(Continued from The Tango of Love II)
Jean’s chest is threatening to explode. Her heart is beating so fast that she fears that a heart attack is imminent. What has she done? Has she thrown away a good relationship for a scam? Jeff is clearly married. She calls the woman who sent the message but the call is not picked. Her instincts tell her to call Nicholas and make peace, but that would be humiliating, given that she has just dumped him and hung up on him. She calls Jeff instead, and he answers on the first ring.
“Hi beautiful? You called just when I was about to call you.”
“Jeff, are you married?” she asks without bothering with pleasantries.
“I am not married. But I have been married before and I have two daughters.”
“I don’t understand.”
“What I am saying is that I am divorced.”
“How come you have never told me this before?”
“We are still getting to know each other Jean. There is a great deal of things that we don’t know about each other. But why do you ask?”
“Your ex-wife texted me and told me to get a life.”
“How did you know she is my ex-wife? She could have been any of the hundreds of women I have been ignoring. I have many stalkers.”
He is fishing for information. He wants to know whether his wife Anne has really gotten in touch with Jean. But he also says that to make Jean feel special for having been chosen by him.
“Do you love me?”
“Of course I do, darling. I told you that from the start. You would be my girlfriend were it not for the fact that you are in another relationship.”
“I am not.”
“I am not in a relationship. Nicholas and I broke up today.”
“Whoa, now that is good news. I would have wanted to come back and ask you out officially over dinner, but you know my intentions anyway. So babe, will you be my girlfriend?”
“Of course I will babe. That has always been my dream since I met you.”
“I can’t wait to see you again.”
“Me too, darling. When are you coming back?”
“I will be there the day after tomorrow. It is only tomorrow that we will be separated.”
“Awesome. I can’t wait. I want to be held and kissed by you again.”
“That will be my pleasure.”
They talk for more than an hour and by the time they hang up, Jean has forgotten about Jeff’s “ex-wife”.
In a different house, but at the very same time, a mother and her daughter are talking softly. The daughter is crying, and the mother is trying to console her. Anne, Jeff’s wife, is afraid of losing her husband to this strange woman who has intruded into their lives. When she found out that Jeff was cheating through her friend Judith, she went to seek the help of her mother Caroline. Judith is Jean’s client, and she had been surprised to see her caterer kissing her friend’s husband outside a restaurant. She took a video from her car and sent it to Anne via WhatsApp. Judith also supplied Anne with Jean’s details, including her phone number.
“Do you think Jeff will leave me?” Anne asks her mother.
“He will not get the chance because I will personally destroy him.”
Caroline is also seething inside. Jeff has not just betrayed her daughter; he has betrayed her as well. She is the one who made him who he is today. What makes him think he has the right to get into relationships with other women? Jeff and Caroline were lovers long before he married Caroline’s daughter. They started sleeping together shortly after Jeff was hired by Caroline’s late husband Faisal as his personal assistant and driver. When she first laid her eyes on him, she knew that she wanted him, and she did not waste time. She moved with speed and started seducing him. His response excited her even more. Although he understood the risk of getting involved with her, he did not resist her moves. Instead, he started pursing her more actively than she was pursuing him.
Jeff and Caroline knew that if Faisal found out about their affair they would be dead, and no investigation would be carried out. Faisal was not only wealthy, he was also very connected both in government circles and in the criminal underworld. Getting an assassin would not be difficult for him. Still, Jeff and Caroline managed to see each other for three intense years before Faisal died in a grisly road accident at Mtito Andei. The risk of getting caught only served to pump adrenaline into their lovemaking sessions, making it even more enjoyable.
After the death of Faisal, Caroline took charge of the family’s business empire. But there was a problem: since Faisal had not been engaging her in the day to day operations of the business, she did not know where to begin. But Jeff knew everything there was to know about the company. As Faisal’s personal assistant, he had personally met all of Faisal’s contacts in business and the private sector. He understood the rationale behind every decision Faisal made. He was therefore instrumental in smoothing Caroline’s ascendancy to the helm of the empire. Caroline has become so good at the job that some think she is even better than her husband was. She is certainly more brutal and bloodthirsty than Faisal was.
The marriage between Jeff and Anne was Caroline’s idea. Caroline knows that her daughter does not have what it takes to take her rightful position in the company and will probably be taken advantage of by her brothers in the event of her (Caroline’s) death. It is not like the boys are super smart themselves, but they are thugs trained by their father. Caroline knows that if her two sons take charge of the company they will plunder it and run it to the ground because even if they are ruthless in a crude way, they are not as driven as their father nor as intelligent as she is. That is why, after the death of Faisal, she took over the business without any resistance from them.
Caroline knew someone who had the drive, the intelligence and the raw hunger to help her run the company; someone who would be the appropriate heir to the company. That person was her lover and personal assistant, Jeff. She knew that even in her absence, the business would thrive under the hands of Jeff. But to leave the company in his hands, she would need to incorporate him into her family.
Marrying the much younger Jeff was out of question. Such a decision would create a lot of animosity between Jeff and her sons, both of whom are about Jeff’s age, give or take three years. The idea she came up with, then, was to make Jeff marry her daughter Anne. That way, she could secure her grandchildren’s inheritance by ensuring that the business would survive even after her own death. She did not play mind games with Jeff. She openly told him what she had in mind, and instructed him to seduce and marry Anne. She stressed that he had to make it look authentic. Jeff, driven by raw ambition, accepted.
But even after Jeff married Anne, he continued to sleep with her mother Caroline. That is why Caroline is so incensed. The way she sees it, Jeff is actually cheating on her, not her daughter.
“What shall I do mother?”
“We will teach them a lesson they will not forget.”
“Please don’t hurt Jeff. He is my husband and I love him. I am sure it is that woman who tempted him. You know how weak men are in the presence of naked flesh. That woman is the one who should be taught a lesson.”
Caroline thinks about it for a while. She would like to destroy Jeff for his betrayal. But perhaps she should spare him for now, for the sake of her daughter and her grandchildren. But she will send him a clear warning that he will always remember whenever he thinks about another woman.
“Okay honey. I will spare your husband. What does that woman do for a living? Did your friend tell you?”
“She is a business woman. She runs a restaurant and outside catering company called Jean’s Dishes.”
Caroline takes her phone and makes a lengthy phone call.
Jean gets to the office early, as is her norm. She likes being behind her desk by 6.30 am. Her office is located at the back of her restaurant. She opened the restaurant just two months ago, at the urging of Jeff. Jeff convinced her that since she was an established brand as an outside caterer, it was time to take the business to the next level by opening a restaurant. . Outside catering is still her primary source of income, but the restaurant is also picking up nicely. When she gets to the restaurant, she finds two men in dark suits waiting for her. She ushers them to her office.
“Good morning gentlemen,” she greets the men cheerfully assuming they are clients. “Please take your seats. What can I do for you?”
The older of the two men slides an envelope to her.
“What is this?”
“It is a tax demand notice. We are officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority. We have reasons to believe that you have not been paying your taxes. In our estimation, you owe KRA about eleven million shillings in actual taxes and accrued penalties. You have three days to clear the amount, otherwise we will be forced to arrest you for tax evasion.”
Jean’s mouth becomes dry. Where is she supposed to get eleven million in three days? She knows that the figure is exaggerated, but it is true that she has not been paying taxes, and her accounts have never been properly audited. She did not imagine that KRA would come looking for a “small fish” like her. But here they are.
Image by Salofoto from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/hybrid-dog-pet-animal-6274156/
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