Clueless – Episode 6

Hi guys, 
so I need you to spread the word on #Clueless by using the following catch phrase on your Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms TODAY AND EVERY DAY. Thank you so much. 

I am (insert your name) and I read #Clueless by Tomi Adesina. Read it at https://tomiadesina.wordpress.com/clueless/
For example: I am Sharon and I read #Clueless by Tomi Adesina. Read it at https://tomiadesina.wordpress.com/clueless/
You can also interact with me on
 Twitter @tomi_adesina @tommyslavisland
Facebook facebook.com/moradeadesina
WhatsApp Group @ +2348075750609

Enjoy

************************
CLUELESS – EPISODE 6

Sharon was tired of waiting for Dapo. He had told her that he would drop her at the office for the presentation but he was nowhere to be found. This was eight a.m. and the presentation was thirty minutes away. She had tried using Tobi’s phone to get across to him but he wasn’t answering his phone. “That dude is deep into corruption. He was raised that way. I am sure he has gone to handle it himself.” Tobi said, walking into the living room. “He must want all the money for himself when he didn’t do anything.” He continued. “That dude is so full of it. Coercing a helpless person in exchange for shelter to doing his dirty job is just wrong.”

Sharon wasn’t as antagonistic as Tobi that morning. Dapo already asked for forgiveness. It didn’t make any sense that he would do that to her. “Then why did he come here last night?” Sharon asked. “He asked for my forgiveness and all of a sudden he turns back to sly me?”

Tobi shrugged. “I can’t put it past him.” He said, adjusting his tie. “I have to leave now, so you have to let me know what you want to do. Do you want to come with me to the studio? Or would you rather stay here?” he asked, staring at Sharon who was staring aloof. “Sharon?”

“I don’t know yet.” She replied, turning to him. “I don’t know why Dapo did this and maybe that’s why I am so confused.” She continued. “He put me through all the basics last night. Why would he just bolt?”

Tobi exhaled. “I don’t know and I wish I had answers, but I have to go now. I don’t want to be stuck in traffic.” He said. “Else, my show won’t have a presenter today.”

“I guess I’ll just wait here.” She replied.

He nodded. “Or you could take the time to go to the bank and sort out your account issues?” he suggested. “I could drop you on my way.”

“Alright.”

***

Jane woke up to see her husband, mother and doctor in her room. “What is going on here?” she asked.

“Take it easy, Mrs Amadi. You had quite a long sleep.” The Doctor said, approaching her. “How do you feel?”

“Disgusted. I have you all staring at me and so I feel really disgusted.” She replied and then turned to her husband. “What are you doing?”

Chike took his seat beside her. “They want to examine you for a few days.”

“Mama?” Jane called, turning to her mother.

Mama nodded with a smile. “You’ll be fine. You are a little bit worked up and maybe you need to speak with your doctor.”

“No! What I need is to speak with you! I want you to tell me why you are scared of staring at your reflection.” Jane said, standing up. “Everything you see now is as a result of what you did to me as a child and all I am trying to do is ensure that I don’t make the same mistakes with my daughter.”

Chike stared at the doctor and gave a nod. “Jane, Sharon would be back but I don’t want her to see you like this.”

“You are really putting me away, right? You all are going to see that I am right. When Sharon returns home because she has been frustrated, you are going to come to me and apologize and I would not forgive you.” She said.

Chike sighed. “Sharon’s accounts are all active. I am hoping she gets in touch with us soon enough. We will tell her that you took a trip to Seychelles Island or something.”

Jane smiled. “Whatever suits you.” She said and turned to Mama. “I am your biggest disappointment. There is nothing you can do about that.” She said and walked over to the doctor. “You don’t need to sedate me. I know what the nod implied. I’ll follow you willingly. I am not the crazy one.” She said and stepped out of the room.

***

The splash of water across Dapo’s face woke him up. He couldn’t move his hands or legs. He was gagged to a chair. He gasped for breath as he struggled to keep his eyes open. The water in his eyes caused him pain.

“Sorry for the inconvenience, Dapo George.”

He stared at the man. “What am I doing here?” he asked. The last thing he remembered was getting out of his car to check his flat tyre on his way from Tobi’s house. 

“You are here to continue the work you started.” Mr John said, approaching him. “I must say you are quite the nice guy.”

“What are you talking about?” Dapo asked, coughing.

Mr John smiled. “Sharon Amadi. She is your new assignment.”

“What assignment?” Dapo asked. “I have not done any assignment for you before and I certainly would not.”

Mr John nodded. “I feared you would say this, so we brought something to persuade you.” He said, placing a file before Dapo. “This is a list of all the companies you have scammed as a fake Architect and we are very much inclined to report this.”

Dapo hissed. “Bullshit! It’s business. They are my clients. That doesn’t hold water.”

“Dapo George, you are quite interesting. Well, we understand it is business.” He continued. “Now, to the business of the day, you did a noble thing by taking Sharon in when she was robbed by us.” Mr John said. “Sharon is quite a complicated contract for us and you would be decently rewarded.”

“You robbed her?” Dapo asked. “And you want me to help you? You are a fool.”

Mr John nodded. “Yes, I know, but you are going to help us with the remaining part of the business.”

“I am not doing anything for you.” Dapo replied.

Mr John laughed. “Did you miss the part where I said you didn’t have a choice?” he asked and then turned to one of his boys. “We didn’t tell him about the special part, right?” he said, chuckling. “Dapo, your parents spend a lot of money treating Daddy’s kidneys, right?”

Dapo groaned. “You bastards.”

“Yes, we know all about you. And we know your mom and dad and your pretty little sister too. It would be a shame if they had to go through pain because you wouldn’t do us a tiny favour. Sharon is just a stranger and we are not asking you to hurt her.” Mr John said with a smile. “So what do you say to our offer?”

Dapo stared at them. The men were scary. He was not going to put his family at risk. He couldn’t hurt Sharon as well. But he had to make a decision and do it quickly.

“You are wasting time, Dapo.” Mr John said. “Would you like me to bring your sister down here? She should be on her way to lectures right now at the University of Lagos.”

Dapo took a deep breath. “What do you need me to do?”

Mr John smiled. “Now you are talking.”

***

Sharon told her cabman to hang on as she arrived at Woworx Hotels and Suites. She was now liquid and could afford to smile at the receptionists. She stared at them with a haughty smile. “Can I please get a room?”

“Ma’am?” One of the receptionists said for emphasis. They could recall that Sharon had shared a room. It was not like they would give her the card to the room but they just had to put on the part of their Lagos DNA that was gossip-inclined.

“Do you have a problem with giving me a room? I’ll be happy to check out another hotel.” Sharon fronted with a subtle grin. 

“Single room?” The receptionist asked.

Sharon thought a while. She had suffered in the last weekend. She owed herself the best. “I want your executive suite and I want to be scheduled for a spa treatment by two p.m.” She said.

“Yes, ma’am.” The receptionist replied and pulled out a key card. “We are ready for you.”

Sharon sighed as another thought flashed across her mind. She was not going to be nice to them and it felt just right. She smiled at them. “You know, I think I’ll just check out another hotel.” She said with a smug smile. “It was to stress you unprofessional ducks a little.” 

The receptionists watched her walk out and hissed in unison. “That girl na bastard!” One of them said.

“She no get sense, I swear.” Another continued. “So, she just come here demo for us, abi? Na thunder go fire her!”

Sharon stepped into the cab. “MDB studios.” She said as she settled into the back seat. She fetched her new phone from her purse and dialled Dapo’s number again. She was unable to get across to him. She wondered why she was having so much concern for him. She thought about the possibility of something going wrong but didn’t want to dwell on it. She then dialled her mother’s phone. Out of coverage. “Why is everyone unavailable?” she thought and dialled Mama’s phone. She could bank on her grandmother to always keep her phone close. “Hello, Mama.”

“Ifesinachi. How are you?” Mama asked.

Sharon rolled her eyes. “Very fine, thank you.” She replied.

“Have you finally sorted out your phone issue?” Mama asked.

Sharon nodded. “Yes, Mama. So, you can save my number. Is my Mom there? I tried calling her.”

“No, darling. Your mom decided to take a vacation.”

Sharon chuckled. It wasn’t strange of her mother to do that. “And she left you all by yourself in that house?”

“Oh well, you know how she can be.”

Sharon smiled. “I am going to call you later in the evening. I am off to see a friend.”

“Friend? Really? You now have someone you call a friend? Lagos is definitely good for you after all.”

Sharon nodded. She just realized she had absently called Tobi her friend. She didn’t have friends, she only had acquaintances but with the budding friendship she was sure to build with Tobi, she didn’t mind calling him a friend. “Yes, Mama. A friend. His name is Tobi.” She reiterated.

“He is a Yoruba boy?” 

“Yes, Mama. He is Yoruba and that’s the end of our discussion.” Sharon said. “I’ll call you later.” She said, ending the call. 

She paid the cabman as they arrived MDB Studios and walked into the building, handing them Tobi’s card as a passage into the studio. 

“Hey, Sharon.” Tobi said, welcoming her into his office. “Please, sit.”

She took her seat. “Thank you.”

“What do I offer you?” he asked, reaching for the intercom. “Water? Juice? I would say coffee but it’s a little too hot in the afternoon for coffee.”

“I am fine, thank you.” She replied. 

He replaced the intercom. “So, have you gotten your suite in the hotel?”

“No. I searched some apartments online and I spoke to their realtor. I think I want to check that out.” She replied.

He checked his wristwatch. “Now? I don’t get out until six.”

“I… I actually wasn’t requesting your company.” She replied.

He shrugged. “You are having it anyway. It’s my off day tomorrow. We could check them out tomorrow. Just call the realtor to reschedule.”

Sharon found herself thinking about his offer. Maybe she could use his company after all. “So, what am I going to spend the rest of the day doing?” she asked. “I can’t have this much free time.”

“I could take you to see a movie tonight.” He replied. “Then we could go back to the apartment and have a good evening.” He added with a coy grin.

She shook her head. “I am not sure I want to be seen anywhere near a cinema hall.” She said, remembering the experience with Jadesola.

He tapped his forehead. “We could go and get your art materials. But if that’s the case, I need to get off a little earlier.”

“You are a celebrity here. It shouldn’t be so hard.” She replied. “I could see your vain photos on the wall.” 

He chuckled. “I actually told them to take those pictures down. They don’t quite reveal my good side.”

Sharon smiled. “Are you not worried about Dapo?” she asked.

“Well, I can’t say I didn’t think about it but the only thing I could come up with was he bolted after making the money.” He replied.

She sat up. “What if something happened to him?”

“What could possibly have happened to him?” Tobi said, rising to his feet. “I don’t know but I really feel you should get your mind off it.” He said, approaching the door. “Hang on, I am going to get us that early dismissal from work.”

Sharon waited after he had shut the door and dialled Dapo’s phone again. Out of coverage.

