Read Chapter XLVII here.
Fiifi called Nhyira to his study room. He informed him that he had made a rotational position available for him at his company so he would have a general idea about how things were run. Since he would be playing the understudy role, Ewuresi would be his boss in a general sense. He asked if that would be a problem. He said it wouldn’t. She was his big sister, he thought. No big deal.
When Nhyira got up to leave, Fiifi asked, “Son, did you really request that some of your shares be given to Constance?” Nhyira sighed.
“Let me guess: Kukuaa filled you in.”
“Listen, you two have already established some sort of relationship against my better judgment but I respect your decision. But I and for that matter you, don’t owe her any…”
“Yeah, I’ve heard enough of her being fully compensated for her services as if I’m some kind of product you ordered.”
When Fiifi raised a brow, he added, “Yeah, I overheard Grandma talking to Constance the other day. She might be quite a handful but she gave up her chances of having her own family when she had me…”
“That is not true, Nhyira. She chose not to let go of what wasn’t her business anymore. What lies has she been feeding you with?”
“Maybe you don’t owe her anything but I do. I’m alive today because of her and nothing you say can devalue that.”
“I agree; I’m just advising you to be careful with her. I know her; all she cares about is money. I don’t want you getting hurt being used as pawn in her game.”
“I’m not her pawn, dad; I’m her son!” And with that, he stormed out of the room. Fiifi sighed.
Experience is the best teacher. Maybe he should find out what kind of a woman he had for a mother.
Nhyira went downstairs. Bisi, Kukuaa and Aaron were seated at the dining table discussing wedding matters. He entered the kitchen to find Ewuresi taking out pizza from the microwave.
“Hmm…may I have one?” He asked, reaching out to take one slice. Esi slapped his hand away.
“Ouch. There are some in the fridge. Take it out and warm it yourself.”
“You’re going to eat all these?”
“Oh no, it’s for the planning committee seated at the table.” She poured some juice into some glasses.
“See ya,” she said and took the tray out of the kitchen. Kukuaa’s coming nuptials was taking all of mum’s available time at home and he hadn’t had the chance to talk to her since dad’s accident scare. He missed his special moments with her. He didn’t want to accept that he had outgrown them. He still yearned to be called her baby, her prince.
Because Fiifi needed more time at home to recuperate, Ewuresi had to give him daily updates of what was going on in the office. And on Saturdays, they had long meetings in his office. Nhyira felt like a ghost hovering around. No one paid much attention to him; his presence or absence made no difference to anyone.
Constance wasn’t happy with the fact that Nhyira was given an entry-level position in his own father’s company. He had no access to the boardroom where important decisions were taken or the account which was of more interest to her. This was Bisi’s fault, she could tell. She had Fiifi wrapped around her finger and was keeping her son out of the money loop. She was in the red and she needed some cash before she was thrown out of her apartment. Since she wasn’t that young anymore, business had been slow for her and financing her apartment and maintaining her car was proving more expensive than she imagined. It wouldn’t hurt to get a new car, she thought.
A diabolical plot came to mind which could earn her enough money and also make Bisi sweat blood. It was a win-win for her except that Nhyira would suffer just a little. But she’d make sure it wouldn’t be fatal. It was time she showed the Pratts that she was a force to be reckoned with.
“You’re sure this wouldn’t have fatal consequences? I want it potent enough to cause a scare but not deadly. I just need to teach someone a lesson,” Constance said.
“I assure you, it’s exactly what you need. Just a little ache but it would pass after some prescription drugs are given. And it works slowly too but as you said, it’s potent,” the man said with a wink.
“Thank you. If it goes south, I’m coming for you. I came here because a friend recommended you.”
“You won’t be disappointed.”
“I hear you,” she said, handing him some notes. She walked out of the store.
The Pratt family were seated in the living room with the men watching a soccer match and the ladies were writing on invitation cards.
“So how many do we have so far?” Bisi asked.
“Oh okay, a little more will be okay. The rest will be sent as e-cards.”
“Thank God for social media.”
“I need more than ten for my associates,” Fiifi said. Kukuaa gave him a thumbs up.
“And just so you know, Constance isn’t invited,” Kukuaa said to Nhyira. Ewuresi laughed.
“Yeah, I know. She’s banned from anything Pratt.”
“Thanks for getting the message. You know I love you, right?”
