Palm lines - Episode 19
I pulled Lawrence back to avoid a fight between these two once again. "It's not worth it Lawrence" i muttered. "Don't you dare insult my niece, don't ever bring her into our dispute"
"What's going on here?" Erika asked turning towards Feso, of all men she decided to date the one man I dislike so much.
Our enemity dates back 2015.
"This man is an idiot" Feso answered and I scoffed. Kettle calling pot black.
"No insults Feso and can we keep our voices down, parents are beginning to stare" she begged.
"Is there anything I should know" she added and I saw Feso nod, "Yes there is, this man Is an asshole" He snapped and sniggered, "There's something you should know too Miss Erika, " I paused and she gaze at me with some much interest.
"You should also know you're dating a baby" I answered and I saw Feso tighten his fist.
I noticed Miss Erika grit her teeth in anger after my answer, she clearly wasn't happy with it.
She quietly walked away into the school compound and Sharon followed her . "Sweetheart!" Feso called on her, "Erika!" He called again but she ignored him.
Feso looked at me with so much anger in his eyes then walked away
All episodes of this story can be found here >> https://www.ebonystory.com/story/palm-lines
. "This guy has a way of pissing me off everytime" Lawrence slammed his hands on the car.
"You're not alone on that." I scoffed.
I couldn't think straight at work, the thought of Miss Erika and how I reacted to Feso's insults. I felt ashamed, and the way she left, it was going to take more than an apology to get her to talk to me.
She must be wondering how I got to know her boyfriend, or what must have happened that could have sparked up and fuel our enemity.
Some time in 2015, we had a land case with his father; in summary, I took him to court and I won.
Chied Odogwu took a deal on a land that wasn't his, I went amicably to settle it. I told him to stop work on the land because it belonged to a client; the stubborn man refused.
The issue went on for about a week. After several visitation to the company and consistent refusal, I proposed he gave me back the land and in exchange, I'll pay him, even more for his effort and material used In building, it wasn't because if I had the money to show off, it was ruining my company's integrity.
I've never met anyone so stubborn in my entire life as Chief Odogwu, he rejected my offer.
His consistent and constant rejection pissed me off, it was putting me in a bad position with the client I originally sold the lands to.
The matter escalated till the point there was clash between the real family who owned the land. My client was beaten after he called goons to stop the work, I admit it was a wrong move on his part but when Chief Odogwu ordered his security who had guns to beat him, that was the straw that broke the camel's back.
"If I take this case to court, I'll make you and your family pay for a lot for damages much more than you'll be able to recovery in a year" "Is that a threat?" Feso asked and I scoffed.
"You can't come into my father's office and start making threats"
"It's not everyday I threaten people but God is my witness that I've tried my very best to be nice and friendly as possible"
"Do your worse, my client has proof that that land belongs to him so oga, do your worse!" Chief stomped his walking cane on the floor, "Odogwu never loses, especially to a riff-raff like you, a little boy like you"
"You better advise your father well" "My father is well guided" Feso answered.
"See you both in court"
We took the case to court, I won and just like I threatened, I made him paid for all the stress and it cost a whole lot of money.
Right there in the court, Mrs Odogwu went into cardiac arrest. That was where Feso really came in. When I went over to the hospital to show my sympathy towards the negative turn of event, I got punched real good by him.
Feso would severally challenge me in public, even in my office. There were times he physically fought with Lawrence.
Just when I've had enough of his nuisance, i had a court order, restricting him from coming close to me or my family.
He disobeyed court order and was detained in jail for two days.
That was the last time I heard from him.
I drove over to Ify's house, I needed to someone to talk to. It was either mom or ifeoma, I needed someone to calm my nerves from the anger I was feeling that moment.
She opened the door with the baby in her hands. "What are you doing here?" She asked, "Shouldn't you be at work?" She added and I let myself into the house.
"Who made you angry now? Dozie?"
"No... Not Dozie" I replied and she close the door.
"Should I be worried?" She asked and I walked in to the sitting room, then I took my seat. "I saw that idiot after two years" I cover my mouth with my palms.
"David Savage?" She guessed right and I nodded then she passed a glass half filled with water to me.
"You might want to punch it"
"Just like you are! Feso this has gone on for two years, let it go!"
"I can't. I slept in jail because of him"
"For going against court order and quite honestly I was happy you were arrested and thrown in the slammer. At least it reseted your brain"
"Whose side are you on?"
"On the right side"
"So what he did was right?"
