After dinner with the Saint Morgans, Daniella really wanted to pay Martin a visit and check up on him. Michael offered to take her there disregarding the fact that she had her car and driver waiting for her. She had no choice but to accept his offer and he drove her all the way to Martin’s house. On getting to Martin’s house, there was nobody in. The gate itself was locked. It was strange for everybody to be out at the same time – both Martin and the helps. It was not adding up so they decided to pay Cecilia a visit and see if he had decided to move back in with his mother. They both live with their parents anyway and maybe Martin got tired of the independence.
On getting to Cecilia’s house, they received the coldest welcome right from the gate. It was as if she had given everyone a picture of them and warned them not to be polite to them. But they could not be bothered about that at the moment. All they wanted to do was ensure Martin’s safety. Daniella was looking through the cars and Martin’s wasn’t here. Well, it could be at the Mechanic’s so that was not a problem. They were directed to where Cecilia was seated. “Hello Aunty Cecilia”, they both chorused upon seeing her. “Hi.” She responded coldly. “How may I help you both? I am quite busy.” She said although she looked rather bored with nothing to do at the moment. “Errm Aunty C, we are here because of Martin. He has not been at the office for the past two days and we thought he was with you.” Daniella explained. Cecilia looked up at them and said, “why would he be with me? He has a house and has clearly picked you lot over me.” “It is not like that Aunt. Martin loves you and nobody could ever take your place in his life. We have already been to his house and his gate was locked. He did not tell me he was travelling. I am just a bit worried about him.” Daniella responded obviously worried. “Why don’t you go and ask your good for nothing mother where my son is?” Cecilia replied with every word laced with bitterness. “I will not have you speak about my mother like that!” Daniella snapped. “Or else what would happen? You would ask me out? News flash! This is my house today meaning I can do and act anyhow I want.” Cecilia stated feeling proud of herself. “I find it funny that rather than be worried about your son’s whereabouts, you have it out for my mother. Well news flash for you right back, I can take everything back from you. The house, the cars, the glitz and the relevance. In a snap of my finger, you could be back to irrelevance. So, I suggest you think twice about speaking about my mother ever again.” Daniella stated clearly and left with Michael right behind her.
It was at that moment that it dawned on her what Daniella had just told her. ‘Martin is missing!’ She wanted to shout but could not find the voice to. How could her son be missing and she had absolutely no clue where he could be. He had not been to the office, he was not at home, he was not with her, he was not with them, then where in the world was he? At that she picked up her phone and tried repeatedly to call him but to no avail. Then she dialled another number. “Philip, our son is missing!” Cecilia squeaked over the phone. “Not you too! I had to deal with Crystal telling me that our daughter is missing this morning. Can you not add to it?” Philip said obviously unbothered. “Are you kidding me? I said our son is missing and you are speaking a language that I do not understand. I have no business with Crystal. All I know is that no one knows where Martin is. He has not been at the office. He is not picking calls. He is not at his house. He is not with me. Most importantly, he is not with them. First, Peter disappeared. Now I can’t find my son. Philip please do something. Something is definitely not right here.” Cecilia pleaded. “Okay, fine. I will look into his whereabouts. But I am sure that he is just out having some fun with his friends.” Philip replied. “I am going to hope that you are right. Just find our son.” Cecilia concluded and ended the call. She sank into her chair and just stared blankly. How was this her life right now? How had she come this far? She had been so consumed by all the wrong things and now someone had taken her son from right under her nose. She was so sure that it was Maria – that vile jealous woman. The irony.
On the other end, Philip was beginning to get a wake up call. First, Peter was missing. Then, this morning, Zee is missing and now Martin is missing. It is not a coincidence. Somebody is coming for him. Whoever it is was taking out all his relevant pieces on the chessboard. He was practically exposed now with no plan b. With Peter and Martin gone, he had no access to the Estiamo wealth. With Zee out of the picture, he had no access to the Saint Morgan wealth. His head started hurting from the picture he was painting. He could not lose something he had been planning for years. He called for his right hand man and said, “Look into the sudden disappearance of my daughter, Zee and Martin Estiamo.”
“Mum, mum!” Daniella yelled as she got home. “Mum!” “Yes sweetheart!” Maria called from the top of the stairs. “What has got you so worked up love?” Maria asked as she descended the stairs. “Mum, have you spoken to Martin recently?” Daniella asked panicking. “The last time I spoke to him was 2 nights ago when he called to make sure that I was fine. I have not spoken to him since then. What’s wrong?” Maria asked beginning to sense a need to worry. “Ah mummy Martin is missing! He has not been at the office for 2 days. His house is locked! He is not with his mum. Michael and I have tried to call him repeatedly and it is not going. Mummy, where is our Martin?” Daniella asked distressed. Michael came from behind and just held her. Maria was in shock for a few minutes. Then she reached for phone and dialled Martin’s number. It rang out and no one picked it. She did it a few more times and nothing. What was happening? Without saying a word, she turned around and went up the stairs.
