Posted in christian

In His Love: Chapter 8

Elias Maurer on Unsplash

Amara smiled as she put the plates in the dishwasher; the perks she got from living with Gerald astounded her. They moved into the penthouse of a high-rise apartment building in the Central. Now Amara understood the life Gerald lived.

Gerald took her shopping and changed their wardrobes, explaining that since they were no longer in Wilderness, they could upgrade a bit, Amara agreed. Her head was almost coming off with the force of her nods. He also provided money for her family, which she accepted with gratitude and trepidation. 

The apartment on the twentieth floor, painted in pale cream and lilac, had a feminine effect, Amara thought a bit much, but Gerald loved the colours. A spacious three-bedroom flat, with all rooms en-suite, including a large living room. They turned an enclave before the kitchen into the dining area. Amara loved the kitchen, it came with all the required accessories; Gerald loved the coffee maker most. 

The furniture shop delivered their beds the day before, and Amara felt like she could float. They painted her bed purple, with a lilac cushioned headboard and added extra drawer spaces by the sides. By the time she went shopping with Gerald for the living room seater-set, Amara acknowledged his wife would be one lucky girl.

She left the kitchen, worried over how dependent on him she had become. They started their book discussions again in the evenings after Gerald returned from work. He accepted a job catering for church events. The church president connected him to the Church’s care group, and the orders were pouring in, regardless of the case against him in Wilderness.

They took morning walks early, as Amara kept complaining about her weight. Gerald always prayed, so they walked in silence. They never discussed the infection in Wilderness because she refused to believe his God healed her, but after the different tests confirmed her free of the infection after his prayer that morning, she could not deny the truth. Amara still did not want to acknowledge God’s goodness to her; however, on the first morning they walked, she thanked his God.

Amara still noticed the looks from Gerald when he thought she looked elsewhere. When she wore her new clothes and got ready for shopping, his eyes mirrored his thoughts. She did not understand the power with which he held himself in check but recognised his God meant too much to him.

His all-encompassing love for his God worried her. Would such love allow him to care for a woman as well? With a lip pout turned left and narrowed eyes, she pondered the question as she went to her room and got ready for the day. Amara planned something big. She told her parents she would pick up Alex and informed Gerald of a surprise. She hoped he would love her daughter. 

Amara started thinking about introducing Alex to him after they moved out of the Church quarters. She felt a sense of peace about presenting her daughter to her best friend, a title she gave him in her heart. 

She opened her wardrobe, and a laugh escaped her lips at the fabric colours hanging there. Her smile waned a bit when she remembered her daughter possessed nothing new. She shrugged the downer off, promising herself that once she moved into her own house with Alex, she would splurge on the girl.

**********************************************************************************

Amara picked Alex up with extra clothing for the next day, then they set off for the Central. Gerald was in the house when they arrived. The food on the dining table, coconut rice, and chicken sauce looked sumptuous, and the aroma made Amara’s mouth water. She smiled when she heard soft music playing from the speakers set up around the house, while she made Alex comfortable in the living room. Amara strolled to Gerald’s door and called out to him. 

A few seconds later, he opened the door to his bedroom in his vest and jeans. “Hey, Amara. What’s the surprise?”

“Come with me.” She said, with a half-smile on her lips. Her heart raced as she led him to the living room, unsure of his reaction. The way she kept looking at him made him sober up, and he followed her lead.

Once there, Amara pointed at Alex. “Gerald, this is my five-year-old daughter, Alexandria.” Turning to her daughter, she smiled. “Alex, say good evening to Mr. Gerald.”

“Good evening,” Alex said, offering him an imperceptible bow.

Gerald’s mouth opened, but nothing came out. He sat down in the chair opposite Alex’s and beckoned to her. The little girl hesitated, not sure about him, and leaned towards her mother. Amara led her to him and took a seat next to them, watching.

Gerald looked at Alex and back at Amara, smiling, “She is beautiful, like you.”

Amara smiled back.

“Alex, you can call me Gerald.” He said to the little girl, who nodded. “Are you hungry?” Alex nodded again, smiling. “Good, there is enough food to feed an army. Have you ever seen an army?” He asked the little girl again as he led her to the dining table.

Alex nodded. “On T.V.” 

He smiled and looked at Amara, winking, before he turned to Alex. “Good, excellent. Tell me all about them.” 

As they got to the dining table, Alex looked back at Amara to confirm she was coming with them. Alex took the seat Gerald offered, confident in the smile her mother flashed her.

*********************************************************************************

Amara walked into the cafe and spotted Acapella and Romeo at once. They stood out with rough clothes, though their best, and loud conversation, although they were trying to be quiet, as they leaned close to talk. 

Amara smiled as she strolled to their table, noting the discomfort on the faces of the people sitting near the boys. The boys smiled at her, standing as she neared their table. The smiles, a rare occurrence, meant a lot to her. She greeted them, and they all sat.

Amara ordered coffee and water for the boys; the cafe did not serve alcohol. The boys preferred bland to sweet, without alcohol.

She turned to them, still smiling. “You boys surprised me with your call. What’s the news?”

