“Is that true?” Grace asked looking at Diana who kept shaking her head not wanting Jack to say a thing.
“Grace please, we cannot be talking like this here, look, people are watching us. Can we move to a decent place and sit to talk like grownups?” Jack held Grace`s hand, she turned to look at him seeing Diana was not responding.
“Please” Ben chirped in too.
“Can you please stay away from my daughter you two, please I beg you before I do anything crazy, just stay away!” Diana stepped in but it was too late and Grace was now thinking of hearing what Jena and Ben had to say.
“You are right, we do not have to cause a scene here, let’s go, mom, I will be okey. I see you don’t look well but trust me am coming back, you will wait for me at auntie`s place?” she asked her mother seeing how mad she looked.
“No, am not going anywhere Grace, am not letting you out of my sight for a minute with these people. Come on, if they want to talk to you they will have to come home” she added
“I have given you enough chances to make things right Diana, I know you are bent on doing this and if you insist, I swear I will just make a phone call and you will be locked for what you did years ago, there is no turning back you know, this is over for you” Jena spoke her voice firm this time Grace wondered what she was referring to. After a bit of exchange of words, Grace agreed to speak to them and Diana who insisted she was not left alone with them followed along, they settled at a lodge along airport road.
Jack watched at a distance as he noticed the tension between the people around him, Grace walked silently ahead of everyone with Diana following closely behind her. Jack was in the middle, Ben and Jena walked behind him holding each other so close Jena`s face was so down he felt for her. He with all he was wished the people around him would work out their differences and make peace for the sake of Grace, he knew she was strong enough to stand on her own but deep down his heart he wanted what was good for her, a good family that she would look up to and a place to call home.
Jack was lost in thoughts when he realized they all had sat down and silence hovered around the place he was the only one still standing tall. He cleared his throat and smiled slightly
“Well, what can get you all. Some drinks or maybe water?” he asked and was let down when no one responded to him.
“Baby? What can….?” he almost asked Grace but she looked at him shaking her head.
“How on earth did you come to know of these people? Why are we here when you so well know that this woman claiming to be my mother threw me away barely hours after I was born” Grace cut him short Jack stared at her in silence.
“Am sorry, I thought…”
“Shut up! Just shut up Jack, you are not even supposed to be here” Diana cut in moving closer to Grace as though that would make her stay on with her.
“Well, Grace, this might not be the best way for us to meet, but we need to discuss this and its best we do it today” Ben spoke as usual calmly.
“Uncle Ben, I have been meaning to ask this, but why are you here? Do you know this woman too?” she asked Ben.
“Well, um, am your father Grace,” Ben cleared his throat
“You are what? How come. I know your wife Uncle Ben. I saw the two of you, I don’t get why you are with this woman claiming to be my mother, can someone start from the beginning and tell me what is going on” She sighed sitting up.
“I will tell you everything my daughter, you have it all wrong all these years Grace, you are our baby and we love you. I loved you from the day you were born. I felt the mark on your back and was sure it was the very connection to you as I have the same mark under my breast.” She paused with a sad smiled Grace touched her neck and realized she had known about it.
“I know I had not done well to leave you in the hands of another family but I was so young and immature, if I could turn back the hands of time so I could re-live that day, I swear on my life I would never leave you. I know I was wrong and Diana and her husband knew how sorry I was, I pleaded to have you back my child. Your father and I spend a lot of time searching for you and when we finally found you we were complete, we were happy together till…” Jena paused tears running down her face as she spoke, Grace could not look at her face for fear of crying along too, she so much wanted to be okey and not be affected by anything she was hearing but the sadness and the sincerity in the voice of Jena made it so hard to her she ignored the hand of Diana holding her firm.
For some time Jena and Ben explained to her what really happened, how they had come to know of her being alive years later and started the second search for her. She stood up wiping her face she could not hold herself anymore.
“What do you want?” she asked surprising all of them except Diana who felt proud she stood up to hold her but Grace turned her face at her shaking it vaguely.
“Why did you lie to me Mother? Why did you tell me they never wanted me and had thrown me away? Why?” she asked
“Grace, it’s not how they are putting it, you are my baby and I have always loved you. Don’t listen to any of this and lets just go home” Diana responded
“No, you know what? I don’t even know what to say to both of you, you mother has made me live a lie, yes am grateful for what you did for me but dad was right, I had the right to know the truth but you wanted to bury it all, you manipulated me and made me go thousands of miles away from home so that you keep me hidden. I trusted you but for now I don’t even know what to think of you” she scolded her angrily moving away from her
“Don’t do this to me Grace, please, your father would…”
“He wanted to tell me the truth but you never wanted that did you? Why mother? why would you create such lies, fake my death to these people? If you had a heart of a mother all you could have done is tell the truth” she shook her head wiping her tears.
