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Alexander entered her room with a smile on her face. It had been two full days and all that her parents and friends had done had been to spoil her with gifts and undivided affection. Within those two days, despite her being in the hospital, Alexander had felt like the most loved person in the universe. Alexa schooled herself continuously to not think about the two Michaels, especially not the one who had continued to send sweet smelling flowers to her in the hospital. The fake Michael which Alexa had been led to believe was Marcel had continued to send flowers even though she always sent them to the trash can the very second a massive bouquet arrived.
The last flower had been hard to forget though, not because of the beauty or the fragrance but because of the note which accompanied it. Unlike others, she had found it difficult to tear up the note. Alexander sat on her bed and extracted the note again.
‘The gentle glow of your midnight black hair breezes past my mind and I can’t keep my thoughts from straying to you. I am not a good poet but I would continue to improve the skill if only it makes you forgive me.
Alexa dumped the paper into her bag and scolded herself for being drawn to the ridiculous piece of paper. She knew she shouldn’t make the same mistake twice and promised to do away with anything that had to do with Michael, which includes his sly-conniving twin.
“Alexa” her mum called as she entered.
“Yes mum” she responded, sitting up.
“I think I would supervise your bathing from now on to be sure you return from the bathroom safely” Belina said seriously.
Alexa frowned. “Mum, you are joking right?”
“What if I am not?” Belina smiled.
Alexa exhaled. Belina smiled fully, happy that her old daughter is back. “I am sorry mum” Alexa began. “I know that I have cost you and daddy so much stress recently, it was never my intention. I also terribly regret what I did with Mich.. Marcel” she lowered her head. “I… I didn’t know what else to do”
Belina took a deep breath and sat closer to her daughter. “It is ok, we all make mistakes. You are bound to make yours and learn from them, I am just glad that you are fine”
Alexa hugged her mum. “But I betrayed your trust in me mum, I never should have let go of my pride as a woman”
“Hey woman” Belina scolded. “It is not time to start getting emotional, we don’t want another trip to the hospital. Why don’t you consider a vacation? It would help you forget all you had to go through, don’t you think?”
Alexa swallowed. “I would give it a thought mum” despite all that had happened, she really still did not want to go.
“Please do. Now sit here, I would serve you lunch in bed myself” Belina declared.
“Mum?” Alexa exclaimed.
“Don’t ‘mum’ me. I want to pamper you, can you blame me? Your brother is not around and that leaves me with only you. In a nutshell, you are stuck with me”
Alexa pulled the blanket up against her skin. “Well then, I had better enjoy it while I can”
Tony moved to the door when he heard the knock and opened. He was expecting Richard, who had called earlier asking for his new address. Immediately he opened the door, he nearly froze when he saw his very own Prisca. They both stared at each other in silence and Prisca noted painfully that Tony looked tired and weak. “Aren’t you going to invite me in?” Prisca asked in her patient, yet commanding voice.
Tony recollected his senses. “What are you doing here Prisca?” He asked irritated. He did not like the effect that her presence had on him. It would have helped it Prisca had aged like most women within her age bracket but no, Prisca grew more beautiful by the day.
“Is it a crime to visit my husband? We are not legally divorced so I guess it means that we are still legally married.” She declared with arms akimbo.
“The mother of my unborn child would be home soon” he said, still blocking the way.
Prisca nodded. “I won’t take your time”.
Reluctantly, Tony finally opened the door for Prisca to enter. Prisca entered slowly, scanning the sitting area with her attentive eyes. At one glance, she could take in everything but she decided to take her time. It was a good distraction when all she really wanted to do was hold her husband in her arms. Tony remained quiet as he waited for Prisca to state the reason for her visit. He knew without a doubt that she got his address from Richard, so it was useless asking; he would deal with Richard later. He just hoped that that was the only information she got from him.
“This reminds me of your bachelor pad before we got married. I can’t see a woman’s touch here” Prisca stated.
“You did not come here looking for a woman’s touch, did you?” Tony asked.
Prisca turned to him with a stunned look. “You have suddenly become a terrible host husband; are you not going to offer me anything?” Tony’s jaw clenched in anger. She smiled. “OK, since I am not particularly a guest, I would serve myself. Water?”
“Prisca” he called in warning but she turned a deaf ear and walked to the kitchen. Two minutes later, she emerged with two glasses of water in her hands.
She shook her head as she walked towards Tony. “No woman’s touch there either. You must have impregnated a very poor woman Tony” she commented again. On reaching him, Prisca stretched the water and did not relent till he took it. Finally, Prisca sat down, drank some water and dropped the cup on the table.
“Tell me Tony, why is your line not going through? Patricia has called you endlessly but it does not go through?”
“It is probably the network” he said simply.
“But Richard calls you” she stated but Tony did not respond. “Patricia has found out about us” Tony froze. “She knows we are separating”
“I thought we agreed to keep this from the children” Tony reminded.