Acapella coughed. “Snake, we are not sleeping on the fire matter. We have been working underground to find out who wants you dead. Nma is the game master.” 

Romeo nodded.

“Be careful. The woman has evil plans for you. The fire was child’s play. She wants you dead. The boys and I are watching her and her boys. Leaving Wilderness was a good play. Stay where you are.” Acapella said, and leaned back as the server delivered their orders.

The news shocked Amara, but not as much as the boys expected. In the business of prostitution, the strong took the weak out, clean. If not Nma, someone else would attempt the same thing, seeing as Amara’s relationship with Madam Meg deteriorated with time. It was Nma’s need to kill her that confused her more than anything else. There were so many ways to take her out, death should have been the last option.

Looking at her boys, she smiled again. “My people, well done. I wonder what I did to the girl to incur her hate?” She looked around, frowning, then focused on them. “Boys, I will send you small cash. Call our man to run a search. I want reports telling me everything about her. Find out her village, family, friends, enemies, everything that connects, and call me with the information.” 

The guys nodded. Standing, they hailed her and left the cafe. 

Amara tried to understand Nma’s motivation and shook her head, smiling at the girl’s good fortune. If they had met years ago, Nma would not have had enough teeth to tell the tale. Amara sneered at the thought of fighting with Nma now. What a waste of time and energy. Madam Meg must back her, but Amara suspected the Madam was not aware of Nma’s murderous schemes.

She looked up at the ceiling. “Did you save me from her that night?” She asked, shook her head and looked at her coffee. “If you did, you have my attention. You may not want me to kill Nma, but I need to teach her a lesson about messing with the wrong people. So, I am inviting you into my planning sessions from now on, since I understand you need to be with me at all costs.” She stood smiling and left the cafe. A plan forming in her mind.

**********************************************************************************

Two days later, as Amara listened to Acapella’s report on Nma, her irritation grew. Nothing he said gave any clues to the reason for Nma’s hatred. She waited for him to finish. “She is an Otuma girl. They sold her to Mr. A, so? Acapella, pick one of her girls from the house and torture her. Find out why Nma is after me. I will send you money now. Do you understand?”

She hung up and sat back in the living room, annoyed. She spent almost all the housekeeping money Gerald gave her on this matter. He called the money, house funds, but he bought groceries and cooked most of their food. 

Amara looked up to the ceiling. “Your boy is trying. I want to pay him back, but he will not agree to my mode of payment. He is so afraid of you he cannot see the packaging in front of him. More like he can, but won’t dare touch.” 

She preferred to wait for Gerald at lunchtime. He made food time an event. She rolled her eyes at her thoughts, but did not berate herself too much. She stopped punishing herself long ago. Amara realised earlier on that she cared about Gerald. She would ask Gerald for the cash without discussing what it was for. Telling him was pointless. 

Now, to deal with Nma. Amara picked up her phone and called an old acquaintance. Someone useful to her in her younger days in the brothel. He picked up on the second ring.

“Hah, long time.”

“Hello Lawrence,” she said, infusing enough warmth into her voice and lowering it for effect. He never hid the fact that he wanted her, but she never mixed the hustle with play. “I hope well?”

“I am fine, my sister. Quite surprised at your call. Anything for your boy?”

“Lawrence, boy?” She asked and laughed. “I need you to help me handle someone. Can you?”

“Hmm, is this person in Wilderness?”

“Yes, she is. She wants me dead, and I want to teach her I can’t die unless I say so.” 

Lawrence laughed. “I can do anything for you, but anything for your boy?”

“Haba, Lawrence, of course. How much are we talking?”

Lawrence laughed again. “Not how much, but when? When can we be together?”

Amara’s eyes searched the room, as her brain searched for a response. “Lawrence, but I don’t do such things. You and I go way back.”

“Yes, but this guy wants you. I never forgot about you. Even when you moved up to the big leagues and forgot about small us. I kept asking around. I think I fell for you. Come and ease my suffering, and the girl is dead meat.”

Amara weighed different options to dodge the request, which surprised her. She would have given his request a second thought before, but not now. She shook her head at how much Gerald was messing with her system. “Lawrence, you mean you are not aware I contacted the AIDS virus?”  

His sharp intake of breath was not quiet. She heard him swear.

“AIDS, when, how?” he asked. “You, Amara? You are lying.” He laughed, his unease obvious. “You are pulling my legs.”

“Ask around in Wilderness, Lawrence. The news is all over the place.” 

“Oh, my God, you are serious. I am so sorry, my dear. How are you doing?”

“Coping. That is why I am surprised this little goat still wants me dead. Haven’t I suffered enough?”

“I would have visited, but you cannot still be in the brothel. Madam Meg would not agree with you living there with the information out in the public. Where are you now?” He asked.

“I’m in a small room at the back of Wilderness, near the rubbish heap. Don’t worry about me, you cannot come here. Just tell me how much I need to pay for you to deal with the girl. There is some money I saved up.”

“The money you will use to treat yourself? Don’t worry, I will do this one for you. Any plans on how you want her dealt with?” he asked.

Amara smiled and relayed her plan.

