Read Chapter 43 here.
Ayesha arrived at the hospital. She was directed to Omar’s private ward which was heavily guarded. She tried to enter the room but was stopped.
“Excuse me, I’m family.”
The door opened.
“Auntie, the security is preventing me from entering.”
“Yeah, they are only following orders. Have you searched her?”
“Searched? For what?”
“My husband was attacked, honey. What else would they be searching for?”
“You think I’d hurt Uncle Omar?”
Ida shrugged in folded arms.
The policeman conducted a quick search on Ayesha. Ayesha entered the room, puzzled. When Ida closed the door, she turned to face her.
“Seriously, Auntie? For goodness’ sake, Uncle Omar is my…”
“What, your uncle, godfather, baby daddy?”
“I understand how difficult how the reality must be for you, Auntie. But we’re still family.”
“Are we?” Nadia asked, making Ayesha turn at the sound of her voice.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“What did you tell your husband to incite him to assault my dad?” Nadia asked, getting up to face Ayesha.
“What are you talking about? And how dare you insinuate this could be at the hand of Jamal? He wouldn’t hurt a fly!”
“So it’s either you’re a great liar or pitifully blind. He told us himself that it was Jamal who stabbed him.”
“I…don’t…understand. Why would he?”
“How did your talk go with him? How did you paint the picture to him that he can still stand you being under the same roof and have so much hate for my dad to attempt murder?”
“I just told him as it is. No embellishments, I swear.”
“Which is what, exactly? I’d like to hear it,” Ida said.
“No, I’m not repeating it. I’ve already hurt this family more than I thought. I’d like to move past this,” Ayesha said and walked towards Omar on the bed. She took his hand in hers.
“You know, I’ve always seen you as my sister and I loved you as such. And for you to hurt me the way you have…”
“Please Nadia, you had fun with my dad as much I did with yours. Could you please stop it with the hypocrisy?”
“I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about Taye.”
“What about Taye?”
“Why don’t you tell us what happened to him?” Ida asked.
“He suffered an accident. What has this got to do with him?”
“You see, when people believe they are about to die, they begin fessing up. Dad told us what you did with Taye.”
“What I did? I may have given him the thumbs up, but he pulled the trigger!”
“Oh but you did more than give him a thumbs up, didn’t you?”
“He was going to expose you, Nadia.”
“No, he was going to expose your dad.”
“And yourself. There’s no way you were going to come out unscathed if the news blew up.”
“And that was enough reason enough to have been killed?”
“Could we have this discussion another time, someplace else? There are too many eyes and ears around here.”
“Knowing that you have a history of being an accessory to crime, how sure are we that you’re not here to finish the job your husband failed to do?” Ida asked Ayesha.
“Auntie! Uncle Omar is family. I’d never hurt him.”
“I’m family and you hurt me,” Nadia countered.
“That’s not the same thing, Nadia.”
“Know that we’ve told the police about Jamal being the prime suspect behind Honorable’s assault,” Ida told Ayesha. She gasped.
“But…what if he’s wrong? Perhaps he just assumed because of how it went down yesterday. Jamal isn’t violent, I assure you.”
“And I’m telling you, then you don’t know your husband. But what do I know? I thought I knew you. I raised you and opened up my home to you. But no, you were not satisfied having daughter status. You decided to jump on your uncle’s bed and have a child by him because of what? You have the body type he likes, huh?”
Ayesha wiped away a lone tear that had started to stream down her face. The door opened and Tariq entered.
“Oh dear, how bad is it?” he asked as he walked to Omar’s bedside.
“Not good. Did you come with Bibi?”
“No, she wanted to but I asked her to hold off till the news died down a bit.”
“It’s all over the news.”
“Did they say who did it?”
“No…it’s under police investigation. I’ll call the IGP for updates.”
“Let me spare you the trouble. It’s none other than your son-in-law.”
“What?” Tariq asked, casting a sharp look at Ayesha.
“You don’t know that for sure, Auntie. You’re only speculating.”
“My dad said with his own lips that it was Jamal. Do you want him to repeat it to your hearing?” Nadia asked.
Omar woke up. He groaned in pain.
“What’s going on?” He asked.
“Did you see who attacked you?” Tariq asked.
“It was Jamal.”
“What, why? Because you happen to be Kakra’s father? Ayesha, did you know he had plans to do this?”
“No, I didn’t. Are you sure it was him?” Ayesha asked.
“Yes…we had a whole conversation before he stabbed me.”
“I can’t believe this,” Ayesha said, breaking down in tears as she covered her face with her hands.
“Well, I can’t believe you’re capable of being an accessory to murder but here we are,” Ida said.
“Who, Ayesha? What is she talking about?” Tariq asked his daughter.
“You remember Taye?” Nadia asked.
“Doesn’t ring a bell. Who’s he?”
“Wow…surely didn’t take you long to forget about him.”
“Her boyfriend,” Omar said faintly.
“Uh huh…I thought he died. Is he the one behind this?”
“No, we were. Ayesha and I.”
Tariq gave Ayesha a shocked look. She still had her face covered. Tariq walked towards her and pried her hands away from her face.
“Look at me. Is it true?” She only sobbed.
“I asked you before and you blatantly denied it. How could you?”
“It was too risky to consider the alternative. He was most likely to leak it. We were finally making headway in our political career. If you were to go down, I’d definitely go down with you and the whole family with it. There was no other alternative,” Omar spoke up.
“What happened to talking to him to keep quiet?”
“That would only lead to a long drama of blackmail which would most likely end in him being taken out. So why waste money on it?”
