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, Featherlight Heart – Chapter Fifteen, Featherlight Heart -Chp Sixteen, Featherlight Heart – Chapter Seventeen,
”Is he in?” The men who had come the day before asked Luke, Ambross’s Secretary
”No sir, he hasn’t come to work yet, he said he would be away for a week at least, he said he has some personal matters to attend to”
”Okay!!! Where does your boss live?” The taller bigger one asked
”I am not disposed to give that information to you”
”Are you disposed to have a broken face?” the man asks him, his voice stern
”So where does your boss live?”
”Erm.. I think I would have to call the security if you don’t leave Sir !!”
The man leans back and smiles ”So let me get this straight, your boss is hiding from us and he puts you in charge and swears you to secrecy of his whereabouts? I wonder, do you think I am joking about breaking your face? Maybe I should break your fingers first” he grabs Luke’s hand and bends it backward. Luke screams out in pain, people who were around turns, he presses it back more as Luke whimpers, his other man blocks them from view so no one suspects what’s going on.
”No no please please” Luke cries out as the man tells him to be quiet or he would do worse.
”Give me the address asshole”
”Let me write it down for you please , oww oww!!” he cries
”Good choice !!” The man lets go off him, Luke hurriedly write sit out with his good hand.
The agent they had called turns to them, ”So, this is the last of it, and this is the most unique, this house was listed for sale this morning, the owners relocated out of the country. it is going for NGN 20 million, everything en-suit, you don’t have to bring anything aside your cloths and pictures and other personal items. It’s a walk-in-house with everything, you pay a million of servicing fee, which takes care of your laundry, security, and other miscellaneous, this is way better than other houses we have seen in the suburbs for the past couple of hours… and this may be expensive but it is worth it.
”Oh!! I love it Ambross, I love it!!” Belinda says clasping her hands together
Ambross was impressed, they had checked out about ten houses this morning, he had liked two, but this one was just put into the market this morning according to the agent and the company in charge of it was putting up for sale. This sort of houses would go for NGN 50 million at least, he was lucky, it was a great house, in a beautiful environment and they really don’t need to buy new furniture’s and all, it was all in here, in fact they could move in today.. this was better than the rest. ”We would take it. Where do we sign, I will call my accountant to make the transfer…”
”Very well sir, let’s just go by the office, let your lawyer meet us there too, and we can help you move within the hour, what things would you like to carry from your old to the new?”
“Nothing, all the things in my former house are old, just my cloths and my make-up, nothing else, and you too Ambross, old things have past away, all the things become new, in fact, let them go and do the moving while we sign, right baby?”
They enter their car and follow the agent in his, they sign, happily taking their documents they leave
As soon as the door was shut behind them, The Agent grabs his phone and calls ”Mr Uchendu’s office please”
A few hours later, they are outside ringing the bell, no answer, they knock on the door a couple of times, still no answer. The black van they came in is parked at the entrance, a few neighboring houses stood aside.
Someone who had been watching them across the streets from his house and comes to them ..
”Good afternoon, how may I help you?” He asks them
”Good afternoon, we are looking for Mr Ambross Chikurdi, his number isn’t reachable and we have been knocking but no answer”‘
”Oh!! he just move out today, barely an hour ago”
”Moved out, to where?” They exclaim
The man frowns ”He didn’t leave a forwarding address, who are you?”
”Business associates, we are to have a meeting with him and when we went by his office they said he didn’t come in today, so we came by to make sure he is okay, do you have another direct line to get in touch with him?”‘
”No!! I am just his neighbour, I have no further contact details except for the one who bought his house”
”I don’t think that business associates would want to concern yourself with that”
The man smiles ”Thank you,” they walk away entering their car and leaving. The man watches them leave then crosses the road and goes back into his house
“Bad news bossman, Mr Ambross is nowhere to be found, and we can’t go back to his office, the secretary might have reported us to the police for manhandling him” The man who had bent Luke’s hand stated over the phone
”Well fish him out, I don’t care wherever he is hiding, he is playing smart, he thinks he can run from me without paying me my money? He said he was broke but under a week his company is booming, he sold his house and that house was listed for NGN 30 million, which is enough to pay me half at least for starters but he is on the run. Find him, bring me money and get rid of him and if anyone stands in the way, get rid of them too.. in fact find out who bought the house, they would have information of where you can find Ambross ” came the reply
”Yes sir!!”’As soon as he cuts the call he turns to his colleague ”Boss wants us to smoke him out whatever means necessary”‘
”No problem, let’s go to the bank, they would have the information we need, we start from there till we find the frog” they nod as their car zooms off.
