Mr Williams paced the hospital reception as he called Sonia.
“What is the meaning of this?” He said immediately she picked.
“I just got an alert of seven million naira and when I confirmed it, I was told that you had deposited it. What game are you playing?”
“I am not playing any game sir. I regret what I did sir, I am sorry” her voice made it obvious that she had been crying. “I can’t accept the money anymore. It is wrong. I promise to get the remaining three million and pay you back. Please forgive me sir”.
She hung up and Mr Williams just stared at his phone in bewilderment.
Andy stroked Jessica’s hair and gazed at her beautiful face.
No! She can’t leave him now. He did not know how long he spent in the room, just looking at her but he knew that no one would be able to take him away from her.
A nurse entered the room after some time and asked him to leave but he refused completely and when she insisted, he glared at her sternly until she recoiled and left.
Lizzy, Paulina, Tunji, his father and some other well wishers came into the room one after the other but Andy did not leave the room.
It was already running to the middle of the night. Another nurse came in again and asked him to leave but he refused, promising not to disturb Jessica at all…
Andy stood and kissed Jessica’s forehead without disturbing the oxygen attached to her nose.
He sat down and started talking again, softly and soothingly, telling her about his childhood.
He told her of the ambition he had as a kid to become a footballer. He had watched every time Kanu played and scored goals and had picked him as his role model. He played for his school but was chosen to be one of the defenders but he did not like it.
Because of his quest to score goals like Kanu, he always left his place and went to the opponents’ side in order to score goals but most times, they always ended up conceding goals because of his absence at his position.
The day he had scored a goal, he had rejoiced so much that he had gone to bed without food because of how happy he was. He told Jessica of the picture of Kanu that he had pasted on the headboard of his bed so that he could look at it every morning and tell himself that he would one day be like Kanu. He laughed at the memory and almost fainted when he stared at Jessica’s face and saw a smile playing on her lips.
He blinked several times. Was he sleeping or hallucinating?
He blinked again but it did not wipe off the smile on Jessica’s face. She hadn’t been smiling when he came in minutes ago; or was it hours?
“Jess… Jessica” He called frantically but got no response.
Her hand which was still in his, was still warm.
Nothing had changed except the facial expression on her face.
He pressed the button by the bed hurriedly and waited impatiently for the doctor.
Jessica stood looking in all directions. She saw no houses or things, she was the only visible thing and she stood on a ground that looked like glass. The place was too bright for her eyes and she had to use her hand to shield her eyes from the blinding light.
“Sweetheart” she heard and turned around sharply. She would know that voice anywhere even though she hadn’t heard it in a very long time. her breath caught in her throat as she stared at her mother, looking exactly the way she remembered her.
“Mum” she gasped and her mother smiled.
“Come Jessie”. Jessica loved the sound of her mother’s voice. She had wanted to hear that voice for a long time.
Her head turned and she saw her dad standing not so far away from her mother. she gasped again and felt the incredible urge to run to him and hug him. Her dad had always been very proper and formal. He was the only one that called her name in full.
Suddenly her mum and dad and her brother were standing together and beckoning.
She smiled. Her complete family.
“Jessica baby, come to daddy” Her dad said. This is what she wanted, right? Her family! She smiled and started walking towards them. They smiled back and she walked faster but the faster she walked, the farther they became.
She hastened her steps then stopped abruptly.
She could hear him, the voice was echoing in her soul. She could hear the pain. The pain was so evident in his voice and terrifying that her heart bled with compassion. She could not move forward anymore, not even if her life depended on it. Her family stood and watched her. Waiting? She could not tell. But that voice… she could not ignore that voice.
How could she ignore the voice of the one that owned her heart? He was talking but she could not decipher what he was talking about. She could not make out the words. She walked backwards, wanting to hear him.
The voice was becoming a bit clearer and she knew if she could move backwards the more, she would be able to make out the words. She turned fully and walked faster. What he was talking about sounded very interesting and she wanted to hear it. She could make out the words now…
He was talking about football. He wanted to be a player? He never told her that! How come Kanu had been his idol? She mused. Of all the players, Kanu? He laughed and she smiled, loving the sound of his laughter even though he sounded pained.
She needed to ask him why he was in so much pain.
What had happened? Was his business at stake? Why was he not a footballer? He did not seem like someone to pursue a football round the field but she still wanted to know. She turned back and stared at her family but they were so tiny afar off.
They looked like ants. One after the other, they vanished and she swallowed. She had learnt to live without her family but she still could not think of life without Andy.
She turned. Andy was calling her. She could distinctively hear him call her name.
She wanted to answer but could not. He sounded desperate. She needed to go to him. But where is he?
“She smiled” Andy murmured immediately the door opened and Doctor Bright entered. He removed his stethoscope and checked her heartbeat, noticing that it was already steady.
He did some other doctorate rituals and smiled with vague surprise.
“Wooow. I did not expect this level of improvement so soon.
She is stable now and if all goes well, I think she would be alright.”
Andy had never been more relieved in his life. A great amount of tension raised from his shoulders and he felt a bit alive again.
