The noise levels in the courtroom had now reached a crescendo.
People were talking and gesticulating wildly. Television journalists were facing their cameras and giving a summary to the entranced viewers across the country.
Radio journalists had gone outside to find quieter environments to file their reports and interview members of the spectators. Print and internet media personnel were quickly filing reports and posting.
People had formed little groups and discussing what had transpired with animated gestures.
And for a few minutes Liz just sat in her seat staring at Tony whose head was thrown back over the chair. She stood up suddenly and walked out of the witness box, and then she began to walk towards Tony quickly, but her parents, siblings and cousins swarmed around her and held her arm, evidently stopping her from going to Tony.
She looked at her grandmother, and when she spoke her voice was quite unsteady.
“Grandma, I hope what Tony said about Junior taking part in the worship isn’t true!” she said in a pained voice. “And why didn’t you tell me he paid for the leasehold? Why did you keep that from me, Grandma?”
“Honey, we’ll address that later, okay?” Sandra Baidoo said desperately. “This is not the time for that, please. We have more important things to discuss!”
“Important things, Mama?” Liz said painfully. “What’s more important than banning the man I love from your house? And nobody thought it wise to inform me! How could you do that?”
“Regrettable, my dear,” Jake Baidoo said with a sigh. “But that does not exonerate him from what he did, my dear, from soiling your matrimonial bed!”
Liz shook her head dazedly.
“I have to speak to him,” she said, sounding confused. “Have to speak to Tony.”
“I will advice against that, Liz,” Hassan Moshi said sharply. “The judge might be out, but she still has eyes and ears in this courtroom. She was abhorred by Tony’s rather graphic description of that ritual. Please, don’t give her another chance to suspect your motives. You’re the one aggrieved here!”
“But he has to know how sorry I am about the house, and about my parents banning him from our home!” Liz cried.
“All in good time, Liz, when this is sorted out!” Hassan Moshi said. “Now we have to tackle this rather incredible evidence Junior would give.”
“Don’t worry about that!” Sandra said in a rush. “I already spoke to Stacy about that. Come, Liz, let’s go out and meet them. Spend the rest of the time with your children before that judge meets them.”
“I don’t know,” Liz said miserably. “Maybe we should have let Tony see them when he came around. They’ve missed him, you know. They’ve always been closer to him than me! And now he’s so furious because of that!”
“Spare me those childish sentiments!” cried Allan, her brother. “Get a grip on yourself, Liz! You could lose the kids too if you don’t stop thinking about that bastard! Come, let’s go out!”
As they ushered Liz outside, there was a sudden move of journalists and people towards her, and a huge chunk of people went outside.
Grace, however, did not follow them. She picked up the book Tony had thrown at Hassan Moshi from under the table and approached the witness box.
“Your book, Mr. Angry Man,” she said with a chuckle.
Tony sat up immediately at the sound of her voice and smiled sadly.
“Grace,” he said with strained voice. “Sorry you saw me like that. Missed those children.”
“I know, Tony,” she said sympathetically and handed him the book. “Just want you to know that I’ll always be on your side no matter what happens.”
He nodded suddenly with a pain of emotion in his voice, and reached out and touched her shoulder.
“Thank you, Grace, for everything.”
She held up a little food warmer.
“Hungry?” she asked. “Got some salad sandwiches and sobolo here.”
Tony smiled widely then.
“I love your sandwiches and sobolo,” he said.
She scowled a bit playfully.
“That sounds kinda dirty,” she joked, and they laughed.
She put the warmer on top of the box and opened it. She handed him one and a bottle of the drink.
They conversed lightly as they ate, and some minutes afterwards, Tony got out of the box and headed for the gents. He remained in there till the hour was almost up, and then he went back to the courtroom.
Almost everybody was seated, and all eyes rested on him as he made his way back to the witness box and sat down with a great sigh. A few minutes later, the court orderly shouted:
They all got to their feet as Judge Ivy Asante Darteh took her seat, and then she bid them to sit down. She looked at Hassan Moshi.
“Counsel, I was informed the children have been brought.”
Hassan Moshi got to his feet.
“Yes, Your Honour, they are out in the lobby,” he said.
“Please, bring them in.”
Lindsey Baidoo – Liz’s older sister – stood up and walked to a door to the left of their seat, and a moment later she returned with Ceci in her arms and Junior walking beside Stacy.
The children were dressed resplendently, and looked really cute. Junior was in a suit and tie, and Ceci in a fabulous white dress. Stacy walked with Junior towards the judge whilst Lindsey sat down with Ceci in her arms, but the little girl suddenly looked up and saw Tony sitting in the witness box.
Her little face lit up with indescribable joy.
Tony looked at his children, and everybody present noticed the sudden emotion on his face, emotion of warm, glowing love that could not be feigned.
“Daddiiieeesh!” Ceci screamed loudly and held out her little arms towards Tony. “I go daddiiieeeesh! I go daddiiieeesh!”
Lindsey tried to put her across her shoulders, but Ceci screamed suddenly and moved rather violently on her shoulders, bucking and kicking and striking with her little hands.
“Noooooo!” she screamed. “Ceci go daddiiieeesh! Daddiiieeesh! Ceci wan daddiiieeeesh!”
So, Sandra Baidoo got up quickly and stretched her hands for the little girl. She took hold of her and tried to convey her out of the courtroom, but the little girl kicked and thrust violently, almost hitting the floor, and Sandra looked at her furiously and raised her hand as if to spank her.
“Behave, Ceci!” she cried angrily.
“Don’t you dare!” Tony growled from the witness box as he stood up, and then the girl left Sandra’s hands and ran quite hard towards her father with her arms wide and tears falling down her beautiful rosy cheeks.
“Daddiieesh! Daddiiieeeesh! Cedi wan daddieeesh!”
And then Junior let go of Stacy’s hand and rushed after his little sister and suddenly took hold of her hands desperately.
“No, Ceci, Ceci, no, no, no!” the boy cried desperately. “Don’t go to daddy! Don’t go to daddy, Ceci!”
It was evident the boy was very scared as he wrestled with his sister desperately.
“Leave meeeesssh!” Ceci cried, struggling against her brother. “I wan go dadieeesh! I wan go daddieeesh! Leave meeeesh, Junors!”
“No, Ceci! You can’t go to Daddy, no, please, Ceci, no!” Junior shouted desperately.
Tony looked at his son with utter shock, and his mouth fell open with shock as he slowly sank into his seat and put trembling fingers to his lips.
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