***

Dapo searched through all the missed calls on his phone and thought about who to call back first. He had several from his family, the client he was meant to pitch to, Tobi and weirdly, Jadesola. He needed to get some rest after the ordeal from the previous night. He thought about what he had committed himself to by agreeing to the plan Mr John had set before him. He thought about going to the police and turning them in but that would involve him risking his family’s lives; he feared that they were faster than him, which had to be the case, since they knew all about him already. He packed his bag and returned his phone into his pocket. He wasn’t going to return any of the calls. He was going to get to work. The sooner he accomplished the task he was given, the quicker he would be in getting Mr John and his men off his back. 

***

Sharon stared at the materials she had just purchased and wondered if she was doing the right thing. It had been forever since she last did anything related to painting and while Tobi needed the momentum to put his own work out there, she needed more than momentum. She needed to hone her skills all over again and while she might have told herself that once an artiste, always an artiste was real, she had a lot of work to do.

“Do you like them?” Tobi asked, joining Sharon at the cashier’s. “I got us a few more brushes.”

She nodded and turned to him. “This is likely going to be a lot more difficult than I thought.” She started. “What if I can no longer paint right?”

“You can’t quit on me now, we had a deal.” He replied, handing his card to the cashier. “Sharon, I know this is scary but if you really want to do what you love doing, you have got to start from somewhere.”

Tobi’s motivational speech wasn’t working for Sharon but she at least had to put up a front. She didn’t know what she was looking for but if painting was going to give her life, she had to give it a shot. “Let’s go paint.” She said.

***

Dapo was waiting outside Tobi’s house by the time they arrived. He watched Tobi and Sharon approach him with bags in their hands and smiled. Maybe Sharon had gotten him to do some shopping for her too. He wasn’t surprised. He had found himself in that situation before. But at least, now he knew that Sharon was genuinely robbed.

“Dapo, where have you been?” Sharon asked as they got to him.

He smiled faintly. “Hi, Sharon.”

“That doesn’t answer the question, bro.” Tobi said. “Why did you come here yesterday to try to deceive her into believing that you wanted her to do the presentation?” he asked.

Dapo smiled. “I wanted her to do the presentation.”

“That’s a lie.” Tobi replied.

Dapo chuckled. “Why would I lie? It got cancelled and I was so disappointed that I just shut down the whole day.” He said.

Sharon stared at him. “It’s okay. It doesn’t matter anymore.”

Tobi nodded. “Yep. You can see yourself out.” He said, leading the way.

“Sharon.” Dapo said, taking her hand. 

Tobi stared at Dapo’s hand. “Bro, stop it.”

“Shut up, Tobi.” Dapo yelled. “I just want a minute with her.”

Sharon stared at Tobi. “It’s fine. I’ll be upstairs in no time.”

“I am not leaving you alone with this guy.” Tobi replied. “Whatever you want to say to her, you can say it while I am here.”

Dapo took a deep breath. “I don’t really do well with this drama, but I am sorry, Sharon, and I would like to make it up to you if you would let me.”

“And how exactly do you want to make it up to her? Deceiving her that you have another deal again?”Tobi asked. “She is not going to fall for it again. I won’t let her.”

“Tobi! Chill!” Sharon said. “You are not even letting him speak.” She added. Tobi was being unnecessarily protective of her such that it got her nervous.

Tobi nodded. “That’s because I know guys like him.”

Dapo stared at him. “What do you mean about guys like me? Tobi, mind your business. I am talking to Sharon and you should stay out of our conversation. Who are you to her? I have had enough of you.”

“Then get off my property!” Tobi yelled, taking Sharon’s hand. “Let’s go in.”

She yanked out of his grip. “I am not your property.”

Tobi took a deep breath. He was getting agitated. Maybe he was already assuming roles in his head. “I am sorry, Sharon.” He said, stepping back. “I’ll be waiting upstairs.”

Dapo waited until Tobi had disappeared up into the house before turning to Sharon. “I am really sorry about everything.”

“Was the deal really cancelled?” she asked. “Tell me the truth. Please.”

He took a deep breath and nodded. “Yes, it was.” He lied. He could see her eyes yearning for the truth but the truth was going to risk the ones he loved and right now, he had only one mission, he couldn’t afford to screw it up.

“I am sorry about it.” She replied.

He managed a smile. “So, were you able to get to the bank?”

“Yes.” She said. “And I am going to refund your money just like I promised.”

He shook his head. “You don’t need to. I already made you work. So, we are all square now. However, I’ll love a chance to be your friend…again.” He said, stretching out a hand. “Friends?”

Sharon stared at it. “Do you really want to be an Architect?”

“It’s all I have been good at pretending to be.” He replied, taking his hand back. “My parents wanted it and eventually I grew used to lying to be one.”

“Well, it is a skill I have learnt but I have no use for. Tobi is going to help me get back to painting, so if you don’t mind, I could work with you on designing.” She said.

He blinked as cold chills ran down his spine. “You want to teach me?”

She nodded. “Yes.”

“I don’t know what to say.” He said.

She smiled. “A thank you is in order.” She said. “I’ll call you. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.” He replied and watched her walk away. He clenched his teeth in anger. She was making his work a lot more difficult with her kind gestures. It was going to be difficult for him to carry out the task before him…he had to find a way; else his family would be in danger.

***

Sharon switched through the TV channels. The news channel didn’t have anything good to offer except for sad news which was the routine. She dropped the controller as soon as Tobi joined her in the living room. 

“Hi.”

She folded her arms. “Hello.”

“Can I please sit?”

She shrugged. “It’s your house.”

He took his seat beside her. “I am sorry about what happened earlier. I guess I lost control for a second.”

“Bi-polar?” she joked with a chuckle.

He shook his head. “God forbid.”

“My mom is bi-polar.”

He rubbed his forehead. “I am sorry.”

“It’s alright.” She replied. “She gets to switch off some times and it could really be worrisome but she is a great person.”

“I bet she is.” He replied.

She stared at him. “I am going to help Dapo with Architecture.” She started. “I think he wants it so he would understand it better.”

“What if he’s doing it just to get closer to you?” Tobi asked.

Sharon chuckled. “Dude, you have so many weird theories.”

Tobi took her hand. “I like you.”

Sharon withdrew her hand from him. “Thank you.”

“No. I like you, very much.” He said and drew closer to her. He could see her eyes cowering as he towered over her slowly. “I want you, Sharon.” He said.

She put her hand in between their chests. “Tobi, stop.”

“I want you.” He muttered as he started to brush his lips against her face.

Sharon was struggling. “Tobi, stop it.” But he would not stop.

*************************************

Once again, everyone…

I need you to spread the word on #Clueless by using the following catch phrase on your Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms TODAY AND EVERY DAY. 

I am (insert your name) and I read #Clueless by Tomi Adesina. Read it at https://tomiadesina.wordpress.com/clueless/

For example: I am Sharon and I read #Clueless by Tomi Adesina. Read it at https://tomiadesina.wordpress.com/clueless/

You can also interact with me on

 Twitter @tomi_adesina @tommyslavisland

Facebook facebook.com/moradeadesina

WhatsApp Group @ +2348075750609

Thank you so very much

Clueless – Episode 5

Hi guys, 

so I need you to spread the word on #Clueless by using the following catch phrase on your Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms TODAY AND EVERY DAY. Thank you so much. 
I am (insert your name) and I read #Clueless by Tomi Adesina. Read it at https://tomiadesina.wordpress.com/clueless/

For example: I am Sharon and I read #Clueless by Tomi Adesina. Read it at https://tomiadesina.wordpress.com/clueless/

You can also interact with me on

 Twitter @tomi_adesina @tommyslavisland

Facebook facebook.com/moradeadesina

WhatsApp Group @ +2348075750609
Enjoy

************************

CLUELESS – EPISODE 5

“Good morning, beautiful.” Tobi said, as he pulled the curtains back, allowing the rays of sunlight to bounce off Sharon’s face perfectly. “You slept quite long.” He continued, as he took his seat. “It’s been a while since I had anyone use this room.” He added. “My mom uses this room whenever she comes around.”

She stared at him. “Is there a time you don’t talk too much? I mean, I understand it comes with the job and you get to talk a lot when you are on the job arguing football and whatnot but is there really a time at all in your life when you don’t talk?”

Tobi smiled as he ran his eyes over her body. “I am sorry I disturbed you, but I hardly have anyone around here to talk to and so I am just excited to have a new friend.”

Sharon caught his gaze all over her. “Friend? Dude, don’t sweat it. I am not your friend.” She replied, crouching up on the bed, using the blanket to cover her legs.

He nodded. “Yet you are lying in my bed and you ate my food last night. That automatically makes us friends.” He replied.

“What do you want?” Sharon asked, starting to dismiss him. “Isn’t Dapo back yet?”

Tobi shook his head. “He is still pretty much hung up on Jadesola and maybe he wouldn’t be returning with the laptop as soon as we thought.” He replied. “So, I suggest you get back to your sleep or you go with me to church.”

Sharon chuckled. “So that the blogs could bare stories of how I went from the side chic to the girlfriend of a celebrity sports analyst in less than twenty four hours, right? Thank you, I decline.” She replied.

Tobi’s phone buzzed. He smiled as he saw Dapo’s name on the Caller ID. “It seems our friend, Dapo, might have had a change of mind after all.” He said and then tapped the answer button. “Hey man, what’s up?”

“Tell your overzealous security man to let me in.” Dapo said and then hung up.

Tobi stared at Sharon with a smile. “He is here and the security man won’t let him in because I have a habit of not entertaining guests on Sundays.” He said, dialling on his phone. “Please, let the gentleman in.” He said as he put a call through.

“Why don’t you allow guests in on Sundays?” Sharon asked, getting off the bed.

He smiled. “It’s a day I dedicate for my rest.”

She hissed. She had hoped to hear something more intriguing but as usual Tobi would not disappoint her with his excessive desire to create an impression of himself which was clearly not impressive to her.

“Let’s go and welcome our friend.” Tobi said, leading the way out of the room. Sharon followed closely. They arrived in the living room to meet Dapo who was setting the laptop on a table. “Good morning, Dapo. We didn’t think we would be seeing you.”

“We? You both are now an item?” Dapo asked, staring at them. “Trust me, it won’t last. I thought mine would.”

Tobi chuckled. “Don’t be so negative, man.”

“We are not even an item.” Sharon protested. “What is wrong with you, Tobi?”

Dapo stared at them. “Make up your minds. Sharon, can we get to work, please? Tomorrow is Monday.”

She nodded. “Of course.”

***

Jane was tossing and turning in her bed. She didn’t have a good sleep. She was worrying about Sharon and maybe it was her fault for trying to be supermom and have everything all knit together. She hoped she wasn’t getting more paranoid with her recent decision taking. She got out of her bed and made for the living room. She was sure her Mom would be in church by now, giving her room to have a moment alone. As she arrived in the living room, she gaped upon seeing her mother and husband standing by the door. “Chike?” she said, shocked.

