Andy called the driver that brought them to the party and within minutes, the driver arrived. Andy was happy that the driver had not witnessed all that took place because the driver looked shocked when he saw Jessica crying.
“Is everything OK ma’am?” he asked with concern.
Jessica could not answer.
“She would be fine” Andy replied and took Jessica to the backseat, sitting beside her also.
The driver picked up Jessica’s shoes and purse which was scattered on the road and put them in the car as he got behind the wheels. Andy pulled Jessica back into his arms and she rested her head on his chest. Jessica sniffed and swallowed as her tears stopped. Andy stroked her head slowly and kissed the top of her head. He felt responsible for this occurrence. He never should have accepted the idea of a party, especially one which was being organized by his own father. His father had always been mischievous and spontaneous when it comes to the family name.
To his father, nothing was more important and anything should be done when something untoward surfaces, even if it meant having a sacrificial lamb.
Jessica was already asleep when they arrived home and he was greatly relieved. He carried her inside the house and straight to the bed. When he placed her on the bed, she sniffed like a baby that just finished crying and folded her knees, towards her chest. Andy swallowed and kissed her cheek as he ran his fingers through her hair.
His temples throbbed. He had promised to protect her and make her happy but no, all he had been able to give her was more and more pain. He felt terribly devastated. He wanted to remove Jessica’s clothes and jewelries so that she would sleep more comfortably but he remembered that she did not get anything to eat at the party before it crumbled.
He covered Jessica with a blanket and put on the air conditioner. He went to the kitchen but did not see any food there.
Cooking seemed to be out of it because he did not feel up to it so he picked up the car keys and wallet and left the house to get food at the eatery.
He wished he had not relieved the driver, he would have sent him to get the food while he held Jessica as she slept. He thought of how small she looked as she slept; she looked like a little girl who was afraid of a stormy rain.
After he got the food, he got back into the car and drove home. He locked up the doors and went inside the room but received a very big shock when he found the bed empty.
“Jessica” he called out with his heart pounding but did not hear any response. Alarm bells rang in his head and he flung the package he was holding, not caring where it landed. “Jess” he called louder. He checked the toilet and every corner of the room but did not find her.
He started searching everywhere in the house, yelling ‘Jessica’ but he got no response. He hurriedly unlocked the door and went to his gateman.
“Did Jessica leave the house?”.
“Yes, oga. She just commot, she no tell me anything”.
“Oh my God” He groaned. “Why did you not stop her? What is happening for Christ’s sake?”
“Oga, abeg no vex”.
“Shut up and open the bloody gate.” Andy yelled. The young man spun into action.
Andy jumped into his car and drove out with his blood boiling. He started driving and searching for Jessica. He crosschecked everyone twice even though he knew he would identify Jessie immediately he sighted her. After more than thirty minutes of fruitless search, Andy had to confront the fact that Jessica was nowhere to be found.
Mr. Williams paced his sitting room slowly with a wine glass in his hands. His thoughts were in disarray. Thinking back, he was not happy with what he did. When he had planted that camera, he hadn’t expected to find something so pathetic.
The couple had portrayed the act of close intimacy when he saw them. The look in his son’s eyes when he stared at his wife was one of longing and desire. It had been so perfect. Little did he know then that it was all a script. That his son could act so perfectly was so unbelievable.
Love. He remembered that Andy had mentioned something about being in love with Jessica. ‘He’d better not’ he thought firmly.
He knew that that woman was so stunning and that any man would fall senselessly for her. Even he himself was floored when he saw his daughter-in-law, but he later realized that the little wench was using her exquisite beauty for other means. How perfect it is to make Andy fall for her; it would be easier for her to extort money from him..
20 million was nothing but he could not allow a woman to toy with his son’s heart. The poor boy hadn’t been able to get over the death of his love, it would be terrible if he falls in love with the wrong person this time. Mr. Williams drank from his cup slowly.
He felt a little guilty for turning the tables, making the girl to bear all the consequences by publicly disgracing her but he had no other option.
He didn’t want his family name to get soiled, so he decided to coin a believable lie out of the truth.
The mere fact that the contract was already known by an outsider like Sonia, made Mr. Williams know that it was only a matter of time before everyone found out. He had to quickly find a solution and…
The door burst open, making Mr. Williams turn instantly.
“Where is she?” Andy growled as he stormed the massive sitting room, moving to his father and covering the space with charged long strides.
