Shattered Dreams Episode 18 By Nissi Adeola
The first thing that Alexander saw when she opened her eyes was the familiar white color of her dad’s hospital, what she did not know was what she was doing there. The last thing she remembered was preparing to sleep. Wait, she had gone into the bathroom for a shower, right? Alexa tried to swallow even though her throat seemed heavy and tasteless.
“Sweetie, you are awake” she heard her mum gasp out in a tick breathless voice even before she saw her. Her mum did not look like the usual collected woman that she was, her hair was ruffled and worry was spread throughout her face.
“Mum” Alexa moaned weakly.
“Oh, thank God Alexa. How are you feeling? Do you need something?” Belina asked in a rush.
“Why am I here mum? Did something happen to me?”
“You fainted in your bathroom, but you are Ok now” Belina ran her hand through Alexander’s hair, feeling the temperature of her forehead. The door opened and Richard entered, his steps quickening when he noticed that Alexa was awake.
“Hey princess” he bent to plant a kiss on her forehead. “How are you feeling?”
Alexa smiled faintly. “I am fine dad, I am sorry I put you and mum through a lot of stress”
Richard sat down and pulled Belina until she was sitting on his laps. “It was your mum that got the grand share of fright because she found you unconscious”
Alexa winced as she thought about the scenario. “Sorry mum”
“Oh, c’mon dear, have you been skipping sleep? See dark circles beneath your eyes, Michael is not the only man on earth, you know?”
Alexander winced as all the incidents of the past day flooded her senses. “Please mum, I never want to hear that name again”
“Sorry honey, why don’t you sleep more, you need it” Richard said.
Alexa had to admit that sleep was a very welcome idea because her eyes were fighting to close up. “I need water” she murmured.
Belina got up from Richard’s laps instantly and got water for Alexa. After drinking, Alexa succumbed to the invitation of sleep. Richard looked at Alexa. “Now that you have seen that she is alright, would you obey what I have been repeating since? You also need to sleep”
“No buts, come with me, you would sleep in my office”
Patricia wore a simple gown and felt very awkward in it. She was always used to her ‘badoo’ type of dressing: her trouser, shirt and heels type of dressing. Putting on a gown, especially this one that she had on which made her look like a small school girl, seemed strange, even to herself. She smiled and laughed herself to scorn until she finally decided to change her cloth. She wore a trouser and a very simple top. Satisfied, she exited the room.
Patricia did not see any sign that suggested that her mum had left her bedroom. She thought that her mum must have been very exhausted due to the long wait at the hospital the previous day. Pat perceived the aroma of the breakfast being prepared in the kitchen by the house help and her mouth watered. She had passed on dinner yesterday night when she had arrived with her mum but now, her hunger had doubled. She resisted the urge to go and fill up her tummy and made for her mum’s bedroom.
Pat reached her mum’s bedroom door and knocked softly, opening almost immediately, fearing that she might wake her mum up if she knocked louder. She was however stunned to note that her mum was not asleep, instead, she was seated on the bed, hurriedly closing the big book with her. Is that a book? Looking at it again, it looked a bit like an album, not the one Patricia knew to be the family album though.
“Mum” Pat called, entering fully. “I thought you were not awake yet, morning mum”
“How are you dear? You are all dressed up, are you going out?”
Pat sat beside her on the bed, pretending not to notice the album that Prisca was trying to make invisible. Pat sensed that something was wrong but she could not put a finger on it. “erm… yes, I want to see Alexa. Have you been crying mum?”
“Oh, no no no, why should I?”
This even ticked Patricia even more. “I don’t know. Can I see that album?”
Prisca noted sadly that it was absolutely impossible to keep a thing from her journalist daughter. She reluctantly pulled the album from her back and held it delicately in her arms.
“I have never seen this album mum”
Prisca smiled. “it is a private album of your dad and I” she said. “It has more intimate pictures of us both before you children came along”
Patricia smiled. “Hmmmmmm… the romantic two! Can I see it?” Prisca hesitated a bit. “Oh mum, I am old enough to see whatever is in there; I just hope it is not nudes because I can’t think of gawking at x-rated pictures of my parents”. Prisca smacked her playfully and they laughed. Pat collected the album and opened it.
