“I am so sorry chairman.” Weyinmi said in a sober tone.“Don’t you ever in your life call me chairman,” he said. “Do you want to give me a heart attack? I gave you a simple task and all you could do is to fail me.”
“I am so sorry.”
“Have you gone to the hospital to check on her mother?”
“She has been discharged and nowhere to be found.”
“Oh my God!!”
“Please calm down.” he said to Hector.
“Don’t tell me to calm down! I can never be calm. Have you tried her phone number?”
“There is something else I need to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“I think Michael is involved.”
Hector made a face. “Michael?” he asked surprised. “How is he connected to this?”
“An informant told me he saw the two of them at a public garden few days ago.”
“The one you do go to with your sister.”
He widened his eyes. “That’s impossible!“
“I am sorry, it is boss.”
He pressed his lips and sighed. “Have you seen Michael?”
“I have not seen him ever since he came back from the village.”
“Did you tell him about the contract I took from him?” he asked Weyinmi.
“Not at all! I can never do that to you,” he said. “I know how much you paid me.”
“But you love money and Michael could have offered you more.”
“Michael cannot pay me like you do and I don’t need your money anymore. I just want to help you find Renee. We are talking about your heart. I know you are getting married soon but Renee’s safety is your priority and happiness.”
“I have to find Renee and tell her the truth about why I have to marry Melissa.”
“What about Melissa?” Weyinmi asked. “Don’t forget her threat.”
Hector took a deep breath. “I will beg Melissa to allow me see her. I will go ahead with the wedding.”
“When last did you see Michael?”
“I saw him once and that was the day he came back from the village with my family.”
“He’s not in his house and his phone number is unreachable, even his car garage has been shut down. I don’t know what he is up to and Renee’s bodyguard was dismissed.”
Hector tightened his face. “I want you to get a very good private investigator, in fact locate the best. I don’t care any amount, I want to see Renee.”
“I will get a private investigator to look for Renee.”
Hector cut the call, walked away from his table, and dialed her number. It was switched off, he smashed his phone on the wall out of anger and frustration. He broke down and cried.
“Are you sure we are safe with Hector’s cousin here?” Mrs. Alice asked her daughter in a hotel room they lodged. She was resting on the bed.
“I don’t trust anyone anymore,” said Renee, her eyes were tender and she had lost some weight. The ring was no longer on her finger. “I cannot trust anyone again.”
“Don’t talk like this,” she said. “Please my daughter.”
“Mummy what do you expect me to say?” she asked glumly. “The man I gave my heart has abandoned me. He did not only do that but lied to me. I am heartbroken and angry.”
“Maybe you two were never meant to be together.”
Renee turned to look into her mother’s eyes. “I am pregnant!” she said and burst into cracking sobs.
“Lord have mercy!” she said shocked at the news. She put her two hands on her head. “I am finished!”
“Hector is getting married soon, I believe next week to Melissa.”
Her mother could not say anything more but weep.
She walked and stood beside her mother. “You don’t have to cry mother. Please stop, consider your health.”
“How can I consider my health when my daughter is not happy? You have not been eating and you have to because of the pregnancy.”
“I don’t have appetite.”
“You have to eat for the sake of your child, please.”
Renee moved away and sat down on a chair. “I will try.”
“Please do,” she said and wiped tears from her face. “Why did we have to come here with Michael?”
“He wants to take Hector to court and show me off with him by his side.”
Mrs. Alice widened her eyes and carefully sat down on the bed. “Did you agree to that?”
Renee swallowed, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She opened her eyes and looked at her mom. “I am still thinking about it.”
“Don’t do it.”
Renee stood up. “Mum I am angry, saddened, helpless, hopeless and tormented that I can never be with the man I love. It hurts so much that whenever I remember him which I always do, I cry and I also smile just the thought of the happy moments I spent with him.” Tears swelled up in her eyes and began rolling down her cheeks.
“I am so sorry my daughter.”
Renee could not stop crying.
Her mother stood to hug her. “Please, consider your baby. You should be happy you have received the employment letter from the company. You have a good job now.”
“I don’t want the job but Hector.”
“It is okay my dearest. We don’t even know the true story because Hector is yet to say anything.”
“But he is getting married.” She released herself from her mother's arms.
Her mother heaves a sigh. “I am confused.”
“I am not confuse but heartbroken.” A knock came at their door. “Who is that?”
Mrs. Alice tapped her daughter’s hand to get her attention. She stared at her mother. “Whatever he says, think before you talk and make a decision that you think will make you happy.”
“Thanks mom.” She walked to the door and opened it. Michael entered with his hands jam-packed with comestibles.”
“Good afternoon Mrs. Alice.” He greeted her.
“Welcome Hect…sorry Michael.”
Michael frowned and adjusted a smile. He dropped down the things he bought on the table and faced the direction of Renee.
“I need to talk to you privately.” he said faintly.
“You can tell me anything here.”
“What about your mother?”
“Pretend as if she’s not here.” Renee said. “I will still tell her whatever we discuss.”
