(Continued from Betraying the Sister Code II)
Dot is not sure what is infuriating her more: the fact that her husband cheated or his indifferent attitude to the whole issue. He has not even bothered to apologize. She feels like crying again, but she is determined not to. She needs to finish packing. She packs her clothes and the twin’s clothes, assisted by Rick. Richard is in the kitchen, where he went to hide after the truth came out. He is sipping juice quietly like a prince, and that is making Dot even more furious. She feels like throwing hot water at him, but she is determined to leave in a dignified way.
Dot is still stunned by the whole issue. If someone had told her yesterday that her marriage would end in such a dramatic fashion, she would have laughed her heart out. But now her marriage is in shambles, thanks to a person she has trusted since childhood. That is filling her with raw anger.
Besides her clothes, shoes and jewelry, she doesn’t take anything from the house. She packs her suitcases in her car and with Rick riding shotgun, she drives out of the place she has called home for fifteen years.
Rick has been silent the whole time. He has helped her to pack without saying a word. And now, as they drive away, he still doesn’t say anything.
“Nothing that has happened is your fault, Rick. So don’t beat yourself about it.”
“But why would dad and Ma Kyle do that to us?” he asks.
Dot stares ahead as she ponders the question. Insects are dancing under the beam of her headlights. It is almost ten at night.
“I don’t know son. I have been asking myself that question without figuring out an answer.”
Silence settles between them for a while. Dot is worried about her son. KCSE is only two months away. And while Rick has secured a scholarship to the Sapienza University of Rome, Dot still wants to see her son succeed. Dot knows that the current family drama will affect him emotionally and psychologically, but she doesn’t know how to help him.
“Where are we going?” Rick asks.
“We are going to spend the night, maybe two, at a hotel in Shava. Tomorrow we will start house hunting.”
“Are we going to be living in a rented house now?”
“Why should he stay in our house yet he is the one who cheated? Why should we be the ones to leave?”
“Because it is easier to leave than to force him out, son. I don’t have the energy or time to fight your father. It is better this way.”
They drive in silence for the rest of the journey. Half an hour later, they find accommodation at Halo Hotel in Shava.
Kyle is rushed to hospital by villagers. Other villagers, on learning that Kyle has been stabbed by his brother, start hunting for Matthew. They find Matthew smoking weed on the banks of a stream about a kilometer away from their home. The angry mob beats him to a pulp, before leaving him right where they found him.
Christy is crying uncontrollably, and her grief is largely genuine. Of her six children, Kyle is her favourite. The last one month has been tense between them. Kyle has barely spoken to her since they came back from Rome, and that has been hurting her deeply. She has been torn between wanting to please her son and pursing her own happiness with Richard.
When Kyle received a scholarship to study in Rome, they were both excited. Kyle was happy because going to Rome would take him away from his family. His mother was always the only source of happiness at home. But after their trip he wanted to do nothing with her. Christy, on the other hand, thought that that if Kyle went to Rome, he would miss her and therefore forgive her. Besides, she would be able to see Richard more frequently without Kyle witnessing it.
But now her dear boy is dying. As he is escorted to the emergency room at Beeline, Christy is taken to a quiet room to calm down by some of her new colleagues.
Richard feels an emptiness from within as he watches the taillights of his wife’s car disappear into the darkness. He had imagined that he would feel liberated, or at the very least relieved. But none of those emotions manifest in him as he watches his marriage of eighteen years collapse.
He wonders whether his budding relationship with Christy is worth it. True, she is more enthusiastic about sex than Dot. And she has a more lively personality. But still, he has been married to Dot for eighteen years, and he has known her for twenty.
He is aware that there will be societal backlash over his relationship with Christy. Everyone in their circle of friends knows that Dot and Christy are childhood friends. And while people generally like Christy, everyone adores Dot.
I will take it a day at a time, he murmurs to himself as he goes up to his room.
The body of Matthew is discovered in the morning by children who are out playing. They raise alarm, and shortly thereafter a crowd of curious neighbors gather around the bloodied body.
“It is Alexander’s boy,” someone says.
“What could have happened to him?” a woman asks.
“I heard that he stabbed his brother last night. Some men followed him and beat him up. I didn’t know it was this bad.”
“Is he dead?”
“Yea, it seems so.”
“Someone should call the police.”
Christy’s four younger children slept through the chaos of the previous night. They are used to the ruckus in their home, and over time they have learnt to sleep through the drama of their father beating their mother.
When they wake up and find their father sleeping on the couch, they are not surprised. It is not the first time. They are used to finding their father snoring on the couch or even on the floor, depending on where alcohol gets the better of him. In the earlier years, their mother used to drag him to bed. But she doesn’t do that anymore.
Usually, they would not have bothered him. But they are hungry. Their mother usually has prepared breakfast by the time they wake up, but she is nowhere to be found. So they decide to wake up their father, who is surprisingly not snoring. While he is violent when drunk, he is usually harmless when sober, especially when he is battling a hangover.
