Read Chapter 1 here.
Read Chapter 46 here.
Theo’s mum knocked on his door and opened it. Theo was looking out of his window.
“Lunch is ready. Want to join us?”
He shook his head. “Not hungry.
“But you skipped breakfast. How could you not be hungry?”
“Don’t have the appetite.”
“Well you have medication to take and your health to nurse, so I invoke my powers as your mother to eat something. It’s either you eat or I shove it down your throat; either way, you’re not going to die on me, son,” she said, taking hold of his wheelchair and turning him around. She wheeled him out of the room.
His father was already seated at the table.
“Hi son, how are you feeling?”
“I’m okay, dad; thanks.”
His father helped him sit on one of the chairs. The table grew quiet as they started to eat.
“So um, Theo’s bail has been set,” the father said, dropping his fork, He rubbed his face with his palm.
“And it’s at twenty.”
“How are we going to cough up the money?” the mother asked.
“Unless we dig into our retirement savings…”
“What? We’ve toiled all our lives to save that.”
“And what would you rather I did? Leave our daughter to rot behind bars?”
“Maybe she deserves it; rotting behind bars, I mean. Look at me now. I’m ruined because of her.”
“I know it’s hard but don’t call yourself that. As long as you’re alive, there’s hope,” his mother said.
“Hope for what? The damage is nearly permanent, mum. All for what? Some silly resentment over a guy who didn’t even love her? I have a long period of therapy, checkups and medications ahead of me; so instead of bailing her out only for her to sentenced, why don’t you save it for my healthcare?” Theo said.
The parents looked at each other.
“We will do our very best to get you the best of healthcare but you and your sister are all we have. She’s remorseful about what she did…”
“Yeah because I got in the way. If Alexa had been killed, she wouldn’t be.”
“You don’t know that. And I’m proud of you, son for risking your life to save another. Very selfless of you.”
“Uh huh, see where that landed me. Can’t eat anymore. Excuse me,” Theo said, dropping his fork. His dad sighed and helped him back on his wheelchair. Theo wheeled himself back into his room.
“So what’s the deal with the girl he saved actually? You said they are not even together,” his father said.
“Yeah, apparently she’s engaged to another.”
“Must be tough on him; losing your sister and the love your life. He’ll pull through.”
“I don’t see how.”
Paul stood when Alexa came down the stairs. They hugged.
“Feeling better today?”
“Yeah, I think. Have a seat. Want anything?”
“I’m fine, thanks.” They both sat.
Paul touched Alexa’s face, caressing it.
“How are you, really?”
“Thinking a lot; doing a lot of ‘what ifs’ mental exercises. Wondering if there was anything I could have done to prevent the turn of unfortunate events lately.”
“Don’t be hard on yourself. What happened is not your fault. You did your part. You told Theo to ask his sister to leave which he did. Who’d have known she’d come back?”
“Maybe if I had spoken to her myself earlier, she’d have left for real.”
“Or gotten the opportunity to actually kill you.”
“Maybe; and perhaps I’d have deserved it. Coming into his brother’s life, not knowing what I wanted. Hanging out with you and Louie…there were bound to be consequences.”
“Talking of Louie…how’s his honeymoon going?”
“They seem to be making the most of it and I’m happy for them.”
Alexa gave Paul a curious look. “What do you mean?”
“I never quite understood your relationship with Louie…I still don’t. On the wedding day, I happened to overhear you two confessing your love to each other.”
“Okay; I thought I already told you Louie and I have quite a complicated relationship. I’ve known him the longest. I love Loue; I’m not going to deny that.”
“Love him enough to marry him if there came a chance?”
“I don’t know; he’s married now so I guess we’d never know.”
There was a pause where they stared at each other.
“Are you questioning my love for you? Because if you want out, it’s fine. I don’t think I deserve a happy ending.”
“Of course I don’t want out. Just want to be sure your heart is in the right place…with me. But why do you think you don’t deserve a happy ending, my love?”
“Theo has lost the use of his legs…”
“Which he could regain in time, right?”
“And he may never be able to father a child,” Alexa said with broken sobs. Paul was lost for words.
“He ruined his life to save mine. Do you think it’s fair for me to go on and have a wedding and honeymoon and raise a family?”
“What are you saying? You can’t punish yourself because of Theo’s predicament. Theo would want you to be happy.”
“I doubt it; knowing he’d never enjoy the pleasures of life because of me.”
“Do you want out? Is that what you’re saying?” Paul asked.
“I don’t know, Paul. I don’t know.”
