Everywhere he looked there were symbols of love and joy. His best friend and cousin, Tony was finally making it official before friends and family with the love of his life, Wendy. Only Dave felt stabs into his heart every time someone mentioned Tony and Wendy’s great love for each other- and they mentioned it a lot on this day because it was their traditional wedding ceremony.
This would be the only ceremony they would have with members of the family and friends as they planned to have a civil wedding afterwards. The theme for the event was African-rustic. They hired the best wedding planner in town and spared no costs. Or at least Tony didn’t as he was into grandiose gestures. In fact, Tony loved two things the most- grandiose and Wendy. The only reason they were not having a white wedding was that Wendy didn’t like the spotlight. So they compromised on a grand traditional wedding and a simple civil wedding.
That was yet another way that Tony and Wendy differed. Wendy loved simple intimate moments without cameras. Tony, on the other hand, lived for the praise. While he genuinely loved Wendy, many of the outings he planned with her came with numerous photos that ended up on social media platforms. Lunch was more than sharing a meal with his girlfriend and it needed to be at an expensive restaurant with cameras flashing frequently. Wendy complained several times but Tony believed he needed to show off his woman to the world.
Wendy craved private intimacy in a way that Tony couldn’t understand. But Dave did. Often Tony’s public display of affection brought unwanted attention to her. Many women envied her. However, the publicity also meant that people knew so many details about their lives. People knew when they were having relationship issues. Tony’s love for a lavish lifestyle also went against Wendy’s money habits. While Tony was wealthy, Wendy felt they could spend that money in better ways rather than spend on it extravagant gifts and dates.
These areas of friction brought Dave and Wendy close. Dave and Tony, being cousins, had grown up together but working in the same industry brought them closer. Soon they became best friends or so Tony thought. Since they were always together, Dave and Wendy became friends. Wendy would run to cry on Dave’s shoulders every time Tony did something frustrating.
“Please talk to your friend Dave.”
“What has he done this time?” Dave asked Wendy.
“Everybody in my office knows we’re going through a rough patch because he keeps exposing our relationship. I can’t think straight without answering questions or receiving unsolicited advice.”
“I’ll try but you know how Tony loves the attention. My advice would be to block out everyone else.”
One and a half years down the line even with the ups and downs, Tony decided to pop the question. Everybody in Wendy’s family loved Tony. It was obvious that he loved Wendy and the gifts he got them also helped him win more points. So, not surprisingly, many couldn’t understand why Wendy complained when he went overboard as it seemed like his expression of love.
Dave and Wendy spent time together and within that period they developed feelings for each other. Dave was Wendy’s type. He was attentive and his love language was quality time. In Dave, she found the intimacy that she lacked with Tony. A week after the marriage proposal Dave and Wendy went out for drinks as Wendy ranted about something Tony had done. A couple of drinks in, they gave in and had their first kiss.
“We need to stop this before we do things that can’t be undone,” Wendy whispered in his ears.
“Is that what you want us to do?”
“What I want doesn’t matter as much as what ought to be done.”
“You know we’ve wanted this for a long time. I don’t know if I can walk away now. Your presence consumes every bit of my being,” Dave whispered as he caressed her.
The flesh is weak and Wendy didn’t stand a chance against it. It was every bit as explosive as they had both imagined it would be. At that moment she forgot about her troubles with Tony until she saw a text from him. Guilt consumed her and she decided not to read it immediately.
“Would it be so crazy if you broke your engagement to Tony?” Dave asked.
“I’m in too deep, there’s no going back now,” Wendy said sadly.
“So what about what just happened?”
“Let’s keep it between us. Tony could be many things but he truly loves me.”
For the next couple of weeks, Wendy and Dave avoided each other. They found excuses to avoid meeting each other until Tony made a remark.
“Dave, would I be crazy to think that you’ve been avoiding Wendy?”
“Dude, why would be avoiding her?” Dave asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe these wedding preparations are making you notice that you have no one by your side. We’re not getting younger my brother, you need to find a good woman,” Tony responded half teasingly.
