Read Chapter 39 here.
Julius sighed as he ran his palm through his hair.
“Julius, it’s been four months now…trying to find something to pin on this man. The problem is, he has a lot of people doing his dirty work for him. Our only shot is to get one of his connects in a tight spot so he gives him up.”
“You mean Dante Mends.”
“Yes I mean him. What’s with the hesitation? You were down with the idea some months back.”
“My wife is against it.”
“Which part, the entire plan or targeting Dante?”
“Both. And I have a feeling that if I pursue this, it will be the end of my marriage. I love my wife too much to lose her for the sake of some stupid revenge.”
“So what, you want to back out? After how far we’ve come? He knows we’re coming for him. If we slack, he’ll shut us up for good. It’s now or never, Jules.”
“I know,” Julius muttered.
“How about you reach out to Dante and try to make him an ally? I’m pretty sure Dante himself doesn’t like him much.”
“When he has given him a flourishing company to manage?”
“Knowing Honorable, that must have come with a lot of strings. Who knows, he might be more than eager to be free of them.”
“That’s very tricky. If it backfires, he’ll tell Honorable of our plans. Then we’ll be really screwed.”
“If he refuses, then we use him as a pawn with no regrets.”
“Great. Let’s do this!”
They gave themselves a hi-five.
Dante’s office phone rang. He picked it up.
“Sir, a journalist from Multimedia is here to see you.”
“What does he want?”
“He said he has received some information and he wanted to clarify certain things.”
“I see. Send him in.”
He cleared his throat as he entered. He stood up.
“Mr. Mends, I’m Manasseh Azure…”
“From Joy FM, I know. You’re welcome,” he said, offering his hand. They shook hands.
“Please have a seat.”
They both sat.
“In the light of latest developments concerning the owner of this company who also happened to be your father-in-law, I received this paper trail from a source…”
“You know I can’t reveal my source. I want to give you the opportunity to clarify some things before I publish my report,” he said, handing to Dante some copies of documents.
Dante glanced through them warily.
“I…I’ve never come across these documents. These must have been signed before I joined the company.”
“On the contrary, the signature page here suggests that it was signed a few months after you came on board.”
“I’m not aware.”
“But you don’t deny it’s genuine.”
“I can’t confirm or deny. I have no comments. I’d like to keep this though so I can run my own checks, if you don’t mind.”
“Oh no, I don’t. But you should know I’m going to run this story.”
“Look, I know we don’t know each other and you don’t owe me anything but I’d prefer if you could hold on with this information just until I’m able to clear this up.”
“I don’t think I’ll be able to do that. I’m sure he has shared this with other media houses as well. This story is going to break tomorrow for sure and I wish that the story could be presently fairly without any bias. I’m afraid you’re not doing yourself or your boss any favors but refusing to come clean about this.”
“There is nothing to come clean about this because I don’t know anything about this!” Dante said, raising his voice. He quickly regretted it. The last person he wanted to have a row with was Manasseh or any journalist with such a huge platform like Multimedia.
“I’m sorry if I sounded angry. I just have a lot on my mind at the moment.”
“I can imagine. I apologize if I came on too hard. Will take my leave. This is my card. Hope to receive a call from you soonest.”
They shook hands again.
“Thanks for your time, Mr. Mends.”
“I appreciate you passing by, Mr. Awuni.”
He left. Dante tried calling Hon. Biney but he didn’t answer. He sent him a text: Manasseh from Joy FM just left my office. He showed me some papers. Doesn’t look like good news. Please call. Thanks.
“What were you saying about the Manasseh guy from Joy FM? He came fishing for information?”
“Actually, he has enough information to bury us. He just wanted to give us the chance to redeem ourselves.”
“Damn it. The last thing I want is guys from Joy FM nosing around. Those people will follow you to the grave just to get to the bottom of the story.”
“Is there a story here?”
“Looking at these papers, it suggests something shady is going on behind the scenes? Is Noble Realty just a front?”
“Of course not! I built the company up with my own sweat and blood.”
“I assume it’s not literal. Maybe you’re not doing it anymore but did you at one point engaged in…”
“Listen, don’t spew nonsense, okay? I’m called Honorable for a reason.”
