Sacrilege – Episode 42
© Adeola Nissi
Laura had never felt safer. As Deolu took off her clothes and led her quietly into the bathroom, she had never felt more relieved. She was back home, pretty unscathed and in the arms of the man she loved, nothing felt better than that. What would have happened if that evil guy had had his way with her and raped her like he planned, she would have been scarred for life. But God had put Ajayi there in her favour because He has a way of protecting His own. Then just when she was being dragged out all gagged and blindfolded with no certainty of being returned home despite the ransom, Deolu had shown up. She couldn’t express the bone deep relief she had felt right there and then when she felt the touch of Deolu’s hand, it was like everything suddenly became right with her world. She hadn’t been able to contain the tears of joy and relief that spilled from her eyes as he took her into his arms and lifted her against his chest, carrying her to the car and driving her away from the chaotic scenery, leaving the police officers to handle the kidnappers.
Deolu turned on the shower and a splash of moderately hot water spilled over her nude form, rolling down her skin like a lover’s caress. Deolu was quiet, too quiet. His muscles were taut and strained, his jaw was clenched and there was no disguising the fact that Deolu was beating himself over what happened to her. Laura felt the tremor in his hands as he filled his hand with liquid soap and spread it over her skin, his hands barely touching her, hovering like a whisper on her heated flesh. His eyes were sharp and alert, taking note of every tiny bruise on her skin. His eyes sparked with blue flame as his fingers brushed against every tiny bruise. She hadn’t been terribly hurt but she had sustained some scratches here and there. The slaps she had received from Rogba still rang in her ears and she was sure her cheek must have a bit of finger prints. Remorse and grave self-loath was written all over Deolu as he worked the soap onto her pale skin, his dark eyes taking in every detail of her body. Where she was completely naked, Deolu was fully clothed and the splashes of water from the shower made wet patches on his clothes.
Laura had so many questions. She still had no idea of where Deolu had gone to, leaving her all alone on the beach. When she had overheard the kidnappers speaking to Deolu on the phone, she had felt bone-deep relief at discovering Deolu was safe and unharmed after all but that only spiked up her curiosity. What could have made Deolu leave her all alone on the beach? It all seemed a mystery to her but one thing she knew was that Deolu would never intentionally hurt her in any way. If he left, it must have been something really serious. But now was not the time to ask him about that. She could see clearly – as his soapy fingers lingered on a small scratch on her shoulder – the rage building up in him. He was beating himself up over what had happened and Laura felt her heart ache for him.
Laura raised her wet hands to Deolu’s face, cradling it as she forced him to look at her. “Join me, Ad” she whispered.
Deolu stared at her face, his eyes wavering from hers as he caught sight of a fading red lining on her cheek. His eyes grew darker as his finger stuck out and brushed the red path oh her skin. She felt the faint tremor of his fingers as he almost snarled at her cheek. “They hit you” he mouthed.
Laura covered the hand on her cheek with hers, shifting till she had his eyes back on hers. “I’m fine” she tried to smile. “Hey, I’m fine” she caressed his cheek gently as the showers of water fell over her.
Deolu shook his head, a bitter twist to his mouth. “They hurt you… those b******s hurt you and I couldn’t do anything…” he swallowed. “This is all my fault. I couldn’t protect you… they never should have been able to touch you”
“But you are here now”
“I left you all alone on – i should have been there”
“I don’t care. This is not your fault, Ad. No, listen to me”she brought his eyes back to hers. “I know you would never intentionally leave me in harm’s way. And I don’t care where you went, or why you went, I just… For now, i just want you. I want the safety of your arms around me, Ad… Please…” Laura worked off the buttons of Deolu’s shirt, fumbling all the way as her shaky fingers couldnt snap off the buttons fast enough. Deolu eased her hands off, unbuttoning his shirt. He shrugged off his shirt just as Laura started with his trouser.
