Suicide closes the curtains…
THE CHRONICLES OF THE STRANGER
Akwasi Dapaah stood and watched all that was going on with wonder on his face.
He saw Julie being hugged tightly by Mrs. Opoku Agyeman as both of them shed tears, and he watched Mr. Opoku Agyeman putting his arms around both of them and raising his face to the ceiling in evident supplication and thanks to the God he served.
Akwasi watched Sandra and Abednego sitting still, their expressions a true reflection of the poleaxed shock they were in, watching their plans against Julie and their greed for wealth crumbling around their feet.
Sandra looked absolutely flummoxed, and as she looked at Julie, there was an element of fear on Sandra’s face. She had sat down and planned Julie’s downfall, venting her rage on the girl…all for nothing!
Now it was Julie who had changed from the worthless piece of dirt into the headstone, into the salt, and now the fate of Sandra, Abednego and their mother was now in the hands of Julie.
Sandra looked at Abednego, and saw that he was also filled with fear, and yes…great regret!
Akwasi watched with mild shock when Jacob Acquah slunk toward the door, which opened and a grim-looking Chief Inspector Cobby Grant came in with two constables.
He saw them speaking to Jacob, who turned and looked at Julie with a face torn to shreds with shock and disbelief, and then one of the constables slipped a pair of shiny handcuffs on Jacob’s wrists.
The Chief Inspector took Jacob’s arm, and they led him out of the conference room, his face still filled with an expression of shock and doom.
Akwasi watched as the top Executives and Members of the Board came toward him to shake his hand and offer him congratulatory words, and he wondered how human beings could be such hypocrites!
A couple of months ago he had tried to contact some of these same people to ask them to intervene and help him, telling them his dismissal had been unfair, but they had not bothered to even give him an audience.
He had been a canker they wanted no part of…and now they approached him with smiles and congratulated him as if he were their closest of pals.
Mike Kose, the Human Resource Manager, had a sheepish look on his face as he shook Akwasi’s hand.
“Hm, Akwasi my brother, it wasn’t me, you know!” he said pleadingly as he wiped his face with a handkerchief. “Sandra, that demon, Sandra! She and her devil of a brother! They gave me no options! Either I fired you or I lost my job! You know how they could be.”
“Yeah, I know,” Akwasi said calmly. “But what is important is not what Sandra and Abednego did, Mr. Kose. What is important is how you treated me afterwards. I called you several times, and you refused to pick my calls, and you even blocked my number. I tried several times to see you, and your secretary wouldn’t allow me, with the excuse that you were always out, or in a meeting or you were busy! As a Human Resource Manager, you knew how frustrated I was, and the best you could have done was give me a listening ear.”
Mike Kose grinned in a sickly fashion and spread his hands in a placating gesture.
“It is not me, my brother,” he said in a trembling voice. “I just didn’t know how to handle the situation because I knew Sandra and Abednego were so wrong in how they treated you.”
“Yes, Mr. Kose, and you never expected that the boy you threw away so painfully could be your boss today,” Akwasi said softly. “I forgive you, but I must let you know that I’ll be appointing a new Human Resource Manager.”
His eyes went wide with fear and horror.
“Mr. Dapaah, no, no, you can’t do this to me!” he fumbled, nonplussed.
“Oh, you would enjoy the same salary and fringe benefits, Mr. Kose,” Akwasi said softly. “But you’ll be an Assistant Human Resource Manager. I’ll appoint someone who will listen to a stressed employee with a Christian heart, Mr. Kose. Sometimes it is so hard being a Christian, Mr. Kose, because right now I just want to give you a dirty blow and dismiss you from this company. But no, I’m a Christian first, and so I forgive you wholeheartedly. Good day.”
Akwasi turned away from the flummoxed man and walked slightly to one side. Julie, now hugging her grandfather, saw him and smiled at him with tears of joy streaming down her face.
“I love you,” she mouthed to him, and he smiled with a deep sigh.
She whispered something to Mr. Opoku Agyeman, and then she slipped out of his arms and walked slowly toward Akwasi.
However, Sandra and Abednego were walking toward her, their faces filled with evident horror and undeniable remorse.
Sandra knelt suddenly and held Julie’s right leg.
“Julie, my sister, please forgive us,” she said plaintively. “We’ve hated you for no just cause! We sought to destroy you because we were so jealous of you. We’re sorry, Julie. Please find it in your heart to forgive us!”
Julie’s face was filled with unbridled fury as she took a step back. She raised her right leg instantly as if to kick Sandra in the head.
Sandra gasped and raised her hand defensively across her face, expecting Julie’s foot to crash into her head.
Julie looked up just then and saw Akwasi looking at her across the room, his face horrified.
Slowly she lowered her leg and looked down at Sandra with great wrath.
“Sandra, don’t come and tempt me koraa!” Julie said bitterly. “Please, I haven’t reached that level of Christianity yet. Maybe someday soon I’ll indeed forgive you, but not today, and certainly not now. Right now I just want to strip the flesh off your skeleton, both you and Abed, but Nyame nti I’ve held my cool. May God have mercy on you, and may He send the Stranger to you too.”
She walked past Sandra who was still kneeling with her hands still across her face. Abednego knelt and gathered his sister in his arms, and he also looked at Julie remorsefully.
“Please, forgive us, Julie,” he said miserably.
“Mbonsam!” Julie said darkly as she drew near Akwasi.
Akwasi Dapaah chuckled richly.
“You just sinned big time, Julie!” he said gently.
