Read Chapter 50 here.
“Whoa dad, you are trending on Twitter. Whatever you said in that interview must have really hit home and touched hearts,” Ayesha said admiringly.
“I wonder what I said exactly. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
“Well, keep doing you. Apparently, people love to hear what you have to say.”
“That’s good to hear.”
Tariq’s phone beeped. He opened a chat to read.
“Sweetie, what exactly am I trending for?”
“What do you mean? Your interview, what else?”
Ayesha checked the tweets. She sat up as she gasped.
“How bad is it?”
Tariq got up and snatched the phone from Ayesha’s hand. He scrolled down the tweets. He slumped down on the sofa in shock.
“Who is doing this? Is it you?”
“Me? How could you even ask that, dad? Why would I expose you like this?”
“I don’t know…it seems ever since Omar died, everyone has it over it over their heads about who’s going to get who.”
Tariq’s phone rang. He swore under his breath.
“What is it?”
“Chief of Staff is calling. I’m screwed.”
“Are you going to pick up?”
“Will gather my thoughts first.”
“Gosh, I need to check on Nadia.”
“Do you think she did this?”
“Why would she subject herself to public ridicule like this?”
“Then who else? Omar couldn’t possibly have returned from the dead to torment us all, could he?”
“Auntie Ida?” Ayesha asked.
“Why would she do that to her own daughter?”
“Then I guess we are out of suspects. Ei, why is she not picking up?” Ayesha asked in a worried tone as she stared at her phone.
“I don’t think Nadia is behind this. She doesn’t have it in her.”
“Oh you think so?”
Ayesha got up and paced the living room as she waited for Nadia to pick up the phone. She sent a voice message, “Hi Nad, where are you? Been trying to get a hold of you. I’m sure you’ve seen the video floating around. I’m sorry, dear. Never wished for you to go through what I did. Let me know where you are so I can come to you, okay? Love you.”
Ayesha turned to find her father with his head buried in his hands.
“What’s the worst thing that can happen, dad?”
“I could lose everything.”
“You mean your job? This isn’t a case of rape or defilement. Your affair was an adult consensual one.”
“But the court of public opinion won’t see it that way. They would see me as a pervert who was sleeping with his best friend’s daughter as young as his own daughter. I’d lose my respect in the party. I can forget about any plans to climb the ladder in there.”
“I didn’t know you were that vested into politics. Thought it was all because of Uncle Omar.”
“It was…it is. Wanted to get as farther as I could for him, you know. To let him know I did it for us.”
“But it’s not the end of the world for you. You will bounce back.”
Ayesha sat beside Tariq and held his hand.
“I know it feels your world is falling apart and maybe it is but after the dust settles, you can pick up the pieces and move on. When mine came out, I felt terrible but I’m still here. I know you have more to lose than I do but at the end of the day, what’s important is the people you care about. You’re about to become a new father again and you have me, a messed-up daughter who still needs you to tell her she’s worthy of love. It’s mere noise out there, dad. You’ll be fine.”
The door opened.
Bibi turned to find father and daughter seated together, holding hands.
“What kind of disgrace is this, T? Huh? I thought you had this Nadia nonsense loose end tied nicely. Why is this popping out now, at such a delicate time?”
“Someone on a vengeful rage, perhaps?” Ayesha chipped in.
“Who? My first suspicion was Nadia but she wouldn’t do this to herself.”
“I was thinking of Auntie Ida.”
Tariq turned to look at her. “Why would she?”
“She thinks I was behind her video leak.”
“Well, were you?”
Ayesha was about to speak but found herself lost for words. Tariq stood.
“For goodness’ sakes, Ayesha! Why would you do that? She was very peeved about it and issued threats. I thought she had cooled off but apparently, she went through with it. What was that for? To get Jamal out? I told you I was working on it. Why go poke the bear?”
“That video would have leaked with or without my help, dad. It was just a matter of time. I just happened…”
“I don’t care how you came about it. You should have spoken to me first.”