“I thought we agreed to be with each other forever, through the good and bad times” she shot back and slowly turned to face him. He swallowed but said nothing. “Do you remember our vows Tony? She asked. “It was said in the presence of God, family and friends. We promised to be with each other till the end. ‘For richer or poorer; in sickness and in health; through the good and bad times’, did you forget so soon Tony Williams?” Prisca said, already out of the couch and pacing now.
“What are you driving at Prisca?” Tony asked, praying that Richard hadn’t betrayed his trust.
“Tony, if you would break your vows, please don’t make me break mine. We were married before God and God takes vows seriously.” She walked up to him and placed her hand tenderly against his chest, towards his heart region. For the first time since she entered, she looked totally vulnerable. “Why are you doing this to us? Stop acting as if the love we share is lost because I know you love me”
“I don’t” he choked out..
She shook her head. “Then why does your heart beat faster when I am near?” She whispered. She leaned against him and stood up tip-toes until there was just a breath separating their lips. “Why do your eyes lower and your lips twitch with the desire to touch me… Kiss me…” Her fresh breath washed over his face and Tony clenched his fists tight, struggling to resist this temptation. “Why do you fight yourself and resist me? Do you fear that you won’t be able to let me go if you do? Tell me T”
Tony groaned and pulled her tight against him, forcing her lips open with his. She moaned softly and melted against him, holding him securely to herself the way she had been longing to for a long time. Tony kissed her thoroughly for a long time, wanting to quench the thirst for her which had been mounting up for more than three months. The need to have her in his arms had nearly killed him faster than the heart disease could and now having her within the circle of his arms was so gratifying that words could not really explain the feeling. He buried his fingers in the very familiar silky texture of her hair and moaned out her name. No one was keeping track of time as they remained locked together in a world created for them alone. Prisca, the originator of the seduction, was already so lost in the arms of her husband that she did not know when her clothes came off, but when Tony’s fingers touched her bare skin, nothing felt better. She couldn’t have stopped him even if her life depended on it, so instead, she helped him out by joining in the task because she desired more than anything to forget everything but the two of them.
Richard, Belina and Alexander sat at the table eating dinner. The atmosphere was filled with laughter with the usual table manner rules discarded without a second thought.
“Have you thought of the place you want to go to for your vacation princess?” Richard asked seriously.
Alexa drank her juice and dropped the cup gently. “I would only go if everyone is going. What is new about what happened to me? I just got heart broken and thanks to you all, it is mending quite nicely. Frankly, I would only go if you and mum would go also” she smiled suddenly. “Yes. It has been long since the both of you went on a vacation. What happened to the lovey dovey version of my romantic parents.”
They laughed. “Trust me when I say it is very present, just carefully hidden for the meantime.” Richard said
“Besides, we need to see our children building their own love nest instead of dwelling in ours for a long time” Belina completed.
Alexa raised her brow. “Oh, I see… You have taken Roland and I up, trying to kick our butts out of the house so you both can have space right?”
“Absolutely, my dear” Richard grinned. “Life is too short so we better enjoy it while we can, building our lives and making impacts along the way”.
Alexa nodded. “You should have let me have my apartment then”
Belina wiggled her finger. “No baby, from here to your husband’s house”
The door bell chimed and they stared at the door. “Are you expecting anyone honey?” Belina asked Richard but he shook his head. The maid went to the door and after few questions, she approached the dinning.
“Sir, a man is at the door, he said his name is Marcel.”
Richard looked at Alexa who had practically turned to a statue on her seat. She blinked several times then turned to her food. She wondered what fake Michael was looking for. Was it not enough that she had to deal with the flowers? Dealing with him physically might be too much. She vaguely heard her dad when he asked the maid to let Marcel in. When the maid was Alexa raised her head.
“Why did you do that Richy? I don’t want to see that man” Belina questioned angrily.
“He is a guest sweetheart and I am sure Alexa would like to see him. If she would get past this heartbreak, they need to clear things up, right honey?”
Alexa was motionless for some seconds but she later nodded.
Belina frowned as she stared vaguely at Richard. “Why do I have the distinct feeling that you like this Marcel who is more or less an impersonator?” Richard said nothing.
A figure loomed some distance away and everyone turned. Alexa’s heart skipped severally as she locked eyes with Marc. She had never looked at Marcel with the thought that he was not Michael but now that she looked at him closely, she thought that she could instantly spot some differences between the two men. She could not just point out what it was about Marcel which drew her even now. It was probably his arrogant presence. But was Michael not like that? Is that not what drew her to Michael? Alexa swallowed. She really hated this. Hated being caught between siblings, especially twins.
“Good evening sir; ma” Marcel finally greeted, reluctantly taking his eyes off Alexa.
“It is nice to know that we are not invisible.” Belina said drily. Richard gave her a soft warning glance that said ‘give him a break’.
“Please pardon my manners ma’am” Marcel said.
“It is OK son, why are you here this late?”