Olive had woken up alone and the bed was empty of Emeka, by the time she came down, Mama Tito told her Emeka left very early in the morning for work ”What of Mama?”
”She is in her room”
”That’s unlike her,”‘ she had gone in to stay with her, she was sad, Olive didn’t like it at all.
Emeka had knocked on her door early that morning,
”Would you be up for lunch with me today, you can tell any of the drivers to bring you to me, they would know where , I have plans for us today, would you be up for it?”
”Yes!!” she says smiling, she had slept well, too well.
”Good, see you later ” he leans in and kisses her head..
Later on in the day, she was on her way to go speak to Mercy when she sees Olive going there, she sighs, …wasn’t it time for her to live this house? Wasn’t it shameful to even still be here?
Emeka had finally proposed to her with a ring, surely any girl would count her losses and leave right?’
But no, Olive is shameless, inconsiderate!!
She sighs, calm yourself Diana, well she can sleep in Emeka’s room as much as she wants to, Emeka would not be cheating on her, he wouldn’t , he loves her, he loves her alot, and she can get warm with Mercy, doesn’t matter, it is She who gets to be her daughter in-law, she smiles turning away, later, when she gets back she would speak to Mercy, ..
The scene of yesterday replays itself in her head, she frowns, rubbing her chest, what was wrong with her, why does she feel all of a sudden…like as though..as though.
She shakes her head and continuous walking away, it was time to go see Emeka, her fiancé. She rubs her ring smiling.
”We came to inquire about the house that was listed here up until yesterday, on grove streets going for about NGN 30 million, we would love to purchase it” He was dressed in a black suit, looking the part of a business man, his colleague carried his briefcase and was dressed too.
They were seated with the manager of the bank who has agreed to seat down with them
”I am so sorry but it was bought yesterday, and all loans paid off UP-front, but we have other houses on sale, we can show you –” he passes them a catalog of houses on sale, the man pushes it away shaking his head
”No, we are sentimentally attached to that house and it’s that one we want” the man leans forward
”It has been sold, I am sorry!!”The manager repeats
He sighs, putting on an act ”You don’t understand, when I mean it is sentimentally attached I mean to say I grew up in that house, my father loved that house, my daughter, she died in that house when she was a baby, God bless her soul, and my wife, that’s where her memory is we moved out of it about so many years ago because we couldn’t afford to live in it anymore, now, I can afford to buy it so I came for it.”‘
”I am truly sorry sir but there is nothing I can do”‘
”But there is, if you tell us who bought the house maybe I can buy it back”
He laughs ”It was sold for a whooping NGN 70 million as against NGN 30 million, how do you suppose to pay the owner back for that?”‘
He looks at the manager, a house that was listed for NGN 30 million and sold to Mr Ambross for NGN 70 million? That person must be very desperate to get that house, why? Something was fishy,
”The company I work for is capable to pay back, I have worked for years and strived so that I can be able to buy the house back for my wife, surely you would understand, it means a lot to me, my wife, my baby… it is the only thing I have worked hard for..” he sniffs
The manager stares at him, the person he was with lays a hand on his shoulders ”Take it easy sir, it’s gone, sold”’
The manager sighs as the man continues to sniff, ”I don’t think anything would come from it but here is the company card and address of the person who bought the house, maybe you can re-negotiate. From what I hear they do not want to turn it into something else, they just want the house and for them to pay a huge amount for that property, I think it means a lot to them too, but in any case, this is the least I can do” he pulls out a file and brings out a card… ”here!”
The man takes it and looks at the name ”Tayo Adegunbe, TECO Refineries, Managing Director, oil serving company, thank you Sir” they get up to shake him, they leave.
”Nice act!!” his colleague laughs flinging the briefcase into the back seat
”Yes, studied Theatre Arts in the University ” he smiles slipping into the car “let’s make a quick stop shall we and pay this Tayo person a visit”.
”We would like to see Mr Tayo Adegunbe” They stand speaking to the receptionist
”I am sorry, that is a mistake, Mr Tayo Adegunbe isn’t the MD of this company” The receptionist says looking at the card they gave her and frowning
”I do not understand, this is his card is this not, we have an appointment !!!” the man leans in confused
”I am sorry sir, there must be a mistake” she hands it back
”Then who is the MD, does it mean he gave a fake card?”
