Okay guys there is no confusion, I didn’t miss a beat and of course I had to keep you all in suspense. What better way to do so than a Valentine special just like I did last year in With The Gang. Just relax and enjoy!!!
Tola rubbed her forehead as she pushed the front door opened, she didn’t even bother to shut it knowing Dayo would come in after her. She needed a bath, she was sweating, and the Abuja heat had really turned it up a notch. It was almost unbearable. She climbed the stairs exhausted both physically and emotionally. It was a lot to take in, to process, worst to accept. Neither she nor her brother had said a word as he drove them from the hospital to the house. She assumed just like her, Dayo was still wrapping his head around everything.
She walked into her room and straight to the bathroom. Blocked the bath sink-hole, turned on the tap and started to undress. Once it was half full she poured some bath gel and stepped in, the sting of the cool water and fragrance of the gel was a welcomed relief. She turned off the tap and submerged her body into the foamy water, her head resting on the edge of the bath tub. Life indeed had a way of dealing with you she thought. She remembered it was what her father said when he started his story.
“This was long ago, before we had you Dayo. Tola was maybe two years old. The company had kicked off well but it was demanding too much of my time and your mother was not happy. Your aunt who was staying with us was your mother’s rock. She convinced her it was just work, nothing more. With time your mother became more supportive and finally despite my pleads to her not to bother she joined in running the company. She was a force to be reckoned with” admiration filled his eyes.
“But with more effort came more success which in turn brought more work. We started expanding, branching out, getting deals and looking for bigger deals. Soon we where traveling out of the country. When I couldn’t make it your mother took my place leaving you Tola with Peju” her father said sadly.
“What has this got to do with anything though?” Dayo had asked.
“I need you to know your aunt was and IS a good person” her father had said.
“So what happened?” she heard herself ask quietly.
“We had just got a deal with the presidency, finally broken into the national power house. It was a big deal. I was excited. Your mother had been in South Africa for a month working on a partnership and was excited when I called that morning that she decided to surprise me by flying in to celebrate” Otunba explained, “on reaching home, half drunk from celebrating in the office; I picked up your aunt in excitement and hugged her out of joy. She was surprised but didn’t pull away. That was when I kissed her”.
“No daddy, no!!! Stop” Tola didn’t know she was screaming till a nurse walked in.
“Is everything alright?” the nurse had asked.
“Yes, please excuse us” Otunba had said. The nurse looked at him being her primary concern and once satisfied he was in no harm he left.
“Tola I am sorry” her father had said, he was close to tears. it was the first time she had seen him cry.
“I didn’t know she had a crush on me and in my drunken state my judgment was poor. Before anything could happen we heard noises outside and found your mother had returned. Embarrassed and ashamed I asked your mother that we get a place for your aunt and start up a business of her choice for her. I thought that was my penance for what I had done or almost done”.
“So what was all that about ‘what about us’ that she was saying in the study. I overheard you two” Dayo accused.
“You both have to understand your aunt is a good person” Otunba started.
“Daddy spare us the speech” Tola said coldly. Deep down she was praying anything else was her father’s fault. She was looking for a reason to forgive her aunt.
Her father had nodded. He understood his children’s rage. Since Christmas when they had bonded and formed a new relationship he had vowed not to be the bossy, unapproachable father he used to be.
“After your mother’s death I went into serious depression and your aunt was the one who pulled me out. She help run your mother’s chambers until it was taken over by the lawyers who ran your mother’s charity organization. But she still had feelings for me and one thing lead to another and we had a fling” Otunba forced the last words out painfully.
Tola squeezed her eyes as she tried to hold back the pain and betrayal she felt.
“You need to understand we didn’t plan it to happen and I did end it. But your aunt is only human and for some reason she still feels we have something” Otunba said. He looked at his children and the expressions on their faces he would not forget.
“Please leave” he said.
“What?” Dayo had exclaimed. “We should …..” Otunba held up his hand.
“You are angry and you should be. But I feel like I am dying inside looking at your faces. What I know is I regret all I have done and ask for your forgiveness. But I know you need time. Go and think about it. Come back when you are ready. Whatever your answer is, I will understand”.
He turned picked up the phone and called the nurse’s station. A nurse came almost immediately.
“Please show my children out”.
