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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

'She abandoned me as a baby. Now it's payback time!' (6)

As I gazed at the card in my hand, I kept thinking it could not be real.
'It cannot be; it must be a namesake or something,' I thought as I placed the card in my pocket.
 I decided to call Grandma later to find out whether the man I just met was my estranged mother's husband, my stepfather or not.
 I was so busy for the rest of that day that I forgot to call my Grandma. On getting home that night, I decided to check out details about him on the internet as he seemed to be a big time figure in the business world in the country as my manager Mr Johnson said when I showed him the card.
 There were lots of reports and pictures on him including interviews with the media. One particular photograph drew my attention. It was a family portrait and it showed the man beaming at the camera with his arms around his wife and children. 
The woman was Carol, my mother with my half- siblings that I had never met.
"Hm. So, its true then. This is getting interesting," I muttered to myself as I quickly read through the interview which was conducted by the reporter in the family's palatial residence in a very exclusive part of town. 
'So, this is the reason she doesn't want to acknowledge me as her child. She's afraid her 'reputation' as a highly placed society woman will be tarnished by having a 'bastard' child. Let's see for how long she can keep up with her fake image,' I thought glumly as I continued browsing.
At work the following day, I contacted the office of my Mum's husband whom I will call Mr P and spoke with the secretary as he had instructed me to. The next day, his secretary as well as a Personal Assistant, a lady named Eunice came to the restaurant for discussions on the menu for the party for the wife of the Chairman as they referred to Mr P. 
Mr Johnson, my manager wanted me to be among the staff that would serve at the party but I declined on health grounds. I told him I had an appointment with my dentist that day to remove a bad and aching tooth. It was a lie; my teeth were perfectly alright. But I needed an excuse to avoid going to that party to serve a woman like my mother who hated the sight of me and whom I could not stand either. I just could not bear to being in the same space with her.
Another staff was substituted in my place and on the day of the party, they all went with the delicious food that had been prepared by our hard working chefs.

