We all stared at the gorgeously dressed woman who obviously has had a taste of luxury. She reeked of wealth from head to toe. She looked vaguely familiar in a strange way but I could not remember ever seeing her. I wondered where I must have seen her but nothing came to mind.
I stared at Richard who was busy glaring at the visitor clenching his fists like someone in a boxing competition. Why he was so angry was lost on me, he had never been this furious. No one uttered a word and I stood there not knowing what exactly was amiss.
“I asked you a question. What the hell are you doing here?” Richard growled with his fists clenched. I grabbed his hand to calm him down a bit.
“Calm down honey and show the woman some respect please. Who is she?” I asked quietly but he did not answer. He did not have to anyways. He was only this angry whenever he talked about one person. I looked the woman and got my confirmation – the blue eyes could not be mistaken.
Those piercing blue eyes which could do a lot of things by just staring were exactly the same as Richard’s. I looked from Richard to the woman and back noticing the striking resemblance.
“Richy, is this your mother?” I asked quietly. Richard’s hand immediately left mine as he turned his glare towards me.
“She is not MY mother” he said stressing the ‘my’. I got my confirmation in that statement. The subject matter just stood there speechless and could have been mistaken for a deaf and dumb. Richard looked at his father knowing that this was his doing.
“I don’t know what she is doing here and I don’t want to know but one thing I know is that I don’t wanna see her here when I get back”, he said and stormed out of the sitting room towards the masters’ bedroom. The entire room was as though no one was inside as no one made a single sound.
I don’t know why I did not stop Richard from leaving the room but I guess my professional instinct made me realize that he needed a little time to himself. I felt his pain and knew just what he must be feeling as I had felt that way too. I raised my eyes to stare at my newly found mother-in-law but she seemed to be in tears. Her voice shattered the silence in the room.
“I told you James. He would never forgive me and he has a right not to. I was so callous and wicked to him”, she said obviously to Mr. Branson as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Everyone started murmuring one thing or the other while I wondered what Richard would be doing inside the room. “I should leave now”, my mother-in-law said and made to leave but Richard’s dad stopped her.
“Wait, let me talk to him first”, he said. I startled,
“No… I mean… why don’t you allow me do the talking sir, although I cannot promise anything for now”, I said immediately.
Everyone in the room nodded in agreement and I was instantly grateful that we did not include strangers in the ceremony. For the very first time, Richard’s mum looked at me and said,
“You must be his wife. You are very pretty and I am sorry for disrupting your party. Please forgive me”. Her foreign assent was undeniable. I nodded and made for the room.
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“Don’t you think this skirt is too short Oyin”, Ronke asked her friend. Oyinade smiled mischievously.
“Nope, I don’t think so. Besides, you know my ultimate goal, don’t you? A hot body like mine and sexy clothes would help me achieve my aim”. Ronke rolled her eyes in exasperation.
“I know your plans as much as you do girl and I am with you all the way. You know my popular slogan says, ‘when you see what you want, go for it doing everything you can to get it’. But my friend, you have to apply common sense. You have just been given the job so it would be risky and out of place for you to get a query on your first day at work. You worked very hard to get this job, you cannot throw everything away by being overzealous”, Ronke said.
“You have to carry out this plan slowly, portraying the highest level of innocence you can. You should be coy and sneaky, slow and steady; with time you would get rid of the hindrance and be in his arms”. She finished. Oyinade assimilated everything she heard and smiled.
“You are a clever snake babe. I would make you my chief adviser on this life project so you have to be with me all the way”, she said dropping the skirt on the bed. She picked her employment letter for the umpteenth time and whispered to herself.
“You would be mine very soon. All mine”.
I stepped into the room and met Richard roaming from one end of the room to the other. He was trying as much as he could to release his anger but it was not working. He noticed my entrance but continued pacing.
“Can you imagine? She actually had the guts to show her face here like she has the rights to”, he said still pacing. I sat down at the edge of the bed and looked at him. “Did you see her face? She looked so sure of herself. What did she think? That I would jump into her arms, welcome her and treat her like she is the most precious person on earth? She must be delusional”. He continued not even waiting for a reply to his previous questions; not like there could be any answer though. When I did not say anything, he stopped and stared at me. “Would you not say something?”
I sighed, stood up, took his hands and pulled him with me to the bed. He sat down at the edge of the bed and I knelt behind him on the bed, placed my hands on his shoulders and gently massaged them.
“Massage is not what I n…”
“Shhhh…” I said silencing him and continued my massage. Gently, I felt the anger and tension ease out of him and he started relaxing.
“I need you to calm down and relax honey. Today ought to be a happy day for us, remember? I am just seeing your mother for the first time and it means something to me”, I said as I continued my therapy. “She is not my mother” he said calmly. I left his shoulders, went round him and went to seat on his laps.
“Honey, whether you like it or not, you have her blood flowing in your veins. Do you know what it was like to find out that my father never wanted me? He wanted me to be flushed out. I know it hurts but please forgive her. Keeping this grudge in you would hurt you terribly everyday but releasing it and forgiving her would make you happy. Accept it. Deep down in your heart, you know you need your biological mother”, I said as softly as I could. He shook his head,
“no, I don’t need her. I have you to be my mother, wife, sister and everything”. I nodded.
“Yes, but you need her. Please, forgive her”, I said going down on my knees. He tried to pull me up but I did not get up. “Yes?” I asked with a faint smile. He stared at me, shaking his head unbelievably.
“What have you done to me? Alright, would you get up now?” he said and pulled me into his arms. He kissed my forehead and hugged me. “I love you heart, even though you are naughty”, he said with a smile. I smiled back,
“well, I am happy she is your mother if not you would not have eyes as beautiful as this”. He scoffed,
“I could easily charm you with the generally possessed black eyes, you know?”
“You don’t have to charm me; you were made with very potent charm”. He laughed.
“Alright baby, lets go and get this over with” he said and we both went back to the sitting room. On getting there, Richard’s mum was nowhere to be found.
“She just left, we could not stop her” Prisca explained. Richard looked at me.
“Do you see? She is not here. She is no longer around and she never was”. He said and stormed out of the house.
To be continued