“Are you out of your mind?”
That came out before I could stop it. I wasn’t sure of what to make of what I just heard.
He didn’t respond, he only stared.
“You call off your engagement to a woman you have been bethrothed to for many years because of a kiss?” I couldn’t stop blinking.
Really, was he insane?
He looked at me like I had said something extremely out of point. I later found out however, that what I said was completely out of point.
“You think I am calling off my engagement with Lisa because of you or the kiss I had with you? Far from it, Isabella. That is far from it.” He said, closing his eyes.
I waited expectantly for more information. The stage was set. Everyone was talking about it. Jeremiah and Lisa were getting married. What was making Jeremiah call of the engagement? Did he find out about her and Patrick?
For as long as he kept quiet, the longer I stared at him. Finally, he opened his eyes and looked up at me.
“Isabella, I shouldn’t be telling you this. But there is so much you don’t know about Lisa and I,” he paused, rubbed his forehead with his palm and scratched his unshaved beards.
“My engagement to Lisa was arranged, which is no news to anyone. At first, the arrangement was okay. We played along. For as long as our fathers wanted, we played along. After my dad died, I knew I still needed to keep his request not only for his sake but for the sake of Edgewood. A lot was at stake already if we decided to break it off.’’ He was looking at the center table now.
“I actually did call you for a meeting, which is to tell you my suspicion concerning Chief Momoh, Patrick my cousin, Lisa and a few other people in this company.”
He knew! How did he know? Did Lisa confess? Did his blogger tell him?
“I don’t know precisely what is going on and l intend to find out soon enough. Rumors have it that Lisa and Patrick are having an affair too. I hope it’s not true. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised at Lisa because she has cheated on me a lot of times but I would be extremely shocked and heartbroken at Patrick. A lot of the company’s deepest information is known to him. If he is working with Chief Momoh and Pentagon House to acquire shares that would enable them throw me out of Edgewood, I need to know. I still don’t know Lisa’s part in all of this. Part of the reasons we are getting married is to secure her father’s interest in Edgewood but right now it seems that’s a lost cause because, increasingly we are beginning to see what Chief Momoh is schemimg to do. Then what would be the use of getting married to a woman who may not help me secure this interest, doesn’t love me and is probably cheating on me with a lot of men including my own cousin?”
“Probably? She is cheating on you with your cousin.” A part of me wanted to let it all out. I didn’t know the response he was expecting from me but that part of me felt it was time to tell him what I knew. He was calling off the engagement, anyway.
Besides, if Patrick was truly a snitch, wouldn’t it be best to let Jeremiah know what he was doing with Lisa? It could be worse than we thought. Someone like that can’t be trusted. I owed it to the company at least.
“She is.” I said, almost in a whisper. His eyes shot up.
“She is what?” he asked searching my eyes with his.
By now, I had sat down. I prayed I was doing the right thing.
“She is cheating on you with Patrick” I repeated. He stared at me for a very long time. I guess he was trying to either digest what he heard or trying to keep calm.
Maybe he was doing both.
“How do you know that?” was all he said.
This would be very much harder than I thought. I sighed, wishing it didn’t have to come from me.
“I saw her kissing Patrick at your engagement party.” I said. “She saw me and asked to have a meeting with me where she asked me not to mention anything to you in the best interest of the company and everyone. Although, I knew I wasn’t going to tell you, I threatened her that I would if she continued the affair but sincerely, i don’t think the affair had stopped.” I said.
By now his eyes were filled with rage. For who? Me, Lisa or Patrick?
“Like hell you knew you were not going to tell me! All these happened and you didn’t deem it fit to let me know?” He blurted out.
Obviously, the rage was for me. Was I the one cheating on him with his cousin?
“I trusted you, Isabella.” He said quietly, almost too quietly. “How can you hide such a thing from me?”
Guilt came over me as well as defense. I decided to hide the guilt under defense.
“What was I supposed to do? Tell you your fiancée was cheating on you with your most trusted cousin? In the midst of everything? How would I spoil the relationship that was been built by both families over the years?” I replied.
“You should have told me, Isabella. You should have let me know. I am extremely disappointed.” He responded.
“Disappointed? Disappointed? You hired me for Edgewood, not for your love life or personal affairs. Your personal life is totally different, Jeremiah. How was I to give you such information? It was beyond me. It was beyond my job description.”
Now, I was on the edge. Maybe I should just have kept my mouth shut.
“Your job description? This is act of betrayal and unfaithfulness we were talking about. Your job description is to look out for ME!”
By now, he was up from his chair. He really needed to make up his mind if he wanted to stand or sit. I remained seated, trying to remain calm.