“Uh huh.” Bisi smiled at him and for a moment, his heart felt at ease. She wasn’t mad at him. She was just busy.
Later when Bisi was alone in the kitchen, Nhyira walked up to her.
“Hi there. What’s up, you good?”
“Yeah…it’s just that we don’t get to talk, that’s all.”
“Oh, sorry about that. You know it’s not my fault. Work and Kukuaa’s wedding planning details consume all of my time,” she explained.
“I know but it feels good hearing you say it. At least I know it’s just my imaginations telling me you’re keeping me at arm’s length after the whole blowout of my awkward request concerning my shares.”
“Don’t be silly. I won’t deny that your awkward request as you call it did shake me up but I’d never distance myself from you. You’re my son and I love you.” She touched his face.
“Then I want us to spend time together, just you and I. What do you say?” He asked eagerly.
“Okay, your dad will resume work on Monday and from the look of things, I’ll be the one arriving first. You can make it out of the office early, right?”
“Oh yeah, I can. Which day is convenient for you?”
“Hmm…I think Wednesday God willing will do…around 6 pm. Is that okay for you?”
“Yeah, it’s great. And I want to taste your cooking.”
“What? You know it’s been a while since I cooked around here.”
“I know and I miss it. I always loved your cooking.”
“You might not like it very much considering it’s been a while since I measured salt and pepper.”
“It doesn’t matter. As long as it’s yours, I’m sure I’ll love it. So, we have a date?”
“Yes, we do.”
“Thanks, mum.” He hugged her.
When Bisi got into bed with Fiifi, she couldn’t help but squeal with excitement. Fiifi glanced at her curiously.
“Guess who I have a date with?”
“Oh you have a date and you’re telling me about it? I didn’t know we had an open marriage.”
Bisi hit his arm. “Don’t be silly, Fii; it’s not that kind of date.”
“Okay…what kind is it?”
“Reconnecting…bonding…I was asked out today!”
“Why do I feel I will be disappointed when I get to know who it is?” She laughed.
“It’s Nhyira. He wants to spend some alone time with his sweet mama. Isn’t that cute?”
“I can’t believe I couldn’t guess that.”
“He said we hadn’t really talked since he got back. You don’t think I’ve been distant with him, do you?”
“Of course not. You’ve just been occupied, that’s all. But knowing you, if you need to make time for someone, you’ll always find it.”
“So you think I’ve intentionally kept myself too busy?” He shrugged.
“Oh so I neglected my baby! Now I feel so bad. Then I’ll make sure we do have a great time together.”
“That’s my girl,” he said, pulling her into his bosom.
“I can’t believe our baby girl is going to walk down the aisle. It feels like just yesterday when I did the walk myself. How time flies.”
“I know; I remember when Kukuaa in her diapers came into my office and spilled my drink over my papers and started crying when I shouted her name. She made me look like the bad guy.” They chuckled.
“But we’ve done a pretty good job, right? They turned out okay, right?” She asked.
“Yes, we have. But you deserve more applause for that. Without you, it would have been a totally different story.”
“I’m the best.”
“Yes, you are.” He kissed her.
On Wednesday, Nhyira couldn’t wait for to leave the office. He thanked his stars when he was sent to deliver some documents in town. Since the office would have closed by the time he returned, it meant he was actually clocking out early. Mama, here I come!
He was clearing his desk when his phone rang. He took it.
“Hello to you too, Nhyira. How are you holding up today?”
“I’m good; you?”
“I’m hanging in there. Still at the office?”
“I’m about leaving. I’ve a date with my mum.”
“Bisi? Nice; you two made up?”
“We never fought. We just grew apart a bit but that’s going to change. What’s up with you?”
“Oh nothing much; just checking up on you. I was thinking we could hang out today…”
“We could do so another time.”
“I know your time with Bisi means a lot to you but could you please pass by? I miss you, son.”
“You’re more concerned about spending time with a woman who has two other children and a husband to keep her company than spending just a couple of minutes with your biological mother who lives all by herself?” Constance pouted. It was her ace card. Nhyira sighed.
“Fine; I’ll pass by but I can’t keep long. Every minute with my mum counts.”
“Uh huh,” she said, rolling her eyes. “See you soon, honey.”
“Sure.” She ended the call.
When Nhyira arrived at Constance’s place, she served him with his favorite cocktail juice whiles they had some small chat. When he first sipped it, he thought there was a slightly funny aftertaste but he brushed it aside and gulped it down. The earlier finished his drink, the earlier he could leave. He placed the glass down with a loud thud.
