(Continued from Sandra II)
“I wanted to bring these forms for you to sign, Bishop,” Cate, the Bishop’s secretary, says.
“Oh Catherine, I thought you had left. Can’t those forms wait till tomorrow?” the Bishop asks, with Sandra still perched on his lap. He calls her by her full name, perhaps the only person who does so.
“I was just leaving. I thought you should sign them before your session with Deacon Titus so that I can leave early. I told him to wait at the reception because this shouldn’t take long,” she says, casting a wicked glance at Sandra.
At the mention of Titus, Sandra bolts from the Bishop’s lap, and excuses herself saying she needs to use the bathroom. She uses the back door of the Bishop’s office to get into the boardroom. She uses the bathroom in the boardroom to reset her hair and redo her makeup and then gets out of the boardroom through its front door.
“Thank you, Catherine,” the Bishop says after Sandra has left. Cate is not holding any forms, they are just useless brochures. She simply wanted to warn her boss. The Bishop knows that she stayed behind when she saw Sandra enter his office, because she anticipated that this would happen.
Cate adores the Bishop, and he knows it. He has perfected the art of manipulating her emotions, keeping her loyal. She is the one who made Celestine divorce the Bishop. Celestine had stayed late at the church and found them making love in the Bishop’s office. Celestine did not know that Cate and the Bishop had been sleeping together long before he married her. Cate started sleeping with the Bishop while he was still married to Milkah. When Milkah died, Cate hoped she would be looked upon with favor, even though she knew he had other mistresses. However, he married another of his mistresses, Celestine.
When Celestine divorced the Bishop, Cate gave him an ultimatum: he either marries her or she quits working for him and sleeping with him. Many men would have told her to get lost. But not the Bishop. He begged her to stay. He even cried, saying how he could not do without her. He then made her pregnant, although the child is not publicly recognized as his. She was his main girlfriend during the years he was single, and she was sure he would open his eyes and marry her.
But then he sprung another surprise on her by marrying Jessica. But then she became pregnant again.
Now Cate has more or less accepted the fact that the Bishop will never marry her. She no longer sleeps with him but he does take care of her and the children. He bought her a two-acre farm and built her a home. He also bought her a car, a red Mazda Demio. He pays school fees for the children and has ensured that Cate is one of the highest-paid employees of the church. In turn, she continues in her role as his protector and cleans up the mess his sexual activities create.
“You need to be careful with this woman, William,” she says now. She doesn’t use titles with him when they are alone.
“I know, I know. She came and started seducing me and I became weak,”
“Do you want me to deny her access to your office?”
Cate is a notorious gatekeeper. She is skilled in frustrating anybody the Bishop does not wish to see. She does it in such a way that she soaks in the blame so that while she is disliked by many, the Bishop is still adored by the congregants.
“No, no it hasn’t come to that. I can handle her,”
That is code for “I still want to sleep with her”. Cate nods.
“As you wish, William. But be careful. This woman is dangerous. I have been observing her since she started volunteering here. She is capable of destroying you,”
“I will be careful, Catherine. And thank you once again.”
Cate knows she is being dismissed.
“Good night William. See you tomorrow,”
“Good night Catherine. Kiss the boys for me,”
A familiar pain slashes Cate’s chest. Her children are condemned to grow up fatherless because she fell in love with a man who cannot be hers. She leaves the room, closing it softly behind her.
Sandra enters the reception of the Bishop’s office from the outside, looking as pious as one who has just been praying.
“Hi sweetheart,” she says softly. “I have really missed you. How was your day?”
Cate, who has just gotten to her desk from the Bishop’s office, looks at her and marvels at her ability to act. If only the poor man knew. But then again, he probably deserves it for breaking Liz’s heart. Cate, like most of the locals, adores Lizand was happy for her when the news of her relationship with Titus became public. She, alongside many other Murang’a town dwellers, therefore naturally dislike this intruder Sandra for coming in between them. So yes, this woman is wicked, but Titus chose her over sweet Liz. There is no point of pitying him.
Cate’s concern, however, is that the Bishop will pursue his interest in this woman. And this woman looks like she is the type to dump her fiancé on the altar if a better prospect shows up. She might manipulate the Bishop into a relationship, and that might put her on a collision course with Jessica. Jessica is dangerous, and can easily get this woman killed. And if the media gets wind of it, then it will be Cate’s job to deflect attention from the church. A job she hates. She has bribed journalists before to bury stories that painted the Bishop in a bad light, but she does not look forward to it.
“I missed you too sweetheart,” Titus says. Then he turns to Cate.“Can we go in now?”
“Yes, please. He is expecting you,” Cate replies.
The love birds walk hand in hand to the Bishop’s office, where the Man of God receives them warmly.
