Read Chapter XLVIII here.
“Hang in there, Nhyira. We’ll be there soon,” Bisi said as Nhyira continued to writhe in discomfort at the back seat. Bisi glanced at her mirror to see if Constance was following her. She didn’t see her. She shook her head.
“Mother of the year indeed,” she muttered. She arriving at her doorstep at the exact moment when Nhyira had started to suffer a tummy ache was too much of a coincidence. But she couldn’t think about that now. She had to get Nhyira medical help. She hoped it was nothing serious.
Bisi called Fiifi and informed him of what had happened after the nurses had wheeled Nhyira away to take a look at him. Fiifi told her he was on his way. She saw Constance coming in as she ended the call. Bisi couldn’t help but watch her in a stunned way. She was strutting as if she had entered a party ground and expected everyone to be awed by her presence. Was she even concerned about her son?
“What did the doctor say?” she asked when she stopped in front of her.
“He is still being attended to. No update yet.”
“Called Fii yet?” She asked casually, unlocking her screen.
“Yes, I have.”
“Good; he should be here. I should have called him first to tell him what you were trying to do to our son.” Bisi chuckled. She wasn’t going to be riled up. She wasn’t going to stoop low to her level. Here she was, acting as if she was the boss chick, the mistress her husband can’t do without. But she was Mrs. Pratt and she was going to play the part and keep her cool. She can act up solo if she wanted to.
She thought of calling Kukuaa but she knew she had some rounds to make with Aaron. The wedding plans were put on hold when her father suffered an accident and were only resumed after he was discharged. Telling her about this would put a dent in her plans. Hopefully, Nhyira would be given some drugs and can return home with her. No one needed to get worked up about this.
She sighed. She couldn’t believe she was back at the hospital just a few weeks after Fiifi had left there. God, protect my family, she prayed.
She glanced at Constance who was scrolling her phone screen lazily and chewing gum in a rather dramatic way. She couldn’t help but shudder a little. When will you take this thorn away from me? She asked voicelessly as she glanced upwards.
My grace is sufficient for you; my strength is perfected in your weakness, she heard a voice in her head.
So she had to deal with her for the rest of her life? That was a recipe for a premature death for sure. She had the tendency to drive anyone crazy.
The doctor walked up to Bisi.
“You’re here again, Mrs. Pratt.”
“Looks like it, doctor. How is he doing?”
“Not too good. Whatever he ingested must have been very potent. What did he eat last?”
“Um…we were having rice with beef sauce.”
“What did he have before that?” Bisi glanced at Constance.
“Did Nhyira take anything when he came over?”
“No, he didn’t. He was in a hurry,” Constance lied.
“We’ve given him some drugs to help ease the pain. Let me take you to him.”
Mother and baby mama followed the doctor.
He seemed to be sleeping.
“We gave him a sedative. Hopefully when he awakes, the pain would have subsided,” the doctor explained.
“Okay; thanks doctor.” The doctor took a look at Constance.
“Are you related to the family?” He asked.
“Me? I’m his mother.” He glanced at Bisi to verify that.
“Long story,” she said in a bored tone.
“I have to check up on another patient. I’ll be right back.” He left.
Bisi felt Nhyira’s forehead.
“He looks like he’s going to be okay,” Bisi said with a sigh of relief.
“He better be. Is Fiifi coming any time soon?”
“Why, you have somewhere better to be?”
“What if I have?”
“What could be more important than by the side of your son?”
“Aww…as if you’re willing to share the status. I know you’ve got this covered.”
“You have no idea how to mother a child, do you Constance?”
“Well I wasn’t given a chance, was I? Maybe I should call Fiifi and find out where he is.”
“You better not call my husband. You have no right.”
Bisi’s phone rang. It was Fiifi. She answered it.
“Hey…are you here?”
“Yeah, where are you?”
“Stay at the entrance. I’ll come get you.” She ended the call.
