While she slept, the argument between herself and her dad kept replaying itself and after what seemed to be the hundredth time, she saw her father sitting in her office, telling her, “you have made me proud”. She woke up and could not connect the bits of the dream. Unable to sleep again at about 4 am, she decided to read a novel. She got up and went through her collection of novels secretly stashed underneath her bed. She finally found a novel titled ‘The Princess’ by Lori Wick. She remembered she had attempted to read it once but had not finished it. A business deal which needed her attention came up. She was grateful to have found it now. She hated starting a book and never finishing it. The book was based on a God enhanced arranged marriage. Daniella was desperate to see what happened next but a part of her knew they would fall in love.
The meeting was for 9 am . At around 7, Daniella abandoned the book she had been partially reading while thinking for the last three hours. She got ready at her pace. After a bath and properly moisturising her body, she headed to her wardrobe. She had no interest in being glamorous, especially not in her present state of mind. She breathed out and selected a black skirt suit which she matched with a white shirt. The skirt stopped an inch above her knee and the jacket hugged her body with royal grace. On a normal day, Daniella Estiamo was known for beautiful hats, especially to the office but they were going to be shocked today. She took a dark hair bond and packed her hair in a loose ponytail. She looked at the mirror and was pleased. She went to her shoes compartment and found a pair of simple black heels. This was what she needed to complete her look.
At 8:20 am, she stepped out of her room leaving the maids stunned at her appearance. This morning she did not race down the stairs, instead she graced every stair, a step at a time like the flawless princess she was. At the bottom of the stairs she finally looked up and met the eyes of Michael and her mother. Her mother was dressed in a black gown accompanied with a black jacket and black heels. Michael was very much the male version of Daniella as he was dressed in a black suit and white shirt as well, accompanied with nice shoes. His hair was properly brushed and he was looking really nice as he always did. They greeted each other with hugs and soft kisses on the cheeks. No one said anything about the hat-less look Daniella pulled but headed outside the mansion. At the entrance, their three cars were parked, waiting for them. Michael and Daniella, though in separate cars always checked the time. They seemed to be coordinated in the same way. Sometimes, they did not notice. They were very time conscious and could not stand being late.
At 8:45 am, they arrived at the company. Daniella and Michael had a habit of bowing to whoever opened the door and everyone was used to the duos’ gestures. They entered the building receiving endless greetings which they spontaneously answered. They decided on their way to stop by Daniella’s office first. Of course she would have to move offices but for now it was still hers. They went there with Daniella in front, closely followed by her mum and Michael. Everyone could not ignore the hat-less look. This was the first time they were seeing her after the argument and her father’s death. They were glad she still looked beautiful. She noticed all the stares and tried to replicate her million dollar smile. In her office, they quickly made coffee. Everything was done in silence and quickly. Except from Maria, everyone was dying to know the reason for the meeting. Daniella had been stealing glances at Maria and Michael had noticed. Maria wore a blank look, not giving anything away and it was inwardly driving Daniella insane. Michael knew if there was something Daniella hated, it was definitely suspense. He began to wonder if she had managed to get any sleep due to anxiety. After making coffee, they left for the board room
At 9 am prompt, they entered the board room. They entered as usual with Daniella in front. Everyone could not help but notice the hat-less look. Some felt bad for the fact that the beauty queen was not a biological Estiamo. They all greeted each other and everyone took a seat. Without any objection, Daniella occupied her father’s chair. While everyone settled down, Maria started clearing her throat. She got up and looking at everyone, she began “I know everyone is dying to know what this meeting is about. Well in time you will all know. Can anyone tell me who these people are?” she asked gesturing to Martin and his mother, Cecilia. Daniella moved in her chair and supported her face with the palm of her hand which rested on the arm of the chair. Something told her this would be an interesting meeting for them. He had probably come to claim some right. After the board members consulted with each other, they chorused, “No”. Maria smiled and continued, “This is Martin George Estiamo and his mother, Cecilia,” she concluded by pointing to his mother. The both of them bowed to the board who were terribly shocked. “Now I know everyone is thinking he is the biological child of my husband considering the revelation you heard before his death, but that notion stands to be corrected,” Maria said with a firm voice. No doubt, everyone’s eyes were fixated on her, then she smiled and seemed to be drifting away and continued. “After marrying George we had an accident shortly into the marriage. We managed to keep the publicity low but as a result of that terrible accident, George was reportedly unable to get any woman pregnant,” she stopped and bent her head, and everyone sympathised. Daniella had never heard this and was greatly surprised while Michael was emotionless.
“Years past and people began to think I was the one with the problem including his family and I never bothered to deny it. When George could not bear the insults I got anymore, he proposed that we have an artificial insemination with a random man’s sperm. He would take the child as his and it would be our little secret. I refused to do it, but he kept pleading. Eventually, I agreed and went to see a doctor,” she paused to make sure everyone was listening then continued. “After the doctor ran all the necessary tests and a couple of weeks into the process, he told me that an artificial insemination was no longer possible. I began to wonder if I had a problem as well. Then he told me I was pregnant,” she said smiling so did the board members except Martin and his mum. “To shorten the story Daniella is the biological child of George. The problem is that George concluded I had carried out the artificial insemination and did not want to hear a word about the visit to the doctor. All he cared about was the fact that he would have a child,” she confessed smiling. “Daniella, I apologize for what your father said. He never knew and I never imagined that he would confront you like that but in his final days he was really depressed. Something he refused to share weighed him down,” she said with a sad face then looked at Martin. “Few years after Daniella’s birth, Martin was born by Cecilia. George felt guilty and happy at the same time. He couldn’t look me in the face and tell what he had done but I found out eventually. I was mad at him but I was also happy that he felt accomplished with the fact that he got a woman pregnant. Till his death, he was unaware that I knew of Martin’s existence. I hold nothing against Cecilia for bearing a child for my husband,” Maria said smiling at Cecilia which made her uncomfortable. She had wanted her son to dominate and now that was impossible. Yet, the poor woman was saying she had nothing against her. Such a good heart and Cecilia knew she had her own secrets but for her son she will never spill. At least he had a name and Maria and Daniella did not strike Cecilia as a terrible family but will her ambitious son accept them? She asked herself. “Before we get carried away, there is a part of the will that has not been read and I would like Peter to read it to us,” Maria said as she took her seat leaving Peter to take the floor.
Daniella and Micheal exchanged glances wondering what had been omitted. All Maria did was smile as Peter began reading, “This is the Will of Late George Estiamo …” Apparently, George had left some money for Cecilia as well as Martin with a house of his own. He could work at the company subject to Daniella’s approval of his employment and job allocation. Daniella loved and adored her father some more for the power he had given her. It was evident that Martin did not like this and his ego seemed to be missing but his mother was pleased. Micheal was happy for Daniella. At least, she now knew that the man she called father was her true father. That chapter was closed. Such an interesting story he thought. He tossed the idea of writing a novel on the Estiamo family round his head smiling to himself. Maria got up obviously to round the meeting up. “I hope this meeting has been an interesting one?” She asked with a smudged mischievous look. “I will like to plead with everyone to support Daniella as she takes over the running of the company and everyone welcomes Martin as an Estiamo. He would eventually work side by side with his sister,” Maria kindly requested. Everyone knew she was a woman of integrity and had a good soul. Daniella knew sooner or later she would have to accept Martin as her brother but she had to teach him a little lesson about that silly ego he has.
to be continued…