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, Featherlight Heart -Chapter Eighteen, Featherlight Heart -Chapter Nineteen, Featherlight Heart – Chapter Twenty
Emeka, for the next couple of days makes sure he stops by Diana’s room every morning, she had insisted to stay in the guest room out of respect for his mother she had told him, he agreed. He takes her out often to lunch every afternoon, and dinner at evenings, he didn’t give her any space to doubt, he showed her all the love and attention any girl would be blown over for without being intimate with her. The point was to give her all the attention she needs, to cushion her up, leave no room for doubts from his side. She had fallen; he wanted to make her fall hard, so hard that her eyes will glow when they see him.
He takes her to the movies, watch her laugh at funny scenes, cry when it is emotional and scream when it is scary while burying her face in his arms. He opens the doors for her when she enters the car, takes her hand when she comes out, he dabs her mouth when she spills food, feeds her when she is smiling. Buys her nice things.
He calls her his lady, his queen when he is addressing the staff when they walk into a restaurant and on some days he doesn’t have much work, he takes her cruising around town, without his security tailing him, he tells her that he is enough to protect her, and when she isn’t looking he buys her a gift and surprises her with it before the day runs out.
He made her feel special, he did all that a man would do to a woman he loved… he did it so that she would have no iota of doubt of him in her body. And as hours spreads into days, she looked so happy.
And when he looks into her eyes, she stares back at him, he sees it, yes he sees her eyes sparkle, he sees it twinkle bright, and when she calls his name, it’s with something else attached to it. Love!.
He sees her, how she goes to greet his mother every morning, making it a duty to make breakfast, his mother is quiet these days, not happy, he needs to talk to her, reassure her, that all would be well soon, tell her to forgive him when it is over.
Olive, is quiet too, avoiding to make a scene… But that is a purposeful intent.
But Diana? Diana is changing, she is changing, she is falling and falling hard for him, and that pleases him.
And at night, he walks her to her room, kisses her cheeks and when she asks him to stay with her, he does because he knew she wouldn’t try and seduce him like before, but still you can’t keep leaving yam in front of a goat and keep expecting it not to eat it because it didn’t eat it before.
”She wants to love him like he has never being loved before?”
He laughs, he wanted to laugh in her face, but that would have given him away.
He listened to her talk and his heart twisted in his chest, because… all she said she meant today to him, meant nothing.
While he fanned Diana’s feelings for him from flame to red fire, he keeps tabs on Ambross, he would have stepped in as soon as he withdraw that money under the table, but he was going to wait, allow him feel he played him for a fool, allow him enjoy the loot he obtained, allow him bask in his foolishness.
He knew it was better to catch a thief with his mouth fool with stolen meat then to catch a thief who had wiped his mouth and hands clean from the oil from the soup and no trace of loot. And that is what he wants to do, catch Ambross with his mouth full with his greed, selfishness and wickedness
He leaves Diana’s room and goes upstairs, knocking on the door..
”Mama, can I come in?”‘
She raises up her head, Olive was seated beside her. She smiles getting up
”Mama, I will see you later” she walks away, once she nears Emeka, she leans in
”She isn’t too happy, make her feel better will you, I almost feel guilty not able to tell her anything”
”Me too ”
She nods touching his arm and leaves.
”Hey mama” he comes to her, pulls the seat closer to her ”you are angry with me” he holds her hands ”I am sorry”
”I am not, you are a big boy, you make your own decisions”
”Mama don’t sound like that now, you break my heart”‘
”You break my own heart when you picked her Emeka, what do you want me to do? You say I should let you have your wife, your love, what happens when she breaks you Emeka, how do I protect you?”
”Mama, she won’t be able to do that, because I will be the one who hits back, I don’t need protecting this time mama, but she would be the one who needs to be protected”
”What do you mean Emeka?”
He searches her eyes, no, he can’t tell her now ”I mean, that, I mean that I am a big boy now mama, I make my decisions and before I did that I thought long and hard so I don’t need protection, you will see, you will understand it all. Just support me mama, please, accept her”
”I have accepted her”
”No, you say that but you don’t mean that”
”What do you want me to do, gather her in my arms and kiss her cheeks and cook for her?”
