Ella stood before her father, her hands were clasped together as though in prayer and she stood there, not knowing what else to say.
They were in his office, a posh building located in the heart of Ikoyi.
“You want five million naira from your trust fund money?” Her father asked incredulously.
“I know I sound foolish but he’s my husband and I love him.”
“Are you serious?”
“I was supposed to get that money when I was twenty-five years old but I still left it in your care, now, I want you to sign some of the money to me. It’s for a good cause.” She said with a catch in her throat.
“Ella! This is preposterous! You said to me that you were going to use your money to start something…you had dreams.”
“I still have dreams, dad.” She said with tears in her eyes. “But…but life happens.”
“Is this what you call it? Life? The fact that you want to throw away five million and hand it over to some people you’re not even sure are with the supposed pregnant relative of your husband. What if she’s dead? Why aren’t you guys reporting this to the police?” He asked in anger.
“The kidnappers threatened that they’d kill her if we report it.”
“How would they know if you report it or not? Use your brains! The police are smart and they know how these people operate. Giving them the money will only make them greedy for more.” He said to her.
“Daddy, please…I know that if I was the one held hostage or Tamara, you won’t blink before releasing the money.”
“What do you mean by no?” She asked.
“No means that I’m not releasing the money to you.”
“It’s my money and I have the right to take it.” She said.
“That money was given to you by my mother, she worked hard for that money and was a rich woman due to hard work, I won’t give it to you to feed a lazy man’s ego.”
“You’re talking about my husband, daddy!”
“Yes, I am and even if it seems so hard for you to believe, that man is nothing but a gold digger who married you, not because he loves you but because of your money.”
Ella stared at her father in fury.
“Get down your high horse, Judge Isaiah Thompson! You are not the richest man on earth and people don’t need you to grovel at your feet for the crumbs at your table. Remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man, the proud man ended up in hell!” She screamed.
Her father stared at her, he was baffled.
“You raise your voice at me? You dare compare me to the rich man in the bible?”
Ella looked at her father and breathed heavily.
“I’ll sign the papers relinquishing all your money to you, you can throw it away for all I care. Get out of my office!”
Ella walked out of her father’s office and banged the door hard.
Queen stared at her phone and her hands shook. Her husband’s name was written on the receipt as the one who’d rented the house and he was also the same person that Jessica had referred to as her husband. Her head felt as though it was about to explode.
Her phone rang, jolting her out of her reverie. It was Jessica, calling. She placed the phone on her ear and didn’t say anything.
“Queen…” Jessica’s voice called out.
“Can you come to the…address…on the…receipt…now?” She squeaked.
“Yes…sure…I am on my way.” Jessica said and hung up.
Queen crouched to the ground and tears fell rapidly from her eyes. She didn’t bother wiping them away, besides, she wasn’t crying, she thought, she was only trying to figure out why she and Jessica shared the same husband or at least, husbands with the same name.
She was still crouched forty minutes later when her phone rang again. She pressed the phone to her ears.
“I’m outside the gate…where are you?” Jessica asked.
“Inside…I’m inside the house.” She said in a whisper.
“Errm…what flat are you in? Did you get into the usurpers flat? You’re so smart…too smart.” Jessica praised.
“Tell the gateman that you’re going to flat three and he’ll send you…up.” Jessica said and hung up.
Soon, there was a knock at the door and Queen stood up with difficulty and made her way towards the door of the house and opened it. Jessica quickly rushed to her and gave her a hug.
“I am so glad you were able to get in. Where is she? Is the woman here? Were you able to verify my suspicions?” She said as she broke the hug.
Queen stared at her in silence and made way for her to step into the house. Jessica walked in and looked around, she saw Junior’s portrait on the wall of the sitting room and then, something else caught her eye, it was the small framed picture of Queen and Zach dressed as a couple. Jessica turned to face Queen.
“What…what…is the meaning…meaning of this?”
Jessica didn’t speak.
“What in the world is the meaning of this?” Jessica screamed as though her eyes were about to bulge out of its sockets. “What’s my husband’s picture doing in your house?”
“Is your husband by any chance, Zachary Nelson Izamojie?” Queen asked.
“Yes…my husband…is Zachary Nelson Izamojie.”
“We are married to the same man.” Queen said.
Jessica suddenly couldn’t feel her feet anymore as she fell crashing onto the glass center table and to the ground.
Ella walks into her apartment and stops short when she sees Jacob there drowning himself in alcohol.
“What is the meaning of this? Jacob! I have been slaving at getting the five million naira for Lola’s release and here you are, drinking…”
“Hello…” He said and hiccupped. “They called me again and …threatened to ….remove the baby from her belly and send it to…me…”
Ella rushed up to him and packed all the bottles and took them to the kitchen, she emerged later and walked to stand before him.
“I am getting the money soon…my dad has begun the process to transfer the money into my account.”
Jacob rushed to hug her.
“Thank you…oh thank you…”
“I don’t think daddy is happy with my decision.” She said solemnly.
“That’s not for you to worry about. Your dad has lived his life and this is our life now and we are free to decide what to do with the money besides, the money is yours and not his.” He said.
Ella looked at him and said nothing.
“Do you know what? I’ve been thinking that after Lola has been freed, we can start up a business together…you and I.” He said holding her hands in his. “We can start a big business and make lots of money.”
“Aren’t we still talking about Lola?” Ella asked.
“Yes we are but now that you have all your money, we can start a business together and own a joint account for the business.”
“Didn’t you hear me? I yelled at my father because of my money and now, he looks at me differently. I bet he doesn’t see that sweet innocent little girl he used to love.” She said as her voice broke.
“Shhh…darling…don’t worry, he’ll get over it and I promise that he’ll be so proud of you. Look at it this way, you are going to make good use of your money better than Tamara and your brother who I’m sure will use theirs for something frivolous.”
Ella sighed, wiped the tears from her eyes and said.
“The money should be cleared soon, so you can tell the kidnapper or kidnappers that once the money is out, we’ll give it to them but they have to give us proof that Lola is alive and well. Right now, I need to lie down.”
She walked away from him and when the door was shut behind her, Jacob fell to his knees and lifted up his hands in thanks.
To be continued tomorrow…..