Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 16

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Evelyn did not understand Kelvin’s words and so she asked, “What do you mean break her heart and give her a brand new one?”

Kelvin then sat up and removed all the pillows that had been separating them on the bed.

“What are you doing?” Evelyn was clutching her hands to her chest as if to protect herself from whatever Kelvin was planning on doing. However, Kelvin made no effort whatsoever to reach out to her.

He was seated on the bed, his upper body resting on his lower body.

“There’s something that my mother said to me today that’s kept ringing in my head and I didn’t understand why until I came here.”

“What’s that?” She asked.

“I am going to suggest something to you,” he said. “It’s only going to be a suggestion and it’s up to you to decide whether you want in or not. I won’t pressure you and I will totally understand if you can’t.

“This is the only way I have thought of protecting you because nothing will stop my mother from doing you harm the moment she realizes who you really are or that I am in-love with you. She won’t even try to understand my reasons for wanting to end this whole thing. She will think that you are the reason.”

“And would she be wrong in thinking that?” Evelyn asked.

“Not really,” kelvin answered. “Yes you have a huge part to play in my sudden decision to stop with the revenge but that’s a feeling I’ve always had even before I met you. You coming into my life and me falling for you is what gave me the courage to put my foot down and confront my mother.

“However, that is not to say that I am an innocent victim that was manipulated by my mother, no. I am just as guilty as she is because I knew from the very beginning what I was getting myself into. I willingly did my part to aid her…and,” he dropped his eyes to look on the bed.

“I…I willingly did all those awful things to you.” He added.

“I know,” Evelyn’s eyes were fixed on him. “It’s your face that haunts me at night and awakens me in cold sweats every now and then, not your mothers.”

Kelvin slowly raised his head up again to look at her. “If your point was to hurt me deeply, you did a fantastic job.” There was no missing the shame written deep into his eyes.

“I also can’t believe that I did those things to you so I don’t expect you to forgive me.” He continued. “Whe I did those things…I was no worse than my mother, and didn’t even send me to do that. I won’t even ask for forgiveness because I don’t think I deserve it. I am just going to do everything in my power to make it up to you for the rest of my life.”

“How?” Evelyn asked.

“By saying what am about to say to you right now,” he was whilst smiling nervously. Just remember, I am not forcing you to do it. If you want, I can give you some time to think about it and if your answer is still no, then I will have no choice but to find another solution. Either way, I will not allow my mother to do anything to you.”

“Okay, ow you are starting to freak me out,” Evelyn said. “”Just tell me what you want to say so we can go to sleep.”

Kelvin burried his face in his hands and bent down for a few seconds before straightening up, sighing heavily and finally dropping his hands so he could look at her.

This time, there was a serious expression on his face.

* * *

When Kelvin went back to his place the next morning, he got his mother on the phone right away.

“Have you finally come to your senses?” Mervis asked sternly.

“Good morning to you too mother,” he said sarcastically.

“There’s nothing good about my morning so let’s cut to the chase. Where are Lucy’s children?” She asked.

“I didn’t call to tell you where the children are mum. I called to ask you to give me more time to think about it.”

Mervis scoffed. “Do you even hear yourself? Kelvin, stop playing games with me and tell me what I need to know.”

“Mother, this situation we are in right now is different from what you and I have been through together for the past twenty years. You want the children, I have the children and I am still not willing to give them to you.

“I know, you threatened to harm Moola if I don’t tell you where the kids are but we both know that you wouldn’t risk doing anything to her when the marriage is scheduled to take place in a few days time.”

Kelvin could feel his mother shift position from wherever she was. “The initial reason why that marriage was set in motion was only because we needed that family to be indebted to us after bailing them out from their financial woes. As their son in-law, they wouldn’t have hesitated trusting you to take care of their businesses after we invested in them.

“That was the original plan son.” Mervis was saying. “But you just told me that you are in-love with that Moola girl and you still expect me to believe that you would carry out our plans as before? Do you think am a fool?”

“I never told you that I was in-love with Moola,” Kelvin replied. “You came up with that conclusion all on your own.”

“Right now you would do anything to get the freedom you desperately desire so I won’t trust anything that comes out of your mouth. Just give me the kids and you can do whatever the hell you want with your life. Just don’t come running back to me when you realise how tough the world is without dear mama.”

Kelvin could sense how his mother was lowly backing him to a corner. There was never a moment in time when he had won an argument against his mother. Mervis Kangwa always had an answer to everything and she never lost at anything. She was a shrewd mother just as she was a businessman.

But Kelvin was no longer under her spell. That realization made him stop hitting his head against the wall and he stood up straight to drive his point across with as much conviction as he could master.

“I need a week mother,” he candidly stated. “I will be meeting Moola’s family over the weekend and I will inform them that there won’t be any wedding.”

Mervis was on her feet. “What?” She said.

“Exactly what you heard,” Kelvin said. “You have a choice to make; wait for me to make up my mind or go ahead and do whatever you feel like doing to Moola because I won’t be the one losing out.

“I asked for a week because I want to give you time to think thing through mother. It was never my intention to make you feel betrayed. I only did what I did because I care about you and I care about myself. It’s time to move on, to let go so we can live our lives in peace. Unlike you, I have never ever had the chance to fall in-love, date whoever I like, makes mistakes, get married and have my own children to protect and fight for.

“But you…you had the chance to do all that mother.” Kelvin’s voice was on the verge of breaking but he was too determined to say his piece without breaking down. It was time for him to be a man.

“You, dad and Nora, you all had the chance to have all that. Not me.” Kelvin pressed on. “If you truly loved me as a mother ought to love her children, then you should be the first one wishing those things for me. But instead, you want to drag us both to infinity fighting demons that we’ve allowed to control us when we can easily say no and walk away.

“I want to walk away mother, and I want you to do the same. Punish Beatrie all you want but do it now and get over it. I am not trying to stop you from exerting your revenge, I am simply saying, do it now. How much satisfaction do you intend to get for all this that you are willing to lose your only son in the process?

“If even after a week you don’t change your mind, I will give you what you want and I will walk out of your life forever. I will settle down, have a few kids and you will never get to meet your grandchildren because you will be too much avenging the lives of those that are no more. Think about it mother.”

Throughout his monologue, Kelvin had been expecting his mother to interrupt and dismiss him rudely but he was shocked to have been able to say all that out without interruption.

A huge part of him was dying to know if his mother had heard any of the things he had said because even though he could hear her breathing on the other end of the line, he was not sure if she had actually been listening.

“You have really thought hard about this haven’t you?” Mervis’ voice finally came through.

“As a matter of fact, I did.” Kelvin said.

“One week, that’s all you get.” Mervis said after cold moment of silence.

Kelvin was finally able to smile. He let out a deep sigh of relief. “Thank you mother,” he said.

“Don’t thank me just yet, I haven’t made any decisions yet.” And she cut the line.
An excited Kelvin immedately called Evelyn to deliver the good news.

“She bought it!”

“Seriously?”

“Yes, she gave me a week.”

“I don’t know Kelvin,” Evelyn didn’t seem to take the news as well kelvin had hoped.

“Why, you don’t sound too happy?” He said.

“Your mother scares me,” she said. “I think she’s too clever to have bought into that. What if she….”

“We talked about this Eva,” Kelvin reminded her. “I thought you trusted me.”

“It’s not that, I trust you…but, now she’s going to want to know everything that’s going on around you. Who knows what she might do the moment she discovers the truth? A week is too long for her to outsmart you Kelvin, no disrespect or anything, but she’s been doing this kind of thing longer than you have.”

“I know,” Kelvin said, his voice heavy with emotion.

“Why did it have to be a week?” Evelyn asked. “Couldn’t you have just said a few days or so?”

“Because whatever conclusion my mother comes up with, she will still need to have her revenge and I happen to hold the cards to two of her major projects; Lucy and Moola’s marriage.

“For her to get her ultimate revenge, she needs me. One week because she will need that much time to plan anything and I know for a fact that she will do everythig in her power to put me at a disadvantage so that she can yield me to her power and control again.”

Just like Kelvin had suspected, Mervis too was on another call immediately after talking to her son.

“I want you to follow him everywhere he goes and find out everything you can about everyone he meets, talks to or even waves at.”