Tola opened her eyes as she heard her phone beep. She checked it, a BBM message from Tega. he was checking up on her again. She dropped her phone and submerged herself again, playing the whole scenario once more in her head. What was she going to do?
… … …
Finally he was going to get an opportunity to speak to the Chief Warden. Were his prayers finally answered? Finally some clarifications about why he had not been allowed to see his lawyer, what he was to do with JP who had been blackmailing him and what was going to happen to Titus and when. He stood at the Chief Warden’s door and knocked, he didn’t hear the usual ‘come in’ and he looked at the guard that escorted him but the guard’s face was blank. He was about to knock again when the door opened and he saw a man in a clean pressed suit ushering him in.
“Jacob right? O do you prefer Cop-J?” the man smiled as he unbuttoned his suit and sat in the warden’s chair.
“Yes sir, my name is Jacob” Jacob was not going to be deceived by this man. Who was he? Where did he come from?
“Okay, we are keeping it formal. Good. My name is Mr. Bako, I am standing in for the chief warden”.
“Sorry sir but what happened to the Chief Warden and when is he coming back?”
“Questions, questions, question” the Mr. Bako smiled forcefully. “That is for me to know and for you to mind your business about”. Jacob did not like this at all.
“I called you in for two reasons” Mr. Bako said. “First, your lawyer has been bugging us to see you and since she had some strings to pull we will give in this time but mind you, there will be a guard and if we deem it fit, we will end the visit”.
“But that is not fair, I have right” Jacob protested.
“A ha, the activist in you has come out. I heard you might want to be stubborn” Mr. Bako smiled again playing with a pen. “this bring me to my second reason. All those privileges you thought you had before are gone. Whatever deal you had with the Chief Warden is gone. I catch you helping any riff-raff move drugs you are done for” the ruthlessness in his face actually scared Jacob.
“Sir please, I am having troubles as it is right now. A cell mate who overheard when one of the deals was going down wants to black mail me and . . .”
“Oh please spare me. I don’t have time for this rubbish. Anything happening in those walls are YOUR problems, not mine. Know your place, you have been warned”.
Before Jacob could process everything and think of a reply he was ushered out of the office. He walked to the visiting room where Tola sat waiting. She stood up as he approached, she looked beat, like she hadn’t slept for days.
“Hello Jacob” she said stretching out her hand.
“No contact” the guard said and she quickly pulled back. This place gave her the creeps.
“I apologies for my long absence. My father has been ill and I have had a lot on my hand, plus because of the riot in the prison. . .”
“Riot ke?” Jacob looked confused.
“Yes, the riot orchestrated by three inmates” Tola explained what she had heard on news. Jacob laughed, it was a sarcastic laugh.
“So that is what they told the public. Look three guys tried to escape, severely injuring a Warden”
“WATCH IT INMATE” the guard barked.
“Tuale baba, no vex abeg” Jacob tried to pacify the guard.
“I can’t talk about it” Jacob raised his hands in a sign of surrender.
“Okay” Tola looked confused but wasn’t going to push “anyway because of that they refused me seeing you till today when I threatened to call the Attorney General”.
“Damn you have mind oh” Jacob praised her. Tola smiled, it was her first smile in days.
“I need your help” Jacob said and explained all that had happened as coded as he could, enough for Tola to understand but not enough to get his meeting ended by the guards.
“Did you get any thing down in writing? Like an agreement?”
“Damn, that is difficult. But I will find out about the Chief warden and see what I can do”
“You no dey hear abi? OYA, meeting done end” the guard came and aggressively picked Jacob up.
“Please get me out, PLEASE!!!” Jacob shouted as they dragged him out.
… … …
“You need to calm down Tinuke, I do not understand a single thing you are saying” Otunba sat up on his bed. He was getting tired of this lying down all day and had asked when he would be able to at least seat on the chair in his room. Now this drama, Tinuke had called and was so frantic.
“Someone is threatening me” she finally spoke audibly.
“What? How? When?” Otunba sat up.
“The other day, I have been trying to call you but I just got though today. Where have you been?”
“I don’t want you to worry dear but I am in the hospital”
“YEEE!!!” Tinuke exclaimed.
“Tinuke calm down. I am out of the woods, it was a very very minor thing. What is more important now is you. You said someone is threatening you? Do you mean your life?”
