“I beg your pardon but can you repeat what you just said?”, Maxwell pleaded.
Immediately Maxwell said that, all the guys in the office turned to look in his direction fearing that something terrible had happened.
When Maxwell realized that he had become the object of attention in the office, he shook his head in a motion to indicate that it was nothing serious.
“I said it is highly plausible that Alberta’s baby is not yours”, Bernice reiterated.
“Please hold on”, Maxwell said politely and stepped out of the office after he had asked to be excused. He rushed to the washroom on the next floor and resumed the call. “What did you say your name was again?”, Maxwell asked. “My name is Bernice a friend of Alberta’s”, Bernice answered.
“Are you sure of what you are saying?”, Maxwell asked.
“I am very sure”, Bernice stated.
“Okay”, Maxwell started. “You have my attention”. “Please tell me more”. I am interested”, Maxwell pleaded and said all at once.
“Okay, I wasn’t supposed to be poking my nose into others affairs so I don’t expect you to judge me on this”, Bernice said to make things clear.
“Point well noted”, Maxwell said just to get Bernice to talk.
“I got a hold of Alberta’s cell phone sometime back and as fate would have it, my curiosity got the better part of me and I decided to go through her messages just to pass the time”, Bernice revealed. “I happened to read the messages that both of you sent back and forth and then I got the impression that you were the father of her child even though she had confided in me on the matter”, Bernice said. “Then again, I saw another chat from one guy, it seemed suspicious to me knowing full well that you were the father of her son”, Bernice continued.
“What was their chat about?”, Maxwell asked.
“It seemed to me that the two of them had been involved sexually and they were recounting their escapades which were in erotic detail”, Bernice said.
Maxwell started to feel jealous.
“Okay, go on”, Maxwell said after he had managed to block his brain from viewing the mental picture it had created of Alberta in the arms of another man knowing full well how Alberta made him feel when they made love.
“So, going down the chat, Alberta sent the guy a message asking him to confirm to her if he remembered the last time both of them made love but the guy could not remember”, Bernice said. “Later that day, I take it that Alberta run a pregnancy test and found out that she was pregnant and confronted the guy with the matter”, Bernice continued. “When Alberta revealed her current state to the guy, he asked her to terminate the pregnancy because he was not ready to become a father and that his ex-girlfriend had started giving him the impression that she wanted them to come back together”, Bernice explained. “Alberta went back and forth with the guy telling him how she loved him and was scared to lose him to the other woman and also made clear her fears of having an abortion”, Bernice summarized. “It was then that Alberta made a joke about framing it to look like you were the one who got her pregnant so that she could dump her children on you and do everything in her power to be with this other guy”, Bernice said.
“When did all of this happen?”, Maxwell cut in.
“I think some months back”, Bernice answered.
“This whole thing makes a lot of sense to me now”, Maxwell said. “I cannot say that I do not believe that Alberta is capable of such schemes but what is her motive this time?”, Maxwell questioned Bernice.
“I wonder what she thinks of you”, Bernice replied. “Later on in the chat, she told the guy that she has managed to coerce you to talk to your parents and knowing how naive you were, she knew you would fall for it”, Bernice added.
“I cannot believe that I have been so stupid all this while”, Maxwell lamented.
“I am even beginning to doubt the paternity of the son she claims to be mine”, Maxwell continued.
“I don’t think that topic should be up for discussion because in all honesty, I think that kid really looks like you”, Bernice said.
“Resembling someone is beside the point!”, an enraged Maxwell fired out.
“I just thought I’d do you some good by telling you this so that you can do your own investigation and find out the truth for yourself”, Bernice said. “Thank you so much for this vital piece of information but can I ask you for a favour?”, Maxwell started.
“What is it?”, Bernice asked.
“I’d like it if you gave me the number of the guy so I could confront him personally”, Maxwell said.
“I don’t think that is so much of a good idea”, Bernice shot back. “All I can tell you and all that I gathered from their chat is that he is a young doctor who works in a private hospital in town”, Bernice revealed. “In case you need any more clarification, you can call me on this number”, Bernice said and bade Maxwell farewell.
Immediately Maxwell ended the call, he rushed back to his office and called Raphael out.
“There has been a new development”, Maxwell said excitedly as he stood with Raphael in their exquisite hallway.
“What is it?”, Raphael asked wanting to know what the new development was all about.
“I think Alberta was framing me with her pregnancy”, Maxwell started.
“Who does that?”, Raphael asked.
“You heard me talk over the phone a while back in there”, Maxwell started as he pointed to the direction of their office.
“Yeah I did”, Raphael answered. “What has that phone call got to do with Alberta’s pregnancy?”, Raphael asked.
“Apparently, I was having a conversation with one of Alberta’s friends and she was telling me about how Alberta was having an affair with a certain young doctor who got her pregnant and as we speak, the doctor is shying away from taking up responsibility for the said child so Alberta decided to pin it on me to make it appear as if I was the one who got her pregnant so that she can dump her kids on me and run off with her doctor lover”, Maxwell explained.
