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Even If I Don't Find Peace - Episode 20

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    By Edwin Lamptey

    Maxwell’s heart missed several beats after he had heard Alberta’s voice over the phone. He was hit by punches of fear, excitement and uncertainty all at once. He feared that Alberta; as usual, had something ‘special’ up her sleeve and he could not fathom why she wanted to drop off the baby with him when she had vehemently turned down earlier requests from Maxwell. He paced between the entrance to the living room and the walkway leading to the gate not knowing which call to answer. As he was engaged in this mental battle, a thought came to mind; Nancy’s assignment. The thought sent shivers down his spine but at the same time, he had a funny tingle which whispered to him that Nancy was within reach once his baby was out of the way and it gave him a sense of joy. He did not know whether to go inside to meet his family members or go out to meet Alberta and her son. “What am I going to do now?”, Maxwell thought to himself. As he stood there in his state of confusion, Alberta called his phone again. “What is causing the hold up, Maxwell ?”, Alberta asked. “I am running late and I don’t have all day”, Alberta added. “If you know you are not coming out, let me know so I can start looking for an alternative babysitter for my son”, Alberta said. “I…I…I am coming”, Maxwell said in a stuttering voice. “You have suddenly turned into a stammerer?”, Alberta asked. “Just give me a minute and I would be with you”, Maxwell responded not giving any audience to her question. “This is my only chance to rid myself of Alberta and all her stress and have the love of my life all to myself”, Maxwell said as he walked to the gate. “I am going to do it; I am going to kill my son!”, Maxwell said and reached for the handle of the gate and pulled it back. Alberta was looking very beautiful when Maxwell saw her. Maxwell made sure he kept his distance to avoid any surprises from Alberta.  “You are looking good”, Maxwell announced as he finally stood face to face with Alberta. “I already know so you don’t need to tell me”, Alberta responded in the most hostile way imaginable. “I am only trying to be nice”, Maxwell responded. “Trying you say?”, Alberta asked. “I would only take a compliment from you when you grow up and do what you are expected to do as a man”, Alberta said. “Because as it stands now, you are still a little boy”, Alberta added. “Why do you talk to me this way?”, Maxwell asked. “I would talk to you anyhow I want until you do what is right by first walking me down the aisle and taking full responsibility of my son because as it stands, the chicken-change you send to me is not even enough to buy diapers”, Alberta revealed. “I am shocked to hear you speak this way”, Maxwell rebutted. “You call the money that I give you chicken-change?”, Maxwell asked looking very surprised. “For want of a better word, chicken change would best describe the money you give to me”, Alberta answered. “I wonder how you expect the two of us to work towards having a future together when you can just come to my house and speak to me anyhow you want”, Maxwell said. “Your attitude towards my son and I really merits every word I am saying now and for your information, I am not going to take any of them back”, Alberta said. “My son needs you around him so you better find some time to come and be with him”, Alberta said. “I am giving you the privilege of coming close to my son because if after some time, I don’t hear anything from you and your family members, I am going to take this boy so far away and you would never see him again”, Alberta continued. “You know me and you know what I am capable of so don’t even try me”, Alberta added. “I have been listening to you for a while and it seems that you are referring to our son as your son”, Maxwell started. “You are making it appear is if you got pregnant by yourself and gave birth to this child”, Maxwell said, pointing to the child who was strapped firmly to Alberta’s back. “You don’t scare me with your empty threats”, Maxwell stressed. “This boy is my son too and you don’t have any right whatsoever to prevent me from seeing him whenever I want to”, Maxwell said. “You are here ranting but when the time comes, we would see who would eventually have the last laugh”, Alberta said in rebuttal. “You said you wanted me to babysit for you so please let me have my son so you can go about your business or whatever you have to do”, Maxwell said. “Okay, but we have to make it seem as though I am still here, I don’t want him to cry before I leave”, Alberta said and handed her son over to Maxwell. Both Maxwell and Alberta walked a few blocks from Maxwell’s house before Alberta disappeared quietly without allowing her son to see that she was leaving. Maxwell then turned to go back home.

