A seal upon your heart, p.36
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       A Seal Upon Your Heart, p.36

           Pepper Pace
 

  “Hello Mr. Singleton.” He said quickly.

  Tim gave him a piercing look. “Did you need something?”

  “No no, I was just…” Blushing the young attorney smiled at Lindewe and then gave her a quick goodbye before beating a hasty retreat.

  “Lindewe, will you bring me a cup of coffee please.”

  “Yes, Mr. Singleton.”

  Tim loosened his tie and then hung up his jacket. He sat down and turned on the radio and then glanced at a picture of he and Martier taken at a local fair. It had been her first and she had wanted to try everything; the rides the food, even the ring toss where Tim had failed to win her a stuffed animal. Eventually he just paid a shitload of money to the vendor for a cheap, two dollar teddy bear. Tim leaned back in his chair thinking of nothing until there was a soft tap at the door and Lindewe entered carrying his coffee.

  “Here you go, Mr. Singleton.” She placed the mug on his desk. Well at least she wasn’t afraid of him anymore even though he maintained a polite distance. He didn’t even ask her to call him Tim. She appeared a lot more confident and looked much better, although she still wore a weave but at least it wasn’t god-awful. It also made him feel good to see her wearing both Martier’s and Corrine’s clothes. It was obvious that she appreciated them and it helped her fit in as his assistant. “Uh…Mr. Singleton I noticed that you still call me Lindewe. Everyone calls me Linda—”

  “Lindewe is your name,” He took a sip of the coffee. “Until you change it officially.”

  “Oh, yes sir.”

  “Who is that attorney that you were talking to?”

  “Oh, sorry about that. His name is Bradley McPherson.”

  “Who does he work under?”

  “Aaron Rangbo.”

  “Okay. Well, take off for lunch if you like.”

  “Do you want me to bring you anything?”

  “No. We had lunch delivered.”

  “Okay, thanks. I’ll be back soon.”

  “Take your time Lindewe.” He turned on his computer and navigated through the firm’s directory and then he pulled up information about Bradley McPherson. He then dialed Aaron’s office number directly.

  “What, Tim?”

  “Hi to you, too.”

  “Didn’t I just see you?”

  “Yes you did.” You crotchety old bastard. “Look I wanted some information on one of your attorney’s; Bradley McPherson.”

  “He’s pretty good. More wins then losses. What about him?”

  “Is he a whore?”

  “Uh, Tim I don’t think he likes men…”

  “No is he a womanizer?”

  “How in the hell would I know that?” Claudette would, he thought. “Look, he’s been hanging around my assistant and I want to make sure that he’s not bad news.”

  “Oh. Well I have seen him talking to a lot of different secretaries. I would probably say that it would be wise to keep your girl away from him.”

  “Thank you. And she’s not my girl.”

  “I just meant-”

  “I know what you meant.”

  Aaron hesitated. “How are you hanging in there Tim? Since Martier…you know.”

  He glanced at their picture. “Life…it goes on.”

  “Yes,” Aaron sighed. Claudette wasn’t coming back and he was coming to terms with that. He was coming to terms that it was his own inattentiveness that caused the demise of their relationship. He didn’t know if Tim could salvage what he had with Martier but he hoped that he wouldn’t go down the same slope that he had.

  “Remember when you asked me why I never married?”

  “Yes. I remember.” That was back on Jakob’s Fourth of July barbecue.

  “I said that I didn’t think I’d fall in love. But I did and when I fell in love I didn’t marry even though deep down I did want to. I wanted to be married to Claudette.”

  “Why didn’t you?”

  “I told myself that it would be easier if I didn’t have to include Claudette in family gatherings or to force her to face the racism that my family doesn’t care to hide. I know what they think about other races; specifically blacks at the country club and amongst my circle of friends.” He took in a slow breath as if he was confessing his sins to a priest. “I also realize that I am utterly alone and those people that I put before my Claudette mean nothing to me. I realized that—too late.”

  Tim felt sorry for him for being stupid enough to allow someone else’s opinions to dictate his actions. He didn’t give a shit about what others thought. His mistake was basking in a young woman’s unblemished beauty and admiration. He’d allowed her healing attention to overshadow what he knew was wrong; falling in love. That should have never happened and he should have discouraged any love from developing between them. She needed time to develop before he came riding in like a fucking white knight appearing to save the day instead of the bitter man that he actually was.

  He honestly wished that she found her destiny even if it wasn’t with him. Which is why he would do anything in his power to honor her wishes, even if that meant that he now had a young daughter named Lindewe Nzeowu to look after.

  After disconnecting with Aaron he dialed Bradley’s phone number. “Bradley, this is Singleton. I would like to meet with you, please.”

  “Mr. Singleton, of course. When?”

