As if abandoning her wasn’t good enough, Justin had refused to answer Gisela’s calls or reply to her texts. She wouldn’t go on like this. Adjusting a pillow under her head, she put a bookmark on
the novel she was reading and fingered her cell phone.
If u don’t come in 30 min I kill myself and Coral.
After a few seconds, her cell phone chimed with a message from Justin.
Don’t do anything stupid. On my way.
Whoa, why hadn’t she thought of this trick before? She jumped out of bed and hit the shower. After putting on hot pants, so short they revealed her butt cheeks, and a sleeveless top, she moved to
the dressing table. He’d be here at any moment, and she must hurry. After meticulously applying lip gloss, with a trace of eye shadow, she reclined on the bed and opened the page she’d been
reading. A soft wind blew on the outside and every minute, she expected his car to pull up. Once in a while, fancying she’d heard it, she’d peep through the window only to realize she’d been
Before long, she heard the familiar vroom of the heavy engine of his car. She dropped the book, got up, and looked at herself in the mirror once more. She licked her lips to give them a wet shine
and sat in an armchair next to the bed, with the book in her hand. Her heart throbbed as she longed to see the expression on his face. Was he worried for them or he simply came out of anger?
Regardless, she must put an end to this awkward position he’d put her in.
She heard the doorbell; the steps of the maidservant going to open the door, his steps mingled with hers, and finally, his alone, headed her way. She took a deep breath to still her heart, which
pounded hard, making her lips quiver.
“What has come over you?” he asked, even before he’d fully entered.
“I’m fine, thanks for asking.”
“I’m not here for games.” He stepped closer, never taking his eyes off her. “What part of its over between us don’t you understand?”
“Excuse me, what makes you think you have the right to end it? Don’t I have a say in this?”
“A say?” He sneered. “As who, you’re not my wife?”
His assumed right to play with her emotions and freedom to do as he pleased wounded her. “You can’t hurt my feelings and just walk away.” Her hands clenched into fists. “You leave me no choice but
to fight for myself and you won’t have it pretty.”
He twirled the car key in his hand and suddenly removed the key holder bearing her image and put it on the bedside. “What will you do?”
She leveled her gaze on him. “Oh, my God! Justin, is it you?”
He pinched his eyebrows. “You’re the one who spoiled everything. I had big plans for us until— “
She sensed a softness in his voice and realized being tender and less confrontational might bear fruit. “Can we just talk things over.” She fiddled with the strap of her top. “Honestly, how am I
supposed to live without you?”
“Please don’t make things more difficult than already they are.”
She sat on the bed and patted the space next to her. “Please come have a seat.”
He waved her down. “No, I’m fine.”
“You made me fall in love with you like crazy.” She took the key holder and twirled it in her fingers. “I believed everything you told me, then, all at once, you cut me off. How am I supposed to
He scrunched up his nose and sat next to her. “I meant everything I said, but you betrayed me.”
She scooted forward to the edge of the bed. “Why would you judge me over my past which I can’t change?”
“Anyway, things are different now, and it’s not as easy as you may think.”
“Is it about Katelyn? I won’t come in your way. Whatever you decide, please be fair to me as well.”
He stroked his mustache and took a deep sigh. “What am I supposed to do?”
She put a hand over his shoulder. “I’m okay with whatever works for you so long as we’re both happy.”
Gisela just didn’t get it. What in the world made him think he could leave her whenever he pleased? She wasn’t his play toy to be discarded at will. But before she did something stupid, she'd
appeal to his kindness because she knew he pitied her—no, loved her, but his wounded pride stood in the way. Things would go back to the way they used to be if only the DNA test can prove Coral to
be his child. By the way, what happened to the samples taken for DNA testing?
“Well, how is Coral?” he asked.
She took his hands in hers and drew them to her waist, never taking her eyes off him. “Much better with you around, but it’s not been easy. Ah, did you get the results of the DNA test?”
“No, there was a slight problem, and the sample got spoilt.”
She didn’t believe him. Why didn’t he insist on another test? The results must have confirmed the baby to be his and he was just embarrassed to admit it. If it were otherwise, he wouldn’t have
allowed her to hold him this close. The consciousness of her charm over him delighted her. They were meant to be together till death.
She took out a bottle from his collection of whiskeys he’d bought while they were at the coast and poured him a tot. “I know you like it neat.”
He wiped his brow with the back of his hand and sipped. “Yeah, some ice cubes please.”
After getting him the ice cubes, she sat back. “What went through your mind when you got my text. You thought I was joking, right?”
Though she’d succeeded in softening him, she could see he was struggling with some inner conflict.
“Of course,’ he said. “Next time, don’t send such alarming texts.”
She pushed a stool next to him. “I was serious.”
