By Tomi Adesina
Fola’s car tyres screeched as he hit the brakes hard. He shut his eyes and took a deep breath before cleaning the sweat beads trickling down his face. He looked into his rear mirror. She was still there. Not like he was expecting her to have moved. He swallowed hard. “God, what have I done?” he mumbled as his hands trembled. He reversed to the spot.
Fola stared around to be sure that no one was in sight. He touched her and she grabbed his hand in fright. “It’s okay…it’s okay.” He assured. He wasn’t sure if it was, but he had to say something right at that time.
“Help me.” She begged.
Fola carried her and moved as fast as he could to his car.
Sarah hated the PlayStation. It was Fola’s best buddy and stress reliever, but her rival. It got all the attention Fola couldn’t give her whenever he came home stressed up or tired. She would have loved him to talk to her but he’d rather go and sit with the PlayStation. She knew she didn’t have his heart. Heck! Fola probably didn’t have any heart. But she liked him in her own way. It was not all about the sex for her. She wanted something real with him. She wanted to be called his woman. She adored him. His success and strength couldn’t be rivaled and she appreciated his drive and ambition and maybe that was what drew her close to him at first when she joined the firm as a corps member. But now, she wanted more. She wanted his attention. His time and maybe his heart…if it could be reached. But first, she had to get rid of the little demons that did compete against her in his heart – top of that list was the PlayStation. She stared intensely at it as she rolled the hammer in her hand. Now, money wasn’t Fola’s problem. He would be upset and probably rant about it for a day or less, and then replace it. So maybe smashing the poor object wouldn’t be smart after all. She dropped the hammer and sighed. Fola was grooming her to be the lioness in the ring as he was the lion. Wouldn’t it be just perfect if they were a real couple – in love? Sarah hissed at her fantasies. Maybe she was wasting her time. Maybe she should concentrate on the time she had with him as she was sure that it wasn’t going to last. With guys like Fola, it would not last. She would not fool herself and hope for more. She would just concentrate on being the one that stayed longest…and made all that she could off him. Yup! That made more sense.
The door flew open and Fola rushed in carrying a lady. Sarah gasped, dropping the hammer to the floor. “Fola, what is this?” She asked, as she watched blood drip from the body of the lady he carried to the tiles. “Oh my God, Fola. What’s happening here?”
“Sarah, call Obi.” He replied, frantically. “I have dialled him…tell him I am home.” He added, taking off his jacket.
Sarah stared hard at the bleeding lady on the white sofa. She was breathing hard and painfully as she moved her body on the sofa.
“Don’t stand there, Sarah! Call Obi!” Fola yelled as he rushed into the house.
Sarah picked his phone and dialled Obi. “Obi?”
“I am almost there. Hang on.” Obi replied hastily.
Sarah hung up and approached the lady.
Fola rushed into the living room, holding the first aid kit. “Get me some hot water.” He said, staring at the bleeding lady’s leg. “I…I have to take the bullet out.” He said, pulling out a pair of tweezers from the box.
“What are you doing, Fola? Just wait for Obi.”
Fola blinked. “Just get the hot water.”
Sarah nodded and walked into the house, carrying the hammer with her before Fola could see it.
Fola bent over the lady. “I am so sorry.” He said.
She looked away as she struggled to keep her eyes open. He was the least of her worries. She wished she had not returned to the country at the time she did. She wished she was not there to witness Umar kill her sister and then hunt her down when she tried to escape. She wished she had not done a lot of things…but they were just mere wishes. She was here now.
“Obi!” Fola called as his friend walked into the room, carrying a box. “Dude, I had to leave the hospital. What’s going on?” he asked.
Fola pointed to the lady. “I am in trouble.”
Obi walked over to her and touched her. He then stared at her leg. “Bullet wound? Fola?”
“It’s not me…but I hit her too.” He replied. “With my car.” He added.
Obi opened the box with him. “I am going to need a table and some water.”
“Let’s go to my bedroom.” Fola said, helping the lady up into his arms.
Sarah joined them with a bucket of hot water. “What are you doing?”
“We are going upstairs.” Obi replied, leading the way.
Sarah watched Obi and Fola go upstairs before going after them.
