Sunday morning in New York City.
Most of the population wakes up and prepares for church, some sleep in and enjoy the companionship they have with their beds; and some go to work. As crazy as it sounds, there are some that actually work on a Sunday morning. I guess keeping the Sabbath day holy wasn't really their idea of spending Sunday.
Joshua Henney was one of them; the ones that disobeyed God by working on a Sunday. Not that he knew it was wrong or even cared in the slightest. Money had to be made, businesses had to be built, and the only way that happened was through work, and he lived to work. What did he do? He owned the largest hotel and restaurant chains in the tri-state area - the Henney Chains. Need we say more. Though if anyone must know, which would be everyone, he was the eldest son of Martha Henney owner of the largest fashion magazine in the world, and Gabriel Henney, former CEO of Henney Chains. However they're both deceased. Siblings? A sister; Deborah Henney, that girl that slept with your dad or brother last night, yeah that's her. Well at least that's what they say. I guess one could understand why Joshua was the stone cold man that he was. He didn't let anyone in. He acknowledged your presence and that's as far as it got. If a word is said in your direction then count your blessings.
Today like any other day he's woken up by his state of the art alarm clock at 6AM sharp. The lights automatically switch on at the sound of the alarm. The television also switches on and goes straight to the news channel, just the way he likes it. After an hour and a half of preparation he's on his way to work. No breakfast unless it's coming from Starbucks and they like, because let's face it, who wants to smell of eggs and bacon whilst he has his meetings.
"Good morning, sir" his PA, Jake greets him as he dismounts from the elevator. It makes things easier. He recites his schedule whilst he makes his way to the office, meaning he won't have to deal with him for the rest of the day, unless he wants something.
"10:15 you have a meeting with the board of directors and potential partners, you need to bring out all your weapons for this one because Sasuke Hirobe is going to be there. 12:00 for lunch; you'll be meeting with your sister. 6:00PM you have to prepare for the share holder's ball" Jake stops as they reach his office door. Before Joshua could get into his office and get a head start on his work, Jake stops him. Joshua looks at him as if asking if there is anything he wanted because last time he wanted something it didn't end well. His wife was in labour but it wasn't after two hours that Joshua finally allowed him to go. But Joshua knew that there wasn't anything else on that schedule because he himself knew his schedule even without having to consult Jake. So what did he want?
"Your 9:00AM is here" with that he left. Joshua's blood was boiling. His 9:00AM?! That wasn't part of his schedule. He was sure he didn't have anything till that meeting with the board. So who disrupted his routine? After all everyone knew better than to change something without his approval.
He got into his office with a less than impressed look on his face, about to give this person a piece of his mind.
"9:01. You're late" only one person would dare to come and disrupt his schedule and sit in his seat and accuse him of being tardy all in the same minute. His grandmother. Kira Henney. The widowed old woman is the reason why there is Henney Chains. Her alongside her husband founded the Chains and later passed them on. Well not quite. They still owned 50% but the others had been distributed among other shareholders or partners. They retired at an early age. Hence why Joshua at the tender age of thirty-six, is now the CEO of Henney Chains.
"Nan," he sighed. This conversation was not going to go well.
"What?" she asked turning in his sit so she could face him.
"I have work to do. I will talk to you during lunch. Or maybe tomorrow over dinner" he suggested. His grandmother was not too pleased with the suggestion. In fact the look on her face spoke a thousand words. The only other person alive that could handle Joshua would probably be his grandmother. She had the same personality as him. Though she was tough as a cookie and outspoken and Joshua was more quiet they were still stubborn.
"Do not speak to me like that ever again. Am I understood?" she threatened. Though it was meant to be a rhetorical question she waited for him to answer. The only way she was going to confirm that he had heard her and he was going to obey.
"Yes, nana" he answered in an agitated voice. Desipite how much his grandmother was unnerving him right now, he still respected her.
"Sit down" she said motioning for the seat in front of her. He obeyed and unbuttoned his blazer so that he could sit more comfortably.
"I take it you are coming to the shareholder's ball tonight?" she asked. The only answer that she was going to take was a yes, and the answer that came out of Joshua's mouth said other wise.
"No" he said nonchalantly
"Excuse me?" she asked in disbilief.
"I can't go, nan" he said.
"And why not? Do not even use work as an excuse. You are already working on a Sunday when you are not even meant to. So you are not behind on anything. If you do not want to make me angry choose your excuse wisely" she warned. She was one of them that took the holy day seriously and she did not agree with what her grandson was doing. But only God could solve this for her, she'd done her part. Joshua on the other hand, was not planning on spending the night with those people. All they wanted was to tell him what a bad job he was doing. Which made him angry. But regardless of what he said, he was attending. Over his grandmother's dead body was he missing this event.
"I'll come" he surrendered.
"Good" she said standing up from the chair that she had temporarily occupied. "Wear that" she said pointing towards a navy blue suit, accompanied by a white shirt and navy blue tie. He nodded and with that his grandmother left. Joshua sighed with frustration as he threw himself onto his previously occupied seat. Another party which he was going to hate.