It still surprised Pat how her parents were able to keep themselves from ageing. Their outlook in the pictures which were obviously taken years back was just slightly different from what they looked like currently. If there was any major difference, they were definitely looking better. Pat prayed she would be just like her mum when she reached Prisca’s age. There were several kissing pictures that drew her attention and even though Pat joked all through, she kept her jealousy carefully hidden. She wondered what it would be like to share this with a man. “Oh my God! I think I should leave the house so that you both would have enough space to relive these beautiful moments.”
Pat said and glimpsed a look of pain flashing through her mother’s features. She frowned slightly. “Is there something you are hiding from me mum?”
“Uhn? Of course not. I just… I just miss your dad’s presence, you know we are inseparable”
Pat smiled. “Oh mum, he would be home soon and you would continue your honeymoon from where you stopped. You should eat mum, I am sure something delicious has been made. I need to rush off to see Alexa.”
“Ok Pat, eat before going. Lina called and said Alexa woke up some minutes ago. I would go there later”
Pat stood up. “Ok mum”, she bent and kissed her mum’s cheek, turned and walked towards the door. As she went, she thought of how to find out what was going on with her mum because she would definitely not believe the vain excuses that her mum gave her. She knew her mum well and knew that something was totally out of place here.
Patricia entered the room Alexa was admitted into and met her eating. The fried rice and chicken was obviously purchased but the outlook alone was enough to invite an hungry man. Pat became happy that she had eaten at home before coming, if not, the sight of the food alone would have sent her rushing to the eatery to get hers. Belina and Richard sat with her.
“Hey cousin” Pat called from the door. “Great. If this is what you get for being sick, I won’t mind falling sick myself”
Richard laughed and even though Belina was smiling, she scolded Pat. “Don’t think of falling sick young woman, one sick person is enough trouble”. Everyone shared the joke but Alexa seemed to have distanced herself, it was almost as if she was unaware of Pat’s presence. Richard winked at his wife and they both stood up to leave in order to give the two cousins some privacy. Before Belina fully exited the room, she whispered to Pat. “No emotional tension. I have heard the whole messy story and I won’t want to be reminded if I were in Alexa’s shoes”
Pat nodded. “Don’t worry Mummy B, I don’t do ’emotional’”
Belina smiled vaguely, like she could not believe what Pat had said, then left the room.
“You might as well go out with them traitor, I have nothing to talk about with you” Alexa murmured as she continued her food. Even though the food had not appealed to her earlier, due to her lack of appetite, she gave the food her hundred percent attention now to spite Pat.
Pat smiled and moved towards the bed. “Of course we need to talk cousin, I need to know why you are pissed off at me; I did nothing wrong”
Alexa dropped her fork with a clang. “Really? Jeez Pat, I thought we were closer than this!” She exclaimed. “You knew I was with the wrong guy and you did not tell me”
Pat shook her head. “Absolutely not sister, I did nothing to hurt you. Do you remember that I came to your place the very day I arrived from Canada? I wanted to see you, but above that, I wanted to know if you were still with Michael, or Marcel as the case may be. I did not want you to get entangled in this mess”
“But that is what eventually happened right?” Alexa chipped angrily.
“But it was not my intention. Look, I admit I kept my suspicions from you but it was just a mere suspicion. I had no proof to support my thoughts.”
“But you just had to find out at the right time right? How coincidental”
“You might not believe me but my suspicions were confirmed two days ago. I was absolutely sure that Michael is a twin, just did not know if Michael was the one here. Michael is in Germany, I saw him before I came to Nigeria. When I discovered that another ‘Michael’ was here, I came to Nigeria to find out if the current head of ‘Tel Communications’ was the real Michael Coker. Using my connections, I had someone monitor Michael’s movements in Germany. It took some time for the guy to be able to gain access to Michael’s apartment but immediately he did, he planted cameras in his apartment. Only then were we able to get the confirmation we sought. He called Marcel and the conversation made us believe that the person in Nigeria was actually not Michael but Marcel, his unknown twin. Marcel did not mean any harm Alexa” Pat paused when Alexa’s face changed then hurriedly continued. “He really did not mean to hurt you. You can’t blame him for wanting to do something for Michael, he grew up without a family. I just wish he knew what a jerk Michael really is. Frankly, I am surprised that you are Michael’s woman, he does not seem to be your type”
Alexa was silent for some seconds. “I guess you can never tell who a person really is. Do you know the funny thing?” Alexa laughed slightly. “I don’t know who I am in love with, Michael or Marcel” she hissed. “Anyway, it does not matter anymore because I don’t want to set my eyes on either of them again.”