“I’m sorry but I’ve got to run,” he said hastily.
“Sure, okay. Thanks for coming. I appreciate you not ignoring me.”
“Of course I wouldn’t. My parents raised me right. See you soon.” He rushed out. Constance smiled.
“Hurry along to sweet mama. She won’t see what’s coming,” she said to herself. A deadly smile crept up her face as she toyed with Nhyira’s phone in her hand which she had stealthily taken as he drank his juice. It was all about to go down.
Nhyira entered the Pratt home to smell the sweet aroma he had missed for so long. He sniffed loudly.
“Is that you, honey?” Bisi called out.
“Yes mum; it’s me.” He went into the kitchen.
“I’m sorry if I’m late,” he apologized and kissed her cheek.
“Oh it’s okay; I had to decide what to prepare for us. Care to have a taste? I need to make sure my salt is okay.”
“Sure.” He tasted the sauce off the wooden ladle. He gave her a thumbs up.
“Great. Why don’t you go and change whiles I dish it out?”
“Okay; will be right back.” He raced upstairs.
When he returned, the table was set for two. When they both sat down, Bisi said grace and they started eating.
“No five-star restaurant’s meal beats your cooking, mum.”
“Oh thank you.” Nhyira began telling her how bad he felt about how things were between them.
Constance looked at her watch. She had followed Nhyira home from a distance. She had to be the first witness or else it would all be for nothing. She hoped Nhyira was strong enough to deal with the temporary inconvenience. She took Nhyira’s phone and got out of her car. It was time.
Mother and son were sharing a laugh when Nhyira squinted and touched his tummy.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, just felt some sharp pain.”
“You’ve eaten today, right?”
“Yeah, a little something.” He drank some water. “I’m sure it’ll pass.”
The doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it,” Bisi said, getting up. Nhyira took his glass and drank some more water.
Bisi opened the door and there stood a smug looking Constance.
“What are you doing here?” Constance waved Nhyira’s phone in her hand.
“My son left it at my place when he came over. I figured he’d need it so I brought it over. Does that qualify me for mother of the year?” She asked sarcastically. Bisi shook her head and opened her palm.
“Ugh…ugh I didn’t drive all the way here to see your face. Let me in and I’ll hand it to him myself.”
“There’s no way you’re stepping foot in my house.”
“Fine; call him to come for it.”
“I’m sure he can spare a minute to come get his phone, right? Nhyira! It’s mummy! You left your phone at my end. I’ve come to return it.”
They heard his footsteps approaching. Bisi turned when she heard him groan.
“Nhyira, are you okay?” He had appeared in front of them and he was holding his tummy and groaning in pain.
“I don’t feel so good,” he managed to say and fell.
“Nhyira!” Both women rushed to him. Bisi put his head on her lap.
“What is going on?” Bisi asked, bewildered.
“I should be asking you that. What did you serve him? I hope you didn’t try to poison him,” Constance said, glaring at Bisi.
“What, are you out of your mind? Why would I want to poison my own son?”
“Stepson, you mean.” Bisi was about to respond but Nhyira’s groan stopped her.
“Mum, it really hurts.”
“Let me take you to the hospital. Can you get up?” He only groaned louder. Constance helped him up and he leaned on Bisi.
“I do hope it’s nothing, Bisi or else I won’t let you off easily,” she threatened.
“Are you just going to stand there spewing nonsense or are you going to help me get him into the car?” Bisi said angrily. They held him and helped him into Bisi’s car. Bisi rushed inside to get her bag, phone and keys. She locked up the house.
“Don’t worry, you’re going to be okay,” Constance said consolingly. She closed the back door when Bisi walked up to the car.
“Since you want to have a feel of what motherhood is, you might want to follow us to the hospital?”
“Of course; just to make sure you don’t kill my son.”
“If I wanted him dead, why wait till he’s a grown up man?”
“Because you can now realize what a threat he is to inheriting Fiifi’s wealth.”
“You’re crazy. I don’t have time for your nonsense,” Bisi said and sat inside her car and drove away. Constance couldn’t help but smile as she sighed.
“Hang in there, Nhyira; I’m going to get my blank cheque very soon.”
(c) Josephine Amoako 2016
Read Chapter XLIX here.