The story of fate and destiny Chapter 8 The Mother Writing in progress. If you
“Always the innocent are the first victim”
They say a bad parent was a traumatized child, caught in the fires of their own suffering. I guess that’s probably right.
But how right could this be? If you ever met someone as cute as Daniella, you would rethink everything about having beautiful and innocent kids.
With gentle confident strides, Joseph approached the front porch of this cute bungalow nestled in a middle-class estate somewhere in the hinterlands of Lagos. This was his first visit to Kate’s house. She had been very cautious about introducing just about any man to her 6year old daughter, Daniella. Joseph was looking forward to meeting the “Daniella” he had heard so much about.
Kate would speak so glowingly of her daughter as though they were sisters. She was a fast talker, intelligent and highly resourceful. If everything Kate said about her was true, he was convinced he would like her. He couldn’t tell for sure if she would return the favor, but he was willing to give it a shot. That shot was going to be fired the moment he approached the door that stood there as though an invitation to a new adventure.
He passed the black nylon bag full of chocolate bars, packs of ice cream and biscuits to his left hand, so he could announce his arrival with the doorbell. It rang twice, the shrill irritating “noise”. He silently hoped that Daniella would be the one to welcome him in. He heaved a euphoric sigh of relief when he heard the latch and the turning keys on the other side of the door.
He wasn’t prepared for who he was about to see.
Standing right in front of him, was the cutest young six-year-old girl he had ever seen! There was a striking resemblance with her mother, but there was a deep richness to her black skin; as rich and deep as any stately home mahogany. She was adorable even in her play-cloth with her black glistening hair packed neatly into a ponytail, accentuating her young innocent face. She wore her innocence even in her smile as her eyes lit up the moment she shook his outstretched hand. Joseph would struggle for words to describe the little angel he beheld that Saturday afternoon.
When she smiled her “Good morning, sir”, he was drawn naturally to her warmness and openness so much that he fiddled awkwardly with the goodie bag as he handed it over to her.
“Hello darling” Kate walked briskly to him with pouted lips. They exchanged pleasantries as Joseph walked into the well-arranged and beautifully decorated house. Kate sure showed her sophistry in the colors she adorned her house in. Every bit of furniture had careful details that oozed of attention to details. She had a good eye for elegant designs that could pass as pleasingly ingenious and yet simple. It showed in Kate’s dress sense and graceful demeanor. Joseph thought himself lucky to date such a sweet lady.
Daniella walked side by side as he was ushered into the poorly lit and cozy parlor. He peered curiously into the goodie bag taking each item out with glee.
“Thank you Uncle……”
Joseph immediately felt the need to protect her from harm and to keep her safe. He patted her shoulder gently as he hunched his shoulders slightly to reply her.
“You can call me Joseph” he whispered.
He thought for an instant that she probably got a lot of gifts from male visitors to the house but he dismissed the thoughts as soon as he had conceived it.
These days, Joseph approached new relationships cautiously. He pondered on every move, every unspoken word or action from his partner, looking for clues and tell-tale signs to halt his inevitably slip into a spiral, bumpy and hopeless love, that he was wont to.
He couldn’t think properly as he let his eyes slide down to watch Kate’s behind wriggle rhythmically in front of him as she led him into the dining area. The movement was effortless, bouncy, and sensual. No man born of woman would miss taking a second look, maybe even a third to complete the movement cycle.
That was one of the things he loved about her, she was every bit sexy with curves of softness in all the right places. She was by far the hottest girlfriend he had dated in years.
She had the independent spirit yet loved others enough to let them depend on her and for her to depend on them. She had the sense of nurture and responsibility that extended beyond her looks. Joseph felt lucky. Lucky to have captured her heart and to be the man she let into her house.
The only downside was that she was a single mother of a cute and adorable six-year-old girl! Something he had convinced himself he could live with. He was now convinced that he was going to get along well with Daniella. His shots well fired!
Joseph had been in and out of relationships for the best part of the last 18months. He let himself fall too quickly and sailed in the stormy waters of love for as long as he could remember. He couldn’t stand being alone. But he was always left with the short end of the stick after only a few months. Some left him with deep emotional scars and a badly bruised ego, others messed with his mental health so badly he had to seek help. He took a break from loving or being loved as he was convinced his career needed him more than the ladies that he had been unfortunate to date. That was when he met Kate!
That afternoon, Joseph had offered to take them in his SUV for a birthday party on the other side of the town. It was Daniella’s best friend’s 7th birthday, and a lavish party was planned for all her classmates and friends. Daniella raved about the party all week and Kate couldn’t imagine missing out on it.