“And talk me out of it?”
“Do you see the damage you’ve caused now? I don’t know what happened during your births or conceptions. You and your friend are pretty messed up and you ruin everything you touch. Because of your rash actions, your father and friend have to pay for it.”
“To be fair, Nadia leaked my video.”
“To my point: you are messed up, Ayesha. In case you haven’t realized, I’m almost due and I don’t need this kind of drama around me. I don’t want any stress to cause me any complications, you hear me?”
“Calm down, Bibi. Don’t cause yourself any grief. This will blow over, trust me.”
Tariq’s phone rang.
“Give me the phone,” Bibi said.
“And tell him what?”
She gestured for him to hand it over. He sighed and did.
“Hello, honorable. Yes please, this is his wife. I’m sorry but he’s not available to speak now. He came down with a terrible cough and cold last night so I gave him a strong sedative this morning to sleep it off. Waking him before due time would be disastrous to me. I’ll let him know immediately he wakes up that you called. Thanks for understanding, honorable. Bye,” Bibi ended the call.
“You know he’s not going to believe that, right?” Ayesha asked.
“Doesn’t matter. He has no choice but to wait for your father to call him.” She threw the phone to the empty seat next to Tariq.
Tariq looked at Ayesha. “I’m sorry; I was desperate,” she apologized.
“It’s no excuse to do something this stupid. It’s not like he’s on death row,” Tariq said and left the room.
“That was very irresponsible on your part, Ayesha.”
“Why aren’t you mad at Auntie Ida for pulling this stunt? My fight is with her, why drag my father into it?”
“No one’s thinking right now. Everyone’s gone mad.”
“Hi Riq, how’s your day going?” Ida asked when she answered her phone.
“Was it you?”
“I won’t repeat myself.”
“I told you there were going to be consequences.”
“Not minding how it’s going to affect my reputation and career?”
“Since you refused to bring your daughter to order, you should get to taste my fury as well, shouldn’t you?”
“What has got into you, Ida? We are family for crying out loud! Why are we dirtying ourselves in the public’s eye?”
“Well, we are all sinners in the family, aren’t we? Why should some of us suffer our due shame and others still be regarded as saints? We go up together, we fall down together.”
“Now, I’m genuinely worried. Maybe you should get yourself checked. You haven’t been yourself since Omar died; wait, since you killed him.”
“Calling me crazy now?”
“If not, why would you throw your own daughter under the bus this way? You’ve scarred her forever, Ida!”
“Well, she had to pay for the stunt she pulled.”
“My video leak, what else?”
“Wait, it was Nadia?”
“Yeah, the daughter I carried for nine months and birthed out thought it wise to ruin me because of her friend’s husband.”
“So what, they were in it together?”
“Who, Ayesha and Nadia? I wouldn’t be surprised. Did she tell you she did it?”
“Goodbye, Ida.” The call ended.
“It was you?” Ida spun around in shock. Nadia was in tears.
“You did this?”
“Call it a cleansing period. We all get our dirty linen out there and we start afresh.”
“How could you do this to your own daughter? What kind of mother are you?”
“The kind who gives birth to a girl like you. How could you think it was okay to expose me like that?”
“That’s why you did it? The video? I didn’t leak it, mum. I said that so you could back off Ayesha. You kept insisting she did it…”
“But she did do it.”
“No, she didn’t. She swore to me.”
“Well, Tariq just told me she did. So you see, you took the fall for a friend who lied to you. How pathetic.”
Nadia rushed to her room and slammed the door shut.
“Nadia! Thank God! I was getting worried. Are you okay?” Ayesha said when she picked up her phone.
“Was it you, Ayesha?”
“What, the video of you and my dad? Of course not, I’m not a psycho!”
“The video of my mum. Did you leak it?”
“I told you I didn’t, Nadia.”
“Don’t lie to me, Ayesha. Your dad just told my mum that you did.”
