Saturday, 9 June 2018

MARRIED Episode 21-22

Andy had never been more grateful to God that he had listened to his father and hired some bodyguards. He only used them at work because having bodyguards seemed more of a burden to him and made him look older than he actually was, but as he stormed the hospital, he was so grateful for their help. Journalists were all over the hospital, trying to get what was going on. The three bodyguards warded them off, allowing him to have easy passage into the hospital. It was during times like these that he wished that he wasn’t as famous as he was; the fame always drew unnecessary attention.
Andy only dwelt on this for what seemed like a second and then his thoughts were switched back to Jessica, making him quicken his steps. He was inside the hospital after what seemed like an eternity to him, whereas, it was only seconds and immediately he entered the hospital, the nurses seemed to stand at attention. They looked uncomfortable and shy as they took in his imposing and exceptionally intriguing body but Andy did not even notice. He towered over them, his eyes penetrating their senses.
“Where is my wife?” He growled; his intense fear showing vividly, despite his attempt to cover it and be brave.
“Calm down Andy” Tunji admonished, placing a hand on Andy’s shoulder but Andy was not ready to be in a calm mood, Tunji did not expect Andy to be either, knowing that Andy would not rest until Jessica was certified hale and hearty.
The nurses did not need to ask who his wife was; they had identified him immediately he entered. “She is in the ‘A & E’department sir, some doctors are attending to her” One of the nurses replied shakily.
“I want to see her now” Andy was glaring now, looking like he would not mind tearing the nurse apart if she denied him. The nurse squirmed. A much older nurse, seeing what was going on quickly went to salvage the situation.
“I am sorry sir, you can’t see her now. Her condition is critical and she is being attended to by our best specialists. Interfering and disturbing the doctors can put your wife at more risk. Please, I advise you to be calm sir, if you could wait in the waiting room over there” she pointed in a direction, “The doctor would see you immediately he gets out.”
Andy clenched his jaw painfully and folded his palms into fists until his knuckles were as white as his spotless teeth. The thought of putting Jessica in danger by his actions was more than enough to make him back down. His arrogance oozed off a bit, making his fear more evident. He marched to the waiting room and Tunji followed closely behind murmuring something that Andy could not hear. His mind was far away. His mind was in the emergency room with Jessica. Andy roamed the waiting room aimlessly, unable to settle down. Tunji’s desperate attempts to make him calm down became futile and Tunji also became almost as agitated as Andy. Back at the hospital’s reception, one nurse that joined at the middle of the scene stared at the closed door of the waiting room and fanned herself with her fingers. “Jeez, that guy is smoking hot. Who is he?”
The other nurses stared at her like she was an alien from another planet. “You don’t know Andy Williams?”
Her eyes widened. “That is the Andy? The owner of… Oh My God! He is as hot as they say he is, with a good looking bank account too, I bet; in fact, an overflowing account to be precise”
The older nurse turned irritated eyes at the lady. “I bet you also heard that he is married” she hissed. “Put your cards together and stop eyeing another woman’s husband”
The younger nurse frowned and turned away, chastised. The door of the waiting room burst open and Lizzy and Paulina bounced in with teary faces. “Where is Jessie? Oh my God!” Paulina gasped out and, seeing Andy looking like a shadow of himself made her know that the accident was real. Lizzy was just standing motionless at the entrance of the waiting room, staring into space as tears fell freely. Seeing the women in tears made Andy much more frightened. It was like Jessica was already… already… ‘NO’. He refused to think about it.
‘My Jessica would not leave me’ he told himself repeatedly. He ran hi s hands through his hair and decided it best to comfort the women; that would at least get his mind off this waiting.
Tunji moved forward and held Paulina in his arms and she cried the more. Andy saw Lizzy standing stupefied at the entrance and instantly knew what she was thinking about. He hurriedly went to her. He touched her hand and she seemed to suddenly realize where she was. She raised teary eyes to Andy and Andy felt like his world had shattered. There was something about women’s tears which always seemed to make situations much worse. Seeing the very strong Lizzy crying scared him more than anything. Seeing Jessica cry during the disastrous party that led to her disappearance had been more than he could bear. He had felt stabbed, devastated and shaken but seeing Lizzy’s tears felt totally different. In that instant, he was transported back in time to the time he lost his fiancée. Lizzy’s face reminded him of the faces of the people he saw, crying after his fiancée died. Cold dread seeped up Andy’s spine and he wanted to flee the waiting room.
