A year later…….
Mike marveled at the sight of his daughter playing in his yard with Mwanida, she was giggling happily as she ran around the well-kept green lawn. He had bought a house upon reaching Kenya and quickly settled down. Things were not as easy for him but now he was established and everything was falling in place. His informants in Zambia kept him updated on everything happening with his brother. Even though he felt hurt knowing Isabel and Jake seemed okey, he tried to comfort himself with the fact that they were doing exactly what he had wanted them to.
“Hey father to Elizabeth! “ Mwanida called out to him snapping him out of his thoughts.
“Hey mother to my baby” he teased walking towards them extending his hands to hug the girl running towards him.
“Daddy!” she screamed smiling happily, her face and smile reminding him of Isabel. She had taken some of her facial features.. He lifted her up and she enclosed her hands around his neck.
“Mommy bought me some new toy” she smiled showing her father the little Barbie toy Mwanida had bought for her.
“Wow, it’s so cute, she is the best mommy ever!” he laughed looking at Mwanida who was smiling at them holding her hands akimbo.
“Did you tell mommy thank you?” he asked her placing her down the ground.
“yes” the girl smiled shyly looking back at Mwanida too.
“ that is so good baby now go and play with that inside I need to talk to mommy alone” he patted her shoulder and watched the girl as she hurried to the front of the house. Mike smiled turning to look at Mwanida. The woman who helped him cop with the hurt of what happened back in his home country.
“Thank you a million times, for always being good to my daughter and of course to me. I never want to imagine how it could have been without you here in a strange land with a less than 2 years old baby. You are heaven sent you know that? “he sighed indicating for her to sit on the concrete built chair.
“It’s nothing dear, remember I betrayed you too and this has been a way of me paying for my crimes. Believe me this has eased my conscious overtime. “She smiled looking at him as he kept his eyes on her.
“Well, if you ask me you have done more than paying for that. Any way that aside, how was your day?” he shrugged.
“good, like Elizabeth mentioned we went out for shopping this being a weekend, we had a great time you know how she loves having funny’ “she remarked with a chuckle.
“yeah, sure wonder where she got that from, its definitely not me. You know, sometimes I fear I will not do a good job raising her, like I will regret taking her away from her mother even though that is the last thing I ever wanted to do” he frowned.
“you are a good man and father Mike, don’t ever think that. You are a better man like I always tell you. She is better off with you and I see how much you try to be there for her. Don’t worry yourself so much you two will do just great” she smiled holding his hand unconsciously.
“yeah though you have left out one person in that statement” he glanced at her.
“who?” she asked surprised her eyes on his face.
“Yourself, “he placed his hand on hers and smiled looking into her eyes.
Mwanida had notice the soft gestures from Mike but over the years she had pushed the thoughts that he liked her away. Her assumption was that he was a man who was hurting and sometimes would do something just to cover the pain of what happened. She had decided not to encourage his actions even when each day she was beginning to more than like him. She noticed how much Mike had changed.
His usual work commitment was there but this time he always found time to be home and just be with his daughter. His commitment to make a good father was overwhelming she felt proud of him.
“hm, about me Mike, I was thinking its high time I went back Zambia. I have stayed with you guys for 3 years now and Elizabeth is no longer a baby. Am sure with the lady you employed to help in the house work, you two will do just fine” she shrugged avoiding his stern gaze.
“no Mwanida, you cannot leave us here. We came together and if I will ever decide to go back that is the time we will all leave. Why do you want to go back anyway?” he asked worried she might leave. Mike knew in his heart he needed her for more than taking care of the child, she had become a part of his life, her character and good attitude towards the girl was amazing and he knew she was the perfect person to act as Elizabeth`s mother.
“ I have to Mike, I…”
“Please do not do this, I already told you, youcan practice your accounting skills here even without having the professional certificates. Take up the job at the company and help me run it. Please don’t leave” he held her hand pleadingly.
“This is not a good idea Mike, you are still married to Isabel, and I feel like being here is taking her place. Elizabeth has to know who her real mom is. We cannot keep lying to her that she is my daughter. Let me go before this gets any harder” she shook her head.
