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Belina arrived home later than she had envisaged. Prisca had successfully dragged her out of the house to help her interview the new salesgirls that applied to her boutique. Belina had been uncomfortable throughout, thinking of what to make of Alexander’s strange attitudes.
Belina entered the sitting room and dropped her keys on the chair. Tolani came to welcome her but all Belina needed was her daughter. “Where is Alexa?” she asked.
“In her room ma” the girl responded.
Curiosity took over. “Has she left the house after I left?”
“No ma, she never left her room once” the girl said, also awed by that odd fact.
Belina frowned and waved the girl away as she went up to Alexander’s room. A million things went through Belina’s head but what she felt was more logical was that Alexander might be having problems with Michael. Belina knew Alexa to be very emotional because she always loved deeply so she knew that problems with Michael would affect Alexander a lot.
She got to the door and paused when she heard Alexa’s voice. Eavesdropping was something that Belina detested but she found herself carrying out the mundane act. Moving close to the door, she silenced even her breathing to hear the muffled words.
“I am finished Teresa” she heard Alexa say. “…I need to see you… Yes, tomorrow is fine… no, no, I would come to you… Lunch? Can’t it be in the morning… ok, fine… I would tell you when I get there…”
Belina opened the door and Alexa suddenly hung up and spun like a top. Her face was pale. Like the writer that she was, she tried to cover it up. She placed her hand on her chest dramatically. “Oh, mum, you scared. Is the house on fire? I never knew you were back” she threw all at once.
“What is going on Alexa?” Belina asked.
Alexa frowned. “I don’t understand mum”
“Don’t you dare play the innocent card Alexa, what is the matter with you? You are behaving strangely” Belina’s voice rose a notch. “I heard you talking now, who were you talking to?” Alexa started stammering. “Sit” Belina commanded and Alexa instantly dropped onto the bed. Belina stood with folded arms. “Now spill it before I draw it out of you”
“Mum, there is nothing wrong, believe me” Alexa said with a stamp.
“I see… and that is why you are pale” Belina raised her brow. “is everything Ok with Michael?”
Alexa gasped then quickly comported herself. “Of course mum, why would you think otherwise.” Alexa quipped silently.
“Where were you off to this morning?” Belina continued to interrogate.
“I told you mum, I saw a friend off to the airport” Alexa said, looking exasperated.
“Oh, I remember now” Belina said vaguely. “Which friend is that?”
“Teresa” Alexander said without thinking and Belina raised her brow.
“Alright dear, I trust you. You know you can come to me when you have problems right?” Alexa nodded. “Ok baby, I would go and freshen up now, go and eat, you look as white as sheet” Belina smiled and walked out. Immediately the door closed, Alexa collapsed on the bed with her hands on her head. Water came to her eyes and floated down her cheeks. “I am finished” she murmured. Her life was in shambles.
Patricia parked her car at the car park in front of the massive ‘TEL’ building. She had turned a deaf ear to everything her parents had said about how much she needed to rest for some days before going back to work. Pat did not need to be alone, she needed work just as she needed fresh air. Solitude was a medicine that Patricia discovered could slowly lead to a painless and boring death. Working took Patricia off her own personal problems and gave her something to think about. Pat hadn’t reported to the office and she is not due to return to work for the next two weeks. Pat had decided to use the two weeks to work on her first assignment so that she would resume powerfully.
Patricia’s pencil heels clicked away as she walked confidently into the massive building. She was clad in black fitted pencil jeans which clung to her body from hips to feet. She had red heels on, followed by a red and black shirt which was neatly tucked into her trousers. Her hair was neatly packed on her head and plaited into a single braid which hung down.
Patricia arrived at the receptionist’s desk on the ground floor and the lady smiled at her, clearly not knowing her.
“You are welcome ma’am, I am Clara; how may I help you?” The receptionist asked sweetly.
“Oh, I am Patricia Williams from ‘Tellers’ newspaper, I am here to see Mr. Coker”
The name of the newspaper seemed to sink in and the lady straightened. She nodded several times. “Do you have an appointment?”
