Story: Bashi Emma


    Introduction

    MILDRED'S PRAYER

    Bashi Emma, today I woke up feeling frustrated. Its a Saturday morning yet I'm here seated on my bed feelingy like it's another frustrating work day. I'm tired, tired of literally everything. It seems like all the requests I've brought before you have not been heard. How long must I wait? You know I need a new job, I can't stand another minute in that company. My boss.. He's so arrogant yet so clueless about everything, I'm much more qualified than he is but he runs a multimillion business. Why is this world so unfair?. In fact what kind of broad day light Satanism is that?. And about my family.. Bless them and remove so much suffering away from them, actually if they could be less demanding the better. Since I came to this side of the country I've done my best to support them but it's one demand after another. What more can i do?

    The car I drive is a nightmare, its one problem after the other and the gas is so expensive these days.  By the way Memory got a new car? Dear Lord I nearly fainted but I believe you have better in store for me. Seeing Memory flaunting her new car reminded me that you are sending me better. Patricia got engaged? Lord I'm not comparing but your word says we should make our requests known. Where is my man? Lord why am I a laughing stock amongst my friends?

     You said I'm a conqueror through Christ but the only thing I have conquered so far is that extreme poverty I've left behind. At least I can afford Mac products and some designer perfumes but Lord you know how I struggle to have these things, I literally shut my eyes when drawing from the bank. Where is that man who will sweep me off my feet or at least care enough to adopt me from this misery? The type who splashes his woman with literally everything she wants and loves her like Boaz loved Ruth. Where is my own? Lest I forget again, the vacation I want to take. When will the money be enough?

     Bashi Emma your word is clear everything i believe in my heart and surrender to you in faith is mine. I've been believing for that trip but 8months down the line I'm still speaking life into it. I'm down on my knees Bashi Emma, its  time for my faith to manifest in the physical. All the ladies in fellowship like myself are testifying yet all I say is "God is working". Its about time I give my own testimony and my own will look like a brand new Mercedes with a 32carat diamond ring on my finger. I believe it's happening and in fact it has already happened. Bashi Emma surprise me.. Surprise your daughter Mildred... I've waited too long its my time to shine. Bashi Emma do your work. This is the time when you should set a table before me in the presence of my enemies because I know they are watching. I'm waiting for my blessing oh God.. I can see my blessing has Mildred written all over it. Do your work My God, do your work Bashi Emma.

    Chapter 1


    Mildred was getting ready for ladies fellowship when her phone started ringing, she took one last look at herself before picking up.

    "Yes Mildred on the line who am I speaking to?"

    "Oh hi sister Mildred.. Its Lincoln.."

    Mildred suddenly became excited and blushed uncontrollably. Lincoln was the coloured guy from the youth choir, he was the pastors nephew and also an upcoming minister himself. Lincoln was not only handsome but he had the brains too, with two degrees and a masters he was just everything she wanted and to top it all, he was one  selfless human being who always reached out to help whenever he got the opportunity. However, Lincoln was one serious prayerful guy that he did not show interest in any woman at church. He often stated how God would direct him perfectly to the right partner when people cornered him about his single status. Mildred never once received attention from Lincoln not even for a favour but now he was calling her. For what exactly ? This couldn't be a coincidence.

    "This has to be Bashi Emma's doing" she thought

    "Oh.. Brother Lincoln.. What do I owe this visit... I mean this call" she mumbled

    "Oh ya.." He chuckled.

    The sound of his voice sent her heart dancing. Did he want to arrange for a date? Did he spot her all along? Bashi Emma was definitely listening to her prayers.

    "Sister Mildred.. Actually I wanted..." He posed

    "Sister Mildred I wanted to ask you...." He posed again

    Mildred was already so anxious that she crossed her fingers.

    "OK I have some people to attend to right now, just make sure you see me after the ladies fellowship" Lincoln said.

    "Oh OK.. I will make sure I don't forget" Mildred responded calmly.

    When Lincoln hung up, Mildred jumped up and down. She couldn't believe her opportunity had finally come. Her one chance to shine before all the ladies was here, Lincoln was obviously interested in her. No one could surpass her now.

    "No I can't wear this, I need to change" Mildred thought to herself.

    After quite a survey in her wardrobe and throwing things around.   Mildred finally found the perfect dress paired with stilettos to impress brother Lincoln. She did not leave the house until she made sure she looked just perfect. Her weave neatly toned, her makeup light and natural and her favourite perfume wrapped the sweet look.

    Mildred picked her Bible and closed her eyes for a moment before bursting into serious prayers while stamping her feet.

    "Almighty Father! God of Abraham, Shadrach, Misheck and Abednego thank you for your mercy! It is now my time to shine. No evil, no weapon fashioned against this union shall prosper! No! Not one! Today God I take authority and claim my possession!" Mildred continued praying and breaking into tongues until she was interrupted by another call.

    "Halo.."

    "You are running late, hurry!" Were Chileya's words.

    "Chileya is Lincoln already there?"

    "Why would he be here, he's in charge of the men's fellowship. I don't know.. Just hurry!" Chileya yelled.

    Chileya was Mildred's childhood friend, a very strong character who never beat about the bush. She was more than a friend but also a sister who went out of her way to be there for Mildred, Chileya like Mildred was head of administration. She worked at a cleaning company in town, Mildred on the other hand was working for a media company.

    ################################

    "My oh my... Why are you so dressed up?" Chileya teased Mildred as they settled in the master class.

    "Shhhh.. I'm not in the mood for nonsense this morning. I've got great news for you but can only tell you after class" she said.

    Pastor Linda walked upto the pulpit and all the ladies applauded. It was going to be another inspiring sermon with the theme "Being the perfect partner".

    "OK Mildred on a serious note why are you so over dressed?. What is this a fashion show?" Chileya teased

    "No .. I have a date after this. Can you keep quiet now! Unlike you I need the lesson" she whispered

    "Date? My eyes have seen my ears. You're going on a date and I'm just hearing about it?"

    "Chileya seriously keep quiet. I will give you all the details later. Look people are staring at us"

    The fellowship was just concluding when Chileya held Mildred by the hand.

    "What is it again?its about my date isn't it?

    Chileya nodded her head hoping to get a concrete answer from Mildred.

    "its brother Lincoln.. You know he's always had eyes for me I'm sure you've noticed how he looks at me...."

    "No, I haven't And I'm sure no one has" Chileya interrupted.

    "Mildred what is going on?" Chileya insisted.

    "OK he just told me he would like to see me but I know that's what it is.. If you've noticed the way.."

    "stop that nonsense!, of course I've not noticed anything. So that's what this fashion parade was all about? I hate to burst your bubble but I know Lincoln would never ask you out" Chileya said

    "Enemies of progress.. You are exactly the people I intend to get rid of this year. This is my year of favour and Divine connection"

    "Amen!" Chileya shouted teasingly

    "Seriously girlfriend you're taking this too far"  Chileya giggled.

    Mildred was not about listening to Chileya and she excused herself. She rushed to the men's fellowship class to catch Lincoln before he left. Lincoln was just leaving the class when he bumped into Mildred.

    "Sister Mildred.. Hi. I almost thought you won't make it" he said.

    "No why would I disappoint you like that?" She smiled

    Many people had spotted Mildred and kept wondering why she was do dressed up, usually ladies fellowship was casual but she was so dressed up.

    "OK follow me to the pastors office.." Lincoln said.

    Mildred trekked behind Lincoln steadily while people gossiped. Everyone wondering what was going on.

    "God this it.. My time for divine decoration is here" Mildred said to herself before she broke into silent prayer.

    The pastor was not in the office, it was just Lincoln and Mildred.

    "Sister Mildred take a seat" he said

    Blushing Mildred carefully settled opposite Lincoln and listened attentively.

    "Sister Mildred I've noticed with interest how committed you are to matters of faith and you are a great inspiration to many. You're simply exemplary in all you do and you seem to outperform a lot of ladies."

    Mildred was quiet but her heart danced for joy it was all like a dream. Lincoln saying all these wonderful things to her.

    "It is for this reason sister Mildred that I ..."

    "Yes.. I accept brother Lincoln. I do accept and I feel the same way too" Mildred interrupted with a smile.

    "You do?" Brother Lincoln asked with a smile of relief.

    "Of course I do brother Lincoln, why won't I ??" She replied excitedly.

    "Are you sure I'm not being pushy?, usually people think about these things. Its quite involving" Lincoln said.

    "No brother Lincoln trust me.. I am happy." She opposed

    "Oh that's great then, you can sign  something for me" he said as he searched for papers in the drawer.

    "Sign? Why?" She wondered

    "Yes just for record sake, you know people would like to be aware of who volunteers to host cell meetings for the month" he said.

    Chapter 2


    "Yes girlfriend spill the bins..How did it go? Please tell me all the details, do not leave a thing" Chileya said excitedly as she strapped the seat belt.

    "First of all Chileya what are you doing in my car?" Mildred replied after putting her phone away. She was just from checking her bank balance, despite the disappointment she was ready to shine by making the cell meeting extraordinary with a variety of drinks and snacks.

    "Errr.. My car is in the workshop. So I will pass the afternoon at your house until its ready. Now give me all the details come on"

    Mildred rolled her eyes in silence.

    "Eh... What happened? Did Divine connection miss its address?" Chileya said before bursting into laughter.

    "Its not funny Chichi why do I have to host the cell meetings!" She replied before hitting the steering causing a hooting sound.

    "Relax.. Now you've got everyone wondering why you are hooting. Let's go.. Will discuss whatever it is at home." Chileya added

    "And what makes you think I'm going home?" She chuckled.

    Mildred started the engine but her car made a cranking sound once and it stopped.

     "Ehh God, what kind of misfortune is this?" She whined

     "Seems someone's car also needs to go to the garage. Don't worry love, I know just who can help us. Don't move a muscle I'm coming" Chileya said before rushing out.

    Mildred remained pressing her phone and hating her life altogether. If only she had waited to get a proper car but she was too excited to shine and bought the available second hand golf. Now it was one problem after another.

    Mildred did not realise Chileya was back until she tapped on the bonnet

    "Open" she shouted.

    Mildred raised her eyes and saw Chileya struggling to open the bonnet with Lincoln.

    "Has this girl lost her mind?" Mildred muttered.

    Without much hesitation she pulled the lever beneath her chair and the bonnet clicked open. She then stepped out to see what was going on.

    "Sister Mildred.. You need to change your battery but I can JumpStart you for now." Lincoln said.

    Mildred did not hear a thing he said as she glared at his masculine hands that were exposed after he rolled back his sleeves. Everything was perfect, he was so handsome.

    "Mildred..." Chileya shouted

    "Huh.." She responded as brushed her thoughts aside

    "He said try to start it.." Chileya said

    "Oh OK sure" Mildred replied before rushing into the car.

    Mildred turned the key but the sound was the same and the car couldn't pick.

    "Ok let me get my car.. I will be right back" Lincoln said.

    Chileya rushed to Mildred's window immediately Lincoln left.

    "What is wrong with you? Why do you act like a zombie in front of him? Are you still hoping he will.."

    "Delay is not denial Chileya" Mildred replied with a smile.

    "Lincoln is not interested in you as a matter of fact he is not interested in any woman at Agape ministries"

    "Chileya.. Get it from me. The Bible says He that walks in the shadow of the Almighty.."

    "Oh no I cant. Save it Mildred please" Chileya interrupted Mildred before walking to a pavement and sat there.

    Lincoln pulled over and he quickly got to work giving Mildred signals when to start or stop the engine. Finally the car started and Mildred stepped out to say thank you. Chileya on the other hand slipped into the car minding less about what Mildred was up to.

    "Thank you so much brother Lincoln please what can I do to thank you?...." Mildred said.

    "No please don't bother.. Consider it a favour from a brother to a sister" he said.

    "Oh no come on brother Lincoln.. Not so many brothers are so kind. Let me buy you lunch or something"

    Lincoln giggled.

    "That won't be necessary sister Mildred.. Really just consider it your blessing. I have to run now. Have a safe drive and like I advised.. The battery will need a change" he said.

    Mildred slammed the bonnet angrily before getting into the car.

    "Never do that again Chileya.. How on earth can you let Lincoln fix my car? How?".

    " point of correction he did not fix your car he just started it and for crying out loud I was only getting you another chance to push your luck, now from what I see it didn't work either"

    "Well coming from someone who was teasing me about pushing my luck a while ago.. I really appreciate" Mildred replied before fastening her seatbelt and stepping on the accelerator.

    The ladies stopped at the shopping mall to buy some items for the cell meeting. Chileya wasn't getting the vibe in the whole shopping arrangement that she questioned Mildred again.

    "Remind me again, why on earth are we shopping?"

     "I already told you.. Its for the cell meeting." Mildred replied

    "But we all bring a dish, since when did it become exclusively the hosts responsibility to cook everything?"

    "I'm not cooking everything, I'm just going to prepare lasagna and red velvet cake.. If I can get the recipe right. Now help me find Basil spice please."

    "I can't believe you right now Mildred"

    "Oh great, I don't need you to believe me. Just help me get that Basil."

    "and what's with  the lasagna?. Just do something, something you already know how to prepare..." Chileya said.

    "Chileya you will get no where doing the same things. In order for Divine connection to locate you, you need to change how you do things. To answer your question Lincoln is coloured, he has white blood running through his veins. He must like lasagna"

    It was a long shopping trip, Mildred made sure she bought all the ingredients for lasagna and red velvet cake. Both items she did not know how to prepare. What ever it was going to take to impress Lincoln, she was willing to do it. This cell meeting was going to be one to remember.

    "OK so you still haven't told me when or where you learnt to prepare lasagna and red velvet cake" Chileya said as they checked out.

    "Chichi.. That's why there's YouTube. I can just follow the steps and do it" she said.

    Chileya couldn't hold her laughter, she just couldn't believe how ridiculous her friend sounded.

    Before they left the mall, Mildred called  Nelly. Nelly was setting up the church program for Sunday and she begged her to put her on the list of the ushers. She had just the perfect dress and shoes to flaunt as she directed people to their seats.

    "And why are you looking at me like that?" Mildred scolded Chileya.

    "Forgive my eyes that can not hide their disappointment and my ears that can not ignore nonsense, if this man was really heaven sent must you do so much to draw his attention?"

    "I'm simply positioning myself like Ruth positioned herself for Boaz. Don't you see there's everything virtuous about my behaviour?"

    Chileya was not ready to take another mile into convincing her friend she was crazy. Perhaps making her believe she was on the track to win Lincoln's heart would end the subject.

    ################################

    "Goodness Mildred! It's the third time you're making this lasagna and for crying out loud its not working. Just look at it? " Chileya yelled

    It was Sunday mid day after a successful service at church, Mildred had made several attempts to pull the lasagna off but to no avail. The red velvet cake equally looked nothing like the video she downloaded. What was she going to do?

    "Chileya lend me your car I need to rush to the store. This isn't working. People will soon start arriving I have to have something ready"

    Mildred removed her apron and threw it on the floor out of frustration.

    "Its a Sunday where are you going to get lasagna and red velvet cake?"

    "If you will stop this lecture and hand me the keys I might chance a shop" she said.

    It was Mildred's lucky day as she managed to buy the cake and lasagna. She made both look as home made as possible when she plated them. Everything was going according to plan and she was now singing songs of praise.

    ################################

    The cell meeting was on fire with everyone sharing what they understood from the sermon of the day. It was soon time to eat the food and they all gathered to share the meal.

    "Brother Lincoln let me serve you. " Mildred said as she picked a plate from the table that was full of wonderfully prepared dishes. Everyone else went on plating food and chatting while Lincoln waited for his food in the living room.

    Mildred made sure she plated enough lasagna for the man of God and picked a bit of the other dishes to go with it. She equally picked a desert bowl and scooped enough cake into it. It was her time to shine.

    No one found it odd that Mildred was serving Lincoln as he was a minister and therefore deserved some first class treatment, only Chileya knew what was happening.

    Mildred observed attentively as Lincoln ate his food, he ate everything else except the lasagna and cake.

    "Uhmm.. Brother Lincoln you've barely touched the lasagna and red velvet cake" Mildred smiled.

    "Oh ya.. I'm not a fan of cheese and I'm not a sweet tooth either, but everything is great. Thank you" he replied

    "All this effort and this is what i get Bashi Emma" Mildred thought to herself.

    Chapter 3


    "Wow what a weekend it was" Mildred sighed after throwing herself on her chair.

    It was Monday morning and she had just arrived in her office. Mondays were always annoying for her, she literally slept through lunch because mornings were always so hectic.

    "Ms Kabaso how was your weekend?" Isaiah greeted.

    "Isaiah how many times do I have to remind you to knock on my door?"  

    Isaiah was a marketing officer who was always up on his game, he brought most clients to Staolex Media but still maintained his position for as long as Mildred could remember. It was surprising that someone with great ideas would not be promoted, well it didn't surprise Mildred who thought her boss was always clueless about everything.

    "I'm sorry Ms Kabaso" he smiled.

    Mildred had a soft spot for Isaiah who was 4yrs her senior, not because of his great sense of style or his amazing fragrances that got every lady turning, not even his fine tough masculine chocolate body or his dimples. It was because he was a christian, not a self proclaimed but born again and delivered.

    Mildred tried to pull a straight look. "Why are you smiling?, it's not funny" She said.

    "You know your face never matches your tone? Anyway how was your Sunday?" Isaiah said before taking a seat.

    Mildred smiled " you always get me. My Sunday was great thank you"

    "I like that smile, so what was the sermon we could run through together before Mr Lungu gets on my Case" he chuckled.

    That was Isaiah, very prayerful and a dedicated mentor.
    Mildred pulled her Bible out and they ran through a scripture together before praying.

    "You know Ms Kabaso, you inspire me a lot with your amount of faith. Soon God will grant all the desires of your heart" he said.

    "Amen... I don't know why it feels like certain things take forever you know. Like..."

    "Marriage?" Isaiah interrupted

    "Why on earth would you think that?" She smiled shyly.

    "Its no use hiding. You're a lady, obviously you worry about such things. If not so many men were blind.."

    "You mean men like yourself?" She teased.

    Isaiah burst into laughter. That wasn't funny for Mildred at all but perhaps he found her funny like every other man she met who never cared enough to commit.

    The day had just started getting busy, Mildred started her PC and immediately started making calls and replying to emails. She made sure she took all the orders and forwarded to the production team. Staolex Media dealt with a number of things ranging from printing posters, road maps and signs to designing logos and website formation. It was a very busy company. Usually Mildred knocked off late to make sure all the orders were met by the production company and that everything was done according to standard. Monday was even worse because all previous week's orders had to be delivered.

    Lunch time was usually a time to mingle with other employees but Mildred was one of a kind, she hated any form of disturbance during lunch as she liked to meditate and eventually fall asleep. Rudo and Sarah were her closest friends at work while Memory and Patricia were one of those friends you could just call friends.
    Rudo often bulged into her office over lunch and Mildred would struggle to drag her out hence she preferred to lock up

    ################################

    "Mum I think let her just come.. I will know what to do" she sighed.

    It was lunch hour and Mildred was just from dealing with another complaint from her mother. It was about her sister Hilary. Mildred was the second born in her family of 5 children, the first born pretty much wasted his life on drugs and had been in and out of rehab. The third was Hilary and the last two were twins Peter and Patrick, they were 16 and in secondary school doing their 11th grade. Both were really bright. However, Hilary was a problem. She had dated nearly every married man in the neighbourhood at only 22 years old and now her mother was fed up. Was it her curvy body that got every man crazy or what? Mildred could not understand why.

    "If only she can see the brighter side of life, she can realise that what these men give her is nothing" her mother had said.

    Mildred was left with no option but to drive to the nearest money sending service to forward Hillary's transport money. She just couldn't stand the thought of having Hillary waste her life in the outskirts of Ndola where her parents resided. It was time for her to see the brighter side of life indeed and just see how Lusaka would give her a different perspective.

     "I have sent K500, she can use K150 for her transport and the rest you can use for other things. Please let her travel on Friday afternoon, I need to have enough time with her over the weekend before she settles in" Mildred said to her mother.

    "OK.. Thank you Mildred. You have lightened my burden my daughter, God bless you" she said.

    "Mummy don't mention, it's my duty to make sure she gets it all together. Stay well and regards to dad"

    "Oh and your twin brothers are still waiting for the play station you promised."

    "Mum I will look into it, but regards to them too. Tell them I love them and I haven't forgotten" she said.

    Mildred leaned back in her chair and took a gentle spin, it was going to be one hell of a ride living with her sister but she had grown and it was time to start getting some burdens off her mother.

    "God I am going to make sure that girl changes, even if I have to slap the demons out of her, I will" she muttered

    One thing evident that Mildred had never left behind was her faith that she got from her mother, although she had taken it a little too far with her charismatic faith. Even her mother often wondered.
     ################################

    Friday had been hectic but Mildred well informed her boss she would leave by 5pm come what may, she needed to pick her sister from the station. At exactly 4:30pm, Mildred started packing up and clearing her desk, it was almost time to go.

    Intercity wasn't too far from Northmead where her offices were but often times traffic would build up and Mildred was trying to avoid that. When her desk was fully cleared she retouched her makeup and headed out.

    "Rushing somewhere?" Patricia asked her on the way out.

    Patricia, the marketing manager for Staolex Media was the envy of most ladies as she had great sense of style. Lets just say she could afford it.

    Mildred stared at Patricia who was elegantly dressed in a figure fitting floral dress. As usual, she looked elegant. She was holding a file in her hands which probably contained nothing, that was her job all day... Moving around with empty files looking like she was actually working.

    "Oh ya... My sister is coming, need to pick her up from the station" Mildred replied

    "Oh, I see that's great. I actually wanted to talk to you but I see you're in a hurry" she said.

    "Is it long? And urgent? I mean you could walk me out and we could talk I guess" she replied.

    Mildred wondered why all of a sudden Patricia had something personal to discuss. They really weren't that close so it made her wonder.

    "Oh sure we can walk if my Jimmy Choo's can catch up with you" she said.

    "Jimmy Choo's.." Mildred muttered as she wondered before her eyes noticed the obviously gorgeous and unapologetically expensive designer shoes.

    Her head went crazy as the words rang in her head "Jimmy Choo's?God of Abraham Shadrach Misheck and Abednego.. How much did this lady buy these shoes"

    "Oh.. I see" Mildred replied whilst trying as hard as she could to swallow the insult.

    "I could spare a minute then" she added.

    "I thought like wise" Patricia smiled.

    She was everything Mildred wanted to be, everything about her was expensive. Including her smile which she rarely gave.

    "Well I will be hosting an engagement party" she said calmly.

    "Oh.. Talking of which I never even got the chance to see the ring" Mildred replied.

    "Oh.. The much talked about ring. Here it is"

    Patricia displayed her hand for Mildred to see the ring, Mildred couldn't help but hold Patricia's hand to get a clear glimpse. Everything stopped around her, it was just her and the ring

    Mildred marveled at the glamorous ring trying to spot something she could hate about it but it was all perfect. Just like she would have imagined hers to be.

    "I see we might be here the whole day. Let me not make you late" Patricia said as she pulled her hand away.

    Mildred giggled shyly, it was embarrassing how her eyes failed her.

    "So like I said the engagement... So its tomorrow at Mahak restaurant. Starts at 5pm.. As a matter of fact I have a card for you..." She said before pulling a card from her file.

    The card alone looked like it cost a lot of money.

    "Thank you.. I will be there" Mildred replied calmly.

    Patricia whisked away leaving Mildred speechless.

    "But Bashi Emma... So this is how I will be facing my embarrassment eh? My battles are no longer in the spiritual realm.. They have now manifested in the physical.. Face to face. Eyyyyy... Bashi Emma. Do something" she whined as she walked to her car.

    ################################

    Mildred pulled over at east park shopping mall, she had just picked Hilary and they would be having super from the mall. This was just one step to showing her sister what the capital city had to offer and she was dedicated to do that all through the weekend

    "Where are we?" Hilary asked as she unfastened her seat belt.

    "Sis this is a mall, I'm sure there malls in Ndola" Mildred replied.

    "We are having our supper here" she added

    Hilary wasn't as backward, she knew exactly what a mall was and in fact her married boyfriends had spoilt her with fine things. She didn't look backward at all, she was just acting naive.

    "ummm goat and chips?. Who names a place goat and chips?" Hilary said as they walked past a goat and chips restaurant.

    "Ya... What's wrong with that? Its a restaurant that normally sales goat and chips" Mildred said.

    "Mmm goat as in imbushi?" Hillary replied.

    "Don't embarrass me. What's wrong with that? This is town, the real town not that second class you call town where you're always roaming around with your boyfriends" Mildred said as they settled at hungry Lion restaurant.

