Julie lay in bed and stared at them, and in her grief, she saw their predator-like expressions, all of them, and slowly her soul thrashed wildly in her body.
She fought hard to stay on a level keel, to assimilate the painful news they were giving her with a level head, but she simply could not. The stress and torture was too much, and she looked at Jake and the lawyer for some sort of comfort.
Lawyer Twumfu Andorful, their family lawyer of many years who had been such a great friend to her, more of a second father, was now looking at her with the same level of disinterest being exhibited by the others. He was standing rigidly with his bag and staring at her with a mixture of unease and grim determination.
It was as if the lawyer knew what he was doing was distasteful, and yet was going through with it anyway.
Julie fixed her gaze on the lawyer.
“Uncle Andorful, please, I beg of you…surely, what they’re saying can’t be true!” Julie said painfully. “Please, tell me you’re not with them!”
The lawyer took out a handkerchief and wiped his face, then smiled sickly at Julie as he glanced quickly at Abednego.
He licked his lips and spoke in a rush.
“Look, Julie, dearest, this all came as a great shock to me too, so I asked for evidence,” he said quickly. “We came to the hospital, when you were unconscious, and took samples from you and your parents…no, from Mr. and Mrs. Dotse, and a paternity test was done. Here, I have the results.”
He put his briefcase down on a low table, opened it, and extracted a sheet of paper. His hands were shaking quite alarmingly when he handed the DNA test result to Julie.
Julie stared at him with profound shock, unable to believe what she was hearing.
“My God!” she said quaveringly. “While I was lying here unconscious, and my parents were dead, you took samples from us for a paternity test? Are you people human?”
“Yes, human enough to make sure you receive your just punishment for your greed, you evil little bitch!” Sandra cried spitefully. “Go ahead, read the report! You can always do another paternity test, Julie! It will still prove that my father and my step-mom aren’t your biological parents! You were just a giveaway piece of turd!”
Julie’s eyes skimmed the report.
Yes, it was true…she wasn’t the biological daughter of the man and woman she had believed all her life were her parents!
Yes, indeed, she was just a nonentity!
She thought that they might be lying, forging the document for their own selfish reasons, but she knew that they couldn’t do so, not when they knew she could take them to court and obtain a redress, and carry out another paternity test!
Her lips trembled as the paper dropped from her hand.
The tears were like giant drops of water that dripped down her face, dragging the bitterness and pain and sheer helplessness from her belly.
“I’m sorry, Julie,” Lawyer Andorful said sadly as he picked up the report and put it back hurriedly into his briefcase. “It seems that you’re really not the biological daughter of Mr. Bless Dotse. Under the law though, once they adopted you and made you their daughter, you might be considered for a part of his inheritance, although in his last Will and Testament he left all his possessions, both tangible and intangible, to his biological children, Sandra and Abednego.”
Julie stared at the lawyer with horrified eyes.
“Lawyer Andorful!” she screamed pathetically. “Surely, that cannot be true! Dad showed me a photocopy of his last Will just three months ago! He left half of his inheritance to me and my mother, a quarter to specific charities, and a quarter to be shared between Sandra and Abednego! How can you lie like this?”
Lawyer Andorful shook his head hard, and sudden fear came to his eyes.
“That cannot be true, Julie, no!” he said hurriedly. “Your father never got round to updating his Will although I reminded him over and again! His last Will and Testament was done thirty-five years ago!”
“That’s a lie!” Julie screamed, thoroughly agitated now. “Stop lying, Lawyer Andorful! Thirty-five years ago? I wasn’t even born then! Thirty-five years ago he left half of his properties to my mother, a quarter to his children, and a quarter to specified charities! I know all that because he told me everything, never kept anything from me! He changed his Will when I was born! So why are you trying to lie and switch the Will? Have they bribed you, Lawyer Andorful?”
The lawyer was sweating furiously now, and he wiped his face with his sodden handkerchief.
Sandra looked at the ruffled lawyer, and then she giggled insanely.
“Oh, he’s so upset!” she said. “Yes, Julie-Juu, we bribed the poor old Lawyer, and promised him some buildings and a divine retirement package, and being human as he is, he accepted readily, of course!”
“Stop that!” Lawyer Andorful shouted, agitated. “Please, stop that! Someone might hear! Walls have ears, you know!”
“And so the wicked, poor lawyer gave us this,” Abednego said, and slowly held up the original Will and Testament of Mr. Bless Dotse. “And you know we can’t allow you, a complete stranger who sleeps around like a mad rabid dog in heat, to inherit the juicy parts of our father’s toils, do you? You have enjoyed enough as it is, bitch!”
His eyes were fierce as he took out a lighter from his pocket.
“No, no, no, please, please don’t do this!” Julie moaned in anguish as fresh tears fell down her face. “Please, Abed, don’t burn it! Respect your father’s last wishes! Don’t burn that Will!”
Abednego and Sandra laughed as the man brought the flame of the lighter to the Will, and carefully held it as it began to burn! He opened a foot-pedal dustbin near the door, and carefully lowered the charred remains of the Will into it!
