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I buried my mouth in my hands immediately.
He helped me with the chair to have a seat. Our table was very close to the banisters which made me to shudder in an embarrassing way.
“What is the matter?”
My sealed lips said nothing. My eyes mustered courage and peered at the open view.
“Are you scared of height?”
“Oh oh,” He quickly dialed a number on his phone and in one minute, a man dressed like a chef appeared and helped him with the table gliding it to the centre, close to the swimming pool. After two minutes, we were settled.
“Are you okay now? “
“Yes please,” my lips finally defrosted.
He smiled and ordered the chef to bring in the champagne. A Moet & Chandon in a bucket of ice cubes came; he gently loosened the foil with his thumb pressed on the cork. He undo the wire cage, I felt a surge of happiness. With a slight pull, the cork shot off into the open air.
With a gleeful heart I clapped. He filled my glass and his. He dropped the bottle and he almost took a sip.
“Let’s make a toast. This is to us.”
“A bright future for us,” he added. We made cheers and we nipped our drink.
“You know, no one would have thought a lady as fierce as you, so strong in your wills would be scared of just height,” he smiled ruefully.
“That is not just some height,” I said defensively. “Do you know how many stories we are on?”
“It doesn’t really matter,” he said, his face with smug. I know where to take you next.”
“And where is that?” twisting my lips, enjoying the conversation.
“We shall go to Kwahu in the Easter for some paragliding”
My heart deflated. “I don’t think I can manage that”
“Don’t worry; you have nothing to be scared of. I shall be with you all through.”
I sighed. “If you say so, what’s on the menu then?”
“We have your favorites.”
“My favorites? Do you know my favorite food?” I gave a raised eyebrow.
“You need to forgive me on this one, my dear. I did ask Merissa what you love to eat.”
“Really? You sought Merissa on the food I love best?” my voice going intense.
“Why didn’t you just ask me?”
“Well, that would have ruined the surprise.”
“Okay. So what is it then?” I said, looking crestfallen.
“Beans and plantain”
“BEANS AND PLANTAIN?”
“Oh no! just joking.” He sniggered. “Banku and Okro soup”
“Yummy,” I clapped my hands like a child. I can’t really remember the last time I was pampered like this.
I saved my heart from almost popping out of my gown.
“You,” I thought I saw a ghost. “You are the one that had been sending me all the text messages?”
I shook my head in revulsion, and retreated. He stood immediately and held my arm”
“Do not touch me you criminal,” calling him a criminal though didn’t seemed right as he didn’t look like one. He was spruced in his shirt and suit without tie. His beard neatly trimmed and above all, he smelled good. I thought he might be using Khorrus cologne. What is wrong with me? This man had a gun trained behind me in my car, why am I even entertaining these thoughts. I continued walking in hasty steps. Others found it amusing to watch a dramatic show.
“Please, hear what I have to say”
“What do you have to tell me? That you occupied my property illegally and even trained a gun behind me—” He opened his mouth, about to say something but I didn’t let him, “—you even have the impertinence to show up in my room and watch me sleep,” I scoffed. “TELL ME, GIVE ME ONE DAMN GOOD REASON WHY I SHOULDN’T CALL THE SECURITY ON YOU”
“I never had any gun trained on you,” he said with sincerity. “Please have a seat. Please, I will answer any question you ask of me.”
His eyes made me lose control. My anger inflating like a balloon deflated. For some reasons, I wanted to know why; I wanted to know why such a man dressed like this would be homeless and occupied my property some months ago. I wanted to know how he got my address, my name, how he got my phone number. I felt my stomach doing a somersault. The only way to know the truth would be to listen to him. I walked to the seat calmly. I peered around and I noticed disappointment written all over the spectator’s faces.
Our bowl of Banku and Okro soup was served. The chef was really good. He was articulate in everything that he did. I washed my hands in the lukewarm water and had a bite on the liver.
“When was the last time you had banku?”
“Hmm, funny. It was a date I had with some guy named Hans. But let me not bore you with the details, he is bad news.”
“Shantel, we have all night to ourselves.”
“Hmm, you are a naughty boy. Eat your food. Your food is running cold. You know how crazy the weather is up here.”
He smiled, taking a chunk of banku.
“You could have told me so I bring a jacket along.”
“Don’t worry,” He laughed. I will tell you what to bring next when we go for swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.”
“Atlantic Ocean? That is crazy”
“Crazy? You haven’t noticed that about me that I love crazy stuffs, I’m odd.”
