“Can we talk?” Juliet asked and turned to look at Greg.
“Don’t mind me, am leaving.” He announced. He went back into the house, picked up his wallet and set on keys on the tea table by the sofa and walked passed the two at the door. “I’ll see you later Jack. Juliet, it was good to see you, take care.”
“Where are you going this late in the night?” Jackson asked before Greg could get into his car. Greg smiled impishly. “The night is still young my friend.” He said and got into the car.
Juliet sheepishly smiled and waved at him.
“Come in.” Jackson stepped away from the door to let her through.
Juliet entered but instead of sitting she remained standing, waiting for Jackson who had remaine behind locking the door.
“Aren’t you going to sit down?” Jackson appeared by her side looking slightly confused. With Juliet, he could never really tell which direction the winds would blow and if he would be on the wrong end of it or not.
“Thanks.” She said and sat down.
Jackson sat right opposite her. “Are you still mad at me over what my mother said?”
“No, on the contrary, I came to apologize.”
“Huh?” Jackson couldn’t believe the shocking turn the events had suddenly taken. He was prepared to wait days before Juliet could pick up his calls or respond to his texts but he had not even done either yet and yet Juliet appeared before him.
“You know how I get when it comes to issues to do with my family…my sister to be specific.” Juliet explained. “You know very well the kind of hell she’s put me through ever since she learnt about our relationship. I just couldn’t process the two of you being used in the sentence like that-“ She was fighting back tears.
Jackson went to sit beside her and pulled her into his arms. “Silly girl.” He said as he embraced her. “How can you even entertain such wild ideas? Nothing physical ever happened between Alice and me.”
Juliet buried her face into his chest in embarrassment. Jackson laughed even more.
“You’re crazy jealous and stubborn but I love you Ms Juliet Soko.” He pulled her slightly away from him and planted a kiss on her forehead.
“Do you think am too insecure?” She asked.
Jackson hesitated a bit before answering.
“I am right?” Juliet was looking visibly disturbed.
“No, it’s not that.” Jackson said.
“You hesitated!” She pulled herself completely away from him. “You think am too insecure.”
Jackson took her hand and wrapped it in-between his hands. “Yes, maybe you’re insecure when it comes to me but the thing is, I totally understand why you act the way you do. Yes I get frustrated ever now and then when you overreact to certain things but I have never thought of you as being too insecure.
“It would be very abnormal if you weren’t like this after everything that you’ve been through Julie.
Remember, I was there through most of it. I even find it amazing that you’re still self-assertive and confident in both your career and your love for me. You will never hear me complain because there is absolutely nothing to complain about.”
“Are you sure?” She asked, fearing she might drive him away eventually if she didn’t get her act together.
“I love you just the way you are, strengths and weaknesses. I cannot claim to be perfect myself, I also get jealous sometimes. Have you forgotten?”
Juliet laughed. “I heard you told my supervisor to stop texting me on my off days. Isn’t that abusing your authority a bit sir getting involved in the private lives of your employees?”
Juliet had been working as the Assisting Head of Finance at JC Pharmaceuticals immediately after finishing her masters. Jackson insisted on them working in the same environment as a way of making up for all the years they had lived apart.
“Not when that employee is my woman. And if I see him tagging you in one of his stupid memes on Facebook again, I will fire him.” Jackson threatened.
“Does he still tag me?” Juliet asked.
“When was the last time you went online?”
“Check your Facebook.” She was smiling suspiciously.
“What’s that smile about?” Jackson asked.
“Just check, you’ll see.” She said.
Jackson grabbed his phone and went online. The first thing he saw was a relationship request notification from Juliet.
“Oh my God!” He jumped from the sofa. “When did you send this?”
“A few minutes ago, when I was seated by the doorstep outside.” She pointed outside.
“When did you come?” Jackson asked.
“Let’s just say I overheard a good part of your chat with Greg. I just didn’t have the courage to knock. I was too ashamed.”
“I have accepted it! Finally! Does this mean am free to post whatever I want now?”
Juliet chuckled. “Of course, but don’t be too mushy…I don’t like mushy stuff in public. Save some of it just for the two of us.”
“Aye captain.” He said and went to lift her up from the sofa and into his arms, kissing her for a very long time.
Alice was watching a late night movie with her mother when her phone rang.
“Who died?” She asked. “Claudia calling me at this hour can only mean there’s some hot gossip
she couldn’t wait for me to hear. Spill.”
“I hope you’re sitting down for this one my love because it’s huge!” Claudia said.
“Yeah, am seated and cut to the chase idiot.” Alice spat.
“Who is it?” Mildred’s interest was piqued.
“It’s Claudia,” Alice answered.
“Is that your mum?” Claudia asked from the other end of the line.
“Why did you call silly?” Alice said.
“Check your Facebook.” She said. “Something huge is trending. In a few minutes it will be all over the media.”
“My phone is by my ear right now so how do you expect me to check whats happening online? I can’t put you on speaker, what if you say something crazy and mother is listening to this conversation like am one of the DSTV channels she’s addicted to. Just tell me or hang up so I can check.”
“But call me right back when you check.” Claudia said.
Mildred was still unashamedly focused on her daughter, question marks written all over her face and looking very frustrated for being in the dark.
“What’s going on?” Mildred asked her daughter who was busy on her phone.
“That’s what am about to find-what the hell?”
Mildred stood and went to look at what had her daughter looking like she was about ready to burst open.
“So they’ve decided to make their relationship public huh?” Mildred said, furry registering all over her face.
“I’m not ready for your drama mum am going to my room.” Alice was back on the line with Claudia before she could even get to her bedroom door.
“You have seen right?” Claudia asked.
