(Continued from Turbulence III)
Geoffrey hangs his head low in shame as Florence takes her seat next to him. How on the planet did he land here? He has no feelings for his Florence, and he is not even remotely attracted to her. Yet he slept with her. Not only that, but also that his entire family and Brenda’s family now know. How can he plead his innocence? He has been sitting here for about an hour, as they waited for Florence to wake up. Nobody said anything to him, although they were talking amongst themselves as if he was not there. Except his parents and Brenda. His parents are seated by themselves, quiet, and not talking to anyone. Occasionally his mother is throwing glances at him, and Geoffrey is pained by the look of hurt in her eyes. He knows he has humiliated them before their parents. Technically, Brenda is his wife because he has already paid her bride price. That means that Florence is his mother-in-law. What he has done is an abomination, both in African society and in the eyes of Christ.
In the past one hour, he has been trying to remember how he ended up naked in Florence’s bed. He remembers getting a call from Alice asking him to come and pick her up so that they could go and talk to her friends who had offered their cars for the wedding. Geoffrey wanted to know under what conditions the cars were being offered. Did they want to drive themselves or was he expected to find drivers? For how long was he getting the cars? Some car owners are very particular about how their vehicles are handled. He had told Brenda about Alice’s offer, but he had not mentioned the visit. When Alice called to tell him that the two car owners were available to talk to him, he did call Brenda, but he discovered that he had run out of airtime. He was buying credit to call her when another of his friends called. By the time his friend hung up, he had forgotten all about calling Brenda as he was already driving towards her village.
He remembers being welcomed into the house by Alice. Inside, he does remember finding Florence on the couch, wearing an oversize T-Shirt and nothing else. He remembers greeting her politely but awkwardly before taking a seat as far away from him as possible. He remembers being served a glass of juice and cake by Alice, and he remembers Florence sitting up and asking her daughter for cake as well. Alice gave her mother a glass of juice and cake. Alice said she wanted to go and spread the bed and then get ready for their departure. Geoffrey remembers being very uncomfortable with the idea of being left alone with his semi-naked mother-in-law. He remembers considering calling Brenda to tell her his whereabouts but then discarding the thought.
Geoffrey remembers starting to get sexually aroused and being alarmed at it. He also remembers realizing that the juice was tasting funny. But from there it was as though he lost control of his actions. He remembers rising from his seat and going over to his mother-in-law, sitting next to her, and draping a hand around her. He remembers being horrified by his action but having no willpower to stop himself from what he knew was going to happen. He remembers putting his free hand under her t-shirt and kissing her on the lips. He remembers her rising from the seat and guiding him to a bedroom. He remembers taking off his clothes and undressing her as well. From there his memory is hazy, but he has no doubt he slept with her.
Then it hits him. Alice and her mother might have drugged him. Why would he start feeling sexually aroused suddenly? Florence may have been semi-naked, but she was not the source of his arousal, otherwise he would have felt it immediately after he entered the house. And he is certain that he would have been able to control himself, as he has done so many times over the years whenever he encounters girls that he is attracted to. Instead, his arousal began when he started drinking the juice. And that is also the time when he seemingly lost control over his actions. He is convinced that there was something in that juice that he was offered by Alice. In fact, thinking about it now, he remembers that it was tasting funny.
“What did you put in my juice?” he growls at Alice suddenly, startling her and everyone else.
“What are you talking about?”
“I came here for a meeting with you, and then you gave me juice that was tasting funny, and then you ran to your bedroom. And after I started taking that drink I started losing control over my actions. So what did you put in that drink?”
“Is that your best defense?” Brenda asks quietly. “Really Geoffrey? You get caught cheating and the best you can do is to try and blame my sister?”
“I swear babe…”
“Don’t babe me!” Brenda snarls, the fury in her voice catching everyone off-guard and silencing Geoffrey.
“What really happened Geoffrey? What were you doing in this house in the first place?”