Everything around him was pointing at a frightening end and he could not bear it. At the same time, he could not leave; not without knowing if his Jessica was alright.
“I called her Andy” Lizzy gasped. “She could have stayed at home”
“No Lizzy, don’t talk like that. This is not your fault. She would be fine. She has to be” He said sharply, both to himself and to Lizzy. She nodded, trying to accept what Andy said. She leaned against him and he held her but he was detached from his environment. ‘I should have insisted that she use the driver’ he told himself for the umpteenth time. ‘I should have’. He gritted his teeth as tears threatened strongly and he forced them back forcefully. He has to be strong. Be strong for Jessica. The waiting room door opened and Andy turned, releasing Lizzy but his eyes collided with the dark intense gaze of his father.
Sonia sat in the bus, feeling all sorts of emotions: self-loath, anger, agitation but fear was the most evident of all. She could not believe that her life had turned into a nightmare within the space of three weeks. She sat in the bus with dark specks covering her eyes. She mopped tears as they seeped out from under the glasses.
Listening to her mother had become the worst thing she had ever done. Ever since Jessica had gotten married to Andy, her mother hadn’t stopped poisoning her mind. Her mother had complained endlessly on why Sonia had been contented with being the bride’s maid of honour instead of being the bride.
“You sat down behind your friend, fanning her and mopping her face; why were you not the bride? As far as I am concerned, you are much more good-looking. You are just too dull. If you had been smarter, you would be married to that money-bag and we would be swimming in money by now” Sonia’s mother had said.
Sonia shook her head. She should not have listened to her mother’s continuous talks. She hadn’t at first but then, her mother never stopped. She continuously poisoned her mind until she found herself becoming jealous of Jessica. They say blood is thicker than water but now, she preferred water to blood.
Hearing that Jessica had been involved in an accident was more shattering than anything she had experienced. It had taken just the news alone to bring her to her senses. She could not bear to think that Jessica might die; if that happened, she would probably die of guilt and bitterness. She wanted forgiveness but she did not know if what she had done could be forgiven. She knew she would not forgive if she were in Jessica’s shoes but she still had to try. But what if…
‘No’ she said internally as more tears trickled down her face.
‘She must not die… Please God… If you never hear me, please hear me today… Jessica can’t die’
*****
Andy’s dad had done all he could to see Andy and seek his forgiveness but all his attempts had been truncated by Andy, one way or the other. Even going to Andy’s office and threatening his staff hadn’t worked because Andy had left strict instructions with his staff to never allow his father into his office. Mr. Williams had sent messages but Andy had replied none.
“What do you want dad? Have you not done enough havoc?” Andy said quietly, too quietly.
“I am sorry Andy. I have been saying this for the past two weeks. I made a silly mistake but I was only thinking of your welfare”
“My welfare” Andy repeated. The fact that his dad had done what he did because of him did not make Andy happy at all. “My welfare? At what expense? You almost ruined Jessica’s life dad. You almost ruined my life. Jessica is my life, my everything; and you deliberately hurt her like that?” Andy shook his head. He was not ready for this conversation now; he had more than enough on his plate already.
“I never knew Andy. How would I have known? I only know wha t I heard on the…” he looked round the waiting room and saw that some strangers were looking at them. He moved closer to Andy, talking for his ears alone. “On the tape” he continued. “I never knew that you both had developed feelings for each other, if I had, I would never have done what I did. I know my move to put it all on her was very wrong and I regret it but I only thought of it at that time in order to protect you”
Mr. Williams murmured quietly, his eyes showing signs of remorse.
“Why did you make it your business dad? You could have confronted us or better still, stayed out of it” He w as not as aggressive as before.