    "But still mofye.. Imbushi?.. Imichopo?" Hilary said as she giggled.

    She knew exactly what would tick her sister off. From childhood Mildred hated primitive behaviour and always said she was destined for greatness therefore would only mingle with the best. Now Hilary was portraying just that.

    "Anyway like you said nimu town. What can we say?" Hilary added.

    Mildred gave her sister a weird stare before giving her money and asking her to go and place the order. She wondered who may be staring and might have heard her sister, maybe even a potential husband. She ran her hands through her Brazilian hair and maintained a modest posture making sure she was as elegant as she could be.

    "Bashi Emma i surrender this girl to you because you know me. I don't have the patience for this nonsense in my year of favour... This girl will not stand in the way. " She sighed.

    Chapter 4


    "Mmm bane, why are you so overdressed? It's your friends engagement not yours" Hilary said to Mildred who had just picked her bag ready to go.

    "Either you stop running your mouth and finish up so we go or I leave you here. Take your pick"

    Hilary quickly removed the scarf she had wrapped around her head and shook her head to stretch her braids. She looked like a lady in a black elegant knee high balloon dress paired with silver jewelry with black heels. Her makeup was neatly done and she looked just flawless.

    "How do I look?" Hilary asked as she faced Mildred

    "Like my sister.. Now let's go" Mildred said.

    Hilary hurried behind her sister with a purple clutch in her hands, she was also carrying perfume in her hands that she intended to leave in the car after use.

     When Mildred finished locking up she said a short prayer asking God to protect her house while she was away.

    "Is that fantasy?" Mildred asked as her sister sprayed her armpits.

    "Oh.. Ya.. Why?"

    "You can't afford it.. Where did you get it?" Mildred replied as she stared at her sister

    "No I can't you're right. Someone bought for me and its a friend so don't start with questions."

    "My friend you will slim down and lose all this beauty all in the name of good life"

    Mildred threw her bag in the back and asked her sister to close her eyes.

    "God of Abraham Shadrach Misheck and Abednego.. Father bless this trip. Bless this journey my Master, let no harm come before for us.. Bless this car...."

    Mildred went on with the prayer as her sister constantly said Amen.

    "Was that amen genuine or you really wanted me to stop?"

    "Sis let's just go.. What's the matter? You look for every way possible to pick on me. Please I beg you in the name of God" Hilary said.

    Mildred started the engine and they drove off in silence, non of them saying a word until they stopped at the gas station to refuel. The car suddenly failed to start.

    "What's wrong with this car again?" Mildred sighed.

    Hilary was trying hard not to laugh but she found it very funny.

    "This is the problem  with carrying nonbelievers.." Mildred muttered.

    "I heard that.. I have no business in the car failing to start as you can see I'm seated on my end here minding my own business" Hilary said with a smile.

    "Madam can I help you by pushing?" A gentleman from the back shouted from his car.

    He was next in line to refuel and he was running out of time.

    Mildred was embarrassed but she swallowed her pride and accepted the help. The gentle man pushed the car and Mildred immediately drove off without saying thank you or at least wave.

    "Who behaves like that? Do you know we might have been stuck there? You never know, that man may even be your significant other" Hilary said.

    "Keep quiet my friend.. What impression have I given him? My car is already giving me problems he wouldn't dare drag me into his life with such problems"

    Hilary giggled, she knew she had a crazy sister but it seemed her craziness only increased over the year of living alone.

    ################################

    "Wow.. This place is beautiful... So far Lusaka has impressed me, no complaints whatsoever" Hilary said as she unfastened her seatbelt.

    "As you can see the place speaks for itself, only elegant and modest people are part of this day. Please be at your best behaviour.. No local language.  English only. Remember to smile a little, don't show too much teeth and walk like a lady."

    "Agreed?"

    "Yes.. I hear you." Hilary smiled.

    "Good now let's go" she said.

    The ladies walked in elegantly with their heads high. So many people had come to help Patricia celebrate and a lot splashed her with gifts and best wishes.

     As the party reached its climax, Sean, Patricia's fiancé had a surprise for her. A brand new SUV. Everyone was on their feet cheering for Patricia including Mildred and her sister. But Mildred was more humiliated than anything else.

    "Bashi Emma.. Please do something" she muttered.

    It was time to leave after the wonderful night, Mildred was just glad it was over and that Hilary behaved. However everything else just reminded her how she was unfortunate in her life.

    Mildred spent time saying bye to all her work colleagues, they got into a little chitchat too and this annoyed Hilary who hated to look out of place. Hilary decided to go wondering outside while pressing her phone when she suddenly heard a voice behind her.

    "Halo.."

    Wondering who it was, Hilary looked around but saw no one in the car park. She was positive someone had greeted her but she wondered who it was.

    "Here in the Mercedes" she heard a voice call out.

    It was then that Hilary spotted the black Mercedes and the gentleman inside who she did not see clearly.

    Mildred looked around again doubting if she was going to be doing the right thing but the man called out to her again.

    "Don't worry.. This is a public place. I can't do anything to you" he said.

    She gathered enough courage and walked there. To her surprise the man in the car was Sean, Patricia's fiance.

    "Aren't you the fiancé to.."

    "Yes my name is Sean.. Please jump in, I want to talk to you for a second" he said

    "What if your fiancée finds you and besides you don't even know me. What if she's my friend?"

    "Patricia doesn't have any friends, anyway if I'm not mistaken you came with Patricia's workmate. My name is..."

    "You already told me your name and besides I've heard it all night. So what do you want?" Hilary interrupted.

    "Patricia might walk this way soon, just have my card and call me?" He said as he handed her a business card.

    "09....." Hilary shouted her line.

    "I don't keep business cards. Too much trouble" she added

     Sean chuckled.

    "I like you already." He said.

    "I know, otherwise you wouldn't have called me."

    Sean recited her number and made sure he got the correct number before she left.

    "Where were you?" Mildred asked her sister who just showed up.

    "You were greeting friends so I thought I peep around, its a beautiful place.." She smiled.

    "Yes it is,  let's go.. I'm tired we have church tomorrow" Mildred said.

    When they settled in the car Hilary's phone beeped, it was a message from Sean.

    "Hope to be seeing you again soon.. Sean" the message read.

    Hilary smiled to herself and sent back a smiley.

    ################################

    The ladies had just finished getting ready and they were on their way to church. Chileya was waiting for them in the car park as she had juicy news for Mildred. Hilary was clad in a long purple dress, it wasn't tight at all but it exposed her figure really well. Her hair was tied up in a pony while Mildred was in a Peach peplum dress matched with black stilettos.

    "Gurrrrlll you look good. " Chileya teased as Mildred left the car

    "Ahhh please I need to shine Like the Queen that I am" she giggled.

    "Oh and who is this lovely young lady"  she said.

    "Oh my sister Hilary, she's staying with me now" Mildred said

    Hilary smiled and shook hands with Chileya.

    "I see she has her sisters figure. I always wondered where Mildred got her figure from but I see it's a family thing" Chileya teased

    "So what's the news hurry up spill the bins before we run late.. Uhmm sis you can go inside the church. Pick any seat of your choice I'm an usher so I will be up and about" Mildred said

    Hilary nodded her head and walked away.

    "Your sister is fine ..."

    "Is she?.. Thank you. She's given mum enough trouble with men on her case, now I have to keep her" Mildred said

    "Well you're going to be dealing with headaches here too. " Chileya teased.

    "Anyway girlfriend....." Chileya went on talking.

    Meanwhile Hilary got to the church entrance and stood for a while trying to spot a place to seat.

    "Hi... Are you looking for a seat?" A handsome looking guy said to her.

    Hilary couldn't help but stop for a moment to appreciate Gods creation before her.

    "Yes I'm new.." Hilary said.

    "Oh. I see.. Well its my pleasure to welcome you to Agape ministries .." The handsome gentleman said as he pulled a paper from his pocket.

    "Please give me your name and phone number, I will pass them to the person making announcements so we can give you a warm welcome" he said

    "Oh sure.. My name is Hilary Kabaso coming from Ndola. A member of agape ministries Ndola" she smiled.

    "Oh that's great my name is Lincoln.. Lincoln Smith. Pleasure meeting you" he said

    Hilary smiled as Lincoln jotted down all her details.

    "Sister Hilary please this is my card.. In case you need to ask details about the church as am a minister. Meanwhile i will text or call you for the details of the cell meeting.... if that's OK." He said.

    "Oh sure... Thank you"

    "Let me look for a seat for you, I will be right back" he said.

    A little while later Lincoln directed her and she took a seat.

    ################################

    Service was great and powerful, Mildred enjoyed every bit of it but she had to rush immediately after church to arrange for the cell meeting. Hilary had to remain for visitors meal and Tina offered to drop her off. Tina was Patricia's friend from the praise team. Chileya and Mildred went to prepare some food together, this time Chileya had strictly warned Mildred not to go overboard but just to prepare what she had in her pantry.

    Hilary was a little out of place despite the friendly welcome by the praise team who offered her and other visitors some food. She kept texting with Sean who was so keen about her, he had been constantly in touch on WhatsApp and they were soon getting close. Lincoln was nowhere to be seen but Hilary didn't mind much as she knew he probably was another committed guy. Her battery eventually drained and she missed Lincolns call, he was trying to communicate concerning the cell meeting.

    "My dear its time to go.." Tina said to Hilary.

    Hilary picked her purse and smiled.

    "Its about time" she thought.

    Meanwhile back at home Mildred and Chileya had successfully grilled chicken and prepared some rice and gravy to go with it, Mildred hoped Lincoln would love the food.

    It wasn't long before people started arriving and it was soon time for the cell meeting to commence. Lincoln arrived in His Benz looking very smart as usual, Mildred quickly directed him where to seat and she purposely sat next to him.

    "Actually we were just about to start.." Mildred said

    "Hold on let me just try this number one more time" Lincoln said as he dialed Hilary's phone but it was still off.

    "OK guess we can start" he said.

    Mildred had her moment to shine as she led into a powerful prayer with her hands raised high. As usual, Lincoln was impressed with her prayer and he complimented. She was on top of the world.

    The meeting had just resumed when Tina and Hilary walked in.

    "Oh sister Tina... You're with our visitor. I was actually trying to call her" Lincoln said.

    "Oh.. You know her?" Mildred asked drawing everyone's attention.

    Hilary was just quiet shifting her eyes back and forth looking at whoever was talking.

    "Yes we met at church, I'm the one who registered her" he said.

    "OH that's great... She's my sister" Mildred smiled.

    Lincoln was surprised.

    Hilary smiled shyly "sis you didn't tell me you host the cell meetings.."

    "I was going to, it slipped my mind you can join us now" Mildred replied acting all unconcerned.

    Lincoln quickly left his seat and offered it to Hilary, this annoyed Mildred as she was no longer going to be close to her crush.

    "I hope I'm not too late" Hilary smiled after sending her greetings to everyone.

    "No.. I can repeat for you" Lincoln said.

    Mildred stared at her sister rudely but Hilary didn't even notice.

    When it was time for the meal Lincoln quickly asked Hilary to plate him some food as well. Mildred heard this and she rushed out pretending to have a call. When she was out of sight, Mildred raised her hands to the sky.

    "Bashi Emma I beg you.. I beg you right now Bashi Emma. the confusion transpiring in my home better come to an end. Me.. Mildred.. Daughter of the Most High... No no no" she said as she beat her chest.

    "Bashi Emma.. Please.. This better not be what I'm thinking. Since when did Lincoln become so friendly with anyone? I was once a visitor but in his eyes I barely existed. Ehhhyyyy Bashi Emma... Please give me another battle to fight, not with my sister. Not with Hilary! Bashi Emma I have spoken."

    Chapter 5


    "Sister Mildred how are you"

    "Isaiah I'm not OK... Please sit down. Thank God you came I was about to call you"

    It was another busy Monday but Mildred was unconcerned about that, she had something serious to share with Isaiah.

    "I wouldn't miss devotion, it seems everyone around here hates to pray except you and I. So what's up.. Shoot" Isaiah said as he took a seat.

    Mildred sighed as she gathered herself together.

    "You really look troubled dear what's the matter?"

    "Isaiah there's a problem.. There's a serious problem" she started.

     "Yes I'm all ears what's the matter?" He asked.

    "OK Isaiah what do you do if God has shown you the person meant for you, but the person does not know it"

    Isaiah posed for a moment as he analysed what Mildred had said, it didn't make any sense. Mildred was now confused wondering what he was thinking about.

    "Well sister Mildred in this case the only thing one can do is wait for God to speak to that person too" he replied.

    "Oh... Is it? But what if the person is currently showing interest in someone else?. Very strong interest" she added.

    "Well sister Mildred our God is not a God of confusion, he can not tell you one thing and prove something different. If he indeed spoke to this person then his words will surely come to pass but if all this is a result of ones own imagination then chances are it will not come to pass. So tell me, who are we talking about?" he said.

    Mildred sighed sadly.

    "What is it? Do you need help with something?" He asked again

    "No Isaiah.. I'm good thank you" she replied.

    Isaiah took his leave while Mildred remained in her chair staring at the ceiling while her mind wandered away. She was quite hungry and she wondered why as it was still too early. It then crossed her mind that she had failed to eat the previous night, Hilary's behavior towards Lincoln had gotten to her badly.

    "maybe breakfast will do" she said before picking her purse and heading to the cafeteria. Surprisingly, many ladies were having breakfast. Mildred found an isolated place to seat but could still hear everyone's conversation, it was the engagement party of the year and as usual Patricia had stolen the spotlight. She quickly took her coffee hoping not to be spitted by Rudo, when she was done, Mildred quickly walked back to the office whilst humming a happy tune.

    "No Bashi Emma.. I'm not supposed to worry. Worry means I'm not trusting you enough. Please forgive me.. Your word says I should make my requests known which I have. I will wait patiently" she said as she relaxed in her office.

    By lunch time, Mildred still did not feel any better. Perhaps she could do something about her situation. But what?

    "Tithe? Yes that's right. I need to sow a seed into my request, that way I will activate the heavens and accelerate my break through. After all many pastors encourage one to sow a seed and make a request. I will do just that." Mildred smiled to herself.

    "What a genius idea.. While I am here crying my friends have been sowing and reaping their harvest. Why won't I? Or is it not my year of favour?"

    Over lunch, Mildred excitedly drove to the bank and withdrew an amount equivalent to 10% of her income. Her last money before pay day but it did not hurt a single bit as it was for a good cause. She said a prayer and folded that money in an envelope. Looking at the time, she still had an hour before lunch was over so she tried her best to beat traffic and finally arrived at Agape ministries. Mildred went straight to the pastors office and said a little prayer before tapping on the door.

    "Come in.." Lincoln responded. The pastor was not in.

    "Oh hi brother Lincoln, I did not expect to see you here" she smiled shyly.

    "Well I didn't expect to see you either, aren't you supposed to be working?" He smiled.

    Mildred shook hands with Lincoln while her heart leaped with joy.

    "Please take a seat... What a surprise" he said.

    "Oh yes.. I'm sorry I actually wanted to see the pastor" she said.

    "Oh.. He isn't around I'm on leave myself so I opted to come here and not leave the office empty" he said

    "Oh I see" Mildred smiled.

    "But he will be back in like an hours time if you are not rushing you can wait for him."

    Mildred knew she had to return to work but she weighed her option, either she chose to go or stay. Her boss would definitely be mad at her for leaving early on Monday however, this was her opportunity to be with Lincoln. Was she willing to miss that chance?.

    "Let me just make a few calls outside then. I will be back" she said.

    Mildred stepped outside the office and called Isaiah begging him to cover up for her as she had a program she couldn't miss at church. Isaiah was a little reluctant but finally gave in.

    Lincoln was on the phone when Mildred returned, he was talking to Hilary who had just returned his call. He had earlier called her hoping to convince her to join the discipleship at Agape ministries.  Mildred didn't realise it and Lincoln didn't feel the need to tell her.

    "I'm on leave so you can always come through at the church if you make up your mind and I can run you through the steps to become a disciple" Mildred had heard Lincoln say.

    She wondered who he may have been talking to.

    Hilary who was still new in Lusaka stated how incapable she was to move on her own but this was really to avoid the whole discipleship. However, Lincoln offered to be picking her.

    Mildred waited patiently for him to finish his conversation before offering to help with anything in the office.

    "I doubt there's really anything you can assist me with sister Mildred. I don't have much to do either expect for attending to people But thank you for offering" he smiled.

    "Maybe we can chat then?" she suggested.

    "That sounds like a great idea.." He smiled.

    Mildred led Lincoln into conversation and they talked for close to 30 minutes about church matters, the longer they talked the more she hoped he would see through her. He was everything she ever wanted in a man and more but why wasn't he seeing what she saw?
     ################################

    Meanwhile back at home, Hilary was excited about her meeting with Sean who had promised to pass by around 3pm. True to his words, Sean came by  with pizza for Hilary just like she had demanded. They sat in the car talking while they shared the pizza, Sean all the while picked glances at Hilary and she noticed.

    "Why did you engage her?"

    Sean was not expecting  her question  and he tried to escape it with a laugh but she was serious.

    "I don't know, perhaps i love her" he replied whilst trying to avoid every form of eye contact.

     "Perhaps? Well what if I say I don't think you love her?"

    "Of course I do otherwise I wouldn't have asked her to marry me." He said.

    Hilary dropped the subject and asked to take her leave.

    "Why? are you annoyed? So soon?.. We haven't even finished talking" he said.

    "No on the contrary why would I be?" She asked

    "Because I love her?"

    Hilary laughed trying not to show her disappointment. Truly it hurt that only married and committed men seemed to show interest in her but for all that it was worth,a little spoiling wouldn't hurt.

    "Oh please.. I'm not that petty. I know you must love her definitely, besides we are just friends isn't it?.. Anyway I'm going to start cooking, my sister must be here any minute."

    "Can I see you again? Maybe we could go to a place and have some drinks?" He asked

    "No problem, you have a good day" Hilary replied before rushing out.

    ################################

    Mildred had just left the pastors office and she was positive God was going to do something for her. She had just given her tithe and would now see Gods hand come to life in her situation.

    ################################

    "You're back early.." Hilary said to her sister.

    Mildred smiled reluctantly as she asked her sister to join her in the living room. Hoping she was not caught, Hilary stood for a moment wondering what to say should her sister ask about Sean.

    "Hilary I'm waiting for you" Mildred called out.

    She walked slowly to the living room whilst trying to act as casual as possible.

    "Hilary take a seat"

    Mildred looked quite serious making Hilary even more nervous.

    "Hilary, I called you here because I want to talk to you about yesterday"

    Hilary took a sigh of relief but still wondered what she was talking about.

    "Yesterday?" She asked looking all surprised.

    "Oh yes.. Yesterday.. You see my sister, every minister in the church ought to be respected young or old" Mildred said.

    Hilary wondered where everything was going but she kept quiet and listened attentively.

    "Every man of God ought to be treated with respect, you can not joke around any how much worse engage him into unnecessary conversation.. Brother Lincoln is one respectable man and everyone has high regard for him" she said.

    Hilary smiled in shock "oh Lord she has got to be kidding me? Lincoln?" She thought to herself.

    "Sis exactly what are you trying to say?" Hilary interrupted.

    "My point is..." She posed.

    "To be in contact with a man like brother Lincoln you need to be connected with him in spirit. Its a spiritual affair, did you see anyone being too friendly with him?"

    "Oh is it? Well I had no idea. I apologise.. But he approached me at church perhaps the spirit led him to me".

    "the spirit what? Hold that blasphemous thought and never say that again. Listen two opposite spirits can not attract" Mildred said

    "Who said anything about attraction?" Hilary giggled

    Mildred tried to maintain her poise but she was a little embarrassed that her strong interest in Lincoln led her to confront Hilary. Just what did Hilary think of her? She wondered.

    "by the way what am I? A ghost?" Hilary asked

    "Whatever the case. Hope I won't have to repeat myself, I don't want problems this is Lusaka. Go and prepare supper" Mildred warned.

    Hilary left her sisters presence without another word but she wasn't willing to let that go so easily. All her mother's words rang back in her head and she became more angry. It was almost like she was the black sheep of the family while Mildred was the saint who happened to always be an example.

    "Be like your sister, she graduated Early, she's driving, she's independent..." All those words carefully pierced in all the tight places causing her more pain. However, one thing was obvious and it was the fact that Mildred was into Lincoln. This was the one chance Hilary would beat Mildred at anything and she was willing to go the extra mile.

    Without much hesitation Hilary got her phone and sent a message to Lincoln.

    "Brother Lincoln, I have thought long and hard about it. I would really love to do the discipleship"

    Hilary smiled to herself as she awaited his response.

    It wasn't long before brother Lincoln replied "I'm proud of you sister Hilary, you have made the right decision"

    "Will see who is who" Hilary said to herself with a huge smile before getting to the cooking.

    Chapter 6


    It was Tuesday morning and while Mildred was settling in her office, Hilary was getting ready to go for discipleship meeting. Lincoln had offered to pick her up from home and she was making sure she dressed to impress, she left nothing to chance especially because she was contending with her sister. Her sister who could afford really expensive clothes.

    Just past 9pm Lincoln pulled over at Mildred's home and he called Hilary.

    "Let me just lock up, I will be there shortly" she said

    Lincoln took a minute to read a short scripture on his phone as he waited for Hilary, he was calm and relaxed up until he heard the gate open. Being aware that Hilary was probably coming, he quickly tacked his phone away.

    Lincoln couldn't believe his eyes when he saw Hilary.
    She looked as beautiful, as graceful and as elegant as he would have imagined his woman to be..except she wasn't his woman.

    Hilary who was in a long sleeveless floral dress looked like she had just fallen from heaven, this was rather strange because Lincoln had not yet met a woman who he had to look at twice and still want to look at again. Perhaps because she had put in a lot into her look, Lincoln had no choice but to notice her beauty.

    "I'm sorry I hope I did not keep you waiting"

    Lincoln cleared his mind and smiled, he wasn't expecting to be so blown away by a mare long dress and neatly tied braids. But there was just something there, something he couldn't explain.

    "No of course not..by the way, i Like your perfume" he said.

    "Is that all he noticed?" She wondered.

    "Thank you.. So I hope I will feel welcome on the program. How many are involved in this discipleship?" She asked excitedly.

    "You mean the beginners?

    Hilary nodded her head with a gentle smile.

    " well you my dear happens to be the only one on the program" he replied calmly as he joined the highway.

    "Oh perfect!" Hilary said excitedly before realising how Lincoln looked at her.

    "OK... That was unexpected" he chuckled"I'm sorry.. I'm just not a people person ... I mean I was nervous about meeting new faces and getting acquainted"

    "No you don't have to worry.. For now its just you but soon people will join I believe.. I trust you would have eased up by then" he said.

    ############################
    THREE WEEKS LATER

    "You have been ignoring my calls all day? And now a car just pulled over and dropped you?"

    Hilary couldn't believe what she was hearing but hoped not to destroy her mood by Sean who was clearly in a bad mood, unlike him she had a very nice day with Lincoln.

    "Hilary at least answer me.. Where have you been all day? And can you at least come into the car. Someone might see us and suspect something, let's drive somewhere peaceful and quiet. Your sister might actually also meet us here.."

    Hilary laughed hysterically while dramatically clapping her hands.

    "Sean can you at least listen to yourself.. You're afraid that someone might see us? That's what you want me to be doing for the rest of my life. Why? Look Sean, I'm sure Patricia is home now waiting for you please go.."

    Sean angrily stepped out of the car and grabbed Hilary's hand.

    "What is the meaning of this? Leave me alone Sean" she shouted.

    "I'm not going anywhere until you tell me why you have been ignoring my calls.. What's going on?"

    "OK I think you've seriously lost you mind Sean.. Are you crazy?"

    "You are driving me crazy Hilary. Two days no call nothing and you don't even respond.. What happened to us?" Sean yelled.

    "Oh no no no no. Us? What we have is just a friendship that should have never been allowed in the first place.. Its only been a month, don't make me regret this" Hilary yelled before rushing inside.

    Frustrated Sean drove angrily, he just couldn't believe a Lady he had only known for a month was driving him crazy. He had been having sleepless nights over her perhaps because he spent a lot of time with her. It wasn't about the short moment of intimacy they had at chrisma hotel, it was more than that. It was something Patricia couldn't offer.

    Hilary locked herself up hoping Sean would not try anything silly, she really liked him in fact more than she desired Lincoln. But Hilary was beginning to regret the time she spent with him although she had enjoyed it all. She had once again led another man on, a man who was committed to another woman.


    Meanwhile Lincoln was swinging in his chair at the office, it had been another wonderful session with Hilary and he just couldn't wait to see her again. Hilary was no longer just an ordinary student in his eyes, she was that beautiful face he liked to see everyday. She was a breath of fresh air, something Lincoln had lacked for a long time but to her he was just a revenge.

