The feeling of butterflies, the scent of roses, lovely rhythm of birds perching and the description of ‘a many splendored thing’ by Francis Thompson was not what I bargained for when I set my eyes on the light skinned average heighted girl. I felt there was something magnetic about us.
The year was 2015 in the month of February. The multi coloured lights were swirling above the roof sending indefinite visions of individuals cheering and popping drinks open as though in haste. The bar was probably the reason for noisy nights in the area.
But she was excluded seeming quite aloof- her legs crossed over the other and her eyes on her phone, paying no attention to anyone. She sat across the bar on a royal-like chair.
I hadn’t seen her face but she seemed innocent. I thought to question her but my mind seemed to look for other approaches.
‘Hello‘ I said.
She looked familiar. She starred at me from under her long lashes for some minutes longer than that expected as a response time. It seemed as though she didn’t want to talk to me. Maybe she was snubbing me.
‘Excuse me ma’am but this isn’t the place to sit. You either go to the round table over there’ I paused to gesture then continued
‘or get some wine at the front desk’ I said and moved out.
She may possibly be confused as to who I was to tell her what to do, so I strolled to one of the attendants at the bar to instruct her to change location. He bowed to me and moved out. He may have probably said ‘my boss said I should tell you to move out’ Even though I had warned them to stop involving me when giving instructions.
I stepped out of the bar and the cool breeze of the night flushed through my skin and I inhaled deeply. My thoughts ran wild and back. The cries of my family, the rumours sent across town and the liquidation of the family business invaded my peace and I sat back in my car, keys on my laps, head resting backwards and tears rolling down my eyes.
‘Senator buchi ohaneze killed by son and hidden by family’the newspaper read- dated 10 February 2005.
The almost magical union of my family was buried on that day.
‘You are new to politics. We had a deal, i gave you wealth in turn that you join my community. However, you have to give me half the shares of your company unless you wont like the consequences’
My sister had explained to me what senator ihieanacho had said to my parents before the news of my father’s death. It was now clear what had happened.
Although, the last time I returned from the united states, I had noticed some friction between my dad and my elder brother for some months before I left for the united states again.
But never did I imagine he could harm my dad.
Coming back from the states to the news of the death of my father was tragic but that was the last straw that will break and also build the camels back.
What actually happened?
I had asked but everyone including my sisters seemed to be busy covering up one news or the other about the death of my father.
Days passed and I didn’t get any information on investigations but once i heard on Channels news
‘The eldest son of senator buchi ohaneze has been released from custody and news report that the case has been delayed till further notice”
On hearing this, I rushed to see my elder brother who looked like he was perishing. No one had told me when he was arrested. I hugged my mum and my sisters who stood, crying.
I could read their eyes. I could see just how much money they had given out to relax the case so as for it to die down as well as save the family name. On the bailing papers was written ‘Black rose‘ as company name applying for bail.
Black rose, a company co owned and managed by a group of senators.
Why did the company apply for bail? I had thought.
The truth was still a mystery to everyone but myself and my family knew the truth, the set up and betrayal by senator iheanacho.
And so as I sat back in my car and the memories popped in my head, I slammed my steering in pain.
I heard a knock at my window and so I wined down. It was her, the girl I saw back at the bar.
“Sorry I want to drive out“ she said and I couldn’t help but admire her beauty. Something intrigued me about her and as I was about responding, my eyes picked on the subject line on her ID card. It read “flourish firm of legal advisers” and the tagline read “Black rose”.
She had moved back to her car and started to reverse through a difficult root before I realised just exactly what the tagline was related to; My father’s partnership company which was dissolved on his death.
I rushed out of my car but she zoomed off before I could confront her. Very impatient, was how I could describe her. Just like me. She did not wait till I reversed for her to drive comfortably, she took the hard root out.
As I drove, I turned on the radio.
