Sacrilege – Episode 43
© Adeola Nissi
Deolu eased along the road, maneuvering the car to the middle of the road, keeping both hands on the wheel. Taking his eyes off the road briefly, he glanced at Laura who was seated beside him, wearing a lost confused look in her eyes as she stared straight at the road ahead. Swallowing, Deolu returned his eyes to the road, leaving the silence to stretch out as they sorted out their thoughts.
It almost seemed surreal. Deolu had found it hard to believe when Chris had initially called him over the phone that morning, telling him about his suspicion of Margaret. Chris had told him that Margaret had been aware of their beach date. It all seemed weird because Deolu was sure he didn’t mention to anyone that he was taking Laura to the beach, so how on earth would Margaret know? The only way she could have known that was if someone followed him. Yet, Deolu hadn’t wanted to believe Chris; gosh, he had prayed and hoped Chris was wrong or mistaken because he just didn’t want any more pain and heartache for Laura. She had been through too much to find out again that her sister was the orchestrator of her abduction. But then, Felix had called to deliver the blow, confirming what Chris had told him initially. The kidnappers had spilled the beans and Felix had called to find out if he knew any Margaret.
In a thousand years, Deolu didn’t think he would be able to understand the depth and intents in the heart of man. What on earth could have made someone send kidnappers after her own sister? And to think he thought the past few days had changed her. At times, it is best to admit that some people can never change. Some people just have no joy in them so all they spread is sadness and bitterness; after all, you can’t give what you don’t have.
Deolu overtook a vehicle, moving to the inner lane as they neared their destination. He glanced at Laura again and saw her clasping her fingers nervously. He took one hand off the wheel and covered her hands with his, squeezing gently. Laura glanced at him and gave him a feeble wavering smile. Deolu’s eyes were lased with concern as he stared at her. He took his hand to her cheek, giving it a faint caress as a brief smile touched his face. “All right, sugar?”
Laura smiled. That endearment always put a smile on her face. “What do you think?” she whispered back, leaning her face into his palm.
Deolu glanced at the road before looking at her. “I think you need a vacation. I’d have to whisk you away when all these is over”
Laura chuckled as Deolu’s arm went around her shoulder, pulling her to him as he controlled the wheel with his left hand. Laura laid her head on Deolu’s shoulder and wrapped her hands around his midsection. She turned her nose into the curve of Deolu’s neck and inhaled deeply. “our companies have been without their bosses since all these started” Laura had only stepped into Laura Rigs Productions about twice since her marriage hit the rocks and even those times, she was just about as effective as a wall furniture. She had been handling things from the hospital since then, giving a few instructions and doing some things on her system but asides that, she had pretty much left the running of her company to her trusted employees.
Deolu bent his head to plant a kiss on Laura’s head. “They would have to do without us for a bit longer”
“Hmmm” was all Laura said as she snuggled closer to Deolu. She intentionally didn’t want to think about anything, not all her problems, not the place they were going and who they were going to meet… she just wanted a good distraction and so far, Deolu was the perfect thought freezer. She turned her face into his neck again as her hand took a leisure stroll up his chest. She knew the moment Deolu’s breathing changed as her slender fingers travelled up to the crack in his shirt and started drawing small circles on his exposed chest.
“Uhmm… you smell nice” Laura cooed inhaling deeply then planted a lingering kiss on his shoulder, darting out her tongue briefly. Deolu held his breath. “Even taste better”
Deolu’s lips cracked a tense smile as he tightened his hold on the wheel with his left hand. His hand sank into her hair, brushing it off her forehead. “This isn’t fair, sugar”
Laura smiled into his neck as she planted yet another kiss close to his ear. She felt his pulse quicken just as she felt the car slow down till it came to a halt. She wished he was parking to continue what she had started but something told her it was something different. Deolu turned fully to Laura, cupping her chin in his hand as she leaned against him. He lowered his head and planted a short lingering kiss on her mouth. His eyes bore into hers. “We can still go back” he whispered, “… finish what you started”
Laura glanced outside the car and gazed at the Police Station sitting right in front of them. Tension invaded her again. Seducing Deolu had been her way of distracting herself and she had largely succeeded but now, she couldn’t stop the tension that rode her body. Deolu brought her eyes back to his as he stared at her with concern in his eyes. “You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to”
Laura nodded, letting out a little sigh. “I want to” sighing again, she extracted herself from Deolu’s arms and stared at the station like it posed a great challenge. “Okay, let’s get this over with” she opened the door and stepped out of the car.
