Secrets Of The Wounded Groom: Episode 6
Elena was a beautiful person inside out. He made this assumption after reading five pieces from her. It was a pity that she had written something damaging about him. But it was something he could forgive.
Aniekan felt pity for her. He didn’t know much about her family background, but she didn’t look like someone from a wealthy home. All he could see was a struggling young lady in her early twenties, fighting so hard to do something with her life.
He was sure that Elena had learned her lesson. But he wouldn’t be the one to destroy her life. Right there, something stirred within him to help her out of this situation. Although Elena had almost ruined his life, he would forgive her and let her go.
However, if she failed to abide by the ethics of publishing, fate would teach her a lesson but not by his hands.
Aniekan was still staring at the striking photograph, when he heard a rap on his door. The only person he was expecting was Idara, his cook. Aniekan had asked her to make him a cup of green tea so he could sleep.
‘Come in, the door is open.’
It was the strange quiet which filled the room after the door had closed that made him turn. Idara always came in with greetings on her lips. This was someone else.
‘You are not sleeping’, Ada observed from where she stood.
Swiftly, Aniekan turned off the computer and faced her. He couldn’t let his lawyer know about his little research about Elena Benjamin.
‘Um, I couldn’t. Is there a problem’? This was the first time the lawyer was entering his room, and it shocked him greatly. Though Ada had a room in his house, she’d never visited him here before.
Ada clenched her fist and glanced at his room, ‘It’s warm and cozy in here. You have a beautiful place Aniekan’. She smiled as she fed her eyes with the intricate designs on the wall.
He shrugged, ‘I try.’
She pulled in a deep breath, ‘I have kept the girl in a safe place where she would not be able to escape. You will not release her until her family pays the fifty million naira that she owes you. This is your opportunity to teach other bloggers and journalists a lesson. No one would ever tarnish your image’.
Aniekan said nothing as she spoke, he carefully observed her. Before now, Ada had handled some cases he had with clients and investors. But never in his life, had he seen her so enthusiastic about a case. What was so special about this matter?
‘What if I don’t want her to pay the money? You told me that she was a student. Her family isn’t wealthy. Even if they were, they don’t owe me a thing. My score is with Elena and she cannot pay for what she did’.
At first, Ada felt he was bluffing. But when he didn’t say more, she realized Aniekan had changed his mind. This would ruin all of the plans she had with Ese and she couldn’t let this happen.
‘Are you changing your mind? You cannot do that Aniekan. We have gone knee deep into this river, there is no going back’. She couldn’t believe her ears. This was the reason she preferred his brother. Ese was a viper. He was strong and ambitious, where Aniekan was a weakling.
Aniekan’s brows were raised at her tone, ‘Yes I can change my mind. Elena almost ruined my brand, but she didn’t. Instead of paying fifty million, she would write series of apology letters and advertise my games on her blog. That is fair’. He felt this was okay for everybody.
‘Fuck, you don’t even understand do you’? Ada could see that his mind was made up, but it was her duty to put him back on line wherever he derailed.
He felt insulted that she would speak to him in such a condescending manner.
‘What don’t I understand’? Aniekan was starting to get upset.
‘See Aniekan…’ she moved closer to the table he leaned upon.
‘Even if we release Elena, she could sue us for kidnapping her and she has proof. Her father can bear witness that Ese and his men took her involuntarily from the house.
If those facts are established, you could be the one to pay damages or go to jail. Your brand would be affected, and you could lose everything. It gets worse when she tells people that we locked up your house.
We cannot let Elena go until she pays. You should have a re-think. That girl is evil, I can’t even look into her eyes. There is something strange about her, and we have to work fast’.
Aniekan’s face paled as he realized Ada was being truthful. She was being protective and concerned. Though Elena had angelic features, he wasn’t in her heart to know what she planned. What if she sued him for kidnapping?
‘I understand your fears Ada, but isn’t there another way to settle this? I don’t need fifty million naira. My games are downloaded every minute. I make a hundred thousand every day. I don’t want her money’.
Ada hated his reaction, ‘Why don’t you imagine losing all that followership? This is Nigeria, and if a celebrity is indicted in a crime, that celebrity is doomed. Just look at what is happening to R. Kelly. Imagine being hated by the same people who praised you for your genius game creations’.
She sighed and closed her eyes. Well, she had done her part and she had faith that Aniekan would abide by her. He had never gone against her counsel, tonight wouldn’t be the first.
‘I must go now. Once morning comes, I’ll contact her family. Don’t be afraid, I got this’. She tapped him on the shoulder and swirled round, Ada was confident that she would get this money.
Aniekan said nothing to her, he only weighed his options. Obviously, he had just few hours to decide what he would do to Elena Benjamin. Ada was right about Elena turning against him, but what if the lawyer was wrong? What if Elena was different?
Her eyes flamed with anger and unrest as she marched out of the room. She failed to see the figure that approached with a tray and a teacup. This made the collision inevitable; the hot tea and the cup both crashed to pieces.
‘I-I am sorry Ma’, Idara stuttered as she realized what had happened.
‘Utter fool’! Ada restrained the urge to slap her because of Aniekan’s presence. Another person she abhorred was the foolish cook. Ada had her plans of sending her out of the white house soon. The time wasn’t ripe.
Idara bowed her head and glared at the broken pieces, until the lawyer was gone. Only then did she release the breath she held, for the woman terrified her greatly.
There wasn’t a night for the Benjamins, as they had been awake thinking of the best way to rescue Elena from her captor. One fact was established; Aniekan Umo was behind Elena’s disappearance and they had to find a way to save her.
Elvis wasn’t comfortable around his parents. Their incessant quarrels had been the reason he’d left home in the first place. His mother was violent and toxic. She dominated his father, and he couldn’t get out of her grip for many years.
Tamar was relieved as she heard a cock crow, and the chirping of morning birds. It was time to get back one of her children. The absence of Elena quenched the joy she was supposed to feel on seeing Elvis; the son she had lost for many years.
‘We must hurry. We have to leave for his house’. Tamar rose to her feet. She staggered a bit from not sleeping at all. She hadn’t taken rest after her return to the country. How could she, when her daughter was in trouble?
Mr. Benjamin stared after her. How could Tamar not show concern about their son who’d just returned home? He bit the down the urge to call her bad behavior. He wasn’t in the mood to trade words with her.
They had fought enough before the arrival of Elvis.
‘I am sorry that we failed to ask about your wellbeing. After I saw your name in the newspapers indicted in a drug crime, I thought all hope was lost. We all thought that you were rotting in a foreign facility’. Mr. Benjamin was delighted to see his son.