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     Immediately Maxwell turned, his son started to cry. “Don’t cry, don’t cry”, Maxwell started. “Daddy will take care of you even better than mummy can and ever will”, Maxwell added. “Daddy has got a better job now and he would do everything in his power to ensure that you are well taken care of”, Maxwell said to his son who could not understand a word his father was saying but kept crying uncontrollably. “Do you want ice cream?”, Maxwell asked the little baby. “Or you’d prefer biscuits instead?”, Maxwell asked. “Or is your tummy hurting?”, Maxwell asked again. The baby just kept crying as Maxwell walked down the street. The shouts of the baby attracted many passers-by who looked at Maxwell suspiciously as if he was a baby thief. “Why is the baby crying?”, one inquisitive woman asked. “Where is its mother?”, the woman asked again. “That is my son and his mother is gone to get something from the market”, Maxwell responded and quickly doubled his steps. Before he could get to the gate, he heard someone call out his name, “Maxwell…Maxwell…Maxwell!”. Maxwell turned to see Linda quickly walking towards his direction. “Whose child is this?”, Linda asked immediately she got close to Maxwell. “Hello Linda, meet my son; Alberta’s son”, Maxwell said. “His mother just dropped him off so she could run an errand in town and I can’t seem to figure out how I am going to get him to stop crying”, Maxwell added. Linda stretched out her arms, “Give him to me; you are not even holding him right”, Linda said and laughed. Within seconds, Linda had managed to make the baby to stop crying and had begun to smile. “He looks so much like you and he is so adorable”, Linda said to Maxwell as they both walked towards Maxwell’s house. “And the three of us look good together”, Maxwell said. “Give me a break young man; I don't want any trouble with Alberta or Nancy”, Linda said and the two of them laughed off the comment. “Alberta actually came here and left her son with you without putting up a fight?”, Linda asked. “That would have been so unlike Alberta”, Maxwell started. “She spewed her venom all over me before leaving”, Maxwell said. “I thought as much”, Linda responded and laughed. “That is the kind of woman who is carrying your child”, Linda said. “You look so much like daddy but the only difference is that you are more handsome”, Linda said to the baby playfully as they walked back. The baby appeared comfortable and happy with Linda and was very excited. As they got to Maxwell’s gate, Linda handed over the baby to Maxwell. “When he begins to cry, just hold him firmly in your arms like this and pat him on the back like this”, Linda said and demonstrated to Maxwell while she held the baby in her hand. “I am going to prepare supper for my family but I would come back to check up on the two of you when I am done”, Linda said and asked to take her leave. “The two of you should take care of each other”, Linda added. Before Linda turned to leave, Maxwell held her by the arm and looked intently at her, “You are such a darling and…”, Maxwell started. “Before I forget, I have great news to share with you”, Maxwell said. “What is it?”, Linda asked as she excitedly drew closer to Maxwell. “Our proposal was accepted by the board!”, Maxwell announced. Instantly, Linda jumped and hugged Maxwell who was still holding the baby. She took the baby from him again and tossed him slightly into the air, when she had finally grabbed him, she said, “Your father is a genius and I pray you grow up to become like him!” “I can’t believe this; I just can’t believe this!”, Linda exclaimed with excitement . “I was planning on breaking the news to all of you tonight but it seems you are the first to know”, Maxwell said. “I am so delighted and I could even kiss you right now!”, Linda exclaimed. “But I won’t do that because I still remember what Nancy said and I cannot kiss you while your son is here”, Linda said and placed a kiss on Maxwell’s son’s cheek. “You can pass that on to daddy for me”, Linda said to the baby who was beaming with smiles. “I know and I understand”, Maxwell responded. “Just take it easy”, Maxwell added. “So what time are you going to break the news to the rest of the crew?”, Linda asked. “I would call them all to meet up here around 8 P.M so you can pass by”, Maxwell answered. Maxwell stepped into the house after Linda had turned to leave and he closed the gate firmly behind him. He walked straight into the hall with the baby firmly clinging to his chest and as he walked in, all eyes were turned towards his direction. “Good evening”, Maxwell greeted politely. There came an asymmetric chorus response of “Good evening” from the people who were gathered in the room. “I should have done this long ago but I don’t know what was holding me back”, Maxwell started. “I guess I was having a hard time letting my doubts and fears go”, Maxwell added. “I am sorry if I kept this secret away from some of you till today”, Maxwell added. “I want to introduce to all of you, the new member of this family; my son”, Maxwell said. “I believe this is the first time that you are seeing him”, Maxwell said and handed the baby over to his father to be passed around the room like some trophy. “His mother just dropped him off saying she was going to pick up something from town so she wanted me to babysit him for a while”, Maxwell explained. The last person to hold the little baby was Maxwell’s grandmother. “He looks so much like your grandfather”, she said. “He has the exact shape of his nose”, she added. This description led to a serious debate for a few minutes and it ended up in laughter with the side that believed that the baby looked like Maxwell’s grandfather carrying the day. “I don’t remember the last time I saw this family come together and laugh happily like this”, Maxwell’s grandmother quickly chipped in. “I guess it is about time we sorted out our differences and forget whatever happened in the past and start to be a loving family like we once were”, Maxwell’s grandmother added. “All of us are here so what stops us from voicing our concerns and having them addressed right now?”, Maxwell’s father suggested. Maxwell asked to be excused so that the grown-ups could trash out their differences. As Maxwell walked out of the hall, he was filled with a sense of fulfilment and contentment that at least what he had set out to do had almost been achieved. He looked at his son and said, “You are a lucky charm, my little one and I love you so much”. Maxwell walked quietly into his room and turned on the fan. He held the baby like Linda had instructed and stood directly under the fan. Soon, he looked at his reflection in the mirror and realized that the baby had fallen asleep on his shoulder. Almost immediately, his head was filled with the sinister thought; Nancy’s assignment. “This is my chance!”, Maxwell said. “I can get rid of this baby while he sleeps”, Maxwell thought to himself. “Let me just put him on the bed and suffocate him with a pillow”, Maxwell thought to himself”. Maxwell quickly locked his door and drew the curtains to cover any openings. He then quietly placed the baby unto his bed and quietly lifted a pillow over the baby’s head….

