Jessica stepped out of her house and walked towards the cab waiting for her in front of the house. As she opened the door to the back seat, she noticed a black car with tainted windows parked across the street. She ignored it and sat in the cab. It drove away. The cab pulled up in front of a supermarket and she got down. She entered.
About half an hour later, she came out holding two bags. She opened the door and put the bags inside. She saw the same car parked about 50 feet away. She felt a bit frightened. The one in the black door started the engine and drove away. Jessie stared at the car as it drove past. She sat in the cab and the driver took off. Jessie took her phone and dialed a number.
“Hi baby, how are you doing?”
“I’m fine, Jay. Could you pass by my place after work today?”
“Sure; was intending to do so anyway. Is anything wrong?”
“I’m not really sure…we’ll talk when you come over, okay?”
“Take care, bye,” She said and hung up.
Stacie came downstairs to meet her mum working on her laptop.
“I’m going out, mum. I will soon be back,” She said, walking towards the door.
“And may I know where you are going to?” Susan asked, her eyes still on her PC.
Stacie stopped. “I’m going over to my friend’s place. Don’t worry, I’ll be back way before dinner.”
“I see; I need you to do something for me.”
“I need you to pick up something for me.”
“At my seamstress’.”
“Mum? That’s very far from here. And it’s past 2p.m. I wouldn’t be able to… Besides, why don’t you send the driver to do that for you?”
“Because I want you to do that. Why, is it a bother?”
“You’ve never asked me to do this for you. It is one of the driver’s usual routines, so why do you want me to do it this time around?”
“You’ve never been this reluctant to run an errand for me before so why the change in attitude? Where are you going to?”
“Please don’t go there, mum.”
“You’re not going to that pregnant slut to massage her swollen feet, are you?”
“Stop it, mum; stop raining insults on Jessie. She doesn’t deserve them, you know.”
“What else can I do when she almost caused you to miss out on your exam paper?”
“You know mum, you were the one who brought her into our lives so you should deal with it. Jessie is a part of our lives now whether you like it or not so the earlier you get used to it, the better.”
“You don’t owe her your attention, Stacie. She isn’t married into our family. She doesn’t deserve to be a part of our family.”
“But you thought she deserved the role to destroy your son. Now that she failed to do your bid, I believe she strongly deserves to be part of your son’s life. You’ll soon be a granny, mum. I believe that should tell you, you are growing old. Isn’t that a sign that you should mend your ways before you head to the grave?”
“Will you shut up? How dare you talk to me like that?”
“Does it scare you? Haha… the mighty Susan Archer is scared of the grave. I’ve to be on my way now. See you…”
“I am serious about you picking up my things at my seamstress’. I’ve called her to tell her you are on your way.”
“Fine.” Stacie left the house.
“What do you want to talk about, Jessie? You sounded a bit nervous over the phone,” Jason said as he sat down.
“I think I’m being followed.”
“What? Where are you getting that thought from?”
“I’m serious, Jason. I saw a black car parked across the street in front of my house before I set out to the supermarket and when I came out of the supermarket, that same car was parked a few feet away. As I stared at it, the driver took off.
“Did you take note of the license plate?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Then you can’t be fully sure that about that, my dear. There are a lot of black cars in our city. It could be a mere coincidence.”
“What if it’s not, Jason? what if someone is watching me?”
“For what? You are not seeing a married man, are you?”
“That’s not funny, Jason.”
“I’m just saying, what other reason could merit someone spying on you?”
“You know Susan is more than capable of doing such a creepy thing like this.”
“Come on, why would mum spend time and money to spy on you?”
“She realizes we are back together and she wants any little thing to prove once again that I’m not good enough for you. Can’t you see, Jason?”
“And she’s not likely to find anything, right?”
“That’s not my point, Jason…”
“Listen, I understand that in your condition, you are prone to insinuations and…”
“I am not insinuating, Jason! I am being very serious here and you’re not listening to me!” Jessica cried out as she got onto her feet.