He stroked his mustache. “You’d seriously think of committing suicide and kill Coral?”
“If I can’t be with you, I’d rather die.”
He drained the glass with a single gulp and placed it on the stool. “Don’t say that. Coral needs you.”
“And I need you.” She poured him another shot. “We both need you.”
He ran a finger through his mustache. “Of course I can’t just walk away as if nothing happened between us. I’ll get you a good job or start for you a business of your choice. Whatever you decide.”
“Babe, all those things without you in my life mean nothing.”
Justin gobbled the drink and poured himself some more, almost to the brim. “But you know I’m married.
“If so,” said Gisela, her voice shaking, “Why don’t you do as other married men do?”
“And what’s that?”
“They take care of both sides.”
“No, sorry I can’t do that. What I did was wrong from the very beginning, but that doesn’t mean I continue messing up? I’ve since realized my mistake and want to make things right.”
She pouted, and her dimples deepened. “Is abandoning your responsibility making things right? You should accept you have two families now and it’s not messing up when you take care of both of us.”
He straightened, and his tone was as cold as ice. “That would’ve made sense if I was Coral’s father. I’m not.”
“You are his father. Why don’t you want to show me the results of the DNA test you did?”
He snorted through his nose. “I told you there was a problem, and the test wasn’t done.”
She shifted position. “And why don’t we do another test to confirm this once and for all?”
“It’s okay, we can do it. At least I can live in peace thereafter.”
“Even if it turns out you’re not his dad, you’d still have a responsibility for us.”
“You made me leave Ken for you. So if you think Coral’s his baby, you’re responsible for breaking up a family. You just can’t walk away from us.”
He stood and started towards the door, perhaps wounded by the mention of Ken. “Why don’t you guys get back together if you still care for him?”
She grabbed his arm. “Don’t you dare walk out of me? I’ll kill this baby if he’s the one making you hate me.”
“Are you crazy?” said Justin, grabbing the glass of whisky and sitting down. His eyes glowed with a cold and spiteful look. “What do you want from me?”
The hatred in his eyes hardened her heart. They either go back to their life as before, or she ends things tragically. The maidservant knocked at the door, Coral crying in her hands.
“Will he breastfeed or I give him bottled milk?” she asked when Gisela had opened the door.
“Just give him bottled milk,” said Gisela.
“Everything has become distasteful to me coz of you,” she said, sitting down beside him. “You’re so cruel. Heartless. You’re even making me start hating my baby for destroying our happiness.”
He wiped his fingers on his corduroy pants. “You can’t hate an innocent baby.”
“So you’re judging me?” She raked her hair with her fingers. “Yes, I hate him and don’t pretend, you also hate him.”
Elbows on his knees and the glass of whisky tightly held in his hands, Justin leaned forward and sighed. “My God, what did I get myself into?”
“You’re the one who’s chosen to destroy our happiness.”
He peered in her eyes. “Is this happiness to you?”
She took the glass from his hands and sipped. “You hate me. Everything in me repels you now, right?”
“I don’t hate you but you’re pushing me more and more away from you.” He took the glass from her. “You’re not supposed to drink when breastfeeding.”
“Oh, you still care, thanks. Anyway, you started this, and I’m not the problem here.” She handed him the glass. “We still can be happy again if only you do your part. I understand you’re married
and I’m not asking you to leave your wife.”
“But how can I do this? I’ve made up with Katelyn.”
She poked his shoulder. “Congratulations, you’re so smart. If you managed to convince her to take you back, making her understand you have another family won’t be that difficult.” She placed her
hands flat on her knees. “Jokes aside, I’ve never seen someone with a noble heart like her, she’ll understand if you explain things clearly.”
For a while, he remained to gaze at her face, her hands then swallowed hard. “I regret meeting you.”
Just when she was beginning to think he was calming down and then this? She was hurt to the quick. “You’re the worst person I’ve ever met. Cold. The only person you love is yourself. Now you
pretend to love Katelyn, but it’s all pretense. It’s mere talk, and talk, and talk!”
He lifted the glass to his lips. “Please leave Katelyn out of this.”
Why didn’t he see her heart was breaking with despair, and even lied he loved her, just to console her? Even worse, he measured each and every word coming out of his mouth, not like before,
when he’d talk for hours on end, promising her the moon.
“Honestly, why are you being so cold to me?”
“I’m not cold.”
“Yes, you’re cold, and you hate me.” She grew more exasperated. “I’m a bitch now, an inconvenience. You’re missing your wife and can’t wait to go to her, right?”
“Please stop putting words in my mouth.”
“I cannot forgive you for this. Trust me, you’ll regret this and I’ll make sure you don’t have a chance to do this to any other innocent girl.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“I don’t care how you look at it.”