“Yes ma’am,” a male voice returned and Mervis ended the call.

“Kelvin,” she said as she paced back and forth around her living room, turning her phone around in her hands as her mind took her on a deep long journey.

“You actually think that you can out-smart me?” Mervis said with a look of derision on her face.

And then she burst out laughing like she had just been possessed by something.

* * *

With only less than ten days remaining to the biggest day of her life, Moola was quickly growing weary of her man’s lack of contact. There had never been a time in their relationship when Kelvin had stayed without contacting her for more than two hours and now for close to a week, he either missed her calls or said he would call her back and never actually did.

To make matters worse, she could not find him at his office or office and the idea of not knowing what was going on with him eat at her to near madness. The excuse everyone around her was giving her was wedding jitters but no matter how convincing that theory was to everyone else, something told Moola that there was something else at play than just jitters.

Thus, she turned to the only person she knew could give her the answers she was seeking; Mervis.

Moola found Mervis sunbusking by the poolside in front of her house and looking like the perfect portrait of a very fit modern rich woman. Moola puckered her lips tightly thinking about her disdain for the woman who acted like she owned the world and treated her like she was not good enough for her son.

Unfortunately, Moola had over the years been forced to reconcile her mind to the fact that the disdain she felt for her mother in-law was equally, if not thrice reciprocated and that even though she could not openely express her feelings, the latter would, could and gladly did so whenever the opportunity presented itself.

However, the nature of Moola’s visit that mid-morning required that she fold her pride and feelings and lock them somewhere she could not tap into for at least the length of the pending meeting.

Thus, she forced a smile on her face and proudly defying gravity in her eight inch designer heels, she graced the tiled ground of Mervis’s yard that led to the swimming pool like a debutant from a British colony.

Even though Mervis could see Moola approaching from her sitting position, she made no effort to sit up and welcome her. Instead, she raised her hand to the sky as if to will the sun that had just disappeared behind the clouds to shine again.

“Good morning Mrs Kangwa?” Moola towered over her, in the process blocking her from the sun that had unceremoniously picked that very moment to appear from behind.

“Don’t you know that it’s very rude to address your mother in-law whilst standing like a tree over her? Didn’t your mother teach you anything?” Mervis hissed.

Moola slowly took off her sunglasses and glared at her mother…but only for a few seconds before putting the smile back on.

“You told me to relax around you the first time we met,” Moola reminded her. “You said you were a modern mother in-law. You should have informed me when you decided to change to a traditional one.”

Mervis was still too fluid, soft and bruised from her recent conversation with her son and if Moola knew just how much on thin on ice she was treading, she would have changed her usual brat attitude before Mervis unleashed her wrath on her.

Mervis slowly sat up from the chaise lounge she had been laying on and taking off her glasses, she sent Moola one cold and long contemptious look.

“This is exactly why I dont like you,” Mervis said as she put laid her sunglasses down on the table on the side of her chair.

“The problem with you little girls of nowadays is that you are o excited about getting married when you know nothing, not even a single thing about what it means or what it takes to run such a kind of responsibility.

“So I told you that I am a modern mother in-law and you took it to mean that I shouldn’t be respected?” Mervis berated her, and then sneered at her.

“Get down on your knees,” Mervis commanded. “Now!” she added when Moola appeared hesitant, looking at her in disbelief and then looking down at her beautiful white lace dress that reached exactly above her knees and was shimmering against the sun’s rays in all it’s angelic glory.

“You want me to to kneel down on this dirty ground?” Moola quipped.

Mervis shot her another disapproving look that ripped through her skin and sent her blood cells running for cover.

She dropped to her knees in a heartbeat.

“What are you doing here unannounced?” Mervis asked.

“I need to talk to Kelvin,” Moola said, her pitch too had gone a few hertz down in response to gravity.

“I don’t live with Kelvin,” Mervis retorted. “I thought you knew the ins and out of his house like a cockroach. Why are you looking for him here?”

Even though Mervis was acting smug with Moola, she too was curious about Kelvin’s movements lately. For the past few days, the mother had to embrace a new fact about her relationship with her son; she knew nothing about him.

Inevitably, that realization also came with another fact; that Kelvin might…or could after all control her to his will.

It is easier to defeat or plan a strategy against an enemy whose methods of attack you are aware of or familiar with. But with Kelvin, Mervis could no longer be sure of what he was capable of or what weaknesses he had.

She had hoped that Moola might turn out to be a weakness but her presence at her house meant only one thing; that he was going ahead with his plans of calling off the wedding.

But even with that highest probability that came with that possibility, there was no way Mervis could be sure if her son had meant his threat or not, or if he was simply waiting for her to fold in her revenge.

Mervis needed answers and she needed them as soon as yesterday.

“He hasn’t called me for days now and he keeps ignoring my texts and calls. The last time we spoke was when he called me over the weekend and told me that the families need to meet over the coming weekend. He never explained why, just said it’s got something to do with the wedding and he cut the line. Does he want to break off the engagement Mrs Kangwa?”

Mervis was laughing, not the kind of response Moola was expecting after pouring out her concerns like that.

“Not as far as I know,” Mervis answered. “It’s probably just wedding jitters.”

“That’s exactly what my mother said and my father said that you are too greedy for money to let him walk away from this wedding so I shouldn’t worry about a thing…but am getting scared now.”

Mervis was dumbfounded by the girl’s lack of tact. “There should be a law against pretty girls being so dumb,” she said whilst giving her potential daughter in-law a pitiful look. “Your kind of stupid goes against all the laws of nature…tsk tsk tsk.”

Moola’s lips were more than ready to offer a retort but she remembered why she was there and immediately redirected the air flowing to her diaphragm.

“You can insult me all you want, I am already used to it by now. Just tell me, where could Kelvin be? I have searched for him everywhere but he’s nowhere to be found and his phone is off most of the time.”

“Do you honestly think that a man that age would tell his mother everywhere he goes?” Mervis asked.

“Kelvin would,” Moola answered. “He’s always been a mama’s boy.”

Mervis had a bitter-sweet smile on her face. If only you knew, she thought as he mulled over Moola’s words.

“I have been debating whether to go and see that girl he’s been hanging around with but Cassie tells me she hasn’t seen him around that area for a while now.”

Moola finally had Mervis’s full attention.

“What girl? And what area?” she asked.

“Can I stand up now and sit over there?” Moola was pointing to the chair next to Mervis and rubbing her knees with her other hand.

“Tell me what girl you are talking about first and I will let you sit.” Mervis was almost yelling.

Moola was smiling as she studied Mervis’ reaction. “I knew you wanted this marriage as much as I do! And dad was right after all.”

“Moola, don’t test my patience.” By now, Mervis has fully turned her body around and was facing Moola.

“It’s that same girl he met when he was trying to help your brother with that case.” Moola explained. “I only know her as Evelyn.”

The first image that flashed across Mervis’s mind was of a beautiful and elegant ly dressed Evelyn walking into the hotel on the arm on Lebogang.

Mervis remembered how quickly her son had dragged her away and asked her to leave so early despite forcing her to attend the function in the first place.

And then she remembered the number of times her brother’s case had come up in their conversations and suddenly, very so suddenly, she had found the first piece of the complicated puzzle.

“Why didn’t I think of that?” Mervis asked in a very low voice. The question was mostly directed at herself than her companion.

“That girl you mention, where does she stay?” Mervis asked, anxiously waiting for an answer.

Moola was looking at her suspiciously. “Why the so much interest in this girl?” She couldn’t help asking. “Do you think that he is cheating on me with her?” She had a petrified look on her face as she asked the question.

“Calm your lungs down,” Mervis said, grabbing a towel, standing and wrapping it around herself. “I have also been meaning to meet that girl because she knows something about my brother’s case but Kelvin kept telling not to get involved.”

Without waiting for permission, Moola quickly stood up and started wiping the dirt off her knees whilst mumbling some inaudible’s under her breath.

“Her address!” Mervis yelled.

“She lives in Handsworth, I can text you her address if you like.”

“Text it, now.” Mervis said and started running towards her house.

On the drive to the address, Mervis called her PI and gave instructions;

“Find out everything you can about a girl named Evelyn that works as a secretary for Sibu & Associates Law Firm…yes, just the first name; I don’t know her last name also. Find out everything you can right away. That’s why I pay you. Give me a call in the morning tomorrow.”