”No mama, I see her making an effort, being nice to Mama Tito, trying to care for you, making an impact in the house, she leaves no room for error”‘
”I see, she could be pretending!”
”Maybe, but it is all genuine to me, let it be for you”
”Why does it sound as though there is something you aren’t telling me”‘
The intuition of a mother, Emeka thought to himself ”Nothing, I am telling you everything for now, I want to talk to you about –”he trails off
”I want to hold the engagement party here mama”
She signs in resignation ”So are you really going to marry her, you really want to marry her?”
She shakes her head ”When?”
”Isn’t it too soon Emeka, wait, think about it, please!!” she makes one last plea
”No mama, its time, all I have waited for is here mama, its time. She loves me, she really loves me Mama, it’s time to finish it mama”
”You say something Emeka, and I read something else, what is it you are trying to say, what are you keeping from me? Why do you say she loves me like… it just happened and you are waiting to do something with that information eh?”
Mama, you intuition is top notch, but I can’t let you in on it, not till it’s all over. I am sorry.
”Nothing mama, you are reading something else, i just mean i am happy and why wait. I want to marry the girl I love and I need you to arrange it, please, it’s going to be just immediate families, one or two friends and invited guests, that’s all”
”Why not your everyone Emeka? Your business associates, your friends far and wide, why not the press and everyone else in the whole world Emeka?”
She was angry, he rubs her hands, calming her down. She was lashing out, since he wanted a wedding going against her why go private, why not tell the whole world right mama? But, she isn’t the one I want to spend my life with Mama, she is just the one I want to break, and I don’t need the world here to witness, just the few.. and then all this would end mama.
He looks up at her
”I want a private setting mama, nothing more, my life is public, but my personal life shouldn’t be in the spot light, for now at least”
”You won’t change your mind?”
She sighs ”Very well”‘
He stares at her ”My mother, I know you mean well, and I want you to know that I will never go against you, never! I love you too much, but I also have the matters of my heart to deal with, and it involves Diana and” he pauses ”forgive me if I have hurt you, forgive me” he buries his head in her hand ”Forgive me for everything, for yesterday, for today and even for tomorrow”
”Emeka!!” she rubs his head holding him tight, why does it feel like he isn’t saying something to her, why? ”Emeka my son!!” she repeats and drops a kiss to his head; they stay like that for a while before he eventually leaves alone.
He meets Olive at the door, she was waiting for him ”so by this weekend, it will all be over?” he asks him as he comes out
He nods his head
”My flight is in the morning!!”
”I know, should I drop you off?”
”You don’t need to!!”
”Thank you Olive”
”Not yet Emeka, don’t thank me yet!! Let me say goodbye to your mother. See you later, maybe I will get a proper goodbye from you later on” she smiles patting his shoulders and entering the room to say goodbye to his mother.
”I wish you didn’t have to go Olive, I wish you were the one marrying my son, I wish you were my daughter in-law Olive, he wouldn’t listen to me now you are leaving, oh olive” Mercy says as soon as she sees Olive entering her room
”Oh Mama, it’s okay, it’s okay, the heart wants who it wants Mama, you can’t force a man to love another, I will be fine and you will be too, all of you, I promise, just have a little faith okay?”‘ Olive says going to her and shutting the door, Emeka sighs deeply, sad about his mother’s words and her countenance.
A little longer mama, I will never go against you I promise.
He walks away.
Diana is seated on the bed biting her lower lip with the phone to her ears as she waits for the phone to connect, it does ”Hey Grace, how are you?”
”I am great and you?”
”You were right. I do love him, I love him now, I don’t know what to do?”