“Technically, I didn’t. It was…”
“You are a monster, Ayesha. I can’t believe I risked my mother’s wrath for you. You know what, I’m tired. I’m tired of you, mum, everyone. Since dad died, it’s like some sickness has fallen on us and we are tearing each other apart. All for what? A potential killer behind bars? I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.”
“You can’t do what anymore?”
“Can’t continue living like this. I had a messed-up father, have a vindictive mother, a lying friend and sister…what future could I possibly have?”
“I understand you’re upset but I hope you’re not planning on doing anything stupid, Nadia.”
“What could be more stupid than continuing to be part of this family?”
“Nadia, listen…” The line dropped.
“Nadia? Nadia? Oh no, no. Where are my car keys?”
“Where are you going?” Bibi asked.
“I need to see Nadia. I feel she’s at her breaking point. Will be back. Please keep your phone close.” Ayesha rushed out of the house.
Ayesha called Ida on her drive to their house.
“You finally called.”
“It is you, isn’t it?”
“I’m sorry but you have to be a little more specific.”
“Did you leak that story of my dad and Nadia?”
“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.”
“That was heartless, auntie. It’s your daughter you’re hurting. What has my dad got to do with this?”
“It’s all about hitting where it hurts the most and I guess I targeted well.”
“Have you seen Nadia? Do you know she’s acting suicidal now?”
“Oh please, just spoke with her. She’ll be fine.”
“Where is she now?”
“In her room.”
“Okay, I’m almost there.”
“You’re not welcome here.”
Ayesha ended the call. She tried calling Nadia again. No answer. She stepped harder on the accelerator.
Ayesha barged into the house to find Ida browsing on her tablet, holding a glass of red wine.
“Do I need to get a restraining order against you, dear?”
“Nadia. Where’s she?”
“I told you, in her room. Why are making such a fuss?”
Ayesha rushed to her door and tried opening the door. It was locked. She slapped her open palm against the door.
“Nadia! It’s me, Ayesha, open up.” No answer. She tried again.
“Nadia? Can you hear me?”
She tried opening the door again but it wouldn’t barge.
“Nadia! Are you okay?”
“You’re making noise, Ayesha.”
“She’s not saying anything. The door’s locked.”
“She wants time alone. And I say let her.”
“I have a bad feeling about this. We need to get inside.”
“How are going to do that? Break down the door?”
“If that’s what it takes to get inside, yes.”
“Honey, that door is imported. Do you know how much it costs?”
“You’re not listening to me, auntie! Nadia may not be okay and you’re blabbing about an imported door? We need to get inside. Nadia!”
“Drama queen,” Ida said with a roll of her eyes. Ayesha rushed out and came back in with the gardener who was holding some tools. Ida’s eyes followed them to Nadia’s door.
“And what do you think you’re going to do with these in my house?”
“Please break it open. It’s urgent, please.”
“You touch that door and you’ll regret it, Issifu.”
“I’ll replace the door. Open it. Nadia? Please hurry up.”
The gardener sighed and went ahead. After some attempts, the door opened. Ayesha rushed inside.
Nadia was unconscious on the bed. Ayesha shook her hard.
“Nadia, wake up. Nadia,” Ayesha called out, slapping Nadia’s cheeks.
She saw a bottle of pills. She picked it up. It was almost empty.
“What did you do? Nadia! Auntie!”
“What is it?” Ida appeared at the door. When she took in the scene, she gasped and rushed to her.
“Nadia?” She looked at Ayesha, fear in her eyes. Ayesha gave her the pill bottle.
“Nadia…no, you didn’t.”
“Please help us get her into the car,” Ayesha said to the gardener, wiping a tear from her cheek.
Ayesha sped like crazy with her hazard on the way to the hospital.
“Be careful. You don’t have to kill us too,” Ida said from the back seat as she held Nadia.
Ayesha glanced at her from the rearview mirror.
“We are all dead anyway.”
(c) Josephine Amoako 2021
Read Chapter 52 here.