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Felicia smiled at herself. The single act that Marcel made of rescuing her from the much expected prison had been enough to change her life and reasoning. It had taught her the importance of forgiveness and the progress one could make when one tries to have a light heart.
Felicia’s wealth had risen several notches after her parents died. They left all their wealth in her possession, being the only child and she had never had a reason to search for money again. They had died in a car crash before Michael left her with a burnt face but before then, knowing the wickedness of Michael, she had carefully hidden her inheritance from him. She was happy she did because only heaven knows which mortuary would be hosting her corpse if Michael had glimpsed the wealth she possessed.
Felicia browsed through the net and saw several orphanage homes. She wanted to look for some which had their account number on their sites but thought better of it. Some of those homes did not exist and some fraudsters might have put things on net to dupe people. She decided instead to visit one small orphanage that she had sighted some time ago.
It took Felicia about two hours to drive to the home and also see the people there. She was moved emotionally when she saw the children who did not have parents who would see to their future. After hearing stories of how they often slept on empty bellies, she was glad she visited. One little girl really caught her attention along with her affections and she carried her on her laps as she talked with their matron. She left there some minutes later after donating the sum of two million Naira. She hadn’t been able to contain the emotions that overwhelmed her as the people thanked her profusely. They had gathered the children to appreciate her, even though she had protested heavily.
Felicia felt so special and loved as she entered her car and drove away. She felt as though she had just done something worthwhile with her life after wasting years pursuing Michael’s shadow. She stared at the pack of cigarettes beside her car seat and ignored it. She thought of channeling her life back in the right direction and the thought appealed to her, if for nothing but for that little girl at the orphanage who stuck with her as if she was a perfect role model.
Felicia’s phone rang and she glanced at the phone. It was an unknown Nigerian number and she was about ignoring it when she remembered that she was expecting a very vital call. She grabbed the phone instantly and calmed her raging nerves before saying picking up. “Hello” she said with her sonorous voice.
“Hello Tan, this is Denis” the foreign voice floated back.
Felicia smiled happily, her suspicion had been correct. “Oh Denis, it is nice to hear from you again. I guess you are in Nigeria already” she asked somewhat excitedly.
“Yes, I have been here for some hours now. I have been trying to contact you for a while now, it has been hell. Is Nigeria like this?” he asked, sounding stupefied and disgusted.
“Welcome onboard buddy” she said, irritated by his words but still playing the nice card.
“Thanks Tan. I am stuck in a hotel now and I have no idea where Michael lives. I got the address of his office online, but have no idea how to get there, I hope it is not so much of an inconvenience if I ask you to help me?” he asked in a pleading tone.
Felicia smiled to herself. “Oh, I am actually very busy at the moment but I would do something. Erm… what if I send my driver over? He would take you straight to Michael’s office; how about that?”
“You would do that? Oh, I would be delighted. It is nice to know that Nigerians are not as bad as they say” he responded.
You have no idea, Felicia thought. She laughed mechanically. “Alright Denis, just give me the hotel details so I can send my driver over”. The call ended some minutes later and Felicia smiled. She turned the steering and parked in order to make all the necessary calls before continuing her journey. It was great that she had thought of something like this before hand. When she had gone to meet Marcel at Tel Communications and had been told of what Michael was up to, she had planned with Marcel to plant hidden cameras in his office. Marcel had argued that it was irrelevant but now, it seemed as though it was the best thing they had done so far. Felicia called one of her company drivers, one she trusted to carry out his duties without fault. She told him in detail to go to Glass Hotel, pick up Denis and take him straight to Tel Communications. “Remember” she said, wrapping up. “My name is not Felicia. If you have to mention any name, my name is Miss Tan”
Michael entered his office after a very heated meeting at the conference room with the shareholders. Michael considered looking for a way to throw his cousin out of the company. He was beginning to grow wings and Michael did not like that. Some people would wonder why Michael was after Marcel’s shadow but he knew perfectly well. All his life, he had always been conscious of the fact that Marcel would have been the apple of his dad’s eye if he had been around. Michael’s dad, Mr. Coker, had always told the story of how he had immediately named Marcel after his own father. Michael had been the first born, the one most people would refer to as Taiye and Marcel had followed some minutes after. Throughout the lifetime of Michael’s father, he had not stopped searching for his missing son, talking about him endlessly, about how he wished to see the son who was named after his father. Michael’s father had boasted of how he knew that Marcel would be just like his own father; confidently proud, compassionate, calm and collected. Michael had grown to become jealous of his unknown brother, of the love that his dad had for him even without seeing him. When he had discovered Marcel’s whereabouts by sheer luck, Michael had been terribly put off guard when Marcel had turned out to be just the way his dad had predicted. Michael had done everything humanly possible to hide the truth from coming out. When his dad had died, Michael had thought that the struggle was over but he received a shock.
