Click to read: Featherlight Heart -Chapter One, Featherlight Heart -Chapter Two, Featherlight Heart – Chapter Three, Featherlight Heart -Chapter Four, Featherlight Heart -Chapter Five, Featherlight Heart -Chapter Six, Featherlight Heart -Chapter Seven, Featherlight Heart – Chapter Eight, Featherlight Heart – Chapter Nine, Featherlight Heart -Chapter Ten, Featherlight Heart -Chapter Eleven, Featherlight Heart – Chapter Twelve, Featherlight Heart – Chapter Thirteen, Featherlight Heart – Chapter Fourteen,
Emeka nods his head stopping the car and alighting, he goes to her with a huge smile on his face,
”Grace, this is really you right?” he laughs not knowing whether to hug her or shake her
Grace who had been shocked to hear her name and recognise the caller as Emeka is speechless, she is shaking her head and smiling , she holds on to her son who is looking up at Emeka and wondering who he is..
”Hey little guy,” Emeka touches the boy’s face, ”Your son?”
Grace nods smiling ”Junior say hello!” the boy hides his face ”He is a shy one” She says apologetically to Emeka
”Yeah it’s fine!! Grace, wow, it’s good to see you”
”And you too, wow! It’s been ages and you really cleaned up for a boy who once lived on the streets”‘
He laughs ” Yes I know right? Hey I never really got a chance to thank you… for what it’s worth, the two thousand you gave me helped us for a week at least, but it came in handy, you helped a boy when he had no one, unlike others who left him all alone, we weren’t even that close with aside knowing you as…erm… her friend but you didn’t have to do what you did but you did, most people would have turned their noses up and ignored me, someone they once knew and never wanted to be associated with but you Grace, you reach out even at that moment without thinking was like giving me water in a desert and I am grateful, thank you Grace” he says touching her hand, taking it and rubbing it, he really hoped one day he would meet her and thank her, when her friend broke his heart, didn’t even spare him a glance on the street, she, Grace had shown concern… that was a person with a good heart, there was no vile in it.
Grace is smiling ”I am sure you would have done the same, no need to thank me for nothing, I didn’t do anything anyone wouldn’t have done”
”You know that is not true..”
She is silent, she had a feeling he was referring to Diana ,
”So where are you going to, maybe I can drop you off?”
”Erm, home.. I just need to go to the market and get something ”
Emeka looks down at the boy, he was chewing his mother’s cloth ”Hey little guy, trying to eat mummy’s cloths?”
Grace laughs ”yeah, when he is hungry he acts out like that” she looks down at him ”Stop it Junior, you will soon have food to eat okay”
He thinks to himself, maybe he should offer ”I don’t know if you would mind, I can treat you both to an early lunch? Besides the weather is hot and that boy looks as though he would choke himself with your cloths before you get to the market”
”Erm… I don’t know, you seem you have other important things to do and don’t let me keep you”‘
”Nonsense, one should make out time for people who, matter in a way, well unless the husband is weary about male friends…” he lets it trail off
She smiles ”Well, he didn’t want to put a ring to it” she shows him her hand
”I am sorry about that, he must be a jerk not to see the good in your heart”
”Maybe, at least he gave me this prince here, the joy to my gloomy world”
”Shall we then, we can chat up… talk about life” She agrees.
He ushers them into his car, and called the office he would be late.
Grace watches her son eat and play, she turns to him.
Emeka studies her for a while, Diana hadn’t mentioned if they were still close friend, well they haven’t talked about friends. He wanted to know how close they still were, ”How is-”
”How is Diana!!” she turns to him
He smiles, ”She is good, she is in my house!!”
”I know” she smiles sadly
Okay, they were still close, he wouldn’t divulge any information to her then, her loyalty would be to her friend, but then again, why that sad expression.
”You don’t think she should be there?”
”I think you both are grown adults, more matured, you both can handle yourselfs better”
”You don’t think she should be there?” he repeats
She sighs , ”What I think shouldn’t matter Emeka, you guys are back together, she is thrilled, I am her friend v would support her”
”You don’t think she should be there?” he repeats, there was something she was not saying or avoiding to say
A deep breathe, ” No!!”
There it is, maybe loyalty wavers, she must have a good reason ”Why though!!?’