He sighed. “I will be sending a message to Hector through Felix very soon.”
“What message?” she asked in a terrified tone.
“That I know the truth, go to court and collect what’s rightfully mine.”
“Going to court will cause a rift between you two,” she said. “The best thing for you to do is go and talk with him about it. He will understand.”
“It seems you are not over Hector and you still believe he is a good person.”
“I can never get over Hector, I can never forget about him. He’s the father of my unborn child.”
“But I will be a father to the baby.”
“About that,” she said. “I will take care of my child myself and I don’t need to stand with you when you go to court.”
“Why?” he asked surprised.
“Love is blind and I cannot hurt Hector.”
“But he hurt and deserted you.” he said with anger in his voice.
“I just want to be on my own.” Renee said. “I have been given a job at an oil company as an accountant and I am to resume next two weeks.”
“You want to live in the same state with Hector?”
“It’s a big place and we might never come across each other again.”
Michael looked into her eyes. “I really want us to be together as a couple, don’t turn me down.”
“I am sorry, I can never be with you.”
His phone began to ring and the sight of the caller Id made him frown. He picked the call.
“I will call you when I am less busy.” Michael said on the phone. He waited to listen to what the person was saying and later spoke. “I will call you later for us to discuss more, please give me time and don’t be greedy.” He cut the call.
“I hope there’s no problem?” she asked.
He shook his head. “There is nothing to be worried about.”
“I am begging you, just do this for me.” Hector said to Melissa in her office.
“No.” she replied.
“I will not discuss anything with Renee, I just want to see her.”
“I said no!”
“We are still going to get married,” he said. “When the private investigator finds Renee I really want to talk to her.”
“I will never agree to that.” Melissa said. “Go home and sleep, please!”
She rolled her eyes. “Maybe if you give me a hot kiss, I might agree for you to see her.”
“You might agree?”
“If the kiss is hot.”
He shook his head and walked out on her.
Ebube knocked on Hector’s bedroom door and he asked her to come in. She entered and fell on her knees. He was surprised at her gesture despite being in a drunk state. His eyes were red.
“Why are you on your knees?” he asked.
“I came here to thank you for everything you have done for me. I passed my exams.”
He widened his eyes. “You have written your exams?”
“How come I did not know about it?”
“It’s because of the situation that has been happening sir.”
“Please stand up.” he said and smiled. “I am proud of you.”
Ebube rose on her feet. “Thank you sir.”
“You can go.”
She wanted to turn her back but hesitated.
“Anything else?” he asked.
“Can you give me the permission to talk sir?”
“Say whatever you like, these days I don’t care what people say.”
She began to cry.
He opened his mouth. “Why are you crying?”
“I am sorry for what is happening to you. I am praying that you will not marry Aunty Melissa. You are no longer the boss I used to know. I even prefer when you used to insult me than now you don’t care of what anyone does in this house.”
Hector laughed. This was the first time she had seen him laugh after he came back from the burial. He rose and staggered but managed to stand well and walk up to her. “Don’t cry Ebube.”
She wiped her tears.
“I am a sad man and Renee is the only one that can brighten me up.”
“I am a sad man and Renee is the only one that can brighten me up.”
“She will sir.”
“Renee is nowhere to be found.”
Ebube stared at him surprised. She swallowed and spoke. “I can help you look for her.”
“I doubt that. I am beginning to feel she has travelled somewhere.”
“But she loves you.”
“I know and I do too but life is unfair to the both of us.”
“I am very sorry.”
“You can go to your room now and congratulations on your exams, I can’t wait to see you in your matriculation gown.”
Ebube managed a smile. “I will pray for you and Renee so that you can be together again.”
“Please do, I will appreciate that.”
She thanked him once again, and walked and opened the door, shut it and left him behind.
Hector sank himself on his bed. He missed Renee tremendously.
“Mom I cannot take it any longer,” Hillary said to her mother in the master’s bedroom.
“What is it?”
“Are you happy that Hector is an unhappy man?”
“He is not unhappy but foolish.”
“I have never seen my brother like this before and I am beginning to get scared.”
“That he might harm himself.” She said in a frightened manner. “Mom you need to act fast and stop the wedding.”
“There is nothing to do.”
“I want my brother back!”
“But he’s at home.”
“That is not what I mean,” Hillary said solemnly. “He has changed and I want the real Hector.”
“Please leave my room and goodnight.”
She frowned at her mother. “Think about your son’s happiness and don’t make a mistake you will regret later.”
“Get out from my room!”
Hillary walked out irritably and banged the door very loud.
(Four days to the wedding)
“I can’t believe this Felix,’ Hector said standing beside his car with Felix and Weyinmi outside his company. “Michael wants to take me to court?”
“I’m afraid yes.”
“Michael could not tell me he knew he was my brother?”
“Why didn’t you tell him?” Felix asked.
“I never knew about it, in fact it was recently I knew Michael was not my cousin but my brother. My father cheated on my mother with her younger sister. Anyways, I can give him what he wants.”
“He wants half.”
