Heart Beat Part 7!!

As their cars passed on the road, people could not help but admire them. In the car, Daniella finally dug out her phone and saw Michael’s message amongst others. She was grateful that one of them had remembered their obligation. “Sweet Michael”, she murmured wishing he were there so she could hug him. She drifted away imagining how cool it would be when Michael is made the official head of his company. So many forms of imaginations popped up and she was so carried away that she did not realise when they reached the hotel or when her door was opened. What brought her back to earth was two hands stretched towards her. She realised one belonged to Michael and the other to Martin. She smiled and took both hands and was pulled out of the car. She giggled when she found her stamina and the men smiled at her. She then entwined her hands with that of Michael and Martin as they entered into the hotel. As usual, Michael and Daniella were teasing each other and managed to drag Martin into the teasing game. They were too busy chit-chatting that they did not notice the bows they received but walked on till they got to the hotel’s restaurant and made for the table booked by Michael.

Before they got to their table, there were stopped by a very beautiful petite woman named Janet. Not just any Janet but this was Janet Saint Morgan, mother of Michael Saint Morgan, wife to Patrick Saint Morgan and closest friend to Maria Estiamo, who was standing beside Janet. Apparently, Maria had changed her destination to meet with Janet which was an amazing coincidence. The mothers exchanged hugs and kisses with the gang leaving Janet confused as to who the new member was. She was used to seeing Daniella and Michael gallivant a lot but never with a third party. She whispered to Maria, “is that her boyfriend?” Maria immediately started laughing and Daniella got the gist. She realised that her mum had not discussed the matter of Martin with Janet and decided to fill her in. she was not going to hide her brother away. “Ma’am” drawing Janet’s attention she continued. “This is my long-hidden brother, Martin George Estiamo jnr.”, she completed pointing to Martin. Janet being a very dramatic person already had her hand over her mouth and that caused Maria to laugh. “Son?” Janet asked in shock. “Yes yes Janet. A son, the son of my late husband. Your shocked face is quite funny”, Maria responded earning her one of Janet’s straight faces. “Alright I will fill you in on everything but for now, let’s leave the gang to eat”, Maria said. The mothers said goodbye to them, and Maria dragged Janet away. If she had been left, she would have stared Martin down searching for some sort of resemblance. She knew Janet would be sceptical about this and that is why she had not mentioned it yet. There was nothing she could do anyway. George was dead. Everything had to be accepted the way it was at least till something else came up.

After lunch, the gang debated on what to do next. Daniella wanted to pay her father a visit and let him know he had been wrong. She hoped she would not bump into another child. She knew that sounded silly, but anything was possible. She informed the guys of her intention and they offered to go with her. Before her father’s death, she had always hated the thoughts of burials and cemeteries and never wanted to attend any. However, it hurt that she had not been present for her father’s burial and at least pay him the last respect. Why did mum not find her earlier? She felt like hitting her head against something but did not. While she battled those thoughts, Martin was enjoying his newly found company of friends. He was already beginning to really like his sister and thought Michael to be a really nice person. From what he could observe, Michael had been her everything for a very long time and that was sweet. She had a friend, even if just one, it was better than none which he had. He imagined them getting married and concluded that was not a bad idea. Then he wondered what would happen to the company when she got married. He sincerely hoped that it would all go well. He admitted to himself that Daniella seemed to be a competent woman and dad must have been really proud. He smiled at the thought of having an elder sister. ‘Dear Lord help me out’, he silently prayed with mischief.

Michael all the way in the third car did not know what to think exactly. For as long as he could remember, he had been the only man, except from her father, in Daniella’s life but now she had a brother. He could not help but feel a little jealous or maybe it was a lot of jealousy lurking around. If she found out she would literally flog him, but he could not help himself. He buried his head in his hands as if that would help him, but it did not. He would have to get used to it. Now he was anxiously looking forward to that trip Maria had proposed and was hoping Daniella would not drag Martin into it. It was becoming clear to Michael that he actually liked her more than the sibling relationship they had had going on, but he was a gentleman and was never going to rush it. He was not ready to ruin what they had anyway. With everyone carrying their own cross, the cars made their way to their destination.

