Read Chapter 28 here.
“What do you mean?”
“It is a high-risk pregnancy. She is hemorrhaging again. Your wife is experiencing abnormal blood pressure levels and with her history with cancer, I’m afraid things are not looking so good.”
“So what do you advise we do to keep her safe?”
“There’s no easy way to say this but I think the best way is to get rid of the baby.”
“What? No. I’m not killing our baby,” Cece said, wrapping her arms protectively over her tummy.
“See it as saving yourself, ma’am.”
“Is that the only option available? Aren’t there any other safety precautions we can take no matter how extreme? We’re ready to take that chance,” Dante said, sounding desperate.
The doctor shook his head.
“The longer you keep it, the worse her condition will become. I know this is difficult so I’ll leave you two to talk about it. You don’t have to make a decision now but I advise that the earlier, the better. I’ll excuse myself so you talk,” he said and left them.
Dante ran his palm through his hair and started pacing the room.
“I’m not getting rid of this baby, Dante,” Cece said, tears filling her eyes.
“I’m afraid we don’t have a choice here, Cece.”
“But we do! We keep hope alive and keep fighting for this baby.”
“At the expense of your life? Come on Cece, I know how much you look forward to be a mother but I remember when you had the scare of dying young because of the cancer. You still want to live and enjoy this life, right? Why would you want to put that at risk?”
“Because I have life growing inside me, Dante; a part of me. Who knows if I’d ever be able to have another baby? This might be my one and only chance and I’m not going to relinquish it out of fear of losing my life. Whether I have this baby or not, death is staring at me anyway. If this pregnancy doesn’t kill me, the cancer still has another chance to take its shot. So I might as well live a life which means something to me. And I want to have this baby.”
“Don’t be stubborn about this, Eyram. I need you alive. The last thing I want is to be a widower with a baby.”
“Uh huh, so you can be a free man to pursue Jackie, isn’t it?”
“Are you kidding me? This has nothing to do with her, okay? This is about your life.”
“And I’m saying I’m keeping it.”
“Even if it kills you?”
“And what about the baby? Have you thought of the life he or she will experience without a mother?”
“My mum will be…”
“Why would you want your mother to outlive you, Cece? You’re being emotional right now. Let’s go home, get some rest and then you can think through this rationally.”
“How do I know you won’t leave me for her after I let go of this baby?”
“You have my word, Cece. That should be enough for you because you know how much my word means to me.”
“But there will no baby again. You’ll make sure of that.”
“If that will help keep you alive, sure.”
“No. I have to practically force you to make love to me and ever since you found out I was pregnant, you’ve avoided me like a plague. And if God has shown me mercy but giving me a baby, you want me to throw it away and keep living without any love from you? What’s the point in that?”
“I’m sorry I’ve been distant but I promise I’ll change. I just don’t want you to risk your life.”
“Life is a risk so I might as well go for what I want. You just see a chance to leave me so you run back to Jackie.”
They both turned their heads towards the door. It was Cece’s mother. She entered the room.
“Yes, who’s she?” She asked again, putting her handbag at the foot of the bed.
“No one, ma’am,” Dante replied, pocketing his hands and looking down.
“I’ll leave you two to talk.”
He left the room.
“What’s going on, Eyram? How’s the baby doing and why are you mentioning another woman’s name in relation to your husband?”
Cece covered her face with her palms and began crying.
Mrs. Biney came out of the room, her eyes roaming the corridor. She found him on the phone at the other end of the corridor and started walking towards him. Dante, noticing her, ended his call and pocketed his phone.
He startled when his mother-in-law grabbed him by the collar and shook him.
“I won’t let you kill my daughter, do you hear me?” she shouted.
“Mummy, calm down. What are you talking about?” He asked, trying in vain to free himself from her grasp. Wow, this woman was strong.
“You’re threatening to leave her for another woman, aren’t you? That is why she wants to keep the baby! How could you be so wicked? After everything we’ve done for you.”
“Mum, please calm down. Let me go. I can explain, please.”
“I’m not letting you go. You want to kill my baby, don’t you? You want her to keep it so she would die and you could go back to this Jackie woman, right? Over my dead body. If you let my daughter die, I swear to you, I’ll find this Jackie woman and kill her myself!”
Dante froze, the threat hanging in the air. Mother-in-law’s eyes were angry red. She meant what she just said. He was lost for words.
“Did you hear me? You better go in there and convince her to save herself. I rather save her than lose both her and the unborn baby.”
She took her hands off his collar. They were both breathing heavily.
“Get in there, I said,” she ordered, pointing in the direction of Cece’s room. Dante quickly walked away.
Cece looked at him when he entered.
“Are you alright?”
