Read Chapter XXXIII here.
With Kukuaa and Ewuresi off to school, Nhyira was the only child at home. Though mother and son grew closer than ever, Bisi couldn’t help but brood over the dream she had had. She kept thinking of how to keep Nhyira far from Constance’s claws. Or maybe it was time Nhyira was told the truth. He was very smart and matured for his age.
Maybe he would understand. What if he didn’t? He’d despise them forever. Worse still, he’ll side with Constance. There was nothing wrong with him getting to know her but she didn’t trust Constance. At all. She could manipulate him to ruin the family. After all, what did she have to lose? Bisi was married with kids; she was single and her child was being raised by someone else. Envy was bound to set in and if she could use her own son to get what she wanted, Bisi’s husband; she would get her dream family. She couldn’t let that happen.
As the three were eating dinner one evening, a thought struck Bisi.
“Nhyira, how would you like to go spend the holidays with your auntie in the States?”
Both father and son gave her a stunned look.
“Well, I figured you’d love to have some fun and explore life outside,” Bisi added, hoping that would take away the puzzled look from their faces but her explanation deepened the look.
“But I want to be here with you. Don’t you want me here?”
“Of course I do, darling. It was just a suggestion. I’m sure your mates go on trips abroad during the holidays. I assumed you wanted same.”
“Not really; I’m happy being here with everyone.”
“Oh okay but in case you change your mind…” Fiifi cleared his throat interrupting Bisi. She glanced at him. He shook his head.
“Sorry for bringing it up.” Dinner ended with an awkward silence. Nhyira went up to his room after helping clear the table.
“So what was that about?”
“I’m sorry, Fii. I know I shouldn’t have sprung it up at dinner like that. I should have discussed it with you first.”
“I’m just wondering where the holidays abroad idea came from in the first place.”
“Well, he is a citizen of…”
“Bisi, just tell me what’s going on in your head.” Bisi sighed.
“Considering the dream I had the last time, I figured keeping Nhyira away from Constance as much as possible was our number one shot.”
“So what, you are ready to send your son away because you feel insecure about Constance?”
“Insecure? I don’t feel insecure about her.”
“Are you sure? This desperate attempt to keep him in hiding is to prevent him from finding out about his real mother and you’re afraid he’ll stop seeing and loving you as his mother and would bond with Constance. Am I right?” Bisi swallowed.
“Can you blame me for feeling like that?” He walked to her and held her hands.
“Come on B, you’re the only mother Nhyira knows. I don’t think Constance would dare come near him. She understood the terms of our agreement and she has been duly compensated. You have nothing to fear.”
“But do you agree sending him abroad could be a practical solution?” Fiifi sighed.
“Well, it could blow up in our faces if he senses that we are driving him out of here. It’d be better if he proposes it himself.”
“Aha! You said you have some business meeting in the States for two weeks or so. You could take him with you!”
“Are you really sure you want to do this, love?”
“It would make me sleep better, Fii. Please…do this for me.”
“Thank you!” She hugged him.
“Nhyira.” Bisi pulled herself out of his embrace as her heart missed a beat. Did he overhear them?
“Just coming for water.”
“Sure.” They watched him open the refrigerator and take out a small sized Voltic bottle. He walked out.
“Do you think he…?”
“I don’t think so. But let’s not raise this topic again. He might not like it.”
Come on B, you’re the only mother Nhyira knows. I don’t think Constance would dare come near him. She understood the terms of our agreement and she has been duly compensated. You have nothing to fear. The words Nhyira overheard bothered him. What was going on? Why was his mother intent on sending him abroad? And who was Constance? Oh yeah, daddy’s friend. How was she involved?
He entered his room and lay on his bed.
You’re the only mother Nhyira knows. He wasn’t adopted, right? They told him he wasn’t. But he was called so when he was younger. What was going on?
Bisi knocked on his door and entered.
“Yeah; a bit tired.”
“Oh okay. Have a good night then and sweet dreams.”
“You too, mummy.” Before she closed the door, he called her.
“I’m not adopted, am I?” Bisi entered the room and switched on the light.
“No, you’re not. Why would you think that?”
“I overheard you and dad talking in the kitchen. I didn’t hear nor understand everything but I sensed it was about my status. Please tell me the truth. I won’t be angry.”
Bisi sat next to him on the bed.
“No, you’re not adopted, my love. You are a Pratt; a true one for that matter. Your father’s blood runs through your veins. Don’t ever doubt that for a second, all right?” she said, touching his chin.
“Do I have yours too? Do I have your blood in me too?” Bisi’s breath got caught in her throat. She had set a trap for herself and she couldn’t find another way to escape it unless she lied.
“I’m your mother, Nhyira and I love you. Even if we didn’t share the same blood, it wouldn’t make you any less my son, okay? I’m sorry about bringing up the holidays abroad. I do enjoy spending time with you now that your sisters are in boarding school. I don’t want you to think I don’t want you here with me. I wished you’d stay here forever.”
“Me too.” They shared a smile and Bisi leaned forward and kissed his forehead. They hugged.
“I love you, dear.”
“Love you too, mummy.”
“Let me not disrupt your sleep any longer. I hope you’ve said your prayers.”
“Good. See you tomorrow, God willing.”
“You too.” Bisi switched off the light and closed the door.
She entered the master bedroom, closed the door and leaned against it, heaving a sigh.
“Are you okay?” Fiifi asked. It took her a moment to regain her composure. She joined him on the bed, sitting astride him.
