At 3pm, we went to pay a short visit to Mrs. Bola and her children. She was very happy to see us. I excused her and my mother to talk and we left there in the evening.“Mrs. Bola and I won’t be going tomorrow to her employer’s house.” My mother said on our way home.
“Is she not travelling again?” I asked.
“She will travel on Sunday but we will go on Saturday.”
“That’s next tomorrow, I wish you good luck.”
“Thank you my daughter and don't forget I will not change my mind about you not following me.”
“I won’t follow you and don’t call me to assist you after getting the job.”
“I won’t madam,” she said in a playful tone. ”I will only call you to look at my face when I get the job.” We glanced at each other and grinned.
My mother and I arrived home very hungry at our mini one bedroom flat. I dashed immediately to the kitchen to prepare a quick dinner for us and my mom went into the bathroom to have a bath and rest a little. She desperately needed it. I pitted her because as old as my mother was, she still had to work, stress herself to put food on the table and put a smile on my face. I have begged her severally in the past to stop stressing herself because I was not handicapped but capable of taking good care of her. I stopped trying to persuade her to stop working two weeks ago.
"Renee there's nothing you can say or do to stop me from working." She said the last time we spoke about it.
I said to her frowning. "I don't see why you shouldn't stop. Don't you know as a fifty-six years old woman you should be resting while I, your daughter should be the one to do all the work and take care of you? Do not ignore the fact that you have a small body and maybe that is what is deceiving you. You think you are sweet sixteen."
She shook her head jerkily with a faint smile on her lips. "Thank you for reminding me of my age. I am not an old woman. Even if I reach seventy or eighty I will still work to exercise my body."
I chuckled. "Are you saying nothing I say or do can make you stop?”
"Nothing my dear." she said. "The only time I may stop is when you get a very good and lucrative job. I know God will do it soon."
"Amen and thanks mum for always believing in me." I said to her with happiness in my heart. She was the best. "Thanks for taking good care of me.”
She wrapped her hands around me. "You don't need to thank me. I'm your mother and it is my duty to do that."
I was almost through with the food I was preparing when a knock came at the door. My mother answered it. The voice I heard in the kitchen made me lose my appetite. My mother grew up in a rich home. Her late parents were wealthy and connected. When they were alive, they provided the good things of life to my mother and her younger brother. Everything changed when my mother fell in love with her mother's driver. They swore never to accept the relationship. My mother begged, fell sick and her parents gave two choices to choose between her family and her true love. She shocked them when she decided to be with my father and they disowned her. When her parents died, her brother inherited everything and he never looked his sister's way.
"How many times have I told you to leave me alone?" I heard my mother ask her brother in the living room.
"You are still my sister!" he shouted at her. “You don’t belong here.”
I ran to meet them. "Why can't you leave my mother alone?" I asked him and as I turned to look at my mother, her eyes were watery.
"Why don't you mind your business?" my supposed uncle asked me scornfully. He was a very tall and bulky man.
I faced him with teary eyes. "Did you say mind my business? She is my own mother for crying out loud. After deserting her for many years you are back to torment her. Leave her alone!"
"If she's willing to do what I say then I will leave her alone."
"How can you say such a thing?" I asked him angrily. "My mother will never agree to you. You want my mother to travel out of the country and leave me alone. How can you be so cruel?"
"Don’t ask me questions when you already know the answer. Your mother is my sister and I am trying to do the right thing to help her. If not for your useless father that deceived her she won't be in this mess suffering."
"And what did you do to help when your own parents died?" This time I was ready to say my mind. I did not care what was going to happen next. "If you really loved and wanted to help her won't you have done that long time ago? Instead, you blamed her for the death of your parents. How could you?"
He raised his hand towards me and my beloved mother swiftly moved towards him and held it. "Don't you ever, ever do that again,” she blurted out with angry tears spilling down her cheeks. “Get out of my house and never come back!"
He was breathing loudly with so much fury and bitterness towards me. He gave me an eye without saying a word to us but turned his back, walked out, leaving the door opened. I closed it and turned to hug my mother to console her from crying no more. I was hurt to see her in pain.
A year ago when my mother’s brother found her, all he could say was to help her travel to London without me. He wanted my mother to leave me because I always reminded her of my father. It was impossible for her to do it. I wanted her to leave at first when she told me of travelling abroad. We discussed about it and we thought it was going to be an opportunity for her to work there and make money and later send for me to join her. What ruined our plans was when her nonentity brother brought a lawyer for my mother to sign a paper to cut ties with me forever. We were tongue-tied, devastated and discouraged about it.
If he was not insane, how could he think that a mother would leave her child like that? If he was not deranged, how could he think a woman would leave her child she carried for nine months in her tummy, went through unbeatable pain and discomfort during delivery. If he was not a mad man, how could he think of such a meaningless idea?