“Hwe, dey der,” Julie said with a radiant smile as she looked at him. “Even the Stranger koraa broke the arms of that wicked policeman who hit you! Me I’m a baby Christian o!”
“It doesn’t matter,” Akwasi said. “Forgiveness forms the core of all Christian characters.”
“I forgive them, alright, but I won’t hug them,” she said with a mischievous chuckle. “Not today, no.”
He looked at her, seeing how her emotions had transformed her into a little girl. She looked so sweet and breathtakingly beautiful that she took his breath away. She stopped in front of him and grinned even as tears fell down her face.
“My love,” she said, almost in a whisper because her voice was choked up. “Can you believe this? I had a gun to my head only yesterday, ready to commit suicide…and now look at me, Akwasi! My paralysis is gone! I thought I was lost, but see, my roots are those of the wealthiest couple in the country! I thought my life was over when Jake left me, and now see how dangerously I’ve fallen in love with you! All because I met that stranger!”
He shook his head at her.
“No, my love, all because you found Christ, and met God,” he said gently. “That stranger was a messenger God sent to you. God found you, and God got your back. He’s like that, you know, the God we serve. He can blow your mind wide open.”
She giggled and wiped her tears, but more simply fell down her cheeks.
“Jake was arrested,” he said softly. “I don’t understand…I saw him kissing you, I almost died!”
She reached out and touched his cheek gently, tenderly.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, my love, please forgive me,” she said gently. “I just wanted to lead him on, to make him transfer that three billion back. What I had with Jake was lust, my love. What I feel for you, right now, oh how I wish I had felt it a long time ago! My love, for now, and ever, I’m yours. I’ll always be yours!”
“I don’t understand, Julie!” he groaned in anguish. “I heard you, and I saw you two! I’m hurting so badly. I’ve never known such pain over any girl. You’ll kill me, Julie!”
Without a word, Julie slowly began to unbutton the topmost knobs of her blouse.
“What are you doing now, huh, you crazy girl?” Akwasi asked with confusion.
Julie smiled at him lovingly and pointed to an exposed wire and a small strange-looking glassy gadget inside the buttonhole.
“Do you see this, my love?” she asked quietly. “Well, actually, it is a secret camera and a recorder! When I was told I had also been invited to this meeting, I told Chief Inspector Cobby Grant that Jake will definitely do a turnaround the moment he knows Sandra no longer has the power over the Company. I told him Jake would come back to me because he knows I have friends on the Opambuor Board.”
“Goodness me!” Awkasi whispered, shocked, and Julie smiled lovingly at him.
“Yes, yes, my love!” she whispered. “So they quickly rigged me with this camera and secret recorder. And there’s a special police van outside that has recorded everything between Jake and me, and we’ve captured his admission! The good news is, he’s transferred the money back into my secure account! That is why they arrested him…with solid evidence. You didn’t think I was going to let him make a fool of me and make three billion cedis in the process, did you?”
“So, all that happened between you two…” he said numbly.
“I was just fooling him to admit his crime, and he went the full mile to do the reversal,” she said with a giggle.
“Damn you, Julie,” Akwasi said, and the pain in his eyes cleared, and she saw that incredible love she had missed in his eyes. “You almost killed me.”
“I’m sorry, my love,” she whispered tenderly. “But it told me just how much you love me! Oh, Akwasi, the way I want to chew your lips eh? You’ll kill me with these Chrife things, my love! You better marry me fast!”
And then Akwasi Dapaah did a very strange thing.
He put his arms around her, and dragged her right into him, very close and tight, so that even air couldn’t pass between them.
Her breath just stopped!
It was the most poignant moment of her life.
“Akwasi!” she whispered, her eyes filling up with tears.
She was not a stranger to kisses, and she had done a lot of kissing…
But that kiss, that gentle, soft brush of his lips across hers, that breath-taking moment when she felt his tongue lightly…
It just sent a sweet warmth and such great joy swamping her whole being that she lifted her left hand put it around his head, drew him down further, and kissed him with a passion that took their breath away.
She didn’t care.
For the very first time in her life, she wanted to give as much as she was taking, and this was more than feeling. It was a craving, a need, a desire that frightened her as much as it delighted her. And surprisingly the need she felt was not for sex. She just wanted to be held and loved.
“Would you two idiots show some respect and stop what you’re doing?” the voice of Mr. Opoku Agyeman rang out, cutting into the moment.
There was laughter all around them when they parted.
Julie had never seen Akwasi looking so…so…so indescribable!
His face had come alive, filled with wonder, joy and love, and she knew that same expression was reflected on hers.
“Oh, Akwasi!” she whispered tremulously. “You should have found me so much earlier!”
“God has a time for everything, my love,” he said and stepped back from her.
Mrs. Opoku Agyeman took Julie’s arm and pulled her back, her eyes narrowing as she looked at Akwasi.
“Shame on you!” she said fiercely. “I thought you were a Christian with good intents!”
Akwasi smiled, shamefaced.
“I am, ma’am,” he said softly with a great sigh. “But that grandchild of yours…oh, she affects me so! Please, keep her away from me until we get married.”
They all laughed, and Mr. Opoku Agyeman shook Akwasi’s hand.
“Welcome to the family, my son,” he said. “I have been worried about dying without an heir, and wondering what would happen to the wonderful blessings my Lord gave me. But look, I found my granddaughter, and I found a son in you. Indeed, the Lord works in mysterious ways.”
Julie and Akwasi looked at each other.
Their happiness was great.
Life was good.
It was a very fine day indeed, Julie thought, a really fine day.
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