”Because I think ten years is a long time to just rekindle with someone who hurt you once like that, majorly, and right now you say you want to marry her and forget everything, I just think it’s too soon”
”Who says I forgot everything ?” he tested the waters
”So you are playing her?” she turns to him
He shakes his head ”No I am not playing her, I haven’t forgotten it either, I just let it go, years ago I did. Of course I didn’t ever expect to see her again and you know how love works, one minute you think you hate that person that hurt you and the next when they come begging your heart speaks instead of your head, and my heart forgives her, my heart loves her. And I think it’s rare to find someone you love who wants to make amends when they hurt you, so why should I stay angry forever, why not give us a chance and for marrying her, I am not getting any younger Grace, I have all I want in life but the one to share it with… it has always been Diana before all this, now, years later… of course I sent her away but… she says she is sorry, my heart believes her… and that is it”
”And all these while, there was no one who was able to make you forget her?”
He shake his head ”Love is a fleeting thing, there have been women, but the heart wants what it wants”
”And Olive, the girl in your house?”
He smiles slyly, they were really really close, ”I guess Diana told you about her”
She smiles ”She has her grievance against her, you told her you want to marry her and now you have a friend in the house who seems too much of a friend… maybe more”
”Diana has too many ideas in her head, Olive has been a good friend of mine for a couple of years and I won’t throw that away because I am getting married”
”So friends stay in your room with you while your supposed fiancé gets humiliated?”
”One minute you say you don’t want her in my house the next you are fighting her battles?”
Graces shakes her head ”I am just trying to understand, I don’t know how your mind works but I am curious here, about your intentions, I may not approve of what she does all the time and we may have fights on that too but she is my friend, and I will not close my eyes and watch her get hurt”
”You think I want to hurt her?”
”I want to know if that is what is happening here?”
”Did you talk to her when she did that to me? Caution her, scold her, and tell her not to?”
He saw the hurt in her eyes , ”Diana lied to me, to everyone about you Emeka, she told us so many things and when you both broke up she told us you relocated to the states and won’t be coming back, she told us you found someone else, she even said you cheated while you both were together, she told us so many things that made us believe her, it wasn’t until I saw you on the streets, we got home and had a fight then it all came out, how she couldn’t be with anyone like you, your status, lack of money and all the stupid things she said and I had a huge quarrel with her and told her she was selfish and wicked and never loved you which she admitted to it and’-” she trails off seeing his hard expression
Emeka tries not to show his pain and anger, Diana …Diana, he squeezes his hand underneath the table to calm himself, he mustn’t show Grace how much he wants to repay Diana for all that, she would tell her and it would be all go to waste, his plans.
”I am sorry” she concluded
”It’s okay Grace, v know all that, she told me worse face to face the day she left me, but that is all in the past, she told me she has changed, she told me she loves me, and that… she wants us to start all over, do I say no? A girl I loved in my youth, how do I say no? I thought about it and I realize that I did miss her and I want to seal it, be happy, enjoy all this with her”
She nods her head but the sad look doesn’t go ”she is my friend, but do one thing for me will you?”
”What would that be”‘
”I know you say you care and have forgiven her, and love her, but don’t rush into the permanent, be sure”‘
”Be sure?” Emeka frowns ”be sure of what, what I want?… I want her”‘
”No, I mean” she thins her lips, Diana would kill her ”I mean ”… oh screw it, she would tell Diana the truth to her face when she errs, and she knows why her friend wants to marry Emeka, for his money, nothing else, not for love, that girl has no love for anyone except herself, and money is the only thing she desires, a life of affluence and luxuries and an unending bank vault.. she doesn’t love Emeka, and it is such a wicked and selfish thing to do and if she can’t actually tell Emeka to stay away from her, she could give him a hint.. at least.
Emeka was a nice boy ten years ago, she doesn’t know if he had changed, but if he was still the same, he doesn’t deserve to be hurt again by her, if she did love him and really wanted to make amends, then she would have okayed it, but Diana is just throwing herself to him because of his money, and she didn’t want to look as though she was part of her plan, but if she can’t stop her friend, she could drop a hint so Emeka treads carefully.
”What are you trying to say Grace, you can tell me”‘
She rubs her temple, throwing a look at her son and then back at him ”Just be sure that she really means it when she says she is, I know how much you loved her then, everyone saw it, I don’t know how much you still do now but, make sure that this, is for real this time before you say I do, you want a happy home, someone who loves you for you not for what you are… be sure first, so you don’t end up more broken than you were, that is all I have to say”‘
She did have a good heart, such a rare one.
He places his hand on hers on the table ”Don’t worry too much Grace, I am not the boy ten years ago, I am all grown up, I know what I want and what I am doing, and I do know what Diana wants, it isn’t me, but my wealth I don’t intend to give it to her ”she wants me, me alone” he finishes
That is what he wants her to believe… now Grace wouldn’t warn her, and he would get his revenge.
