…“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!”, Alberta’s words echoed in the ears of the young man who was standing behind the door.
“What are you talking about?”, the surprised young man asked.
“My son’s father is lying down motionless in my room and I can’t confirm whether he is dead or alive”, Alberta said frantically as she tried hard to catch her breath.
“What happened?”, the young man asked.
“He came in here and started a form of confrontation with me about an issue so when you knocked at the door, we engaged in a scramble and he accidentally slipped and fell, hitting his head against the sofa”, a confused Alberta explained.
“Please come in and help me!”, Alberta pleaded.
Alberta dragged the young man by the arm and led him into the hall where Maxwell lay, motionless. The young man was getting uncomfortable and in that moment, the least thing he expected to witness was any form of altercation or trouble.
“I don’t think I should be here now”, the now timid young man said as he tried to retreat. Before he could think of stepping outside, Alberta grabbed him by his collar and pulled him towards her. “This is not a joke”, Alberta said with intent in her now red eyes. She held the young man so firmly that he began to choke. “What is wrong with you?”, the young man said as he fought off her clutch. “I just told you that Maxwell is lying motionless in my room and I need your help”, Alberta reiterated.
“The thing is, I don’t want to be a part of all of the mess that you have gotten yourself in right now”, the young man said.
Alberta pulled the young man well into the room and shut the door. “As it stands now, we are in this together and to make matters worse, I am carrying your child”, Alberta said. “Do you know how that would play out in all of this?”, Alberta asked as she pointed in the direction of her room.
“What are you talking about?”, the young man asked.
Alberta kept quiet for a while and stared at the young man.
“What are you insinuating, Alberta?”, the young man asked.
“Now, in the worst case scenario, it would be a situation where I am carrying your child, you came to see me with my first child’s father and out of jealousy, you decided to attack him and in your rage, you killed him”, Alberta revealed.
“What the hell is wrong with you?”, the young doctor asked.
“Now, you are free to leave”, Alberta started. “Or you can go inside with me and help me out, the choice is yours”, Alberta added. “But bear in mind that if you decide to leave, I would not hold you back, I have many alibis to back the point that you were here because I believe many people saw you coming in here”, Alberta suggested.
“So you see, the odds are in my favour as it stands”, Alberta said.
“I can’t believe this”, the young man said.
“But you know I would do no such thing if you decide to help me”, Alberta said as she warmed her way up the young man who had grown increasingly disturbed. “You know why?”, Alberta asked. Without pausing to get a response, Alberta answered her own question. “It is because I love you so much and I am carrying your child, our child”, Alberta explained.
With this, the young man, like an innocent sheep being led to the slaughter house, followed Alberta into her room albeit out of his will.
“What have you done, Alberta?”, the young man exclaimed as he saw Maxwell’s body on the floor immediately he entered the living room. “Please help me out!”, Alberta begged as sweat and tears married each other on her face.
The young man carefully approached Maxwell’s motionless body which was lying face down, and tried to aggressively turn him over to his side with his foot.
“What are you doing?”, a now surprised Alberta asked.
“What does it look like I am doing?”, the young man asked sarcastically. “I am trying to ascertain whether he is dead or alive before I do any other thing”, the young man added.
When Maxwell was finally laying face up after being shoved over by the young man, the young man pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and used it as a makeshift glove over his hand to be able to check to feel if Maxwell still had a pulse. As he stretched forth his hand, he shook and trembled. Alberta stood over him trying to wipe away the tears and sweat from her face with her palm.
“I can’t feel anything”, the young man exclaimed as he pressed his hand firmly against Maxwell’s neck and simultaneously turned and looked into Alberta’s face.
The young man took out his phone, unlocked it and placed it on the floor next to him.
“What does that mean?”, Alberta asked as she backed away slowly, cupping her mouth with her left hand after her statement.
“I don’t know yet and I don’t want to speculate”, the young man answered. “What did you say happened again?”, the young man interrogated Alberta.
“He slipped and fell”, Alberta answered meekly.
“Just that?”, the young man threw the statement back at Alberta almost immediately. “Did you push him really hard?”, the young man asked.
“No!”, Alberta said.
“So the two of you were struggling with each other and he slipped and fell?”, the young man asked.
“Yes”, Alberta replied.
“Why are you asking me all these questions instead of helping me?”, Alberta asked angrily.
“You would have to answer these same questions when the worst happens and in the instance where we have to call in the police”, the young man replied.
“The police, why?” “Is he dead?”, Alberta asked all at once as she backed away further and pinned herself to the wall as she run her fingers through her golden brown hair in aggressive back and forth movements.
“I am yet to confirm that”, the young man said.
His statement sent shivers down Alberta’s spine.
“He cannot just die like that, can he?”, a confused Alberta enquired.