    "Lord I'm not saying I'm certain but this one I like.. A lot" Lincoln said to himself as he swung in his chair.

    Poor Mildred had no idea what was happening as she patiently waited for her seed to germinate, the seed she had sown with faith regarding Lincoln. Everything seemed promising and she was trusting God for the miracle. Mildred swung her chair as she reminded Bashi Emma about how she was happily waiting on him. Nothing felt better than knowing it was all going to work for her good.

    "Mildred you won't believe it" Rudo said excitedly.

    "You almost killed me... Don't you know how to knock?" Mildred replied in shock as she held her chest.

    "Not when I have great news... Girlfriend this you have got to hear" Rudo said excitedly before she took a seat.

    Mildred was nervous, she sat upright wondering what was going on.

    "Not all that glitters is gold Mildred.." Rudo started.

    "If you want to tell me what is going on then please save me this suspense or let me go back to my moment of silence" she said.

    "Oh snap out of it.. The news is that our dear Patricia is not as happy as she seems.."

    "Oh.. Meaning?" Mildred asked curiously.

    Rudo took a deep breath before she begun narrating how she overheard Patricia complaining to memory about Sean. According to her, he had suddenly become indifferent.

    "OK so let me get this straight, you were eavesdropping on Patricia? Why?"

    "Oh please Mildred don't pretend, I'm sure you're as happy as I am. Patricia is such a pain!"

    Mildred leaned back in her chair as she listened to Rudo's whining.

    "And you know what the best part is?" Rudo asked excitedly.

    "What?.." Mildred replied reluctantly. She was really uninterested in the subject.

    "She said she  actually has someone hunting down the culprit.. Or sidechick if you might call her that... Oh I just can't wait for this drama to unfold" Rudo giggled.

    "Well are you done?" Mildred interrupted.

    "What's wrong with you? Aren't you happy that finally someone gets to annoy Patricia.. Its all we ever wanted" Rudo said

    "I've got a lot of things to worry about but I pity her, all that ranting about a man who is actually a cheat.. Sorry Patricia" Mildred smiled.

    "Now that's more like it.." Rudo laughed.

    ############################

    When Mildred arrived home Hilary was on the phone talking to Sean, she was reconciling with him.

    "Why the nervousness?.. Who were you talking to?" Mildred asked her sister who had just hang up.

    "Nobody just a friend" she said.

    "Oh.. One of your useless boyfriends again.. Anyway I hope supper is ready I'm hungry.. Bring me water Hilary" Mildred said.

    Mildred settled in the living room and made a call, she didn't realise her sister was eavesdropping. Hilary stood at a corner with a glass of water in her hands she looked at her sister attentively wondering whether she was trying to call Lincoln.

    "Girlfriend!" Mildred said excitedly..

    Hilary was relieved and about to walk away until she heard..

    "Girl I have great news for you.." Mildred said.

    " its Lincoln's birthday in two days and I am planning something massive. Something for Sunday.. We could do something belated for him at the cell meeting but meanwhile I will surprise him at the office...."

    Hilary was surprised.. Lincoln had not mentioned a thing despite how often they had seen each other. Why would he hide it from her? But was she ready to surprise him? What if he asked how she knew?.

    "Well that's not the best news yet girlfriend" Mildred continued.

    "Patricia is apparently not happy in her engagement can you imagine? After all that flaunting the man is a cheat! Rudo overheard her crying to memory.. Anyway, the biggest drama is that she has hired spies and she intends to deal with the girl.. You don't know how excited I am. I really can't wait for this drama to unfold because that girl has no idea who she is dealing with... Who would honestly want to contend with Patricia?" Mildred burst out laughing.

    Hilary nervously dropped the glass of water upon hearing those words. How could she escape Patricia?

    Mildred rushed to the kitchen angrily.

    "What happened?" She asked.

    "I'm sorry sis I just dropped a glass.. I will clean it up" she said.

    Mildred was angry but she let go as she had a phone conversation to finish, it was more important than dealing with her reckless sister.

    Chapter 7


    "BASHI Emma, today I have done my best.. This cake better be everything he ever wanted" Mildred said to herself as she took one last look at the cake.

    Mildred had gone out of her way to buy a beautiful cake from one of the best bakers in town, she dressed beautifully and took one last look at herself before picking all the parcels in a paper bag and the cake. Hilary watched as her sister walked out of her room, she couldn't help but wonder how far the obsession would go.

    Hilary curled up in the couch with her iPad, she was texting Sean although he had not replied to a single message since morning. This made her rather worried.

    "Hilary I'm off.. I will see you later in the day" Mildred said.

    Hilary waved reluctantly before picking the remote to change the channel.

    Mildred on the other hand drove to the church in excitement. She was convinced this was the last piece to the puzzle of their love story, she was not even sure if Lincoln was in the office but she tapped on the door while saying a silent prayer.

    "Come in" Lincoln called out.

    Mildred slowly pushed the door open steadily trying not to drop what she had in her hands.

    "Oh.. Sister Mildred..
    Wow.." Lincoln responded joyfully as he assisted her with the cake.

    "Wow what a surprise..." He said again

    Mildred put all the parcels on the table and sang a happy birthday song for him, he was amazed and couldn't help but thank her greatly for such a thoughtful act. However, a part of him was now worried. It seemed she had crossed the line with this friendship and he wondered if she may have had other intentions, Lincoln couldn't get himself to ask sister Mildred anything. The two cut the birthday cake together and Mildred took the liberty of capturing selfies as they had a mini celebration in the office.

    Back at home, Hilary was still on the couch relaxing as she switched through channels when she suddenly heard a knock on the door. She wasn't expecting anyone neither did Mildred mention anybody would be coming, this worried her a lot.

    "Who's there!" She shouted.

    "Its me Sean.."

    Hilary rushed to the door nervously and unlocked the door.

    "What on earth are you doing here? You've not returned my calls since..."

    "Hilary.. Relax. I saw your sister drive out"

    "I'm sorry honey about the calls. Patricia grabbed my phone and unfortunately every call and every text has been received by her. I know Patricia, she will use every form of tracking method to find you.. You are not safe"

    Hilary sat down in shock.

    "I told you to leave me alone! I told you Sean!" Hilary yelled.

    "Honey you think I'm happy about this?. I love you, I just don't know what to do. "

    "Oh shut up!" Hilary yelled.

    "Shut up! You love me? you love me? What does that even mean Sean ?"

    Hilary's face couldn't hide her fear as tears went down her cheeks. She had lived with the Patricia scare for days even though Sean had assured her it was OK. Now it was Sean himself telling her she wasn't safe.

    Sean knelt before Hilary while he wiped her tears away.

    "I have not met a woman like you... Ever. You are everything I want and need not even Patricia can come close. The way you take care of me, the way you are so thoughtful.. Ever since you visited my house it has been filled with memories of you.. Especially my bed.."

    "Sean stop.." She yelled

    Hilary pulled away from Sean angrily, she wanted to escape from his sight but he held her by the hand and their eyes met. Likewise their lips met and they shared a long passionate kiss. Hilary was trapped once again, she saw no sign of him ever letting her go.

    "I'm willing to call off my engagement" he whispered in between the kisses.

    "Sean.."

    "Shhhh.. Don't say anything.. I will need you to do me a favour.." Sean interrupted.

    "What?" Hilary asked calmly.

    "You need to go back to Ndola.. I Mean as soon as possible..Patricia is capable of anything"

    Hilary was now mad and she pulled away quickly.

    "Sean what are you saying? How can I leave my sister like that.. Mum won't even allow me back in Ndola" Hilary opposed

    "Hilary you are not safe.. Please.. Come up with every form of excuse but you need to go back to Ndola just until everything settles. I promise to be visiting" he said.
     ############################

    Hilary had just finished packing her bags, it had been a long hour of convincing Mildred that she had a camp to attend in Ndola but finally Mildred gave in. Hilary was allowed to go first thing the following morning. Although Mildred was mad at Hilary  for bringing such news on short notice, she was glad Hilary would not be present for Lincolns party at the cell meeting. Hilary on the other hand was equally mad that she was delivering Lincoln in to Mildred's hands, her chance to finally get her vengeance was going down the drain. Sean had stolen her heart and she believed she had stolen Lincoln's therefore, she needed not to be around to prove anything. After all she had used all the tricks in the book to capture Lincoln.. If that wasn't enough then she wouldn't sale herself cheaply just to prove a point

    It was 6pm and Hilary decided to press her luck by texting Lincoln.

    "Hai brother Lincoln, I am sending you this message to let you know that I am travelling to Ndola. I don't know when I will be back. I hope you stay well"

    Lincoln was shocked, he had just started becoming fond of her and now she was leaving first thing the following morning? He was more than positive Hilary was the woman of his dreams but she was leaving before he had enough time to know her. A part of him told him to wait until their paths met again but another part was convinced he needed to tell her right away.

    After a 30minute debate with himself, Lincoln quickly picked his phone and called Hilary. When Hilary saw Lincoln's number she smiled to herself, at least he cared enough to call.

    Lincoln begged Hilary to step outside for just a minute as he had a farewell gift for her. Hilary excitedly rushed outside as Mildred fantasised about the lovely time she had with Lincoln, she just couldn't wait to tell Chileya about it.

    ############################

    "Its a friendship bracelet, I have a matching one too" Lincoln said as he handed the bracelet to Hilary.

    Hilary received the bracelet and held on to the door ready to step out of the car.

    "There's one more thing" Lincoln said.

    Hilary turned to look at Lincoln attentively.

    "Hilary.. I mean sister Hilary.." He started.

     Hilary looked at him curiously and this made him a little shy.

    "Am sorry.. Over the last few days..."

    "Brother Lincoln.. What are you trying to say" Hilary said calmly.

    "I'm saying that I want to be more than a friend, I want to be your... I mean I want us to... Oh I'm sorry I'm just so nervous" he stammered.

    Hilary held Lincolns hands and smiled.

    "Just be calm.. Say whatever you want to say.. Just be calm" She said.

    "Hilary.. Can we give this a try?"

    Those words alone were all Hilary had ever waited for, that is all she needed to get Mildred out of her way for good.

    "I... I guess we.." Hilary stammered

    "Hilary dear I know if I say anything right now, I might be pushing you but if you're not ready now I can give you time to think about it" he said

    "No it's fine... I am willing to give it a try but my sister.."

    "We can find a way to tell her probably when you return, I too wouldn't want to hide anything from sister Mildred. She's a nice caring woman and I think she would be happy for us. "Lincoln replied.

    Hilary smiled at how naive Lincoln was to Mildred's advances, she enjoyed looking at his handsome face and wonderful physique.

    " can I embrace you?" Lincoln asked.

    "If we are safe here..." Hilary smiled.

    Lincoln parked a few houses away and he was convinced no one would see them although he was really not the type who believed in hiding as it seemed wrong.

    "Yes.. I believe so" he said as he wondered what was wrong with him. This wasn't him, he would never be so excited about a woman but perhaps Mildred was indeed the one.

    The two stepped out of the car and shared a long hug.

    "Thank you for making my birthday special.. It's the best birthday gift I've received today" he said.

    Hilary smiled to herself upon hearing those words and she held on to him tightly.

    "Why didn't you tell me today is you birthday?" She whispered.

    Lincoln gently pulled away from her.

    "Because I didn't want to get you panicking and looking for a present for the brother" he smiled.

    "Nonetheless your presence alone is heaven to me" he said before they hugged again.

    "I think I should go now before my sister starts looking for me.." Hilary said.

    "I can't wait for your return, I will be counting down the days" he replied with a gentle smile.

    The sincerity in his voice made her heart beat faster, she had never seen someone so sincere.

    Hilary said her farewell and walked away while Lincoln watched.

    Lincoln went away with absolute confidence in himself, Hilary however had just shown her commitment to two men and she was now more confused than ever. She loved Sean but Lincoln was everything she needed in a man.

    Back at Patricia's apartment, Patricia was anxiously waiting for her friends call. Her friend worked for a network provider and she had engaged her to help identify Hilary's number in the system.

    Patricia heard a bang on her door and she rushed to open, she wondered who it was because she was not expecting a visitor past 7pm.

    "Maybe it's Sean" she thought to herself.

    Patricia opened the door slowly and she was shocked to find her friend monde standing there.

    "What happened?" She asked.

    "I couldn't call, usually our phones are tracked.. I didn't want any problems so I thought I tell you all the details face to face"

    "Oh thank goodness come in" Patricia replied excitedly.

    Monde took a seat and calmly settled before breaking the news..

    "The number is registered under a lady called Hilary Kasonde.. She's around 22 to 23yrs old. She's based in Ndola but has been in Lusaka for a month plus."

    Patricia quickly went through her mind but none of those details made any sense, she did not know anyone by that name. However she was convinced it might not be anything serious if she was only around for a month.

    "Did you manage to get her Lusaka address or anything.. " she said worriedly.

    "Actually I did" monde said as she pulled a paper from her jeans.

    "I drafted it here its in Olympia" she added.

    Patricia had never been so excited in her life, its like she had won the jackpot. She planned her move very well, she was going to visit Hilary in the afternoon the following day but little did she know that Hilary was leaving first thing sunday morning. Patricia called her two best friends who would be present for support as she would cause a scene. They both agreed, not like they would refuse anyway as she always bossed them around.

    "Hilary you and your entire household will hear of me tomorrow" Patricia muttered.

    Unfortunately, Hilary would not be present. However, Mildred and the whole cell meeting crew including Lincoln would be present to witness the show.

     Lincoln went to bed that night confident that he had met his bride, Sean was depressed that Hilary was leaving but he now planned to get rid of nagging Patricia for good and make Hilary his bride, Patricia was excited that she would be finally confronting Hilary, Mildred was excited about the surprise party for Lincoln at the cell meeting and Hilary was relieved that she was leaving all the drama behind.

    Chapter 8


    "Where are you coming from?" Mildred cornered Hilary.

    "Sis.. I just went to buy airtime"

    "Oh.. And what's that in your hands?" She asked curiously.

    Hilary couldn't come up with any form of lie so she displayed the bracelet in her palm.

    "Its a bracelet.." She replied.

    "I can see that its a friendship bracelet.. Got yourself a new friend?" Mildred teased.

    Hilary sighed.

    "Why are you so inquisitive?" She asked calmly.

    "OK..never mind.. I will pretend I didn't see it" Mildred giggled before leaving Hilary's sight.

    Hilary clipped the bracelet on her wrist as she walked to the bedroom, she loved how it looked on her and she couldn't wait to capture it and send Lincoln a clip. When Hilary settled next to her case in the bedroom her heart raced, was she willing to risk everything just for Sean?

    "Lord is he really worth it? What guarantee is there that he will choose me? Will my absence just be a blessing to him?" Hilary wondered as she stared at the suitcase before her.

    She slid the zip open and took one last look  at the clothes she had packed, she had all she needed.

    "Care for an apple?" Mildred said as she made herself comfortable on Hilary's bed.

    "Oh thank you.." She responded as she took the apple from her sisters hands.

    Hilary wondered why the kind gesture, could it be that Mildred had something to say?.

    "I actually wanted to talk to you about something ." Mildred started.

    "I thought as much" Hilary responded before closing her case.

    "Oh you did?.. that's great... That means you probably are ready to hear it" Mildred said.

    She took a big bite from her apple and chewed it slowly while Hilary tossed hers from one hand to the other as she waited for her sister to speak. It was annoying waiting for her to talk yet she slowly chewed like nothing was the matter.

    Hilary took a deep sigh in the hope of destructing her sister.

    "Oh.. Sorry.. I didn't think you would be this attentive." Mildred smiled.

    Hilary did not return the smile but rather gave her a serious look.

    "Ok.. What i wanted to say is that..." Mildred posed before taking another bite from her apple.

    "Mum and dad are probably going to ask you if I am seeing someone or if you saw anyone come here.." She said.

    Hilary widened her eyes trying to read through Mildred's mind, she just couldn't wait for her to finish her speech. This sounded more interesting than she anticipated.

    "Tell them that I am" Mildred concluded her speech.

    Hilary chuckled "you are what?" She asked

    "I am seeing someone.." Mildred replied.

    Hilary couldn't hide the smile on her face. It was clear she considered her sisters speech useless.

    "Tell me why on earth do you think mum and dad will care to know such information?" She asked calmly.

    "Because I know they always ask, they want to marry me off but they will soon"

    "Oh since I'm going to be the bearer of this great news maybe I should also know who the groom is. I'm sure they would be glad to hear that too, after all they want to marry you off.. Don't they?" Hilary said teasingly.

    "This is a serious matter Hilary" Mildred said.

    "And I am not joking" she replied seriously.

    "Lincoln.. Brother Lincoln Smith" Mildred replied.

    "Oh.. Wow.. I'm glad to hear that. Don't worry I will tell them" Hilary replied, she really knew her sister well. She wasn't at all surprised.

    Hilary opened her case and started rearranging her clothes to fit in one more dress.

    "And one other thing... Don't tell them about the marriage yet"

    Hilary didn't look up at her sister as she continued packing but she asked her a very serious question.

    "Why because he hasn't proposed yet?"

    Mildred felt a little embarrassed but she couldn't let her sister know that detail so she kept calm.

    "No, because I would rather wait for the traditional arrangements to take place first" she said.

    "Jeez this Lady can dream.. How does she manage" Hilary thought to herself.

    "OK.." She responded as she unclipped her bracelet.

    Mildred couldn't help but stare, something about the bracelet looked special. It looked quite expensive and  it was also far from ordinary.

    "That bracelet.. Its beautiful.. Can I touch it?" Mildred asked.

    Hilary was now wondering if she might have seen it before with Lincoln but on the contrary, Mildred was just drawn to it by its value.

    "Sure ." Hilary responded as she handed the bracelet to her sister.

    Mildred examined the bracelet so well giving Hillary a scare

    "No wonder it looks so special, it's a his and hers bracelet. That means somebody must have a matching bracelet... A man" she emphasised.

    "Yes.. I'm surprised you're only noticing it today I came with it" Hilary jumped to her defense.

    "Perhaps I just didn't pay attention anyway here... I hope he isn't married" Mildred added.

    Hilary ignored that comment and she went on packing her case.

    Mildred got up ready to go when she suddenly remembered something. She wanted to show Hilary the birthday pictures she took in Lincolns office.

    "Today is brother Lincoln's birthday.. We actually had a mini celebration ." she said

    "I see.." Hilary replied.

    Mildred read her sisters lack of interest and she quickly changed the subject.

    "I will prepare supper you can finish with the packing" she said

    Hilary took a sigh of relief, excited that her sister had finally finally gone. She took her phone and decided to take a glimpse on Facebook, while she was browsing Mildred flooded her newsfeed with photos of the mini office party.

    "Desperation at its level best.. I wonder how Lincoln will react after he sees this" she muttered.

    ############################

    "Hilary.. Wake up" Mildred shook her sister.

    "Its already 5:30, you will be late" Mildred said.

    Hilary stretched herself before sitting upright, she had overslept after the long call she had with Sean the previous night. She didn't even realise that she slept on the phone and poor Sean just had to hang up.

    "OK.. I'm up thank you" Hilary said before rolling out of bed.

    She took a quick shower and dressed up quickly, Mildred had packed some pie and some snacks as well as juice for Hilary in the kitchen. She asked her to pick up the plastic in the kitchen before they locked up and left for inter-city bus terminus.

    As the car drove out of the gate Hilary couldn't help but get emotional, within the shortest period of time she had met two amazing men, Both special in their own way and they had shown her a different side of love from the one she was used to. Handsome Sean had given her a sense of belonging, she felt loved and protected by him because he was the first man who ever promised to leave his woman for her. Lincoln on the other hand was the total package, handsome, independent, God fearing, single and sincere. Each man was special and even though she didn't love Lincoln, she knew it wouldn't be long before she did.

    "You're too quiet what's up?" Mildred asked

    "Ahh I'm just wondering.. I saw so many things in the kitchen. Are you having a party?"

    Hilary was referring to the beef and chicken Mildred had put on the kitchen counter to defrost. What Hilary didn't notice was that Mildred had also peeled up potatoes and she had made salads.

    "Oh yes... We are having a surprise party for Lincoln at the cell meeting.. You will miss out" Mildred smiled.

    "I see you have fun" she smiled reluctantly knowing too well Mildred was trying hard to impress.

    Hilary boarded the bus and waved at her sister through the window as the bus drove off, she was quite sad about leaving Lusaka so soon but she had friends back in Ndola.  At least that was comforting, however, Lusaka was just different. In Lusaka she had hopes of a better life.

    Mildred rushed to shower and prepared for church, she had a busy afternoon ahead but she wouldn't miss church either so she left everything to when service was over.

    ############################

    "I still think you went too far you should have given yourself time to rethink through everything before posting those photos online" Chileya said.

    Mildred didn't care much about the gossip that had gone round at church,  she was just excited that she had her moment. Everyone was now convinced she was seeing Lincoln and that's all that mattered.

    The ladies continued preparing the food and people joined them slowly to help out, word had gone round that they would be planning a surprise birthday for brother Lincoln and everyone was supportive. Only Lincoln had no idea what was happening.

    By 2pm the outdoors looked great,  the tables were well decorated, food was set and the cake which was the centre of the whole occasion was properly placed at the high table.

    Lincoln parked outside for a few minutes and he called Hilary, she had just arrived in Ndola and he complained about how he would be missing her face at the cell meeting. However, the bracelet on his hand would comfort him knowing she was equally carrying a piece of him.

    Lincoln finally drove in and to his surprise everyone screamed "surprise!!!"

    This was quite unexpected, the love portrayed by everyone couldn't go unnoticed. He was so blown away and everyone was glad that he enjoyed it all.

    Mildred took a glass and tapped it with a fork to draw everyone's attention.

    "Attention please.." She shouted.

    When everyone's eyes had drawn to her, Mildred made her birthday tribute speech to Lincoln and as usual everyone had something more to gossip about.

    "I will now have the honour of helping the birthday boy cut his cake" Mildred said as she led Lincoln to the cake.

    Lincoln was quite uncomfortable but for the sake of saving her the embarrassment he gladly obliged.

    Lincoln rolled back his sleeves to avoid getting cream on his shirt while they cut the cake, it was then that Mildred spotted the matching bracelet. It was rather shocking that Lincoln would have something so similar, it didn't make any sense. Did the two of them fool her? But what time did they meet?

    "Sister Mildred, shall we?" Lincoln said as he held the knife.

    Mildred smiled and she gladly held onto his hands as they cut the cake together. Her thoughts still trying to clear from the shock, Mildred maintained her poise.

    It was now time to feed the cake and Mildred crossed her fingers hoping to get the permission from Lincoln to do it.

    "Shall I feed the birthday boy?" she whispered.

    Everyone was waiting to watch what happens next. Would Lincoln let Mildred feed him? That would be the biggest confirmation they were all waiting for, after this, no doubt everyone would be sure the two are a couple.

    Lincoln smiled ready to nod his head when suddenly attention was drawn to an angry looking Lady who bulged in and took the centre of the show. She was with a squad of other ladies behind her and they looked like they were ready to fight.

    Lincoln looked at Mildred hoping to read the situation but Mildred was just shocked.

    "Patricia?..." Mildred said in shock whilst still trying to grasp how or why she was there.

    "Mildred? You stay here? Wait a minute.. The sir name is kasonde.. Makes sense now" Patricia said

    Mildred was still trying to figure out what Patricia was talking about but suddenly it had become everyone's business as attention was drawn.

    "Anything the matter Patricia?"

    "Oh yes, everything is. Either you are posing as Hilary to my fiancé or you have a sister by that name." Patricia rudely replied..

    Mildred was quiet and looked on in shock wondering where Patricia was driving at.

    "Why are you quiet Mildred? Cat caught your tongue?... Answer me now because my patience is running out" Patricia yelled.

    The murmuring amongst everyone couldn't go unnoticed, everyone was trying to figure out what was happening but Mildred was just as shocked.

    "She does have a sister by that name. What's the matter?" Lincoln interrupted

    "Nobody was talking to you Mr, but if you care to know.. The girl in question has been having an affair with my man and am here to sort this problem woman to woman. Where is she?"

    "What!!" Mildred shouted in shock. She knew Hilary was capable but so soon, how?

    "No.. My sister has only been around for a month, how on earth did she know Sean?" Mildred asked as she suddenly recalled the engagement party.

    "Well the track record of calls and texts have been for a month. Wait... Didn't you come with her to my engagement party?" Patricia said.

    Mildred nodded her head in shock as she convinced herself that it had to be when Hilary disappeared for a walk.

    "Now you have your answer.. Now where is she?" Patricia said angrily.

    Lincoln couldn't believe what he was hearing.