“You are joking.”
“I am serious.” Felix said.”
Hector shook his head. “He can take me to court.”
“Not only will I take you to court,” Michael said behind the three men and he walked closer to them. “I will take your woman.”
“You can have Melissa, who cares.”
“I am talking about Renee!”
“How dare you utter her name and is it really true you are in contact with her?”
“She is with me and we are going to be together.”
“That’s a big lie!” His eyes turned murder. “Renee will never betray me!”
“And what did you do to her?”
“Is not what you think!”
“I want half of everything,” Michael said. “I have endured enough.”
“I am ready to give you the filling station in Ibadan and two restaurants. I told my father to give them to you but he declined.”
“He was also my father!”
“But he never called you his son to your face.”
Michael was breathing out loud. His heartbeat pumping out. “I want half of everything!”
“You will give it to me.”
Felix and Weyinmi pleaded with them to calm down but they bluffed him off.
“You should be ashamed that your mother slept with her husband’s sister. How could your mother lay very cheap for my father after what my mother did for her?”
“Don’t you dare call my mother into this!”
“Where is Renee?”
“I will never tell you.”
“Your mother was a low-priced prostitute.”
Michael ran and threw himself at Hector and they began to fight. Hector pounce a big blow to Michael’s left cheek and blood gushed out from his mouth. Weyinmi and Felix raised Hector away from him and with that opportunity he gave Hector a blow to the stomach. Hector closed his eyes out of pain and he opened his eyes and quickly gave Michael a kick on the chest with his right leg. Weyinmi finally pulled the two of them away from each other.
“You two are brothers and should not be fighting.” Weyinmi said.
Michael rose up, cleaned the blood from his mouth, and pointed at him. “Shut up you this traitor. You are the reason Hector took that contract from me.”
He looked away from his face.
“Look at me!”
“Leave Weyinmi out of this,” Hector said. “And tell me where Renee is!”
Michael turned to his direction. “She does not want to see you.”
“I don’t believe you!!”
“Take it or leave, Renee is mine!”
“I want the two of you to stop behaving like children and settle this amicably.” Felix said and glanced at Hector. “You are in the premises of your company, it is an insult and a disgrace to let your employees see you like this.”
“I don’t care!”
“You don’t have to care because you are their boss but respect is reciprocal. You need to act like a gentleman.”
“Then ask him where Renee is.”
“She does not want to see you Hector,” Michael said. “I will be back after your wedding to take you to court with her as my woman.”
Hector raced towards him furiously but Felix and Weyinmi grabbed him. Michael walked outside to his car and drove off.
Hector forcefully release himself and said to Weyinmi. “I want you to follow him.”
“That is not necessary, the investigator is doing that already and I am sure, this time we will know where he is hiding Renee.”
“What about the wedding?” Felix asked concerned.
“The wedding will go on,” Hector said sorrowfully. “My past is catching up with me and I am paying dearly for it. I have hurt a lot of women in my past, maybe they prayed that I should never be happy and it’s working. The only thing that can stop the wedding is for a miracle to happen.”
(Two days to the Wedding)
Hector was talking on the phone when his office line rang. His secretary informed him Weyinmi and another man was around to see him. He gave her the order to let them in.
Weyinmi knocked and entered into his office with a tall and black man dressed in a brown suit. They shook Hector’s hand and sat down opposite him.
“The private investigator is here to tell you what he has found out.” Weyinmi said.
“Do you know where Renee is?” Hector asked inquisitively.
“Not at all but I am getting close to that sir.”
He grimaced. “So what is more important than that?”
Weyinmi cleared his throat. “You need to be prepared for what is about to tell you,” he said. “I cannot tell you myself because I am totally shocked.”
Hector made a questionable face and looked at the investigator. “What do you want to tell me?”
“When I followed Michael Ike two days ago, he went to meet someone at a hideout,” he said. “That person is a criminal and I was curious to know why he was visiting such a person. An insider told me that the criminal is exhorting money from Michael for a job he did for him.”
Hector stared at him with his eyes and mouth opened. “I don’t understand. The criminal is exhorting money from Michael. What could he have done for Michael?”
“It’s serious Hector.” Weyinmi said.
“Spill it out inspector.”
“Michael paid him to eliminate a woman named Alice Kayode.”
“What!” Hector exclaimed and sprung up from his chair. “How could Michael do such a thing?! What is he trying to do to me?!”
Weyinmi rose on his feet to touch Hector on his left shoulder. “Please relax and calm down.”
Hector flings his hand away. “Don’t tell me to calm down. Michael did it to destabilize and scatter my family! He was there when I accused my mother wrongly. Michael wants to tear my family apart and he might go after that woman again. He did it the first time without succeeding in eliminating her, if there is a second time, Renee’s mother will die.”
Hector shook his head pitifully. “No you don’t. If they go after that woman again, Renee will think my family is after her and that will make her hate me and I do not pray for that to happen.” He sighed loudly. “I have never killed anyone before, Michael will be my first.”
To be continued… on Thursday.