Even If I Don’t Find Peace – Episode 22

Hi guys, update on Tarasha not ready yet. It’ll be posted tomorrow if it doesn’t come today.

By Edwin Lamptey

“Maxwell we need to talk, I think I am two months pregnant”, Alberta’s words resonated in the innermost parts of Maxwell’s entire being. He could not believe his ears; his heart missed several beats in that split second when Alberta revealed her current state to him.

“How come?”, a confused Maxwell asked Alberta over the phone. “How did you get pregnant?”. Alberta laughed out loud and responded. “The same way I got pregnant with your son the first time is the same way I got pregnant with this particular one too”, Alberta said. “Didn’t you know that there was a possibility of me getting pregnant when we made love without any form of caution or protection in your house?”

Maxwell’s mind automatically cast itself back in time to reflect on that fateful day.

“You call that lovemaking?”, Maxwell asked, when his mind revealed to him the events of that particular day. “I remember how brief I was”, Maxwell said in his defense. “I also remember asking you if you were in a safe period and you told me there was no way you could get pregnant”, Maxwell continued. “Even when you said that, I still wasn’t convinced so I took a traditional cautionary measure to ensure that I didn’t get any semen inside of you”, Maxwell explained. “And what is more, I wanted to be double sure so I asked you to get a ‘morning after pill’ just to be safe”, Maxwell said. “Alberta, I also remember asking you some time last month or somewhere around the month if you had menstruated and you told me you had, so how come you are claiming to be pregnant all of a sudden?”, Maxwell queried.

“I remember telling you all that but what is the underlying fact here?”, Alberta fought back. “You and I made love!”, Alberta said over the phone. “You should have thought about all these precautions before we made love in the first place”. “I guess we were not lucky in the employment of that traditional cautionary measure as well”, Alberta said.

“I really need to see you and it has to be sooner than later”, Alberta ordered.

“When would you be free?”, Maxwell asked. “I would be free anytime you are willing to come and see me”, Alberta responded.

Linda started walking towards Maxwell’s direction in the most gorgeous way possible. She wanted to find out what was keeping Maxwell from joining in their celebratory dinner. “Let us talk about this when I see you”, Maxwell told Alberta when he saw Linda approaching and hang up the phone on Alberta.

“Man of the hour”, Linda saluted when she was now standing inches away from Maxwell and stretched to place a kiss on his lips. “What is keeping you from joining all of us?”, Linda queried. “You know I get uncomfortable whenever I am not around you during gatherings like this”, Linda revealed.

“You are my handbag and I love you so much and I am happy for you and I am proud of you and I know you are capable of greater things and I know you have such a kind and gentle heart and…”

“Those are so many ‘ands'”, Maxwell teased. “What about my ‘buts’?”, Maxwell asked in a confused manner and almost thought of telling Linda the reason he had been on the phone all that while. “Your ‘buts’ are in the past and even if there were more ‘buts’, I would still love you the same, regardless of the situation”, Linda said and  locked her two arms around Maxwell’s  neck. Maxwell placed his hand around Linda’s waist and said, “I am glad to have you and I would do anything to keep you because you give me a certain feeling of peace that nobody can take away”.

“You are such a darling”, Linda blushed.

The two of them then started making for the restaurant where the rest of them were all gathered. Before Maxwell could open the door, Raphael rushed out and said, “I was just about to fetch you two lovebirds for our toast”. “We thought you had flown away to your love nest to do….” Maxwell instantly cleared his throat to signal for Raphael to stop talking. Maxwell held the door for Linda to walk in and followed her closely; Raphael also followed Maxwell in that order.

In some hours, the celebrations were over and all of them had to go home to prepare for work the next day. Linda went with Maxwell and the others went home separately.

