Dare was silent as he drove from the office. The atmosphere was tense, and I guess it was because he saw me with the picture. I couldn’t wait to get to the City Mall and as soon as we approached, I heaved a sigh of relief.
“Are you that tired of me?” Dare asked as he parked.
Atta boy! At last he was talking. He pulled the hand break and smiled. “Get ready to put your stalker away.” He said as he got down. Dare stuns me. One moment he is negligent and indifferent, the other moment, he is caring and lively. His life was a piece of work to study.
“Here we are.” He said opening my door.
I smiled. “Thank you.”
A police man was on hand to escort us into the building. As soon as the judge mounted, the case begun. The Clerk ran through the formalities and when Daniel was asked to plead his case, he stated;
“Not Guilty, your honour.”
The Judge cleared his throat. “Mr Daniel, the charge of stalking levied against you by Ms. Darlene Williams has an incident of you stalking her at an event in the dark, and you had a firm grip on her, which could have resulted in an assault, if Mr Dare Ade-Cole hadn’t shown up. You had also been on the same bus with her once. What do you have to say for yourself?”
“Your honour, it was a public event and anyone could have been anywhere, the Bus is also a city transit and so anyone can be on a bus. I never tried to assault her, I noticed that she was scared, so I tried to pull her back to prevent her from running away and probably end up with the wrong guys. I was trying to defend her, not hurt her.”
“Why take special interest in defending Ms. Williams?”
Daniel sighed. “There was no special interest your honour. I saw a lady walking away in the dark, it was only logical that I followed.”
“There is nothing logical about following a lady walking away from a public event in the dark. She could have been tired of the event and have decided to leave. Be specific Mr Daniel, Why did you follow Ms. Williams?”
Daniel swallowed. I noticed how nervous he was, and I started to get uneasy with the trial. “No reason in particular.” He replied.
“Ms. Williams, what do you have to say about this?” the judge asked.
I rose to my feet. “I can’t say for sure that Daniel is a stalker, but I am not comfortable around him.”
“And you Mr Ade-Cole?”
Dare stood. “You are in the best position to give a verdict your honour, but Ms Williams isn’t comfortable with this man, and I had to rescue her from him on one occasion.”
“After all that has been said, this is my verdict, a restraining order is granted on Mr Daniel Obi, you are not to be found within 100 metres of Ms. Williams in walking space. Case closed!” The judge rose.
A policeman escorted Dare and I out of the building so as to ensure the 100 metres distance from Daniel.
“I hope this is safe.” The Policeman said.
Dare nodded in agreement. “The guy can’t be trusted, I think things are better this way. Or what do you say Darlene?”
“It’s fine.” I replied, squinting my eye balls trying to locate Daniel and another Police Officer afar off.
Dare motioned towards the car. “Shall we?”
“Yes please.” I replied, following him to the Car. He opened the door for me and shut it gently after me.
“So, are you all set for tomorrow?” he asked, as he started the engine.
I nodded. “I am.”
“I hope you don’t mind if I drop you off at the next stop, I have to be somewhere depressing, not sure you might want to come along.”
I shrugged. “I don’t mind if you drop me off at the next stop, but I won’t be reluctant to see your son’s grave.”
Dare pulled the brakes so hard that I almost hit my head on the dash board.
“Am sorry.” He said.
Honks pressed violently behind us. Dare pulled over at the side. “I’ll be right back.” He said. He apologized to some angry men who had bumped into each other when he suddenly pulled the break. The apology was quickly accepted when Dare tendered his Business Card to the men. The Power of wealth.
“How did you know about my son?” he asked as he shut the door.
“The Picture, and the papers.”
Dare buried his head in his hands. By the time he lifted his face, he was in tears.
“Dare, I am so sorry. I never meant to hurt you with it.” I said, almost trembling in fear.
Paul, for me, seemed to be the only man that could cry. Here was a Dare shedding tears of his late son’s death before me.
