What people were ignorant about is what happened before that very day when George Estiamo supposedly ‘died’. George had been suffering from severe depression. He felt terribly guilty that he had a child with another woman and not his wife, Maria. He loved Daniella but felt bad for bringing her up in a lie. Towards the end, he started feeling like Martin should be the one getting all the attention as his true child but that would have been to Maria’s detriment and he really loved his wife. As if all of this was not already enough, he was informed of the possibility of Martin not being his biological son as well. Devastation led to the outburst Daniella got. Here he was in his underground house which only he and Peter knew about, reviewing the events that led up to this.
“Peter I have been deceived all these time”, George confessed in a sober tone after receiving the news of Martin. “Oh c’mon! You are not even certain yet”, Peter said firmly. “I need to disappear from all these. I need air, space, and time. I want to be me again. All this fortune has blinded me”, George said to Peter who was staring him down. Over time he had become so accustomed to Peter that they had become more than just Lawyer and client but friends, best friends. He knew Peter was not on the same page as he was, but he was still going to do what he wanted to do. Peter raised an eyebrow and relaxed in his chair. “What do you suggest we do Mr. Estiamo?” He asked attempting formality. George simply smiled because he knew his idea would creep Peter out but again had he not decided that he would do what he wanted to do. “I plan on disappearing, dying basically”, he said with mischief entwined with every word. Peter was alarmed and wondered why he wanted such a drastic method. Why not a simple long trip? “George is that not a bit too drastic?” He asked visibly worried. George looked at him and said he had made up his mind. He planned to investigate while underground. He knew Peter could not change his mind. He was long overdue for some sort of adventure and he had to get himself together. He went ahead to give Peter the detailed plot. He worried about the grief, but he knew they would be glad when he returned, and he would promise not to stupidly mess with them like this again. But this one time was for him.
It was all planned and manifested on the day of the board meeting. In the eye of the world, Mighty George Estiamo was dead and gone. He smiled at that as he rubbed his hands together. Thanks to Peter, there were chips planted everywhere important. He knew exactly what had been happening in his house and office. He felt the pain in his chest, and he pictured Maria’s face and the pain he was causing her. He would forever make it up to her till he eventually died. By now he knew Daniella was his flesh and blood. He was incredibly glad and relieved that it had been sorted. The day he heard that, he cried. At least his death had accomplished one thing, the true identity of his daughter, Daniella Estiamo, heir to the Estiamo fortune. He was so proud to have been blessed with her. Now the next issue was to determine the paternity of Martin George Jnr. Estiamo. He already knew that the family was becoming closely knit. He feared for Maria if Martin was not really his son. She was already knitting him a sweater. He had to move fast. He already had tabs on Cecilia to monitor her movements in his absence. Peter had given him a download of the board meeting and how Cecilia and Martin had been given new rides. He did not mind at the moment but if the story was true …
For now, the world seemed to have stopped mourning him as newspapers did not carry anything about him anymore. He planned to spend a year dead. He immediately began calculating his next moves and when he had it all figured out, he got out his phone and called Peter.
All the way in the Saint Morgan mansion, Patrick sat down to read a newspaper while Janet made a fuss of how she should visit Maria. Patrick knew she was simply looking for some sort of gossip and to spy on Michael and Daniella. Apparently, he was so comfortable at the Estiamo’s that he had not paid them a visit since his return. He smiled as he knew what was keeping his son occupied, Daniella. They were alike when it came to taste in women. Patrick loved beautiful, classy women and Janet was the very definition of that. Although, she did not come from an extremely rich family, she carried herself like a queen and now she was the queen of the Saint Morgan palace. He had long stopped reading the newspaper but covered his face with it to prevent her channelling her energy towards him. She was blazing fire while Maria was the calmer fire. The both of them combined have always made a good and bad pair. He and George were always at the receiving end of their mischief. Now he was alone and that made him really sad.
Daniella was staring at herself in the mirror. After finding out initially that she was not an Estiamo she had doubted her looks very much. Now she ran hands over her face and appreciated the looks. She had dropped her novel to go change into something comfortable for the movie. As she went through her wardrobe, she giggled at the thought of being Mrs. Dickinson. She picked a pair of jeans and a customised polo top. Michael had got it for her, and it had ‘Empress’ imprinted on it. She cherished it but rarely wore it for obvious reasons. Today would be a good day for it. She changed into her clothes. She gave her hair a good brush and let it pour over her shoulders. She decided to look for more things he had got for her. She found a collection of simple but classy rings. She was obsessed with rings, and he knew this. Looking at everything he got her, all he ever wanted was for her to exude simplicity, be herself. She noticed a jacket she had not worn in a while and moved over to inspect it. Within its pockets she found an envelope. She got it out, opened it and found a story. Tears poured down. It was not just any story, but one she had started writing with her father on one of their special evenings. She never remembered or continued it after that day. Now she regretted it badly. She dropped the jacket, held the papers to her chest as she walked to her bedside drawer. She placed the envelope with her other stories. Emotionally she was not prepared to read the story, so she was not going to try to. Half an hour passed and all she did was stare. This was hard, and this moving on fast was harder. She said a little prayer and got up. She cleaned her face. She repeated her mantra over and over again, “it is okay. It is all okay. He is in a better place.”
As she descended the stairs, she spotted the men talking to mum. Maria noticed her daughter and whispered to Michael, “she is not okay”. Michael glanced up and concluded that as well. He moved quickly in order to receive her at the end of the stairs. She stood before Michael attempting a fake smile. He simply pulled her into a hug and whispered, “I am here for you”. She closed her eyes at that and just enjoyed the hug. Martin feeling a little jealous coughed and caught their attention. Daniella opened her eyes and smiled, breaking away from Michael and hugged Martin too saying, “my silly little brother”. After that she walked to her mum and hugged her tight. She pecked her and smiled at her looking into her eyes. Over the years, they had developed a connection and could speak through their eyes. She was trying to tell her mother that she was fine. Maria smiled and nodded while holding on to Daniella’s hand. Eventually, Daniella turned around, “I thought we all wanted to watch a movie?” She asked and Michael responded, “we are ready when you are”. He was just noticing the shirt and rings and smiled warmly. Daniella announced she was ready for the movie. Deep down she felt they were not mourning dad well enough but then what else could they do. They had cried and were still crying. It had been a hell of a week for her and a hell of two weeks for the rest. They all still dressed in black, which was not going to stop soon. They moved to the sitting area to all cuddled up and watched a movie. Daniella avoided mentioning what she had found and found a way to mingle with them. They had popcorn and hot dogs made for the movie night at home. They eventually picked some random movie. Maria sat on her seat close to the window watching them while Daniella sat in between her men. She needed no bodyguards as she was appropriately armed between them. Slowly the evening went by. Dad would not want them wallowing away, right?
to be continued …