Fola drank some more water and turned off the tap. He leaned against the sink and thought about the day he just had. From winning a high profile case to almost killing a woman…or maybe, he had. Obi had asked him out of the room so he could concentrate on the lady. It had been almost thirty minutes and he had not seen either Obi or Sarah. He was getting tired of waiting for them. He buried his head in his hands and muttered “God, please.”
He raised his head almost immediately as Sarah joined him by the sink. “Obi is with her.”
“Is she okay?” he asked, trying to sound calm.
She shrugged. “With all those cries and screams? I doubt it.”
“Oh God!” he said as he exhaled.
Sarah stared at him. “What happened?”
“I was speeding and I hit her. But, there has to be someone she was running from as she has got a bullet wound.” He replied.
She nodded. “What are you going to do about her?”
“I don’t understand.”
She blinked. “She can’t stay.”
“But she can’t leave either…at least not yet.” He replied, quite irritated by Sarah’s questioning. The timing wasn’t appropriate.
She swallowed. “Fola, when is she going?”
“Babe, she is not even on her feet yet…give me a break!” he yelled.
Obi walked in. “Is everything okay?”
“Obi, what is going on?” Fola asked.
He folded his arms. “She is in a lot of pain. She has suffered a lot, but she’ll live. I was able to remove the bullet, but we need to bring her in for close observation.”
“How do I bring in her without drawing attention from the police?” Fola asked. “Can’t you just come over to the house and treat her for me?”
Obi shrugged. “That is fine by me, but you do know that she would be under observation for quite some time. Maybe three days at least?”
“Fola, she can’t stay here.” Sarah protested.
Fola turned sharply to her. “Why not? It’s my house.”
“Then I am leaving.” She replied and stormed out of the kitchen.
Fola exhaled as he leaned against the sink. “She is just being dramatic. She does that every time.”
“Maybe you have given her good reasons to be insecure?” Obi asked, as he reached for a drink from the fridge. “I’ll be here in the morning to check on her and in the evening too. I suggest that you do not move her from that room.”
Fola nodded. “Hopefully, she’d come round in the morning.”
“True, by the way…is it just me or did she have a foreign accent?” Obi asked. “Like she sounded British.” He added.
Fola smirked. “Pain can make you change accent.”
Obi chuckled. “You are a jerk, Fola. I’ll see you in the morning.” He replied and walked out of the kitchen.
Fola blinked as he took a deep breath. He took a bottle of water from the fridge and gulped it. He was sure he would not be touching alcohol in a while until this issue had passed.
The rays from the sun pierced into Aaima’s eyes as she woke up. She didn’t know how long she had been sleeping but this seemed like the first decent sleep she was having in the last few weeks. She pushed herself up and took a deep breath. She could still feel pains in her body but it was not like before. For this, she was grateful.
The door opened and a man carrying a small box walked in. She was immediately cautious and kept her gaze on him till he joined her at the bed.
Obi smiled faintly as he dropped his kit on the bed. “You look better.” He said as he drew a chair close to the bed. “My name is Obi.” He said.
She stared at him carefully. “Did you treat me?” she asked in her heavy British accent.
He nodded. “Yes.” He replied and then smiled at her. “You are not from around here, are you?” he asked.
She sighed and looked away.
Obi smiled. “It’s okay if you don’t want to talk and especially to a stranger but since I am your nurse, you might as well tell me a thing or two.” He said, opening the box. “I’ll be giving you an injection and some drugs for the pain.”
Loud yelling was heard and Aaima gaped in fear. Obi turned to her. “Don’t worry about it. They’ll be calm soon.” He said with a chuckle. “Couples always have their drama.” He added. “Don’t they?” he asked.
Aaima shut her eyes and flashes of her sister came to her. She couldn’t stay in that memory. She opened her mind back to reality almost immediately and stared at the Nurse as he slipped into his gloves. “What are you giving me?”
She cringed as the noise went up again. The female voice seemed to be doing all the talking but the occasional silence implied that someone was responding to her before she resumed screaming.
“Who are they?” she asked.
Obi fetched the injection. “Fola King. He rescued you.”
“He hit me first before rescuing me.” She corrected.
Fola sighed as Sarah dropped her bag on the sofa. “Sarah, calm down and stop yelling.” He started. “This would all be over in no time.” He added.
“I can’t calm down.” She replied. “She slept in our bed!” she yelled.
Fola took a deep breath. “My bed.”
He nodded. “I…I was just correcting you.”