“Maxwell are you alright?”, Linda asked Maxwell when they arrived at his house. “You looked so disoriented at the party and I thought it was strange”, Linda said. “That is the more reason why I wanted us to come home so we could have some alone time together”, Linda revealed. She knelt down in front of Maxwell who was seated on the bed and took his hands inside of hers. “Maxwell, I know you are going through tough times with Alberta, your child, this new and demanding job, managing all the boys and me”, Linda started. “I just want you to keep your head straight and make us all proud”, Linda added.

“I sure will!”, Maxwell assured Linda and helped her up unto her feet and unto the bed. The two of them chatted for a while after Linda had ironed Maxwell’s clothes for the next morning and eventually, Maxwell saw Linda off and came back inside his room to prepare for bed.

“Oh God!” Maxwell exclaimed when he finally lay in his bed. “What have I done again?”, he queried himself. “How could I be so stupid and careless to get Alberta pregnant again?”, Maxwell thought out loud. All of a sudden, he remembered the question Linda asked earlier if he had ever made love to Alberta after the birth of their child and he responded in the negative. “Was Linda unto something when she asked me that question?”, Maxwell asked himself. “How am I going to possibly explain myself to her after I have told her that I have not had sex with Alberta?”, Maxwell continued. He threw many punches into the air and could not believe that if Alberta’s pregnancy was truly his, it was going to mean that he was going to lose Linda and her love forever. “She trusts me but I don’t think any woman in her right senses would want to be with me if all this is true”, Maxwell said and went to bed a dejected young man.

Maxwell was the last person to get to the office the following morning which was very unusual.

“Good morning”, Maxwell greeted and quickly made for his desk to start the day’s activities. The rest of the guys looked on in awe as Maxwell tossed papers about and appeared very disorganized. “This is so unusual of you; first of all, you come in late and now, you are making a mess of your desk”, Rudolph said. “Is anything the matter?”, Rudolph asked.

“I am fine”, Maxwell responded

“Well, if you say so”, Rudolph said. “One of us needs to be at the stakeholder’s meeting”, Raphael cut in looking in Maxwell’s direction to suggest the obvious. “I think I would pass on this one”, Maxwell revealed. “Any one of you can take my place”, Maxwell revealed.

Frank agreed to replaced Maxwell at the stakeholder’s meeting.

At lunch time, Maxwell decided to call Alberta and meet up with her. In exactly forty-five minutes, Alberta and Maxwell were at the agreed location. Maxwell gave Alberta money for her son but added some more money. “Seems you are feeling generous today”, Alberta said with a smirk on her face after she realized that Maxwell had given her way more money than he usually gave her. “The extra cash is for you”, Maxwell revealed. “I want you to use it to take care of that baby”, Maxwell said pointing towards Alberta’s tummy. “You know what I mean”, Maxwell stated emphatically.

“I would do no such thing!”, Alberta revealed. �I have had enough!�, Alberta added.

“Alberta, we are in no position right now to take care of two children”, Maxwell said. “Moreover, our families are in a deadlock concerning our future so I don’t want us to make the situation any murkier than it already is”, Maxwell explained. “Let us keep this just between the two of us and solve it together for the sake of our son, please”, Maxwell pleaded. “I know you are doing all these things because of that new girl I met in your house but I am not worried because her time will surely come”, Alberta revealed. “I would give what you are saying some thought and you would hear from me shortly”, Alberta said and took her leave.

Maxwell returned to the office a bit satisfied and relieved because he knew Alberta’s acceptance of the money without putting up any serious fight meant that his situation was half way solved. He returned to the office and all of a sudden, he had sprung back to life. He marched giddily over to Frank’s table and requested that he handed over to him notes from the stakeholder’s meeting. Maxwell was now more lively throwing jokes about in the room. He managed to get all of the boys laughing by telling them tales of some of the funny moments he encountered while he was a student in the university. The boys had never seen Maxwell so alive and happy after he had revealed the secret about his son to them. For whatever it was worth, the boys were happy for him and they all reveled in the moment because they knew it was going to take a long time before they would experience another moment like that again.