”Í do not know how to answer that question Sir”
‘Then who runs this place? I want to speak with the owner, Mr Tayo has defrauded me of my money and I won’t leave until I get it back” he begins to shout making a scene
”Sir please calm down, you are making a scene, this is a working environment”
”I do not care if its a nursery or a zoo, I want to see the manager, the Md anyone , I will not leave here unless I get my money, fraud, that is what this place does. Fraudulent activities!!!” he flares
She receives a call, ”Yes sir, I have no idea sir but he is insisting on speaking to you, okay sir”
She turns to him dropping the call “Calm down sir, and please follow me”.
”Sir, please calm down, sit down, how may we help you?”‘
”My name is Kenneth Adobile, I had dealings with a Tayo Adegunbe, and the card he gave, he says he works here that he is managing this company, I sold my house to him but the money bounced and hasn’t reflected in my account since yesterday, now I can’t seem to reach him and now I get here they tell me he doesn’t work here, I don’t get it, i need my money, if you won’t point me to him, at least point me to someone who helped him acquire my house, or I will assume you all are in it”
”Let me see the card”
He gives the manager the card,
He nods recognising the name ”I think there must have been a mistake, it would be resolved immediately”‘. He leans away and places a call, after a few minutes he turns to him
”I am so sorry sir, for the mixup, Mr Tayo Adegunbe isn’t the one you should be talking to, Mr Odinaka Uchendu is the owner of this company and the MD, I am acting manager and Mr Tayo was a temporary step in for him yesterday.”
”I do not understand,”
”I was just told by the accountant that Mr Odinaka ordered that Mr Tayo Adegunbe be given a profile here for just a day to carry out a transaction, he is a business man and as such very busy, he must have sent him to carry out the transaction but I find it hard to believe that the check bounced, if he paid for it, it must have gone through. I advise you to check with your bank again, Mr Odinaka isn’t a scrupulous man Sir, there must be a mistake somewhere”
”So who is this Odinika Uchendu?”
”I told you already, he is a business man, he is the MD”‘
”And he owns this place, he sent him?”
”Yes, that is what I confirmed, if he sent another to make to purchase according to you its maybe because he does not want to be associated to it directly, or maybe… I don’t know, but there is a mix up somewhere and it isn’t from us, please check across with your accountant, I think the fault might be from your bank.”‘
“Okay, I will, let me make a call again”
He gets up, moving away and making a call ”Sir, I think I found the person, his name is Odinaka Uchendu, and guess what, Ambross was paid NGN 70 million naira”
”Good, get to this Uchendu, drill him for Ambross, take the NGN 70 million, and get rid of him, at least a interest of NGN 20M isn’t so bad” the voice laughs
He cuts the call and comes back to him ”I am so sorry, my accountant just confirmed the payment, must have been an issue with the bank, so sorry for the scene, thank you so much” he stretches out his hands to the manager…who frowns taking it
”No worries Sir”
”Please let this be kept between us, it’s very embarrassing, I can even pay you for your troubles, and the girl I screamed her head out” the man says smiling apologetically
He laughs, ”No, its fine” the manager tells him, they shake and the business leaves.
Emeka meets her at the door of the five restaurant, he nods to his driver as he leaves taking the car back.
”So princess, where do you want to go first? I got a list of things for you today” Emeka is smiling into her eyes
”Like what?” Diana touches his hands, he pats it
”You will see! But do you have anywhere in mind to go to first?”
She shakes her head to his question.
”Okay then, allow me make you smile the whole day then… I will treat you like the princeSs you are” he says taking her hand and places a kiss to it.
They go sightseeing going on his boat for a few hours, back to land they go shopping, new cloths, bags and shoes, the whole shebang.
”You want to check out jewels, a car, anything?” he asks her a few hours later as they are back in the car.
She turns to him, the car was already filled up with purchased items, she stares at it and back at him, he had gotten her so many things and wanting to do more..
”I don’t deserve all this Emeka”‘ she says indicating the back seat
”Why would you say that Dee?”‘
”I do not” she states
”Yes you do, you deserve the world. Why what’s wrong, it’s not enough, you want more?”