Evelyn…Evelyn…Evelyn…just who the hell are you and where did you come from? Mervis thought as she drove like a mad woman to Evelyn’s place.

After knocking like a wild dear on Evelyn’s door and no response came, Mervis went to the one place she thought she might be during a weekday; her place of work.

Mervis walked into S&A like a woman with a bone to chew with the firm. The angry expression on her face almost made Helen the receptionist want to jump under her table for cover.

“Good….” Before Helen could even finish her greeting and deliver her forced smile, Mervis cut her off and went straight to the point.

“Where’s Evelyn? I am looking for a girl named Evelyn.”

For a brief moment, Helen had this knowing look on her face but it quickly disappeared when she realized Mervis’ glare was burning into her skin.

“May I ask for her last name ma’am and if you had an appointment?” Helen asked politely.

Mervis leaned in towards her from the other side of the reception desk and banged her hand against the desk. “Do you have any idea who you are talking to like that young lady?” Mervis asked the twenty-five year old petite receptionist.

“I am very sorry ma’am, I never got your name,” Helen said.

“That’s because I never told you my name in the first place and I am not the kind of woman that needs an introduction anywhere I go.”

Whilst Mervis was going off about herself, Helen was looking at her computer monitor at the reply she had received from Sibu after she had sent her a short text alerting her of Mervis’ presence in the building the moment she had seen her walk through the doors.

Keep her busy until I get there, read the message from Sibusiswe.

“Well, it would really help me to know who you are and the full name of the person you are trying to meet because there are a lot of females with that name in this place.” Helen said and she literally had to move a few steps backwards behind her desk to keep Mervis who looked more than ready to strive land one on her.

“What’s your name young lady?” Mervis asked, taking her phone out from her handbag and looking ready to call someone.

Without hesitation or fear, Helen provided her name. “Helen Bwalya,” she candidly provided. “And without meaning to be rude, I would ask that you take one of the seats over there while you make your private calls as I would like to get back to other clients.”

She was pointing at the switchboard on her desk that was blinking all kinds of red.

It appeared Mervis’ temper had reached a boiling point. she was about to follow Helen where she was standing when she heard a voice behind her that made her stop.

“What’s going on here?” it was Sibu.

Mervis turned to look at the intruder. “You must be the owner of this place,” she said. “I have seen your face in the papers a couple of times. Don’t you people have any standards for picking employees?”

Looking unperturbed and not in the slightly intimidated, Sibu said, “You are Mrs Kangwa. We’ve met a few times at different events. It’s my pleasure to have someone of your standing pay our firm a visit.” She reached out her hand but it wasn’t taken.

Sibu dropped her hand and folded her arms across her chest, a smirk dancing provocatively on her face.

“I didn’t come to this small law firm to do business. As you might already know, I happen to have higher standards.” Mervis said.

“I see, that’s too bad,” Sibu replied. “Then did you perhaps make an appointment with someone working here?”

“I need to see a girl named Evelyn. She is a secretary here?” Mervis answered.

“And what’s her last name please?” Sibu asked.

“How the hell am I supposed to know her last name? How many secretaries named Evelyn do you have?”

Sibu turned to Helen. “Helen dear, how many?”

“Four ma’am,” the receptionist replied.

“How about you ask all four of them to come here instead of wasting my time like this?” Mervis snapped.

Sibu closed the distance between her and Mervis and putting a hand over her shoulder she said, “Madam Kangwa, how about you and I talk in my office? You appear very agitated and it makes me even more uncomfortable to summon my employees down here when I can sense that you did not come here in good faith. How about you and I talk in private and we can determine how best I can be of help once I know what your need is.”

Mervis shot her a grave look. “My business with this Evelyn girl has absolutely nothing to do with you so don’t go feeling high and mighty asking to talk in private about things that aren’t any of your business.”

Sibu was smiling the whole time Mervis was talking, much to the latter woman’s chagrin.

“I was actually hoping you would say that,” Sibu said. “I am very glad you are aware that this is a place of work for whoever you are looking for. You coming here in this manner shows no respect for this firm and everyone under it.

“If you have personal business with an employee, I suggest that you make time with them and meet them outside these premises. You seem to be a very educated and proper lady, you run businesses too so I don’t doubt that you understand exactly what am talking about.”

Mervis appeared to be at a loss for words for a moment, something she was very unfamiliar with.

“I will leave now,” Mervis huffed when she finally found her voice. “It’s not like I have no other means of fishing her out. Good day.” And she walked away from them before they could say another word to her.

“Good job Helen,” Sibu had turned to the receptionist once they were sure Mervis had disappeared from the building.

“Is Evelyn going to be okay ma’am?” A visibly disturbed Helen asked. She had known Evelyn for just a few months but the two of them had grown fond of each other in just that short period. It was hard for anyone that met Evelyn to not like her.

“Of course she will be,” Sibu said with enough conviction to put the girl’s mind at rest. “She is not alone after all. Just be vigilant, that woman is too determined to find her. She might send someone else to come snoop around. Let me know immediately you sense anything suspicious.”

“With pleasure Mrs Lungu!” Helen excitedly answered.

Back in her office, Sibu made a call to Kelvin.

“Your mother just left,” she told him.

Sibu could hear him sigh heavily on the end of the line.

Kelvin was rubbing in frustration the part of his face just between his eyes. He was standing in the middle of a living room that appeared to be part of a hotel suite.

“So she’s already found out…” he said.

“Not much it appears,” Sibu informed him. “Just her name at most. She didn’t seem to know her last name but it’s just a matter of hours before that information comes to her.”

“I know,” Kelvin said.

“Is she with you?” Sibu asked. “Can I talk to her?”

“Yes, she’s with me,” Kelvin said and started walking towards the closed door on the other side of the suite. “She hasn’t been feeling well since yesterday…I think the stress if finally getting to her.”

Kelvin opened the door and froze there.

“Kelvin, is everything okay?” Sibu could sense something when Kelvin suddenly went quite.

“I left her sleeping in bed,” Kelvin said whilst looking at the huge bed in front of him. He then entered the room and started calling out her name and when no response came, he checked the bathrooms…there was still no sign of Evelyn.

Kelvin was now in a state of panic. He checked every corner of their hotel suite and couldn’t find her.

“Her handbag is gone too Sibu,” Kelvin said as he stood helplessly in the bedroom.

“When was the last time you saw her?” Sibu too was now restless. “Have you checked the rest of the hotel? Maybe she didn’t go far.”

Kelvin was running out of the room before Sibu could even finish talking.

“Where could she have gone?” Sibu asked, but Kelvin who was running down the stairs because he could not wait a second longer for the lift that seemed to be taking forever to reach their floor.

Kelvin headed straight to the reception desk and almost fell forward in his frantic state.

“Did you see my….”

“Your wife sir?” the young woman asked. “I saw her walk out of here a few minutes ago. A man stopped her right outside there,” she was pointing to towards the entrance.

“They talked for a little bit before he led her to his vehicle that was parked on the other side of the road.”

“A man? What man?” Kelvin asked.

 

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Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 10

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There they were; The sixteen year old Mark who was impeccably dressed in a suit and tie standing between his mother Beatrice and his equally well-dressed father Shadreck. Moola was standing between Kelvin and a woman Evelyn could only assume was Mrs Kangwa given the last conversation she had had with Kelvin.

The first person that caught Evelyn’s attention was Kelvin, and rightly so.

His piercing gaze ripped right through her and sent her blood flowing into the opposite direction.

Evelyn felt her knees weaken, and if not for Lebogang who was holding on to her like a prince in shinning armor, she would have made the most memorable entrance ever at a charity event; fainting in front of everyone upon entering the room.

“Are you okay?” Lebo whispered into her ear, his arm over her shoulder.

She never took her eyes off Kelvin because if she had, she would have seen the blazing looks on Beatrice and Moola’s faces and would have been forced to run for cover.

“Who are those two?” Mervis asked her son and soon to be daughter in-law whilst looking at Evelyn and Lebo. “I think you have competition tonight my dear daughter in-law,” she said to Moola, smiling as if she had just paid her a compliment.

“That girl looks like she can take out every female standing in this room.”