“It would depend on the impact of the fall and which part of his body suffered the damage”, the young man replied. “As it stands now, if it were a minor fall, he should have gained consciousness by now since I have been here for almost fifteen minutes already”, the young man explained pointing in Maxwell’s direction and looking at his Rolex watch.
“What do we do now?”, Alberta asked.
“We?”, the young man asked. “There is no ‘we’, here”, the young man started, pointing to himself and then pointing to Alberta. “I am not an accomplice in this”, the young and now frightened man said. “Right now, I am going to try my best possible to ascertain whether this guy can live”, he said. “As for you, just stay put and pray to your God asking him to revive this man here because if it turns out that he cannot live, you would have a whole lot of questions to answer”, the young man added.
Immediately he made his point clear, he started to work on Maxwell in a desperate attempt to revive him but was very careful not to leave any fingerprints on him which would implicate him as an accomplice.
As he reached to stretch out Maxwell’s arm, Maxwell’s phone rang. The young man, startled, reached for the phone from Maxwell’s pocket and handed it over to Alberta, “Take care of this”, he said as Alberta tried to find out who the caller was.
“It is Raphael, one of his friends”, Alberta told the young man as she saw Raphael’s name displayed on the phone’s screen.
“Does anyone know he was coming over here to see you?”, the young man asked.
“How am I supposed to know that?”, Alberta asked rhetorically.
Maxwell’s phone rang again. It was Raphael again.
“Turn that phone off or something; it is distracting me and please turn on the fan, it is getting hot in here”, the young man said.
There was yet another call after some minutes and this time, it was from Maxwell’s mother.
Alberta’s heart missed a beat.
She knew it was probable that Raphael had called Maxwell’s mother to find out if Maxwell was at home since he was not answering his phone.
Alberta immediately changed the phone’s profile to ‘silent’ because she knew Maxwell’s phone was not going to stop ringing because of the calls that were going to follow in regards to Maxwell’s refusal to answer the phone especially when his mother was the one calling.
There were seven missed calls on Maxwell’s phone in five minutes; most of the calls came from his mother.
“There is something I need to tell you”, Alberta said out of the confusion which took the young man by surprise.
“What is it?”, the alarmed young man asked as he quickly backed away from Maxwell’s motionless body.
“Has it got anything to do with Maxwell’s current state?”, the young man asked.
“In some way, yes”, Alberta answered.
“What?”, the young man exclaimed. “Did you try to murder Maxwell?”, the young man asked.
“No way!”, Alberta exclaimed in her defence.
“Actually…part of the reason he is here is that, he found out something”, Alberta started.
“What did he find out?”, the young man asked, leading Alberta on.
“I actually told him that the baby I am carrying; your baby is his”, Alberta started.
“You did what?”, the young man asked almost fuming and walked up to Alberta.
“I am sorry”, Alberta begged as she backed up.
“Sorry you say?”. “What were you thinking?”. “Did I tell you I was incapable of taking care of you or the baby?”. “Why would you give one man’s responsibility to another man; an innocent man for that matter?”, the young man enquired.
“I was afraid”, Alberta started.
“I was afraid you were going to leave me since you started avoiding me when you told me your ex-girlfriend wanted a comeback”, Alberta started. “You refused to pick my calls, you refused to return my calls and what is worse, I was not allowed to see you at your work place”, Alberta revealed. “What did you expect me to do”?, Alberta asked. “I was desperate and I needed to find a solution to this problem”, Alberta added.
“I didn’t expect you to read meaning into my actions”, the young man started. “I was actually doing all of it for a reason and I expected you to stay put and not worry your head over any of the issues I was involved in”, the young man said in his defence.
“How was I supposed to know that you had everything all planned?, Alberta started.
“I needed an alternative and since I didn’t intend terminating this pregnancy, I knew the best way to cover this whole thing up was to pin it on Maxwell because we have a child together and having a second one with him was not going to raise any suspicions”, Alberta confessed.
“Wow!”, the young man exclaimed. “I can’t even bring myself to terms to fathom the extent to which you can go”, the young man started as he began to pace up and down the living room.
“Get me a pillow”, the young man ordered.
“What are you going to do with that?”, an alarmed Alberta enquired.
“Jesus Christ!”, the young man exclaimed. “I am not that kind of doctor so if you want us to save this man’s life, you better do as I say”, the young doctor said. “Now, go and get me the pillow!”, the doctor ordered.
Alberta went into the inner room to find her son still soundly asleep and picked one pillow from the bed before tiptoeing out of the room and closing the door gently behind her. The young doctor took the pillow from Alberta and carefully adjusted Maxwell’s head on top of it to give his neck some support.
“The pillow would give his head some support”, the young doctor said.
“What next?”, Alberta asked.
The doctor bent over Maxwell and before long, Maxwell started to come around.