Maxwell had still not heard from Alberta after their meeting but he was sure that his suggestion was going to see the light of day. The next month was Maxwell’s son’s birthday so the whole crew were excited about the big day when Maxwell informed them of it. They all made personal preparations towards the day.

On the said date, Maxwell received many calls and appointments to receive gifts on behalf of his son. Most of the gifts were coming from his childhood friends who were in a bid to outdo each other for the coveted honor of ‘Best Uncle’. Among the callers was Nancy.

“Hello, Nancy”, Maxwell said when he answered Nancy’s call.

“I just saw your profile picture and status on WhatsApp and I believe today is your son’s birthday”, Nancy revealed. “He looks very much like you and I am now convinced that he is really your son because honestly I had my own doubts prior to seeing this picture”, Nancy added. “Anyway, tell him I said happy birthday and I wish him the very best”, Nancy added. “Thank you so much, Nancy”, Maxwell started. “I hope you are doing well because it has been a while since I heard from you”, Maxwell said. “We should hang out sometime”, Maxwell added. “I am doing well and I believe a hang out won’t be bad judging by how much I miss you”, Nancy confessed. “Just pick the time and venue and I would honor the invitation”, Nancy added. “By the way, I hope I am allowed to honor your son by using the picture you have used as my profile picture on WhatsApp too”, Nancy enquired.

“Sure!”, Maxwell responded.

Alberta and Nancy were very good friends until the two of them got emotionally attached to one man; Maxwell. The two ladies had not communicated kindly or in any uncertain friendly terms with each other after their self-styled rivalry because of Maxwell. They had literally become sworn enemies. Even though Alberta and Nancy had each others phone number, they never chatted in an way after their entanglement with the same man. As fate would have it, Alberta was going through the profiles on WhatsApp and chanced upon a familiar face on an unusual profile. Alberta saw her son’s picture being used by Nancy as her profile picture with the caption ‘Happy birthday to our little one, I WISH YOU LONG LIFE AND PROSPERITY’.

All hell was about to break loose.

 “What does Maxwell take me for?”, Alberta screamed. “Why would he send my son’s picture to this lady to use as her profile picture?”, she queried. “Does he want to mock me?”, Alberta asked herself and hit her chest. “I hope he knows what he is doing because he should be ready to face my wrath”, Alberta added. She instantly called Maxwell’s number but there was no response.

Alberta called Maxwell number the second time; still, there was no response.

“I am going to take up this matter before it gets out of hand”, Alberta revealed.

“Nonsense!”, Alberta exclaimed.

Alberta dialed Raphael’s number and he answered immediately. “Hello, Alberta”, Raphael said politely when he answered the phone. “Hello Raphael”, Alberta responded. “Do you happen to know where Maxwell is?”, Alberta enquired. “I have been trying to reach him on countless occasions but I am not getting through to him”, Alberta added. “Maxwell is in a meeting; in fact, we are all in a meeting”, Raphael revealed. “I just came out to pick some files from our office and that was when your call came in”, Raphael added. “I would be glad to pass on any form of message you have for him and I would be sure to remind him to call you back immediately the meeting is over”, Raphael suggested. “Raphael, please tell your friend that I don’t like what he is doing one bit but if he decides to go down the path he is going, tell him to be ready for what is about to happen”, Alberta stated. “Alberta, is everything alright?”, Raphael asked after receiving that strong-worded message to be delivered to Maxwell.
“Everything was alright until your friend decided to mess it up”, Alberta revealed. “What exactly could be the matter on a day your son is celebrating his birthday; a day we are all supposed to be making merry?”, Raphael asked.

“Ask your friend”, Alberta said.

“Okay, I will�, Raphael said. �I have to go now”, Raphael added politely  and asked to take his leave to return to the meeting.

When Raphael got back into the conference room, he whispered something into Maxwell’s ear and sat down.

Alberta decided to face off one more time with Nancy. This time , she decided to send Nancy a text message.

‘You are so shameless’, the message Alberta sent to Nancy read.

Immediately Nancy received the message from Alberta, she also decided to respond in kind.