“There goes your Will, Julie!” Abednego said savagely. “Gone! Poof! And now the old Will and Testament will hold supreme, giving everything to us! You’re now penniless, Julie! And you’re not welcome to the Company or any of the properties of our father anymore!”
“You’re fired, baby!” Sandra said and laughed raucously. “Oh, you don’t know just how long I’ve waited to wipe that smug slutty look off your fucking face! From here, don’t come anywhere near us again! Go and look for your missing parents, slut, and let them give you their sweat and toil!”
Julie turned an anguished face to Jacob Acquah.
“Jake, my love!” she whispered tremulously. “Are you going to stand there and watch them do this to me? You haven’t said a word! They can have it all, if they want! But please, my love, speak to me! Come to me, my darling!”
She held out her arms to Jacob, but he remained standing with a small smile playing around his lips.
And then the most horrifying thing happened!
Sandra linked her right arm through Jacob’s and slowly lifted her left hand, and showed the glittering, diamond-studded engagement ring on her finger to Julie.
Julie gasped with sudden unbearable pain!
This was the engagement ring she had ordered from Italy, complete with wedding bands for her and Jake to use on their engagement and wedding days!
She had given them to Jacob for safe-keeping! Not only that, but most of the items they had bought for their wedding were with Jake!
“You must congratulate us, Julie!” Sandra said viciously and winked at the cringing Julie. “Jacob decided to marry me, after all. Seems he had still been in love with me all this while! He was just using you…or so he told me!”
“Sandy!” Jake said at last, greatly appalled. “Must you be so cruel?”
“No, Jake, please, my love, don’t do this to me!” Julie wailed pitifully, lifting her arms toward Jacob. “Please, come to me! Hold me and kiss me and tell me this is all a bad dream! Oh, Jake, don’t kill me! Please, don’t kill my soul! I beg of you!”
Jacob Acquah, horrified, passed a hand across his face with sheer abject dejection.
“Oh, you didn’t know Jacob and Sandra dated for two years before breaking up?” Abednego asked and chuckled. “They’re old flames! Jake had always been a gold digger, Julie. He had always wanted to own a part of Dotse Capitals. He dated my sister, but when he found out the old man was probably going to leave everything to you, he dated you and proposed to you after breaking off painfully with Sandra.”
“And that was when I hated you to death, Julie-Juu!” Sandra said cruelly. “You not only stole my father’s love, you stole my love too! But who’s getting the last laugh now, huh? See how old firewood can light up? I have Jacob back, and I have my properties back! What are you gonna do about it? Go burn the fucking sea for all I care!”
“No!!” Julie screamed shrilly, her lips trembling uncontrollably as tears fell down her face. “Jaaaaaake! Jaaaaaake! Tell me it’s all a horrible lie!”
“Lie?” Sandra said spitefully. “Even when he promised to marry you, he was still screwing me senseless, baby! He always cheated on you with me! Seems he loves my pussy more, and can’t stop hitting it! He was only with you because he knew you would eventually inherit the chunk of Daddy’s Estate. He’s mine, and he’s back, and you can go take a hike or drink all the seawater with a teaspoon, and I won’t give a fuck about you!”
She then put her arms around Jake’s neck, pulled his head down, and kissed him in a wet, seductive way!
Julie struggled to a sitting position.
She couldn’t breathe!
Her heart was shattered now, and she just wanted to die!
She was screaming shrilly with pain, and she tried to hold Jacob’s hand. He was a step too far, and as she lunged forward to hold him she felt a sudden and excruciating pain in her back!
It was a horrible pain that seared down to the roots of her hair!
She screamed over and over again as the pain intensified!
Too late, she seemed to hear the doctor’s warning again, over and over…
Lie still…do not move…lie still…do not move…lie still…lie still…
Dimly she saw Jake and Sandra leaving the room, followed by Lawyer Andorful.
Abednego remained standing at the foot of the bed and looked at her suffering!
And then, as doctors and nurses suddenly raced into the ward, drawn by her bleating screams, something horrible suddenly happened!
Julie couldn’t move her lower body!
She couldn’t feel any sensation in her thighs and legs and lower back!
Dimly she was aware of the doctors putting her on the bed and their expert hands roaming over her legs.
“Can you move your toes?” one of them asked.
“I can’t!” Julie screamed. “I can’t move any part of my lower body!”
“Oh, my God!” one of the doctors groaned bitterly. “She’s paralyzed downstairs. Seems the cyst and contusion took a turn for the worse!”
“Jesus Christ!” another said with horror. “Quadriplegia?”
“No, not total paralysis of all four limbs, no,” the senior doctor said. “I think she’s still functional with her hands.”
“Paraplegia then?” the junior doctor said.
“Yes, total paralysis from the waist down, could be permanent!” the senior one said, agitated. “Hurry, get her to the theatre and let me take a good look!”
Julie listened to all these words, and she just wondered if this was one hell of a nightmare, because reality could not be this scary, this horrible, this heart-breaking!
If this was reality, then she preferred to die!
She doesn’t want to live a single day more!
If, indeed, she had total and irreversible paralysis from the waist down as they were saying, and if indeed Jake had broken her heart so totally, and if indeed she wasn’t the daughter of her parents, then life was not worth living anymore!
She would kill herself…yes, she would!
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