”Tell him the truth, no relationship should be formed on a lie, Emeka is a good man, he will forgive you, toss it away and love you still, from what you have been telling me of all the nice and breathtaking things he has been doing for you, it seems he is 100 all in, so you need to be all in too, which means, all those greed for material wealth, you need to let it go”
”I don’t think much about it anymore”
”No Grace, for this past few weeks, Emeka has been amazing, loving, caring, really..I was stupid to never love him, more stupid for leaving him in the first place, now…I just want to be the good person he deserves, I haven’t even tried to seduce him at all, because I don’t want him to think that is all I am after, not anymore anyways and he is such a gentleman, never asking, not even pressurizing me, he is such the perfect gentleman Grace, oh my heart”‘
Jealousy creeps into her, she frowns ”Thank God she is leaving tomorrow”
”Tell me Diana, don’t lie… you really aren’t planning anymore on cheating Emeka, taking his money and leaving are you? Like you did with the rest, that what you feel for him this moment is real?”
”For the first time, I don’t want to anymore, for the first time I want to stick it out!!”
”If Emeka was to be left with nothing right now, today, would you stick it out?”
”Diana, would you?” Grace wanted to know
”I will. I care about the man now Grace, I love him, I do, I don’t want to ever hurt him again”
A relief sigh is heard ”Diana Nkenchior, right this moment, I am glad to be your best friend, I am really tearing up right now, really” she laughs, Diana could hear her sniff, she laughs
”Silly, so anyways, my engagement party is coming up on Saturday, and you better be here, I will send you the address”
”Oh wow!! That soon, is it going to be a big affair?”
”No, he said he wants a private affair, family, close friends, the wedding would be huge, but I think he wants to do a court wedding at once, he said he is getting the lawyers here, no need to go all the way to the court office”
”Wow! Of course I will be there, congrats now Diana, I never told you since because you were a gold-digger””
”Screw you!” Diana laughs ”I hate you, if you were God everyone would die of their sins”
Grace Laughs ”Nah, not everyone, just you” they laugh again
Grace continuous curiously “So wait, if you said you don’t want to seduce him anymore, does it mean you aren’t sexually attracted to him?”
Diana blushes ”Of course I am, but, I don’t want to push it, for the past couple of days he has been sleeping in my room, we cuddle, we talk and laugh and we fall asleep, I haven’t felt so loved up like this ever, not with anyone, other men want to tear my close off and actually do, but not Emeka, and sometimes it’s beautiful and great to just lay next and just be in the arms of the one who loves you and who you love and not want to do anything… Gosh! My heart beats so fast in my chest and I feel like flying”
”Aww look at Dee oh, talking about a guy like this, this love odikwa sure oh!!” Grace laughs as she teases her
”Oh stop it Grace, so I will see you Saturday okay?”
”Dee?” the knock came
”My fiancé is at the door, talk to you soon Mwah!!” Grace squeals in excitement
”oh… my fiancé eh? Heh, me that don’t have a fiancé nkor? Let me go and hug pillow”’
”Don’t worry, someone better than your baby daddy will show up okay?”
Diana drops the call saying her goodbyes and opens the door wide ”Hey baby!!” she smiles
”Hey Dee, so I was thinking we watch some movies, eat chocolate and baked cookies with juice!!” he was carrying a tray
Hmm late snack in bed, dear Lord!! Why didn’t she love this man since? Her heart flutters with love.
”Of course!!” she beams making room for him to step in.
They spend the night watching movies, eating and making small talks and she laughs and laughs when he tells her jokes, and when he told her to go home and get all of her things and move in with him, she was happy and told him she would do so first thing in the morning, and when she was sleepy she lays on his chest with a smile on her face, and she sleeps and her dreams were heaven.
He stays awake watching her sleep.
Diana goes home to park her things from her house the next day, Emeka had told her last night that she wouldn’t need to go back home after their engagement, within the month they would have a grand wedding.
She didn’t care, as long as she married him, she loves him, she really loves him!!.
She was going to be the best wife he would ever have.
She was happy, happy that she was different, happy that she had fallen long and hard for Emeka, if only she had from the beginning, all this wouldn’t have happened. Now she doesn’t have to hide and pretend. Now, she just has to love the man with all that she is, that is what she wants, to love the man, and she was loving the man. The love he had showered on her was enough to sweep any girl off her feet and she was swept!
