Two days later, with monies contributed by Doctor Twumasi Dei and Akwasi Dapaah to settle her medical bills, Juliana Ohenewaa Dotse was released from the hospital.
She was still paralyzed from the waist down, and an uncertain future faced her.
Hurt, confused, betrayed, heart-broken and absolutely dejected, Julie didn’t know what kind of future faced her.
She was glad, though – to a very large extent – that in her darkest hour, she had discovered two genuine forms of light, two cherished friends in Doctor Dei and Akwasi Dapaah.
He never showed any sign of finding her cumbersome, and he was always there with a look, an expression, a word, a shoulder, a prayer to give her instant courage in those moments when she simply wished to die.
She sat in a wheelchair, and he walked beside her as a nurse pushed it to the car park.
Akwasi then lifted her in his strong arms, and as she put her arm around his neck, her face so close to his, noting his careful concentration as he manoeuvred her to the front seat of the car, Julie knew at that moment that she had spent years hating this man, when he had been a real gem all along.
Tears stung her eyes as he lowered her into the front seat which he had reclined so that she could lie back comfortably.
And that was something else she had noticed about him and liked very much: he was so considerate, always seeking of ways to make her comfortable and happy.
He saw the tears on her cheeks, and his eyes narrowed with concern suddenly.
“Ohenewaa, did I hurt you?” he asked quickly as he dropped to his right knee beside her.
She smiled tremulously at him, and before she could stop herself her right hand came up, and she placed it tenderly on his right cheek.
“You really don’t know a lot about women, do you?” she asked tenderly as she smiled. “Women don’t only cry when they’re in physical pain. Sometimes, they cry too when they’re feeling sentimental.”
“Sentimental, huh?” he murmured, looking deeply into her beautiful eyes.
She looked right back at him, and a moment later she found her heart racing. Her hand was still on his cheek, and they looked into each other’s eyes for a long time.
His jawline worked hard suddenly, and she felt a shiver running through him as he got to his feet quickly and gently closed the door.
Hurriedly Akwasi took out his wallet and gave a green note to the nurse, and then he quickly came around the car and got behind the wheel.
“Take me home, Akwasi,” Julie said softly as they joined the early traffic flow.
He looked at her with concern.
“You can’t go there, Julie! ” he said quickly. “Look…Abednego, Sandra and their mother moved into the house, and threw out your stuff. Jacob took your things in, so we can go to his place and retrieve them. There’s no place for you at your home anymore.”
“That’s the house of my parents,” Julie said quaveringly. “I beg of you, take me home.”
“Ohenewaa, damn it!” he exploded passionately. “There’s no one there to help you even if they allow you to stay there! At least, come to my place and let me work out something for you first.”
“No, Akwasi, you’ve done more than enough already,” Julie insisted. “Please, take me home. And I want to see you every day.”
Akwasi Dapaah glared at her, and then he sighed.
And so he took her home.
Two security men at the huge gates refused to let them come in, and as Akwasi was trying to convince them, one of them called Abednego on the intercom and complained about Akwasi.
Julie only reclined in the seat and wept bitterly.
These were men she had hired personally, and been kind to almost on a daily basis. And here they were, turning her out of the only home she had known all her life!
The world, indeed, was a strange place.
Abednego soon emerged with his mother, and he was in a fit of a temper.
He pushed Akwasi Dapaah hard in the chest.
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“Stop it, Abed!” Julie shouted with sudden concern. “What’s the matter with you?”
“You get out of here this instant!” Abednego screamed. “She has no place here anymore! She’s going to rot in jail, so do us a favour and take her to the police station!”
“You witch, Julie, you damn witch!” Esinam, Abednego’s mother, screamed as she yanked the car door open and glared at Julie. “May you rot in hell! You finally did it, didn’t you? Yes, you killed my dear Blessed Dotse! You witch! You will burn in hell for this!”
Julie could not speak.
She shut her eyes, and couldn’t control the tears that burned her face.
Akwasi pulled Esinam aside and shut the car door.
“Hey, bastard, don’t handle my mother like that!” Abednego shouted, bearing down on Akwasi.
Akwasi Dapaah looked at him coldly.
“Don’t force me to break every little bone in your body, Abednego!” Akwasi said in a voice brimming with so much threat that Abednego stopped in his tracks, and put his arm protectively around his bristling mother’s shoulders.
“Get out of here, Julie, you stupid whore!” Abednego shouted. “You have no place here anymore! Fucking slut!”
Akwasi got into the car, reversed, executed a turn, and drove away.
His hands were holding the steering-wheel tightly, and his jawline was tight with great fury and pity. He suddenly smashed a fist into the steering-wheel repeatedly, and Julie reached out and touched his arm gently.
His arm tensed, but he kept his eyes on the road.
“I’m sending you to my place, Ohenewaa,” he said through clenched teeth. “These people make me sick to my stomach.”
“We need to pass through Jake’s place, please,” Julie said tearfully.
“No, Ohenewaa,” Akwasi said, shaking his head with concern. “He might not be in.”
“I know, Akwasi,” she said. “That’s why I want us to pass through. I have a set of keys. You know I bought that apartment for him on his birthday, to stay in until we got married. If he’s not around I’ll just gather my stuff and leave.”
“So you own the apartment?” he asked quietly.
“No, I used his name for all the documents,” Julie said softly, and clamped her mouth shut because she suddenly felt weepy again.
Thankfully, Akwasi didn’t press her again until they got to the luxury apartments, and passed through the entrance after Julie produced a copy of her residential permit.
Apartment 44, the one she had bought for Jacob Acquah, had two cars parked in front.
One for Akwasi, and the other car was Sandra’s Lexus.
Akwasi stopped, but he kept the engine idling, his face cut up with worry.
“It seems Sandra is here with Jake,” he said softly.
“Yeah, I can see,” Julie said, traumatized by bouts of acute pain buffeting her heart. “Please, I’m not getting down. Just see if my stuff is in bags, and let’s take as many as we can.”
“We can go to my place, Ohenewaa,” he said gently. “We can buy anything you might need for a few days, and then I promise to come here and organize your stuff for you.”
Before Julie could speak the door opened, and Sandra came out with Jacob Acquah.
Jake was only in a pair of white shorts, and Sandra was wearing very short jeans shorts and a cut-off top that ended just below her breasts. Her ample figure was sharply outlined as Jacob pushed her against the wall just near the door, and then they kissed slowly and passionately, his right hand travelling up Sandra’s thigh and then firmly holding her buttocks and squeezing.
Sandra was holding a black disposable bag and she kissed him back almost violently.
“Oh, dear!” Akwasi said as he got out of the car in a rush and banged the door.
Julie could only sit and weep pitifully…
To be continued