A week had passed and all Daniella had done was eat, drink and sleep. No life! She knew it was ridiculous to remain like that, she had to move on, pay her mum a visit, find out more, know the whole truth and she wasn’t going to accomplish all of these from the apartment. She had enjoyed the laziness, just lobbying in the house but now she had work to do and maybe just two extra days of peace would be sufficient. She strolled to the bathroom to take a needed hot bath. Robin and his search crew have been combing the entire city, searching tirelessly for the past week and they were not ready to give up. Maria had not asked any questions but that did not mean she had given up. She was praying daily. He understood her maybe even more than her husband but that was explainable as he knew all of them too well. Robin had positioned men everywhere possible. With the Estiamo wealth and influence, nothing was impossible especially when Robin was in charge.
After spending an hour bathing and dressing up, she was finally ready to take a stroll. She was dressed in a free top and skinny jeans. She let her nice looking weave down and wore nude make up. Daniella was a moderately tall woman with all the appropriate curves she thought and was light skinned. She did not have overly perfect skin but she was a beautiful woman. Everyone just assumed the beauty was that which ran in the Estiamo family. She examined her features in the full length. She looked at her face thoroughly like a detective searching for evidence.
Everyone said she bore great resemblance with her dad. She had believed at a time. George was a very handsome man, handsome did him no justice. Being aware that George has never been her father, she wondered what the resemblance was about. How could she look like a man that was not her father? Was it the effect of having him around or what? It made completely no sense. She wanted to yell, to let the mad dog out of her beautiful body but she curtailed it. She saw her effort in the mirror in containing her twin. Often times her reflection, her twin, was her best friend. She would stand in front of a mirror and talk all day when she felt like. Daniella was not given the opportunity to make much friends and at a time, she became very sceptical of people. She concluded they all wanted her money or to sell her out and as the heir to the Estiamo Empire, she had to be protected. Now what was that all about? She had no one to talk to and get a proper reply from. She desperately needed that stroll. Picking up her jacket, hat and purse she headed for the door, she would arrange when she returned. Her house was a mess and she did not even want to look back at it one more time or that stroll would be history. She definitely got this from her mum. Maria was a clean freak. Maria would forget she was an Estiamo and do what George termed ‘maid duty.’ She would clean their rooms and every area she wanted to. George would tease but accompany her everywhere and Daniella would be there helping and getting cuddled by her parents. She wanted to hit her head on the wall to drive the memories out. For all she knows, she was adopted. No no no! She was not going to let demons interrupt her peace. A walk was all she needed.
Immediately Daniella stepped out of her house, one of Robin’s men noticed her. They had all been ordered not to approach her but to immediately contact Robin with the address. The men immediately reported to Robin and who in turn called off the search all round. The princess had been found. He went straight to Maria who was on the phone with the family’s attorney, re-emphasising the point that the will could not be read until Daniella was found. No other person but the Board of Directors and other officials were aware of what had transpired in the office. The company was well acquainted with protecting its image and not releasing information to the press. To the world, grief had caused Daniella Estiamo’s absence. They may not be completely wrong. Maria dropped the phone after the conversation, ignorant of Robin’s presence and rubbed her delicate temple back and forth. Robin gave her at least five minutes to get herself together. She eventually slouched into the chair she was now accustomed to, the one closest to the window. She enjoyed gazing at the garden, there her solace laid. She saw memoirs come alive and made her believe all would be well. Just as she was about to drift off, Robin interrupted inwardly laughing at her shocked reaction, he moved forward.
“Ma’am I am afraid …” before he completed the statement she said, “She has not be found, has she? My poor baby”. She held her head like it was about to fall. Robin smiled with mischief. How could he be messing around with a woman who is mourning? She looked up and caught him smiling. Puzzled she was for a couple of seconds before it clicked. She cleared her throat and continued. “Does a mother’s grief amuse you Robin? We shall go for her this evening,” she finished with a smile. He knew her to be an intelligent woman and instinct told him that his smile gave him away and words were not necessary. He bowed to a woman whose back now faced him with her face to the window staring at the garden with a smile. Her little girl had been found. Gradually, life sipped through her, she has someone to hold onto.
