“Jena do you still love me?” Ben asked his wife as they sat on the bench at the school where Grace did her senior high school. According to Junior, Grace was at one of the convert schools in Monze and they intended to start looking from there.
Jena looked at her husband and for a moment couldn’t help feel sorry for him. He looked so lost in thoughts his eyes tired. The urge to touch his chin and tell him he was still the love of her life was strong but she pushed back the feeling and sighed closing her eyes and opening them again before speaking.
“I have only given my heart to one man my whole life Ben and that is you. Like some people say, to love is a choice and not only a feeling, so yeah, I still chose to love you Ben” she smiled weakly and Ben held her hand tight he kept staring into her eyes.
“Excuse me, you can now see this teacher, he will help you with the register for the address you are looking for” a female teacher walks to them interrupting their moment.
“Yeah sure, thank you so much madam” Jena smiled at the lady and the two followed a gentleman leading them into another office.
“What was the name of the child again?” he asked upon settling down
“Grace Mwape, oh no sorry it is Grace Mulenga” Jena quickly corrected recalling the surname Junior had mentioned.
A few minutes later, the man had given them the indicated address from the register and the two walked to the car Jena`s hands shaking, Ben had to hold her tight
“are you alright? Let me drive now” he looked at her and she nodded her head in agreement.
“I feel so nervous all of a sudden, my God I hope this place is the one finally.” She sighed closing her eyes as she tried to calm her nerves.
Back in Lusaka Grace and her mother where doing their last shopping and planned to start off for Monze the same afternoon. Grace was trying on some pumps when her phone rung she stepped back and looked at the caller id.
“Hey Jack!” she smiled looking at her mother who shook her head. She walked outside the shop to talk.
“Where are you baby?” he asked
“Am still in town, mom is getting some few items we should be starting off soon. What`s up?”
“Well, I thought you are alone, I wanted to ask you something I feel is important” Jack frowned from the other end.
“You sound so serious Jack what is going on? You can tell me now, I have left mom inside the shop” she insisted.
“Can we talk when you get home?” Jack responded reluctantly.
“Now that you sound like that I even have more reason to want to hear what is going on Jack spit it out”
“Okey, I think your mother is looking for you?” Jack started giving away his thoughts after hours of thinking through what Jena had told him. He had come to the conclusion that no one else would bother to ask about Grace like that unless someone who had the interest to find her. He thought about the possibility of the woman being Dingile`s mother but the story was not adding up, he knew Dingile could be aware of where Grace was and possibly her mother too.
“What is that?” Grace asked when Jack went silent.
“I mean your biological mother Grace, she came here at school the same day you came to pick me. I was told a woman came to ask for me and later on I followed it up calling her but her story didn’t add up and gathering form what you told me, am suspecting it’s your mother Grace, she is out there looking for you”
“No, I think there must be a mistake somewhere, why would that woman look for me today? And if that were even true, how did she know about you Jack?” Grace wondered not believing the words from Jack.
“Come to think of it Grace who could be looking for you? I think you should call the woman and find out what she is up to”
“What are you even hearing yourself speak? I can’t do that Jack, no way”
“What can’t you do Grace?” Diana walked to her daughter overhearing her side of the conversation.
“Mom, its um um… Jack can I call you back?” she quickly cut the call and looked at her mother she realized her hands where shaky with the news from Jack she kept them down to avoid her mother seeing how affected by the call she was.
“It’s nothing mom, come on lets go” she smiled and held her mother leading the way in.
“Am done from the shop Grace, just tell me what has gotten you sweated up like this, what was this your boyfriend telling you?” Diana asked looking at Grace who looked away for fear of being read.
“It’s nothing mother, forget it, it’s about us and I don’t want to tell you anything for now, I promise its nothing” she smiled.
They walked to the car and as they drove out of Lusaka, Diana kept looking at Grace noticing her sudden silence she was lost in thoughts. She tried to bring up some small talk but it all ended up in short answers from Grace. Her mind went back to the time when Grace was still a small girl. Diana started remembering how she had hired someone to kidnap her.