“Deacon Titus! It is such a pleasure to see you. Oh Lady Sandra, did you quit volunteering here? Haven’t seen you around much. Come on, have a seat. And tea is here.”
The tea, mandazi and biscuits had been brought earlier by Cate. The Bishop excuses his wife’s absence, then sits down and begins to talk to them about marriage.
Jessica is sitting outside the main house, facing the swimming pool. She and the Bishop live in a mansion; no, a castle. She lied to the Bishop that she wanted to leave early to check on the children, so he asked Billy to take her home, as she thought he would. Billy is the Bishop’s personal assistant and driver. He is a handsome young man with a well-chiseled body but low self-esteem. And when Jessica seduced him, he could simply not believe that a woman with the profile of the Bishop’s wife could want him. So now she sleeps with him every now and then, and that alone keeps him very loyal to her. But she also lavishes him with gifts. He is to her what Cate is to the Bishop. Today she spent two hours with him in one of the guest wings.
The Bishop’s home consists of the main house, which has two guest wings, and the servants’ quarters. Jessica and Billy prefer using the guest wings for their rendezvous because there are usually no servants there after 10 in the morning until 6 am the following morning. Unless there are guests using them, the servants clean the guest wings then leave and go to tend to the main house. So chances of a servant discovering them and whispering something to the Bishop are minimal.
Still, they enter from different directions. Billy enters using the external door, and Jessica enters from inside the main house, usually thirty minutes later. Jessica usually leaves first, again using the inner door, another thirty minutes before Billy exits using the external door. The length of time they spend together depends. When the Bishop is around, they normally spend about two hours together, three times a week. If the Bishop is abroad and hasn’t taken Billy with him, they spend more time together. There is a time she even took Billy on a holiday to Malindi, and pretended she had been attending a women’s conference. The Bishop was in Croatia.
Jessica has two children, and she often wonders whether they are the Bishop’s, or Billy’s. Billy helps her keep track of the women in the Bishop’s life. So when he told her that on some nights he is dismissed early and the Bishop is left in the office, she became suspicious. She knew it is not Cate he was left with-she already knows he doesn’t sleep with Cate anymore. Of all the women the Bishop has had affairs with, Jessica likes Cate best because she finds her non-threatening. If only the Bishop would sleep with Cate and leave it at that, Jessica would be happy.
Jessica installed the cameras last week, without the Bishop’s knowledge, to find out exactly what happens when the Bishop is left alone. The cameras, which also have high tech microphones attached to them, send videos directly to her phone. Oh, the joy of having money! But the Bishop hasn’t stayed late in the office the whole week. Today she knew he would be with Deacon Titus and his fiancée but she checked anyway. She doesn’t trust Sandra, but she didn’t think she would try anything with her fiancé nearby.
Except that, according to the clip she is watching right now on her phone, Sandra did indeed seduce the Bishop, and the Bishop even said he wants to get rid of her (Jessica)! The Bishop’s roving eye worries Jessica, and she knows he doesn’t trust her, but he has never suggested before, to the best of her knowledge that he wants to get rid of her.
So her concerns now are not merely those of her jealous wife who doesn’t want to share a husband. She married the Bishop because of his status, power, influence and money. And if he thinks he can divorce her or kill her, then he doesn’t know her at all. Which of course, he doesn’t. Her past is shrouded in mystery.
She will have to get rid of that woman Sandra to send the Bishop a warning. He will know it is her work, but he will not be able to prove it. And why does that woman look so familiar? She studies the clip again. As she watches Sandra manipulate the Bishop’s emotions, it finally hits her. This woman is Vicky, one of Rickie’s side-chics.
In her other life, the time when she, Jessica, was the dreaded Priestess, Rickie was her boyfriend and fellow criminal. Jessica did not bother with Rickie’s concubines because none of them really threatened her position in his life. Rickie was loyal to her, even though he slept with others. She also slept with others, for example that assassin Bob, but her heart belonged to Rickie. But then Rickie was gunned down.
She thought she could work the same arrangement with the Bishop, but it turns out he is loyal to no one but himself. Any young thing with half a brain and adequate bedroom skills can easily make the Bishop change his attitude towards her. And this woman Sandra has way more than half a brain.
Of course Sandra does not know who she is, because very few people knew who the Priestess really was, but Jessica is nonetheless shocked that the ghosts of her past have come to haunt her in her new life. She knows she will have to contain this one. She, Jessica, will have to move quickly and get rid of this one personally.
Jessica takes her phone and dials the assassin’s number.
“Hi, Bob? I have a small problem that needs to be taken care of…a girl, unarmed. It is a simple task…just pop up at her apartment, send her to her maker and make it look like a robbery, the way you normally do…okay, that is fine…use your judgment. You know money has never been a problem between us. If it can happen tonight, then you will earn a bonus…excellent. I will be waiting for a report.”
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