He took a deep breath and walked over to her. “I have missed you, Jane.”

“What are you doing here, Chike?” Jane asked.

He ignored her, hugging her tightly as he absorbed the smell of her hair. “Lavender?”

“I haven’t even showered yet.” Jane replied, pulling away from her husband. Chike was quite the tease. “You didn’t tell me that you were returning home.” She said, staring at her mother who tried to avoid their glare.

Chike nodded. “I didn’t think I needed to be home too but Mama thought otherwise and I think she is right.”

“Chike? Mama called you and you came home?” Jane asked.

He led Jane to the sofa. “I have been meaning to come home for a while but you know how it is, right?”

“I know how it is and that is why I am surprised that you found some time out of your schedule to see us. What could be so important that you left your busy schedule to be here?” she asked.

“Jane, you know why I am here.” He replied.

She shook her head. “No. I don’t know! I am not paranoid and I am doing very well. I don’t know what my mother might have told you but I am not going to allow you commit me to an institution.”

“Don’t accuse me wrongly. I have not said anything that you did not do.” Mama said. “Maybe you need to get back to seeing your Doctor.”

“Chike, I do not need a doctor. I agree I have been tensed up of late and maybe my Mom thinks I am having a lapse in judgement but that is because she is overwhelmed by Sharon leaving.” Jane argued.

“Why did you have our daughter robbed?”Chike asked.

Jane took a deep breath. “Chike.”

“Why did you tell Mama that I was in on it when I had no idea about this?” he continued. “Do you know what how much danger Sharon could be in?”

“I have it all covered.” Jane replied.

He sighed. “You have it covered?”

“Yes, I have some men on ground.” She replied. “She has no idea what life is out there. The robbery is just to teach her a lesson and make her come back home.” She argued. Her husband looked displeased while her mother kept staring at her blankly. “Chike, none of us wanted her to leave. This is a chance to have her back. She would focus on her job like we always wanted.”

He shook his head. “I am forced to agree with Mama. You might be taking things out of hand and maybe you need to calm down.” He replied. “You can’t be in control of everything. You can’t control her life.”

“I am not trying to.” Jane protested. “All I ever want is to be sure I don’t make the same mistake my mother did.”

Mama sighed. “Jane, I am not responsible for the bad choices you are making.”

“I am not making bad choices.” She replied and turned to her husband. “Sharon would be back tomorrow.”

He stepped back. “No. She would stay in Lagos as long as she wants and you are no longer going to have a say in this. If this is how you want to help your daughter, I suggest you stay away from her and if you are not going to do that willingly, I am going to help you.”

“Chike, you are hardly around. Do you think you can make the rules now?” Jane asked. “All I am trying to do is get our daughter back home.”

“Don’t you get it? She wants to take this time off from us and from everything around here. We owe her that. Stop getting in the way. Tell your men to get off her back and I would be decent enough not to tell her what you have done.” He replied and made for the stairs. He stopped and turned to her. “One question, do you think Sharon is going to love you if she knew what you did to her?”

Jane nodded. “It’s for her good.”

“Then you are more deluded than I thought. Tell your men to stand down or you are not going to like the outcome of this.” Chike replied. “Tomorrow, she is going to pick up her life and we all are going to keep this between us. That’s the only way you get to keep your reputation as her mother.” He concluded and turned away.

“It’s a little too late.” Jane said as she watched her husband walk away.

Chike turned as soon as he heard those words. “What did you do?”

“Jane? What have you done this time?” Mama asked, shaking her daughter’s arm vigorously.

Jane yanked out of her grip. “I froze all her bank accounts.”

***

“So, what have you been up to since I left for church?” Tobi asked, taking his seat opposite Dapo. 

Dapo looked up from his phone and stared at him. “Just working with Sharon. She is doing something for me.”

“Who is she to you? Your employee?” Tobi asked. 

Dapo shook his head. “No. She is erm… she is a friend helping out with a job. I have a deadline for tomorrow to submit it.”

“Why are you not doing it yourself?” he asked.

Dapo smiled. “She is doing me a favour.”

“Hmmm… A favour that one way or the other saw you end things with Jade?” Tobi continued. “Don’t you think you guys should sit and maybe work things out?”

“Jadesola was fooling me. I don’t want to talk about her. She is engaged. I was the fool. I have moved on and I would appreciate it if we don’t dwell on this topic.” He replied.

Tobi nodded. “So, if she is doing your work for you up there… is she defending it for you as well?” he asked with a cynical smile. “Dapo, your parents might have paid your way through the University but we both know that you are not made for Architecture. You don’t know anything about it. You bought your grades. Men like me who worked hard didn’t even get a chance at good grades.”

Dapo shook his head. “I am not responsible for your problems.”

“No, you are not but why are you making Sharon do your work just because your parents have the money?” Tobi asked.

“Tobi, can you stop nosing in my business?” Dapo said, returning to his phone. 

Tobi laughed. “It’s my business! You are in my house and sitting on my couch.”

“Seriously?” Dapo said, stunned by Tobi.

Tobi exhaled. “Look man, I understand the pressure to make your folks happy but if you are not good at it, it’s fine, you don’t have to be a fraud and have someone do your work all the time.” He replied.

Dapo clenched his teeth. “Are you done?”

“I just think you should find your niche and stop keeping up appearances even when you don’t fit. There’s going to be a day when you won’t have a Sharon to do your job for you and you are going to be standing out there embarrassed.” Tobi said. “I don’t want to be you that day, brother.”

Dapo rose to his feet. “I’ll just be on my way.”

“The truth is bitter.” Tobi said. 

Dapo laughed. “Have you ever wondered why no one watches your lame show? You don’t say anything with sense.”

Tobi smiled. “Pardon me if you are mad that I didn’t find a more sensible way to call you a cheat.”

Sharon joined them downstairs. “Dapo, your work is done.” She said, holding the laptop out before him.

“I didn’t mean for her to hear that.” Tobi said. “She must have been eavesdropping.” He added quickly.

Dapo stared at him. “Thanks for the hospitality.” He said and then turned to Sharon, taking the laptop from her. “Thank you very much.”

“You can still get out, you know?” she said. “Tobi is right; you could do something else instead of hoping you are always going to have someone do your work.”

Dapo swallowed. “I will send your clothes from the hotel down here. I wish you all the best in Lagos. You’ll need it.” He said. “You’ll never see me again and I am sorry I made you do this.” He said and walked out of the house.

“Can I sleep here tonight?” Sharon asked.

Tobi smiled. “But of course, you already slept one night. I am sure I can accommodate you for an extra night.”

“Thank you.” She replied. “By tomorrow morning, I’ll be good to go.”

He shrugged. “I don’t care if you want to stay here much longer. I can use the company. I am here all alone anyway.”

“I appreciate your help.” She replied.

He blinked as she turned to leave. “Sharon, do you… do you want to see my art studio? I… I have a studio upstairs where I do my painting. I… I noticed you showed some interest in my work. I hope you don’t mind checking out where the process takes place.” He said, stuttering. 

“Okay.” She replied with a smile. 

***

Chike and Mama watched Jane as she spoke on the phone. They had ensured that she called the family’s accountant to reverse the block on Sharon’s accounts latest first thing in the morning and now they were listening to her speak to the men she put on Sharon’s tail. “Tell that idiot not to follow my daughter anywhere!” Chike said, impatiently. “I will have them locked up.” He continued.

Jane hung up and turned to her husband. “May I remind that they won’t be the only ones going to jail if you report them? I would be sent to prison as well.” She said.

“Is it done?” Chike asked, ignoring her.

Jane nodded. “Yes.”

“That’s the end of it, I believe.” He said, rising to his feet. “Mama, thank you so much for calling me into this. I appreciate it.”

Mama nodded. “Ifesinachi is my girl.”

“Which of us?” Jane asked. “I remember being called that name too.”

Mama smiled. “Jane, you know I love you.”

“But you love my daughter more and wish she was yours, but, it’s a shame because she’s not your daughter.” Jane said, rising to her feet.

Chike stared at his wife. “Don’t speak to your mother in that tone.”

“She never had time for me and now she doesn’t want me to be there for my own daughter. She wants it all-squared. I won’t be her. I am going to be a better mother.” She said, heading upstairs. 

Chike turned to his mother-in-law. “It might be time to call in her Doctor.”

Mama took a deep breath as she reflected on Jane’s paranoia which was largely becoming evident. “What are we going to tell him?”

“We tell him what we can see. She is being paranoid and we don’t want it to escalate, so it might be time to take her in for a while.” Chike replied.

“What would we tell Ifesinachi when she calls to ask of her mother?” Mama asked.

Chike had not figured that part out but he was going to come up with something when the situation presented itself. He was not going to risk his wife losing her sanity over a trauma from her childhood. 

***

“Is that woman confused? First, she asked us to rob the lady, she then told us to keep an eye on her, then she calls us to let her be and now she wants us to be kidnappers. Does she really know what she wants?”

“I tire o! The thing just dey vex me. I go dey follow person up and down every time like person wey no get work. It’s not easy na.”

“Your job is not to complain. Your job is to do what you are told to do and be at peace with the money that appeases your bank account at the end of the day.” A certain Mr John said, walking in on his boys. “We can all say that we have enjoyed quite a good sum from her. Let’s finish this job well.” He said.

“So, do we do this tonight?” one of the men asked. “Or tomorrow night? We have had a long weekend.”

Mr John nodded. “Now is a good time.”

           ***

Sharon smiled as she pushed her fingers against the last canvas in the room and took a deep breath. “This is breathtaking.”

“Thank you.” Tobi replied. 

Sharon folded her arm. “Why don’t you exhibit these works?”

He swallowed. “I am scared.”

“Of what?” she asked.

He shrugged. “Of not being accepted. I paint for the hobby. I am sure there are people way better than me at exhibits.”

“Really? You are scared of putting yourself out there?” she asked. “There would always be people better than you.”

He nodded. “I am already comfortable as an analyst; I don’t want to bash my reputation in case I am not accepted.”

“Then you are the biggest coward ever.” She replied. “You can’t hide behind your relevance. If you have got something that the world should see and you don’t show them; that’s a disservice.”

Tobi stared at her. “Why do I feel like you know better about these words?” he asked. “Dapo is using your design to empower himself. That’s a disservice on your part.”

She chuckled. “I don’t really care about that. It is the least of my worries.” She replied. “What Dapo and I had was a business transaction so I am not sad that I worked for him.”

“So, what is your greatest disservice? He asked.

She smiled. “I used to paint.”

“Used to?” he asked. “How is that even possible? If you were once a painter, you are always a painter.”

She shook her head. “Not in my case. I am quite rusty and I am not sure I would ever get back to where I once was.”

“What happened?” Tobi asked. “You sound like the bigger coward.” He added. 

