“I am very sorry for her mother,” Mr. Kingston told Bruno after he explained Dakore’s dilemma. There were in his library at home. “I am not surprise her brother sold the house because of what your brother did. Sometimes, not just friends or lovers betray their loved ones, family also do the same thing.”
Bruno heaved a sigh and relaxed his hands on his laps. “I want to give her the 7.2 million naira for the operation. What do you think?”
“What do I think?”
“You don’t need my approval to do that.”
“I know. I just don’t want you to get upset since you already informed me you want to open an NGO for people to remember you when you are gone. It involves the heart. Do I give her the money or we launch the NGO and you make Dakore’s mother the first person you help?”
“Hmmm.” He thought for a moment and nodded his head. “I thought about it too. I just don’t want to get in your way because you want to assist her with the money.”
He removed his hands and gestured his right hand to his dad. “Father, what do you want?”
“Invite her over or is she still a stranger to you?”
Bruno smiled lightly. “No. She’s a friend, that’s why I want to help.”
“Your mother won’t be going to work tomorrow. Is 11am okay by you?”
“I have an appointment with a doctor by that time.”
“Are you sick?” Adebanjo Kingston asked in a worried tone.
“No father. He is a friend but I will cancel it. I will see him another time.”
“We will be expecting you. I can’t wait to meet her.”
“She’s a good person and I never regretted employing her.”
“I’m glad you feel she is a good person.”
He took a deep breath and fixed his eyes on his dad. “I might not talk but I have eyes. I can see she has been monitoring most of my employees at the office. I told my secretary to keep an eye on her. Dakore has no idea I know she and Caroline had an argument. Although, I didn’t ask what it was about because Dakore sorted things out.”
“What could they have been arguing about?”
“I don’t have a clue but Jimoh informed me she saw Dakore entering the accountant’s office before the disagreement.”
“Maybe Caroline thinks Dakore is having an affair with you and she might have eyes on you.”
“No way!” Bruno uttered and stared at him dazed. “I can beat my chest that Caroline is not interested in me. I know I have been distant towards her and she could blame Dakore for that.”
“That’s because ever since I employed Dakore, I gave new rules and regulations. I can’t have an affair with Dakore despite the fact that…” He hesitated and shrugged.
Adebanjo looked closely at his son. “Despite the fact that?”
“Never mind father.”
“And how is your girlfriend or girlfriends?”
“I don’t have a girlfriend for now.” he replied and rose. “I’m not seeing anyone for now.”
Ever since Bruno left the office, Dakore had been wondering about Caroline’s mother. There was something off about her explanation concerning the father of Caroline and the surname. The way the woman looked at Bruno was a bit sensitive. She spoke as if she cared about his wellbeing. She thought thoroughly at the cafeteria where she was served lunch.
Was it even possible that Jessica Obaze was related to Bruno because there was no way she could be his mother. There could never be an explanation for that. And why would Caroline lie it was her mom that was mixed and not her dad or did Jessica have an affair with Bruno's father and the child turned out to be Caroline?
Is that why Caroline look bitter sometimes when she is staring at Bruno? The accountant was untrustworthy and he and Caroline were sleeping with each other. Are they planning something together against Bruno?
Uchenna’s way happened to be skeptical. If really Bayomi turned out to be the mystery man Uchenna was seeing at the hotel, she had to step up and unravel whatever they were conspiring about. Dakore was determined to find out whatever plot anyone was doing in that company. She was eager to do everything she could to keep Bruno safe. She deeply loved Bruno, and keeping him safe was a promise she made to herself. She had to do something fast and getting close to Caroline was the next thing to do.
Her phone beeped. She received a message from Jimoh that Bruno's cousin was around, she quickly finished her meal and was about to leave when she sighted Catherina coming her way. They exchanged pleasantries and sat down.
“Jimoh told me you are here,” Catherina said. “I decided to come here.”
Dakore smiled. “Do I get anything for you?”
“I ate at my uncle’s place. I came to see you personally.”
She appeared puzzled. “I hope I am not in trouble?”
“Of course not.” she responded. “I will not beat around the bush because I am in a hurry to leave. I have appointment in forty-five minutes time. I know what it means to love someone especially if the person you love doesn’t know. I overheard your conversation with your friend. I know you love my cousin.”
“Oh my God.” Dakore murmured and bowed down her head.
Catherina put her hand under Dakore’s chin and lifted her face. “There is nothing to be shy about. I am happy you do because you love him not because of his wealth. That is what I want for him and that’s what his family wants for him too.”
“Please, don’t tell him.”