She grabs her bag and flings it into her new Ferrari, Emeka had told her to go pick a dress for her engagement party, and she would stop by first before going home.
Mercy is quiet, she prays to God that Emeka changes his mind, she misses Olive, and she was a good girl. But she left already, she sighs.
Now she has to tolerate this Diana girl, she didn’t like her; she didn’t like her one bit, but love? her son says he loves her, maybe that is why she would never understand love, one minute the person you love hurts you, the next you forgive them as though they did nothing wrong, maybe, just maybe that is why God loves men unconditionally.. despite their daily shortcomings..
She sighs turning as Diana enters the house, she comes to her smiling ”See Mama, while I went to get my dress I got something for you too, Emeka gave me his credit card, see, I know you love bangles so I got you a few, and shawl as well, see mama, aren’t they lovely?”
She looks up at her; she is startled in what she sees. For the first time, there was something different about her eyes, maybe, just maybe she has changed, maybe, because the sparkle she sees now wasn’t from the jewels she held in her hands, but it sparkled when she called Emeka’s name.
Mercy didn’t realize she was still staring at her, she blinks ”they are pretty, thank you!!!” she takes them, Diana smiles looking at her, she expected her to throw them away, scream at her, but she doesn’t , her eyes pools on their own accord, she blinks the tears back. Since she got here, she was susceptible to tears at every given second, what the hell happened to her, she blinks it back.. ”Have you had dinner Mama, should I go and prepare food for you?”
”No!!” She sighs, then continues ”Mama Tito is already preparing something”
”Okay let me go help her in the kitchen “‘
Mercy watches her leave. Something was different about Diana, she realises.
Emeka came back to find them at the table, his mother was eating silently, Diana with her, but they weren’t talking, at least they weren’t fighting,.
Things were looking bright for what’s to come, no room for doubt, which is why his mother has to be in the dark.
He had been to Ambross’s ventures and for the next couple of days he visited there.. just to be apprised of things, make him feel okay, like the investor coming to check on things, makes him feel important..
Ambross had taken him to his new house, Belinda was too happy to invite him, she came unto his again, and he politely put her down.
Ambross told him then his old house was sold for about NGN13million, and he got the cars on second hand basis. Emeka didn’t ask, but Ambross felt obligated to explain to him nevertheless, Emeka was indifferent as he told him.
He had meetings with the staffs with Ambross in attendance; Ambross didn’t relent to suck up to him, calling him Sir, Oga, The big boss.
Oh father, don’t have an heart attack when you find out the big boss is your son, you disgust me, make me angry, and to think you cannot recognize your son right in front of you brings me utter pain, revengeful pain.
You smell and worship money right? Same money has been your downfall today.
And soon, I will kick you off the stool, and then I would tell you.
He made the necessary calls and fixed the meeting.
Tomorrow would make it a month, tomorrow, it would begin, tomorrow is when all this would end,.
A month of pretended hidden identify for his father, and an untruthful heart for Diana, it was all worth it.
***THE NEXT DAY***
Ambross is at his office, it is past ten in the morning. There are a few people seated in the conference room waiting, he checks his time, Mr Uchendu had told them 8am for the end of month’s reports and meeting, now it was past ten, did he forget the time?
He places a call to his PA again to find out.
”He will be with you shortly sir!!” Agnes answered him
”Okay, thank you!!”
“‘He would be here shortly” Ambross addresses his staffs.
Agnes drops the call and turns to him ”Sir, its Mr Ambross again”
Emeka turns from the window ”another hour more, let him wait” he goes back to staring out, hands in pocket, his face straight.
Three hours later, Emeka drives into the company’s premises..
Ambross who had gone up to his office to rest see’s him from his window, he places a call to Luke, ”Call everyone in, he is here!!”
He stands up rushing out of his office; he enters the conference room as everyone files in.