  “Now. I would like you to come to my office.”

  “I’m on my way.” The young man had a wary sound to his voice. Good.

  Bradley McPherson entered the office a short time later. Tim gaged that he was probably 6’2”. He was fit with blonde hair and hazel eyes and was maybe thirty—if that.

  Tim stood and stared at the man with open hostility. Bradley nervously adjusted his tie.

  “Is there a problem Mr. Singleton?”

  “Oh we’re going to avoid that from ever happening.”

  “Excuse me?”

  “Lindewe. What are your intentions?”

  Bradley opened and then closed his mouth. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that you and Linda-”

  “We’re not.”

  “Then…” the younger man looked uncomfortable before straightening his stance. “Then with all due respect, what’s between Linda and me is our own business.”

  “So there is something between you? Because if there is then…wonderful. But if there isn’t—and lets say that you are just trying to look for some in-work action and you fuck with her. Then I’m going to fuck with you. I’m going to fuck with your job. I’m going to fuck with your life and I’m going to fuck with your future.”

  Bradley paled. “I was just saying hi to her. There really is nothing going on.”

  “Then keep it that way.”

  After a moment Bradley nodded and then turned to leave. Before he did he looked at Tim curiously and then closed the door behind him.

  Oh yeah. There will be rumors. Tim shrugged.

  After work he drove home. Home was now a studio apartment at the prestigious Lytle Tower where the firm kept an apartment for out of town clients—and the occasional clandestine tryst. He had been living here for nearly a month and actually liked the smaller accommodations; not so many rooms to roam through—and not as many memories.

  His house was still on the market but there was some interest despite the economy. He was selling at a fair price and it was in a desirable area. Most of his furnishings had been sold into consignment through Bartholoma and the rest had been placed in storage. He had even gotten rid of Corinne’s truck. Now he had his Cadillac and his bike; the latter in storage until spring.

  He looked out the window to the wet world surrounding his high rise apartment. Damn, it was actually already spring. Martier had been gone for nearly three months. At least she had relinquished her stand on no contact. He had received two letters from her—the first actually a package.

  He had read the letter quickly where he stood. She had said; I’m in Africa! And it was before she had even said hello or made any other greeting. It mad
e him smile.

  Tim, I know that I said that I didn’t want to tell you where I was or to exchange letters but I wanted to tell you all of the things that have been happening.

  He had carried the package into the apartment while still reading, nearly stubbing his toe on the corner of the cocktail table.

  I joined with a group of Catholic missionaries who were going to Rwanda to minister. They led me to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. There I was able to find out more information about my family and what happened to my father. Thank you so much for the file of information. I read it finally and knew that I needed to learn more. I found out that my father was killed so that he wouldn’t be able to testify against his superiors.

  I’ve come to terms with the fact that my father had a hand in slaughtering entire families but I know that he also reached out through my mother to save as many Tutsis as he could—which ultimately resulted in his arrest and my mother’s killing.

  Tim, I was asked to aid the Centre in collecting testimonies from other genocide survivors. I too gave my testimony and it seemed to solidify in me that I can do so much to help others like me. This seems to be the therapy that I’ve been avoiding.

  Tim had lowered the letter and stared off into space as he absorbed those words. So she had found her calling. He began reading again.

  Tim, I’ve decided to remain here indefinitely to work at the Centre. I know it sounds very selfish of me to tell you this but I haven’t rejected…US. I think about you every single day. I miss you and I know now more than ever that I love you. Because true love is enduring.

  I’m going to ask that you not write to me or try to call me because I need my head to be completely in this task. I need to give this every chance. I hope you understand. Oh by the way, this entire package isn’t for you. There is a separately sealed letter to Dhakiya. Can you give this to her? It’s a lot for me to ask isn’t it? I did research on her family and thought that she might want it for her records. I think that is all that I have to say for now. I’m sorry.

  -Martier

  Yes, she did ask a lot but he did it willingly. Dhakiya had been beating herself up over her role in their breakup. Tim assured her that it would have happened—their breakup was destiny. How could it go any other way?

  The second letter had been two weeks after the first and she had confirmed his suspicions that she had found her calling. She described watching people open up and seeing them heal. Yeah, that’s when he stopped calling Sister Louise to ask about her.

  That had been over a month ago.

  He walked into the bedroom and got ready for his dinner at Jakob and Elaina’s house. He grinned when he saw that dinner was a porterhouse steak.

  They chatted comfortably and when Jakob excused himself for the bathroom Tim helped Elaina clear away the dishes. He then headed down the hall to the bathroom and heard Jakob’s hushed conversation.

  “Look, I told you that I can’t come to see you this weekend—It’s unavoidable! What am I supposed to do? I know it’s his birthday. Tell him…tell him Daddy loves him and I’ll be there…” Jakob looked up and met Tim’s eyes.