On a particular day, I swallowed my pride and went to see him at his place of work. I never revealed what I passed through that day to my mother. I went there before he told us of his nonsense plan. That period he just found where she was living and he wanted her to live in his house in Nigeria without me. I arrived at his office and his mean looking female secretary directed me to his office. Not only was she rude, her skirt suit was far below her knee. I wondered if her boss did not see her and took notice of it. After I knocked twice on his door, he answered, telling me to come in. I entered and we exchanged pleasantries. He ordered me to sit and I did.
"Why do you want to see me?" he asked. "I am occupied with a lot of things so you have to be fast with what brought you here."
I cleared my throat before I spoke. "Please Uncle Benson allow me live with my mother. I cannot stay away from her. My mum and I living together in your home should not stop you from helping her. She is your sister and I am your niece. I will help you and your wife take good care of your children."
“Are you telling me what to do?" he asked.
"No sir." I replied nodding my head. "I can never tell you what to do."
“I don’t need another house girl to look after my children. My family and I don’t need you.”
I neglected what he alleged but continued to beg him. “Please sir, have mercy.”
"There is nothing I can do about it, my decision won't be changed. You are a big girl old enough to live on your own. So why are you disturbing me?"
I went on my knees, begging him to consider my opinion. He kept on looking at me with his big eyeballs. The first day I met him, I thought he was related to a Nollywood actor Segun Arinze. It was not until my mother introduced us then I knew we were related. As I continued begging on my bended knees, he rose and motioned forward to me. He raised me up and put me back on my chair but remained standing by my side. He touched my hair slightly. I didn't know why he did that but when he tried to touch my breast I fling his hand away, rose up and moved away from him.
"What is the meaning of that?" I asked with anger.
He smiled, ogling lustfully at me. "Don't you know you're very beautiful?"
I did not answer his thoughtless question.
"I can give you anything and even take you abroad if you want. Just give me your body."
Before I could say anything, he dragged me close to him. He tried to kiss me but I unpredictably gave him a slap. He widened his large eyes, pushed me to the ground. He came down on me as he tried to undressed me roughly. I was screaming but no help came. My animalistic uncle rapidly got up to unbuckle his belt. Without blinking my eyes and the anxiety in me, I gave him a hard kick to his groin. He grunted in pain as I rose up and ran like a horse out of his office without looking back. With the unfortunate experience I had with him, I promised and swore to myself that I would make it in life and make my mother look elegant without begging her brother.
I told my mother that he refused my opinion but I could not tell her what her brother did. It would break her heart to pieces and I knew they were going to be sworn enemies if she knew. He was her only surviving family and my heart was too fragile to tear them apart forever.
After consoling my mom, I gave her dinner. She refused to eat so I had no other choice than to join to eat and force her to have something inside her stomach. We ate together and watched a Bollywood movie before going to bed. As we were about to sleep I turned away to face the other side of the bed without facing her direction. I did not want my mother to see my eyes and face. Tears covered them.
Before I left to my office on Friday in the morning, my mother informed me that she and Melissa planned to see in the afternoon to discuss about the marriage preparations. I also had a meeting with the minister and I took my lawyer along with me. I left there after the meeting and went to the office to review some documents. My phone beeped a call.
“Hector I am finished!” that was the first thing Michael said to me on the phone immediately I answered him.
“What happened?” I asked.
“The secretary to the finance minister called me that my contract with them has been revoked!”
“What!” I acted as if I did not know what he was ranting about. “What contract are you talking about? You did not tell me about it.”
“I wanted it to be a surprise after my payment then I will let you know. I have paid for the cars and it will be in the country next week. I don’t know what is happening to me, someone must be doing this to me.”
“Are you sure you did not offend anyone?” I asked.
“Never!” he uttered. “What will I do? I am not buoyant right now and I do not know what to do. I am in deep mess.”
“Have the police done anything about your missing cars? The 419 case.”
I heard him breath loudly over the phone. “No my brother, the police are very slow. The commissioner promised to do something about it but that is not the case here. I have ordered fifty brand new cars for the minister and I am a fool for not having a written contract because of his past business I have done with him. I need your help Hector.”
“Talk to your father for me. I am so ashamed to let him know about this. He will be very angry at me for not following the main procedure. My trust for the minister has landed me in trouble and I’m so confused to think straight but I will surely get to the bottom of this.”
“Calm down Michael, when the cars arrive, you will still sell them, although it may take time. I promise to buy two cars from you.”
“This is not about buying two cars from me. I am talking about fifty cars of the same brand but with different colors. What we negotiated was five million naira each for a vehicle. Calculate it my brother, I am ashamed of myself. I can’t face your father.”