The cars stopped in front of the cemetery and the three figures highlighted. They began to walk towards George’s graveside. When they got there, Daniella stepped forward, signalling the guys she wanted to be alone with her father and the men left her. She was lucky that something was always on her mind if not she would never stop crying. Without any effort, the tears found their way down and Michael saw that causing his heart to wince in pain. He wanted to console her, but he made no move. Daniella looked over the grave and shook her head. “Dad I really thought this was a joke. I thought they would tell me, this had been planned but you are really down there”, she stated sorrowfully. “There is something else you should know; I am your daughter. Your blood runs through my veins. I am a full-fledged Estiamo, and I hope you can hear me”, she said forcing a smile. “Truthfully, dad, I wish you were alive so I can throw a tantrum of how you hurt me, and have you trap me in a hug like you always did when we fought”, she said this slowly dropping to her knees and Martin rushed to her side. Michael felt useless and it annoyed him. He had never seen her so devastated, so he had no stored antics. Daniella looked at Martin with sorrowful teary eyes. “Martin, tell dad to get up and hug us”, she said feeling very silly, but she wanted to be hugged so badly by her father, yes he was her father. Martin offered her a hug which she accepted. He was not dad but was her brother and she could live with this. She finally got the strength to get up with Martin and he walked her to Michael where she switched to Michael’s hands. Michael gauging that she was really shaky, picked her up without asking and she did not protest. Martin smiled and concluded these two are very much meant for each other and he found that to be cool. When he got her to her car, he delivered her to the back seat where she unceremoniously laid down. After making sure she was comfortable, he shut the door. Behind him was Martin watching with keen interest. “Martin, I think your sister is really drained. I suggest we head home.” Michael stated politely and Martin was evidently worried about Daniella. He had never been really close to dad and he was barely available, but she had had him all her life. Martin found no fault in that and opted to go to his house. The drivers received instructions about their destinations, and they moved again. Martin’s car diverted after some time while the two went straight to the Estiamo’s mansion.

to be continued…

Heart Beat Part 6!!

The meeting disembarked leaving the Estiamos and Michael. Daniella walked over to Martin who was apparently still agitated beside his mother. Cecilia had reasoned it would be best if he were accepted by Maria and Daniella and was glad to see her walking towards them. Daniella gave a slight bow to Cecilia and turned to Martin. “Dear Brother, do you care for a truce?” She asked with an outstretched hand. Martin looked at her suspecting that she would get back at him for his attitude the first time they met, took the hand saying, “Truce sis”. To his amazement Daniella hugged him and said, “It is nice to know I have a brother. Do feel free to move into the mansion if you wish”. He could not reply as he was still shocked at the hug and proposal. Michael held Maria who was nodding with joy to what Daniella was doing. She would have been sad if Daniella had rejected him, even though he had been really naughty. Michael was simply proud of her kind step towards her half-brother. Martin finally decided to think about it since he had been given a house of his own. Daniella understood that perfectly. She bowed to Cecilia again who insisted on hugging her and she did not refuse. She immediately went to hug her mother and they left with Michael. Martin and his mum followed.

Daniella aware of their company, decided to go towards George’s office which was now hers technically. When they got there, she pulled away from the side hug she and her mum had going on since they left the board room and moved to Martin. Gesturing to the office, she said “this is dad’s office. Would you like to go in?” She asked Martin calmly and he accepted. The rest refused to join not wanting to ruin the sibling moment. Michael then took the women to Daniella’s office. While the women found a common ground, Michael made calls checking on his company. He was supposed to be on leave, so he was not crazy about going home. He had fought long and hard to finally get this leave. There was no way he was going to rush home. In addition, Maria had asked him to spend a week with them and afterwards she was organising a little trip for them. He called his bank to find out if they had paid the orphanage in the name of Mr. & Mrs. Dickinson. He hated giving instructions and they be disobeyed. It could get him really angry and cause him to show his Saint Morgan side which he also hated. He was glad to hear all had been done as he instructed. He immediately texted Daniella to update her about the payment knowing she would see it sometime in the evening. He found a way to busy himself. He remembered how Martin had rolled the word ‘biological’ at the graveside and how Daniella had turned out to be biological as well. The irony of this life he concluded and smiled.

