Read Chapter 45 here.
“How true is this, T? How could Omar have fathered one of Ayesha’s twins? Is it even possible?” Bibi asked Tariq.
“It’s complicated, babe. The whole saga is complicated.”
“It appears pretty simple to me. It’s either he did or he didn’t. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be so surprised. I always smelled something fishy; but I just didn’t have enough to confirm. If it is indeed true, then I must give it up for them. They were pros.”
“Is that admiration I sense in your voice?” Tariq asked, wearing a puzzled look.
“Well, I don’t know if admiration is the right word but I do respect a woman who takes charge of her physical needs and goes any length to satisfy them.”
“So, is it true?”
“Is what true?”
“Come on, T. Ayesha’s taking Omar’s passing very hard or else I’d have asked her myself.”
“Yeah. All indications point to that conclusion.”
“When did you find out? How did you confront Omar about taking advantage of your relationship like that?”
“I really don’t want to go into it, honey.”
“Okay, I’m sure things will unravel by themselves. Any other shocking news you might want to share because it’s leaked out there?”
“I don’t know…Ayesha sleeping with Omar, your thing with Nadia…I know she’s very much hung up on you. Did you sleep with her? Was it like a daughter swap sort of thing?”
“Bibi, I’m not in the mood…”
“I don’t freaking care what mood you’re in, T. If there’s a scandal looming, I’d like to beware of it and arm myself. I didn’t go all the lengths I did to get you into government only for you to throw it all in the drain and drag me down along with you. You’re this close in getting into the party’s inner circle and I won’t let you mess it up because of some stupid fantasy you shared with your best friend.”
“Alright, if you care to know, yeah, Nadia and I had a thing at one point but I called it off.”
“I see. You mentioned Nadia could be behind the leak of Omar and Ayesha’s relationship to the media. Could she leak yours too?”
“And subject herself to public ridicule? Why would she do that?”
“You talk like she cares. She just lost her dad. Her first boyfriend died painfully. She might be feeling nothing matters now; at her age, it might seem that way.”
“I’d have to talk to her then.”
“Oh no. You’re not to allow her anywhere close to you, Tariq. She’s a ticking time bomb, that one. I’ll deal with her myself,” Bibi told him.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea? That might piss her off even more.”
“Let me worry about that.”
“Okay. And do keep checking in on Ayesha. She needs all the support she can get.”
“Of course. I need her to help with our baby, you know?”
“I don’t see Ayesha as the babysitting type, honey.”
“Yeah, but she could be the fun auntie-big sister I need for our baby.”
“All the best with that. Got to go. Talk to you later,” he said with a goodbye kiss and left.
“I don’t know if that’s your weird way of grieving but what you did was totally reckless, Nadia. How could you destroy your father’s hard-earned reputation like that?” Ida questioned Nadia.
“Reputation? What reputation, mum?”
“Your dad was far from perfect, but he had ambition. He had a plan for this family and it’s unfortunate he won’t be able to see it through.”
“Exactly. He’s gone so why should it matter?”
“And Ayesha? I understand you’re mad. I’m madder than you but this was definitely not the way to go.”
“Why should she go scot free when she’s the cause of all this?”
Ida’s phone rang. She scowled at the familiar looking number. She answered it.
“Hi there! Been ages. Heard you are a widow now. Called to offer my condolences.”
“Don’t you remember my voice? Your keep fit buddy.”
“What do you want?”
“Oh, to let you know I’m here for you any way you want me. I know you must be grieving so in case you need any comfort, I’m at your service.”
“Geez, get off my line.”
“Will be expecting your call. Bye honey pie.” The line dropped dead. Ida rolled her eyes as she put the phone down.
“Who was that?”
“No one important. Please hurry up with that. The family’s coming around. We have a funeral to plan.”
Omar’s funeral was heavily attended by politicians from the two major parties, business tycoons and socialites alike. Ida and Nadia read their tributes tearfully. Tariq also delivered a moving eulogy. Ayesha cried throughout the burial service.
At the cemetery, Ida and Nadia stood on one side while Tariq, Ayesha and Bibi stood at the other side. They all threw soil on the casket after it was lowered into the ground.
One by one, they all walked away, leaving the four. Tariq held Ayesha’s hand and squeezed it. Ida held Nadia’s.
“After all said and done, it’s us against the world. We need to stand together,” Tariq said.
“So easy for you for say,” Nadia said as she yanked her hand out of her mother’s and stormed off.
“Nadia! This girl…”
“Go see to her before she does anything silly.”
Ida nodded and walked away.
“I’m sorry, uncle Omar. I know you’re down there because of me. If I could take it all back, I would. It might be wrong in everyone’s eyes but I did love you. I loved you very much and I’ll forever be grateful for giving me someone to always remember you by. Goodbye, Uncle Omar.”
Ayesha walked away.
“You were the one with the plan, Omar. You had the master plan to get us into the Jubilee House. I had no idea how but you guided me to where I am right now. You were supposed to tell me the next step. Now you’re gone. What do I do now?”
“An autopsy? For what? We all know what killed him. Why do we have to further mutilate his body? I refuse it.”
“Unfortunately, it’s needed for the pending trial case.”
“I’m his survivor and I refuse it. You touch the body and I’ll sue the living breath out of you!” Ida threatened and slammed the phone into its cradle.
“Who else are we expecting for the reading of dad’s will?” Nadia asked as she ate breakfast with her mother.
“Tariq. He and Omar have a couple of joint businesses.”
Ida checked her watch. “The barrister will be in soon.” She wiped her mouth and got up.
Nadia took another slice of toasted bread and bit into it.
The barrister arrived ten minutes later with an assistant.
“Are we all set?”
“Hon. Tariq is on his way. He should get here any minute. Would you want anything to drink, please?”