Prisca arrived Best Results Hospital earlier than she had thought earlier. She had quickly left the house when all she could think about was Tony. Why was their love going down the drain. All she had ever done in her life was love her husband and allow herself to be loved by him but why was Tony throwing all they shared away.
Prisca reached the relaxation room that Belina asked her to come to and knocked softly. Belina opened the door and Prisca smiled. “Hey Lina, how are you doing?”
They shared a kiss. “I am fine, just a bit tired” Belina smiled faintly then frowned. “Is something bothering you Pric?”
Prisca entered fully and Belina closed the door. She saw Richard coming out of the inner part of the medium sized relaxation room that was made specifically for Richard and Belina, including those related to him. This room was perfect when family members visited Richard in the hospital and Richard did not want to accommodate them in the formal settings of his office. “Oh, I did not know you two were in your love nest” Prisca said with a grin.
Richard smiled widely. “It is great to see you in-law”
Belina was not in for pranks though. “Sweetheart, could you please give us a minute? I think I need to relive my days as a psychologist.”
Richard gave a mock bow. “Anything for the ladies.”
After Richard had gone and the two women were seated, Belina faced Prisca squarely. “I am all ears Pric”
“Oh Lina, do you think a time would come when we won’t have to worry about having problems? Because problems seem to just flood our lives whether we invite them or not”
Belina frowned. She had thought of this several times but the odd thing about this scenario was that the person complaining here was Prisca. Prisca always encouraged everyone when problems surfaced, making her own problems seem totally insignificant. But now, Prisca seemed to be struggling to keep water from spilling from her eyes. Alarmed, Belina said. “Prisca, what is going on? Does it have anything to do with the children?”
The tears that Prisca held back finally rolled down her cheeks, increasing Belina’s alarm. “It is Tony” she gasped out. “He is filing for a divorce”
“What?” Belina jumped up.
Richard walked to his office. He had no one to attend to, thanks to the numerous trained doctor he had in his employ. He dialed Tony’s number when he entered his office and after some seconds, Tony picked up. “Hello man” Richard said.
“Hey Richard, how is everything over there?” Tony responded.
Richard smiled to himself. “I don’t even know how to answer that but how are you?”
Tony sighed. “Still the way I was Richy”, there was a long pause. “I don’t even know who I am anymore. How is… Prisca”
Richard exhaled, “How do you expect her to be uhn? She is devastated and I can tell that she has not told the children. Honestly Tony, I don’t know why you are doing this to her, don’t you know that these ridiculous lies would hurt her the more?”Richard was angry now.
There was a slight pause. “I know Richard but how can I tell her the truth? How can I tell her that I have heart problem and would be dead in a few months? Uhn? Congenital Heart Disease is not a joke Richard, I know Prisca, the news alone would make her die before I do. It is better if she hates me for divorcing her, it would make the pain of my death a bit bearable for her.”
“Stop this rubbish now” Richard rebuked sharply. “You are not going to die, I would never let that happen” Richard choked slightly.
“I have accepted it Richard, I am a doctor and I know that CHD has no remedy”
“So you are just going to give up?” Richard yelled. “Well, that is your choice but I would never give up on you, I promise. I won’t watch you die.” he swallowed heavily.
“What the hell are you telling me” Belina yelled.
“Calm down Lina” Prisca said, wiping at her tears.
“Calm down?” Belina yelled. “How do you expect me to calm down? Have you both been having problems?” she swallowed. “My God! You should have told me”. Belina’s reactions made the matter worse and Prisca had no idea as to what to do or say. Belina saw this and tried to take in deep breaths. “Ok, alright, start from the top Pric, and don’t leave out even the tiniest detail”. She dropped back unto the couch.
Prisca took in a deep breath. “It all started three months ago” She started. “I heard him receiving a phone call. He was talking romantically with a bitch but immediately I entered, he quickly hung up. I asked who it was but he said that it was none of my business”
This stunned Belina. “He said that?”
A slow pained smile crossed Prisca’s features. “I was as surprised as you are. Hmmmmmmm… Well, I got angry and we argued terribly that night. He refused to eat my food and that made me really mad. That night, the silence in the house was worse than a grave yard and we went to bed without even a word.” Prisca paused in thought. “I remember that night vividly, I did not have a good sleep, it was like I did not know Tony anymore. You know, Tony had never been like that, I had never seen him so callous and hostile. How could Tony have a mistress? Tell me Lina. Am I not a great wife? Don’t I do all I can to make my man happy?”