Kelvin could see the smoke coming out of Moola’s ears.

“There’s someone I need to introduce to you mother,” Kelvin put his arm over his mother’s shoulders and quickly led her away, but not before giving Evelyn one glacial stare over his shoulder.

“I hope it’s not one of those people trying to dig into my past and get a scoop for their cheap tabloids.” Mervis said as she allowed her son to lead her away.

Kelvin laughed. “Now why would I enable someone like that? Relax mother, your past is safely burried. Nobody in here knows who the hell you were.”

They both smiled and waved to some people along the way.

“This idea of you being some sort of mystery or enigma is getting out of hand mother.” Kelvin said. “People are starting to come up with very wild theories about why you rarely appear in public.

“If you can avoid certain trouble, why not go all the way to avoid it?” Mervis argued.

“Mum no one from your past can recognize you,” Kelvin countered, leaning in closer to her to deliver the words only to her ears. “Gosh, even I can’t recognize you sometimes and yet I am your only son.”

Mervis was smiling triumphantly. “I guess that surgeon did a good job ah.” She was touching her face everywhere.

“You mean the one from twenty years ago or the one you recently visited in Dubai?”

“Let’s not get into this right now son,” Mervis whispered. “I showed up here didn’t I?”

“Only because I begged you to come with me.” Kelvin said. They had now reached the end of the hall but Kelvin didn’t appear to be stopping.

“Where are you taking me?” Mervis looked up at her son suspiciously.

“We are going outside, into the garden.” Kelvin said, taking his mother’s hand and leading her through the red carpetted passageway leading into the garden before she could protest.

“Then why did you….” Mervis had started to complain.

“Because you seemed to be having such a great time in there making my fiance mad,” he deliberately stressed the two words.

They were now standing outside in the garden.

“Do you want to make it obvious that you don’t like her?” Kelvin asked his mother.

“What? I was only kidding around with her. She couldn’t have taken that seriously did she?” Mervis was clearly making light of a situation she knew would have escalated into something bigger had Kelvin not pulled her away in time.

“Her parents are right there mother,” he said. “Aren’t you the one who’s always telling me to be cautious around them?”

Mervis scowled like a child that just realized the gravity of their mistake. She knew her son was right.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I just get so mad sometimes….”

“I know,” Kelvin held both her hands. “I understand very well how you must be feeling.”

“This is exactly why I don’t like appearing in public. I am better off staying behind my desk at home and pulling strings remotely, or better yet, travelling. It’s enough that we are giving these charities large fortunes that are only going to end up in the pockets of selfish nefarious bastards. I don’t understand why they insist on….”

“Mother,” Kelvin was shaking her hands. “Calm down. How about we do this,” he was smiling at her. “You can leave now with my car and I can remain in your stead. I think everyone has seen your face already so they have no business saying or writing nasty things about you.”

Mervis openly welcomed the suggestion. “I can do that right?”

“Yes,” Kelvin smiled reassuringly. “You can leave mother.”

“But how are you going to get home?”

“I will hitch a ride with someone,” Kelvin said. “There are way too many people in there that would jump at an opportunity to help the son of the richest woman in town.”

Mervis was smiling proudly. “In southern Africa baby, richest woman in Southern Africa.” She corrected him.

Kelvin laughed. So typical of his mother to brag in such a situation.

“I just need to say goodbye to….”

“You don’t need to do that,” Kelvin quickly provided. “I know how you hate acting nice,” he laughed. “I will just tell them that you weren’t feeling so well, jetlag…they all know you had travelled so they’ll understand.”

Mervis held put her hand behind her son’s head and pulled it down to her level. She planted a kiss on his forehead and said, “you really are the best son in the world you know that?”

Kelvin’s smile never reached his eyes. He quickly put his arm aroud her shoulders and said, “let me escort you to the car my queen. There’s a way right here.”

Mervis happily allowed her son to lead her to the parking lot, oblivious to the mysterious expression on his face.
Back in the hall, Lebo was looking at Evelyn with such great concern.

“Are you okay Evelyn?” He asked her again.

Evelyn was shaking all over, her eyes fixed on the entrance of the passageway on the other ide of the room where Kelvin had just disapeared with his mother.

“You don’t look so good Eva,” Lebo was saying. “Do you want us to leave?” He was almost turning her around so they could leave but Evelyn put her hand on his arm to stop him.

“No, we don’t need to leave,” she told him, her eyes now on Beatrice and her glowing brood. Her husband Shadreck was nowhere in sight.

“Are you sure Eva?” Lebo asked.

Evelyn slowly removed his arm from her shoulder and held on to his hand. “I am fine now,” she was smiling endearingly at him. “I am sorry I got like that…this is my first time being in such a place so….”

Lebo was smiling at her. “It’s fine, you don’t need to apologize. I understand, but, if you feel like getting some fresh air outside first before coming back in here to greet a few people and mingle, we can do that. Besides, I don’t know anybody here.” He laughed. “Sibu asked me to greet a few certain people and give them her apologies….”

“We don’t need to go outside lebo,” Evelyn tried to put more life into her smile to reassure the visibly concerned Lebogang. “I am really fine now.”

“Hi,” came a female’s voice from behind Lebo.

He turned around and found a woman smiling at them. She appeared to be in her mid-forties, impeccably dressed just like everyone else in the room.

“You must be Lebogang and Evelyn right?” The woman asked, her genuine smile made Evelyn feel very welcome.

“Yes,” Lebo smiled back. “You must be Mrs Richards, the organizer of this wonderful event.”

“Yes I am, but you can just call me Prisca,” she said as she shook their hands. “Wow,” she said as she looked at Evelyn. “You truly are a beautiful young lady Miss Evelyn. You had everyone’s head turn the moment you stepped into the hall. I am so glad Michael isn’t here tonight,” and leaning forward to whisper into Evelyn’s ear she said, “My husband has a weakness for pretty girls you see.”

Evelyn was blushing all over. “Thank you Mrs…Prisca,” she corrected herself in time.

Lebo and Prisca laughed at her little mishap.

“I think am the luckiest man in this room tonight,” Lebo said proudly, moving his arm from over her shoulder to put it around her waist.

Evelyn looked up at him, nervously smiled and then looked around the room for any possible audience.

Lebogang felt her tense against him. He squeezed her a bit hoping to relax her but something in her eyes made him think that there was more going on with her than just nervousness.

Evelyn was able to breath a bit when she saw no signs of Kelvin anywhere in the room. On the other hand, Beatrice and her family appeared to be deeply engaged in a conversation with other guests, but she could still feel her disapproving eye on her every now and then.

“The two of you make such a wonderful couple.” Mrs Richards was beaming from ear to ear just looking at the two of them. “You remind me a lot of my husband and I when we were young.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Kelvin appeared from behind Evelyn, his hands in his pockets and a forbidding expression on his face that was coupled with a smile that could not even reach his upper lip.

“The two of you really make such a great couple,” he was stressing every word in the sentence like someone with a score to settle with the grammar police.

“Fancy seeing you here, Eva.” Kelvin came to stand right in front of Evelyn, taking in every inch of her and sent shivers down her spine with his molesting eyes.

On the other side of the room, Moola was looking over at them like an eagle guarding its nest. She was one in two places.

“Kelvin,” Mrs Richards smiled at the son of one of her biggest sponsors. “You two know each other?” She asked.

“You know him?” Lebo too asked Evelyn.

All the while, Kelvin had not taken his eyes off her.

“Aarh….” Evelyn thought about the right thing to say in such a sitaution. Kelvin wasn’t doing much to help and he didn’t look like he was even trying.

But what did she expect from him? He was after all the one who had put her in that predicarment in the first place.

Why did he have to come here? Evelyn kicked herself in her head.

Why did I come here even?

“Work,” Evelyn finally thought of what to say. “I know him from work.” She lied.

“My name is Lebogang,” Evelyn’s tall and handsome date reached one hand out to Kelvin while his other hand kept holding on to Evelyn’s waist, tightly, and marking his territory with just one look in his eyes.

“Evelyn’s boyfriend,” Lebo finished his introduction. He could feel Evelyn tense behind his touch again.

“Boyfriend?” Kelvin said as he shook Lebo’s hand, summoning all the forces of his ancestors behind his grip as a cold and calculated smirk graced his handsome face.