    "Are you sure? Its possible you mixed up..."

    "I'm positive, I have my fiancé's phone and proof of messages and calls are there." Patricia replied angrily

    "Impossible!" Lincoln interrupted.

    "Lincoln please don't be involved let me discuss this with them" Mildred said.

    Mildred politely begged Patricia to calm down and she promised that she would do whatever it would take to stop Hilary from doing what she was accused of. It took a lot of convincing for Patricia to accept that Hilary was indeed gone. She finally accepted Mildred's apology and they took off.

    "But how could you believe everything they said without even questioning it?" Lincoln asked Mildred.

    "Because I know my sister Lincoln" Mildred replied.

    Chileya tried to destruct everyone with some music but Mildred and Lincoln stood besides each other recovering from the shock.

    Lincoln angrily pulled the bracelet from his wrist and tacked it away into his pocket. Mildred had never seen Lincoln show that much anger and concern but it had to be something.

    "Thanks for everything Mildred, I have to go" Lincoln said before hurriedly walking out on Mildred.

    Everything was finally confirmed, Lincoln's behaviour now explained it all. Hilary and Lincoln were obviously a couple and the unfortunate part was that everyone was standing right there witnessing it all. No one could clearly understand the drama, from suspecting that Mildred was dating Lincoln, tables turned and it seemed it was her sister dating Lincoln instead.

    ############################

    It had been two hours since the party dispersed but Chileya had been struggling to get Mildred to wipe her tears but to no avail. Mildred who was lying down in the living room cried bitterly refusing to accept this was happening to her.

    "Bashi Emma.. What sort of embarrassment is this? What kind of humiliation?. I feel insulted my God. Within a space of 1month she has managed to reap where I have been sowing for over a year... What kind of injustice is this? No... No dear lord I refuse to believe you would do this to me...... Bashi Emma... I can't accept this" Mildred mourned.

    Chapter 9


    Hilary settled in the living room that night after being summoned by her parents, the stares she got were definitely scary. They probably wanted to know why she returned but she had to come up with a lie to cover up everything.

    "What did I do this time?" Hilary said with a smile.

    "Why are you back?" Her father asked.

    Hilary was expecting that question but she had no idea what answer they were expecting.

    "I came to visit.. I missed everyone but I will be going back" she replied calmly.

    Hilary saw the look in her father's face and she knew things weren't good.

    "Musonda.." Her mother started.

    That didn't sound good, her patents only called her by her traditional name when something was wrong. So what did she do this time?

    "Musonda your sister told us everything.. She called a while ago" her mother said.

    Hilary was confused, what did Mildred say that could get her parents looking so furious?

    "Do you want us to narrate it all or are you ready to say the truth?" Her father intervened.

    Hilary was still looking shocked but her father gave her an ugly stare, it was clear he had enough of the subject.

    "If Mildred said anything to you then I prefer you tell me because I left in peace, we have no misunderstanding whatsoever."

    "Oh shut up you disgrace!" Her father interrupted.

    "Dad..."

    "Don't you dare call me your father. Where did i go wrong with you? Your sister is hardworking and she is doing well for herself but you... You're not only a failure but you also chose to cross your sisters path by going after her husband to be!" Her father yelled.

    Hilary couldn't believe her ears.

    "Oh so this is about Lincoln?" She wept.

    "Why are you crying? And no it isn't only about Lincoln its about Sean too, the gentleman who is engaged... His fiancée staged some drama at the cell meeting. There was a party I believe.." Her mother replied.

    Hilary's heart pounced as she had no form of defence, her worst fears had come true. Now not only did she lose her dignity but the two men too.

    Hilary's father walked out in anger and she remained with her mother who was equally devastated.

    "Musonda do you want to kill me before my time? Why can't you just listen to your father and I? What's so hard about you being obedient? And those crocodiles tears.. What are they for? Surely Musonda your own sisters boyfriend?"

    "Mum.. I agree am a problem and I agree that you are not proud of me but trust me on this one mum.. I'm innocent.. Yes Sean was interested in me and i entertained him a little bit but Lincoln isn't Mildred's boyfriend. He asked me out himself, trust me mum he has never asked Mildred out and we could call right now to confirm it" Hilary said emotionally

    The mother wasn't convinced but she refused to hold the issue further, she instead made a decision.

    "Hilary.. Hand me your phone" her mother said.

    "But mum..."

    "Hilary, you know your father.. He has once sworn never to talk to you again and remember it was my intervention that helped you 3months later. Do you want the same thing to happen?. Your father has high blood pressure Hilary.. Do you want to kill him?"

    Hilary bitterly shed tears as she handed the phone to her mother, it wasn't the first time that her mother was grabbing her phone but it was the most painful because she had really fallen in love. Would she manage to live without hearing from Sean? The friendship she had built with Lincoln was also something she wasn't willing to let go.

    "Musonda... Give me the phone.. I will purchase you a new one but you just can't have that phone anymore." Her mother said.

    Hilary looked at her mother with deep grief hoping she would change her mind but she remained unmoved by the tears as she stretched out her hand, waiting for Hilary to hand over her phone.

    She finally removed her phone her lap and handed it over.

    "Let me get my iPad too" Hilary said

    Her mother was shocked, she thought Hilary would resist further but here she was submitting her iPad too.

    When Hilary returned with the iPad her mother stopped her.

    "I only asked you for the phone, you can keep the iPad" she said.

    Hilary shook her head in tears.."I have Lincolns number and messages in this iPad too, I may be forced to call or text him again. You can have it" she replied.

    "You are not going back to Lusaka, I will talk to your Father and hopefully he will forgive you. Think about your life Musonda.. You have caused us enough pain"

    ############################

    It had been a month and surprisingly, it had been much easier than Hilary thought. She was moving on with her life and Sean had equally closed books with her with no hope she would come back, Hilary had since enrolled into nursing school right there in Ndola. Memories of Lusaka were still fresh for Hilary but the short stay she had taught her a lot, it was time to change her ways.

    Patricia and Sean still had their issues but Hilary wasn't the cause, she was far from sight but they seemed to fight over one issue or another. Mildred on the other hand was still crying bitterly mourning Lincoln, for the past one month she chose to believe God could work out a miracle and bring them back together again. She had gone on a one week fast, held dangerous prayers and even visited a prophet for deliverance but to no avail. Lincoln was still not interested in her and this time it was even much harder to see him as cell meetings officially moved to a new location. For a whole month Mildred avoided church and cell meetings.

    Lincoln regretted the choice he had made to trust his heart with a total stranger and he now had a new prayer point, it was to meet the woman God had destined for him. Lincoln believed he had been too closed up for a long time that he was easily misled by Hilary. However, the harder he prayed the more Hilary troubled his mind. He knew he had to forgive her one way or another and he believed he had done do but he still didn't forget her. Hilary on the other hand kept the bracelet as a means to remind her that good men existed and her repentant self would one day meet one like Lincoln. Even if it all seemed far fetched she did not stop believing for a miracle. For the first time in a long time, Hilary was actually sorry and ashamed of her behaviour, not because of the love she believed she lost but because it finally made her realise the pain she caused her parents. Hilary still failed to understand to this day why Mildred would make such an accusation concerning Lincoln, that accusation alone had made her father even more distant than he was before. But for the first time she was sincerely sorry even though it was for something she didn't really do.

    ############################

    Since the encounter with Patricia, Mildred and Patricia  were never in good terms. Patricia made it obvious she did not want to see Mildred's face, she often ignored her and even sought attention by getting some employees on her side. Since then Mildred hated working and her only comfort was Isaiah, he was always there as a brother and a friend indeed.

    One fateful Sunday after church, brother Lincoln visited Mildred who had not attended service in a while. This was rather shocking and unexpected but Lincoln had something to say to her. He hoped she could finally get the courage to return to church. Although a part of him had opposed this idea of visiting her, he did it anyway. However, little did brother Lincoln know that that same week Mildred had been praying and fasting for him.

    "Sister Mildred, I know the whole incidence got you embarrassed and hence you've failed to come back to church but I'm begging you to come back. We miss you at church and even at the cell meetings"

    Mildred's heart skipped, did the evil veil that Hilary had cast on him finally fall off?. Mildred tried not to show her happiness but deep inside she was thanking God for his grace.

    "Sister Mildred, you're too quiet. I was hoping you would say something. In fact I am not willing to leave unless you will go with me to the cell meeting this afternoon. I will stay right here until it's time" Lincoln said.

    Mildred excused herself for a bit and she knelt down in her bedroom, she closed her eyes and let tears flow as she said an emotional prayer.

    "Thank you Bashi Emma.. You have shown me how merciful you are my master. Even at the time I doubted you the most, your grace has been revealed to me and I will be forever grateful to you my Lord... Oh Jesus... I thank you" Mildred cried.

    Lincoln wondered what was going on as Mildred took too long, out of curiosity he called out to her and she finally reappeared. Her eyes were sore from all the crying and Lincoln noticed.

    "Sister Mildred... Is everything ok?"

    Upon hearing those words, Mildred burst into tears and this scared Lincoln. He moved closer and tried to comfort her but Mildred stood up ready to leave his presence. Lincoln acted quickly by pulling her back until she landed in his arms. It was unplanned but she landed so well that he embraced her while she cried on his shoulder.

    "Shhh. Talk to me what's the matter?" Lincoln whispered.

    Mildred cried bitterly and this tore Lincoln's heart, he had a serious weakness. He hated to hear a woman cry as it reminded him of his own mother who had a troubled marriage with his father.

    "No Mildred please.. Don't cry" he said as he tried to wipe her tears away.

    Looking at her reminded him of Hilary in many ways, they had a few similarities. Mildred drew closer to Lincoln as he wiped her tears away and they both got lost in the moment. The two shared a long passionate kiss, its something Lincoln had not experienced in a long time, he last kissed someone before he became a serious born again Christian but it felt like something he had never felt before. Mildred on the other hand was relieved that finally Lincoln had moved into her net, she had scored really well. Even if it was by fraud.

    Lincoln could not pull away neither could Mildred but an unexpected visitor who did not even bother knocking separated them. It was the pastor, he too had come to visit Mildred after she disappeared completely from all church programs.

    The pastor observed Lincoln and Mildred for a few seconds before clearing his throat.

    "Oh my God.. Pastor.." Mildred panicked as she pulled away from Lincoln.

    Lincoln on the other hand was frozen with fear until the pastor asked them both to seat down.

    "I'm sorry I let myself in before knocking.. But anyway its OK at least I get to finally speak to you two." The pastor started.

    Lincoln was so embarrassed that he wished the ground could just swallow him.

    "A rumour has already reached me that you two are a couple or have something going on of a sort.."

    "Pastor..." Lincoln tried to interrupt but the pastor gave him no opportunity to talk.

    "Lincoln my son.. At least let me finish" he said.

    "You know the rules of dating and courtship and you are both strong and dedicated youths at church.. Why do you want the devil to penetrate in this way? You are creating a wrong marriage foundation. Why should you let your physical desires rule you?" The pastor said.

    Mildred had bended her head listening quietly.

    "Sister Mildred I came to find out why you have been skipping church and cell meetings like I was well informed but I guess this isn't the right time to discuss that. Can I see you any day in the week?" He asked.

    "Pastor I'm intending to be on leave the whole lot of next week. Starting tomorrow. I can come any day. Even tomorrow" Mildred responded

    "Tomorrow will be great then" the pastor replied.

    The pastor then looked at both of them with a smile.

    "I want to see you both at the couples fellowship next Sunday. It's time to do things the right way.." The pastor said.

    The pastor walked out on them and the two stared at each other for a moment.

    "I'm sorry..." Lincoln said to Mildred.

    Mildred knew the only option was to remain vulnerable otherwise Lincoln would quickly snap out of the shock and run after the pastor.

    "Oh no Lincoln what are we going to do?" She asked as she sat on the carpet.

    Lincoln was so confused, he was in shock too.

    "Don't worry Mildred, he's my uncle. I know he will understand when I explain" Lincoln said..

    "No no no.... explain? You want to explain to him? What exactly? Do you know what that will say about me?. This was planned and you know it.."

    "No I'm sorry I didn't mean it that way" he interrupted.

    Lincoln knew Mildred was right, she was going to lose her dignity and reputation at the church if he trued to explain the situation.

    "I'm sorry but what do we do then?" He asked

    "Let's just play along.. Let's go for couples like the pastor suggested and we can act just like a couple.  After sometime we can eventually break up saying we were not compatible" Mildred said.

    "No.. I can't live a lie" Lincoln opposed.

    "Buy the truth will implicate me.. Cant you see?" Mildred burst into tears.

    Lincoln heard all that she said, even though he didn't agree with everything. The most important thing to him was clearing Mildred's name but little did he know she was tarnishing his indirectly. Lincoln nodded his head in silence  as he listened to Mildred.

    "We have to be as convincing as possible " Mildred added

    Lincoln apologised to Mildred one last time before walking out. He had agreed to deceive everyone including himself, now all his fantasies about Hilary had to come to an end because as far as everyone was concerned from henceforth, he would was dating Mildred.

    When Lincoln drove off, Mildred forwarded a message to the youth publicity secretary. She was requesting the secretary to publish in the Sunday newsletter that sister Mildred and brother Lincoln were now a couple and hence would be graduating to the couples fellowship.

    ############################

    Two days later, the rumours had spread like wild fire. Lincoln was constantly offline and he did not realise the gossip on WhatsApp. However, when he finally did it  was too late.

    Chileya was confused when she got the news, something didn't add up and she decided to call Mildred right away.

    "What is this I'm hearing?"

    "What?" Mildred asked in pretence.

    "Don't play smart with me Mildred, you and I both know that Lincoln is not interested in you. Well at least as far as I can remember. So what is all this going round about you and Lincoln being a couple?" Chileya asked.

    "First of all where did you get the news?"
    Mildred replied.

    "What do you mean by that? It's all over the church WhatsApp groups and surprisingly brother Lincoln has not dismissed the rumours. What did you do Mildred? I know this has to be you"

    Mildred smiled to herself.

    "Chileya the bible says  in Mathew 11: 12 that the violent take it by force" Mildred replied before hanging up.

    Chapter 10


    It was Monday morning and Mildred had just successfully secured her leave. Isaiah insisted on knowing why Mildred had decided to get leave but she wasn't in the mood of explanations as she was rushing to see the pastor. Mildred left Isaiah hanging but it wasn't long before he  realised what the fuss was about. Mildred had taken it  upon herself to advertise her new relationship online.

    "So this is what it is all about? At least he's a man of God" Isaiah thought to himself.

    Isaiah had been trying to show signs of his love for a while but it seemed this was it, all attempts had failed. It was time to move on. The hardest part was that he got no chance to let her know that he was leaving the company to join a new firm.

    Mildred arrived at the pastors office with some cupcakes that she had bought on her way from work. Lincoln was not around as he had reported back to work.

    "Sister Mildred it's really a pleasure having you here and thank you for the cupcakes" he said.

    "Don't mention, its always an honour talking to you pastor"

    Mildred who was comfortably clad in a blue figure fitting dress could make heads turn from miles away. She looked all the more flawless with her well done makeup.

    "It's no wonder my nephew can't get his eyes off you.. Always looking amazing" the pastor teased.

    The flattery sent her heart dancing, she really had scored on impressing her father in-law to be.

    "Sister Mildred why have you been missing church?"

    As expected as that question was, Mildred still had no answer.

    With a lot of hesitation, Mildred finally explained what happened at the cell meeting but gladly omitted Lincoln's involvement with Hilary.

    "That's very sad.." The pastor replied.

    "I know pastor it was quite devastating for me. I've been so ashamed."

    "Sister Mildred you need to come back to church.." The pastor added.

    "I know pastor and we discussed this with Lincoln.. I will be coming back next Sunday" she replied excitedly.

    "I'm so glad.. I will be praying for you and Lincoln. I hope one day the wedding bells ring"

    The sound of that got Mildred excited, being Lincoln's wife had been her dream and pastor Muleya was going to be her passport to that marriage. Mildred was ready to impress pastor Muleya to any lengths, he already liked her after all.

    "Oh amen pastor!" Mildred shouted.

    "Oh that day I will be the most excitedly person alive.. I will tell all my friends about. You are so lucky to have Lincoln.. You don't know just how long we've hoped and prayed that he finally gets a woman.. And you.. Bring my daughter in-law.. That's even the best news ever" pastor Muleya said excitedly.

    Mildred blushed "Pastor... We are not there yet.. I don't even know if he would marry me" she replied.

    "Oh come off it.. Why wouldn't he?"

    Surprisingly Lincoln showed up unexpectedly in the middle of discussion.

    "Son.. I didn't know you were coming here" the pastor replied.

    Lincoln smiled trying not to show his discomfort, the fight of Mildred had noe become annoying.

    "I'm ok uncle I actually just left early.. Sister Mildred you're here" he smiled.

    "You're that casual? Come on be free she's your girlfriend I'm only here as your counselor.. Just call her whatever you call her when I'm not around. Actually take a seat" the pastor said.

    Lincoln reluctantly pulled a seat and settled next to Mildred.

    "I'm happy you two are actually together.. You really deserve each other" the pastor said

    Lincoln faked a smile while Mildred put her hand on his.

    "Thank you pastor.." Mildred replied.

    "Can we schedule for counselling every once a week? What do you say? Not specifically with me but we can arrange one of the married deacons to take you up, you know its important for you both" The pastor asked.

    Lincoln wasn't for the idea and he was ready to oppose but Mildred had quickly replied Affirmatively leaving him no choice but to agree. This and many other things made him think she was actually enjoying the lies.

    ############################

    Sunday had finally come and as per church tradition, Lincoln and Mildred were asked to walk to the front and be welcomed as a new couple. The two stood up together and walked to the front as the congregants cheered. Mildred was more than excited to finally stand out as the Lady who managed to scoop brother Lincoln, however, the youths didn't view it that way. Everyone who was present at the cell meeting during Patricia's drama  had now started blowing rumours. It was clear people were wondering what was going on, it was still stuck in everyone's mind that Hilary was equally  a factor in Lincoln's life.

    "He's a pretend man of God" they said.

    During the cell meeting, everyone gossiped about brother Lincoln and sister Mildred who had now graduated to the couples fellowship. Although Chileya tried to keep the peace by making everyone see the positive side, nearly everyone was against her. Chileya was so mad at Mildred that she couldn't believe how far she had gone.

    The couples fellowship gladly welcomed Mildred and Lincoln with a wonderful meal. As Mildred celebrated, Lincoln hated himself for agreeing to such a foolish plan. Like that wasn't enough, the pastor asked Mildred them to stay over for dinner. He could tell Lincoln was uncomfortable but he concluded it was the cold feet for a first time relationship.

    ###########################

    Three weeks into the pretend relationship and Lincoln was nearly losing his mind with Mildred's behaviour. She had spread the rumour to everyone who cared to hear and this was now beyond what he anticipated, he was beginning to believe that Mildred had tricked him and he was ready to call things off.

    It was Saturday and the pastor had a special lunch for the couples fellowship, Mildred took it upon herself to help prepare food so she was present on time. The lunch was held at the pastors house and his wife was finally going to meet the much talked about Mildred.

    "Mrs Muleya I believe.." Mildred said joyfully as she extended her hand to greet the elegant pastors wife. She had dressed to impress Lincoln's aunty who she had known as the pastors wife for a while.

    "Yes.. That's right and you must be Mildred.. Please come in" Mrs Muleya replied calmly with a simple smile.

    Mrs Muleya knew Mildred's face from church but she was one of the ladies she threw in the desperate category. Too desperate with everything whilst hiding in church activities.

    Mildred wasn't a stranger to the beautiful mansion as she had visited a couple of times, however, Mrs Muleya was away visiting their eldest daughter in Scotland. This was their very first official meeting in her house.

    When Mildred walked in, Lukundo rushed to greet her with joy. Lukundo was the pastors last born daughter, she was a very charming 19yr old and had managed to get Mildred comfortable.

    "You know each other?" Mrs Muleya asked in shock.

    "Yes mum.. Sister Mildred is no stranger.. She's been coming for dinners"

    "Dinners?" Mrs Muleya asked whilst trying to hide her shock.

    "Yes not just one but a couple.. She is Lincoln's girlfriend.. She has a heart of gold. " Lukundo said excitedly.

    "Oh I bet she does" Mrs Muleya replied unpleasantly.

    From the look on her face, Mildred knew she was going to have a hard time.

    "Take a seat in the living room I will join you shortly" Mrs Muleya said before rushing upstairs to her husband.

    ############################

    "Derrick!!" Mrs Muleya yelled as she bulged into the master bedroom.

    "Honey what's the matter? Why are you yelling" the pastor replied.

    "Derrick I'm gone for barely a month and you bring ladies over? Into my house?"

    "What are you talking about Brenda.. Which ladies?

    "sister Mildred as you call her... When were you going to tell me?"

    "Oh Brenda I already mentioned she's Lincoln's girlfriend, you have to get along with her, very soon she will be your daughter in-law"

    "Never!" Mrs Muleya replied disgustingly

    "Brenda... What is it?"

    "Honey you bought that desperate girl into my house. You think I don't know her type? She's an opportunist!"

    "Have you lost your mind? Did you not lose some of that bitterness in Scotland?" The pastor asked angrily

    "Honey... You know how much I love Lincoln.. I love him like my own son and I've been looting for him to just seriously fall in love and settle down but what I have seen down stairs is nothing like what I imagined for him"

    "Well great then, I'm glad because Lincoln is a fully grown man who can make his own decisions and we don't have to impose or expect too much from him"

    Mrs Muleya was quite angry but she knew the argument would go on and on. She knew her husband, it was clear he already had a soft spot for Mildred but she wasn't going to let that happen. So she calmed down and sat next to her husband on the king sized bed.

    After a deep sigh, she put her left arm over his shoulder.

    "Honey.. I'm sorry for coming out so strongly but can I just give my humble opinion? Even if it doesn't please you ...."

    "I'm all ears but keep in mind that our opinions are not important. Ultimately Lincoln's opinion matters here." he replied.

    "Ok honey...Have I ever had issues with anyone? Any person in general?" Mrs Muleya asked calmly.

    "Not that I know of.."

    "Exactly honey.. I've known her for less than 5minutes and I am positive beyond doubt she's not the one for Lincoln.. I think I have the right to say that. He is my favourite nephew after all"

    Pastor Muleya wasn't very happy but he listened to his wife attentively until she finished.

    "Honey.. I agree. But I suggest you get to know her. Just for a few more minutes then you can make your judgement.. Please" pastor Muleya said calmly.

    "OK... But I don't want her in my kitchen.. She looks too forward and too desperate."she replied bluntly.

    "OK.. She can stay in the living room with Lukundo but be nice honey..."

    "I will..." She replied before pecking his forehead.

    Mrs Muleya was shocked to find Mildred comfortably peeling potatoes in the kitchen, she had equally cleaned up the chicken and made salads.

    "Young Lady you don't have to stress yourself.. Please go to the living room. I will cook." Mrs Muleya said.

    "No mum don't worry.. I love to cook.."

    Mrs Muleya was quite irritated but heeded her husband's advice. Every fibre in her veins wanted to kick Mildred out of the kitchen but she acted formal around Mildred. It was clear in Mildred's eyes that she was not liked at all but if she got Lincoln into a relationship, she was determined to get everyone else on board.

    Eventually many people arrived and attention was drawn from Mildred. Lincoln arrived a little later and immediately pulled her to the balcony.

    "Is everything OK?" Mildred asked in shock

    "How far are we going to keep up with this? I'm starting to get tired" he said angrily

    Mildred tried to hide the shame on her face with a smile but Lincoln knew she wasn't happy. However, he didn't care about that.

    "Its still too early.. Let's give it more time... My reputation...."

    "How about my reputation!!!" Lincoln yelled.

    That was rather unexpected, Mildred wondered what could have gotten into him that he yelled at her so loudly. His voice sent chills down her spine.

    "Sonny is everything OK?" Mrs Muleya arrived in panic.

    It was obvious a lot of people had heard his scream, he did not expect to see his aunty and he was worried for how much she may have heard. Mrs Muleya was so close an aunty that he tried hard not to disappoint her, she had been so good to him.

    "No aunty Brenda.. it's nothing... Hows the party going?" He asked.

    Mrs Muleya wasn't convinced, she gave Mildred an ugly stare assuming she was the cause of Lincoln's outburst.

    "Everything is fine sonny. Join us for lunch.. Food is served" she replied before walking away.

    ############################

    Lincoln had just returned from walking Mildred out when he overheard aunty Brenda firing Lukundo questions about Lincoln. Despite staying late to help with the cleaning, Mildred did not impress aunty Brenda a single bit. Trying not to disturb the conversation, Lincoln sneaked in through the back door and went straight to his room. He was so frustrated and couldn't wait to put an end to the relationship but he had no idea how.