In George’s office, Daniella and Martin went over everything from his shelves to even the carpet. Daniella told him some of the stories she had heard in the office, about all her tutoring and all their fights. Despite the love between her and her dad, they fought a lot. Daniella probably now realised where the diverted funds had partially gone to. He was raising a hidden child somewhere else. Now she wished she had not been hard on him, but he taught her the principle of accountability. She always fought for what was best for the company. In all sincerity, George was extravagant in many ways. He would buy things he did not need, book overly expensive hotels for holidays, spoil her with made for one jewelries and clothes.  It was cute and sweet but sometimes too much as well. Despite their money, Maria and Daniella have always appreciated simplicity and still do. Yet, Daniella wondered who would spoil her with expensive gifts now and smiled.

She looked at Martin who was now caressing a picture of father and daughter. It was sad that they did not have a complete family picture to cherish together. He was evidently sad, and his mood seemed to die with every second. She could not bear it anymore and decided to walk to him. He was sitting on father’s table. She touched him and he looked up at her. “Martin what is the problem?” She asked with a kind voice. “It is just that you had a lot of time with dad, a lot of memories and so many stories to tell. I never spent so much time with dad. I always had to count days which led into months before he would pay a visit”, he confessed to her. She realised George had been busy raising her but had not had enough time for Martin. Wait! What if there were more children somewhere? If it were confirmed that she was not biological, she would have felt a lot of guilt put upon her. She promised herself to take care and be there for Martin. She erased the thought of teaching him a lesson. Well, you never know what he may do next. She had always yearned for a sibling and now she had one, half or full did not matter. She hugged him while he sat resting on her.

Coincidentally he had always wanted a sibling as well. Someone to keep him company when dad was away, and mum was too busy to pay attention to him. Cecilia was always busy with one thing or the other. Often times, neglecting him during the week and making up for it during the weekend. At least he was grateful he saw a flicker of a parent every day. But now he had lost dad but gained a sibling. He smiled in her arms. He felt his defences melt and God did his sister smell expensive or what? She eventually let him go and smiled down at him. She decided to let him know the office was now hers and see his response. “Very soon I will need to move into this office. Do you mind? And you can have my former office”, she said looking at his face. “Oh well! That is not a big deal, but I seriously hope you would be merciful with the job you decide to give me”, he said wearing a puppy dog look and Daniella could not help but laugh. “That look does not work on me. Ask Michael, he would tell you”, she informed him still laughing hard. He shrugged and said, “Oh well! I heard elder sisters are never nice”. She looked at him and hit his back with no effort. “Now where did you get that garbage from?” She asked with a raised eyebrow. “From places and you just displayed it”, he said faking a hurt look and again Daniella bust into many rounds of laughter. “Hmm dear brother, having you around will help me laugh a lot more than I already do but I can tolerate it. You should be aware that Estiamos are meant to be coordinated”, she said in mere mockery, but his look seemed to dull again. “No one taught me what Estiamos are supposed to do and what they are not supposed to do”, he explained. “C’mon you lived the life dear. You think it is that simple. I wish I had been left to be normal without being told how to walk or how to eat”, she said teasing him. “Do not worry. You already have the ego of a male Estiamo. You will learn every other thing with time”, she said patting his back.

