When Chief McGregor died, Matthew, the late man’s first son, who had been dating Alicia his dad’s fourth widow, wanted to have her all to himself. They had been in secret relationship even before the old man died and had a son together. But when Anthony, the second son of the late Chief McGregor showed interest in Alicia, she was ready to accept him.
“That was my first time of seeing Anthony, my late husband’s second son. I have heard so much about him but hadn’t met him in person because he was out of the country. His father would always call him on the phone and they would speak at length. He was always reminding him never to marry a white woman over there. That anytime he was ready to get married, he should come back home,” Alicia recalled.
When Chief McGregor died, he came home to partake in his father’s burial. That was his first time of setting his eyes on Alicia. He became fond of her and loved to chat with her. And because Alicia was brilliant, she flowed with his discussions.
“I never found him boring. He was always coming to sit by me to discuss some topical issues , including some personal matters. He told me about his past affairs with women in America and how he nearly married one of them but for his father. While we discussed and chatted heartily, his mother, the first wife of the late McGregor never liked the way he chatted and laughed with me. She had warned him that I was his father’s widow and that he should allow me mourn my husband. But Anthony, who didn’t see anything wrong with our discussion, did not listen to his mother. I knew his mother who I fondly called Mama was preventing her son from falling in love with me. She had seen how her first son, Uncle Matthew, became so fond of me that he never listened to her when she was warning him to give me a breathing space. Now, it was her second son. Thus, we chatted and I listened to his stories. He also told me how he was secretly dating his best friend’s girlfriend until they were caught in the act. The guy fought him ceaselessly,” she said.
When he was through with his story, he asked Alicia about her love life and how she met her late father.
“When he asked me why I married his father, I couldn’t’ answer immediately because I had tears drippling down my cheeks. He paused, looked at me for a long time with pity and offered his handkerchief for my tears,” she said.
After a long silence, he broke it with still the same question.
“I want to know what you saw in my late father that fascinated you so much that you agreed to marry him at his age Alicia. I need to hear from you. When I first saw you, I was shocked you could agree to marry my father at his age, a very pretty girl like you. I asked my mum why daddy had to marry a girl far younger than his own daughters, she couldn’t answer me. But now, I guess you are in the best position to answer this question,” he quipped, still expecting Alicia to respond.
When she started responding, Anthony was all ears.
“I married your father because my late father, Pa Rufus as he was known in the whole village, was indebted to your father. I was not told when he borrowed the money and what he did with it. All that my father told me was that he was indebted to your father and that he was beginning to threaten him to pay. He said your father wanted to take the only piece of land his own father left for him and his sons. When he asked for my hand in marriage as his fourth wife, my father saw that as a welcome relief just for him to forgo the debt. I refused initially, until my father started pleading with me. Still I didn’t agree. I wanted to run away to my elder sister’s home, who married a widower because my father insisted. But when my father started crying, I agreed and I came in here as your father’s fourth wife,” she said, in an emotion-laden voice.
Anthony didn’t like the story. “This was an abomination Alicia, that wasn’t fair on you. If he had married you for me, I wouldn’t have minded,” he gazed lovingly at her.
Alicia looked straight into his eyes.
“Yes, I wouldn’t mind having you as my wife. He kept reminding me not to marry a white woman while he was here forcing someone’s daughter on himself. Oh my God, that was wrong. But, I loved the fact that he allowed you further your education. I heard you are a Biochemist and you graduated from University of Calabar,” he enquired.
Alicia nodded and when she was about to speak, Matthew walked in.
“Oh Uncle Matthew, good afternoon sir.”
Hold your greeting there young lady. Is this where you are mourning my late father? Alicia you are still a widow who ought to be mourning her husband. It’s just four months that my father, your late husband, was lowered into his grave. You have two more months to mourn him, so stop chatting around like a weaver bird,” Matthew retorted.
“Sorry Uncle Matthew, I was only discussing with Anthony, your brother. He asked me what I studied and…”
“And what?” he cut in. “I wonder why that question is important now,” he snapped and turned to Anthony. “Please allow our father’s widow to be. She ought to be mourning and not to be chatting like someone that won a jackpot. Let her be!” he fumed.
Anthony was shocked at the way Matthew shouted at him each time he saw her discussing with Alicia. He didn’t know why, but Alicia knew why he was reacting in that rash manner to his younger brother.
“It was the secret affair we had. I knew he wanted to have me all to himself now that his father was dead. Second, I had a child for him, his son and his only child. His wife had been unable to conceive, so he wouldn’t mind inheriting me as his second wife. That was exactly what I didn’t want. His wife Celestina after fuming and fighting me because of her husband had to beg me now that her father-in-law was dead, so that her husband who believed so much in custom and tradition would not inherit me and make me his second wife. She pleaded with me not to accept his proposal if he came up with one. But she never knew that I already had a son for her man whose paternity we concealed from everyone that mattered. I knew why Uncle Matthew was angry at me and Anthony,” she said.
But Matthew’s rash attitude to his younger brother didn’t stop anything.
“Tony, as I had started calling him was free to come to my room and chat me up regardless. It was at that period that Matthew walked in and asked him to leave us as he had something important to discuss with me. He stood up and walked out promising to see me later. Matthew reminded me in a low tone what we had together, how he had loved, protected me and ensured I finished my studies. How he had employed me in his office where I did my Industrial Training, how we had a son together and how he wanted to inherit me as his wife. He asked me why I wanted to wish away all the memories we shared together. I was short of words. He then threatened me that if I had any relationship with his younger brother that he would open up our can of worms not caring whose ox was gored,” she said.
Ever since Matthew threatened to open up on what Alicia termed a top secret, she had been scared.
“I wouldn’t know how Anthony would feel if he heard I had a secret affair with his elder brother to the extent of having a son for him. But left for me, I would have loved to marry him. He is just four years older than me and I would be his wife. He said both of us would travel back to America where he is based. I confided in my mum about that and she was happy for me. She told me that Anthony had visited and told her his plans for me. That he was waiting for my mourning period to be over. I would like to marry Anthony. I wouldn’t want to interfere into Uncle Matthew’s marriage. His wife had already pleaded with me to leave her husband alone. But my fear now is that Uncle Matthew is threatening to spill the beans, tell his brother and everyone in our compound about our secret affair. What should I do now? I’m in a dilemma.