” Multiple fraud detected in black rose group of companies and research is ongoing by the flourish firm of legal advisers on the associates involved in the fraud. However, it has been confirmed that the late senator ohanaeze is involved in the multi million fraud charge which has now been raised against his successor …”
Now, my hands were fidgeting on my steering. My head felt heavy for a second and then I began to hear car horns. I struggled to get back my sanity and pressed my leg on the breaks. It was only then I noticed I had almost knocked down the street lights.
Before a scene could be created, I drove speedily from the area.
The next morning was a horror. I was at the forth floor of red rose group of companies headquarters pacing from one end of the hallway to the other. I watched women and men in suit go to and fro with files and some with their bags. “Have you seen that Lady?” someone said tapping me from behind. I spun, it was my mum and beside her were my sisters but I didn’t see my elder brother “where is buchi?” I asked my mother. “He is in custody for the time being until we pay off the debt”
I wanted to speak before I spotted the girl I had seen at the bar last night. She was dressed corporately with her files pressed on her chest. She walked smoothly, one step at a time with her dark African curly hair stopping immediately above her shoulder. And then, her round dark eyeball caught sight of me staring at her. I broke eye contact and in a sprint with my newly awakened vision, I remembered I had seen her ID card which means she was an attorney in the firm that instituted the suit against my father and could therefore help me.
I rushed to catch up with her ‘how may I help you?’ She asked before I could say anything ‘you were at the bar last night Kenneth,son of late senator ohanaeze’ she said smirking.
‘How do you know me?”
She took a short breath before responding ‘I was at your bar last night after investigating your father’s fraudulent acts. I wanted to find out were all that money was going to. It seems to have gone into maintaining the luxurious bar you own along with your brothers luxury clothing brand as well as your sisters clothing brand‘
‘Wait. Sorry I don’t understand‘ I spoke, my words breaking at each end.
‘We will see in court‘ she said and moved into the elevator.
I stood there, benumbed.
‘Let’s go. Who were you speaking to?’ My mum asked as we moved down the stairs. ‘No one’ I answered, caught up in my thoughts, trying to reach a conclusion but one thing was sure, I had seen her somewhere before, asides the bar.
Days and months rolled by like minutes and I had my facts patched up together moving into the courtroom. Asides my act of evading the courtroom, I promised myself that I would appear in court again for only my late fathers sake. I wore my wig with pride , dusted my gown which was left idle for years after my last case. One of the cases were I failed to clearly prove a co defendants case beyond reasonable doubt because I was more concerned about my father. Forgetting the consequences that will be leveled against his family. A case of libel. One thing was sure, that my father was not a drug dealer as they had accused him and the other man; the;co-defendant in a newspaper but my inexperience and selfishness triggered me to prove my fathers innocence beyond reasonable doubt but that of the other, I could not prove. I guess I was only thinking about my father forgetting the other was also innocent and needed my skills as much.
As I sat back on my chair facing the court and about to present my case on behalf of my late father, I whispered a brief apology to the past, specifically the man accused of drug trafficking along with my father and I prayed he would forgive me for failing to prove his case out of selfishness.
Now,She, the girl I had seen at the bar was sitting opposite to me now. She was going to be the lawyer suing my father for fraud.
‘My lord, M.A Akeredolu counsel for the plaintiff’ the plaintiff counsel, she introduced and my brain went on an overdrive piecing one or two together and then my heart began racing. The name….
‘Counsel for the defendant. Are you not in court‘ the judge shouted and I sprang to my feet. I was confused and my confidence seemed to have betrayed me and so I mumbled through out the court session. From the corner, I could see my mum fidgeting hoping I would compose myself but I couldn’t and so I starred at my brother at the witness box. He looked at me as though I had failed him and then he came down after he had given his statement.
I refused seeing anyone when the judge went on break to later give the verdict. I refused making eye contact and so when everyone was back in the courtroom and the judge said ‘the defendant is found guilty and all assets and…”
I fell on my face and began wailing. The pain was too much I couldn’t breath. I was now in my mother’s arms with my family surrounding me and consoling me.
Just then, she walked towards me and dropped a file as though to rub it in my face that she had won the case? My sisters moved to confront her and I could hear people shouting and blaming.
