The Golden Palace Hotel wasn’t exactly golden but it was one of the most expensive hotels in the city of Port Harcourt. Only the rich could afford this particular five-star hotel and with a net worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Chief Emeka Peter, Madam T’s wealthiest ally, fell right into that category.
Chief Emeka Peter chose the Golden Palace Hotel to celebrate, but it wasn’t really the victory of Governor Wilson and his party he was celebrating, it was the huge profits that would surely follow the patronage of his private companies by the state government and the seven-figure bank alerts that had already come from the secret accounts of the Governor.
For the celebration, Chief Emeka Peters invited only one guest …. Helen Benson.
The Chief had booked a table in the exclusive rooftop dining room of the hotel, an open-air dining room on the topmost floor. It sat just twelve guests and offered a wonderful view of the well-lit city spread out far below and the sea bordering it, with the night sky above.
The chief had been waiting at his table for about ten minutes when his guest arrived. Helen, resplendent in an expensive long red dress that set off the curvy perfection of her rich figure, matching high heels and clutch handbag, turned the heads of other guests as she came walking through the dining area to his table.
“Welcome, Helen,” he said with a bright smile. “Welcome.”
Helen returned the smile with a polite one. “Thank you, chief.”
She offered him her hand just like her mother usually did to selected associates. The chief didn’t hesitate. He accepted the hand and lifted it to his lips, kissing the back of it carefully, he knew the drill. As they sat down at the table, a waiter hurried up to the table, took their orders and left.
“I must tell you, Helen, I’m quite impressed with the way you handled the situation,” began the chief. “I now see why your mother puts so much trust in you.”
Helen gave him a polite smile. “Thank you, chief.”
“No, Helen. I think it’s I that should thank you for a job well done.” The chief smiled at her and took out a jewel case from his jacket. He held it out.
“It’s a Rolex and it has your name inscribed on the back,” said the Chief. “Consider it a thank you gift from me.”
“Wow, thank you, Chief.”
“You are welcome, my dear,” replied the chief, beaming with pleasure.
The waiter arrived with a bottle of expensive French wine and the chief poured it out himself. He lifted up his glass in a toast and Helen followed his cue.
“Yes, I drink to that,” replied Helen.
They drank together and had small talk until the food arrived. After the meal, Helen abruptly took her leave of the Chief. As she walked through the wide archway and out of the dining room, a man in the dark suit seated alone at one of the tables got up and followed.
The man followed as Helen walked the short distance down the hallway to the elevators and as she stepped in, he was right behind her. The doors slid closed and they were alone. Helen stood to the back of the elevator and the man stood close to the door with his back to her.
Neither spoke as the elevator started its descent to the ground floor. It cleared two floors.
“What are you doing here, Kenneth?” asked Helen quietly.
The big man turned around slowly to face her. “Didn’t think you would remember me?”
Helen inclined her head. “Kind of hard to forget the wimp of the class after just a few years, isn’t it?”
The man’s face softened into a smile and he shook his head. “I’m not that person anymore. I’m different now.”
“I work for the DSS now.”
“Oh, and since when did federal agents get paid enough to dine in expensive hotels?”
“We get the meals for free here,” replied Agent Kenneth Brown. “The man you were just dining with, how is he connected to you?”
“And how is he connected to you?” retorted Helen.
“He’s a person of interest in a case.”
Helen lifted her eyebrows. “And I’m now a person of interest because I dined with a person of interest?”
“But you followed me.”
“I just wanted to ask you some questions.”
“I’m a federal officer, I don’t lie.”
“Is that so?” Helen walked up to stand right in front of him, just a foot away. “What question would you like to ask me?”
Agent Kenneth stared into the lovely eyes of the attractive woman before him, her perfume and mere presence affecting his senses like it had always done since the days he’d known her at University. But the pride and high mannered nature were still there. It was even worse now. He abruptly sighed.
“You are still the proud rich bitch you have always been,” he said softly.
Helen smiled mockingly at him. “And you’ve always wanted to touch me, haven’t you?”
Helen turned away from him, stepped out of the elevator and walked ways down the corridor without a backward glance.