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    As Maxwell lowered the pillow, a thought dropped into his head. “How can love make anyone want to do such a thing to another person?”, Maxwell asked himself. “Can I live with the fact that I had to kill my own son to be with the woman I love just because she could not stand the fact that I had a child out of wedlock?”, Maxwell thought to himself. “Is that love at all?”, Maxwell asked himself. “But I also cannot lose Nancy to any other person and equally, I cannot kill my child just to please her”, Maxwell said. “What if after all this, the police are contacted and I end up behind bars?”, Maxwell thought out loud. “It would be a total waste of effort and I would lose on two fronts; I would lose my son and the supposed love of my life and all this for what!”, Maxwell thought to himself. As he stood there contemplating, his son sneezed and opened his eyes. He stared at him and Maxwell stared back. The baby sneezed again. Maxwell looked intently into the innocent eyes of his son and couldn’t help but regret ever allowing Nancy to talk him into even trying to take a life of an innocent human being; a baby for that matter. Maxwell dropped the pillow and picked his son into his arms, “I am so sorry, my little one for thinking of such evil thoughts towards you”, Maxwell started. “I am going to damn the consequences and keep you, I don’t care what Nancy or anyone thinks”, Maxwell said as he bent over to pick up the baby. “I would do my best to ensure that you are well taken care of”, Maxwell said to the baby who had clung firmly to Maxwell’s neck with his tinny arms. Soon there was a knock on Maxwell’s door. “Maxwell, are you in there?”, Maxwell’s father asked. “Yes, I am here”, Maxwell responded and unlocked the door. “Your uncles want to have a word with you”, Maxwell’s father said. “What is it about?”, Maxwell asked. “Come and sit here with me”, Maxwell’s father said and led Maxwell to the bed. “My son, I believe that with all that you are going through, you are taking valuable lessons from it”, Maxwell’s father started. “Yes I am”, Maxwell responded. “I want you to look deep into yourself and into your heart and tell me if you want to settle down with the mother of this little boy”, Maxwell’s father said. “I am saying this because your uncles want to know the step you intend taking so we can all assist you accordingly”, Maxwell’s father revealed. “I don’t think I can live with Alberta because she disrespects me always”, Maxwell started. “She has threatened me several times to take the baby away from me and telling her that we cannot get married would force her to take action and I don’t know what would happen afterwards”, Maxwell confessed. “Don’t worry about that because there are a lot of things we can do to get the child away from her if we have to”, Maxwell’s father assured. “All I want right now is for you to give me a definite answer”, Maxwell's father said. “I cannot marry her!”, Maxwell answered. “Okay, don’t worry, I am going to speak to your uncles”, Maxwell's father said and walked out of the room.

