By Tomi Adesina
Fola King was livid. He was mad at everything. All that was left for him to express his anger was to smash his mother’s TV to the floor and maybe hurl his phone at the door and eventually slap himself back and forth since he couldn’t lash out at Aaima. He was stunned as she told him who she was. He had gaped in shock, panted heavily, paced around the living room without saying a word as he watched her cry, when it got too much for him to take, he walked away from her and stepped outside the house. This was not looking good. He hung his hands on his head and thought of how he must have unknowingly exposed Aaima to danger by going to Umar and Yusuf. He was freezing in the cold but it was better than being in the same room with Aaima at this moment. He could not believe that he had run into the same lady that his case needed to bury his client. He could not understand the fact that she had lived with him in the same house while his client was probably looking for how to bury his last tracks. He was trying to bring himself to terms with the fact that Sarah had been on to the woman in his house without any clue and if this new revelation was anything to go by, he was sure that Sarah and Yemi had finally struck gold. They would be flying into the Department of Justice in the morning to lobby for a case. Knowing Yemi, he was sure that she would have filed a suit for a missing person by now and started brewing a fight against him. He clenched his teeth in anger. This was a fight he wouldn’t wear his gloves for. It was no longer about him, it was about Aaima.
He pulled out his phone and dialled Obi. “Hey, man.”
“Hey bro! How are things there?” Obi asked.
Fola looked around him. “Sane…for now.”
“That’s good news. How is Aaima?” he asked.
Fola took a deep breath. “She is fine. But, there is something you need to know about her.” He said, standing up from his seat. “Aaima is the reason those men were at my house, Obi. They are looking for her. They want to kill her.”
“Slow down, man. I don’t understand.” Obi replied.
Fola swallowed. “The night I brought Aaima in, I brought in the principal witness in the case I had just won. She is the late Fatima’s sister and she saw my client, Umar, kill his late wife.”
“Oh my God! So that bastard hurt her because of that?”
Fola nodded. “Yes, and now, she is in grave danger. I don’t know what to do. I just need to calm down and get through this night.”
“Fola, Umar is not going to let you get through this night. You have got to run.” Obi replied.
Fola shook his head. “I can’t just start running. I need to think this through carefully.”
“Boy! You are not superman! You can’t save the world, but you can run.” Obi replied, panting. “Look, man, maybe you should take her to the hotel or something and I will phone the police on your whereabouts so that they could at least offer you some cover while we plan our next move.” He replied.
Fola wiped his forehead. “Where are you, Obi?”
“I am in the hospital. I am avoiding the wards and lobby. I didn’t see their faces and even though I am not sure if they know mine, I don’t want to risk bumping into them.” He replied.
Fola nodded. “Be safe, brother. Love you, man.”
“Love me?” Obi replied, chuckling. “The lady in you is coming out.”
Fola managed a smile as a tear drop rolled down his eyes. “Obi, be safe.”
“Yeah, I’ll try. I love you too, man. Thank you for everything. If I die, tell Aaima I wish she had loved me.” He replied.
Fola swallowed and his sniffed. “Stay alive…so you can love her.” He replied with his voice breaking and immediately hung up.
“Does it matter who I love?”
Fola turned to Aaima and immediately wiped his tears. “Get into the house!”
“No. You are telling Obi to stay alive so he could love me. Do you even care who I am in love with?”
“No! I don’t care about you or your stupid feelings or whosoever is the idiot that you have them for. Get into the house…now!” he ordered.
Aaima blinked as she tried to stop the tears that ran down her eyes. “That’s not fair, Fola.”
“I don’t give a damn. Now, get into that house!”
She nodded and returned into the house.
Fola exhaled and sat back slowly into his chair. He blinked nervously as he cast his gaze on the security man at the gate who was back to snoring away their safety. He swallowed as he wiped his eyes. It seemed as though his tear glands finally swung into actiman,for the first time in his life since he was a boy. “It’s okay, Fola.” He said, pinching himself as he tried to stop the tears that would not stop falling. “Fola, stop it. Men don’t cry. Fola, men don’t cry. They never do.” He continued as he started psyching himself up. “Come on, Fola. Come on, Man.” It was not helping. Men did cry and they did have emotions too. They hurt too. The thoughts of him letting Umar go scot free after what he had done kept rushing to him. He was the lawyer who set a criminal free and now karma had come back to haunt him as he was in love with the woman whom Umar had hurt and was hunting down. His best friend was also in love with her. He had to let her go. He had to be Fola King right now. He needed to keep her safe and let Obi, a better man, love her. The thoughts were getting too much for him to take in and as he cried, his throat hurt. He needed to get it all out of his stomach. No, he was not proud of the man he had become. He screamed.