The two youngest children, seven-year-old Sam and five-year-old Angela tug and pull at their father while their older siblings, nine year old Jane and eleven year old Janis watch. Their father does not respond. Instead, his body falls and rolls on the floor. The children run out screaming.
For the third time in less than twelve hours, neighbors rush to respond to a tragedy in Alexander’s home.
When Richard walks into his office in the morning, he is unaware of the drama that occurred in Christy’s house. She calls him shortly after ten in the morning, shortly after learning about the death of her husband and son from a neighbor. The death of Matthew and Alexander doesn’t really bother her, although she makes a big deal out of it on phone. She cries miserably until Richard promises to go and see her.
As per Richard’s instructions, Kyle is transferred to the ultra-rich wing of Beeline hospital. His mother is allocated an apartment nearby, so that she can watch over him. A nurse is dispatched to Christy’s home to take care of the younger children. Richard only spends a few minutes with her, but promises to see her in the evening. He does however tell her about Dot’s departure.
The news of Dot’s departure send Christy’s mind on an overdrive. With Alexander dead, and with Dot out of the way, there is now nothing standing between her and Richard. She will have to play her cards right, of course. Richard has been showing some reluctance. But the tragedy in her home is a blessing. With her husband and one son dead, and with another son critically ill, she can play the grieving widow and mother to bring him closer to her. By the time the grieving period runs out, Richard will be fully hers.
As he walks back to his office, Richard convinces himself that he made the right decision. Even in her grieving state, she looked stunning. He transferred her son to the wealthy wing just so that she could have an apartment he can sneak into, away from prying eyes. He is notorious for the long hours he keeps at the office, so no one will be surprised to see his car parked at his designated place late into the night. And since Dot is not at home to smell his clothes, he can soak himself in Christy’s embraces.
He can hardly wait for evening. He knows that he will have to keep his relationship with Christy under wraps for a while, at least until the divorce is complete. That will be easy to do this week. As the CEO of the hospital, there is nothing weird about him roaming around the hospital at whatever time. So sneaking into Christy’s room will be easy. The challenge will come when Kyle is discharged. He will attract attention if he visits her house at night. And people will notice too if she keeps sneaking into his house at night.
But they will cross that bridge when they get there.
The search for a house is easier than Dot had expected. Having lived in her own home for almost two decades, she has no desire to live in an apartment block even if it is for just a few months before she completes the construction of her own home. She wants a stand alone bungalow.
A search on the internet leads her to a development about a kilometer away from Shava hospital. She drives there with Rick and both of them instantly like the place. It is a quiet neighborhood. The road leading to it is tarmacked. There are eight houses sitting on two acres of land, so each house has just slightly under a quarter of an acre.
The houses are on sale, but the owner is willing to rent them out on the understanding that one will be required to move out on short notice if a buyer shows up. Because of that condition, and also because of the high rental fee, there is only one tenant; four units have already been sold and occupied; three are vacant.
Dot loves the place so much that she decides against renting it. She decides to purchase it and abandon her plan of buying land and building another home. Most of her finances are tied up in joint accounts with Richard, but she has enough savings on the side to purchase the house without alerting her husband.
The representative of the real estate agency that is selling the property agrees to meet her at her lawyer’s office in the afternoon so that they can sign an agreement and so that she can pay a deposit. According to their verbal agreement, Dot can move into the house once she pays the deposit. Dot agrees with Rick that they will go to shop for furniture and household appliances tomorrow.
“Can I go out with Kyle this afternoon?” Rick asks suddenly.
“Of course, son. Where do you plan to go?”
“We will probably go swimming, but we haven’t really decided. Let me call him.”
Rick calls Kyle, and is surprised when the phone is answered by Rick’s mother.
“Oh my God,” he says when Christy explains the situation to him.
“What is it?” his mother asks, when he hangs up.
“Kyle is at the ICU at Beeline.”
“Why? What happened?”
“He was stabbed by his brother Matthew last night.”
“Oh my God! That is so sad.”
“That is not all. Matthew was killed by a mob last night, and their father Alexander was found dead in their house this morning.”
“That is so sad. Let us go to Beeline. We need to see Kyle, and Christy needs us.”
Rick gives his mother a surprised glance.
“Are you sure Ma? After what she did to you?”
“She has been my friend for decades, Rick. Since we were children, just like you and Kyle. I consider her my sister. She may have betrayed me, but I do care about her.”
They quickly drive back to Messa. At the hospital, Dot is informed that Kyle is in the luxury wing. A doctor even gives her the room number. She is, after all, one of the bosses. She hurries there with Rick. They do not bother knocking. Rick hurriedly pushes the door open.
Kyle is still in a coma. But next to his bed, Christy and Richard are kissing passionately. Dot loses her cool and hurls her handbag at them.
(I intend to finish this story on Friday, so come prepared to grab your copy of the novella)
Image by Tep Ro from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/praying-bible-reading-bible-worship-5406270/
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