(Hey folks, remember I am launching my first hard copy novel, The Preying Shepherds, on 23rd April, 2022. For planning purposes, the last day I am selling tickets is 13thApril. The event will be at Eton Hotel, Thika. Kindly grab your ticket by paying Kshs. 1500 to buy Goods Till Number 297264. I encourage you to register early to help me prepare for the event. Thank you for the continued support.)
(Continued from Shaken Foundations I)
Bradley knows that he is supposed to be furious. But he is deflated.
How could Cess do this to him?
“Get out of my house, both of you,” he says quietly. Philip and Cess have disentangled, but they are still on the bed.
“Hello little brother,” Philip says, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Coming back to the house after leaving for work is always a bad idea. You might see things you are not supposed to see.”
Bradley can feel anger rising within him, but he retains control of his emotions.
“I said get out.”
“Are you mad because I made love to Cess? I should be the one who is mad. Cess has always been my woman, and you took her away from you. There are so many women on this earth little brother, but you really had to come to my house to steal my woman.”
It takes a minute for Bradley to process that piece of information.
“Are you saying…”
“Yes. Cess was not just a house help; she was my lover. In fact, I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that the child you think is your first born is my offspring. I have come back to claim what is really mine.”
“Cess, how could you do this to me?”
Cess just shrugs. She has already put on her underwear and is now fastening her bra. After that she methodically puts on her dress. She is avoiding eye contact with Bradley, who now is more shocked than angry.
“You know, little bro, I was very mad when you took Cess away from me. She was the woman I always loved, but I could not divorce Hannah because of family reasons you might be familiar with.”
“Did Hannah know you were sleeping with Cess?”
“Of course not. That woman was toxic. She would have thrown a tantrum and dragged me into a messy divorce, thinning my chances of becoming the company CEO. You see, little brother, unlike you I calculate my moves very carefully. Cess and I were secret lovers, but I always knew we would end up together.”
“If you really loved her that much, why did you trash her the way you did when I married her?”
“I was heartbroken. She had promised to wait for men to get rid of Hannah. But she did not keep that promise. Instead, she chose to run away with you.”
“I had waited for almost five years for you to keep your word, Phil,” Cess speaks for the first time. “I took care of your children and your house as if it was my own. I endured the insults of your wife. But you just kept promising me that you would marry me. Then your brother came and proposed to me just when I had discovered that I was pregnant. What was I supposed to do? Your wife would have kicked me out of our house, whether or not she knew the baby was yours.”
“So you are saying that you used me to cover your pregnancy? These thirteen years really mean nothing to you?”
“You are a good man, Bradley. And I really have nothing against you. You have really been kind to me and my kids. But Phil is my first love, and now that Hannah is out of the way, it’s really time for me to go back to my first love.”
“You can leave if you want. But you are not going anywhere with my children. They will stay here because this is their home.”
“How sure are you they are your children?” Philip asks as he fastens his belt. “You have already been told that Linet is my daughter, and only a DNA test can confirm the true paternity of Bernard and Christopher.”
“Now you are insulting me Philip,” Cess says crossly. “What do you take me for?”
Under different circumstances, Bradley would have jeered. But right now he is a bag of emotions.
“Get out of my house, both of you. Go and fight elsewhere. I don’t want to see your faces ever again.”
“Don’t get salty little bro. And by the way, enjoy this house while you can, because you might lose it soon. I am grateful that you have educated and refined Cess for me, but I will not forgive you taking her away in the first place. I will make you pay for that. Mark my words.”
Bradley cannot hold it any longer. He grabs Philip by the collar and drags him out of the house. Philip is an average sized man, but his younger brother is a mini-giant. Bradley played rugby both in high school and in the university. He has been keeping himself fit by regularly going to the gym. He opens the front door and pushes Philip out.
Philip might be smaller, but he has a louder mouth.
“You are and will always be a loser little bro. Cess is mine,” he says as Bradley turns to go and drag out Cess. “And by the way, I heard you have a lovely house help. Why don’t you polish her up for me? Take her to school and teach the sex styles that Cess passed on to you from me. I might come for her one day when I get tired of Cess.”
He says that last part with a quick glance at the door to make sure Cess is out of earshot. Bradley lunges forward and grabs Philip by the neck. He slaps him twice and then trips him to the ground. He grabs Philip’s neck tightly.