Two days after my Mum's birthday party, Maria, who had been among the staff that had gone there to work gave me an envelope.
"Mr Johnson said I should give this to you," she stated, handing over the white envelope.
I opened it and out spilled a large bundle of crisp, mint fresh naira notes with a short note attached. Surprised, I glanced at it and read the brief message.
"Who is it from? I didn't know you had a secret admirer who has been sending you large sums of money!" stated Maria. 
"It's from Mr P. He just wants to thank me for organising the catering for his wife's party,"I replied.
"Na wa o! All this money just to say thank you?" she said as she watched me count the cash. It was N50 thousand naira. Like Maria, I wondered why he had to send so much money to me 
for just doing my job. Afterall, I wasn't the one that did the cooking and serving of the guests at the party.
I stuffed the money back into the envelope and brought out my phone to call the man.
"So, where is my own share? You can't just walk away with all that money! At least, give me something for delivering the message now," whined Maria, her hand extended.
"Ole! As you can see, the envelope is addressed to Nora not Maria. So, keep off," I said, making my way outside to the car park, closely followed by Maria who was calling after me: "Greedy girl! You want to eat alone! I must get my own share today o!"
Later, I called Mr P and we chatted for a while.
"It was nothing," he stated when I thanked him for the money. "The party was a success largely because of the delicious meals your people served our guests. But I was looking forward to seeing you at the party. I understand you were indisposed. Hope you are better now," he added.
After I hung up, I went back to work and promptly forgot about the man. So, it was a surprise when some days later, one of our security men told me someone was looking for me outside the restaurant.
 It was Mr P. He was in a chauffeured sleek, black SUV with tinted windows parked in the large car park in front of our restaurant.
 "I was in the neighbourhood to see a friend and I decided to check on you," he explained after I joined him in the car. I was really surprised to see him. I mean this is a 'big man', a wealthy top shot in the society. Why would such a person be looking for a young girl like me, I wondered.
 He explained that since that first day he saw me at the directors meeting, he had not stopped thinking about me.
 "You remember the first day we met, I told you you looked familiar, like someone I know. Now, I know who you remind me of. My wife. You look so much like her, it was a shock when I first saw you. I bet my wife too will be surprised if she sees you. You could pass for sisters. It's quite strange because I know she doesn't have a sister or younger siblings as she's the last born of her parents. Anyway, that day, you looked just like her on the day we first met over 15 years ago in the U.S. She had just finished her Masters degree programme and was taking a short vacation before returning to Nigeria," he disclosed. 
 As he spoke, I got a little glimpse of my Mum's life as a very young woman and I could tell from the way he spoke that he cared a lot about her.
 After that encounter, Mr P kept calling me nearly everyday 'just to chat', as he put it. From just friendly chats, it became something more serious. Within a few weeks, he confessed that he had developed strong feelings for me and wanted me to be his 'special girl, his baby.'
 "My darling Nora, there's nothing I can't do for you! Just name it, anything money can buy, it's all yours!" he vowed one day when we were talking on the phone. It was not just empty promises. The week before, he had driven me to a car mart where he told me to pick any choice car that I desired. I chose a nice ash colored saloon car which I drive mostly on my day off work. I don't take it to the office so as not to make my co-workers envious. I also did not drive it when visiting Grandma as she would ask questions about where I got the money to buy such an expensive car on my small salary and the monthly allowance she gives me to augment my pay.
 Revenge plans
Maria is the only one who knows about my 'relationship' with Mr P whom she calls, 'my rich Maga.'
 "Just enjoy his money and be careful. You know these old men can be funny at times. They like to use young girls and dump them when they lose interest. So, don't get too attached to him o," she cautioned me.
 "Attached ke? The old fool has not even touched me once! All he does is throw money at me!" I said, laughing.
 "That's good. Men are users so use them when you can. But don't forget to give me my share of the loot," she said.
 "You and money," I said wryly.
 "Yes, o! Money rules the world! By the way, has Maga bought the house he promised to get you?" she asked.
 "I've not decided on the country of choice," I said. Mr P had told me he would buy a house for me in any country I liked, anywhere in the world.
 "Just name it and it's yours," he had said. He also opened an account in my name and paid a large sum of money into it; money I don't even know what to do with.
  You might be wondering why I was doing this- 'dating' a man who was married to my own mother. Well, the truth is, I am just making use of the opportunity fate has brought my way to get back at my mother. Afterall, I was on my own when Mr P came to me, fell madly in love with me and has been promising to get the whole world, the moon and the stars for me. He told me he loves being with me because I reminded him of the early days when he newly met my mother, "which were some of the happiness times of his life," he had said.
 "Don't get me wrong. I still love my wife but it's not the same thing. Most couples in long-term relationships get to a stage where the passion is gone and all they have left are the memories. You are too young to understand all this. Just know that when I'm with you, I feel regenerated, like a new being. You make me feel alive. Nora, baby, now that I have found you, I will never let you go!" he said one day at my small apartment. He had been pestering to move me to any of his houses in the city but I was taking my time to move as I loved my little place.
 Being with Mr P was like winning a jackpot, he was my 'tool' to exact revenge on my mother for all the rejections, pain and humiliation she had inflicted on me, her own child. It was payback time and I was not ready to listen to anyone including Maria who has been trying to dissuade me from my plans for revenge on my mother.
 When I eventually told her who my wealthy and generous Maga was, she who had been so encouraging at the initial stage, was now strongly against the relationship.
 "Nora, this must stop. You can't continue with him because it's just wrong. He's your stepdad for God's sake!" she said.
 I simply shrugged and stated:
  "The man is simply crazy about me. Besides, its my way of getting back at my Mum for all the pain she has caused me all my life!"
 Thinking about my plans for her filled me with immense pleasure. I intend making Mr P so crazy about me that he will become a puppet in my hands, to do with as I pleased. I will use him, take as much money and properties from him and even snatch him from his wife, my mother as he has even promised to marry me. Though I have no intention of doing so; I will simply use him to get at my Mum and leave for school next year.
  By the time she loses him, her marriage and home, she will understand what pain and misery, the type she made me feel, is like. I look forward to doing that!

 Is Nora doing the right by being with Mr P to seek revenge on her Mum?

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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