The sun was already setting when they left the beach. It was indeed a great sight seeing day. Earlier, before going to the beach, Vincent and Naomi visited the local villages around. What surprised Naomi was the way the villagers, in each village, rushed forward to greet Vincent. Their actions got her thinking. He was like their savior, some sort of god to them. Some thanked him for the help they had received in the past, while others continued to pour out their problems to him. Those he could help, he promised to get back to them with what they needed.
“How does a criminal’s son choose to be helpful to people?” Naomi thought. “To the extent that he is worshipped?”
At that point he looked up at her, as if he had read the question in her mind. Vincent smiled and turned back to the elderly man he was talking to. He painstakingly attended to everyone of them, before leaving with Naomi.
After leaving the village, they headed straight to a nearby beach. The surrounding was bushy, had tall trees and was very quiet. The only sound was the chirping of birds who peeped out from the comfort of their nest.
There were stones at the bank of the river but all that did not matter. Because of the hot weather, the water was very much inviting. Naomi took advantage of the invitation and went into the shallow part of the water, wading in it. She bent low, scooped some water in both her palms and poured it on her face. She did it repeatedly and even poured some on her neck. The water gave her some relief from the heat and sweat.
Vincent on the other hand, sat on the stony shore and watched her. There was an expression on his face that made Naomi feel like he suspected something. She turned around several times to look at his face and each time she did, his expression made her uneasy.
Not wanting to leave anything to chance, Naomi quickly came out of the water and joined him.
“What are you thinking about?” She asked carelessly, lest he gets suspicious of her.
“Nothing that concerns you.” He replied, with no emotion.
“Oh! Sorry." She said, with pushed up lips. “I am a stranger, not family.”
“I didn’t mean it that way.” He protested
“Yes you did.” She argued, “It’s okay to not trust me, yet. If I were you, I will do same.”
Vincent looked at her and smiled lightly. “I’m thinking about our security.” He said at last. There was a thoughtful look in his eyes. One that showed that he was not only thinking, he was also worried.
“Why are you thinking about security?" Naomi scoffed, “Everything looks fine.”
“Yes it does. Unfortunately, someone, somewhere, has vowed to wipe out my entire family, and she could take any form.”
Surprise and complete shock took over, but Naomi tried not to show it. “What do you mean by she?” She asked, already becoming uneasy.
“I mean a girl, or should I say, a woman?” He sighed and went on to explain that while he was abroad, he heard from a very reliable source that a girl he had known way back, was planning a hit on his family. "I really wonder who this girl is. It must be one of those crazy girls I sent to prison."
“Is that why you came back home?” Naomi asked, trying to feel unconcerned.
“Yes.” He sighed, “I had to let everyone know what was up and also help boost up security.” He then turned to her. Naomi simply threw all anxiety away and pretended not to be affected by his revelation. “Frankly speaking,” He went on, “When I first saw you, I suspected you to be her but...” His voice trailed off.
“But what?” Naomi asked, with no expression on her face.
“But I don't know you. Yes you look very much like Esther, my father's lost daughter, but I don't know you. I have never seen you before. Besides, after a day with you, I don’t think you can be her.”
“Let me guess. You only decided to spend the day with me because you suspected me. Right?”
“Yes. But I'm a little over that now. I don’t think you are her.”
"A little over?" Naomi frowned. "A little over is not over, Vincent. Should I have reasons to be scared? Since you think I'm someone who wants to kill your family, you wouldn't think twice before putting a bullet in me."
"You have nothing to worry about, Naomi. Since you are not her, then you are safe."
Naomi sighed, trying to roll all fear and tension to the background. “I’m glad you know I'm not her and I hope we will be friends?”
Vincent looked at her and smiled, one of those his heart melting smiles. “Yes, why not?”
They spent about an hour at the lake, telling stories, watching the water and just generally trying to catch fun. As soon as it was sun set, they started on their journey back to the mansion. By the time they got to the mansion, it was dark. However, some of the guards, on seeing Vincent, pulled him away from Naomi because they needed him to attend to an urgent matter.
"I guess I will see you later." Vincent said to Naomi. "Feel free in this house, you are very welcomed here." That said, he went off with the men to another building which was detached from the main mansion. Naomi looked up and saw that her room window was opposite the building Vincent went into. Not wanting to miss anything, she quickly started on her way to the bedroom. She had to spy on them, she had to see what they were doing, she had to know what they were up to.
Walking very fast, she got into the house and was heading up stairs to her room when Mrs. Mercy's voice stopped her on her tracks.
"Oh, Helena dear. You are back!" Mrs. Mercy said. "I was beginning to get worried."
Naomi slowly turned around to face the elderly woman. "Oh, good evening ma. I didn't mean to get you worried. Beside, there was nothing to worry about ma, Vincent was with me."
"I know, but where is he now?"
"The guards took him to the other building." Naomi replied. "They said there is an urgent matter he needs to attend to."
"Oh! Okay then. So, can you come over to the kitchen?" Mrs. Mercy pleaded. I seriously need some help with serving supper."
At that moment, Naomi actually wanted to yell at her. Why did she have to be so demanding? And at a point when she was going to spy on the men? However, Naomi knew that she dared not yell at the elderly woman. Mrs. Mercy had been too nice to her since her arrival.
"Yes ma." She replied. "I can help you out."She
"Oh! Thank you my dear." Mrs. Mercy said with sincere gratitude. "Come now, the kitchen is this way." She led Naomi to the kitchen and together, they worked on serving supper.
To be continued
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