” Linda! Linda!” I screamed entering the house.
She ran down the stairs and paused.
” What happened? ” she asked in her usual tone of indignation.
” You are not worthy to be classed among humans! you are a beast ” i screamed at her, because of her Tomi was dead. It was all her fault!
Auntie Maggie ran in from the kitchen, with an apron in her hands.
” What is going on?” she asked.
” You better stay out of this” Linda hissed at her. She turned to me, ” Little sister you have something to say to me?”
” You killed her! Are you happy now? what did she ever do to you?”
” I heard she was roasted like a potato ” she smirked. ” How was that my fault?”
I lunged for her but Auntie Maggie intercepted my movement, pulling me backwards. I wanted to claw out her eyes, i wanted her to feel the pains Tomi must have gone through.
” What is wrong with the two of you!” She shouted at us.
” Your mother will surely be ashamed at how you have turned out!” I shook my head in pity. ” She must be rolling in her grave and regretting ever bringing you into this world!”
She folded her arms across her chest, her head tilted slightly to the left, her eyes were fixed on me.she seemed to be reasoning something i must have said or maybe she was thinking of a witty comeback.
” My mother?”
” It is enough girls.” Auntie Maggie said, pleading silently with her eyes.
” You know you have been acting weird these past few weeks, disappearing at whim and sneaking around. But i want you to know this Vicky, whatever it is i will dig it out.”Linda promised.
‘ You are sick Linda! Very sick and you disgust me”
She brushed past me out of the house and i went into my room, my sanctuary, and wept for Tomi. She was there for me when i needed a shoulder to lean on and i didn’t even get to say good bye to her. I decided to have an early dinner so i won’t have to endure the presence of my family. I served myself and went back to the dinning. The food sat untouched for so long, i just couldn’t bring myself to eat while my friend was being lowered to the cold hard ground.I picked up the food and went to the backyard where our dogs were. I poured the cold food into their food bowl and let them out of their kennel. They wagged their tails, their tongues dropping spittle in excitement. They rushed the food aggressively like they had not eaten all day. I was getting comfy on the sofa with a book when the gateman ran in shouting.
” Madam! Madam! Come see ooo” he screamed, running into the living room.
” What happened?” i asked him, getting up in fear. ” Why are you shouting like the devil is after you?”
” Madam my mouth no fit talk am oo” he answered, running out again.
I followed him out into the yard and stopped short. My heartbeat was slamming so hard against my chest. Tara and Tania, the dogs, were both on the grass near their food bowl and they were foaming at the mouth. I squatted down, gently touching their fur, they were both stiff. I closed my eyes, as the raw pain of their sudden death hit me with a force, i felt like a bullet had been lodged between my eyes. I glanced back towards the house, someone in that house, someone i call family had poisioned my food and because of me these poor creatures had lost their lives.
I knocked on the door of dad’ s study, he looked up as i entered.I felt like running into his arms and sobbing it all out despite everything he had done. Because of him i am addicted to inflicting pains on others, because of him i feel i have to always be in control, because of him i have come to hate myself and how ruthless i am. I might be so tough on the outside but inside i am all mushed up and scared. I cried myself to sleep when i heard of Tomi’ s death. Yes, she was encrouching on my property but she didn’t deserve such horrible death. Yes, she was messing with my carefully laid out plans but i didn’t wish her dead.
Everyone held me responsible for her death, Auntie Maggie looks at me like i had suddenly grown a horn on my forehead, Kelvin won’t pick my calls and even Victoria had taken to accusing me.I never had a romantic notion towards Kelvin, it wasn’t even my wish to saddle him into a marriage we both don’t want but he was my key now, the passport to achieving my goal. Once my father feels that i was more responsible he would come to trust me and once his guard is down i will strike. All i wanted was to get back all that belonged to my late mother for my sister and i. I just couldn’t let Tomi or anyone else mess up things for me.
That is why i won’t sit back and watch my father remarry, i wanted to spare Auntie Maggie the pain and shame she would go through when i finally expose him to the world. I know how messy it would get, the media would feed on it and it would impact on each one of us one way or the other. Tomi wasn’t supposed to die, nobody was supposed to die. Well, maybe my father could decide to end his own miserable life and save me all the stress i have to go through.
” Sit down Linda” My father said.
I sat down woodenly, for once doing what i was asked to.
” Chief has called off the wedding.” He said.
I was stunned and i struggled not to break down in front of him. That wedding has to take place! i had put in so much to lose out at this stage.
” Why?” i asked, calmly.
” You know why. Since you are off the hook be prepared to sign my company back to me” he said.
” No. Never! ” I pushed back the chair and stood up angrily. ” That company belonged to my mother and by right it belongs to me! I am her blood!”
” I won’t argue with you. I will see you tomorrow in the presence of my lawyers”
” You wouldn’t dare! i will expose you! I will tell the whole world what you did!” I shouted, tears streaming down my face. Why now? When i was so close to getting it right! ” I will air out your stinky laundry to the world! ”
He removed his eye glasses. ” What are you talking about? expose me?”
” Joseph Nwosu you might fool everyone else but you don’t fool me!” I said, banging my hands on his desk. ” I will expose you!”.
” Care to tell me my crime?” He asked, unconcerned.
” You may pretend all you want but i saw you! i saw you!” i cried out. ” You have to convince Chief, he can’t call off the wedding!”
” It is best for everyone involved.” He told me. ” The only reason you agreed to it in the first was because of your greed. I am ashamed of you Linda! you make my heart ache and i regret that you are my blood.” he looked me in the eye.” You have brought me nothing but sorrow and shame! if it wasn’t because of the love i had for your late mother i would have cut you off without a penny”.
” Then be prepared to have your name splashed on the headline of every newspaper in Nigeria” I threatened, meaning every single word.” I swear it to you that i will bring you down on your knees in shame!”.
” Is that a threat?” He asked.
” Call it whatever you want! if you try to take the company away from me i will let the whole world know how you murdered your own wife in cold blood! ”
” I murdered Jennifer?”
” I saw you! She threatened to cut you out of her will! and the next day she was dead!”
He blanched, his jaw slackened and dropped open. That was all the answer i needed. I whirled around and bumped into Victoria. From the ashen look on her face it was obvious that she heard the whole conversation.
To be continued..