After some minutes, the doctor turned to leave and Andy turned to look at Jessica and froze when her hands moved. His breath seemed to be suspended when all of a sudden, her head moved and her eyes opened slowly.
“Jessica… ”Andy breathed shakily as he moved to Jessica more closely.
“Jess, sweetheart, Oh my God” He chokes on his words as he traces Jessica’s face shakily. “Doctor” He called sharply but the doctor was already at the bed, removing the oxygen from Jessica’s nose.
Jessica’s face registered her confusion as she stared at the sparkling white surroundings she was in. Her focus was however fixed on Andy.
She had never seen him look so terrified and worried; she had also glimpsed tears in his eyes. What was the matter? And why was she feeling pains all over her body? She could not move anything, in fact, she felt glued to the bed. How long had she been there? One look at the man that loomed over her next told her that she was in a hospital; she turned her head and looked around, seeing various gadgets for the first time.
“Be calm Mrs. Williams. My name is Doctor Bright. Can you hear me?”
Jessica swallowed, feeling thirsty because her throat was incredibly dry and bitter.
“How are you feeling?” The doctor asked as he checked her pulse and looked at his watch.
She tried to open her mouth and was happy that it responded. “Tired”
She croaked. “Weak” she corrected. “I can’t move my arms; they are heavy and feel like they are tied down”.
The doctor nodded and smiled gently. “That is to be expected. You need to rest now so that you can get your strength back”
She did not like the sound of that. She had sedated a lot of people while she was still working as a doctor but she had never been sedated but the thought of sleeping unnaturally did not sound appealing to her. She just wanted to talk with Andy. Andy came to her immediately the doctor finished asking questions.
He looked very tired. Taking a proper look at him, Jessica swallowed. His shirt was slightly open at the neckline. His tie was hanging loosely and awkwardly at an equally awkward angle. Andy’s worry was so evident on his face, couples with a measured level of relief.
Andy brushed strands of hair out of Jessica’s face and gazed straight into her eyes. “You sleep now, Ok” It was both a request and a command but Andy’s eyes were tender.
The accident came slowly to her mind and she recalled how that car had appeared out of nowhere and collided forcefully with her. She grimaced, thinking of how worried Andy must have been. “How long have I been on this bed?” she asked, already feeling drowsy.
“A couple of hours” Andy said quietly, happy to answer all her questions. He was not about to admit that she had spent so many hours on the bed that he had been afraid that she might not wake up.
Jessica swallowed. “I feel like I have been on this bed for more than a year”, Jessica breathed almost inaudibly as she gave in to the drugs.
“Do I have to sleep again?”
Andy smiled. “I don’t think you have a choice honey” Jessica’s eyes were already shot. He bent his head and kissed her forehead. “Sleep, my love” he breathed. “Sleep”.
Andy stared at Jessica minutes after she slept, stroking her hair. He looked at the doctor who was just finishing what he had been doing.
“How is my wife doctor? Is she completely out of danger?”
Doctor Bright smiled. “I believe so sir, with enough rest, she would be fine. She still has to stay here for a few days so that we can monitor her wounds and ensure that the wounds heal properly.”
Andy sighed, greatly relieved, and then frowned. “She complained of her inability to move, I hope…”
“There is no problem sir; all her organs are functioning properly. With enough rest, she would be fine. You have nothing to worry about”.
Andy sighed. His relief was immeasurable.
“Why don’t you take some rest sir, it is almost morning and you have not slept at all” Doctor Bright said with concern.
Andy was stunned and looked at his wristwatch. It was some minutes past five! He never knew! Sleep hadn’t occurred to him once, all he knew was that he had to watch Jessica so that nothing would go unnoticed. “I am fine doctor, and please, call me Andy or Williams”
“If you don’t want to sleep, why don’t you just take a walk? I am sure your family wants to know what is happening”
Andy had to admit that the doctor had a point. He looked at Jessica who was sleeping soundly.
“I’ll be back baby” He squeezed her hand and slowly walked out with the doctor following closely behind.
Andy returned to Jessica’s room feeling happy. The joy of everyone had been so palpable and it had rubbed off on him, taking away the remnants of fear left in him. On entering the room, he noticed that Jessica was not there. He had instant headache as he looked round the room. He rushed out of the room and looked at the door to be sure he had entered the right room but it was the correct one. He entered again but did not see Jessica.
“Doctor” He roared and some nurses who were obviously attending to patients came out of some rooms and stared at him in confusion.
“Sir, please, some patients are-”
“Where is my wife” He roared. “I left my wife here some minutes ago and now, she is not there”. Andy felt shaken to the roots.
Andy turned when he heard the doctor’s voice. “What have you done to my wife? You asked me to go for a walk. I did not want to leave her for a second but now that I have… if anything happens to Jessica”
“Calm down sir, your wife is fine. We only moved her to another room where she can be more comfortable. I went to the waiting room to inform you but you had already left for this place.
I am sorry if we scared you in any way”
Andy swallowed, trying to control his skipping heart. “I need to see her right now”
Doctor Bright nodded. “Please, come with me sir”
Andy heaved a huge sigh of relief as he entered the room and saw Jessica. He quickly went to the bedside and checked her breathing.