“Who are you?”, Maxwell let out when he finally opened his eyes. “My name is Abraham and I am a doctor”, the young man revealed his identity. He then gave Maxwell a hand to be able to get up unto his feet. “I came in to see you lying here unconscious after you had slipped and fallen and I helped to revive you”, Abraham said.
“One more thing, just so we are clear, I am responsible for the baby Alberta is carrying”, the young doctor revealed. Maxwell touched his thighs in an effort to check if his phone or other personal effects had been taken from his possession.
“Where is my cell phone?”, Maxwell asked. Alberta handed the cell phone to Abraham who in turn handed it over to Maxwell. As Maxwell took the phone, he looked at the number of missed calls on it and called his mother first.
He informed her that he was sorry his action scared her but he was going to explain everything to her once he got home.
Alberta stood there with tears running down her cheeks as Abraham helped Maxwell to get back unto his feet. “I am so sorry, Maxwell”, Abraham started.
“I didn’t mean for all of this to happen, I swear”, Alberta said, trying to keep her distance from Maxwell for fear of being attacked.
“I lost Nancy because of you”, Maxwell started
“I have lost Linda because of you”, Maxwell added.
“I have lost a better part of my life all in an effort to love you but look at how you pay me back”, Maxwell lamented. “This is the last time I am ever going to give you or anyone else the chance to treat me in a way I don’t deserve”, Maxwell said.
“I just cannot believe that you would be so heartless to think of such a thing”, Maxwell said. “If it hadn’t been for the intervention of many good Samaritans, I would either have been living a lie by believing I was the father of I child I had actually not fathered or worse, I would have been dead by now because of you”, Maxwell said pointing to Alberta with scorn in his voice.
“What ever did I do to you to deserve this treatment?”, Maxwell asked.
“I couldn’t stand the thought of losing any of you”, Alberta started, referring to Maxwell and Abraham. “At least I also deserve some form of happiness”, Alberta explained.
“At the expense of another man’s bondage?”, Abraham asked.
“Now listen to me very carefully Alberta, this is the last time I am going to talk about our relationship”, Maxwell started. “We are never ever going to come back together so the earlier you get that into your head, the better for all of us”, Maxwell explained.
“Secondly, I am going to take you on regarding this matter and I would go wherever you want us to go for the custody of our son because you are the worst kind of parent and role model for him”, Maxwell revealed.
“You are not going to have my son!”, Alberta exclaimed.
“Oh, with this murderous intention of yours?”, Maxwell asked sarcastically. “Any judge would throw this case out the minute I bring what just happened here to light”, Maxwell added. “You are also indecisive and irresponsible”, Maxwell said.
“I take exception to that!”, the doctor interrupted trying to save Alberta some dignity.
“You would not want to see the other side of me because if you think Alberta is crazy, wait till you see what I can also do”, Maxwell shot back at the doctor and silenced him.
“I think I have to take my leave now”, the doctor said.
“You would do no such thing!”, both Maxwell and Alberta yelled in unison. With that, the young doctor timidly looked for a spot, picked his cell phone from the ground and sat down as Maxwell and Alberta faced off.
“Like I was saying, I would do everything in power to get my son out of your life and the day that event materializes, which it would, that would be the last time you would ever get to be close to him or see him because I would never want him to pick up any of your traits”, Maxwell said.
“No sensible judge would grant you that request!”, Alberta exclaimed.
“My dear, why don’t we leave that for a competent court and judge to decide that?”, Maxwell said.
“I don’t think this is a battle you’d want both of us engaged in”, Alberta said as she started to get back some of her confidence.
“Oh really?”, Maxwell asked sarcastically and let out a laugh. “After all that has happened here today, this case would be like a walk in the park for my lawyers”, Maxwell assured.
“Now, you!”, Maxwell said as he turned to face Abraham who had been quiet all the while and sitting down quietly.
“Maxwell stretched out his hand to extend a handshake to Abraham. “Thank you for arriving here and for saving my life and thank you for clearing my name in this whole frenzy by owning up and accepting responsibility for your actions”, Maxwell added. “I don’t envy you at all”, Maxwell said sarcastically. “I wish you luck with Alberta and goodbye”, Maxwell added and pointed to Alberta with his left hand as he approached the door.
“I am going to take my leave now but trust me, you would soon hear from my lawyers”, Maxwell threatened and exited Alberta’s room and headed homewards.
“Before you leave, I also have something to say”, the young doctor said. “I also have for myself, some form of insurance policy”, the young doctor started. “I voice recorded a better part of all that ensued here and as I sat down, I also got video evidence of the two of you”, the doctor revealed. “If any of you think you can sell me out, you better reconsider it because I have it here in voice and film”, the doctor said as he played back a snippet of the video he had just recorded. “And yes, I have sent copies of it to a trusted friend in case this thing goes further than expected”, Abraham revealed.