“I am going to kill you today you fool!” he bellows. For the first time, Philip is scared. He has never seen Bradley angry; his younger brother has always been the perfect gentleman, kind and non-confrontational. But right now Bradley looks absolutely crazy, and Philip knows that death by strangulation is a possibility. When Cess comes to Philip’s rescue, Bradley slaps her twice, sending her reeling to the ground. He has completely lost it. He goes back to Philip, who is struggling to rise, and kicks him on the face.
“Baba Linet, please don’t to that,” a female voice says, and someone tugs at his shirt.
Thinking it is Cess, Bradley whirls around and lifts his hand to land another blow. But then he comes face to face with Joyce, the house manager.
“Stay out of this Joyce,” he growls. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Hurt me if you want. But I won’t let you do something stupid. You will kill this man and go to jail, and then what? What will happen to Linet, Bernard and Christopher?”
“They are not my children.”
“I don’t know what these people told you but think about how much those kids love you. Think about all the times you have played with them. Remember how excited they usually are whenever they come home from school and see you…”
Bradley walks away from his wife and brother, tears rolling down his cheeks. Cess and Philip exit the gate just when the taxi that Cess requested earlier arrives. They drive towards the police station.
“Why are we going to the police station?” Cess asks. Getting Bradley arrested was not part of the script that was shared with her. Cess had wanted Bradley to catch her in bed with Philip, so that he wouldn’t bother her after she moved in with the latter. Philip had wanted Bradley to catch them as part of his plan to humiliate his younger brother. Because Bradley is generally an even tempered man, none of them expected the violence that has just been meted out against them.
“What do you mean ‘why are we going to the police station’? Can’t you see what that idiot has done to me?”
“Just let it go babe. We are together now, and that is what matters right?”
“I am going to make sure that boy rots in jail. He will pay for humiliating me like this.”
“Just shut up okay? If I need your opinion I will ask for it.”
Cess falls silent, and in her heart wonders whether she is making a mistake. Philip has never talked to her this way. Not even when she was his employee. He has always been the charming lover with a monster for a wife.
As they head towards the police station, Cess wonders whether Hannah was murdered. What did Philip mean when he said that he would ‘get rid of her’? That is the phrase that he had used years ago when she, Cess, used to work for him. And when he contacted her again, he said that “Hannah is finally out of the way”.
Hannah died last year of what doctors said was a heart attack. If it really was a heart attack, then Philip or someone under his instructions could have fed her something that triggered the heart attack. Nobody speaks loudly about her death. For starters, few people liked her. She was an arrogant and entitled daughter of a former cabinet minister. Her father has remained an influential power-broker even though he quit active politics decades ago, and that is why Philip could not just get rid of her. But her family seems to have accepted her death without questions. And that is the other reason few people want to talk about her death: both Hannah’s ancestral and matrimonial families are powerful, and if they want to keep the matter under wraps, nobody wants to cross them.
If a woman from a powerful family could be ‘gotten out of the way’, what will happen to her, an orphan from the ashes of poverty, if and when Philip gets tired of her? She agreed to marry Philip last year because she wanted a life of luxury. Bradley has done well for himself, but he is not wealthy. He cannot afford to take her to Paris, or Hong Kong to shop, for instance. He is always watching the finances of the hotel like a hawk, and the furthest they have gone on holiday in Zanzibar. But Philip can afford her a life of luxury, and that is what convinced her to dump Bradley. Even her children will benefit. Philip will take them to the finest schools money can offer, and when they graduate they will have jobs lined up for them in the family business. And of course, bedroom matters were a factor too. Philip is a way better lover than Bradley.
At the police station they are led directly to the OCS’s office, and the OCS receives them the way he would receive the President of the Republic.
“What can I do for you sir?”
“You know my brother Bradley?”
“Yes, that one. I want him dead. Can you make it happen?”
“Are you sure about this sir? It can happen but it will cost you.”
“Money has never been a problem, and you know that.”
“Okay, when do you want his body to be found?”
“I don’t care, but make sure he dies as soon as possible, even today. Tell whoever you work with that if they can make it a slow and painful death, they will be rewarded handsomely on top of the usual wages. But nothing can be traced back to me. Understood?”
As Philip and Cess walk back to the car, Cess shudders. What has she gotten herself into?
(To be continued on Tuesday)
Image by Pexels from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/cloudy-dark-full-moon-luna-moon-1869753/
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