Featherlight Heart – Chapter Twenty-four

Click to read: Featherlight Heart -Chapter OneFeatherlight Heart -Chapter TwoFeatherlight Heart – Chapter ThreeFeatherlight Heart -Chapter FourFeatherlight Heart -Chapter FiveFeatherlight Heart -Chapter SixFeatherlight Heart -Chapter SevenFeatherlight Heart – Chapter EightFeatherlight Heart – Chapter NineFeatherlight Heart  -Chapter Ten, Featherlight Heart  -Chapter ElevenFeatherlight Heart – Chapter TwelveFeatherlight Heart – Chapter ThirteenFeatherlight Heart – Chapter FourteenFeatherlight Heart – Chapter  FifteenFeatherlight Heart -Chp SixteenFeatherlight Heart – Chapter SeventeenFeatherlight Heart -Chapter Eighteen, Featherlight Heart -Chapter NineteenFeatherlight Heart – Chapter TwentyFeatherlight Heart – Twenty One Featherlight Heart – Chapter Twenty-TwoFeatherlight Heart – Chapter Twenty-Three

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

*****

Emeka is standing outside his house, he smiles when someone drives in and one of his staffs rushes down quickly to go open the door and when the man alights he takes the car and drives it away..

”Tayo my man!!” Emeka hails as Tayo climbs the stairs two at a time to get to him and they embrace in a guy-hug- shaking.

”For whatever this is, you look sharp!!” Tayo shakes his head ”How is it going, but first, where is my mother? I want to say hi to her, the only amazing woman on this earth, I got her a little present, so tell her sorry in advance if you know what I mean”

Emeka laughs , ”Hey, don’t come here to steal my mother from me man, by the way, I hope that present is big enough for two because I would need something to pacify her after all this..”

They laugh again ”Oh yes brother, remind me not to stand close to you when it blows over or if it goes south”

”Stop being pessimistic, why would it go south? I got it all planned brother, even the decorations looks great, food for the event, I got the bride, the guests, I got it all worked out brother, you just need to sit back and enjoy the last hurrah, that is what you are here for Tayo”‘

He sighs ”I know I know, hey, where is she?”

Emeka looks at him, ”Really?”

”No, I mean her- her, not the other her!!”‘

”Oh, she is inside, with her best friend Grace, probably snapping pictures and stuff, maybe posting, you know how girls can be now?”‘

”Ha!! Too bad, you know I only heard you speak about this Diana of a girl for so many years I swear I already know her, I would love to place a face to her though, the duchess of materialism” he laughs, Emeka joins him

”Keep your voice down, you don’t want to spoil it before it is over!!”

”Ssshhhh yes yes!!” Tayo places his hands to his mouth, then he frowns ”So, these people, who are they, I know they aren’t exactly your friends, you wouldn’t want to bring your friends and business associates to your … childish games would you?”

”Hey, be nice Tayo, and yes you are right , of couse I am not stupid to, the whole media would be here if they found out Odinaka, the rich bachelor was getting married, it would be all over the news, but then again I thought about it, it would more damage control , she needs more than one that would remain in her face for ever” he thinks to himself ”But, I also don’t want to have that dent to my name, you see, so these people. Some are paid stand-ins dressed expensively, told them to invite a friend or two… speak and act like dollars, of course I am paying them all well for the evening, so there is you, mama, me, the lawyer… and well you know who!! But I got props for you this evening, you should be proud of my well crafted plan”

”I see, and about the erm… other thing” he looks around, “When does it happen? By the way good job throwing out the pig… I just hope you don’t have sleepless nights though”

”Right after I do it, I need to call him right now!!” Emeka says dialing on his phone; he ignores Tayo’s last words

”Okay!!” Tayo looks around as his parlour is filled up with a dozen people. He nods, he sees Tammy somewhere in the room, he nods at him, Mr Tammy nods back.

