Tue. Feb 13th, 2024

 

-Episode Forty Seven-

 

 

 

Xavier

 

‘Zaria!’ I call gently tucking her hair behind her ear. ‘Zaria!” I try again reaching out to touch her cheek gently. She pursues her lips before she opens her eyes slowly.

 

‘Hey,’ she stretches and smiles fully as her eyes finally open wide.

 

‘What’s the time?’ she asks as I help her sit upright.

 

‘Ten hours,’ I mumble as I stare at her, she is a very beautiful woman, I wonder if she is Zambian.

 

‘Okay.’

 

‘Are you feeling okay? Any dizziness? Headache? Nausea?’

 

‘I feel tired and a little dizzy,’ she responds.

 

‘You will get better in time,’ I say

 

I want to ask her about what happened to her but when I remember her reaction earlier, I decide to keep my mouth shut, she will tell me about it when she sees it fit.

 

‘Should I bring you something to eat?’ I ask

 

‘I think I should take a bath first.’

 

‘Okay,’ I help her up stand, ‘let me show you the bathroom.’

 

We walk into the bath room and fill the bathtub with warm water spiced with floats of highly perfumed aromatherapy bubble bath soap.

 

‘Thank you,’ she says

 

‘You are welcome, ‘I walk out of the bathroom and shut the door behind my back.

 

Zaria

 

I look around the bathroom it’s huge, much larger than the one in our house. The wall is painted the same as the bedroom.

 

I strip out of my clothes and step into the bath tub. The water feels great I soak in it for a long time, thinking about the events of the past few months. Why would Oscar do this to me? Why did I even start this stupid 90 day game in the first place? I should have listened when Yedda asked me to quit.

 

I need to go back home and make things right, I need to start afresh but before I go I will spend some time here-That’s if Xavier allows me too, I just need some fresh air and peace of mind.

 

 

After I finish bathing, i wrap myself in a towel then I walk back into the room. There is a dress and new underwear on the bed, I get dressed wondering where he go these things from.

 

Afterwards I brush my long hair and then secure it into several braids so that it can have a nice wave when I later untie it. I am standing in front of the mirror when I suddenly hear the door open I turn to see who has just entered. It is Xandria and she is walking towards me.

 

‘You look beautiful,’ she says

 

‘Thank you.’

 

‘I love your hair.’

 

I smile, ‘Thanks hun, I love yours too.’

 

‘Breakfast is served,’ she says

 

‘Okay.’

 

‘Come on.’ she grabs my arm and leads me out of the room.

 

When we get to the living room, Xavier is setting the table. He looks up at me, immediately we lock eyes. We look at each other for what seems like forever and in that moment, it feels like we are bound together. It somehow feels connected to him- almost like a part of him.

 

‘Earth to daddy,’ Xandria clicks her fingers in his face and he looks away quickly.

 

I am sure he felt it too.

 

‘Sit down,’ he says to me and I do as I am told.

 

He pours me and Xandria some coffee before filling his cup and sitting down.

 

Xandria then says grace and we start eating.

 

***

 

Xavier

 

I watch her as she eats slowly, I don’t know if she felt what I felt when we locked eyes. A unique kind of warmth shot through me, I haven’t felt like this in forever, who is this woman?

 

‘Dad is Nana coming today?’ Xandria asks startling me from my day dreaming.

 

 

Nana is the woman who has been taking care of Xandria from the time she was three, she is an older woman who is more like a grandma to her.

 

‘No baby, I asked her to take the day off since I won’t be working today.’

 

‘Oh.’

 

‘Yes.’

 

‘So what are we going to be doing?’

 

‘Watching television and reading your books.’

 

‘That’s boring,’ she says before she turns to Zaria, ‘Auntie Zaria can I show you around after breakfast.’

 

I shot her a quizzical look, ‘Auntie Zaria needs to rest baby maybe some other time.’

 

Zaria smiles, ‘Yes you can take me round, a little walk won’t do any harm.’

 

‘I still think you should rest,’ I say

 

‘We are going to be fine,’ she responds

 

I shrug, ‘okay.’

 

Xandria sticks her tongue out at me before she bursts out laughing.

 

****

 

I am exhausted, I feel like I am going to pass out, I have been up and about almost the whole day. After I spent some time in Yedda’s room in the morning I had to go to the police station to answer some questions then back to the hospital because Yedda was been transferred to private hospital

 

I am sitting in Yedda’s ward staring at the wall thinking about all the bad things that could go wrong. I am so worried about the girls I haven’t been able to function properly since last night.

 

I must have dozed off on the chair because I jolt awake when someone calls my name. I rub my aching eyes and face the bed.

 

‘Yedda! You are awake.’

 

‘Mel,’ she says again, her voice is hoarse and slurred.

 

‘You are awake?’ I ask as tears flood my eyes.

 

‘What happened?’ she asks, from the look on her face I can tell she is still in pain.

 

‘Don’t strain yourself, let me call the doctor to come and attend to you.’

 

She gives a short breathy laugh that makes her wince.

 

‘I will be back.’ I say. I fling the door open and rush towards the Doctors office.

 

***

 

‘I am sorry for putting you through this,’ Ezra says after his wife and her men leave.

 

I click my tongue, ‘you should have been more careful and what nonsense where you saying? How can claim to be in love with me?’ I ask

 

‘That’s the truth, I love you.’

 

‘That’s bullshit. You know I am in love with Alex.’

 

‘Alex doesn’t love you and you know it.’

 

‘Stop saying rubbish and help untie me I have stuff to work on.’

 

He struggles with the ropes on his hands and when he finally manages to untie himself, he walks to me and unties me.

 

I breathe a sigh of relief, finally I am free though my whole body aches that woman did a number on me. I must get back at her for this but right now I something more important to attend to.

 

‘I am leaving,’ I say

 

‘Will you manage to drive?’ she asks

 

‘Yes I will.’

 

‘Can we talk?’

 

I shake my head, ‘Not now, there will be plenty of time for that.’

 

With that said, I walk out slamming the door behind my back. I guess I need to go back home and soak in warm salt water before I carry on with my day.

 

***

 

Oscar

 

I am pacing nervously back and forth in the living room, a search for Zaria has been launched and her father is giving a huge sum of money as reward for anyone with information. I just saw the notice on television. I didn’t know her father has so much influence and money. I will dead meat if I am found out.

 

The scariest part is that Zaria’s body has disappeared we went to that place where we dumped her and didn’t find it. Is it possible that she didn’t die?

 

‘You need to f**king calm down, be a man Oscar, be a man my best friend says.’ ‘I am scared.’

 

‘That girl is dead and nothing will link her to you. We cleared off the other man too so you have nothing to worry about.’

 

‘But her body…,’

 

‘It might have been eaten by animals, chill man.’

 

‘Okay.’

 

He hands me a bottle of beer, ‘Take this to calm your nerves.’

 

‘Thank you,’ I respond as I take a large gulp from the bottle.

 

***

 

A gambling Heart

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