“I won’t but I will advise you to inform him about your feelings before it is too late. I can’t tell you the details, my uncle, his father is planning something that I am in support of but at the same time, I still feel it might affect you in a wrong way.”
“What is he planning?” She asked curiously.
“It will affect me?”
“I think so because you love Bruno, but I might be exaggerating things. When you know, make a wise decision.” Catherina stood.
Dakore did too. “You are making me nervous.”
“You don’t have to be nervous. You are not in trouble.”
“Are you sure?” Dakore questioned as they motioned towards the entrance.
Dakore escorted Catherina to her car. She got in and smiled at her before she drove off in her Lexus jeep. Dakore went back to the office and moved straight to Caroline’s office. She lied she decided to check on her since she was less busy. Dakore purposely told her Bruno left to see his father. Caroline appeared happy to have Dakore around.
“It’s so nice of you to check on me,” Caroline said. “I think you should do this often.”
“I will.” Dakore turned to leave and paused. She looked at her. “I could visit you at home.”
“That is cool! I will invite you when I am free.”
“You could give me your home address in case I am free too.”
“No problem, just call whenever you are ready to visit.”
Caroline wrote down her address on a sheet, and gave it to Dakore.
The next day, Bruno and Dakore arrived at the appropriate time. Mrs. Mosun remained seated where she was and stared at the both of them. Her husband didn’t tell her why he wanted to speak with Dakore.
“Good morning ma.” Dakore greeted her.
She eyed her from head to toe and spoke. “So you are the one that was rude to me on the phone.”
“Mom, please, don’t start.” Bruno said.
Dakore acted shocked.
He added. “She was not rude to you.”
“Are you saying I am lying?”
“Mosun!” Adebanjo uttered the moment he stepped into the living room.
She glared at him. Dakore saluted him and he responded nicely. He liked her instantly. The cook served them and they ate quietly. After the meal, Adebanjo told Dakore to follow him to the garden. She did.
“Do you have any idea what he wants to discuss with her?” Mosun asked Bruno.
“What is it?”
“Your husband will tell you.” He left her to take a drink from the bar.
Adebanjo and Dakore stood in front of the flowers. He brought out a cigarette and lighter from his pocket and she looked at him stunned.
“Sir, you are sick.”
“Is that what they told you?”
“Sir, you are not supposed to be smoking. Does Bruno know?”
“No.” he returned the cigarette and lighter back and fixed his eyes on her. “I know you love my son.”
“Miss Catherina told you.”
“Yes, she did. I brought you here with me because I have something very important to tell you. Bruno narrated what you passed through and I must applaud you for still working hard to take care of your mother. Some women in your shoes, would have abandoned her or perhaps sleep with numerous men to come up with the money.”
“Thank you sir.” She smiled gently.
“I am ready to give you the amount for the surgery and five million naira to start afresh with a house and a car.”
Dakore widened her eyes in surprise. Her mouth agape. She was too shock to utter a single word.”
“But you have to do one thing for me to give you all these.”
“And what is it?”
“Say yes to my son.”
“Yes?” She asked in a confused tone.
“You might be wondering what his question might be but relax, it will favor you because you love him.”
“I still don’t understand. I don’t want to think you are talking about marriage because your son is not in love with me.”
“If you really love my son, you will say yes to him. Saying yes will save him.”
“Save him from what?”
“You will find out.” Adebanjo smiled widely and turned. “Let’s go inside.”
They went in, but Dakore seemed confused about the whole thing. She didn’t know exactly what Bruno’s father had planned for his son.
“Dad,” Bruno said. “What have you been discussing with Dakore?”
“It’s about her wellbeing. We can’t wait to launch the NGO. Time is no longer on our side. I want to take care of the bills for her mother.”
“What bills?” Mosun asked surprised. She looked at her husband and son. “I have every right to know why both of you invited a stranger into my matrimonial home.”
“She is not a stranger, mom.” Bruno said and moved over to her. “Dakore’s mom is sick. She is at the hospital battling for her life.”
“So? Is that why both of you have been whispering behind my back! Am I so bad that if you had told me I would say no?”
Dakore bowed down her head.
“We didn’t think like that.” Bruno said. “We were going to tell you.”
“So what is the conclusion?”
He stared at his father. “When are you transferring the money into her account for her to make payment?”
“That will be on Thursday.”
“Why not today or tomorrow.”
“I want to see you tomorrow to finalize something’s. My lawyer will be here with me. You have to be here on time.”
“Your lawyer is coming over?”
Dakore looked at Bruno and could tell he sounded worried. Mosun stared blankly at her husband.
“Yes.” Adebanjo replied. “There is nothing to worry about.”
