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“Hansen where is your brother?”

It was after Mary asked that he realized Anderson was gone. He was not at his chair, or at the drinks stand or at the back. Hansen wondered where he could have gone and rose to his feet. He was about to go look for him when Mary stopped him.

“No, stay. I don’t want both of you gone.” She said and then her brows arched in annoyance. “He always does this.” She sighed.

Hansen took her hand and she smiled. “Don’t worry about anything Mary. Everything will go as planned.” She nodded and then he continued to hold her hand.

Where are you Anderson? Hansen thought and glanced at Mary.

The poor woman was already worried about making sure everything goes as she planned and now, her stubborn son has just added to her worries. Why can he not just do anything his mother says? Anderson was very rebellious. He has always been disrespectful to his mother since childhood. Sometimes, Hansen wished Mary were his mother too. She was such a kind woman.

The ceremony continued and Hansen glanced towards table six. He was hoping she changed her mind and came, but it looked like she did not. He had never felt so frustrated and upset with his brother.

Anderson’s decision not to pick Sydney as his fiancé, not only shattered him, but her too. She looked disappointed when he told her the news. She was ready to take her things and return to her town, but he tried convincing her to stay.

“No, you can’t go.” He said.

“Why not?” She was upset.

“Give me time to talk to him. I am sure he will change his mind.” He tried desperately to make her understand.

“No!” She yelled.

“Okay, come with me to the party and meet him. I am sure he might change his mind if he sees you.”

“No, am going nowhere.”

He gave up. “Fine I won’t insist. But I will leave this invitation here for you, just in case you change your mind okay? Look Sydney I want to help you. I really do, but if you do not give me, the chance I will not be able to. So please, re-consider your decision. After tomorrow if you still don’t change your mind, then you can go.”

Hansen sighed and glanced round the hall. Still, there was no sign of her. She really did not change her mind. What a pity!

“Hansen my dear, have you seen your brother?” Mary asked him again.

“I will go look for him.” Hansen rose to his feet and then moved from their table. He went round the hall and saw no sign of him. Then he headed outside.

The night was cool and the compound was empty. Everyone was inside, enjoying the party. Hansen decided to call him instead of going round. After dialing Anderson’s number, he put the phone close to his ear.

Two rings later, he answered. “Hansen is there any problem?”

“Yes, the problem is with you.” Hansen snapped. “Where are you? Your mother is so worried sick about you. Where did you run off too?”

“I went home.” He replied and then Hansen looked shocked.

“Home!” He exclaimed. “What are you doing at home, when the party is here?”

“There was an emergency and oh, I’ve got to go.” Anderson said.

“Wait…” but he already hung up.

Hansen looked at his phone screen in disbelief and whispered a curse under his breath. He stuffed the phone angrily into his pocket and when he raised his gaze, he saw her.

“Hansen, hope I’m not late?”

“No, you’re not.” He waited for her to reach him and then they shook her hands. They were soft and delicate just like her. “It’s been a while.” He said.

“Yes. How long has it been? Five, six years?” She asked, gazing into space with a smile on her face.

“Six years? I think its infinity.” He said and she chuckled.

“I have missed you terribly.” She said and then looked about him trying to find someone beside him. “Where is Anderson?” She asked.

“That rebellious one. He’s at home.” He replied as she linked her arm with his.

“At home? He is supposed to be here. There’s going to be an important announcement and he has to be here.” She said while they headed inside.

“Well I guess that important announcement will have to be given without him because I don’t think he’ll be coming back.”

They continued their conversation as they moved catching up on everything they missed while she was away. Hansen was very glad to have her back. She left the country to study in the states and she has just graduated. She will be joining her father at his company very soon.

Gosh, he missed Kathleen Alistair so much and it was a good thing she was here to stay for good.

“Kathleen, my dear it’s good that you’re here.” Mary was bursting with joy when she saw the young woman.

“I had to honor the invitation.” Kathleen said and moved out of Hansen’s hold to hug Mary. They separated and kissed on the cheeks, then sat down around the table.

“So I see you’ve met already?” Hansen said and glanced at Mary with a disappointed look. “And you didn’t tell me about it.”

“I’m sorry son but it was supposed to be a secret. This party is not only in celebration of your father, but the return of Kathleen as well.” Mary took her hand and gave it a little squeeze.

“Sorry, Hansen. I asked her to keep it a secret.”

Hansen looked between the two secret sharing women and then asked Kathleen. “So when did you arrive?”

“Last night.” She replied.

“And you two met when?” He pointed between them and they giggled.

“This morning.”

He lent back in his chair, watching the two women as they engaged in a conversation and then wondered when they became close. Kathleen and Mary had not gotten along with each other in the past. They were not enemies, but they also were not the best of friends. But oh well, even enemies could become friends who was he to judge?

“Hansen my dear, have you found your brother?” Mary enquired.

“Yes. He’s at home.” He replied and saw the reaction he was expecting from her: pure anger.

“What!” She gasped, a frown creasing her forehead. “He is supposed to be here, supporting his father.” Mary pointed to her husband, talking with Kathleen’s father, David, at the table next to theirs. “He is supposed to be here when we make the announcement.”

“What announcement?” Hansen asked, suddenly remembering Kathleen also mentioned something like that. He glanced between the two women and they remained silent. Something was fishy here. They were hiding something.

“It’s nothing son. You’ll hear it when it’s made.” Mary brushed off the subject and then sighed in frustration. “What will the media say about this?”

“Calm down Mary. I am sure he has a reason for going home, right Hansen?” Kathleen called on him to help her, keep Mary calm.

“Uh, yes. He said there was an emergency.” He replied.

“What? The only emergency he should be attending to is this!”

“Please calm down. I am sure what he’s dealing with is equally as important as this. Because he wouldn’t just up and leave without informing anybody.” Kathleen said, hoping to calm her and Hansen supported it.

“Yes, it should be. Do not worry. I will call him again.”

Hansen took out his phone and moved to the back, where the media men were, to make the call. He dialed Anderson’s number and almost immediately, someone ascended the stage. The camera started flashing and the reporters got busy writing. He knew he had to go away from here because it was just too noisy.

He barely made it to the door, when he heard from the speakers the announcement. “We are announcing the engagement between Kathleen Alistair and Anderson Niles.”

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