Marcel’s eyes travelled to Alexa again but stayed with her. “I was hoping I would be able to have a word with Alexa”
Richard quickly stopped Belina by squeezing her hand. He looked at his daughter and Alexa swallowed and nodded. Richard turned to fix Marc with a stony glare. “If you try anything funny, you have me to answer to”
“Yes Sir” Marc said and Richard left, dragging an angry Belina along.
Finally alone, Marcel took a deep breath and moved towards the dinning. Some strands of Alexa’s hair had freed themselves from the bond which held her hair to the back and Alexa innocently brushed off the strands, causing Marcel’s gaze to follow the unconscious movement of her fingers. “Hi” he breathed out.
“Hi” Alexa said back.
“I erm… heard that you were discharged today so I decided to visit you” he said when he did not remember all he had rehearsed.
“Why? Didn’t you have the courage to come while I was in the hospital?” Alexa asked, raising her brow.
“I was denied access” he breathed and cleared his throat. “I am sorry Alexa, I never meant to hurt you”
Alexa pushed away from the table and stood up. “As you can see, I am not hurt, I am perfectly fine, besides, your flowers have delivered your apologies over and over again, even though they ended up in the trashcan.”
He swallowed. “I know I deserve much more than this, it was stupid of me to go along with the crazy idea of taking Michael’s place, I admit it. I am really sorry”
Alexander shook her head. “Why do you need my forgiveness? It is not like I would sue you or anything”
“It was wrong for me to hurt you. I never thought of anyone getting hurt when I accepted to do this. I hurt you deeply and I won’t be able to live with myself if you don’t forgive me” Alexa kept quiet for a long time until it became obvious that she was not going to say anything. Marc nodded softly. “I would keep apologizing until you forgive me. Have a nice night Alexa” he turned and walked away. Alexa told herself to call him back but she couldn’t. She thought she was over the pain and betrayal but she wasn’t. She should be mad at Michael who put everyone in this mess, she told herself. When the door closed, Alexa felt so empty and miserable. She turned and went straight to her room.
The gentle strokes of Tony’s fingers on Prisca’s bare skin almost made her weep with renewed pleasure but she had a different thing on her mind which was enough to make her wail and cry bitterly. No! Her Tony was not going anywhere, she would fight the entire host of darkness if she had to. How could Tony leave her? Prisca took in a deep breath and ran her fingers through Tony’s chest. Her head rested on his chest and her legs entwined with his as they remained mute on the bed, communicating without words. Tony’s fingers stroked her back softly as he stared at the roof.
Prisca finally opened her mouth. “Tony?”
“Uhn?” He grumbled.
“Do you have anything to tell me?”
Tony was silent. His second hand moved to stroke her hair gently just like a whisper until a sigh escaped from her lips. He bent his head and planted a firm kiss on her forehead. “I love you” he whispered.
She exhaled. “Then why do you hurt me? Why have you been causing us pain for the past few months?”
“I am sorry”
Tears welled up in her eyes and she raised her head. “Why are you sorry Tony? For lying to me or for keeping a very vital information from me?” Tony froze and she nodded. “Belina told me everything.” The tears slid from her eyes. “Everything” she repeated.
Tony swallowed hard as his heart rate accelerated. He tried to get up from the bed but she would not let him.
“We promised each other honesty Tony” she cried on top of her voice. “You were trying to keep me from being hurt but do you know how horrible I felt when I heard from a third party that you were sick?”
“I never wanted you to find out” he grounded out.
“But why? I love you Tony and I am here to help you through every pain you might feel. We would get through this together-”
Tony shrugged out of the bed, proudly carrying his naked body. “You don’t understand, do you? I can’t get through this… CHD has no cure”
Prisca rushed to him. “But we have God honey, we can always go to him. We need to have faith and believe in the power of miracles.” He looked ahead but Prisca bent his head, until he was looking into her eyes. “How would you feel if I kept such an important information from you?” Tony was silent. “That is exactly how I feel. I love you and would never abandon you in the face of troubles”
Marcel drove straight home. He did not if he should be excited that he had seen Alexa looking strong and healthy or be sad, thinking about the fact that she really despised him. He drove unseeing until he got to the gate. He was about to blast his horn for the gateman to open the gate when he saw the uniformed policemen at the gate, talking with the gateman. One of the policemen turned and saw him, quickly alerted the others and they approached Marcel’s car. Marcel alighted from the car and faced the policemen. “What is going on here?” He asked.
“You are Mr Marcel, right?” One of the men asked.
“You are under arrest” he brought out his card. “You have a right to remain silent as anything you say or do here would be used against you in the court of law.” He recited.
“On what charges?”
“Impersonation and illegal use of another person’s identity and contacts” another policeman explained. “Please move” he ordered.
After some minutes, they arrived at the police station. Marcel called his lawyer and explained what had happened. Immediately he got to the station, all Marcel wanted was to clear the suspicion he had. After several persistent questioning and argument, he was able to find out who secured his arrest. “Michael Coker”.