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Three is a crowd: How do you solve a problem like Diane’s?

David and Diane have been married for years; then there is Julie, the young secretary whose axis collides with the couple’s in ways none of them saw coming.

JULIE

I had hoped David would give me about Shs 300,000 for mum; that way I could send her Shs 200,000 in cash and Sandra could do shopping with the balance, so I was shocked when he told me to withdraw Shs 500,000 from the account for her!

I was particularly touched by his generosity as it showed that even though my mother had not yet accepted our relationship, he considered my family his and I knew that at this rate it would not be long before she warmed up to him. Money always eventually thawed her.

I quickly adjusted my budget and now put aside three hundred thousand for mum, one hundred for shopping, and the remainder for my siblings to share amongst themselves.

I thought Sandra would be just as pleased as I was over David’s generosity, but her moodiness from the night before had returned full swing in the morning, and when I privately urged her to thank David before he left for work, I was shocked at her response.

“Why? He gave it to you, not me,” she shrugged rudely.

It was her attitude that shocked me the most; while we had a very close, open relationship, Sandra had always been respectful towards me, yet in the past week, that had begun to change and I could not figure it out. Hopefully the break would do her good and when she returned on Saturday, I would have the old Sandra back.

DAVID

In typical Julie fashion, she was exceedingly grateful for the money I gave her for her family. It was one of her more endearing qualities – how she did not take anything for granted the way Diane did; how she was not shy about expressing her gratitude, and how she acted like five hundred thousand was fifty million.

The truth was, it was practically pocket change to me, and a small price to pay to have Sandra gone and Julie to myself for a few days.

I was looking forward so much to getting back to just Julie that evening that I decided I would go all out and make the evening extra special by picking up some Chinese takeaway on my way back, along with roses and scented candles just to spoil her and in a subtle way remind her of some of the things it was impossible for us to do with Sandra hanging around.

Hopefully it would give her food for thought and make her cut down on the amount of time her sister spent at the flat, but either way, having her to myself tonight was worth celebrating.

I called in our food order before leaving the office, and it was ready when I went to pick it up, which suited me perfectly as I could not wait to get back to Julie and I tipped the waiter generously. I had already bought the candles and roses on my way to pick up the food; so, with that done, I could finally head to flat.

As usual, Julie was waiting for me on the balcony when I arrived, and when she saw the bouquet of roses in my hands, she practically jumped with excitement, though in her condition that was not easy to do, and her feet did not actually leave the ground, making it more of a bounce than a jump.

For a second, from the corner of my eye, I thought I caught a glimpse of Diane in the traffic outside the gate as I climbed out of the car, but when I turned for a better look, the traffic had moved on and there was no sight of her.

Julie calling down to me brought my attention back to her and I dismissed the sighting of Diane as a figment of my imagination.

There was no reason she would be around here, and it had not been her car, so it was probably just someone that looked like her, I told myself and turned back to the flat – Julie was waiting.

DIANE

From the minute I saw Julie, I knew the initial plan to go and warn her off David would never work. Now that she was carrying his child, the bond between them would be written in blood; he would always be her ‘baby daddy’, and her, his ‘baby mama’ and it was this that I could not deal with.

That my children would have another sibling, born by a loose secretary, was a thought too terrible to contemplate.

Then of course there was the scandal that would follow; an affair one could hide, but not a whole other family. It would not be long before everyone found out that my husband had fathered a child outside our marriage; I would never be able to hold my head up again!

When I told Tracy what I had discovered, she spelt out the looming disaster even further.

“Oh boy, now she’s really got him! Wait and see, it will be ‘baby needs this’, ‘baby needs that’, ‘baby is sick, come take us to the hospital’, ‘baby misses you, come see baby’. Just know that’s going to be your life from now on, and God help you if ‘baby’ turns out to be a boy, then you’re really finished!” she warned, like some priestess of doom.

I did not know how to stop this disaster from unfolding, but I knew I somehow had to put a stop to it, and as I tried to figure that out, like a dog licking its wounds, I kept watching the flat.

I would arrive before David left for work, park somewhere inconspicuous, and watch him leave, then hours later, come back to watch him return.

I was like a woman possessed, obsessed with watching the life my husband shared with a whore – and trying to figure out how to bring their world crashing down.

margaretwamanga@yahoo.com

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