She got to her room and fell on her knees. Everything was beginning to be too much for her. “Dear God, what have I done to deserve this? After George died, I was so upset at you. I thought how could you let this happen? How could you let such horror befall me? And when he came back, I was upset that You would even let him execute such a silly plan. I was upset that You let him hurt me like that. But God, now it is my son and I cannot bear it anymore. I cannot bear to lose a child in any shape or form. Lord, I am begging you. Please show us where Martin is. I know I have a lot to do in terms of redeeming our relationship. I know I have a lot of healing to do in You. But God You know that You and I have an agreement, I will not lose my children. Please come through for me Lord.” Suddenly, George flashed in her mind. Could George have something to do with Martin suddenly missing? Is it because he is not his biological son? She got up and called Robin to come to her immediately.
There was a knock on her door followed by Robin’s entrance. Robin had been avoiding Maria ever since she found out about George. He knew she would be pissed and pissed at him particularly for not telling her when he found out. The truth is he is also still shocked but relieved. “I know you and George have been playing around. I am going to ask you a simple question, is Martin safe?” Maria asked looking intently at Robin. George had not exactly told Maria everything. He did not know what to say and what not to say. “Robin! I am asking you a simple question. George cannot continue to put us through hell! Are we pawns to him? For the last time, is Martin safe?” Maria snapped. “Yes, he is ma”, Robin said with his head bent. “That would have to do I guess and do not worry, I won’t tell anyone.” Maria replied. “Thank you ma”, Robin replied and left. Maria looked up and said, “thank you Lord!” She might not know exactly where he is but if Robin says he is safe, then he is. She went downstairs and cuddled with her shaken daughter reassuring her that Martin is fine and they would find him.
Philip’s people came up with nothing. No one seemed to find any leads. Zee and Martin were truly missing. Philip could not believe it. He was sceptical about getting the police involved because he was scared of what they would find in the course of this investigation. His offences might just be uncovered and he could not have that. So, he asked his people to keep digging and kept reassuring Cecilia and Crystal independently that their children would be fine. On the Estiamo end, Maria convinced them that she had Robin digging into the issue. If Robin and his guys found Daniella, they would find Martin soon. Everybody seemed to have forgotten about Peter for the time being.
On the fifth day of Martin’s absence, the Estiamo house bell went off. Daniella grudgingly got up from where she had been curled up in the sitting area to get the door before any of the helps got to it. The last two days had been torture for her. First, she lost her dad. Then, Peter came for her company and disappeared. Now her younger brother had disappeared as well. Yesterday, Cecilia had come by the house to throw her usual tantrum but there was nobody to respond. Maria carried on as if no one was speaking and Daniella was too drained to think of intervening. When she was done accusing them of taking out her son to retain their wealth, she left the way she came. Michael had been very present as well – popping in here and there to check up on them. Daniella had basically been working from home since she realised Martin was missing. A part of her was scared of stepping out before she would be next. She did not like whatever was happening. She finally got the door and lo and behold, Martin stood before her glowing. It was the fact that he was glowing for her. She just stood there frozen. Martin was fine! Martin was here! Then she closed her eyes and shook her head to make sure she was not seeing Michael as Martin. She opened her eyes and Martin was still there. “Are you going to hug me or not?” Martin teased. “Oh Martin!” She said as she flew to hug him. He smelt good. This young man was definitely not kidnapped. She broke away from the hug and really looked at him. He was fine – no bruises or marks. “Where have you been?” Daniella demanded. Now she was getting angry. Everybody has been worried and this young man looked like he had been cruising. “There is a lot I have to tell you but right now, I am exhausted. Can I come in?” Martin asked with a smile. “Of course!” Daniella said sharply. “Mum! Mum! Martin is here!” She yelled as they went back into the house. Maria heard that and came dashing out of the kitchen. “Oh my child!” Maria said as he ran towards her. She hugged him and was grateful that he was indeed fine. “What have you been eating? In fact follow me! I was trying to make something to force feed your sister but you look like you need the force feeding more.” Maria concluded and headed for the kitchen. They both obediently followed her. She got them to eat at the Kitchen table and she was just so happy to have Martin back and Daniella relieved.
“Have you called your mother?” Maria asked Martin remembering how distressed Cecilia was. “Why should I?” He replied nonchalantly. Daniella looked up at him and wanted to smack him. “Do you know how worried your mother has been?” Daniella retorted. “I am the least of her worries. She has a lot more coming for her than she realises.” Martin stated matter-of-factly. “What does that mean Martin?” Maria snapped. “Mama…” Martin started. “Do not mama me. Once you are done with this meal, you will pick your phone and call your mother. I do not care if you guys fought or not. I am a mother and I understand everything she felt in the last couple of days. I do not want to hear anything you have to say until you have called her and have had a polite conversation. Is that understood?” Maria instructed. “Yes ma’am!” Martin replied. “Better!” Maria concluded as she got up to sort out other things. But she kept pondering on what Martin said. What could he mean by that? What did he know? Has he been investigating his mother? What had George been doing with him for the last five days? She was still angry with George. She was not in the mood to call him and ask questions. She also knew that there was a limit to what she could get out of Robin at this point. His loyalty has always been to George more than it has been to her. Was that really true? Well, he would not tell her what she wants so she is permitted to think whatever she wants. True to his word, after eating, Martin called his mother and tried his best to have a polite conversation. She was so overwhelmed. She actually started crying over the phone. In that moment, he felt bad for her but he knew more was coming and she better be ready to reap everything she had sown. It is about to get very interesting around here and he needs to set things in motion.