Dave would later text Wendy to inform her of what had transpired. They couldn’t avoid each other much longer but Dave resolved to come in the company of women. The next time he was meeting up with Wendy and Tony, he showed up with a lady he had met at the club the previous night. All of sudden Wendy had this unfamiliar feeling. She was jealous. However, she tried her best not to show it. Dave on the other hand decided he would forget about his feelings for Wendy by sampling women until he found one who would capture his heart and save him from his misery.
Every time Wendy saw Dave with another woman, her jealousy increased. Finally, she decided to say something.
“Why have you chosen to torture me in this manner?” Wendy texted him.
“At least you don’t have a Tony to listen to as he frequently brags about you,” Dave responded.
“You are aware of my situation.”
“I gave you a way out of your situation,” Dave responded.
After having a heated back and forth, they decided to meet up and talk it over. That marked the official beginning of their affair. Dave kept showing up with women whenever the three of them needed to meet so as to keep their cover. After debating severally, it was clear that Wendy wasn’t going to leave Tony either. In fact, she stopped making a fuss about the grand gestures. The only plan she objected was a white wedding. It was one thing to lie to Tony and her family but doing so in a church was too much even for her. Tony didn’t know she was agreeable out of guilt. In her own twisted way, she appreciated Tony but the chemistry with Dave was intoxicating.
The traditional and civil weddings came and went. Besides the legal recognition of their union, everything else remained the same. Wendy and Dave maintained their affair. A year later, Wendy got pregnant. That was when things changed. Having juggled between Dave and Tony for a while, Wendy hardly felt guilt. However, every once in a while, something would make her remorseful. The visit to the hospital would make her rethink her actions.
After a couple of weeks of suspecting she was pregnant, Wendy finally decided to visit a hospital. Besides getting a positive status on pregnancy, she also tested positive for the HIV virus. The weight of the news prevented Wendy from hearing most of what the doctor said.
“Ms. Wendy, did you hear what I just said?”
“Sorry, what did you say?”
“We need to get you on medication immediately to reduce the risk of transmission to your baby. I would also advise you to come in with your husband,” said the doctor.
“I need a moment to take in everything,” said Wendy as she rushed out of the doctor’s office.
These thoughts run through her mind. Fact number one, she was twelve weeks pregnant. She was sick – fact number two. She wasn’t sure about when she got infected and both Tony and Dave were probably infected too. Finally, she didn’t know who was responsible for her pregnancy. Her thoughts led her to a bar. Before her belly started showing, she frequently found solace in a gin bottle.
Eventually, she couldn’t hide her pregnancy. Tony was over the moon. Dave was conflicted. He wanted the child because this would perhaps give Wendy the courage to leave Tony but he was afraid of the scandal. Initially, Wendy insisted that Tony was the father but she finally confessed to him that she wasn’t sure. He however didn’t know that she was also leaving out another vital piece of information.
Wendy’s pregnancy wasn’t difficult but she was mentally overwhelmed. Hiding information from Tony and Dave was exhausting. She had little zeal for life and would often not take the medication. Tony tried to understand the source of her depression but couldn’t get through to her. Wendy’s unborn child was undeterred by his mother’s woes.
Three weeks before the due date, Wendy went into labour. Unfortunately, there were complications that necessitated a cesarean section. Further complications emerged during the surgery and Wendy lost her life. Her son survived. Tony was inconsolable. Wendy’s death was at that moment the most devastating thing that had happened to him but he didn’t know there was more to come.
Shortly after the doctor asked to speak to him.
“Mr. Tony, I’m very sorry for your loss but we need to discuss your son’s health.”
“Is there a problem with my son too?” Tony asked panicking.
“Given your wife’s HIV status, we need to test him.”
“What are you talking about?” Tony asked as he sank deeper into the chair.
The doctor explained to him. Tony had to inform his best friend, Dave. On hearing the news, Dave fainted. When he came to, he was so overwhelmed by the events that he decided to confess his affair with Wendy to Tony. It was blow after blow for Tony. He also needed to have a paternity test. As though bending to Murphy’s law, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The child, Tony, and Dave all tested positive and the child turned out to be Dave’s.
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