”Hello Jide, where are your men, are they in place? Okay then, by the said time, my securities would leave their post for a a few hours, that is when you come in okay? And remember, leave no room for doubt”‘

”Okay sir, see you soon, we are already in place!!!”

”Great !!”‘ he cuts the call nodding and turning to Tayo ”All set”

”And him?”

”Agnes told me he came looking for me, he actually went looking for me “Emeka laughs “You know, I was tempted to tell him who I was when I saw him on the floor, lost, defeated, but I held my tongue, I wanted to do it when he sees me and mama face to face, I want him to make the connection himself, he should be on his way here, what better celebration than to have the two of them birds of the same feather tossed away the same day and during a love wedding” he laughs again

Tayo stares at him ”Why do I have a feeling that you are forcing yourself to enjoy this, like be happy about this”‘

”I am Tayo, after ten years I get to take away all the things my father loves, his money, his house, his car, his ego and his dignity, humiliating him like he did us, disgracing him the way he did us and more… I am happy, so happy!!”

”And yet, there is sadness in your voice!!”

Emeka turns away, sighing, get out of my head Tayo, ”it would soon begin!!”

”Okay, do you man, let me go greet my mother” he says tapping Emeka’s shoulders

Emeka turns to the gate, Ambross should be here anytime soon. He looks away, nodding to someone with a briefcase as he heads back into the house, soft music is playing, and the house looked like an expensive mini event about to happen. He had to go all out for this charade.

 

*****

”Girl!!” Grace says closing the door and entering ”It’s filled with people, oh dear this is really happening right? Engagement stroke court wedding, wow!! Emeka looks dashing by the way, I met him at the entrance welcoming guests, the setting is wow, his mom isn’t seated yet though but I just saw her talking with one dashing hot young man, I wonder who he is, but you look beautiful Diana, too too beautiful!!!”

Diana smiles looking at the mirror, her eyes pools again for the tenth time that day ”I am getting married to Emeka, Grace, next week is slated for the white wedding but… I can’t believe it, that this is me, a different me who wants to love a man wholeheartedly, who loves a man for him Grace, for him alone…” she smiles

”Hey no crying Dee, it’s your day. No tears except tears of bliss”‘ she laughs

Someone knocks at the door, Grace opens it then smiles, ”Ready?” she listens for a few minutes and then nods

”Okay”‘

Grace closes the door!! ”Who is that?”

”Emeka wants to see you upstairs before the ceremony, let me go make sure everything is ready okay?”

 

*****

Ambross writhes in pain as he screams out ..

”I want my money Ambross, and the earlier you tell me how to get it the better, all I hear you saying is that you have no money, no money no money, how does that give me the NGN50 million back into my accounts do you how I make my money Ambross, I loan people and I get my interests, the bulk of my money comes from the underdogs Mr Ambross, taking care of people for people, things like that you know, and when people come to ask for money, I make them understand that it isn’t for free, I help you to help me, NGN50 million was given to you wasn’t it, wasn’t it?” The man’s walking stick is buried again in Ambross’s left shoulder pressing hard , Ambross is screaming, he holds it with both hands as it pierces deep into his skin, blood sprouting out, pain, excruciating pain as he screams out.

”Please, please..I beg you!!” he chokes ”Believe me, no money, I have no money”‘

”You know we kept tabs on you Mr Ambross, we see how you spend your money, very stupidly, instead of investing it in the company in which you took the money for, you do the opposite, you spend lavishly, buy cars, travel in and out of the country, women, unnecessary things you hardly pay your staffs, you do nothing worthwhile with the money, and then poof, it’s gone, you come begging again.. every time you got NGN10 million, and when it got to NGN50 million we stopped… you promised the money would be paid , and because we were patient, considerate, we waited, we gave you a year because well we understand the prevailing times, you took eighteen months and when we came calling, realizing that within a month, miraculously your charts are going up, investors are coming, your company is growing, money is coming in, you are buying expensive cars, you are selling your house expensively and obviously moving into a new expensive house… and you are hiding from me, my men, avoiding my calls, ignoring my calls… me Teco-Musa Ghadi, me that when people hear my name they shiver, when they are in need they come to me, I bring smiles to their faces, I grant them their heart desires. Me, the one who helped you and what do you do? You spit on my face, you thought we wouldn’t find you, you thought you can hide from me? I am like God, you cannot hide from me you worthless pig!!!” he spat at him..

