one with the crazy idea that I was killing your daddy, now who’s the one who put him on the hospital bed, huh?” Stacie started to cry.
“But it’s certainly not Stacie who has been poisoning dad,” Jason spoke up.
“What?” Stacie exclaimed. Susan flinched.
“The doctor diagnosed dad of poisoning which unfortunately has gotten to its critical stage.”
“What kind of poisoning?”
“It’s still unclear. You remember what you told me of the strange taste in dad’s water?”
“What are you insinuating, Jason?” Susan interrupted.
“That you should stop blaming Stacie for dad’s condition because we both know she’s not responsible for it.”
“Ah, I see…you also see me as some witch, right?”
“Whatever happens, I’m still your mother…”
“Get out, mum,” Stacie said coolly.
“Excuse me, what?”
“Just leave me alone, mum. Your presence makes me sick,” Stacie said, tears running down her cheeks.
“Fine; I’m tired of coming here anyways. I guess you’ll be in charge of her now.”
“Please don’t let her see dad,” Stacie said to Jason. Susan turned.
“And why’s that? He’s my husband.”
“Yeah, I think so too; I’m just not ready to lose him yet,” Jason said and walked out of the room. Susan chuckled and wore a sly grin whiles she walked towards Stacie. Stacie flinched and swallowed. Susan brushed the back of her hand against Stacie’s cheek, wiping away a tear.
“You are my daughter, Stacie. Blood doesn’t oppose its own. Whether you believe it or not, your well-being is my utmost priority. I love you and everything I’ve ever done is for you.”
“Jason can take care of himself but you are my responsibility.”
“What kind of mother are you?”
“The best you can ever have.” Susan reached out to touch her daughter’s face again but Stacie pulled away. Jason entered.
“You’re still here?” Jason asked. Susan turned to face him.
“Of course; I was keeping my daughter company till you returned. I wouldn’t want my only daughter to feel lonely, now would I? I’ll be on my way. Take care, Stacie,” Susan said and left the room.
“What else did she say to you?” Jason asked.
“Nothing she said made sense to me. I think she needs help. She seems delusional. Do you think recent events are having an effect on her?” Stacie asked, worried.
“As far as I can tell, mum is in total control of her mental faculties, Stacie. She definitely knows what she’s doing.”
“She’s beginning to scare me,” Stacie admitted. Jason chuckled and touched his sister’s face.
“You are safe with me, okay? No one can touch you.”
“Oh yeah? When I now have to share you with that Jessica woman?”
Jason chuckled again. “It seems you haven’t changed after all.”
“Why, were you expecting me to lose my memories and start liking Jess?”
“That wouldn’t have been bad. Living with you would then be a little more bearable,” Jason said jokingly. Stacie hit his shoulder. He laughed.
Rose opened the door.
“Good day; I’m here to meet Mrs. Archer,” Jessica said.
“Sure; come on in.” She entered.
“Please have a seat,” Rose said.
“Thanks.” When she was about to sit, Susan said, “I can see you’ve arrived.” Jessica hesitated before sitting.
“Obviously I have.”
“You look different. It seems your new job is paying you well. Perhaps you are using your salaries for medication to cure the numerous STDs you have, am I right?” Susan said mockingly. She began descending the stairs.
“Why did you call me here? I’ve work to do.”
“Yeah but I called you here for an equally important matter. As always, I’ll go straight to the point.”
“Preferably,” Jessica muttered, glancing at her watch.
“Since I was the one that initiated you to hang out with my son, I want to officially call it off,” Susan said coolly.
“What do you mean, call it off?”
“Isn’t it simple enough for a brain such as yours to understand?”
“Excuse me, Mrs. Archer but…”
“I want you to stop seeing Jason. Your services are no longer needed.” Jessica stood.
“In case you’ve forgotten, I stopped following your orders long time ago. I am with Jason because I want to.”
“Because he’s the potential heir to his daddy’s estate, right?”
“What kind of woman do you think I am?” Jessica blew back at her.
“The kind of woman who would do anything just to see a note in her hand! I know you, Jessica. I know you more than you think. Don’t push me to do something ugly.”
“Jason and I are in a serious relationship now.” Susan broke into laughter.
“Serious? You perhaps forgot the meaning of the word, huh? Why would Jason in his current status go out with a woman like you? Yeah of course, sex. But why wouldn’t he go for someone cleaner?”
“Stop it!” After a moment of heavy breathing, Jessica added, “I love Jason and he loves me too.”
“He does? Oh really? That’s news to me.” In a flash of a second, Susan’s smile had changed into a scowl.
“Stay away from him before you get hurt, woman,” Susan said and turned to leave. She began to ascend the stairs. Susan followed her.
“I understand that you’re worried that Jason would find out about the two of us but you don’t have to worry about that, Susan. Jason will never know. It won’t be good for me either if he does.” Susan stopped and turned with a tight smile on her lips.
“I appreciate the fact that you’re using your head, Jessica which is quite uncommon. But I don’t want you in his life any longer. That’s my decision,” she said and resumed ascending the stairs.
“I don’t think this is the right time to come between us, Susan. We are bound now.”
Susan stopped and turned. “How do you mean by ‘bound’?”
“I…I’m…expecting his baby.”
“You’re what? That filthy thing in your womb cannot be an Archer! Over my dead body!”
“Maybe it would be then. But I’m going to have this baby and Jason and I are going to live together happily ever after.”
“You realize that it only happens in fairy tales, right?”
Jessica shrugged with a smile. “It’s not wrong to dream, is it?”
“Forget it; you’re not going to have this baby.”
“I’m not going to get rid of it Susan, no matter what you offer me.”
“And who said I was planning on doing that? I wouldn’t even waste my time on that. Go away, Jess,” Susan said and turned. She resumed ascending the stairs.
“Leave Jason alone! You’ve hurt him so much…” Susan turned suddenly and pushed Jessica. Jessica caught off guard, tripped and fell over, falling at the base of the stairs. She fainted. Susan looked at her and a flash of a smile appeared on her face and with a twinkle of an eye it disappeared.