Annabel: “You bastard! How could you do that to me?” Yvonne heard her yell in a voice that was between a scream and a broken cry.
Prince Ngegwu: “You dare to ask? You who cheated on me, broke our vows and gave me another man’s child, what do I call you?” he demanded. Though it had been years, the hurt was still there, not because of his wife, after all the love in their marriage fizzled away after many miscarriages that he felt she could have prevented if she had taken family life more serious than her modeling career. He was hurt because he lost Yvonne, which man wouldn’t love to be Yvonne’s father. She was beautiful, smart and independent. He had watched her success closely in the advertising world, and felt proud that he was known as her father, even though she was not his daughter. It was the reason he was fighting to make sure she got out of the mess she was embroiled in, even though the massacre had affected him personally. He didn’t know if Yvonne committed the crime or not, she was certainly capable because she had that fire in his eyes, besides he had been absent from her life for a while and didn’t know what she could and could not do.
Annabel: “I didn’t cheat on you, you bastard. How could you have another family, wasting all my years with you” she cried, and Yvonne heard sounds of struggling, as if her mother was hitting her father. Not my father anymore, she thought.
It became quiet inside their room, as her mother whimpered softly like she was spent of energy. Then she asked a question, whose reply threw Yvonne into more confusion.
Annabel: “Who is she, do I know her? You probably been flaunting her under my nose and I never noticed” she asked. She tried to visualize the face of the woman who had given her husband the family that was his, and had infact shared her husband with her. But none of the women in her husband’s circle came to mind.
Prince Ngegwu: “It is Daisy” he said simply, but no face came to Annabel’s mind.
However, Yvonne had burst into the room, with hot tears cascading down her eyes.
Yvonne: “Daisy, Daisy Advertizing?” she asked, almost whispering.
Annabel: “You know her?” her mother shot off the bed.
Yvonne: “She is my arch enemy in business. I got some of her big clients, even though she is the veteran. She swore to put me down, and here you are telling me that she was also responsible for wrecking our family?” she asked incredulously.
Prince Ngegwu: “Family?” he chuckled, “She didn’t, your mother did, and yes I know about the cold war between you and Daisy. She was sure that you were behind her being stopped from doing business in the building she got here in Port-Harcourt. You thought she was doing it to spite you, but she was doing it to be closer to me, and the children”
Annabel: “Your children are here in Port-Harcourt?” she asked, as she slumped into a nearby couch. Yvonne watched her pitifully, but there was so much anger in her heart. How could her mother play with their lives in this manner?
Yvonne: “Who is my father?” she said in a cold voice.
Annabel: “I don’t know” she said.
“What!” both Yvonne and her father exclaimed.
Annabel: “I never cheated on you, I did all these because of you. After all the miscarriages, you didn’t love me anymore. You told me you had made a mistake in marrying me because I was not African and therefore not strong enough to carry your child” she said. Yvonne turned to look at her father, there was anger in her eyes.
Annabel: “When I got pregnant after the last miscarriage, I did all I could to make it stay, and it did. But I delivered a dead baby, Prince. You were away on a trip and I just couldn’t tell you that yet again, there was no baby. A woman had died during childbirth and the doctor had told me they were young people and the man didn’t want the child. I had gotten Yvonne from the man for 10 million naira. When I saw the indescribable joy on your face when you held the pink baby, I told myself it was all worth it. I did it so you wouldn’t leave me” she said and began to sob, with fresh tears.
Yvonne stood, saying nothing, but quivering with the sobs that racked her petite body. This birthday was truly the worst for her. She had the murder of twenty people hanging on her head, and now she had found out that the people she had called family all her life, were just strangers. Her mother was not her mother, and her father was not her father.
“Where do I go from here, Lord? I just want to die” Yvonne thought within, her pain and the cries of her heart were deafening, even though her lips were sealed, saying no words. She turned abruptly, and ran out of the room. Prince Ngegwu made to go after her, but he stopped himself, he had to come to terms with the fact that she was not his child and after this revelation, things would never remain the same. It was easier to love her from afar when she didn’t know that he was not her father. Now she would never accept him. Besides he had his daughter to think about. Their mother had died in the ill fated birthday party, and they were heartbroken.
Annabel ran after her daughter, crying and begging her to wait and listen to her. But Yvonne ran as fast her legs could carry, down the flight of stairs to the front door, where she bumped into Femi. Her mother coming behind, ran down the stairs without thinking, all she wanted to do was tell Yvonne that, she loved her and regardless of who her parents were, she belonged to him, and she would be there for her. In her haste, she took a wrong step, and came tumbling down the stairs. Her scream rend the atmosphere of the house, as she did a free fall, crumpling like a rag doll at the base of the stairs.
Yvonne: “Mother!” she screamed and ran towards where her mother was crumpled on the floor. Femi ran after her and knelt down beside the woman. He didn’t understand what had transpired that got Yvonne running like that, with her mother after her. He looked up and saw Yvonne’s father standing at the top of the stairs with a look that Femi could not decipher.
Yvonne: “Mother, please don’t leave me. I have no one now, please don’t leave me in this world” she cried, shaking her mother, beneath whom, blood had pooled.
Femi did not understand what Yvonne was saying, but that was the least of his concerns. He took out his phone to call the emergency unit, but the front door burst open and a host of fierce looking men, dressed in NSS gear, walked into the house, their eyes intent on Yvonne.
Femi: “No, no, no, you cannot be here” he said and stood between them, and Yvonne who stooped beside her mother crying. The call for ambulance, was momentarily forgotten.
Prince Ngegwu rushed down the stairs, he walked up to the NSS agents and enquired for the reason of their presence in his house.
NSS agent: “On the orders of the President, you, Yvonne Ngegwu is under arrest for being a threat to national security” the leader said and his men stepped forward and handcuffed Yvonne. She could not protest, she just stared at her mother’s body on the floor.
Femi: “You cannot take her” He yelled and tried to pry Yvonne away from them, but one kick sent him flying to the far side of the room.
Prince Ngegwu: “You cannot re-arrest her, she was granted bail by a court in Nigeria, this is unlawful” he barked, dialing the law firm, hurriedly.
NSS agent: “Oga you think say na your boy you dey talk to? This is coming from Aso rock, like this we are taking her straight to Kuje prison. So make your calls, only God can save your daughter” he said in a mix of pidgin and English tinted by the Hausa language.
Yvonne: “Femi, save my mother! Don’t let her die!” she screamed as she was being led away. Her words galvanized Femi into action, he remembered the call he was going to make, but now it felt unnecessary, as he could not waste more time in waiting for the ambulance.
Prince Ngegwu: ‘Femi, take care of my wife, save her, while I save Yvonne” he said and left the house, speaking hurriedly into his phone and giving orders. He realized that the situation had gone political, his foster daughter was about to be made the sacrificial lamb so that the ruling party could heap blames on the opposition party. The ruling party never tired in turning the wheels of propaganda, but he, Prince Ngegwu would die before he allowed them make Yvonne a cog in that wheel.
Question: What do you think, is there any redemption for Yvonne, now that things have gone worse?
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