Jacob Acquah and Sandra looked up suddenly and saw Akwasi approaching.
Jacob’s eyes went to Akwasi’s car, and a sheepish look came to his face when he saw the ashen face of Julie through the clear windscreen.
He released Sandra, who came forward with a dark expression, opened the trashcan outside, and dumped the disposable bag she was holding inside.
She turned to Akwasi with dark mean eyes.
“And what the heck are you doing here?” she asked nastily.
Akwasi ignored her and faced Jacob.
“Julie left the hospital,” he said, trying hard to keep his anger and disgust at bay. “She wants some of her things.”
“Yeah, yeah, sure, sure,” Jacob said, obviously flustered. “Come in, Akwasi, lemme show you.”
Akwasi followed Jacob into the apartment.
Sandra, about to follow, saw Julie for the first time, and she sauntered over with a satisfied gloat etched on her face. She reached out to open the door, but Julie quickly pressed the central lock button on the remote dangling from the key in the ignition, locking all the doors. Sandra smiled nastily and knocked on the window, but Julie kept her face straight and refused to turn her head.
“Can you hear me?” Sandra shouted, and Julie did hear her dimly, but she refused to turn her head. “Oh, so the cripple finally left hospital. Guess what, Jacob and I are getting married after the funeral. I have your invitation card ready. Will send it to you, I promise!”
She giggled, and then walked back toward the house, swaying her hips and rounded derriere in a sexy manner.
Julie clamped her teeth together tightly, fighting with all her will to keep the pain bottled up, to keep the tears from flowing any longer…but to no avail.
The pain she was feeling was unlike any she had ever felt in her life.
It made her miss her parents so much…
Her father who always took her in his arms and soothed her problems away with his deep, resonating voice! Her mother who would slowly brush her hair and wrap her wonderful arms around her…
The tears spurted out of Julie’s soul, harsh and unrelenting as the cruel reality that her parents were dead tore her apart, coupled with the unbearable pain Jake was giving her, and the sheer helplessness she felt because she could not even walk!
The door opened, and Akwasi came out with two large cases, and behind him was Jake, also holding two.
Julie reached out with a trembling hand and pressed the remote button to unlock the doors. She quickly took her phone and switched on the record feature, and placed it on her laps.
She reached across and drew out sheets of tissues from the box on the dashboard and wiped her face.
Akwasi opened the boot and stacked the cases in as Jake dropped the ones he was holding and walked to Julie’s side of the window. Julie pressed the button that lowered the window. She saw that Sandra had come to stand in the doorway, and was watching them with a dark expression on her face.
Jacob smiled sheepishly at Julie.
“Hello, Julie,” he said in a gentle voice. “Glad to see you’re out of hospital. How’re you feeling?”
Julie looked at him with stunned eyes.
“You can ask me that?” she asked quaveringly. “You have the audacity to ask me that, Jake?”
“Hey, come on, Julie!” he said in a suddenly cold voice. “Things happened, regrettably, yes, but that doesn’t mean we should be enemies! It didn’t work out for us, and I’m sorry everything seems to be stacked up against you. It wasn’t intentional, please! The best we can do is move on, and if possible try to be friends!”
“Friends, Jake?” Julie asked bitterly. “Did you say friends? How could you even think about being friends if you’re willing to see me go to prison in my present condition? Don’t you even have an iota of pity in you? How could I have been so wrong about you?”
He scowled at her darkly.
“What are you talking about, Julie?” he asked, his voice innocent.
“Don’t give me that crap, Jake!” Julie screamed, unable to control herself. “I’m talking about the money from the Opambuor Group, the three billion cedis we deposited in my accounts, and now being accused of transferring it to a Swiss Account!”
He looked puzzled, and looked at her levelly without batting an eye.
“What about it, Julie?” he asked quietly. “Yes, we put the money in your account, and now it seems it is not there.”
“Because you stole it, Jake!” Julie shouted painfully as Akwasi opened the driver’s door and sat behind the wheel. “You know I have no control of that account! I gave you everything I had, Jake! Everything! I never kept anything from you! You had total control of that account, and you transferred the money out, with the help of your damn cohorts at the bank!”