If the two of them were not so obviously standing on two opposite ends, anyone could have easily confused them for brothers. They were both tall, fair complexion, both dressed in black Jaguar suits and with the kind of hair that was known to grace the cover of black men’s fashion magazines.

Two suns stood and sized each other up while the moon watched from the side, praying every prayer in the Holy Book in the hopes of avoiding an eclipse.

“How about you kids catch up while I go say hi to the arriving guests,” Mrs Richards was looking at a group of poeople that had just entered the hall. “I’ll come back to you Lebogang and Evelyn, Sibu asked me to introduce you both to some very important people here.”

“Thank you Prisca,” Lebo said with a feigned smile on his face.

“Thank you Mrs Richards,” Evelyn said, but only as loud as a whisper.

“Boyfriend?” Kelvin repeated himself once the organizer was gone.

“What’s going on here?”

“Moola,” Kelvin said to his fiance who had finally managed to make an escape from her parents to come and man her territory.

“Don’t I know you?” Moola was looking at Evelyn contemptiously.

“Is this how you guys in Zambia welcome guests?” Lebo remarked. “I’m starting to feel like I am going to get upset from soon.” He added sarcastically.

“Let’s go out for some fresh air Lebo,” Evelyn said to her date. “Don’t mind these people, they are not important.” She took him by the hand and led him back out where they had come.

Without thinking, Kelvin started to follow them but Moola grabbed his hand and gave him the coldest look possible. “What do you think you are doing?” She asked him, looking at him accusingly. “Have you lost your mind?”

“Am sorry,” Kelvin apologized. “That guy just pissed me off.”

“Are you sure it’s the guy you have a problem with?” Moola grilled him.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” He asked.

“You know very well what I mean,” she said. “You think I didn’t see the way you were looking at that girl?”

“Don’t start with your drama Moola,” Kelvin said. “This isn’t the place for that.”

“What’s going on here?” Shadreck joined the pair.

“I don’t know dad, you ask Kelvin.” Moola said and stormed off with her glass of wine in hand to join a group of girls chatting by the corner.

“Kelvin?” Shadreck gave his son in-law an admonishing look
Outside the hotel, Lebo and Evelyn found a spot where they could chat in private and Lebo turned to her.

“What was all that about Eva?”

Evelyn couldn’t remember when Lebogang had started calling her like that but she loved the sound of her name from his lips. Unfortunately, that realization only made her feel even more guilty over what had just transpired.

“I know that I have no business asking you this since we just met but, I thought this was going to be our first date so naturally, I had certain expectations. So am gonna ask you, what’s going on between you and that Kelvin guy?”

Evelyn hang her head low, unable to look Lebo in the eye.

“Look at me Eva,” he placed his hand on her forehead and gently lifted her head up. “Tell me whatever is going on, I swear I won’t get mad but please, just don’t lie to me. I already feel so stupid not knowing what’s going on with you or why you are acting like this….”

“I don’t even know where to start Lebo,” she was on the verge of crying. “I don’t know what to say to you…it’s all so very complicated.”

“Then give me the summary,” he said.

Evelyn sighed, heavily.

“Eva?” Lebo urged her on.

Feeling like she was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, Evelyn forgot for a moment about where she was and tried to sit down on the grass but Lebo caught her on time.

She just wanted to lie down and sleep her troubles away. Was that too much to ask?

“What do you think you doing? You are going to ruin your dress.” Lebogang rushed to hold her.

But Evelyn just hang limply there, with Lebo’s grip on her the only thing keeping her on her feet.

And then he felt her tears fall on his shoe and he immediately looked down.

There it was, one thick drop.

“Evelyn?” He tried to make her stand up straight but she didn’t seem willing to win her war against gravity.

Sensing her sense of powerlessness, Lebo wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly while she gave way to the stream of tears she had been keeping at bay.

“I am tired…I am so tired of all this,” Evelyn cried into his chest.

Lebo only held her tighter. “I’m right here with you, I’m here….” he soothingly said to her over her head.

And Evelyn let herself go, finally allowed herself to cry in the arms of this stranger that had appeared in her life out of nowhere.

She cried over her cursed existence, her unrighteous fate, and she cried over her current situation…at the loss of yet another person that had just walked into her life with a smile but was now going to leave all because she had been born from two people that were never supposed to be together in the first place.

In Lebo’s arms, Evelyn cried over everything in her life that had gone wrong, everything that was going wrong…and everything that was yet to go wrong.

For close to ten minutes, she stayed in his arms and allowed herself to feel the warmth of his body and soothing hands…if only for a while.

And then Lebo’s phone vibrated from his pocket.

Evelyn tried to raise her head but Lebo said, “just ignore it. It’s probably just Sibu trying to check up on us.”

“It could be important,” Evelyn unglued herself from his embrace.

Lebo took out a hanker from his pocket and handed it her. “I think you’ve runied your make-up.” He said smiling.

Evelyn found herself smiling back. It was something about his tone and the look in his eyes when he was talking to her that made her heart break even more.

Lebo’s phone kept vibrating.

“Maybe you should just check who it is,” she said, pointing to his pocket.

Lebo took out his phone from his and checked. “My mother?” he said, his forehead wrinking up in surprise as he held the screen up for Evelyn to see.

“You should answer it,” Evelyn told him. “You are far from home so she might get very worried if you don’t pick her calls. I am going to go back and look for a bathroom,” she pointed to her face that had smudged make-up.

“Good thing you used waterproof mascara,” Lebo teased her.

Evelyn laughed. “I won’t even ask how you know that.” She said.

“Blame this woman that had a boy right in the middle of girls.” He was shaking the phone in his hand.

“Talk to her, I will be back soon.” Evelyn said and left him to head to the bathrooms inside.

She was almost at the entrance of the hotel when someone grabbed her by the arm and dragged her away to the other side of the hotel.

It was Beatrice, looking furious and fuming like the devil’s first cousin.

“Let me go, you are hurting me!” Evelyn tried to free her hand but Beatrice wouldn’t stop until she was sure she had dragged her far away enough from any prying eyes.

“Just look at you!” Beatrice was referring to her daughter’s messed up make-up, a disgusted look on her face.

“What the hell are you doing here?” She barked at her. “Didn’t I tell you to stay as far away from me and my family as possible?”

“If you think that I came here just to be close to you then you are more deluded that I imagined you to be. I have as much right to be here as you and your family.” She tried to walk away from her but Beatrice grabbed her hand again and pulled her back.

“Who gave you an invitation? I need to talk to the organizers of this event so they can deal with whatever embacile allowed the likes of you access to such an exclusive event.”

“This is a charity event,” Evelyn reminded her.

“Yes, which means you are supposed to be on the other side of it, not inside where all the money is made.”

“Can you even hear youself?” Evelyn asked. “I am your daughter! You gave birth to me whether you like it or not. The more you insult me, the more ashamed of yourself you should be. I never asked you to give birth to me!”

“Why do you think I hate the sight of you?” Beatrice hollered. “It’s because I am ashamed for allowing myself to give birth to something like you. You were the biggest mistake of my life, a huge business deal that went wrong. I wish you would just disappear from the face of the earth and leave me and my family the hell alone.”

Evelyn could only respond with tears, unable to master any strength to respond. She had had enough for one night.

She tried to walk away again, but Beatrice pulled her back.

“How much do you need me to give you so you can disapear? Tell me, what do you need; a house? A car? A visa to travel abroad? Tell me, I will give it to you.”

“I just want you to leave me alone,” Evelyn said as tears rolled down her cheeks.

“Good, it seems we agree on one thing at least.” Beatrice pressed on. “How much do you need?”

“I don’t need anything from you!” Evelyn finally snapped. “I don’t need you, I don’t need your money, I don’t need your family and I sure as hell don’t need you as a mother. There’s nothing I hate more in this world than knowing that I came from someone like you.

“You disgust me, you and your fancy lifestyle. You think that will last forever? You think there is no God out there? No,” she was shaking her head. “There is a God out there and he is still warming up the hell that he will throw you in when the time comes and that time will be soon. All your money and everything that you hold dear will not be enough to save your stinking soul.”

Beatrice was laughing, laughing hard to the point of breaking while Evelyn watched in despair, amazed by the show her mother was putting on.