Sharon looked around her. “This is the life I wanted. I wanted to paint. I wanted to go to exhibitions. I wanted to be just Picasso.”

“Then what’s stopping you?” he asked. “Architecture?”

Sharon stared at him. “Maybe Architecture. Maybe the pressure to do something better. My parents never wanted me to paint and so I couldn’t. Maybe that’s why.”

“Maybe Fear?” Tobi asked.

She nodded. “Yes, maybe fear.”

He joined her by the door as they both leaned against it. “So, let’s do something together. I am scared of putting my works out there because I think I’ll fail and you think I should and I also think that you shouldn’t let your parents stand in the way of your light, so, if you would be my teammate, we both could do this… together.”

“I don’t understand.” She said.

He took her by the hand. “We’ll work together, we’ll paint together and we’ll show our works together.” He said.

Sharon’s heart raced fast as she listened to him. She had yearned for this. An opportunity to get back into the world she always wanted. 

“What do you say?” he prompted. The door bell went. “It seems like we have a late visitor.” He said as they walked out into the living room.

Dapo was standing in the living room with a bag in his hand. 

“Dude, you said you wouldn’t be returning.” Tobi said with a chuckle. “You can’t even keep your word.”

Dapo kept his gaze on Sharon. “Can I please have a minute with Sharon?”

Tobi took a look at Sharon. “Are you sure about this?”

“Dude, I am not going to kidnap her, am I?” Dapo asked.

Tobi smiled and obliged them.

“Sharon, I am sorry.” Dapo started. “I took advantage of you when you needed me the most and I am sorry.”

She shrugged. “Dapo, I don’t consider it as a wrong deed.”

“I consider it as one and maybe I shouldn’t be here faking what I am not but it’s all I have known how to do. I just wanted to get by and make my parents proud and that’s why I have been hiring people to do my work for me. I am a fraud and a cheat and I took advantage of you, I am sorry.” He apologized.

She nodded. “It’s alright. Are you ready for the presentation?”

“That’s the second reason I am here. I would love for you to please do the presentation.” He started.

“You want me to impersonate you?” she asked.

Dapo smiled. “No. I have replaced my name with yours. If you would love to make your first buck in Lagos, the presentation is yours tomorrow.”

Sharon stared at him. “You are skipping on your big day?”

“It’s not my big day. I don’t deserve it. You have the slot, all you need to do is say yes.” He said. “Would you do the presentation?”

She took a deep breath and nodded. “Yes, I will.”

****************************

Once again, everyone…

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Thank you so very much

In The Shadows 22 – Greg Emuze

“Get in the car! Driver’s seat!” Mike ordered as he shoved Zaneta with his pistol while remotely unlocking the same BMW she and Zach had come in. The brand was marred for life in her perception.

“Put both hands where I can see them” Mike said.

His phone began to ring as Zaneta sat behind the wheel. As Mike took out his phone to take the call, she placed a call of her own and quickly placed the phone face-down on her laps before putting both hands on the steering wheel.

“Matilda…. Yes, I have the girl….No jokes….Are your papers ready? ……. There’s no going back now. See you soon” He said and hung up.

*

Zack was at the foot of the stairs when his phone rang. He took one look, silenced it and put it back in his pocket. He moved swiftly to the door which Mike had left ajar. He took one quick peek. He didn’t have a clear shot, could not possibly have one without stepping into sight himself.

In one flick, he turned on the flood lights and turned off the lights in the hall and living room.

Mike responded immediately, dragging Zaneta out of the car and standing her up in front of him while shoving his pistol painfully in her side making her scream as her phone fell to the gravel.

The main door swung wide open.

“Don’t be silly, Mike” Zach shouted from inside the house. He’d kicked the door open.

“No, dawg! You do NOT be unfortunate” Mike shouted back.

“You are not smart enough to pull this off, man. Give it up!”

“No, man. There’s no going back. Don’t piss me off!”

“You pissed me off already by trying to drug me. But we can settle this quietly and that is why I haven’t called Malik or the General. It’s just me and you, man”

“Listen to yourself! You gave up a life with the next VP’s daughter to be an overpaid errand boy to some have-been. Get a life, dawg!” Mike said laughing.

“Maybe I don’t have one, Mike, but if you do this, you will lose yours”

“You were smart enough to know I drugged your drink, I see that now. I believe you are smart enough to see I have the advantage here. I have the girl” he said digging the pistol into Zaneta’s side again making her yell. Now she was crying.

“Mike, can we just cool?” Zach said, he could not take the screams and crying anymore. Mike had a point, he had the advantage.

“Come out and lay down your weapon then we can talk”

Zach thought about it a bit then said “Ok, I’m coming out”. He stepped out with his hands up, pistol hanging on his right thumb, safety on, facing downwards.

Mike moved his pistol to Zaneta’s temple. “No tricks, bro. I swear I’ll kill her” he said, firmly using Zaneta as a human shield.

“No tricks” Zach replied, letting his pistol drop to the lawn.

“Now kick it away” Mike ordered.

Zach’s kick sent the pistol spinning into the flower bed.

“Good. So this is how this is going to go down. I’m going to lock the lovely Zaneta here in the trunk to wait while you and I would go back inside to allow you administer some good old downer to yourself and sleep off this terrible episode of your miserable life

“Only because, I’m nice, dawg, I’m going to let you live and you claim I drugged you by the time your puppet masters hear about this.”

Zach made no response, but his eyes never left Mike and Zaneta.

Mike remotely unlocked the trunk of the 5 Series, it came up with a smooth mechanical purr.

“Ok, Princess, let’s get you settled in. If your boyfriend makes it snappy, I will be back for you soon and we will be on our way to freedom in no time, I promise” Mike said, pushing Zaneta towards the back of the vehicle with his gun now trained on Zack.

At the trunk, Zaneta made eye contact with Zach, he nodded at her almost imperceptibly, it was enough to renew her hope. She climbed into the trunk, and curled up, fighting to keep calm. She was glad she was not claustrophobic, but being locked in the trunk of a car by an armed mad-man, though quite spacious and clean, was still very unpleasant.

The trunk shut above her and darkness enveloped her. She cussed as she realised she had lost her phone in the commotion. Luckily, she had her Apple watch on.

*

“Ok, Zach. It’s just you and I now, like you wanted” he said walking towards Zach, pistol in both hands for a solid shot at Zach’s chest.

“Why are you doing this?” Zach asked, letting his hands fall slowly to his side, in a bid to douse the tension.

“Money! $5 million” he said stopping a few feet away from Zach.

Zach’s eyes widened.

Mike laughed, “A tidy little sum, yeah? While you were busy taking orders, I found someone on the inside who set this up for me. She works with Moloku, I knew her from back in the day. If you weren’t so -” he was saying when his blood suddenly burst forth, splashing all over Zach.

It took a whole second for Zach to compute what had just happened, quickly he hit the ground as Mike growled then turned in the direction from which he had been hit.

Zach dove swiftly for the flower bed when Mike took another shot to the chest; he fired two futile rounds into the night air as he crumbled to his knees, gagging on his own blood.

Zach knew the general direction of the sniper that had taken the shots, but was not about to go up against him. He stayed low amidst the flowers, found his pistol, took the safety off and cocked it.

This whole operation just went to hell” he thought “How the hell did a sniper come into this? How the hell did he find us?

He peered into the darkness beyond the premises. He saw nothing. Now he regretted turning on the flood lights. He wondered if he could wait it out, but then, what would happen at the end of the wait? Daylight didn’t guarantee the position of the sniper would be revealed, he was surely smarter than that. Another issue was Zaneta – she was locked in the trunk. He had to get her out.

“But first” he said, pulled out his phone and dialled Malik’s number making sure to reduce his screen brightness to the minimum and keeping the phone as close to the ground as possible.

“Yes?” Malik answered

“We have a sniper outside the perimeter. Mike is dead” he said, taking a look at Mike’s body now sprawled on the lawn.

“You are kidding, right?”

“I wish I was”

“Zach, I advise you get the hell out of there. Leave the girl. Go! Now!” Malik said and was gone.

Zach could not believe he had been left out to dry just like that.

He looked at Mike’s lifeless body and spotted the BMW’s key beside it. Quickly, he pulled up his media player, selected Bob Marley’s ‘Could You Be Loved’, pushed the music to the highest volume, threw the screen brightness to maximum and flung the phone into another flower bed by the fence. He heard two bullets rip into the flowers sending petals and leaves into the air.

Before things settled down, he dashed out of the flower bed, slid to the floor beside Mike, swooping up the car key then made quick rolls to the car. He heard 2 bullets hit the lawn and gravel along the path to the car. Panting, he leaned against the car.

He knew he had to get in and drive off somehow without getting shot. Beside him on the ground, he spotted Zaneta’s phone. It was broken and pretty much done in, definitely trampled upon in the earlier stand-off.

Zach wondered who his opponent was. He was pretty good, not perfect with rifle, but he was doing a good job controlling the terrain. And since he hadn’t fired until Zaneta was ‘safely’ in the trunk, Zach had come to the conclusion this was likely another AlphaTrag operative. The fact that he hadn’t shot at the car for the past minute that Zach had leaned against it lent Zach’s theory more credibility in his mind.

“He doesn’t want to hurt Zaneta, he won’t shoot the car…..I hope” Zach whispered to himself, grabbed the driver’s door handle, yanked the door open, slid to a spot beside the open door, reached in and started the car. He paused and listened. Nothing happened. With a little more hope than he’d begun with, he slid into the driver’s seat. Keeping his head down, he engaged the gear and gunned the engine. He could hear Zaneta scream and trash around in the trunk as the tyres squealed and shot gravel in every direction.

Zach kept the car on track – in the direction of the gates. In less than a minute he spotted the wooden country-side type gate the premises had. They had high tech perimeter fencing that did the real work. Zach was thankful it was not a solid metal gate as he blasted through it, yanked the steering right and tore up the dusty road to town.

Not too far up the road, Zach slammed the brakes as he came upon a red Accord coupe parked across the road.

“Fucking hell!” he swore as the BMW skid to a stop on the dirt road.

The strategy at play was more than Zach had expected. The particular spot where the Accord was parked was the only spot along the road where he could not have driven around it. One side of the road seemed to have given way in a recent flood.

A second inspection revealed the car was empty.

Could the keys be in?” he thought, then almost laughed at himself for the naive optimism he had just shown. “Time to get off the road” he said, grabbed his pistol and was about getting off when his window suddenly shattered and a rifle butt grazed his head.

He retaliated by kicking the door out sending the assailant a few feet backward. Seeing his advantage, he made to dash out of the car, pistol first but saw the man raise his rifle in preparation to fire, Zach pulled the door shut and tried to scramble away as a rain of bullets hit the side of car.

On his back, across both front seats, he fired 3 successive shots, hoping to hit the man or discourage him from coming closer, then opened the front passenger door rolled to the ground and fired 2 shots across the undercarriage. One struck the man in the leg making him howl in pain. In a flash, Zach was in front of the BMW trying to get in a kill shot, but the guy, even with an injured leg was fast and had ducked behind the trunk.