“How was court today?” Esme asked when Alexa and her dad arrived home. Alexa sighed.
“Emotionally exhausting. Especially with the defense playing the mental illness card,” Alexa said.
“Seriously?” Esme burst into laughter. Louie got up and walked to Alexa. They hugged.
“You alright? You are a bit warm.”
“It was hot in there…in the court room.”
“Kind of makes sense though. She is crazy to have done what she did,” Esme said.
“Hard to argue with that,” Alexa admitted, plopping herself on the sofa.
“Do you think the judge will buy into that argument? Let her off the hook on the basis of mental issues?”
“Our lawyer said it’s too soon to tell now. I just want this to be over with.”
“When will the verdict be given? I want to be there and mock her for all it’s worth.”
“Very soon. I’m pulling as much strings as I can to make sure we close this case as soon as possible. I don’t want Baaba being more traumatized than she already is,” her father said.
“Did you see him, Theo?” Louie asked Alexa. She nodded.
“He looked…not himself. He told me the doctors said chances of regaining the use of his legs were slim but his parents are pushing for physiotherapy. It will be a long hard road for him,” Alexa said, tears gathering in her eyes.
“What about your wedding?” Esme asked, chewing a chicken thigh.
“What about it?”
“Still on schedule?”
“What do you mean?”
“We talked of putting it on hold because of recent developments. And now with everything going on, I don’t know…”
“Hey…you’re not going to let Paul go because you’re having Theo-in-a-wheelchair guilt, right?” Louie asked.
“I can’t in good conscience go get married after all this.”
“And if Theo gets better…if he regains the use of his legs, would you?”
“Maybe. I just need time to process my feelings.”
“And is Paul willing to wait?” Esme asked.
“Why are you ravishing the chicken like an insatiable pregnant woman? Are you expecting already?” Alexa asked suspiciously. She glanced at Louie. He only shrugged.
“No. I just love your mother’s chicken.”
Theo and his parents went to see Theophylline in police custody. Theo asked to meet with her alone.
For more than five minutes, Theo stared at his sister who couldn’t meet his eyes.
“Look at me.” Theophylline kept her gaze down on her hands.
“I said, look at me!” he ordered with gritted teeth. Theophylline startled and looked up at him.
“You see where your stupidity has cost me and landed you? All because of some resentment towards a woman who is and will forever more of a woman than you can ever be. You can blame me for bringing Alexa into our lives. You can blame Alexa for causing all this but you need to accept responsibility for what you’ve done.”
“You want me to rot in here, huh? Your only sister?”
“I almost died…twice because of you and your psycho boyfriend. And each time, a piece of you died to me. And every minute I look at you, I’m losing the fight to not curse the day we were born.”
“I’m sorry, brother; I really am. I’ve had time to think and I’ve realized I was driven by sheer resentment. I know I must pay for my actions but I can only go through with this if you forgive me.”
“You have no right to demand that of me.”
“I’m not demanding; I’m asking.”
“And I refuse. I hope you rot in here for a very long time,” Theo said and wheeled himself out of the room. Theophylline broke into tears.
“Something smells good in here,” Alice said as she entered the kitchen.
“Frying pancakes!” Alexa said proudly. “Want a taste?”
“Sure.” Alice took the fork handed to her. She cut a piece and ate. She nodded.
Alice watched her daughter whose focus was on turning the pancake.
“How are things between you and Paul?”
“I thought you guys chatted on the regular.”
“It’s been a while since he came over or you mentioned him.”
“Well…with the case and all, there’s a lot going on so I asked for some space.”
“I see. And the wedding?”
“See what? You didn’t pull out, did you?”
“All I asked for was some space.”
“You’re not going any younger, Baaba…”
“Mum, someone’s life is ruined because of me and my staying single at 27 is certainly not the end of my world.”
“I know you’re in a lot of pain right now but please don’t push Paul away. He might not come back this time.”
“Perhaps that’s for the better.”
“Listen my daughter, life goes on. That boy will get better and he will move on. Don’t self-destruct because of this.”
Alexa took out the cooked pancake onto a plate. She started frying another one. Alice held her hand and found it trembling.
“Everything will work out fine. I believe that. I need you to believe that too.”
“I will when I see it.”
“So I hear a plea deal is on the table,” Alexa said on the phone to Theo.
“Yeah, so I’ve heard. Pretty generous if you ask me.”
“Well, just want this to be over with, you know. Too much hurt. The earlier we close this chapter, the sooner we can all try and move on and heal.”
“Yeah…another long chapter for me.”
