Nosakhare sat in his large office. He had been running Goldenberg Insurance Company since he completed his youth service. He inherited the firm from his late mother. It used to be a small company, but, over the years, it had grown into an international establishment reckoned with worldwide. One after the other, his children joined him in running the company immediately they completed their service year. He had placed them in charge of different departments, within the sphere of their capacity. Osayuki had been outstanding. It didn’t matter where he placed her, she always excelled. Her intelligence and knack for business had encouraged him to put her in charge of everything. She was like his second in command. His sons had shown their disapproval, but, he had no choice. No one could handle the reins of the firm like she did.
It had been four weeks since she was attacked. She seemed to be getting better, but, she couldn’t resume work in her frame of mind. He had decided to share her duties amongst all his children. He believed with time, one of them might be able to fill in her position until she gained full recovery and was ready to return to work. He hoped that by the time he retired at eighty, she would take over the company as the CEO. He heard a knock and looked towards the door. His wife, sons and youngest daughter walked in. The women sat on the seats opposite the table while the men stood behind them.
“I feel that one of you should take over your sister’s position, until she returns to work.”
Osaretin smiled from ear to ear. He had been waiting for his father to make that decision for weeks. He believed that he was capable of handling the position as the second in command. His elder brother nodded in agreement with their father. As the first son, he was supposed to be charge, not his sister. Her situation had created an opportunity for him to show his father that he was capable of running the company. He noticed that his younger sister was nodding her head. Osabohen was glad that her father had come to terms with what happened to their sister. She believed that she was capable of taking over from her.
“But, the second in command position cannot be taken lightly. There is a lot at stake. This made me to decide that it is best if your sister’s position is shared amongst the three of you.”
His first son frowned. Osarodion didn’t like the idea of sharing titles and powers with his siblings. As the first child, it was his right. His younger brother’s smile faded. Osaretin had thought that their father would choose him. Their sister folded her arms across her bosom. Osabohen didn’t mind sharing powers with her brothers. Overtime, her father would see that she was his best option.
“Thank you for coming. You can all return to your offices,” Nosakhare leaned against the leather seat.
His children walked out of the large room one after the other. He met his wife’s pleased gaze. He smiled back at her.
Efe woke up in the middle of the night. There was a faint sound in the background. It sounded like someone was sobbing.
The thought of her in distress made him to jump out of bed and dash out of the room. He knocked on her door and opened it. He walked in and saw her seated on the bed crying. The room was illuminated by the bedside lamp. He approached her and sat at the side of the bed.
“Are you okay?”
Her anger didn’t come as a surprise to him. Her constant nightmares were enough to drive anyone nuts.
“Do I look okay to you?” she glared back at him.
He swallowed hard, his eyes darted sideways. If lashing out at him would make her feel better, he was ready to be her punching bag.
“Will I ever be okay?” her tears-stained eyes focused on his sad ones.
He felt sorry for her. He wished he could take away all her pains.
“I keep seeing their faces… I keep dreaming about what happened… I feel like I am going crazy… sometimes, I think… suicide might be the best option.”
He shook his head, “No! No…” he drew closer, “Don’t ever think about doing that,” his firm voice got through to her.
“But, it is better than…”
“I feel useless, rotten, wasted, wrecked…” she placed both hands on her head.
“Hey… don’t say that.”
“I am tired,” tears began to flow again.
He pulled her into his arms and rocked her liked a baby, “Ssssh… it is okay. It is going to be all right.”
“Where was God when I needed Him most?”
“He was right there with you.”
“Watching?” her voice raised a pitch.
“Yes, watching and making sure that you didn’t die in the moment of your affliction.”
Her wet eyes brightened, “He saved me from death.”
“Yes he did.”
“Why didn’t he stop them?”
“There are some things we might never fully understand in this lifetime.”
“I don’t know Osayuki.”
The sound of her name on his lips had a soothing effect on her fried nerves. She leaned into him, taking comfort in the warmth of his arms.
“I want you to know that God will never leave you or forsake you.”
“He feels your pains…”
“He knows exactly what you are going through.”
“O-kay…” she sounded drowsy.
Is she sleeping?
He pulled away and found out that her eyes were closed. He placed her on the bed gently and tried to get up. She stirred and opened her eyes.