“Yes, someone called after I left your house. That I am threading in bad waters. Otunba I told you I didn’t want to tussle for that contract, mi o fe wahala oh (I don’t want trouble) but you would not listen. Now see”.
Otunba’s mind was going somewhere else till she brought up the contract talk. It was a deal that he wanted to help her with. Not just because he liked her but she needed the money and he knew she would not accept it from him.
“Calm down, see just relax. I promise we will get to the bottom of this” Otunba promised.
“What sort of wahala is this” Tinuke complained, “First threats, now you are in the hospital”.
“Calm down!!!” see I want to see you on Valentine’s day. Why not come over and we will make a date out of it. At the same time …” he added quickly, “… at the same time we deal with this situation”.
“But Otunba . . .”
“NO buts, do this for me. It will help in my recovery” Otunba smiled on the phone. Tinuke agreed and they planed the day then Otunba ended the call.
He sat and pondered. His mind wandered over all the issues on ground. It was the second day and the kids had not still come over, Tola who normally brought food for him had sent the house help twice to bring his meals. He had never been religions but he had prayed a lot for forgiveness and that somehow his children will forgive him. Now Tinuke was getting threats. Could it be Peju? No, she wasn’t that crazy he thought. Was it really a contender for the contract? He would have to make some calls. A knock on the door brought him from his thoughts.
“Come in” he said.
“Hello Otunba?” Aunty Peju greeted as she stood at the door.
“Peju” Otunba took a deep breath, he wasn’t ready for her drama, he didn’t just have it in him. “Please I don’t have strength for this” he sighed.
“I know, I didn’t come here to fight. I just want to check on you”.
“I am getting better thank you” Otunba said.
“May I sit down?” Aunty Peju asked politely. He couldn’t object. He nodded, she pulled the chair he so longed for and sat down.
“I was at the house yesterday” Otunba’s heart beat started to rise. It showed on his face too.
“You could have warned me you know. I didn’t even have a chance to defend myself Otunba. I may have been wrong, we may have both been wrong, but to throw me under the bus was not fair”.
“Peju I didn’t. I wouldn’t” he started.
“To see the child that I loved like my own, the child who’s diapers I cleaned, who’s first heart break I cried over with, who’s series of success I have been present to share tell me I not only betrayed her but her mother as well was too much. Aaaah Otunba you are wicked” Aunty Peju started to cry.
Otunba was confused. What did those kids go and say now he thought. He really just wanted to tell the kids the truth and let them know this mistake was both his fault as it was their aunty’s. he had to make this right.
“Peju they must have misunderstood. I will fix this. Please give me that chance, I will fix it. I never ….”
“….. never meant to hurt me? Something you have been doing all these years?” Aunty Peju got up. “This life is simple, I wish you quick recovery”. With that she walked out.
… … …
“Jacob my man”
Jacob looked up. It was yard time and he sat with some of the inmates in his cell. He didn’t join in the conversation but wanted to look ‘among’. Titus’s presence made everything uncomfortable.
“Titus how far?”
“Na me suppose dey ask you how far na?” just then JP walked from where some guys where playing football, he caught the eyes of Titus who waved him and he returned the gesture. Jacob’s heart began to beat fast.
“For your mind now you na sharp guy abi?”
“Wetin you dey talk about bros?”
“I don turn your bros now abi? People dey call me OGA TITUS you dey call me bros. Even my guys no try am. I don dey watch you, I know say your cup go soon full” Titus had that smirk that always had trouble written all over.
“Titus calm down make we talk. Why you dey yarn like this” Jacob tried to calm him.
Make I calm down? Why I go calm down when you bin tell Chief Warden say you dey move drugs for me? Oooooh you think say I no go find out?” Titus laughed at Jacob’s surprise.
“Titus me ke?” Jacob tried to recover but a blow landed to shut him up.
“Your REAL FADA” Ogbeni, Titus’s second shouted irritated. “Boss” he looked at Titus for the order. Titus nodded and they attacked.
He tried to fight them off till someone grabbed his neck from behind. Ogbeni started the punches, the more he tried to fight of the grip, the more he lost air and slowly he lost consciousness.
… … …
Hey guys hope you enjoyed catching up. I know some are going to be asking me about what happened after valentine. Here is the deal, share this with a friend and get them to read and we might just have 2 episodes in a week. I will be watching the stats.
One love my people, have a geat week.