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Marcel did not even pause to think about his ability to withstand what he might see; he just rushed behind Prisca, Belina, Tina and Alexa towards Patricia’s room. No nurse was able to stop them since Belina, their boss’ wife was with them. No staff had ever seen Belina in so much panic and the panic invariably rubbed off on them. Prisca reached the door ahead of everyone and tried to pry open the door but Richard had apparently envisaged this and had locked the door from outside. She struggled with it and ran to gaze through the transparent glass.
As everyone gathered round the transparent glass, chills seeped into their bloodstreams as they stared at the frightening sight. Patricia was gasping heavily as her chest moved involuntarily with the force of the action.
“Pat” Prisca yelled again, crying. She went to door again, struggling with all her might but the door seemed to have more weight than she, since she had lost too much weight within the space of days. Belina went to pull her to herself but was shoved away as Prisca tried in vain to get the door out of her way. Belina had never cried this much, she swallowed and went to Prisca again. The sight at the transparent glass was frightening and Belina did not think she could look at it without fainting from fright but still she did because she wanted to be sure that her niece was fine.
“Please Prisca, we would solve nothing by struggling” she managed to say but she was barely heard. Alexa held on tight to Tina who had her eyes tightly shut, crying uncontrollably. Patricia was still jerking and Richard, with the aid of the other doctor and the two nurses, were doing everything humanly possible to bring her under control. The movements of the doctors and the nurses were not even noticed as everyone stared shakily at Patricia who was battling between life and death. Prisca had finally accepted that the door was not opening and she was crying in front of the glass with Belina holding her closely. Prisca held on to Belina like she had the solution to this dilemma.
“Mummy” Tina cried and Prisca instantly held her second daughter, their tears increasing. Marcel had his fists clenched tightly and when he heard someone wince softly, he became aware that he was actually holding on to a nurse’s hand. He quickly released her hand but could not bother with the nicety of an apology. His eyes watered. He should be on that bed and not Pat, he repeatedly reminded himself.
Pat continued to gasp and jerk and all of a sudden, she gasped and froze. Slowly, her body fell, relaxed and became completely still. Everyone paled. “No Pat” Prisca screamed.
“Sis P” Tina yelled, hitting the glass furiously.
Prisca fell into a heap on the floor. “No, my daughter can’t be dead. No…..”
Felicia paced the waiting room anxiously, waiting for news. She could not believe that their whole plan had backfired. She had thought that Michael would give in to her blackmail, release Marcel and everything would go back to normal. She never imagined that he would come up with the crazy idea of killing his own twin brother. Nothing prepared her for the news she got days back. Hearing that Patricia had gotten shot had almost been like a blow in the belly. The frustrating part was that she obviously could not do anything about the situation. Her numerous connections, wealth and speedy thoughts could not do anything to help Patricia. It was obvious that Patricia was definitely wealthier than she was by all standards so she could afford any treatment she needed all over the world, although, Felicia doubted that the result would be better than one they would get at Best Results.
Felicia was trying hard not to blame herself for the incident. If she hadn’t blackmailed Michael, he would not have decided to kill Marcel, hurting Patricia in the process.
Michael walked carefully behind the police officer. His entire face was swollen from severe beating and torture. He wondered who the hell would be visiting him here. It might be Denis, the idiot who was the originator of this mess. If he hadn’t returned from Germany seeking him, Felicia would not have had a reason to blackmail him. His blood boiled as he remembered the demented woman who had always made his life a living hell. If he had known that he was making a formidable enemy, he would not have poured acid on her at all; better still, he would have killed her when he had the chance.
He swallowed vaguely. He was surrounded by enemies, and Michael felt he always would be. Immediately he got to the meeting area, he almost squirmed as he stared at Barrister Fred. He had almost forgotten about the lawyer’s existence even though he was the reason why the world was turning upside down. Barrister Fred raised his eyes slowly to Michael, showing off no emotion at all. The cynical being, Michael thought. He wondered what the purpose of this visit would be. Why hadn’t he been able to shoot Marcel? Why did that ridiculous girl jump in his way? Michael had not only shot the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Nigeria, he hadn’t been able to kill his primary target. Now he was in jail; who is to say that Marcel would not take over the companies now that he was out of the picture? He needed to escape, to leave police custody before things got sneaky. And if Barrister Fred had found out about Marcel already, then, he was doomed.
“You don’t look good” Barrister Fred commented dryly as Michael sat opposite him.
