The Bet

The Bet – Episode 18

THE BET Episode 18

©Tisa Phiri

“Am ready now we can start off” Jack informed Lucy. She had insisted to go with him to the hospital. That afternoon she had taken time to prepare some food for James.

Am all ready too, she told James lifting the basket she had packed James food..

Hey ! How are you doing? Lucy greeted James after she was done saying hi to the Kangwas .. they had left them and went to stay at some hotel where they decided to book a room instead of staying with their son’s.

Hey..I feel pain all over James winced..

You will be okey, Lucy answered sitting on the chair next to the bed.. .

Jack had gone to see his parents off outside. Inwardly he wanted to give a chance to Lucy and James to be alone.

How is the baby doing Lucy? He asked turning his head to look at her..

I think he’s fine she smiled..

After some silence James extended his hand indicating for Lucy to hold it..

You gonna be okey James, she whisprered trying to control the tears forming in her eyes..

Seeing him hurt and so weak made her feel for him..

Yeah.. James sighed.. you know what Lucy?, I owe you an apology for doing what I did to you he started his low tone feeling Lucy’s heart with sadness..

I was a fool and I let pride get the best of me.. it’s only that I can’t really say anything to defend my actions towards you only that am a caward who was too scared to open my heart to something good..

James it’s okey.. Lucy interrupted.. am sure it was partly my fault cause I didn’t take the necessary precautions to prevent me from getting pregnant.. I know you were clear in the first place.. just that I loved you so much I couldn’t get myself to reason so well.. but now it’s all in the past I have learnt to live with my mistakes.. you should do the same too.. accept the errors you made and move on with your life.. you derseve to be happy and it’s unfair for you to be pushed to be with me James and I understand that now.. somehow i feel guilty I agreed to come stay with you beacuse it’s evident since I came in your life had changed and in a negative way..

Forgive me for being so persistent.. the truth is I wanted to be with you James she said with a laugh tears running down her face.. I really hoped we could be more than just parents to our child and now I reggret that cause I saw how much you suffered over time.. am sorry she cried..

Please don’t cry Lucy.. you know I couldn’t see all that. I knew that you liked me but I didn’t know you felt that way.. James said shedding tears..

Jack stood by the door.. he couldn’t get in when he found the two talking. Standing still.. he listened in to the conversation.. he’s heart was heavy with a combination of pity and concern.. the two people he was watching confessing things to each other both mattered the most in his life..

He loved Lucy so much he would give anything to see her happy. At the same time he loved his brother and always wanted to see him happy too.. deep in his heart he knew Lucy was still in love with his brother despite what happened..

Don’t ever blame yourself for what I did Lucy James continued.. I should have known better.

Am sorry please find it in your heart to forgive me.. I know I can’t ask you to be with me now.. its too late.. I have wasted my chances of being with you.. all am asking is for you to be happy.. be healthy and raise our boy in a good way as I trust you would.. know that whatever happens to me I love that baby he added looking at her berry..

Lucy all this time was shedding tears.. wishing whatever James was saying at that moment was said a few months ago.. .

I don’t know how to love Lucy but in my own crooked way I love you..

You love me? Lucy asked opening her eyes w¡der to look at James..

Yeah so dramatic right? he said with a chuckle..

Lucy shook her head.. I honestly don’t know why you saying all this James but am not here to make you feel compelled to say things to me.. I am here because I have noticed you aren’t well and I want to be here for you. You are the father to our child and that matters to me more than anything else she explained honestly.

No am not compelled in any way Lucy am just accepting what I realy feel for the first time in my life.. please give me a chance to be myself and hear me out..

Jack was frozen in one point listening until when he realise that he couldn’t control the tears from his eyes.. he decided to walk away and didn’t get to hear what followed..

James poured his heart to Lucy about how much he wanted her to be okey and to move on without him . He explained that even when he wanted to, he couldn’t be with her..

She didn’t understand him at all but tried to ignore that comment.. he had said more than enough and seeing him sad really got to her.

She excused herself later on and walked outside trying so hærd to control her tears when she saw Jack seated in the car.