“Okay father.” Bruno flew his eyes at Dakore. “I think it’s time to go back to the office.”
Dakore nodded, rose and stood in front of Mosun. “It was a pleasure meeting you ma.”
She didn’t say anything but looked at her. Dakore smiled at Adebanjo and thanked him for his hospitality. Bruno pecked his mom's chin and promised to call her when he got home in the evening. He escorted them to the car, waived at them as they drove off and went over to the garden to have a smoke. Mosun joined him and appeared upset.
“I think I have to report you to your son for your smoking habit.” She said harshly.
“You better shut your mouth!”
“You didn’t have to shout at me.”
“I have to because you are becoming annoying. How could you treat Dakore that way?”
“I don’t like her.”
“That’s your business but I will advise you to start liking her because very soon, you are likely to be seeing her often.”
“Your son will move into this house soon.”
Mosun was obviously shocked. “How would you do that?”
“When the time comes, you will find out.”
“I don’t like it when you keep me in suspense.”
“I don’t like it when you behave rudely towards Dakore.”
“I do not like seeing her with my son.” She said. “She is spending almost all her time with him.”
“Are you scared he might fall in love with her?” Adebanjo asked her with a grin all over his face.
He erupted into a long laugh.
“This is not a laughing matter. My son will marry a white woman. I will just give him time to think thoroughly about it.”
Adebanjo continued to laugh and all of a sudden, the gleefulness surrounding his face vanished. He ran his eyes at her. “If you become a hindrance in my plan, I will be forced to take Bruno from you. You know I am capable of doing that.”
Mosun’s faced displayed intense anger. “I know exactly what you are talking about. It will affect both of us.”
“But I believe he will still choose me over you.”
“Is that a threat?”
“Call it whatever you like, just leave me alone and allow me smoke my cigarette in peace!”
Mosun marched away in rage.
When Dakore went to visit her mother at the hospital, she could not hide how happy she was. Her mom noticed and requested to know why the sudden mood despite her illness.
Dakore only told her not to worry, that everything would be fine. That she was going to come up with the money for the operation soon.
“Don’t worry mom, you and I will be fine.”
Bruno met with his father and lawyer at the library. They exchanged pleasantries and sat down. Adebanjo explained that the remaining assets he has, he was giving them to Bruno. He only needed his signature on the agreement document. Despite he was still alive, Bruno would control everything apart from his personal bank accounts. They were three copies, one for the lawyer, one for Adebanjo and the other for Bruno.
“Dad, you would have sent the documents to my office and I would sign them and send your copy.” Bruno said. “I am glad you trust me. The company means a lot to me. I will not fail you.”
“That is good to hear my son.”
The lawyer presented the documents and he signed them. He gave his father and the lawyer their own copies, held his own and rose to leave.
“You see why I told you are likely to sell your manhood someday.” Adebanjo told him.
“What is that supposed to mean, father?” he frowned.
“Read what you agreed to.”
Bruno shuddered as he read the document. He was flabbergasted. “This is unacceptable! I will not take it! How could you deceive me?!”
“I didn’t deceive you.”
“What is the meaning of this nonsense!” he began to read it aloud.
1. I, Bruno Kingston agree to marry Dakore Roberts because I believe she is the right choice woman for me.
2. I, Bruno Kingston agree to have a traditional, white and court wedding with Dakore Roberts.
3. I, Bruno Kingston agree to love, respect and treat Dakore right in front of family, friends, neighbors, employees, outsiders and when I am alone with her.
4. After the wedding ceremony, I, Bruno Kingston agree to live with Dakore Kingston in my parent’s house for two years.
5. I, Bruno Kingston can choose to leave my parent’s house before two years if I get my wife pregnant and she delivers a baby boy or girl.
6. I, Bruno Kingston agree not to cheat on Dakore.
If I don’t comply to this agreement in forty eight hours, the company Kingston Petroleum Enterprise will be given to Bayomi Kingston. All other properties owned by Mr. Adebanjo Kingston will be shared between Bayomi and charity organizations after his death.
“Bayomi will destroy the company if I don’t agree to this!” Bruno spat out.
“I don’t care.” his father said. “There is enough money in my bank account to last me even after death. If you like, reject the agreement and you lose everything to your brother.”
“This is blackmail.”
“This is me saving you.”
“Dakore will never marry me.”
“She could say yes.”
“I don’t want to force her to marry me. I don’t love her!”
“Do you agree to the agreement or you lose my wealth to Bayomi?”
“I have achieved a lot and I will get back on my feet if I say no.”
“I don’t care.” He said. “The choice is yours.”