“Okay, okay….you’re being serious. I just don’t want you to be in an anxious mood as it could affect our baby.”
“Great. Could you just confront your mother about it?”
“What? You want me to confront mum without tangible evidence? God has blessed us with peace for some time now and you want me to cut it short? You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“So you’re never going to defend me in front of your mother?”
“What? Haven’t I?”
“When mum revealed your real intention of dating me at first, didn’t I stick with you?”
“Uh huh and when your mum brought up this silly idea of a paternity test and declared it negative, did you stand by me?”
“Excuse me, point of correction: mum didn’t declare the results of the paternity test. The doctor did so keep my mum out of this.”
“Gosh, sometimes I feel I’m always going to come second after your mum. You think of her more you do me.”
“With a good reason, Jessie; my mum has the power to ruin me whenever her heart desires.”
“Then you should be man enough to stand up to her and let her know what you want in life.”
“You know sometimes, parents just want the best for their children…”
“Excuse me, are you trying to imply that your mum trying to break us apart is probably what is best for you?”
“I’m not implying anything here, Jessie; I was just…”
“You know what? Just leave, okay? It was pointless talking to you about this. Stacie would obviously have been a better option.”
“Yes of course; because Stacie can stand up to our mum without fear unlike me, huh?” Jason asked, standing up.
“Isn’t the answer obvious?”
“Fine; I’ll ask mum about it.”
“Don’t bother. I think it’s about time you left.” He stared at her.
“Take care of yourself.”
“I always have.” He walked out of the house.
Jason arrived home and threw himself on the couch.
“Hard day at work, huh?” Susan asked.
“Yeah, you could say that. Where’s Stacie?”
“She went out….she’ll be back soon.” Jason reached out and took the filled glass on the table. He gulped it down and put it back on the table.
“You must be hungry.”
“Yep.” The door opened and Stacie came in. She slammed the door after her as she stormed inside.
“Oh…oh, I’m in trouble now,” Susan murmured.
“What was that for, mum? Why did you send me to the other side of town for nothing? Your seamstress told me you picked up your stuff three days ago!” Stacie fumed.
“Oh my bad…yeah, I forgot I did that. I’m sorry…but I hope you enjoyed your trip there,” Susan said mockingly.
“It’s so not funny, mum! You disrupted my day and it yielded to nothing!”
“I’d rather have you driving all the way to the Arctic than to have you visit that witch!”
“So is that why you sent me on a wild goose chase, huh? My gas tank is almost empty.”
“That’s negligible. I’ll refill it for you.”
“You’re unbelievable sometimes.”
“Now that we are on the topic, may I ask you a question, mother?”
“Sure son, anything.”
“You haven’t by any means been spying on Jessica, have you?”
“What? Mum! Why are you harassing her like that?”
“What? Why would you even suspect me of a lowly deed like that?”
“Because apparently, that’s the only thing you’ve been doing for some time now,” Stacie thought aloud.
“Excuse me?” Susan asked.
“You haven’t answered me, mum,” Jason chipped in. Susan looked at him.
“Why would I waste my money on a tramp like her? Are you seeing her again, Jason?”
“And what if I am?”
“You are such a silly brat, Jason! I offered my help to get rid you of such a dangerous pest and you go running back to her like a dog!”
“Are you calling me a dog, mum?”
“Anyway, to your question; no, I’m not spying on that woman. I’ve better things to do with my money.”
“I hope so,” Jason said as he got up.
“I am starving,” Stacie said as she started the stairs. Susan chuckled triumphantly.
Jessie was munching on a slice of an apple when her phone rang. She took it.
“Hello.” There was no reply. “Hello, who’s there?” No reply.
“If you’ve nothing to do with your time, I do, okay? Don’t call this line again!” Jessica said and hung up.
Susan chuckled as she put the phone down.
“What’s so funny?” Stacie asked as she approached her.
“Nothing; it was just one of my friends.”