    As he lay flat on his bed facing the ceiling, Lincoln recalled how Hilary had swept him off his feet. She was just extraordinary but she came with so much baggage, he always prayed for a woman but never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined Hilary would be that woman. Lincoln knew he had to forget her, especially because of Mildred.

    Lincoln pulled the drawer by his bedside and picked the bracelet, he wondered if Hilary had ever worn it or if she ever regarded the relationship serious. Were the accusations true?. Many thoughts crossed his mind but it wasn't worth the fight. He had messed up.

    "God give me wisdom.... I have messed up" he said to himself.

    "Sonny..... Sonny." Aunty Brenda called out as she tapped on the door.

    Lincoln quickly tacked the bracelet away before rushing to the door.

    Aunty Brenda was standing with two cups of tea on a tray.

    "Sonny... Can I come in?"

    "Sure.. " Lincoln replied reluctantly.

    He was hoping Mildred had not made a very good impression otherwise he would be doomed with her forever.

    "I met your girlfriend" aunty Brenda said as she handed one cup to Lincoln.

    Lincoln sighed while hoping the topic would conclude immediately.

    "Aunty Brenda.. We are still getting to know each other" he replied before sipping from his tea

    "I don't know anything Lincoln.. Anyway are you happy?" Aunty Brenda asked bluntly

    Lincoln faked a smile trying to hide his real feelings.

    "Isn't it a little too early aunt?"..

    " Lincoln.. When did you become so secretive? We were so close, you were never so secretive what happened?"

    Lincoln knew his aunt was right, they were so close and he confided in her. She was the best aunty even though she wasn't his direct relative. Despite being so close, he wondered why it was suddenly hard to open up to her.

    "Sonny speak up. I'm all ears.. Tell me about her... When and where did you meet? what do you like about her? My short stay in Scotland has changed literally everything around here..."

    LINCOLNS POINT OF VIEW

    As much as I wanted to hide, I couldn't hide it any longer. I had managed to lie to everybody else and now I was wearing a coat of shame. This was my chance to come clean, I couldn't lie to aunty Brenda. She was like my mother, I knew I had to be honest. This was my one chance to exculpate myself, maybe she would give me the best idea on how to handle the mess I got myself in.

    "Sonny I'm still waiting for the good news" aunty Brenda insisted.

    "it's not so much of good news aunty..." I started.

    I could tell aunty couldn't wait to hear what I had to say as her eyes widened. I chocked on my own words as I wondered what she would think of me, her face getting all the more impatient as I hesitated

    "It was a silly mistake that landed me here..." I sighed.

    "What do you mean?.. Silly mistake?"

    I cleared my throat as I pulled my sleeves, it was high time. I felt the frustration, bitterness and anger. It had all stored up inside, I felt the hate overwhelm me. Since everything happened, I had grown to hate Mildred with a passion. I knew it wasn't her fault either but I hated her because I couldn't hate myself anymore than I already did. Aunty had been my greatest mentor, in fact more than my own uncle. She just knew how to turn a bad situation around. This one wasn't going to be easy but lying to her was the last thing on my mind.

    "Sonny are you in love?" Aunty Brenda asked.

    "Yes... I am.. But not with her. I'm in love with her sister"

    I could see aunty Brenda's shock as she put down her cup of tea. She moved to the edge of the bed and I knew this one would take longer then I anticipated, but if at the end of the day we had a solution.. then i was ready to go through it all.

    Chapter 11


    It wasn't easy for aunty Brenda to understand but her motherly heart welcomed Lincoln's mess with a solution. According to aunty Brenda,  Lincoln needed not to worry as she would come up with a solution. She had asked him to give her up to Tuesday.

    While Lincoln waited for aunty Brenda's solution, Mildred was planning her next move. She was going to inform Hilary about her relationship. It had suddenly dawned on her that the remaining piece to the puzzle was having Hilary on board. At least there would be no hope of Hilary returning into Lincoln's life. Although Mildred assumed Hilary had gotten the news through social media, she decided to call anyway.

    Hilary was lying on her bed playing with the friendship bracelet when her mother bulged in.

    "Your sister.." Mrs Kasonde said as she handed her phone to Hilary.

    Hilary stared at the phone for a minute wondering what Mildred wanted to say all of a sudden.

    "Pick up.." Her mother insisted.

    "Halo.."

    "Hi sis.." Mildred replied excitedly

    It was clear the excitement in her voice had a lot to do with something that would make Hilary unhappy.

    "I've missed you so much.." Mildred said.

    Hilary sighed, she couldn't stand the pretence but couldn't hang up either. Her mother stood looking at her with a wide smile in anticipation,  almost like she expected good news.

    "I miss you too.." Hilary replied reluctantly.

    "Hubby and I... I mean Lincoln and I were just talking about you over lunch with his family yesterday"

    Hilary's heart skipped but she could have almost guessed the topic was headed that way. She was quite disappointed in Lincoln but was also reluctant believing what Mildred said.

    "I've tagged you in a couple of photos on Facebook I was hoping you would comment or something" she said.

    "I'm no longer online.. But I will make sure i leave a comment when I do come online. Anything else?" Hilary asked bluntly.

    "Uhmmm not really.. anyway how's school? I hope you are studying hard."

    "School is fine thank you.." She replied

    Hilary couldn't stand it anymore and thankfully Mildred ran out of what to say and she hang up.

    Mrs Kasonde sat next to her daughter impatiently waiting for her to speak.

    "Why the look on your face?" Hilary asked irritatedly.

    "What did she tell you?" Mrs Kasonde smiled.

    "Apart from telling me she is dating Lincoln, nothing else was new" Hilary replied before lying back on her back.

    "Wow... She told me that too.. The family likes her and they can't wait to have her as their daughter in-law"

    "I see" Hilary replied before burying her head under the pillow.

    Mrs Kasonde knew she had overstayed her welcome and she left. Hilary quickly sat upright and for the first time in a while she logged on to Facebook. It was unbelievable, everything Mildred said seemed true.

    "How disgusting..." Hilary muttered.

    Surprisingly it hurt so much, more than she thought it would. To think that Lincoln would say one thing to her and do another was surprising. But was more surprising was Mildred's behaviour, she could have guessed anybody would behave like that, but her sister? That was rather disgusting.

    ############################

    Chileya popped by the office to see Mildred but Mildred declined to come out, she told the secretary to inform Chileya she was busy. This came as no surprise as Mildred had been avoiding Chileya for a while. Chileya was disappointed that she had to return with the cupcakes she had bought for Mildred, they were red velvet, Mildred's favorite.

    "OK please tell her I really wanted to see her.. But I won't leave her cupcakes" Chileya said to the receptionist.

    She was ready to take her turn heading out when someone's voice interrupted her.

    "You can give them to me"

    Chileya turned around to see who was speaking, her mind wasn't prepared for what she was about to see. A tall handsome gentleman clad in a charcoal grey suit. He was just everything she had ever imagined her man to be.

    "Oh.. Hi.." Chileya said calmly.

    "I'm sorry, I was only messing around.. But nice to meet you.." The gentleman said as he extended his hand to greet her.

    "Its a pleasure.." Chileya smiled.

    "No no.. Pleasure is all mine. Its not all the time that you meet a wonderful lady like you.."

    "Oh... Anyway my name is Chileya and I came to see my friend Mildred. But it seems she's busy so I will just go. You could still have the cupcakes if you like" Chileya replied before passing the box to him.

    "Oh.. Don't worry I will make sure I get them to her. However I am asking for one" he said with a teasing smile.

    Chileya couldn't just stand his cuteness.

    "You could do whatever you like with them honestly I don't care... I really wanted to see her. Getting the cupcakes to her is not as important as seeing her. Anyway I'm Chileya.. I've got to go now..." Chileya said before walking away.

    "I'm Isaiah.. It was nice meeting you" Isaiah shouted out to her.

    "Same here.." Chileya waved.

    Mildred was swinging in her chair when Isaiah walked in. She smiled at the sight of him

     "Isaiah.. What do i owe this visit? Have you finally decided to tell me about your resignation?. I heard you don't have much time with us..." Mildred said.

    "Yes.. But that's not why I'm here.. Your friend walked out of here angry that you did not want to see her. Why?"

    "Why what? By the way what's in that box?.." Mildred replied.

    Isaiah took a seat hesitantly before opening the box of cupcakes.

    "She brought you these. She said they're your favourite." He said.

    Mildred peeped into the box unpleasantly before declining.

    "Oh.. Red velvet.. I'm kind of working out right now so I really can't deal with the extra sugar.." She bluntly said.

    "Wow.. You are a different person. Whatever happened to you.. Anyway, lucky me..."

    "Yes lucky you.. You can enjoy them all by yourself.."

    Mildred went on typing on her laptop while Isaiah stared at her.

    "Can I at least have her number to say thank you for the cupcakes?" Isaiah said.

    "Will that be necessary? Anyway.. 0977...... Tell her I said hai"

    Isaiah didn't hesitate to disappear from her sight the moment he got Chileya's number. He was so excited that he couldn't wait to hear her voice. Chileya was so calm and sweet, she appreciated the kind gesture by Isaiah but had to return to her duties. She however asked Isaiah to call her after work hours.

    Mildred folded her arms happily as she thought of how life had been so good to her. The following day was going to be a holiday and she hoped to drag Lincoln somewhere for a special activity but she couldn't figure out how to do  that.

    ############################

    It was Tuesday morning and Lincoln couldn't wait to hear what aunty Brenda had come up with. He rushed to the kitchen excitedly after his shower, he hoped to meet aunty Brenda but was informed that she left left an hour earlier. He wondered where she had gone.

    Mildred was just crawling out of bed when she heard a knock on her door.

    " Who's there?"

    "Its aunty Brenda... Mrs Muleya.. The pastors wife"

    Mildred was so exited and she wiped her face quickly, she couldn't believe how Jehovah was so good to her that Tuesday morning. Perhaps she had made a great impression and aunty Brenda came to thank her.

    "BASHI Emma.. Thank you so much.. My mother in law coming to see me.. This has got to be a dream" she said excitedly.

    "Good morning aunty" Mildred said excitedly as she opened the door.

    Aunty Brenda looked as classic as always, beautifully dressed like the iron lady that she was. She had a slight grin on her face but nothing much looked different from their last meeting.

    "It sure is a good morning for me... I'm not sure how yours will  be after you hear what I have to say" aunty Brenda replied before making her way inside.

    Chapter 12


    MILDRED'S POINT OF VIEW

    I suddenly lost my smile as aunty Brenda comfortably settled on the couch, the unpleasant look on her face left much to be desired. If she could shoot me I guess this would have been her best opportunity. My legs were numb, what did she want? I wondered.

    Trying to be as respectful as possible, I did exactly as my mother taught me. She always told me "there's only one secret to keep your In-laws.. Respect"

     I knelt down before aunty Brenda with all the respect I could give.

     "Can I get you some juice aunty?"

    My head was bowed down so I couldn't make face with whatever she was doing, all I knew is she took too long to respond. Perhaps she was moved by my act of submission, i had definitely hit the jackpot.

    "No.. I would rather we get to the bottom of this once and for all dear" she replied bluntly

    The shame I felt was beyond me, I crawled to my seat and sat up straight waiting to hear what she would say next. The tension in the room was strong, I could sense her bitterness and disgust for the lady she saw in me. For a moment I felt like faking my own death but it was too early, what if she really had good news?. Aunty Brenda was one diplomatic woman that I couldn't see through her, she reminded me of the woman I always tried to be.

    "What is all this for all?" Aunty Brenda asked in an intimidating tone.

    I guess she meant the show i had just displayed, i had no reply. Lincoln couldn't have possibly told this woman everything otherwise I would be doomed forever. But on second thought, Lincoln was way too kind, he wouldn't hurt a fly.

    "I don't remember the last time I came across someone so desperate.." She added

    Her words echoed down like a roaring Lion, all my pride deflated at the sound of those words. Lincoln had sold me out.

    The look on aunty Brenda's face was unpleasant, she clearly had no patience to wait for my response before shoving another insult my way.

    "A total disgust to womanhood, that's what you are!" she yelled.

    I almost forgot she was a pastors wife, but then again i remembered that was just a title.

    "Aunty.. What have I done to deserve these insults?" I asked in shock.

    "Oh.. So you still want to pretend like you have no idea what this is about?"

    I shook my head in shock, for a moment I really was shocked. I assured myself it was all just an act, aunty Brenda just couldn't stand a determined independent lady like myself. It was obvious the only thing she had to her name was the title of Mrs, was she even educated?. I was sure she was quite surprised to see my house, perhaps she thought I was after Lincoln's money and status but I had it all together.

    "Aunty Brenda I have no idea what you are talking about.." I confidently replied.

    "Save me that pretense! Lincoln.. Lincoln is the topic of discussion.. He told me everything. He told me how you have used his kindness for your own selfish gain.. But for what?. How long? Just tell me how long did you think you would fool him?"

    "Aunty Brenda everything that happened was unplanned... I was just trying to clear my name.."

    "Oh shut up before I lose all the respect I have left for you... Desperate woman" she yelled.

    I couldn't stomach another word from her, it was clear the worst had happened. My heart called out to my God but i knew he wouldn't answer, i had dragged the mess this far. What would i do or say?. I still wanted to put up a show but for the sake of the dignity left in me and to avoid any further embarrassment, I got to my knees in surrender.

    "Aunty Brenda I am sorry.." I said.

    "You are sorry?.. What will your sorry do for Lincoln? Are you going to resolve this?"

    She was absolutely right but I had to find a means of escape, one way or another I had to let go.

    "I can call things off right away.."
    I said nervously. The woman was so angry that I could have sworn she was ready to beat me.

    "Aunty calm down... You are a prayerful woman..."

    "Now I will pray.. I Will go and pray in peace after putting you in you place" she yelled.

    She was so loud that my body trembled and I sweated profoundly, I wished tears could save me but my eyes were as dry as the ground which I quietly begged to swallow me.

    Aunty Brenda looked at me one last time before picking her bag. She walked past me headed to the door.

    "Get back on your feet, you have a lot of corrections to make. As for Lincoln don't worry. He has already moved past this.. However, the same way you advertised to the whole world..  You can do the same now.. Your trap is over.." Aunty Brenda said before rushing out.

    My heart was shuttered in pieces, even if I put them all back together again, my shame would have already been exposed. I prayed for the ground to open and swallow me. The shame was way too much, what would I say to my parents?. Worse off Hilary? What if Hilary found out?. I could imagine Lincoln walking to the church without me, he would obviously return to the single fellowship although that rarely happened to anyone. How awkward was it going to be?

    ############################

    Six weeks later, I had still not returned to church and surprisingly no one came after me. Not even Chileya. I was ashamed of myself and I often failed to pray, despite knowing God was even more present now that I was a prodigal child, I just couldn't get myself to pray. I hated myself and everything around me.

    Isaiah had since left the company and was now working for another firm. His pay was quite decent, well it was obvious from the new outfits I saw online. To some extent I felt he was trying too hard to impress and to also get back at me owing to the fact that I had never reciprocated his interest in me.

    Lord knows I had grown so distant to everything that ever defined me, I was a different person. It's like a whirl wind had blown me into a different direction and I switched to a whole different personality. From the modest lady I always cared to be, I was now more confident, an iron lady who was rather aggressive. I was tough at work and took little nonsense from my subordinates.
    It was a defense mechanism I had to put up as long as possible. It suddenly became comfortable being that woman, it prevented me from the overwhelming embarrassment.

    ISAIAH'S POV

    Time sure does fly when you are having fun. I was finally counting down the days. It had been 3months of knowing her and there was no doubt in my mind I had hit a home run on this one. The wait was over and God sure did work in mysterious ways, from giving me a beautiful job that paid me tremendously well, to finally blessing me with a virtuous woman. She was beautiful beyond description and a true woman of God, my praises to Yahweh could never be complete.

    I had just informed my family and in two weeks time my family would be meeting her for all the traditional arrangements. There was no need to wait.
     ############################

    The traditional arrangements had successfully taken place and Chileya was officially engaged to Isaiah. Although it was a happy moment, somewhere somehow she wished Mildred was there taking part in all the wonderful happenings. The engagement was beautiful not to mention the gorgeous ring Isaiah had picked out. Chileya couldn't find the right ways to thank God for all that happened in her life, how could life have turned out so beautiful?. She was one firm believer that God worked in mysterious ways but not one day could she have imagined meeting her significant other after a terrible misunderstanding with her best friend.

    That week, Chileya was determined to reconcile with Mildred. Although she herself had done nothing wrong, she swallowed her pride and went to visit Mildred.

    When she arrived at Mildred's house, she was unsure  about  finding her home. It had been almost 4months and they hadn't seen eye to eye. The last time Chileya heard of Mildred was when news reached her about her breakup with Lincoln, everyone was talking and it was embarrassing knowing she couldn't do anything to help her friend. Mildred had shut Chileya out completely. She equally changed her numbers and Chileya wasn't ready to embarrass herself again at her office.

    "Lord give me the grace to do this..." Chileya whispered to herself as she walked towards the front door.

    Chileya looked at her ring and smiled, she couldn't wait to share the good news with Mildred. Perhaps that would be a good start to the awkward conversation.

    Mildred didn't hesitate to open the door after just one tap.

    CHILEYA'S POINT OF VIEW

    When the door swung open, I couldn't hold my excitement. I was staring at my best friend and I didn't care about what happened in the past. I just wanted to hug her and tell her I missed her. In fact I missed her so much words couldn't describe it. I wished I was there to comfort her through everything but my presence now sure had to mean something.

    Mildred on the other hand didn't look too amused to see me, she smiled a little and greeted me formally before letting me in. I wondered why. She had to be happy to see me unless we had fought over something, I wasn't even the one in the wrong yet all I got was a fake smile after all my efforts.

    "Wow...where do I start?" I thought to myself as I settled opposite her in the living room.

    I made sure I hid my ring finger until i was ready to show it. Thank God the long Jersey I wore over my body top was long enough to cover my fingers. I hoped I wasn't too intimidatingly dressed as that always annoyed Mildred, despite having been my best friend for years, she never liked seeing me look better than her. I believe I looked simple and casual in my skinny jeans and grey canvas.

    "What a surprise.." Mildred said after a little while of staring at each other.

    I still couldn't spot any excitement in her face but I figured it was still a good place to start.

    "It sure has been a long time.." I said.

    MILDRED'S POV

    It was shocking staring in the eyes of my best friend as she sat opposite me, she looked as jovial as always and I wondered if she ever judged me. She had a certain glow about her and I could have guessed a man had to be responsible for that. But there's no way a man had to be behind it, if Chileya could attract a man, I would definitely attract one too. I suddenly felt a sense of confidence as I convinced myself it had to be something else, however, I couldn't figure out what it was. I knew Chileya too well, something had to be up. I admired her courage to come after me despite my terrible actions towards her, I really was foolish. Thank God for Isaiah who saved the day, I wonder what he said to her but knowing him, he would never let her walk out with shame. He had probably made her feel better, that was Isaiah, he made everyone feel better. At that point I convinced myself if Chileya had a man I had to find Isaiah and get him interested in me again. He already liked me anyway, I just had to show more interest in him and we would be headed to the altar anytime soon.
    I wasn't going to be the single one. No way. Isaiah was never bad after all, its just that I had aimed way too high. I wanted Lincoln and even though it ended that badly, I enjoyed how long it lasted.

    "I'm sorry for how I treated you Chileya.." I said regretfully.

    The look on Chileya's face was priceless, I could see the genuine love and care she had for  me because as soon as I made that statement, she shook her head with a smile.

    "Don't be sorry.. Don't.. I have put all that behind me" she said.

    "Something happened that day that I am grateful to God for..." She added.

    I thought she would say I had shown my true colours and that's why she was grateful to God. How embarrassing that my best friend realised I could let a man separate us, would she ever genuinely forgive me? I thought.

     But that wasn't what she said.

    Chileya rolled back her Jersey to expose her fingers and it was then that I saw the gorgeous ring. My eyes had to be lying to me.

    "You are married?" I asked in shock.

    "No just engaged... To a wonderful man I met at your office that day... Isaiah is his name..."

    I couldn't believe my ears, I heard thunder and saw a flash of lightening right before my eyes. Surely this was beyond my imagination, Bashi Emma had to be kidding me. I obviously didn't hear her correctly. My mind couldn't make sense of that, how could it be?. He clearly loved me and only me. No, I couldn't comprehend it.

    I unconsciously made an image of all the colleagues I worked with hoping that I could spot somebody else going by that name. But it was a waste of time. There was only one Isaiah. My Isaiah.. Chileya's Isaiah.

    I passed out in shock.

    Chapter 13


    MILDRED'S POV

    I remember opening my eyes to the sound of a screaming voice. It was Chileya, she was panicking even after pouring a whole bucket of water on me. By the time i opened my eyes fully, neighbours had come and they were ready to take me to the hospital. I tried to oppose but the neighbours insisted on having me checked. I hoped to God Chileya did not realise my shock was a result of the news she gave me but I hoped more that Isaiah did not come to the hospital.

    The doctor said I was alright, I just needed a lot of rest and to eat a lot. The doctor said I had been starving myself but I really didn't believe her. Just in time for my discharge, Isaiah showed up and that's when my heart really broke. Seeing him being so nice to Chileya hurt me so bad, that's exactly what I needed from a man and like that wasn't enough, we drove back in his wonderful Jeep. I wanted to pray, I wanted to say something to God but I lost words. I lost anything I could say but I managed to say a few words under my breath. It went as follows:

    "I have learnt the hard way Bashi Emma, not anymore. Please... Not anymore"

    Isaiah looked at me through the rare view mirror and our eyes met, I looked away in embarrassment. His left hand held onto Chileya's right as he drove. I felt like an outcast, a disgrace. I must say at that point I was the biggest fool I had ever known.

    Chileya insisted on staying with me but I refused, I needed time to be alone. I didn't care what she thought at that point, I knew she would figure it out anyway. The only thing I had left to do was accept my fate and move on. Chileya and I hugged tightly, she assured me that she would be checking up on me and I nodded my head with a hidden smile. The moment I shut the door tears escaped my eyes. I was so broken, I felt foolish and cursed. What had been my problem? Why didn't I see the man in Isaiah who was there all along?. For a long time I had been praying yet giving God all the solutions. I cried bitterly until I couldn't cry anymore, it was time to accept my fate and just move on.

    Work was rather busy all week and I thanked God because I got less time to think about Chileya and Isaiah.

    The company received a new lady in place of Isaiah, God was she a handful. However, she seemed to be friendly so at least that was what I needed, a new friend to keep me company. She was married to a successful accountant and I must say I envied her a little. She had it all figured out. In fact, she only worked to avoid the boredom but she was comfortable without the job. I often joked with her saying I would rather be shopping all my life had I found the opportunity to meet such a man. Nina was her name, very beautiful, always beautifully dressed and drove the best car at the office. Even the directors vehicle didn't come close. Nina and I had become so close suddenly that we were everywhere together. We had meals together and she sometimes took me shopping. However, I felt more depressed. Being with Nina reminded me of how I wasn't where I really wanted to be in life.

    Seeing that everything around me was depressing, I had to find a new hobby to keep me occupied. I couldn't follow Nina everywhere, I could do better than live in her shadow forever. So I used some free time over coffee break to browse through interesting things. All i needed was a hobby that could make me happy.  

    Rudo and i had lost our work relationship because of Nina, Rudo was rather annoying and was always on my case trying to get me to take part in company gossip but I was over it.

    My mission to browse for a new hobby had successfully pulled off, I always liked to play tennis in school and this was my chance to do it again. I didn't know if I could still pull it off but my arms could really benefit from the workout so I was game. Tennis was not just a sport but it was also prestigious, well at least as far as I could remember. It was my time to position myself for greatness.

     As the week flew by, all I could think about was getting myself that beautiful attire and turning heads on the tennis court. Thankfully, Friday was declared a half day. I rushed to the store and bought myself the best outfits I could find and later enrolled at the tennis club. I made sure my hair and nails were equally done, Saturday was going to be interesting and I was ready for it.

    I arrived at the tennis court early and boy were they handsome men.... Lord... I was beginning to regret shedding tears over Lincoln and Isaiah. I thought they were hot but I hadn't yet men the best of the best. However, I didn't come to look for a man, I came instead to get rid of all the negative energy in my life and that's just what I needed.

    As I stood waiting for a free court, I imagined myself being swept off my feet by one of the handsome men there. I tried hard to control my thoughts but the men were too destructing. A few ladies were present but it didn't look like I would make friends with any of them, they were just not my type.

    "Have a partner?" A voice said behind me.

