Silence greeted the declaration. Jack’s heart was involuntarily pounding in his chest and his head was racing beyond control. He wasn’t scared. He was busy trying to preempt the governor, trying to predict what he might ask before he asked it. The more he sat before Tunji Banks, the angrier he became. He knew without a doubt that the snake of a man would accept him as a son-in-law and that made him even angrier. However, Tunji Banks was not giving anything away. He sat on his rotatable chair, not even showing the slightest bit of emotion on his face. His declaration of his intent didn’t even seem to surprise the governor beyond the mere raise of his left brow. Tunji Banks maintained eye contact with Jack for several seconds, dragging the silence for as long as he deemed fit. Jack sat stock still, not squirming or breaking the eye contact.
Slowly, Tunji Banks raised his hand to his chin, running his thumb over the stubble of beard there. “You gave my daughter a lift because you want to marry her? How did you know she would be in need of a lift?” The governor tilted his head to the side slightly, like someone surveying an insect.
Jack had known this would come up and he chose his words carefully. “Oh no sir, I didn’t give her a lift because of my marital designs; she just needed a ride and I happened to be there” he said lamely.
The governor raised his brow. “So, you expect me to believe you came upon my daughter by chance?” Tunji chuckled. “My naïve daughter might believe that, not me”
This was becoming increasingly difficult, Jack reckoned, as he thought of an answer. Maybe the line he used with Lara might work, he thought. “Whether you believe it or not sir, I came upon your daughter by chance. Let’s just say luck was on my side. How was I to know that she would spring out of a bush when I was on my way out?” he wrinkled his face to show that he considered that ridiculous. “And by the way sir, I think the security in the government house needs total restructuring if the governor’s daughter was kidnapped right under their noses” he looked angry.
Tunji stared at Jack for some seconds, and then relaxed. He sighed, “I am still in shock that it actually happened, and yes, everyone who should have been guarding the house would pay dearly for this; they already are.” He said forcefully. “Now, why would I give my daughter’s hand to you in marriage? You think I would give her to you just because you are rich?” Tunji asked, pushing his back into the backrest.
I know you would, Jack almost said as a dry smile coated his lips. “I know you to be a very practical man sir. I can be a great husband to Lara and a great son-in-law to you. She would have everything she needs and go wherever she feels like; I have the money to accommodate the luxury she deserves”
There was a brief silence. “You have just explained how you can be a good husband, but not how you can be a good son-in-law” Tunji pointed out.
Jack smiled fully now. “I would do everything required of a good son-in-law sir, including funding your upcoming re-election”
Jack saw the instant flare in Tunji’s eyes and smiled internally. He had known all along that there was no way the governor would turn down a bargain like this. The kidnap had effectively stripped the governor of the ability to reject this offer! He smiled internally. Things were looking up.
Tunji sighed, glanced around the office, before returning his face to Jack. “And what do you stand to gain from this?” Tunji asked with a small voice.
“Lara Banks” Jack answered simply. “She is the daughter of a governor, so by marrying her, I become the governor’s in-law. That would go far in raising my status” he explained. “I know she has given her heart to someone else sir, so I decided to come to you. Being her father, I know you would be able to… convince her of the… benefits of this… acquaintance”
Getting out of the house was as tough as passing through the eye of a needle, considering the guards which now seemed to flood the government house. when she had attempted leaving, bodyguards had emerged saying that her father had ordered that she be escorted to wherever she wanted to go, even if it by foot. She had resorted to leaving through the secret door, still doing her best to avoid being caught. Teresa and Bola had picked her up and they had gone in search of a shop she could use. As they drove back, with Bola driving and Teresa sitting lying flat on her back on the back seat, she hoped her father would not interfere with anything this time. They had found a really beautiful shop and Lara had instantly made a deposit, hoping that nothing went wrong. She sighed deeply.
“You are thinking again, aren’t you?” Teresa asked from the back seat as she turned on her side and propped her head on her ready arm.
Lara sighed. “This is not the first time I am attempting something like this, what gives me the assurance that my father wouldn’t interfere again?”
Teresa rolled her eyes. “Like that is ever going to happen”
“Well, she can’t just sit back and watch her father manipulate her life” Bola returned as she controlled the steering. “For God’s sake, she is 25 years old and has a right to do whatever she wants. What is so bad in fashion designing anyways?”
