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The Bet – Episode 17

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THE BET Episode 17

©Tisa Phiri

“Oh no… you are Joking right?” James managed to ask Charity after minutes of being quite.

“I can’t joke over such a serious issue James. from the day we last talked two weeks ago I have not been feeling so well. I went to the hospital and they carried some tests to find out what is wrong with me. just yersterday they told me I needed to do an HIV test and unfortunately am positive James.” She told him.

James listened his mouth open, he couldn’t say anything it was like his whole body was just crushed with some heavy thing that he couldn’t move from himself.

All kinds of bad thoughts clouded his mind. he thought of how reckless he had been, at some point in his usual drinking sprees he had taken a woman from the bar and slept with her. The following Morning he realised what a great mistake he had made. especially that he didn’t get to use protection like he always did when he was sobber.

He was even more shocked when the woman he slept with in the hotel room demanded for payment.

“What? You mean you are a prostitute?” He had asked her.

“What do you think man? You called me yersterday and I offered my services so pay up now and I will be on my way. ” she snapped dressing up.

James had given her the money in silence and regreted his actions, he however comforted himself that all was well.

Now with the news from Charity he knew it was possible. any of them would have given the other. Charity had multiple boyfriends and him too even when he had maintained sleeping with Her, he knew that the posibility of him getting the virus from the prostitute was high. He couldnt blame her entirely.

“James are you okey?” Charity asked him when she realised he had been quite for some minutes.James didn’t answer he just stood and walked to his car in silence.

“James talk to me I had to tell you cause despite everything I care about you and I want you to carry the test too. if you are lucky you might find you are not infected” she added.

James walked on until he reached his vehicle.

Getting his phone he called his Doctor friend from UTH and asked he saw him that same day.

“I have to see you man, are you at the hospital? ” He asked him.

“Of course James, come over my shift ends in an hour. ”

“Am on my way,” James answered and speed off to meet him. all he wanted was to carry the test no matter what and got to know the truth. Deep down his heart it scared him that he was not well too but he convinced himself he would know.

After the friend did the test he told him the worst news that James had ever heard his entire life.

“Am so sorry man. But the results are positive.let me call you one of our councillors here and they will help you through this. A lot of people are living positively. don’t despair James be strong and live a healthy life. it’s okey my friend you will live longer than you think. your CD4 count is still very good and you have the virus and not Aids yet so cheer up.”

“Well thanks my dear but I don’t need a councillor am fine I can do just fine” He responded standing to go.

“If you say so” the doctor told him after he tried convincing him otherwise.

James got in the car and leaned his head on the steering, tears running down his face. he cried for almost 30 minutes regretting every action that he had taken over the months. he thought of Lucy and the baby. Thankfully Jack had told him months ago that Lucy carried all necessary tests because of the pregnancy and she was okay.

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During that time James didn’t really care. Jack had told him that because at the antenatal clinic Lucy was told to go with the father to the baby and she asked Jack to talk to his brother.

If she is okay then I am too James had told his brother. so just leave me alone now.

Later on in her second visit to the clinic Lucy was tested again and the results were still okay.

James sighed with relief to the thought, he wouldn’t have forgiven himself if he had her infected too. she was innocent and a good woman who derseved better, he thought to himself. some how glad that he never touched her ever since she got preganant.

James imagined being with Lucy, how happy she was around him. how much of a smile she gave him everytime she saw him. He knew she loved him and he was too scared to fall in love. He somehow didn’t want to open his eyes and his heart to her. it was like deep down his heart he cared for her but was too afraid to have anything good in his life. she was perfect and it scared him, hence over time James had decided to shield his heart with actions that said otherwise.

Sometimes in the night what Lucy never knew was that James would wake up and slowly open the door to her room and watch her sleep.

The time she was not well and Jack called him.. he knew being near her and watch her closely would make him vulnerable and fall for her, according to him any close contact with Lucy was to be avoided as that would one day lead him to get attached to her.

What people didn’t know was that James was too scared to start a family. he thought he couldn’t be a good father as his father was. He thought having a woman and child to look after was a big challenge that deep in his heart he feared if he failed it would end badly.

James was not the type to show he was desperate and vulnerable. he always acted tough but deep inside it ate him up that he wasn’t able to give Lucy what she deserved .

One day Jack had pointed that out when he told him point blank,

“I know you are not this heartless jammy.. you are just scared of falling in love with an honesty girl. You are a coward who fears he wouldn’t make a person happy and you project it by acting all rough and heartless. put yourself together and man up dear, that child will one day need a father and you will have to grow up and face the cahallenges that comes with parenthood, ” Jack told him..

