“Incredible,” Marcus stated. “They must have been acting that way because of your prestige. The twins could even be scared your mother might give everything to you.”
“But I doubt that. She would never do that to them. She truly loved them.”
“I know. They were probably naïve, scared and ambiguous of your mother’s actions. Remember blood is thicker than water.”
“My mother didn’t see it that way. I didn’t see it that way.”
“Where is your mother at the moment?”
Olivia inhaled and exhaled. She bowed her head, shook it and smiled painfully, no response from her.
He stared at her concerned. “Miss King, are you okay.”
Olivia looked at him directly. She quickly stood and grabbed her handbag. “I have to go.”
Marcus dropped the note and pen, stood and moved a few steps towards her direction. “What is it?”
“I can no longer continue.”
“Did I say something wrong?”
“I have to go. I can’t continue this anymore.”
He tried to think of what he said that might have gone wrong. “Wasn’t I supposed to ask of your mom?”
Her lips trembled as her eyes fell on him. “I will call you.”
The moment she walked out of his office, Marcus pondered that the mention of asking her where her mother was must have triggered Olivia. He felt something bad happened and he would do anything to hear the whole story and help her find happiness again.
His wife saw Olivia coming out. She was watching a Bollywood movie and paused it before she questioned.
“Are you going now?” She intended to invite her for dinner.
Olivia halted and faced her despite looking nervous. She feared it might lead to a panic attack if she stayed longer.
“Yes, I have to go now.” She quickly turned to the direction of the entrance. She didn’t walk. Olivia ran out of the door. Thank God for the cab she boarded, she had an agreement for the driver to wait. She entered the taxi and ordered.
“Please take me back to the hotel.”
“Okay, ma.” The cabman said and turned on the ignition.
I returned to my hotel room and had a quick shower. Marcus asking me where my mother was hit me hard! It brought back an awful memory and remembering the incident made me sick in the stomach. I had to leave so that I can think.
Earlier before I went to see my new therapist, Andy Akunna came to see me as requested. I gave him two thousand dollars to change for me. I could see how surprised he was giving him such an amount. He could run with the money and he could return with it. I wanted to test him.
Two hours later, he came back with the cash in naira notes and a new sim. I took his phone number in case I needed to see him urgently. I told Andy I would get back with him later. He didn’t complain or ask for money, he left humbly. Now, after I rested for a few minutes to calm myself, I called Andy.
“You are a patient man Andy Akunna,” I said to him the moment he came in and greeted me.
“Thank you ma.”
“Do you know how to drive?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Do you love your job?”
He hesitated before he responded. “Yes, ma.”
“I need to buy a car and I want you to drive me around for a few days. What if I tell you to resign and work for me?”
Andy stared at me confused, thinking of what to say.
“You are not going to regret it. I will pay you generously.”
“But you said I would drive you for only a few days.”
“Yes. You will also be my personal assistant. I will call whenever I need you but expect a monthly payment.”
He kept quiet for a short while before he spoke. “I am ready. I will work for you.” He said in excitement.
“I hope I can trust you.”
“You can. I told you I am the one taking care of my mother. She is on medication.”
“Is she sick?”
“She is diabetic.”
I smiled at him. “I am ready to pay for your mother’s medication if you never betray me.”
He widened his eyes in surprise and he smiled gleefully. “I would never do anything to jeopardize what you are about to do for me. No one has done that, not even her family. I will never betray you, Miss King.”
“Well, you can inform your mother about the good news. She doesn’t need to worry.”
“Yes!” Andy jumped excitedly and it made me laugh.
That laugh made me realize I can be happy, but when? When will I finally have peace? When will I find love? Will I ever get to meet the love of my life?
“I will tender my resignation immediately.” His voice brought me back from my thoughts.
“No problem. We will go out tomorrow. I hope you know where I can buy a car.”
“Yes, ma. We will board a cab there.”
“I have to go to a bank for a transaction first. We will leave as early as seven-thirty in the morning.”