“Bravo!”, Maxwell said. “I have no intentions of selling you out because I have my own strong points to use in court”, Maxwell said. “The person you should be worried about is the young lady standing over there”, Maxwell said, pointing to Alberta.
“Why are you pointing at me?”, Alberta asked
“Because we know what you are capable of”, Maxwell replied. “I am out”, Maxwell said and exited the room.
On his way home, Maxwell called Raphael and told him about all that had ensued.
Maxwell did this to also get his own alibi should matters get out of hand.
Raphael suggested reporting the issue to the police but Maxwell turned down the suggestion and opted to take other legal means of getting full custody of his son.
“At least I am happy that for once, you have cleared your name and taken a bold decision to confront Alberta once and for all”, Raphael said. “I also hope that the actions you intend to take in the coming days would yield favourable results”, Raphael added.
“I am feeling very weak and I don’t think I can make it to the office tomorrow”, Maxwell said. “Can you hold the fort for me in my absence?”, Maxwell asked.
“That is the least I can do for you, brother”, Raphael said. “I know you are going to be a great single dad should the legal action go in your favour”, Raphael added and both of them laughed.
“I wish you luck”, Raphael added.
“Luck is for losers”, Maxwell responded and hang up the phone.
When Maxwell got home, both of his parents were eagerly waiting for him in the hall. He explained to them all that had ever happened between himself and Alberta up until the incident that had ensued, this time, he left no information out.
In the days that followed, many actions were taken. First of all, Maxwell’s father suggested a for a DNA test to be carried out to ascertain the true father of Alberta’s first child considering the situation she almost put Maxwell through. “The paternity of the boy would determine whether we can take legal action or not, that is in the case where it turns out that you are the true father of that child, if not, there would be no need taking legal action for the custody of another man’s son”, Maxwell’s lawyer said in one of their counselling sessions. A court order was secured in that regard and Alberta had no choice but to succumb to the law
The test was results were to be given in a week.
To the disappointment of many, including Maxwell’s mother and sister and to the joy of Maxwell, his father and their lawyers, the DNA test returned positive, making Maxwell the biological father of Alberta’s first son.
A legal battle for the custody of the little boy then began.
The legal battle went on for months. It was a ferocious tussle. In the end, Maxwell won full possession of his son but there were some clauses in the court’s ruling that allowed Alberta some rights too.
Linda attended most of the court hearings and assured Maxwell of her solidarity.
When the case was finally over, Linda wished Maxwell all the best and made her point of moving on with her life without Maxwell clear to him. Linda eventually moved out of the neighbourhood after securing a new job on the other side of town. She always kept contact with Maxwell and made him aware that she was never going to love any other man the same way she loved him.
Nancy tried the best she could to be good to Maxwell’s son by visiting them and showering him with gifts all in an effort to warm her way up his father’s heart but Maxwell remained indifferent. Nancy eventually gave up when she realized her plans were not yielding any results. The last Maxwell heard from her was when she sent him an invitation to her graduation from the university as a mature student but Maxwell could not honour the invitation.
Maxwell and his friends worked tirelessly and soon, they were on the floor reserved for the very best of Pardieson Global staff.
Maxwell and his friends did the best they could to support other members of the community to reach higher heights.
Maxwell tried the best he could to be a good father to his son and allowed him to occasionally talk to Alberta over the phone.
Alberta gave birth to a lovely little boy and Maxwell and his son attended the outdooring ceremony of Maxwell’s son’s step brother. Alberta got married to Abraham after many months of a stand-off between the families of Abraham and Alberta.
Both Maxwell and his son loved pizza so they always went out mostly on Saturdays when Maxwell was off from work and his son was off from school. On one of such outings, Maxwell and his son had to share a table with a young lady because the restaurant was almost filled to capacity.
“Is that your nephew?”, the young lady asked.
“No, that’s my son”, Maxwell answered.
“I am a single dad”, Maxwell added.
“Wow, that must be hard work”, the young lady said.
“I am getting the hang of it”, Maxwell replied.
Maxwell’s son pushed his chair and sat right next to the young lady.
“So does he get to see his mother?”, not really but they get to speak on phone more often than not”, Maxwell answered. “Orders from the court”, Maxwell added.
“Oh, I see”, the young lady said.
“I think your son looks very much like you”, the young lady said. “Oh sorry, my name is Gertrude but you can call me Getty”, the young lady said. “I was just called to the bar as a lawyer”
“Getty, I think my son is going to love you”, Maxwell said and the two of them laughed…
THANKS TO EDWIN LAMPTEY FOR SHARING THIS STORY WITH US.
Readers, kindly drop your comments and appreciation to the writer.