She began to head towards the door. ”Daniella, I am sorry about my attitude at the graveside. It was just me being extra silly”, he apologised. “I was going to get back at you for that, but I forgive you. Now smile and let us go find the rest”, She said nicely, and he made to join her. They left the office together, arms linked and moving towards her office. When they got to the door she said, “this is going to be your office soon and I hope you like it”. He looked at her and said, “If you rocked the office, then I will definitely like it”. They both laughed which might have informed those on the inside of their arrival. They entered the room and chorused, “hello everyone”. The mums were busy talking but Michael had slept off in Daniella’s chair and the greeting brought him back. Daniella walked to him and smiled at him. “Sleeping handsome sorry for waking you up”, she teased, and Michael smiled at her and looked at Martin. Cecilia was pleased to see the Estiamo children were getting along so was Maria. Michael whispered an offering to take her out to lunch, but Daniella modified the request as she announced, “How about we get our mothers home? Michael has offered to take me out to lunch and I am dragging my brother along”. Everyone smiled and consented. Michael had no choice but to agree as well and he pinched Daniella’s back. Despite the slight pain, she maintained a smile, leaving everyone ignorant of the pinch and the slight pain. They all left the office together with Daniella and Martin in front followed by the mothers and Michael. Before they left, Daniella had called down, requesting cars be made available.

At the entrance of the company, five cars were parked. The mothers got into their respective cars and were sent to their respective houses. Martin had been immediately assigned a car with an Estiamo number plate. While they were at the meeting, a car with the Saint Morgan number plate had been delivered. Michael’s dad had ordered it and Michael had not had enough strength to argue with him. He is not going to work but he could keep up the image for his father’s sake. The three got into their respective cars. Leading the convoy was Michael’s car then Daniella and finally Martin. They were headed to one of Michael’s family’s hotels for lunch and whatever else comes with the afternoon.

to be continued …

Heart Beat Part 5!!

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… 

Heart Beat part 4!!

That evening Daniella requested that she be taken to her father’s graveside as he had been buried in her absence. Michael offered to take her but Maria insisted that they be driven as they were both exhausted. They were driven in silence till they got to the graveyard. Michael signalled the way and on getting there, they found a man standing there. Without turning he said, “you finally came”. Both Daniella and Michael were confused. “Excuse me, I do not believe we are familiar”, Daniella politely stated. “Of course we are not. You see I have been hidden from the world for too long and now I am out. I am Martin George Estiamo jnr., son of Late George Estiamo and his only biological child”, he explained finally turning. The couple were taken aback. ‘You mean dad had another child outside?’ Daniella could not believe her ears. This guy apparently knew about her which gave him the audacity to roll the word biological round his tongue. “I am Daniella Estiamo, his daughter”, she retorted. Martin looked to Michael and he introduced himself as well. “It is my pleasure to meet both of you. I am on my way out,” he said casually. He definitely had an ego, an annoying one, Daniella concluded. She was hurt that ‘dad’ had done this to her.  The whole truth was out now. “I am not your child so why did you leave your whole wealth to me huh?” she asked the grave. She wanted to scream but instead she cried and Michael did not stop her. He simply watched her offering her sympathy with his presence and promising her to be here forever. He was shocked as well.

After sometime she got up and walked to Michael. She hugged him and said, “let us leave”. They went to the car and the driver was instructed to take them home. Again the ride was silent but this time Daniella’s head was on Michael’s shoulder. She sucked his strength without her knowing. He was weak because she was weak. When they got home, they found Maria in her favourite seat hugging her picture. Immediately she saw them, she got up to hug them. She knew something was definitely wrong. “Daniella, Michael what happened?” She asked. Michael simply bowed his head giving Daniella the platform to explain. Daniella walked to a seat, pulled off her jacket and fell into the chair. The other two took a seat as well. “Mother, are you familiar with Martin George Estiamo jnr.? Dad’s biological child,” Daniella asked with bitterness laced with each word. Maria smiled and that annoyed Daniella. “Mum please answer me”, her voice a bit high pitched but Maria was not disturbed. “He paid me a visit after your father’s death. He thinks he owns everything but that is a lie my dear. Do not even sweat over it. Tomorrow, there is a board meeting where I shall resolve this whole drama. Cecilia and her son will not ruin us. The two of you are expected to be there, is that understood?” Maria asked in a firm tone and the two nodded.