Bruno looked at the document again and heaved a low sigh. He stared at his father. “This is a mistake.” He walked out on them.
In few minutes time, Mosun returned from work early to know the outcome between her husband and son. Adebanjo told her and gave her his own copy of the signed document. Mosun screamed, cried and rained curses at Dakore if she accepted. She begged her husband to show mercy and not allow their son marry Dakore.
“Nothing can change my mind.”
“Bayomi will not take care of your properties like Bruno and you know that.”
“I don’t care.” He rose and walked away.
Bruno drove home and told his chef and housekeeper to leave. He would call them whenever he needed them. They wanted to know if he had sacked them but he told them no.
When they left, he took a glass of scotch to drink. He finished the alcohol and called Dakore. She was expecting him back at the office. He ordered to come over to his house.
Dakore was scared. Bruno sounded upset on the phone. She informed Jimoh and took a taxi to Bruno’s abode. She met him seated on a sofa, appearing miserable. He gave her the key to his car and told her to check the pigeonhole and get a small box. She did as he requested and returned with it. She extended the box to him and he refused to take it.
“Hold it.” He said.
He stretched the document to her and she took it from him. “I want you to read it carefully and if you say yes, you can open the box. If you say no, I won’t blame you.”
Dakore read the document. She was speechless. It occurred to her what Catherina said about Bruno’s father planning something that she was in support of but at the same time, she felt it might affect her in a wrong way. It would because she loved Bruno and nothing could change it not even his mother.
She opened the box and saw the ring. Bruno was very shocked. He had tears coming from his eyes.
“You would marry me just to save me from losing everything?”
“Yes, I would.” Tears hovered around her eyes. She narrated what his father told her he would give her if she said yes to him. “I don’t want them. Just tell me you would give me the money for the operation.”
“I would give you anything.” Bruno rose and stood in front of her. He took the ring and wore it on her finger. “The company and other assets my father own is not everything to me. I just want to take of everything because if my brother gets hold of them, he would sell everything! I know him.”
“I don’t want that too. I know how much the company means to you and I will stand by you.”
Bruno cleaned his face and held her hands. “I promise not to take advantage of you. Whatever is written on the document, we don’t have to do it. We will pretend to love each other and when my dad eventually get bored with us living with him, he will give us our freedom and we will divorce and you can have your life back.”
Dakore took a deep breath and nodded without saying anything to him. Tears fell from her weary eyes.
“Why are you crying? Did I say anything wrong?”
She only shook her head and glanced at the ring. “We should call your dad to inform him I have made a decision.”
“That’s okay. I will visit your mom this weekend with you and we will discuss with the doctor.”
“That’s fine by me.”
“Thank you very much Dakore. For what you intend to do for me, I will surprise you.”
“I think you should go home and rest for today. I don’t think you should be coming to the office again since you are going to be my wife for a short period of time.e
“I want to continue to work for you.”
Bruno gave a surprised look at her. “You don’t need to. I will give you anything you want. I will take you to any country of your choice and buy you things you desire.”
If only you know what I desire. I desire you, Bruno Kingston.
Dakore smiled. “I still want to work for you.”
“Then I will find a suitable position at the office for you after the wedding but for now, you will still act as my personal assistant. Is that okay?”
After releasing her from his hold, he looked at her. “You won’t regret saying yes.”
She nodded again with a faint smile on her lips. “I have to go.”
“I will call you later.”
Bruno followed her to the gate and waited for her to take a cab before going inside to make a call to his father. Dakore went to Nneka’s shop and explained everything.
“I don’t think you know exactly what you are doing,” Nneka said. “You want to marry a man that does not love you because you don’t want him to lose the company and other assets.”
“I also want to protect him. Is that too much?”
“No but you have to understand that he does not love you. You said he already talked about divorce. I can’t lie to you because I want to make you happy, I will tell you the truth. It won’t be easy.”
“I know!” Dakore burst into tears. “I love him! I don’t care if he does not love me, but I do and it’s all that matters right now. I love Bruno, I love him!"
In the evening, Dakore arrived at the hospital. Before she could sit down, her mother noticed the ring.
“Is that an engagement ring?”
Dakore remained on her feet and stayed by her mother side. “How is your health?”
“I’m still the same but I feel better seeing you now. What ring is that?”
“I am engaged to Bruno Kingston’s…”
“Mom! Consider your health before screaming. What is the matter with you?” She did not intend to reveal the truth about the engagement. She planned to lie that she and Bruno were in love and he was willing to give them the money for the surgery. “We are planning to get married and he will give you the money for the surgery. I am not sure about his mother but his father would visit you with Bruno.”