“Your mum just threatened me so no, I’m not alright. You’re getting rid of the baby and that’s final, Cece.”
“It’s my body and I say no.”
“Your mother thinks I’m blackmailing you to keep it so I don’t go after Jackie. She threatened to kill Jackie, Cece!”
“I doubt my mum meant that but even if she did, I’ll say, go get her, mama!”
“Blame it on the hormones.”
The doctor came in.
“So have you decided on what to do next?”
“We are getting rid of it.”
“I’m keeping it.” They said simultaneously. The doctor stared from husband to wife.
“Okay, it takes a consensus to move forward so I suggest you go home and talk about this. Let me know what you decide.”
“Listen to me Eyram, don’t kill yourself because of a man ooo! He’ll mourn you for one week and get married to another woman the next. In your case, you already know who she is. If he wants to leave, let him. You can’t keep a man who doesn’t want to stay,” Cece’s mother pleaded as they walked to the car.
“Mum, please, you’ve misunderstood the whole situation. The whole Jackie thing is not what you think. Don’t worry about me. My husband and I will talk about this at home and come to a consensus.”
“Ma’am, I don’t plan to leave your daughter. I also want her to save herself but she’s being stubborn about it. There is no other woman for me to run to.”
“So you’re telling me Jackie is a phantom? You think I was born yesterday, eh? You wait, I’m going to look for her and keep her under watch. If anything happens to my daughter…”
“Mum, please, don’t say anymore. I’m sure he gets the message. Mum, I’ll be fine. If God has brought me this far, then I believe I can carry this baby full term and deliver safely.”
“But the doctor seems to disagree, my dear. I’m very worried.”
“I understand but everything will be fine.”
Cece hugged her mother. She sat in the car. Dante also got into the car.
“If you need anything, please call me,” her mother said.
“I will, mum. Take care.”
Mother-in-law gave Dante an ‘I’m-watching-you’ gesture. Dante replied with a slight salute with the hand. He drove away. Cece’s mother got into the back seat of her car and her driver took off.
“What are you so irritated about?” Cece asked.
“You’ve gotten a target on Jackie’s back for nothing. She has to deal with your daddy making sure she faces hell at work and now you’ve brought your mum on board? This is evil, Cece.”
“And whose fault is it? If you had let bygones be bygones and committed yourself to making our marriage work, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
“So you’re okay with your mum planning to hurt Jackie? She is living her life and minding her business for crying out loud.”
“Stop whining. My mum can’t hurt a fly. She doesn’t have the balls like dad. Yeah, technically, she doesn’t have balls so…”
Dante gave her a look when she snickered. “Was that supposed to be funny?”
“Come on, loosen up! Life is crappy as it is. You should have a generous sense of humor to survive this life.”
Dante shook his head.
“This Jackie woman again?” Hon. Biney exclaimed after his wife told him of the day’s incident.
“You know about her?”
“She came up some time back and I made sure he stayed away from her.”
“What? There’s a side chick out there threatening our daughter’s happiness and you didn’t tell me? I told that Dante boy that I’ll get a hitman to deal with her if anything happens to our Eyram.”
“You did? Wow, I must say I’m impressed. Now I know you have the same vim I have; just well hidden.”
“For my daughter, I’ll do and be my worst. I can’t believe this. I actually thought he was a good guy.”
“Dante is a decent guy. The whole Jackie thing is just a mess. Don’t worry, I’ll handle it.”
“You will? You will get a hitman?”
“No…we haven’t gotten to that yet. I’ll just tighten the leash I have on him which is her workplace.”
“That aside, what are we going to do about Cece’s condition? She’s being stubborn. The doctor believes if she keeps the baby, it could be fatal for her.”
“Our daughter is a fighter, honey. My faith in her renewed when she fought that cancer. If she believes she can do this, let’s support her.”
“This isn’t a game, honey. This is her life. If she fails, there’s no second chance. We’d have lost her forever. I can’t be childless at this age. As much as I’d love grandchildren, I still want to be a mother.”
“I understand but I know my daughter. I’ll talk to her myself. But whatever she decides, I’ll support her.
“I know what I’m talking about. Have you forgotten I had a similar scare when I was carrying Eyram?”
“Exactly my point and what happened? She didn’t just survive, she has lived to be married and is carrying her own. Be there for her; go to church and say some prayers for her. Don’t echo your fears into her mind. It might not be good for her and the baby.”
“If you say so.”
“You got that?” Julius asked Jackie who was scribbling something on a notepad. She nodded. His phone rang. He took it.
“Hello? Oh, hello boss.”
“Julius, is that Jackie lady still working with you?”