I didn’t want to look up and so I kept my eyes glued to the ground in shame and moved into the next courtroom where no one seemed to be there.
Now I could remember vividly what had crushed my confidence. The name ‘M.A Akeredolu’. That was the exact name of the co defendant I had failed to prove his case which led to him being jailed and all his assets confisticated. It hit me in momentum that I had never seen her before but I had seen her father before and she looked exactly like her father which gave me déjà vu.
I slammed my palms on the bench. I lost my father and now, I lost his assets. I lost everything.
I moved out of the courtroom and back to the former courtroom to see what was inside the file she had dropped. I opened it and I found photographs and some original documents signed between my father and senator iheanacho. I tore the file open in haste and read through. I saw the pictures and agreements.
‘Fuck it!’ I shouted and placed all the evidence in my bag. I moved to the court assistants asking them to bring up my father’s case which they had abandoned.
Everyday seemed like the other day and the moon didn’t seem to beam in the night or I didn’t notice the parts of the day again. I had her to thank but why did she do this for me? I thought
Day after day, I sat at my desk, reading and investigating. My case was now fixed for the 5th of February 2019. As much as I tried to concentrate, the vision of her appeared in the notes and I struggled to get her off my mind. She was beautiful. ‘This is the last thing you do for your father‘ I reminded myself.
This time, there would be no fear, no guilt or regret. And so, as I moved into the courtroom and announced my appearance, I thought to myself, I believe I will win.
‘My lord, before this honourable court is evidence that senator iheanacho murdered my late father ohanaeze because he declined getting into an agreement with him to absorb and own all assets which belonged to M.A Akeredolu which was confisticated. Hence, I urge this honorable court to assert justice for the case at hand. To round off my case, I would also urge the court to look into 2007 case of black rose -v-M.A Akeredolu who was suing the president of black rose for mismanagement of fund whereas it is confirmed before this court that M.A Akeredolu mismanaged the funds and blamed it on the president in other to take up his position in 2007′
‘That’s a lie!’ Someone shouted from the court and I could sense it was her. I expected that reaction and so I smirked. Although my intention was not to get back at her for the case of fraud I had lost, I felt better.
She was right all along. My father Indeed committed fraud. Perhaps, if she had not blocked my way after the verdict was given in favour of my claims against senator iheanacho and her father, that would have been the last time I saw her.
But now she was standing in front of me, anger flushed on her face and tears pulling up in her eyes. She was pretty. Her lips looked soft and so as she parted them to say something, I said “Thank you for investigating into my fathers case. I also did same for you but I would not ignore a crime against an innocent man like the former president because the perpetrator of the crime was your father. Your father indeed lied against the former president of black rose and…’
‘Shut up. ‘ she interrupted. ‘I know he did and I only gave you that file of evidence because I stand for justice and..’
‘So do I’ I interrupted
‘but you will not stand for justice when it involves your own right?‘ I continued
‘exactly!that’s how I felt knowing my father was also wrong as much as he was wronged. Now you understand why I couldn’t prove your fathers case right? Now you know how it feels right? And…’
‘I don’t want to see you again‘ she interrupted and I held her hands before she could walk out. She starred at me and I felt as though I had traveled the world through her eyes.
How would I tell her I was attracted to her? Would she ever love me after what I did to her father? Would she ever know how much I regret it?
She looked at me over her shoulders, she was beautiful. She was like the other half of me. Both impatient, reserved, justice inclined despite all odds, never backing down. She was the other part of me but I guess something’s are better left unsaid. No matter how much I deny it, I can feel a connection, something like a magnet between us but seems like it was only me feeling that way.
And so, I let her go.
I was driving in my car, fulfilled yet upset. Then, I looked at the rear view. It seemed like a car was following me and so I decided to park but before I got down, It drove pass me. I got a peep into the car. She was the one.
I guess I wasn’t the only one feeling that way.
Maybe someday, I will see her back at black rose.
3 thoughts on “BLACK ROSE”
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Thank you Dracul💃
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You’re welcome, Prisca. 🙂