Read Chapter 32 here.
Jackie laid on a quiet beach with her eyes closed, listening to music through her earphones. She felt herself soaring and her heart lighter when she was rudely interrupted with a phone call. She took the phone to check who was calling. She smiled as she swiped the screen.
“Mrs! How’s it going?”
“I am so mad at you right now. How could you skip town on me like that?”
“I’m sorry, sweetie. It was spontaneous. Just wanted to escape the city for a little while.”
“Is it because of your breakup with Kwame? I know you weren’t prepared for it when it happened.”
“Perhaps but I knew it would happen sooner or later. I’m just doing me for now, AJ.”
“That’s great. I’m jealous you went without me.”
“You’re taken now. I just can’t drag you out of Accra on a whim anymore.”
“Maybe but with enough notice, we can work something out. So next time, don’t plan solo, alright?”
“I hear you. How’s my in-law doing?”
“Edem is fine. He said you should come over one of these days. He wants to introduce you to one of his special recipes.”
“Oh wow, a guy who cooks! A man after my heart.”
They both laughed.
“When are you coming back?”
“Sunday. If I get to Accra early, I might pass by.”
“Alright. Let me know if there is any update, yeah?”
“Sure, take care. Talk to you soon.”
“Yeah, stay safe and come back already!”
“I will. Bye,” she said and hanged up.
She laid back down, closed her eyes with a smile on her face.
Dante was helping himself to some ‘Kofi Brokeman’ (roasted plantain and groundnuts) in his office when his phone rang.
“Hey D, what’s up?”
“Your wife is blowing up social media with her photos, that’s what.”
“Oh no, what did she do now?” He asked as he took his other phone and opened Instagram.
Dante gasped when he saw Cece’s semi-nude pregnancy photo when the app loaded.
“What the hell?”
“Oh you’ve seen it too, huh? She looks pretty hot.”
“Dude, that’s my wife.”
“I know…I mean…sorry. Check the number of likes. Your wife is an Insta-celebrity, Ekow.”
Dante went to Cece’s page and scrolled down. She had uploaded about ten photos within the last hour. She must have had a full day photoshoot for this.
“Damn this. If her father sees this, he’ll find out I’m not in the UK with her. Why would she do this?”
“It’s a thing now. Most women want to share the beauty bumps with the rest of the world so as to tickle the ovaries of other women which is dangerous for us dudes. They would come on to you and you think, ‘Oh we are just hooking up for tonight’ but nah, the lady is plotting on carrying your baby. Whoever said social media is innocent is a big liar.”
“You have twisted theories, you know that? Anyway, thank you for the heads up. Will call her up ASAP.”
“To do what, take them off? You know she won’t do that.”
“Nah, at least not to post anymore and stay low key for crying out loud. She’s almost due!”
“Haha…it doesn’t look like she’s slowing down anytime soon. Good luck with her.”
The call ended. He made a video call to Cece.
“Hey darling, how are you doing?”
“Cece, what were you thinking posting those photos on IG?”
“Aha! I knew that would catch your attention. Do you like them, booboo?”
“They are too revealing, Eyram.”
“They are supposed to. How can you have a pregnancy shoot without showing the bump?”
“And who told you to? It’s totally unnecessary.”
“Says the husband who abandons his wife in the name of work. You said you would check up on me every day, Dante and for three nights in a row, not a beep from you.”
“I’m sorry; been closing quite late from work these days. How are you doing?”
“I miss you. Do you miss me?”
“You know I do and I promise to be back before your time is due.”
“That’s not enough! I’m lonely here and I need you to cuddle and keep me warm.”
“I know; I’ll be there soon, I promise. But please, don’t post any more of the photos. I know I can’t ask you to take them off…”
“Exactly so don’t even try.”
“Alright. Have to get back to work. Take care, okay? Will call you when I get home.”
“You better or else I’ll tell daddy you’re in Accra.”
“Enough with the daddy threats. I said I’ll call. Bye,” he said and ended the call. Geez, it seemed Cece was growing into a baby more with each passing month. He wondered how she could mother a child with that attitude. Or maybe it was just the hormones.
Jackie sipped her cappuccino gratefully as the staff meeting went on the in the chilled air-conditioned room. A colleague was giving a report when two policemen entered the room.
“Mr. Julius Ampah?”
“Yes…how may we help you, officers?”
“We need you to come with us.”
All eyes darted from Julius to the two officers.
“We would rather you come with us without resistance.”
“Um…this meeting is adjourned. Wil reschedule for another time. Kindly excuse us.”
They all scurried out of the room as if any delay would guarantee an arrest. A few minutes later, Julius came out with the officers behind him. Jackie looked at him worriedly and he responded with an assuring nod. They left the office.
By afternoon, the office grapevine was buzzing with rumors. By the end of the day, Jackie had found out where Julius was being held. She and Elsie decided to go to the police station to find out how he was doing and if he needed any help. Fortunately, his brother had come to get him out.
“Thank you so much for coming to check up on me. Means a lot to me,” Julius said to Jackie.
