Afraid To Love by Patience Ahworegba
“This can’t be happening!” cried Purity. She stared into space with disbelief and shock written all over her face.
“No, no,” she mumbled, looking around her office.
This man had carried out his threat. Who could have thought he would actually do it? Aaron Theodore was full of surprises and behaved like the Devil himself. She was a grown woman, old enough to make her decisions and do whatever she pleases. Now, this man – her papa, had chosen a husband for her. How could he?
Aaron Theodore had indeed surprised her. This man promised not to meddle in her private life anymore. Right from when she was a child to being an adult, she had never lived a life of her own- all she had done was to please her papa, doing things the way he wanted. Now, she grew up. She’s no more the baby of the home, she can make her decisions and do whatever please her. d–n this man! She wasn’t living for him. And he couldn’t dictate whom she’d marry, she’d show him.
The door opened, a young woman of about twenty-six popped her head in, then walked in. She was dressed in a grey suit. The skirt was mini- above her kneels which revealed straight beautiful legs, they were longer than their actual length ’cause she wore a four inches stilleto. Her hair was tied in a ponytail. Her lips shone, painted with a colourless lip gloss. Her lashes were tick. She smiled brightly and looked Purity in the eye. Her eyes were stunning.
“Heather!” Purity snapped as she caught sight of her secretary. “You can’t knock or you forgot your manners?” she was now sounding like a b—h.
“I…I did …knock.” Heather stammered. “There…was…no…no response.”
“Are you saying I’m deaf?” Purity glared at her.
“No! I came to give you the files you’ve been asking for.” she was embarrassed.
“I’m in no mood for such! Get that file and your walking stick body out of my office!” Purity ordered.
In a flash, Heather was out of her office. She ran out with tears welled up in her eyes.
Purity, what the hell is wrong with you! You just made your secretary cry. You’re a witch. A voice in her head scolded her.
She didn’t care. Her father got her into this. She’d beat him to his game.
She stared at her cherry desk, her fingers wandered on it. She took a pen from the pen holder and scribbled something on a notepad. Grabbing hold of the telephone on her desk, she called her secretary.
“Heather,” she called out when the call was answered. “I’m sorry. Please cancel all my appointments today. I’ve got something to do.” she hung up.
Purity felt guilty talking to Heather that way. She must have knocked but Purity failed to hear it ’cause she was too busy with her thoughts. It wasn’t the poor girl’s fault. It was hers.
Purity groaned, carried her purse and left the office room. She did not look at anyone’s face, she just walked out of Theodore’s enterprises- the third richest business company in the world. She was the CEO, no one would dare question her.
Her usual smile wasn’t there, a frown replaced it. She didn’t bother about it, didn’t care. All that was on her mind now was to face Aaron Theodore and let him know she was no more a child, but a full grown woman who decides what to do with her life. No one was going to mess with her life. No on, not even her parents.
She slid into the driver’s seat of her silver volvo XC60 wheels, flung her purse in the front passenger’s seat. She put the key in the ignition hole and started car. Slowly, she joined the highway.
“You must be joking father,” Jeremy laughed and shook his head.
His father- Edwin Broderick gave him a grave look. “I’m being serious here. Purity Theodore is to be your wife. You will see her tomorrow, court her and marry her.”
“Father! Why should I marry her?” Jeremy threw at his father, sarcastically.
“She’s my choice. Besides, her father and me are close pals. They once lived in our neighbourhood, remember?” he raised a brow.
Jeremy scratched his head, trying to remember. Then it came! The little girl who lived in his neighborhood when he was a kid. He’d liked her a certain time and tried to be nice to her, be friends with her but she was very rude to him. She felt she was a princess, she was the last and only daughter of the Theodore’s. Dam! He was rich too and more powerful then she. He began despising her since then, she must be a beautiful woman now. He had forgotten all about her, till this moment.
“Purity? No father, I can’t marry her. Dammit! I can’t even have her as my friend or dare, you’d now expect me to have her as my wife? Holy s–t! NO!”
Edwin Broderick laughed at his son’s outburst. “I know she used to tease you back then. I assure you, she has changed. You’d get to like her.”
“Father, I can’t.” Jeremy pleaded.
“Its final. You two should be married for a year, then you can divorce if you want to. My word is final. Think about it, son.”
Edwin patted his son’s shoulder and left him all by himself.
Jeremy was furious. There was nothing to think about. He hated this girl and will never marry her. What made his father come up with such a ridiculous idea? He would never marry Purity and that is final.
“Papa, papa,” Purity called as she climbed out of her car. She half walked and half ran into her father’s massive duplex.
There was a beech decidous tree in the middle of the large compound. Carnation flowers were planted around it, decorating the tree. The sweet scent of the carnation flowers filled the air.
Purity sniffed in the air, oh how much she loved the scent, this wasn’t the time for that. She got to the doorstep and flung the door open without knocking. This is my papa’s house. The rotound figure of her father came into view. He was dressed in a grey Armani suit, a glass of champagne on his left hand. He was handsome. The figures of others in the sitting room with him was now clear. There was a party or something like that. Her father had guests. Purity didn’t bother looking at them or greeting them, she just sternly gazed at her father.
“Papa, we need to talk!”
“How rude, Purity.” Theodore reprimanded his daughter, “I have guests.”
Purity dragged herself into an inner room. Her father was right, she would have said hi to the guests, she wasn’t willing to. She’d have to show this man that she was a strong headed woman.
“I’m sorry about my daughter’s insolent attitude,” Aaron apologised, “She must have something on her mind. She doesn’t usually act this way. Please, excuse me.” He handed the glass of champagne to the bar tender and turned to leave his guests.
He met Purity in on of the interior rooms. He wasn’t pleased with her. “What has gotten into you?” he questioned.