Deolu got out and pushed the lock button. Laura moved around the car to meet him and Deolu enclosed her hand in his as they walked hand in hand into the police station. As they walked into the station, Felix walked up to them. He had a gentle smile on his face as he took the hand Deolu held out to him. “Hey man, thanks once again” Deolu said with a smile.
Felix lifted a brow casually and let it fall. “I’m only glad you informed me in time” he turned to Laura with the same pleasant smile on his face. “Hope you’re better now, ma’am”
“Yes, I am” Laura managed a smile. “I haven’t properly thanked you for what you did, I am really grateful.
Felix smiled. “It’s our job to ensure your safety ma’am”
Deolu nodded at Felix, passing a subtle message with his eyes. The smile on Felix’s face faded as he stared uneasily at Laura. “You want to see the… erm…” he cleared his throat. “Please come with me”
Deolu put his arms around Laura’s waist, feeling the tension ravaging her body. He held on to her, lending her some of his strength. Taking a deep breath, Laura walked alongside Deolu, grateful for the hand he kept at her waist. She was ample sure she would have bolted and fled the station if he wasn’t there to support her morally. No, she wasn’t scared. Her flaying nerves was not from fear but how wouldn’t she be a nervous wreck when she was about to see it in actuality that her own sister had truly orchestrated her abduction? She had only heard that Margaret was responsible but a part of her was still harboring the hope that it was all a lie, a mix-up of some sort. How on earth would she cope with seeing her own sister behind bars for trying to extort money from her?
It was more painful because she had actually been so happy to reconcile things with her sister. Her joy had known no bounds when she finally patched things up with Margaret that she had even gone to Mark’s room to talk to him and tell him the good news, hoping that telling him good things would force him out of coma. There she had been, living in a fool’s paradise when the very same Margaret was out there, planning how to extort money from her by abducting her.
Something still did not seat right with Laura. Margaret’s husband had more than enough money to satisfy Margaret; surely he could afford to give Margaret whatever amount she needed. She had seen all her bags of clothes when she was over at her place. She had not only noted that Margaret’s wardrobe was filled with native attires, she had also noted the expensive quality of those materials. It was not a hidden fact that Margaret married into wealth, so why on earth would she kidnap someone just for ten million Naira? Even if she actually needed it, wasn’t it something she could ask for? While Deolu might not just take out ten million Naira as a gift to someone, it was clearly obvious, especially with his booming company that ten million Naira cannot pose any form of difficulty for him. So, why on earth would Margaret go through all the stress when she could have just asked?
Swallowing, Laura took a cleansing breath. She still wanted to believe there was a mix up somewhere because the puzzles were just not adding up. Felix came to a halt in front of a cell and barked something that Laura was too distracted to hear. She heard the gate being opened and her heart thumped in anticipation. She leaned against Deolu lightly and his arm tightened reflexively around her waist.
Holding her breath, she heard approaching footsteps, then she saw then – the footsteps. Following the legs, she raised her eyes, letting the feet lead her to its owner. And yes, standing before her was the very same Margaret she had known all her life – her sister.
***** Hassan was silent as he carried out the CT scan. He was not happy and it was pretty obvious in blank official countenance. Teju was not sure if she should attribute this to their last fall out or be worried about something. He was staring at the computer with too much seriousness, careful not to reveal any form of emotion. He was always like that whenever he carried out her scans and Teju had realized it was so he could keep her at ease. Her heart thumped as she tried to remain calm in the unsettling silence. Hassan’s touch was as impersonal as the equipment hanging around the scan room.
When he seemed to be done with the checkup but stood poised, studying the computer, seeing things Teju knew no meaning to, Teju pushed herself to a seating position, taping her fingers nervously. “Is everything okay?”
Hassan turned his head to her, then placed a small disarming smile on his face. “Yeah”
Teju frowned. “You are not telling me the truth” she noted. He only smiled that way when something was wrong; she had observed him enough to know.