James had looked at his brother and laughed..” I won’t listen to you brother because you have no idea what you are saying. If you love her just admit it already instead of pushing this on me ” James spat walking away.

Now, James remebered all those times and wept even more, wishing he had listened to his inner heart and did the right thing like all sensible people had told him..

Now he had deeped his hands in hot soup and the burns where too deep he didn’t know how to cope with them.

After almost an hour of sitting in the car.. James decided to drive home, he’s mind filled up.

he tried to join the road from the UTH as he was turning to the way leading to His home direction, James didn’t watch out and he drove his car right into another car coming for the opposite direction..

In an instant James watched as his vehicle over and moved turned away from the road into a here nearby tree.

He woke up hours later in the hospital connected to some machines and his leg tied up.

“What happened?” James asked.

“Dont move sir you are hurt, you had an accident yersterday and you were rushed here. ” the nurse explained.

“Don’t worry your brother is here, he spent the night by your bed side” the nurse told him.

James turned his head to look around and he saw Jack talking on his phone on the other end of the room..

Jack was calling his parents giving them the room number where James was admitted.

“We are almost at the hospital Jack, see you soon” his father told him before he cut the line..

Jack sighed.. he was called the previous day that James was involved in an accident by the poilce officers who saw Jack’s number from Jame’s phone which he had saved Brother.

Rushing to the hospital with Lucy they found him in a terrible condition and right away requested for him to be moved to high cost after they stiched his cuts and they were told he had a fracture in his left leg and some internal injuries.

Turning back, Jack was happy to see his brother had come to concious.

“Hey Jammy! Welcome back to life brother..

You scared the hell out of me.” He added with a smile.

“What happened ? ” James asked his brother.

“I don’t know exactly man but it seemed you drove yourself into another car and overturned, the other driver wasn’t so much hurt he was discharged yersterday he only had minor injuries but he was demanding for another car as you were at fault. though the insurance company will sort that one out, yours is to concetrate on getting better.. ” Jack told him with a calm face.

James shook his heard ” am sorry Jack, ”

“No don’t say anything now my brother you will be fine in no time and soon we will both get to fight again” he smiled trying to cheer him up.

Later that day The Kangwas went to see him and stayed there with their son while Jack went to freshen up at home.

His parents were sad with the condtion James was in and couldn’t stop comforting him. they told him it was just some fracture and wounds which would heal eventually. what they didn’t know was that James was crying not because of the wounds but with the fact that he was sick and he would die soon anyway.

He looked at them and told them how wonderful parents they were and the great job they had done raising them.

“You never failed me mom and dad. I had learned better but unfortunately I disapointed you and am so sorry ” he cried..

“You are a good child Jammy,” Mrs Kangwa had told him..” you are only human and you are bound to make mistakes. however the Most omportatnt thing is to learn from your mistakes and move on in the correct path.

Jack told us how you have not gotten to be in better relationship with Lucy, that you have practically rejected her. My son we won’t force you to marry that girl. we only wanted you to realise how special that girl is and learn to take responsibility. no wonder we told you two to decide either to marry or not after the child was born, now that you don’t want just accept taking responsobilty of the child and marry the woman you want ” Mr Kangwa told him.

“Thank you dad, you have no idea how much I wish i did otherwise but I can’t now I have messed up big and there’s no turning back.”

His parents wondered why James was insisting his life was over even after telling him the wuond and injuries would heal.

“How is he today?” Lucy asked Jack who had arrived and sat on the couch looking exhausted .

Not so good my dear and it seems hes more hurt emotionally than he is physically. what he’s saying is all not making so much sense.

“Am sure whatever is eating him up isn’t to do with the accident really, ” Lucy sighed..” it could be the thing that caused the accident in the first place.

Yeah you must be right.. am really getting worried.. it’s unlike James.. he’s usually tough even though he has some soft spot deep inside.. Jack explained.. I have to find out what it is and maybe I can help he added shrugging..

I know he treated me badly but I can’t help feel sad about what your brother is going through Jack.. I feel like he needs me now.. something tells he needs us both Jack and am not going to abandon him..

Come on to and freshen up and eat your good we are going together this afternoon I go and see him..

Jack stood.. well you still love him don’t you? He asked her.

I don’t know Jack.. honestly.. all I want is to help him not to feel alone. Even when am this heavy I can help take care of him. Plus he’s the father to my child I want him to be there when his son is born she said sadly..

It’s okey, i will take you, Jack held her hand and left for his bedroom..

To be continued…

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