Maria got up and made for the stairs. She went straight to her room and called the family’s attorney. “Hello Peter, it is me, Maria”, she said casually. “Maria, I know it is you. What is wrong?” Peter asked in a calm tone. “Peter, tomorrow there would be a board meeting. I need you there with the Will to read what is left for Cecilia and her son, Martin”, Maria informed him. Peter shook his head in his office. They had already agreed on this. He could understand how Maria and Daniella must feel knowing that George had had another child outside. “Maria, I will do as you have instructed,” he finally replied. “Thank you very much Peter. Have a good evening, good bye,” she said as she ended the call. It was time to end the circus. No one would take Daniella’s birth right. At least, George had been sensible enough to protect that judging from his Will. Maria rubbed her temple and laid on the bed, deep in thought and she slept some moments afterwards.

In the sitting room, Daniella paced back and forth while Michael watched in silence. “Dad actually could not bear that he was not my father that he had to have a child outside without anyone knowing. That is just unfair Michael. Do you have any idea how I feel right now? This news will not even let me mourn the man I have always known as my father properly. What I cannot understand is why I was left so much.” She said as she vented her anger and bitterness to Michael. Michael had no answer for that and remained silent. “Do you think he was trying to mock me? You know that Martin boy or whatever he is.  Did you see his ego?” she asked Michael this time facing him causing intensity to burn through him. “Daniella, I do not know if he was trying to mock you but ego, yes he has a lot I must confess”, he plainly stated. “But believe me, everything will be sorted out tomorrow”, he tried to calm her down. He got up and hugged her. He felt her fall to tiny pieces in his arms. She was shaken, terribly shaken by all these. What could he do? She had been right when she warned him about having a thousand and one sides. He had never seen her like this. He had never seen her weak, broken apart or even in tears. This experience was new, a complete deviation from the Daniella he knew. It made him want to protect her, take the pain instead, anything to give her life. Her sorrow pierced him like a sword. Every time she cried, his heart moved. He could not explain his feelings for her right now and would not attempt to at the moment. He was too busy searching for words to comfort her. He sat her down and ordered for some juice for them. They drank slowly.

Daniella’s brain was in a state of confusion. She was probably as devastated as the devil was when he was sent down from heaven (if he was). She would not let this break her down. She had an empire to run and as much as she hated it, she would have to face it. A part of her was grateful for adding Michael to the company. Many times in the past when the Estiamo and Saint Morgan companies had to merge to execute a deal, they were always in charge, spearheading the direction of the project and together they always made it work. Just as they finished their drinks, Robin stepped in to announce that dinner had been served. They both stood and headed for the dining table. On their way, Daniella decided to go check on her mum instead of sending a maid. She casually pulled off her heels she had been wearing since their return and raced up the stairs leaving the men smiling behind her. Robin looked at Michael who was obviously amazed. “Do not be to amazed sir, she does things like this every now and then”, Robin informed. “Oh! Sir, I have seen some very new sides recently”, Michael replied still smiling. Michael always referred to Robin as ‘sir’ despite Robin kicking against it. He did it out of respect knowing that Robin was old enough to be his father. While Michael always called him ‘sir’, Daniella always gave a bow after talking to him. Robin had come to like it and did not complain anymore.

When Daniella got to the room, she found her mum asleep. She gently covered her with a duvet, put a pillow properly underneath her head and pecked her forehead. She began to tip-toe towards the door when Maria asked, “and the problem is?” Daniella froze in her steps, turned around and found her mum sitting upright. “Oh! Nothing mum. I came to let you know dinner was ready but I found you asleep and did not want to disturb you. Either way I think I disturbed you,” she answered. “Oh no! You did not. I am trained to know when someone comes into my room, let alone touch me. Survival instincts sweetie, something you lack”, Maria teased. Daniella smiled and bent her head. “So are you coming down or should I have your food brought up?” she asked her mum calmly. “Never mind dearie. You both should please eat. If I get hungry, I will let you know. For now I just want to rest”, Maria replied. “Okay mum”, she agreed, walked to her mum, kissed her forehead again and then left the room. She raced down the stairs with as much speed as she had raced up and found Michael waiting for her at the dining table. She took her seat, said the grace and they both ate gradually. Robin observed them eat. It would take a long time for Daniella to be revived but the love of her mum and Michael coupled with the expectation of the family would keep her going. That he was sure of.