Zach leaned against the front of the BMW, its engine still running, now quite warm from the short journey. He looked at the Honda across the road and wondered why he hadn’t tried to ram it. Zaneta would have been fine in the trunk. He looked at his arm, it was bleeding. His face was on fire from the glass shards. He knew he had got the guy too – in the leg, but the guy still had the bigger gun and could cut him to pieces if he as much as made one wrong move.

Zach looked under the car once more, hoping to get in another leg shot when he realised the guy was not there. As he pushed away from the car, he felt it bounce before he heard the guy’s feet on the roof. Zach’s reaction was a fraction too slow, by the time he stood up to counter the guy’s move, he found himself staring into the nozzle of the guy’s rifle.

“Drop it!” the man said in a tone that told Zach to do just that.

For the second time in one awful night, Zach dropped his pistol, this time, on the hood of the BMW.

The tall man stepped down onto the hood and kicked the pistol on the road side.

“Turn around” he said.

Zach took a deep breath, looked the man in the eyes and said “Fuck you!”, grabbed the man’s legs and brought him smashing down into the windscreen of the car, then down to the front of the hood before punching his jaw.

The move had come as a surprise to the man who had lost his grip of the rifle when the air had been knocked out of him by his fall on the windscreen. The punch to his jaw, though solid, woke something up in him as he rose his feet and planted them squarely on Zach’s already bloodied cheek.

The pain was blinding making Zach stagger backwards a few steps. It felt like the fire on his face had just been refuelled. The shards in his cheek had been driven deeper. He was trying to regain his composure for the fight when he heard a gunshot.

“One more stupid move and I’ll blow your head off” the man said.

Zach could see the man with a pistol pointed at him. He suddenly realised he was tired of people pointing guns at him. This man had come for Zaneta, let him have her and be gone. No one else had to die. He surrendered.

The man limped forward and tossed a pair of handcuffs at Zach, “Put those on” he said.

Zach snapped on the cuffs and waited.

Satisfied, the man reached into the car, tuned it off and took the key, then went to the truck and opened it. Zaneta lunged at him with the wheel spanner she had picked up and held in anticipation.

The man saw the spanner coming and grabbed Zaneta’s arm in mid-air. “Hey, tiger! I’m on your side” he said but Zaneta was still trashing.

“Zaneta! Calm down, your Dad’s people sent him” Zaneta heard Zach say. She looked around shocked and relieved. She let the man help her out of the trunk as he threw the spanner back in.

Zach stepped towards the back of the car slowly, the man was still armed and he didn’t want to spook him. “Are you alright?” he asked Zaneta.

She looked at him and nodded then rushed to the side of the road and threw up, soiling her dress. Both men drew closer.

“We need to get her back to the house, she needs water” Zach said. The man threw him a funny look but accented.

“Let’s go” he said, pointing his pistol at Zach.

He marched Zach to the Accord, which Zach was not certain was Zaneta’s, and asked he got in the trunk.

“Really now? My hands are cuffed” Zach protested.

“Shut up and get in buddy” he snapped.

Zach obeyed as Zaneta approached. The man shut Zach in, then turned to Zaneta. “Let’s get you freshened up and you can be on your way. I’ll call to have a plane ready for you at the airport”

“Thank you, Sir. And what about him?” Zaneta asked nodding at the shut trunk of her Accord.

“My orders are to bring him in” he replied, helping her into the passenger seat of the Accord.

They drove in silence back to the mansion. Zaneta went straight to the guest room where she had been held and got in the shower while the man stood guard at the main door. He had asked her to hurry up, reinforcements may be on the way.

*********************

“How did you find me?” Zaneta asked as she walked towards Zach’s XC60

The man, who had introduced himself as Henry had given her keys to the SUV, instructing that she drive closely behind him till they got back to the city where they would part ways – she to the airport, he to someplace he could not disclose.

“It was easier than I expected” he said without emotion, “I came to the last known place you were sighted and waited for a chopper. Once a chopper landed, I found the Pilot and he sang like a parrot. His information led me here. I set up outside the grounds and waited for my opportunity. That one gave it to me” he said pointing at Mike’s body which he had moved to a wall and covered with some tarp.

“Thank you, Henry” Zaneta said, climbed into the SUV and switched it on. “Your leg” She added, looking at Henry’s blood soaked trousers just above the ankle.

“Flea bite” Henry said dismissively. It was a graze and he’d bound it up earlier while Zaneta prepared.

As Henry turned, his phone rang and he pulled it out. He spoke into it for a bit, turned around and handed it to Zaneta.

“He wants to speak with you”

Zaneta took the phone, “Hello” she said.

“Zaneta!” it was Tunji.

“Uncle Tunji” Zaneta said.

“I’m glad you are fine. I have sent a Jet for you. Do as Henry tells you and you will be here in no time” he said.

“How’s my dad?” she asked.

“In an interview. He will call you once he gets out and we will both be at the airport waiting for you”

“Ok”

“See you soon” Tunji said

“Wait, what happens to Zach?” she asked, her eyes going to the trunk of her Accord.

“I don’t know, dear. Really, I don’t. Just come back home” Tunji said and was gone.

Zaneta handed the phone back to Henry.

“Shall we?” he asked.

“Yes, thank you” she replied.

Henry walked, limping slightly to the Accord and drove off. Zaneta followed.

*******************

At a lonely spot on the highway, Henry pulled off to the shoulder and Zaneta followed suit.

Henry got off and walked towards her.

“So, you take the fork to the left, straight to a set of traffic lights, take a right and the airport will be on your left after a few kilometres. At the airport ask for the Blue Pacific hangar. Your crew is waiting”

“Left, right then look to my left”

“That’s right. But you’ll have to go turn around after the airport to get on the correct side of the freeway”

“Thank you, Henry. How about you?” she asked.

“I await my orders. Have a safe flight” he said and walked back to the car.

Zaneta indicated and got on her way.

She knew in her heart that Tunji had lied to her earlier.

********************************

Henry was listening to Tunji and Lanre on the phone. Both men were together on speaker phone doing a debrief of the operation.

“Basically, what I need to get out of him is the content of the disc he found in the Professor’s safe?”

“Yes. I know he’s got a copy. I need it” Tunji said.

Henry nodded in the comfortable coolness of the Accord’s leather interior. He had reclined his seat some, seatbelt on with the engine and AC running.

The hood of the blue XC60 was a few feet away by the time Henry noticed it, the headlamps were off, it was the parking lamps and colour that gave it away. Reflexively he dropped the phone and put his hands over his head just in time for the collision.

The noise was deafening.

The XC60 struck the Accord’s side at over 60km/hr completely smashing in the driver’s side. It had about 700lbs in weight over the Honda Accord Coupe 2014, it was a clear case of no-contest. The Honda was thrown further off the road and into the vegetation.

It took about half a minute for Zaneta to regain her composure. She had taken quite a while to make up her mind and plan her move, but once it was made up, she knew exactly what to do.

She had turned around and headed back to the point where she had left Henry in her car. She remembered Zach saying the Volvo SUV was built like a tank, she decided the vehicle was her best chance at a weapon that would deliver in a flash. She had decided on a collision.

Though she had braced for it, turning off her lamps on the final stretch, she had still felt the impact of the collision. As quickly as she could manage, she backed up the Volvo and parked it properly on the road shoulder, shielding the Honda from view of any passer-by on the road.

She got off, hurried to the Accord. Her head was pounding and her lips were cold and shivering but she knew it would pass. She went around to the passenger door and pulled at the handle. It was locked.

“Shit” she cussed.

She looked around for a rock, found one and hauled it with all her strength at the passenger door window. It came down in a rain of glass. She moved up to it and opened the door from the inside and got in.

Henry was moaning, barely conscious.

“I’m so sorry, Henry” she said, trying not to panic. The fact that he was alive was a relief to her. She had purposely kept her collision speed at 60km/hr so as not to kill the occupant of the car on impact. She’d once seen something like that in a movie.

She turned off the ignition and withdrew the key, exited, ran to the trunk and opened it.

Zach was still, curled up in a ball. She wasn’t sure he was breathing. He could have suffocated or been mortally injured in the crash. She noticed blood on his shirt and in the trunk.

“Zach!” she said, touching him tentatively.

No response of any sort.

“Zach!” she called again, this time shaking him vigorously.

He moaned, turned and blinked at the light from the trunk lamp.

“Zach! Please, get up, we have to go”

“Shit, Zaneta!” he exclaimed. “What happened?” he asked.

“Just get out, Ok?” she pled.

He crawled out of the trunk and lost his footing, crashing into her, she couldn’t support his weight and they both fell to the ground.

“Crap!” Zach moaned. “I need the keys for these” he said, showing her his cuffed wrists.

“Ok” Zaneta said, rose and went back into the car. She didn’t like having to search Henry who was still moaning, but she did and came up with what looked like the right key.

She hurried back to Zach and handed it to him where he sat leaning against the rear bumper of the Accord. He took the key and undid the cuffs, tossed them away and rose to his feet slowly.

“Let’s go” she said yet again.

“To where?” Zach asked.

“We need to get away from here at least” Zaneta said, arms flailing.

He could tell she was freaking out. “Get his phone” he said, as he walked towards the SUV.

“Not again” she said, about having to search Henry again.

It took her a while to find the phone. She would not have found it if it hadn’t rung from under the driver’s seat. She finally reached it, looked at the screen and recognised the caller; “Uncle Tunji” she muttered, then ran back to the XC60 and got in the driver’s seat. Zach was seated in the front passenger seat.

“Relax, Zaneta. I will let you know when to freak out” he said with a steady look at her. She nodded then handed him the phone. He pulled her close and kissed her. “Thank you” he said.

“Where to?” she asked, catching her breath as she moved the vehicle off.

“Keep heading straight. Let me make a quick phone call” Zach said.

He called Bizi.

“Hello” Bizi said, clearly woken from sleep by the call.

“Zach?”

“Thanks for the tip. The heat came and it came down hard. I’m a little beat up. I need to get off the grid”

“Where are you?”

“Still in PH”

“I’ll push you an address, but it will cost you”

“Send to this phone”

********************

“Has to be here” Zach said as they pulled up before a nice looking building with a black gate.

With Zaneta’s card they had withdrawn some cash at an ATM since Bizi had said he would need cash and he had none on him. His stuff was still at the mansion.

“Get to the airport, babe, I’ll be safe here for a while”

“Tell me again why you don’t want me to go with you” she protested. They had argued about going off the grid together. Zach was not having it.

“Your dad won’t stop coming for you, and you know it. Go be with him. When the heat cools, I will find you, I promise” he said.

“Ok. Keep this” she said, handing him her ATM card, “4765” she added.

“Why are you doing all this for me, Z?”