Daniella walked a step at a time. Well she was not in hurry. She had all day and if she could, she would walk it all. She got to her favourite park within the area. She loved swings and luckily every time she was there, the park was never busy. She always kept her dressing simple with a cute hat to cover her face and prayed no one will notice the Estiamo aura. She sat on a swing, brought out her phone, clicked her favourite playlist and blocked her ears with her customised earbuds. Here she was at peace, nothing but her beautiful music. She was singing along with the song playing when a hand touched her. That is weird because she knew no one around here and that was a deliberate act. She raised her head and eyes met with those of Michael Saint Morgan. Well you do not have to ask, the Saint Morgan family is another breed of wealth. Both Estiamos and Saint Morgans are close friends. Daniella and Michael had attended the best and same schools. They always bumped into each other at formal meetings or family gatherings. They both worked at their family’s company. They were the best friends they could be to each other. They both had a lot to do as heirs of the individual family companies. It is a wonder that their parents had not organised an arranged marriage yet. Daniella knew her mother had creepy ideas though. Michael Saint Morgan was another interestingly handsome man. He was the kind that could get a girl’s jaw dropping and remain open till he casually closed the lady’s mouth as a gentleman. Wait a minute! What was he doing here? He was as casually dressed as she was and with a hat she deduced was for the same reason as she had one. How had he recognised her? She got up and removed her earbuds. She looked at him as if searching for signs of something while he patiently stood smiling, that his signature smile.
“What is a Saint Morgan doing in this part of the world?” she asked with a raised eye brow but yet demanding an answer. He smiled again not like the smile ever leaves his face completely and his eyes shone with mischief every time. “Hmm! I am doing what an Estiamo is doing. Running from the world of wealth and stress,” he completed offering her his drink which she accepted. Michael is probably the only one that can poison her because she hopelessly collects everything he has and he does same to her. “Let us walk,” he gestured. They both proceeded to exit the park. He was aware of her father’s death but she did not look like she knew. She was not even at the burial. The Daniella he knew even if she was in grief would be there. “How long have you been in isolation?” He asked as he watched a mother tend to her children outside the park. “Well for a week now. What of you? I never knew you sought solace in places like this,” she replied. “I came in two days ago and I thought I was the weird one but I am completely wrong,” he said jokingly. ‘For a week’, he pondered the possibility of her ignorance but didn’t she receive the information or was she like him? They thought alike and that means her official phones were switched off and she had not been reading the papers.
In this part of the world, they were just Daniella and Michael devoid of the surnames. The feeling was a pleasant one. He decided not to tell her about her dad’s death yet. At least, he could not ruin a day as beautiful as this one. The air smelt and felt good and her company made it better. Her jovial spirit sharpened his and before he knew it, they were joking over everything and teasing each other without mercy. She brought out the best in him and he appreciated it. Apparently the air was working because Daniella felt the same way. She was glad she had run into Michael. He had succeeded in taming the mad dog, caging the fury, pacifying the sadness and giving her pleasure. She took the last sip of the drink he had given her and shot at a waste bin. It entered and she shouted “basket!” He looked at her in amazement. “So the famous Daniella Estiamo is a tout? Amazing!” he teased and she laughed. “I probably have a thousand and one sides you haven’t met so be warned“, she said pointing a finger at him that meant she intended every word she said. He simply laughed and pushed her hands away. “I have warned you,” she jokingly re-emphasised with a practised straight face that made him laugh some more. He never laughed this much if he was not with her. At work and when in the presence of his family, he was expected to be a composed Saint Morgan, heir apparent of Saint Morgan Empire. So annoying!
It was now late and they were tired. They had entered every store they had passed. For the first time, they explored and bought what they considered to be overly cheap. They saw the cheaper version of items they owned and it made them laugh. They both knew that despite the big names, they were simple souls seeking freedom in this part of the world. As usual, whether sophisticated or simple, they looked good together. Most store keepers mistook them for a young married couple. They always laughed but did not correct the notion. Out of mischief, they would always go to the children aisle. Michael would give her soft pecks playing the part of a devoted husband. They charmed every store owner. They bought some baby clothes with the aim of locating the orphanage close by. They eventually found the orphanage and again they played husband and wife. They came in contact with a child who had been abandoned from birth and decided to sponsor her henceforth. They intended to add that to their individual financial plans once they were out of isolation. They registered their names as ‘Mr. & Mrs. Dickinson’. How the hell did they come up with that name though? They wondered about this as they stepped out of the orphanage. They continued playing as they boarded a bus which took them back to the park. Now they approached the front of her house and could not stop teasing each other about how they had spent their day. Daniella invited him into her apartment but warned ahead of time about the state of affairs the apartment happened to be in. surprisingly, he offered to assist in the arranging. She was so glad she had a partner and a sweet friend. Did she not worry that morning about lack of someone to talk to? Well here was God sent.
to be continued…