Jack looked around as the police officers tried to find Diana. He knew she had played them and was probably gone far off they would not find her any minute sooner.
“Where is she? She was here a while ago and asked to use the ladies room. I showed her and now she is nowhere to be found” the officer shook his head
“well, there you go, if only you had listened to what I was telling you all this could have not happened, that woman has played you and now she is gone, if you don’t send people to look for her at the station then we will never get to her on time, she deliberately didn’t come with a vehicle knowing she could easily escape when she is using public transport” Jack tried to get the police officers act faster but they seemed so relaxed and were bent on making sure he was not lying to them.
“Am not saying you let go of me Sir, understand my point here. Go and find that lady and lock me up if that will ease your mind. Otherwise right now every minute you waste is a chance for her to escape” Jack pleaded with them till they divided themselves, others leading him to Ben`s house whilst two other officers sent to find Diana.
An hour later, the two officers who had gone with him had all the details of grace who narrated the story to them. The entire family was present as they had the discussion Jena sitting close to Grace she would not leave her side.
“my daughter has told you all you wanted and now it’s time you found that woman and locked her up, we cannot afford to have her roaming around she has proved to be a danger to my daughter`s life and we will not have that” she warned and one of the officers nodded in agreement as he was able to recognize Jena and was feeling sorry for treating Jack that badly before knowing the truth.
“We will find her mam, my men contacted the Choma Police and they have put up some road blocks to check all the vehicles for that woman. The image from Grace has been printed out and the officers know who she is. Rest easy for all this is now over” the officers shrugged as he stood up to take leave.
“Thank you Officer, I trust you will do your work, we will wait for your confirmation when Diana is caught” Ben saw the officers outside.
Grace stood up leaving everyone seated, one afternoon. She went round the living room eyeing the family photos and smiling. She loved what she was seeing and the happy faces on everyone around including Junior who had become her good friend again, was beyond what she had expected. Walking out the door she found herself admiring the serene back yard the bright rose flowers making her love the place even more.
“You are my sister and I love you. I told my friend about you and I want you to never leave. Will you stay here for good? ” little Mapalo walked to her holding her finger.
“Um, yeah Mapalo. Am your sister, you happy about that?” Grace bent down to the girl who smiled widely.
“Did anyone tell you are a princess and that you have beautiful hair?” Grace smiled at her
“Daddy calls me a princess” she responded shyly.
“Well, he is right you know, he used to call me that too.” Grace responded looking at Ben who was just walking in he smiled at her.
“You are still our princess Grace, your mother and I have never stopped loving you. For us you have always been around because we held you dearly in our hearts. You are our first fruit and the result of our great love story and there was never a day that passed without thoughts of you crossing our minds, especially your mother. She never gave up on you, even when we had assumed you were buried, Jena had this strong belief that you were still alive and it was just amazing how she believed in that and hoped that one day she would hold you in her arms again” Ben enlightened to her, making Jena who was standing by the window watching them walk around the back yard she shed tears of joy.
“But how? I mean, how did she know I was alive?” Grace stopped still holding Mapalo`s hand.
“well, am not sure how, but your mother somehow knew and honestly I cannot explain it, I don’t think she can as well, am just glad you are home finally, I know we have lost almost 20 years of your life but I really wish for the rest of our lives to be happy and fulfilled Grace. Again, welcome home” Ben smiled sitting on the bench Grace followed suit.
“They are bonding well huh, they look like they have never been apart” Jack spoke startling Jena who was smiling to herself.
“yeah, you know you are right, Grace and her father were always that close, he and her were always walking around and playing, sometimes I could feel jealous of how much they bonded” Jena smiled teary and Jack smiled.
“Am sorry, it’s just that…”
“I know, its okey you can cry now mam, at least I know it will be tears of joy and happiness. You and your husband and the entire family deserve this” Jack smiled,
“Who are you?” Jena laughed shaking her head at Jack.
“What do you mean?” he responded shrugging.
“Well, you are an angel Jack Bwalya where ever God brought you from, you have played a bigger role in bringing my family happiness and I don’t know how I will repay you for this.” She smiled.
“well, you owe me big alright, now you will have no objection when I ask for your daughter`s hand in marriage” Jack smiled but seriously this time Jena laughed.
“You love her don’t you?”
“more than I have ever loved any other person alive or dead mam, she makes me happy, sometimes she is a lot to handle but I love her every being and I want her to stay by me forever, accord me the chance to experience a great love like that of you and your husband” Jack looked at her.
“Well, we are not that perfect for sure but there has been no day that I regret choosing Ben, I loved him since I was only 13 and I still love him now, more in fact, there Is no day that I never thank God for him. I pray you two will find the same kind of love for each other. What matters for me is my little girl to be happy” she smiled and Jack thanked her they both chuckled.
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“What is going on here?” Grace walked in on them making them both look at the direction Ben and Grace were coming in.
“I was just getting approval to marry you and guess what, your mother says yes” Jack laughed making Ben smiled along the way.
“Calm down young man, you have me to get permission from” he teased being angry
“Well, will you honor my wish Sir and let me marry this ever loving, beautiful and charming woman besides you?” Jack knelt down before Ben and Grace.
“Well, I will have to think about it, you guys of this era are trouble and I don’t want anything or anyone to hurt my little girl” Ben answered and they all looked at him in wonder.
