Henrik grudgingly got out of bed after Kiara-joy repeatedly woke him up.
She told him he was running late for the office and breakfast was already served. He took a quick bath and joined them at the table. He told her about his itinerary for the day and realized Kiara-joy wasn’t talking much.
His daughter bombarded him with lots of questions on why he was not in the house for more than two days. He painstakingly explained things to her but she was still not convinced, she just didn’t understand why work could take someone from his family for days. This always happened when he embarked on a business trip. Usually, Kiara-joy backed him up on the explanations but this morning she was quite silent about the issue.
“Is everything okay with you, dear?” he asked, concerned and observing her critically. He noticed her eyes were moist with unshed tears or something.
“Have you been crying? What’s going on, Sweetie? You know it’s my job to make you happy, don’t tell me I’m doing a lousy job at that.”
“Onions got in her eyes,” Chelsca explained.
“And how did you know that, little Angel?” Henrik questioned.
“That’s what she said when I asked her why she was wiping her eyes.”
“Sweetie, finish your food. Daddy can’t wait to get to work. You don’t want him to be late, do you?”
“Good, hurry up with your food, sweetie,” Kiara-joy implored.
“My Queen, what’s bugging you? Are you keeping things from me now? I can see you are worried about something. We don’t keep things from each other, that was our deal, right?”
“It’s nothing for you to worry about. Chelsca is getting late for school. You guys should be on your way already,” Kiara-joy replied and left for the kitchen hurriedly.
Henrik followed her shortly afterwards to inform her they were leaving. He gave her a brief kiss on the lips as usual and left. He felt her tremble to his touch but said nothing.
Kiara-joy saw them off and went back inside. She went to the laundry to continue laundering the clothes Henrik took for the trip. She picked up the paper she found in his pocket and read the note on it for the umpteenth time.
“Thank you, my guardian Angel for your kindness and thoughtfulness. There aren’t many like you in this world. Thanks for making me feel loved last night. Trust me when I say that I haven’t felt loved like this in a very long time. Audrey.”
She wondered if Henrik was cheating on her with the intern.
A few minutes later, she heard the electronic gate to the house opening which meant Henrik was back. It was only their vehicles which could open and close the gates with the sensors in their cars. She wiped her hands and went to open the main entrance door for him.
“Did you forget something?” Kiara-joy asked with a straight face.
“I wish I did. I don’t know why you are being cold towards me. What did I do this time, Princess? You know I hate those cold shoulders of yours.” Henrik stated.
“But I told you there was nothing important for you to worry about. It’s just my silly jealousies that’s getting the best of me. I will get over it, don’t worry about me. I will go to the shop later in the day. You don’t have to be late because of me.’ Kara-joy explained.
“Now you have made me more worried. What are you jealous about? What did I do?” Henrik asked confused.
Kiara-joy went back to the laundry without uttering another word. Henrik followed her.
“That is rude and you know that. Why are you behaving like that this morning? I have tried my best to be a good husband. Is it still not enough? What has invoked those crazy jealousies of yours?” Henrik pushed.
“If you care to know, explain this!” Kiara-Joy said and brought out the note she found from her apron pocket. “What’s all that about, Henrik? What is she referring to? What happened between the two of you?”
Henrik laughed and breathed a sigh of relief. “You are like this because of this? Oh Kiara-joy, what were you thinking? You weren’t thinking I was cheating on you with that girl, were you? I would be very disappointed if you did.”
“It did cross my mind. What would you do in my shoes? What would you think if you find a note like that from a guy I went on a business trip with?”
“I wouldn’t jump to conclusions, that I know. I would definitely question you about it. Do you still doubt my fidelity?” Henrik intoned furiously.
“Look, I did not question you about it because I know you are going to be defensive. Can you tell me what you did for her to make her feel so loved? Maybe that would satisfy my curiosity.” Kiara-joy retorted.
Henrik recounted what happened and told her he didn’t mention it because he knew she was going to be worried about it. He told her nothing happened and he could swear to that if that would ease her mind. He told her what he did the whole night in his bid to stay faithful and also to keep away from any machinations of the devil.
“I vowed to love and cherish only you for the rest of my life. I’m doing whatever it takes to keep my vows to you. Just trust me, please. I’ve got eyes for only you, my dear, sweet wife,” he said, reassuringly.