A day ago maybe she would have nodded a thousand yes’S but now, she doesn’t know. She feels, she feels unusually different, since the encounter with his mother, the scene at the dinning, she feels different, and the shame and guilt is weighing her down. She didn’t deserve this love and attention he gave her, she really didn’t.
But she didn’t want to leave him either, yes she wants his money and life of luxury, that was the reason she came back into his life having run into him, now… all she feels is guilt, and she didn’t understand why.
His mother’s words cut through her deeply and he standing up to defend her, saying all that he said he feels for her, she felt shame, because she never loved him, she felt guilt, because she was even lying to him now, she didn’t love him, she loved his money… not the man.
Now this guilt was eating into her… pinching her.
”I don’t deserve you Emeka”
”Then who does?”‘
He laughs shaking his head, he takes her hand caressing the ring ”See this ring, it’s on your finger, yours and not on hers. See all this” he indicates his back seat “it’s all yours and I didn’t get for her, you are the one I want and will marry, I deserve you, you deserve me, I love you, you love me, right, or don’t you love me?”
No Emeka. I didn’t then, I don’t now..
”I… I” she stutters
”You want to quit? You don’t want to marry me again?” he feigns sadness
She shakes her head, ”I do want to marry you Emeka” she says looking at him, I am only marrying you for the wrong reasons Emeka, that is why v feel guilty, shame.
Oh I wasn’t.. I wasn’t going to care, I wasn’t even bothered until your mother told me all those things, until I realised just how much I hurt you, until I understood her pain and anger towards me, until shame washed over me, until guilt..now… I do not know what to do and yet I know I don’t want to let go..
”What is it Diana, why are you staring at me like that, what are you thinking of?”
”Nothing Emeka, you are showing me all the love and attention, I am overwhelmed, I just wish I can be the wife you want”‘
”You are already the one I want, I am happy with you back in my life, never doubt that!!”
They go home after they go shopping for a car for her, during the signing he doesn’t let her sign but does so himself, she was curious
”Why not in my name baby?”
”Oh, I usually buy things like cars and houses in the company’s name so it is insured in case of theft and accidents, it’s your car Dee, just bought in the company’s name”
”Don’t I need to sign still though?”
”No, I already signed Dee” he told her..
”But..” she didn’t get why she couldn’t sign the documents
”It’s your car Dee don’t fret, funny woman”‘ he laughs as he hands her the keys..
”Have it delivered to my residence tomorrow for my fiancé” he tells the manager, who nods giving instructions to his staffs with the master key.
While they are heading home, the car keys to her new Ferrari in her hands, the diamond ring around her fingers, the cloths, shoes and bags in the booth, and so much more in the back seat, her throat closes..
”You will not eat your cake and have it Diana, you will choke, when you do bad to someone and yet come to eat where you don’t sow, you will choke, you will purge and I pray to God it makes you so uncomfortable that you will begin to squirm , and when you can’t bear it anymore like fire you will run, I swear to you Diana, those who do evil and have bad intentions against good people it would backfire and it would backfire against you too, I promise it will” Mercy’s words plays back into her head. she shakes the thoughts away, surely that is not what is happening to her right? Surely… this guilt isn’t as a result of the intentions she has against Emeka, Surely this guilt isn’t as a result of a mother’s prayers?.
It cannot be, she rubs her chest.
If he has to make this believable, he has to go all out, he just has to be emotionless about it, he has to,.
He walks her into the house as Mama Tito opens the door for them, it was late, they watch the staffs take her things inside.
”Where is Mama, and Olive?”
”Your mother is at sleep, and Miss Olive in your room Sir”‘
”Okay, let them take those things to my room, tell Olive to take the guest room, my fiancé would be staying with me from now on”‘
”Sir, but Miss Olive..” Mama Tito began to protest
”Mama Tito please” Emeka cautions her
Diana stops him and her”’No, please don’t, I will sleep in the guest room where I have been..” she says turning to him.
”No Diana, by right she shouldn’t be in my room, my mother wanted her but today I give her no more doubts, she is my friend yes but you are my fiancé, she shouldn’t be there, Mama has accepted you, us, come” He takes her hand, she pulls it away
”No Emeka, not tonight anyways” she places a kiss to his cheeks, “I will see you tomorrow”.
She leaves him walking away to her room, she directs the staffs to take the things to her room instead.
He watches her leave lost in thoughts, does she feel regret, guilty, thus was that what her recent behaviour was all about… or she was just pretending to be… a good girl? Didn’t she want to seduce him before, now she is being the good girl, the prim and proper girl, he laughs.
