The Last Kiss Episode 9 is rolling….
THE LAST KISS
Neither Alicia nor Curtis respond to Curtis’ mom’s query. Tensions around the table was getting too intense as everyone else remained silent.
“I knew it. Yes, I always knew there was something fishy about you. I knew you were too good to be true. Now look at what you’ve dragged in. Look at the result of your waywardness.” Curtis’ mom rattles with fury.
“Woman, you better watch your tongue. This is my daughter you are talking about. Anyone here could be in the same situation she is now. What shows that it wasn’t your son who infected her? I won’t sit here and watch you say bad things about my Princess. I won’t have that.” Mr. Tenkorang said angrily.
“What would you do? This tells us what kind of parents you’ve been. If you can’t stand me, take your family and leave. My son is not staying married to your daughter. I hope she has not infected him alre…“
“Edith, aren’t you taking this too far? You are embarrassing us. Let’s give Alicia all the support she needs. She is our son’s wife and has been nothing but a good daughter-in-law. This is the time to show her what we are made of. This is the time to show we care. Listen, this is the time to lend our support, not point accusing fingers.” Mr. Owusu-Mensah admonishes.
“Support for what? Stop making it look like she’s a victim. You don’t get HIV by dancing on the moon. This shows the kind of person she’s been. She is a hypocrite. That’s what she is. She’s nothing but a damn whor…”
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“Mom, that’s enough!”
Curtis can’t take his mother’s insensitive outbursts anymore.
“What are you insinuating? I didn’t expect you to do this. You know how I feel about Alicia. Why are you trying to embarrass her like that? Getting HIV does not mean you are a loose person. Anyone can contract the disease. Please don’t do this. You would only be hurting me. “Curtis cries.
“How naive can you be, my son? Don’t be a fool. Tell me she has not already infected you with the disease. Wake up from your slumber, son. She is not good for you. You must leave her at once. You must leave whilst there’s time.”
Alicia’s tears fall like fast-moving water.
Her mother-in-law’s words have cut through with the force of a volcano. It rips her heart to shreds.
This is a woman she had thought loved her unconditionally.
“That’s about enough, Edith. You are a mother. Are you saying you would expect my daughter to leave your son if he had gotten sick? You should watch what you say because if I get angry, you will not find it amusing. ” Mrs. Tenkorang retorts.
“There’s no need for exchanges, honey. Let them do their worst. Alicia, Racheal, Caleb, let’s get out of here. ” Mr. Tenkorang urges as he gets to his feet.
“Alicia stays with me. She is my wife. You guys were there when we took our vows. I love her and would never leave her side. Please let’s all calm down and rationalize this. I know this came as a big shock but it’s not the end of the world. Trust me when I tell you we never anticipated anything like this but it’s happened. She is still the woman I love. Nothing and no one can change that.”
The rest of the Tenkorangs get to their feet.
Alicia is so devastated she feels worthless.
It is not like she didn’t expect them to be shocked by the news. She is very aware of the scorn, the disgust and betrayal that comes with news like that. It is one thing reading about it and another experiencing it. To see her mother-in-law’s hatred in just a flash is something she can’t take.
She had been sure this woman adored her. To hear the things she has just spewed out is totally crude.
She wishes the floor will open up and swallow her in one gulp.
The Tenkorangs head for their vehicles when they fail to convince Alicia to come with them.
Curtis’ mom insists they leave too since their son was being irrational and behaving as if his balls are hanging on his shoulders. She makes it clear that she will stop at nothing in her quest to end their marriage. She tells Alicia this is not the last she will hear from her as far as the issue is concerned, and that there is no way she will sit idle whiles Alicia does her utmost best to infect her son with a deadly disease. And then she leaves the table in frenzy with her dumbfounded husband at her tail.
Mr. Owusu-Mensah is not sure what has broken his wife’s back like that. He is surprised at the woman who not in the very distant past had thanked Curtis for giving her a daughter she never had in the person of Alicia.
Isaac apologizes for their Mom’s outburst and urges Alicia not to take it to heart.
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“I don’t think my mum really meant the things she said here today. She is just in shock and some people just go overboard when their emotions are stretched. I was very shocked myself but I know it can happen to anyone. I want you to know you can count on me for anything. “
Isaac stays with the couple for a while. For the very first time he has no jokes to share. He feels Alicia’s and Curtis’ pain. He leaves, very broken.
Curtis pulls crying Alicia into his arms and strokes her back gently to soothe her.
He secures a parking space for Alicia’s car and leads Alicia to his car.
He opens the door for her and ensures she is comfortable.
And then he walks to the driver side and takes his seat.
There are still tears in Alicia’s eyes.
“I’m deeply sorry for my mother’s outburst, Ally. I’m truly sorry you have to suffer like this. From now on, you should only be concerned with what I think of you. You are my life, I love you so much it hurts to see you like this. Just trust me and love me the way only you know how.”