He sighed again and sat down, noticing that the room was definitely cozier than the former, with less machines hanging around.
“I am sorry for the inconvenience sir” Doctor Bright said.
Andy looked up. “I am sorry I shouted doctor, this room is definitely much better”
The doctor smiled and left. Andy could not sleep again even though he had been drowsy.
He opened his eyes and watched Jessica, not wanting her to vanish but after some
time, the fatigue and tension he had
been through set in and he felt bone tire
He could not keep his eyes open any longer, so he put his head on the bed beside Jessica and dozed off.
Jessica woke up almost an hour later, feeling better than she had felt the other time she opened her eyes.
The room looked different and smelt better than the she remembered; also looked bigger. Or was her calculation correct the previous time? The room still smelt like hospital though. She turned her head and saw Andy sleeping with his head beside her.
He looked so handsome but on his forehead, she could
see some worry lines. She wanted him to sleep because she had a feeling that he really needed it. She raised her hand, happy that it was responding now, even though it hurt slightly.
She placed her palm slightly on Andy’s head gently, not wanting to wake him. She played with his hair, stroking him slightly.
Andy sighed sleepily and his shoulders seemed to relax. Jessica smiled and stroked his hair, loving the feel of the tiny strands. Andy’s eyes opened gently and Jessica wished she hadn’t touched him. He smiled lazily, drawing a smile from her.
“Hey beautiful” He murmured, capturing her hand and kissing her knuckles. He raised his head to look at her. “How are you feeling sweetheart”
She tried to speak and could not until she cleared her throat. “I am better” she reassured him, smiling, then frowned. “But I need to sit down”
He frowned. “Don’t move” he warned and pressed the button beside the bed. “I need to be sure that it is Ok for you to do so. Wait for the doctor”
Her frown deepened. “It is not as worse as that Andy, I am fine” “I am not taking any chances Jess, please stay still”, he pleaded.
Jessica did not want to give Andy anything to worry about so she
stayed where she was. Andy relaxed and kissed her cheek. “Oh Jess, you don’t know just how worried I have been.”
Jessica put her hand against his cheek. “I can’t leave you husband, can’t give the other women the chance they have been praying for, to take you away”
Andy grinned. “Oh, no one is taking me from you wifey, if she is not Jessica, she cannot be like Jessica”
Jessica chuckled then remembered something. “How come Kanu was your idol?”
Andy’s eyes widened as he stared at her, completely awestruck. “You heard?”
Before she could respond, the door opened and Doctor Bright entered.
He smiled brightly at Jessica and she smiled back. “Mrs. Williams” he greeted. “How are you feeling now?”
“Better. Thank you doctor… I would like to sit down but my
overcautious husband would not let me. I am sure he was overreacting.
I am a doctor and should know if I can or cannot sit down” she frowned at Andy, who raised an eyebrow at her.
“He was right to be cautious ma’am, he has been extremely worried about you” the doctor responded. He took out his torch and checked her eyes.
“Where are you hurting?” Jessica pointed out some places and
he nodded. “With time, you would be fine” He and Andy assisted her up even though she talked endlessly about not needing assistance.
She smiled her appreciation and winced slightly as a sharp pain took hold and vanished.
“Are you Ok? You sure you should be sitting?” Andy asked worried.
“I am fine” she reassured him with a smile. “I need some water”
everyone trouped into Jessica’s room to greet her, everyone carrying either provisions or flowers.
“Oh Jessica” her uncle’s wife called immediately she entered.
“You had us all worried. How are you”
Jessica had barely answered when questions started pouring in from all angles, with everyone asking about her health and so on.
She felt so special and loved. She tried to answer everyone as much as possible.
Andy had stepped aside for everyone but as they fussed over her, he had the urge to tell them to be careful but kept quiet.
Jessica saw her father-in-law standing some steps away and smiled softly at him.
He walked towards her. “Daughter, it is so good to see you.
Can you forgive me? I have really offended you”
Jessica smiled. “It is I who have offended you sir, I should not have done what I did with Andy and should not have deceived you too.
I understand what you did sir, you are a father, and God knows that you have carried quite a responsibility on your own for a long time.
It is natural that you would protect your son”
“Even at that, I should not have done what I did, I am sorry dear”
Jessica smiled, nodded and hugged her father-in-law.
“Yes Jessica, your father-in-law did nothing wrong.
The b—h is that Sonia of a girl, I can’t believe she had the audacity to come here for forgiveness” Lizzy said and Paulina shot her a warning glance.
Jessica gasped. Sonia was here? What did she want? Jessica was not ready to dwell on Sonia. Instead, she looked around, seeing different colours of flowers.
“Oh My God! This place looks so beautiful, if you keep beautifying this place, I won’t want to leave”
Everyone laughed. Andy went and sat beside her on the bed and she leaned her head against his shoulders. The feeling of happiness filled his heart. He knew that for this woman, he would do anything.
He turned to smile at her and met her staring at him. They were in a world of their own as they stared at each other.
The people in the room were forgotten as Andy leaned towards Jessica and kissed her with all the love in his heart. Vaguely, Jessica heard the squeals of people but she shut them out as she held on to her heart – Andrew Williams.