“why do you insist so much about Isabel being my wife? I hate it when you do that seriously. Isabel is happy with Jake, they have a child together and probably Planning on having another one. Am not her husband and am a free man. Do not feel guilty about anything okey?” he comforted her.
“I still feel am over stepping my boundaries Mike, I …’
“I love you” he finally said cutting her without thinking through his words.
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‘What was that?” she sharply looked at him.
“Yeah you heard me Mwanida, I love you. We have been together for the past 3 years and I never got the courage to say anything. First of all I was healing from what happened and was not so sure. Now I am sure because your words of leaving has made me realise I cannot live without you’” mike added looking her in the eyes with passion and tenderness, she swallowed hard.
“Mike, this is not right, I don’t know what to tell you but now I feel i have more reasons to leave. “she stood up feeling her heart racing.
“Am sorry if I have offended you. But I had to tell you. I have healed from my past pain and right now all I need is to start over, I am a man and have feelings and needs. I do not want any other woman but the one standing next to me. Please do not hate me for this, am not trying to take advantage of you”
“ I know that Mike, you are not like that, it`s just this whole thing is…. I don’t know…” she shook her head.
“I was with Jake before and now this, how different from Isabel am I going to be if I do that? Mmmmhmh no I can’t, am sorry “she looked at him and started going away from him.
“I will have to start preparing to leave” she added turning to look at him behind her back and walking on.
“Mwanida stop!” he shouted
“Am sorry for telling you that, but I want you to stay for my daughter then, Elizabeth needs you. She is innocent and does not need to know you are not her mother. I for one am not ready to break that news to her. How do I explain the person she has always known as her mother is not? Please help me am begging, do not do this to her” Mike pleaded calmly.
“Am sorry “She cried shaking her head and walking away before he could stop her.
Mike was stoned in one place, he felt the impact of her words, and how was he to live with his daughter now, she was so happy with her, he always saw it in her eyes. But then he realized he had no right to hold her back. She was at liberty to go and she already had sacrificed a lot being with them and taking care of them both especially Elizabeth. Now that the baby was almost five and had no idea who her real mother was, he wondered how he was to break the news to her.
He walked to the house too and before he could enter, he overheard Mwanida speaking with Elizabeth.
“Mommy, why are you sad”
“am not sad my baby “ Mwanida responded
“But you are crying, did dad hurt you? The girl questioned and Mike could not move an inch as he kept close to hear everything.
“no baby come here. am just sad that I might leave you and dad for a while” she started and before she could finish the girl`s voice came out almost like she was crying.
“Where are you going mommy? Will you take me with you? Please don’t leave me here, I want to go with you please mommy” she cried and Mike could hear Mwanida sniffing in her tears. He opened the door and stood in the door way watching the two talking from the small passage leading to the sitting room.
Mwanida turned to look at him, sighing deeply.
“its only for a whole baby okey, please don’t cry I will come back” she tried to calm the child but she cried even more running away.
“You lied that you love me mommy, you hate me and wants to leave me. !” she screamed storming away.
“oh God this is harder than I thought” she looked back at Mike wiping her own tears.
“ baby come back here!” she tried to call her back but the child banged the door to the bedroom.
“ I told you this is going to blow her, do me a favor, tell her you are not her mother before you go and tell her the truth that you will never come back. I don’t see myself hurting her that much” he shrugged his hands in the pockets and walked away leaving Mwanida holding her hands not knowing what to do. She slowly walked to the girl’s room and knocked softly.
“Elizabeth, come on my baby I was just joking, mommy will not leave. Open the door please” she spoke knocking continuously until the smiling girl opened the door standing in the door way.
“you were joking?” she asked looking at her.
“I will not leave my girl how can I? Come here “she smiled holding her in a hug.
“I love you mommy” the girl whispered
“I love you too my baby” she smiled tears in her eyes. She didn’t have to give birth to her to know she loved that girl, she saw her grow from a tiny little thing to a beautiful princess. She looked up seeing Mike watching with a smile at a distance and she noodled her head at him.
He smiled back knowing what that meant.
“Thank you” he talked with his lips at her.