“You are my business Andy. You became my business immediately you were born; your mum would not have it any other way”. Andy exhaled deeply. He loved his father so much. His father had taken the responsibility of a father and a mother, ensuring that he had all the love and affection he needed. How could he not forgive his dad anything? Mr. Williams touched Andy’s shoulder in a manly manner. “I know how much you love her” he whispered. “I saw how depressed and devastated you were when Jessica went missing and I almost died of guilt. I am sorry son”
Andy looked at his father, and his arrogance disappeared, leaving the fear very visible. Mr. Williams was taken aback. He had never seen Andy look so vulnerable and scared, not even when his fiancée had died. “She would be OK right? Dad, I don’t know what I would do if she… if she…” Andy looked twenty again as tears brimmed in his eyes but his stubbornness would not allow them fall. “I can’t do without her dad”
Andy’s dad drew him into his arms for an awkward father to son hug. “We have to keep our faith up Andy. All would be well”
Doctor Bright worked endlessly with two other doctors and two nurses. Immediately he saw the patient, he identified her instantly. Who would not know the outstandingly beautiful wife of the richest bachelor in Nigeria? Immediately he saw her, he had known two things: that she had lost so much blood and that she was his ticket to stardom. There had been some problems with regards to the patient’s marriage but it was also obvious that her husband was not ready to leave her alone. After the scandal about the patient’s intentions for marrying the famous Andy Williams and her disappearance, he had seen pictures of the couple, having good times at various places and he could tell that the couple was very much in love. It would be disastrous if he could not salvage this situation, similarly, it would be a dream come true if he did.
As he worked with the other doctors with his entire body covered, he soon forgot about gains or losses, all he could think of was saving her life. It was a good thing that the car had an airbag which must have obviously prevented the patient from bumping her head. With what he saw, the car must have been hit pretty hard. Some of the broken glasses, perhaps from the windscreen had pierced her body, making her lose a lot of blood. They had seen to the wounds after removing the glasses from her skin but the problem was that the patient was not holding on. She had lost so much blood and they were currently transfusing some blood into her but the patient was not holding on to life and that was dangerous. He had seen this happen so many times. When a patient was not willing to live, there is a limit to what a doctor can do.
“Her heart is failing doctor” one of the other doctors declared in alarm and Doctor Bright checked the monitor, confirming his fears.
*****
It was like Andy was in for so many unpleasant surprises. Everyone stared in one direction, gazing at the newest addition to the people in the waiting room. Sonia stood there in tears as a thousand eyes bore into her but Andy’s was what frightened her the most. His gaze shot fire and she wanted to flee but her legs would not agree. She had come here to do something and she intended on pulling it through.
“Get out of here” Andy’s voice was like the sharp edge of a sword and it frightened her so much, especially since it was spoken too softly; she wished he had shouted instead.
She went on her kneels instantly. “Pleas e Andy, forgive me. I am sorry”
Andy was quiet, looking at her without betraying any form of
emotion.
Paulina turned smoking eyes at Sonia. “You better listen to him o, because if I pounce on you… ehn… if I pounce on you, I would beat you black and blue. You know I have not attacked you, if I do, you would have marks that would keep you in the hospital bed for months.”
Paulina was vibrating and Tunji held her to prevent her from doing something stupid. Lizzy did not even have the time to confront Sonia, she was busy praying for her friend.
Andy stared at Sonia but he did not have the strength to deal with her.
“I am sorry. I was misled. I… I am just so sorry” Sonia wept.
Andy’s father had gone out earlier to make some calls. Andy took out his phone and punched a number. Within seconds, two hefty men arrived. “Take her out of here” he murmured and the men turned to face Sonia instantly.
“No, please Andy. I am sorry. Please forgive me”
“Please move ma’am”
A door opened and automatically, everyone jerked in that direction. Andy saw the doctor and his blood froze as he marched like someone going to war, followed closely by everyone concerned. Doctor Bright stared at Andy and swallowed hard. He was seeing him live for the first time, in an unpalatable situation at that!
“How is my wife doctor?”

Silence stretched out and tension was at its peak as everyone held their breaths waiting for the doctor’s response. The doctor seemed to have frozen on the spot he was standing and for one second, he seemed like a frozen mummy statue.
“Well, doctor?” Lizzy yelled impatiently. Andy’s face had already drained, leaving him white as he expected a response from the doctor but got none. It could only mean one thing.
Doctor Bright shook himself, the shock of seeing Andy and his father all at once had rendered him speechless. He cleared his throat.
“She is still alive but very critical.” He swallowed. “Very critical” He repeated. “She is in a coma now and we have done all we can do for her now. All she needs now is prayers. We expect a reaction soon. I don’t mean to scare you but she is not fighting hard enough, or so it seems. I-”
“I want to see her” Andy interrupted, not wanting to hear more. He felt like he had died a million times and gone to hell.
