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(Continued from The Enemies Within I)
Jesse leans on the wall and sighs deeply. His mind is reeling. How could Judith do this to him? He is still not decided on what to do: whether to leave or confront them.
“You know this is the last time we are doing this Erick, don’t you? I am getting married this week. This is the last Monday I can sleep with you,” Judith’s voice floats from the sitting room.
Jesse is just about to confront them, but he decides to wait and hear how the conversation will go, even though he is about to explode with anger.
“The fact that you are getting married changes nothing,” Erick replies gruffly.
“What do you mean it changes nothing? I will be living with Jesse. Will you now come and rape me in his house?”
“You will have to find a way around it. Find a way to sneak out and give me my weekly due. Otherwise you know the consequences.”
Consequences? What consequences is Erick talking about? Jesse feels like asking aloud but he holds his tongue. He knows he has to make a decision quickly, because it is obvious that Erick and Judith have finished their carnal business.
“You know, I am quite tired of being blackmailed by you. You can do your worst, but I will not cheat on Jesse after we get married. It is bad enough that I have been cheating on him while we are dating.”
“If you defy me you will not have a marriage to protect in the first place. What do you thing Jesse will say when he learns that you have a bastard that you have not told him about? You think Jesse will want to raise that bastard especially considering the bastard is an idiot? What do you think he will say when he learns that you have been having sex with me every Monday? If you defy me, Jesse will know the truth, and I can bet you that he will dump you.”
“My son is neither a bastard nor an idiot. I will not have you stand here and insult him. Why did I even share my story with you? Why did I ever think you are my friend? You can go ahead and tell Jesse whatever you want. If he dumps me fine. But you will not blackmail me into having sex with you any longer.”
“But your marriage is the least of your concerns, my dear. Remember your mother has cancer, and she is the one who takes care of your bastard. If you deny me my rights, you will lose your job. Once you lose your job, the company can no longer pay for your mother’s health care. Do you even know how much cancer treatment costs?”
“You cannot fire me. You are not the MD.”
“I have told you before but I will repeat: if you mess with me today, tomorrow you will not have a job. First, I am your supervisor: one bad report from me and you are gone. Besides, I have more than one way to influence the boss. Or you think you are the only woman I can sleep with?”
“Are you implying that you are sleeping with the MD?”
“Are you so naïve? Why do you think I am the departmental head and not Sarah? Why am I her supervisor even though she is more experienced than I am? Look, Judith. This is how the world works. I still consider you my friend. That is why I convinced the MD to implement that policy for covering health care for family members, just so your mother is covered. It is also the reason why I have recommended your promotion twice already. You told me your story, and I helped you as a friend. All I asked for is a small favor. You know, scratch my back I scratch yours. Having sex with me once a week is not a big deal. We are still colleagues; we can be going out for lunch together and doing our thing and then going back to work. Jesse will never know. Don’t pretend you don’t enjoy the sex just because you are feeling guilty because of your marriage. Besides, you agreed to be sleeping with me so that your mother can live…has that changed? If you play it right, Jesse will not have to know, and your marriage will be alright. I am a happily married man because Zuhura does not know anything about my away matches,” Erick coos softly.
Jesse is stunned. Is this what has been happening? Judith has a child? Why hasn’t she told him? Where has she been hiding the child whenever he visits her mother’s home in Machakos? What should he do now? How could he have a friend as ruthless as Erick and not suspect a thing? He already knew about Judith’s mother’s cancer, and he has always praised the company in which she works for footing the bill. But he would never have suspected that the treatment came at such a personal cost to Judith.
“I am tired, Erick. I won’t have sex with you anymore. Do your worst.”
“Okay,” Erick says crossly.
“Why are you doing this to me though? You have enough money to have many women falling at your feet. Why ruin my life just because I don’t want to have sex with you anymore?”
Judith starts sobbing, and Jesse knows that the time has come. He steadies himself and walks into the sitting room, where the naked Judith is sobbing while leaning on the couch. Erick is just picking his clothes from the floor.
“Hello Erick, Judith,” he says calmly.
They both look at him, stunned.
“What are you doing here?” Erick asks.
“What am I doing in my fiancée house? Perhaps I should be the one asking you what you are doing naked with my equally naked fiancée.”
They stare at each other coldly for a few minutes, while Judith is too stunned to speak.
“You know Erick, there is such a thing as sexual harassment. Judith can sue you. You are her supervisor and you are blackmailing her into having sex with her. That is sexual harassment. In fact, I am going to hire lawyers for her to get you.”
Suddenly Judith finds her tongue.
“Thank you, thank you Jesse. I am glad you heard all that. You know by now that I did not willingly cheat on you right?”
“You could have told me about all this, Judith, but you didn’t. You know I make enough money to pay for your mother’s treatment. All you needed to do is say it. I could even have found you another job. But no, you chose to continue sleeping with this man instead of opening up to me.”
“I am so sorry Jesse. Please forgive me. I was afraid that if I told you, you would leave me. It will never happen again. I promise that I will never cheat on you again.”
“That is not even my greatest concern Judith. My major concern is that you hid your son from me and the world. If, and God forbid, I marry you and we get a child with one disability or another, are you going to keep him locked up like you have been doing your son? I don’t think I would want that for my child, so I am no longer so sure you are the kind of wife I need.”
“Please don’t break up with me Jesse. Please, I am begging you.”
Judith breaks down and starts sobbing loudly again. Jesse looks at her, then at Erick, and then shakes his head and turns to leave.
Jesse flies down the stairs towards the parking lot only to realize that he does not have his car keys. He starts the journey back to Judith’s apartment, irritation temporarily overpowering the emptiness he has been feeling since he entered the apartment.
Once he opens the main door he hears the clattering of furniture as though people are fighting. He enters the sitting room and finds Erick strangling Judith. Judith is kicking about trying to set herself free but she is no match for Erick. Her face is starting to swell and she is bleeding through the mouth. On impulse, Jesse jumps in and punches Erick in the side of the face. That catches Erick by surprise and he momentarily loosens his grip on Judith’s neck. Jesse shoves him and hits him again. This time the blow lands on Erick’s jaw.
Judith collapses to the floor while Erick turns to face his new aggressor. His eyes are blazing and his mouth is twisted in a ferocious snarl. He is bigger and more heavily built than Jesse, but Jesse is not worried as he is a trained karate fighter.
Erick rushes forward to grab Jesse but Jesse ducks and trips Erick with his foot. Erick falls, knocking his knee on a stool. This enrages him, and he hurls the same stool in Jesse’s direction. Jesse ducks and it hits Judith on the head. She screams and collapses to the floor where she lies still. Fearing that she is dead, Jesse starts to move towards her. But Erick takes the advantage and throws himself onto Jesse, pinning him to a wall. He puts his hand in his pocket and produces a pocket knife.
“It is over buddy. You and your woman will die today. The story will be simple. You came in and found me and your woman kissing. Your woman told you she wanted to cancel the wedding and be with me. Realizing that she was serious about leaving you for me, you attacked us. You smashed a stool into Judith’s head, and when I tried to stop you, you attacked me. But I fortunately grabbed a knife and stabbed you in self-defense and then called the police. You know the best part? You will be dead so you will not be there to contradict me. I will walk free as you and your woman go to conduct your wedding six feet under.”
Image by soumen82hazra from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/home-lockdown-corona-virus-5094603/
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