“As you know, I have been looking for vehicles for the bridal motorcade on Saturday. So Alice called me and told me that two of her friends had offered to give their cars to the cause, but that they needed me to come so that we would agree on certain things. That is normal especially because they are not people that I know personally. So I agreed.
When I came, I found Alice on the porch, and she welcomed me into the house and told me to sit down. I sat down…”
“Was there anyone else in the house?” Alice asks.
“Yes, mother was there.”
“What was she wearing?”
Geoffrey hesitates. He is embarrassed to even remember, leave alone talk about it. He considers pretending that he does not remember, but he knows that it will not work. Nobody is going to believe him.
“She was wearing a T-shirt.”
“A skirt and a T-shirt?” Agnetta asks.
“No grandma,” Alice says. “She was just wearing a T-shirt and nothing else. Not even underwear or a bra. And that is an important point to note because that is not what she had slept with. She had slept with a proper nightdress, but when I mentioned that Geoffrey was on his way, she changed into that T-shirt.”
“You are a liar Alice!” Florence growls. “I know I am not a saint but I would never seduce my son-in-law. Stop lying!”
“I know Alice is very crafty and that she is capable of lying, and I desperately want to believe that she is lying. But the evidence we have indicates that the two of you have been having a steamy affair.”
“Mother, believe me. Yes, I do not deny that I misbehaved with Geoffrey. I cannot remember everything that happened but I am not going to deny that bad and embarrassing stuff happened. But it was not intentional, mother. I did not set out to seduce my daughter’s fiancé. I would never do that mother. I know you do not believe me because I am not the most credible person on earth…”
“You are very right about that,” Leah says before she can stop herself. But Florence ignores her.
“…but you should believe this young man. Geoffrey is a decent, God-fearing man. He would not do what he did willingly and that is why I am convinced that this girl must have put something in the juice she served us.”
“Okay, Florence. Let me have your phone. Unlock it first.”
Agnetta takes the phone and then hands it to Leah.
“Check if those messages are there.”
Leah takes the phone and finds the messages. She passes the phone around for everyone to see.
“She has saved Geoffrey as “sweet love”. I honestly cannot believe this.”
“What are you all talking about?” Florence asks, confused.
“Don’t play dumb, Florence. You and Geoffrey have been dating for months now, and you have been exchanging dirty SMS and WhatsApp messages. You have even been sending him pictures of you naked. Have you no shame Florence?”
“I have never…” Florence begins and then she is given her phone with the open WhatsApp messages. The first thing she sees is the nude photo. Yes, it is her photo. But it was taken by Julian, a man she sleeps with now and then. They were semi-drunk when he took the photo with her phone and then sent it to himself. But she has never sent it to Geoffrey. Everything they are saying is not true.
“That cannot be true,” Geoffrey says. “I have never chatted with Mother and she certainly has never sent me any dirty photos. If she did Brenda would have known…
“Just shut up, okay?” Brenda snaps. “I always believed that you are a decent man. How could I have been so foolish? Geoffrey, you even went as far as buying a cheating phone so that you could have an affair with my mother without my knowledge. And all this while you are pretending you are accountable to me. What an evil man you are!”
Brenda is on the verge of tears again.
“What cheating phone?” Geoffrey asks innocently.
“This,” Leah says, as she holds it up. “You dropped it on the couch when you took your girlfriend to the bedroom.”
“I swear I have never seen that phone in my life. It is not mine.”
Brenda rises and slaps him hard on the face.
“You can marry Florence if that is what makes you happy. The wedding is already set, you just need to inform your guests that you have switched brides and that you are now marrying the true love of your life…”
“My child,” Florence begins. “This is one big misunderstanding…”
“Misunderstanding my big toe! Take your man and marry him. I am sorry I got in the way of your romance. And don’t ever, ever, call me your child again. As far as I am concerned, you are dead to me.”
She storms out of the house and slams the door shut, tears freely flowing down her cheeks.
(This is the last free chapter of this story. To find out what became of Brenda, Geoffrey and Florence, kindly follow the instructions below to purchase your copy of the novella.)
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