“I know.” Alexa sighed. There was a long pause.
“So, when is your wedding coming up? Would love a distraction from this misery,” Theo said with a sad chuckle.
“Um…put on hold. Too much going on to plan a wedding.”
“Sure; no one wants to skip their honeymoon just to be in a courtroom, right?”
“Oh Theo…I hope you don’t become the sad guy who says sad jokes in order to make conversation. You are much livelier than that,” Alexa said, wiping tears from her eyes.
“Well, it is what it is. This will pass, I know. But I’m giving myself time to just wallow in self-pity, you know. I’ll be fine, I promise. Perhaps your wedding is what I need to snap me back into action.”
“I do. So promise me you won’t put your happiness on hold because of me.”
Theo could hear Alexa sniffing.
“I promise. Your happiness is also important to me, Theo.”
“I will be when you are.”
“I love you, Alexa Baiden. Don’t forget that. If Paul turns out to be a douche, always remember you have a sweet heart in a wheelchair, pounding for you.”
They both laughed.
“Oh Theo; I’m very fond of you, you know.”
“I know. If not for that witch called my sister, it would have been us planning the wedding.”
“Perhaps,” Alexa said with a chuckle. She felt herself breathing more easily now.
“Got to turn in now. Have a good night, Lexa. Have a great life.”
“You too, Theo. Sweet dreams.”
“Yeah, someone pour me a drink! It’s a wonderful to celebrate. Alas, we have one less crazy person off the streets,” Esme said excitedly when the family arrived home from the court.
“A family is broken, Esme; show some empathy,” Alexa said.
“She almost ruined ours. I choose to see the brighter side. Five years is quite short if you ask me.”
Alexa shook her head.
“Please have a seat, everyone. Lunch will be ready in the next half hour,” Alice said, heading to the kitchen.
“So are we going to have a wedding or what?” Esme asked, looking at Paul.
“We just conquered one battle, Esme; give us time to breathe. Paul and Alexa aren’t going anywhere,” Mr. Baiden said.
“Time and tide waits for no man, just saying.”
“Give it a rest, Esme,” Louie said.
“Babe, can we talk?” Paul said to Alexa, holding her hand.
“Sure. Let’s go to my room.”
“Uh huh…someone’s going to get some,” Esme teased.
“Geez Esme, what’s up with you these days? What have you been feeding her, Louie?”
“Just pieces of me.”
“Huh…I don’t know what she’ll do when she has had all of you. Will be right back, guys,” Alexa said as she started up the stairs.
Paul closed the door after him. Alexa turned to face him.
“You look good in white.”
“Thanks. For a minute, I felt it was a wrong choice of color to wear to court today. I feared it might have sent a wrong message to Theo’s family.”
“Never mind that. You look beautiful.”
Paul stood right in front of her and held her left hand, lifting it. He kissed the ring on her finger and caressed it.
“You know I love you, Alexa; I have for a long time. I know you didn’t feel the same in the beginning but we’ve come a long way and I appreciate that. I know your family wants us to get married and move on from all this stress and I’d like to as well but I can tell that you are not ready. I want you to know that I understand. You need time and space and figure out your feelings. I’m not sure whether I’d be able to wait for you but I want you to know that you’ll always own a part of my heart.”
“Don’t worry; I’ll be the one to call it off to your family. At the end of the day, I just want you to be happy, Alexa.”
She nodded. Paul kissed her forehead. A flash of her dream came to mind when she closed her eyes. When she opened them, Paul was turning away from her. She held his hand, stopping him.
“I’m ready.” He turned to face her.
“I do love you, Paul and I know I haven’t been the easiest to love and I apologize. I admit I was a bit hesitant to move on with you but I think I’m ready. No, I know I’m ready. I don’t want to lose you, Paul. I’d never be able to forgive myself if I did. I’ll marry you, Paul. That is if you’re feeling up to it.”
“Are you sure?” Paul asked, relieved.
Alexa nodded. “Yes, more than anything.” He kissed and hugged her.
“I love you so much, Alexa.”
“I love you too.”
“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
The guests cheered as their lips met. The bride and groom faced the guests, their faces beaming with excitement.
“We did it,” Alexa said to her husband as they did their first dance.
“I know. Thought I’d never see this day.”
“I know. Hope I’m worth the wait.”
“You definitely are,” he kissed her cheek.
“You finally did it!” Louie said, opening his arms for a hug.
“It seems to be the mantra for today. Finally!”
“I was beginning to think you tricked me to get married to leave me in this world all alone.”
