“The doctor in charge of your mother’s operation is in the operating room.” The nurse said to Dakore. “She is aware you want to deposit the sum of three million naira for the operation.”
“Yes. I told nurse Abigail about it. She informed me the doctor was unavailable for me to talk to.”
“Well, the information I received from the doctor is for you to hold the payment.”
Dakore appeared surprised. “Why?”
“The fee for now is 7.2million naira.”
“I am aware of it. I know I will balance the hospital 4.2million naira.”
“The issue is we don’t have any idea when you will come up with the balance. The fee might have increased or your mother’s case could have gotten worse and need the services of surgeons abroad.”
“Are you trying to tell me that my mother is not improving?”
“It is stable for now but we don’t know what could happen that can trigger it to make it worse than this.”
Dakore’s face fell. The nurse touched her and tried to comfort her. Tears hovered her eyes and she wiped it off when it was about to drip down.
“I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say or do right now.”
“Just be patient, you might come up with the full amount soon.”
“Please, let me pay this money and I promise to find the rest before the end of next month.”
“I am sorry.” The lean nurse said.
“What if I can raise the exact amount for the surgery when it is time for the operation?”
“I don’t really know. You should come tomorrow and see the doctor.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
Dakore came back to the room. Her mother had no idea. She was lost in thoughts, thinking deeply.
“Mom…mom…mom.” Dakore called her many times yet no reply. She had to tap her on the arm.
She seemed surprised. “How long have you been here?”
“Long enough to know you are thinking. What is it?”
“It’s a lie and I want the truth right now!”
“What did the nurse talk to you about?”
“Nothing to worry about.” she said with a frown on her face. “I want an explanation why you are thinking!”
Mrs. Roberts took a deep breath and gazed into her daughter’s eyes. “I am thinking about your brother. I hope he is alright wherever he is.”
Dakore’s face changed. She picked up her bag from the chair. “Worry about your health. I am very sure Silas Roberts is enjoying himself by lavishing the money meant for your operation.”
“He is my son, Dakore. I should be worried about him.”
“And he is my brother, my flesh and blood and he betrayed us. I am done worrying about him.” She walked to the door. “Good night mom, I will see you tomorrow.”
“I think you shouldn’t come.”
She raised an eyebrow and looked at her mother who turned her face away. “Why?”
“You need to rest.”
“No way!” Mosun said to her husband after she returned from work. They were on the dining; they had finished eating dinner when Mr. Kingston told her about the call he received from Bayomi.
“What do you mean no way?”
“How could you agree for him to come back after what he did?”
“I didn’t accept. I told him I will think about it.”
“What is the difference? You would have told him no!”
“He is our son.”
“A prodigal son! I expected a lot from him but he turned out to be a disappointment.” She was getting teary. “I wanted him to be the best, to succeed but he did the opposite and I have never regretted loving Bruno more.”
Kingston shook his head and rubbed his chin. “You surprise me whenever you make such statement. Nevertheless, I am proud of you and the relationship you have with Bruno. Bayomi is still our son and we should show him love too.”
“Are you saying you want him back to this house?” Mosun wiped under her eyes with the back of her hands.
“I don’t know. He doesn’t want anything from us.”
Mosun peered into his hard eyes. “So what does he want?”
“He wants to be close to us.”
“He can be coming for weekends, not stay here permanently. He should go and get married and have his own family! I am old enough to have grandkids!”
Kingston stayed silent.
“Won’t you say anything?”
“There is nothing for me to say, Mosun. I want you to be rest assured that Bayomi won’t move into this house until Bruno moves in with us.”
“You want Bruno to move in with us?” She asked in an astonished tone.
“I thought you were not really in support of it.”
“Well, I wasn’t but I think it’s a good idea.” Kingston jagged a finger at her. “I want you not to push him. Just relax, he will move in with us.”
“How do you know that?”
“I said relax.” Kingston said in a stable tone. “Leave that to me and I promise you, Bruno will definitely move in with us.”
Two days later, at 3:45pm, Bruno came out from the office and saw Dakore sitting and pressing her phone. She looked up and quickly stood. She sauntered towards him.
“Are we going out sir?”
“We are not going out together anymore.” Bruno responded. “You can go home because I don’t need you again for today. I have plans with my girlfriend, I won’t be going home now.”
“Oh, okay sir.”
He stared at Jimoh. “If there is any message for me, send Miss. Roberts an email about it. She will give me the reports tomorrow.”
Bruno passed Dakore without saying anything to her. She looked at him as he walked out of her sight. Jimoh was staring directly at her.
“Is there anything you want to tell the boss?”
His question startled her. “Oh no, not at all!”
“Are you sure because it seems there is something you want to say to him.”
Dakore moved closer to his desk and balanced her right hand on it. “There is absolutely nothing I want to say to him.”
