“Victoria” i said in surprise.
She stood on the threshold of my apartment. She looked like a little girl who had lost her way home. Her hair was matted to her fore head, her eyes were bloodshot and her blouse stuck to her body. I pulled her in out of the rain and shut the door against the wind blowing in.
“I’ am sorry for coming unannounced but I have nowhere else to go” she shivered.
“Let me get you out of these wet clothes first. We can talk later”
Fortunately I had done my lundry the previous night. The towel was a bit damp but it would do. Atleast it wasn’t brown with dirt and it smell of the lemon detergent I used to wash it. She went into the bathroom to change into the clean pj i gave her. We sat down in silence for a long time while she sipped from the hot mug of tea I had made her. She had a far away look in her eyes and her lips trembled, she was precariously trying to not veer off the cliff of tears. Her eyes drifted downwards and settled on the velvet box on the table.
“ He proposed” I answered the unasked question in her eyes.
She nodded her head. “ The ex? You said yes?”
“ I have not decided ……..i don’t know what i want” I wondered what had landed Victoria Nwosu on my doorsteps this rainy night. ” Have you had something to eat? Should I make some food for you?”
She remained stony silent and suddenly she busted into tears. I allowed her cry it out for a while before going to soothe her.
” Tell me what happened Vicky”
“ They…….they….. lied to me! My whole life and existence has been a big lie! No wonder Only Linda is allowed to attend the board meetings! She is the only who knows about all the dealings of the companies!” she sobbed out.
I patted her gently on the back while she continued rambling. I couldn’t make head or tail of what she was saying but I continued comforting her.
I was having dinner with the Adediwuras. Everyone was acting like it was the duchess of Cambridge that had come to dine with them. His greedy mother kept on patting my hand and plying more food on my plate while his ever so business minded father asked me one question after the other about my father’s companies. I was tired of their eye service, I knew I wasn’t a likeable person but they didn’t have to make it so glaring that they were trying too much to prove that they liked me.The older folks excused themselves after dinner and I was left alone with my soon to be husband. There was a stoic scowl on his handsome, his jaw was so set in obvious anger, he was about happy with the forced union as much as a cat would love being caught in the rain.
“If you continue gritting your teeth like that I am afraid you won’t have any left to grit” i said.
He flashed me a look of anger.
“Linda, why did you say yes to the proposal? I don’t love you and I never will! Why did you even come here tonight?” he replied tersely.
I gave him my best smile.
Earlier that day my dad had called me into his study. I had something special planned under my sleeve for that evil man he just doesn’t know it yet. I was only waiting for the right moment to struck.
“I will accept the proposal on one condition dad”.
He sighed heavily before replying.” What is the condition?’’
“You will relinguish every right to our Lagos branch. We will draw up the legal papers and it will be signed in the presence of eye witnesses.”
“That is outrageous! I am only doing this for your own good! Chief’s son has a good head on his shoulders, he will make a good husband” he shouted.
“Then I will assume we have no deal dad! If you so much want Chief as your in-law then you should consider giving Victoria to them” I said standing up.
“Linda please don’t put your father to shame……..Chief and I have already concluded on the matter. How will it seem if I go back on my word now?”
“Do I look like I care about that?”
“Linda…… giving you the company is not as easy as you think”.
“I don’t see any dilemma there, after all it is your company”
He sighed heaviily again and for a second I almost pitied him but he deserved no mercy.
“I will think about it” he had said.
That evening I decided to honor the dinner invitation extended to me by the Adediwuras. For the first in my life, a man had my pulse racing, just the thought of him had my stomach fluttering with butterflies and I found myself checking my phone every second to see if I missed a call from him but that man is not the handsome man sitting across the room from me.
“ What the hell do you think you are playing at?” Kelvin asked, clenching his teeth. ” Why did you come here tonight”.
“ I came so we can fix a date for the wedding” I said just to rile him, and the expression on his face brought a smile to mine.
“ What?!” he stood up angrily, he walked out of the living room. “ that would be over my dead body” he called over his shoulders.
If my dad sign over the company to me another problem which i would have to fix was Kelvin.I wondered if i had gone too far in taunting him over the years.
“I have been trying to reach Vicky but her line is not reachable” Auntie Maggie said as soon as I walked in the living room.
“She is no longer a baby. You can stop fretting over her” I turned to walk up the stairs but the words that flew out of her mouth surprised me.
“Why are you so heartless?”
I turned back, giving her my most deadly look. “You said?”
“You heard me right Linda! Your little sister left home since noon. It is few minutes to ten and she is yet to be back! How could you not be worried about her? She was kidnapped barely a month ago!”.
” Maggie it is just the two of us here so lets do away with the pretense. Why are you desperately playing the caring Aunt role? You were brought here to care for two little girls and those little girls have long since passed the age of needing your care, so why are you still here?”.
“I raised you better than this Linda”.
“You raised me? That is so laughable! How many times did you come into my room to comfort me when i had night mares as a child? How many times did you bother to ask if I was alright? how many nights did i lie shivering in bed while malaria runs through my veins with no one to care for me?”
“I did the best I could and that is no excuse for being so bitter and heartless.”
“Yea right! Says the woman who has been riding my father’s deek long before my mother turned cold in her grave” I smirked at her and she paled. “You think you have been so careful?” I mocked.
I had a bad dream on the night i caught them in bed. I woke up drenched in sweat, i had gone to seek out my aunt. They had even left the door open, baby Victoria was in her crib beside the bed. For a long time i couldn’t comprehend what i had seen that night. My father and my Aunt were both Unclad on the bed and he was doing things to her, things which my young mind couldn’t comprehend. But as i grew older the evil of what they were doing that night dawned on me. Maggie had stepped into my mother’s shoes as if it was designed for her. She had also taken up the role of a mother to the baby and she had played that role to the hilt.
” What do you mean?” she laughed nervously.
” Don’t insult us both Auntie. You should be proud that you are f*ucking one of the richest dicks in Town”
She walked out of the living room. I held no grudge against her, she was a sweet lady and she did her best to raise me right but her only crime was succumbing to my father’s charm. What I had in mind will hurt the both of them terribly but I was only concerned about getting back all that belonged to my late mother. I don’t care whose toes i step on to achieve that.
To be continued..