"I'm not in support of some of his methods, he over did it most times, but we also had our share of the blame" she whispered and I scoffed.
"We lost millions of dollars because of that idiot"
"I warned you guys didn't I? I told you not to take it far. Just when you guys laid the damn foundation in that land and Mr. David came laying complains. I warned you and your father, but no, you'd rather act in accordance to the anger in you than follow a mere secretary's advise"
"What's done is done, don't bring up that part again"
Oh, really? Why don't you start taking that advise. What's done is done already, just let it go, would you love to spent some time in the slammer again?"
"That's not the issue. His daughter schools in the same school Erika teaches"
"So? My kids attend the same school too"
"Erika is fond of his daughter, the way he was smiling at her and laughing" "So? Are you jealous?"
"I'm not jealous! Erika's my woman. She shouldn't be around my enemies, that man is a snake! He's a rash under my skin, I almost lost it there when I saw him and Erika got angry and left"
"Have you called her?"
"She's not picking up the call and I can't think straight"
"Here's what you'll do." Ify advised, "You'll talk to her immediately after school closes and then you'll apologize to her, possibly buy flowers and gifts"
I went back to work, then I drove over to the school where I waited hours in the car. After I noticed students coming out, I walked Inside. I intended meeting her in her staff room, then i sighted Sharon walk towards me and I almost rolled my eyes.
"Good evening" she greeted and I kept mute walking by.
"When kids my age act this way towards me, I always think they're not mature. To have a grown up do it" she scoffed and I turned to her.
"Whatever issue you have is with my Dad, not me. Be the bigger person and at least answer a fourteen years old girl's greeting" she answered leaving and I scoffed at first.
She had her father's quick and annoying tongue. Then I gave a second thought to what she said. I should have at least answered her greetings.
I walked into the staff room where I found Erika laughing with some teachers. They were about six in there. The door was opened but i knocked anyways.
Her laughter ceased the moment she saw me.
She came out afterwards with her habd bag. "What are you doing here?" She asked as though I was a stranger. "Erika I'm sorry, I'm really sorry about what happened"
"Bye Feso" she walked away and I dragged her back.
"Please, hear me out" he knelt and some of the teachers came out almost immediately.
"Please hear me out" I begged again,
"Miss Erika please hear him out now, he's even on his knees" one begged and Erika demanded I rise and I did.
"I'll tell you everything you need to know, everything!" I proposed and she agreed.
I started the story while I drove home and I continued at home. "Right there Mom had her first heart attack because of him, all thanks to his trickish gimmicks"
"I don't understand, trickish?"
"Can you explain the client situation to me, it's confusing." She demanded and I sighed.
"The land, about four plots originally belonged to a family in Lagos. The first son sold the land to our client who wanted to build a departmental store and we took the deal. That idiot...."
"No insults" Erika demanded and I raised my hands in surrender.
"He claimed he bought the land directly from the family in 2008 there about, according to his testimony i then court. Then he sold it to his own client. When we started work on ours, he came to us and, truthfully, he came peacefully to resolve the issue but we couldn't stop work cause we had proof that the land belonged to our client."
"Did you guys consider that you could have been fooled?" She asked and I scoffed.
"We saw the certificate of ownership. The matter escalated and we took it to court. We found out the first son falsified documents and we were fooled."
"Why are you angry at Mr. Savage then?"
"Because he's a horrible person!"
"He doesn't seem like it"
"There was this time Savage's client came with goons to drive away workers from the land. We had an upper hand because of the security already positioned, dad ordered his own goons to deal with him."
"Were you there?"
"I was" I answered and she gave me a judgy look.
"Don't look at me that way, Jerome wat barely beaten. He appeared in court all bandaged up, we didn't do that. It was the work of that horrible man called David Savage. You don't know him at all, he's the worst person you can ever get associated with. You can ask him yourself, that's if he'll tell you the truth"
"Mr. Savage is a honest man"
"Because of him I slept two days in jail, I wish you can know him for the monster he is"
After hearing Feso's side of the story, there was a need to listen to Mr Savage's. I waited at the lobby for a while since he was busy with a meeting. I waited a while then a lady walked up to me.
She had her eyes on someone else behind. Someone that was definitely hiding, "I was asked to tell you to come back tomorrow"
"I don't have tomorrow" I answered and the last thought deeply, "Just wait, Mr. Savage would be through in a bit" she answered. Then I saw David and Lawrence come down the stairs with some men and women.
David walked towards me almost immediately, "Aren't you supposed to escort them out" "Lawrence is already helping me out with it." He answered and I sighed.