She glanced at her wristwatch. “I will leave soon. I want to go out before I check on my mom.”
“This is an opportunity to go and see your boyfriend.”
She chuckled playfully. “I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“What does not having a boyfriend got to do with the affairs of this company?” Bruno being there made them nervous. They had no idea he was back at the reception. He strolled at the direction of his door.
Jimoh quickly rose. “Nothing sir. We are sorry sir.”
“I’m very sorry sir.” Dakore said with her eyes on the floor. She was shy to look at Bruno in his eyes.
“I forgot one of my phones.” Bruno said, entered and came out. He left their premises without uttering a single word to them.
“I hope he is not upset?” Dakore asked Jimoh.
“I don’t really know until we see how he reacts to us tomorrow.”
Dakore inhaled in and out, stayed muted for few minutes before she grabbed her handbag and notified Jimoh she was leaving.
“Are you trying to tell me you don’t know where Bruno is going to?” Bayomi questioned Uchenna on the phone. She called to inform him Bruno left the office early without his personal assistant.
“I have no clue.” She said. “I went to check on his P.A but the secretary told me she left few minutes ago.” The other office assistant wasn’t in the office with her.
“You are not smart!”
“Don’t shout at me, Bayomi. I have tried my best but it seems you don’t value me.”
“It is not that I don’t value you, it’s just that you haven’t tried. Your best is not good enough! If you do not have anything reasonable to tell me, don’t call.”
“I thought it was important for you to know. I want to see you tonight.”
“I am not in the mood to see anyone.”
Uchenna wore a sad look. “If you say so. Have you heard from your father?”
“Is it about me moving back to the house?”
Bayomi replied. “He said he will think about it. I will call you later.” He speedily ended the call.
“I have offered you almost all the snacks in my shop yet you refused.” Nneka said to Dakore. “What is going on?”
“I don’t feel like drinking anything.”
“Are you still upset about what you told me on the phone?”
She shrugged and kept quiet.
“If the doctor feels you should pay the money in full, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Just don’t touch the money in your account and when you have the balance, you pay for the surgery. I only hope the money won’t be increased later.”
“I hope so too.”
“So you can finally talk. What is it?”
A customer came to buy some provisions and left.
“What is it, Dakore,” Nneka asked her. “Please, talk to me.”
“I just don’t know how I will raise the balance.”
“Are you not telling your boss about it?”
“How can I tell my boss when he doesn’t even care about my personal life? I am only waiting for him to ask me about my mother’s health.”
“Does he know?” Nneka enquired.
“I told him during the interview.” Dakore replied.
“Someone as bossy as him must have forgotten. You need to remind him and if he is nice as you say, he might assist you with the balance. I only need you to be strong for your mother and please, do not judge her for worrying about your brother.”
“I doubt if that is really what’s getting my mom worried.”
“Is there anything else?”
“Yes. There’s something bothering my mom and she doesn’t want to tell me. If not for her condition, I would have forced it out of her mouth. I will only give her time. When I am ready, there is no way she won’t tell me.”
“Are you enjoying your food?” Tracy asked Bruno as they ate.
As long as he was fed up of the relationship and he didn’t have new strategy to end the affair, the food tasted sour in his mouth.
Bruno flashed his teeth at her. “It’s delicious.” He drank from his wine. The only thing he enjoyed at that moment.
She grinned and took a bite from her barbecued spicy chicken. “Don’t forget the date has been fixed for the cocktail party.”
“I am aware. We will attend together.”
Her face beamed. “Good. I can’t wait for everyone to see our relationship is getting strong. I don’t think you know how many girls are jealous of me because I have you all to myself.”
“Oh yes! They want to be in my shoes.”
He chuckled, and focused on his meal. He ate little and drank more wine.
“When am I meeting your parents?”
Bruno got stunned; he almost poured the wine on his body. He started to cough.
“Are you okay?” Tracy asked him.
He cleared his throat. “I am very fine, thank you.” he drop the glass and glanced at her. “My parents went for vacation and right now they don’t know when they are coming back. Whenever they come back, I will let you know.”
“We could travel to surprise them.”
“My mother does not like surprises and my dad won’t be pleased. The company is in my care, I can’t leave it for long.”
“Just let me know when they get back.”
Bruno only nodded and concentrated on his meal.
Dakore arrived at Bruno’s home the next morning at 7:30am. Her normal time was 7am. Bruno had finished eating his breakfast and ready to leave. Dakore told the chef she had eaten. When she greeted Bruno, he responded as he usually did. As the got to his car, he turned to her and questioned.
“Why did you come late?”
“I met traffic on my way here.” Yesterday, she didn’t leave Nneka’s shop on time. She saw her mother briefly and that made her to sleep late at the motel. She didn’t wake up on time.
He opened the door and she went to the passenger’s side and entered.
