Sacrilege – Episode 36
© Adeola Nissi
Deolu got back to the beach lodge about an hour after. It was already past midnight but he was sure he wasn’t getting any sleep that night or any time soon for that matter. He massaged his temples with his middle fingers, trying to get rid of the banging headache he was feeling. Of all the things he had expected, of all the things he had assumed was wrong with Teju, never in his wildest imaginations did he assume that it was something this big… something so close to death itself. For the first time, the beach had no consolation in store for him, he found no peace in the open calmness of the sea, all he felt was this raging storm inside him that he had no idea how to quench.
It made sense now. Laura’s spoken and unspoken words, her behavior, her resolute decision to push him right into Teju’s arms… it all made perfect sense now. He had been wondering, trying to figure out why Laura would give up on their vows and dreams so easily but he never prepared himself for this bombshell. How was he supposed to accept that Teju was down with leukemia? This was too much to take in. she had been his closest friend for so long, they had been together for so long, they shared secrets, shared their thoughts, their dreams with one another… so why… why wouldn’t she tell him this? Why would she keep something this tangible from him? Where had he gone wrong in their relationship that she had decided to keep something like this from him? She should be undergoing the required treatment she needed but instead, she wasn’t just because she was pregnant, carrying his baby! But why? Why on earth would she get pregnant, knowing it was dangerous for her? Why would she risk it all, risk death itself just to have a child – have his child? This was totally beyond him!
Deolu raked his hand over his hair. He felt like the very life was being drawn out of him. He had been through too much these past weeks but this one was just the absolute worst. He had no idea as to how he was to absorb this. But how on earth could Laura keep something this important from him? Swallowing, Deolu opened the door to the lodge and went in. he hoped Laura was still asleep, that way he could have a few moments alone to think and digest what he had just heard befpre confronting Laura.
On getting to the bedroom, Laura wasn’t there. Okay, she wasn’t only awake, but she was also out of bed. Perfect! He knew he should have woken her up before leaving so she wouldn’t get worried, but how could he have done that without telling her where he was going and why he had to be there? He took a deep breath.
“Laura?” he called as he moved to the bathroom. He couldn’t hear the bathroom water running, he opened and peeped inside. Frowning, he closed the door and made out of the room, checking the small kitchen. It was past midnight, where could Laura have gone to? Fear engulfed him as worry furrowed his brows. She couldn’t have gotten so worried about him that she went out to search for him, could she? He prayed not. It was barely 1am and he didn’t even come across anyone on the beach.
Deolu dipped his hand into his pocket and drew out his phone. He hadn’t even taken it out since he went out. Even as he took it out, he was certain he’d have missed so many calls from Laura. Twenty one missed calls and two messages! Deolu swallowed becoming increasingly worried. He quelled the urge to return the calls immediately and opened the messages. The first one conveyed her worry as she asked where he was, the other nearly made his heart stop in his chest. Mark was out of coma! Finally, one good news! He sighed in relief as he went over the message again. Laura was on her way to the hospital, he read. He could just imagine how happy she must be feeling. She had been so wound up since the accident, he wwas overjoyed that she would finally have a bit of peace. God was indeed a God of wonders. The doctor had written Mark off, saying there was barely a hope for him but then God always shows up to show the doctors who the boss really is.
Perching at the edge of the bed, Deolu dialed Laura’s number. While the message carried news worth testifying about for days, he was worried about Laura leaving the beach so late at night. He should have been there. She should have waited for him to arrive. Her car wasn’t even here for God’s sake! Holding on to the reins of patience, Deolu listened to the foreign voice telling him that the number wasn’t available. He redialed over and over again, getting the same response. Swallowing, he surged to his feet. She probably had gotten to the hospital, he told himself, hoping it was sufficient enough to stop himself from worrying. Hastening out of the house, he made for the hospital.
Tito hugged herself as she waited at the waiting room of the hospital. Weeks ago, she would never have thought she could stay one minute in an hospital without going crazy. The smell of blood and hospital had haunted her for the most part of her life but now… now after staying days in the hospital, going out and coming in, she couldn’t remember her phobia. She had been scared of getting so used to the smell that she would not be able to get the smell out, but now she was so happy she had gotten so used to the smell, that way she could go into an hospital without nearly going crazy. Her dad’s accident had achieved way more than she had thought. It had healed the family, brought everyone together; but most especially, it had healed her. The accident had helped her get over her fears. Fear of blood… fear of love.
Tito looked around and towards the entrance. It had been a while since she called Laura but she was still nowhere in sight. She was becoming increasingly worried. She knew it was a bad idea to ask her to come so late at night. She knew it was a terrible idea immediately she had said it but selfishly, she had agreed for her to come. Now… ‘Oh God, please let her be okay’, she thought, rubbing off a chill of dread from her arms as she moved around impatiently.
Unable to remain calm, she glanced at her wristwatch. It was already 1:30am. She wasn’t finding this funny anymore. Swallowing, she glanced at the entrance again and her heart skipped when she saw the person that walked through the entrance. Oh God!
Tito wished he would stop having this effect on her. How was it that a man could capture a woman’s heart so completely without giving his own in return? Tito swallowed as she watched Chris eat up the space that separated them with his long strides. His eyes remained on her, making her so self-conscious that she started wondering if she looked good. Considering his concern since it had all started, she had texted him to let him know that her dad was out of coma but it had been so late, she never thought he would think of showing up this late. But here he was, drawing closer with each labored breath she drew.
Chris got to Tito and looked down at her face. She looked exhausted but there was no denying the huge burden that seemed to have vacated her shoulders. “hi” he whispered. “I got your text” he said, a small smile on her face.
Laura swallowed, her heart thumping. There was something about his cologne. It always enveloped her, making her feel as though she had no escape route. He had her completely captured. But she had to remind herself that she didn’t own his heart. “He’s out of coma” Tito explained, “but the doctors are still examining him, he said dad is still in a critical state”
Chris’ eyes were so intent on hers. “He would be fine”
There was so much sincerity in his eyes, so much assurance that she actually believed him. She nodded because she really couldn’t trust that she could frame up a good sentence in response. Chris’ hand went up to tuck her hair behind her hair as he gave her a reassuring smile.
Tito hopped nervously unable to meet his gaze. “It is so late, why did you come?”
“I brought a friend of mine to a hospital nearby.”
“She is in labor” he explained, seeing her concerned look. “Then I got your message and decided to pop in”
Tito nodded, looking away. Of course, what were you expecting? Chris dipped his hands in his pocket as Tito lifted her eyes to his again. He took a deep breath. “We need to talk”
Tito turned her head. “Deolu?” with that came a thought. God! How could she have totally forgotten about her.
Deolu looked at Tito and Chris, worry hanging on his brows. “Is Laura here?” he asked instantly. He sure wasn’t going to okay until he knew she was alright.
“Oh my God! She is not here yet” Tito exclaimed, looking around in complete worry. “I have been waiting for her for hours now and her number is not going through anymore”
The alarm was clearly written on Deolu’s face though he tried to conceal it.
“What’s going on? Is Laura missing?”
A call came into Deolu’s phone. Instantly, he picked instantly without checking the caller, hoping it was Laura. God! He just wanted her to be alright. “Laura? Is that you?”
But it wasn’t Laura. The voice Deolu heard was not hers; this was a very deep baritone voice. But it was not the voice that made his blood run cold but the message.
“Is that Laura” Tito asked, perplexed.
Deolu just stared as he listened.
“We have your wife. Send us ten million Naira or we fax her to you in a box” the voice said.
To be continued