Julie admitted that Akwasi Dapaah had a beautiful home.
It was a flat, sprawling building with a lot of green grassy patches, replete with even a small garden.
“Your own place?” she asked with surprise when he drove into the yard and parked. The young man who had opened the main gate for them closed it and came running to the car eagerly.
“Yeah, built it with your father’s help, and his insistence,” he said with a gentle smile. “Actually, this plot of land belonged to him, and he gave it to me as a birthday gift and one bag of cement.”
Julie smiled sadly and nodded, yes, that was a true picture of the forever-kind Blessed Dotse.
And then her attention was distracted when the door opened and an elderly woman came out, followed by about four young ladies and three young men.
“Yikes!” Julie exclaimed, surprised. “I didn’t know you have such a large family. Your mother and siblings?”
Before he could reply her door opened, and the elderly woman looked at her with the kindest eyes on earth. She was slim and small, with just traces of grey hair, the kind of woman who would live to a good grand age. She was quite pretty, and her soft hands reached out and held Julie.
“Ah, finally, my son brings a woman home,” she said, and the little crowd around her burst into happy laughter.
“Make way, make way, she’s tired,” Akwasi said as he came round the car.
They parted for him, but Julie was stunned by their happy looks and welcoming smiles. Oddly, it seemed they were extremely happy to see her.
Akwasi picked her up and carried her inside.
He took her through a long corridor, then turned right and carried her to a huge, beautiful living-room with beautiful U-shaped leather chairs.
“Welcome home, Julie,” the elderly woman said as Akwasi put Julie down.
Julie looked at her with stunned eyes.
“Thank you, Mama,” she said tremulously. “You’re so kind! Your children are blessed to have a mother like you.”
“Oh, they’re my children alright, but I didn’t give birth to any of them,” she said with a broad smile.
“You didn’t?” Julie asked, contrite. “Oh, I’m sorry! I assumed…sorry, sorry, sorry!”
“Oh, keep your hat on,” she said, throwing a hand dismissively and smiling.
“There’s no great mystery. I used to work in an orphanage when I was a young woman. Akwasi’s mother died when he was still a tot, about three or four years. His people brought him to the orphanage and left. We didn’t even know his father. I loved him like my own son; he was so cute, and so I took care of him.”
“Ei, this woman can talk!” Akwasi said as he entered the room with a glass of water in hand.
“Oh, village boy!” the elderly woman said. “Go and put it on a serving tray!”
“Oh, that’s alright,” Julie said with a smile, and took the glass of water from Akwasi gratefully.
She drank it all, and a young girl appeared from the kitchen with another water on a tray.
“Shame, Adobea, I’ve served her already!” Akwasi said.
The beautiful young girl called Adobea stopped and looked at him.
“Village boy!” she said with mock severity, and they all laughed.
She took the empty glass from Julie and put it on the tray.
“Maame Baaba is the only mother I’ve ever had,” Akwasi said fondly as he sat down beside the elderly woman and put an arm around her shoulders. “She took care of me in the orphanage, and ensured I always attended the best schools. These are my friends from the orphanage, now my dear family.”
“Akwasi brought us all together the moment he started working, and he has taken care of us ever since,” Maame Baaba said.
Once again Julie was hit with shame and remorse when she remembered just how badly she used to treat Akwasi, and how she had fought so hard to have him sacked! Not knowing he was such a dear man, taking care of all these people as his own family.
She looked at him for a long time, and at that particular moment in time all she wanted to do was to wrap her arms around him and put his head on her breasts.
Startled, she force that image out of her head and smiled sheepishly at Akwasi.
Julie was introduced to all of them, but she warmed quite quickly to the beautiful young girl called Adobea.
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Later, after a wonderful meal of rice balls and palm-nut soup, Akwasi carried her to her new room. It was big and beautifully-fitted. There was even a state-of-the-art wheelchair for her.
“Akwasi,” she whispered in a tense voice. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”
“We’ll bring your cases now, Ohenewaa,” he said.
“Adobea will help you with everything, just ask her. She’ll help you take a bath now, so I’ll see you later.”
He walked to the door, and then he paused suddenly, and turned slowly. Their eyes met, because Julie had been staring at him all along. She just mouthed the words without voicing them out:
He stared at her for a long time. It was a momentary lapse in his high defence, a let-down of his guard that made her see the heart behind the shield, and for a moment she saw the longing and the desire on his face, and it sent a thrill down her body, and pleased her very much.
She smiled at him tenderly, but his face was suddenly inscrutable again as he opened the door and went out.
