(Continued from Daddy’s Flame III)
Patricia lives in the hospital’s staff quarters. The house is a three bedroom bungalow with a kitchen garden and a carport that can host two cars. They arrive in Patricia’s BMW X3, with Martin driving. Martin’s car is at his home. He, his children and his father-in-law went to the morgue and later to the funeral service in the hearse.
“You must be hungry,” Patricia says when they get inside the house. They haven’t talked much on the way here. She serves him a cup of tea and then heads to the kitchen to warm the food that she cooked earlier in the day. Tess’s statement at the funeral was eerily accurate. Martin would have come here for dinner after the burial, and whenever he visits Patricia, sex is always part of the agenda.
They eat in silence. Patricia knows that Martin is humiliated. He is a respected church elder and community leader, and to see the crowd turn against him like that must have hurt him to the core. Trying to grab the microphone from Tess proved disastrous, and it only served to add to his humiliation. He cannot blame her (Patricia) for what happened because it was his fault, and Patricia has a flood of tears ready just in case she needs to prick his conscience. But as long as he is not blaming her for anything, she plans to keep her tears on hold; she doesn’t want to be seen as a cry baby. If she appears to be a strong woman, her tears will have a more powerful effect if and when she sees the need to unleash them. She had not planned on going to the funeral. Even by her standards, that was stooping too low. But Martin insisted. After his fight with his daughter, he wanted to stamp his authority; he wanted to show Tess who the boss is. His argument was that if he didn’t tame his daughter, she would overestimate her importance and try to boss him around. He hired a group of young people to ensure Tess did not get anywhere near Patricia.
But Martin underestimated the innovative abilities of his daughter. What Tess did was brilliant. Instead of physical violence, she chose to manipulate the crowd with her words and in the process, totally destroyed her father. Patricia knows that there is nothing she can say that will make Martin feel better. But there is something she can do to make him forget his daughter and the funeral drama, at least temporarily. Immediately he finishes eating, she silently takes his hand and guides him to the bedroom. It takes only seconds to make him forget everything and return his full focus on her.
The MC does a great job controlling the crowd and bringing order after the departure of Martin and Patricia. Many people are in shock, but the funeral service continues smoothly until the end. Only family and close friends are allowed to the grave site, so food is served at the school grounds. The food was provided free of charge by three local caterers in appreciation of the support they had received from Karanga Sacco (and by extension Peninah), while growing their enterprises. As a matter of fact, the family did not spend anything on the funeral. The casket and hearse were provided by a local funeral home; the tents and chairs were provided by a local events company; photography was sponsored by a young woman that Peninah personally educated.
Peninah is buried next to her mother Rachel. There are about a hundred people who witness as the grave is lowered, and tears flow freely.
Patricia strokes Martin’s naked back gently as she listens to his soft snoring. Martin usually falls asleep almost immediately after making love to her. He is a good-looking man, but she has never considered him a marriage prospect. In fact, she has never imagined herself as someone’s wife, because she believes that marriage would limit her options in life. She is a proud woman. She prides herself as the conqueror of men; the irresistible woman. She doesn’t date small men, men without power, money or influence. Neither does she subscribe to the ideals of love.
To her, love is the creation of weak minds. She enjoys sex, but satisfying her carnal desires is not a good enough reason for her to jump into bed with anyone. For her to remove her clothes, it must be because that carnal act will help her get ahead of the pack somehow, or give her a certain advantage in life. Patricia uses sex to gain power, wealth and influence. That explains how she lives a luxurious life and even drive a BMW even though she got her license to practice medicine last year.
She has a brilliant mind, but she does not believe that anyone gets ahead purely by merit; to her, every successful person must have scammed the system somehow. Successful politicians rig elections; high flying CEOs cook books and hire PR consultants in order to look efficient; men bribe to get promotions and students cheat in exams. So who is she to imagine that she will be noticed purely on merit? She made a decision to use her most powerful tool to get ahead: her body.
She always has an eye for the boss. She slept with the Dean at the Medical School and several lecturers, which earned her a first-class degree in Medicine and Surgery. Nobody questioned the degree because she was one of the sharpest in her class, and probably would have gotten the first-class by merit. But she needed to be certain. When she came to Karanga, she started sleeping with the CEO, and that is how the hospital hired her permanently, and how she got the largest house in the staff quarters. The house was vacated by Dr. Johnson, a Canadian surgeon who left Karanga last year. Patricia manipulated Martin into giving her the house ahead of other senior doctors who had been eyeing it for years.
Nobody complained when she got hired permanently because everyone acknowledged that amongst her cohort of interns, she was the most hardworking and deserving. But the house caused quite some disquiet because she obviously did not merit it. It should have gone to one of the senior doctors. Many of the younger doctors do not even have houses in the staff quarters, leave alone the largest house. But Patricia doesn’t care; she wanted the house, and she got it.
When she started sleeping with Martin, all she wanted was to rise up through the ranks, and perhaps inflate her bank account with his money. She did not come here by accident. She heard about Karanga Mission Hospital from a television interview Martin did at Citizen TV a while back. She did a little research on the hospital and found out that it had experienced tremendous growth in the few years Martin had been in-charge. She knew right away that that was the place to be: she wanted to be part of the system when it became a top hospital in the country. She started sleeping with the CEO to get ahead of the other interns and earn a permanent slot, and the plan worked. Of the six medical interns in her cohort, she is the only one who was retained by the hospital on permanent terms.
The original plan was to remain as Martin’s mistress as she worked her way up the ladder. But that plan has now changed. Tess has humiliated her twice already, and she cannot take it quietly; she has to respond. She will marry this man, and when she does, she will make sure that she takes control of all his wealth. Tess and her stupid siblings will end up in the slums; the younger ones will not even get to complete their education.
It is getting dark when the last of the guests leave. Geoffrey is left with his grandchildren in his house. They have all cried until they have no more tears left.
“Is it true?” Philemon asks over dinner. One of the caterers ensured that food was delivered to the house in dishes, but nobody in the family really has an appetite. They are just picking at the food.
“What?” Tess asks.
“What you said about dad at the funeral,” Antony replies on behalf of his younger brother. Clearly the same thing had been on his mind.
“Yes, it is true.”
“Does that mean that that woman will now be our mother?” Philemon asks.
“No, bro. We will always have one mother. She may be dead physically, but she will always remain alive in our hearts.”
“What are you going to do?” Patricia asks when Martin finally wakes up. They are still in bed, and she is still stroking his naked body gently. She knows that she has to use every tool of manipulation available to her until she gets him to marry her.
“Your daughter. I don’t think she wants you back at the house. Are you going to force your way back?”
“Tess will pay for what she did today. I will find a way to punish her. But to answer your question, yes we are going to that house.”
“You and I are going to get married, and that house will become your home.”
Patricia sighs dramatically. Reverse psychology is one of the most powerful tools of manipulation, and she employs it with ease.
“I don’t know honey. After what happened today, I don’t think that is a good idea. I love you, and that is why I don’t want to be the cause of problems between you and your children. I think we probably should stop seeing each other. With time I think you will find an older woman who Tess and the boys will respect.”
Martin hoists his upper body and supports it with one elbow. He uses his free hand to stroke Patricia’s hair.
“My children will not dictate to me who I can or cannot marry. You are the one I have chosen. Tess and the boys will have to learn to respect you. If they don’t, then they will have to get out of my house.”
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Image by Junnifer Baya from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/couple-couple-kissing-man-woman-3618110/
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