Gisela was asleep when Justin entered the bedroom. Beside the bed, on a cot, Justin Junior licked his little fingers, his shiny eyes wide open, and smiling. Justin bent over the cot and on one
knee, reclined onto it, and lowered his face closer to the boy.
He ran a finger along the baby’s nose, which he fancied resembled Gisela’s. But try as he would, he saw nothing resembling himself. Anyway, it was still too early to tell. Besides, almost all
babies looked the same on day one.
Lifting his head, he glanced at Gisela. Never before had he felt so distant to her. Could Martha be right? If so, Gisela must have known the truth all the while—women always know it. How he’d
made big plans for them! The baby was supposed to cement their love.
His stomach tied into knots just looking at what he felt was a callous composure in her face. Rage, hate, and regret churned in his heart. What the hell was he thinking when he left his wife and
children for her? How evil could Gisela be--to hoodwink him all this time? It was painful watching her. This wasn’t the same naïve girl he’d met less than a year ago.
The tiny fingers curling around his pinky drew his attention back to the colt. The boy’s gaze followed his. There was a purity in those eyes that melted his heart. It was as though the baby knew
Justin needed some sort of assurance. He fought back tears that threatened to spill over and lifted the boy to his chest.
Martha must be wrong.
He kissed the boy’s cheek. “It can’t be that you’re not my son— “
“What the hell’s going on?” Gisela jumped out of bed, her lips curled in a full circle with eyes wide open. “The baby’s innocent... Give him to me.” She held out her hands.
“Gisela!’ said Justin, handing her the baby. “So you’ve been lying to me all this time?”
She pressed the baby’s mouth on her breast, adjusted herself against the pillow, and focussed her eyes on Justin. “I dunno what you’re talking about.”
Justin moved closer, with an expression of terror. “Martha told me everything…”
“Goodness me, so it’s about that witch’s silly chatter? How can you even believe her?” She started sobbing. “Just because the baby has a birthmark and jaundice doesn’t mean anything.”
Justin had no clue of Martha’s analogy about jaundice and the birthmark. “I don’t understand… what do you mean?” He pulled a stool and sat facing her.
“Do we really have to talk about this?” She wiped tears with the back of her hands. “So you don’t trust me?”
Justin stroked his mustache. “It’s not about trust.” His eyes darkened, and he grimaced. “Is this my baby?” The pain in his voice was apparent.
“Oh God, I can’t believe you’re asking me this.”
There was a catch in his voice. “Yes, I want to know the truth.”
Justin didn’t care for her feelings any more than he cared for his own—he didn’t love her anymore. What was love anyway, if not just an illusion people tended to believe in? The only thing he’d
gotten from it was shame, pain, and loneliness.
He raised his voice. “Aren’t you gonna answer me, huh?”
Justin was at war with himself—feeling both love and hate for Gisela at the same time. Each broken part of his heart still missed her. Why couldn’t things just be the way they used to be? He missed
the happy times with her—truth be told, he’d never had such good sex. But at the same time, because of his pride, his ego, the betrayal; he knew he would never get her again. Everything seemed
He got up and moved to the wall where her portrait hung. “Is this how you repay my love?”
“Justin!” It was the first time she’d called him by name. “Y’know I love you so much… please don’t allow people to get in between us. I know your wife’s using Martha to hit back.”
Shame on Gisela! Did she think Katelyn was smallminded like herself? He couldn’t forgive Gisela for lulling his conscience and making him torture his wife. The pain that now squeezed at his
brain obliterated the thinking he needed to reason with Gisela. He itched to tell her off, so she understood beforehand it was over between them.
“Please don’t talk of love… to you, it’s just a word. You know nothing about it.” He narrowed his eyes. “And don’t ever drag my wife into your mess.”
“Say what? What’s gotten into you? My mess? Has she bewitched you?”
Justin moved closer. “Stop it!”
She got up. “Are you threatening me?”
Justin’s jaw dropped. Was this the destitute girl he’d helped and even bought a house? Thankfully, he’d not yet given her the title documents. He’d meant to surprise her, but now, he’d transfer the
title to his name.
