“Vincent!” Mr. Moyede called. He was so surprised and happy at the same time to see the man. He quickly moved forward and the duo locked themselves in a manly hug.
Naomi stood aside and watched them. All the while trying to remember the face of the young man. She was very sure she had seen him before but she couldn't place a finger on where. She knew he had to be very much involved with Moyede and his activities but she did not know how.
After the hug, Moyede turned to her. "Helena," he said. "Meet my brave son, Vincent."
"Hello Vincent." She greeted. "A very good morning to you and nice to meet you."
"Vincent, meet Helena." Moyede introduced. "Helena Abeam. She came here yesterday, famished, injured and bruised. She escaped from her step father's men who were ordered to do only God know what to her."
"Hello Helena." Vincent greeted coldly.
Seeing that his son had nothing else to say, Mr. Moyede went on to explain that Vincent had been overseas for almost two years. He wasn't expected to come home until the following month but, he was pleased to have him around. According to Moyede, he was really needed.
While Moyede spoke, Vincent gazed at Naomi like he had never seen a woman before. She was like a strange creature in his eye and she wondered why.
"Something is definitely going on in his mind." She thought. She could tell from the look on his face.
After exchanging some more greetings, which didn't come from the heart, Moyede asked Naomi to excuse them as he had some private thing to discuss with his son. Naomi agreed but not before requesting for the encyclopedia on the shelf. She lied about loving encyclopedias. Moyede agreed and she took the book, as well as the small one under it, without their noticing. She tucked the smaller one inside the encyclopedia and walked out of the study.
In her heart, Naomi really wanted to stay back and eavesdrop on their discussion but, she knew she could not. She couldn't risk any of the guards who paraded the place, finding her pressing her ears to a closed door. They would consider her a spy, or something worse. She couldn't risk blowing her cover. However, she wasn't bothered. She wasn't bothered because while taking the encyclopedia, she hid an audio recorder at the side of the book shelve before leaving the study. It was no ordinary recorder. She had it specially made by a chinese company. They carried out a lot of test run and so, she was absolutely sure that the recorder could record all discussions in the library for the next one month. Unless of course, it was tampered with. The plan was simple. When she goes to return the encyclopedia, she would use the opportunity to take back the recorder, go to the safety of her room and listen to every discussion.
Smiling to herself, she went up to her room, hid the little book in her drawer and kept the encyclopedia on the bed before going back down stairs to the dining table.
After breakfast, Mrs. Mercy who was indeed glad that Naomi would be staying for a longer period, took time off her chores to show the new guest around the premises.
They moved from the sitting room to the kitchen, rooms, small home offices and study, the laundry room and balconies. After that, they went underground, where they came in contact with a closed , steel door. According to Mrs. Mercy, the doors were opened electronically
“Also,” she said, very seriously, “This is a no go area. Unless you are invited, you don't come here. The penalty for breaking the law concerning these steel doors is not one you will want to experience.”
Naomi frowned as she looked at the doors closely. She had seen something like it back at her father's house, but as a child, he always warned her not to go near it. Seeing the door again made her even more curious about what was behind it. However, curiosity was the last thing her expression held. Her expression was rather, one of fear, pretense fear of course. Mrs. Mercy looked at her and smiled at her frightened expression. She placed a comforting hand on Naomi's shoulder and then pulled her away. They left the underground and went back into the main house.
Once there, Mrs. Mercy turned to her "Don't be disturbed by the laws of the mansion." She said. "Look at me, I have lived here for thirty one years and nothing has happened to me. All I did was keep the laws, not break them. If you do the same, you will have nothing to worry about."
“And what is she worrying about?” said a male voice from behind them. They looked back only to find Vincent leaning against the entrance to the sitting room, with arms folded across his chest.
"Oh!” Mrs. Mercy clapped her hand in delight, as she moved forward o hug him, “My baby, you are home at last.”
“I am” he said. A smile played around his lips as he hugged her back. However, his hard gaze remained fixed on their new guest.
The man who went into the study was completely different from the one that stood before her.
"I guess I did not have a good look at him in the study." Naomi thought, as she looked back at him, a little timid, so as not to give herself away. Out there in the open, he looked more rugged and had striking, handsome features.
"Anyway," she thought, "I came here for a purpose and that purpose does not include checking out handsome features of Vincent or any other guy for that matter. Get that straight into your head Naomi." She silently warned herself.
After they disengaged from the hug, Mrs. Mercy took Vincent by the hand and led him, like an obedient school boy, towards Naomi. From the expression on her face, one could easily tell that Mrs. Mercy was about to introduce them. As soon as the duo covered the short distance and got close enough, Naomi quickly spoke first.
“Hello Vincent.” she said. "Nice to meet you again."
“Hi Helena." Vincent replied.
Mrs Mercy looked a little taken back. “You two have met before?” she asked.
“We met each other almost an hour ago.” Vincent said. “I didn’t know we will be meeting again so soon.”
“Oh!” Mrs. Mercy exclaimed, “Then there is no need for a formal introduction. I was only giving Helena a tour around the house.”
“No Ma, there is no need for introduction.” Vincent said, as he held Mrs. Mercy by the shoulder and pulled her close. “But there is something else you can do.”
“What?” Mrs. Mercy asked.
“Can you kindly allow me take your place? I would love to give Helena an extra tour round the premises. It’s just a way for me to know her better.”
“Oh! That will be good." Mrs. Mercy agreed. "I would love nothing more than for you two to get acquainted, that way, Helena will relax more in her new environment.”
"What on earth is this idiot of a guy up to?" Naomi thought. Anger was already brewing inside of her. "Who did he think he was fooling? He looks at me with suspicion in his eyes and now, he wants to get to know me? Vigilance, I love that about guys who think they are so smart."
Naomi didn't feel comfortable. She knew Vincent was up to something else. However, since she was the guest, she had to try not to be rude. She looked Vincent straight in the eyes and smiled her most sincere, charming smile, before responding. "I would love to see what you have to show me. The garden already look beautiful from a distance. I'm sure it will be even more beautiful in close range."
Vincent's brows shot up. "Oh" He said, "I do have a lot to show you and I believe you are going to love it all."
Mrs. Mercy smiled and then hugged them both before taking her leave. She had other things to attend to.
“Well," Vincent said, as he stepped forward, “Let our tour start from the extensive floor of the mansion, then, we move to the gardens, the green house…”
“You have a green house here?” She interrupted him.
“Yes we do." he said without any form of expression. “After the green house, we would move over to the game reserve, to the woods and finally, the beach. So, are you ready for a whole day’s walk?"
“Of course I am." She replied.
Immediately, they started by visiting the gardens first. Naomi really loved that she was going to be taken around the premises. That way, she would know her way around when her real mission started.
To be continued
All Rights Reserved©Karo Oforofuo. April 2015