A wave of regret surrounded me. What I had done to him was beyond what he did to me but I could not change back the hands of time, I had already signed the contract with the minister in the morning before coming to the office and my car dealer has been able to get close to the numbers of vehicles I wanted. I said to him.
“It’s two hundred and fifty million naira.” I said.
“Yes Hector! I can’t go to court because I have no written agreement. What was I thinking? You need to come and see me in my house right now because I am a mess. Please Hector come to my aid.”
“I will be on my way.”
“Can you talk to your father for me?” he asked.
“Michael, dad and I are not in talking terms. I cannot be the one to talk to him about this. You need to let him know yourself.” I said because I knew he was not bold enough to do that in that kind of situation.”
“I understand bro,” he said in a sad tone. “I will call Hope.”
“Okay. I will see you in twenty minutes.” I quickly dropped and called Hope. If Michael was able to talk to her first, she won’t hesitate to call our father and think of a way to help him. She might even persuade him to talk to her husband about taking the case to court, written contract or not. I lied to her that Michael had gotten himself in a dubious deal and it had backfired but he was going to present the case to her as if he is innocent and the victim. That she should look for what to tell him that dad will not be capable of handling the cars situation. I put fear in her that if our dad involved himself, it will put him in trouble in future. Hope assured me she would do as I said.
Hillary dressed in a yellow body hugged blouse with a visible cleavage of her breast. She wore black short skirt, black heels with big round earrings and there was heavy make up on her face. She came out from her hummer jeep and approached the place of work of Peter Jones in the second floor of a building. An argument transpired between her and the secretary. The disagreement between them made Peter rush out from his office to see them.
“What’s going on here?" he asked and was surprised to see his guest.
“Sir, I told her you won’t be able to see her because she does not have an appointment with you.” The female secretary explained the cause of the quarrel.
“Do you know who I am?” Hillary asked her angrily.
He looked at Hillary from head to toe before he spoke. “Please calm down,” Peter said. “She was only trying to do her job. Please follow me to my office.
She hissed at the secretary and eyed her before following Peter.
“I am not happy with you.” She said to him after they entered his office and shut the door. “Why couldn’t you defend me in front of her?”
He sat down. “That’s because I gave her the order to do so. Why didn’t you call before coming? What if I wasn’t around?”
“You can’t even tell me to have my seat,” she said, still standing in a sexy pose. “That’s inappropriate.”
“I apologize, please sit,” he said. “What can I do for you?”
“I came here to beg for forgiveness over my attitude on Wednesday. I’m very sorry for leaving you, Hope and your friend.”
He smiled faintly. “You did not offend me. Have you called your sister?”
“No.” she replied.
“Meaning she’s unaware that you came here?”
He signed. “You should have called to ask her for permission before coming here.”
Shock exploded on her face. “I should ask permission to see my in-law?” she asked. “I can’t believe this, I thought we were family?”
“Of course we are family but you should have told my wife, your sister that you are coming to see her husband. I believe it is the right thing to do.”
“Well, I didn’t know.” she said with animosity. He could notice the anger in her voice. He picked up his phone from the table.
“Don’t tell me you want to call Hope?” she asked curiously.
“Yes. I will put it on loud speaker for the both of us to talk to her.”
Hillary quickly stood on her feet and walked to the door. “I will call her myself. Goodbye Peter.”
“I am not driving you away, we can have lunch together but I have to inform your sister you are with me. Do you have a problem with that?”
“No but I have to be somewhere right now.” She unlocked the door and left.
All Peter did was shook his head and dialed his wife’s number.
I drove down to the abode of my cousin, I saw him in a reckless mood and bottles of beer, cigarettes littered his living room. He was wore a white singlet and blue jean. He sat down on his long sofa stamping his right foot on the floor continuously. Michael, a good-looking man had turned disorganized.
“You don’t need to behave like a mad man to solve this issue.” I said and sat on a single chair. “I know it’s a huge amount of money but you will get it back.”
“When?” he asked me and took a cigarette to smoke.
“I thought you’ve stopped smoking?”
“I started back today.”
I rose, grabbed it from him and put it on the table before I sat back. “What is wrong with you?” I asked.
“This is not the end of the world. I can loan you enough money to sustain yourself before the cars arrive.”
“I don’t want your money.” he said and looked at me. “The restaurant I am managing for your father will sustain me. I called Hope but she said her hands are tied.”
‘Meaning?” I asked him.
“She can’t talk to your father.”
I signed pitifully but it was a relief that she went ahead with my plan. I had deceived her but it saved me from letting him know the truth. It will be a bombshell if he finds out that I was the brain, the master planner of what was happening to him. He will never believe I could do this to him and my sister Hope will be highly disappointed and unhappy with me if she finds out that I lied to her.
