(Hey folks, remember I am launching my first hard copy novel, The Preying Shepherds, on 23rd April, 2022. For planning purposes, the last day I am selling tickets is13thApril. The event will be at Eton Hotel, Thika. Kindly grab your ticket by paying Kshs. 1500 to buy Goods Till Number 297264. I encourage you to register early to help me prepare for the event. Thank you for the continued support.)
(Continued from Shaken Foundations II)
From the OCS’s office, Philip drives to his house, a three story mansion smack in the middle of the Farm. This is not the house that Cess worked in thirteen years ago. The house that she worked in was a four bedroom apartment in the Village. The Village refers to the estate where most of the Nteere family members live. It is managed by the Nteere Property Limited, the real estate wing of the company. The company operates under the name Nteere Holdings Limited. It has three subsidiaries: Nteere Breweries Limited, Nteere Farm Limited and Nteere Property Limited. What happens is, whenever a family member officially starts their internship with the company, they are given a car and a house in the Village. The houses are all four bedroom apartments, and the cars that all interns from the family get are 1500cc sedans, although one is allowed to choose the model.
The cars are usually a grant, but the houses are usually mortgaged. The company has a working relationship with one of the leading banks; the bank pays Nteere Property Limited money equivalent to the value of the house, the intern is allowed to occupy the house and Nteere Holdings Limited, the mother company, deducts money from the intern’s salary and forwards it to the bank. Because more and more family members are getting into the workforce, the Village is also growing. It started as one apartment block, but now they are two, with a third one under construction. Most family members live in these houses. The only exceptions are the six brothers, the sons of the Patriarch. They are referred to as the Elders, and they constitute the Board of Directors of the company together with Philip and Bob, the company’s Chief Operating Officer. The Elders live in The Quarters, the residential area on the edge of the farm that houses seven six-bedroom bungalows on an acre of land each.
The seventh house was last occupied by the Patriarch, Solomon Nteere himself, and it is currently vacant. It is expected that Philip will move there after retiring from his position as the CEO of the company. There have been discussions within the family as to whether Bob, Philip’s 27-year-old nephew and the company’s COO, can be allowed to move into the house in the meantime, so that it doesn’t remain idle. He is the de facto Deputy CEO of the company, and the Elders seem to have agreed that he is the one who will take over from Philip. He is being groomed for the position, and has even been inducted into the Board of Directors. Philip is 50, and he is expected to retire when he hits 60. He will retain his seat in the board, and move to the Quarters to become one of the Elders. The decision as to whether to allow Bob to move to The Quarters has not been made yet. Unlike the houses in the Village, the seven houses in The Quarters plus the CEO’s house belong to the company and not to the individuals who live there, but the CEO and the Elders do not pay rent. It is a lifetime benefit, but when they die the company can allocate the house to someone else.
Cess has been in the CEO’s house many times in the past year. Philip brings her here almost thrice a week for lovemaking, but she is yet to get used to the sheer size of it. She was brought up in a crumbling mud hut, where everything was a struggle. When she got employed by Philip, the four bedroom house in which he lived then looked like paradise. But she got used to it. The house that Bradley built is a decent four bedroom mansion, but compared to this house it is a chicken coop.
It will be a very long time before she gets used to this.
Other than the size of the house, the interior design and the furnishing make the house royal. Everything about the house is expensive. In Philip’s former house she was the only servant, and Philip was paying her personally. This house, however, has seven house assistants, including a house manager. The house manager has a real managerial job because she is the one who supervises the other workers. There are two cooks, two gardeners, and two security guards (one who works at night and one who works during the day). Laundry is done by a cleaning company, which also cleans the house thrice a week. All arrangements about cleaning are made by the house manager. All the seven assistants are employees of the company so they are paid directly from the headquarters.
Hannah must have really felt proud to live in this house, Cess muses as she accepts a glass of juice from the house manager. If she was acting so arrogant when she lived in the Village and when her husband was a middle level manager, Cess doesn’t want to imagine the kind of monster she became after Philip became the CEO.
But all this will be hers now. She will be the new queen of this kingdom. Of course Bradley is also a CEO, but his little hotel cannot be compared with the behemoth that his grandfather created. Bradley’s brother Philip is the top dog, and Cess is glad she has made the switch. She doesn’t want Bradley to die though. After all, he is the biological father of two of her three children.
“I thought you went to the police station to report Bradley so that he can get arrested,” she says timidly. “Why do you want him killed?”
Philip looks up from his phone and eyes her suspiciously.
“Don’t even think about telling anyone what you heard there,” he growls at her. “You are going to be my wife so I expect nothing but loyalty.”
“Of course I am loyal to you babe. I chose you, remember?”
“Then why do you sound like you are still in love with Bradley?”
“Of course not! You are the only man I have ever loved. I just don’t want your name tainted, or worse still, you ending up in jail. You can just let him rot in jail as you had originally planned.”
“Look at it this way. If Bradley dies, you will get to inherit everything he owns because you are his wife. That includes the hotel and the house. His death will also mean that we will not have to deal with the drama of fighting for custody of the children. You know our family hates court cases, and we only go to court when we have no alternative. By getting Bradley killed, I am actually helping you babe.”
“I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thanks babe,” Cess says, although she is not convinced. She has just realised that it is pointless to argue with Philip. Bradley actually listens to her opinions, but it is obvious that Philip is used to having his way.
“Anytime my love,” Philip replies. “Why don’t we go to bed?”
He gulps his fruit juice and then leads Cess, who has not even finished hers, upstairs to the master bedroom.
“Will you take me to pick Christopher from school?” Cess asks after they are done making love. Philip is dozing next to her on the bed.
“I have to go to work babe, but don’t worry, I will send my personal assistant to pick you from here and take you there…but wait, I don’t think that is a good idea.”
“Why? You promised me that my children will come and live with us.”
“I did, and they will. But timing is everything. If you take them now and then Bradley dies, that will be drama of its own kind. Questions might be asked that will require an explanation. That is why I even told you not to take your clothes today. Let the bus drop him at Bradley’s house as it normally does. Once Bradley is dead, then you can take your children. It will be the natural thing to do.”
Once again Cess is not convinced; she wants her baby to come home to her, not to Bradley. But she is learning not to argue with Philip. He is a boss and expects to be obeyed. No wonder he was always fighting with Hannah. She was too headstrong to be bossed around. But Cess knows her place and so she shuts her mouth.
Bradley is still dazed when he goes back inside the house. He collapses on the seat and a while later, Joyce brings him a cup of tea.
“Take this Baba Linet. It will warm you up.”
“I am not Baba Linet, Joyce. It turns out that Linet is my brother’s daughter, not mine.”
“That is total nonsense. You are the father of all those children, irrespective of who sired them. I have been in this house for ten years, and I can tell you for a fact that you are a good father. I don’t know what mama Linet and her friend told you, but what I have told you is a fact.”
“Did you know mama Linet and my brother Philip had something going on behind my back?”
“I had my suspicions but I did not know for certain. She had all these strange calls coming in whenever you were away, and then she would be picked outside the gate…”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I wasn’t sure, Baba Linet. What if I told you and then it turned out to be something you knew about and approved? Mama Linet would hate me and probably fire me.”
“So you have never seen them having sex in this house?”
“You mean they were…no Baba Linet,” Joyce says, apparently changing her mind about her first thought. But she still appears to be shocked at the suggestion that her boss was caught by the husband in an act of adultery. “I have never…”
She doesn’t finish her thought because the house suddenly comes under attack. Windows are shuttered as the sitting room, where they are, suddenly falls under heavy gunfire.
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/firearm-revolver-bullet-gun-weapon-409252/
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