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.
Helen shook her head, sighed deeply and went back into the hospital through the back door they both left earlier. With every step she took, she pondered on the sudden turn of events in her life, the dream she never imagined would come true, now suddenly manifesting in the strangest of ways. All she had in mind when leaving home that morning was to do her normal work, perfect her seduction plans and leave in the evening, hoping that one day, James would fall for her. She wouldn’t have believed a prophecy that James ever feels the same way for her. She reminded herself of the kiss as she ran her middle finger against her lips; the passion with which it came and the sweetness that accompanied it; like honey mixed with milk shake. She never tasted anything so good for a very long time. It was the kiss of the millennium; she waited for it, and her wait finally paid off, though she still thought it a mirage. But she was going to hang on to that slight move, even when it originated from weird and tragic situations. She would cling to it, express it and meditate on it till James started thinking of nothing else besides her. She smiled radiantly as she stepped into Junior’s ward, but the smile disappeared when she saw Queen by his bedside. She was scared at first, despite the fact she wanted to lash out at her for being irresponsible and uncaring; but she no longer want to meet her headlong, because of what happened at the hallway earlier that day. She knew she would certainly fight and insult her for snatching her husband, and yes, she was really guilty; a crime she was proud of committing. She quickly averted.
“You,” Queen called her back. “What are you doing here? If you are looking for James, he is not here.”
“Actually I came to check on Junior,” Helen stuttered.
“Oh!” She sighed. “You are the nanny? Awesome,” Queen chuckled, remembering the sole reason why she took the disobedient journey to the house: to remind whoever the nanny was that Junior was her son. But now that the nanny was also her husband’s lover, she was thrilled. “So why are going back? You can check on my little boy before the bigger boy returns,” she sneered at her.
Helen scoffed, she was not in any mood to trade words with her; at least to accord James the respect he now deserved, and also prove her maturity over Queen. “Well, I see you are already doing what brought me here. So I will just be outside,” she made to exit again.
“Are you intimidated by my presence or what?” Queen asked with outright pomposity as she faced her. “Oh! You are feeling guilty already. Well, you should. You kissed another woman’s husband, my husband, in public. That is something to feel guilty about, you know.”
Helen was embarrassed. What she dreaded was Queen tickling her bad side, and it seemed she was bent on doing just that. She turned, smiled and moseyed towards her.
“I feel guilty quite alright, but that’s not because I kissed James. I feel guilty because I am talking to you right now,” she said. “If I see James here now, I will kiss him over and over again,” she paused, ran her hands on her lips in a flirtatious manner and smiled. “It kind of baffles me you know. How can one run away from such sweet and succulent lips? Who resists its sweetness? I doubt any woman with her sanity could do that. And luckily for me, unlike you, I still have my sanity intact. Should I apologise to you for being sane? I guess not,” she chuckled, licked her lips in a seductive and provoking manner, turned to Junior who lied asleep on the bed, heavily bandaged on his head and stomach, and sighed. She looked at Queen, whose lips were partly opened in bewilderment.
“You claim he is your son,” she continued, “You went through hell to give birth to him, but you deserted him for reasons best known to you,” she said pointing at her, which made Queen to move back. “What? Are you scared of me now?” Helen continued. “Well of course, you should be! You ran away and your husband gladly jumped into another woman’s arms: a woman worthy to be called a wife and mother; a woman like me. I am a good person you know. And I abhor trouble and causing heartache to others. So I will, out of my good and caring heart, suggest you go back to your father’s empire and pray the next person he helps doesn’t get wiser, otherwise you will become a celebrated spinster, because you are nothing but an object of compensation, and James, as you can see, is ready to return the expired package,” she snorted with an aggravating giggle, and bent over to give Junior a peck.
Her words backed with her audacity pricked Queen’s ears like thorns. The room suddenly felt like a pit of needles, pinching and hurting her on the inside. The more she struggled to deny what she heard, the more the pain knocked the truth into her. She was amazed to find someone who could defeat her with words; tell her the harsh truth no one ever dared to tell her. She shook her head hoping to flip herself back to normalcy. She needed to fight back, shut Helen up and prove to her that she was the Queen whom nobody challenges in words and actions, and nobody has ever challenged her. She stomped towards her boiling in anger.
Helen however did expect a rash reaction after her long infuriating speech and was ready for whatever she might bring. So she playfully touched Junior, while her undivided attention rested on Queen.
Queen got behind her and raised her hand to slap her. Helen promptly seized her hand, suspending it in the air.
“You should have thought about the possibility of me not being James,” she mildly cooed at her. “If you ever raise your careless hand against me again…”
The door jerked open, halting their actions and words. Helen let go of her hand as both were startled at the figure in front of them.
PREVIOUSLY: Dawn to Dusk, 24 Hours on Crossroads – Episode 7
Catherine stared at them in a glaring disgust, with special hatred for Queen, whom she saw as an uncultured woman with no cognisance of the rudiments required for a successful marriage; a woman with no shame or sense of remorse – a disgrace to womanhood. Yet she sadly has everything a man could want in a woman; tall and elegant, perfectly shaped and with a natural glittering fair skin that gave her the unique ability to attract. She was a beauty to behold, but a total disappointment, character-wise. The disappointment was Catherine’s unfortunate reward for not looking beyond beauty, and conniving with her husband to place business over family. Looking at everything that happened that day, she could only imagine the pain her son must have dealt with in the past two years. A son she loved so much and always wanted the best for. Although the marriage was initially to appreciate her husband’s friend, she personally thought it would help boost James’ career, as Nnadi, Queen’s father was an influential man, with friends in all the sectors of the government. But she has learnt sadly that a man could be forced into anything but marriage; it is a lifetime commitment and so should be between two consenting adults, who would happily and in unison work it out when the going gets tough. Hot tears streamed down her cheeks as she stood lost in thought, wishing she could go back in time so she could undo the harm that was done; but nature doesn’t give second chances. She ran her left hand across her face and wiped the tears.
“The child is sleeping,” she muttered. “And it would be nice if silence is allowed in here,” she added and walked out.