    I slowly turned around and before me stood a handsome man, chocolate in complexion, well built, wonderful dimples and gorgeous smile. For a moment I went blur. I obviously smiling like an idiot until hr waved his racket in my face.

    "Oh... I'm sorry.. Mildred.." I said as I extended my hand to shake his.

    I was lost in the moment that I could hardly think right, if I didn't know better I would think I was possessed with the spirit of lust.

    "You are very beautiful Mildred.." I heard him say. My body trembled as shivers went up my spine.

    "I know.. Thank you.. But that's not the reason why I'm here.." I stammered.

    "I beg your pardon?" The gentleman asked in shock.

    "I'm sorry...  I'm not making any sense.. Sorry.. My name is Mildred.. And you are?"

    "Oh I'm Clint... Clint Kangwa.." He replied

    We looked at each other and smiled, I don't know why but if he felt anything like what I was feeling then I sure hit the jackpot.

    "So.. Can we play together?" He asked.

    "Oh yes... I believe so.. Why not?.  But there's one condition.."

    "OK I'm all ears.. Talk to me" Clint replied.

    I was so impressed, he seemed so keen to do anything I asked. I was beginning to think there was some attraction.

    "I haven't played in a while.. So I really don't think I'm that good anymore.."

    "I will teach you.. He winked.

    The game turned out better than I expected, Clint and I exchanged numbers with the aim of seeing each other again. This time, we would be seeing each other for a date, an official date at a place of my choice. He had to be rich otherwise he wouldn't make such an offer. I couldn't stand the excitement as I got home, its like my life had found new purpose and I had a new reason to live again.

    Clint and I spoke that night for a couple of hours before we said goodnight.

    " BASHI Emma, as you can see this man just came after me. I did not chase after him.. No.. I learnt the hard way" I said before going to bed.

    The following day was going to be my first official date with Clint and I was not taking chances. I had just the right outfit in mind and I couldn't wait to flaunt it.

    ############################

    Back in Ndola, Hilary was becoming love sick. It wasn't the first time she was feeling that way for anyone but not for Lincoln and not after how long she had stayed away from him, it didn't make sense. Since Mildred declared her relationship, she had suddenly gained  much more interest in Lincoln. She often rebuked her thoughts but it seemed to just increase and it worried her even more. That Saturday, she had decided to find a way to contact Lincoln against all odds, despite knowing she would be in trouble for it. If Lincoln was that interested in her and he showed no interest in Mildred at all then there was no way he would date Mildred suddenly. That didn't make sense and it was time she confirmed it herself. But how?. It was a hopeless thought, perhaps she had to forget and accept her fate. Only Mildred could give her his number but that was impossible.

    Hilary had no idea what Mildred and Lincoln had was a fake relationship. She equally had no idea it had since ended 4months ago.

    Lincoln on the other hand had made a similar decision. Having sought advice a couple of times from aunty Brenda, it was finally time to make his own decision. Aunty Brenda was not with the idea of Lincoln pursuing Hilary as she was Mildred's sister.

    "She might possess the same qualities as her sister" aunty Brenda often said.

    Lincoln often opposed with a bemba proverb:

    "munda nimu chabu"

    Meaning a family is composed of different characters.

    It took a lot of convincing but Lincoln insisted he had prayed about it and all he needed was to hear from her one last time. He knew exactly who to approach in order to reach out to Hilary, it had to be Chileya. She had previously mentioned visiting Mildred and he hoped she could come in handy to get Hilary's number. Lincoln sat Chileya down after church and explained his intentions, it wasn't easy getting her to accept the task but she finally agreed.

    "I will not steal Hilary's number I will get it from her the right way.." Chileya assured Lincoln.

    When Chileya arrived at Mildred's house her stomach mumbled, what would she say to her.

    "God I have to do this.. I can't believe I'm adding more pain to her wound" she muttered.

    "Who's there?" Mildred responded after the knock on the door.

    "Chileya..."

    Mildred was surprised and wondered what she wanted. Chileya couldn't visit at such an hour when she was just getting ready for her date.

    Chileya smiled at a not so pleased Mildred as she got into the house.

    "Oh you're going somewhere?" Chileya asked.

    "Oh yes I was actually going on a... I mean I'm going somewhere.." Mildred replied..

    "Anyway you can take a seat..." Mildred offered.

    "I'm actually not staying long.. Isaiah is waiting on me. I just need a favour..." Chileya said quickly.

    She was starting to ramble and feared Mildred might notice.

    "I have a cousin who is travelling to kitwe.. She has a parcel for my aunty in Ndola but aunty is busy.. I'm kindly asking for a favour. Can Hilary get the parcel for aunty? Aunty will pick it from her.. Please.." Chileya said.

    Mildred looked too busy as she packed up her bag while Chileya talked.

    "Oh... Is that your worry?..No need to worry Chileya my phone is over there...." Mildred replied pointing at the phone on the table.

    "Oh Mildred.. I hope you one day forgive me for this" Chileya whispered under her breath.

    Chileya battled her nerves, a part of her almost causing her to have a change of mind. However, she couldn't avoid the thought of Lincoln's plea.

    "Have you found it?" Mildred asked.

    Yes... Just found it. Let me copy"

    Chileya quickly managed to forward the number to Lincoln using her phone without Mildred noticing.

    "Mildred thank you so much... I must be going now" Chileya said

    Mildred smiled and waved without moving an inch to escort Chileya "You're welcome dear... Regards to Isaiah" she said

    "I wonder what kind of help Hilary could be to anyone.." Mildred muttered

    Before stepping out, Mildred got on her knees..

    "Bashi Emma I'm going on a date, please go before me. Let no harm come to me and Clint. I plead the blood of Jesus Christ upon this man oh God, he is all mine in Jesus name! The same way he came my way my God that is how he will pay my dowry. I refuse to lose him. Marriage is my portion, it is my season of decoration and nothing will come between Clint and I... No oh God not one. Let every person standing against my marriage scatter right now in every direction. My time to shine is here. Clint is here to stay and no weapon formed against us shall prosper."

    Chapter 14


    Mildred was surprised to see a beautiful Mercedes waiting for her outside, she suspected Clint could be wealthy but not as much. She couldn't believe her eyes especially when he opened the doors for her to enter. He looked very handsome in a golf T-shirt and dark blue jeans, she on the other hand wore a black high waist figure fitting pencil skirt that she which she paired with a crop top.

    "You look pretty.." He smiled

    "Oh you do too.."

    "The chariot awaits" Clint said teasingly as he stood waiting for Mildred to get into the car.

    Mildred smiled, her heart danced with joy. The vehicle was so comfortable with a clean scent, it was obvious Clint was a guy with great taste.

    "Bashi Emma if this is anything like what the future will look like then I am more than ready" Mildred thought.

    The two were soon entangled in a deep conversation as they headed to their destination. Mildred had no idea where they were going but she was positive it would be an afternoon to remember seeing that Clint was a man of good taste.

    Meanwhile, Mildred wasn't the only one who's day was turning out special. Hilary was home watching television with her mum when her phone rang. She excused herself from the tv room and went straight to her room.

    "Halo..." Hilary picked up.

    Lincoln couldn't contain his emotions and he failed to talk.

    "who is this?" Hilary Asked impatiently. She was ready to hang up until the caller cleared his throat.

    "Halo..are you there? Who is this? Speak now before I hang up..."

    "I'm here..its Lincoln.."

    Hilary froze for a few seconds, either her mind was playing tricks on her or she heard correctly.

    "Lincoln?" She asked in shock terrified of losing her mind. She had been thinking about Lincoln and suddenly the voice on the phone was claiming to be Lincoln.

    "Hilary.. Its Lincoln Smith from Lusaka..." He said.

    Hilary was numb, she couldn't just comprehend everything. Her heart raced, she didn't know what to say.

    "Lincoln.. Where..
     Where have you been? ... It's been a long time" she stammered.

    Hilary wondered if Lincoln had ever tried to reach her on her old number but she doubted it. Not after he heard she had been a cheat.

    "Hilary there's lot to talk about.. I want to visit Ndola soon so I thought I contact you before I travel" Lincoln said.

    "Hilary can I please see you when I'm in Ndola?" He asked desperately.

    Even if Hilary would have wanted to refuse, she couldn't ignore the genuine tone in his voice.

    Hilary sat on her bed shocked at what she had just experienced, Lincoln was going to  travel to Ndola to see her?. What about Mildred? It was like a dream and she hoped no one would wake her up from it.

    Lincoln on the other hand was excited, he was making the trip to Ndola specifically to meet Hilary although he did not clearly admit it.

    MILDRED'S POV.

    When I dropped at the prestigious golden peacock hotel, I should have given myself a pat on the back. I had found myself a real  man.

    "I hope you like it here" Clint asked.

    I really thought he was joking. Was that even a question? How could he assume I didn't like the place?. Could anybody hate it?

    "Oh. It's beautiful.." I responded calmly although I would have rather shown my teeth in excitement.

    We went to a table reserved for two and immediately made orders for our food.

    "So tell ms Mildred, what makes you so beautiful?"

    My mind went far away in thought. Life has never been so gorgeous for me "Eh.. BASHI Emma.. So you blessed me with not only a good man but one who can play with words very well. I will leave this place floating because this man has really swept me off my feet"

    "Mildred.. Are we together?" Clint waved his hand in my face.

    "Of course we are.. It's Bashi Emma.... He makes me beautiful"

    "BASHI who?" Clint looked puzzled.

    I should have realised my way of addressing my Father up in heaven was not everyone's way. My eyes popped out in embarrassment as I quickly tried to correct myself

    "I'm sorry...I meant God.." I smiled.

    Clint smiled, I know he didn't completely get me but we went back to our meal. The main meal was served after the starter and we enjoyed the food followed by desert. It was over desert that my afternoon became better. Clint told me about his I.T job and we further discussed his hobbies as well as mine.

    "Mildred dear, i would like to see you again... I'm not sure if this is the right way or right time to say this but I really like you. I really like you a lot and I think I would like to give this a chance.. I mean a relationship" he smiled.

    I couldn't believe he was even doubting because I was positive from the start, what BASHI Emma has given let no man put asunder.

    "Clint.. I... I think it's not a bad idea" I replied.

    The excitement in his face was priceless, so he really did care that much about me.

    "I have a good idea.. Instead of our lunch ending this way, how about we see a movie too? He asked.

    " Bashi Emma.. He says all the right things at the right time, this man is my husband. I decree and declare"

    "Of course a movie would be great.." I replied excitedly.

    Clint and I were connecting so well and in fact the sparks of attraction could be felt. He was proving worthy and I just couldn't wait to move to the next level although it was just the first day.

    ############################

    After securing our movie tickets, Clint and I talked over a few drinks at the waiting lobby. We were going to watch a romantic comedy, a perfect start to our relationship. I couldn't thank BASHI Emma more and more, he was just everything I imagined and more. The guy knew what to say and when to say it, what to do and when to do it. To think that I would be calling him my man was priceless, very soon I would be flaunting him and what could have made me much happier?.

    "Can I call you honey?, baby or sweetie?" Clint asked as he held on to my hand.

    From across the table I felt like reaching out to him and kiss him, why was I so blessed to have him?.

    "You can call me anything you like..." I smiled.

    Our eyes met and we smiled at each other, Clint was just too handsome. I would have sworn he landed from heaven the moment I set my eyes on him.

    "Clint!!!!" A voice yelled from the back

    Clint's eyes became nervous as he quickly let go of my hand. I couldn't understand what was happening until i turned around. A pregnant lady of about my age stood there staring at me angrily. My stomach dissolved and I felt instant diarrhoea.

    "Clint what's going on here?" The lady asked. I could tell she was trying to be calm but she was really angry.

    Everyone was now looking at us, I was trying to find an escape but I was stuck switching my eyes back and forth.

    "Baby... I can explain" I heard Clint say.

    "You good for nothing fool, spending my money on cheap women.. You need a job! .." She yelled on top of her voice.

    Who was the cheap woman? Me? This woman had to be kidding me. Despite the shame I had already suffered, I picked my bag ready to escape the crazy woman. Obviously Clint had lied to me.

    "Thank you for everything Clint.." I said before getting up.

    "Oh you better be thankful because it was the last of this kind, maybe if you too can start splashing him with Money he might stay with you. Honey his in the business of sucking women dry and you are his next target..." She yelled.

    The lady was beautiful but she looked bitter and so frustrated with life. If Clint was anything like what she had described then I was more frustrated than she was. How could my fairytale end so soon and in such a manner?

    "Hand me my car keys!!!" She yelled at Clint.

    So even the car wasn't his?.. I knew if I stayed a minute longer I would be taking a walk of shame.

    A crowd of people gathered and I had to push my way out through the crowd, people followed me with cheers while others called me names.

    How embarrassed I was that I wished I had the power to disappear in thin air. I hurriedly walked to the elevator before more people followed me and I quietly called out to Bashi Emma in panic. Never in my life had i ever been so humiliated.

    God! i was so embarrassed so much that I felt like an ancestral spirit that had been exposed.

    Chapter 15


    HILARY'S POINT OF VIEW

    Lincoln had called me that morning saying he was in town, I knew we were going to meet but I didn't think it would be that soon. We had only spoken about his coming the previous day and a few hours later he was in town. I threw around a couple of clothes hoping to find what to wear but to no avail, I absolutely had no idea what to wear despite having a closet full of very stylish outfits.

    It was 3pm on the dot and Lincoln would be in any time, I was having a very bad afternoon with nothing making me excited about the meeting. Clearly Lincoln was seeing my sister from the last time I checked, so there was really no reason for me to be excited except for the simple fact that I missed his face. The other feelings that came along with missing Lincoln were really not important to me at that point, if I could just see him again then I would be satisfied.

    My phone started buzzing somewhere on the bed and I couldn't figure out where as the bed was filled with clothes, searching through the pile of clothes took really long that I ended up missing Lincoln's call. When I called back, Lincoln let me me know he had been waiting for me for over an hour. I couldn't believe I spent the previous hour looking for clothes that I didn't even seem to find. Without further hesitation, I wore a simple long black up to the toe dress and paired it with black flat shoes. I tied my long Perm in a pony and made sure to leave some hair strands hanging just to avoid looking too formal or prepared for a date. Overall my face looked very natural without any makeup except the cherry lip gloss on my lips, my neck had no accessories but all three piercings on each ear had a round silver stud.

    Before rushing out, a part of me wanted to carry the friendship bracelet along but I didn't want to look desperate, Lincoln was my sisters boyfriend so I had to act like I didn't care.

    ############################

    The Italian restaurant was the last place I thought I would be going with Lincoln but here we were sitting opposite each other,  through the entire ride leading to the arrival, I had been quiet and only said a word when we actually set eyes on each other as I approached the car. He looked as handsome as I could remember, very smartly dressed in a checked office shirt paired with a black trousers. He had actually opened the door for me after we shook hands but we both went mute the rest of the taxi drive up to the restaurant. Thank God he chose to be in front with the taxi man while I took the back seat.

    "Its great seeing you again..." He said softly.

    I smiled but failed to give a reply, I must say my heart ached at that point. Here was a  handsome man seated opposite me, a man who had undoubtedly stolen my heart and would like to believe I once stole his but I couldn't be with him. He was now with my sister. The Italian restaurant was a very beautiful and elegant top notch restaurant where only the elite people of Ndola hang out. I was not elite at all but I got the opportunity to be there thanks to Lincoln.

    "Hilary... You don't look too pleased to see me" I heard Lincoln say as my eyes wandered around the beautiful environment.

    "Oh no I am... I just haven't been here so I'm pretty amazed at how beautiful it is" I smiled.

    I must say all I wanted was to know why he brought me out there, to say sorry for dating my sister? To question me about Sean? Or to tell me he actually still had feelings for me?. I couldn't figure it out but I kept my peace as I admired the beautiful art on the walls and the gorgeous chandeliers that hang from the ceiling. The tables were well organised with all shapes and sizes of cutlery resting on the white satin that covered the tables. Yellow orchids were placed in the centre and they tied in with the yellow and silver theme wonderfully, I could only imagine the place being used as a wedding venue.

    "Hilary..." Lincoln called out as he handed me the menu.

    "Oh.... Thanks" i smiled

    I could see Lincoln's disappointment but what did he really expect me to do?

    "I will have Mac and cheese" I said to the waiter who stood waiting to take our orders.

    "Let me have the same" Lincoln replied as he closed his menu.

    "Mac and cheese is equally my favourite" he added.

    I smiled thinking he must have thought it was my favourite on the list but its all I could recognise apart from lasagna which I had home the previous night.

    "Hilary you've been on my mind"

    Those words came like a surprise, if I really was on his mind then where was Mildred?

    "I understand I have been quiet but its only because I was confused after what happened at your sisters house.. That didn't mean I've been over you"

    Lincoln was trying hard to sound believable but I wasn't buying anything he was saying if anything all I wanted was my Mac and cheese as regards to him, seeing him was enough. Lincoln said a lot more things which I specifically chose not to hear, however I pretended to have been paying attention.

    "Its for this reason that I thought I cone and see you"  Lincoln said as he reached out his hands to mine across the table.

    Luckily food was served and that eased the awkward moment.

    I really wanted to ask after my sister and how well they were doing but it wasn't in my place to start the topic, I hoped he would bring it up himself but he didn't. After the meal, Lincoln drove me home in silence and we hugged and said goodbye. It was the most formal outing I ever had in my life, no feelings expressed and yet a lot of things left unsaid.

    LINCOLN'S POV

    I went back to the guest house completely sad that I failed to say everything I wanted to say, the whole time I mumbled about unnecessary details and failed to say the real reason I was there. The fact that I was really in love with her despite everything. I wanted to let her know how much she meant to me but I wasted it all. Although I was mad at myself, it wasn't my fault. She wasn't interested in hearing me out, it was clear without doubt that she had moved on. In fact it must have been a long time ago. She probably had a man in her life , I was never a factor. From her eyes I could tell she thought so much less of me, I had served no purpose in her life. Even after having prayed about it before starting off, I had really been afraid of the outcome. Perhaps that was the reason why. Maybe its because this wasn't really mine.

    My flight back to Lusaka was the following day, I wanted to see Hilary one more time but her phone had been switched off. I even tried going near the house a couple of hours before the flight hoping to see her but she didn't step a foot out. I did see two elders who looked like her parents arrive just when I was about to go and ask after her, that discouraged me and I left Ndola without saying goodbye.

    ############################

    It had been two weeks after the encounter with Clint but Mildred had a had time forgetting it, not one day did she go without thinking about it. She hadn't told anyone about it but she assumed a lot of people must have known with the power of technology, obviously one or two people had captured the moment. Mildred was right, just before lunch she got a call into the CEO's office only to receive the embarrassing news. A video had been sent to him by a friend who had once seen Mildred at the company.

    "Sir, I couldn't have guessed he was involved with someone else. It was only our first date"

    The CEO was not pleased with the bad publicity but he just couldn't risk losing Mildred, she was a gem in the company and he needed her more than she could imagine. Mildred was so relieved that he was so forgiving and she went back to her office singing praises but not for long. That same day, the whole company was gossiping about her over lunch and Sarah took the lead. She enjoyed passing humiliating comments and getting everyone to do the same.

    "Nina I can't stay here. I can't this is no longer where I belong" Mildred complained.

    Nina had been trying to convince her over the last hour to just ignore everyone but Mildred was too sensitive, everything troubled her even just ordinary looks from unknowing individuals.

    "Mildred you can't assume everyone knows, you need to forget about people. I have been through worse.." Nina said

    "Coming from someone who has everything at her disposal and who's husband is a successful accountant.. I'm sure that should make me feel better"

    "Really Mildred? You must think I have had it easy don't you? I suffered embarrassments to here dear."

    Mildred stared at Nina wondering whether or not to believe her.

    "Just like you I had my own share of disappointments. But one day my story changed..."

    "How?" Mildred asked inquisitively.

    "Let's finish up lunch, I will show you something" she said.

    ############################

    It was Saturday evening just after 6pm and Nina had just packed outside Mildred's gate, Mildred rushed out dressed her best in a red elegant dinner dress. The ladies were headed to a presidential fundraising dinner hosted at the government complex. The president himself would be.

    "You know I still don't know why you spent so much money on just attending this dinner" Mildred complained.

    "come on, you will be thanking me later. By the way you look gorgeous" Nina smiled.

    "Oh so do you..." Mildred replied.

    Mildred was panicking as it was her very first time to go to such an event, she had no idea how to behave once there but Nina was very calm.

    "Such events will change your life forever" Nina had said earlier

    When they made their way into the hall, Mildred suddenly got nerves. She didn't want to stay any longer but Nina wasn't for the idea.

    "Calm down" Nina insisted.

    "OK exactly what are we doing here?"

    "I will explain but first maintain a smile, hold your head high and let's look for a perfect sitting location"

    ############################

    "OK so you're telling me you used to go to such functions when you were single?"

    "Exactly.." Nina replied.

    "But why?... Why would you waste money coming here for what exactly? I mean you could see the president on TV that's enough... But spend the amount of money you did?"

    "You're still not getting it are you? Anyway to cut the long story I met my husband at such an event."

    Mildred's eyes nearly popped out.

    "I don't think you're telling the truth Nina" Mildred opposed.

    "Of course I am, get it from me"

    "But do I have to really spend so much money to meet a man?

    "Yes dear if you want a big fish you go to the ocean, that means going extra lengths to make it happen. Besides we got ordinary tickets.."

    "they cost you a thousand! For one!" Mildred interrupted.

    "What is a thousand compared to the life I have now? Anyway I no longer do it, unless hubby is taking me out but not with the ladies anymore" she said.

    "Mildred consider yourself lucky, the person who brought me to such a function didn't pay for me like I have done for you, I hustled for the money. Money is not a problem. Just be grateful and anyway not all are so expensive... Position yourself for greatness my sister. My husband did not come easily... You even have a job, the only job I had was bathing"

    Mildred's face suddenly brightened, all her worries disappeared and she started having a good time.

    "Most important rule, do not look around acting all desperate or like you're waiting for somebody. Let's just enjoy the moment. Remember as far as everyone is concerned here you are rich my sister...."

    Nina had not even concluded her statement when two gentlemen approached their table.

    "Hi ladies, are the other seats free or do you have company?" One of them asked

    "Feel free" Nina responded reluctantly before  engaging Mildred into conversation.

    Mildred wondered how the men would interact if Nina talked the whole time but Nina had a plan.

    The guys equally got into a small conversation until the waiter approached their table.

    "This is where it all starts" Nina  whispered to Mildred.

    "How? Mildred asked.

    " just wait and see" Nina said.

    The gentleman both flipped through the menu and had a short conversation between them before one of them spoke up.

    "Ladies what are you having?" He asked.

    The guys were both so handsome that Mildred stared at them like a fool until Nina placed the menu before her.

    "Iwe be serious I didn't bring you here to admire people. Make your order" Nina whispered.

    Mildred excitedly ran through the menu and thanked BASHI Emma for the new levels.

    "BASHI Emma..this is the life. Nina is a life saver, thank you for bringing her in my life. Poverty is not my portion. Friendship goals indeed.... Levels"

    Chapter 16


    Mildred's eyes wandered away from the menu, she kept picking glances at the two gentlemen. Nina noticed Mildred's behaviour but she knew trying to get Mildred to behave would be a failed mission.

    "Gentleman, we don't even know you too well.. How can you offer us food?" Nina said with a smile.

    Underneath the table she kicked Mildred who suddenly became alert.

    "OK sorry for our manners.. My name is Andrew, my friend is Timothy. You can call him Timmy." One of them the answered

    Andrew was light in complexion and looked a lot like Lincoln while Timmy was quite dark but well built and handsome too. Nina sent a pleased smiled to the guys after introducing themselves.

    "Yes.. We don't even know you and you want to buy us drinks" Mildred interrupted.

    "Are you stupid!" Nina cursed in Mildred's ear.

    "they just introduced themselves" Nina whispered angrily.

    "OK I am Timmy, I'm an engineer..." Timmy quickly replied.

    Andrew smiled without a word until Mildred stared at him expecting him to talk.

    "Oh I'm Andrew, Timmy and I have been best friends since childhood. I'm a teacher" he said.

    Timmy gave Andrew an ugly stare before they continued insisting on buying the food.

    The men proved to be so much. Dinner went great with the guys entertaining the ladies, they ordered enough food and drinks making sure the ladies had nothing to complain about.

    ############################

    Nina was so excited after the night the wonderful night, as the headed to the car she danced with joy.

    "Welcome to the club my friend" Nina said excitedly

    "You're acting like you're the one who got yourself a date..." Mildred giggled as they settled in the car.

