(Continued from A Complete Family VIII)
Jacinta is charged with attempted murder and is released on bond. Kathuni put some money together and retained a lawyer, then used his title deed to secure here release. When she leaves the cells, she knows exactly what to do. It is a gamble, but if it pays off, then she will have gotten rid of Karambu for good. If it backfires, then she will just be embarrassed. And Jacinta has never been afraid of embarrassment.
She spends a couple of days at her home, where she has not been for several months. On a Friday morning, the day after Karambu is discharged from hospital, she dresses up and goes to town. Since her husband built the rental houses, their lives have improved significantly, even without assistance from George. So she is well dressed and has a stylish handbag. She could have passed for a retired teacher. Although she spent many years in poverty, she is not completely illiterate. She was educated up to secondary school level before Kathuni made her pregnant and took her to his hut.
She walks to the bank and asks for Mr. David Kirimi, the operations manager. The security officer leads her to his office. It is obvious that he is not pleased to see her. In fact, his hostility is only very thinly disguised. He must have heard that she is the one who led Karambu to George’s house.
“How can I help you, Mrs. Kathuni?” Dave asks impatiently.
“You know your girlfriend is pregnant, right?” she asks.
“I do not have a girlfriend. You made sure of that,”
“Karambu is a beautiful girl. She will make a beautiful bride when you marry her,”
Dave is visibly confused.
“I don’t know what you are talking about Mrs. Kathuni. And now I will need you to leave my office so that I can work,”
“I know you two were having sex. Karambu herself told me that.”
Jacinta can see shock written all over Dave’s face, and she knows she is right on the mark. She did not know they were having sex and had no reason to think so especially because Dave is a saved young man, but she knew that Dave was her only key to getting rid of Karambu. And knowing what she knows about Karambu now, there was always a fair chance that she had been warming his bed. And she is right. Dave is now looking down in embarrassment, and Jacinta knows she has got him where she wants him.
“She really wanted to get married, and when she was told that you wanted Fridah back she was crushed. Because you were only playing with her emotions, David. One day I found her crying behind the church, we got talking and I realised she was a good girl who wanted to get married and have a family of her own. My son didn’t have a child so I thought she would make a good wife for him, and I decided to help. I am sure you have heard the rest of the story. But George wasn’t cooperating so we had to drug him and later convince him that they had sex that night and she became pregnant. He has never touched her again, but that did not prove to be a problem, because she was already pregnant with your child. The problem is that George is starting to regain his memory and he knows he did not have sex with her that night. Which means the baby is not his. He suspects the baby is yours but he doesn’t have proof. George is likely to make this a very big issue because he is bitter about losing his wife Rose. So he will thoroughly embarrass you and Karambu. But you can make all this go away if you take your girlfriend back and marry her.”
“I will still be embarrassed even if I do what you are suggesting. Besides, I was going to marry Karambu before she ran off with your son. I don’t care what she told you,”
“Oh you should care David. No one can blame for being tempted by a beautiful girl like Karambu. All you have to do is repent and make it good by marrying her. But if it comes out that you and your pregnant girlfriend have been conspiring to swindle George, your reputation will be gone. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get fired from this job. You know this bank is owned by a church, don’t you? George will only need to speak to the right people and you will be jobless again.”
Jacinta can see the fear in Dave’s eyes. He was jobless for over three years before Adel Rating Microfinance opened a branch in Chuka. But he calls her out on her bluff.
“I am not afraid of you or your son Mrs. Kathuni. Tell your son to do as he pleases,”
“Oh I will. But he won’t have to do anything, because Karambu will not let him,” Jacinta says, while rising from her seat. “She is not a proud fool like you. She already has a plan. A simple but brilliant plan. She will say you raped her when you discovered she was getting married by another man. In fact, she is thinking about going to the police and getting you arrested.”
“She can’t do that. It is a lie,”
“Listen son. I am sure you have heard I spent a night in jail. You have probably also heard that I poisoned her. It is not true. I have never seen that chemical, yet it was found in my belongings. Point is, you don’t mess with Karambu. I just wanted to give you an advance warning because I think you are such a nice young man and a very effective chairman of our church’s youth group. But I can’t force you to take my advice. I have to go now, so that I can leave you to work,”
“Wait, Mrs. Kathuni. Suppose I want to avoid trouble with the police and my bosses, what would I do?”