“I’ll be back.” She walked out. Constance looked at Nhyira’s sleeping face.
“Sorry about that, baby. Your momma needs a little money. You’ll be fine, okay?” She whispered, giving his hand a squeeze.
Fiifi and Bisi came in.
“I’m told you came by my house today.”
“Yeah, I was returning Nhyira’s phone.”
“Can I have it?” Bisi asked. She gave it to her.
“Because of her, Nhyira wouldn’t even sit down to talk with me. And look at where he has ended up. If something happens to him…”
“Will you shut up?” Fiifi ordered. “Nothing is going to happen to him.”
“How do you know? What if she put something in his food?”
“Are you out of your mind? What does she stand to gain by doing that?”
“She wants only her daughters to enjoy your wealth, that’s why. That’s a clear motive right there.”
“If that’s all you have to say, then I suggest you leave, Constance. We don’t need your negative energy around here.”
“You have to pay me for that.” Fiifi and Bisi gave each other a puzzled look.
“If you want me to leave without making a scene or telling the world of your wife’s diabolical plan, then you have to pay for my silence.”
“Are you trying to extort money from us for no tangible reason?” Fiifi asked.
“Didn’t you hear the motive I just spoke of? You two have more to lose if this is to get out. All this while, you’ve painted the perfect family picture. Maybe it’s about time the world saw the skeletons you’ve been hiding in your closet for so long.”
“You’re unbelievable,” Bisi said.
“I’m expecting my cheque early tomorrow or else…don’t let me ruin the surprise for you. You’ll discover a whole new definition of shocked.” She glared at both of them and walked out. Both of them followed her with their eyes.
“Is she serious?” Bisi asked.
“Bluffing. She must be in need of money but I’m not going to be her puppet. Come here.” He hugged her.
“Where’s Ewuresi? Why didn’t you come with her?”
“She has some things to wrap up at the office. Let’s go and see the doctor.”
Kukuaa and Ewuresi couldn’t believe their trips to the hospital weren’t over.
“So what’s the doctor really saying?”
“He isn’t very certain about what the problem is; he doesn’t believe it’s poisoning as Constance claims,” Bisi said.
“And you say she appeared just when Nhyira had the tummy ache?”
“Yeah, apparently, he went there before coming home. He had left his phone and she was bringing it.”
“Then it must have been something she gave to him to eat. You ate the same food with him and you’re fine.”
“She says he didn’t take anything.”
“And you’re taking her word for it? The only one who can confirm that is Nhyira. I hope he’ll be conscious tomorrow so we can ask him.”
“Yeah, me too. Gosh, I’m so tired.”
“And she asked for money,” Fiifi added. “To keep her quiet.”
“What makes her think she has leverage?” Kukuaa asked.
“I have no idea.”
“Wow dad, of all the women in Accra, you had to go for queen of crazy to be your baby mama, huh?” Kukuaa teased.
“Next time, I’ll be more cautious.”
“Next time?” They all chorused. He laughed.
“I was only joking.”
“Not funny, dad.”
Constance lay on her bed, thinking. She couldn’t wait for dawn to break so she could get her money. She just hoped Nhyira wouldn’t have recovered by then to thwart her plans. The man had assured her that it wasn’t fatal. He will be fine by late afternoon, she hoped. But what if they were acting stubborn? What could she do? If they knew how desperate she was, they wouldn’t try poking her.
Constance arrived at the hospital to find Bisi and Fiifi already there. They had a grim look on their faces as they listened to the doctor.
“It’s a bit unsettling why he isn’t waking up. His bloodstream doesn’t seem to be having any traces of anything toxic according to our primary results but we are doing more tests. We can only hope for the best.”
“So no diagnosis for sure?”
“Let’s wait for the next results, ma’am.”
He excused himself and left.
“I take it that he’s not getting better, huh?” Constance asked.
“Did you pray for him to get better, dear mother?” Bisi asked.