After dinner, the couple parted. Michael went straight to his room. His phones had been brought to him that day and he had a ton of calls to reply and make. In Michael’s absence, Daniella went to her father’s study. It all seemed fake to her, like he was going to jump out of one corner like he always did attempting to scare her. Like he was sitting on his chair, training her on business management. George had taught her tips on business. He had been preparing her for a moment like this, when she had to do everything on her own. She gently, using her fingers, ran through everything that was on the table. Everything gave her a memory to remember. The stories he had told her, how they had always planned mum’s birthday in this study. How he would ask her to sit in his seat while he would pace, teaching her. How dad, mum and herself went through her results in here. How dad always had cookies secretly in there for Daniella and himself. How they had created a signature together for Daniella. Damn! There were so many memories and all of them kept flashing. She remembered how he gushed about her wedding, how her wedding will be the talk of the century. She smiled and bent her head. Now he would never see that beautiful day. He would never meet her future husband. He would never know his future grandchildren. Wait! If she felt this way, she wondered how Martin felt. How was she sure he was not married with children yet? Deep down she felt sorry for him. All her life, she had the fame, the attention as the Estiamo heir and only child. Meanwhile, his biological child had been hidden. How old was he? He did look matured. Could he be older than her? It took a while after their marriage before she was ‘born’. Had dad cheated on mum then? Oh dear Lord! So many unanswered questions and now he was dead with the answers. She ran her hands lazily through her hair. There was nothing she could do.

She sat in her father’s seat, stroking the picture of him on the table. She saw an album lazily laying on the table and decided to go through it. She discovered it was album that began with pictures of dad. It signified his growth from when he was a toddler to him as a man. With progress, mum came into the pictures and then herself. A tear dropped. She felt the rest threaten to rain but did not stop it. Between the day before  and now, she had cried more than ever. Now the tears were clouding her sight and wetting the pictures. She quickly wiped them and closed the album. She knew her mum must have dug that album out. She began to wonder how many more albums were there in the house. Had one been done about her? She remained there till early hours in the morning. She kept spinning in the chair. It was something she always enjoyed doing. She was travelling down the road of memories. Some made her smile, frown, laugh and cry harder. This was going to be tremendously hard and would break her on the inside. Grandma, poor grandma, who she had not seen yet, must be sad to the bone. The Estiamo had a trend of having one child. George was the only child of Lady Hannah Estiamo. She had had to bury her only child. She wondered what grandma would do when she found out Daniella was not an Estiamo. Hell was bound to break loose with grandma’s fury. Why was all these happening to her at this point in her life? She kept rubbing her temple. She got up and walked to the mirror. She examined herself thoroughly and saw she had diminished from her grief and stress. She could not recognise herself. How was everyone putting up with her? They understood her, especially Michael. Poor Michael, was he asleep already or was he still busy? She knew she had to check on him before she went to bed. She wondered how long he would stay with her before he left. He must be growing tired of her constantly crying. ‘What exactly was she feeling for this Saint Morgan dude?’ she asked herself over and over again curling her hair with her fingers.  She decided it was time to sleep and walked towards the door. At the door she looked back and could swear she saw her dad sitting on his chair. She was imagining things.

On her way to her room, she looked downstairs and saw someone sitting down. “Yo! Saint! You not going to bed?” Daniella asked. Michael smiled and got up. “Actually Estiamo, I was waiting for you. I went to your room to say goodnight but you were not there so I decided to chill here”, Michael replied. Daniella had to smile at his sweetness. He climbed the stairs and pecked her goodnight. They both retired to their rooms. Daniella had a quick shower, prayed, and attempted to sleep.

to be continued…

Heart Beat Part 3!!