Dante almost scoffed at that statement. The term was more for crooks who have managed to find themselves in halls of power to the detriment of society.
“So what do we do?” Dante asked after managing to swallow down the chuckle.
“We get to the root and burn it.”
“Meaning there is little to what we can do about the story Manasseh has at the moment but if we get to the source and stop it, the matter will die away.”
“You know how but since I’m an Honorable, I won’t say anymore. So sorry for your Jackie babe. Maybe I’ll allow you two to console yourselves after he’s gone.”
“You’re looking at a permanent damage to your reputation and jail time. Are you willing to risk that for a woman who isn’t yours anymore?”
Dante kept quiet. He had a daughter to raise.
“I didn’t think so. Give me the papers. Will take care of it.”
Dante took out his phone from his pocket and texted Jackie. He needed to have a sit-down with Julius.
Dante parked his car and entered Vida e café. The more public yet quiet place, the better. He managed a smile as his eyes met Julius’. They shook hands and sat down.
“Nice to finally meet the one and only Dante in my wife’s life.”
“Nice to meet you too.”
Dante wasn’t sure if he was really being sarcastic or admiring his history with Jackie but he let it go. He was the one sleeping by her side at night, wasn’t he? Good for him.
“I’m sure you know why I asked us to meet…” Dante began.
“Well for the purpose of proper communication, let’s assume I don’t so kindly tell me,” Julius said with a smile.
“Alright, I’ll go straight to the point. This is about your attack on Hon. Biney.”
“Attack, you say? I call it justice.”
“Whatever it is, you do realize that in your bid to bring him down, you’re dragging me in the mud as well. I’ve worked so hard to get where I’ve reached right now…”
“And when you say, ‘worked so hard’, do you mean marrying his daughter and grabbing the managerial position?”
“Excuse me? Listen, you don’t know me so you have no right to judge me or the choices I made.”
“Oh I’m not passing any judgement here; only stating facts although I stand to be corrected.”
Dante suddenly found this guy annoying. He couldn’t believe he was Jackie’s husband. In that instant, he didn’t feel sorry for what was coming for him.
“From where I stand, none of the allegations are true…”
“Yet here you are, hoping to convince me to back off.”
“Listen, I have a little daughter, okay? I’m just trying to give her the best in life and your propaganda is beginning to cast shadows on my transactions.”
“Then I have a proposition for you, Dante.”
“I’m all ears.”
“Let’s be allies and bring him down. He’s a monster; I’m sure you agree.”
“Bring down my boss and the grandfather of my daughter? Where’s the wisdom in that?”
“Knowing him, he’s got all strung up that you’ve resigned yourself to the conditions. He used me to his heart’s content and when I stood up to him once, he conspired to have some bogus charges brought up against me and got me fired dishonorably.”
Dante kept a blank expression on his face. Surprisingly, he felt no sympathy for him.
“So this is a vendetta of some sorts, huh? You’re out to get him, right?”
“Not just for me…for others who have been treated unfairly as well.”
“Anyway, I’m here to warn you to be careful. If we were friends, I’d convince you let it go.”
“Then it’s a good thing that you’re not, right?” Julius said with a wary smile.
“Since you’re aware of the kind of man he is, then you should know that Honorable is planning an attack on his own. The unfortunate thing is, Jackie is most likely to be caught in the crossfire.”
“Oh so you’re here because you care for my wife’s welfare?
“I’m here to secure my own.”
“So I assume you’re not taking my offer of joining forces?”
“Never in a thousand years.”
“Ok then let me also warn you that you are likely to end up being the pawn in this game. Something tells me Hon. Biney cares more his name and reputation than he cares for you and your little daughter.”
“I’d advise against that, Julius. Consider yourself warned,” Dante said and stood.
“Nice meeting you, Julius,” Dante said dryly; not exactly meaning what he had said. They shook hands and he left. He’s all yours, he thought.
“How did it go?” Jackie asked as they ate dinner later in the evening. Julius shrugged.
“It went well. He is a nice guy. I can see why you liked him.”
“And what did he say? What did you two agree on?”
