Read Chapter 47 here.
“After an intense eight-week trial involving the alleged killer of the late honorable Member of Parliament, Omar, Jamal has been handed a prison sentence of ten years for second degree murder. This comes from the back of the story of the late honorable fathering one of the twins that Jamal had with his daughter, Ayesha who also happens to be the daughter of MP and Deputy Minister of Information, Hon. Tariq. Hon. Tariq’s office is yet to make a comment on the sentence.”
Nadia watched as the cameras caught Ayesha leaving the courtroom after the court session ended on TV. She scooped ice cream from a bowl and ate. Ida joined her on the sofa.
“So the case is finally closed. We can move on with our lives.”
“Can we ever?”
“Of course we can, honey. What could hold us back?”
“I wish I could say I feel better after Jamal’s conviction but surprisingly, I’m not.”
“I know how you feel but unfortunately, nothing can bring your father back. Spoken to Ayesha?”
Nadia shook her head and ate another spoonful of ice-cream.
“I see…maybe you should reach out to her.”
“And tell her what, I’m sorry her husband is going to be put away for a long time when a part of me wants it too? Now the wound is too raw. We would only hurt each other if we communicate. It’s better we stay out of each other’s way for a while before reaching out,” Nadia said.
“That makes sense. She’s welcome to join me back at work; that is, if she’s up for it,” Ida said.
“I doubt she will. That would be too much.”
“With time, I’m sure she’ll be more open to it. She was great at her job and she loved doing it.”
“I miss her.”
“Yeah, me too.”
Ayesha took the boys to see Jamal days after his sentencing.
“I want to say thank you for not testifying. Although I got a long sentencing, I can’t imagine what my plight would be if you had testified. And thanks for bringing the boys. I wish I could say I’d still be in their lives but we both know better. I’d ask that you bring them over often…”
“Well, Jamal, I didn’t bring them over for a ‘see you soon’ visit. This is actually a farewell visit.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m traveling out of the country, Jamal. I need a new environment to find myself.”
“What? You’re leaving? You’re abandoning me in my time of trouble?”
“You talk as if you’re the victim! You brought this upon yourself and us all. Now I can’t even step out because the moment I do, I’ll become a news item on every platform. You might say it’s a fair treatment considering what I had put you through but unfortunately, I don’t see myself riding through this storm. I’ll be coming down periodically to check in but I think it’s better especially for the boys, they need to grow in a scandal-free environment,” Ayesha explained.
“Going to keep my son away for ten years? Come on Ayesha, don’t do this. I should be mad at you for what you did. I’d never have found myself here if it weren’t for you.”
“Sorry, but that card has been overused. You don’t strike a nerve anymore when you go on that tangent. So do yourself a favor and retire that line. Whether I like it or not, your family is going to hate me for ruining your life and I’ve accepted that. So let’s move past what has happened and look forward.”
“Are you going to divorce me?”
“What? Wait, you’ve just given me an idea. Here I was, racking my brain how to drop you like the baggage you are and move on…of course, I’m not going to divorce you. Unless I hear you are cheating on me behind these walls,” Ayesha said cynically.
Jamal couldn’t help but chuckle.
“I don’t know what the future holds but I do intend to stick with you.”
“You’re young and in your prime. You’re definitely going to crave for some male attention and I can’t deprive you of that for ten years.”
“Are you calling for an open marriage?” Ayesha asked with widened eyes.
“No…but if in case you do find someone you fancy very much, kindly do me a favor and let me know.”
“Okay.” They held each other’s hand.
“No touching!” Ayesha startled at the command as she pulled back her hand.
“It’s alright. If you were to be coming here often, it’d grow on you too.”
Ayesha shook her head.
“I’ve got to go.”
“I’m sorry. I leave tomorrow.”
“What, so soon?”
“The earlier I leave the scene, the better. The earlier the noise goes down, the faster we can get you out of here.”
“I love you, Ayesha.”
“I love you, Jamal. And I’m sorry for being unfaithful. I broke my vow to you and I’m ashamed of myself for that. You surely deserved a better woman than me.”
“I chose you, Ayesha. And I stand by it. I hope you will do same.”
“I’ll try my best.”
Ayesha broke down in tears when she got into her car. A security guard noticed her and tapped on her window, gesturing if she was okay. She nodded and forced a smile. She drove out of the parking lot.
Ayesha was having lunch with Bibi at Tariq’s house when news of Ida winning the MP seat in Omar’s stead was broadcast.
“I like it. Take the man out and snatch his power. So 21st century,” Bibi said.
“I hope she wins the seat.”
“Have you informed her you’re leaving?”
“No, I don’t think she’d care anyway.”
“Don’t say that; of course, she would. Besides, the object of their fury is behind bars so why would they still be mad at you?”
“I was with her husband for years. That won’t be easy to forgive.”
“That’s true. If I found that out with Nadia, I’d have skinned her alive.”
Ayesha chuckled. “Knowing you, I wouldn’t have been surprised.”
“I know you probably see me differently now that you know my big secret. I’m not your typical good girl but I’m not that bad either. I hope you won’t hide your baby from me when she’s born.”