“Don’t go… stay with me,” the fear in her voice tug at his heart.
“Okay,” he sat back on the bed.
She closed her eyes and coiled into a ball. He sighed heavily. He would do anything to make her bad dreams to disappear forever. It had been eight weeks since he had been taking care of her. Her family seemed satisfied with his service. His probation period was definitely over. At thirty-five, he hoped to work and make good money as a nurse and a psychiatrist. Someday, somehow, he would set up his own clinic and psychiatric centre.
God it is all in your hands now.
He looked down at her. It seemed she had fallen asleep again. He got up and sneaked out of the room.
The Ehaekpen’s family sat at the dining, enjoying a delicious meal of pounded yam and egusi soup with assorted bush meat, smoked cat fish and grilled pepper chicken. Silence descended on the room when she walked in, clad in a black and red short evening gown with matching red low heeled gladiator sandals. She had on a shoulder length braids curled at the tips; the attachment was a selective shade of brown. She greeted her parents and siblings, took a seat at the dining and began to dish her food. Her parents exchanged glances. It had been three months since the incident. They were pleased that she looked well and had decided to eat with them.
“How is the company?” she directed her gaze to her siblings, one after the other, “I heard that my duties have been divided amongst you all,” she sipped at her drink.
Osarodion glanced at his father then back at his sister. If they think he would give up his current position as the second in command of the company, although he was sharing the title with his siblings, they had something else coming. He was the first child; he was where he was supposed to be in the first place.
Osaretin stopped eating. He pushed the plate away and caught a glimpse of his parents. They were excited that their favourite child was back on her feet. If she thought she could return to work and take over the reins of the company, she better think again. He wasn’t relinquishing his present position to anyone.
Osabohen dropped her fork and knife on the plate and stared at her elder sister, “You look well…”
“Thank you,” Osayuki smiled at her.
“But, do you think your mind is sane enough to handle the company’s business?” Osabohen searched her face.
Her smile faded. She swallowed the food in her mouth and took a long drink.
“Sabby, that is no way to speak to your elder sister,” her mother rebuked her.
Nosakhare shook his head. At times, his youngest daughter vomited a lot of rubbish.
“Let her be mum. She speaks the truth,” Osarodion held his mother’s shocked gaze.
“I concur,” Osaretin added.
Osabohen smiled. She was pleased that her brothers supported her.
Nosakhare and his wife exchanged glances. Were their children ganging up against their sister? Weren’t they happy that she was recovering?
Osayuki pushed her plate away. She could sense the heat at the table. There were times she wondered if they wanted her to be bedridden for the rest of the year. Heavens forbid!
“Well, well, well, so what I heard is true,” she stared at them.
Her younger sister eyed her. What had she heard? She glanced at her brothers.
Osaretin didn’t care anymore. He was ready to fight for what was rightfully his.
Osarodion was tired of the favouritism in the family. He was ready for war.
“I heard that you all convert my position in the company, you have also seized my car and converted my apartment into a guest house.”
“Your car and the apartment are part of the benefits of your job title…” Osabohen rattled off.
“Shut up!” her shrill tone cut off her younger sister’s defense.
“Don’t tell her to shut up. She is right. You are in no state to run the company. We have taken over,” Osaretin slammed his fist on the table.
“True, your things have been moved back to your father’s house. He can buy you a new car and rent another place for you,” Osarodion added.
She pushed the chair backwards and got up, “You have no right… none of you… no right at all,” Osayuki stared at them stonily.
“Enough!” Nosakhare thundered.
She looked at her father, “You allowed them to do this.”
“It is not like that,” the hurt in her eyes saddened.
She shook her head and marched out.
“Osayuki…” her mother called after her, but, she didn’t respond. Etinosa turned to look at the rest of her children. What had gotten into them all?
Osaretin started to eat. He liked the way things had turned out.
Osabohen smiled and hummed to herself. The favourite child should go back to her shell. She wasn’t wanted in their midst. Her tenure was over.
Osarodion met his father’s angry stare. He looked away and sipped at his drink. He believed that if he allowed his father to have his way, he would make his younger sister the CEO of the company when he retired. It was time to stop that from happening.