She open th passenger seat and sat with a sign..

Are you okey? Jack asked pretending he didn’t hear a thing..

Yeah I think so she said wipping her tears.. am just .. forget it she tried to smile..

Go on now and see your brother he requested to see you she told him grabbing a bottle of water and drinking it while Jack opened the door to leave..

Oh God heal him and let him be well again she whispered a prayer..

She called her uncle to tell them about the accident and she later on talked to her friend Harriet..

He’s in pain Harriet and I can’t stop worrying about him.. I don’t know my friend I thought I had gotten over him but no.I still feel so concerned and it hurts..

It’s normal my dear friend.. Harriet told her.. you love him and love doesn’t just go away.. put yourself together though and mind your child.. you have a few weeks to your Labour we can’t afford to have you sick again Harriet advised her on the phone..

Let me see if I will have done time this afternoon I will come check on you she added before cutting the line.. .

Lucy closed her eyes and recalled her talk with James.. it was clear James was suffering but she had no idea there was more to the physical pain..

Jack, am sick James told his brother a week later.

I know man.. you were in an accidednt but you will get better you will see. The doctors say you suffered a few internal injuries too but you still will get better so be strong brother and hang in there..

James shook his head.. I don’t mean my wounds Jack.. you are my brother and the only true friend I have. I have to tell you the truth Brother he sniffed. .

What’s going on man.. you are scaring me.. Jack asked holding his brothers head as he stood close to him..

Sit down Jack, he told him..

Jack sat. That day the accident happened I came here to meet a friend of mine the one who came to see me the other day remember? He asked.. .yeah I think you told me something about your friend from UTH. Jack responded..

Yeah.. I came to see him because Charity had just informed me that afternoon that she was positive and I straight away came to get tested too..

And? Jack asked worried he would get the news he didn’t want to hear..

Am also infected brother James told him his voice almost inaudible..

What? Jack asked letting go of Jame’s hand in shock.

I am Jack. He sighed sadly.. am HIV postive.

Oh no my brother.. you are stubborn and a jerk sometimes but no.. you don’t derseve that man.

No you wrong Jack I derseve it.. you are the good one, brother.. you always making the right decisions and you dont usually mess up.. but me on the other hand you know the story..

James added..

Jack held his hand back.. listen Jammy what has happened has happened and it’s not time to crush yourself over this.. you are not the first to be infected. People live even longer than those that are not infected.. you just have to accept it and live a postive life.. you still have a huge road ahead of you man.. your child is on the way and you have a woman who loves you.

Be strong Jammy and fight this.. you are strong brother and it doesn’t matter your status you are going to live and grow old.. you will be happy and you will excell in life just like we have both always dreamed of..

If that’s the reason you have been putting on a sad face and giving sad talks this ends now okey?… you are getting on your feet like the wild Jammy that I grew up with and you are going to dress up and look hot as you are he added tears in his face..

James shook his head.. you know I love you kiddo? He asked with a weak smile..

You always act like you are the oldest between the two of us and you always put me in check.. I hate your guts but I love you beyond what you imagine for being so persistent in controlling me.. because I know you do it cause you love me..

Yeah Jack smiled.. you are my only brother and I want you to always know that no matter what you will be loved..

You know what? the doctor said my internal injuries are not improving so greatly.. am worried brother.. honelsty I want to be well again and beat you to another bet he teased with a weak smile..

Jack laughed too.. I know and I can’t wait to see you set another challenge he said giggling..

They spent some hours talking.. that day Jack stayed by his side the wh0le night as he always did since his brother was admitted.. he’s father would help stay with him on some occasions.

Over the month James had not improved much.. he was told by his friend that he had to learn to accept his status and start thinking positively if he had to heal.. your emotions have a great effect on the speed of your healing James, he told him..

He insisted he saw a councillor but James refused..

Lucy had only a week towards her due date when she went as she had been doing over the month to visit James..

So when are you due ? James asked looking at her.. in a week’s time James and I want you to be there.. she smiled…

I wish i was really.. he smiled at her.

Can I feel him he asked looking at her face..