”Please Argghhhh ARRRRHHHHHHH!!!” Ambross jerks in pain as Teco-Musa twists his stick inside his shoulders, more blood stains his shirt. Teco-Musa pulls it out and walks back to his chair..

”Now! Let us start all over again Mr Ambross, come Don, give the man some water, look at him dying of thirst, come on man, show some love”‘ Teco-Musa beckons to his man

Agede takes a bucket of water and splashes over Ambross’s face, blood and water mixes as it reaches his body and soaks his cloths, he chokes, blinking … he tries to seat up, both arms are bleeding … ”I beg you, I am not lying to you… I ..I have no money” he cries literally, ”It’s all gone, all gone, he took it away from me, the house, the car… all the money. He took it from me… I am nothing… look at me… I -I ” he cries ”I slept under the bridge last night, ousted from my company, he tricked me, he took it all..He took it all..i swear, I have no money, if you want your money… you will have to take it from him because he… he has it… I have nothing… nothing !!” he cries as his arms bleeds, both shoulders bleeding

Teco-Musa looks at him ”What nonsense is this man rambling Don?”

”Well sir, maybe he is telling the truth! We saw him in the company that that man owns, looking worse for wear”‘

Teco-Musa turns to them ”So if he is telling the truth why the hell do you bring a useless man without money to me, why then?”

”We didn’t know sir, we didn’t!!!” they backed away from him in fear

He turns to Ambross ”You don’t have my money, then you give me your house, that is what you promised me” he gets up kicking Ambross who groans in more pain

”I don’t have it, not that house, I sold it.. I did .. I have nothing, nothing, he took it all, my life, my legacy!!!” he wails

”This man, why did you meet him, why did he do this… what did you do to him that he took it all from you, your everything eh, Speak?” he kicks him

”Nothing, nothing, I -” he sniffs grabbing his shoulder but the pain shoots his other shoulder ”I went to ask him for help, like I did you, he offered to help and he did, but… now he turns around and take it all”

”A business man wouldn’t go against his words unless pushed, what did you do fool?” he jabs the stick into his shoulders again, Ambross screams again, he pulls it out

Ambross sniffs ”I stole money, NGN30 million from the company account”‘

Silence, then a big laugh ”Oh the thief becomes a thief even in his own company oh Ambross Ambross Ambross, you are like a leach, even to your own self, you steal from yourself and from someone who had helped you, see why I should cut off both your hands … get me the Saw… We would Saw it off this shoulders, that is what they do to thieves yes? Agede, bring it, let it be on… we would cut his arms off and send it to the malams for Suya, suya eh!!” he laughs, the men laugh with him

”Please I beg you, don’t kill me!!” Ambross struggles to his knees in pain

”Kill you? Oh, not yet, where is that NGN30 million if I may ask? Tell me you were stupid enough not to hide it properly, tell me where it is, I will let you go”

”I told you, it’s all gone, he took it all, my accounts are frozen, all gone!!”

”Oh well, then we need to meet this man who is so smart, to outsmart a thief, is it the same man, who you got his name earlier Don?”

”Yes, I believe so” Don turns to Ambross and pulls him by his shirt ”The man, is he the same one who invested in your company?” he shakes him after slapping him

”Yes!! He is the one, Odinaka Uchendu!!”

He pushes him back causing his back to make impact with the one, Ambross groans.