”Is he here sir?” Someone asks as he enters
”Yes he is, behave yourselves, give your monthly report and answer all the questions he would ask, if not I will fire you myself”
”Yes sir!!” they chorused
After the meeting, he was would take a one week vacation and go on a trip to the states, only him, he had already booked his flight for tomorrow. It would be one week of fun, luxury and women, away from his nagging wife and the loan sharks who have suddenly stopped coming and calling him. He was going to relax from work and stress and this Uchendu who thinks he is smart, he had no idea he took away money from their account, Ambross smiles. In another few weeks he would take more, he can’t see so much money and not enjoy from it.
He looks up as three men walk into the conference room, he recognises two of them, the lawyer, Mr Tammy, and the accountant , but why were they here?.. he didn’t recognize the third person. While he is trying to understand why they were here, the fourth person walks in behind them, everyone stands up to great him, he greets back asking them to sit down. There was a seat left for him, he passes it and comes to stand behind Ambross, Ambross turns
”Goodmorning Sir Mr Uchendu”
”Can I borrow your seat Ambross, I think I would have a better view from here” he smiles down at him; it didn’t get to his eyes.
Ambross stares at him ”Sure sir, please !!” Ambross gets up and allows him the seat
”Shall we begin!!” Emeka states taking a seat, crossing his legs and leans back
Father, here begins you purge . Your day one and finale trial. Your End. And I would enjoy watching you squirm, beg and be ridden off.
”Go on with the reports ” Ambross states to the Team lead who began to talk.
The meeting commences
Its two hours later when they are done with their reports, Emeka is impressed the staffs were working hard, despite the incompetence of Ambross who had nothing to show for his efforts, he was impressed with their staff’s work, he would retain them.
”Well sir, I think we are done” Ambross beams with pride
”Not quite yet, I believe you have been introduced to Mr Tam and the accountant prior to today?”
Ambross frowns ”Yes sir but, I do not understand why they need to be in this meeting though”
”Oh patience, you will soon. Team leads, please would you mind getting all the accounts and transactions from the first of this month up until yesterday please and give it to Mr Tony there”
Everyone stares at each other as they pass him the files.
”Mr Tony here” Emeka refers to the third man ”Is an Auditor”
”Why do you need that sir, I told you we send you the daily reports sir?” Ambross looks at him and back at the staffs then at the Auditor
”Yes you did, it was quite accurate but, it is mandatory for an audit to be carried out”
”Audits should be carried out after a few months or at least a year right?”
”No!! An audit can be carried out when I want it to be carried out Ambross. Carry on Tony, this shouldn’t take too long will it?”
”No sir, as longs as what they have here is accurate to what was sent, it shouldn’t be more than an hour to be through!!”
”Have someone bring in break tea and snacks for everyone while we wait Ambross, quickly!!”
”Yes sir!!”‘ Ambross walks out calling Luke and giving him orders, and then he goes to his office and begins to fidget
”An Audit? A bloody Audit?” he wipes the sweat away from his face, he tries to calm himself, even laughing ”Silly me, what am I scared off? it wasn’t recorded anyway, I destroyed the files, no one saw it, he was fired, nothing would be amiss, since then till now we have withdrawn and put back money into the account” he laughs ”they can audit all they want” he goes back into the office more confident than ever as Luke comes back, he carries a cup and snacks in a tray from Luke and goes to serves Odinaka Uchendu, with a bright smile on his face ”Sir, this is for you!!”‘
”Thank you Ambross!!” Emeka takes out his phone and browses as he waits.
After what seem like an endless hour, Tony raises his head frowning, ”Sir, there happens to be a discrepancies in the reports we have here, in the balance here and what reflects in the bank”
”What does that mean?” Emeka drops his phones
”It means that some funds aren’t balanced and it isn’t reflecting accordingly, like it was suddenly there and then it wasn’t, no transfer to and where to sir.. the checks and balances, incoming and outgoing cash doesn’t corresponds with what’s in this documents, the reports sent to you and account balances sir after careful calculations Sir”
”How much are we looking at?”
”About 30 million naira!!!”
A gasp fills the room
”NGN3Om million naira? How does that disappear from the account!!! It didn’t develop wings and flew or legs and walked out of the account, who is the team lead for that department? In fact.. ” he turns to Ambross ”care to explain how this is happening?”