“Of course, I did. But it seems whatever you gave him was very powerful. So, do you have my cheque or what?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Constance,” Fiifi said.
“Do you want me to go out and tell the world that your wife tried to kill our son, your heir?”
“What proof do you have of that?”
“What better proof do you need than this?” She asked, pointing to Nhyira.
“The doctor’s report doesn’t confirm your allegation.”
“You don’t want to risk what I’m capable of doing to you both. Just twenty thousand and I’ll lay my allegations to rest,” she said coolly.
“Come on Fii, it’s not like you can’t afford it. I’m sure that’s how much your daughters spend on buying shoes. And I hear one of them is getting married. I can’t imagine the budget for a Pratt wedding.”
“You’re not getting a pesewa out of me. Why are you trying to benefit from your son’s pain?”
“If you’ve been in my shoes, you’d know that you take advantage of every situation. Do you know how many people make money out of the war in the Middle East?”
“Oh so you’ve been listening to the news. That’s good; maybe you should read the newspapers too. There are a lot of vacancies for people like you in need of a second chance.”
“Why should I work when my son is a rich heir?” Bisi chuckled.
“I’m serious. You won’t be laughing if I launch my attack on you, Mrs. Pratt. So, am I getting my cheque?”
“All you’re getting is the sight of us walking away,” Fiifi said.
“You better take this deal, Fii or the next time we’ll be having this conversation it will be double that and I won’t take anything less.”
“Oh there won’t be a next time.” Bisi noticed Nhyira shaking.
“Nurse! Something is wrong!” The nurse called the doctor and the three were asked to wait outside.
What was going on, Constance wondered. He wasn’t getting worse, was he?
“He was having a cardiac arrest. He does have a condition with his heart, right?”
“What? Yeah but he’s been managing it all this while. I don’t even remember the last time he had a crisis,” Bisi said.
“He’s stable for now. We’re going to do all we can to get him better. But for the meantime, do your prayer thing, Mrs. Pratt. Your husband is here because of that.” Bisi nodded.
“Thanks, doc.” He walked away.
“Was he having a heart attack?” Constance asked, bewildered. “How’s it that possible…?”
She stopped herself before she committed herself.
“Were you not listening?” Fiifi chided. “If you know how to pray, this is the time to do so.”
“If I don’t have a cheque in my hand in two hours, I’ll turn up the heat and trust me, you wouldn’t be able to stand it.”
“You’re still blabbing about money?”
“We’ll see if I’m blabbing.” She left them.
“Why should I have to go through this heartache twice in my lifetime?” Bisi said, tears in her eyes. He hugged her. “He’ll be fine.”
Fiifi drove Bisi to work before going to his office. He told Ewuresi about Nhyira’s cardiac scare. She and Kukuaa had left before Constance had come in. She in turn texted Kukuaa about it. It was time for serious prayers.
Constance got out of her car and went to the man who sold her the pills.
“What the hell did you sell to me? I thought you said they weren’t fatal.”
“They are not. They didn’t work?”
“Oh they overworked. My son just suffered a heart attack! What are in those pills?”
“What, you gave them to your son?”
“That’s none of your business. Do you have an antidote?”
“Well…it depends. What’s the color of the pills I gave you? Were they yellow or brown?”
“Are you kidding? How will I know? I didn’t take time to study them.”
“Did you use all?”
“Of course not but I flushed the rest because I didn’t want any evidence around. Are you telling me you’re not really sure of what you gave me?”
“Sometimes the colors confuse me. Some people say I’m color blind. If it was yellow, then there’s nothing to worry about but if they were brown…or is the other way round?”
Constance couldn’t believe her ears. What has she done? How could her friend recommend such a mishap of a man to her? Oh no, what if she had really poisoned her son? His ghost would haunt her forever.
“Listen, you better must have given me the right ones or else if I go down, you’re going with me, you hear me?” She threatened and walked to her car. The man stared at his phone lying on the counter. He was making a voice note when she entered. He stopped it and listened. He smiled. She better not come back to threaten him or else he’d blackmail the life out of her.
