When his arranged marriage goes haywire, James, has to juggle from being a father to his eleven months old son, keeping his job, finding love in the strangest place, maintaining a balance and peace between his family and that of his in-law’s who are lost in the battle of power and authority.
Doctor Charles smiled at him. “Calm down James. The surgery was successful. Junior is now sleeping in the ward.”
James joyfully turned to Helen, who slowly stood up to join them, and smiled.
“My son lives!” he exclaimed exultantly, gave her a tight hug and locked his lips with hers. Helen was shocked but happy. She wanted to withdraw her lips, but that was yet another sign that her long-time dream and secret desire was ready to manifest; and though she thought her plans have not yet matured, she kissed him back, passionately.
“And your wife…” Charles stuttered, befuddled at his friend’s sudden dramatization of affection for a woman hired to change his son’s diapers.
Just then Queen appeared, leaning on the wall, traumatized as she saw her husband kiss another woman- a nanny, in public.
“James! Right now?” she roared, mustering all the energy the intravenous drip she took put in her.
James startled and quickly ended the kiss.
“I was about telling you that,” Charles muttered staring at Queen. “I will be in my office in case you need me,” he added and scurried off, wondering when the intimate relationship started between James and the nanny.
James looked at Queen and then Helen, who felt rather ashamed than fulfilled. She couldn’t stop regretting not listening to her instincts which kept telling her how imperfect the time was.
“Let’s go see Junior my dear,” James told her.
Helen glanced at Queen and shook her head, but James drew her closer, bent towards her ears and whispered. “Just play along please.”
She giggled and followed him. Whatever it was fate has for her for that day, it sure was good and she was out to enjoy it to the fullest.
Queen stood, mystified. She knew she lied when she said her husband was cheating, but with what she just saw, she considered that lie to be true after all. She smirked as she saw Catherine coming towards her, panting like a gladiator in an arena. She hurried towards her with a somber outlook: the expression she always assumed while making her rehearsed accusations against James.
Catherine recognised that look and immediately guarded herself to resist it, and to execute the plan she has for her. When she stepped closer, she saw tears in her eyes, but she has seen enough of her crocodile tears, and the fact that she finally saw her true colors should have given Queen the clear warning to just focus on asking for forgiveness, rather than canvass favour, which was the most stupid thing to do.
“He was kissing that woman, Mama,” Queen complained with disgust, tears rolling down her cheeks. “He was kissing her even when our son was in the theatre battling for his life.”
Catherine gave her a strange look. Surely she must be mentally unstable to think she would fall for her deception as usual. She was supposed to be remorseful and apologetic for her earlier misbehavior rather than blame her husband, except blaming him was her way of apologising, which was weird as it sounded. Catherine’s rage intensified.
“Have you no shame?” she thundered back at her. “Have you no sense of remorse? What do you intend to achieve with these stupid allegations? Tell me, which is more deadly? That you left my son with my five-month old grandson or that my son finally found himself a real wife?”
Queen was speechless. Her mother in-law has sure seen her true colors. Her arrogance at home really betrayed her feigned wonderful reputation. She tried to remember the exact reason why she visited James that morning but couldn’t, aside the fact that she wanted to make trouble with the nanny, figuring that James must have left for work. She regretted choosing the visit over going to the Immigration Office to pick up her International Passport. Her father has been making plans for her to travel to Germany, away from her problems. She regretted her low self-esteem which led to her fainting. If she had knocked more calmly, Catherine would have still been stuck between believing her or her son, which would make it easier to manipulate her with sweet words, exonerate herself and criminalise James, as usual. But things did not work in her favour this time, for she had no idea that James would be at home, let alone have a visitor; one who could make her life a living hell.
“It’s not what you think Mama,” she made to at least vindicate herself. “James is not always that calm. I told you he was cheating. He just kissed a lady here, in public and…”
“Just shut up before I hit you,” Catherine bellowed. “You have, with your ruthless and unguided behaviour ruined my son’s life. You have blatantly destroyed everything that I worked so hard to build. How could you?Even if he was truly cheating, which I know is not true, were you supposed to desert your toddler son?”
“I had no choice Mama,” she insisted. “He was going to hit me if I touched Junior. He practically ordered me not to take his son away. What was I suppose to do?”
“Fight for your son!” Catherine cut in. “A good and virtuous woman endures pain and suffering for her children. She can go any length just to make sure her children are in safe hands. But you never fought for yours. You happily gave him up, looking for someone to blame. I am ashamed of you. Just pray that my son forgives me, else I will destroy you and your father, whose fault this actually was.” Catherine declared and wiggled down the hallway in search of her son and grandson, which had taken roughly an hour of her time. Her fury and perplexity would not let her make any inquiry, so she wandered around the entire hospital hoping to figure it out herself and also calm her head.
Queen stood helplessly watching her only door to vindication close. She gawked in silence while Catherine disappeared into down the hallway, same direction James and Helen had followed. Tears flowed down her cheeks like a river. She had lost it all. Spiritual, emotional and physical fatigue decent on her like the Holy Spirit did on the apostles, taking control of every of her being, and if not for the wall she leaned on, she would have fainted, again. She thought of going into the ward to tender an apology, but the picture of James kissing Helen in the hallway soiled her heart. It was even more tormenting than her mother in-law’s words. She hissed aloud and stormed out in anger, obviously not to apologize.
PREVIOUSLY: Dawn to Dusk, 24 Hours on Crossroads – Episode 5
Catherine finally departed with her ego and asked a nurse for the ward where Junior was. The nurse pointed at a door, which she has passed several times. She sighed, cursed herself within her breath and pulled the door knob of the room. James and Helen were holding each other, looking at Junior with compassion as she walked in. Everything was so serene in the room and she could feel her son’s happiness from where she was standing; the happiness and calmness she always wanted for her sons; the type she hoped that Queen would bring to James, but she was wrong as Queen proved to her that truly, not all that glitters are gold. She concluded that whoever came up with that aphorism experienced something worse than hers, to have coined such a mind-blowing phrase. She marched in, trying not to corrupt the serenity in the room.
>> Next Episode: Dawn to Dusk, 24 Hours on Crossroads – Episode 7
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