Patricia smiled internally. Who in his right mind books appointments with Pat Williams? “Something like that” she murmured.
The receptionist led her to the elevator which she entered and went up to the last floor. On getting there, she went to the lady who was apparently Michael’s secretary. The lady recognized her instantly and Patricia smiled at the job made easy. “Hi” Pat said.
“Hello ma’am” the secretary said, standing.
“I guess you already know who I am, I am here to see Mr. Coker” Pat said instantly.
“Oh, does he know you are coming? I mean erm…”
“I don’t think so” Pat murmured.
“Oh, ok, let me inform him”
Pat smiled. “Since you know me, you should know that I don’t get invited, I invite myself” Patricia turned instantly and walked to the door. The secretary immediately picked her desktop intercom and called her boss.
Patricia opened the door without any formality and Michael, who had been facing the massive transparent glass, suddenly turned at the rude intrusion. Immediately Michael turned, Pat raised the camera in her hand and snapped instantly. After that shot, she dropped the camera in her bag and raised her eyes to look at Michael. Cool indifference and something that looked like fury flared in Michael who looked as unmovable as a rock. Patricia had to admit that Michael looked far better that he looked in pictures. She had thought him handsome before, just by looking at the pictures but now, he looked striking and overpowering.
“Hi” she murmured, finally closing the door.
“Miss Williams” he called back in a voice what was both quiet and loud, she did not know which. His voice was as strong as he looked and a lesser woman would have quivered but Patricia was not that kind of woman. She greeted his stony and expressionless face with a smile and walked to the office chair facing his table. She dropped into it and crossed her legs in front of her then met Michael’s gaze again with her smile firmly in place. Michael hadn’t moved a muscle. “Nice to finally meet you Mr. Coker” she murmured.
Alexander sat at the table as she forced food down her throat. She hadn’t been able to sleep throughout the night and when she had dozed off, the maid had come to call her for her breakfast. The meal was prepared already and Belina had scolded Alexa for sleeping for such a long time. Alexa had to keep up the pretence that everything was alright as she ate. Silence reigned at the dining as she ate without real enthusiasm. She felt the gaze of her mum on her as she ate but she did not dare to meet her eyes. She thanked God for the umpteenth time that her dad was in the hospital, seeing to a critical patient, it would have been extremely hard, if not impossible to hide the truth from both dad and mum.
Belina’s phone rang and she got up instantly, scrambling for her bag. She allowed the call to ring out without picking it until the phone stopped ringing.
“Alexa, I am off to ‘Bells’, take care of yourself and sleep, you look like you were up all night. Are you sick?”
Alexa swallowed. “No mum, I was writing all night”
“Oh” Belina said then nodded. “Ok, take care”. After a mother to daughter kiss, Belina was off. Alexa packed her food instantly and went to dump it in the kitchen before retreating to her room. She took her phone and called Teresa. “Hello babe, let’s meet at ‘Regs Restaurant’… yes, twelve… thanks” she hung up and wrapped a blanket around her body.
Belina got down from her car and met the guy that was already waiting for her outside her complex. “Morning Felix”
“Good morning ma” he responded with slight bow.
“I hope you have not been waiting for a long time”
“Oh, no ma”
“Ok, here is what I want you to do. I need you to follow my daughter, find out who she is meets today and get their conversation.” The guy frowned and Belina explained. “She wants to meet a friend today, I think it should be a girl, but I am particularly interested in their conversation. She is still at home now; can you do this for me without being seen?”
The guy smiled. “It is very easy ma, I can do it”
“Good, come with me”
Felicia dropped her tab which she was using to watch an assassin movie she had downloaded. She paused the movie and took out her small blackberry phone which was ringing. “Hey Sophia” she said immediately she picked up. “How is everything over there… I trust you… why don’t we meet so that we can reconcile our plans… yes… Ok, since your lunch break is twelve thirty, why don’t we meet one o’clock… perfect… ok, meet me at ‘Regs restaurant’… ok, bye”. Felicia smiled and dropped the phone, picked up her tab and continued the movie.