“It’s okay, Fola.”
He turned as he stared at his Mom as she was now hugging him. “Mom, I am sorry.” He said as he broke down.
“It’s okay, my love. It’s okay.” She said as she rocked him in her hug. “It’s okay…” she kept whispering to him. “It’s going to be okay.”
Greg watched Sarah as she struck the keys of her laptop. He exhaled as he sat up in his bed and stared at her. “What are we?” he asked.
She turned to him with a smile. “Brother and Sister.”
He frowned. “This is not funny, Sarah.”
“Do I look like a clown?” she asked.
He exhaled. “You have not slept. You are busy with so much work and it’s getting me so angry.”
Sarah chuckled. “Brother, you have no right over how I spend or do not spend my day o! See, let’s just be who we are. Friends with benefits.”
“I want more!” he yelled.
She paused and then laughed. “Greg, you are used to picking off Fola’s crumbs, right? Maybe when Fola is done with his new babe, you might have a clean shot.”
“Why are you being cynical?”
She shut her laptop. “And why are you being unreasonable? We are nothing, Greg. We are just sleeping together!”
He groaned and got off his bed, charging towards her. “Get out of my house!”
“What? Are you crazy?” she asked.
He nodded. “Yes! I want you to get out.” He said, grabbing her hand, lifting her up. He handed her the laptop. “Get out!”
“Stop barking jare!” she said, clutching her laptop to her chest.
Greg led her to the door and opened it. He gasped as he saw Obi standing outside. “Obi?”
“Sarah?” Obi said in shock.
Sarah scoffed. “Oh well! Now you know, I am sleeping with him too.”
“What?!” Obi stuttered.
Greg blinked. “Obi.”
“So long, Greg.” Sarah said, blowing him a kiss as she walked off into the night.
Obi stared at him. “You bastard.”
Greg took a deep breath. “What are you doing here?”
“You are not Fola’s friend. You are a blood sucking leech.” Obi said. “Don’t worry about why I am here, because I am gone. I can’t trust you.” He replied, turning away.
“So what?! Yes! I am bloody back-stabbing bastard. And so?”
Obi turned to him. “You idiot! You have no remorse.”
“No! I am not sorry! Fola has everything either of us could ever dream of! The looks, the physique, the charm, the money, the job, everything!”
Obi stared at him shaking his head. “You are deluded.”
“Yeah…and so are you! He even has the girl. Right? Sarah told me.” He said.
Obi swallowed painfully.
“Fola is in love with her and if you are too stupid to see it, shame on you. So, yes, I might hook off his exes and scrapes, but damn, I am enjoying it…and you know why? Because I get to have what he has too.”
Obi gaped. “Ah!”
“Yeah. That’s it.” Greg replied. “So, run to your idol and tell him that I had Sarah! Tell him I don’t regret anything. Tell him-”
Obi silenced Greg with a punch in the face before he could say any more word. Obi groaned in pain as his fist hurt. “You are worthless.” He replied and walked away.
Yemi smiled as she sipped her drink. Her sources at the police stations already had flyers of a missing Aaima Bello circulating. She had not had any sleep all night and she could not wait for morning to come. She was also worried about Sarah. She sure disliked the lady. What she was asking for was far more than what she was willing to give. Yemi dropped her glass and turned on the Television. She would just see a movie till she fell asleep. She thought about Fola for a minute, he would not know what hit him when she was done with him. She hated him. He had aroused her emotions and given her reasons to believe that she might love again after she had shut her heart out.
Fola had walked into their office and into her life. He wanted to see the head of the department at the office for ‘personal reasons’ as he had told her. She was sure it had to be as she knew he’d not frequent their office. Prosecutors hated the name Fola King, he got them edgy and his arrogance and confidence always made matters worse. He had invited her to have coffee with him and she instantly found someone who was ready to listen to her and he instantly had unlocked her heart, she found herself talking to him every day, and when they did not talk, she was sad and moody. She was slowly falling for him. But then, Fola was not in love with her. She knew this. But she fought it. She wanted him to be hers and she was willing to be his woman. Boy! She was vulnerable.