“Stop saying that Pric, men would kill to have you as their wife”
“If it is like that, why am I not enough for Tony? Why does he need another woman?” she sniffed. “You know, I have heard that men are polygamous in nature and that no matter what women do, their men would still not be satisfied”. Belina swallowed. “Well, I woke up really early that night and I went through his phone but I could not get anything; no messages, not even the last call he made which caused the fight was there. Pretty sure he deleted everything knowing that I might snoop.” She laughed slightly. “After that day, I never trusted his moves, I always showed up in his office unannounced just to know what he was up to. Everyone I saw him with became a suspect. I questioned him about every woman I saw him with and fought with almost all his nurses in the hospital until one day, he arrived from the hospital. I was so pissed off at the drama going on in my life that I continued ranting and ranting until out of the blues, he yelled, ‘ok, you want to hear it? OK fine, I have someone else in my life’”
“What?” Belina was more stunned than before.
Fresh tears flowed down Prisca’s cheeks. “He said I could not give him a male child and that the other woman was already pregnant with a baby boy” she sobbed and blew her nose . “He had apparently done a scan for the lady. I can’t believe it Lina, having male children was never a contention, if he had wanted male children, would could have had more children and I am sure that God would have blessed me with a male child, but why this?”
Belina stood up and started pacing, deep in thought. “And how did the issue of divorce come up?”
Prisca cried the more and shook her head. “The bastard brought in the miserable bitch”
“He did what?” Belina froze in her strides. “Wait, how come I never heard a thing until now?”
“How could I tell you this stinking thing? Do you think I am happy that I have to say this now?” Prisca yelled.
“I am sorry” Belina said, going to sit on the arm of the chair and hold Prisca tenderly in her arms.
“He brought her in and I could not handle it. She is a very small thing, about Patricia’s age. I could not believe the disrespect and degradation. I threatened to leave if the girl remained in the house and shockingly, Tony volunteered to leave the house with the girl. He left the next day with the girl and one week after, I received a letter from his lawyer” she cried. “I could not believe it. Couldn’t believe that my life could crumbled to my feet and there was nothing I could do but watch.
“I have never been so ashamed in my life. I called him to beg several times, telling him that we could still work it out and that we couldn’t just forgo the love and happiness we shared but all fell on deaf ears. After I discovered that there was next to nothing I could do, I gave up but begged him to keep this from the children for a while. I wanted to find the right time to tell them myself, especially Pat. Pat does not believe in marriage and I am still trying to work on that, what happens when her own parents are divorced, marriage won’t even make the slightest sense to her then” she looked up at Belina. “I am lost Lina”
Belina hugged her tight. “He would surely hear it from me.”
The door opened and Pat entered, with her face looking like she had just seen a ghost. “So this is it? You and dad are separating?” Prisca stood up instantly, pale, with Belina but Pat shook her head vigorously and bounced out with Prisca going after her.
Patricia rushed towards the exit, knowing fully well that her mum wasn’t far behind. She had known that something was up but never in her wildest thoughts had she imagined that it was something this terrible. She had never even considered the possibility. The news chilled her to the bones as she hastened her footsteps. She hated making her mum run but she really did not have the appetite to talk right now. Alexa had needed something earlier and she had gone in search of her aunt, knowing that she was in the relaxation room but she had reached the door and overheard the mind-blowing conversation.
“Pat, please wait” Prisca muttered as she hurried towards her daughter after they had left the four walls of the hospital.
Pat finally stopped. It would be better when they did not have listening ears around to eavesdrop the gory details of their upcoming conversation. “What is it mum? How could you keep such a thing from me? Oh mum” she groaned, raising her hands in total defeat.
“I am sorry Pat, I knew you would react this way if I told you” Prisca pleaded.
“And how else would I react” she choked out, her voice going high. She saw the pained expression that was almost permanent on her mum’s beautiful features and instantly chastised herself. Her mum was going through a very difficult time and she did not deserve more worries, besides, she was not the one who got another woman pregnant. Patricia winced at the vain thought; how could she have a step-whatever? It was almost too ridiculous to think.
She went to hold her mum tenderly. “I am sorry mum, I shouldn’t be mad at you, you did nothing wrong” Pat murmured.
