I cut the phone and tried to edge my way past Christy into the house. I was holding Anna in my arms.
She tapped my arm. “Not now Christy,” I snapped. She was taken aback.
“Look, I’m sorry,” I said apologetically. “There are a lot of things I need to do right now.”
She smiled sympathetically. “Chinelo, I did not come here to trouble you. I’m just concerned. You seem to have a lot going on.”’
For a brief moment, I was about to let my guard down and tell her was happening and how helpless I felt. But I mentally shook it off.
“Yes, you’re right. I have been pretty busy lately. But everything is under control,” I smiled.
“Alright,” she said giving me a disbelieving gaze.
“I’ll see you some other time.”’
I sighed and let myself into the living room. And then I sat down on the sofa and my eyes began to water.
Then I got up. It was no use crying. I had to brace myself for what was coming. Ike needed me. He would most certainly need me.
With stoic resolve I went to prepare dinner thinking that I may not have time to prepare my elaborate dinners once I started working full time again.
That evening when Ike came in he looked bedraggled, worse than I had ever seen him. He looked like…someone who had lost hope. It was heartbreaking.
I was almost afraid to ask him anything.
“It seems like I’ve been properly framed,”’ he said bitterly. “How could I have been so stupid?”
“It appears that my deputy manager has been siphoning money from the company into another account but traced everything back to me. He took leave about a month ago. We’ve tried to contact him but he seems to have left the country and we can’t reach him anywhere. He’s just disappeared.”
I couldn’t trust myself to say anything.
“I was really so stupid Chi. I let Andrew do a lot of things, gave him a lot of responsibility. I let him handle so many clients accounts, not knowing he was stealing money. I trusted him.”
For the first time since I knew my husband, he looked like he was going to cry.
I went to sit by him and held his hands and for a long time that’s all we did. Hold hands.
“What do we do now? What are our options?” I said softly.
“I’m being charged with conspiracy to commit fraud. There’s going to be a hearing in a few weeks. I don’t know what’s going to happen then. But for now, I’m out of a job, although we still have our savings…”
Then he looked up at me with some alarm. “They might freeze my accounts. The lawyer said that was possible. We have to get the money out of there.”
Suddenly tears began to stream down his face and I held my husband. How could I be expected to be the strong one, me the weak fussy anxious woman that I was? My heart was breaking as I held him.
What were we going to do? Where was God in all this?