“Babe calm down, I was going to tell you. I have not had the chance to tell you just yet. I was trying to tell you when Mr. Samir picked up yesterday” Derin said, trying to placate her.
“Tell me which exactly, Derin? That you were jobless, or that you had hurled your jobless ass into bed with that witch all night?” Awazi was on a roll now.
“If you had picked that call, none of this would have happened!” Derin said in a voice he wanted to thunder but didn’t quite turn out that way. Her words stung.
“Listen to yourself Mr. Banwo! You are saying in essence, that the reason you were fucking Ope yesterday night was because your wife didn’t pick your call. So you go around sleeping with someone each time your wife does not take your call? And by extension, should your wife have a quickie each time she calls and cannot reach you?” Awazi responded contemptuously.
“Awazi, stop talking nonsense! I did not sleep with Ope yesterday! No, I didn’t!”
“Ow, she was merely camping in your room all through the night perhaps?” Awazi shouted.
“Madam, if we follow your logic, that by being in my room yesterday, Ope was shagging me, then, by being in Samir’s house yesterday, you were definitely humping him!”
“Oh puleasa! You as usual like to turn logic on its head. It was obvious I wasn’t doing anything with Samir and you know it! And everything you’ve said right now confirms that you were actually… damn!”
Derin turned around “You know what, this is not what I came home to hear.” He picked his key and went towards the door.
“Derin where are you going? We are still talking!” She raced to his side and held him back.
“Awazi, you will leave me alone this minute!” Derin bellowed.
Awazi refused to, maneuvering to face him and standing between him and the door.
“You are not going anywhere until you tell me what you were doing with that bitch yesterday night!” Awazi shouted, nostrils flaring.
“As much as you are attempting to draw out some physical response from me, I will not descend to pushing you out of the way. I have never hit you and today will not be the first time I’m going to.” Derin tried to free himself from Awazi’s grip and turn into the house, but she held on firm.
“Awazi, let me go!” he said forcefully, but she refused to.
“I said,” he forcefully disengaged himself from her grip and sent her reeling backwards “let me go!”
Immediately she fell, Derin felt a wave of sremorse wash all over him. He knelt beside her “Awazi, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…”
Through teary eyes, she just gave him the “talk to the hand” and gathered herself up and went into the living room, leaving him kneeling.
He quickly got up and followed her into the living room.
“Awazi, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” he tried to go over and hold her but she got up and went to another end of the room, moving as he followed her around. She put the L-shaped couch in between them.
“How could you, Derin? How could you!” she shouted from behind the couch that separated them.
Derin knew she was asking both about him shoving her, and about Ope in that question. He just kept saying he was sorry, trying to get to her. But try as he did, she made sure the couch was always between them.
She had gotten herself to the door of the bedroom, and still had a couch between them. She gave him a look that pierced his heart and then dashed into the room and locked the door behind her before he could climb over the couch to go in.
He banged on the door repeatedly, but Awazi didn’t respond. Derin crumpled into a sitting position in front of the door.
Inside the room, a crying Awazi dialed Aunty Jamila. The moment Jamila picked the phone on the other end and heard Awazi’s sobs, she knew something was seriously wrong.
“Aunty, my home is falling apart all around me, and I’m clutching for straws. Every other issue we’ve had, I at least had Derin on my side. But this time, it is different. Derin is outside the bedroom and I’m inside. I locked myself in.” Awazi said.
“Calm down and tell me what is going on,” Jamila responded, wondering why her niece would lock herself in except she was under some threat. If that Derin was beating her en. She tried to hide the alarm in her voice.
“Aunty, I did as you asked and went to show Derin support in Ibadan over that court case. It turned out to be a disaster. When I found out that the doctor that killed Isaac was a drug addict, I lost it and went ballistic on him. Before then, Derin had agreed with me to drop the case. But that witch of a lawyer manipulated him using that incident and he decided to pursue the case, even if it meant digging Isaac up for autopsy. I mean how could he agree to anything that would involve violating Isaac like that? I left in anger.” She sniffed
“Go on,” Jamila urged.
“My car broke down at 11PM and I was stranded. I called everyone, but couldn’t get through. I had to call Samir.”
“Which Samir is this?” Jamila asked, trying not to believe it was who she thought it was.
“The same Samir Aunty,” Awazi said.
“The Fulani boy, Awazi! Haba, of all the people under God’s heaven, it had to be him, and at that time?” Jamila said.
“Aunty I had no choice!” Awazi said in exasperation.
“Okay, I’m listening. What now happened?” Jamila knew better than to stifle the flow
Awazi continued “he dragged my car to his house and I went in, just to rest till I could go home…”
“Kai Awazi, you went to another man’s house at that time!” Jamila could not help herself.
“Aunty, where should I have gone? Stayed on the road? Waited for Derin who was in another woman’s arms to finish with her and come for me from Ibadan?”
Jamila wasn’t sure she had heard right “Derin was in which other woman’s arms?”