“And what did Ayesha have to do with this?”
Omar glanced at Ayesha.
“Let’s just say she knew about the plan.”
“What a nice way to package it, dad,” Nadia said in a disappointed tone.
“What’s done is done. Just wanted to say it and ask for your forgiveness so I can pass on peacefully if I’m to die.”
“Don’t talk like that, Omar,” Tariq said.
“You’re not getting my forgiveness, dad. So forget a peaceful passage into oblivion,” Nadia said.
“You don’t mean that.”
“Oh but I do. I’m sick of all this,” Nadia said, picking up her bag and turning to leave.
“And where are you going?”
“Out for fresh air.” The door closed behind her.
“I’m sorry, dad,” Ayesha said, her face strewn with tears.
“Where did I go wrong with you, Ayesha? Was I not there enough?” Tariq asked.
“No, you weren’t, T. We all weren’t. We are all to blame for how the girls turned out,” Ida said painfully.
“I’m sorry, Ayesha. You were only a curious girl and I used it to my advantage. I’m sorry for messing you up,” Omar apologized.
“And I’m sorry for hurting all of you. Especially you, Auntie. You are the mother I’ve had for all this while and I was so selfish to have done this to you.”
“I wish I could let this go and perhaps one day, I would be able to but not now, Ayesha. I’m too crushed to see you beyond the pain,” Ida said.
“Why don’t you go after your sister, Nadia? I’m sure you two need to talk,” Tariq suggested.
Ayesha nodded and walked out of the room. Tariq walked up to Ida and hugged her. She didn’t resist but didn’t hug him back either.
“We are sorry, Ida. We’ve all acted stupidly. Please find it in your heart to forgive us.”
“It hurts so badly. You’ve all betrayed me,” she said as she began to cry.
“I know and we apologize. We are truly sorry.”
Ayesha looked around the hospital compound but couldn’t find Nadia. She walked toward the parking area and searched for Nadia’s car. She was about to give up and walk back into the hospital when she saw her car. She walked up to it and found Nadia with her head on the wheel. She knocked on the window and Nadia lifted her head. She unlocked the door and Ayesha opened it, sitting next to her.
They sat in silence for some time.
“I can’t believe you didn’t only know about Taye’s termination plan, but you actually aided in it. How heartless could you be, Ayesha?”
“Trust me, I was in support because of the family, Nadia. If one of us goes down, we all stand the risk of having our lives ruined. I’m sure you don’t want that, do you?”
“So you don’t regret what you did? Taye had his whole life ahead of him.”
“Just like we do. I might sound heartless but this was about whose life to prioritize and I’d rather prioritize that of my family. I’m sorry we had to resort to that. Perhaps we could have considered a less fatal means, granted. Please forgive me.”
“I don’t think I’m in the position to grant you that right now.”
“Do know that if something happens to dad, we will be coming for Jamal.”
“I do hope it doesn’t come to that. I need to go and check in on the boys. Hope they are good.”
“Oh shoot, mum and I sort of run out of the house upon hearing the news. I guess they are fine.”
“Let me rush home and check up on them.”
“Let me take you.”
“No, you stay here with your mum and dad. I’ll let you know when I get them.”
Nadia smiled back. Ayesha got out of the car.
“Daddy!” Karim shouted as he ran into Jamal’s arms. He carried him in his arms. Jamal saw Kareem looking up at him.
“Hey you,” he said, putting Karim down and picking Kareem up.
“How are you doing?” he asked after kissing his cheek. Kareem replied in a soft tone.
“Jamal, we need to talk.”
“But the boys are too little to understand anything.”
“But they would remember what they see and I don’t want them to see me in the mood I’m in right now.”
“Fine,” Jamal said, putting Kareem down.
“Sit down and watch TV. Don’t move, okay?”
Ayesha and Jamal entered their bedroom.
“What is it?”
“Did you try to kill Uncle Omar this morning?”
“What? Where is this coming from?”
“Where were you this morning?”
“I went out for a jog to get my head cleared for work.”
“Did your jog route lead you to the fitness club?”
“What fitness club?”
“Don’t lie to me, Jamal. Uncle Omar himself said it was you.”
“Why would you do such a thing?
“Because I’ve been taken for a ride for this while and it ends now.”
“So you admit to actually attacking my uncle?”
“I did what I had to do to stop him from messing up with my family one more time.”
“You do know that Auntie Ida and Nadia are planning on getting you arrested, right?”
“If they decide to go the whole nine yards, you’ll stick with me, right?”
“Stick with you? You are technically a killer and you want me to stick with you?”
“You’ve cheated on me ever since we met and here I am with you!”
“I’d rather you walk than kill someone out of rage and expect me to stay by your side. You are not doing anyone any favors by committing a felony. If for nothing, you’ve placed me in an impossible position with my family.”
“I am your family, Ayesha. Don’t forget that,” he said and left the room.
Nadia walked Tariq to his car.
“Were you able to sort things out with Ayesha?”
“Not completely. I’m still processing the information. Did you know about their plan to do away with Taye?”
“It came up once and I shot it down. It was the day we convened at your father’s apartment.”
Tariq sat in his car.
“How’s wifey doing?
“She’s fine. I’ll try and pass by in the evening.”
“Sure.” Tariq held her hand and gave it a squeeze.
“We’re going to get through this. We always do.”
Nadia walked back to her father’s room. When she got to the door, she heard her mother shout, “Oh no!”
Nadia opened the door and gaped in shock.
(c) Josephine Amoako 2021