Kate hurried off into the kitchen to finish up on the early lunch while she left Daniella in Joseph’s care. While she cooked, she engaged him in chats over the howling kettle or managed a conversation with voice raised a notch higher than the volume of the television where Daniella appeared to watch a cartoon show with keen interest.
“I need to dash out across the road to get some curry flavor to season this rice. I would be back in no time. before it starts to rain.” Kate announced as she removed the cooking apron, cleaned her wet palms with a napkin and hurried off shutting the front door behind her. Joseph barely had enough time to respond when he heard the soft thud of the door.
At least he had Daniella to keep him company.
Electricity went out the moment Kate stepped out and the house fell into pitch darkness.
It was a house party with all the trappings of glamour and glitz. Pink balloons adorned every corner of the duplex with colorful drapes hanging from one end to the other. It was a full house too. Guests, dressed in all sort of beautiful attires huddled in different corners of the house sharing banters and laughter. If not for the imposing posters of the young celebrant pinned squarely at the entrance porch and adorned with artificial flowers, one would think it was an adult party.
The kids ran the full length of the expansive living room, tripping, every now and then, on the threadbare rug that had seen more dancing shoes than a ballroom. It was where some kids danced, everyone with everyone, the music escaping from every open window and door. It was a decent party.
Every now and then a balloon would pop, halting conversations and thoughts as the mothers in the living area would search with eagle eyes for the kid responsible for such despicable act.
Joseph wondered why Daniella wore a sullen pout all through the ride to the party. She barely spoke and even appeared to speak rudely to her mother. He shrugged it off as some disturbing mood swing that Kate could handle. He drove with Kate by his side. She had hinted earlier before they left the house that she was a bit horny and desperately couldn’t wait to be in his arms. Throughout the one-hour drive to the party venue, she had her fingers locked into his over the gear stick of his automatic drive, teasing him erotically with her fingertips. They hadn’t consummated their love since they met, and it was looking like that night was going to be special. Joseph had waited for the right time to wow her with his sexual agility, something he was proud to show off. He couldn’t wait. The only thing in his way was this party!
He tried to speak to Daniella after they arrived at the party but she walked off rudely to join her friends, but not before she shut him a menacing look. Joseph shrugged it off and even smiled politely.
“Kids can be so much work” he muttered under his breath.
Kate was a handful already, teasing him at every opportunity as she introduced him to every single guest at the party, both young and old. He wore his custom-made smile and politely engaged guests who lingered after the introductions.
Everything appeared quite good until he returned from the guest toilet where he had gone to relief himself.
The first thing he noticed was that the music had stopped playing. That wouldn’t be a strange thing if the kids hadn’t also stopped running. The party turned from being boisterous and noisy to being as silent as a graveyard.
He walked into the living area cautiously patting his wet hands dry on his jeans. When he looked up, Kate shot him a look that shocked him. He quickly looked behind him wondering if there was someone deserving of that stare. Seeing that there was no one behind him, he searched for answers in the faces of the other guests. If looks could kill, he would have arrows piercing through every pore in his skin.
He stopped in his tracks, confused, and lost.
That was when he saw Dianella surrounded by over a dozen parents pointing her forefinger at him.
“He is the one” he heard her say.
“What” he asked perplexed.
He took a step towards the angry faces, but Kate shouted him down.
“Don’t dare come closer, you good for nothing man. How could you?”
“How could what, Kate? What is going on here? I don’t understand” Joseph asked again, his voice trailing off as he could tell that he was being accused of something grievous.
“He raped me” Daniella broke into a heap on the rug.
“Rape ke! What!!!!” Joseph looked at Kate for support. If she had any love for him, there was none showing on her face. She looked devastated, angry and resolute in her accusatory stare.
Joseph missed three heartbeats all at once. And when his heart restarted the throbbing was blinding. His mouth parched and he felt helpless.
Three men started to approach him. One threw him a fist full of bony fingers. It caught him square on his face. He was defenseless. It hurt so bad he held his face in his hands. They weren’t done though.
The fists came in quick succession. Kicks, punches, elbows, knees and someone even hit him with what appeared to be a log of wood. He tried to protect his head as he folded into a fetal position on the same threadbare rug. The beating abated only when an elderly woman screamed at the top of her lungs.
By then he was broken. Blood trickled down his face and he could swear that a bone or two had suffered repairable damage.
“Sit up” He heard the woman’s voice.
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