"I spoke to Feso"
"Did he feed you with lies? You must be filled up right now" he answered. "I want to hear your side of the story" I requested.
"Will my story matter against the profane words of your boyfriend" "Seriously?" I asked,
"You're not going to be believe me anyways"he added.
"He's got more priority in your life" he answered and I rolled my eyes. "Don't even make me more angry than I am Mr. Savage, I've been waiting here for the past fifteen minutes for you. Do you think I'll be here if I don't want to listen to you" I snapped and he shut his eyes.
"I'm sorry." He opened them.
"Just that....Your boyfriend has a way of irritating me with his childish behavior. He's lucky i don't pay attention to him, I respect my grey hairs way too much" he answered and kept a straight face.
I didn't feel like laughing.
"You just made that joke look empty" he commented and I scoffed. "If I was a comedian and you are my audience, you would have just ruined my career"
"On a more serious note Mr. Savage"
"I've never been more serious in my entire life, you look too serious and all tensed up"
"Whose fault is it? I just got to find out my boyfriend knows you and you two are sworn enemies and just when I asked you for an explanation, you joked about it"
"I told you you were dating a baby. That wasn't a joke, it was a confession; I've never been more serious about any reply in my entire life"
I raised my hands up, I didn't see this conversation going anywhere productive. "Good bye Mr Savage" I turned my back to leave and he held my hands back pulling me close to him.
"Are you serious?" I asked when eyes began staring at us.
"I'm sorry" he pulled back then cleared his throat.
"Ask me whatever you want, whatever, I promise to be serious" "Why do you hate Feso?" I asked, "Because he's a childish egocentric fool, did I mention he's got an anger problem too?" He answered.
"You're clearly not ready to speak" I turned my back to leave.
"I don't hate him, i dislike him, hate is a strong word. I dislike him because in business you're able to talk to people, reach compromise but with him it's impossible"
"His mother had a heart attack because of you" I snapped. "Anyone would be angry"
"Didn't you say you came to listen to both sides of the story?" He scoffed. "Seem to me you already chose a side already"
"It's not about choosing sides, it's about knowing the truth. Feso says I can't trust you,"
"Can he be trusted? The guy is a maniac who should be locked in mad home. He's not even fit to run a company"
"Don't insult him"
"It's the truth"
"Did you lie against his father in court?' I asked and he scoffed. "Technically I didn't, my client did. The lawyer thought it would be useful and it was"
"You don't even regret it"
"Did he also tell you about the falsified upon falsified documents they created to win the case. They played dirty and we also did, I don't understand why he'll tell you that to make me look like a villian"
"Did you have him arrested?"
"Yes I did, because he went against court order. The court put up a restraining order against him, but he came close to me. He was acting like a maniac that time, like a mad person. I had him arrested and I paid real well to have him cool off for two days until his father pulled some strings." He confessed looking into my eyes.
"Anymore questions?" He asked and I shook my head.
I didn't even know how to view him, he didn't seem as though the regretted his actions. "You don't feel guilty"
"The only guilt I felt was for the mother's heart attack. I went to show sympathy and I ended up with a black eye. Did he mention that? I didn't think so"
"I have to go, I need to think some things through" i answered, "Is there any need to think? I think you already chose a side" he answered then i left the building.
After the end of first term, the school hosted an end of the year party, held on the 22nd of December. All teachers were made to dress in an Ankara material. I didn't like it, but I didn't have any choice. I had to put it on.
I intentionally ignored Mr. Savage all through the party, I didn't know why. I felt the need to withdraw.
I needed to set my priorities right and Feso comes first.
Sharon hugged me tightly after the close of the day.
"I'll miss so much" she sobbed.
"Are you seriously crying? It's just two weeks holiday" "Can I come live with you?" She asked and I laughed.
"I can't expose you to Kechi and her froward talk about her sex life and other topics" I answered and she chuckled. David was waiting by the car.
We haven't spoken in days.
"Are you fighting with Dad?" She asked turning towards him. It was loud enough for him to hear.
"I don't fight with ladies" he answered, "And she's obviously ignoring me" he added.
"Merry Xmas in advance to you" I said to him and he scoffed. "Did you see what he just did?" I complained to again about his scoffing.
"I've been trying to get your attention all through and you didn't even pay attention to me one bit. You didn't even comment on my agbada ( long flowing men attire)"
"Would it kill you to comment on my dress too?"