Julie spent a week of bliss in Akwasi’s house with his adopted family, and she was so happy that the pain of Jake’s betrayal was a little bit bearable. Doctor Dei also came around on two occasions to treat her.
Her favourite moments, though, were the early mornings when Akwasi came to check up on her before going to work, and in the evenings when he spent so much time with her before lifting her up and settling her down on the bed.
On the evening of the fifth night, she had not removed her arm from around his neck as he put her on the bed, even though he tried to push her arm up, and inevitably he had been forced to fall into her warm embrace on the bed, with his head on her breasts, just as she had intended.
Slowly he lifted his head and looked at her.
His face, inches from hers, was so tense, and she marvelled at how handsome he really was. It was as if she were seeing him for the very first time in a different kind of light. His lips were so near, so tempting.
Akwasi looked down at her incredibly-beautiful face, the most beautiful woman he had ever come across. Her lips were wet and parted, and she was so irresistible.
“Kiss me, please,” she whispered against his lips suddenly.
His breathing was laboured, and his face was tortured. With a herculean effort he leveraged himself off her and stood up, causing a sharp pain to rip through her heart as she stared at him through a film of sudden tears.
“You find me revolting,” she whispered, and the thought of that gave her a pain she had not expected. “I’m not enough woman for you…because I’m an invalid.”
“Ohenewaa, stop that!” he whispered thickly, and she looked up at him, and saw the desire etched deeply into his face. “Right now, you’re the most desirable and beautiful woman I have ever seen…can’t you see I can barely hold myself together?”
“Then why won’t you kiss me?” she asked in a lost little voice.
“Because, if I start, I can’t stop,” he said softly. “I have dreamt of it, yes, several times during the past years, and it sickened me to see you with that Jacob, because I knew he was cheating on you with Sandra.”
Her eyes widened with sudden shock, and as she looked at him she saw what every woman expected to see in the eyes of a loved one, and only a few lucky ones ever found it…and it made her heart race so powerfully that it left her breathless.
“Akwasi!” she whispered tremulously.
“Yes, Ohenewaa, I fell in love with you, and I’ve loved you for a long time,” he said, almost savagely. “But I guess I felt bitter at first, because I’m a Christian, and I asked God why he should let me, a man who has been chaste my whole life and never fornicated, fall in love with a woman having an affair with Jacob. But God moves in mysterious ways, Ohenewaa. Yes, I love you, and yes, I will kiss you…but not now, no. I will do that after I marry you.”
Julie’s smile almost split her face into two, and her tears of happiness flooded her as it dawned on her finally, how real love really felt like.
“Oh, Akwasi!” she murmured quiveringly. “I always thought I was in love, but I’m now realizing just how silly those feelings were compared to what I feel now. I think, as mad as it may sound, that I’ve fallen madly in love with my most hated enemy, Akwasi Dapaah.”
Feeling buoyant, like she was floating on air, Julie held out her arms to him.
“Hug me, Akwasi,” she murmured.
He scowled darkly at her, and then he turned away from her.
“Damn you, Ohenewaa!” he murmured almost savagely as he turned away with desire ripping through him. “I can’t hug you now. I’ll just tear that negligée off you to damn with fornication…but you know I can’t do that!”
Julie laughed throatily as she felt a flood of desire she had never felt in a long time.
“Oh, Akwasi, Mr. Chrife!” she whispered as he opened the door. “I can’t wait for that wedding night! I’ll devour you, Akwasi Dapaah!”
He turned and smiled broadly at her.
“I can’t wait for your tutelage, Ohenewaa,” he said gently. “Goodnight, my love.”
“Goodnight, my darling,” she whispered, her heart bursting with happiness.
But it didn’t last, no, because something happened the next morning…
The police sedans came to the premises with wailing sirens early the next morning, and when Akwasi opened the main gates he found himself staring into the faces of about ten grim-faced policemen.
There was a sleek four-runner car parked behind the police cars, and sitting in it were the gloating faces of Sandra and Abednego…and the resigned face of Jacob Acquah.
Akwasi felt a huge kick of fear in his heart.
“Is Miss Juliana Ohenewaa Dotse with you?” asked the Chief Inspector as he slowly took out a sheet of paper from a large brown envelope.
“Yes, she is,” Akwasi said, fighting the panic and the crippling horror that almost made him pass out.
“Good,” the Chief Inspector said as he showed the official document to Akwasi. “We have a warrant for her arrest. Please, take us to her!”
Akwasi Dapaah almost died at that moment!
To be continued