Hassan walked towards her, standing in front of her, still with the smile on his face. “It is my job to worry about your medical state; I don’t want you doing that”
“There is no harm in telling me if something is wrong” Teju countered, already getting worried.
“Then you’d have to worry and I don’t want that. Trust me, if you should be worried, I’d let you know”
Teju swallowed and nodded. “I trust you” she whispered.
Hassan stared at her, reading her. There was something about the way she said those three words that conveyed a subtle message. Teju placed her hands on his shoulders to steady herself as she tried to get off the high bed but Hassan grabbed her waist and hoisted her off the bed effortlessly onto the floor. Teju’s nerves wound together at the proximity. They had been at even closer ranges in the past and she barely felt a thing but there was just something different now. It was probably the unspoken tension between them, or probably the fact that she had been thinking about Hassan a whole lot more than she liked to admit. But as they stood for those brief seconds before he let go of her waist and moved away, she couldn’t help but notice the strength of the shoulders beneath her palms, the strength of his hands on her waist. The white doctor’s overall Hassan had on looked so sexy on him; she could understand why many female patients end up falling in love with their doctors.
As Hassan dropped his hands from her waist and made to turn away, Teju grabbed his hand, holding him back. Hassan stared at her, his eyes dark and unreadable. “I’m sorry” she finally mouthed. “About the other night”
“You shouldn’t be”
Teju shook her head, staring at Hassan’s white coat as she spoke. “No, I overreacted. The night was going so well that I panicked. I was happy…” she looked up into his eyes, “… and that scared me”
Hassan took an arm to Teju’s cheek, brushing his thumb against it lightly as he stared into her eyes. He was a doctor and as one who knew his onions, certain things do come with the territory. He had minored in psychology to learn how people reason and better understand why they do what they do. As much as the movie choice at the theatre turned out to be a terrible one, Hassan had read meaning to Teju’s exaggerated outbursts. It had been a good sign to him because somehow, it showed that she was actually feeling something.
Hassan grinned. “I shouldn’t be saying this but… I’m glad I scared you”
Teju chuckled softly. Hassan watched her. She rarely did that these days. She rarely laughed or showed any sign of happiness. He ached to change that, to see her sad eyes glow up with happiness. His heart froze as her chuckles died away and her tongue darted out to moisten her lower lip. Hassan’s eyes remained locked on the lips for split seconds, unable to look away. Everything in him was screaming to kiss her. The air sizzled around them as his hand dropped from her cheek like a whisper, going down to rest behind her neck. Holding his breath he lowered his head slowly, inch by inch, his intent clear, yet giving Teju enough grace to bow out. Her breath washed over him, spiking up his blood as her eyes dropped close, her lashes fanning the lush softness of her cheek. Unable to wait a second longer, Hassan took her mouth in a soft deep kiss.
Teju melted in his arms, moving into his embrace. Hassan deepened the kiss, feeling his heart thump in his chest as he poured all the love in his heart into the slow sensuous kiss. Ideas ran wild in his head and tension rode his body like a stallion but he was quick to caution himself. Slowly, Hassan ended the kiss but he held Teju in his arms as her eyes fluttered open. The white pearls tugged at his heart and he couldn’t stop himself from planting a kiss on the tip of her nose. The ghost of a smile hovered on Teju’s face as Hassan released a shaky breath. “Are you hungry?”
He wanted to take her out for lunch; she noted but realized there was something better she’d rather snack on. A really naughty answer hung on Teju’s tongue but she swallowed the words and instead said, “What if I’m not?” she raised her brow.
“Then we feed the baby. That’s what I noticed on the monitor earlier… she is hungry” he grinned.
Teju rolled her eyes. “Nice try” she said, grinning as she followed him out of the scanning room.
***** Frank removed the needle in his wrist and gritted his teeth against the pain. He attempted to move his legs but they pretty much felt like lifeless logs of woods. He had been so immobile for days, he wondered if his body parts still remembered they functions. Pain shot through him as he pulled himself halfway up to a reclining position. He fought back a wave of dizziness. Bandage still rode on his head like a turban and his feet were bandaged as well.