“Grace, am sorry Baby. am sorry you had to learn this way but your real parents had the rights to be part of your life that is why I helped set up this meeting” Jack stood seeing how devastated she was all her makeup had worn out.
“No jack, you were wrong, in fact you know what? I don’t need any of you. I cannot have a mother who dumped me minutes after bringing me into the world, a father who goes about sleeping about like a teenager and another mother who I don’t even know after all, she is a lie” Grace spoke looking at each of them Ben begged for her to understand her mother.
“Please understand, we looked for you and..”
“The reason you were looking was because I was not with you from birth and that was not anyone’s fault but this woman, no Uncle Ben or whatever your name is, it’s too late to play mother and father to me now, I only had one parent that was at least honesty with me and he is dead. The rest of you I don’t even know what to think of you” she shook her head as tears flow down her eyes she made no effort to wipe them.
“Please forgive me, I have lived haunted more than half my life for what I did, I just want my baby girl back. Am so sorry for being away for so long, I love you Grace you have to believe me. I love you and we need you as part of our lives” Jena sobbed loudly.
“Am sorry, it’s too late for now don’t you think? Just leave me alone. Leave me alone you all” she added and waked away Diana tried to follow her but she turned to her and raised her hand.
“You too mom. By the way how did you make sure I could not remember them? You stole me at 5 years old and the only memory I have is being at some big house with two people that told me I was their daughter. I recall so well, how you tried by all means to let me know I was your daughter and that you would take care of me. Just how did you do that?” she asked standing straight
“Don’t do this Grace, please don’t” Diana cried but she shook her head.
“You will not tell me that will you? Well, forget about me “Grace turned and walked away Jack had to run to her as she got to where the vehicles were parked.
“Am sorry” Jack stood close to her holding her shoulder as she cried softly.
“Grace, am so, so sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you” he whispered puling her into a hug as she turned to look at him her face wet
“I know, but I don’t even know what to do Jack, I have lived a lie my entire life, with a woman capable of faking death. She lied to me all these years “she whispered
“I know am sorry, Jena and Ben told me the entire truth, I think you should give them a chance Grace they have been through a lot, look at her” he paused pointing back at where Ben was rubbing his wife`s back comforting her, Diana was still standing where Grace had left her.
“She is suffering, I have seen her and heard her talk about how much they wanted to find you, it’s not fair what they are going through you know” he added
“Jack, she gave me away, I was only minutes old and she threw me away. She is just the same with my mother” Grace wiped her tears.
“Think about it baby, just give it sometime and think about this” Jack advised her.
“Can we go home now, you told me you have a house now, can I stay with you for a while?” she asked him.
“of course, whatever you want, let me just get your bags then, go sit in my car” he added and led her into the car he rushed back to get the bags from Diana`s car.
“This is what you wanted you b******! How dare you” Diana spoke to him coldly as he pulled the bags towards his car.
“Just go home mom, please, am not to blame for your mistakes, I just want what is best for her” he sighed and ignored her walking away.
“I will call you later, I think it’s best this is resolved some other time” he told Ben who nodded his head.
“Thank you Jack” Ben smiled before Jack could leave his side.
“Yeah, I just want her to be happy” he smiled back.
“Yeah, I know you are a good person, take care of her. And be assured we will never give up on her, she is our baby and we will get her back one day. “Ben assured him.
“Am sure of that, take care of your wife now will you?” he looked at Jena in the car and walked away.
Grace looked out the car window as they drove out watching Ben who was looking at their direction. She looked down her hands sniffing in the tears.
“You will be okey Grace” Jack whispered holding her hand she looked at him and faked a smile,
“Yeah, sure” she shrugged sadly and looked out the window she could not let him see how sad and broken she was feeling at the moment.
“We will never have her, she hates me “Jena shook her head as Ben joined her in bed that night.
“No my love, she was just hurt and overwhelmed by everything, she will come around you will see” he tried to comfort his wife.
“I have searched and hoped to find her, now that I had her that close, I cannot help feel she will never want us in her life, Diana destroyed her mind and she hates me, she is right anyway who..”
“Stop now Jena, you cannot live your entire life beating yourself over the mistake that happened years ago”
“yes, years ago but it still haunts me up to date, just look at me, I had no power to even defend myself, she was right none of us deserve her, she is better off without me or that Diana” she sobbed folding herself in the sheets Ben lad down next to her holding her close.
“You are no Diana my love, never you compare yourself to that woman, never! You hear me? I will die before letting her win this” Ben uttered determined and kissed his wife`s forehead rubbing her back.