Michael swallowed. Marcel had used his fist to disfigure his face when he shot Patricia and the police had not hesitated in following suit, not to mention the thugs he was locked up with. “I am sure you are not here to see how good I look” Michael said, irritated.
Barrister Fred shook his head. “I wonder what demon has possessed your soul Michael. How can you plot so much evil for your twin? Have you no conscience?”
Michael’s mouth pressed into a thin line. “I see you have found out… Marcel is not my twin, he is my enemy” he growled.
Fred hissed.”You filthy bastard! Did you think you could fool me? Anyways, you managed to attempt it but God bless Pat Williams” he said with a slight grimace. And what has that bitch got to do with this? Michael wondered. “She used to call me from Nigeria when she was in Canada to seek legal advice. She knew my relationship with your father so she called me one day, saying that she saw you in Germany”
The foul bitch, Michael swore. He was no longer wishing he hadn’t shot her, in fact, he wished he had aimed at her head. He remembered the day he had seen Pat Williams in Germany, almost after a year stay in Germany.
Barrister Fred continued. “I was surprised hearing that because I knew you were in Nigeria; or rather, I thought you were the one in Nigeria. I immediately thought she had seen Marcel, your twin, whom I had searched for in Germany for over a year but she said you introduced yourself to her as Michael. I asked around again to find out if there was another Michael running Tel Communications, and when I discovered that there was indeed someone in Nigeria bearing that name, I became suspicious. The reasons for your constant visits to my office to snoop out information became questionable. I decided to find out what you were up to, so I gave Patricia a clue. I told her that there was someone here in Nigeria with the name Michael Coker. Since the person she saw in Germany introduced himself as Michael Coker and was also your exact replica, I asked her to find out who the real Michael was. I told her that you were a twin and that we were searching for Marcel. She used that assignment to make her company transfer her to Nigeria and then, you know the rest”
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Michael was frozen in a spot, looking like he had just come out of a trance. It had never crossed his mind that something like this could happen. He had gone through pains to hide Marcel’s existence from Barrister Fred, done everything possible, including living in Germany for more than one year to hide Marcel’s whereabouts, but all along, the lawyer had found out. Pat Williams! He swore bitterly. Cursed is the person who found himself in her web. No wonder she is greatly feared. He cursed the day he met and introduced himself to her in Germany. How could she have been so smooth? If he hadn’t been the target of her numerous plans, he might have liked her very much for her swift way of turning situations around to her advantage, but he had been a target. She had destroyed all his plans without even trying hard.
“Don’t sweat it Michael” Barrister Fred said sternly. “You have hurt everyone, including Pat, be ready to face the consequence because I would see to it that your apartment in jail is very portable. You did not want Marcel to have his inheritance, you wanted all; now, you would get nothing. You can count on it”
Michael almost shivered as the words sank in. if he knew Barrister Fred well enough, everything he said would come to pass.
Patricia opened her eyes slowly and the first sight she saw was her big uncle – Richard. It was a pleasant and very welcome sight. Days back, Patricia had imagined being in the midst of angels enjoying their heavenly rhythm and also singing along. The thought had been pleasurable but the thought of the pain her family would feel about her departure had quenched the thought. She hadn’t imagined that she would see her godfather again. Seeing him told her just one thing – she was alive.
The joy that filled her could not be expressed. Though she still had pains all over, the assurance of living was real. She no longer felt death standing next to her bed, waiting to grab her immediately he got the chance. Richard gave a shaky smile and her heart almost broke when she saw his eyes water. His shoulders relaxed like a heavy weight has been lifted off his shoulders. That alone was enough to tell her how close to death she had been.
Her mouth felt dry and heavy and thoughts fled her mind. She needed water and, God! She was terribly hungry. She raised her eyes and saw the people standing just behind the transparent glass outside. They were all crying, no; mourning. She even caught the glimpse of tears on Marcel’s eyes. Marcel caught her eyes and froze, then he yelled something that sounded like. “She is alive”
Immediately, Prisca and Belina’s teary faces came into view. Their eyes were swollen. Prisca started struggling with the door again as hope flashed in her eyes.
“How are you feeling Pat?” Richard asked affectionately.