”Yes same one sir!!” Don nods to Teco-Musa

”Good, now does anyone know how we get this Odinaka?” Teco –Musa rolls his right index finger

Silence

”Don’t let me use your head and scrub the floor now, Don, Agede, anyone?”

”Sir, we told you, he is always with a guard or two, trailing him, we couldn’t go close and we didn’t want to raise any suspicion”

Teco-Musa sighs ”that means I don’t have my money, but the pig Ambross and nowhere to get the one who took it all, now, that is making me very very angry, maybe I should begin chopping off your hands Ambross” he walks towards him

”I have… I have his address”‘

”Oh!!! Now, that is thrilling , what is his address?” he turns to his men “‘You see, now the pig is useful, we would cut only one hand for suya yes?” he laughs

”Give it, where is it?” Don asks him

”My pocket!!” Ambross chokes, Don searches his pocket and takes out the card

They hand it to Teco-Musa , he is looking at it when Don’s phone rings , he excuses himself to take it

”Yes Gbenga, what’s up, I am in the middle of something with Boss, call back—”

”Wait, you said to tell you in case I find out something about that rich dude you were tailing right, well I have, and guess what, an operation is going down there today, all under wraps, and another thing, the dogs would be cleared for a tiny window”‘ Gbenga tells him

”How did you find out?”

”I overhead their conversation, the one leading the team? he would be in a team of three to four guys, mask, they are to grab him and make a scene, and leave… beg a ransom, something about some chick taking the bait, it happens within a few hours, dogs would be out of the cage during it and sent to go play”

”I see, interesting, let me tell the boss, thanks man, would tell Boss you came through, he will send you something sweet after it all.”

”I trust you man, later!”

He cuts the call and heads to Boss, excusing him and whispering into his ears, Teco-Musa nods to what he says, a smile breaking out in his face

”Well well well, sometimes God works in mysterious ways, interesting!!” he rubs jaw

”So what do you want us to do Sir?”

”What else!” Teco-Musa smiles ”let us pay Mr Odinaka a visit shall we? Don, grab the pig, he will identify the man for us!!!”

 

*****

Emeka is waiting for her when she steps in… He turns when she calls his name, when he lays his eyes on her, he is speechless for a second, he clears his throat ”You are breathtakingly beautiful Diana, has anyone told you that?”

She smiles stepping into the room, ”Yes, just now, you!!” he smiles, stretching out his hand

”Now that we want to begin a life together, I want to share all I have with you, all, I know the wedding is set for next week but after today, we are man and wife, the church is just a ceremony, but today, a new chapter begins with you!!! Today is the day you will never forget Dee, i promise you”‘

Today, she will never forget it he was sure.

”I don’t want to forget the day either, it’s so overwhelming already “‘

”I know, here, come here” he tells her as he faces her to the mirror as she comes close to him, he opens a box and puts a jewel around her neck ”This is for you princess and –”

There was a knock on the door, he goes to open it, there was some hush hush words exchanged, he frowns shutting the door and sighing

”What is it, what is the matter Emeka?”

”No Dee, it’s just… I told them to send this to the office, I had a meeting earlier today and some business associates paid in bonds and dollars, I don’t keep money in the house and I wanted them to send it to the office but he said he had a problem with the car and what else, he is scared to hold it because when he got to the office, Agnes had left, he brings it back…Argh!!”

He places the briefcase on the table and opens it up ”It’s over a NGN100 million naira in bonds and Dollars here, now I have to keep this amount of money here, and I can’t do anything till Monday” picks up some money and drops it back, Diana is looking at it, she swallows, turning away..

You are not that person anymore Diana, you are not, she opens her eyes and stares again at the briefcase

Emeka sees her looking, he fiddles with the cash for a few more seconds.. ”I guess I have to just leave it here till Monday” he repeats and closes the briefcase and then goes to the wall, he drops down a picture, a safe was revealed.

