Andy jerked Sonia’s hands away with so much force that her hands hurt. He stood up looking totally confused and alarmed. “Jess, it is not what you think” he managed to put the words together though he was totally devastated and confused. Jessica was not sure she could hear anything that was being said. The scene before her was so frightening and she was hearing loud screaming in her head. She was not sure what was going on. Sonia adjusted her cloth and jumped up. “Yes, it is what you think Jessica. Your womanizing husband here was trying to rape me” “What?” Andy’s head rotated. Jess was just frozen to the spot. “I came in looking for you and all of a sudden he grabbed me” she made a teary face. “You are insane woman; what the hell is your game here?” Andy was roaring and he wished he could beat the living daylight out of the woman. He faced Jessica. “Jess, you have to trust me. I can never do this to you; never” “Oh yeah? Then tell me, why did you both do a one year contract wedding then?” Jess gasped, now listening attentively. How did Sonia know? Andy was bewildered. “You did not want to marry the woman brought by your father because you can’t bear being tied to a woman. You like the idea of sampling every skirt that comes your way and that is why you chose gentle and unappealing Jessica, while you go on with your escapades with other girls” “If you don’t cut this bull shit, I surely would lay my hands on you” “Oh, just like you were about doing before Jessica entered?” Jessica felt this cold chill that would not go away. Her blood seemed to freeze. “Tell me, is that not the reason why you don’t stay in the house? You go out very early and come back very late using work as a pretense, is that not because you have concubines all over the country? You were with a woman at Convy Hotel some days back, what were you both doing? It must be the wild thing right?” “What is all these? She is one of our major contractors” Andy saw red at the infidelity accusation. “Oh, really? I came majorly to talk with Jessica about this but it is no longer necessary. Now I see that Jessica has her eyes open and tries to dress appealingly so I would not be surprised if you have gotten into her pants already”. Andy did what he had never done before; he swung his hand and slapped Sonia’s face so hard. Jessica could take no more; she turned and fled the house. “Jess… Jessica” Andy ran after her with his heart racing with dread. He caught up with her and held her hand. “Leave my hand” she yelled, snatching her hand forcefully. He held her shoulders, forcing her to listen to him. “Believe me Jess; I don’t know what is going on here. Sonia came and-” “And what? Jumped on you?” she laughed sarcastically. “You know what Andy, I am done” the tears that she had been guarding against started coming and she started rubbing them away furiously. “I knew from the start that this was a huge mistake. Yesterday, last night, this morning; everything was a mistake. A stupid, irredeemable mistake, but it is fine.” “Jess please, don’t say that. Don’t do this” Andy pleaded and his heart bled when he saw her furiously wipe away her tears again. “Don’t worry, I would not do anything or take anything. The 20 million; I don’t need it” “Jess…” Jessica started walking away, and then started running. The waves of the hair she had just fixed bounced after her. Andy was about to run after her when he remembered that Sonia was still in the house. The anger that bubbled in him was so intense that he charged into the house smashing the flower vase that stood in his way. He searched the entire house but did not see Sonia. She must have sneaked out while the couple was arguing. He swallowed hard, still trying to come to terms with what had just occurred. For the first time in years, something new occurred in his life that brought joy to his heart and it shattered before it even begun. He grabbed his car keys and his shirt and left in search of Jessica. ********** ********** Jessica walked the side of the road as rain poured down. She was just going like a robot. She was not sure if her brain was working at all. Events of the past just replayed in her head like the clips of a movie’s advert. This was not the first time that she would find her man with her best friend. The first man she ever dated her cheated on her with her best friend. The horrifying scene of catching them in the act flashed through her mind as she walked, oblivious to the rain that had glued her cloth to her skin. Being left at the altar and the death of her entire family still remained the most horrifying of her entire life until this evening but as she walked the sad road, she could not remember ever feeling this broken in her entire life. Sonia’s words kept coming and coming until she felt she was going to go crazy but she just kept on walking. No part of her body felt alive as she walked on the darkened and wet road, not even the legs that carried her. She did not know if she should put the blame on Sonia. She had come visiting and almost got raped in the process. Tears rolled down her cheeks ceaselessly but no one would have noticed since the rain water was all over her face. Her purse which she took to the saloon was clutched in her hand as she held it like a weapon at her side. She had no idea where she was going but she just went wherever her feet led her to. “Jessica” Jessica heard her name being called but she did not even think of answering. She just went her way. Andy came out of the car, leaving it at the middle of the road. He had been searching for some time, moving the car slowly in order not to miss her and had become apprehensive and terribly worried when the rain had started. “Jessica, Oh my God” he murmured as he ran after her in the rain. Within seconds, he was also wet due to the velocity of the heavy rain. He got to her in no time but she would not stop walking. It was as if she could neither see nor hear him. “Jessica please, for the Love of God, stop this. Don’t hurt yourself like this” Jessica was shivering as she walked but she did not even seem to notice that she was shivering. “I am so sorry Jess but please, let me take you home” he held her hand. “Please” She turned her head sharply as his hand touched her. “Get your filthy hands off me this minute” Andy did not let her go. “Home?” she asked. “Which home? I have no home” she shivered. “Especially not in your house”. “Please Jess, even if you are going to hate me, I would not leave you out here like this.” “Well, it is not in your place to make decisions for me, you don’t have the right and you never will” she fought to keep her clattering teeth in place. “Why can’t you leave me alone? What did I ever do to offend the world” she cried