Grace smiled at the feel of the hot air on her skin, she had missed being home. The cold weather In Venice, Italy where she had gone to study medicine according to the wishes of her father, made her miss home. After the death of Kent, Diana used the sorrow and sad moments to manipulate Grace into following what she called her father`s dream of studying abroad.
“Your father had secured a place for you to study In Italy Grace, I know this is hard for you but understand why we never wanted you to go to Lusaka in the first place. We never wanted you to know or somehow meet with your real parents who would try to take you away from us for good. Look at where we have come from my baby” Diana had cried
“Mom, am old enough to decide what is right and wrong. I don’t want you to worry about people I don’t even know, they threw me away and for me that is enough reason to never want to meet them. Am fine here and am not going anywhere” she tried to convince her mother but Diana wouldn’t agree to let her go knowing there was a higher possibility of Grace bumping into her real parents. Even though she could not tell Grace the entire truth of how she got her back, she vowed to make sure Grace lived to hate her biological parents and one way was to use her husband’s wishes to get her out of the country.
“By the time she will be done with school, it will be a long gone story she will probably settle down there too” she thought to herself.
“Mother let me continue at campus, the fact that dad is gone even gives me more reason to stay home” Grace had argued.
“if I didn’t know the plan I could have said so, your father got you a scholarship a year ago and this offer still stands my dear, here, come on now and take it, you have to keep your father`s wishes my daughter please, it’s what he could have wanted for you” she convinced her showing the scholarship papers.
At last Grace agreed and before she could even complete her first year, she traveled for her studies a few months after her father`s death.
Here she was back to see her mother after a couple of years away. She had a month vacation and she intended to spend it all in Zambia.
“Grace! “ Joshua shouted as he limped towards his sister who was walking towards them.
“Hey kiddo! How are you? I missed you a lot” she smiled looking at Joshua who was smiling widely at her.
“Mom” she turned to her mother and the two embraced each other happily.
“Wow! You have grown so much in 2 years you look like a doctor already” Diana chuckled looking at Grace who turned around teasingly her heavy jacket swaying around, she was clad in jeans and a fluffy jacket.
“I missed you both, how is the farm? “She asked as they walked to the vehicle she kept looking around for any signs of Jack. She had told him she was traveling back for some vacation and Jack seemed excited he told her he would be there to receive her, if at all he would not have a paper to write since she was aware he was writing his final exams. Their phone relationship had grown and Grace felt so much drawn to him she hoped he was faithful enough to wait for her till she was done with school.
“Looking for anyone?” her mother asked seeing Grace lost in thoughts looking about she could not hear what her mother was saying.
“Um, no mom. Just looking around it has been long” she smiled looking back at her mother who was joining the road heading out of the airport.
“Hm. so how was it there?” Diana asked again
“Well, it was cold, colder than I had expected actually but I got used I guess. The two years there seemed like forever though, without you guys. “She added with a laugh shifting to look at her brother and back at her mother.
“So what is going on in Zambia? You know for a moment I thought I would see dad again here” she spoke sadly.
“I know my baby, it’s been hard for us too here, but what can we do? We have to go on and live on, it’s what he would want from all of us” Diana sighed shrugging as she pushed back the tears in her eyes.
“yep, sure” Grace rubbed her mother`s shoulders and the two of them looked at each other and smiled reassuring each other.
Back at Jena`s house, the family sat down chatting after having dinner.
“So Junior, you finally going to be done with school huh?” Ben asked his nephew
“Yeah at long last uncle, I cannot wait. I was just telling my girlfriend how excited I am that the next semester will be the last for us both.” Junior smiled.
“How crazy life can be, here we all thought you would be going out with that girl, Grace. “ Ben laughed “By the way what happened? I don’t see her anymore. I tried to call her last time I came to your school to try ask if she knew where you were cause you couldn’t answer your call, just to be told her line was out of service” Ben sighed turning to look at Junior as Jena and her kids watched some family movie.
“Well, her father died about two years ago and according to her, she wanted to fulfill his wish of studying outside the country. I hardly hear from her.” he added shaking his head.
“I see, well, I liked that young girl she looked so serious with life and it’s rare to find such young girls these days” Ben nodded his head.