Weird thoughts crossed her mind. What was at first a trick, threatened to take a firm grip in her heart. Actually, what if she carried out her threat and killed the baby and herself? That would be
the best punishment Justin deserved. This idea hatched in her mind—either they get back together or it ends tragically.
She jerked with a fresh pang in her soul and looked intently at him. “It’s clear you don’t love me and I can’t force you.”
He glanced at his cell phone, returned it in the breast pocket, and remained silent. She saw that it was a message from Katelyn and this annoyed her. She started toward the door.
“Excuse me,” he said when she’d reached the doorway, “I got to go.”
“Oh, she wants you back home? Tell her to give you a few more minutes,” she said, turning round to him.
“Gisela, we can’t go on like this.”
She opened the door. “I’ll be right back.”
He stood. “This is getting unbearable!”
“Don’t leave. You—you will be sorry if you dare to,” she said over her shoulder and went out to see the baby after he sat back.
Coral, calm in the house help’s hands, stared aimlessly at his mother with his big eyes. She sent the nanny away, asking her to come back later in the evening, and went back to the bedroom with the
baby in her hands. If Justin thought she was playing games, he was grossly mistaken.
Just then, it started raining. The thunder billowed, and lightning struck. She sat in the armchair with Coral, eyes fixed on Justin. Going over her life, she wouldn’t understand its meaning. Envy
for the dead possessed her soul, making her revel at the thought of committing suicide. This was the best way out of her position. For a moment, she pitied Justin, picturing the look of horror on
his face when he’d be explaining to the cops what happened to the two bodies of the mother and her baby.
But before she died, should she not apologize to Ken? Nope, he was also heartless, just like all other men. Martha had told him Coral was his son, but he’d sent Gisela a text, telling her he
wanted nothing to do with either her or the baby. Or maybe she should let Coral live? Out of guilt, Justin might adopt him even if he turns out not to be his child. Yes, he was a good man. So many
things ran in Gisela’s mind. She thought about God and the afterlife.
As a little child growing up, it’d been implanted in her heart people who committed suicide went to hell. This didn’t scare her anymore. What difference would it make? She’d be moving from one hell
to another. Maybe the other would have less anguish. She’d soon find out. She fought back tears that threatened to spill. This wasn’t the time to get emotional. It might weaken her resolve.
The sound of a car pulling up on the outside distracted her. She peeped out of the window and saw Kevin and Irene coming out of the car; he carrying the baby.
Oh, Irene had also given birth! How happy they looked, with their other kids running up to them. But deep down, she knew father and mother didn’t really love each other as much as they portrayed.
To her, the only love that existed was from God to man. Men hated each other and only pretended to love one another with an ill motive of satisfying their evil desires. They even hated and blamed
God for their self-imposed sufferings. But maybe God also hated men, some of them. Probably that’s why the other day he left some, including mothers with babes on their breasts, to starve to death
while their leaders enjoyed life with choice meats and the finest wines.
She snickered, thinking of how the world would judge her.
Oh, such a young and beautiful girl, she’d have found another man to marry her even with her child!
They could say whatever they wanted—her beauty wouldn’t mend the brokenness of her heart.
She remembered Olivia. Poor girl. Wants to get married just because she had good sex with Ryan the other day? If she only knew that was how far it’d get! Sex was only sweet when illegitimate, but
once consummated, it lost all its charm. And Ryan? Damned boy, he should have remained a celibate in that goddam society. Those spiritual brothers of his, whom everyone thought unhappy, in fact,
were the happiest than everyone else.
“We can’t just sit here looking at each other,” said Justin, pouring himself more whisky.
“Oh, sorry I’ll be done in a bit.” She carefully tossed Coral in his hands, knocking off his drink before running out of the bedroom.
When she heard him crying behind, she knew from the bottom of her heart she couldn’t hurt her baby. Tears flowed freely down her cheeks. By the time Justin got to the kitchen, with Coral in his
hands, she was already armed with the kitchen knife. Coral’s cries resounded in her heart, and her hands trembled.
She lifted the knife in the air, but Coral’s cries had weakened her hands. “I’m ending this.”
“Please don’t. We can still be happy together” Justin put Coral on the sink slab and moved closer. “Are you not the one who said you loved me? Now you wanna leave me?”
She lowered the knife close to her tummy, Coral’s screams weakening her more and more. “But you don’t love me— “
“Wait, babe, you know that’s not true. I love you.” He grabbed her and she didn’t resist but flung herself in his arms, crying.”
She eased herself and lifted Coral to her breasts. “Sorry, my sweetheart. Mum is so sorry. I won’t leave you.” She turned to Justin. “You can leave us alone. Just tell the doctor I’ll go there
tomorrow with the baby to do the DNA test. I’ll never disturb you if he’s not your baby. I promise.”
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