If he’s going to die, then I must make the best out of it since he’s no use to me being dead, Constance thought. She checked her watch. One hour gone. When time was up and her cheque was a no show, she’ll execute plan B.
Bisi was in a meeting when she was called out. There were two policemen waiting for her.
“Are you Bisi Pratt?”
“Yes, I am. How may I help you?”
“You’re under arrest, ma’am.”
“What? For what?”
“For allegedly poisoning your stepson.” Bisi’s eyes widened in shock.
“That’s not true.”
“You have every right to remain silent as any word you say and will be used against you in the court of law.” Before she realized, she heard the sound of metal locking around her wrists.
“What’s going on here?” Her boss asked entering the scene.
“I don’t know what’s going on here. Could you please call my husband?” Bisi said, about to cry.
“Sure, I will.”
“This must be a mistake, officers. I haven’t done anything.” One officer dragged her by the arm. Some of the staff had come out to see what was going on.
“I’ll be right behind you, Bisi,” her boss said.
Kukuaa was resting on Aaron’s lap watching TV when her phone rang. Aaron glanced at the phone.
“It’s your mum.”
“I’m sure she’s wants updates on the catering issue. I’ll call her back.” He took the phone and gave it to her.
“She rarely calls. It must be important,” he said.
“Oh I forgot how loyal you are to my mum,” Kukuaa said and answered the call.
“Hello mum.” She raised a brow when she heard an unfamiliar voice at the other end of the line.
“What? Slow down, what did you say happened to my mum?” She listened and stood.
“What? Are you serious? Where was she taken to? Have you called my dad? I’m on my way. Okay, I’ll try and get to him. Thanks.” She ended the call and wore her shoes.
“What is it?”
“Mummy has been arrested.”
“What, for what?”
“For some ridiculous poisoning charge. I’ve got to go.”
“Let me go with you.” They rushed out of his apartment.
Kukuaa kept calling her father’s number. No answer.
“What could he be doing?” She tried Esi’s number. She wasn’t answering either.
“We should have gone in separate cars. I’d gone to see mum whiles you went to get dad.”
“Keep trying,” Aaron said. “Who could have charged her with that?”
“I can think of only one witch.”
“The one and only.”
“Kukuaa!” They hugged.
“Are you okay?”
“I guess. Is your father coming?”
“He and Esi are not picking their calls. I’ve left them messages. Hopefully…” Her phone rang.
“What is going on?”
“Constance is what is going on. She reported mum to the police for attempted murder.”
“Let me talk to your mother.” She gave the phone to Bisi. Bisi broke down in tears as she told him how she was arrested.
“I’ll get my lawyer right on it. At least Kuks is there to hold the fort. I’ll get you out of there, ok?”
“I will, love. Stay strong. I’ll be there soon.” He ended the call.
Constance smiled when her phone rang. She answered it.
“Hello, Fiifi Pratt.”
“What the hell…?”
“I told you I wasn’t blabbing. So are you willing to reconsider my offer?”
“This isn’t going to work. She’s innocent.”
“Maybe but till that’s proven, she’ll remain locked up. Your beloved Bisi is going to spend the night behind bars. I don’t think you want that.”
“Fifty thousand and I drop the charges.”
“I told you, you should have taken my first offer. This time it’s non-negotiable.”
“That’s ridiculous. I’m not…”
Constance ended the call and put the phone down and took her glass of wine. She sipped. Hmm…was it her mind or was the wine extra tasty today? It must be the taste of victory. The ball was in her court now and she planned on hitting it hard.
Nhyira’s eyes opened weakly. Where was he? He looked around. Where was everyone?
A nurse saw that he was awake. She called the doctor.
“Welcome back, Nhyira. I’ll call your mother right away. She left not too long ago.” He nodded.
(c) Josephine Amoako 2016
Read Chapter L here.