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I had just come back from my supermarket. Liam was home already. We sat down with arms wrapped around each other like a new couple in the sit-out enjoying the cool evening breeze. I took my time to take in the beauty of our compound. The pretty flowers all around the house made it look heavenly.
The tall fence and the large black gate gave me a sense of protection in addition to Liam’s strong arms around me.
I remembered when I complained that the fence was too tall. Liam assured me I would thank him later and I did.
He had an undying love for flowers. The fence was also lined with different species of flowers. I knew nothing about them but Liam could tell you about them all. I wanted to ask him about one of them but I decided against it. He would begin his long teachings about flowers. I wasn’t ready to listen to it just yet. I was enjoying the quietness the evening brought.
I heard a knock on the gate and I jerked.
“Philip! could you please get the gate?” I yelled.
“Yes ma’am.” He was already at the door of the house.
“Why did you jerk like that?” Liam asked me.
“I was deep in thought so the knock frightened me.”
“Ah you were thinking about me.”
“Of course,your highness.” I laughed.
“Mum!” Jamille came running to me. She buried her head in my laps and started weeping.
“Child,what is it? Are you OK? Talk to me.”
Liam tapped me on the shoulder,signalling me to wait.
“Mum, I’m done for. I’m finished.” She wailed.
“Calm down baby,calm down.” Liam soothed.
I was so confused. Tears started gliding down my face.
I turned to Liam and he patted my shoulder.
“Don’t do this dear. Don’t cry,let’s see how we can help our baby,OK?” He said and I nodded.
He pulled Mille up to sit in between us.
“Talk to dad and mum. You wouldn’t want us to cry would you?” He asked her. She shook her head as she tried wiping the tears from her eyes. He got up and squatted in front of her.
She sniffed before she began talking.
“I was out with Niel and Gloria today when I received a text message.” She broke down in tears again.
I raised my head and saw Philip standing and watching us. “Leave us Philip.”
He obeyed and went inside the house.
“We’re listening baby,go on.” I urged her on while wiping her tears with my handkerchief.
“I don’t know who sent it nor how the person knew about it.”
“About what?” Liam asked.
“My mum’s death last year.”
“Baby,many people know you lost your mum. So why fret over such?” I asked her, surprised that such a thing would make her cry.
“No hon, there’s more to it. Let her finish.” My husband put in.
She brought out her phone from the purse she was carrying.
“You refused to pick Edet’s call that day. Your mother is dead because of you. You may fool everyone but I know you did it on purpose. Pray I am not forced to tell everybody about this.” She read aloud.
My mouth fell open. I grabbed the phone from her hand to read the message with my own eyes.
“Mum,who could be doing this to me?” She lamented.
“I’m stunned. The only people who know about this are Brian,Jason, my husband,you and I.”
“It wasn’t on purpose mum. I didn’t know. You know I’m saying the truth.” She cried even louder.
“I know baby. It’s not your fault. Who could this be? I’m sure Liam didn’t say a word and I didn’t either. Did you tell anyone?”
“No, I didn’t. Even Kara,Rachel,Gloria and Niel don’t know anything about this.” She answered.
“I even asked Jason if he said any such thing to anybody when he came back home for Easter. He told me he would never do such.” Liam added.
We all sat in silence,thinking of what to do next.
“Don’t worry about it princess. I assure you that we’ll get to the bottom of this.” I hugged her.
We spent more than an hour comforting her.I asked her if she was hungry but she said she had eaten enough to last her through the night. I went in to bring juice for her. I slipped a sleeping pill into the juice. Knowing Jamille,she would stay awake all night thinking so I just had to drug her.
I feared she would decline the drink but she accepted it and gulped it all down within seconds. We went inside to her room. She was still crying lightly. I sat quietly waiting for the drug to have its effect on her.
Since she didn’t understand Ibibio, I told my husband in Ibibio that I had put some pills in her juice. We watched her as she struggled to keep her eyes open but finally succumbed to sleep.
I heard my phone ringing downstairs so I rushed out to pick it. I checked the caller ID and it was Charis.
Charis was sobbing.
“What is it?”
“Jathniel and Gloria just got involved in an accident.”
“Mum,I don’t see why you have to make a fuss about this. We only have minor injuries.” I was on the hospital bed like someone who had heart attack and I didn’t enjoy it one bit.
“Jathniel, let me hear word. Nothing is minor until I hear from the doctor.” Mum was being overly dramatic as usual.
“Mum,he’s right. The only injuries we have are those from the broken windshield.” Gloria spoke up.
“I’m taking no chances Gloria. I don’t want to lose you two. After what happened four years ago.”
“That’s okay mum. I don’t want to watch you break down here.” I told her quietly. It was actually a lie. I wasn’t ready to hear nonsense with the bruises on my head and body.If I let her talk,she would move from dad’s demise to worse things.
The doctor came in. “Ma’am they’re good to go since their wounds have been dressed. They have been given anti tetanus injections too.
“Are you sure Doc?” She asked and I fought the urge to scoff.
“Yes ma’am. You just have to settle the bill.”
“I’ll do that right away.” I put in quickly.
“Jathniel!” She exclaimed.
“I can handle it mum.” I stood up from the bed and followed the doctor who volunteered to show me the cashier’s office.
I settled the bill as fast as I could and headed to the reception. I was sure mum and Gloria were there.
My car was battered seriously in front but I had managed to drive us to the hospital after the accident.
Thankfully,it was already dark so people wouldn’t really notice my battered car as I drove home with mum and Gloria.
“I called Liz and told her you both were involved in an accident.” Mum spoke for the first time since the drive back home began.
“What?! Mum how could you do that?” Gloria exclaimed.
“Young lady,some of our ears aren’t used to the sound of your tiny voice especially when it’s raised.” I complained.
“And mum,why on earth would you do that?” I asked my mother.
“Will you stop asking nonsense you two? I had to inform her. She’s been so close to us over the past year.”
“Yeah right,you’ll make the poor woman worry.” Gloria scoffed.
“Gloria! I’ll have none of your insolence.” Mum warned.
“Gloria,let me handle it.” I put in before she would make mum angry.
“Mum, I told you Mille may be going through some stuff right now before I left the house. Definitely, Aunt Liz will tell her about our accident and she’ll blame herself because we were going to see her. Mille is very prone to depression.” I explained.
“I apparently didn’t understand what you told me. I shouldn’t have told her. Oh! She’s calling right now.”
“Give me the phone mum.” I said.
“Hello aunt. How’s Mille?”
“No,the question is how are you? Are you hurt?”
“Aunt Liz,take it easy. I’m fine. Just a few bruises here and there.”
“Oh thank God. I was worried sick.”
“She’s fast asleep. I sedated her.”
“Aunt,are you sure of the drug?”
“Sure, I’m actually a nurse. My husband just doesn’t like me working under anybody so he set up my supermarket.”
“Alright aunt. I promise I’ll come by tomorrow.”
“Thanks dear. My regards to your mum and Gloria.”
“Good night ma.”
I had barely dropped the phone when Gloria asked me how she was.
“She’s fine. Asleep right now. I’ll go check on her tomorrow morning.”
“I may not be able to go with you. I have a 7 o’clock lecture.”
“I can go alone,don’t worry. Tomorrow is Thursday,I won’t be so busy at work.”
“Alright.” She answered.
“So, what’s wrong with Mille?” Mum asked.
“No idea mum, no idea.” Gloria answered.
Mum and Gloria started their usual chats but I paid them no attention until we got home.
To Be Continued