“I don’t know, Zach. I hope I’m not making a mistake”

************************

About half an hour later, Zaneta was welcomed by her private crew and led aboard a Jet.

“We were worried about you for a while, ma’am” the pilot said.

“I’m sorry, I lost my way and I don’t have a phone on me” she said.

“Glad to have you on board” the handsome young man said.

“Let my dad know we are on our way” she said as she settled into her seat.

Clueless – Episode 4

Dear all, this is in line with recent comments on the blog as regards the inconsistency from Greg Emuze’s “In the Shadows”, it would be nice if we could please show him some support and be kind with our words as he has been under a lot of health pressure of late. Thank you.

Now Episode 4.

CLUELESS – EPISODE 4

Sharon wasn’t ready. She had seen crazy ladies but then, they were Maitama rich kids crazy scratching at each other for silly issues like unshared blunts and boyfriends, not Lagos crazy. She stared at the lady who was ripping Dapo apart with her tongue and wished she could diffuse into the earth instantly, but it was too late! Some jobless folks at the mall had started taking videos and pictures of the showdown; they were going to make it to gossip blogs in no time and possibly trend on Twitter. She was officially screwed! 

“Jadesola, please, calm down.” Dapo said, as he stared at the crowd. “It is not what it seems like.” He said.

She laughed as she clapped her hands. “Ehen?! Do I look like I have glue in my eyes? Are you not here with that skinny piece of meat?” she asked, staring at Sharon who was standing metres away from them. “Panla, I am talking to you!”

  “Jade! Stop this nonsense. We are in the public!” Dapo said as he tried taking her hand. She wouldn’t let him. “Let’s go and talk about this outside.”

“You told me you were going to work for the weekend. Is this the work?” Jadesola asked. “Look at the babe, this one is not work na.” She added, accessing her body frame. “I am work.” She said, firming her hands against her buttocks. “This is work.” She said, emphatically. 

Dapo exhaled as laughter rang across the room. The onlookers were definitely having fun with this. He turned to Sharon who was clearly embarrassed and mouthed. “I am sorry.” He said. Sharon nodded and turned away from them, heading downstairs.

“Where is she going?” Jade asked as she tried going after Sharon but was restrained by Dapo who grabbed her firmly and lifted her over his shoulder. “What are you doing?” she cried. “Put me down!”

He was having none of her theatrics. He had seen enough of it, and unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time. Other times, he had learnt to walk away but this was not one of such occasions. He was at fault. He ought to have told her that he wasn’t alone and maybe that would have made her less dramatic…after all, there was not one drama-free woman, yeah? He released her as soon as they got to the car. “Get in.” He ordered, looking over her shoulder in Sharon’s direction. He could still see her walking down the road. But, she was not alone. Tobi was closing in on her. He hated that guy!

“I am not going anywhere with you until you tell me who that lady is.” She replied, in an unusually calm tone.

Dapo scoffed. “Why didn’t you speak like a proper human being up there? If you had this humane part of you, why didn’t I see that part? Aren’t you going to continue raging like a madwoman?”

She flipped her hair over her shoulder. “Who is she?” she asked.

“She is a friend who needs my help and thanks to you, she is out of sight” Dapo replied. “Now if you would please, get into the car and let me drop you home.” He said.

Jade took a deep breath. “I can’t.”

“Why not?” he asked.

She sighed. “I have a date.”

***

  “Sharon!”

Sharon stopped walking and turned towards the person that had been calling after her. It was Tobi Adebiyi. The TV Presenter. Now what could he want? An Interview? She could only ask the Heavens to help her so she wouldn’t be rude towards him. She had had enough for a lifetime and the only thing she could think about now was getting on the next flight to Abuja on Monday morning. “Yes?”

He smiled as he stood before her. “I was on my way out when that episode happened up there and I would love to apologize on behalf of my friend and his psychotic girlfriend.”

“Name calling? That’s classy.” She replied and started to turn away from him. She couldn’t be interested in anything that had to do with Dapo or his girlfriend.

Tobi hurried after her. “I am sorry about that. I usually come off wrong some times.”

“Well, this seems like all the time.” she replied.

Tobi chuckled. “You can’t judge me by one incident.” He replied. “Where are you off to? I could drop you.”

Sharon paused and then realized that she had no idea where she was off to. She couldn’t return to the hotel. She wasn’t the registered user of the room and she was sure the receptionists would be more than happy to turn her back. Maybe it was time to get off her high horse and call for help. Lagos was going from bad to worse. She was sure that her parents knew people in Lagos who could camp her till Monday morning. She was going to return to Abuja and get her job back. She was not all rusty with her skills on AutoCAD, she was halfway done with helping Dapo out so she knew she still had it in her even though it was not what she wanted. She loved to paint but her Dad was not having that so she settled for the closest thing to her art skills – Architecture. Her parents were delighted. She was going to make them proud and of a truth, she did. She had hoped to find something special in Lagos but it seemed as though every step she had taken was akin to taking two back. Her trip was pointless. Her rediscovery process was pointless. She was going back home. She took a deep breath and stared at Tobi. “Can I use your phone?”

He nodded as he fetched it out of his pocket. His phone buzzed just as he was about to hand it to her. “Dapo is calling.” He said. “One second.” He added and answered the call. “What’s up, man?” he asked and paused to listen. He nodded. “You want me to take her to my place?”

Sharon stared at him. “I am not going anywhere with you.” She replied.

Tobi passed the phone to her. “He wants to speak with you.”

“What do you want?” Sharon flipped. “I get it. You are sorry, but I don’t want to go anywhere with him. I don’t know him.”

“I am a good guy.” Tobi intercepted. “I am better than Dapo. You can bank on that.” He added, staring at a black jeep packed a distance from them. He had noticed the driver staring at them so he waved at him. For all he knew, the driver could have been a fan. He then turned to Sharon who was done with the call. “My lady, what say you?”

“Let’s go.” She said.

He smiled. “Of course.”

***

“Sharon is fine.” Jane announced as she took a seat opposite her mother on the dining table. “I just got off the phone with one of my men in Lagos. He is keeping a close watch on her and I am sure he would prompt her if necessary to be on the next flight.”

“Just out of curiosity,” Mama started. “How much did you pay those men to watch over Ifesinachi?”

Jane smiled. She was not willing to answer that question. She dug her fork into some beef and started to slice it. “Your granddaughter is fine, but I cannot guarantee that she has been feeding fine.” She started. “That’s what she gets for wanting to do things her way.”

Mama took a deep breath. She was going to ask the hard question she had not asked her daughter in a long time. Jane was dealing with a bi-polar condition but she had been just fine in recent times. However, her recent actions were a cause for concern. “Are you relapsing?”

“Are you going to ask a madman if he is mad?” Jane replied with a cheesy smile. “Mom, I know where you are headed? I am not relapsing. I am fine. And every decision I have taken is for the good of my daughter.”

Mama nodded. “Would your daughter still love you if, when she returns on Monday, she realises that you were behind every ordeal she went through?”

Jane smiled. “It was all for her good. Sharon thinks she is seeking answers to questions. The truth is there are no answers. The only answers are the ones we give ourselves. If you want fulfilment, you have to accept the things you have before you and stop seeking the things out of your reach.” She replied. 

Mama took a deep breath. “Fulfilment is wherever you find it and if you think putting a leash on your daughter so that she is dependent on you will be a recompense for the times you and I never had, I need you to understand that you might be suffering a relapse and you are not even aware of it.”

“Are you attacking me based on my mental state?” Jane asked, staring into her tab. “Mama, I am fine. I am only protecting my daughter the way you never protected me. I want to ensure that Sharon never has to leave my sight so that she is safe.”

Mama laughed. “So, I am guessing the robbery plan was to tell her the things she could face without your coverage? Jane, you are mad and you don’t have anyone to tell you.”

“Mama, you are wrong. You just told me and I would like to finish my food in peace.” Jane replied.

Mama rose to her feet. “And when Sharon gets married? Would you like to live with her too, so she is protected from her husband?”

“It’s a good thing she doesn’t see marriage as important.” Jane replied. “You and I know that.”

Mama shook her head. “Jane, you can’t take care of your daughter forever. She is going to take care of you some day. It might be time to let her go.”

“I have decided not to. Deal with it, Mom.” Jane replied. “I am not letting her go like you let me out of your sight. I am not allowing her face the world alone.”

Mama was genuinely sorry for Jane. Now she was sure, more than ever, that her daughter needed help.

***

Sharon watched Tobi as he gave instructions to his stewards before returning to meet her in the living room. “You have stewards for different purposes.”

“As it should be.” He said, sinking into a chair. “Two for the kitchen because I am very particular about my food and gaining weight in the right places.” He started. “You know, the office pays for them. I have one who drives me about and I have one who does my laundry and another for my menial chores.”

“And you live in a rented duplex?” Sharon said, cutting short his enthusiasm.

He nodded with a smile. “The office pays for everything.”

Sharon chuckled. “And I believe they talk a small cut from your monthly salary.”

“Pretty insignificant stuff.” He replied. “Dinner would be served soon.” He added.

Sharon chuckled. “I am surprised you don’t understand the yearly import of that ‘pretty insignificant stuff’ on your annual pay.”

Tobi shrugged. “I don’t care. Life’s too short.” He said and then ran his eyes over Sharon with a smile. “So, what’s a pretty young thing like you doing as Dapo’s chic? That bastard is too sleek. He got Jade on one side and he’s got you as his side squeeze. How is a brother that lucky? Maybe if I was light skin or something. Right?” he said, turning to Sharon.

“You should really put a leash on your mouth.” She replied, standing up. She walked over to the wall and stared at the paintings that adorned it. She smiled as she thought about what she would have been as a painter. She jumped as soon as she felt Tobi’s hand around her lower back. “What are you doing?”

“Making myself comfortable.” He replied.

She shook her head. “Don’t you care about the impression that you make on others?” she asked, dropping his hand. “Most importantly, you are a celebrity. People look up to you. How about you live up to the reputation you have falsely put out there?”

“Now where’s the fun in that? This is who I am.” He said with a smile.

Sharon shook her head as she returned to her seat. “You leave a very bad impression about yourself.”

He joined her. “Fine. I agree. Now tell me, what are you even doing with a guy like Dapo?”

“What do you mean by a guy like Dapo?” she asked. “Because of his babe? She doesn’t define him.”

Tobi laughed. “Nah. Jadesola is a lovely girl except for when her anger buttons are spiked. Dapo is a… he is a weird guy. I mean, he drops off the surface and flies away again.” He replied. “He doesn’t even keep in touch with me and we were like good friends in those days.” He added with a laugh.

“In what days?” Sharon asked. Her hope was that Tobi was another blast from her past. She wondered why she was, all of a sudden, looking for familiar strangers in her life when all she wanted was to run away.