“Yea, I might have noticed. That would explain me dressing like a stone cold assassin.”
“You are so funny,” he laughed hard. “That is one thing I love about you. You are easy going.”
“Well, thank you. Huge, I am still a bit confused as to how you could afford all of this, even your apartment. I know being just a masseur at the Mirage Spa wouldn’t pay you this much.”
“You are right, Shantel. Masseur has been something I have enjoyed for a very long time. You see, money hasn’t really been a problem for me…”
“Wow, is that so?”
“And my late father never approved of my job. He wanted me to manage his companies spread across Africa—,” he paused. Took a handkerchief to wipe his tears which struggled to come out, “—When he died, I got to know he left a Trust for me.”
“A Trust,” my eyes widened.
“Yes a Trust which gives me twenty percent of the millions that is in it and the remaining would be given if only I satisfy a few clauses.”
“Huge, you only making it more interesting and curious to ask more questions”
“I know,” He smiled faintly. “The clause state I have to get married and I also have to completely switch my career path to become the CEO to the companies left behind”
“Wow, that is illuminating, but you wouldn’t stop being a masseur, right?” I swallowed a ball of banku.
“You know the answer to that”
“And do you have any timeline?”
“Yes, I do, Shantel. Before the age 28, I should be married else, the trust would be donated to charity.”
“What is stopping you,” I sighed. “From getting anything that you want, Huge?”
“What do you mean?”
“You being the CEO”
“I am not dropping my hobby for some wealth, Shantel,” he flared.
“And who is saying you dropping anything?”
“I am lost”
“Don’t worry, I will tell you when we done eating.”
“Shantel, you know I hate suspense.”
“Yes I know that is why I am serving it to you.” I rolled my tongue out, teasing him.
“Well for starters, you could tell me your name?”
“My names are George Kofi Wilson.”
“You said you never had any gun trained behind me in my car?”
“Yes, I had no gun but I made my hand like a gun and you went for it.”
“What did you expect from a vulnerable lady?”
“I know what I did to you is a criminal offence in the eyes of the law. Please forgive me. I needed money to go elsewhere and I couldn’t just ask you.”
“Who are you? What do you really want from me?”
“Well, I am an entrepreneur.” He paused
“I own Delivery Machine.”
“Oh really?” I wanted to know more.
“Yes. Delivery Machine is a business venture, I started from school and I have made it grow to what it is today.”
“I am very sure you already know my next question,” he interrupted.
“Yes, I do know your next question. How does an entrepreneur end up being homeless?” he scoffed. “I took a silly decision and it almost ruined everything I had worked for.”
“Almost? Meaning, everything is back to normal.”
“Not quite. I gambled with my business into buying of Stocks. My friend encouraged me to buy, that it was a good deal. After several push, I fell into it. I put in all my money into it and that was when the Stock Exchange took a negative dive. It was on the news for weeks.”
“You mean the Stocks were very bad? How bad did it affect you? Were you the only one?”
“I wasn’t the only one. Everyone who had stocks lost gravely. I had a loan facility from my bank which ended me homeless as my home was seized.”
“That is terrible”
“Yes, very terrible.”
I didn’t know why I believed him and why I never heard anything about Stocks taking a dive. I know I probably don’t read the business news but something like this could have gone viral? Then, it occurred to me that mother also had Stocks with Luis’s firm. Oh my! I hope nothing had happened to the money. Mother told me it worth half a million cedis. This would ruin us if anything happens.
“Yes,” I blinked, “I am here. I was just thinking of something.”
“So tell me, how were you able to stand back on your feet. I can see you looking pretty well and your business is back in shape.”
“Well, it is not so good but I am getting there. I had to do a few redundancies of my employees. As it stands, I can’t pay the bank loan. I thank God for stashing some money elsewhere which has really kept me moving.”
“Wow, I am truly sorry, it just that I don’t feel too good, right now.”
“What is the matter? Did I say anything wrong?”
“No, it is not you. My family might also be a victim. We invest in Stocks as well and we haven’t really heard any news that would be concerning just as you’ve told me.”
“Oh, that is a shock. You need to confirm then.”
“Yes, I must. I need to take my leave please”
“Okay, I am fine. I will be in touch.”
The only thoughts that rung in my head was the Stocks and it being managed by Luis. What if something had happened? What if he had absconded with the money? I grabbed my phone from my purse and dialed his number. The computer said number dialed is not available on the MTN network.