As she was about to open the door to her apartment, she realised something. Had she not locked the door? She pushed the already open door and led the way. She went straight to the kitchen, ignorant of the fact that the house had been arranged. In the kitchen sat her mother at the kitchen table, dressed in a simple black gown with a hat, drinking tea comfortably. Daniella stopped dead in her tracks and was shocked. Her mum simply smiled at her. “Daniella! You told me the house was a mess but I see no mess,” Michael called out from the sitting room. “I see you have a guest”, Maria said and coincidentally Michael walked into the kitchen. Surprise evidently displayed itself on Maria’s face. “Oh! It is you Michael. You both are never up to any good. I do understand though, the need to seek solace. I too have a house no one knows about,” Maria said with a smile and the amazed duo could not but smile as well. “So I am exactly like my mother,” Daniella teased as she pushed Michael to a seat and took one close to her mum. Maria noticed the radiant mood and worried about what she was about to tell her. She silently prayed that Michael would help her through all these. Daniella’s mind pondered on something else. She had heard once that one does not have to be your biological parent to love you and serve as your parent. She was preparing herself to talk out things with her father.

Suddenly, Maria looked warmly at her daughter. “Ella, I need you home with me please,” she said politely. “Before you say no, I would like to let you know that it is for a very important reason. There are things pending due to your absence. Please my sweet daughter, return home with me,” she pleaded. Daniella looked at her mum closely and realised the calm look she was displaying was fallacious. She turned to Michael and decoded that he knew whatever was up and had hidden it from her. He must have a reason she concluded. She turned back to her mum. “I planned to return in the next two days but if it is important I will leave with you right away,” she said with a smile. What could have happened? Daniella thought as she left them to get dressed. Since her mum looked so simple, she opted for such a look as well. She had a couple of Estiamo worthy clothes for emergency situations as such. She chose a black silk gown, she naturally liked black anyway. While she went about getting dressed, Michael and Maria worried about what she would do when she found out the big news.

“Michael I am going to need your help. Please my son promise to help her heal and prevent her from falling into everlasting depression. You know she has always been a daddy’s girl. I do not know how to tell her”, Maria said covering her face with her hands. Michael knew he was Daniella’s friend and vice versa. His isolation trip would have to be cut short. He had to be by ‘Mrs. Dickinson’s’ side through this rough time. She would do same for him if it was the other way round, he hoped. Hell would let loose once she found out and Maria, who was another mum to him, was already weak enough. George’s death affected everyone that knew him and he feared the impact it would have on Daniella. Michael excused himself and left the house without Daniella’s knowledge. He went straight home to transform to Michael Saint Morgan in terms of style. He chose a lazy looking suit with a crisp white shirt accompanied with S.M. Cuff links and nice shoes. His house happened not to be far off and drove back in his car. He got there in time to catch the ladies exiting the house. Daniella was shocked when she saw him get out of his sleek car. “Now that is a real Saint Morgan,” she teased. Maria was glad that her daughter had some humour reserved and hoped she would not fall out when she found out everything. All Michael did was smile but had a similar prayer going through his mind. Casually, Daniella moved to Michael’s ride leaving her mum to hers. Her mum did not mind but waved them instead.

Daniella was dying to know what this urgent matter was and why Michael had chosen to return with her when his isolation period was just beginning. “Patience”, she mumbled.  She had to be patient, something she never was. The conversation between Michael and herself was very scanty. Michael felt the tension but did not spill and he was glad she was not pestering him with questions. It secretly amused him that she was trying out the virtue, patience. It would be nice if she became a lot more patient. He could not laugh out so he resolved to smile. He was glad she had drifted away. If not he would have had to explain to the hot headed beauty the reason for the smile.

Daniella in her world was glad that her estate was finally in sight. She could get home soon and all this would end already. They finally arrived and parked their cars in front of the Estiamo palace. They got out of the cars and made their way to the mansion. They were greeted by staff but she felt something foul was wrong with the overall mood. Oh! What was it? They were all glad that she was home and she appreciated being missed.