*************************************************************************************

Gerald asked her out to the beach that Sunday. Amara went out and bought clothes to make Gerald’s beach experience a living hell. She wanted him to put off the good boy mask for once.

Early Sunday morning, Gerald prepared the refreshments for the beach. He fried fish, beef, chicken, some calamari and big prawns. He also prepared peppered gizzards and snails. Amara thanked the lord for the man. She walked out to the kitchen ready, with a wrap-round kimono dress and sandals. Her hat sat well on her hair, and she tucked her sunshades into the collar of the dress.

Gerald looked up at her and smiled. “Ready?”

She nodded, smiling back. She would shock him out of his celibate state. He wore a t-shirt and shorts. The shirt clung to him, showing off the muscles he gained in the gym. He believed a full-time chef should advertise wellness and healthy living to his customers. He looked so edible from behind. Everything looked strong.

He turned back to her, and she almost jumped out of her skin. 

Gerald noted her reaction. “Are you alright? Why are you so startled?”

Amara smiled at him. “I’m fine, you caught me day-dreaming.”

“Do you want to talk? The beach can wait.”

“No, let’s go.”

He nodded and turned to leave, with Amara right behind him. She inhaled the scent of his perfume and groaned. She did not know who was dealing with whom at that point in the campaign. 

************************************************************************************

The car sped off, and she took a side-long look at him, smiling. She loved the way he made her problems a priority. He always dropped everything to listen. Nobody else treated her like he did. She continued to worry about their time of separation. Would she be as unscratched as she thought?

They got to the beach, and Gerald found the right spot with chairs, a table, and an umbrella. The empty beach met Amara’s needs. She wanted Gerald all to herself, with as little an audience as possible. 

They laid their stuff on the table, and when he sat, Amara started the show. Still standing, she took off her hat and removed the sunshades from the nook of her shirt, putting them on. She removed her kimono and draped it on the arm of her chair, and turned back to the water without looking at Gerald, taking some steps forward for effect.

Gerald coughed a loud one. “Amara, the shorts are not decent.” 

She turned to him and smiled. “That’s why we call them bum shorts.” 

She turned back to the water and knelt on the sand, trying to build something, anything. When she moved forward, the shorts hiked up with the movement. Something fell off their table, and she turned back to look. Gerald uncrossed his legs and bent to pick the can of ginger ale on the sandy floor. The unease on his face evident, and she smiled. He looked up and caught her at it.

“You’re doing this on purpose.” He said, his voice low with understanding. It sounded like a come-on.

Amara moved close to him. The one-piece bikini she wore with the shorts, showing off her breasts to quite an advantage. “I want you, Gerald, and I am unashamed to say it.” She said, turned and walked off towards the water. 

Gerald said little at the beach. He did not look unhappy, but his mood changed. He answered her questions with smiles and made small comments. She hoped she had changed his mind.

************************************************************************************

Later that night, after a movie, he told her to stay back for a while. Amara sat down, expectant; his face gave nothing away, nor did he look at her.

“Amara, I’m moving out.” He turned to look her in the eyes, still not displaying any emotion.

Amara did not understand. “What did you say?”

“I’m moving out of the house soon.”

A long pause. “Why?” She asked.

He hesitated, looking at the empty screen of the T.V, scratching his head, and then he folded his arms. “I can’t do what you want me to do. I want to, but God comes first.” He said as he laughed, nervous. He turned back to Amara. “God is omnipresent. Working and staying out of the house should have helped, but today… I realized that I only kept my attraction at bay.” He touched his lips with his fingers as if trying to control what escaped from them. “I was kidding myself, and I am afraid I might give in to you soon. God help me. I won’t be far away; I’ll try to get accommodation in a building nearby–”

“Someone wants me dead.” She said. She had to say something to shut him up before she screamed.

“What? What did you say?” He asked, moving close to her.

“Someone wants me dead. You should be here with me. I promise not to pull that stunt ever again. I promise not to aggravate you anymore, but please stay. This is your house; I should be the one to leave.”

He moved closer and held her hand. “Do you know who?”

“I believe a girl from the brothel in Wilderness. The reason escapes me, but she hates me.”

“Nma.” He said, looking at her and nodding as Amara’s eyes widened. “She set me up in the quarters as well. She started the gossip about me. God showed me you are her actual target. I’m just a side goal, but He also told me to leave everything to Him.” He said, taking her hands in his. “I will stay, not because I can protect you, but because I want to. Marry me, Amara, please.”

Amara’s heart fluttered. He knew how to keep the good stuff coming. “Why? Because we want each other?”

“It helps,” he said, smiling. “Marry me because God wishes us to live and grow old together.”

She took her hands from his. “God abandoned me when I needed him the most. If He can do such a thing, what is a mere man? Men promise heaven and all, but nothing ever comes of it. Gerald, you mean well, but I just want to enjoy your body, and when we are done, we are done. Why is it so hard? I am sorry, but I don’t believe in promises. Good night and thank you for staying.” She said and stood to leave.

“Remember Amara, leave Nma to God. He will protect you himself.” Gerald said as he watched her leave.

She didn’t turn back and didn’t respond. 

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