With the clothes off, Deolu moved under the shower, holding Laura to his chest as the water washed over them. His hands shook as he held her tight, reassuring himself that she was all right and in his arms again. Naked, as Adam and Eve, Laura’s arms wrapped around him, her head laying on his chest as she inhaled him, taking in his scent. Deolu kissed the top of her head, lingeringly. “I’m sorry, love. I’m sorry I wasn’t there”
Laura’s arms tightened around him and she craned her head up to look at him. Bending his head, Deolu covered her mouth with his. Laura’s hands locked around his neck as she rose on tip toes, fitting her body deliciously to his. The kiss deepened, becoming hungrier as Deolu bent, scooping her into his arms effortlessly as he carried her out of the bathroom into the bedroom.
It was barely morning when Tito banged the door of the Aderigbe’s residence. She hopped on her feet and knocked impatiently again. It was still too early to be paying a visit but she didn’t give a hoot. It was late last night when Deolu called to inform her that Laura was back, safe and sound but she couldn’t wait to see Laura herself. She just hoped she was truly all right and that nothing bad had happened to her. As Tito lifted her hand to knock again, she heard the sound of the lock, and then the door fell open.
“Morning in-law” Deolu smiled at Tito.
Tito smiled back as she stepped in. “Good morning, Mr. Rigs” she returned. She still felt bad for all the things she had said to him and even worse to see Deolu smiling so fondly at her like nothing had happened. “I’m sorry I came so early, I just… I wanted to be sure my sister is okay” she placed a pathetic smile on her face.
Deolu nodded still smiling and dipped his hands into the pockets of his shorts. “It’s fine”
Tito shifted. Was now the good time to apologize or… she cleared her throat. “Is she still asleep? I can come back” now she felt stupid for rushing over so early.
Tito turned around and both ladies rushed into each other’s arms, enclosing each other in a bear-sized hug. Deolu sat on the sitting room couch, watching the sisters’ reunion with love in his heart. “Oh girl, thank God you are alright” Tito gasped, pulling out of the hug way faster than Laura would have wanted. “Did they hurt you?” she pulled back to give Laura a proper scrutiny from head to toe like a mother hen. “Did those b******s hurt you?”
Laura was dressed in one of Deolu’s Tee shirts. It was the fastest thing she could pull over her head before exiting the bedroom to see Tito. She loved putting on Deolu’s shirts just as much as Deolu loved seeing her in them. “No, I’m fine. I’m sorry I made you worry, you had enough on your plate already”
“It’s all my fault. I never should have called you so late at night, I should have known you’d insist on coming over”
Laura’s shoulders fell as she stared unbelievably at Tito. “What’s with you people always carrying my mistakes on your head like a cross? Are you Jesus Christ?”
Tito smirked. “You are my baby sister, it is my duty to worry about you” she grinned.
Laura placed her hands akimbo as she stared viciously at Tito. The look would have looked more vicious if she hadn’t been so short and Tito so tall. “Need I remind you that you are only three months older than I am?”
“Older still” Tito grinned and Laura stuck her tongue out at her. God! She had missed her Laura. She missed the way they had been way before problems decided to take residence in her family. The missed their jovial batters and conversations. Tito couldn’t wait for things to go back to the way they were, when peace and happiness took the first seats in their lives. She sighed, giving Laura’s shoulder a gentle squeeze just as Deolu walked away from sitting area towards the dinning to make a call. “You’re sure they didn’t hurt you? They didn’t…?” Tito gave Laura’s body a meaningful glance.
Laura visibly shuddered as glanced at Deolu before leading Tito to a long couch. “No.” she whispered as they sat. “But one of them conceived the thought and would have succeeded if the other guy hadn’t jumped to my rescue. I’ve never been so scared. I’m just glad they didn’t escape, kidnappers shouldn’t be left roaming, who knows who they’d kidnap next”But she couldn’t but feel bad for Ajayi. He had helped her and jumped to her rescue when she really needed it, she might have to talk to the police on his behalf.