“Where is who?”
“Don’t play coy with me dad, I am warning you. Where is Jessica?” Andy barked.
“She is your contract wife, shouldn’t you know her whereabouts?”
Andy’s dad threw back.
Andy fisted his hands and gritted his teeth. “D–n it dad” he hit his fist furiously on the bar stand. “If you have done anything to Jessica, I promise not to spare you. What did she do to you to deserve this? I proposed this contract, not her; why can’t you carry out your frustration on me?” He yelled. “Tell me dad”.
Andy faced the exit and walked towards it. He paused and turned. “If anything happens to Jessica” he breathed and pointed at his dad. “If ‘anything’ should happen to ‘my’ Jessica” he looked like he wanted to say more but just stood, fuming and pointing at his father. He dropped his hand and stalked out.
Lizzy marched into the small building with anger roaring inside her.
She couldn’t recall ever being this angry in her life. Sonia had betrayed their friendship in a very disheartening manner. She had suspected Sonia’s jealousy when she would not stop ranting about how rich Jessica had become but Lizzy had shrugged it off. If she had been told to guess what the quiet Sonia was capable of, not in a thousand years would she assume that Sonia would do something as grievous as this.
Lizzy had taken Jessica and the other girls like sisters but she saw Jessica as more of a sister to her even though Jessica seemed to like quiet Sonia more than everyone else. But even at that, Lizzy had always wanted the best for Jessica.
When Lizzy got to the door, she paused for some seconds and took three calming breaths before raising her hand to knock the door but the knock was still harder than she had wanted. She swallowed and waited, hearing nothing. She raised her hand again and pounded the door harder because the lights made her know that the house was not empty. She tapped her right foot restlessly as she waited.
“Who is it?” Lizzy heard Sonia’s voice loud and clear, just behind the door and decided to keep quiet.
The door opened slightly and Lizzy pushed the door forcefully and it went ajar, making Sonia to stagger backwards.
“Lizzy” Sonia gasped, frightened.
Lizzy rewarded Sonia with two resounding slaps on each cheek and the sound echoed round the room. A startled cry escaped Sonia’s lips and she forcefully shut her mouth.
“You” Lizzy grounded. “How dare you” she said through clenched teeth. Lizzy grabbed Sonia by the neckline of her dress, shaking her like a ragged doll.
“Let go” Sonia gasped out.
Lizzy laughed and held Sonia’s cloth more firmly in her arms, making Sonia struggle. “And if I don’t, are you going to beat me?” Lizzy laughed the more.
“You see b—h, unlike you, I cherish the people I call my friends and I don’t stab them in the back, but when they betray me, like you just did to Jessica, I bounce back. I can squeeze the living daylight out of you” Lizzy shook her head in disgust and pushed Sonia away, leaving her cloth.
Sonia tried to regulate her breathing and Lizzy look around her for the first time. She saw travelling bags and packed things. She smiled tightly and glared at Sonia. “There is no peace for the wicked, is there? How perfect of you to destroy someone’s life and run away.
Tell me, how much were you paid? Say it Sonia; how much are you worth?”
“None of your business. At least we know that Jessica is worth 20 million Naira” Sonia croaked out.
“I am very sure you are worth less than that” Lizzy returned, astounded that the filthy girl could still open her mouth…
Lizzy’s phone rang, shattering the exchange of glares. She fished out the phone and her anger instantly turned to surprise and anxiety.
“Hello Andy” she breathed. “What do you mean?” Lizzy’s frown deepened and Sonia became agitated. “Well, of course she is not with me. I thought you went after her” Lizzy’s voice is high now, with confusion. “Oh my God” she breathed.
“Oh my God” Lizzy’s hand dropped and she became blank and pale. Lizzy looked lost for some seconds as she stared at the ground, trying to process what she had just heard. She raised weary eyes and bubbled with anger when she saw what looked like worry on Sonia’s face. What a b—h!
“You better pray… You better pray that nothing happens to Jessica. Pray that nothing happens to my friend because if not…” Lizzy advanced towards Sonia, glaring at her until they were just a breath apart. “I will find you. Even if I have to comb the entire planet, I would bet you, and then, you would wish that you never knew Lizzy.
You would seek death and you won’t find until you wish you had never been born.
I Promise You” Lizzy passed that same message with her eyes and marched out.