DADDY’S GIRL (Episode 7)
Arnold drove into his compound stepped out of his car and walked into his house, his face looking sullen and his eyes red and swollen. It was quarter to six. He had spent almost an hour at his wife’s grave talking to no one in particular and then he went to the office, signed a few documents and left to the orphanage to donate food stuffs and money like he did every year on this day. He was too tired and sad that he forgot to check if Helena was teaching Fiona or not because she could act crazy sometimes. He walked lazily upstairs into his room to take a shower….
THIRTY FIVE MINUTES LATER…..
Helena watched as Arnold walked outside and went to sit in the garden a few meters away from where she was sitting. Earlier when he got home, she frowned expecting him to come and check up on what she was teaching like he usually did since she started working for him three days ago but tonight, he had just passed by without a glance and she found it strange. She continued to watch him from a distance as he looked up into the sky for a few minutes and then rested his head on his knees.
Soon, she could see his shoulders moving up and down frantically.Was he crying??? She wondered…
No! Hell no!! She chuckled at her stupid thoughts. Arnold Bempong was an arrogant, pompous, emotionless man. Maybe he was singing. But taking a second look at him, made her think otherwise.
Sighing, she stood up and walked to sit by him leaving Fiona who was solving a math problem. Her classes were almost over anyway.
Arnold lifted his head, wiping his tears when he felt the presence of someone. He turned and it was no none other than Helena. She was such a pest!! He rolled his eyes wondering what she wanted.
“What’s wrong sir. Are you okay?” She asked.
“Its none of your business lady. Get lost!!” He snarled…. She sighed. He was so arrogant even in a depressed state but still she wasn’t going to leave.
“I know its none of my business but..”.
“But nothing!! Stay out of my business!!!!”.
“You know you can talk to me. I’m a good listener”
He was silent. Good progress, she thought.
She continued “Just for tonight pretend I’m your friend and talk to me. I might help. After today you can go back to being arrogant towards me and I also won’t hesitate to give you a piece of my mind like always. ” she winked playfully… He stared at her for a few seconds.
He was right after all, she was definitely crazy that’s why she chose to rub shoulders with him and disobey his orders all the time. He chuckled slightly.
” I don’t like you lady.You’re an idiot”
“The feeling is mutual sir”
‘Thank you” she replied and he laughed slightly. He had a beautiful smile she noticed. It was the first time she had ever seen him smile. He was very charming.
“What’s bothering you sir? A problem shared is half solved. Just pretend I’m your friend, just for tonight.”
“Today is my late wife’s death anniversary” he stated bluntly staring at the neatly mowed grass. Helena was right…. He felt sad and at the moment he just needed someone to talk to.
“God I’m so sorry” her mouth dropped open
“Don’t be lady”
“You loved her very much. It’s evident in your eyes”
He nodded “I did. Much more than my life”
Helena watched his eyes pool, tears threatening to fall and then she began to wish, she had a man who could love her like that.
“The irony of it all is that, today is Fiona’s birthday as well”
She turned to stare at Fiona who was beginning to doze off.
“You didn’t celebrate her birthday?” She asked suddenly..
“No. I never have. Its not your business anyway” he stated and stood up to walk away.
“Wait sir. Please”
“What?” He snarled
“Sorry for prying but it’s not too late to give her a birthday gift.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about Lady!!!”
“Maybe you’re right sir but just look at your daughter. She is supposed to be running around playing with friends on a day like this but she’s sitting here all alone without friends. Can’t you see she feels lonely? Buying her a toy or chocolates won’t cost a thing. At least do this in memory of your late wife. Please Sir. A little gesture on your part will bring joy to her face. It’s not too late sir. I’m sure your late wife would have done much more than just buy her toys, probably she would have thrown her a big party.”
Arnold sighed and stared in the direction of Fiona who’s head was rested on the table. Maybe this crazy woman was right. A little gesture won’t cost a thing. The fact that he didn’t show her love like he ought to didn’t mean he was entirely wicked…
“I don’t even know what she would like” he said realising for the first time that he knew nothing about his own child’s likes and dislikes. Whether she would like a chocolate or strawberry cake. He realised he doesn’t know her favourite food or the food she was allergic to…..
He sighed again and walked towards her to ask her what she would like him to buy for her as a birthday gift.
“Fiona?” He called and she immediately shot her head up staring at him with fear and continued writing with trembling hands.
“You were sleeping?”
“N..n..no daddy.. I was….I..I was looking for my pen. Please don’t beat me daddy. I promise I was learning” she stammered refusing to meet his gaze. She gathered her books into her arms and ran into the house as fast as her legs could carry her.
“She is scared of me” he muttered watching her run away and recalling how her hands were trembling when he approached her. Was he really cruel to her like his friends always told him?
He took in a deep breath and walked over to Helena.
“I think you’re right. Will you come with me? I know nothing about such things”
“Sure sir” she answered and they sat in his car and drove out of the compound…..
An hour later, Grace and Helena were decorating the large living room with balloons and ribbons. Helena set the chocolate cake on the glass table and added two candles. She hid the gifts they had bought behind the sofa and then hanged the large banner she had made on the wall……
Arnold was standing on his compound waiting for his friends to arrive…..
“Why did you call us this late Noldie?” Mark asked as soon as they walked into his compound.
Arnold flinched “I’ve told you time and again don’t call me Noldie. It’s sounds pathetic.”
“It suits you Noldie”
“I wish I could sell you two off…… And to your question I’m having a small party for Fiona so I decided to invite you.”
Alex and Mark’s mouth dropped to the floor as they stared at their friend like he had just dropped from space. Mark walked closer and touched Arnold’s temple and neck. He hit his hand away.
“What are you doing?”
“Checking if you have a fever dude. Since when did you start caring about your child.?” He replied
“All of a sudden you throw a birthday party for her? Are you sure you didn’t hit your head or something?” Alex chipped in.
“Arrrgh no silly. Listen its just a small gesture okay. Besides Helena suggested it would make her happy”.
Mark frowned when he learnt Helena had a hand in what was going on. Over the years no one had dared talk to Arnold about Fiona much less try to convince him to treat her with love and now all of a sudden the woman he had laid his eyes on had started to change his opinion? He didn’t like it one bit. He wasn’t going to let history repeat itself. She would either be his or no one else’s. He clenched his fists.
“Helena?” he bellowed..
TO BE CONTINUED..