“I will surely get to the bottom of this,” he said with so much pain and anguish in his voice. “I don’t care if it will take me years to find out the truth. How can I be duped and my contract cancelled in the same week. This is a set up.”
“Well, all I have to tell you is to take things easy.”
The baboon Ndidi came out from the kitchen. “Hector longest time, how are you?”
I frowned at the heaviness of a human being in front of me. She was putting on a simple top revealing her big arms and a bump short exposing her big legs with visible, heavy stretch marks on her thighs.
I said to her, “I never knew you were around.” I turned to Michael. “What are your plans now?”
He was about to answer me when his phone rang. He picked it up and spoke to the caller for some time. Ndidi gaze fell on me but I ignored her.
Michael rose on his feet and went to his bedroom to wear his corporate clothes. “I have to go see the commissioner. I won’t stay long Hector.”
“Should I follow you?” Ndidi asked him.
“He laid his right hand on her shoulder. “No, please keep Hector company. I am coming back soon.” He dropped his hand and kissed her on her painted red lips.
“Must I wait for you?” I asked him.
“Please do, I still need you around me and today is Friday you can spend the night here.”
“I will not spend the night here because I have to see Melissa tomorrow but I will wait for you to come back.”
“Thanks bro.” He strolled out and left the elephant and me alone. Instead of her to go back to where she belonged, Ndidi came to stand in front of me.
“I don’t trust you,” she said. “I don’t know why I have this feeling you might have a hand in this problem of Michael.”
No words came out from me but I stared at her.
“You are not saying anything right?” she asked.
“What do you want me to say?” I answered her.
“How can you tell your cousin you can’t talk to your father for him? You don’t seem to care about what is going on in his life right now.”
“Don’t you dare mention my father in your mucky mouth and you don’t have a right to interfere in my family affair.”
“But I will be part of your family very soon.”
I laughed at her. “Maybe you will get married to Michael in your next life. I will treat your fuck up because you deserve it. You think I, Hector Ebuka Henshaw will let you marry my cousin? I just pronounced my full name to you and for that, I will show you I am capable of stopping your wedding with Michael. I will prove to him that you are a …”
“A slut.” she interrupted me. “I know that is exactly what you will call me.”
“Wrong.” I said and rose on my feet and looked into her eyes. “I will prove to him that you are a B.I.T.C.H, a bitch. You think you are smart but I will show you I am smarter and a fast thinker. When you came to my office to seduce me and I rejected you, I believed you would be back for a second time. You did but you did not know there was a hidden camera in my office to record you.”
Her eyes sparkled. “You did no such thing.” she said.
I gave a half smile on my lips. “I don’t need to tell you what I am capable of doing. If you do not want to pack your things and leave this house before Michael comes, I will rush back to my office and get the tape. I will not only show your soon to be ex-boyfriend but also upload it on YouTube. Don’t provoke me and don’t make me show the world how shameless you are.”
I no longer saw anger in her but fear. “You really want to break me and Michael’s relationship?”
Ndidi began to cry. “I know what I did was wrong, please forgive me.”
“It is non-negotiable and I believe you don’t belong to Michael. Get lost!”
“You are heartless!!” she screamed at me. “You don’t have a heart, that is why you can never love someone and no one will love you.”
“I have my family and Mellissa and that is enough for me.”
She wiped away tears off her face angrily. “You lie! I know you have your family’s love but no woman will give you the love you deserve. I heard you and Melissa would be getting married soon and I am happy. You know why?”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because you will never be happy,” she said. “Your marriage will be hell on earth. You will be with a woman you do not love, a woman you can never share your heart with. How can you share what you don’t have?”
“I can see you are upset about this, Hector a man like you is scared of being alone. You are afraid no one will love you like the way you want and you will never experience what love is. What a disgrace!”
“Pack your things and leave this house. I give you five minutes.”
“I will leave but find something to tell Michael.”
“I will!” Ndidi walked inside the house and came out after some minutes with a small travelling bag.
“Hector.” she called my name as she reached the entrance door.
“What?” I asked and turned to her direction.
“I know you have a lot of money, connections, investments, your father’s Company but you will never have eternal love. However, if, maybe miraculously you find someone, I will make sure I come back and put an end to it. I know if you find a woman who you love and loves you back, you will never want to let go of that person, you will make sure that woman becomes yours, but I will tear you and her apart! I will destroy what you have always wished for.”
“And what do you think I have always wished for because I have everything I want.”
“Happiness.” she said and sauntered out of the house.
All I could think of was to smash my fist on the wall!!
To be continued….very soon ..lol