Lara snorted. “Dad said it is the same as tailoring and he would not have a ‘tailor’ in his family”
Teresa hissed. “It is because you are still in that house, honestly girl; you would never be independent if you keep living under your father’s roof”
Like I haven’t tried to leave, Lara thought bitterly. About arriving at Teresa’s apartment, suddenly, a car overtook them and swapped to the front of their car and came to a halt. Bola hit the brakes suddenly, sending them all reeling forward in their seats. They all screamed as the tired made screeching wounds. Thankfully, their seatbelts pulled back the ladies at the front but Teresa wasn’t that lucky as she rolled forward, having to grab the back of the driver’s seat to stable herself. Fear gripped Lara’s heart as she thought of her kidnap. Maybe she should have left the house with bodyguards. They paused long enough to catch their breaths but as the driver’s door of the other car pushed open and a form emerged from it, fear was the last thing on Lara’s mind.
“What on earth…” Bola muttered as she stared ahead.
“Whoever that idiot is would hear it from me” Teresa muttered as she pulled herself to a sitting position, righting her dressing.
Lara, on the other hand, stared at the latest version of ‘Derin’ as he made for their car. She looked from his shinning black shoes to the cream coloured suit he had on. She wouldn’t have identified him if she didn’t know him very well. Surprise turned to anger and anger speedily turned to rage.
Teresa seemed to have realized who they were staring at because she whistled. “Good God! Did I hit my head just now or am I truly looking at Lara’s carpenter boyfriend?” she whispered.
Bola’s jaw seemed to have dropped to her laps as she stared.
Derin knocked on Lara’s window gently, looking a bit agitated. Lara took in several calming breaths with her eyes closed. She lowered the glass and turned to him.
“Lara, you have been ignoring my calls. I really need to talk to you” Derin said.
Lara laughed. “Why? You need more money?”
“No, please, I can explain” He said.
“Give your explanation to the birds Derin” she turned slightly towards the window and ran her eyes over his upper half. Her mouth tilted up in a bitter smile. “My dad was right after all, you were only after the money. Well, now you have the money, congratulations. I don’t ever want to see your gold-digging face again! The next time you present your disgusting sight before me, I would make sure I strip you of everything you have dubiously obtained until you are back to being the filthy carpenter you once were, do you understand me?”
“Please just listen to me”
Lara rolled the glass back up and glared at Bola. “Drive” she ordered.
Bola obeyed instantly, going around the car which obviously belonged to Derin. Tears clouded Lara’s eyes and she closed her eyes against them. She would not weep over someone who couldn’t appreciate her worth.
Silence greeted the car until Teresa thought she had had enough. “What was that all about Lara?”
Lara sighed. “I don’t want to talk about it” she managed to say.
“Well, you cannot keep us in the dark” Bola seconded as she pulled into Teresa’s compound. “What happened? How come Derin the carpenter is now dressed like a rich man?”
“Well, your assumptions turned out right” Lara said bitterly. “He was only after the money”
That answer did not explain anything to the ladies. “So?” Teresa prompted when Lara did not add anything. “Did he steal from you? Did he dupe you? What did he do?”
“Dad offered him ten million to stay away from me. Are you satisfied now?” she barked and got out of the car as it pulled to a stop, leaving Teresa and Bola staring in complete shock at Lara’s retreating back.
Jack paced gently in his massive bedroom. He held a glass of fruit wine in his hand and brought it to his lips at intervals, sipping gently. He ran his tongue over his lower lip as his mouth curled with a satisfied smile. Things were going according to plan. Initially, he had thought of revenge, directly targeted towards Tunji Banks, but after careful consideration, he had decided against it.
He walked to the only picture of his mother he had and his face sobered. Her sweet face was there, hanging on the wall. She should still be alive now. She should be alive to enjoy the wealth he had amassed for himself. But she was no more on the earth’s surface. She had been sent six feet below! He swallowed as pain tore at his heart at the painful memory of that fateful day. He raised his hand and ran his fingers against the framed picture slightly. “We would have our revenge mother” he whispered. “A parent for… a child”
Lara went in through the secret door and decided to check on her mother in her room. She had sent a message to her mum after leaving the house in the morning, telling her that she was out with her friends so she wouldn’t worry, but now, she wanted to be sure her mother was alright. She remembered her mother’s anxieties the previous day and wanted to reassure her of her safety. She didn’t want her mother worrying too much over her. Maybe, just maybe, she could tell her mother that she had rented a shop, Lara thought. She needed her mother’s support even if she would never get her dad’s own.
She knocked on her mother’s door but no answer came. She knocked again, and then opened the door gently. She wasn’t in the room. She might be in the sitting room, Lara thought vaguely, but as she was about leaving the room, the beeping sound of a phone drifted to her ears and she saw her mother’s phone lying close to the pillow. She grabbed it, knowing from the tone that a message had just entered. Her intention was to take it to her mother but involuntarily, her eyes drifted to the screen which displayed the ‘pop-up’ message.
It was a credit alert! But that was not what made her eyes grow as large as large saucers. She drew the phone closer to her face in total disbelief as she stared at the amount being deposited into her mother’s account.
Thoughts are Real!