”I will see you downstairs Emeka” Diana made to leave

”Why? We aren’t done Dee, wait, because I want to open this?” he shakes his head ”You will be my wife today and forever Dee, that means you will have the key to my heart and to my affairs, my business and my pocket, here….” he pulls her close, putting her before him, ”punch in 5. 6. 733. Space and 409 space D. ” he tells her

”But Emeka, I don’t need to-”

”Go on Dee”‘

She punches in the numbers, the safe opens, then there is a vault ”Punch in your name Diana and the year we began dating followed with an #”

She bends her head to look at him, he smiles ”I told you I never forgot you, go ahead”

She blinks back tears as she does so, the vault opens, he hands her the case, she puts the briefcase in and then he closes it.. She sniffs, tears falling

”Hey!” he turns her..

”No tears remember? None!” He wipes it with his fingers ” I have one more present for you Dee”

”What else can you do for me other than explode my heart Emeka?”

”Oh, just one more” he hands her a document

”What is that?”

”You will own half of everything I own Dee, as my wife, I asked the lawyer to draw this up… sign it”‘

”I don’t want it Emeka, marrying you is enough!!”‘

”My wife would be secured, what if something happens to me?”

”No!! Don’t say that, nothing will!!”

”Then be reasonable, sign it, you will always be assured that you will be well protected even if I am not!!”

”Will you feel happy if I did sign it?”

”Yes!! Very!!”

”Okay!!”

She takes the file, flipping through and then signs

”What’s this documents?” she asks picking up another, it was documents for a house, a transfer of ownership, it was just bought.

”Oh, that’s for Mama, you on the other hand would get the world” he kisses her forehead, she smiles

”We are ready for you sir!!” someone knocks calling out

”Let’s go my queen, let’s go get married !!”

 

*****

Mercy is seated beside Tayo, Emeka is standing, waiting as Grace ushers in Diana who is all smiles, everyone gets up as she makes her way down to meet Emeka, who is standing facing his lawyer Mr Tammy, Tayo is standing beside him, all eyes are on Diana as she walks to meets him.

”We are here today to witness the court wedding of Mr Odinaka Uchendu and Miss Diana Nkenchior, we would love to state that before we commence, anyone who thinks they shouldn’t be joined legally today and have anything against their union please step forward”

Silence..

Diana’s heart beats thud thud in her chest, she closes her eyes, his mother would stand up, she would, and she wouldn’t blame her.

”Anyone?”

Silence

Diana could hear her heart beating louding.

”Okay, let us commence. Diana and Odinaka, please step forward and saw your legal vows”

”I Odinaka Uchendu, lovingly take Diana Nkenchior to be my lawfully legal wife, before the eyes of my family and before the law and before God, I promise to love and cherish her today and forever to care and protect her, to provide for her , and that all that I have belongs to her, my body, my heart..my wealth, all belongs to her as long s we both shall live”‘

”Diana?” Tammy turn to her

She repeats the same thing ” –and my body, heart ..and..all that I am, seeing that I have nothing other than my love, my heart, my everything belongs to you, and I will love you, your body and heart too and not your wealth as long as we both shall live”

”With the power vested in me under the jurisdiction of Nigerian court law embedded in the constitution as a legal binding, I now pronounce you both husband and wife according to the law of marriage and under my office, you may sign your marriage certificate and present yourself to the audience ”

They do, it takes a few minutes, ”the rings please?”‘

Tayo jumps up presenting them to him, he give to Emeka and the other, he gives to Diana, his eyes lingering on her for a minute, she looks up at him and smiles, then her eyes darts back to Emeka, her eyes glows, Tayo quickly looks at Emeka..

Oh dear Emeka, what have you done? Can you forgive yourself after you break her? Oh Emeka!!!

He steps away, willing Emeka to look at him, to just look at him.

They wear their rings, ”Everyone, family and friends, this is their marriage certificate and the documents of wedding vows, and the one signed by both man and wife drawn up specifically for them. I now pronounce you, husband and wife, Mr and Mrs Odinaka Uchendu, you may kiss your bride”

Diana is smiling, Grace gives her thumbs up.