“He was only five years old.” He struggled to say amidst tears. “I killed him.” He said as he wailed.
I was scared. I got down and turned to his side. “Dare, let me drive.” I said in a shaky voice. I was sure that I couldn’t drive, but I wasn’t ready to allow him in his state.
“No, I will be fine. Let’s just pick up some flowers and we’ll be on our way to the Cemetery.” He said, cleaning his face.
“Dare, let’s call a cab. You are not doing fine.” I pleaded.
He shook his head in disagreement. “Please Darlene; don’t make this harder for me. Let’s go.”
We arrived at Ikoyi Cemetery later. We stood before Tobi Ade-Cole’s graveyard. Dare dropped the flowers he had bought, I also dropped mine. I watched him whisper something indistinct to his grave.
“Tobi, I am sorry.” He started in tears.
I patted him lightly on the back. “It’s okay Dare. Let’s go, we can talk about this.”
“He was only five.” He said, as he rubbed the grave. “I had promised to pick Tobi up after school, but within the day, Reina and I got into a very heated argument and I decided not to pick Tobi up. I told her to do it.” He said as he sobbed. “Reina was just learning to drive; I should never have acted that irresponsible.”
“Oh my God!” I exclaimed as I dropped on my knees beside him.
Dare wiped his face. “Reina had an accident. Tobi couldn’t survive.” Dare broke down in tears. “Reina has never forgiven me. I can’t even forgive myself. The boy was so little; he didn’t deserve to be caught up in our mess.”
“I am so sorry.” I said, as I wiped a tear that dropped from my eyes. “It’s not your fault. It was meant to be.”
Dare laughed in spite of himself. “Are you saying that Tobi was meant to die? Tobi died because I didn’t pick him up from school. That was entirely my fault. I am responsible for Tobi.”
I don’t know if I will ever be a good mother, I stared at Dare as he spoke about his late son. I felt so much blood rush within me. “Dare, forgive yourself first. Tobi has forgiven you.”
“How can you tell? I still miss him.”
I nodded my head. “It’s okay to miss him. I still miss my mom from over 20 years, and I never really knew her, yet I used to feel responsible for her death, until Jake told me some truth. If she could see me, she will never be happy that I still weep over her. Same with Tobi, he is in a better place, and he wants you to be happy for him.”
“How can I be happy Darlene? Reina and I had a very horrible relationship afterwards, until we finally broke up. She hated me, and I bet she still does.”
I sighed. ‘The Reina Sermon’ I thought. “Everyone can be hit by pain; you also feel the pain of Tobi’s loss. Don’t make yourself look like the Villain here. God gives, and God takes.”
We returned to the car some minutes later. We waited in the car listening to some Rock Music by BLINK 182 before Dare started the car. I felt it was safe for us not to drive off instantly, not sure I was ready to be buried soon.
“Thanks for coming with me Darlene.” Dare said, as he parked. “I could never have been better without you there. I am grateful.”
I smiled faintly. “You are welcome. I think you take the day off, so as to be in proper shape for tomorrow.”
“Now you are going Boss on me.” He joked. “I’ll pass though, I have to be here to ensure that everything is all set for tomorrow.”
I returned to my office. “Hi Bola, did anyone come looking for me?” I asked.
“You have an envelope from the Post office.” She said, stretching out the envelope.
I opened it carefully. It read: “You are cordially invited to the Holy Matrimony between Paul Davis and Marie Branson.” I hissed. ‘What was Paul thinking?’ Did he expect me to make his wedding? I guess he wanted to rub it in my face that he was getting married. “I can’t be bothered.” I yelled.
“Is there a problem Darlene?” Bola asked.
“No.” I replied, and returned to my office. I tore the card to shreds as soon as I entered my office and disposed it into the thrash.
I had too many encounters in one day. I just discovered that Dare used to be a father, and now Paul is getting married. Where are the men in town anyways? How was Dora planning to hook me up? Are there single men anymore?