“She needs-”
“I need to see her now” Andy commanded, stressing the ‘need’ because he felt that if he did not see her instantly, he would literally die.
Doctor Bright swallowed and nodded. “Come with me sir”
Andy hated the ‘sir’ that was accorded to him but he did not have the time to dwell on it or even to tell the doctor to call him by name. It was very evident that the doctor was older than Andy but Andy was ready to answer anything as long as it took him to Jessica. The doctor opened the door and entered with Andy closely behind.
Immediately he was in the same room with Jessica, all his bravery was gone and tears brimmed his eyes. He moved like a robot towards the bed, feeling all his strength drain away. Seeing Jessica attached to so many machines shook him much more than anything. She looked terribly pale and astoundingly vacant.
“I would leave you alone with her. Please try not to disturb her in any way. There is a button by her bed over there, press it if there is any reaction”
Andy barely heard the doctor as he spoke and vaguely noticed him as he left. He lowered himself onto the chair beside the bed because he could barely stand on his feet. He raised his left hand shakily and brushed Jessica’s hair gently, careful not to move her in anyway. The texture of the hair was as he remembered. He remembered burying is hands and nose in the rich mass of hair just this morning. How things change within the space of a heartbeat, he mused. He picked up her hand with his right hand and ran his thumb over her knuckles shakily. Her hand was warm and very pale. He bent his head and kissed her knuckles.
“My love” he breathed and almost choked as tears threatened to gush out. He inhaled and swallowed. “My heart, it is me; Drew” he continued. “Do you remember that day during our honeymoon that you decided to prepare the dinner? I had come back from work feeling hungry and the aroma of fried chicken had greeted me at the entrance. That day, you had entered my senses and refused to come out.” He sniffed and smiled slightly. “You had been standing in the kitchen with your back to me, seeing to the meal, not noticing my presence. You wore one of those terrible oversized gowns I hate so much, in your quest to look ugly. When you finally saw me and I asked for chicken, you had smacked my hand playfully. Do you remember that?”Andy stared at Jessica’s face but her face was still blank. He smiled shakily. “Then I had stood in front of you. Really really close. I wanted to take the chicken but then you gazed at me and I was lost. Your eyes drank me in and it was like you had captured me and wrapped me around your little finger. I had placed my hand on your waist and had been thrown completely off balance by how slim your waist was. I could almost wrap my hands around it. And then your mouth, Oh my God! Jeez, I had wanted to kiss you so much that day that my brain went totally blank just looking at your lips. I don’t know where I got the ability to resist kissing you that day but immediately I left that kitchen, I knew I couldn’t be around you if I wanted to keep my sanity. I had ensured that I left for work early and arrived very late so that I won’t be tempted to do anything stupid. Jeez, even though you were putting on clothes big enough for three of you put together, you had me under your spell, not to mention now” he swallowed.
“You can’t leave me Jess. You just can’t. After so many years, I have finally opened up my heart to love again and this time, I did not leave anything behind. I have not loved anyone, anyone, the way I love you. Seeing you like this is like a horrible nightmare; I just want to wake up.” He sniffed. “You just have to wake up baby, for me; for us. I promised you a real honeymoon; I still need to make that a reality. Can you hear me Jess? You CANNOT leave me”
Andy stroked Jessica’s hair and gazed at her beautiful face. No! She can’t leave him now. He did not know how long he spent in the room, just looking at her but he knew that no one would be able to take him away from her. A nurse entered the room after some time and asked him to leave but he refused completely and when she insisted, he glared at her sternly until she recoiled and left. Lizzy, Paulina, Tunji, his father and some other well-wishers came into the room one after the other but Andy did not leave the room. It was already running to the middle of the night. Another nurse came in again and asked him to leave but he refused, promising not to disturb Jessica at all.
Andy stood and kissed Jessica’s fore head without disturbing the oxygen attached to her nose. He sat down and started talking again, softly and soothingly, telling her about his childhood. He told her of the ambition he had as a kid to become a footballer. He had watched every time Kanu played and scored goals and had picked him as his role model. He played for his school and was chosen to be one of the defenders but he did not like it. Because of his quest to score goals like Kanu, he always left his place and went to the opponents’ side in order to score goals but most times, they always ended up conceding goals because of his absence at his position. The day he had scored a goal, he had rejoiced so much that he had gone to bed without food because of how happy he was. He told Jessica of the picture of Kanu that he had pasted on the headboard of his bed so that he could look at it every morning and tell himself that he would one day be like Kanu. He laughed at the memory and almost fainted when he stared at Jessica’s face and saw a smile playing on her lips.