    "Oh come off it! I'm married. I'm just happy for you. As you saw, no nonsense.  The guys have hard Cash.... Actually Timmy does and he seems to like you. Andrew is a loser hiding behind his friends shadows" Nina said

    "He's the cute one though" Mildred interrupted

    "Did you even listen to yourself? He's a teacher! My friend what you need is a man who will spoil you rotten"

    "I want marriage more than the money..." Mildred replied happily

    "You have a spirit of poverty Mildred! Surely of all the good things life could offer, you just want to be married???"

    "Of course! Are you telling me you would choose money over your marriage?" Mildred asked surprisingly

    "Oh yes and in fact this marriage came as a result of my greedy husband"

    "greedy? Nina you are driving a jeep and you call your husband greedy?

    " yes.. He would never spoil me rotten until we became husband and wife. I cried for this Jeep in courtship until we got married. Given the chance I got it when we were still courting... I swear I would have disappeared with his money."

    Mildred couldn't believe her ears, her jaw dropped from shock.

    "All i ever wanted was to be a single independent diva. I can't stand marriage"

    Mildred was quiet until Nina pulled over at her house.

    "We are here aren't you going inside? I need to go home now before that moron starts calling me" Mildred said.

    "Moron?"

    "Yes my husband" Nina responded

    "Nina I don't understand, I thought marriage is the best thing that could happen to any African woman but why are you saying all these things?"

    "Mildred.. Tell me my dear.. What is it that interests you about marriage? Is it the the title Mrs or the stigma that comes with being single? These are the most common reasons and trust me they still don't qualify one to be happy in marriage. I was once like you, I wanted to he married because everyone was married and so somehow I found myself married. I could have escaped marriage as I realised I didn't really need it before I got into it but I needed something that it was offering me... Good life. I took it for the life it accords me"

    Mildred was still speechless that she just shook her head.

    "Its proven that 95% of men are cheats, 80% of those are actually from the church, so  tell me is marriage really worth the struggle? To fight someone night and day just to get him to be faithful. Everyday waking up to be submissive to a fool... "

    "Nina!!!"

    "What! Its true!" Nina yelled.

    Mildred couldn't stand it any longer, she rushed out of the car without another word. Nina laughed to herself before driving off.

    TWO WEEKS LATER

    Hilary looked at her book one more time but she couldn't block the tears, she had an exam in two days but her mind battled the thoughts of Lincoln. She had constantly tried to brush her thoughts away but it had now become a routine and now it hurt even more than ever. Her frustration led her to close her book and she lay on her bed facing the ceiling.

    "God why are you punishing me? Am tired of crying" Hilary said out loud as her eyes focussed on the dusty ceiling.

    Hilary had gained a relationship with God over the few months she stayed home after her return, she unlike her sister prayed without ceasing and resting completely in God without any reservations.

    "God speak to me, what is this supposed to mean?"

    Hilary fell asleep crying over Lincoln while he too seemed to have a hard afternoon at work. Lincoln had assured himself never to bother Hilary but two weeks was just about how far he could go. His heart started aching over again and he couldn't bear it any longer, he really wanted to call Hilary but after her reaction in Ndola, he had no intentions to bother her again.

    The sun was just setting when Lincoln walked to the balcony, he went straight upstairs after work and he declined to eat anything. Aunty Brenda was worried, it was the third time in a role that Lincoln was coming home looking frustrated and declined to have supper. Suddenly everyone sat staring at each other at the dinner table, Lukundo had just broken the news to her parents that Lincoln was not interested in eating.

    "Did he at least explain why?" Pastor Muleya asked his daughter.

    Lukundo shook her head uninterested in any further discussion concerning Lincoln, he used to be a fun older brother to her but now all she had to deal with were his constant moods.

    "OK then, guess his just not hungry let's say grace the food will get cold..." Pastor Muleya said.

    "You go ahead I will check on him" Mrs Muleya said as she dragged her chair backwards. She quickly took her leave before her husband stopped her.

    "OK dad please let's pray I'm hungry"

    "Lukundo aren't you concerned about your brother?"

    "Uhmmm.. No Lincoln bores me these days. He's ever gloomy,I don't know which girl Stole His heart but she's making a different person. He was much happier with Mildred" Lukundo said angrily.

    "Young lady are you done?"

    "Dad I'm just saying... Lincoln is .."

    "Enough!" Pastor pastor Muleya raised his hand shutting his daughter up.

    "I understand you liked Mildred but I am sorry she isn't the right candidate for your brother.. We can pray now"

    Meanwhile, Aunty Brenda had just managed to get Lincoln to open up. He narrated all his hearts contents and she listened attentively until he was done. Lincoln had expressed himself emotionally that aunty Brenda was much more drawn to his concerns.

    "OK so let me get this straight.. You are worried because?.."

    "Because she just  doesn't seem interested in me or any thing I had to say. There's no way I will get her to understand how I feel..."

    "Of course it won't be easy.. Or did you just think she will listen to you so easily? You are her sister... Any normal person would be angry" aunty Brenda responded as she sat next to her nephew.

    "Aunty what are you trying to say?"

    "She is probably just angry hence she couldn't hear you out. If she was by any chance uninterested in you, she wouldn't have met you in Ndola, she would have no reason to"

    "You think so?"

    "I know so" aunty Brenda held Lincolns hand.

    "I promised your mother I would do my best to make sure you're well in every area and I would like to believe I did just that, except now. Your uncle and I seem worried about you all the time, a girl shouldn't get you so distant from your own family. Please Lincoln come back to the old you, of all people you should know better. Love requires a lot of patience.."

    ############################

    Mildred had just arrived home from work, she had passed through the mall to get some clothes as she was going for a cocktail party. The party was hosted by Timmy and it would be at his house, agony was that Timmy got her number but it was Andrew who had shown much interest in her as he often called.  The ladies had met the guys on two other occasions at different hotels, the men sure did know how to impress.

    "I hope I finally get the chance to talk to Timmy I can't stand Andrew, I just can't" Mildred muttered as she touched her makeup at the dressing table

    "Are you not ready yet?" Nina asked upon budging into her room.

    "Today you need to talk to Timmy.. I hope you actually manage otherwise you will end up with a teacher" Nina warned.

    "Never! Over my dead body body. What I'm trying to understand is why would  Timmy get my number on behalf of his friend?"

    "Mildred that's not an issue, over the last left few days you've been to the best places in this town, rolling in the best machines and you have extra money to throw around. Now imagine you do this for the rest your life?" Nina smoke

    "no i won't imagine because i know It will be happen" Mildred giggled.

    A tinted Mercedes parked outside Mildred's house and the ladies hoped in.

    Chapter 16


    Mildred's eyes wandered away from the menu, she kept picking glances at the two gentlemen. Nina noticed Mildred's behaviour but she knew trying to get Mildred to behave would be a failed mission.

    "Gentleman, we don't even know you too well.. How can you offer us food?" Nina said with a smile.

    Underneath the table she kicked Mildred who suddenly became alert.

    "OK sorry for our manners.. My name is Andrew, my friend is Timothy. You can call him Timmy." One of them the answered

    Andrew was light in complexion and looked a lot like Lincoln while Timmy was quite dark but well built and handsome too. Nina sent a pleased smiled to the guys after introducing themselves.

    "Yes.. We don't even know you and you want to buy us drinks" Mildred interrupted.

    "Are you stupid!" Nina cursed in Mildred's ear.

    "they just introduced themselves" Nina whispered angrily.

    "OK I am Timmy, I'm an engineer..." Timmy quickly replied.

    Andrew smiled without a word until Mildred stared at him expecting him to talk.

    "Oh I'm Andrew, Timmy and I have been best friends since childhood. I'm a teacher" he said.

    Timmy gave Andrew an ugly stare before they continued insisting on buying the food.

    The men proved to be so much. Dinner went great with the guys entertaining the ladies, they ordered enough food and drinks making sure the ladies had nothing to complain about.

    ############################

    Nina was so excited after the night the wonderful night, as the headed to the car she danced with joy.

    "Welcome to the club my friend" Nina said excitedly

    "You're acting like you're the one who got yourself a date..." Mildred giggled as they settled in the car.

    "Oh come off it! I'm married. I'm just happy for you. As you saw, no nonsense.  The guys have hard Cash.... Actually Timmy does and he seems to like you. Andrew is a loser hiding behind his friends shadows" Nina said

    "He's the cute one though" Mildred interrupted

    "Did you even listen to yourself? He's a teacher! My friend what you need is a man who will spoil you rotten"

    "I want marriage more than the money..." Mildred replied happily

    "You have a spirit of poverty Mildred! Surely of all the good things life could offer, you just want to be married???"

    "Of course! Are you telling me you would choose money over your marriage?" Mildred asked surprisingly

    "Oh yes and in fact this marriage came as a result of my greedy husband"

    "greedy? Nina you are driving a jeep and you call your husband greedy?

    " yes.. He would never spoil me rotten until we became husband and wife. I cried for this Jeep in courtship until we got married. Given the chance I got it when we were still courting... I swear I would have disappeared with his money."

    Mildred couldn't believe her ears, her jaw dropped from shock.

    "All i ever wanted was to be a single independent diva. I can't stand marriage"

    Mildred was quiet until Nina pulled over at her house.

    "We are here aren't you going inside? I need to go home now before that moron starts calling me" Mildred said.

    "Moron?"

    "Yes my husband" Nina responded

    "Nina I don't understand, I thought marriage is the best thing that could happen to any African woman but why are you saying all these things?"

    "Mildred.. Tell me my dear.. What is it that interests you about marriage? Is it the the title Mrs or the stigma that comes with being single? These are the most common reasons and trust me they still don't qualify one to be happy in marriage. I was once like you, I wanted to he married because everyone was married and so somehow I found myself married. I could have escaped marriage as I realised I didn't really need it before I got into it but I needed something that it was offering me... Good life. I took it for the life it accords me"

    Mildred was still speechless that she just shook her head.

    "Its proven that 95% of men are cheats, 80% of those are actually from the church, so  tell me is marriage really worth the struggle? To fight someone night and day just to get him to be faithful. Everyday waking up to be submissive to a fool... "

    "Nina!!!"

    "What! Its true!" Nina yelled.

    Mildred couldn't stand it any longer, she rushed out of the car without another word. Nina laughed to herself before driving off.

    TWO WEEKS LATER

    Hilary looked at her book one more time but she couldn't block the tears, she had an exam in two days but her mind battled the thoughts of Lincoln. She had constantly tried to brush her thoughts away but it had now become a routine and now it hurt even more than ever. Her frustration led her to close her book and she lay on her bed facing the ceiling.

    "God why are you punishing me? Am tired of crying" Hilary said out loud as her eyes focussed on the dusty ceiling.

    Hilary had gained a relationship with God over the few months she stayed home after her return, she unlike her sister prayed without ceasing and resting completely in God without any reservations.

    "God speak to me, what is this supposed to mean?"

    Hilary fell asleep crying over Lincoln while he too seemed to have a hard afternoon at work. Lincoln had assured himself never to bother Hilary but two weeks was just about how far he could go. His heart started aching over again and he couldn't bear it any longer, he really wanted to call Hilary but after her reaction in Ndola, he had no intentions to bother her again.

    The sun was just setting when Lincoln walked to the balcony, he went straight upstairs after work and he declined to eat anything. Aunty Brenda was worried, it was the third time in a role that Lincoln was coming home looking frustrated and declined to have supper. Suddenly everyone sat staring at each other at the dinner table, Lukundo had just broken the news to her parents that Lincoln was not interested in eating.

    "Did he at least explain why?" Pastor Muleya asked his daughter.

    Lukundo shook her head uninterested in any further discussion concerning Lincoln, he used to be a fun older brother to her but now all she had to deal with were his constant moods.

    "OK then, guess his just not hungry let's say grace the food will get cold..." Pastor Muleya said.

    "You go ahead I will check on him" Mrs Muleya said as she dragged her chair backwards. She quickly took her leave before her husband stopped her.

    "OK dad please let's pray I'm hungry"

    "Lukundo aren't you concerned about your brother?"

    "Uhmmm.. No Lincoln bores me these days. He's ever gloomy,I don't know which girl Stole His heart but she's making a different person. He was much happier with Mildred" Lukundo said angrily.

    "Young lady are you done?"

    "Dad I'm just saying... Lincoln is .."

    "Enough!" Pastor pastor Muleya raised his hand shutting his daughter up.

    "I understand you liked Mildred but I am sorry she isn't the right candidate for your brother.. We can pray now"

    Meanwhile, Aunty Brenda had just managed to get Lincoln to open up. He narrated all his hearts contents and she listened attentively until he was done. Lincoln had expressed himself emotionally that aunty Brenda was much more drawn to his concerns.

    "OK so let me get this straight.. You are worried because?.."

    "Because she just  doesn't seem interested in me or any thing I had to say. There's no way I will get her to understand how I feel..."

    "Of course it won't be easy.. Or did you just think she will listen to you so easily? You are her sister... Any normal person would be angry" aunty Brenda responded as she sat next to her nephew.

    "Aunty what are you trying to say?"

    "She is probably just angry hence she couldn't hear you out. If she was by any chance uninterested in you, she wouldn't have met you in Ndola, she would have no reason to"

    "You think so?"

    "I know so" aunty Brenda held Lincolns hand.

    "I promised your mother I would do my best to make sure you're well in every area and I would like to believe I did just that, except now. Your uncle and I seem worried about you all the time, a girl shouldn't get you so distant from your own family. Please Lincoln come back to the old you, of all people you should know better. Love requires a lot of patience.."

    ############################

    Mildred had just arrived home from work, she had passed through the mall to get some clothes as she was going for a cocktail party. The party was hosted by Timmy and it would be at his house, agony was that Timmy got her number but it was Andrew who had shown much interest in her as he often called.  The ladies had met the guys on two other occasions at different hotels, the men sure did know how to impress.

    "I hope I finally get the chance to talk to Timmy I can't stand Andrew, I just can't" Mildred muttered as she touched her makeup at the dressing table

    "Are you not ready yet?" Nina asked upon budging into her room.

    "Today you need to talk to Timmy.. I hope you actually manage otherwise you will end up with a teacher" Nina warned.

    "Never! Over my dead body body. What I'm trying to understand is why would  Timmy get my number on behalf of his friend?"

    "Mildred that's not an issue, over the last left few days you've been to the best places in this town, rolling in the best machines and you have extra money to throw around. Now imagine you do this for the rest your life?" Nina smoke

    "no i won't imagine because i know It will be happen" Mildred giggled.

    A tinted Mercedes parked outside Mildred's house and the ladies hoped in.

    Chapter 17


    Andrew was the one driving the vehicle and immediately Mildred saw him she gave a deep sigh.

    "Jesus Christ of Nazareth.. What I need is my man right  now. I want my Timmy" she thought to herself.

    Nina pulled out her makeup kit and retouched her face while Andrew tried to initiate conversation with Mildred.

    "You look beautiful Mildred... Why didn't you take the front seat? That way I wouldn't have to shout" Andrew said to her.

    "Uhmmm... Where is Timmy?" Mildred responded with a smile trying not to sound rude.

    "Oh Timmy... We'll find him. He seems quite busy but hey... Are we going to be talking about Timmy. I missed you"

    Nina pretended to be chocking while she giggled. Mildred was undoubtedly irritated, however she had no choice but to pretend.

    "I'm sorry... How are the kids?"Mildred asked.

    "The kids... What kids?"

    "Andrew you're a teacher aren't you?" Nina said as she tacked her makeup kit away.

    "Oh.. You meant the kids at the school. They are fine. Very fine... They put a smile on my face... You know I love my job so much"

    "Oh I bet you do" Mildred muttered bitterly.

    Finally the car stopped at a beautiful house in Kabulonga. Nina and Mildred were both speechless, they hadn't seen a house so beautiful.

    "We are here.." Andrew said while lifting the handbrake.

    "Oh.. Uhmmm... Who lives here?" Mildred wondered.

    "Timmy... Timmy lives here. This is the venue for the cocktail. The backyard that is.."

    Mildred and Nina couldn't hide their shock as they stood staring at the house.

    "Ladies please come with me" Andrew said.

    "Oh my God... Now this is the life..." Mildred whispered to Nina

    "I beg your pardon" Andrew asked.

    "Oh no.. Nothing. I was just saying... Uhmmm never never mind anyway. Sure let's go" Mildred stammered

    Timmy was in the company of a number of ladies discussing politics while they enjoyed cocktails near the pool area.

    "Mildred... Oh my God Mildred have you seen how stinking rich this guy is?" Nina said as they grabbed themselves some drinks from the bar.

    Mildred's eyes were focussed on Timmy, at that moment nothing else mattered apart from him. Not even Nina.

    "Mildred am talking to you.."

    "Please don't disturb me.. I'm thinking of a way to approach Timmy. Today he will talk to me..." She said.

    Unfortunately by the time the cocktail party was ending Mildred had not even managed to say a word to Timmy, however, Andrew was there all along trying to keep the ladies company. He tried to keep conversation with Mildred but she didn't seem very interested.

    "Ladies the party is almost over .. I must be dropping you now"

    "Oh no.. Don't bother we'll get a taxi" Mildred opposed

    "Have you lost your mind? It's past 8pm where will we get a taxi?" Nina said angrily.

    "OK let's wait a little while.. I don't want to go just yet..." Mildred opposed.

    Andrew didn't oppose but stated he had a curfew and couldn't make any movements after 9pm.

    "Curfew? Are you a child?"

    "Sorry that didn't come out right. I am unable to drive really late... I hate to drive any later than.."

    "OK I get it.. Company vehicle right?" Mildred interrupted.

    "Oh.. Well you could say that" he chuckled.

    Mildred excused herself to use the bathroom when she spotted Timmy heading to the restroom.

    "Bashi Emma this man will have to talk to me... Even if I will have to fake epilepsy."

    Mildred hurried as much as she could and finally bumped into Timmy. He seemed a little tipsy from all the cocktails but he gave her a gentle smile.

    "I remember you from somewhere" he said.

    "Oh come on... Have you forgotten me? This is Mildred.... From the presidential dinner"

    "Oh is it? you look so pretty.." He complimented.

    Mildred couldn't hide her blushing.

    "Nice seeing you again Mildred.. Will see you around".

    " oh no wait..." Mildred stopped him.

    Timmy turned around worriedly "is anything the matter?" he asked

    "No actually I'm hosting a party this weekend you could come if you want to" she said

    Andrew analysed his calendar for a short while before agreeing to her request. The two even exchanged numbers before parting ways.

    "What the Lord has done for me.. I can not tell it all.. What the lord has done for me.." Mildred sang loudly as she headed

    ############################

    "We are having a party"

    "A what? Mildred... Is that the best you could come up with to get his attention?."

    "At least I came up with something" she  said angrily.
    ############################

    It was the morning of the party and Mildred went out of her way to hire a chef and someone to decorate the place. She invited some ladies from work and asked Nina to come with a couple of her friends to celebrate with her. As there was no purpose for the party except to get Timmy's attention, she had to come up with a theme.
    Andrew arrived a little after the party started with Timmy's apology, Timmy wasn't going to make it.

    "Mildred is hosting a party, she was too shy to inform you I presume.. Anyway she told me she's hosting a party And she asked me to tell you" Timmy had said to Andrew earlier

    It was now up to Andrew to make his way to the party and that's exactly what he did. However, Mildred seemed a little disappointed and Andrew noticed. Either she was just being shy to talk to him or she really wasn't interested in him. Andrew couldn't understand the mixed signals he was getting from her that he left wondering what to do.

    The party ended without Andrew and Mildred holding a serious conversation.

    "Nina I seriously give up" Mildred said as the cleared the dishes in the kitchen after the party.

    "You give up? That's not how I know you... You don't give up that easily. You fight for what you
    want... Even if it requires throwing a lavish party" she teased.

    "I'm serious Nina.. It's not worth it... Look at how much money I spent and like that's not enough... How about all my attempts in the past? But Andrew seems to show up all the time".

     "OK I have a great idea... Perhaps Andrew is one of those guys who just don't read signs or choose not to read signs.. So.. You have to say it in black and white."

    "Say that I don't like  him but i like Timmy instead? How on earth do I even do that? I can't.." Mildred opposed.

    "Well it depends on how much you want Timmy.. Think about it."

    When Nina left  Mildred  had a serious confrontation with Bashi Emma. She knelt down in the living room and burst into tears dramatically reminding bashi Emma of everything he wasn't doing

    "Bashi Emma, I finally find a man meeting all my expectations but you allow his poor friend have interest in me" she whined.

    Meanwhile Andrew had just pulled over at Timmy's apartment to express his disappointment. He had made up his mind  to stop pursuing Mildred.

    "Mildred likes you I'm sure of it..." Timmy insisted.

    "I don't know man.... It just seems like I'm forcing myself on her. I wonder why you always assume she likes me.." Andrew said.

    "Oh come off it! I'm your friend I know what I'm saying. She really does like you. I'm sure of it. You need to give her a chance.. Do you want to rot away in that mansion all by yourself.. You need a woman"

    "The last time I checked you said I will never attract a real woman with my wealth. I did my best.. I mean in this economy who wouldn't want want to date a teacher on government pay for that matter? To be honest I think Mildred is unattracted to me because of my career. Look at her, I'm sure she's used to high standards and I'm just a teacher"

    "But you really aren't" Timmy opposed.

    "But she doesn't know that Timmy.. I really like her. Maybe I should tell her the truth" Andrew sighed.

    "No don't!"

    "But why?"

    "How many failed relationships have you had? It's time to do things differently. You can no longer be Andrew the successful architect and Mayor's son. A woman should love you for more than that" Timmy warned.

    Chapter 18


    TWO WEEKS LATER

    "What's the purpose for this dinner I still don't understand Nina" Mildred said to her friend.

    The dinner was at an expensive restaurant and Nina had specifically picked  the beautiful place for it's delicious food and cocktails but also because she had to impress.

    "It's beautiful isn't it?"

    "Yes it is Nina.. But you still haven't answered my question. What's the purpose for this dinner?" Mildred insisted.

    Her eyes wandered around as she waited for her friends response. The restaurant had a rustic touch to it, the Hall itself was a chalet that was uniquely designed. From the metallic humongous chandeliers that hang beautifully to the polished wooden tables and chairs, everything was just architecturally right. It was no wonder the restaurant was so expensive.

    "Excuse me.... Are you going to answer me or not?"

    "No reason.. Must there be one?" Nina replied.

    Nina pulled up the menu from the table while Mildred kept stealing glances at people.

    "You might want to make your order before you embarrass me" Nina said.

    "Please just make your order and I will have the same. Otherwise you night be leaving this place broke"

    Nina quickly put the menu away.

    "Dear, I am Nina.. Nina Robinson. " broke" does not exist in vocabulary. Just order what you want and I will settle the bill " she said.

    "Why is this life so unfair? I'm praying for money And you are willing to spend close to thousand on a just a plater of food which will you drain in the toilet eventually."

    "You see that..  That is a spirit of poverty and you don't talk like that. Honey you need yourself a rich man. Very soon.."

    "How soon is soon? Your said you would make a plan if Timmy is still tripping" she sighed

    "OK in all honesty we came here because I have a date for you." Nina said.

    "Uhmmm... A what?"

    "A date Mildred and this guy is really high class.." Nina said.

    Mildred couldn't hide her excitement as she sat upright, her eyes nearly popping out with excitement

    "Really? Tell me more about him. What does he do for a living and how do you know him?"

    "Mildred... Take it easy. What's wrong with you? Look at the scene you're causing" Nina whispered angrily.

    Nina was just about to start describing the gentleman when she was interrupted by the sight of him.

    "Oh no.. He's coming" Nina whispered to Mildred.

    "Whatever you do, do not look behind..." Nina warned

    "Why? will I become salt?

    "oh shut up Mildred you talk too much " she whispered before getting on her feet.

    "Hi Keith..." Nina said with a smile.

    Mildred was sitting still waiting for Nina's instruction.

    Keith extended his hand to greet Nina and it was then that Mildred had a chance to glance at him.

    "Holy mother of Jesus... This guy is hot.."

    "Uhmmm Mildred" Nina waved her hand in Mildred's face.

    Keith had extended his hand ready to greet Mildred.

    "Oh.... my bad sorry. My name is Mildred.. You can call me Mili" Mildred said as she smiled widely like she was posing for a Colgate promo.

    Nina couldn't hide how embarrassed she felt as she smiled shyly.

    "Oh I'm Keith. Guess you could just call me that.."

    Keith sat next to Mildred and quickly got into conversation with Nina while Mildred felt lost.

    "Uhmmm... OK you guys can I make my order..?" Mildred asked tiredly

    "Sorry Lovely lady... In fact you're right maybe we should start ordering" Keith said before grabbing the menu from Mildred.

    Nina had a shocked expression on her face as she looked at her phone.

