‘Honey, did you intend to take your camera and forget it in the sitting room?’ Katherine looked elegant in a well tailored designers skirt suit.
Marigold Franklin Sigismund, taller than her age, an exact replica of her dad’s American complexion, beautiful with a face that was almost always smiling collected the cased camera. Her younger brother had once told her that if she was to be an animal, she would have been a Cheshire cat.
She was in a well trimmed designers skirt and she walked side by side her mum to the Jeep. She also carried her mum’s hand bag.
‘Thanks mum, I would have felt bad if I got to the school show just to realise I left it at home, mum you’re a darling. ‘ She beamed and it was so identical to her father’s except for the display of gap tooth which she took from her mum. Some familiar with the family says she looked more like the dad than the mum but others argued otherwise.
‘I’m glad.’ She said just before she pressed the receive key of her mobile phone that was vibrating. ‘Excuse me hon.’ She glanced at her ten year old daughter before raising the phone to her ears. ‘How’re you dear… you very know that I can’t be the office until three hours…if they can wait till then…thanks…later.’
‘That was important right?’ She glanced at her mother.
‘Maybe.’ She shrugged and opened the driver side of the car. ‘My angel was booked far before the call of today. Everything has to be done according to priority. Get into the car Goldie.’
‘I’m glad you’re coming for I’ve got a surprise for you and daddy.’ She said after strapping her seat belt.
Soon the car was revving down the road.
‘Remember the letter my school posted on its show, I am the script writer of the drama feature.’
‘No honey!’ Katherine glanced at her.
‘Yes mummy!’ Marigold retaliated in the same vein. ‘You and dad said my short stories were wonderful so before school exams started, I took them to school to do some sorting, Mr Li stumbled on it, he read and said it was good. The stories were transferred to some other teachers in the lower grade and then some others in the higher grades. Two weeks later, the head of the literal department sent for me. She said to me-
“Your stories are fabulous.”
“Thank you ma” I replied.
“Marigold darling, how about writing a story with this title?” She handed me a slip with a title and few tips.
‘I…I’ll like to ma.” I replied.
“Can you be done in three weeks?”
“I should be but if I’m unable to ma, I’ll inform you.”
I wrote it and submitted three days after the assigned time. A couple of days after, she said to me- “Marigold, you’re the script writer of the drama the high graders will be performing for the school show and I also learnt that you’re the daughter to the business shakers, Kelvin and Katherine Sigismund.”
“Yes ma!” I readily replied.’ Marigold burst into laughter.
‘That is great Marigold! I’m actually surprised but honey, why did you decide to keep it to yourself until now?’
‘Marijory is making a special presentation today and she’s keeping it a surprise to her parents so I decided it was cool for me to do so.’
‘Hmmm…’ She resolved thoughtfully as she brought the car to a halt at the red sign of traffic light.
‘Professionals and Judges are going to be present, the press too. If the drama picks an award and commendation, it will be shown on TV. I will have an opportunity of being tutored by some of the best writers.’
‘Now I am assured that you’re hearty about your talent, your dad and I promise to support you all the way.’
‘I love you so more mummy!’ Marigold said gleefully.
Katherine narrowed her brows as she took a turn. ‘Why so more, and not so much?’
Marigold exhaled. ‘Daddy is filling the much space in such a way that I can’t squeeze in besides, I don’t have what it takes to compete with him.’
She laughed hard and long barely unable to wait to share with her husband. ‘I’ll tell my treasure.’
‘I can do you the honors mum.’
Bennedict Franklin Sigismund was on a trip with his father while Marijory Sigisfried who was nine years old was Kenneth and Kayla adorable daughter and Marigold best friend, with exactly a year between them.
Three years after daughter, the Sigisfried welcomed identical twin boys.
‘This are brother-in-laws, my sisters, ‘ Yekini felt the overwhelming urge to be on his feet as he did the introduction. ‘There is my mother and I am the son of the man that…that shot your brother.’
Katherine shut both eyes with a palm raised and pin drop silence prevailed. For a minute, she had no iota of doubt that she was having a horrible day mare.
‘Can you repeat your last statement?’ Katherine rose slowly.
‘That is… that is true.’ Yerima said, expecting any device to be hurled at him soonest.
Her eyes blinked severally in utter shock. ‘You…you.are family of the uniformed man that murdered… that terminated the life of my brother’s life.’ She had raised an index finger. ‘Leave this company now.’
‘My…my daughter…’ Aisha began.
Sharply and furiously, Katherine interrupted him. ‘Heaven forbids! Get out of his office within this second!’ Instantly, her palm descended on a button on the table and in thirty seconds, five security men entered the office.
‘Usher them out.’
The security didn’t hesitate, having never seen their boss so upset.
Katherine stared at closed door and then, her eyes closed because everything around her seemed to spinning.
She staggered and her gave a silence splitting scream.
Before Evelyn, her secretary rushed in, she had already slumped in a cushion chair and her head was buried in her palms.
‘Ma, are you all right?’
‘I am…I’m… ‘ She signed. ‘Evelyn cancel all my appointment, I want to see nobody and received no phone calls.’
‘Yes ma but are…?’
‘Don’t worry about me.’
Evelyn took a couple of glances before finally shutting the door.