“Nhyira overheard us in the kitchen. He asked if he was adopted.”
“Oh no. What did you say?”
“That he wasn’t. Then he asked if I was his mother and I told him that I was. He looked convinced.”
“Maybe we should just tell him the truth.”
“It would destroy him. I don’t think the girls would even agree to this.”
“We shouldn’t give him any reason to suspect anything. But how long can we keep this from him?”
“As long as we can. I don’t want his perception of his place in this family to change.”
“Sure; I want that as well.” He touched her face.
“You have no idea how glad I feel to see you this motherly protective over Nhyira,” Fiifi said.
“Well, he is my son. The one I got without having to deliver in a hospital.” They both smiled. He pulled her closer and kissed her.
“Our anniversary is coming up. What do you say to us renewing our vows?” Fiifi asked.
“You want to do that?”
“Yeah; after everything we’ve been through…I mean everything I’ve put you through, I want us to kind of start over. What do you say?”
“Do we get to write our own vows?”
“Huh. If that’s what you want, then that’s what I need.” She kissed him.
Constance read Fiifi’s featured interview in the magazine judiciously like an exam paper. She had to admit that she missed Fiifi and the drama which usually came with hanging around him. She had been a good woman to give Bisi a break to mend her wounds and repair her marriage. But break time was over. She was in the mood for some telenovela drama. It was pathetic that the essence of her life hung around Fiifi. But why not? She gave him a son. Bisi had enjoyed her time with Fiifi enough. It was her turn now. She just didn’t want Fiifi’s attention but her son’s acknowledgement as well.
How to get in touch with him without Fii and Bisi finding out was going to be difficult. But she would have to find a way. She had to.
Nhyira walked out of class after the closing bell had rang. He stopped in his tracks when his gaze fell on Auntie Constance. She was smiling broadly.
“Hello dear. You remember me, right? I was in your dad’s office?” Nhyira nodded, wondering why she was at his school.
“Your dad asked me to come pick you up.”
“Your dad is in a meeting at the moment and he wanted me to come get you so that by the time we get to his office, he’d be done.” Nhyira wasn’t convinced.
“He’d ask the driver to come for me.”
“I am a friend of the family, Nhyira. I’d never do anything to harm you. I’d have called him so you could talk to him yourself but he’s in a meeting but I promise I’ll try and get him on the phone, all right?” She said sweetly and stretched her hand. Nhyira hesitated. His mother had warned him countless times not to follow any stranger. But Auntie Constance was no stranger. He looked at her face. She still wore her broad smile. She wouldn’t hurt him. She was daddy’s friend. He took her hand.
“Good boy. What would you like to have? Ice cream?” He nodded.
“Of course. You’re so your mother’s boy.”
Bisi entered her office to find her phone ringing. It was John, the driver.
“Good day ma’am, have you come to pick up Nhyira?” Bisi frowned.
“No, I haven’t. I’m at the office. Why?”
“When I arrived, Nhyira wasn’t seated at his usual spot. When I asked his teacher, he said he saw some lady coming for him. I thought it was you.” Bisi’s heart missed a beat.
“What do you mean some lady came for Nhyira?”
“Maybe I should call boss. Maybe he sent the lady to come for him.”
“How? He has never done that. No one comes to the school except the three of us. Please call him and let me know what he says. I’m waiting.”
“Yes ma’am.” The call ended. About a minute later, her phone rang again. She answered it after the first ring.
“What did he say?”
“He didn’t pick up.”
“Okay. I’ll call his office. You hold on at the school. I’ll get back to you.” She ended the call and called his office. The secretary picked up.
“Hi. This is Mrs. Pratt. Can you please connect me to your boss?”
“Um…I’m sorry madam but he’s in a meeting and he asked not to be interrupted.”
“This is urgent. Tell him I need to speak with him now.”
“Yes ma’am. Please hold.” A few moments later, Fiifi’s voice came to the line.
“Fii, did you per chance send someone to pick up Nhyira from school today?”
“No. John is supposed to go for him today. Why, what’s up?”
“Nhyira’s teacher just told John some lady came for him.”
“I have no idea. Could this some prank someone is playing on you at the office?”
“No one would dare play such a prank knowing very well he would not only get fired but sued as well. Busy at the office?”
“I was just finishing up. Wil you be done with your meeting soon?”
“I have to adjourn it. It would be inconvenient but I have no choice. You go home. I’ll rush to the school and find out what is going on.”
“Okay. I’ll tell John to wait for you.”
“Okay. Don’t worry about it too much. Hopefully he’ll return to the grounds soon.”
“Hope so too. Talk to you soon, Fii.”
“Yeah, love you.” He ended the call.
Bisi didn’t know whether to stay calm or freak out. Where was he? How was he doing? What if his heart acted up? Who would take care of him? God, please look over my son and bring him back to me, she prayed.
“Have a seat, Nhyira.”
“I thought you said you were taking me to dad’s office.”
“He said he’ll come and pick you up from here. Would you like something to eat?” He shook his head. He began to feel that he made a poor decision following her.
“Okay. There’s something I need to tell you before your daddy comes. Sit down.” He sat down. She sat down and stared at the boy. He was so innocent. He didn’t deserve to be dragged into his parents’ fight but this was the only way it was going to work. But how was she to start? She swallowed.
“The thing is…”
(c) Josephine Amoako 2016
Read Chapter XXXV here.