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    Maxwell called Alberta at 7 P.M and she said she was still in town so Maxwell had to hold on till she got there. Maxwell needed to call his friends and inform them about the good news from Passione Global. “There is no need keeping this child and this secret away from my friends anymore”, Maxwell said to himself. “They have been like brothers to me and it would be unfair on my part not to tell them about him”, Maxwell added. So Maxwell called up his friends and asked them to meet him within an hour. When they got to the house, Maxwell's father and uncles had already left. All the boys sat in the hall with the exception of Frank. Frank joined later and was followed by Linda. Maxwell broke the news to them by first telling them the story about his life after they separated and then informing them about the contract being offered by Passione Global. Maxwell's friends had many questions to ask and Maxwell took his time to answer them. “I must say that we are proud of you for keeping this boy”, Raphael started. “At one point or the other, we are all going to take up this same responsibility but it appears that you have gone on ahead of us and that is not a crime”, Raphael added. Maxwell, with Linda's help made all his friends hold his son in their arms for a while with each of them wishing him well and saying a prayer for him. They then discussed how the contract was going to pan out and also looked at the alternative preparations they needed to make. After the meeting, the boys asked to take their leave because it was getting late. Linda stayed behind and took care of Maxwell's baby awaiting Alberta's return. It was almost 10 P.M when Maxwell called Alberta again after he had not heard anything from her. “Alberta, where are you?”, Maxwell queried. “I am running a bit late so if care is not taken, I would have to come very late to pick him up or better still I would let him pass the night at your end so that I can come for him in the morning”, Alberta said. “But we didn't plan all this”, Maxwell objected. “I know but it has happened so you better improvise”, Alberta continued. “Okay, I would let him pass the night so that you don't have to come here late and all looking at the security threats we are having these days”, Maxwell said. Maxwell hang up the phone and informed Linda that Alberta was not coming back therefore the baby had to pass the night with him. Maxwell pleaded with Linda to pass the night in his house because he did not have the slightest idea as to what to do when the baby started crying in the middle of the night. Linda turned down the offer but after several pleas from Maxwell,  she agreed and called her parents to inform them that she was spending the night at Maxwell's grandmother's because she was not too well and needed someone to look after her. Maxwell also informed her grandmother and she agreed. “Okay, I would sleep on the floor so the two of you can have the bed”, Linda suggested. Maxwell disagreed and managed to convince Linda that there was enough space on the bed for all three of them. The three of them squeezed themselves on the bed with the baby in the middle. Linda gently stroke the baby's tummy till he finally fell asleep. She then quietly informed Maxwell to be still. “Thank you for doing this for me”, Maxwell said to Linda. “Don’t flatter yourself young man, I am not doing anything for you”, Linda said. Maxwell instantly grabbed Linda by the neck and started kissing her. Linda responded in kind. Before long, Maxwell and Linda found themselves all over the floor making love to each other but were careful not to wake the baby up. They made love the whole night. At a point, the baby woke up Linda had to fix something for him to eat from the bag Alberta brought with her. When the baby fell asleep again, she quickly went and lay in Maxwell's arms and the lovemaking continued.
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    The following day, Maxwell quickly woke up and met up with the boys at the bus terminal to go to Passione Global. When they arrived,  they were warmly welcome by Edwina and were served the best breakfast.  Soon the terms of the contract were discussed; it was going to be a three-year contract which was going to be renewed based on performance. Both parties appeared happy with their side of the deal and an agreement was quickly reached. The boys were given the time to discuss their roles and report to work in two days. They were given temporary access cards into the building of Passione Global and were taken on a tour in and around the magnificent building by Edwina. Soon, the boys returned home to prepare for a meeting that was to be scheduled the following day. When Maxwell got home, his son was with his grandmother. When he asked of Linda's whereabouts,  he was informed that she had gone to town on an errand. Soon, Alberta showed up to pick her son up. She had to change his diaper for him before leaving so Maxwell took both of them to his room. When Alberta finished changing the diaper, she looked at Maxwell and said, “I miss us”. Immediately she said that, she leaned in and gave Maxwell a light kiss on his lips. “We cannot do this”, Maxwell said. “Maxwell, I am going to change if you marry me”, Alberta said. “I am willing to be a good wife and a good mother if you marry me”, Alberta continued. Alberta looked Maxwell in the eye and knew he was mesmerized. She put the baby on the bed and started to undress him. Meanwhile, Linda was just thirty minutes away from Maxwell's house….


    ...To be continued
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  • Oyin Young: Saturday, 8 April 2017 at 18:19:00
  • Label(s): Even If I Don't Find Peace
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Comments

  • Maxwell is the biggest fool l have ever seen. You lack self control and discipline. You don't deserve Linda. Alberta will surely make life a hell for u. Fool

    - Clay Godstime: 9 April 2017 at 10:22 (delete)

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