Katherine raised her head and stared into space, her tears flowed freely.
‘Hi sweetest heart. ‘ Kelvin cooed and opened his arms.
She stepped into his arms and held him tight as relief flooded her. She felt the urge to burst into tears but suppressed it immediately, now was not the time.
He still had his long sleeved shirt still tucked in the blazer trousers from work. ‘I’m up here on a mission, Bennedict says you’ve been unhappy and despite him asking, you claimed nothing was amiss. He has therefore employed the services of able detective Kelvin Sigismund.’
Katherine smiled fondly, her son had turned out to be very observant.
‘I called at your office to take you for a surprise treat and Evelyn told me you left three hours before closing time. Besides, your phone has been switched off. What could be wrong sweetie?’
How she wanted to tell him all without mincing words, instead she said, ‘My dear darling,’ She reached out to touch a side of his face with her plan. ‘I promise to tell it all when you’ve freshened up and on a full stomach.’
Katherine took his hand and made to lead him out but he restrained her.
‘I can’t see myself enjoying your delicious meal with the knowledge you’re unhappy.’ She appeared to him like she had shed some kilogramme since he last saw her in the morning.
‘Well said dearest.’ She exhaled.
He sat and asked her to sit on his lap. ‘I’m listening darling. ‘
‘I…I don’t even how to began.’ She exhaled once more. ‘Some people form Nigeria came to see in the office and claimed to be family of the man that shot my brother.’
‘What!’ Kelvin exclaimed. He went wide eyed and his jaw dropped simultaneously.
‘Yes sweetie, it’s… it’s crazy…bizarre, I don’t know…’ She sighed.
He blinked severally as his allow the information to sink in.
‘What did you do?’ He looked up at her
‘Send them right out of my office.’ Katherine replied spitefully.
Silence prevailed as Kelvin brows narrowed into a frown as he lapsed into thoughts once more.
‘Sweetheart, what can you make of their visit?’
Katherine heaved and pondered momentarily before answering. ‘I don’t know what to think nor make of it and I don’t care. If the devil had decided to lie all along and decided to raise his ugly head at this point ready…’ She smiled bitterly. ‘He had better strap his belt tightly…’ she stood and tapped her foot for few seconds. ‘Air bag would even be anti safety eventually. Hmmm…’ She resolved.
Kelvin exhaled and stood. ‘Come sweetie,’ He took her hand and led her down the stairs. ‘We are going to tell our children about this, hear their opinion and report it to our father above.’
Katherine walked into the rugged lobby leading directly to her office and stopped short bewildered and bemused.
She removed her sunglasses slowly and squint her eyes as if to allow better accommodation. She advance slowly.
Her Cologne and aura went before her and they looked just to sight her.
Ezinne gasped and a palm clasped her mouth afterwards. She recognized her despite the transformation, her face reminded her so much of her mother, a woman who had welcomed her into the family with open arms, polished her cooking skills. She had solely sponsored all meal and drinks those present at her wedding to her brother-in-law took.
In a rush, she remembered Katherine as barely a teen, how she had danced so well at their wedding and mesmerized all present. She and husband had even Joked that she more money sprayed on her than them.
Guilt coursed through every fibre of her being.
The very person they had to hired the best of detectives to look for two years having tried various solutions from one spiritualist to another, native doctor to another, false prophet to another and tried variety of supposedly concoctions and prescriptions.
Katherine recognized them instantly.
Her oldest uncle, Marcus Ezeugo stood dazed at the presence of his niece, the one he carried on the day of her birth and then he hung his head in shame.
His younger brother, Azubuike and their wives stood and lowered their gaze.
Katherine wore her sun glasses and advanced towards Evelyn who had being on her feet as soon as she saw Katherine.
‘Katherine…’ Marcus called more of a whisper fully laced with pleas.
She grimaced but turned to look at them when in front of her secretary’s desk. ‘I feel like the very devil just called my name, I don’t want to hear your voice again!’ She thundered but her voice was void of spite and anger.
Marcus winced and recoiled.
‘Evelyn?’ She called eyes not leaving them. ‘Call security, I need feed back that they’ve left this premises within this same minute.’ She took a quick glance at her wrist watch before walking head high into her office.
Ezinne slumped on the floor and placed both hands on her head.
Evelyn was already speaking into a phone.
The memory she had taken with her were that of them well dressed but not good looking, perspiring in a well ventilated and airconditioned lobby, their facial expression was as though they were on the verge of cardiac arrest.
A question was paramount in her mind. Was there a courtesy visit or something much more?
She withdrew her mobile phone and speed dialled her husband number.
‘If God wants you to listen to them there would be a confirmation. Mum you’ll see them again.’ Her daughter had whispered to her just as she dropped off she and her brother at school earlier in day.
It was about noon when the chief security officer had brought the announcement of both the presence of the Yerima’s and Ezeugo’s family.
She folded the note and handed it over to him. ‘Give this note to anyone of them and let them go.’
‘Would that be all ma’am?’ He inquired.
‘Thank you so much Elvis and that would be all.’ Katherine smiled up at him before capping her pen.
He gave a low bow before proceeding with the instruction.
Katherine drummed her pen momentarily on the desk before going through the report the account department had presented.