The morning was slow, as to be expected with any board meeting. And as Jake predicted, Sasuke Hirobe had indeed been present for the meeting. Like Joshua, Sasuke Hirobe was also young and according to all the other men on the board, too young. He was twenty-nine but he knew what he was doing. Unlike all the old geezers on the round table, Sasuke was never shy to question the CEO and director of Henney Chains. After all thirty percent of his income depended on Henney Chains doing well. The only thing he was looking forward to now, was his lunch appointment with Deborah.
"So she forced you?" Deborah laughed as she chewed on her lamb tagine. This always happened everytime. Their grandmother would say do this and without question Joshua would say yes. He did try to make excuses or refuse but he never won. After every session he would complain to Deborah. Deborah had an option, to go or not to go. And she obviously chose not to go. She hated the parties even more than her brother. Especially the peverted men that called themselves business men.
"Yes, and I will say this again. You are coming" he threatened her. He was holding the "or your allowance is getting cut" card on her. She sighed and laughed at him before nodding.
"Whatever, pick me up at 6. I'm coming, but not on time" she said standing up to leave. "Thanks for the lunch bro" she said as she left. Never had she ever chipped in on the bill for lunch.
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It was her wedding day. She was wearing the all white ensemble that represented purity. The purity of a young Christian virgin. Never touched, but she'd been kissed. She lived the way a child of God should live and now she'd be consummating her wedding tonight with the man that the Lord had chosen for her. She marvelled and giggled at the idea. Would he touch her mounds, better yet suck on them, no kiss her lips?, her other ones. No, no, think proper. A child of God should not be having any thoughts like these. "For to be canally minded is death" she recited the Bible verse in her head. She smiled after recomposing her mind to proper thoughts. She examined herself on the full length mirror in her room as she took in her ensemble. The white lacey dress that flowed to her feet. Long sleeved with a long veil. The bouquet of white roses complimented the little flowery designs on her lace. Everything was perfect all she had to do now was get married.
"Take in a deep breathe, Thembeka" her mother said from behind her. She held her shoulders in order to help her release the tension. One person that she would always be thankful for is her mother. She loved her mother dearly. She raised her to follow the ways of God and she raised her to become the young woman that she was today. She was sure she was going to become a good wife if she continued the way that her mother told her to. And one day hopefully raise children in the same manner that her mother had done.
"Yes, mama" she answered sweetly as she leaned her head to the hand that rested on her right shoulder. "I am just a bit nervous" she continued as she took in another deep breath.
"It's understandable" her mother replied giving her a knowing smile. After all, this woman had been through this stage and she was still standing strong with her husband of twenty five years. "I was just as nervous as you are right now when I was getting married to your father" she smiled at her.
"I will try mama" she said as she took in her final deep breathe and finally faced the woman who gave birth to her. "Let's go" she said taking her mother's hand and linking her other hand with her father's own.
"By the power vested in me by God; I now pronounce you James Zulu and Thembeka Khumalo, husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride" With that James took the opportunity and lifted up his new wife's veil. He looked into her brown round eyes and smiled with happiness that she was finally his.
"I love you, forever and ever" he said before crushing his lips against hers. She responded by holding onto his muscular arms. Then everything started to disappear. . .
First the people. . .
Then the priest. . .
Then the decorations. . .
And finally, James.
He disappeared too.
"JAMES!" she shouted at the top of her lungs.
"JAMES, JAMES, JAMES!!" she chanted but no reply. Then she felt a sinking feeling at the pit of her stomach. This wasn’t how her day was supposed to turn out. Something wrong had happened. Something horrible . . .
"MAMA!" a voice said at the exact same time that she rose. It was as if she'd been deprived of air and could not breath. Like she just came from underwater. She looked to the direction where the voice was coming from. She saw her small little girl holding on to her teddy bear. She must have had that dream again. She scared her again.
"Sorry, uthando iwami" she apologised as she told her to come into her arms.
"Were you having that bad dream again?!" she asked as she leaned into her chest.
"Yes! and I promise it will never happen again" she promised, again. This was probably the tenth time she had given her that same empty promise.
"That's what you said last week" she replied. She chuckled at how smart she was.
"Well, I promise again" she replied caressing her cheek. "How about we prepare for church now, hm?" she asked. She nodded vigourously. Unlike other children she enjoyed going to church. Thembeka was happy that though she did not turn out exactly like her mother did. At least her daughter was taking her and her mother's traits.
"Do we get to see ugogo today?" she asked. That's also another thing she looked forward to. She loved the stories that her "ugogo" told her. Thembeka nodded and smiled before saying a small "yes". She rose from her mother's arms and quickly made her way to prepare.
"Be careful Thandiwe" she shouted at her daughter who thought otherwise. You would think she was your typical little child; but she was more special. At least in Thembeka's eyes she was.
Merci pour la lecture!
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