Desmond smiled as soon as he saw Egbe. She and his father entered the car and he would not stop talking until they got to the park. Egbe watched him and Major Festus as they talked about action heroes that she didn’t know about; Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Wonderwoman, Wolverine, The Avengers, Incredible Hulk, and so on. They argued about who is stronger; the Incredible Hulk or Superman; the Incredible Hulk or Wolverine; they argued about which was better; comics or cartoons; animations or movies. She sat quietly all through, listening to them. From the outside, they seemed like a normal family going out for a little bit of air. She knew this though, Desmond loved the major and he, Major Festus, shared the sentiment. But she too deserved Desmond’s love. “He is my son.” She thought to herself. She felt like she was trying to justify her actions to herself and she didn’t like the feeling she felt that intruding into such a perfect relationship was wrong. The relationship wasn’t perfect though; she could see the strain in Festus’ eyes and the way his hands gripped the steering wheel as he drove.
At the park, they bought ice creams and sat on one of the park benches watching men and women playing with children and pets. The place was not as full as it usually was during the weekend and she liked it that way.
Desmond begged them to go jump on the slide. Major Festus told him to be careful and let him go. As soon as he left, Egbe turned to him;
Egbe: “he is a good boy.” She said.
Major Festus nodded, watching Desmond run across the park to where the slides were.
Egbe: “What exactly is wrong with your wife?” she asked softly.
Major Festus sighed and kept on watching the boy. He scooped a spoon of ice cream and swallowed, allowing the cold sweetness melt in his mouth.
Egbe: “if you don’t want to talk about it, I understand. But if you want Desmond to be a happy, well adjusted child, I need to know what exactly is going on.” She added when she saw that he was not replying.
Major Festus: “Desmond is not her son. I adopted him after our own son was killed by a careless policeman.” He said quietly, not bothering to look at her.
She stared at him as her mind went back to the terror and fear that followed the accident as well as the other incidents that followed.
Major Festus: “I thought the child would make her forget at first. But she didn’t care. Our child had been a burden for her. She always loved her freedom, her pleasures. She saw the adoption as a punishment. I saw my mistake but it was too late. Besides, I needed the child. She could not give birth in the normal way. I could not go through all the stress of IVF and surrogacy again. So I decided to keep the boy.” He said.
Egbe’s head filled with the memory of the parts of the story he had not revealed like the fact that he had forced the baby away from the arms of his mother and that he had terrorized the baby’s father into committing suicide. She tried to dredge the feeling of hate and anger she used to feel for him but she found that she felt nothing but pity for him.
Egbe: “what are you going to do about it? The way I see it, both of you no longer feel the same about each other. Why don’t you divorce her and move on with your life?” she asked.
Major Festus: “I can’t. If I divorce her, I will lose everything I have worked for. She is a part owner of my companies and if she should remove her shares from it. I will struggle for a long time before I stand on, my feet and even then, it won’t be like this.” He replied.
Egbe: “so it is all about money for you then?” she asked, staring at him in irritation.
Major Festus: “no. I promised to take care of Desmond and give him the best in life. I can’t do that if I am broke now, can i?” he asked, turning to stare at her.
Egbe: “so what stops her from leaving you?” she asked.
Major Festus: “Because despite all her despicable ways, she loves me. She will never leave me as long as I am alive.” He said, sadly
Florence: “I wish he was dead!” she said, vehemently.
She was with Doyin in his office at the hospital. She was still angry over the presence of the girl in her home. Major Festus had not bothered to give her an explanation when he returned later in the evening that day. “First, the boy had stole his love from her and now he now has eyes for a younger woman abi?” she thought to herself.
Doyin: “why are you still with him then? If you detest him so much, divorce him.” he said, staring at some papers on his desk.
Florence: “so he and that boy and that woman can have bliss. Will you marry me if I leave him?” she asked, staring at him in irritation. Doyin looked at her with guarded eyes; “I thought as much. I might not love him like I used to but he provides security. He lets me do what I want without interference. It is that boy. If that boy was out of the way, I will be at peace. I will have my security and I will have you.” she said, staring at Doyin intently.
Doyin: “what are you saying? You want your foster child dead?” he asked, surprised.
Florence looked at the door and turned to Doyin.
Florence: “you are a doctor. You should know some drugs that can be introduced into a terminally ill patient’s food that can help him on his or her way.” She said, trying to be sly.
Doyin stared at her with his mouth opened wide.
Doyin: “you are not serious.” He said, then he looked closely at Florence’s face; “you are serious.” He whispered. “Are you mad? You want to kill an innocent child just to hurt your husband? Jesus!” he added through gritted teeth; his eyes flicking to his office door and back to Florence’s impassive face.
Florence: “I don’t like wimps. I like men that know how to handle things. I have got to go. I believe you can keep this between you and i?” she said as she got up and left the office.
Doyin sat on his chair, his work forgotten, thinking over what a human being had just casually suggested.
Olamide watched the couple talking amiably in the grass; his eyes darting from them to the child playing on the slides. There was no anger in his eyes, just calculation. What would happen if Festus dies? I will get some financial return from my efforts and I will be free to pursue my own dreams; maybe get married and have a kid or two. But will Florence agree to my terms and conditions? Will she be willing to go all the way; get herself as dirty as i? It is obvious that there is no love between the two of them and Festus seems to have set his eyes on a different pair of tits. I need to play smart or I might end up losing a whole lot. I wonder about that child? Why does Florence ignore him like he doesn’t exist? I need answers before I act.” He thought to himself.
He brought out a phone and dialed Florence’s number. She picked on the third ring.
Olamide: “where are you?” he asked without greeting.
Florence:”on my way home. Why do you ask?” she asked; her voice harsh on the phone speaker. She was obviously irritated.
Olamide:”we need to talk.” He replied.
Florence: “I know just the place.” She gave him directions and ended the call.
He licked his ice cream and relaxed his head to watch his soon to be murdered brother; a small devious smile playing on his lips.
Question: Festus believes that his wife loves him; do you think he is right? What do you think Doyin’s decision will be concerning the murder of Desmond?
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