Kiara-joy apologized for doubting him and pleaded with him not to keep things from her. She explained that if he had mentioned what happened on the trip earlier, she wouldn’t have jumped into conclusions when she saw the note.
Henrik left for work relieved.
Henrik rushed to the conference room when he got to the office just in time for the staff meeting. Everyone was there and wondered why he would be so late and did not notify anyone. That wasn’t like him. He took a seat and muttered his apologies for being late.
The Managing Partner welcomed them to the usual Friday staff meeting which was meant to evaluate tasks set out for the week against the achievements chalked. Legal Fields staff met twice in a week to deliberate on various assignments and activities.
The meetings on Mondays were mostly to brief staff on what milestones needed to be achieved by the close of the week.
The meetings on Fridays were to report and evaluate activities undertaken during the week. All the partners gave their reports and all outstanding milestones were flagged for further action.
It came to light at the meeting that the firm had not confirmed its participation in the International Lawyers Conference in London just a week away for the simple reason that the Partners have not decided who was to represent the firm.
The Managing Partner went through the schedules for each Partner for the following week and nominated Henrik to represent the firm. Henrik reluctantly accepted to go.
The meeting closed and everyone dispersed to their offices.
Henrik was busy typing on his Laptop when Shanel buzzed him that Audrey wanted to see him. He grudgingly acquiesced.
“Good afternoon, Sir!” Audrey greeted politely when she entered.
“Good afternoon. I trust all is well?” Henrik replied unenthusiastically.
“First, I want to express my appreciation for the sacrifices you made for me when we went to Kumasi. I was deeply touched by your selflessness. Thank you so much. I also wanted to know if I’m going to London with you,” Audrey said hurriedly.
Henrik, who was still typing all this while turned his seat to face Audrey.
“No, I’m going to London alone. I don’t think you should be thanking me anymore for the little gesture in Kumasi. It was nothing and its done. Let’s move on,” Henrik said curtly.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. I heard you mostly went on business-related trips with your mentees so I was hoping I could come with you. I’ve never been to London.,” Audrey supplied quickly.
“Well, young lady, this trip is different. You will always be appropriately informed whenever your presence would be required on any pertinent issues of the firm. I am going on this trip alone and that is final.”
“Was it because of what happened in Kumasi? Is that why you don’t want to go with me?” Audrey asked, disappointed.
“I wish things were that simple, young lady. I have decided to go alone this time. We have a lot on our plates the coming weeks and I need you to be on top of things. I need you to finalize the itinerary for the interviews I gave you. I also need your complete report on the trip to Kumasi as soon as yesterday. The court summaries for the cases we handled are also pending.”
Henrik paused for a bit to get redirection.
“In effect, what I’m trying to say is you have so much work to do here. I am counting on you to get all these things done as quickly as possible. I need you here to finalize all the outstanding tasks whiles am away. Listen, I hope you understand it’s not personal. I would have loved to give you the exposure but I’m afraid it wouldn’t be possible to travel with you this time around.”
Audrey was silent. She was so disappointed she wasn’t going with him to London.
Tearful Audrey got to her feet to leave.
“One more thing, the next time you are feeling thankful, it’s better you express them verbally instead of writing implicating notes and leaving them in briefcases. That was out of line.”
“So it means you are angry with me over Kumasi.”
“Would you stop talking about Kumasi? What was so special about Kumasi? The way you are going on about it you are making it look like something special happened between us. I had to spend almost an hour convincing my wife that nothing happened because she chanced on your silly note. I don’t want to hear anything about Kumasi again. Now, go and get the things I’ve asked for. We are here to work and not to have fun.”
Audrey apologized for the note and left Henrik’s office almost in tears. Shanel looked shocked to see her in that state and wondered what might have caused that. She didn’t know Henrik as one who would make anyone cry especially someone under his watch.
She admitted he had been a little distant from Audrey after their Kumasi trip but thought it was because he had been busy. Now she had a reason to believe that there was more to his cold shoulder towards Audrey.
Shanel became more alarmed when Henrik called and asked her to book the flight to the U.K. for only him. That was the strangest thing she had ever witnessed… Henrik went everywhere with his mentees. That was an unwritten tradition.
To Be Continued…
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