‘Thank you sweetheart but your words don’t move me anymore’, Nancy’s reply read.

A war of words ensued.

‘Why cant you just stay away from Maxwell for good even when you know I have his son?’, Alberta sent back

‘Stop deceiving yourself to think that Maxwell would marry you’, Nancy’s reply read.

‘I care less’, Alberta sent back

‘I just can’t believe that you still hold on all this hatred inside of you after all these years, I wonder the kind of upbringing Maxwell’s supposed son is getting from you’, Nancy harshly replied.

Alberta’s reply read, ‘It is because the two of us can never be friends anymore’.

‘I am not moved one bit because having you as a friend would be a dent on my reputation’, Nancy replied.

Alberta decided to put the matter to bed and knew the best way to do so. In her next text message which she sent to Nancy, the message read, ‘I don’t expect you to be moved because in all of this I am carrying Maxwell’s second child and I believe it clearly means that Maxwell knew who he wanted to settle with all this while because he just used you and dumped you like the piece of trash you are’

Nancy was taken aback by the revelation as she read Alberta’s text and she knew that Alberta was a lot of things but all she normally said were far from being a lie. Nancy decided to find a way to brush aside Alberta’s claims and re-establish her position so she captured what she wanted to say in her next text and it read, ‘I am going to get Maxwell’s ring so you can keep on carrying the babies because all you would ever be to Maxwell is a baby-carrier. One more thing, this time, I would be at the naming ceremony’

Before Alberta could think of another reply to send to Nancy, her phone rang, it was Maxwell.

“How dare you give my son’s picture to that harlot to use as her profile picture on WhatsApp?”, Alberta queried immediately she answered the phone. “Alberta, your son is my son too and I have a right to celebrate him in any way I deem fit”, Maxwell said. “Moreover, Nancy asked to use our son’s picture and I granted her permission”, Maxwell added. “Should anything happen to my son, I would hold you and your harlot responsible”, Alberta sounded her word of caution. “Do your worst, Alberta, I am sick and tired of all this nagging and acts of this uncalled for jealousy”, Maxwell barked. “This is a day we are supposed to be celebrating our son and not engaging in unnecessary fights”, Maxwell added.

“Is that what you are telling me?”, Alberta asked.

“Fine!”, Alberta said

“Start telling your parents to prepare to welcome their second grandchild because I have changed my mind on terminating this pregnancy”, Alberta started. “Whether you tell them or not is up to you because I would be in your house first thing tomorrow morning to tell your mother that I am carrying your second child”.

“You would do no such thing!”, Maxwell fired back

“Watch me”, Alberta responded and hang up the phone.

Maxwell knew that Alberta did not mince words and also knew that she always  carried out whatever thing she set out to do. He was confused and did not know what to do. He knew he had to confide in someone but that person could not be Linda because he did not want to risk losing her. Maxwell suddenly appeared disoriented when he entered his office. Raphael was the first to notice Maxwell’s fall in countenance. Raphael knew that something was terribly wrong judging by Alberta’s harsh message and Maxwell’s current state but to avoid panicking and drawing the attention of their other friends, he signaled for Maxwell to meet him in the hallway. “Maxwell, what is going on with you?”, Raphael asked…

Back at Nancy’s house, Nancy was going over the war of words that had just ensued between herself and Alberta. “I just cant believe that Maxwell would be so stupid as to get this witch pregnant again”, Nancy thought out loud. “If Alberta is really pregnant, it could mean a lot of things”, Nancy thought to herself. “I can use it as a way of blackmailing Maxwell to get whatever I want from him, after all, no harm, no foul”, Nancy said to herself and laughed out loudly. “No, on second thought, I think I would rather pay Maxwell’s new girlfriend a visit”, Nancy said. “She can come in handy as an ally”, Nancy added. “After all, it is true about what they say about the fact that, ‘The enemy of your enemy is your friend'”, Nancy said and hurriedly started looking for a pair of shoes to wear.

…To be continued


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