The pain was too much for Anna to bear. At this point, she’d do anything to make it stop. As she writhed in pain from one side of the bed to the other, she did so alone – the world was oblivious to her tears, pains and fears, it was obviously tired of her and whatever witchy gimmick it purported she still had up her sleeve, as she once heard a nurse gossip to another. Left for those nurses, she’d have already been offered to the evil gods that habited the evil forests in their villages, for sleeping with two brothers, and both dying months apart trying to defend her. Word indeed travelled fast, even for a big city like Lagos. Life was already tired of her, and she likewise; whatever escape provided itself was one she was willing to take without second thought. Fluttering her eyelids, she saw Mother seated on the sofa beside her bed, watching her sleep.
“Impossible!” Anna responded on impulse. Mother was the very last person Anna hoped to see, she wasn’t even going to hide her displeasure. “What are you doing here?” She asked.
“To save you from him. We have to leave, as soon as possible.”
“Doctor! Doctor! Nurse!” Anna shouted. She wasn’t having any of this woman’s nonsenses, not anymore. She was done playing by other people’s rules, especially not that of a woman she knew bore no love for her or anyone for that matter.
“I’m not going anywhere with you.”
As soon as she had said this, Anna a sharp pain: she had bit her lips.
Mother leaned forward: she had something important to say. “The truth is, I don’t care about you, but I do care for my unborn grandson, which you unfortunately carry in you.” She placed a hand on Anna’s bare-stomach. “If he should get to you, he’d kill you without a second thought.”
“What are you talking about?”
Anna didn’t know which she found more preposterous – that she was having a baby, or that Andrew’s mother was convinced there was a killer after her. She meant it when she said she was done having other people dictate her life, and she was going to show it, now!
“I am not pregnant!” Anna lashed back. She tried to alight from the bed, but almost sprained an ankle which caused her to let out a loud cry that further broke her spirit, this finally drew a nurse’s attention, who called her doctor.
“Hey,” Dr. Gusanu greeted Anna as he entered the ward. “I hope we’re good for two today?” He asked, and flashed her a smile.
Anna wasn’t buying it, for all she knew Dr. Gusanu was in on the deceit with Mother; everyone who knew Jasmine well, knew what exactly she was capable of, and this wasn’t a far stretch from what her character was known for. She needed some normalcy in her life, and having Mother’s imaginary baby certainly wouldn’t give her that.
Dr. Gusanu returned with Anna’s medical file, and showed her the test result they carried out on her, “Congratulations,” he said, “You’re weeks away from your first ultrasound.”
Anna turned to the other side of the bed, away from their sights – This was not happening. Even when she wanted out, the universe found a way to rope her back into bed with the Akin family. She wanted to stare emptily, but Mother’s face staring back at her wouldn’t let her.
Patricia remained seated even as the warden announced the arrival of Flight-231 from Abuja to Lagos. She was listening to her inner guts and counting down from ten to zero. “Three, two, one, zero,” she counted. It was time. She pushed herself up and let her red velvet gown lap cordially to her skin as she walked seductively towards the exit. Looking up she saw him. He was clothed in a brown Denim jacket, black pants with matching footwear and cap.
“Patricia,” he greeted.
“Larry,” she answered. She took his luggage from him, and they walked towards the exit into her waiting car.
All through the journey to his accommodation, Larry sat quietly as he observed the city of Lagos. ‘How things have changed?’ He muttered to himself. “Home sweet home,” he said out loud, and relaxed further into the car-seat.
In as much as the atmosphere was tense, business had to go on. Majority of members of staff were gathered in the conference room, Abigail had a major announcement to make. It was expected, considering the big blow the firm had just suffered in terms of human resource. So much had changed and so much was going to still change. People were leaving the firm – clients, those jumping ship, even though retiring early – it felt unsafe to be around. The last time the news suffered this much from the Chambers, was the day Barr. Akin handed over the reins of leadership to his son, Mark, and since then, a lot had changed, workforce had plummeted immensely, and the atmosphere could best be described as unsafe for efficacy.
Abigail’s arrival heralded flickers of flashes from various cameras as every journalist wanted to own the best picture of her to grace the front-page of their dailies.
“Good day, everyone,” she began… Her speech was lengthy and concise. All she wanted was for everyone at the firm and partnering media houses to hold off the need to blow Andrew’s death out of proportion. According to her, the firm mourned his loss, but life needed to continue for those still here, and that’s what the deal they were close to signing was going to do for them – make them stand on their feet once again.
She was quoted saying, “I might not have known Andrew, my brother, well enough, but I did know this, he loved this firm with his heart and would never do anything to jeopardize an opportunity to become bigger and better at what we do.” in response to a question from a journalist about how she could be talking business when her brother just died. Before more questions could resonate she introduced someone who stole the show, his name was Soma, and he took away the spotlight from her. Soma, as Abigail said in her brief introduction, was the brain behind the multibillion naira deal the firm was about to sign with a Chinese firm; a deal that would see the salaries of everyone in the firm increase exponentially, because everyone had parts to play in the actualization of the contract. In appreciation, Abigail announced on behalf of the Directors that Soma would be the newest addition to the Board of Directors as they felt he had earned a seat at the table strictly on merit. As the cameras and lightening turned towards a very elated Soma (very dressed for the announcement), Abigail snuck out for the safe haven of her office.
KC followed behind. Immediately entered her office, he came in after her. “My God!” She exclaimed. Turning back to see him took her by surprise.
KC in turn, tried to calm her edgy nerves with a soothing kiss, which very much flopped, whatever feelings he hoped to resonate in her at the moment were certainly not coming to light. Abigail collapsed into her chair, her mind spinning through so many issues least of which concerned KC.
“What you need is a quickie,” KC suggested sexily, unbuckling as he said.
Abigail scoffed. She certainly wasn’t buying his idea of sex at this moment, especially not after the Press outside just accused her of being heartless enough to think of business a short while after her brothers’ death. It was a matter of time before some drunk Journalist suggested she had a hand in Andrew’s death. This worried her because deep down all the façade, she did care, maybe not for Andrew, but on the devastating effect his death would have on her father.
“What I need you to go check up on Anna at the hospital.”
KC’s countenance showed he was caught off-guard: certainly not what he expected.
“You heard me right. You had better start going.”
He tried to protest, but Abigail was having none of it. He had better follow through on her orders before she got hostile, he was forgetting his place as a servant boy – she was the queen and he was the pawn.