    "Oh no. My son.. I completely forgot I dropped him off at a friends house. Please you would have to excuse me I need to pick him. His father will kill me"

    Nina gave Mildred a knowing smile before taking her leave, this was really unexpected as she had no idea her friend would be leaving her with a complete stranger.

    "That was unexpected.." Keith said as he ran through the menu.

    "But maybe we needed this time alone" he added

    "I beg your pardon?" Mildred asked in shock.

    "OK I think let's just order its been long overdue otherwise we'll be kicked out of here" he chuckled

    Mildred seemed to like him already, he was a funny guy.

    ONE MONTH LATER

    Hilary was just from buying a ticket for her trip to Lusaka, at first she was a bit reluctant when the lecturer suggested she had to travel to Lusaka for her attachment. However, Hilary was comforted knowing at least she was not going to any bush far away from home. At least Lusaka was near compared to places her friends were going to. She hated the idea of going to live with Mildred especially after their last misunderstanding but what could she do? Houses in Lusaka were expensive so renting an apartment was out of the question. She reluctantly packed the remaining of her items in a hand bag before carrying her luggage to the living room. Her parents were in the living room ready to walk her to the station.

    "I'm ready.." She sighed.

    Her father asked her to take a seat.

    "Cheer up, you're not going to war. If you do well then you're on your way to a colourful graduation. You've done your best so far, this is not time to give up" her father said .

    "your father is right, its important for you to perform well. And please get along with your sister, please my dear..." Her mother emphasised.

    "Thank you mum.."

    "And your sister... Please.. Try to get along this time" her mother added.

    "I will mum, please pray for me before I leave" Hilary said.

    HILARY'S POV

    I hugged my parents and siblings goodbye knowing I would be seeing them again in 6months, that sure did seem like a long time. Especially because I was going to be living with Mildred, God knows my sister was good at getting on my nerves. However,I had grown in so many ways, I really had no energy to be at loggerheads with my her. Lincoln was in the past and I would like to believe I had forgiven them both for what happened and I was ready to move on. Mildred and I hadn't communicated concerning my travelling to Lusaka but my mum had spoken to her earlier and she told her she would be waiting for me at the bus terminus in Lusaka.

    The whole way I kept praying about my 6months stay in Lusaka, I hoped for nothing but the best. Mildred was so canning that I just couldn't believe she did what she did to me and as I prayed I realised her behaviour had affected me. She was still my sister and if I had to choose her over Lincoln then I would definitely choose her.

    Entering Lusaka and breathing the city air was just awesome, as we bypassed Mandevu all the ladies on the bus pulled out their fancy make-up kits and cosmetics to retouch their faces perhaps in readiness to enter the nations capital. I looked around wondering why everyone made such a big fuss then I realised maybe it was just me who needed to follow suit, but I had no one to impress. Most of them looked funny anyway, the men on the other hand seemed chilled back.

    "Aren't you retouching your face?" The gentleman next to me asked.

    We had held a steady conversation from Ndola until he fell asleep  after kabwe, he had mentioned that he he was going to see his girlfriend and daughter.

    "No.. I'm not about embarrassing myself like that" I replied.

    "Oh.. That's embarrassing?. It really aren't. I mean we men know a lady has got to do her thing. Come on go ahead I don't mind, I understand"

    "No thanks, I'm not about exposing my mattress to the rest of the world"

    "Mattress?" He asked wondering what I was talking about.

    "Ya... My powder puff" I said.

    I don't know if I really sounded funny or he just liked to laugh but I managed to get him to tears with laughter.

    We finally arrived in Lusaka and Mildred was waiting on me at intercity bus terminus. I must say I was shocked. She looked very nice, of course my sister had taste but this was beyond. Not to mention she was driving the latest Prado. Everything about her was just so different.

    We hugged happily and talked just like we had no differences, it was amazing. Knowing Lincoln and how educated he was he must have been the one behind Mildred's new lifestyle. Obviously not her job.

    We arrived at Mildred's home and a lot had changed from the last time I visited. Everything was so beautiful and modern, my old room had actually been turned into her second closet so I took up the small room that was meant to be a study room according to the design of the house. I wasn't complaining it was equally beautiful.

    #####

    "Hilary I'm going out for dinner. I'm sorry you have to be here alone for sometime but its important I can't miss this dinner"  Mildred said to me as I unpacked my case.

    She looked very beautiful, I admired her sense of fashion. She was really beautiful and independent, No wonder she was our parents pride and joy.

    I smiled and walked my sister to the door before locking up. The house held so many memories, its funny how they never went away after so long.

    I suspected Mildred went out with Lincoln but why would i care? She was his girlfriend after all. I had my shower and prepared myself some sandwiches before going to relax on the couch to watch a movie.

    I had just settled ready to start enjoying my hot chocolate and sandwiches when I heard a knock on the door. Mildred didn't tell me about anyone coming to see her so I was caught off guard.

    "who's there?"

    I opened the door and God was the gentleman so handsome, he stood before me like an angel sent from heaven to welcome me. Apart from Lincoln, no other man had ever made my heart skip. Lusaka really did have handsome men.

    The gentleman stood staring at me like he had seen a ghost.

    "Excuse me Sir? How can I help you?" I asked worriedly.

    I knew security was around so I needed not worry about anything, besides if they let him in it's probably because knew him.

    "Sir.. I asked you.. How can I help" I said again.

    "Oh I'm sorry dear... Is Mildred around?"

    "No.. She's gone for dinner."

    "With who?" The gentleman asked inquisitively.

    "Her boyfriend, close friends, or perhaps with work colleagues. Who knows?"

    "Oh and who are you?"

    "I'm Hilary. I'm her sister. I'm sorry I don't live here just came in today and she already had her program made up so I don't know where she's gone to" I replied.

    "OK look Hilary I'm kindly asking for your line that way I could call to find out if she's home".

    The guy was not only handsome but smart too, he really didn't think I was that damn as not to figure out why he wanted my number.

    "No sir that won't be necessary, just give me your name and I will tell her you came." I insisted.

    "Andrew.. Andrew is my name thanks"

    ############################

    "baby dinner was great, when am I going to see you again? And what can I get you?" Keith asked

    "What can you get me? Honey.. You have spoilt me so much already"

    "Oh no I haven't, I haven't even got you a car yet"

    "But I'm at least driving one of your cars and I'm not complaining" Mildred smiled.

    Hilary was fast asleep on the couch when Mildred arrived but she woke up immediately she heard a knock.

    "I'm sorry I often carry my key but I forgot... hope I didn't disturb you"

    "No its fine... I will be going to bed now" Hilary said.

    "Oh and lest I forget. A gentleman came by to see you. He said he is Andrew"

    "Oh really? Please do me a favour can you lend me your phone.. I need to call him. I'm out of Airtime" she said.

    Hilary didn't hesitate, she handed her phone to Mildred who quickly dialed Andrew's number and thee had a short inaudible conversation.

    Mildred quickly showered before going into serous prayer.

    "BASHI Emma, one month and still counting. Keith is just everything I could have dreamt of and more. How could I have ever doubted you? I just can't wait for that special day he will place the ring on my finger. Oh... Bashi Emma I thank you. Please Bashi Emma Andrew can't be a destruction in my life. I know he is just not for me but maybe it was your idea that Andrew and Hilary meet. I know Hilary attracts nearly every man but not my Keith bashi Emma. Keith and I are not going anywhere except the altar. Please my my Master get Andrew out of my life even if it means him and Hilary starting an affair I really don't care"

    Andrew had just reached home after stopping by at Timmy's house to let him know his plan had failed, he had to look for another day to see Mildred face to face and tell her he was giving up on making advances. However, that wasn't the only news, he equally narrated how beautiful Mildred's sister was. Andrew called Timmy just after talking to Mildred.

    "She called me on her sisters line, can you imagine?"

    "Andrew this game you want play to play isn't good. You have decided to give up on Mildred and I completely support you on that one but going after her sister? No man that doesn't even sound right"

    "I just want her to be my friend. Nothing more nothing less" Andrew insisted.

    #############

    "Bashi Emma... Thank you for bringing me safely into Lusaka. Guide my steps my Master. I need you more than I need anything. Bless me my master. Please bless me. I come to you as I am.. As Hilary... Your daughter let your will be done upon my life"

    Chapter 19


    "Good morning sis. Sorry I woke you up" Hilary said as she walked up to her sister who was still under sheets.

    "No it's fine" Mildred stretched and sat upright.

    "I just thought we would be going to church"

    "No Hilary, I am not going to church. But I could give you some money to get a taxi" Mildred said.

    "Oh.. OK..in that case I am ready"

    Mildred pulled the sheets away and walked to her closet probably to get money.

    "Here.. This should be enough. Please.. If anybody asks after me.. Tell them I'm around and just attending service elsewhere" she said

    "You changed your church?" Hilary asked wonderingly.

    Mildred went back into the sheets leaving Hilary no choice but to go away.

    "Oh Lord I just hope Lincoln does not come to church today" she sighed.

    The trip leading to church wasn't what one would call relaxing as Hilary was worried about what to expect, all she wanted was to worship in peace without any disturbances.

    "Hilary!!" A voice called out excitedly as Hilary walked past the car park.

    "Did I hear my name?" She wondered.

    Looking around, no one seemed to be trying to get her attention but she was positive she heard a female voice call her name.

    Hilary continued walking until eventually someone ran up to her and tapped her back.

    "Hilary.." Chileya said excitedly.

    "Oh.. Hi... "

    "Hi? Come on give me a hug" Chileya said before embracing Hilary.

    The excitement was rather shocking, Chileya was Mildred's friend and even though Hilary knew her as Mildred's childhood friend, she only got to know her well the last time she visited Lusaka.

    "Thank God you're back" Chileya said.

    "Oh thanks.. I'm only here for my attachments"

    "Where is your sister? How has she been?"

    "Mildred? She's fine" Hilary replied hesitantly.

    "Is she? That's great we miss her"

    Chileya noticed Hilary was looking lost so she changed the topic but she just couldn't hold her excitement. She needed to tell Lincoln the good news. Immediately after service Chileya ran up to Hilary and offered to drop her home but Hilary was rather hesitant. Seeing how Mildred behaved in the morning coupled with Chileya's questions about Mildred, Hillary feared she would stir some unnecessary drama by going with Chileya. However, Chileya insisted so much that Hilary had no choice but to give in. Hilary had also managed to talk to Lincoln but the good news was not welcomed with excitement by Lincoln. Chileya was disappointed to hear that Lincoln had failed to tell Hilary everything, Lincoln even insisted Chileya should drop the subject. Chileya however couldn't just let it go, she decided to interfere.

    "I'm sorry for insisting I really hope you weren't expecting anyone to pick you" Chileya said.

    "Oh no.. On the contrary. I was going to just take a cab" Hilary replied

    Chileya asked to stop at the mall for a few minutes just to talk to Hilary and Hilary assumed it had to be about Mildred or something to do with Mildred and Chileya's friendship. The ladies decided to talk over lunch at an Indian restaurant.

    When the food was served Chileya immediately got to the subject that got them there.

    "If you have forgiven your sister, why won't you forgive Lincoln?" Chileya said bluntly

    Hilary's heart skipped. Is that what Chileya wanted to discuss? Hilary couldn't believe it. She was trying hard to escape her past and now here was someone trying to make her discuss it.

    "What makes you think I haven't?" Hilary unconcernedly replied.

    "Is it?"

    "Then why won't you take him back? Or don't you care about him enough?

    Hilary picked a paper towel and wiped her hands, she couldn't take it anymore. She was already irritated.

    " is the chicken too sticky?"

    "No.. I'm full. I think it's better we end this subject. I would rather we don't discuss it any further" Hilary said.

    "But Hilary.. "

    "No please Chileya. As far as I'm concerned you're my sisters friend. I think you owe your loyalty more to her than to me" Hilary said

    "Hilary.. I'm just helping you. What do I stand to lose or gain? I'm just helping you. Give Lincoln a chance.. Please"

    "And just forget about my sisters feelings?" She asked in shock

    "Hilary..."

    "Enough!!!" Hilary said emotionally.

    Tears lingered in her eyes and she failed to fight them back.

    "You clearly don't know anything about blood relations." Hilary shed tears.

    "Yes you are right.. I may know nothing about relations as I'm an only child but I have blood running through my veins I know what it means to hurt someone you care about but this case is different. She is the one who initially didn't care about your feelings despite knowing you were in love with Lincoln. She is the one who..."

    "Stop! Stop" Hilary burst into tears.

    "does that make it OK? Tell me does it? Just because Mildred did that to me does not mean I should do the same. I can't and I won't"

    "Hilary calm down, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. This is a public place and people are watching. Please I'm sorry, please forgive me" Chileya said.

    Hilary didn't know how much everything affected her until she had to discuss it. She couldn't even imagine fighting Mildred for Lincoln, it wasn't worth the fight. Mildred would win anyway, she was better at everything.

    ############################

    Hilary met Andrew at the gate as she left the taxi. He mentioned he had come to see Mildred but it seemed she wasn't home. However he felt more than blessed to take a glance at Hilary again, she had ran through his mind all night and now he was seeing her again.

    Hillary went straight to her room and she knelt down, her face flooded with tears as she prayed.

    "Dear God, my heart is pained. I'm hurt and broken. Jesus you know why I'm here, you know exactly how I feel. Please help me Lord Jesus, this is not what I came here for. Give me the grace to get through this and to achieve what I have come here for"

    "Hilary!.. "

    "Hilary!.." Mildred called out.

    Hilary quickly wiped her tears and she rushed to Mildred's room.

    "Sis you called for me"

    "Yes I did" Mildred replied.

    Mildred was well dressed and she looked like she was about to step out. Although Mildred had welcomed Hilary back into her house, Hilary had noticed she was not that close. She had become a different person, perhaps it was because of Lincoln. She probably hadn't forgotten about everything, but they were together so why did she still have that rage?.

    "Hilary please tell the gentleman outside that I am not around"

    "By the way your eyes look sore, were you crying?" Mildred asked with concern

    "No I am OK"

    Hilary did not question why Mildred was avoiding whoever was at the door, she quickly left Mildred's presence and headed to the door.

    "Oh hi beautiful"

    "Oh you again... She's not around. Please call her phone" Hilary said before trying to shut the door.

    "Wait. " he stopped her.

    "sir I just said... "

    "I'm Andrew, call me Andrew"

    "OK fine Andrew... She isn't around please call her phone. I've got work to do.."

    "She isn't picking up, otherwise I wouldn't have bounced here again"

    Hilary looked to make sure Mildred wasn't anywhere near and she stepped outside

    "Sir... Is the message so important that you can't tell me? You won't have to be coming here all the time" she insisted

    "Are you tired of seeing my face already?"

    "I might as well just go in" Hilary retreated.

    "No wait" Andrew stopped her.

    "Yes what?" Hilary said impatiently.

    "OK. Fine, I will call her again." He said.

    ############################

    "Its a Monday!!!" Nina said excitedly as she walked in to Mildred's office.

    "Yes of course it is and I'm very busy" Mildred replied. Her eyes attentively focussed on her PC.

    "Care for some cake? Nina asked  

    "no please Nina I have work to do"

    Mildred but..."

    "Enough Nina!" Mildred raised her hand to stop Nina

    "Work is work.. I'm busy. See you later" Mildred replied before going back to her work.

    This was rather strange, first Mildred had avoided Nina all weekend now she was being mean. Why?

    "Are you ok? Come on.." Nina chuckled before taking a seat.

    Mildred was irritated and she walked to the door, she opened the door and signalled her friend to walk out.

    "are you really chasing me Mildred? Come on it's just breakfast and I will get back to work as soon as possible"

    "Nina... I  am your friend but I'm still your boss so please I have every right to command you around here. Come on,  please leave"

    Nina took great offence especially because the secretary was around but she walked out in silence. Was Mildred trying to throw her in the same category as the rest of the ladies at the office?.

    "Good riddance..." Mildred muttered.

    At lunch time, Nina went to Mildred's office to invite her for lunch just so they could discuss whatever was causing her temper. However, Mildred couldn't stop for a chat as she was stepping out to join Keith.

    "Wow intercontinental hotel? Can I come along?" Nina asked with a smile.

    "Nop! 3 is A crowd" Mildred replied before walking past Nina.

    "Ata! Women! After all my effort to get this fool a man and show her the life? this is how she treats me?" Nina said in shock.

    " being embarrassed by a girl who just learnt to live the life? What is a mere Prado? Honey I have driven vehicles, travelled places... Ladies forget so easily hey... Mildred has no idea what I've been through to get here. No wonder women rarely uplift fellow women, from the Ramshackle to intercontinental hotel... I see.... Days are numbered Mildred. I'm the wrong person to have as an enemy"  Nina spat out angrily

    Chapter 20


    It had been a week in Lusaka and Hilary was already enjoying her job, indeed she had chosen the right career because she never had a dull moment. Each morning she woke up and dressed up in her uniform happily, she thanked God for her job. It gave her the opportunity to meet different people. Hilary and Mildred did not have much to talk about, they met in the kitchen and sometimes watched TV together but other than that they had nothing else to discuss.

    Hilary was in the bedroom changing into her clothes after work, it was a Friday and that meant she would be home for the next two days. It was hard being home with someone you hardly relate with, she was already missing her time with her brothers, at least they kept her company. Mildred came home after 6pm and it wasn't long before she left again, she only came for a change of clothes. This is something Hilary was already getting used to, her sister was always out until very late. Luckily she went with her keys so Hilary did not have her sleep disturbed.

    After her shower, Hilary prepared some pasta and sat to eat in the living room when she suddenly got a call.

    "Who is it?" She asked.

    The number was strange, she had not saved such a contact in her phone .

    "Halo?.. Look whoever you are I was about to start eating so if you are not going to talk I might as well get back to my food"

    "What does it feel like to always be alone?" The stranger replied.

    "and what makes you think I'm alone?"

    "Its obvious, or is your sister back home?"

    "Who are you? And what exactly do you want?"

    Before she could get a reply. Hilary quickly hang up and got back to her food. After supper she tried to wait up for Mildred but it was rather getting late. She had to go to bed.



    "I received a strange call last night.. I suspect it was meant for you" Hilary said to her sister.

    Mildred had asked her sister to scalp her hair while she flipped through a magazine as she lay on the couch.

    "I suspect it's Andrew" Hilary added.

    "Oh.. He must have called for you" Mildred unconcernedly replied.

    "Me?"

    "Yes.. I have no business with him and if he called its because he's interested in you" Mildred replied.

    Hilary was confused, what did her sister mean? But she assumed it was Mildred being her arrogant self. However, she was surprised to receive another call from Andrew. This time he fully introduced himself and begged to see her.

    Hilary was already disgusted at the mere thought of entertaining a guy who happened to be interested in her sister at first. Although she had no evidence for this, she was positive there was no other reason he would have been frequenting the house unless he was interested in Mildred. What was Mildred planning? Was this her way of getting her to stay away from Lincoln for good?. Well if it was then there was really no need to as Hilary had already made up her mind not to get near Lincoln no matter what.

     Mildred was just another person, a person Hilary could not identify. She was no longer the prayer warrior, the charismatic Christian, the Nobel lady her parents were always proud of. Mildred was now sassy, she was concerned about the glitz and glamour of life. She was always out and only returned home late at night. Hilary found this so difficult to understand. Anyone would have said anything about  Mildred but she could have never believed if anyone told her that her sister would change this much. But here she was experiencing it for herself.

    That night, Hilary stayed up just to catch a glimpse of her sister as she returned home. Did she come drunk or sober? "Who brought her home?" All these questions troubled Hilary.

    Around 11pm, just when Hilary was giving up, Mildred showed up. Her companion walked her up to the door while Hilary peeped attentively, she noticed the guy looked nothing like Lincoln but that was the least of her worries. To her greatest surprise, Mildred marched into the house with her companion. He spent the night.


    "Good morning.." Hilary greeted her sister and companion as she walked past them headed to the kitchen.

    "Good morning..
    Get us some water Hilary" Mildred said

    Hilary rushed to the kitchen and poured herself a glass of water to drink, she couldn't believe her eyes. Did Mildred really scoop that low as to bring a guy over?.

    "Hilary..!"

    "I'm coming... I'm coming sis" Hilary said before rushing to take water to the table.

    She went to her bedroom and confined herself there until she heard a vehicle drive out, she thought it was only Mildred's companion who left but later realised her sister had equally gone.

    MILDRED'S POV

    That night I gave myself to Keith, I thought it would be the best night of my life but it really wasn't. As I lay flat on that bed, Keith mounted himself on top of me. I felt a lot of pain, not because of my virginity but because of how I had handed it all over on a silver plate. We used protection but nothing can protect your heart from the grief of losing yourself to please a man. It hurt so bad, so bad that my wind pipe blocked. I could hardly breath, I was chocking on disappointment, disgust and pity. I pitied myself, would I be the same person ever again?. My private parts would tighten themselves and go back to normal, the bleeding of the first intercourse would finally stop but would my heart heal? My bruised dignity and ego?. He sweated profoundly and I felt his sweat rub off on me, I felt like I met the devil face to face and he laughed in my face so hard that I felt like a fool. But I couldn't let the devil laugh at me, why would he?. I convinced myself I equally wanted this and Keith and I were in love. We were together for two months, he had proved himself. He had given me more than I could ask for in a man so why would I hurt?. Every Lady does it once in a while. Besides there was no guarantee that he would love me any more if I chose to keep my virginity. But he would at least have something to treasure, my dignity and pride... all for him.

    I slept in his Strong arms that night yet I still felt empty.. but I had to... I had lost something. It was inevitable. He kissed me all through the night, we giggled and laughed but he kept saying I had suddenly become quiet. He said I was too quiet for His liking and he tried to tell jokes to cheer me up, honestly I wasn't quiet. Maybe I was, but at that point a lot was going through my mind. Something had covered my head, something so strong. When people talked about Virginity and how it took ones innocence, it all seemed like some fabricated lie to  convince those of us who were so naive to believe that sex before marriage left one empty. Well all I can say is that they were partly right, just partly. They forgot to emphasise how sex before marriage filled you with desire, a desire for something that you couldn't explain. Here I was next to the man I felt was the best for me, the very best. He was everything I ever dreamt of and more. He was handsome, he had the money and he even loved me right but I suddenly felt all that wasn't enough for me. Imagine, all that and it still wasn't enough!. Was I being ungrateful? Or did I suddenly realise my dignity was priceless?.

    "No it's got to be my silly conscious playing tricks on me" I thought.

    Keith and I made love again the following morning, this time I submitted myself completely and it felt good. It was a feeling I can't explain, for a moment I had touched the sky and when I landed back on earth, Keith was right there holding me in his arms. In my head it was the best feeling ever, if I ever had a chance to do it over again.. I would do it. Yes i would, over again, with my man.... Keith.

    When I saw Hilary walk past us heading to the kitchen, I was embarrassed. What on earth did she think of me? Just her looking at us was insulting. For the first time I envied her, I envied her innocence. Was she even innocent? I wonder. I called to her to bring some water, I wanted her to take a second look at me, carefully this time. I wanted her to know I wasn't ashamed of what I had done, but really... I was.

    I wanted to talk to God, I really did. I wanted to talk to Bashi Emma, to tell him exactly how I was feeling. I had made a mistake but it didn't feel like a mistake, it left me empty but I honestly didn't regret it. I thought of the life i had passed through, how long I prayed and waited for a man. Now I had one and I really loved him so why would I be regretting?. Coming to God in prayer meant I would feel judged, that's not what I wanted. I had a man, a man I really loved but what was God going to say about my choice? What if he didn't want that choice for me? Did I have to go back to single-hood and just accept that maybe this isn't it?. I was fed up, so fed up of being the unlucky one in relationships. My friends were wedding and getting acquainted but I was still chasing the wind. This wait wasn't easy and I wasn't willing to do it over again. I wanted the ring, I wanted to be a Mrs, I wanted to have kids, I wanted to hang out with my family. I waited on God but it seemed like forever, i was often told it was just a phase but so was my age...just a phase. I wouldn't be 29 ever again. My biological clock was ticking. At least unlike others, I wasn't settling for anybody, no, on the contrary. I was settling for one of the best. How many people had made wrong choices yet still God forgave them and blessed their union? Maybe I had taken my standards too high, but wasn't a girl supposed to at least have standards? What was wrong with that?. I worked myself out in school just to graduate, I needed a man who equally had something going on. It was only fair

    That morning when we left home, Keith took me to a beautiful show room and got me my very own brand new Jeep. It was pure white, just like I loved it. How could I be more grateful for the life I now had? It was now my time. My time to shine, I had watched too many people. It was now my time.

    "Bashi Emma, I know I may have done this the wrong way but please my God. Please.. Bless my decision"
    ...the end... 

    Post a Comment

    0 Comments