“Do I have any message?” He wasn’t looking at her.
Her eyes fell on him. “Yes sir. On my way here, I read the mail Jimoh sent me. You have to meet with the managing director of Petol’s industries by 3pm. A certain doctor called to ask for your number. Jimoh needs your permission to give him.”
“Did he not tell you the name of the doctor?”
“Doctor Roland. He said he lost your phone numbers but still had the office number.”
“I know him. Collect his number from Jimoh. I will call him myself next tomorrow.”
“Okay sir. This is a reminder. You have dinner with the owner of Mandy’s Care Baby Centre.”
“Tell Jimoh to cancel it. I just found out that she and her husband are separated. She is not divorced.”
“The accountant will see you by 1:30pm for a quick meeting.”
“Okay, I remember. You will be there with me in the office.”
“Yes sir. That’s all for today.”
Bruno threw his glance at her face. “I have been thinking. Since you are not married and don’t have a boyfriend, maybe you should move in with me.”
Dakore’s eyes were amazed.
He continued. “You will be allowed to go home every weekend if you like. I got home late yesterday and I thought about an NGO my father and I are thinking of opening. I wanted you to come and look at it and tell me what you think but I felt your life would be at risk coming here at night.”
“Can I look at it?”
“Not today,” He turned on the ignition. “It will be another time when I am less busy. We will sit together and discuss about it. About moving in with me, it might happen soon. You will have a room to yourself.”
Dakore rubbed the back of her left ear and smiled lightly. “Okay sir.”
“Can you imagine the nonsense that trash did?!” Austin Egbe uttered the moment he burst into Caroline’s office.
Caroline stopped writing and dropped her pen on the document. She looked at him baffled. “Which trash are you talking about?”
“Dakore Roberts.” He replied in a lowered tone.
“Is that why you couldn’t knock on my door?”
“I couldn’t wait!” He sat down opposite her.
She relaxed her arms on the desk. “What did she do?”
“The company is in need of new desktops and other equipment’s which we have negotiated with the person to provide the items. I am supposed to transfer the money but before then, Mr. Bruno has to sign the documents for the total amount and give me permission to proceed. You won’t believe that bitch made a suggestion that she should cross check it before he signs on it.”
“And what did almighty Bruno say?”
“He agreed of course! He said it was a good idea! What do you expect him to say when he is the master to a dog!”
“Just because he calls her his bingo does not give you the right to call her such a name. If he hears such….”
“What will he do?” Austin asked in an annoyed tone. “Sack me because of her?”
Caroline sighed. “I don’t know if he will sack you but he is likely to do something you won’t like. You think she doesn’t upset me too? I have been trying very hard to pretend to like her. I have tolerated and I will continue to do so until I am able to bring down this company.”
“When do we start?” Austin questioned.
“Dakore is really helping Bruno monitoring the office activities but it won’t last long. She will surely get tired and the way he is treating her, he might lose her.”
“That will be better!”
“It will be better but we don’t know what’s on her mind. I have to be able to gather her trust for me to know Bruno’s plans. I manage this company now and I can destroy it. I will only tell you to start transferring funds from the company’s account to an account where it will be difficult for anyone to trace.”
“Mr. Bruno rarely asks for the details of the account except when he need huge amount of money but recently he asked for it.”
Caroline’s eyes enlarged. “Really?”
“Yes. I didn’t want to disturb you about it. I manage to escape because I didn’t do anything fraudulent with the account.”
“It’s definitely Dakore’s idea for him to ask for the details of the account without giving you a notice. What is on that girl’s mind? That girl doesn’t know who she is dealing with.”
“About transferring the funds, that has to wait for now.”
“I understand but if you want to do it, you have to transfer the money little by little.”
“I know.” Austin said.
“I am thinking of convincing some of my old friends, some guys to disguise themselves as business investors. I want them to meet Bruno, offer him a deal to work with them and dupe him.”
“You have to be careful about it.”
“I know. With Dakore by his side always, I have to be very careful. If I am able to contact them and they agree, I will let you know.”
He smiled. “No problem. I will also think of other ways.”
“Good. Are we still having dinner before you go home to meet your family?”
Austin grinned. “I can tell you are jealous.” he rose, went to her side and placed his hand on her shoulder. “I am sorry, my wife is expecting her elder brother. I have to go home early.”
She pushed his hand away, and hissed. “Why didn’t you tell me on time?”
“My wife informed me this afternoon. I am sorry.”
Caroline picked up her pen and Austin moved to her lips. Dakore knocked and entered and before they could adjust, Dakore had seen him kiss her.
“I’m sorry!” Dakore quickly shut the door and went away.
“I didn’t know she would come here. I am sorry!”
“Just go, just leave me alone!”
“I said I am sorry.” Austin left her.
Caroline hit her left fist on the table in rage.
To be continued on Sunday.