“Can you not be a jerk for one minute and understand what is going on around us?” she started. “Do you even know if she set you up? Think like a lawyer. Did she just crawl out of that bush and bump into your car?” she asked.
Fola sighed. “I am late for work, Sarah and I don’t have the time for your theories.”
“Oh really? And I don’t work?” she asked, picking her bag. “I have to go.”
Fola reached for her hand. “No! I need you to help me.”
“I can’t.” she retorted. “How about you stay in and watch her?” She added.
He shook his head, “I have a meeting with high profile clients. You are just an intern at the firm. I can cover for your absence. Stay in, take care of her and watch the cleaners when they come to take care of this place and I’ll be back earlier today to help out, babe.”
“She is not my mess, Fola.” She replied in defiance.
He nodded. “I know…but I need a favour from you. Do this for me.”
“How long is this going to continue for, Fola?” she asked.
He shrugged. “You heard Obi. Maybe three days or more. Look, Sarah, we can’t be in a hurry. Besides, she will need some clothes and you’ll need to help her through that.” He said. “And we will just wait till she is very fine and is out of harm’s way before telling her to go.” He replied.
Sarah stared hard at him. “Fola, we can’t have a total stranger in this place and you expect me to be calm about it. No. I won’t do what you want from me.”
“You are being difficult, Sarah.” He replied.
She shrugged. “This is on you.” She replied. “I have briefs to tend to.” She added and picked up her bag before walking out.
He adjusted his jacket and sighed.
“Reasonable peace at last, right?” Obi said to Aaima who was now struggling to keep her eyes open. “You’ll wake up in a few hours.” He said.
She exhaled and let the dose kick in before shutting her eyes.
The door opened and Fola walked in. “What’s up?” he asked.
“Sarah left?” Obi asked.
Fola nodded. “How is she?”
“Doing better. She’ll wake up in maybe four hours and she’ll be very hungry.” He replied.
Fola took a deep breath. “I am meeting some clients.”
“Dude, I have patients too.” Obi replied.
Fola nodded. “Man, I really need someone to watch her.”
“That someone isn’t me. I’ll be back in the evening to administer her drugs but I can’t risk the Director being mad at me.” Obi replied.
Fola exhaled. “You are a good guy at the hospital. I am sure they can allow you this time.” He replied.
Obi shook his head. “Fola, this was not the agreement.”
“Thanks man, I really appreciate it. There is food in the kitchen. Not cooked though. Check out the closet for one of my shirts or sweatshirts or something so she can change into.” Fola added with a smile. “Thanks, man. I owe you one.” He said, walking out.
Obi exhaled before staring at the lady. She was fast asleep now. He looked at her intensely as though he could see through her soul. She was beautiful with very lovely eyes. He could bet that her smile would be the same but he had not seen her smile yet. She sure didn’t have many reasons to be smiling. But if being alive did count, she ought to be grateful. But then, who was he to judge or think for her…she had been through a lot and that genuinely concerned him.
“Where is the girl?” Yusuf shouted as he hit one of the men with his gun. “You had just one job!” he shouted as the man crashed to the floor.
Umar paced nervously in the room. “If Aaima gets to the British embassy, we are finished. She is their citizen.”
Yusuf turned to him. “Pull yourself together, Umar.” He ordered before turning to their men. “I don’t know how you are going to do it or what you are going to do, but you must find her. Okay?” he said.
“Comb the streets, hotels, ask questions…don’t give yourselves away and should you be caught, kindly die alone. No one must trace it back to us, are we clear?” Yusuf asked.
Umar’s phone rang. “It’s the lawyer.” He said to Yusuf.
Yusuf nodded. “It must be for his balance. Talk to him.”
“Hello!” Umar said into the phone.
“Can I meet you in the office by lunch time?” Fola asked as he walked through the office corridor. He paused for a moment to listen to Mr Umar before continuing.
“Oh? You rather send the money? Great. I’ll be expecting it today then. Bye.” He said and hung up.
“Fola, you missed the briefing this morning.” Greg said, joining him from the right. “And you are late too…it’s almost noon.”
Fola stopped and stared at him. “What did they say at the meeting?”
“Nothing special. Except that Fola King won this firm another high profile case.” He replied.
Fola smiled. “I don’t necessarily have to be there for that.”
Greg chuckled. “I think my client will lose his land.”
“Too bad.” Fola said, stopping by his office door. “I am sorry about it.”