The effect of the movie was slowly kicking into her system. She knocked her head back a couple of times and sighed. She sipped her drink and picked her phone as she prepared to go into the house. The phone buzzed. FK. Her heart skipped a beat and the sleep vanished from her eyes in one instant. Fola King. Why was he calling her? Her heart pounded nervously as she thought of a million ways to answer the call. Not the coarse voice. Yeah, the I don’t care voice. Ehen? Kilode? Hi, Fola. Fola King. Why are you calling? What do you want?
She exhaled as the phone rang a second time and she had not yet figured out what she wanted to say. She just answered. “Hello.”
She swallowed as she heard his voice. “What do you want?”
“I need to see you.” He replied.
She stared at the wall clock. “What is this about?”
“I can’t say, but it is very important. I can’t do this on the phone.”
She blinked. “Where?”
“I am coming to you.” He replied, hanging up.
Yemi sunk back into her seat.
Sarah tried to avoid the gaze of the CDS Co-ordinator as he opened the door for her. “Thank you.” She said as she walked into the house.
“Big girl, why we see you for corper’s lodge this midnight. You no dey even come CDS like that.” He said.
She stared at him. “I am a corps member, I am allowed to be here.”
“Barrister Sarah, I no talk say you no fit stay here, I just dey wonder wetin bring you come here. After all, na you dey work for Peterside Chambers. You are a big girl.”
She hissed and pushed the door to a room open.
“It’s occupied. Go upstairs. The lobby is free.” He replied.
She stared at him. “You expect me to sleep in the lobby?”
“All the rooms are occupied. If you no wan sleep for lobby, you fit go outside.” He replied.
She scoffed and cursed Greg as she turned to the exit. She had nowhere else to go. Maybe she would just spend some cash and get a room in any hotel around.
“Or you fit sleep for my room.” He said, licking his tongue.
Sarah spat on the floor and walked out.
Yusuf poured Umar another shot of whiskey as their long night continued. Umar had been drinking uncontrollably. “What is the essence of killing her if I am not going to have some peace?” Umar asked as he stared at Yusuf who had resumed staring outside the window. “Why are you so calm? You told me to kill her and I did.” He yelled at him.
Yusuf turned to him with a smile. “I am calm because someone has to be mentally balanced between us…and it’s obvious that you don’t fit that part.”
Umar slid down his seat. “Why have your boys not killed him yet?”
“Because I haven’t ordered them to.”
Umar hurled his glass at Yusuf. “I said kill him.”
Yusuf ducked as the glass crashed into the window. “And I say no!” he replied as he approached Umar. “The next time you try something like that, I’ll kill you.”
“I just want to enjoy this money in peace. Is that too much to ask for?” Umar asked.
Yusuf nodded. “Yes. You didn’t get the money without disrupting the peace of another person.”
“I hate your cynicism.” Umar replied.
Yusuf took his seat. “Think about it. Fola is better alive to us than dead. There are a few good lawyers.”
“We would get the other few.” Umar replied.
Yusuf nodded as he rose to his feet. “When are we shipping the biggest batch?” he asked, clearing his throat.
“I don’t want to invest so much in it just yet. I need to be sure that I can reap the fruit when it comes. There are a lot of high ranking officials looking to feed off the stash off that bounty and I won’t let them have it if I go to jail.”
Umar scoffed. “I think I just have to deal with your worthless sarcasm.”
Yusuf smiled. “You should go home and get some sleep, Umar.” He said.
“There is no sleep for the wicked, remember?” Umar said, managing a soft chuckle.
Yusuf nodded. “I see your humour is getting better.” He said, approaching the door.
“Where are you going?”
Yusuf shrugged. “My hotel room. I need to sleep.” He replied and walked out.
He pulled out his phone as he stepped into the corridor and dialled. “Things are about to get messy. Do I abort this mission?” he asked as he approached the exit of the building.
“Umar is a drug baron. Push him till he makes his largest shipment. He is siphoning our country’s cash.”
Yusuf sighed as he got to his car. “What about his wife that we lost?”
“Collateral damage, Yusuf. The same with her sister.”
Yusuf shook his head. “I let the girl live.”