”Okay, okay then, and your mother doesn’t like her very much and this Olive is ..?”
”Mama is just being protective, and Olive is a friend. Enough about me , what about you, what have you been up to lately, I hope he pays for child support not leave you to take care of the boy, it took two to tangle, I don’t really like guys who leave their family to fend for themselves”
”Well, I survive”
”Got a job, anything?”
”Had, looking for again, but we would be fine” she turns to her son ”Stop jumping junior”
”What’s your expertise?”
She laughs ”Seriously,?”
”Eh!! Did a course on management after school and marketing, ran an NGO recently before they parked up”
”Great, how about you come with me to the office, I know you don’t have your Cv here or anything, but… I will set up a meet with you and the HR, we just relocated one of our managers to a new site, and I think you can be useful in the management department, it comes with benefits as well and because it’s you, I will give you the full package, allowances includes accommodation, for your position comes with an official car aside others and I won’t take no for an answer, this is my thank you Grace, before you refuse it, think of your son. I think he deserves a better life than waiting for a father who doesn’t want to step up and take responsibilities”‘
Grace was speechless, her eyes tears up ”Are you being serious, just like that? Won’t anyone raise any query, I mean no interview no test… just like that?”
He laughs ”It’s my company and Grace, you deserve it and I have a soft spot for those who are nice to me, and for single mothers I think… aside others” he smiles as Junior walks to his mother, he stretches his hand to the boy ”hello little guy?”
This time Junior was used to his face within the two hours they were there, he didn’t shy away, he touches Emeka’s hand tentatively, staring at him … ”hey, that’s it, I don’t bite” he pulls him closer and lifts him on his lap… ”I am Emeka, what’s your name? Is it Junior? Yes it is right ” the boy nods.. “Nice name, will you be my friend junior, I will buy you ice-cream, yes, yes?” Junior turns to him and he smiles ”Oh you like ice-cream, we would get one now for you okay?” he plays with the boy, turning to Grace, she cleans the tears from her eyes.
”I don’t know what to say?”
”How about okay to my ”You start working immediately, and you get a full one month payment upfront… and don’t think I am favoring you which I am but… I do take care of my staffs and they are well paid, they do a lot of work to keep the company going and… we do make a mean sum amount of money in a week so you keep them happy, treat them nice, they are loyal and I am never of the opinion to treat staffs as dirt, my mother taught me a whole lot…. so… hey stop crying don’t do that, just like you said, if I am in your shoes and you in mine, I am sure you would do the same thing, hey!” he laughs as her tears increases, he stands up carrying the boy and pulls her up side hugging her,
She buries her face to his chest and cries, ”hey, don’t! you don’t want Junior to be worried that I did something to his mother right? We just became friends and I promised him ice-cream… stop it Grace, a smile..yes there it is a smile”
Grace smiles, she can’t believe it. Something comes to mind, “Do good to someone, show help anyway you can, if it is a smile, a hug, blessing or maybe a cup of water or a grain of food or a tiny change that helps to lift another, if you can do it, you never know when your own blessings will come when you least expect it”.. Now she has a job? The same company she had applied to work in, wrote the test and didn’t pass, the same company owned by Emeka, the same company now she is going to be in the management department, maybe even be sent to manage another relocation, getting a house and car a, a good pay… without any protocol. Who says God isn’t in heaven, who says he lies when he says those who give would be blessed. Ha!! This was unbelievable. Now she can take care of her son, and wouldn’t even listen to his father’s excuses about not being able to care for his son because he spends his money on women and other vices.
“Thank you Emeka, God bless you!!”
”Yeah!! He has that is why I am being a blessing to others, so let’s go, I need to attend to some meetings before I get home, and at work, it is Odinaka uchendu”
”Personal reasons, my name is Emeka Odinaka Uchendu, I stopped using my father’s name almost as soon as I could change it, so mostly it is Odinaka Unchendu… my mother’s maiden name”
”If you want me to call you Caesar I will” she laughs in her tears
”Nah, Odinaka is fine… at work”
They nod as they leave, he stops to get ice-cream for the boy and they go to his office.
”Miss Grace, the HR would see you now, I can watch over your son for you if you like why Mr Odinaka attends to work”
”Thank you!!”‘ she gets up, turning to him again ”Thank you!!”