“Yeah, I didn’t think she would ever agree to make things so public when she acts all so innocent and what not.”
“I thought you were making progress with him Alice, what happened?” Claudia asked. “Now that they’re relationship is out there, people will say that you stole him from her.”
“Who is going to believe that?” Alice asked. “Who in our circles doesn’t know about how that guy used to chase after me and how he spent a whole week in jail for me? If anything stole something here, it’s Juliet.”
“So what are you going to do now?”
“I will just play the weakest link seeing how Jackson has refused to give me the time of day. His pride won’t allow him to accept me that easily but given the right circvmstances, I can make him available for grabs without having to say a word to him.”
“What do you mean play the weakest link?” Claudia asked.
“Juliet.” She answered simply.
“I know just what buttons to press to make her move out of the way on her own. She is the weakest link.
“You’re evil Alice.” Claudia laughed.
“You won’t be saying that when I become a billionaire’s wife and am taking you shopping in
They both laughed.
“Are you going to tell your mother about your plans?” Claudia asked.
“Of course I can’t pull this off easily without her help.” Alice said. “She hates Jackson’s guts but she doesn’t feel that way about his money. With me in the picture, she can have whatever amount she desires but with Juliet there, there’s no chance for the both of us. I happen to like both the man and his money so it will be a win-win situation for me.”
“But do you think Juliet will easily step aside now that she’s gotten the courage to go public with the relationship?” Claudia asked.
“I know my sister better than she knows herself. I will tune her up thoroughly she won’t even know what hit her.”
“You never did tell me why you hate your sister so much.” Claudia said.
“It’s late now Claudia I have to go. Night.” Alice cut the line before her friend could say another word.
Alice threw the phone to the side and dropped her back onto the bed as her mind took her back to the incident that changed everything in their home.
It was a cold July night and the nanny had just finished tucking in the seven year old Alice when they heard the living room door open. Sensing it was her mother back from one of her usual long trips, Alice jumped out of bed and ran to meet her mother. She found her standing alone in the middle of the living room glaring at the tiny three year old crying on the floor.
“Who is she?” Alice had asked her mother.
“She is…your sister.” Her mother had answered.
“My sister? Where did she come from?” The seven year old asked.
“I don’t know and I don’t care. Ba Maureen,” she had turned to the nanny. “Shut her up, give her a bath and find her some clothes from Alice’s closet that will fit her. I’m going to be now and no one should disturb me.”
“Mum!” Alice had run after her mother but one angry scream sent her taking steps back and watching her disappear into her bedroom, loudly locking the door behind her.
Two days later a strange looking man came knocking at their door early morning and Alice hid behind the sofa to listen in on their conversation.
“Nothing like this would have happened if you didn’t keep pushing my wife.” The furious man was telling her mother.
“Don’t act like this is all my fault Donald!” Mildred screamed back. “If you were not this weak and lazy we both wouldn’t be in this situation. You are the reason why I approached Dominic in the first place! I was young, desperate and with no one to turn to. You were supposed to protect me, like a normal man should but you were too busy being poor that I had to sell myself to the highest bidder. You are the one who couldn’t protect me so don’t treat me like am scvm. You made me
who I am today.”
“Are you seriously going to pin all this on me?” The man named Donald asked. He was a very tall and thin man with long kinky hair. He looked like the man that cleaned their yard and took care of their garden.
What was her mother doing letting such a man into their home? Alice had wondered. He was too filthy.
“I asked you to give me time but you couldn’t wait. You wanted to have things right away no matter the challenges you faced. You did it then and you are doing it now. ” He was saying. “Life doesn’t work like that. Some things take time. And here I thought you had matured.”
“You wanted me to starve to death while you waited for time to present the perfect opportunity right?” Mildred asked.
“What was I even thinking getting entangled with you like this?” He said, his voice slightly shaking.
“I lost a good woman…my beautiful wife all because I al lowed myself to get entangled in your
“And I have taken responsibility for my actions haven’t I?” Mildred said. “I took that child and am going to raise her like my own. Do you think it was an easy decision for me to make? What woman wants to be called mother by the child of the man she loves and his worthless weak wife? You are not the only one making sacrifices here Donald. I am too.”
“I didn’t ask you to do any of this!” The man snapped. “My wife, my child….you’ve taken everything from me.”
“First of all I didn’t kill that wife of yours.” She said. “She came after me and everything that happened after that was her fault. And the only reason I brought that child with me is because I know you can’t take care of her. Just look at you Donald, it’s six in the morning and yet you smell like you slept in a drum of chibuku. I don’t want anyone asking questions, I have to protect myself and you. Only God knows why the only man I ever fell in-love had to be someone like you. I am trying to protect both of us here and instead of cussing me out, you should be thanking me.”
“I am going to come back for my daughter once I settle myself out.” Donald said. “I don’t want you to poison her with you vermin so she turns out like you. One of you in this world is enough of a curse to humanity.”
“That’s if your cigarettes and beer don’t get to you first before you smarten up. In the meantime she stays here with me. I might be materialistic but at least I have a heart to be responsible for my actions. One of us has to….” She was looking at him disgustingly.
A week later, Alice’s mother answered the land phone and a few seconds later she was wailing all over the house. It appeared the man named Donald had died.
“My mother loved her father, she never loved me or my father. I was simply her meal ticket.” The thirty-seven year old answered the last question her friend Claudia had asked her.
“She wants to love Juliet because she is the only piece of the man she loved still living but she can’t love her because she isn’t her own…and she feels guilt towards me.” Alice continued.
“That is why I hate Juliet.” She said to herself. “She stole what was rightfully mine since we were young and she is doing the same now. I won’t let history repeat itself, never.”