Oh this changes nothing Diana, I see behind that whole facade of yours Diana. And the most comforting thing is that everything is falling according to plan, even the way she is feeling.
He smiles turning away, ”Goodnight Mama Tito”.
She stares at him curiously, not understanding him at all.
Emeka enters his room to find Olive asleep, he climbs in bed after shower, pulls her to him and goes to sleep, a satisfied smile on his face.
Diana doesn’t sleep, she tosses and turns, she grabs her phone ”hey Grace, can we see tomorrow, I need someone to talk to, please?”
”Okay Dee” A drowsy Grace responds sleepily.
He is backing them when they enter the next morning, he grabs his pipe, lights it and puts it into his mouth as the smoke evaporates from the funnel as he puffs.
”What did you find out about him?” he says over his shoulders
The one who had been the spokeman all this time walks forward ”Odinaka Uchendu, a business man, oil importer, owns chains of shops and car garages across the country, got affiliates in foreign shores as well, he helps companiés who aren’t able to burst through and have gone under to have a chance at it again, some he buys off, others he invests and makes his profit, point is Sir, this dude is rich, money in his well never runs dry”
”Hmm, how long has he been in this business and what is his connection to Ambross Chikurdi?”
”That’s the interesting part, up until ten years ago, nothing about him..”
”What does that mean?”
”It means that he was a nobody, nothing, his profile dates back to ten years ago, as soon as he surfaced, he was already making money, so it’s either he is playing two identities or he was no one and his stars shines and he became this… rich personality”
”Maybe, maybe not, maybe the radar began to pick in on him when he began to leave relevant mark on the globe, like you said he helps people with their company, but he can’t be a ghost, there must be an information before ten years ago, school, family, wife, children, a life. He didn’t just drop from the surface of the earth”
”Most of the information we have we got from online, the others we asked around, no one knows anything other than this”
”And this Tayo person?”
”We haven’t been able to reach him, and what the manger said, he was a front man for the house purchase”‘
”Hmm, so he is irrelevant to us”
”It appears so”‘
”This Uchendu, what is Ambross connection to him?”
”Ambross company was nearing the end Sir, that is why he came to us the big sharks to help him, and we did, but the money we gave him went down the drain and so did his company, we aren’t the only ones he is owing, but we are the largest. So I think he must have gotten in contact with this Uchendu person, I had a friendly chat with one of the workers, they said Ambross was praising a fellow recently then the same fellow shows up, he came visiting, and Ambross kept emphasizing that the man was a life saver and asked everyone to call him Sir, that he was the help they needed to get back on track, that man was Odinaka Uchendu”
”Hmmm, I am not really concerned about that but about my money, Ambross is owing me NGN 50 million naira, he hasn’t paid a dime and the one year we gave him expired about 18 months ago and we have been patient, every time he claimed he had no money, we advised him to put the house on sale so he can pay part, sell the company to us and his debt paid, he refuses, now… he is doing business with another, how much did you say he sold that house for?”
The man they call Boss whistles ”Something doesn’t fit in here properly”
”Same thing we said sir” the two men look at each other
”A stranger cannot exactly invest in a dying company unless he sees potential and doesn’t just throw away NGN70 million for a house that could be priced down to NGN20 million maybe lesser with the right negotiator. Hmm, is it just me or there is something more that meets the eyes” he taps his jaw
”Not just you sir, so what do we do. We don’t know where Ambross had moved to, no forwarding address and no one in his company is aware that he has moved and we cannot go storming down there, we have to be discreet.”
”I want my money, if i don’t get it I want the house and company he promised me, signed with his signature or did he forget he was given an ultimatum to pay… did he forget that I am a man who keeps to his words and I expect everyone to do the same?” he turns shaking his head and taking his seat , he continuous
”Find Ambross and get me my money, if you don’t see him, pick up this Uchendu guy, let him tell you how to get Ambross, I want the house and the company he promised me if he can’t pay and if he cooperates he will live, but of course that would be a lie. Once you get what is mine, afterwards… smoke Ambross, terminate him. No one goes scot free with my money, no one takes me for a fool, I don’t care how long it takes, find Ambross!… This uchendu, he might know something we don’t” he puts the pipe back into his mouth and inhales
”Yes sir!!” the men before him nod.
TO BE CONT.