“And you believed this story?”, Raphael asked looking somewhat surprised.
“Yes I do!”, Maxwell responded.
“Why is that?”, Raphael asked.
“First of all, Bernice sounded very convincing and I don’t think I have to doubt her”, Maxwell started. “Again she knew that Alberta had threatened to tell my parents about her pregnancy if I failed to do so”, Maxwell told Raphael. “Now tell me, how did she know that?”, Maxwell asked Raphael looking at him for an answer.
“I think thus is beginning to make some sense”, Raphael chipped in. “I remember Alberta threatened to tell your parents a day after she had asked you to do same right?”, Raphael enquired.
“Exactly!”, Maxwell responded.
“And apparently, she failed to turn up because she knew you would believe her threats and it forced you to tell your parents that you were responsible for another man’s pregnancy and as it stands now, it would be out of this world for you to go back and tell your parents that the same pregnancy you accepted responsibility for was actually another man’s responsibility”, Raphael explained. “This is messed up!”, Raphael blurted out.
“This Alberta is one very good schemer”, Raphael said. “So what do you intend doing about it?”, Raphael asked.
“I am going to do exactly what you are thinking”, Maxwell started. “First of all, I am going to confront Alberta and if possible, force the truth out of her”, Maxwell started. “Then I would inform my parents about the turn of events then if possible, I would try my best possible to win back Linda’s love”, Maxwell said. “Isn’t that a bit too late?”, Raphael asked. “Stop being a pessimist and be positive just for once”, Maxwell fired back. “I am really excited about this news and I believe it has come in as a huge relief for me and I know it is a sign of good things to come”, Maxwell said. “I cannot say I am not happy about this news but I still find it hard to believe”, Raphael said. “”I just want you to be very careful and treat this news very carefully”, Raphael reiterated. “You should be happy for me that I am finally going to break free from the clutches of Alberta for good”, Maxwell said.
“So what will happen to your son if you eventually discover the fact that Alberta’s current pregnancy is not yours?”, Raphael. “That is a very good question but I have not given it so much thought”, Maxwell started. “Isn’t it obvious that I would have to take him away from her?”, Maxwell asked. “I don’t think she would hand him over to you without putting up a fight”, Raphael suggested. “I know that, but as it stands now, if all of this drama happens to be true, she would have little choice than to hand him over to me and I would make sure that I get full custody”, Maxwell explained.
“Like I always say, you have our full support and we wish you all the best in your quest to unravel this mystery”, Raphael said. “Now, let’s get back to work before we lose our jobs”, Raphael added and both of them hurriedly walked back into their office to continue with the day’s activities.
After work that same night, many ideas flooded Maxwell’s mind. He wanted to be meticulous in his actions and wanted to get to the bottom of the matter so as to reach an amicable solution which would seek to favour all the parties involved in the matter. He tossed the matter over and over in his mind and applied different scenarios and approaches to it to see which one would best fit his dilemma. He felt as if his head was about to explode. That night, on his way home, he decided to go by Linda’s house first to inform her about the latest news and use it at an opportunity to warm his way up her heart one more time. When he arrived in the alley leading to Linda’s house, he received a call from his mother to come home quickly and assist her with an errand. Maxwell quickly boycotted his visit to Linda’s place and rushed home to see to his mother’s errand.
When Maxwell got home, his mother was waiting for him in the kitchen. “Good evening”, Maxwell greeted as he chanced upon his mother.
“Good evening”, Maxwell’s mother responded as she turned to face Maxwell. “I want you to go to the pharmacy and get some drugs for your grandmother”, Maxwell’s mother said. “I’d be happy to do that”, Maxwell responded in a gay manner. “You are sounding rather cheerful, is there any reason?”, Maxwell’s mother enquired. “I think I am onto something but I don’t want to jump ahead of myself for now till I get the full details of the matter”, Maxwell answered his mother. “Wow!”, Maxwell’s mother exclaimed. “I am anxious to hear this particular news”, Maxwell’s mother tried to coerce Maxwell to let her in on the matter that had gotten her son to be so giddy. “Has it got anything to do with work or the family”, an anxious Maxwell’s mother asked. “Mom, please I don’t want to jinx this but if you cared to know, it has got something to do with Alberta”, Maxwell revealed
“What about her?”, Maxwell’s mother enquired
“That is what we are all about to find out”, Maxwell answered.
“Okay if you say so”, Maxwell’s mother responded and doled out money from her purse to Maxwell to run the errand she had wanted him to run. Maxwell took the money, rushed to his room, changed his shirt and shot out of the house like a rocket to run his mother’s errand.
Before Maxwell could get to the pharmacy, he chanced upon Linda who was going in the opposite direction.
“Linda, Linda, Linda!”, Maxwell yelled. Linda turned and looked in the direction from which she heard her name being called. When she saw who the ‘caller’ was, she continued her journey, completely ignoring Maxwell’s calls. Maxwell doubled his steps, got close to Linda and stretched forth his hand in an attempt to hold her hand to get her to stop. “Are we enemies now?”, Maxwell enquired.