furiously. The cars were busy blasting horns and raining curses as they bypassed Andy’s car but Andy did not hear any of it. “Sweetheart I…” he paused. “Jess, please, I know it is hard for you to trust me now but please let me get you out of this rain, please…” “No… I said no” Andy breathed deep and scooped her in his hands. She started fussing and yelling and the cars passing started looking suspicious. He took her straight to the car, holding her effortlessly but firmly though she struggled. When they got to the car, he put her down and stared straight at her. “I would take you anywhere you want to go Jess but I can’t leave you here. It is either you go with me or we both stay here in the rain. Please” Jessica swallowed and entered the car slowly. The chill was getting to her bones and she was not sure she could stand anymore. She had expended all her energy. When Andy got behind the wheels, she looked outside the window. “Take me to Lizzy’s place.” Andy breathed deeply and started the engine. His heart ached terribly as he saw her shivering uncontrollably. There was no cloth at all in the car that he could use to cover her. He was cold too but he knew that he could handle himself. He turned up the heater to the highest and turned the fans in Jess’ direction. He quenched every desire to talk and explain things. He did not want to upset her more. He was greatly relieved when her shivering reduced a bit. Silence reigned in the car as Andy drove to Lizzy’s house. On getting there, Jessica did not even give room for any discussion. She said ‘thanks’, alighted and hurried into the house in the rain which was no longer as heavy as it was before. She pounded Lizzy’s door, waiting for the door to open. She heard Lizzy murmuring something inside and her anger grew. The door opened and Lizzy’s expression changed to extreme surprise. “What? Jessie, what are you-” Jessica’s fist swung and connected with Lizzy’s face. “How could you? I trusted in you because you were smart enough to detect that something was not right between Andy and I. I opened up and told you everything, how could you then tell Sonia about this? I thought you promised never to tell anyone.” Jessie’s eyes shot fire. “Whoa Jessie” the slap still stunned her but she pulled Jessica inside and slammed the door. “You are speaking Chinese. I did not tell anyone anything” “Oh great. Now the world is full of liars” “Now Jessie, I am serious. I cross my heart. If I weren’t a good Christian, I would have sworn. I did not tell anyone anything” “But Sonia knows” Jessica knew Lizzy was not lying but she had no idea how Sonia would have known of the contract. Lizzy was someone who was very transparent and anyone would see through her if she was lying. “She must have found out somehow or from someone but definitely not from me” Lizzy was alarmed. “What is going on Jessie? You are really scaring me. You look like a terrified dripping cat” “I just want to sleep Lizzy. I want to sleep so that my head can stop spinning” Jessica swallowed, not willing to cry. Lizzy looked at her critically and decided to wait till the next day before she found out what really happened. “OK. Come and get rid of this cloth. Did I mention that you are looking very sexy in this dress?” Lizzy said, trying to make Jessica smile a bit but when Jessica fought back tears instead of smiling, she knew that something was terribly wrong with her and all her instincts pointed at Andy. ********** ********** Jessica lay on Lizzy’s bed feeling shattered. Her life just seemed to go from one point of disaster to the other. She wondered why this occurrence seemed to be more painful, compared to the other problems that she had had to face in her life. Her head ached terrifyingly and she groaned. Tears kept coming and coming. She had been able to maintain a ‘no crying’ stance for a long time but in just one night, she had cried immensely. The tears came but she had no strength to wipe it off. She had surrendered her most precious gift to Andy, something that she had treasured, something that she had refused to give her past lovers. Thinking of how everything had shattered was so alarming. Everything had been a charade. Just a surface charade to get past her pants. But even though Jessica wanted to make herself believe that it had also been a charade for her and that she did not have any attachment with Andy, she knew that it was a lie. Andy had been part of her every thought ever since she met him, which was one of the reasons why she detested him. She had detested him for being a man and had used her hate or dislike to her advantage but his late nights always got to her, terribly. She always found herself wondering what he was doing and with whom. He almost did not notice her and it hurt her feminine ego. Dressing differently had almost nothing to do with Andy’s father; she had only used that as an excuse. Please When she had gone to bed with him, it hadn’t been because she was married to him, it was because she really wanted to give him that gift. She had wanted him to have it, but now, it turned out to be the worst mistake she ever made. Why did she always have to develop feelings for the wrong people? Why was life so unfair? Why did she have to cry over and over again? Lizzy entered with a plate of hot rice and stew and Jessica quickly wiped her face but Lizzy did not miss it. Lizzy was not terribly worried. She could not pinpoint ever seeing Jessica cry. She noticed that the hot tea she had given to Jessica earlier was barely touched. “Jessie, please tell me what is wrong? You are scaring me o” Lizzy said as she sat on the bed. Jessie smiled faintly and intentionally digressed. “Are you not sleeping yet?” “You look famished so I fixed you something. Come on, get up” Jessie shook her head slowly. “I am not sure I can take anything” “You don’t have to be sure, just try. You would feel better after eating” “I am not sure if I would be better Liz” Jessie blinked severally. Lizzy was touched deeply as she dropped the food, seeing Jessie struggle with threatening tears. “You can cry Jessie, it eases the pain. Come here” she pulled Jessie into her arms and Jessica could not hold back her tears again as she cried her heart out. “I just want to die Lizzy…” she cried. “I want to die… Life is worthless” “Oh sweetie” Lizzy breathed almost moved to tears by Jessica’s pain. It was now that Lizzy wished that Paulina was there. Paulina would have used her motherly attitude to handle this situation. It was obvious to Lizzy that Andy and Sonia were involved in whatever was wrong but she also had a feeling that Jessica had developed feelings for Andy. She knew a woman in love when she saw one.
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