“Alright. Nadia, please bring them some water.”
As Nadia was serving the water, Tariq walked in with Ayesha behind.
“Ayesha? And why is she here?” Nadia asked, puzzled.
“She’s here because it was the late Honorable’s wish that she be here. You are welcome, Miss.”
Ida and Nadia shared a look.
“Shall we begin?”
As the barrister read the will, Nadia and Ayesha kept their gaze locked on each other. Ayesha startled a bit when her name was mentioned.
“My son with Ayesha, Kareem is entitled to a trust fund set up for him but can only access it at the age of 30; when he has proven himself capable of managing the funds. This will be determined and endorsed by my wife Ida and brother, Tariq.”
Ayesha inhaled sharply. Ida smirked. Nadia rolled her eyes. Tariq rubbed his.
“Both Nadia and Ayesha will receive a monthly allowance of $2,000 accruing from separate trusts.”
“You must be kidding me,” Nadia said.
“You can have it…” Ayesha said it but Tariq stopped her but touching her thigh.
“I do hope you have me in your will, Uncle T; if not, this is clearly unfair.”
“Omar and I made a promise to each other to take care of each other’s family. He has kept his end of the bargain; I intend to keep mine as well.”
“We live to see. Well, technically, you have to die for me to…”
“Shut up, Nadia. Geez,” Ida said.
“This is the last will of Honorable Omar read to your hearing. Thank you very much.”
Ayesha followed Nadia to the kitchen when she got up.
“What? This is what you wanted, right? Take everything from me! Well, congratulations, you have it all!”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Nadia. We’ve always told each other that what I have is yours and what you have is mine. What’s changed?”
“What’s changed? You plotted to kill my boyfriend. You incited your husband to kill my father. And you dared to ask me what has changed?”
“I didn’t incite Jamal. He did it all on his own. I swear it. If your mum hadn’t told him the truth…”
“Oh you’re going to blame my mum for this? You really are heartless, aren’t you?”
“I’m sorry it came out wrong, Nadia. My mind is all over the place. I know you’re mad but please don’t shut me out. If handing you back your father’s money is what it takes, consider it done,” Ayesha said.
“No, I don’t want it, Ayesha. I don’t want you in my life any longer, Ayesha. It hurts to see you alive when two of my favorite people in the world are gone because of you!”
“I know and I’m sorry. If I have to apologize every day to make it up to you, I will, Nadia but please don’t shut me out.”
“I have one thing I need you to do to make up to me.”
“What is it?”
“Jamal? I need you to testify against him.”
“He must pay for what he did.”
“There’s reason to believe your father didn’t die out of the initial stabbing. If we could find the real cause of death, Jamal could be vindicated.”
“I don’t care. If he hadn’t assaulted my father in the first place, we wouldn’t be here. So what’s it going to be, Ayesha? Our sisterhood or your husband’s freedom?”
“You asked, Ayesha. That’s my ask. Take it or leave it,” Nadia said and walked away.
“It’s so good to see you, honey. What kept you so long from coming to see me? Can’t you pull some strings to have my bail granted?” Jamal asked Ayesha when she went to see him.
“Unfortunately, the powers that be in the political circles don’t want to see you out. There’s little that I can do.”
“Your father is a minister. Can’t he do something?”
“You killed his best friend. Why would he?”
“Okay. But the lawyer says luck could be on my side with the autopsy results.”
“Jamal, I have some news for you.”
“Okay, what is it?”
“I may have to testify.”
“Testify in my defense? Sure, why not?”
“No, not in your defense.”
“You mean you’re planning on testifying against me?”
“I’m sorry…it’s the price I have to pay for all the damage I’ve caused.”
“By throwing me under the bus? You cheated on me, Ayesha! For God knows how long. You even had to make my baby share your womb with his baby. I loved you with everything I had and you took it for granted. You disrespected our matrimonial bed and lied to myself every day that we’ve been married. And now, you’re going to seal it by keeping me locked up forever? You owe me, Ayesha!”
“I know and I’m sorry. I don’t want to do this, but I don’t have a choice.”
“Oh but you always have a choice, Ayesha. It’s only up to you to make it.”
“I’m sorry, Jamal.”
“I promise to care for Kareem as my very own, Ayesha. I love that boy like my own,” Jamal pleaded.
“I know, Jamal. Unfortunately, it’s the price I have to pay for hurting my family.”
“What about hurting me, betraying me, deceiving me? Don’t you have a price to pay for that as well?”
“I’ll tell the lawyer to do his best to get you out. I’ll pay whatever he asks for…”
“And you won’t testify.”
“Pray to God I don’t have to.”
Ayesha was seated with Bibi when Tariq arrived. She got up.
“Hey dad. Got anything?”
“Hi dear, how was your day? I missed you,” Tariq said.
“You know I did, dad. Now spill!” Ayesha said impatiently.
“So I got a copy of the autopsy results. It seems someone tampered with Omar’s wound; that’s why he bled out the way he did.”
“Okay, could that help Jamal’s case since he is innocent of that?”
“It could reduce his sentence yes but he’s still in trouble. I wonder who could have done it.”
“We must find out who was last with him,” Ayesha said.
“Wouldn’t it either be Ida or Nadia or both?” Bibi asked.
Tariq and Ayesha shared a look.
“No, that couldn’t be,” Ayesha said, shaking her head.
“Nothing would surprise me anymore. We are at war now. The family as we knew it is no more. Right now, we have to protect ourselves.”
“Why is the police inviting me over for questions? Isn’t the Jamal case going to trial?” Nadia asked her mother.
“I wonder myself. I can see Ayesha is trying hard to get her husband free.”
“I’d like to see her try. Jamal is going down, whether she likes it or not.”
(c) Josephine Amoako 2021
Read Chapter 47 here.