“I see,” she sighed as she threw herself on the couch.
“Please don’t break my couch. If you’re frustrated, let it out on something else.”
Stacie gave her mum a puzzled glance.
“And who said I’m frustrated?”
“Aren’t you? You act as if you are suffocating.”
“Maybe I am. What else can I do when you do all you can to keep me locked in this house.”
“This house is very big and thus airy, my dear. You should have seen where you-know-who used to live before I gave her shelter. You would pass out after a minute,” Susan said scornfully.
“And that woman from that filthy slum is carrying your grandchild, mum. Please cut her some slack.”
“I will if she leaves our lives forever.”
“That won’t be anytime soon, mother.”
Jessica opened the front door. She gasped in shock when her eyes fell on the sly grin on Susan’s face. She stepped back.
“Thank you,” Susan said as she entered. She looked around.
“Hmmm…. I can see nothing has really changed since I got you this place. You have kept this place very well.” Jessie closed the door.
“What are you doing here, Susan?”
“What do you mean? I came to see my place to see if it is still in good shape or if it needs some renovation.”
“And why is that?” Jessica asked suspiciously.
“Because I’m going to sell it.”
“What?” Jessie touched her belly as she squinted in pain.
“It’s mine, remember? I don’t see why I shouldn’t sell it now that it’s of no use to me.”
“I live here, Susan.” Her breath began growing short.
“And how does it benefit me? You are lucky that I came here to inform you or else you would have woken up one morning to see all your things thrown out.”
“And why do you want me out of here?”
“Isn’t it obvious? I need to retrieve the money I paid for this place now that it serves me no longer.”
“Have you told Jason about this?”
“Is Jason the owner of this house? Don’t make me change my mind.” Jessie sat down slowly. Susan turned to face her.
“What is this silly thing I’m hearing, that you’re suspecting me of spying on you? Why the hell would I do that?”
“Are you saying you don’t have a hand in it?”
“Why would I? What else could you do in your condition that I don’t know of? Sleeping, eating, calling my daughter to wash your dirty dishes, what else? And I’m here to warn you to stay clear of my daughter. When I came to you, I needed you in Jason’s life and not my daughter’s!”
“Jason is also your son.”
“Oh, doesn’t he wish that?” Susan sneered.
“I don’t want you putting ideas into my children’s heads, Jessie. You’ve made me regret bringing you here so much that it makes my heart hurt. If only I had chosen someone with class, I wouldn’t be having this kind of a headache.”
“Have you playing prank calls on me?”
“Seriously? What do you take me for, an aimless widow who doesn’t know what to do with her time?”
“What do you do with your time except to cause trouble?” Jessie asked back.
“Excuse me? You dare to badmouth me in your condition? You know I could cause you to lose your baby this minute, right?”
“Yes…but you won’t succeed. You’ve always wanted this baby dead….and you made it so clear when you pushed me down the stairs.”
“Isn’t that the more reason why you should watch what you say at such a critical stage?”
“Leave this minute, Susan. You don’t want to be charged with murder,” Jessie said as she tried to suppress the pain she was feeling.
“And who’s going to charge me, you? Do you think anyone will believe the word of a woman with such a questionable past who is even indirectly running from the law?”
Jessie glanced at her in surprise.
“Oh yes, I know of the man you accidentally killed with an empty bottle some years back.”
“He was going to rape me!”
“It still doesn’t make it any less of murder, my dear. So you see, no matter what happens, I hold the cord that makes your life. I can cut it whenever I damn well please so if you do cherish what is left of it, disappear.”
“With Jason’s baby?”
“It’s not his! The results confirmed it!”
“Your results, you mean?”
“This baby does not and will never have a place in our family….never. So the earlier you go and look for the real father, the better for both of you. Have a good day,” she said and started towards the door.
“Susan…” Susan turned.
“Could you take me to the hospital?”
“Huh? Was that your idea of a joke or were you being stupid?”
“I’m begging you….my tummy really hurts.” She groaned.