“Go to George. Tell him that even though you were sleeping with your girlfriend, you did not know she was pregnant when she left you. That you assumed the baby was his because she lives with him now. But you have learned that he doesn’t sleep with her, so the baby can only be yours,”
“He can’t be happy that I slept with his wife,”
“She is not his wife. I am telling you he doesn’t have sex with her. Plus you slept with her before she went to him,”
“What if she goes to the police anyway?”
“George will protect you if he is convinced you are telling him the truth. I really have to go now son. But you need to move fast. Good day,”
After Jacinta leaves Dave is left in his office, stunned. His life has just become more complicated, just when he was straightening it out. He was working out things with Fridah, and they are very close to reconciling. Now this.
His options are very limited. Karambu probably has 3,457 false witnesses lined up waiting to say how he grabbed her and forced himself into her. If he goes this route, he will certainly end up in jail. He will have to bite the bullet and do what Jacinta told him. He risks losing Fridah for good, but then again, if he is nailed for a rape he did not commit, it is unlikely Kamiti Maximum Prison will offer him a garden wedding. He will see that George guy today.
It is not every day that George is visited by bankers. So when one of the waiters knocks on the door of his office and tells him that there is a banker who wants to see him, he is surprised. He is the one who visits the bank. And if there is an issue, they call him.
The banker turns out to be a young man from Adel Rating Microfinance, a fast growing microfinance institution owned by one of the mega churches in the country. Maybe they are trying to woo him to start banking with them. But his Sacco offers microfinance services that have served him so well over the years. The young man says his name is David Kirimi.
“So how can I help you Mr. Kirimi?” George asks.
“I don’t know how to say this sir. It is embarrassing, so I will get right to it. I want to sincerely apologise to you. I am not part of any scheme to defraud you. It is true that Karambu and I were having premarital sex, but I assure you that I have not touched her since you married her, and I did not know she was pregnant when she came over to you. When I heard she was pregnant, I assumed the baby is yours. But your mother visited me this morning and told me you have never touched her. That you only assumed you were the father because Karambu drugged you and made you believe you had sex with her. That can only mean that the baby is mine. Please sir, do not do anything that will jeopardize my job. I am a responsible man. I will take care of my child.”
George is too stunned that for a while he cannot speak.
“Karambu was your girlfriend?”
“She was my fiancée sir. We were supposed to get married next year,”
“And you were having sex?”
George ponders this for a while. What this young man is saying makes a lot of sense. He always wondered how he had sex with Karambu if he was blacked out. And he must have been blacked out because he cannot remember anything from that night. But then again drunkards are able to do many things, including having sex, and cannot remember any of it the following day.
Could it be that Jacinta is trying to turn him against Karambu, and consequently his child by sending this young man to plant ideas in his head? There is only one way to find out.
“What time do you leave work?”
“Good. You and I are going to my home for a cup of tea,”
Karambu brews tea and prepares pancakes. She pours her heart into it. George called her and asked her to prepare tea because he will be coming home with a visitor. That is a giant step towards becoming a wife. He could have met his visitor at the restaurant, but he chose to bring the visitor to his house, where she will be playing host. Or wife.
By five pm, everything is set. They arrive at 5.15 pm, in George’s car. When they enter the house, Karambu nearly faints. But she composes herself and greets Dave with a smile. Surely Dave could not have said anything to him because he would be admitting that he, a church youth chairman working for a church-owned organization had been having premarital sex. He has a lot to lose. She serves them tea and when she starts retreating to the kitchen George asks her to stay and have tea with them. George doesn’t look angry, as he surely would have been if he knew the truth, and that is a good sign.
“So have you met my friend David before? He tells me he is a member of the church you used to attend,” George asks casually.
“Yes,” Karambu replies. “He was the youth Chairman,”
“He also tells me that he was your fiancé and that you two used to have premarital sex and that the baby you are carrying is more likely to be his than mine,”
Karambu chokes on her tea and gets into a fit of coughing. Her swift mind shows her only one way to get out of this situation: faking labour pains. So she clutches her belly and starts groaning in agony.
[END OF BLOG SERIES. For those who have been following the series, you will start reading the novella from the second half of chapter 5. See the note below for instructions on how to access the book.]
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