  “I have to go--I’ll call you later!”

  Tim blinked his eyes and then ran his hands through his hair. “What the fuck--?”

  “Tim…damn.”

  “Daddy? You knocked up one of those girls?!”

  “Keep your voice down!” Jakob grabbed his arm and pulled him into the master bedroom. “Look…When Allison was my assistant she got pregnant. What in the hell was I supposed to do? She didn’t want to have an abortion…”

  “I can’t believe this. And Elaina doesn’t--?”

  “She as no idea.”

  Tim ran both hands through his hair and then headed out the door. “We better get back before she gets suspicious. We’ve already been gone too long. Just…start talking about a case.”

  The two men headed for the living room chatting about a make-believe case. Tim was amazed at how well Jakob fell in line, playing his role innocently. And as they continued back to the living room with their manufactured conversation, Tim’s stomach plunged to his feet. Jakob was still cheating on Elaina.

  “There you boys are. I was about to send out a search party.” Jakob kissed her cheek. “Sorry, honey. I was talking to Tim about a case.”

  It sickened him to see Jakob pretending to be the devoted husband. He ended the night as quickly as he could and then he remembered something that Martier had said; don’t let Linda work for Jakob. She had known.

  ~***~

  The next day he marched into Jakob’s office before even having his first cup of coffee. Jakob looked up.

  “This can’t wait until after lunch?”

  “No.”

  Jakob sighed. “Do you think I’m happy about this? I’m just trying to make the best out of a bad situation.”

  “You have a son.”

  Jakob looked down and then nodded. A slight smiled crossed his lips. “He’s two. He’s beautiful.”

  “He’s a secret.”

  A shadow crossed Jakob’s face. “I can’t—Elaina and I have made so many strides. I can’t ruin it now.”

  “You’re still sleeping with Allison, and don’t lie.”

  Jakob blew out a long breath. “I don’t have the discipline that it takes to say no to her. She’s…she’s the mother of my child.”

  “Oh bullshit! You just can’t keep your dick in your pants. Are you going to tell Elaina about this?”

  “No! Are you insane? It would kill her.”

  “This is not going to end well. Your son deserves a father and your wife deserves the truth.”

  Jakob didn’t respond and Tim left him to his own thoughts.

  Deep in his own thoughts, he rounded the corner and saw Lindewe standing and holding the phone. A huge smile was on her face.

  “Tim! It’s Martier on the phone!”

  His heartbeat quickened. “Is she okay?” He didn’t bother to go into his office, he just quickly grabbed the phone from his assistant.

  “Yes, she said she was good.”

  “Hello Martier?”

  “Tim, hi.”

  “Hi.”

  “Oh…you sound so wonderful,” She whispered.

  “You do too. How are you, honey, how is Rwanda?” It was funny how in this moment it was as if the weeks apart had never happened. All the mistakes that he thought he had made no longer existed and he was just talking to the woman that he loved, the woman that gave his life purpose, the woman that was his best friend.

  “I…met the boy that killed my brother.”

  Chapter 44

  Five Days ago

  Martier slipped off her shoes and then reached down and rubbed her feet. She thought about Tim’s foot rubs but quickly changed the directions of those thoughts. With a sigh she padded barefoot into the small kitchen for bottled water. The Centre had found her an apartment that she could afford even on her meager wages. Her apartment was just a combined kitchen and living area and than a bedroom with a small conjoined bathroom. It was a far cry from her little cottage. Not that she was complaining. She would do this for free. Today she had interviewed an elderly woman who had gone through indescribable torture. She had never spoken of those events to anyone until Martier had described losing and then regaining her memory.

  She recalled the first time she had to talk about those events at Tim’s urging. She hadn’t been ready. She had an absolute understanding of that when urging others to give testimony; that you can’t do it even one second before you’re ready to.

  Therefore, whenever someone opened up to her after a long silence she equated it to a door opening into a dark room allowing light to shine in for the first time in over a decade. This time that light was shining in for an elderly woman, sometimes it was for a man that only had memories of a long gone family, or a young adult that had lost all semblance of a childhood.

  This was therapy and spiritual, and although rewarding it was also heart-wrenc
hing. There were days that she would return to her small apartment and just sit by the window looking out, not at the scene before her, but memories of a recently remembered past.

  But this evening she didn’t do that. She was invited to dinner at the home of one of the members of the data acquisition team. It was the third time she’d been invited to eat at someone’s home since arriving in Rwanda. The people at the Centre seemed to think that she would starve to death since the concept of fast food in Kigali was virtually non-existent—there were restaurants but they were anything but fast. However she enjoyed her daily walks to the market where she purchased fresh meats or fish to go along with her vegetables and fruit.

 
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