“You’re welcome. But is it over? Whatever you were brought here for, has it been sorted out?”
“Not entirely. I know what this is about so I’m not bothered at all.”
“I see. Alright, I’ll be on my way.”
“Sure. Thanks again.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Julius’ brother was driving him home when his phone beeped.
This is for defying my orders because of that little girl. Consider yourself jobless. This is just the beginning.
Julius shook his head.
“Bring it on.”
Two days later, it was announced that Julius Ampah was no more working with them due to his alleged mismanagement of company funds.
“Well, considering the fact that he recently changed his car and wardrobe…”
Jackie sighed and walked out of the eating area and went to her desk. She began typing on her phone.
Lots of rumors going around here. Is everything alright?
Julius came online and replied: Can imagine. Yeah, everything’s fine. Will call you in the evening.
She didn’t like him at first but she found the stories about him hard to believe. Could they be true? People could be funny. They may look all principled but be deep rotten behind closed doors. Somehow, she didn’t believe Julius was that type.
Her phone beeped as she was clearing her desk for the day. She bit the inside of her cheek as she pondered over the text message. She took her handbag and left the office.
“Hey,” he said and hugged Jackie briefly. They sat down facing each other. He signaled a waiter.
“How are you holding up?”
“Fine…under the circumstances. You?”
“I’m okay. I’m just worried about what I’m hearing. Have you really left Scanad?”
“Unfortunately yes. I knew Honorable Biney would come after me after I refused to do what he said.”
“Honorable Biney? Isn’t that Cece’s father? What did he ask you to do?”
“Don’t worry about it. I already had an exit plan but he beat me to it by destroying my reputation but I’ll work it out.”
“It’s fine. I already have another job waiting for me. I’ll start in the beginning of next month so I’ll use the free time to rest…I think it’s long overdue.”
“I agree,” Jackie said with a chuckle.
“And besides, getting out of there finally gives me the opportunity to do what I’ve wanted to do for a while now.”
“And what is that?”
“Ask you to go out with me.”
Jackie gasped. She blinked hard when she realized she was lost for words. Julius chuckled and held her hand.
“Calm down. This isn’t apocalypse. I couldn’t ask you out since I was your boss but now that I’m not, perhaps I have a shot. You don’t have to give me an answer now. And even if it’s a no, that’s fine. I’d like very much for us to remain friends. Deal?”
“Deal,” Jackie said with relief. She wasn’t ready to jump on the dating ship just yet.
“What? Your boss proposed?”
“Former boss, AJ. Keep up.”
“Whatever and what did you say?”
“I said nothing. I just sat there, blinking like an electronic doll.”
“You must be a doll at work for your bosses to be falling for you like that. Tell me, what’s your secret?”
“What do you want it for? You’re married. Besides, there’s no secret. I just be myself.”
“I see. So now that Kwame is behind us…he is behind us, right?”
“Huh, who’s Kwame?”
AJ laughed. “That’s a good one.”
They both collapsed on the floor after doing some aerobics.
“So, is it going to be a yes for Julius or not?”
“I don’t know. I’m not jumping into another relationship right now. It’s too stressful for my heart and facials.”
They both burst into laughter.
Hey you. What’sup?
I’m excited! I’ma dad, Naicy!
Oh wow, Cece has delivered already?
Yeah, a baby girl!
That’s great.Congrats, Dante. I’m happy for you!
Thank you! I’m happy too. Can’t believe I’m a father.
You’ll be a great dad, Ekow. I know it.
Thank you. 😊
Jackie exhaled loudly, tapping her fingernails on her desk. Her eyes were filled with tears. She sniffed and the tears fell on her face. She wiped them away. Dante wasn’t just someone else’s husband now, he was now a father. How life had changed for him in just about eighteen months. And what about her? The same since he left her…single, broken and now with even more scars.
She needed a life reset. With someone else.
Hi Jackie. Up for dinner tonight?
She replied without hesitation. Sure.
Jackie was taken aback when Julius led into a private dining room. The candles lit gave off a soft light creating an intimate atmosphere.
“Yeah…really cozy. What’s the occasion?”
“We’re having dinner together. What could be better than that?”
He pulled a chair for her sit down and he sat down.
“I know, you’re still young and you’d love to explore life and enjoy your single life and I wouldn’t hold it against you. I on the other hand, I’m past that and I’m at the point in my life where I need some stability. And I need someone who has a good heart, is loyal and is focused on the future by my side. What do you say, Jackie Yankson? Will you be my partner in crime?”
“We don’t know each other that well, Julius…”
“Time is too short to go after what we want. And we have the all the tomorrows in the world to get to each other well. I really admire you, Miss Yankson and I’ll love for a chance to show you how special you are to me.”
What did she have to lose? Her clock was ticking. Dante was a husband and a father and AJ was a wife now. Maybe it was her turn.
“Okay. I’ll be your partner in crime.”
(c) Josephine Amoako 2018
Read Chapter 34 here.