Amboss stutters, how is it possible it reflected, it shouldn’t have, he frowns ”Sir Odinaka sir, sir..I am..er sir as surprised as you are, please crosscheck i think it’s a mistake!!” he tells Tony
Tony shakes his head ”I have, and it is stated here, that NGN30 million was withdrawn from the account on the fifteenth of this month, but it doesn’t reflect if it was used for a project, or anything concerning the company, salaries had been paid and some outstanding debts covered, this is profits accrued to you Sir Odinaka, out of the NGN100 million gotten within this month, that is your profits Sir, the company keeps 60 while you take 30 and 10 goes to other affiliates and upkeep of staffs etc. But, that 30 million had been withdrawn and what we have here in the account is about 45 million naira after the Anex projected was funded sir. “‘
”How can this happen Ambross?”‘ Emeka turns to him, ”I thought you said your staffs are competent and trust worthy, do you bred thieves here?”
”No Sir Odinaka we don’t, I cannot believe this, really I am flabbergasted” he cleans the sweats appearing on his forehead again
”Where is you accountant he must have signed off on this, get him here!”‘
”Yes sir Odinaka!!”
It take about 20 minutes for him to get down to them.
”I have one question, who did you sign this NGN30 million release to, quickly state it “‘
The man frowns looking at the documents, “sir, I didn’t sign this, and besides, I started working here on the 17th of this month. I have no idea what this is, when I began, the balance of the account was that of 45million which was what we worked with”
”Okay, does that mean someone else was working here by that time and who?” Tammy asks
”We had another accountant, but he stopped working here a few weeks ago think he was… “‘ someone began to speak but was cut off
”No!! he wasn’t a very competent fellow” Ambross stated
”Who was he?” Emeka asked
Ambross swallows, ”I don’t remember his name, “‘ he lied
”His name was Jackson, yes, Jackson Aliko!!”‘ someone reminds him, Ambrose throws him a sharp look
”Why was he fired?”‘ Emeka directs the question to Ambross, he blinks swallowing again
”Incompetence sir, he wasn’t good for his job.”‘
”Pull up his file HR will you?!!”
He does so and hands the Tab to Emeka, ”From what I see here, he had worked with you for two years, performance is good, very active and trust worthy, he was fired on the fifteenth of this month. HR that is your department, what was the reason you fired him?”
She looks at Chikurdi, he shakes his head ,
”I am, waiting HR !!”
”Mr Ambross asked me to fire him for incompetence Sir”
”And there was no evidence to that effect?”
”None Sir!” she states
Emeka turns to him ”Mr Ambrose, would it be safe to say that this Jackson person stole my money the same day he was sacked and you all Weren’t aware of it?”
”Sir, I swear it might be possible, because he didn’t complain, he did nothing; he just gladly accepted his release. I am sure he stole it. He is a thief”‘ He states angrily.
”hmmm, this is a big problem, NGN30 million isn’t a thousand naira Mr Ambrose”‘
”A quick question Mr Ambross, before he signs a release form, he would have received an okay from a CEO or from a higher authority level personnel like the MD, as well as confirmation from the bank to go ahead, forms would have been filled at least form you to him or him to you, surely something must be there” the Accountant states.
”He must be very smart Sir, very! Oh, to think that we trusted him, now he left, no forwarding address, no way to contact him and get back your money sir, oh what a world!!” Ambrose laments
Emeka shakes his head smiling ”Oh Ambross, Ambross , Ambross! You are one hell of a funny guy, you deserve a medal for a class act, really cute, but there is one problem”‘
Ambross stops lamenting as everyone is whispering about the money stolen from the company
”Sir, why..why..why do you say that, what?” He asks Emeka who turns to his lawyer
“Tammy, you can bring him in!!”
“Bring who in?” Ambross’s voice wavers
”Oh, I am sorry, I forgot to tell you we had a little chat with him today.”
Ambross grows pale.
The door opens to usher him in,
Ambross’s mouth drops to the floor.
To be continued.