Greg cleared his throat. “I’ll do better next time.”
“Okay.” Fola said and watched him leave. He then caught sight of Sarah talking to her colleagues. He could see her looking back at him but he would not risk the attention from other members of staff, so he slid into his office quickly.
“Thank you.” Aaima said as she handed the soup bowl to Obi.
He dropped it on the table. “Do you want anything else?”
“The pepper soup was good.” She replied. “You cook well.”
He nodded. “Thank you. But you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting from the one who cooks amazingly well. So, erm…should I cook you something else?”
She shook her head. “I have eaten twice today and it’s getting late.”
“Nah, it is erm…it’s just six…pm.” He said, staring at her.
She cleared her throat and pulled the sheet slightly over her legs. “I…I would like to get some rest.”
He nodded. “Yeah sure. I…I’ll be downstairs. If you need anything, just call me.” He said and approached the door. He stopped abruptly and turned back to get the tray. “Sorry.” He said and turned away. He stopped again and turned to her. “I…I am sorry Fola’s pants don’t fit you so you have to wear just his shirt and I am sorry you think I was staring at your legs.” He said and exhaled.
Obi swallowed. Yes, she was beautiful and her smile was too. He took a deep breath and walked out.
Aaima laughed again. “He was looking at my legs.” She said to herself and managed a laugh. Obi had been kind to her all day and that made her feel a lot better.
Obi took a deep breath as he dropped the plates into the sink. The door opened and Sarah walked in. “Hey Sarah!” he said.
She stared at him. “How’s babysitting been?”
“Good. Please tell me you are here to relieve me.” Obi said as he ran some water over the plates.
She joined him at the sink. “I see you made her food.”
“Of course, was she meant to starve?” he asked with a soft chuckle.
Sarah stared at him. “I am not here to relieve you. I’ll be spending the weekend with some of my friends so I came to get clothes.”
“Are you running from her?” He asked.
Sarah swallowed. “Knowing Fola, this lady is here to stay.”
“You should give him some more credit. He can’t just put her out like that. Besides, some investigation might have to be done.” He replied.
Sarah scoffed. “Is Fola the police? She isn’t dead, so he isn’t in trouble. He should take her to the Police station and let them take care of it.” She retorted. “You know, I don’t want to argue. I’ll just go get my things.” She said and walked out.
Aaima turned to her right as the door opened. She stared at Sarah and smiled. “Hi.”
“Hawes and Curtis.” Sarah said, staring at the shirt the lady was wearing.
Aaima was confused. “Sorry?”
“That is one of Fola’s favourite shirts.” Sarah replied. “I don’t think he’d love to see it on you.”
Aaima gaped. “Oh…but erm, Obi said it was fine?”
Sarah pulled out a bag and flung open the closet. “I’ll be gone in no time.”
“I am sorry if…if I am a bother to you.” Aaima said.
Sarah scoffed. “I’ll be back. This is my house.” She replied, stuffing the bag with clothes.
“Okay, I am done here.” She announced. “I hope for both our sakes that you are gone when I am back.” She said.
Aaima took a deep breath.
“Yes, I am sorry I am being a bitch but I just like to be honest.” She added and walked out.
Aaima exhaled. She didn’t want to be here either. Her life had taken a downward spin since her courtesy visit to the country for the first time to see her sister. She didn’t like it here and getting threatened by the ‘woman of the house’ wasn’t going to make her feel any better.
Yusuf looked around to be sure no one was in sight before he stepped into the warehouse. He immediately pulled his gun as he surveyed the empty room.
“That was not the plan.”
He turned round to see one of their men. “Don’t startle me like that, you idiot.”
“You were not to hit me with the gun.” He replied. “We left the door open like you ordered for her to escape. Why did you hit me?”
Yusuf nodded. “I am sorry but we had to make it all look real else Umar might start to suspect something.”
“Where is our balance?” The man asked.
Yusuf threw an envelope at him. “That’s the money.”
The man opened the envelope. “What’s next?”
“Did anyone keep a trail on her?” Yusuf asked.
The man frowned. “That was not the deal. You said we should let her go. End of story. We did as you ordered.”
Yusuf sighed. “I thought you’d be smart enough to know it was part of the deal.” He replied and fired shots into the man’s belly. “Idiot.” He added before going over to the man to retrieve the envelope.