“You sound just like your grandmother,” Beatrice said, sobering up at the blink of an eye. “She was all about that Jesus and that holy crap and she died poor. Judge me all you want but at least I will not be heading to hell in tattered clothes and stinking feet. You should have learnt something from your pathetic grandmother. All the faith but look how she died?”

“You mean your mother?” Evelyn said. “She was not just my grandmother, she was your mother.”

“That woman was never a mother to me,” Beatrice said. “Any person that took so much pride in being poor cannot and will never be related to me. I suffered living under that woman’s roof. No mother should put her child through such hell.”

“You are one to talk,” Evelyn retorted. “How I wish the people in there would hear you speak right now.” Evelyn was pointing towards the hall where everyone was gathered.

Beatrice snickered. “All those people in there are just as bad as me, they are all acting like they give a dame about the underprivileged when all they want to do is show off to the world that they have money.”

“I guess you were right when you said I shouldn’t have come here.” Evelyn said.

“I am always right.”

“No you are not,” Evelyn said matter-of-factly.

“What did you just say?” Beatrice took a step towards her daughter.

Evelyn did not flinch. “You do not scare me,” she was looking her straight in the eye. “If anyone should be scared here, it’s you.”

Beatrice scoffed. “Now why would I be scared of a nobody like you?”

“Because I am the only one that knows exactly who you and because I am the only one paying the price for all the sins you’ve accumulated over time. Eventually, I am going to have to collect my dues…and you will pay me back every cent.”

“Are you trying to threaten me?” Beatrice laughed.

Evelyn started shaking her head, leaning in towards Beatrice as if to mock her and smiling she said, “Oh no, I am not good with threats. I am making you a promise.”

“You little….” Beatrice was about to slap her across the face when Lebo appeared from the side and grabbed her raised arm.

“What do you think you are doing?” He thudered down at her menacingly, his hand gripping hers with such force.

Beatrice tried to push him off but Lebo kept her in check, holding her hand without breaking a sweat.

“Did you find yourself a rich boyfriend?” Beatrice looked from Evelyn and then to Lebo who was still gripping her hand.

“So it’s true what they say about genes isn’t it?” She was looking at her daughter with a nasty smile on her face, like there was a secret in the air that only the two of them were aware of.

“I will never be anything like you!” Evelyn said sternly. “Let her go Lebo. She is not someone you should be touching. She is Satan’s vernim, let’s go.” She took his hand and led him away, leaving Beatrice reeling in anger as she nursed the part where Lebo had been gripping her.

“Eva stop,” Lebogang stopped before they could reach the entrance of the hotel.

Behind them, Evelyn saw Beatrice use the back way into the garden to go back inside.

“Honestly, I think I have had enough for a day,” Lebogang said, folding his arms over his chest.

“Either you tell me what’s going on or we go our separate ways, right now, right here.” He said.

“I knew this was going to happen,” Evelyn said resignedly.

“You knew?”

“I knew…I knew the moment I stepped into that hall and laid my eyes on that bunch.”

“So are you going to tell me what’s going on or you would like me to leave? Don’t worry, I will call a cab for you. I am not in the habit of leaving women stranded at night.”

“Do you really want to leave?” Evelyn asked. her eyes were begging him not to leave.

“Yes Eva, I want to get out of here.”

“Do you mind taking me with you?”

“If you let me, I will take you away from this place right now.”

Evelyn smiled and reached out her hand to him.

Lebo took it and led her towards the parking lot.

The whole exchange between the two had been heard and witnessed by Kelvin who had been standing behind one of the walls leading to the hotel entrance.

Kelvin came out of hiding when he heard them walk away, one hand knotted tightly into a fist as he watched Evelyn and Lebo walk hand in hand a short distance away.

While Kelvin kept watch over the two, he did not notice that he too had an audience of his own.

Moola was watching him through the glass doors of the hotel entrance, her perfectly decorated face looked just about ready to explode.

Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 6

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The following Monday morning, Shadreck Mwangala graciously greeted his employees as he headed to his office, smiling to some, waving to others, and stopping every now and then to exchange a few pleasantries with some of them. It was a well-known fact that the business mogul was well-liked by almost everyone.

“Good morning old woman?” the CEO peeped through his secretary’s office before going to his.

“Good morning Sir,” the fifty-five year old woman cheerfully returned. “You look very radiant boss,” she said. “I take it your trip went well?”

Because she took so much pride in her age and never missed an opportunity to educate those younger than her, Grace had earned herself the Old Woman nickname around the office, a name she embraced very proudly.

Thanks to Beatrice, Grace Banda had been given the opportunity to be the secretary of the richest man in the country at her age. It was no secret why Beatrice had hand-picked her for the position; the woman hated the idea of young girls and single women prancing around her billionaire husband every day of the week.

Because she was happily married and with four children, Grace had beaten a long list of eligible candidates to become Mr Mwangala’s secretary.

Mr Mwangala returned the smile. “It could be that the trip went well or that I am just happy to finally be back home…or it could be both!” he told her.

Grace laughed. “I see you haven’t changed Sir. How come you did not come with the boss lady today?”

“Beatrice has a few things to take care of at her Salons. She will be here later in the day. Anything for me this morning?” He asked.

“Your young friend Mr Sampa is here,” she said. “He’s waiting for you in your office.”

“Oh yeah,” Shadreck said, scratching his head slightly. “I forgot that I had asked him to report here first thing in the morning. Bring some tea for me…and you know he’s usual right?”

Grace nodded, “I do, have already served him but will bring a fresh cup for him as well just in case.”

“Thank Old one,” Shadreck said and left for his office, smiling.

“Young man,” Mr Mwangala said to the twenty-something year old man he found siting in his office.

The young man smiled, stood up and offered his hand to Shadreck. “Good morning Sir?” he greeted.

“Please sit,” Mr Mwangala motioned for him to sit down after exchanging a handshake. “You are the only Zambian I know that keeps time no matter the circumstance Sampa. Keep up with the same spirit and you will be successful in life. So how have you been? The wife? Business?”

“Everything and everyone’s fine Sir, can’t complain.” Sampa replied. “When did you get back?”

“Last week Friday,” Shadreck laid his laptop bag on the table and removed the computer from there.

“Just a few days ago and you are already back in the office?” Sampa said.

Shadreck laughed in his usual deep and hoarse voice. “That’s how life is young man,” he said, turning on his laptop and waiting for it to fully come on. “People think that life for those already successful is easy but the truth is that’s not always the case,” he was saying. “Once you attain success, there is always the fear that you might lose it or it might slip right through your hands and you find yourself back where you started. That naturally forces you to work even harder.”

Just then Grace walked in with a tray of beverages. She set the cups before the men in the room and quietly walked out.

“It seems I always learn something new whenever I visit you,” Sampa said once they were alone.

“Good, because I want you to succeed in life instead of getting too comfortable. Your father was too scared to take chances but you have an opportunity to make something of your life. Now, do you have what I asked for?”

“I do,” Sampa picked up his bag and removed a large brown envelope and handed it over to him. “Everything I found on her is in there,” he said as he gave the envelope.

Mr Mwangala took the envelope and put it down without opening it. “Give me a summary,” he said. “I don’t think I will have the time today to go through everything.”

“I used the images I got from your security team at home to follow up on her,” Sampa started. “Her name is Evelyn Nanyangwe, her father is registered as Unknown on her birth certificate, her mother is…ah…Beatrice Nanyangwe…your wife sir,” Sampa paused to let the business mogul register the announcement.

“Go on,” Shadreck leaned back into his huge leather chair and motioned for the young man to continue, a complete blank expression on his face.

“She is twenty-four years old,” Sampa nervously continued. “She as raised by her grandmother, a woman called Melody Sinyangwe…your late mother in-law. She works as a secretary at a law firm called Sibu & Associates…she is single and has no children.”

“Did you find out what her reasons for trying to reconnect with my wife are?” Mr Mwangala asked, his voice tuned to the perfect pitch.

“I gathered it was because your wife is the only family she has left. However, judging from her Facebook updates, things did not go as planned and she appears to have given up on trying to reconnect with her. Of course she did not explicitly say that…she merely implied it but I was able to make conclusions based on their body language during their meeting outside your home.”