Barrister Fred, who had been his dad’s longstanding and most trusted lawyer had read the voluminous will. Michael had discovered shockingly that even in death, his dad still wanted his lost son to be found. He had willed a large sum of money to the lawyer, requesting him to keep on searching for his son. It had been stated in the will that in case the missing son – Marcel – was not found or was deceased, all his properties should be given to Michael. But if Marcel was found, all the assets should be shared equally between the two sons. Michael was given the privilege of running his father’s companies while the search for Marcel was on. Michael had been awed by the ridiculous will and vowed to do everything possible to prevent the appearance of his twin. He had made Barrister Fred his best friend, always going to him to know what he was planning to do. He pretended to feel anxiety at meeting his twin in order to get information from the barrister. When the barrister had said that he would start an international search, Michael had been nervous. The barrister worked really hard and when he got a hint that Marcel could be in Germany, he had decided to have someone search the place.
Michael had immediately done the needful. He needed to get Marcel out of Germany before he was discovered by the lawyer. By Michael’s evaluation, it had worked perfectly. The lawyer was still in the dark and Michael hoped that he would be able to put Marcel behind bars so that even when the lawyer finds Marcel, he won’t be able to share his inheritance with him since he would be locked up. And when he eventually gets out, Michael would think of something else then.
Michael sat behind his desk and his secretary hurriedly brought his steaming cup of coffee. The staff had been on their toes ever since he arrived. They were looking at him strangely, wondering what was wrong with him. Michael had noticed that Marcel hadn’t been able to do what he had been doing, which was to oppress the staff and make them frightened. He wondered why the staff never got the logic that it must have been a different person. Michael would not imagine himself treating his staff better than he was doing now because as far as he was concerned, they were his servants and they ought to worship the ground he walks on. Marcel is just too weak, he thought. Michael wondered if Marcel’s case had been charged to court. He decided to go to the police station to make sure that was done as fast as possible.
His intercom rang and he let it ring as he sipped his coffee. After some seconds, he picked up without saying a word. His secretary’s voice floated through. “Sir, a man is here to see you, he said his name is Denis, but he does not have an appointment”
Michael’s eyes snapped. “Denis? What does he look like?” he asked, feeling anxious.
“He is a foreigner sir” she said without heat. They received foreigners everyday at Tel Communications.
“Let him in now” he ordered, standing up.
“But sir” she said anxiously. “More than six people are here waiting to see you”
Michael hissed. “If you utter another foolish statement, you are fired” he roared.
The office door was opened some seconds later and he stared in disbelief at his boyfriend. “Denis?” he asked, stupefied. “What the hell are you doing here?”
He rushed to hug Michael. “I am here for you. I missed you terribly and could not spend one more day without you, so I booked the next flight to Nigeria. Are you not happy?”
Michael scratched his head. He would not say that he was exactly unhappy because there was a silent delight he felt when he saw Denis walk in. Gay guys were not rampant on the streets in Nigeria and after spending more than a year with Denis, having sex every time they saw each other, it had been hard being back in Nigeria. Looking at it in another light, it was terribly risky having Denis here.
When Denis did not get a response, he frowned, looking betrayed. “Did you not miss me?” he asked.
Michael exhaled. “Of course I did, it is just that it is risky for gay people in Nigeria” he said.
Denis smiled, walking up to him with a smile. He placed his hand on his chest, rubbing slowly. “Then we would just be careful”
Michael could not resist. It had been days without sex and it was already getting on his nerves. He locked his office door and started unbuttoning his shirt. “Well then, we would be careful”
Patricia squeezed her father’s hand one last time before she reluctantly left the room. It had been exceedingly painful for her. Seeing her dad like that, going through so much pain had been too much. Her mum was even more or less the sick person because she seemed to even be suffering much more than her dad was. Patricia felt the sudden wetness of her cheeks and quickly wiped it off. She shouldn’t be crying now, she had to be strong for her dad, for her mum, for her sister who knew nothing; she had to be strong for everyone. She had been totally downcast when she had suggested heart transplant to Mr Richard and he had told her of the numerous efforts they had been making to get a donor. It seemed as though all hope was lost.
Her phone rang and she noticed that it was her sister. She hadn’t called her sister ever since she heard about her dad’s sickness because she did not want to lie to Tina. It was unfair that she was in the dark but it was for her own good, Pat thought.
She cleared her throat and picked up. “Hey Tina”
“Sis P” Tina said fondly. “You have forgotten your only sister” she said jovially.
Pat laughed softly. “Is it possible to forget your naughty self?”
Tina laughed. “I have missed you very much. I have not seen you since you returned from Canada, when would you visit me in school?”
“Soon. I have been tied down with work lately” that much was true, Pat thought.
“You work too much sis, you need a man to shake work out of your system” Tina said and Pat did not even know whether to laugh or cry. Tina would not be this relaxed if she had an idea what was going on. “Hey sis, I have been calling dad’s number but it hasn’t been going through. Is something wrong with his line?”