"You didn't even give me the chance to. You look.." he paused, "The Ankara they chose for the teachers" he paused. "When I walked in, I thought I walked into the wrong venue, the cloth looks like something one would wear for Iya Alakara's (Bean cake seller) burial" he commented and I glared at him speechlessly.
He wasn't wrong though.
"You're lucky you're pretty," he laughed hard.
"Your agbada attire matches with you grey hair, it aged you perfectly" I snapped and he laughed.
"You can't beat mine you know why? Cause I look hot in just anything. I have a face and body that goes well with anything" he answered and I scoffed, "So I don't have a body and face that goes with anything?" I asked and he gave a long pause.
"You're so full of yourself" I answered moving close to him and Sharon laughed.
"What are your Christmas plans?" He asked, "Feso" I answered and he rolled his eyes.
"Merry Christmas in advance Miss Erika" "You too Mr. Savage" I smiled.
It was a way of reconciliation and it felt great.
"There's something in your teeth" Mr. Savage pointed out and I closed my mouth. "What's it?"
"A very obvious meat strings every where" "Where exactly"
"The middle teeth and the other two, up and below" he answered and I moved away, removed a mirror from my bag looking at it. There was nothing there.
"I can't find anything"
"Just kidding" he yelled and I turned to him laughing. "You're crazy"
I heard his car start and Sharon hugged me again. "See you next year" "You too Ma" he answered, "Sorry, miss" he corrected then drove off.
On Christmas day, I got a text from Dad to come over to his house; wife number 3's home. My entire siblings were present, thirteen of us.
Dad openly for the first time apologized to everyone of us for anyway he might have hurt us. "It's not intentional ehn, it's not only bride price I care about oh. I love my children, maybe not equally but I want you all to manage me that way. Tomorrow if I die now, is this how you all will hate me?" He asked and I wondered if he would die soon? I brushed the thought off.
"God forbid!" Most of us chorused.
"Ndo, please, everyone should find a place in their hearts to forgive. Let's not enter next year with hatred" he proposed and we reconciled, even if I knew he had ulterior motive for it, I forgave him for his attempt.
On new year's Eve, I made a resolution to tell Feso the truth. After the new year's Eve service in church, Feso drove over to over to my house.
When we got home, Kechi and Dorcas were apparently not back from church so I opened up the door with the spare key.
"It isn't even two in the morning yet and the street looks as though it's morning already" I turned on the light removing my shoes.
"That's the crazy thing about new year's Eve" Feso answered, "There's always that serenity in the air and you feel safe walking around the street at night." He continued, "But after it, everything goes back to normal" I added and he laughed.
"That's naija for you" He added and I turned towards him. Feso was on his knees with a ring in his hands. "Ever since I met you, I knew you were the one for me but I wanted to be more certain. It's a new year Erika, and have just one resolution and it's you Erika, you're my resolution. I've never been more certain about what I want for my life. I want you close to me, I want you to be the mother of my children.
Read " Hotel Palava " by the same author ( Essien Eno )
. I want you spending your life with me. Would you marry me?" He asked and I busted into tears.
"I made my new year resolution too" I paused, "And it's to tell you the truth" "What truth?" He asked and I sniffled.
"On my sister's wedding in September something happened, I got drunk and I slept with a complete stranger, I broke my celibacy code and.."
"Shh" Feso rose up, "Your past doesn't matter to me, I don't care the number of guys you've been with all I'm interested in is this person standing in front of me"
"It's complicated Feso, its so complicated right now. I'm pregnant" I cried out and he moved back. He was quiet for a while, his eyes got teary.
"Did you just say...." He paused, "Yes... I'm pregnant"
"H.. how... How long?" He stammered, "Three months and two weeks"
Feso placed his hands above his head. "Why didn't you abort it?" He asked and I sobbed. "I couldn't, I couldn't, I just couldn't" I busted into tears.
"What do you want me to do now?" He asked, "Argh!" He punched the wall, i was worried about his hands for a moment.
"Damn it!" He yelled afterwards. "It's not too late to have it aborted" he suggested.
"I would do no such thing!" I answered frankly disappointed in him. "How could you"
"I love you Erika, you're the woman I want to spend my life with, but not this way!" He yelled. "Not with another man's child"
"Feso I love you too" I cried, I do but I can't abort it."
"And I can't be with you either" he walked out of the house slamming the door.
"Feso!" I followed him out of the house, "Please, please don't leave me" I knelt down before him and he made entrance into his car then he drove off.
Happy new year Erika! I said within.
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