Shadreck Mwangala shut his eyes and placed his fingers on his eyelids. With his head bowed down, he stayed like that for what felt like forever.

“Is that all?” He had asked when he finally lifted his head up and opened his eyes.

“I am afraid that’s all I could find Sir,” Sampa said. “You only asked me to find out what her relationship to your wife is and since I got the assignment only two days ago….”

“I know,” Mr Mwangala said. “That’s all I needed to know. I am already regretting having asked you to dig into my wife’s past. That’s a part of her life she never likes talking about and I have respected that for all these years. There was just something about that girl that bothered me when I saw the surveillance videos.”

“If you want me to find out more about the girl’s father,” Sampa was saying.

“No, no, no,” Shadreck said, sitting up in his chair. “I think I already know what happened to him. She had mentioned something about him when we first met…she just never told me they had a child together. He’s dead already so you don’t need to find out anything.”

“I understand Sir,” Sampa said.

“Did she hate him that much to even forsake his daughter…her own daughter?” Mr Mwangala said, the words coming out as in a whisper.

“What did you sat Sir?” Sampa asked.

Shadreck looked up at him and shook his head. “Sorry about that, I was just thinking out loud. I hope you haven’t told anyone about this little task I gave you.”

“Of course not sir, I did as per our agreement.”

“Good,” the business man said. “I didn’t want to give anyone else this task. This is a very personal issue and I couldn’t risk it getting into the hands of the wrong people that’s why I asked you to help me out. You are like a son to me so I know I can always count on you.”

“I owe you my life Sir,” Sampa said. “I am always here whenever you need my assistance. I would never disappoint you.”

“Good, I like hearing that.” Shadreck removed a key from the inner pocket of his jacket and moved his chair backwards so he would have enough space to bend over and open his office that was under his desk.

He took out some cash and placed it into a small envelope before handing it to Sampa. “That should take care of everything,” he said as he handed over the envelope.

“Thank you very much sir,” Sampa reached out and took the envelope. “If there’s nothing more,”

“It’s fine yes,” Shadreck said. “You can go now. Thank you for this,” he tapped the envelope on the table.
Once he was alone in his office, Shadreck took the envelope into his hand and starred at it for a very long time, debating in his mind whether to open it or not.

He finally opened it.

He separated the documents from the pictures and decided to go through the latter first.

After going through a number of pictures, one image caught his attention and Shadreck put down the rest of them and remained with that one in his hand.

It was a picture of Kelvin standing outside Evelyn’s door. The time stamp on the corner of the image is what seemed to have caught Shadreck’s eye more than anything else on the picture.

It was 21:32.

Shadreck suddenly put the photo down and grabbed the rest of the bunch he had yet to look at. The next few photos were showing a progression of Kelvin’s movements outside Evelyn’s apartment;

It appeared he never knocked on the door. Instead, he turned back to his vehicle and drove away.

Shadreck threw the photos down on the table and pulled the land phone closer to him and quickly dialled a number.
Kelvin was just getting into his office when his cell phone rang from his pocket. Seeing who was calling from the screen, he quickly closed the door behind him and went round his desk to sit down.

“Mr Mwangala?” Kelvin said.

“Good morning son!” His soon-to-be father in-law cheerfully greeted him.

“I am okay Sir, is everything okay?” Kelvin immediately asked. It was rare for the man to call him. For all the years he had been with his daughter, Kelvin could count on one hand the number of times he had called him…and most of those times where to ask if his daughter was with him.

Shadreck chuckled before responding, “Of course everything is fine. Apologies for calling you this early in the morning but you will be marrying my daughter soon so this couldn’t wait. You are still going ahead with the marriage isn’t it?”

“Of course we are Sir, why are you asking me such a question?” Kelvin’s heart was pounding loud and fast.

“Can’t a father worry about his own daughter?” Shadreck asked.

“The wedding is still going ahead Sir, I promise.”

“That’s good then but we should still meet for a glass of beer. Same place tonight say….6pm.”

“Yes sir, I’ll be there,” Kelvin replied.

The moment Kelvin was done with that call, he called his mother.

“I think the old man is starting to suspect something mum,” was the first thing he said to his mother the moment she picked up his call.

“What are you talking about? What did you do to raise his suspicions? I thought you had everything under control.”

“I did…I am sure I did. But he’s acting strange. He just called me and asked if we were still going ahead with the wedding.”

“Did something happen that might suggest otherwise?” His mother aked.

“I don’t think so,” Kelvin tried to think. “Wait,” he said.

“What did you do?” His mother asked, sensing something.

Kelvin vigorously rubbed his hand through his hair in frustration. “Perhaps it’s Moola,”

“What about Moola?”

“There is this project I am helping Uncle with…you know, the case with those factory workers. I was trying to get close to some girl that works at that law firm that’s representing them so I could get her to divulge some information and Moola found out and got jealous.”

“How many times have I told you to stop helping out that useless uncle of yours Vinny? He has his own capable son to take care of him. Why should he use my son? This is not the time to be making such foolish mistakes. When your father died, he was one of the top people that wanted to take everything away from us. I can’t believe he’s my own brother. If I was not such a strong-willed person, we would all be on the streets right now.”

“Mother, that was a long time ago and he apologized. Can’t we all just move on now? Why do you like holding on to the past so much?”

“Because I was happy in the past Vinny….I was so dame happy back then but they took everything from me and I vowed never to…..” her voice was starting to break.

“It’s alright mum,” Kelvin quickly intervened. “I am sorry I brought it. I will set the record straight with the old man and everything will be fine. I will give Uncle’s case to someone else to handle. Is that okay?”

He could hear his mother smiling from the other end of the line. “That’s more like my son now,” she said. “I will also give him a call just to put his mind at ease.”

“I have to get back to work now mum, let’s chat again later. I love you.”

“I love you too son, bye.”
Kelvin set his phone down and covered his face in his hands.

How did things get this complicated? He asked himself.

I am so sorry for lying to you mother…please forgive me. I also wish I knew what I was doing. This is not easy for me.’

I just want it to end. Kelvin thought as his mind went back to the night he had driven all the way to Evelyn’s place only to change his mind and leave without seeing her.

“Why did I even go there?” Kelvin lamented, kicking his legs against each other.

* * *

Evelyn was walking from the office to the bus stop when a man who appeared to be in his mid forties stopped her. Thinking that he was someone in need of directions, she stopped and smiled at him.

“I am very sorry to disturb you ma’am,” the gentle looking man said. “There is someone who would love to have a chat with you.” He was pointing towards the black Mercedes Benz parked some distance behind him.

Evelyn’s immediately wiped the smile off her face. “Excuse me Mr, who do you think I am? I am not interested in this kind of thing. You should some other girls. And tell whoever is sitting in that vehicle to grow a pair.” She was glaring accusingly at the vehicle hoping that whoever was sitting behind the tinted windows would get the message written all over her face.

“How can a grown man so shamelessly send someone else to do his dirty work? Doesn’t he have any pride?”

Instead of getting upset, the man appeared amused by her tantrum.

“Are you laughing at me?” Evelyn asked.

“I am very sorry Ma’am,” he wasn’t. “Perhaps this might help.” He opened his palm to reveal a business card. He offered it to her.

Evelyn was ready to dismiss him when the name written on the card caught her eye. She quickly grabbed the card from him and gave it another look.

“Is this the man sitting in that vehicle right now?” Evelyn asked.

The gentleman only nodded.

“How do I know you are not lying to me?” She asked, looking him over suspiciously.

He smiled. “Are you sure you’ve never seen me anywhere before? I always appear anywhere that man appears. I am always either beside him or behind him.”

Evelyn stepped back to take another look at him. She smiled and said. “You are right, I thought your face looked familiar the moment I saw you. I have seen you on Tv and even on newspapers. But….what does he want from me?”

“That I can’t tell you ma’am,” the strangely familiar man said.

Evelyn sighed deeply and started walking towards the vehicle that seemed to be attracting the attention of every passer-by. Once they were by the vehicle, the gentleman opened the back passenger door for her and she quickly slid inside.

The gentleman closed the door after her and walked back around to take up the seat behind the wheel.

“I thought I was going to have to come out to convince you to come,” Shadreck said to her once she was settled next to him.

“What do you want?” Evelyn asked.