“Is this how you talk to me?” he said, with a sneer.
“I love you and I want this to work but I can’t force you… And if you thought you could scare me with your money, you’re mistaken… I’ll do whatever it takes, even if it means going to the streets
to fend for my kid.” She sat on the edge of the bed. “Let’s do a DNA test if that’s what you want.”
“Yes, that’s what I want.” Justin swallowed hard. “I asked you from the very beginning if you were sure the baby was mine. Why didn’t you tell me the truth then?”
“What truth are you talking about? I told you everything from day one.”
Yes, she was right. From the very beginning, she’d told him Ken spent at her place the night before he himself slept there. Why didn’t he see things through? Justin always knew it was a mistake. As
a married man, he ought not to have fallen in love with Gisela. He would destroy his family and if history was anything to go by, nothing good came out of such relationships. He’d known things
wouldn’t end well, and it had just been a matter of time.
He didn’t know what to tell her. “What I’m I supposed to think when you behave like this?”
“Behave how? I was honest with you from the beginning… You knew Ken was my boyfriend when we met… but there wasn’t anything serious between us—-”
“Spare me the details… So Martha is telling the truth? Ken was in your room the night before I came…”
She dropped her gaze. “My goodness, are you blaming me? I can’t believe you… You make it look like I forced myself on you.”
He covered his eyes with a hand. “I trusted you blindly.”
“You didn’t want him from the beginning… all you wanted was abortion.”
He was about to answer but stopped when he saw a stripe of blood streaming down her leg. He shuddered. “What’s that?”
“Please call the nurse,” said Gisela, shaking.
Justin didn’t sleep at Gisela’s place. He left after the nurse came in and assured him there wasn’t anything to worry about. All Gisela needed was a change of pad. He went to spend the night at his
matrimonial home, resolved to see a doctor friend the next day to arrange for the DNA test.
There were several people ahead of him when Justin arrived at the doctor’s office. Two receptionists sat behind their computers at each far corner of the lounge, busy punching on the keyboards.
One of the receptionists, without taking off her eyes from the screen, addressed Justin, who’d jumped the queue to her desk. “How can I help you?”
“I’m here to see doctor Parkinson.”
“He’s engaged.” She looked up and pointed with her pen at the people waiting, then went back to typing. “They’re all here to see him. Please wait for your turn.”
“I have an appointment,” said Justin, handing her his card, which she took and placed on her desk without reading it.
“Next?” She shouted, ignoring him.
The other receptionist, a slender lady with big eyes and short hair, looked up, smiling. “Hello sir, are you Justin?”
“Yeah… that’s me.” Justin moved to her desk. “Sorry for the inconvenience.”
“Not at all… just a sec, he’s finishing up with someone.” She lifted a finger to a lady she’d been serving before Justin showed up, then turned to him. “I’m very sorry sir… Doc gave me your
details, but I hadn’t seen you... Please go in.”
“No worries,” said Justin, going past an old lady who was coming out of the doctor’s office.
He didn’t have to wait in the queue. Doctor Parkinson was a friend from way back at the University. He was one of Justin’s friends who’d made it big in life, running his own private hospital.
“Hey, long time… you’ve cut weight,” said Parkinson, moving round the table to meet Justin.
He tucked his short and stout frame into Justin’s broad shoulders and big arms for a hug. He hadn’t changed much—clean shaven with a small mustache, looking just the same as in the university
“Glad to see you,” said the doctor, buttoning up his long white apron as he closed the door behind him.
“Good to see you too, man,” said Justin, looking around and admiring his friend’s office.
It was painted cream, with one floor-to-ceiling window, overlooking an orchard. On the leather-covered desk sat a mac book pro, a notebook lying open, a framed photo of Parkinson and his family,
and a few papers under a dove-shaped paperweight. Behind the desk, a swivel chair still swung, puffing up from Parkinson’s weight. In a corner, the air conditioner was blasting at medium.