Look at me Emeka, damnit look at me. Tayo wills Emeka

Emeka turns to her, don’t think, don’t feel, just do it, it has to be believable for what’s about to happen.

He pulls her close, pulls her in, she is smiling lovingly into his eyes, that smile that weakened him from the very first day he met her, that smile was his undoing.

Don’t think, don’t feel. Shut your emotions Emeka, shut it. He tells himself.

He leans in, as she closes her eyes, their lips meet, she kisses him, slowly, passionately as he kisses her back, she holds on to him tight as she kisses him. Their kiss deepens.

His throat closes, his heart begins to beat fast… he crushes her lips against his as he savours her lips, his chest tightening, he holds her tight, as she held him tight, they kiss as though they are the only ones in the room.

”Hmmhmmm, careful Sir, the adult station should be behind closed doors” Tammy says, it brings him back to his senses.

Damnit Emeka!, he chides himself

He breaks away from her, Diana giggles..

”I present to you, the new queen of my empire” Emeka recollects himself and states, there are cheers, claps and whistling, he leaves her and goes to his mother, he hugs heR tight, too tight, as people go to congratulate Diana, .

Mercy was going to ask why he is shaking, why his eyes has suddenly turned red.

”Emeka?” she began

”Mama, don’t worry, it would be over soon” he kisses her forehead and breaks away from her

When he gets back to Diana he had to peel her away from Grace, ”so, we never had the time to do a proper engagement party so yes, this is it people, my engagement stroke my court wedding reception, so eat, drink, enjoy !!” he laughs

”Well if you will excuse us, your wife would love to change into something more divine then” Grace comes to him and takes Diana away whose smiles spreads all over her face, sparkling her eyes

”Sure!!”‘ he leans in and places a light kiss on her lips as Grace whisks her away, Tayo comes to him

”Dude, I think you should call it off”

”Why?”

”Because that girl is in love with you, for real, look at her eyes see it sparkle. See the way she looks at you”‘

”That is what I wanted from the start Tayo and no I won’t, and yes, that is the same she looked at my money a few minutes ago”‘

”Emeka, listen to me, you don have to!!”‘

”I do!!” Emeka walks away

She just has to return for the engagement party to begin, but it wouldn’t be a party for her.

 

*****

They music was playing when they came back..she was dressed elegantly in a red shimmering dress..

The room had been cleared and allowed a space to be in the middle..

She walks in as everyone stares at her, she is smiling as she comes to him, he smiles.

His mother was trying to enjoy the party, she is smiling as Tayo is talking with her, Emeka held a class and a spoon and clinks it to get everyone’s attention

”Everyone, please please, I would love to have your attention. please.” he gives the glass away to the waitress who came to collect it

”Today, I would love to introduce someone to you all… she is beautiful, a gorgeous person, she makes my heart stop, she makes everything stop literally”

Diana is blushing as she stands in front of him, smiling at him with love and happiness, her husband, her love, her life. Graces is wowing. Emeka takes her hand

”In fact, the day I met her, she was young and beautiful and I told her then that I will give her my heart and the world, she thought I was lying, but look at us now”

Laughter, claps, cheering!

”You see, this woman, this woman was the love of my youth, the joy in my dark days” he says turning to her, it’s just two of them in the centre of the room.. ”She… She is everything one would call… what word is best suitable for her, yes, a slime to the earth!!!” he drops her hands, his handsome face contorts into a frown

There was a loud gasp.

Diana who had been smiling as Emeka walks around with her suddenly stops and stares at her, dropping her hand as what he says registers into her head.

”A slime to the earth he says?”

All eyes are on her, including his mother and Grace, and everyone is muttering.

Diana’s shock is registered on her face as her mouth drops open.

*****

To be continue…

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