While Martin was talking to his mother, Daniella took the opportunity to call Michael and inform him of Martin’s safety. He was incredibly relieved as well. He had feared what would happen to Daniella if they could not find Martin soon. She was just beginning to find herself after losing her father and her brother disappears. He had been living in fear for the last couple of days but he could finally breathe freely. His girl was good. Did she know that she was now his girl? He would have to make certain of that.
As she was done with call, Martin snuck up behind her. “It does not look like you missed me much”, he said attempting to sulk. She turned around smiling and looked at him. “I cannot believe that you are truly here. I have been so scared of the worst happening and here you are glowing.” Daniella said honestly. “I am so sorry for scaring you and I promise that all of these will make sense to you in the next couple of days. We will take it a day at a time and I need you to trust me. Can you do that?” Martin asked smiling down at her. “Of course I can”, she replied and he hugged her. Maria stood at the corner with tears in her eyes. Isn’t God so wonderful? And she quietly walked away. Her children were fine. She had to go and continue her conversation with God and thank Him so much more.
“I heard about the merger. Shouldn’t you have announced yet?” Martin inquired as they started walking to another part of the house. “Oh you know I should have been worried about that rather than a missing brother.” She replied sarcastically and rolling her eyes. Martin laughed and said, “Once again I am extremely sorry for disappearing. Can we schedule it for Monday? We will rest over the weekend and go back to grinding on Monday.” Martin replied. “I guess Monday works. I will call and have my P.A. work it out.” Daniella said. “You do not have to do a thing, I got this!” Martin replied. Daniella turned around and raised her brow while examining him. “You suddenly know how to handle a press conference?” She inquired. “I was thinking that I would learn on the job if you let me.” Martin responded smiling. Daniella narrowed her eyes at him and said, “Fine! Knock yourself out. I am going to freshen up. I will see you in a bit.” Indeed Martin got to work immediately she left and started making all the necessary calls as he had been instructed to do.
Monday came and it was Merger Signing/Press Conference Day. Daniella was dressed in a dark mustard coloured trouser suit set. It sat on her magnificently. Her jewellery was simple but pure gold. She had on gold earrings, a gold wristwatch and a gold bracelet. Her heels were gold stiletto heels and she wore her hair down letting it bounce with every step she took. It is safe to say that she dressed to kill. It was also the first time in the last three months that she was wearing a colour other than black. She was not done mourning her dad but she just felt motivated to wear a different colour. It goes without saying that Michael matched the energy. He wore a dark blue suit piece with a silk dark mustard pocket square. Of course he had checked in with ‘his girl’ about what she was going to wear. This was a defining moment. In fact it was quite symbolic for him. Today, their companies were merging but they would be ‘merging’ soon enough if he played his cards well. Oh he was so giddy.
Every important person was present – Maria, Patrick, Janet, Directors, Robin, Cecilia with Martin standing very close to his sister as if he was her body guard. Both Daniella and Michael took their seats at the public signing table and made to sign their copies of the contracts. Just then, Philip walked in with his entourage. “I find this very funny!” He said without any trace of humour on his face. “Patrick, is this how you pay me back for trying to save your dying company? Do they all know? The amount of debt you are in!” Philip said attempting to mock Patrick. The reporters were in shock. No one ever knew that the SMG was in debt and everyone had their recording devices on with some double checking that theirs was working. This was not the type of scoop to miss. “Go ahead and answer me Patrick! Something got your tongue?” Philip asked with a raised brow. “I follow up my graciousness by allowing your lousy son marry my daughter. Instead, you both kidnap my daughter! Patrick where is my daughter?” Philip snapped. “I believe she would be wherever you kept her. I have no business with your daughter. If anything, my son was the one doing your daughter a favour by marrying her.” Patrick replied proudly. “What did you just say?” Philip asked clearly upset by his response. “Exactly what you heard!” Patrick replied tilting his head. Philip burst out laughing. “I see that you have grown some backbone. Anyway, I am here to say that this merger cannot happen because I have an existing contract with SMG and it overrides this silly escape attempt.” Philip said arrogantly. “I do not recall signing an agreement with you.” Patrick replied. “Oh really? Peter could you show him this agreement?” Philip said with a smile. Peter appeared from somewhere behind and everyone was shocked. When did he come back? Who found him? Was he ever missing? These were some of the questions on people’s minds. Peter proceeded to show Patrick the supposed contract. The paper inside the black file read, ‘I got you! – George’ and Patrick smiled broadly. “So you see, this merger cannot happen sweetheart”, Philip said looking pointedly at Daniella. He could not deny the fact that she was indeed beautiful. His cunning stare was beginning to linger a bit too long and Maria wanted to throw her shoe at him to destroy his useless eyes, but she refused to choose violence on a day like this.
“Are you sure about that Philip Williams?” said a strange voice from somewhere in the building.
… to be continued