She rolled her eyes, “Papa, you promised me, you said you’d never decide for me anymore; I’d make my own decisions. Why did you do this?” her vision was beginning to get blurry.
Aaron Theodore remained silent for a while.
“That’s the reason you couldn’t even greet your papa? Purity, where are your manners?”
“I sent them to hell the moment you told me you’ve chosen a partner for me!”
“You promised to behave.”
“You promised not to do it.”
“I’m sorry, Purity. I had no other choice.”
“I don’t understand.”
“We have some little problems. You know that. Our merging with the Broderick’s will do a great deal of help.”
“You want me to marry an old man?” she asked almost in shock.
“Nope. His son. His heir.”
“Papa, you are close to this man, right?”
“Why not let him help you. You can merge the companies without this marriage.” Purity suggested, hopefully.
“I want the marriage. It has a lot more advantages then just merging without it.”
“Papa,” she cried out, “You hate me! I’m like a toy to you, right? You want to use me as an instrument to save your business?” the tears fell.
“No, no. Purity, its best for you.”
This man had made up his mind. d–n! This tears can’t even make him change his mind.
“What’s his name?”
“Jeremy Broderick. His family and ours once lived in the same neighbourhood.”
“What? Jeremy? No, papa, no! I refuse to marry him.”
Jeremy, she never liked him for once. He almost took advantage of her when they were much younger and now he was to be her husband? Never! If he thinks he’ll have her now, he must be hallucinating.
“He’s the right guy for you,” Aaron answered innocently.
“I hate him. Never will I marry him.”
“You didn’t like him then, you will now.”
“I’d disinherit you!” Aaron warned.
Purity sat on the dining chair at the rare end of the restaurant. The tables were covered with red table cloths, and lit candles on them. The lights were dim making the restaurant more romantic.
She’d chosen the far end of the restaurant not to be easily noticed or recognized by the people she knew. She’d been forced to go out on a date with Jeremy Broderick. Her papa had warned to disinherit her. Now she had no other option than to comply to his wish. She was surely going to pay the old man back.
She sighed, relaxing on the chair. She hadn’t ordered anything. She just have to wait for Jeremy, then he’d order and the rest. She silently prayed he wouldn’t come. He must hate her too, after the way she’s treated him years back he never spoke to her. She was happy about that. He would say no, then they can explain to their parents the date was a disaster. She smiled to herself.
She stretched her arm and glanced at her wrist-watch. It was 7:15 p.m. She let out a breath. She was lightly sad and very happy at the same time. Sad cuz she really wanted to see him, curious of what he’d look like now. Why should she even care? She scoffed. She was happy cuz the date wouldn’t work out as planned, she’d never get to marry her worst enemy-Jeremy.
Purity searched her bag, dug out her cell phone and called her father.
“Papa, I’m coming home.”
“This early? What did you do?”
Phew! So, I’m always wrong? He can’t do anything wrong?
“He hasn’t arrived. I guess he doesn’t wanna see my face.” she smirked, her father couldn’t see it.
“I talked with Edwin, he says his son will be there.”
“He changed his mind. See you at home.”
She hung up and smiled mischievously. Without looking up, she quickly got hold of her bag, opened it and brought a notepad and a pen. She scribbled something down:
I waited and waited.
I lost my patience.
She smiled grimly at the words she wrote. Tore the sheet out, and placed it on the table. She turned to leave, as she did, she crashed into someone-a man. The accident sent her cell crashing on the floor. Infuriated, she raised her eyes to see the idiot that had ruined her cell. He had brown spiky hair, a hard, slender, muscular face. His eyebrows were bushy and thick. His sparkling hazel eyes, penetrating her. His nose was firm and pointed. His lips- pink, full and dry. His chin- strong.
He was lean and tall about 6 feet, 3 inches. His muscular chest and body covered with a tuxedo and his feet with brogues. He looked devastatingly handsome. He smiled at her revealing a white, perfect set of teeth. He offered his big right hand for a handshake.
Oh, his smile was breathtaking.
Purity stood, watching him.
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“Holy s–t! I’m gong to be late!” Jeremy cursed as he rode his Volvo XC90 on the highway, he was on his way to ‘Golden’ restaurant where he’d meet Purity Theodore after eighteen years. He wondered how she’d look like- beautiful, maybe. He hoped her manners had changed. The mood he was in now, he could strangle anyone who’d make him more upset. He thought of how she’d view him- he was late on their first date. It’d surely give her more reasons to spite him.
He had never wanted to go, he had almost sneaked out of the house. But his dad had heart attack. Edwin Broderick pleaded with him to obey his wish. Grudgingly, Jeremy had to get dressed to meet Purity Theodore after calling the doctor and asking the servants to take care of him.
Jeremy had no idea if he was jinxed or not. How could his father get cardiac arrest on the very night he’d have escaped being with Purity? He never knew if the old man was faking it.
Jeremy finally arrived at the restaurant. He parked his car, jumped down, and walked briskly into it. He wasn’t sure how he looked, he didn’t care. He hoped she’d hate him and it’d be all over. As he got to the entrance, he made enquiries from a waiter, as he did, he spotted a lady at the far end of the restaurant.
She had long brown hair that fell past her shoulders. She had a high forehead, a soft and oval face. Her brows were tick and arched. Her silver eyes danced with mischief. She had an acquiline nose, thin lips that were painted red.
Her slender body covered with a black sleevless gown, stopping at her knee level. She wore a black wedge to match.
She was scribbling something down. When she was done, she read it. Seeing the evil smile playing on her lips, Jeremy knew that was Purity. She was about leaving? Hell no! He excused himself from the waiter and dashed off to her. He hadn’t been careful, he didn’t notice her moving. He stumbled into her.
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