It was already one week and no one had caught sight of Jessica or heard of her. The tension was so thick that no one knew what to do anymore. Andy had pulled all the stunts he could with his endless streams of connections, the police were all out, searching for Jessica with pictures of her all over, with a huge amount of money for whoever provides a lead. So many people had called, giving them false leads just for the ransom, and even though Andy always paid the people handsomely, the leads were fruitless. Andy was not worried about the money, not even a bit. He already had more than enough money to last a lifetime and money still comes in every minute. Everything would be in vain to him if Jessica wasn’t found.
Andy had bags under his eyes, due to lack of sleep as he moved himself to the office. He was almost going crazy because as he drove, he continuously scanned faces of the people who walked by. He hadn’t gone to the office ever since Jessica vanished and it took the constant persistence of his best friend to make him decide to go to the office.
“Good Morning sir” a staff member greeted shyly as she batted her eyes. Andy murmured a response, without looking at her and marched into the building, leaving the girl feeling neglected. For the very first time, Andy did not feel like being in his own company building, he was just too worried. The strong aching of his heart was so intense that he did not think that work could take his mind off it.
“Hey man, what is going on?” Tunji said as a way of greeting.
Andy breathed. “Is it not obvious?”
“Frankly, no. I don’t know why you should bother yourself over that gold-digger.”Andy’s eyebrow shot up, warning. Tunji sighed. “Look man, I was at the party for God’s sake, I heard everything, and I just don’t know why you are so obsessed with finding her after all you heard. I know it must be hard, she is a very stunning woman with an exquisite beauty that can’t be rivaled. She has a temptingly sexy body…” Andy’s eyes narrowed dangerously and Tunji had to pause his analysis.
“I can see you have a clear picture in your head Tunji” Andy dropped sourly.
Tunji blinked and stared at Andy. “Wait a minute; don’t get all jealous, I am just stating the facts. You have to get her off your mind. She does not deserve you”
“Stop this nonsense Tunji; I am the one who does not deserve her. She is hurt and missing and it is my entire fault.”
Tunji looked puzzled.
“Everything that was done and said in the party is a frame up Tunji”
“What does that mean?”
Andy swallowed. “Before I got married to Jessica, we signed a legal agreement to dissolve the wedding after a year, after which I would give her twenty million Naira.”
Tunji whitened. “You are kidding”.
“Dad found out and destroyed everything by making Jessie look like the villain. He is obsessed about protecting the family name; couldn’t he think of how Jessica would feel? How disgraceful and humiliating this is? I am at fault; she did not want to agree to this ridiculous plan at first. Christ, I am so screwed up” Andy was pacing.
Tunji was still taking time to process the information he had just heard. Somehow, everything started making sense. Andy’s sudden wedding which sprang up out of nowhere, working during his honeymoon and a host of others.
“I can tell that something must have changed between you two”, he murmured but Andy was silent. “You have developed feelings for her Andy” he stated matter-of factly.
Andy ran his hands through his hair. He exhaled heavily. “Why did dad interfere in this? For the first time in years, I find myself going crazy over a woman but before I can even relax enough to enjoy the blissful sensation, it is ruined.” Andy swallowed. “And now, I don’t even know where she is. What if something had happened to her? What if she did not run away like everyone is making me believe? What if she is worse or worse…” he could not finish that statement. The thought alone was frightening. He clenched his jaw. “I would find her; if it is the last thing I do”.
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