IT was a busy time at the office and I’d left specific instructions with my secretary not to be disturbed – except she thought it was absolutely necessary. So, when she peeked tentatively into my office and I scowled in disapproval, she quickly mouthed that Charles, Jade’s husband was at the reception area. Jade’s husband? What the heck did he want? After frequent visits to his home town, the result of his clandestine visits had finally surfaced some few months ago.

And who should let the cat out of the bag but some of his ‘respected’ relatives who thought it was about time Jade knew her children had a half-brother. Without any warning of the impending bombshell, Jade was furious after the ‘meeting’. But her in-laws pompously warned her to get a grip on herself – her husband wouldn’t be the first man to stray from the straight and narrow. What was more, the new son had a right to his father’s home – the home that was more Jade’s than her husband’s!

For the next few weeks, Jade made life so unbearable for Charles, her husband, that he virtually relocated to his town to savour the joys of new fatherhood. The last time I saw him, he was unrepentant. He said I should have a word with my friend to be realistic. That a child was involved . and if he didn’t have any feelings for its mother, he wouldn’t sleep with her. That he’d heard Jade refer to his mistress as a village illiterate. For my information, he went on with his lecture, the girl was not an illiterate but a successful trader and a princess. Over the years, I’ve learnt the wisdom of a still tongue, so I said nothing. Not even to my friend when I next saw her. Now he was in my office. To inform me he was finally leaving my friend to live with Cinderella?

I found him sitting forlornly at the reception, looking like a stranger. He’d aged too. He sprang to his feet as soon as he saw me and I ushered him to my office. “I know I’ve no right to pounce on you without an appointment,” he said, “God knows I wasn’t even expecting you to see me. But you’ve got to speak to Jade. Please, you’re one of the few people she’d listen to. Please beg her to take me back. I want to come home and I need this second chance badly. I know I’d been so stupid.

Jade has always turned a blind eye on my affairs. Springing this child on her was a mistake. I was misled by those nosy village people. I’ll never embarrass her like this again.”

I sighed. That was one very big task! Jade had felt humiliated by Charles’ latest stunt. But she’d quickly recovered..She’d never really allowed the grass to grow under her feet and had latched on to one of her exes. A top politician, he’d gotten carried away by the spoils of office and seldom gave Jade the time of day. Now that he’d been swept aside by his party, he was feeling out of sorts when he tentatively called Jade. He couldn’t believe his luck when she agreed to see him. And he couldn’t show his gratitude enough, showering her with cash gifts and a brand new car! I was a bit envious, believe me. But it was the tonic Jade needed: “If my own husband didn’t appreciate my curves, Emma (the boyfriend) does. He always tells me I looked amazing and we’ve even made love a few times in his bathroom – we didn’t want his wife finding wet, rumple sheets when she came home.

“I thank my stars for finding Emma at the right time. Although I felt bad about my husband’s betrayal, I have quickly put it at the back of my mind to enjoy once again the chance of a passionate and intimate affair. What I hadn’t had in recently times. He had given me what Charles hadn’t been able to give for sometime now – attention, and lust!” I’d met Emma before, didn’t think much of him even now. Maybe the excess cash he has to throw around is the aphrodisiac! In spite of her bravado, I knew she loved her husband. Was this the right time to cash in her chips? Give Emma the chops now her husband was virtually grovelling?

I promised Charles I’d have a word with Jade and he looked so grateful that I really felt sorry for him. I was surprised though, by the ease with which Jade agreed to take him back. “You know I love him,” she said simply, “and I still prefer him to Emma. Let’s face it, I’ve always cheated – more often than he had. I was only lucky I’d mastered the act of discretion. His being caught in the loop had made us even. And if I take him back, those stupid village men of his would think me a wonderful wife standing by my marriage – even though nothing could be further from the truth! I know he would be lost without me. I just wondered why it took him so long to come rushing back to the cushy life he had with me. Maybe his new ‘wife’ had almost taken him to the cleaners!”

Charles beamed from ear to ear when I later saw him at their home.

He’d been pathetically grateful when I’d told him that it’d taken all my wile to wear Jade down, but that she was now ready to take him back.

Now his sparkle was back as he cracked his silly jokes and poured celebratory wine. So, how was Jade able to tackle Emma and his sudden rejection? “He took it badly when I told him we had to cool things a bit”, Jade said as soon as her husband was out of ear shot. “I felt really guilty and I quickly lied that someone had squealed to my husband about us.

That Charles was a violent man and I wouldn’t want his political career to be rubbished by an irate husband. We could still be together, I consoled him, but we had to be discreet. I mean now that I’ve found a cushy landing, thanks to my husband’s indiscretion, I intend to make the most of it … “

. Subduing A Prodigal Husband! . Vanguard News.

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