It was that same year his father passed on. It shook all of them because there was no sign. The heart attack came suddenly and within two days he was gone. Dare was devastated. He and his father were closely knitted and only the presence of Uvie held him up. The burial, reading of the will passed in a blur. His mother and brother were dazed, his mother walking like she had lost her anchor. Several times he saw her sitting dejected, talking to herself. He was hurting but he knew his mother was shattered. He didn’t know how he could survive if Uvie ever died and left him alone. He couldn’t bear that thought and constantly hoped they left the world together. He tried to make things easy for his mother but he knew deep down, Ayo was her favourite. His father had tried to balance it by drawing him close but he never felt bereft of his love like now. He closed his eyes as he sat in his father’s study inhaling his scent.
His father understood him. It reflected in the will. It surprised everyone but him. The will stated he could continue in the military until such a time he deemed fit to take his rightful place as the head of the family conglomerate, appointing a board to oversee things in his stead. His brother wasn’t happy. That was obvious. He had always eyed that position and the power it wielded. His father knew Ayo’s heart and how power turned him into a different person together with the fact that he couldn’t be bothered to do things meticulously and by the book so decided not to give him that chance. That didn’t imply he was left in financial lurch. On the contrary, his finances were boosted to reflect one of the richest and influential men. Dare smiled. His father showed them even in death that he was their father.
In another corner of the house, Ayo fumed as he recalled the reading of the will. How could his father humiliate him in front of the mere staff? He smacked his palm against the wall jolting Felica awake.
“Honey what is the matter?” She asked, rubbing her eyes sleepily.
“Can you imagine the way my father disgraced me in front of that upstart?”
“He is your brother for crying out loud.” She sat up, her feet on the ground.
“No he is not.” a sadistic light shone in his eyes as he looked at his wife grinning.
His wife looked at him questioning.
Ayo walked up to her and sat beside her.
“No he is not. He is not my brother.” Ayo grinned.
“My mother told me years ago that when she first got married to my father, they had no child so they decided to adopt one- Dare. It was when he was three years that she became pregnant and gave birth to me.”
Felicia’s eyes opened in shock.
“Does he know?”
Ayo laughed like a maniac. “No he doesn’t. He and that wife of his share more in common than they know. No background”
“Is that why you insisted I..”
“Yes. ” he finished the sentence for her. “I wanted Uvie to lose that baby and maybe it could kill her off too so he would just be left alone making it easier to strike him down.”
He jumped up angrily.
“How was I supposed to know that she wouldn’t die even after I delayed a while before taking her to the hospital?”
Felicia looked at her husband, her mouth opened.
Don’t you want to be the wife of the chairman?
“Good. So you support me?”
Felicia stood up and walked slowly towards the window and looked into the dark night.
Turning round decisively she nodded. “I am in.”
Unknown to them, Uvie stood near the door, mouth opened in shock. She hadn’t meant to eavesdrop. She was going to the library to get a book to read since she couldn’t sleep as Dare hadn’t come to bed. Knowing how emotional down he had been lately, she wanted to wait up for him before she slept. Hearing Dare’s name made her pause her in her tracks. She couldn’t believe what she heard. Now the little details she ignored began to make sense. Hearing footsteps nearing the door, she quickly hurried away. She had to find Dare.
Dare stood from his father’s desk. It was getting late. He didn’t want Uvie to worry. He knew his mother and his brother with his wife had gone to bed. Knowing the house schedule, all staff must have gone to bed as well. As he stretched, his knee bumped against the desk and a hidden drawer popped out. Amazed, he sat down and drew it out fully. He never knew there was a hidden drawer there before. His name sprang out from the papers. Gingerly, he picked the envelope.
⁰”Son if you are reading this, I am sorry. First of all, never doubt that I love you and always will as my first son. Your mother and I years ago adopted you when you were just two months old.”
The paper fell from his hand as his world came crashing down. Tears sprang forbidden to his eyes. What was happening? What kind of story was he reading? He shook his head and picked up the letter. He had to understand.
The door opened softly.
Softly and hesitant, Uvie pushed the door a little wider.
Dare sat shell shocked on the leather office chair behind the mahogany desk, a paper in his hand. Scared, Uvie ran to him.
“Darling, what is the matter?”
He handed her the letter mutely. Her eyes quickly scanned the contents and she looked at him with compassion in her eyes.
He didn’t answer.
He looked at her slowly.
She sat at the edge of the table and held his hands.
“It is not as bad as you think it is.”
He just looked at her. Her heart broke at the sight of helplessness mirrored on his face.
“I am serious. Sweetheart, you had a father who cherished you and gave you a home, a mother who took care of you despite your background. Imagine where you would have been now if they had not adopted you?”
He shuddered and dropped his face into his palms, his shoulders heaving as he wept. Uvie wrapped her arms around him, whispering words of comfort.
After a while he calmed down. Uvie held his hand as he stood. ” Let’s go to the room. I have something very important to tell you.”
In the room, after ensuring the door was properly looked, she told him everything she had overheard. Dare sat shell shocked. In his wildest dreams he had never expected this. His brother that he grew up with – plotting his downfall, attempting to kill his wife. He looked at his wife with fresh knowledge in his eyes.
“Honey, I am so sorry for all I have put you through. The pains, the loss..”
She placed her finger on his lips to hush him.
“You didn’t do anything. I don’t regret being your wife.”
He hugged her tenderly. “I love you.” “I love you too.”
Watch this space for the concluding part. What’s your opinion so far? What do you think Ayo should have done differently? Do you think keeping the secret from Dare for so long was right?