“Of course not. Why would I? You’d be the perfect big sister/rich auntie for him.”
“Him, huh? Hoping for a boy?”
“Yeah…would be nice to have a mini Tariq around creating a mess, don’t you think?”
“Yeah but he would also be a handful. Hope you are up for it.”
“Oh I am. More than you know,” Bibi said with a wink.
In the evening, Tariq arrived home. Karim was asleep but Kareem wasn’t. He ran to his grandfather who caught him and carried him in his arms. Kareem began gigging when Tariq tickled him.
He put him down and leaned down to kiss Bibi’s cheek.
“Missed you today,” he whispered.
“Miss you every day.”
“Get a room already,” Ayesha said, doing a mock of rolling her eyes.
“Who says you need a room to get things started?” Tariq teased. Ayesha gaped at him and nodded. Bibi chuckled.
“Way to go, dad.”
“Let me go and change. What’s for dinner, honey?”
“We had Fante kenkey with fish…”
“That sounds like a pregnant woman’s kind of dinner. Please tell me there’s something else.”
“We have assorted macaroni for you, dad.”
“Thanks, sweetheart. Will be right back.”
When Tariq returned wearing a Polo shirt and a pair of shorts, wife and daughter joined him at the table and chatted while he ate. After a while, Bibi began dozing off. Tariq took her to bed and returned.
“How did it go, seeing Jamal?” he asked.
“Very painful to say the least; especially when I said I was leaving.”
“How did he take it?”
“How do you think he did, dad? Not too well. And he played the card of not being able to see his son if I leave.”
“Well, you can always leave Karim behind.”
“Oh no, I can’t do that.”
“Why not? It’s the father’s wish to have him close by.”
“They are twins, dad. Would be cruel to separate them.”
“If you say so. But you do know that they will inevitably find out they don’t have the same father one day, right?”
“Who’s going to tell them?”
“Jamal for one. He won’t hesitate to let Karim know he’s his and try to draw a line between him and his brother.”
“So what do I do?”
“There’s nothing you can do, my dear. What you can do is enjoy them for as long as they remain innocent and prepare yourself when the battle lines are drawn.”
“Come on dad, you make it sound like a sealed fate for the boys.”
“It sort of is, Ayesha. The dangerous game you played with Omar could have cascading effects on the whole family.”
“I’ll do my best to water it down.”
“Told Ida and Nadia about your travel?”
“Not yet. Will do after I get settled. I saw on the news that Auntie Ida won the seat. Good for her, right?”
“Yeah. Hope she can be my eyes and ears in the NDC camp just as Omar was when he was alive.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem. Auntie Ida has always been your biggest fan. Have you two ever…”
“Okay…just a harmless question, dad.”
“Yeah right. There’s nothing harmless about you.”
Ayesha laughed as she took away his plate and walked into the kitchen to wash it.
Ida threw a party to celebrate her newly won seat and entry into politics. Nadia kept an eye on her chat with Ayesha. Her last text to her was still unread. When she saw Tariq enter the house, she heaved a sigh of relief. Bibi followed him inside the house. She expected Ayesha to follow but saw no sign of her.
“The woman of the hour!” Tariq exclaimed when he saw Ida. They hugged.
“So nice of you to come, T.”
“What kind of friend am I if I refused to show up?”
“The terrible kind. Hi Bibi, you’re glowing. How are you holding up?”
“I’m great, thanks. May I use your washroom?”
“Sure. You know the way, right?”
“Yeah. Excuse me,” Bibi said and walked away
“Where’s Ayesha? Don’t tell me she brought the kids.”
“No, she’s not here.”
“She didn’t make it? Don’t tell me she still thinks I’m mad at her,” Ida said to Tariq.
“Well, sort of. She said she’d reach out after she’s settled.”
“Settled? Why, where she is gone to?”
“Oh wow…and she left without saying goodbye? It’s like that, huh?”
“No, it’s not. She’ll come around.”
“She better does or her son won’t get a dime from Omar’s inheritance.”
“Wow…let the games begin.”
“Let’s get you a drink,” Ida said, pulling Tariq’s arm and taking him to the bar mixer to fix her a drink.
Nadia bumped into Bibi.
“Hey…did you come with Ayesha? Can’t seem to find her anywhere.”
“Oh Ayesha isn’t here. She flew out to the UK. She hasn’t reached out to you yet?”
“No. She’s outside the country? I see.”
“Don’t read too much into it. She said she’d contact you as soon as she’s settled down.”
“Sure. Thanks for letting me know. Enjoy the party,” Nadia said and walked away.
Nadia entered her bedroom and sent Ayesha a voice message.
“Call me when you get this, Ayesha. You just don’t up and leave without leaving anybody. I know there has been a lot of hurt and regret from everything that has gone down. But that’s what family is for, right? We stick with each other through everything. Do call me.”
Ida was chitchatting with her colleagues when she saw Yaw enter the house.
“What is he doing here?” Ida muttered to herself. He walked up to her.
“Congratulations, Honorable Girlfriend.”
Ida smiled. She took his hand and led him away from the guests.
(c) Josephine Amoako 2021
Read Chapter 49 here.