“I heard the rumors. Of course, I waved them off as such, although I had been quite skeptical of Patrick’s allegiance to Edgewood recently, but never would I have believed that he was having an affair with my own fiancée.”
Now he was pacing up and down. I began to get uncomfortable.
“Jeremiah…” I started but his hand stopped me.
“Isabella, please leave. I would very much like to be alone,” he said and went back to the same seat he kept vacating.
I knew this was the part where I say I was sorry but I was too proud to. He was asking me to leave his office. I felt a mixture of confusion, remorse and anger.
Why had this turned on me? He heard the rumors, he had his suspicions. I only confirmed them. Now, I am the wicked one?
I stood up from the couch and walked towards the door. Looking back, I saw his head buried in both palms with his elbows on his laps.
I had given him two pieces of unpleasant news in less than an hour. I stood at the door for a moment longer, watching him with my left hand clutching tightly on the door knob.
If only he would just look up!
I felt extremely guilty. Was it wrong to have told him? Was it wrong to have kept it from him all along?
He still didn’t look up. Shoulder sagged, I turned the door knob and stepped out of Jeremiah’s office.
Stepping out of his office was like stepping out into emptiness.
How can I ever tell Jeremiah that hurting him with the truth was what I avoided doing all along? The hurt I avoided was twice what I brought to him now.
How do I tell Jeremiah I was sorry and all I ever want to do is to be there for him?
Days passed by. Every other thing I needed to know about Jeremiah was told in the tabloids.
The news of the wedding being called off was everywhere. Some said it was postponed until further notice, others said the relationship between them was over.
None knew why.
I didn’t know what to believe. However, I knew it wasn’t about what I believed or didn’t. I was more concerned about his well-being.
I didn’t see him throughout the week that followed our meeting in his office. I didn’t see Lisa either. However, I saw Patrick. I wasn’t sure how to place his countenance. Was he happy and contented about the turn of events? I wondered.
I knew I wasn’t. Although I was a bit relieved that Jeremiah knew about the affair for his own sake, however I was crushed that it was hurting him and it had to be from me.
He had said Lisa had cheated on him on a lot of occasions. Why was he still with her?
I didn’t know what hurt him the most. Lisa’s constant unfaithfulness, Patrick’s betrayal or the fact that I kept the secret away from him.
I knew it was hard to comprehend. He was a strong man who had a lot on his shoulders.
For his relatively young age, he had to manage a multinational company in the midst of snitches and enemies and yet he keeps finding out that his trusted allies were not to be trusted at all, including me.
Where is Jeremiah?
I heard some junior staff say he had travelled out again. Where he went to, nobody knew.
Meanwhile, court hearing was in three weeks.
Should I go away too? Should I take a week off?
I had teams who could work independently of me. Besides, they could still send me reports and feedback and by the time I am back, I would still have two weeks to round off preparation for the case.
Gregory called everyday to ‘check-up’. He didn’t mention the job offer to me and I didn’t ask him about it either. I was too caught up with a lot more other things. I was certain I needed to get away too.
While in the middle of my thoughts, I got a call from the Human Resources Department saying that my salary had been increased by 50% and if there were other benefits I wanted to go along with the raise, they would want me to think it through so that they can include it to the letter they were preparing for me.
I instantly knew Jeremiah was behind this and I am sure that Gregory’s job offer inspired it. He was away, completely ignoring me and yet he was making arrangements to see that I didn’t leave Edgewood.
What kind of man was this?
Why was he doing that? Was it to flex muscles with Gregory and Pentagon House or did he really want to keep me around?
I replied that I didn’t have any benefit in mind at the moment, only that I needed my leave approved when I formally requested it even though it would be impromptu.
And then I gladly accepted the raise.
If both men wanted to exhaust their accounts to prove who was greater while my account benefited, then they can be my guests.
My account officer would be thrilled at the new figures; anything to make him smile.
As soon as I got the chance, I sent a mail to HR requesting a leave which was granted almost immediately. Immediately I got the approval, I shut down my system and headed home.
I didn’t know where I would go for one week. But I knew that as long as my cat was with me, I was fine.
As I drove home, my mind went to Gregory. Twice, in the midst of checking up, he had asked if I would want us to see and I said no. Once he sent a cute white fluffy bed for Missy. Her name was engraved on it in gold.
It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Missy loved it too but it didn’t take too long before she found her way back to my side at night.
Remembering my adorable cat, I smiled. Clingy little sweetheart.
Finally home. I packed my car and was about to step out of it when I saw that I had received a text message from Lisa.
What in heaven’s name did she want now?
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