“We are not enemies but I don’t want us to have any attachment ever again so the best thing to do is to avoid you and fight the urge of missing you even though it gets unbearable at times”, Linda revealed.
“I have been trying to see you all this while but you ignore me whenever I visit and you have refused to answer my calls”, Maxwell complained. “Isn’t that the obvious thing to do?”, Linda asked. “Linda I love you so much and I would do anything to get you back into my life”, Maxwell pleaded. “Ha-ha”, Linda laughed. “Isn’t it a bit too late for all of this?”, Linda enquired. “It is never too late for us please, Linda”, Maxwell pleaded. “Just hear me out”, Maxwell started. “What is it again this time?”, Linda asked.
“The baby that Alberta is carrying is not mine!”, Maxwell announced looking into the eyes of Linda and expecting an excited reaction.
Linda, looking very indifferent at the new turn of events responded, “I am happy for you”.
“Is that all you are going to say?”, Maxwell queried.
“What else would you have me say?”, Linda asked back.
“I thought you were going to ask me to tell you how I found out”, Maxwell, who was looking very disappointed by Linda’s reaction asked. “You still don’t get it do you?”, Linda started. “What are you talking about?”, Maxwell asked. “I don’t and never have a problem if Alberta was carrying your fourth, fifth or even tenth child”, Linda started. “So what is your problem?”, a confused Maxwell asked. “My only problem is that you slept with Alberta while you still with me and what makes it worse is that you could not open up to me when I asked you about it”, Linda revealed. “You actually lied about it when I asked you”, Linda continued. “That lie has shattered into pieces any form of trust I had in you and in us”, Linda explained. “But Linda…”, Maxwell started.
“Maxwell please spare me all the misery”, Linda cut in. “I am happy for you that you are not responsible for Alberta’s pregnancy but honestly, I don’t see myself getting back with you”, Linda revealed. “I think you should fight your own battle”, Linda added. “Once again, I wish you luck in life and goodbye”, Linda said and turned to walk away. Maxwell could not believe what was happening. He stood there dumb-founded as he watched Linda walk away from him. Maxwell turned, disappointed and walked back into the pharmacy to purchase his grandmother’s drugs.
On his way back home, Maxwell pulled out his phone and called Alberta. “Where are you?”, Maxwell asked the second he saw that Alberta had answered the call. “I am at home”, Alberta answered. “Is anything the matter?”, Alberta asked. “You sound very much irritated”, Alberta said.
“We need to talk!”, Maxwell said in a commanding voice. “Stop shouting at me!”, Alberta barked back.
“When do you want to see me?”, Alberta asked. “Tonight”, Maxwell replied. “Tonight would not be possible”, Alberta responded. “Maxwell doubled his steps, got home delivered the medicine and shot out of the house like a stray bullet ignoring the calls from his mother asking him to at least have his supper first.
Maxwell was on his way to Alberta’s house…
Maxwell was filled with rage and derision as he made his way past the house before Alberta’s house.
Maxwell knocked at the door and barged in to see Alberta half-naked lying in her couch.
“I thought I told you I cannot see you tonight”, Alberta said as she hurriedly grabbed her shirt from the floor to cover up her nakedness. Maxwell looked on; startled by Alberta’s behaviour. “Now that you are here, say whatever you need to say and you can be on your way”, Alberta ordered. “This is no laughing matter and I need you to give me the exact answers to the questions I am going to ask you”, Maxwell started. “Just ask whatever you want”, Alberta shot back.
“Who is the father of the child that you are carrying?”, Maxwell asked.
“I beg your pardon?”, Alberta shot back.
“Yes!”, “You heard me right”, Maxwell reiterated.
“I don’t think this topic should be up for discussion”, Alberta started. “Both of us know who the father of this baby is”, Alberta continued. “I have enough reason and evidence to doubt that I am the father of this child”, Maxwell said. “Maxwell, I don’t want to argue over this with you and I think it an insult for you to come over here and talk to me in this manner because both of us know full well that…”, there was a knock on the door and it disrupted Alberta’s speech.
“Are you expecting someone?”, Maxwell asked a startled Alberta.
Maxwell started to make his way to the door to see who was there. As he moved, Alberta moved in to prevent him from getting to the door.
There was a struggle.
Alberta managed to hold on tight to Maxwell’s shirt to prevent him from answering the door. “This is my house and I am the one to decide who answers the door”, Alberta said as she struggled to hold Maxwell back. In the midst of the struggle, Maxwell slipped on the woollen carpet which had been placed over the slippery ceramic-tiled floor in Alberta’s hall and hit his head on the edge of the couch in front of him and immediately passed out.
“Maxwell, Maxwell, Maxwell!”, Alberta called out as she shook the motionless body of Maxwell that had fallen to the floor. Alberta quickly run to answer the door. Immediately she flung the door open, she screamed, “Please help me!”, “I think I have killed Maxwell!”…
…To be continued