“Who are you two talking about?” Jena spoke for the first time.
“Well, it’s that girl I told you about with the kids, her name is Grace too” Ben responded and then looked at his wife who was still staring at him questioningly.
“Junior” she called out without telling Ben what had crossed her mind.
“Yes aunty” Junior bent his eyes to his aunty
“what was your friend`s surname again?” she asked
“What were you thinking?” Ben asked before Junior could answer.
“She used huh, um… Mulenga I think. Yes, “he paused
“Grace Mulenga. Why aunty? You know her?” he asked opening his eyes widely.
“hm. no. I was just asking, baby, can I talk to you for a sec?” Jena stood looking at her husband.
“My love, what is going on?” he asked standing near where she stood holding the pillar that holds the house outside
“My love, you have seen this girl before, remember what Isaac and Mapalo told us about how they easily got along” she started her heart racing.
“Yeah I know but trust me I saw this girl and she doesn’t look anything like our small girl” Ben sighed shaking his head.
“I know we have tried what we can to find our daughter but all is in vain, we have not given up though, I hope one day we can get to meet her again” he added earnestly
“Ben, I have to see this girl.” Jena looked up his husband`s eyes.
“We can be looking for someone who is so close to us” she added
“Um, I don’t know my love, I could have known her. Besides you heard Junior, she went away. She is not the one forget it, let’s go inside now” he held his Wife`s hand.
“You have said you saw her? Did you look closely because she wouldn’t look the same as she did when she was five years old my love, she is a grown up now” Jena told her husband
“Well, I never paid much attention, my mind knew she was dead then so I truthfully didn’t pay that much attention. We will try find her and see what we can get from her, yeah? Come on lets go in now its getting cold out here” Ben took his wife`s hands and they walked inside.
Two days later, Jena called Junior to ask a few questions about Grace, but it was evident that Junior didn’t know much about her except the fact that she was no longer in the country.
“Did she have a boyfriend or someone close enough that we can ask about her where about?” Jena asked
“What for aunty? You are scaring me, did she do something?” Junior asked worried with all the questions about Grace
“No my dear, we just need to ask something about her friend” Jena lied.
“Well, she had this guy Jack from Cavendish but I didn’t know much about him. My former girlfriend was her best friend but I lost contact with her the other year when she failed and went back home” Junior explained.
“You have no number or anything for this friend?” Jena asked again.
“No aunty, it was not that serious, we just dated a few months. I didn’t love her much I realized that and we parted ways, I don’t keep my ex`s contact details” Junior chuckled making Jena shake her head.
“Oh junior, you are still a baby huh? Anyway, am glad you told me about this Jack, I will go to Cavendish and see if I can ask him about Grace. What is he studying?”
“Um, I wanted to stalk him a bit after I came to know he had his eyes on Grace and I found out he does Some business courses, accounts or something similar it’s been long I have forgotten”
“He should be completing his course any time soon I hear they are writing final exams there, don’t bet on it though, I have no idea whether they are going out or not” He quickly added.
“Well thanks then” she sighed and walked away leaving Junior wondering what was going on. He shrugged and plugged back the headsets in his ears and went back to study.
Jack was walking back from his exams rushing to his room when he saw a classy X5 drive in and heading to the administration offices. A beautiful looking and gentle faced woman looked at him as the vehicle past him. He noticed she seemed to be looking for someone or something. Ignoring her, he rushed to his room outside the school premises just across the road and quickly changed into some loose slacks and t-shirts, rubbing his overgrown hair which he had kept shaggy for some months and smiling at the thought of what Grace would say to him for keeping long hair.
“Hey!” he answered the phone before he could get out. “Am by the gate, where is your house?” he heard a familiar voice ask him
“What? Seriously? Stop playing with me Grace, you know how my heart is racing to come meet you from town right now” Jack sighed with a smile.
“Am not kidding Jack, am here, Mom finally allowed me to drive to Lusaka alone after days of persuading her.” he heard her laugh and walked outside excitedly.
“Wow! Turn to your left you will see me by the road side” Jack smiled seeing a Toyota RAV4 parked near the entrance to the school.