“Please have a seat.” Parkinson gestured towards an armchair in front of his table. He sunk in the swivel chair, and, adjusting his glasses, bent forward. An insect flew over his nose and he
swiftly flapped it aside. “Jeez, what’s this? Oh, sorry… tell me, what brings you to this part of the town?”
“Man, I don’t know how to start.” Justin sighed, lacing his fingers over the table, following Parkinson’s eyes with his own. “What I wanna tell you is strictly private… it must remain between me
Parkinson assumed a serious face. “Of course, I wouldn’t be a doctor if I didn’t keep secrets.”
Justin pulled his seat forward. “I’m sure the rumors of my affair have already reached you.” He glanced at Parkinson’s eyes and continued when the doctor nodded. “She gave birth yesterday… err… and
I want DNA done.”
Parkinson dropped his eyes on Justin’s knuckles, which kept rumbling as he cracked them. “Of course, that’s okay… um, does your wife know… sorry, the baby’s mother? Coz you have to bring the baby.”
“Yeah, she does know but, ah… there must be another way to do this. I’d prefer this to be done in a more private way… I’m sure you understand… um… my reputation is at risk here. Can’t you do it at
my house? I’ll make plans for everything so you’re not inconvenienced.”
“Don’t stress… I’ll send my staff over to collect the sample from the baby. Then we’ll do a swab for you before you leave.”
Justin leaned back. “That’s better but I hope whoever you’re sending will observe confidentiality.”
“You don’t have to worry about anything.”
“How long will the results take?”
“Excuse me,” Parkinson called to a nurse who’d tucked in her head at the door. After briefly giving her some instructions, he sat back. “The results take about two days.”
“Oh, that’s long,” said Justin, with a slight shade of disappointment, “can’t it be sooner?”
“No, let’s not take chances.”
Justin plopped an elbow on his knee and hid his face in one hand.
Parkinson came round and sat on the other armchair in front of Justin. “Hey, what’s up man?” Not getting a response, he gently pulled Justin’s hand.
“Man, this was a big blunder.” Justin let go of his hand and focussed his tearful eyes on Parkinson. “I just don’t know what came over me… Katie was always there for me… she sacrificed everything
for me and the kids… Will she ever forgive me?”
Justin’s guilt was renewed just looking at Parkinson’s picture with his wife Anna and their three boys, all smiling. The guilt sat not on his chest but inside his brain. What he’d done he couldn’t
undo. No one would understand how sorry he was. Only in his silent prayers would he speak his heart to God and beg for His mercy.
“What I’ve done is so awful… she never did anything to justify what I did.” Justin lowered his head. “I feel so horrible.”
He didn’t feel like he deserved Katelyn’s forgiveness, yet at the same time clung to it and hung the shreds of his sanity on it. If she didn’t forgive him, he didn’t see how he’d continue living
with such a scar in his heart.
Parkinson buried Justin’s palm in his. “It’ll be okay… Trust me. Just ask her for forgiveness… it might take time but she’ll forgive you.”
“Will she really forgive me? I dunno if things can be the same again between us… Would you forgive if it were you?”
Parkinson hooked his feet around the legs of the armchair. “Err… I don’t know, it’s tough… one thing though, women can easily forgive infidelity compared to men… probably you wouldn’t have forgiven
her, but I know she’ll forgive you.”
Justin raked a finger through his hair. “Before, I wouldn’t have forgiven her… but after what I’ve gone through… I’d easily forgive. Man, I’ll never ever do this again.”
“What if the DNA confirms the baby is yours?”
No chance in hell. The image of Martha at the club rose to his mind. She was more than confident. There must be something she knows. What of Gisela? She was worse. Her face, tone of voice, and
general behavior vanquished all of Justin’s hope. As if by reflex, Justin conditioned his mind to deal with the worst-case scenario. He wanted nothing to do with wishful thinking.
“I don’t even want to think about that… Let’s just wait for the results.”
“Take your time and think things through. If he turns out to be your baby, you got a responsibility to him too, just like your other kids… and his mum. Don’t make any decision by whim.”
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