Alexa laughed as she pulled out of the hug.
“Why would I do that to you?”
“Wondering that too. You look beautiful and most importantly, at peace.”
“I am. And I’m happy.”
“I can tell. You are glowing all over. I think I saw Theo around.”
“Yeah? Where’s he? Show me!” Alexa said, pulling him along.
“Hey, you came!”
“Of course I did. No way was I going to miss it. You look amazing. The most beautiful bride ever,” Theo said with all smiles.
“Thank you, Theo. It means a lot to me that you’re here.”
“It means a lot to me that it means a lot to you that I’m here.” They chuckled.
Alexa leaned down and planted a kiss on his cheek.
“Whoa…a kiss from the bride! Am I not the lucky one? Someone might say you’re still in love with me.”
Alexa smiled. “I’ll always love you, Theophilus Grant.”
“And I, you, Alexa what, Attoh?”
“Alexa Baiden Attoh. That sounds better, right?”
“Hey, it seems you’re needed by the photographer,” Louie said.
“Oh yeah. Thanks for coming, Theo. We will catch up.”
“Sure. Enjoy your marriage.”
Louie nodded at Theo and walked away with Alexa who had her arm around his.
“So how was the ceremony?” Theo’s mum asked him.
“It was beautiful. Solemn and beautiful.”
“How did it feel seeing her in another man’s arms? Mustn’t have been easy for you.”
“It wasn’t but I’m at peace with it. I needed to let her go…for both of our sakes. I still love her and I know a part of her loves me too. Although I’ve lost her, I’ll always comfort myself knowing that she taught me how to love in a unique way. That I’ll never forget.”
“You have a big heart, my son. I’m proud of you for that.”
A year later…
“It was nice meeting you, Alexa. As I said, Theo has said a lot of amazing things about you. It’s a pleasure to finally put a face to the name.”
“I’m flattered. It’s a pleasure meeting you too, Olivia.”
“I’m sorry but I’ve got to run. Will see you tomorrow, right, babe?” Olivia asked, getting up.
“Sure, love. Let me escort you outside. Will be right back,” Theo said. Alexa nodded.
She watched as Theo limped on his crutch with the lady out of the restaurant. She smiled and sighed.
A few minutes later, Theo returned to his seat.
“So, what do you think?”
“I like her.”
“For real? You’re not just saying that so I’ll get off your back, right?”
“No, for real. I like her aura. She appears to be a calm composed girl. Your kind of girl.”
“I know. I’ve made some poor choices in the past and I wanted to be sure I got it right this time.”
“I’m almost certain that you did, Theo.”
“Thanks, Alexa. I’m glad you could make it.”
“Always…for you,” Alexa said, placing her hand on top of his on the table. He covered hers with his other hand.
“How’s she doing?”
“Who?” He chuckled when she gave him a knowing look.
“She’s fine. We are in a better place. She’d like to meet up one of these days to express her remorse.”
“Okay. Whenever she’s ready.”
“Ah! I’m so glad we were able to do this. I’ve always dreamed of going on couple weekend-away trips and vacations. This has been so much fun!” Esme said, raising her arms and screaming at the sea waves. Paul laughed.
“It’s only you and Alexa who could pull this off.”
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And speaking of, where the hell are they? I thought Louie said the food joint was only ten minutes away.”
“I’m sure they will be here soon.”
“Are we the smart ones leaving our beloved spouses to hang out together alone?” Esme asked.
“Yes, because we love and trust them. Just as they love and trust us, right?” Paul said.
“Let’s take a stroll, shall we?” Paul suggested.
“Love the breeze!” Alexa screamed as Louie stepped on the accelerator. He laughed.
“I’m glad we could do this. It’s been fun.”
“I know. Spending time with you all is one of the greatest things ever. The best of both worlds!”
Louie’s phone beeped.
“Oh…oh…Wifey’s checking in.”
“Don’t mind her; she’s just hungry. That girl needs to control her hunger pangs.”
“Well, it’s not her fault. She’s expecting.”
“What? When were you going to tell me?”
“Today. Was going to be a surprise announcement after lunch and I’ve spilled. So please, act surprised when we say it, okay? Or it would be world war three.”
“I hear you. Congratulations, Louie. You’re going to be a father. Look at that. I’m proud of you,” Alexa said, tapping his face.
“Thank you. Hurry up with it. Esme would need a labor partner in the ward.”
© Josephine Amoako 2020
Thank you for being such a loyal fan of this series! It has been a real rollercoaster and I appreciate you for joining me on this ride.
Onto the next…