“Wait till I get my hands on them, they’d wish they’d never been born” Tito swore silently, her eyes dark with anger.
“Careful now” Laura said with a soft smile. “It’s enough that Deolu wants to kill them both”
“And they would deserve death; kidnappers sure don’t have a life, they live off others. You should have seen us yesterday; we were worried sick about you. Even Margaret” Tito smiled like she was secretly amused about something. “I couldn’t believe the worry I saw in her eyes, she seemed genuinely worried about you. You should have heard her voice when i called her this morning to tell her you were back home. The devil isn’t above salvation, uhn?” she chuckled. “Ouch” she yelped as Laura punched her.
“Stop it now… we have worked out our differences and we are fine. You don’t know just how happy I am about that, in fact, she dressed me up for my date with Deolu last night”
Tito rolled her eyes as something close to jealousy flashed in her eyes. “Ehn… so that’s why she knew every detail about your date and I didn’t? You were going out on a beach date with Deolu and you could not think of telling me? I see how fast you’ve replaced me”
Laura laughed. “Jealousy… I called you about a million times and you weren’t picking up, besides, I didn’t even know we were headed for the beach. You should have seen me all dressed up in heels only to find myself on the beach” Laura grinned.
Tito stared at Laura for a few seconds, processing what she had just heard. “No but…” Tito shifted uncomfortably as a frown started growing on her face. “You must have known right? Because you… you told Margaret you were going to the beach, right?”
Laura frowned, not understanding what Tito was saying. “Of course not, how could i? I told you I didn’t even know. What happened?”
A look of dread crossed Tito’s face. “Margaret was acting weird. Nobody told her about the kidnap but she showed up and was stating how worried she was. She said she called your line and it was picked up by one of the abductors. Then, she mentioned something about you going to the beach with Deolu. Chris asked her how she knew you went to the beach, then she said you told her about it when she was getting you ready for your date.”
Laura stared at Tito, digesting the information. No! No, she was not even going to think about it. Margaret was her sister, she wouldn’t!
“You think she –”
“Stop, Tito, don’t even think about it” Laura snapped as she surged to her feet. But she couldn’t quiet the voices in her head. The conversations she heard from the kidnappers made it obvious that the person who sent them was a woman. A woman who had asked them not to hurt her… Laura swallowed as bitter tears burned at the back of her eyes. No! She shook her head to ward off the voices. It is not Margaret… it cannot be Margaret!
Deolu’s voice penetrated into her thoughts, making her jerk a little. There was something about the way he said her name that made her heart race in fear. She turned to stare at him and there it was, everything that confirmed the suspicions were written clearly on his face. A pained look clouded his eyes as he held his phone in his hand. “No, it’s not true… Oh my God…”
Margaret ran around the room, picking as many things as she could lay her hands on and stuffing them into her large traveling bag. Sweat trickled down her face even in the air conditioned room as she picked her jewelry box and hurled it into the bag. Tess sat on the bed, the usually lively and energetic kid was so quiet as she watched her mother run about like someone on the brink of madness. Fear shone in her innocent eyes and she looked close to tears.
Margaret felt the pounding of her own heart, thumping against her chest as she raced around the room. She opened Tess’ mini wardrobe and took out as many clothes as she could manage. “Oh God, what have I done?” Her voice shook as she stuffed the clothes in the large box and went for Tess’ shoes. “What have I done?”
All through the night yesterday as she stayed over with Jane, she hadn’t caught a whim of sleep. She had almost ticked Jane off with her inability to keep calm. She had been on her toes, expecting Rogba to call to tell her that everything was okay. She had been sure that the police were not being involved. Darn, Deolu had said he wouldn’t call the cops! After waiting all night without hearing anything, Margaret had been certain that the kidnappers made away with all the money. Then, Tito had called her early this morning to tell her that Laura was back home. It wouldn’t have been too devastating if the kidnappers had made away with the money, at least she wouldn’t have had to worry about prison. When Tito had mentioned that the kidnappers had been apprehended, Margaret had pretty much died on the spot. Dying would have been better, at least she would have been spared the shame and embarrassment. She had to run off now that she had the chance. She knew how this would end; once the kidnappers revealed who sent them, they’d be all out looking for her.