“Yes, sir. Is there a problem?” Julius asked, watching Jackie who was still writing. She finished and looked up at him. He gestured for her to excuse him for a minute. She got up and left the office.
“Unfortunately so. Her very existence is giving me a headache. I know I told you to go easy on her for some time but I need you to be on her case again.”
“May I ask why, please?” Julius asked, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.
“Because I said so. That’s all you get.”
“I’m sorry but I don’t think I can do that. Not anymore.”
“Excuse me? What did you say?”
“You heard me. I owed you a favor and I’ve repaid you in full. I don’t have to follow your outrageous orders anymore.”
“Herh, young man, is it me you’re talking to like that? Have you forgotten who I am?”
“No but I wish I could. Miss Yankson is a very hard working lady and she deserves the right to enjoy her place of work. Please leave her be. If you try anything, I have the contact numbers of top journalists like Bernard Avle and Kojo Yankson. Don’t try me. Goodbye,” Julius said and hanged up. This nonsense must stop. He was done being someone’s dog.
Jackie sat in Kwame’s car which was playing music at full blast.
“Melodious mood, I suppose,” she said as she leaned forward and they kissed each other on the cheek.
“Yep. How was your day?”
“It was fine. Yours?”
“Stressful and I’ve more to do. I need to destress. Where can we go?”
“I don’t know. I work out to destress; I don’t know about you.”
Jackie began to sing along Celine Dion’s Incredible being played.
“Oh you sing?”
“Seriously? Who doesn’t?”
“Some people are cursed with a horrible voice, Naicy. But I like your singing voice. It’s sweet to hear.”
“Kwame the flatterer.”
“I’m not flattering you. Have you done karaoke before?”
“No, this voice is reserved for the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. No audience needed except Bruno of course.”
“Your dog gets to hear you sing.”
“Of course. It wags its tail when enjoying my voice; when it isn’t, it tries to sleep but when my voice is that bad, it just leaves my side and finds another place to spare its ears.”
“Wow, that bad?”
“Yeah…definitely not Karaoke friendly. Have you done it before?”
“Yeah, a couple of times.”
“And? How did it go?”
“I bombed big time.”
They both laughed.
“But it was fun. I got to laugh and be laughed at. It was stress-relieving.”
“Ugh ugh…I think I’ll pass.”
“Come on, do try something new for once. You’ll always remember it.”
“No but if you want to, I don’t mind watching you disgrace yourself. I’ll be your cheerleader.”
“Alright; I’ll take that offer.”
Ed Sheeran’s Perfect started playing and Kwame started singing along. He nudged her elbow.
“I know you want to sing along,” he teased. She chuckled and shook her head.
“Come on Naicy…let’s hear your pretty voice…”
After a few more nudges, she complied and when she was done, Kwame clapped.
“That was amazing.”
“So are you ready to join me for the karaoke?”
“No…who said I was joining you?”
“I did. That is why I got you singing now; to prep yourself for it.”
“You’re about to be disappointed, young man. You’re on your own.”
“Somehow, I disagree.”
Kwame brought his car to a halt in front of the Yanksons’ residence and killed the engine.
“Tonight was really fun.”
“You see? Letting yourself go relieves you of stress.”
“Nah, I did it because I saw no familiar face in the place.”
“Whatever be the case, I’m glad you had fun tonight.”
“Thanks, Kwame. I’ll always remember this night.”
Jackie opened her door. “Would you like to come in and say hello to my parents?”
He looked at her in surprise. She had never invited him inside her home before.
“Yeah…are you sure?”
“Sure. Why not?”
They both got out of the car.
“Gosh, I was so nervous!” Kwame said when they came back outside. Jackie laughed at him.
“I just introduced you as a friend.”
“Your father mentioned I’m the second guy you’ve invited inside to greet them. Does that mean something?”
Jackie shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not.”
He took her hands in his.
“I want you to know that your friendship is very important to me. I’d love nothing else than to spend whatever is left of my days with you but if you still want us to be just friends, know that I’m okay with that and I’ll keep waiting till you’re ready. Just wanted to let you know my heart is still available.”
She nodded and hugged him. He kissed her forehead and planted a soft kiss on her lips.
He got into his car and drove away. She entered the house to meet her mother smiling broadly at her.
“What are you smiling about, mum?”
“Should I start ordering for laces to sew and gele to wear?”
“He is a gentleman; just like Dante.”
Jackie nodded in agreement.
“Is he going to be my son-in-law?”
“Would you want him to be?”
“If you do, then so do I.”
“I’ll let you know then. Goodnight, mum.”
“Goodnight, Nana Esi. Sleep tight.”
“Thanks, you too.”
© Josephine Amoako 2018
Read Chapter 30 here.