The car started moving.

“Where are you taking me?” Evelyn slowly started to panic. She immediately remembered the night of the accident. She might not have been sure of who was behind the wheel but she had her suspicions.

“Relax little Eva,” Shadreck calmly told her.

She threw him a look. “It was you that night wasn’t it?” She asked and then looked to the side to check if the doors were locked.

They weren’t.

“Why are you panicking like I am kidnapping you?” Mr Mwangala asked. “Relax,” he tried to hold her hand but she quickly pulled it away.

Evelyn tried to look outside and she noticed they were now on the highway. “Where are you taking me?” She asked again.

“Has someone ever tried to kidnap you before?” Shadreck asked, finding her behaviour rather amusing.

Evelyn turned to glare at him. “Are you telling me that it wasn’t you that tried to run me over that night?”

Shadreck gaped at her. “Run you over?”

“I know it was dark but I remembered that vehicle. That was your wife’s car. I know it was her vehicle.”

“Why would your own mother try to kill you?” He asked.

“I knew you knew who I was!” she said accusingly.

“If I truly wanted to do something to you, I wouldn’t have picked you up in broad daylight…and these doors would be fully secured. You are free to get out of this vehicle if you just ask.”

To test his sincerity, Evelyn tried to open the door on her side and it actually open. Now in a state of panic, she tried to close it again but she was so nervous she couldn’t get it to shut tightly.

The gentleman driver slowly brought the car to a stop by the side of the road and came around to close it properly for her.

“Do you trust me now?” Shadreck asked her, a smile playing on his face.

“If it wasn’t you that tried to hit me that night, then it was your wife. She made it clear to me how much she detests me and doesn’t want to have anything to do with me.”

They were back on the road.

“Did she ask you to meet me so you can threaten me some more?” Evelyn asked.

“Beatrice doesn’t even know that I know about you.”

Evelyn threw him a questioning look.

“She doesn’t know,” he repeated. “That’s why I came to meet you. I can understand why my wife might have reservations about bringing you into our lives. That part of her past where you come from was very traumatic for her.”

“Traumatic for her?” Evelyn asked in shock. “What did she tell you about her past?”

“I didn’t want to meet you to talk about my wife.” Shadreck said. “However, I do understand why you might harbour such feelings towards her. She did after all abandon you at the most critical time of your life.”

“So did you come to me to try and make up for what she did to me using money?” She asked.

Shadreck laughed. “I got found out,” he said. “But,” he quickly added. “I am not trying to buy everything you might have gone through living life without the care of your mother and father…there is no price that can be put to that. I just wanted to….”

“You just wanted to pay me off so you could keep my mouth shut so as not to damage your perfect wife’s reputation, right?”

“There’s that yes but there’s also the fact that you are my wife’s blood. I can’t go on in life pretending you don’t exist. What my wife cannot do, it is my responsibility as her husband to step in for her.”

“Wow, I guess Beatrice did get a second chance after all. I just happened to pick up the tab for all her sins,” Evelyn said with tears in her eyes.

“How did she get so lucky?” She added under her breath as tears streamed down her eyes. “It’s just not fair.”

Shadreck handed her a box of tissue and Evelyn grabbed a few.

For a while, there was silence in the vehicle as it moved.

“Where are you taking me?” Evelyn finally broke the silence.

“Don’t you recognize this area?” Shadreck Mwangala asked. “We are taking you home.”

Evelyn looked out the window and recognized her neighbourhood. “That’s all?” She looked at him. “You are not going to shove an envelope of money in my face and ask me to stay away from your wife?”

Shadreck chuckled. “I only came to make the offer today. It is up to you to come to me to collect whenever you are ready. If I force the money on you, you will hold no loyalty for me. But if you come to me for it, you will owe yourself a lot more than loyalty. There’s no greater enemy to battle than yourself.”

“I see,” Evelyn said.

Parked outside her place, Shadreck handed her his business card.
“I already have that,” Evelyn said, showing him the one she had taken from the driver.

“Oh, I forgot about that.” He put the card back. “Call me anytime you need to talk.”

“I don’t think so,” Evelyn said as she got out of the vehicle. “But thank you for offering anyway.”

“Tell me something,” Shadreck stopped her outside the door. “When did the almost hit and run happen?”

It was on Friday…somewhere around midnight. Are you thinking about doing your own investigations?”

“If possible, yes…just to prove to you that my wife had nothing to do with it.” He said.

“Good luck with dealing with the truth, I know you will need it.” Evelyn said and walked away.

Shadreck watched her retreating figure in silence, a sombre look expression on his face.

“Take us home Oliver,” he told his driver who was still holding the door open after Evelyn.

Oliver closed the door and walked back to his station.

When Evelyn entered the house, she was about to head straight to the bedroom when something made her stop in the living room. A conversation she had had with Kelvin on the phone when he first started calling her  flashed through her mind.

“Is this Ms Chileshe?” The male caller had asked her.

“Ms Chileshe?” She had asked, ready to end the call when she remembered George’s story.

Herbert Chileshe, the thought had crossed her mind as she stood in the living room.

“Who’s this?” She had asked the caller right before he hang up.

Two hours later, Kelvin had called her.

“Evelyn?” he had said.

“Who’s this?” standing in the middle of the living room.

“This is Kelvin,” you remember me? Moola’s fiancé.”

“Where you the one who had called about two hours ago?” She had asked him.

“Me?” he had laughed. “I got your number from someone just now. What’s wrong?”

Evelyn remembered feeling uncomfortable about the whole thing. Kelvin’s voice and the previous caller’s sounded very much alike and yet he had denied calling her.

So who had it been that had called her Ms Chileshe?

As far as she knew, only George and Beatrice knew about who her father was. She had always used her grandfather’s name Sinyangwe and until her conversation with George not so long ago, she had had no idea who Herbert Chileshe was.

If it really had been Kelvin calling, why would he hang up like that and then lie to her about it? He had already told her what his intentions with her were. It’s not like it would be a surprise to her if she discovered that he had somehow learnt about who her father was. It was after all his mission to discover whatever he could about his soon to-be mother in-law in a bid to have an advantage over her.

Could it have been Mr Mwangala? Evelyn scratched her head.

Was that why he had finally approached her in person?

Evelyn shook her head to dismiss her running thoughts and went to throw herself on her bed.
That night as Shadreck lay in bed with his wife, he nonchalantly asked her, “Meagan that white friend of mine that lives in Olympia, she told me that she saw your vehicle in that area late at night a few weeks ago.”

Beatrice gave her husband a puzzled look. “Late at night? A few weeks ago? You know I can’t drive in the night honey. What are you talking about? I am sure she a familiar car and thought….” she paused.

“What?” Shadreck asked her. “Did you remember something? Was it you?”

“Did she tell you which day?”

“She did,” he said. “Friday, it was around midnight or so. She and her husband were coming from a wedding and you drove past each other.”

“Oh yeah, she’s right! It was probably my vehicle she saw,” Beatrice said. “That was the day Kelvin had borrowed it because his was heating up after he dropped off Moola. I gave him mine to use for the night and he returned it very early the very next day.”

“Kelvin?” Shadreck asked, a chill ran down his spine as a look of dread crept into his eyes.

What are you up to Kelvin? Shadreck Mwangala thought.

HER FORGOTTEN DAUGHTER

Introducing…..

Here’s a synopsis of the story I am currently working on…chapter one to be published over the weekend! I hope you will love it.

Her Forgotten Daughter:

After her grandmother’s death, 24 year old Evelyn embarks on a journey of discovery; to reunite with the mother that had abandoned her when she was just a baby. Unfortunately, what Evelyn discovers is far from anything she could have ever imagined. The pernicious truths surrounding her birth and parentage soon turn Evelyn’s sedated world into a ponderous mess.

Filled with disappointment and bitterness, Evelyn struggles to pick up the pieces of her shuttered world and start anew. But just like a rose rises from a thorned branch, Evelyn finds solace in the arms of the one man she was never supposed to love.

Will history repeat itself or can Evelyn overcome the odds against her and sprout freely like the beautiful flower she was meant to be? Or, will she wither and fall from  the pressures of her weary leaden life?

Will you give Evelyn a chance and accompany me and her on this journey to cheer her on? I certainly hope you do!