He relaxed in his chair. “We used to be friends way back in the university. We both studied Architecture but look at me; I ended up a sport presenter and that guy, oh well…”

Sharon hissed as her enthusiasm was watered down at the mention of ‘university’. She had hoped to hear primary school. She sighed and thought about home again. It was time to call in the cavalry. She was done with the adventure. “Can I, please, use your phone?”

He nodded and passed it to her. “Who are you going to call? Dapo told us to wait for him.”

She ignored him as she walked over to the paintings with the phone to her ear. “Mama.” She said, tiredly.

“Ifesinachi! How are you?” 

Sharon could hear the panic in Mama’s voice. “I am fine, Mama. How is my mom?”

“She… she is very fine. How is Lagos treating you? Is it all you hoped for?” 

Sharon took a deep breath. If she told Mama the truth right now, she would have failed…again. Maybe she could give herself another fighting chance. Or maybe she didn’t need to be so stupid and just let her grandmother come to her rescue.

“Ifesinachi? You are silent.” Mama echoed.

Sharon laughed. “It’s just great, Mama. Lagos is just great. I have my own place now and I… erm, I should be…I should be going to an art exhibition tonight to check out some artworks. I might even get my own studio once the week starts and then I think I should get back to painting. It’s just been so long, you know?” she said with a feigned smile.

“Ifesinachiiiiiii, Na like that Lagos sweet reach? One day you don get house dey jump upandan.” Mama stressed. “Should I come and visit you?”

Sharon shook her head. “No, Mama and I have to go now.” She said, taking a glance at Tobi who was receiving a meal from his steward. She turned away from him. “You can’t call me on this phone, Mama. I am yet to set my phone up.”

“Set yourself up? Ifesinachi, you are within Nigeria nau, what happened to your phone?” Mama quizzed.

Sharon blinked as she thought of a more befitting tale. “Mama, I am trying to start my life all over again and I… I really don’t want to have old contacts, so I decided to-”

“-to cut your grandmother off?” she asked.

Sharon shook her head apologetically as though Mama could see her. “Mama, you know I can’t do that. I… I would never do that to you, but I have to go now. I’ll keep in touch.”

“Ifesinachi, God be with you. I know what you are going through. But I know you are stronger than this, okay?” Mama said.

Sharon nodded. Her Grandmother’s words had given her life even though she was sure the old woman knew not what she spoke of. “Bye, Mama. Tell Mom I said I love her.” She said, hanging up.

Tobi clapped as soon as she got off the phone. “That was quite a performance. If I didn’t know better, I would have said you really had your own place and an art exhibition to be at this night.” He said with a soft laugh. “Who is the poor woman you were deceiving on the phone? Who is Mama?”

“You truly don’t know better.” Sharon replied, taking her seat.

He drew closer to her. “Do you really like painting?”

Sharon nodded absently as she thought about the next day. Monday couldn’t come any sooner. She was expectant and she couldn’t wait to get back on track. Maybe she could indeed get back to painting.

“I painted all these myself.” Tobi said.

She turned to him. “Really?”

He nodded. “I like to paint. It’s like a pastime activity for me but it’s something I love doing.”

“They are beautiful.” Sharon said, staring at the framed artworks.

He smiled. “Thank you.”

“Sorry for everything, guys.” Dapo said, walking in. “I am really sorry about what happened back there.” He added. “Can we please leave, Sharon? I need to have that presentation ready for Monday.”

“No.” She replied, “You don’t get to come here and tell me to come with you like nothing happened. I don’t want your Queen tearing at my cloth before the day is over.”

Tobi stared at them. “I’ll just let you two have this moment.” He said, grabbing his plate, disappearing down the hallway.

Dapo took a deep breath. “Sharon, I really want to apologize for everything that happened. I can’t explain right now, but I really need you to come with me so we can finish up my work. It’s important to me.”

“My safety is also important to me.” Sharon replied. “Your Queen looks like someone who could decorate me with an acid bath. I am too fresh for that.” She added.

Dapo found a wry smile in spite of how he felt and sank into a chair. “Sharon, trust me, I am too fresh for stress too.” He said.

She hissed. “How vain!” she said. “So, what happened with Jadesola?”

He passed his phone to her. “We are now famous on social network sites. Our video has gone viral; you have been tagged the side chic and Jadesola, the ranting wife and me, the clueless husband and I am pretty sure that title suits me well.”

“Except that I am not your side chic.” Sharon corrected.

He nodded. “Fine, you have made your point. Now, let’s go home.”

“Hotel, you mean.” She replied. “I am not going with you.”

He scoffed. “Why? We had a deal. And you had better stick to it.” He said, getting upset. “I don’t know whatever Tobi must have said to you but that guy says a lot of nonsense.”

“I didn’t tell her anything that she doesn’t already know.” Tobi said, joining them. “You guys are trending on the internet.” He said, looking up from his phone. “This is not good.”

“Tobi, you are not saying what I don’t already know. I have shown her the post.” Dapo said, rising to his feet. “Sharon, I think it’s time we left. We only have Sunday left. I need to get this work locked down.”

Sharon ran her fingers through her hair. “You only care about the fact that I am working for you!”

“Forgive me if I can’t think of anything else but that is all that matters to me.” Dapo retorted. “You have to come back with me and finish that job.”

“What job?” Tobi asked with a raised eyebrow. 

Dapo stared at him. “Thanks Tobi for taking her in briefly but this business is between Sharon and I.”

“And I insist that I am not going back with you!” she replied.

He smiled. “And where would you go?”

“She can stay here with me.” Tobi said. “There is enough room.”

Dapo smiled. “Tobi is a joke. You don’t want to stay with him.”

“Your girlfriend called me names. She would have ripped me apart. I don’t feel safe with you.” Sharon replied.

“Small comfort in this jackass’ house and you feel safe?” Dapo asked. “Sharon, I need to get my design fixed.”

Tobi stared at Dapo. “Bro, I don’t mean to piss you off, but if she doesn’t want to go with you, she is more than welcome to stay here.” He said.

Dapo clenched his fist in anger. “Sharon?”

“Bring the laptop here. I’ll work from here. I don’t want trouble.” Sharon replied.

Dapo exhaled sharply. “Jadesola is not your problem anymore. I can assure you.”

“No. I am not taking that chance!” Sharon retorted. “Bring the laptop here. I will work from here.” She added. “You have a girlfriend. Respect her.”

“We broke up!” Dapo yelled. “We are done. Jadesola and I are done.” He replied.

Tobi blinked. “Dude, you just ended things with her like that? Na wetin?”

Dapo took a deep breath. “She broke up with me. She is engaged to be married.”

“What?!” Tobi gaped. “So na you be the side bobo?”

Dapo nodded. “The clueless one.”

***

Clueless – Episode 3


​CLUELESS – EPISODE 3

Dapo didn’t expect Sharon to take everything he had just explained to her with great ease. He had just admitted to not knowing anything about architecture and using a man for his jobs while splitting the cut. Sharon had not said a word in the last ten minutes since he told her the truth about him. She had smiled and returned to the hotel room beaming smiles at the receptionists who would not grant her any favours the previous night while he followed her with a gloomy expression; the receptionists must have thought him to be a ‘mugu’ but he had more to worry about. He was desperate and needing all the help he could get so he couldn’t pretend. “Are you going to help me? I am giving you my room till Monday so the least you can do is to say something to me.”

Sharon took a deep breath and then managed a smile which was followed by a horrid laugh. “If I loved anything about architecture, I wouldn’t be in Lagos, so I am not sure I am your guy…or in this case, your girl.” She replied.

“What if God brought you here to help me?” Dapo said.

 Sharon laughed. “Trust me; getting robbed was not God’s plan. I came to Lagos to find myself-”

“-and you found me.” He said, cutting in.

Sharon blinked. “Excuse me?”

“Don’t take it literarily. I mean God might have positioned you here to help me get this deal tied up.” He explained.

“God does not help frauds.” She retorted.

He nodded slowly. “I see. Did he make you judge over me? Plus it was convenient for you to tell me that maybe God positioned us to run into each other when you needed my help to sleep in my room. So, why can’t you see me in that light?” He probed.

“Because, one, what you are doing is a crime, and two, I genuinely needed your help.” She replied.

He scoffed. “And I do too! Look, all you need to do is help me with the designs; I am going to give you a cut. You don’t even have to pay for all the clothes we bought with my money.” He said, staring at the shopping bags on the bed. “That’s a lot of money I am taking off you with this deal.”

“The name is Sharon Amadi. Money is not my problem.” Sharon replied with a cocky smile. 

Dapo exhaled as he tapped on his phone screen. “This idiot isn’t answering my calls.” He complained. “I paid him well the last time. What is wrong with people?”

“Maybe he is holding out for a better bargain. Try sending him a mail.” She replied. “I need to go and change into these new clothes so I could go and lodge a complaint at the police station.”

He stared at her and then laughed. “Do you think they will even believe you? Why didn’t you go there when the robbery happened…except if you were not actually robbed.”

She sighed. “Am I stupid? Did you expect me to go and lodge a complaint at that time of the night in a Nigerian Police station?”

“You must think very highly of our police system.” He replied. “What were you afraid of?”

She waved him off. “I am sure that you don’t even trust them so I don’t even want to have this argument with you.” She said. “Right now, I am going to walk in there, tell them who I am and tell them what happened, when I am done, they will catch those scumbags.”

He stared at her. “I am not sure you are ready to find yourself.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

He took a seat on the bed. “You claim you are here to find yourself but all I see is a lady who wants to ride on Daddy’s famous name to get the police to find her assailants. You have not stopped waving your name in my face and now I know why we were never friends in primary school back then in Abuja, you must have been really proud so I couldn’t stand you and I must have begged my parents to ship me to Lagos.”

Sharon laughed. “I am sure even you don’t believe that dry joke. If anything at all, you were a scared little thing that was only good for sitting behind me in class.”

He frowned. “Really?”

She nodded. “It’s a miracle how you have turned out to be a fine man. I mean, beards do change everything.” She said, staring at him. “You are quite good looking for someone I can’t really remember what he would have looked like.”

“You were too full of yourself, maybe.” Dapo argued.

Sharon smiled. “We were kids, I probably don’t remember anything from then but I have quite an amazing taste and if you were not in my range then, it could only mean that you didn’t leave any impression on me.”

Dapo swallowed. “You sure have not changed a bit. Still so saucy.”

“Put some spice on it. I’ll be right back.” She said and disappeared into the bathroom with the cloth bag.

Dapo’s phone buzzed. It was Jadesola. He took a deep breath and wore a plastered smile. She was going to rake to the ends of the earth. He knew that already. “Hey, Jade!” he said with a cool voice. He knew she enjoyed the abridged version of her name which sounded like something ‘cute’

“Hey, baby.” She cooed from the other end of the line.

Dapo smiled with some surprise. She had not rained brimstone on him yet. “How are you?” he asked, relaxing in the bed.

“Not fine, I miss you and I am sorry we got into a fight.” She replied.