In the sitting room sat the family’s attorney, who had insisted on reading the Will the moment Daniella got back. On sighting him she knew all could not be well. The three took their seats with Robin standing behind Maria. Maria was not sure this was the best way for Daniella to find out, but what was the best way? The attorney brought out an envelope, took out George’s Will and began, “this is the will of Late George Estiamo…” “Stop there please!” Daniella commanded. “What will? Who is late?” She asked. “Your father”, the Attorney replied. She could not believe anything that was just uttered. “Whose father? Because mine is not and cannot be dead! He is just pulling my legs for being away for so long. Dad come down please! This joke is too far this time”, she yelled. The staff all felt so low for the princess. “Michael tell them! Tell them my dad is joking”, she demanded. Michael got up and caged her in a hug. It was not a joke she realised, her father might actually be dead. Tears flowed. She slowly went down to the floor and Michael went with her. Maria cried, not for the death of her husband but because finally her baby girl shed tears. Daniella wept in Michael’s arms for the rest of the day. Even when the will was eventually read, she wept. His heart ached, her tears moved him within. She never cried and now her tears have given him a second bath for the day.

As expected, Daniella had everything but surprisingly, Michael was made a member of the board of directors as well as Maria. Sufficient money was allocated to Maria and a fixed monthly allowance. All that passed by Daniella’s ears. All she remembered was the last encounter she had with her father. As the scenes replayed, she wept harder. Maria saw the attorney out, dismissed the staff and joined them on the floor.  Maria moved Daniella’s head from Michael’s shoulders and placed it on her thighs. “Cry my daughter. We are all here for you”, she said with soft tears dropping from her pretty eyes. She rubbed her daughter’s back. The sight caused Michael pain. His eyes moistened but he would not and could not break down. He had to be strong for them, for the two women crying by his side. They were there a long time before Michael and crying princess slept off leaving Maria. She placed a pillow underneath their heads and ordered for blankets which she used to cover them both. She got up, sat on the chair and watched her children. Finally drifting off in the early hours of the morning.

They were not disturbed the next morning. Robin had ordered that the room should not be entered into by anyone. Maria eventually woke up first and continued watching over the children. It appeared that Daniella had woken up, cried some more and slept. She was like a child again and Maria’s heart moved with love. They would be fine. Maria always believed good things are not always far. She got up and opened curtains to let light into the room. She stood by the window watching the staff work on the garden. She was not going to wake the children up. She knew they had always loved each other even though they never accepted it. Maria knew Michael would not leave Daniella’s side. She wiped the tears that had stubbornly found their way down. She noticed how the light blessed the sleeping duo’s features. She found the strength to smile. She found a camera among the things on a side stool and took a picture of them. She would show them when they eventually admitted their love, she thought. Until then, it was her secret.

Talking of secrets, did she not have one to sort out? Coincidentally, the duo rolled and bumped into each other. Maria held back her laugh as she watched them wake up gradually. Daniella held her head immediately and Michael reached out, ‘Good morning pumpkin’. He figured all the crying gave her a headache. She became conscious of her surroundings and fell into Michael’s arm. ‘Good morning Michael. I had a terrible dream. Tell me dad is upstairs laughing at me right now,’ Daniella murmured. Michael knew it would be hard for her. He kissed her forehead slightly, aware that he had not brushed or freshened up in anyway. ‘Dad is upstairs in heaven and he is smiling down at you,’ Michael consoled.   He felt tears run down her face and felt her wipe them away. Maria moved to them and helped Daniella up. ‘Good morning daughter, good morning son,’ Maria greeted and they replied, ‘Good morning mum’. “Now we all need to freshen up and baby girl you need your strength back”, Maria said in her warm motherly tone. Well Michael was practically family and so best believe he had a room in the Estiamo palace. Everyone went to their respective rooms to freshen up with maids to help them. They all met at the dining table, all in black, all without a proper appetite but all tried in silence to eat. The day went in silence with Daniella mostly in the arms of Michael and Maria observing the garden.

to be continued…