Pain very nearly brought tears to his eyes as he bent his knees. It was like liquid fire was racing through every inch of his body. Gritting his teeth, he moved his legs off the bed. As he pushed himself off the bed, standing on his feet, he let out a bitter growl of pain as his legs gave way beneath him and he crumbled to the floor. His feet hurt like hell was built on it. He let out a curse. How badly were his feet injured? His teeth bit into his lips till he practically drew blood. As he tried to pull himself off the floor, the door opened and a concerned nurse rushed in. a deep frown rode on her face as she rushed to him. “Sir, what are you doing?”
“Take me to my brother” Frank growled.
“Please get on the bed sir, you need to lie down” the nurse insisted.
“I am not laying on that blasted bed, woman” Frank boomed, his intimidating eyes glared at the nurse till she squirmed. “Take me to my brother”
The nurse swallowed and nodded. “Okay sir, let me get a wheel chair” she said and hastily left the room.
“You’ve got to forgive me, Laura, please… please forgive me.” Margaret pleaded in tears. ” I didn’t mean to hurt you; I didn’t want it to turn out this way”
“Of course, you didn’t want it to turn out this way” Laura snapped bitterly. “You surely didn’t want to be discovered and put in jail for sending kidnappers after your own sister.” Laura’s mouth was twisted bitterly as she glared at Margaret. “What? Go ahead. Blame me for this too, Margaret. To be fair, I blame myself. I blame myself for ever believing that you could change, that we could patch things up” she yelled as she dashed her hand against her cheek, wiping off the tears that betrayed the pain she was feeling. “Stupid me, I was busy celebrating our reunion, not knowing it was all a format”
Margaret sobbed, not bothering to wipe her tears as they coerced down cheeks. She shook her head in dismay.
“No? You are not putting the blames on me?” Laura pestered. “Who then? Collins? Dad? God? There’s got to be somebody because that’s what you are good at. You blame everyone in the world for your mess but yourself.”
Margaret rubbed off tears from her cheeks. “You are right, that’s what I always do” her eyes stared lifelessly at the floor. “but this one is on me. I destroyed myself with my very own hands, Laura… I ruined everything” she broke down in tears. “All I wanted was to give Tess a good life, I wanted to give her a peaceful home and… and a part of me wanted to find some happiness for myself, because I’ve been sad and miserable for so long”
Laura swallowed. She hated that she felt bad for Margaret, hated that she hated herself for screaming at her. Marriage changes people and though Margaret had never exactly been a good person to her despite being her sister, Laura had never seen Margaret look as miserable as she did now that she was married. Yes, she might have made mistakes in her choices, she should have stood her ground and refused to marry someone she did not love but she like everyone, she had made her mistakes. Laura approached Margaret and finally settled on the chair Felix laid out for her to seat on. “So what?” She asked quietly. “You wanted to use the ten million to run away from your marriage? You wanted to take your child away from her father?”
Margaret swallowed, taking a deep breath as her tearful eyes met Lauras. “Collins is not her father” she declared.
“What?” Stunned, Laura gasped.
Margaret wiped off the tears that trailed down her cheek, looking lifeless. “I wasnt happy with my marriage, as much as I tried to love Collins, i couldn’t. Then, i met a guy. Kenny made me feel loved, he made me feel happy. I was always happy whenever I met him. The cloth you wore on your date, i didn’t buy it, Kenny actually bought it for me. We were doing something wrong but it didn’t feel like it at the time, nothing felt more right… It was the only time I really felt complete” Margaret swallowed as Laura listened in stunned silence.
“The beatings started when he discovered us and he very nearly killed me when he found out weeks back that Tess isn’t his child. I had to think of a way of escape and… and I…” She took a deep breath. “I know what I did is unforgivable Laura, and I would never be able to forgive myself. Ever”
Laura felt the strong urge to cry but she held herself back. She’d have to save it for later. Regardless, she had to make Margaret see the folly of what she had done. “You did it all for Tess you say; now, who is going to take care of Tess now that you are here?”
Margaret burst into sobs, her chest heaving as she crawled up to Laura, grabbing her legs before she could step away. “Please Laura… You have to help me… please… I’m sorry”
Tears dropped off Laura’s eyes. Her heart couldn’t take it. Turning, she extracted herself from Margaret’s hold and hastebed towards the door.
“Sister… please… ” Margaret’s voice tailed in her wake as she rushed to meet Deolu outside the station.
To be continued