Lucy smiled and went closer to the bed.. James extended his hand and touched her berry.. like he was aware, the baby moved making James smile..

wow! I think he felt that Lucy smiled touching James hand to move it where the baby was kicking.. .

I love you sonny James whispered.. be good to your mother and listen to her okay? Daddy will always watch over you.

Lucy sat down.. James stop saying it like you going somewhere.. you will get better and you will tell him that when he’s out. She told him..

Listen to me Lucy..

I know how am feeling.. I can’t lie that I feel good… the pain isn’t ceasing my dear and I don’t see myself living longer..

Lucy cried.. if you talk like that again am not coming to see you here. Why won’t you fight h-rder? Try to be well James . I want you to be fine and to be able to raise your son with me please fight h-rder she said crying..

James raised his weak hand and wipped her tears.. don’t cry Lucy.. I can’t bare to see those tears .. you are an extra ordinary woman and I wish i had enough time to get to know you. But I can’t and am sorry again I never got to let you enjoy the love you have for me..

Is it possible you can love without so much pain? He asked shedding tears too.. I mean I want you to forget about me.. my brother loves you, I know you care about him too..

Stop it James please Lucy cried.. please stop talking please she sniffed her tears falling heavily now..

You have to listen Lucy.. your time of suffering is over. I want you strong for our child. James continued, you have to let me go.. my brother loves you more than you know.. he loved you way before I made him bet to win you over.. give him a chance and be happy with him he’s a good man and am sure you have seen how he stays by you all the time.. there’s no one else I would recommend to raise my son than my brother.. I am setting you free Lucy.. be free to love and live happily you derseve it..

Lucy cried trying so hærd to stop James from giving sentimental words that pricked her heart like Sharp spears..I love you James.. i do.. I cnt do this anymore.. i know I like Jack a lot but it’s you I love. .

He smiled and squeezed her hand.. he has vast amounts of love to catter for both of you.. you dont have to love him now.. but am certain you will fall in love with him and you will forget all this pain I put you through ..

Jack! Come here please, James called out when he saw Jack coming but he stopped him when he saw him trying to go back.. .

He stood close to his head..

Yes Jammy what is it man.. need anything..? he asked him

Yes actually.. come here he said pointing at a space on his bed..

Jack went and sat facing Lucy..

I know you love her man.. and you haven’t stopped.. so now I give you a go ahead.. make this woman here happy. I know you two will together created a powerful relationsh¡p and will raise my son well..

Jack interrupted.. stop giving me your job Jammy.. you are the father and so you are going to be there for your son and raise him the way you want.. I love him yes.. he’s my nephew but am not going to take your place brother forget it.. .

James held his hand.. my days are numbered brother.. I am damaged in,side my internal wounds are bleeding and the doctors have told me it’s hærd to control it.. am too weak my brother and I want you to be strong for me..

Take Lucy and my child and make them both happy I know you can do it.. promise you will.

Jack shook his head standing up.. you cant do this to me brother, we have grown up and lived together our wh0le lives.. how do you tell me to start living without you.. you can do this Jammy you can fight h-rder and get better, he said walking up and down the room as Lucy kept her face down crying.. the wh0le environment full of sadiness..

She couldn’t help bare to see the two important people in her life suffer..

She didn’t know who to comfort more.. James who was saying bye forever or Jack the man she had come to like so much she always wanted to see him smiling..

The following day they came back to the hospital and found the Kangwas already there.. she saw his mother crying and she knew James was gone..

The man she had loved without measure.. one who hurt her but she still loved was gone and it was hærd to cope with..

Jack held her close as she slid to the ground weeping.. giving away all the strength she had..

He tried to control himself to help her stay strong which himself wasnt able to..

His only brother and best friend was gone forever and it was the darkest hour in Jack’s life..

The Kangwa’s on the other hand were devasted .. they didnt know about James status.. Jack never told them all anything.. he was the  only one who had known the truth and he had vowed to never say it to anyone in honour of his brother.

The funeral was at the farm.. and all their friends gathered to say their good byes..

To be continued…

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