He nodded. “It’s alright. I miss you too and I can’t wait to come back home.”

“And when would that be?” she asked.

He cleared his throat. “By Monday evening. You know I have a presentation on Monday so I have to get work done before coming home.”

“Are you calling me a distraction?”

Dapo could sense the agitation in her voice. “No, not at all. You know when I am with you, all I can think about is you and I would not be able to do anything else.”

“Hmmm…why do I find that hard to believe?” she asked.

He took a deep breath. “Because you doubt everything I say.”

“And with valid reasons too…anyway, if you are not home by Monday evening, you would give me reasons to be less polite the next time we talk.” She replied.

He nodded with a chuckle. “Aye Aye, Captain.”

“I love you, Dapo.” She said.

He smiled. “I love you, Jadesola.” He replied and hung up. Sharon stepped into the room in a darting black gown which did clad her skin perfectly. He swallowed and looked away quickly. See no evil…do no evil. 

“How do I look?” Sharon asked. “You can say stunning because that’s the impression i hope to give those dense officers once I get into the station.”

He got off the bed. “Like I said, I don’t think you really want this discovery. I think you just want an adventure, you just want to blow Daddy’s money and not make a kobo for yourself.”

“Need I remind you, I was working in Abuja before I quit my job? I don’t like Architecture and you are not going to bully me into doing your dirty job for you because I know that’s what this entire sermon is about.” She replied. “I am going to need some money for a new phone.”

Dapo laughed. “They write mugu for my face? Or I look like your personal ATM? Madam, if you want the money, do my job. No more handouts from now.” He said. “This relationship has to be beneficial to the both of us.”

“I am going to pay you back on Monday!” she retorted.

He shrugged. “I don’t care anymore. I have a deadline for Monday. You need to make it through to Monday. The way I see it, we both need each other. Help me and you get a phone.”

Sharon exhaled. “This is coercion!” she protested. “You can’t force me into committing a crime. I don’t subscribe to that.”

“You can report me to the police too if it makes you happy.” He replied, taking a seat before his laptop. “But that’s only after my presentation.” He added with a grin. “I suggest you sit down and get to work. You can report to the police on Monday, after all, all you need to say is ‘I am Sharon Amadi.’” He said, cynically. “So much for finding yourself! Lose the Amadi and let’s see if anyone gives a jack about Sharon George.” He said and then turned to her. “I don’t mean it like my George as a last name.”

She clenched her teeth and looked away. Maybe he was right about her being a brat who wanted it done her way after all. She came to Lagos in the hopes of discovering who she really was, all she had done in the past twenty five years were the bidding of her parents and now she found it difficult to detach herself from her parents. Maybe it was time to break the rules. She walked over to Dapo. “What do you need?”

***

Mama didn’t know if it was time to call her son-in-law and report his lawless wife to her. She feared that he might have been in on the act too. Jane rarely did anything without her husband’s approval even though he was largely absent from their lives. Her daughter always found a way to seek Chike’s approval. Inasmuch as she loved Ifesinachi, she wasn’t her daughter. If her parents decided to kidnap her and ship her off to a faraway country, she had no say in that. She had been taught to stay out of matters that weren’t hers. She had slipped into a sour mood since Jane admitted to setting her daughter up for a robbery attack. 

“Are you coming down for dinner?” 

Mama turned to the door to see Jane standing by it. She had not heard her come into the room. She must have been lost in her thoughts. “Are you sure Ifesinachi is not sleeping under the bridge in Lagos?” she asked. “What you have done to her is just wrong and unacceptable.”

“Mama, Sharon is fine. She is in a hotel.” Jane replied. “She is doing great!”

Mama blinked. “How do you know that? You had her robbed, remember?”

Jane smiled. “I have my men watching her, Mom. I am not stupid.”

“You are stupid. You had your own daughter robbed. And why do you have men watching her?” Mama asked. “What’s your plan?”

Jane took a seat. “Simple. She gets pissed off with Lagos, she makes a phone call to me and she is back in Abuja.”

“I hope you know that Sharon is stronger than that?” Mama replied.

Jane laughed. “No, she isn’t and now she is a lady without a kobo to herself. That is enough reason for her to return home.”

Mama took a deep breath as she folded her arms staring at her daughter. “Does Chike know about this?” she asked.

“Of course, Mom.” Jane replied. “We really do need this mother and daughter moment, you know?” she added with a soft chuckle.

Mama stared at Jane. She was not holding her tab or busy with anything this time. It was as though she wanted this moment between them. “I am sorry for all the times I never got to spend with you but I loved you in my own way.”

Jane smiled. “Yes, Mama. And I love Sharon in my own way.”

“I was working several jobs so I could give you an education.” Mama groaned. “You know my story, Jane. You know I did my best for you.” She continued. “Don’t act as though I was never there.”

“Maybe it wasn’t enough, Mom.” Jane replied. “Now, I want your attention. Are you going to make up for all the lost time? No.”

Mama took a deep breath. “I am sorry for everything but you are going about this the wrong way. Sharon is a lady who wants to discover herself and if this is right for her; then who are we to get in the way?

“Mama, I am her mother and I promise you, she will be back in no time.” Jane replied with a smile. “That child wants nothing more than comfort and she is going to run back here looking for it.”

“What if she is weathering the storm?” Mama asked as a thought struck her.

Jane turned to her. “What do you mean?”

Mama blinked. “What if… what if she is waiting till Monday so she could carry on with her life, have you thought about it? What if she withdraws money over the counter and carries on instead of running back to us today or tomorrow?” She said with a smile. “Remember that she called me and she never reported any problem to me, so, it tells you one thing, Sharon is strong. You have to admit it and give her more credit.” She added and rose to her feet. “I think I want my dinner now. Monday is only a couple of days away.”

Jane swallowed as her mother’s words sank in. Maybe Mama was right after all. Sharon might actually have the courage to get through the weekend. “Are you saying that she might actually continue over there?”

“I believe so. She has got money and has got a brain. I don’t think she has any reason to run back to you and I hope she never finds out that you did what you did.” Mama said.

Jane blinked. “She wouldn’t if you don’t tell her.”

“She won’t be hearing it from me but if I find out that her safety is jeopardized because of what you did, you don’t have my loyalty.” She replied.

Jane swallowed. She had organized everything well and it was time to call her men in Lagos just to be sure that her daughter was indeed safe. 

“Are you coming down for dinner?” Mama asked with a smug smile as she walked out of the room.

***

Sharon belched as she tossed the can of soda in her hand into the bin. “I need some rest.” She said to Dapo.

“But you are not done with the work yet.” He replied. 

She shrugged. “I feel bored, tired and uninspired and if you keep working me like a horse you would have a terrible design for your presentation.”

He nodded. “Fine, how many hours would you need to sleep?”

“I don’t want to sleep. I want to see a movie.” She replied,

He scoffed. “You want me to take you to the movies?”

“It’s the least I deserve for all this stress.” She replied, rising to her feet. “I’ll continue the work when we are back from the movies.”

“Unbelievable! You are a spoilt brat!” He said.

Sharon couldn’t care about what he thought about her. She just needed some distraction from the design she had invested the last three hours into. 

“What if I give you my car and some money? I don’t want to see a movie.” He replied. “Maybe I could spend the time looking at these designs.”

She scoffed. “No way! You are either coming with me or I am done with your work. I am not about to get missing. I already got robbed; I have had enough trouble for a lifetime in Lagos.”

Dapo chuckled. “Ordinary robbery?”

“Ordinary robbery? Have you been robbed before?” She asked.

He smiled. “I even shared a beer with the robbers sef!” 

She hissed and made for the bathroom. “Get dressed.”

He stared at his shirt and jeans. “And what is wrong with what I am wearing?”

“Everything and your presentation rubs off on me.” She replied, lingering by the bathroom’s door. “I don’t want to be seen with someone who matches his colours and patterns wrongly.”

“It’s a good thing Jadesola has no problem with my fashion ideologies.” He replied.

She rolled her eyes. “Now who is Jadesola?”

“That’s my Queen.” He replied.

Sharon giggled slowly until she burst out into a horrid laugh. 

“What is that?” Dapo asked, quite confused.

She smiled. “Oh it’s nothing. You just sound like a sentimental idiot in love.”

Dapo gaped. “That is not nothing!”

Sharon chuckled. “Love messes you up, pal. Don’t fall in love.”

“Oh now I am your pal? My friend, let’s go and see your movie so you can get back to my work.” He replied, heading towards the door. 

***

“Dapo George!”

Dapo turned away from the ticket stand as he heard his name.

“I knew it was you na! You this guy that has refused to pick my calls or even hangout. Na wa o. How you dey?”

He smiled as he saw Tobi Adebiyi. “Yoruba Demon. Heartbreaker.”

“You nko? Jadesola’s mumu.” Tobi replied as both men shook hands and then embraced briefly. He then turned to Sharon who was standing behind them all the while and smiled. “Ahan! Bad Guy, who be this?”

“I am standing right here, you know?” Sharon said. “Mr. Tobi Adebiyi.”

Dapo turned to her. “How do you know Tobi?”

“He is a sport journalist and I do see his face sometimes on TV.” Sharon replied.

Dapo scoffed as he watched Tobi brim helplessly with smiles. “I am shocked. I never thought anybody watched that show.” 

“You dey craze?” Tobi asked before turning to Sharon. “Please, do not pay this idiot any attention. I am glad you watch my show and one day, I might just give you a shout out on it.”

“You have never given me a shout out, Tobi.” Dapo said.

Tobi ignored him as he smiled at Sharon. “I would love to know your name so that the shout out is accurate. So, what is your name, Darling?”

She stared at him. “Sharon.”

“That’s a lovely name for a lovely lady.” He replied, stretching out his hand. “Just so you know, he is in a relationship and I am single.”

Dapo shook his head. “Do you see why we don’t hang out much? You go just dey open that thing wey you call mouth dey mis-yarn.” He started. “Sharon here is a friend.”

Tobi smiled. “Friend? Just friends?”

“The movie would soon be on.” Sharon said, handing a ticket to Dapo. “I’ll see you in the hall.”

Dapo stopped Sharon with his hand before she could walk away. “Just hang on. We’ll go in together. Tobi is just leaving.”

“Really? Am I?” Tobi asked.

Dapo nodded. “I’ll see you around, my guy.”

Tobi smiled as he took Sharon’s hand and planted a kiss on it. “I hope you listen to my show next weekend. You’ll hear me call your name.”

“Goodbye.” Dapo said, urging Tobi on.

Sharon laughed as she watched Tobi walk away from them. 

“I am sorry about that. He is quite a case.” Dapo said, apologizing. “Could we go and see the movie now?”

She nodded. “Of course.”

“Oladapo George!”

Sharon stared at him and smiled. “That’s your name, right? You are quite popular.”

Dapo froze as he heard his name again. But this time, he knew the only person who would spell out his name in full. He turned. Jadesola.

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