“He wanted me to back off him and Hon. Biney. He added that you might be caught in between so I should let it go. He seems to care about you a lot.”
“Yeah, I seem to have that impact on everybody,” she replied with a wink.
“Anyway, I asked him to join me and he refused so I guess we shall see how it goes.”
“See how what goes? You’re not going to take his advice?”
“Since when do I take counsel from him? I told you not to worry. Everything will be alright.”
“I don’t feel that way. I feel we have a target on our backs and we are practically the walking dead right now.”
“Not us. All eyes are zoomed in on Hon. Biney so he can’t make any of his dirty moves just so he isn’t caught. But his time is coming.”
Jackie was paying for her groceries at the counter when her phone rang. She answered it.
“Sweetheart, I’m sorry but I can’t meet you at the mall at the moment. I just got an important call about a potential big deal so I need to see to it ASAP. Kindly take an Uber home. Your car should be ready at the mechanic’s by tomorrow. Will meet you there soon.”
“Oh but I wanted us to have a look at some interior décor stuff.”
“I know; I’m sorry, honey. Will make it up to you. I promise, okay?”
“Okay. Take care on the road.”
“I will. Take care of yourself as well. Talk to you soon,” she said and hung up.
She sighed and made a request for an Uber. She went over to her parents’ house to visit.
Jackie and her mother were engaged in a hearty chat when her phone rang. It was an unknown number.
“Hello?” She asked suspiciously.
“Am I speaking with Mrs. Jackie Ampah?”
“Yes you are. Who is this, please?”
“Your husband has been rushed and admitted at 37 Military hospital. It appears he was attacked…”
“He’s in a very critical condition. It would take some time for us to fully examine him.”
“Okay…I’ll be on my way. Thanks,” she said and cut the line.
“What is it, Nana Esi?”
“Julius got attacked. He’s at 37 Military hospital. I need to be there.”
“Oh, this is bad. I hope it’s nothing serious.”
“Same here. Got to go. Will let you know if I’m told of any updates.”
“Please do. Take care of yourself, alright?”
“Thanks; you too.”
Jackie rushed to the hospital. She had called AJ so she arrived a few minutes after her. They were informed that the attack had been so brutal that Julius was in a coma. When asked when he was likely to come out of it, the ladies were told it could take days, months and sometimes years. Jackie suddenly felt dizzy. AJ led her to a seat and held her hand which was trembling.
“God, why me?”
“He’ll wake up soon. Everything will be fine. You look pale, Naicy. Are you okay?”
“I was fine until I received the unexpected call. I do feel unwell though. Maybe I should do a quick checkup since I’m here.”
It turned out Jackie was six weeks’ pregnant. She burst into tears upon hearing the news. This was terrible timing. She kept crying even when she was ushered into Julius’ room. She took his hand and placed it on her tummy.
“Please wake up so we can watch the mini us grow bigger together. I don’t want you to miss this. Please come back to me. I need you now more than ever,” Jackie cried.
It is quiet in the car that AJ drove Jackie.
“He got him. I warned him but he wouldn’t listen.”
“Who got who?”
“Biney. Hon. Biney did this.”
“How do you know?”
“I just do. Julius dared him and he reacted. Now I’m on the verge of being a widow carrying a baby. Why is peace such an alien to me?”
“Don’t talk like that. You once mentioned Dante met Julius about this whole thing; that Dante tried to warn him. Do you think he knew about this?”
Jackie thought about it for a while. She took her phone.
“There’s only one way to find out.”
She waited patiently as it rang. He finally picked up.
“Julius just had an accident today and is in coma. I’m not even going to ask. We both know this is the work of Hon. Biney. I want to know if you knew about this plan…”
“Jackie, this is out of my hands. I had no plans…”
“I know that. What I’m asking is if you knew, Dante.”
Dante said nothing.
“You knew, didn’t you? And you didn’t warn me? How could you, Dante? What have I done to deserve this?”
“I’m sorry, Jackie; I really am.”
“I won’t forgive you for this, Dante,” Jackie said and ended the call.
Her life, once again, was coming down in shambles.
© Josephine Amoako 2018
Read Chapter 41 here.