Jacob shook his head, looking at Julie with a sardonic expression.
“What’s wrong with you, Julie?” he asked calmly. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. The money was in your account, and now the money is missing. How the hell would I know what you did with it?”
“Because you stole it, you bastard!” Julie screamed, reaching out blindly through the window to scratch his face, but he moved back quickly. “How could you stand there and do this to me, Jake, Jake, Jake? You really want me to go to prison after losing my parents, my inheritance and even my legs? Jake! You’re wicked!”
He smiled sadly and shook his head.
“Move on, Julie, please,” he said quietly. “Don’t you dare blame your ills on me.”
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Sandra had come forward now, and she put a hand around Jacob’s waist and glared at Julie with absolute disgust.
Jake put his arm around her shoulders, and they brushed lips briefly.
“You’re going to jail, Julie,” Sandra said with a hate-filled voice. “You’re going to pay so dearly for ruining my family. It would’ve been better for you if you had died in that accident.”
Akwasi pointed his forefinger at them.
“Listen, I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, and I don’t know where, but I’ve prayed to God for Julie, and my God never fails me,” he said in a calm, controlled voice. “And I know one thing for certain…you two are going to pay. God is going to pull that rug of mischief from right under your feet, and your fall will let you know that every wicked act done against God’s chosen will never go unpunished!”
“Shut the fuck up, you asshole!” Sandra screamed, kicking out sickeningly at the side of the car. “You’re the one who’ll die, bastard!”
But Jacob stood quite still, and as he looked at the shattered face of Julie a fleeting expression of sudden dismay flitted across his face, but it was gone quickly and replaced by that infuriating expression of indifference.
“I never mentioned death, Sandy,” Akwasi said calmly. “Be careful what you wish for.”
He reversed the car as he swiftly rolled up window, and then he turned the car round and drove away fast.
“I tried to record him,” Julie said as she picked up her phone and switched off the recorder. “I tried to get him to admit taking the money! Oh, Akwasi! I’m dead! I can’t go to prison for a crime I’ve not committed! I just can’t, not in my present situation! What’s happening to me? What have I done to deserve these horrifying plagues?”
She dropped the phone back in her laps, leaned back, covered her face with her right hand, and wept bitterly, her tears jerking and tearing her body apart.
Akwasi’s jawline was set with impotent rage, and as he drove out of the main security post of the community, he suddenly swung the car to the side of the road and parked.
He got out of the car and walked around it to the passenger door.
He opened the door and held out his arms.
With a moan Julie shot forward and wrapped her arms around him, putting her hot face against his cheeks. His arms were strong and comforting, and he held her as she wept bitterly, her tears shaking both of them.
“This fight isn’t yours, Ohenewaa,” he said quietly. “It is the Lord’s. I keep telling you not to forget what happened when that stranger came to your ward. God has already taken a stand in this. You just have to repent sincerely and then watch how God will shock you.”
His voice was deep, resonating through her like her father’s, and she garnered sudden and unexpected strength from him. The fact that he could be so calm, so strong, so caring, so present…when she had been nothing but a monster to him all these years suddenly came back to haunt her.
She squeezed him tightly, and somehow, feeling his heartbeats thudding against hers, feeling the abrasive pricking of the emerging bristles of his beard on her cheek, he seemed like a pillar, and her tears just petered out.
He made to draw back, but she would not let him. Her arms tightened around him, and she suddenly nuzzled his throat with her wet face.
“Akwasi,” she whispered unsteadily. “You are not human. You’re my guardian angel.”
“Hm,” he murmured.
Again he tried to move back, and again she wouldn’t let him, drawing him back tightly into her embrace.
“Ohenewaa,” he murmured gently. “People are staring.”
“Let them,” she whispered with a shuddering breath. “I don’t give a fuck.”
And he laughed then…and after a moment she also laughed shakily with her face against his neck.
To be continued