“No way! Adebanjo Kingston cannot see me!”
Dakore was stunned. She moved closer to her mother. “There is something you are hiding from me.”
“I am not hiding anything from you.”
“Oh yes you are! Tell me now or I will walk out that door and you will never see me again. You will only hear about my wedding with Bruno.”
“You cannot marry him. His family will not accept you if they find out you are my daughter.”
“I don’t understand. That tells me you know them.”
Mrs. Roberts turned her face away from her daughter and closed her eyes.
“Look at me mother. I love Bruno!”
She looked at her daughter. “You love him?”
“Yes. You have to tell me what you know about the Kingston’s family.”
Her mother sniffed her nose and sighed. “Many years ago, a woman got pregnant for a rich man. I wasn’t really close to her because of her lifestyle but we still contacted each other once in a while. I was dating your dad at that time.”
“What does it have to do with me getting married to Bruno?”
“Please, listen attentively.”
“Okay.” Dakore folded her arms.
She continued. “My friend told me the rich man accepted the pregnancy and his wife was ready to take care of the child because she was unable to conceive. When it was time for delivery, she came to me. I found out that Adebanjo Kingston was the rich man. Him and his wife came that day and told me I should give them the baby and tell my friend the baby died and they would compensate me with money. I agreed and told my friend their plan because they had no idea she was carrying twins.”
“Yes my daughter. She had the babies and she told me to give the boy to them.”
“His twin was a girl?”
“Yes. I gave them the baby, Adebanjo went away with the baby to the car and his wife told me both of them concluded I should kill her.”
Her eyes widened. “Kill the mother of the baby?”
“Yes. She said if I did that she and her husband would compensate me with large amount of money when they return the next day. I told her I would do it. She left, and I revealed everything to my friend. I went to get some drugs, when I came back, my friend had left with the girl and I never saw them again. I didn’t hear from Kingston and his wife for a very long time until I went to check on your father in his new place of work where he worked as a gateman. On my way leaving, I saw Kingston’s wife coming out of the company and I confronted her. Mrs. Kingston said she became pregnant later and she gave birth to her own son. She swore that she was still taking care of her husband’s first son like her own. I didn’t believe her. I threated to expose her and her husband if they didn’t compensate me with huge amount of money. I told her I would find the boy and tell him how they planned to kill his biological mother if they don’t give me the money.”
Dakore who had been speechless, asked. “Is it the money you and dad came home with that day?”
She looked at her daughter’s eyes with tears falling down her face. “Yes, my daughter. It was the money we used to become rich.”
“What! You blackmailed her.”
“Yes. I would have thought about the future before doing such a thing. I swear, I never knew you would fall in love with their son!”
“Oh my God. Bruno is their first son. He is the one and he has a twin sister."
“Did you even look for your friend to give her part of the money?”
“I won’t lie to you.” She shook her head. “No.”
“I was selfish. I thought she would be able to take care of herself because she was a hustler.”
Dakore exploded into hot tears. “I don’t care if she was a hustler. You could not even think of the woman’s daughter. Bruno’s twin sister! We were enjoying blackmail money while another family suffered. How could she have taken care of her daughter?”
“I am sorry.” She cried. “The biological mother of Bruno Kingston was a prostitute.”
She was stunned. “Prostitute?”
“Yes. That was how she met Adebanjo Kingston and got pregnant for him.”
“Oh no.” she paused and stayed silence. Something occurred to her. “I have to go.”
“I think I know Bruno’s sister. “ As she spoke, tears rained down. “It has to be Caroline. No wonder she lied about the identity of her mother. I think she is mad at her father and brother.”
“Who is Caroline?”
“What is the name of your friend that got pregnant for Mr. Adebanjo Kingston?”
“I remember her name very well. Jessica. Jessica Obaze.”
"She is the one! That explain everything! She is his biological mother. "
"She is the one! That explain everything! She is his biological mother. "
Dakore covered her face as she cried. “I have to confront Caroline. Whatever evil she is planning against Bruno, she must stop! I don’t even care anymore if Bruno doesn’t love me. The love I have for him is more than enough….”
“Bruno doesn’t love you?”
She faced her mother. “He doesn’t love me but I love him.”
“You can’t marry him. His mother would hurt you.”
“No one will hurt me. If anyone’s wants to hurt Bruno, he or she will have to go through me first! Not even you can stop me from marrying him. I am ready to bring down the world for him. I, Dakore Roberts will cross the ocean for Bruno Kingston.”
Dakore stormed out of the room and made way out of the hospital. She was on her way to see Caroline.
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Buy the Ebook to finish the story.