“And what makes you think I’ll do that?”
“You’re a mother. I believe you understand my pain.” Susan stared at her and sighed in frustration.
“Why did I even come here in the first place?”
“I believe to cause me to deliver prematurely and guess what, you succeeded; please, Susan….” Susan sighed again.
“Fine, whatever. I could smash the car into a tree and blame it on the faulty brakes,” Susan said sarcastically as she walked to her and helped her up.
“Gosh, you are heavy. Are you carrying twins?”
“No, I’ve just been eating well; thanks to Stacie who prepares all those wonderful dishes for me,” Jessie said teasingly with a wink. Susan shot a dark glare at her.
“Stacie cooks for you? She has never cooked for me! She doesn’t know how to hold a kitchen knife!”
“That was true; but I taught her and I must say she’s a very good student.”
“Are you sure you want me to take you to the hospital. I could drop you here and now and I’d return home with a merry heart.”
“I know.” Jessica sat in the car. Susan closed the door and went to sit in the car. She drove off.
“Slow down, Susan. You’re making me dizzy.”
“Why do you think I’m speeding, huh? I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
“You’ll be such a perfect granny for my son.”
“Just shut up already.”
The car pulled up in front of the hospital and Susan got out.
“Can we get a stretcher please? I’ve a pregnant woman with me!” A stretcher was brought and Jessica was rushed inside.
A doctor came out of the ward and approached Susan.
“It is you again,” the doctor said.
“What do you mean?”
“You mean you don’t remember me? I am the doctor who attended to your husband before he died,” He said, offering his hand. Susan stared at his hand and glanced at him.
“The one who made my husband die?” He chuckled.
“You seem to forget that he was dying due to poisoning. I remember quite clearly when Gordon had his first heart attack here….it was because of you. What did you do to that young lady here for her to have premature contractions?”
“Excuse me? I’m no killer.”
“If that helps ease your conscience. So, does your daughter know?”
“Does she know why her father was admitted in the first place?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Who her father is.” Susan’s face got drained of blood. She became pale as she opened her mouth in shock. The doctor chuckled.
“You didn’t think I’d ever forget that incident, huh? Because of you, a great man like Gordon died in my arms. I wouldn’t let you do the same with that young lady.”
“Now you listen to me doctor, you don’t want to enter my bad books. Just take care of her and don’t use that tone on me ever again.” She turned to leave.
“Where are you going? We need your consent to operate on her.”
“I’m not responsible for her. Call her whatever,” She said and walked away.
“Is there anyone you want us to call for you?” the doctor asked Jessie.
“Why, where is Susan?”
“You really expected her to stay?” the doctor wondered.
“Well, she brought me here. Okay, call me Jason.”
“Give me his number.” He wrote it down.
“I’ll get him for you.”
Jason picked up the phone when it rang.
“Mr. Archer, this is doctor…”
“Doctor? Is Jessie there with you?”
“Yes….we need your consent for…”
“Why is she there? Who brought her there?”
“Yes…but we need…”
“So is she still there?”
“No, she left. That is why we need your consent to operate…”
“Operate, her time is not up yet.”
“Well, something has triggered the timing. I won’t be surprised if your mother had something to do with it.”
“I’ll be right there, okay? Thank you,” He said and hung up. He rushed out of the office.
“What was mum doing at your place, Jessie?” Jason asked.
“To do what she knows how to do best…,” Jessie replied with a tight smile.
“She didn’t hurt you, did she?”
“No, not physically though.” She groaned.
“What did she want?”
“To tell me she’s going to sell the house I’m living in.”
“She owns it; don’t mind her, she just wanted to get on my nerves. Ah…” She groaned.
“It’s getting more frequent. We need to operate on her now.”
“Will the child survive?”
“Sure….it’s just a few weeks premature. It will be fine. We just have to monitor the child.”
“All right; go ahead. I’ll be here,” He said, holding her hand.
“Let’s do it, doctor.”