He blinked several times. Was he sleeping or hallucinating? He blinked again but it did not wipe off the smile on Jessica’s face. She hadn’t been smiling when he came in minutes ago; or was it hours?
“Jess… Jessica” He called frantically but got no response. Her hand which was still in his, was still warm. Nothing had changed except the facial expression on her face. He pressed the button by the bed hurriedly and waited impatiently for the doctor.
*****
Jessica stood looking in all directions. She saw no houses or things, she was the only visible thing and she stood on a ground that looked like glass. The place was too bright for her eyes and she had to use her hand to shield her eyes from the blinding light.
“Sweetheart” she heard and turned around sharply. She would know that voice anywhere even though she hadn’t heard it in a very long time. Her breath caught in her throat as she stared at her mother, looking exactly the way she remembered her.
“Mum” she gasped and her mother smiled.
“Come Jessie”. Jessica loved the sound of her mother’s voice. She had wanted to hear that voice for a long time.
“Jessica”
Her head turned and she saw her dad standing not so far away from her mother. She gasped again and felt the incredible urge to run to him and hug him. Her dad had always been very proper and formal. He was the only one that called her name in full.
Suddenly her mum and dad and her brother were standing together and beckoning. She smiled. Her complete family. “Jessica baby, come to daddy” Her dad said. This is what she wanted, right? Her family! She smiled and started walking towards them. They smiled back and she walked faster but the faster she walked, the farther they became. She hastened her steps then stopped abruptly.
She could hear him, the voice was echoing in her soul. She could hear the pain. The pain was so evident in his voice and terrifying that her heart bled with compassion. She could not move forward anymore, not even if her life depended on it. Her family stood and watched her. Waiting? She could not tell. But that voice… she could not ignore that voice. How could she ignore the voice of the one that owned her heart? He was talking but she could not decipher what he was talking about. She could not make out the words. She walked backwards, wanting to hear him. The voice was becoming a bit clearer and she knew if she could move backwards the more, she would be able to make out the words. She turned fully and walked faster. What he was talking about sounded very interesting and she wanted to hear it. She could make out the words now…
He was talking about football. He wanted to be a player? He never told her that! How come Kanu had been his idol? She mused. Of all the players, Kanu? He laughed and she smiled, loving the sound of his laughter even though he sounded pained. She needed to ask him why he was in so much pain. What had happened? Was his business at stake? Why was he not a footballer? He did not seem like someone to pursue a football round the field but she still wanted to know. She turned back and stared at her family but they were so tiny afar off. They looked like ants. One after the other, they vanished and she swallowed. She had learnt to live without her family but she still could not think of life without Andy.
She turned. Andy was calling her. She could distinctively hear him call her name now. “Jess… Jessica”. She wanted to answer but could not. He sounded desperate. She needed to go to him. But where is he?
*****
Mr. Williams paced the hospital reception as he called Sonia.
“What is the meaning of this?” He said immediately she picked.
“I just got an alert of seven million naira and when I confirmed it, I was told that you had deposited it. What game are you playing?”
“I am not playing any game sir. I regret what I did sir, I am sorry” her voice made it obvious that she had been crying. “I can’t accept the money anymore. It is wrong. I promise to get the remaining three million and pay you back. Please forgive me sir”
She hung up and Mr. Williams just stared at his phone in bewilderment.
*****
“She smiled” Andy murmured immediately the door opened and Doctor Bright entered. He removed his stethoscope and checked her heartbeat, noticing that it was already steady. He did some other doctorate rituals and smiled with vague surprise.
“Wooow. I did not expect this level of improvement so soon. She is stable now and if all goes well, I think she would be alright.”
Andy had never been more relieved in his life. A great amount of tension lifted from his shoulders and he felt a bit alive again. After some minutes, the doctor turned to leave and Andy turned to look at
Jessica and froze when her hands moved. His breath seemed to be suspended when all of a sudden, her head moved and her eyes opened slowly.

To be continued…

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