I dipped my hand into my handbag and brought out some cash. I didn’t bother to count it. I just handed it over to him, and Andy couldn’t hide the surprise in his eyes when I informed it was for his services he rendered to me. He thanked me repeatedly until I ordered him out of my room. Andy was happy. I was happy for him; at least my benevolence would bring a smile to a woman, his mother.
I ordered for a quick dinner, I couldn’t even finish it. Marcus Dotun called my number several times but I chose not to answer. I sent him a text, promised I would call him the next day, maybe in the evening.
I had a chilled drink, took some sleeping pills before I kissed the night goodbye.
The following morning, I met Andy outside. He was already with an Uber, he wanted to carry my bag, I refused. I employed an assistant, not a slave. I informed the driver of where he would take us for the day. He drove to the bank where I did some transactions. I spend close to two hours there. I had to open a savings and current account, wait for the account numbers, transfer some money into them and change some dollars and pounds. The manager promised I would get my credit cards the next day. I needed it urgently.
After that, we went to a car shop, and I couldn’t make a choice. I wanted an expensive and sophisticated car but Andy advised I should buy an affordable one for the main time to avoid prying eyes. He didn’t want people to suspect I just arrived from another man's land. I thought briefly about it, he was damn right. I finally made up my mind and bought a Toyota Venza. Though quite costly but not as the one that caught my eyes, a Cadillac.
I bought my car, paid the cabman, and Andy drove to where I would get my plate number and necessary documents to avoid Nigerian police. It was impossible to get them that same day, so I paid extra for them to be fast about it. That extra was obviously a bribe but I hated delay. In a few days, I would receive them including my driver’s license.
Andy and I went to an eatery and ate a late lunch. On our way to the hotel, I told me to take me to where the Ark City was. It was an estate built totally from others, a one of a kind.
“Miss King, that place is like paradise.” He said to me with a wide smile. “We can’t drive inside the place. I believe there is a procedure for that.”
I managed to smile. “I read about it on the internet. Has anyone managed to know the owner?”
“Not at all. No one knows. The owner remains anonymous.”
“If I may ask, why do you want to see the place if you can’t go inside?”
“Take me there, Andy,” I said commandingly.
He didn’t bother to question me again, the sound of my voice expressed exactly what I wanted. We arrived there in forty minutes, he alighted opposite it, and indeed, it was a beautiful, magnificent and exquisite view despite not exploring inside. It had two security houses on the left and right sides. The gate was unique.
I needed to plot, strategize as fast as possible. “Take me to the hotel.”
Andy drove in silence. When he saw my eyes from the rear mirror, he could tell I didn’t want to be disturbed. We arrived quite late because of the traffic. Andy parked the car, gave me my keys and went home. I motioned to my room to lie on my bed. No need for dinner, I had lost appetite. I was about to have a shower when my phone rang. I didn’t pick, I just sent him a text saying – I would finish my story. Expect me in two days at noon.
He replied by giving me a task. He asked me to write five things that would make me happy and I must read them out for him during our next session. Before I slept, I sat down with a pen and a paper. I tried to think of what to write and just one thing came into my mind.
The next day, Andy drove me around a part of Lagos City. We shopped, I bought a few things for him and his mom. We ate and visited the museum. I noticed how Andy felt. He couldn’t stop grinning, acting as if he had won a jackpot. To me, he was a lucky fella. He had the grace of God. It was a good day for him.
The day I was supposed to see Marcus, I canceled our appointment for the next day. I was unable to finish his task. I also wanted to get my license and the other necessary official papers.
When the day and time came for me to see my therapist, Andy drove me as usual. Marcus' wife welcomed us, offered drinks and snacks but I graciously declined. Not surprised, Andy accepted. He loved food and wasn’t ashamed to say yes to what she offered him.
Marcus Dotun shook my hand with a smile and offered me a seat opposite him in his office. This time, he wasn’t holding a pen and jotter but he used his recorder.
“Were you able to write the five things that would make you happy?” He inquired.
“No. I was able to write two things.” I said disappointedly.
“You don’t have to be sad about it. You did well. Kindly say it.”