”That’s fine Grace, we may not see each other as often because your office would be on the other side of the compound but if you need anything, come by anytime, I would love to give you audience ”
”Agnes, get her details and tell the accountant to make the necessary payment, take her to the garage and let her pick a car meant for the staffs, you do know how to drive Grace or you want a driver assigned to you?”
”I do know how to”‘ she says still in shock
”Excuse us Sir!!”
Ambross grabs his bag, placing a call to his secretary
”I would be taking the rest of the day off, if anything call my mobile line”’
”Sir, there are a few people here to see you, they say it’s important”‘
”Fix them up for tomorrow, I am going home”‘
”But Sir, they say..”
”Who are these people Luke?”
”They are from the Swartz groups they said”
Ambross shakes his head, do they have a knack for smelling money? He would get back to them, this one was his personally, he would deal with them later, for now… he can’t wait to go home and break the news to his wife and search for a new house and car and have all that jazz.
He told them a month again, that was months ago, they have already given him over a year, one more month shouldn’t hurt.
”Tell them I already left, fix them for tomorrow”‘
He cuts the call, and leaves.
”What did he say?”
”He just left Sir, he said I should fix you up tomorrow”‘
They were two of them, the one who spoke smiles, but his hard features wasn’t deterred ” Everytime we come here its either he doesn’t want to see us or fixes us up in days he never gets to see us , we gave him a year because we were trying to consider him, he took 18 months, now he gets back on track and is trying to play a fast one on us right, that is fine, we would be here tomorrow and tell your boss, he shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds him”
They leave moments later.
”Did you see him?” the car they entered, a third man sat there quiet at the back, he was smoking a pipe
”No Sir, the same thing, he is avoiding us”‘
”What are our orders sir?”
”Do the needful, make sure you get every single dime out of him..Whatever it takes.”‘
They alight as the black car zooms off., they enter their own car and go the opposite way.
”Belinda honey, guess what?” he enters the house, flinging his briefcase to the corner
She rolls her eyes as she crosses her legs on the chair..”If it’s not good news I don’t want to hear it”
”It is, I sold the house!!” he says leaning in to kiss her, she turns her face away pushing him
”For how much, I thought you said you weren’t anymore”
”Oh for the price I got, it’s worth it” he sits down frowning that she didn’t give him a kiss, but when he tells her she would be ready to give it to him all night long.
”NGN 30 million? That is the price there and the bank takes NGN 10 million for the loan you took from them, another good house for just us two in the suburbs would go for close to NGN 18 million, unless you want to relocate to somewhere lesser and I can’t go steps down to the top I am in, so what is the good news?”
”I got NGN70 million for the house belinda” he says excited
She turns and looks at him in shock ”NGN70 million, how?”
”Well, someone who wants the house desperately offered and I accepted” he felt mighty proud of himself.
”Are you a fool, the person was playing you”‘
He laughs ”you know nothing Belinda, here, take a look at this,” he gets up taking his briefcase and retrieving the files,. ”The originals are with the lawyer, here are the copies , the bank have these as well, everything is signed, money transferred to us… NGN 70 million baby, signed, sealed and delivered, so who is the fool now?”
Now she is smiling, a minute ago she was talking to her mother how she was tired of the marriage and how she would like to leave, but now that the company was looking up… she was thinking about reconsidering, but this just sealed it, she smiles getting up and walking to him ”Ah ha baby, you know how I joke now, it was just a joke, I knew you were smart, that is why I married you. Oya kiss me now hmm” she kisses him, he grabs her
”I want more of that, you know I miss you my Belinda”
”Let me prepare something nice for you to eat eh, then we can go to the bedroom” she kisses him again… getting up ”So when do we leave?’
”In a month, you get to pick the house you want, I can look up agents or ask for a good one who can help look for a house for us”
”Oh I am excited, a new house, car… everything, oh this is great ..!” she disappears into the kitchen
”Yes!!” he answers his phone..
”Sir… they said they would be back and they weren’t happy!!”
He sighs ”Don’t mind them, when they come tomorrow tell them the same thing, they should relax, don’t call me till tomorrow, I don’t want any more disturbances “‘
”Okay sir, sorry sir”
”Belinda, where are you honey?” he gets up smiling to go meet his wife.
”Mama, can I talk to you, please?” Diana enters the room as soon as they returned..
”Please, alone without Olive”
Olive gets up ”Mama talk to her, I will be back” she leaves
”There is nothing you will say Diana, you already know my position on whatever concerns Emeka”
“Mama, please… I beg you” she goes on her knees
Mercy looks at her in disbelief.
TO BE CONTINUED.