“Dad, come on, you know Jack, you have seen him for over 2 months and the truth is I love him so much” Grace chirped in with a smile.
“Ben come on” Jena chuckled,
“But she is still young, can you guys at least wait?” he shook his head.
“Well, my love, you married me when I was only 19, so come on let these two be, she is turning 24 for crying out loud” Jena laughed and ben smiled.
“You have my blessings you two but” he paused looking at Jack.
“I know, should I hurt her I will have you to answer to” Jack cut in and they all laughed happily entering the house.
“My love, have you heard from the cops? Am worried Grace has started going for work and Diana is still not caught, what if..”
“Shshshshsh, don’t say that my love. There is power in the tongue. Let’s just believe our daughter will be fine, this was the last search we have had and am happy we have this happiness around, I hired someone to guard her even though she cannot know about it, she likes being free and I don’t want anything that threatens her peace. “Ben assured his wife that night as they went to bed.
Grace was sleeping in her bedroom, the one given to her by Jena, it was well furnished and she couldn’t help feel her parents were over spoiling her. She knew part of the reason for Ben`s hesitation to not marry her off sooner was to keep her close.
“I have to stay longer with them Jack,” she recalled telling Jack one day and he completely refused.
“No, baby, I know you want to make them happy but what about me,? You are mine and I want to be close to you. You won’t even allow me to.., you know what I mean” she shrugged.
“I want to make you mine and I cannot wait any longer, you have a job now and your parents know that we are in love, so no more hesitations”
“Stop talking man, I have heard you and yes am going to marry you, only under one condition” Grace had told him
“What is that now?” he asked.
“Well, mom said you don’t have to take me so far away, can we at least maintain staying in Lusaka?” she held her hands together to plead with him.
“that is not an issue though I wanted us to move to Livingstone that Job offer I told you about, but I guess I will have to say no huh” he responded.
Grace was still lost in her memories thinking about Jack when her phone rung.
“Hello” she responded without paying attention to the caller ID.
“Grace? “The voice from the other end responded
“Joshua, is that you?” Grace sat up hearing the boy she considered as brother crying from the other end.
“Mom was arrested and am all alone here. I don’t know what to do Grace am so scared” he cried
“Calm down, Joshua. What happened to mom?” Grace asked worried for him. She knew Diana would be arrested but now she had to come to terms with the fact that Joshua needed someone to help him cope with the absence of his mother.
“I know our mother did bad things Joshua, but I hate she has been arrested, stay calm, okey, I will come pick you up tomorrow” she told him.
She had just placed the phone down when Jena walked in sadly.
“Have you heard?” she asked her daughter sitting next to her as Grace shed tears.
“Yeah, it hurts she will be jailed mom, I know she was wrong but she raised me and I never doubted she loved me all these years.” Grace sighed.
“I know baby, she is your mother too, I wouldn’t love anything bad to happen to her but now the issue is in the hands of the law and I may be a lawyer but have very low influence, there is almost nothing anyone can do for her” Jena held her hand.
“I need to go and check on Joshua. He is all alone and he sounded so sad” she looked at Jena who nodded her head.
“Sure, I will take you there myself, you need to see Diana too, the officer said they have brought her here in Lusaka” she added
“yeah, thank you for understanding mother” Grace smiled.
“of course I understand, I saw how Diana and her husband loved you, they took you in and treated you with so much love I had no doubt you were in safe hands. The times that I would sneak in to see you, I could tell how attached they were to you and for that am grateful, maybe if they had not taken you in I could have lost you, that is why I was thinking” Jena paused rubbing her hands.
“I was thinking I will talk to the judge to acquit her. It will not be easy but yes, she deserves her freedom and am sure she has learnt her lessons too” she smiled Grace was happy she hugged her close
“Thank you mom, thank you, you have no idea how much I needed to hear that. Thank you” she told her mother and the two smiled happily.
A month later, Jena had convinced the judge to acquit Diana and she was released from Prison after staying in for 4 weeks.
Diana looked outside as they led her out and saw Grace and Joshua standing by the car, Jack. Jena and Ben were standing with them too they watched as she approached them.
“Mom, good to see you free” Grace rushed to her mother and hugged her making Diana cry silently.
“Am so sorry Grace, I was just scared of losing you and I made lot of bad decisions” she whispered.
“I know mom” Grace responded.
“Mom? You still call me that?” Diana stepped back
“Of course, you are my mother too you know that, I will never forget you no matter what” she smiled and Diana cried out now ashamed of her actions.
“Thank you Jena, thank you for this” she looked at Jena and Ben.
“It’s alright aunty Diana, you and me are all part of one family and from now on wards we will live as one. Grace has brought us all together and I thank God the painful past is over. Let’s take you home now you need a fresh bath and nice food” Jena hugged Diana and they all smiled leading her to the car.
Ben stood back a bit and shook his head with a smile,
“Wow, who could have known this day will come” he whispered to himself unknown to him jack was listening in he stepped forward and looked at him.
“I knew” Jack responded with a laugh
“What? How?” Ben asked.
“Well. You and my mother in law are not the kind to hold grudges and I knew one day the two families will find happiness. Am just glad I was part of the ‘To find Grace Team” he added and they both laughed following others to the car.
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