She smiled softly. “Alive” she responded and he smiled. He opened the door and the room became full of people. For the first time, Pat noticed the numerous flowers that filled the room. She was so happy to be alive. Everyone mopped their eyes and hovered over her like she was an object of fancy. She felt sorry for putting everyone through the stress but she couldn’t deny that she liked the attention. Everyone asked questions and laughed at every word she spoke even though it was not funny. Being surrounded by family and friends made her very happy. She gasped.
“Mum, what of dad?” she asked in concern.
Prisca smiled and the smile radiated through her. “A miracle happened” she declared. “We found a matching donor yesterday” she said.
Patricia almost leapt out of the bed in joy. Nothing could make her happier than seeing her dad well again. Everything seemed to be turning around. The only thing that seemed unsettled was the tension she felt between Alexa and Marcel, and this terrible hunger.
“I am hungry” she suddenly said when her stomach growled and three people jumped into action instantly, wanting to please her every desire. She was amazed at the strength she had. She ate something very small despite her initial hunger and fell asleep with the vague thought of finding a solution to the tension between Marc and Alexander. Patricia had caught Alexa staring at Marcel times without number and she decided to do something about it. Hours after she woke up and was able to escape her mum, aunt, sister and Alexa’s pampering, she was finally able to talk privately with Marcel. Marcel was still reveling on the happiness that she was alive and she sensed his great relief.
“Tell me Marc, what are your plans with my cousin?” she asked point blank.
He frowned. “You just escaped death Pat, stop the Pat Williams act for some hours at least” he scolded softly. She raised her brow and Marc gave up. “I have no plans yet”
“You are not doing that because of me, are you?” Pat asked.
Marcel fought for words. “Not really Pat, erm…”
“Marcel is speechless, it could only mean one thing – I am right.” She declared. “Marc, I know I said I love you, that would never change and it would be unfair of me to deny you happiness. Seeing you and Alexa happy would bring joy to my soul even though you are not with me. Alexa is my cousin and you have me to deal with if you make her sad” she said with a stern look.
Marcel smiled softly. “No one should try to get into your black book” She grinned. Relieved beyond words, he smiled wholeheartedly. “Thanks Pat, I don’t know what I did to deserve someone like you. I am damn lucky to have you as a best friend.”
Pat swallowed with a soft smile. “Go and look for her before I change my mind. I am waiting to hear wedding bells, don’t disappoint me”
Several friends came visiting, even unexpected ones like Felicia and Sophia. Someone went in to see Pat and Pat was stunned to see her friend T.J. the one in Germany. She could not believe it. She was so close to him and he had helped tremendously with Michael’s case but still, Pat was still surprised that he would fly all the way down to Nigeria to see her. His worry was obvious as he ran his fingers nervously over his hair. He was definitely a perfect model, with the right package to make women melt. Perfect height, with physics that could only be seen in Mexican movies. In odd ways, his presence soothed her spirit and she found herself laughing. He was the real charmer and she saw nurses blush unashamed before him. She knew he had feelings for her but right now, all she wanted was to enjoy being alive, get out of the hospital and live a new life. She was no longer against love, instead, she realised that love is the reason for man’s existence.
Marcel saw Alexa crying as he approached her with his heart aching. “Alexa” he called. She swung around to face him.
She nodded. “I know. You don’t need to tell me again. You can go ahead, be with her. I am happy for you both”
“Stop it Alexa” he said softly.
“No” she returned. “I made the request. Please marry her” she wiped her tears. “I would attend the wedding, even be her brides –”
Marcel silenced her with a firm kiss. He had been aching to hold her all week and now, having her in his arms felt perfect. The kiss that was mean to silence her stretched longer and he kissed her, neglecting her struggles until she relaxed. Her tears slipped down and he tasted the saltiness, kissing the tears away. He broke the kiss breathlessly. “I love you Alexander Branson” he gasped out. “I can’t be with any other person but you”
“She has given her blessings” he said with a smile. Tears slipped down her cheeks and he wiped it off with his thumb. He kissed her lips and she hugged him tight.
“I thought I had lost you Marcel”
Marcel put his nose in her hair and breathed in deeply. “It would be a disaster if I lost you sweetheart”.
Everything that had happened seemed like a movie, but it was not. Michael had threatened him, he had said he had no interest in staying in Nigeria where his life had almost vanished before his eyes but now, Marcel saw that he had everything he wanted in Nigeria. He had his love, his happiness, and most of all, a friend who loved him enough to lay her life for him. Happiness seeped through him as he hugged Alexander tighter.
“I love you Marcel” she whispered.
He smiled. “And I love you Alexander”