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“Madam” the guy she hired reported back to her one afternoon.
“I found out where the family you told me stays and I have been following them for weeks now, the young lady is pregnant and I see she loves moving around with the girl, I have a plan and i think it will work well” the man outlined.
“Well, what kind of plan is that one? I hope no one dies in the process, all I want is the baby girl safe and sound” she had told the guy who nodded his head in agreement.
“Don’t worry all will be well for you soon enough. By the way, why do you want to kidnap that child? “The guy had asked her
“Just get me the child and stop asking questions. Your job is to do as I say and what I intend to do with the child is none of your business” Diana had yelled at him.
A few days later the man gave her and her husband a call telling them to meet him at a mall.
“You see that car parking there? I want you to stay close here and when I give you a signal drive this car closer and pick me up” the guy instructed Mr. and Mrs. Mwape.
“Then what?” Mr. Mwape had asked worried as he was not for the idea in the first place but the insistence from his wife made him follow whatever she was planning.
“come on Kent, this is not the time to ask a lot of questions, let’s just do as told” Diana had scolded her husband and they sat silently waiting for the guy who disappeared in the mall and a few minutes later gave Diana a beep which was an indication for them to move.
“let’s go, drive there” Diana looked at her husband who sat his head in his hand as he leaned on the window.
“To where?” Kent asked absent minded.
“Are you silly or what? Didn’t you hear the man Honey? Come on drive this car please” she almost yelled at him and he drove to the car he was told seeing the guy running towards them with Grace in his arms. Quickly Diana opened the door and let the man in with Grace who was crying loudly but her cries could not be heard as the guy had her mouth covered.
“hand me that small bag now” the guy shouted and Diana did likewise, the guy got a small fabric and covered the girl`s mouth she instantly went silent. They had just started moving when the car Jena was driving blew into flames Mr. Mwape startled losing control of his vehicle for a minute it had to take Diana to get it straight on the road holding the steering wheel.
“what in God`s name was that?” he screamed his eyes popped out
“Go on just drive, I have given you both what you wanted and its all settled out” the guy smiled looking at Grace who was laying in the back seat unconscious.
“I thought you said no killing anyone, what have you done?” Mr. Mwape shouted in anger looking at his wife.
“Relax now, will you? No one has died, I have just blown the vehicle the mother was not inside, the whole idea was to make it look like the girl is dead. After that burning they will have nothing to look at and everyone will assume the girl is dead, yet here you are happy “the guy sighed.
“wow, I didn’t think of it that way but it was a perfect idea, well done” Diana laughed happily rubbing her hands on Grace`s head.
“you two are unbelievable, I don’t know what we all will do the day we will be caught, do you even know the implication of what you have done?” he asked his wife shaking his head.
“Let’s go and talk about this at home Honey, they will never know the truth, who looks for a dead child? Don’t worry when I get home I will call Jena like asking how they are and hear what she will say about Grace. Whatever happens we will come back to show our support” she smiled making her husband shake his head and look forward his heart heavy with guilty.
“What happens with Grace Cause by now she knows her parents and will not even recognize you?” Mr. Mwape asked
“Don’t worry, she will only know the two of us, that, I will make sure of. She is our Girl honey and never will I give her away to anyone, never again” Diana had responded and looked down at the girl her heart fulfilled. Even though they used a bad way of getting her back, Diana told herself, it was just right to have her as she told herself the baby was her own God given.
“Mom! Mom! “Grace patted her mother`s leg seeing she was not responding to her call.
“What?” Diana startled realizing she had lost herself in the memories.
“Can I have that money we refuel the car” Grace told her mother.
“Oh yeah, sure” Diana sighed
“I cannot wait to get home, I feel tired after all that walking around?” Grace spoke as they waited for the fuel attendant to finish pumping gas in their car