I took out the paper from my bag to read. “I will be happy when I succeed in my revenge. I will be happy if I fall in love with the right man.”
“Do you want to experience true love?”
“Then why have you closed your heart? If you are always bitter, it would be quite difficult for people to approach you. You rarely smile.”
“I have to stay bitter. I have not gotten what I want. I must accomplish my mission here.”
“What if you don’t?”
“I will never be happy. Never!”
“Now finish your story so that I can sympathize with you. I have to understand what you passed through, Miss King.”
I had to take a slow and deep breath before I could speak. “After I found out about my adopted siblings, she removed some documents of a land from the wardrobe and gave it to me.”
“Mom, why are you giving me these documents?” Olivia asked her mother.
“I am currently broke,” Elena said. “But I will bounce back soon.”
“How? I don’t understand.”
“I used my savings to purchase a land. A very huge land. The governor of the state wanted to acquire it but I bought it first. I want to build something marvellous there. I am thinking of collecting a loan from Chief Douglas Ogbonna.”
Douglas was an old classmate and an old friend of Elena.
“Will he give you the loan?”
“He would but he needs time. He is planning to travel when he returns we will have a meeting. I asked for a huge amount. I want to start the foundation.”
“What do you intend to build?”
She smiled cheerfully. “An estate, a unique one. I will build houses with elevators, different kinds of apartments. There would be a school there, a playground for kids, a supermarket, saloon, and a clinic, if possible an eatery… See, people who would live there don’t have to drive out to get what they want. They will get it around their vicinity. There is a part where you can even see the ocean. Houses I would build around that site will be expensive to acquire. I guess people who love water would acquire the properties there.”
“Mom, it’s a great idea! You need a lot of money for that.”
“I told you.”
“So why are you giving me?”
“I am going to share my properties equally for my children.” Elena pointed at the documents. “This is yours only. I want you to keep it safe, not even in this house. I also don’t want to have the urge to sell it in case I am desperate to get money for other things.”
Olivia stared at her mother in shock. “Mom, I don’t know what to say.”
“Say you will guide these documents with your heart, I am not getting younger. One day you will be in charge of this estate. I would call it The Empire City.”
“Wow! I love the name.” She hugged her mother tightly. “Thank you, mom, for believing in me. I promise never to fail you. I will guide it with my life. It will be my treasure.”
“Chief Douglas knows my plan and he believes I can do it.”
“I believe you can, mom.” Olivia released herself from the embrace. “I love you.”
“I love you, Sade Olivia Badmus.”
BACK TO PRESENT:
“Where did you keep the documents?” Marcus asked me.
“I kept it safe. I kept it in the bank.”
“So what happened next?”
“For a few days, Naomi started to ask for money from my mother. When she could give her, they started to quarrel. They had arguments. I wanted to leave that house that period. My mom refused to tell her she was having a financial problem. On a particular day, we knew my mother was going to a wedding ceremony. She had received the invitation a few weeks ago. She planned to drive herself. Her driver was on leave. On her way there, I called her in front of Naomi, Nelly, and Nelson. I called to ask…” I couldn’t finish my sentence. I couldn’t hold back the tears, it rushed down my cheeks.
Marcus gave me a handkerchief and I wiped the tears away. He sat back and asked if I could continue. I nodded even though my body trembled.
“I called to ask her if she could get me a bowl of ice cream when she was returning, she laughed. Then suddenly my mom started screaming. In a few seconds, I didn’t hear a sound. I told my siblings something was wrong. They didn’t believe me. I panicked, called her number several times but it wasn’t going anymore. I had to wait with my heart in my hand. I was scared to my bones.”
“Something bad had happened to your mother,” Marcus said.
Even though tears began to drip from my eyes, I didn’t want to stop crying. I threw the handkerchief away, nodded my head and looked straight into his inquiring eyes.
I spoke with tears all over my face. “A few hours later, Nelly received a call from a hospital. My mom had been involved in a fatal accident. Dr. Marcus Dotun, she died. My mom died on the spot. I barely recognized my mother when I saw her at the hospital!”
To be continued....