Pat’s heart beat faster as her brain started rolling. “Erm… I don’t know. It is probably the network”
“Really? I have tried repeatedly but it is not going through”
Pat tried another tactic. “Why do you want to trouble him this time, do you need cash?”
Tina laughed. “There is nothing wrong with wanting to hear my dad’s voice sis, I have more than enough money”
Pat swallowed. “Ok, I would tell him to call you”
Pat hung up some minutes later and felt the irresistible urge to cry her eyes out. Someone cleared his throat and she spun around only to come face to face with Marcel. “Marc” she gasped out.
He frowned. “Have you been crying?”
She laughed nervously. “Of course not, something entered my eyes some minutes back and I had trouble removing it” she lied.
He obviously was not foolish enough to believe the fabrication but he did not comment on it because he knew she did not like others seeing her weaknesses.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I came to take you out for lunch” he said
She raised her brow. “Shouldn’t that be for Alexa?” she asked.
He smiled, grabbed her hand and started propelling them towards the exit. “You are my friend Pat, almost the closest I have now. My two male friends are on business trips, so you are stuck with me” he flashed his playboy kind of smile and Pat almost melted.
Marcel took Pat out for lunch, never for once making her remember her current predicament. He told her stories of his years in Germany, selecting the funny events in order to make her laugh. Pat almost did not remember the fears of losing her dad as she laughed at Marcel’s jokes. She never imagined that he could be this lively, jovial and fun to be with; anyone who saw them would think they were a couple. The thought almost made Pat’s heart come to a standstill. She was here having fun with the man she was in love with. It would not be a bad thing if they could be together but what she was doing would definitely hurt her more because Marcel definitely loved Alexa, her cousin, and Alexa definitely felt the same way even if they both were not admitting it yet.
As Marcel drove her back to the hospital, she was very quiet and Marcel thought he had done something wrong. He asked severally if she was OK but she smiled every time, saying that she was fine. He was happy that he had been able to take her mind off her problems and had been able to glimpse that part of her that was carefree and open. When they got back to Best Results, she smiled at Marcel. “I am really grateful for what you did today, it got my mind off my problems” she said.
He smiled back. “It is the least I could do; I just want to see you happy”
Pat nodded. “Could you please do me a favour?” she asked and he became attentive. He felt a slight tremor when he watched her struggle with herself. “Please don’t do this again” she said.
He frowned. “Do what? I don’t understand”
“Don’t take me out for lunch or make me feel happy. It is not right and I don’t want the wrong ideas to be passed” Pat did not believe she was saying this.
Marcel froze slightly as he watched Pat. Wrong ideas! Was he misinterpreting her meaning or what? “I don’t get it. What is not right? Do you think Alexa would think we are together or what?”
Pat swallowed. “Not really.” She said then paused but he waited patiently. “I just don’t want anyone to get hurt” she finally said. Marcel was silent, looking at her with his unreadable but breathtaking eyes. The car suddenly seemed too small and he seemed too close, drawing out all the breath in Pat’s lungs. Pat blinked hurriedly and quickly grabbed her purse. “I should go now” she said and without waiting for a response, jumped out and closed the door. She did not look back even though she wanted to. She needed to put some distance between them, if not, she would be terribly hurt and there would be nothing she would be able to do about it. Not that she wasn’t hurting already. If this is what it means to be in love, Pat thought it would be best if she had nothing to do with that emotion.
Belina emerged suddenly and stood before her. She had seen the conflict of emotions as she alighted from Marcel’s car, she did not know what was going on but she had a preety good idea of what it might be.
“Mummy B” Pat said hastily, clearing her throat.
“Walk with me Pat” Belina ordered and Patricia instantly fell in step with her. After they had walked a certain distance in silence, Belina slowed her steps and finally stopped. Pat looked somewhat unsettled, she was anxious already. “Pat, I am sure you trust me very much”
“Of course mum” she said.
Belina nodded with a smile. “You are not just Pat’s daughter, you are like my own daughter too. Tell me; is there something I should know?” Pat looked confused. “Don’t play that trick with me, I saw you coming out of Marcel’s car and with the way your face looked, I am sure it has nothing to do with any research you are working on. Do you have feelings for him?”
Pat swallowed. “If you are worried about Alexa, I am not in any shady relationship with Marcel” she said.
Belina smiled. ” I am not worried about Alexa. Pat, when would you get it into your head that people worry about you? Your mum is worried about your closure to love but with what I just saw, I think otherwise” she breathed and moved close other Goddaughter. “Tell me” she said. “I keep secrets. Are you in love with Marcel?”
Pat blinked severally and turned away from Belina. “I am not ready for this mummy B, I have dad to worry about now. Whatever I feel is irrelevant, besides, the feeling is mutual. He loves Alexa and I am sure she loves him too. They are perfect for each other.” She breathed. “I need to be with mum now” she turned with her head bent. “Please excuse me Mummy B”
Belina nodded and Pat left. She had confirmed her suspicions but even at that Belina was confused.
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