“Why?! You have blown your cover!”
Yusuf started the ignition. “No, it was neat. But I don’t know where she is.”
He exhaled. “Look, I think someone is on to the sister. If I am not able to get him to ship the drugs first before they nab him for the missing sister, we might have to make do with what we have. Either way, a bad man is going away.”
“We shall discuss this when you come in.”
Yusuf nodded as he dropped his phone and drove off.
Yemi blinked as she watched Fola walk into her house. “Hi, Yemi.”
“What do you want?” she asked as she shut the door.
He took a seat. “I need your help.”
“How cocky!” she replied, taking her seat.
He looked around and shook his head at the bottles that littered her apartment.
“Oh? You want to judge me for drinking too much?! Don’t go there!” she said.
He managed a smile. “I am not here for that.
“So what are you here for?” she asked. “I need to sleep.”
He sat up. “I…I am sorry about the case.”
“What case?” she asked, feigning ignorance.
He blinked. “The case against my client, Umar. I am sorry.”
“Hmmm…I take it as you already know.” She said.
He nodded. “Yes. I only found out this night.”
“You could have called to apologize. You didn’t need to come here.” She said, standing to her feet. “Apology heard.”
He swallowed as he rose to his feet. “Yemi, I am sorry for taking advantage of you. I am sorry I was a fool with your feelings. I am sorry I made you fall for me. I am sorry I didn’t stop you. I am sorry I let you down. I am sorry we stopped being friends…”
Yemi blinked as she stared at him.
“I am sorry I cannot be in love with you.” He said.
Fola walked up to her. “Please, forgive me, Yemi. I am sorry. I am not proud of all I have done and if there is any way I can make up for the hurt, I would, but I know I can’t.
She nodded. “You are right. You can’t. You can’t take back the pain you have caused me. You just go around breaking people’s hearts because you think you can, right? Did you ever think that all I was…was all I gave to you?”
“I am sorry.”
She shook her head. “No. You are not. You are only here because you know I am onto a big case. You are here because you know I will sink you in court when you stand to defend Umar again.”
“You are wrong, Yemi.”
She nodded. “Oh yeah! I forgot! You like Aaima. She is another fool like me. You can never love anyone but yourself, Fola King.”
He took a deep breath. “I deserve it, Yemi. I am sorry.”
“Get out, Fola! Never come back to me anymore. Never!”
He blinked. “I’ll leave, but I am sorry.”
“I was never going to love anyone after Mark’s death and I gave it all up for you…I thought you were real. I thought you cared. You selfish egocentric animal! Get out!”
Fola nodded. “I am sorry, Yemi.” He said and approached the exit.
Yemi was done venting. She took a deep breath and rolled her eyes “Wait…wait…what do you want?”
“I need your help.” He replied as he turned to her.
She motioned to a seat. “How may I be of help?”
“Aaima Bello.” He said. “I need to keep her safe from Umar.” He replied. “Yemi, I am sure you have alerted the police by now and they are already looking for her. I will provide you with everything I can, I will work with you in the background and yes, you will take down Umar and get justice for Aaima, you would also go to the court of appeal and get the former verdict that saw me win that case upturned.”
She smiled. “Why would you think I would want to do that? Why would I want to work with you? Why do you think I won’t crush you?”
“Because I won’t be representing Umar. I quit yesterday even before I knew about Aaima. So, if this is about you wanting to get back at me, fine. But don’t do this at the expense of a lady who needs help. You know I can’t be at the centre of this.” He replied.
Yemi looked away.
“Would you help me, please?” he asked.
She turned to him. “You are desperate. I want something in return.”
He smiled. “You want me to get Sarah off your back?”
Yemi nodded. “She wants a place at Peterside Chambers. And she wants me to make it happen. Truth be told, I initially found your girl interesting, but now she is pissing me off.”
Fola chuckled. “Peterside won’t hire her.”
“You can never be sure of that.” Yemi replied.
He smiled. “I promise you.” He said as he walked towards the door.
Yemi took a deep breath. “You must really love her.”
Fola blinked as he stared at her. “Yemi…”
Yemi smiled. “Fola, it’s fine.”
He took a deep breath.
“At least, it shows there’s some human side to you after all.”
Fola chuckled. “Thank you, Yemi.”
“I got your back.” She replied.
He nodded and walked out.