Alicia’s tears fall unchecked. She is so shattered.
Curtis drives her home.
He draws the bath for her and stays, stroking her hair until she calms down.
He gets in the bath with her and gathers her in his arms and kisses her tears away.
Curtis stays up after their bath and strokes her back until she falls asleep and slips beside her, just holding her close.
Alicia is in the salon getting groomed for the hectic week ahead.
Thoughts of Richie crosses her mind every now and then.
It’s been more than two weeks since their meeting and she’s not had any feedback from him about the HIV test she requested.
The only communication she’s received from him was a WhatsApp post apologizing for his unusual cold reception of the news she carried that day. Whatever he meant by that, only he would understand.
As for her, she has decided not to pay any heed to how people react to her news anymore. It is part of the cross she has to carry.
As an Investment Analyst, she has a lot on her plate in the week ahead. One of their investments has gone bad and all attempts to redeem both principal and interest has failed. The way things are going, a legal redress seem to be the only plausible action to take.
She has worked with the legal team to carry out all the due diligence and checks that were needed for such investments before finally giving her consent for that particular investment.
She is aware she does not have much experience since she Chartered as an Investment Management Analyst just around the time she completed her National Service. Her only headache at the time was that the investment company came recommended by their Investment Committee and taking them on in that vigorous manner felt like she was attacking her bosses. That’s why she had suggested arbitration but it seem not to be getting them anywhere.
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She has been lucky to secure that job a few months after her final examinations and so far, she has excelled in all her investment decisions except for this one.
Their legal team are on standby with their petition for an injection to garnish the bank accounts and other assets of the Investment Company until they have fully honoured their obligations towards them.
The final decision rests with the general Board of Directors meeting scheduled for Monday.
She fixes her gaze on the ceiling as they wash her hair and wonders if the staff working on her at the particular moment would still have a smiling face if she knew her HIV status.
She knows without a shred of a doubt that she will be treated differently if they knew.
It suddenly dawns on her that there are a lot of unjust treatment meted out to people living with HIV and feels she has to look into it and see how best she can help in that regard.
Just after her hair is all set and ready for the dryer, her WhatsApp tone sounds and she takes a sneak peep to find out who it might be.
It is no other than her mother in law.
She has been very persistent with messages, pleas and threats for her to leave Curtis, her beloved son, ever since she heard the unpleasant news.
“Oh God, what did I do to deserve this? ” she voices out her thoughts unconsciously.
The salon attendant, fearing she must have done something wrong is at her side in no time.
“Ma’am, is everything alright? ” she asks, confused.
“Yes, I’m good! ” Alicia replies and dismisses her.
She directs her attention to the message her mother in law has just sent. Alicia can’t seem to put a finger on where all that sudden hatred for her is coming from.
This is someone Alicia has come to love and respect as a mother. This is a woman who had accompanied her to all her fitting sessions together with her own mother before her wedding to Curtis.
She is a woman Alicia had hanged out with for fun and who seemed to enjoy her company until now.
Alicia and her mother-in-law had gone shopping and jet skiing together.
They have had lunches and brunches together in the not very distant past.
She had even convinced her to accompany her to one of her school reunion parties as her daughter.
The thought of her changing so much after hearing about her condition makes Alicia wonder if all those show of affection and love were superficial.
Tears fill up in her eyes as she reads the message again.
“You know, I thought you were the best thing that ever happened to my son when we were introduced. I thought you were intelligent and really loved my son not knowing you are nothing but a schemer. You planned it all, didn’t you? You only want to hurt him when all he’s done is love you. If you have any respect left for yourself, you’ll leave my son alone to live his life.
He was not born to be married to an AIDS patient. You set out to trap him into marriage when you knew you had been nothing but a cheap girl who had hopped from one bed to another. Show some dignity and do the right thing for once in your miserable life, LEAVE MY SON ALONE. HE DESERVES BETTER!”
Alicia tears fall rapidly now.
She is crushed beyond imagination.
This is about the twentieth message she has received from her in law within twenty- four hours.
She needs to breathe or the pain from the stings from the words she has just read will suffocate her.
She wipes her face and asks the attendant to check on her hair. The attendant tries to explain that she has to stay in the dryer for a few more minutes but Alicia won’t have it.
She doesn’t have a few minutes. She has to get out and now. And she needs to get out before Curtis comes back for her.
Indeed, she has to disappear even if it’s for a while.
The attendant grudgingly takes her out and checks the hair.
It is not very dry but Alicia is determined not to waste any more time fussing over her long bouncy hair that keeps too long to dry.
The confused attendant tries to convince her to stay in the dryer a while longer but Alicia is already out.
The owner of the salon, who has known Alicia to be the reasonable type also tries to convince her but all her pleas fall on deaf ears.
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