Prisca refused to go emotional, she had already had enough crying for one day and she would not look this way in front of her daughter. She smiled softly. “I have probably not been the best wife”
“Don’t say that mum; dad can never get another woman who would be half as good as you.” The thought was even impossible. “But, why can’t I see dad doing this? Are you sure the bitch in question is not using spiritual means? Because dad is not promiscuous.” Prisca took a deep breath. “Don’t worry mum, we would get through this”
The door to Alexa’s hospital room opened and Alexa turned. The first thing she saw was a massive and colorful bouquet of flowers. The sweet smell drifted towards her, filling her nose with the desirable smell of flowers. The head of a smiling nurse peaked behind it as she approached her.
“Are you sure you are in the right room Nurse Tola?” Alexa asked.
“Absolutely beautiful, this is for you” the nurse replied.
“Me? from who?”
“A man dropped it. I believe it has a note.”
Alexa sat up, put her nose against the flowers and inhaled deeply; she just hoped it was from her dad. She extracted the note and immediately her eyes scanned the scanty words, she froze and tore the paper into pieces. “Take it away, I don’t want it”
“I said take it away, throwing it in the trash or keep it, whatever, but take it away from her.” She ordered. The nurse hurriedly lifted the bouquet from the table. “And please, don’t accept anything that comes from that man. Well, you might take it and keep for yourself, I don’t care”
Belina opened the door to Richard’s office forcefully and sharply that Richard’s head jerked up instantly from the file he was studying. He closed the file instantly. “What is wrong Bell?” he asked as she slammed the door.
“Can you just believe that friend of yours? How could he do that to Prisca?” Belina said as she started pacing.
“Do what?” He answered quite alright but he was about two seconds late and Belina did not like the pause but she thought nothing of it.
“Can you believe he got a woman pregnant and filed for a divorce with Prisca? I can’t believe it” she ranted.
Belina paused and turned angry eyes at him. “What do you mean by ‘he did’? What sort of response is that?”
“Now, what did I say wrong?” Richard asked.
“Everything; I expected you to be surprised, alarmed, in fact. But you are not, you act as if… as if…” she stopped fully and looked at Richard. “Wait a minute; don’t tell me you knew all along”
Richard tried to pull a stunned and confused face but did not pull it through enough to ward off the psychologist in Belina. “Oh my God, you knew all along and did not tell me?”
“You don’t understand Bell” Richard got up.
“Oh my God Richard, you knew their marriage was crumbling but did not tell me? How could you?” Belina asked in alarm. Richard tried to talk but she did not let him. “Does this mean that you are in support of his decision?”
“What are you saying Lina?” Richard was now stunned.
“Yes, Richard, that is the interpretation of this scenario. You would probably have done the same if I did not have a male child, besides, you both are best friends and birds of a feather flock”
“Would you shut up now” Richard roared and Belina instantly stilled her mouth. “I can’t believe you have such little faith in me” he was hurt now.
Belina moved her confused self to a chair and sat down angrily. Prisca had done too much for her; her happy life today was thanks to God and Richard, her children and definitely Prisca, who would sacrifice anything to make everyone happy. She did not deserve this.
Richard knew that Belina was talking out of rage and anger so he went to her. He should not have hidden this from her in the first place. He sat beside her. “Just listen to me, Bell, let me explain the situation”
She glared at him. “I am listening”
“Yes D.P.O” Marcel said over the phone as he sat in the couch of his large sitting room. “I understand that the people with you threatened my life and that of Alexa’s but it was all a misunderstanding” he said.
“Sir, they should be charged to court, I don’t understand why you want them released.” He sounded extremely surprised.
“I know that but I don’t want them to be charged to court. They did not hurt anyone of us, it was just a terrible mix-up, I would be glad if you could release Felicia and the people with her” Marcel said.
“I would have been happy to oblige sir but Mr. Richard Branson is also involved and he won’t take it lightly if the people that held his daughter ransom were released” the D.P.O argued.
“If I get his approval, would they be released?” Marcel asked.
“Ok, thanks. I would get back to you tomorrow, but don’t involve the court yet”
Marcel hung up with a faint smile on his face; he knew he was doing the right thing. He could not blame Felicia for wanting to take revenge; she must have seen hell in the hands of Michael. Marcel just hoped that releasing them would be enough to bring down her wrath.
Michael stepped out of the waiting room of the Nigerian Airport and a taxi stopped in front of him. The driver alighted and helped him with his luggage. Smiling widely, he entered the car. The driver loaded the trunk and got behind the wheels. “Welcome back to Nigeria sir” the man said.
Michael smiled widely. “Thanks”