Not caring if she had enough clothes in the bad, Margaret zipped the traveling bag and moved it from the bed to the floor. The lighter the bag, the faster she’d be able to move. “Come, Tess” Margaret whispered, tears in her eyes as she lifted Tess and eased her onto her back. Seeing tears in her mother’s eyes, Tess bursted into tears just as Margaret secured her on her back with a wrapper. “C’mon Tess, please don’t cry now” she hopped impatiently. “We are going to be okay, sweetie… We are going to be fine. Mummy would take care of you, okay” she said shakily, tears falling from her face.
Giving the room one last look, Margaret grabbed her handbag and wheeled the traveling bag after her, moving as fast as possible. The very last thing she needed was to have to confront Collins. Ever since she landed in the hospital, she had managed to escape Collins every time she sneaked back to the house. The last thing she needed now was to come face to face with him. And God forbid she wasn’t faster than the police, Margaret didn’t even want to think of it; her thoughts always had a way of materialising.
Climbing down the stairs was a struggle but as she got to the sitting room, Margaret nearly dropped dead at the person who sat in wait for her, the very last person she wanted to see.
“Collins” she gasped, her heart thudding in her chest.
Collins sat, cross legged, looking about as calm as a deadly wolf, peering the distance at Margaret with an ironic smile on his face. “Going somewhere, wife?”
Margaret swallowed, paralyzed with fear as she gripped the bags tighter to steady her feet. “Please, let us go, Collins” she pleaded shakily. “Please”
“Let you go?” Collins eyes danced with dark humor as he got to his feet. He took steps towards her and chuckled. “Oh no… You, my dear wife, are not going anywhere” his eyes sparkled like the devils as his teeth flashed in a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “Do you think the gateman did not tell me of your little trips home? No, you should have stayed away, you should have ran when you had the chance”
Margaret shrank away. “Please, Collins… We have destroyed each other enough” She sobbed as fat tears slipped down her face. Tess started crying again behind her.
Rage burned in Collins’ eyes as he bellowed. “Please? Oh, no I haven’t destroyed you. I would kill you with my bare hands” he roared. “Did you worry about destroying me when you were sleeping around with your lover? I thought you loved me, but all along, all you wanted was my money. Did you think about destroying me when you gave me a child that is not mine?” Margaret shrank away tearfully, his words biting at her. “No, I’ve not dealt you have the pain in feel, when I’m done with you, you would know. And tell that child to shut up!”
Margaret sobbed, the noise of Tess’ wailing rang in her ear. Pain bit into her heart. She had made a monster of Collins. She hadn’t been satisfied with him as her husband despite all he did and all the gifts he showered on her, she didn’t love him, so she had sought love in the hands of another man. And she had found love with Kenny. After the affair went on for a while, he had caught her in the act and that had been the beginning of her nightmare.
He changed completely. Nothing she did was right in his eyes anymore. He refused to divorce her despite all her pleadings, keeping her with him was his punishment; he couldn’t have her ‘running into the arms of her lover’. Then, she had gotten pregnant. Collins believed the child was his until she gave birth and every passing day, Tess looked more and more like Kenny.
The beatings started and increased with each passing day until that fateful day two weeks back, when he had come home. Unknown to her, he had gone for a DNA test and had confirmed that he truly wasn’t Tess’ father. He had nearly killed her.
Margaret swallowed the sobs and tried to work her shaking lips. “Let me go, Collins, let me stop hurting you”
Collins roared in laughter, then stared at her as his laughter died. “I’m going to kill you”
A soft knock came on the door just then and it opened. The gateman stood uneasily, staring at them. “Oga, police dey outside o” Margaret gasped as her heart stopped. “They say them dey find madam”
To be continued