“That his lawyer. That Ope, the same woman he went to when we had those issues. He accuses me of calling Samir in desperate need, but he chose Ope as lawyer when he wasn’t desperate and went on to sleep with her.”
“Awazi, are you sure about what you are saying or this your hot body is what is talking?”
“Bintu told me, and when I confronted him, he could not deny it.”
“Who is this Bintu?” Jamila queried
“Aunty, she is the doctor that owns the hospital’s second in command. The drug addict younger doctor I told you about committed suicide and his father, the old doctor that owns the place had a stroke as a result. Now they’re blaming us for it and they are out for revenge. Their lawyer is Derin’s oga’s brother and they have made Derin lose his job. She called me this evening to tell me about all that happened, since Derin did not tell me himself. And she threatened to make me lose mine too, and continue to deal with us. Only if Derin had listened aunty. I’m just tired of all this,” she burst into tears.
“What! After they took Isaac from you, because they suffered loss now, she made your husband lose his job? And is threatening you? And you chose to believe this woman?” Jamila asked in quick succession.
“I didn’t believe her, but when I confronted my husband, he didn’t, couldn’t, deny it. He only accused me of doing the same with Samir.”
“How did he know you were with Samir? Did you tell him?” Jamila queried.
“No Aunty. It was that foolish Samir. Derin called my phone while I was in the loo in his house and he picked the phone and spoke with Derin.”
“What! How? And you expect your husband to be calm! Lagos has done something to you Awazi. Which Eggon man will allow that? He will be waiting for you with a machete”
“I explained…” Awazi said.
“You explained what? By going to accuse him of sleeping with another woman? Listen to yourself.”
“But aunty, I didn’t do anything wrong, and he did sleep with the woman!” Awazi felt herself getting angry again.
“I am coming to that your Lagos to talk sense into you tomorrow. But first, I need to deal with the fox and chase it away, before I chastise my chicken. You said this Bintu called you to threaten you.”
“Yes Aunty,” Awazi answered.
“Give me her number. I will deal with her myself.”
“I will text you her number now, once I get off the phone,” Awazi said.
“Good. Now, go and open the door and beg your husband!” Jamila ordered.
Awazi mumbled an inaudible response.
“I did not hear you,” Jamila pressed.
“Okay Aunty, I will do as you say,” Awazi said finally.
“Good. Now send me that number.”
“Nagode sose, aunty” Awazi said and ended the call.
She texted the number to Aunty Jamila and then walked gingerly to the door. This was going to be hard, but she would give it a shot.
When she opened the door, Derin was not there. She tore into the living room.
Bintu did not pick her phone at first. She was in no mood to talk to anyone. Since last night, she had eaten nothing, and she still hadn’t regained her appetite. She had camped in the hospital room where a visibly emaciated Doctor Ajanaku lay, watching him, and sobbing deep, quiet sobs. But the caller was persistent and she eventually picked it up the fourth time the call came in.
“Hello,” she said.
“Hello Bintu,” a female voice responded. It had a slight northern accent but spoke with authority.
“Yes, speaking. Who is this please?” Bintu responded.
“My name is Jamila and I am Awazi’s aunty. And let me be direct. I did not call to chat. You will stop threatening my niece.” Jamila spoke with measured tones.
“She has told you of our loss. After we pleaded and pleaded, they insisted on destroying us and they are on the verge of achieving this. Let them have a taste of their own medicine,” Bintu replied, in equally measured tones.
“They first experienced loss, a needless loss shall I say, and could be expected to be headstrong. They are children. And I’m sorry about your loss, I have heard about it. And the pound of flesh you’ve taken already in Derin’s job. That is not a problem, I will concede that to you, and we will get him another job. You must stop trying to destroy the family. If you touch my niece, you have no idea what I will bring against you.”
“She destroyed my own family, so why should I hands off hers?” Bintu asked
“Family? I thought it was your boss and his son that things happened to? How did that translate to family?” Jamila asked.
“Madam, what are you driving at?” Bintu queried.
“It’s just as I suspected. There’s more involved here than mere employee loyalty. You would not go to such extremes except there was something personal. Let me state the obvious – the doctor was your ‘family’” Jamila said with obvious meaning.
“I don’t have to listen to this,” Bintu said.
“Before you cut the call, let me tell you exactly what will happen. And you will hear the first one of these on the news if you tune in to the 10am bulletins. First, the EFCC will arrest that boss who took Derin’s job. You will hear it in the news. Second, I have personally reached the MD of her bank. Except there’s someone higher in that bank to sack her, you cannot touch her job. Third, if that your lawyer doesn’t want to end up being blamed for the death of that Hakeem boy, you will back down or we will find a way to make it a murder case with the lawyer as the prime suspect. Believe me I can make it happen. My full name is Jamila Shehu, the vice chairperson of the EFCC and a policewoman. I CAN make it happen, but will do so only if you persist. I wish for nothing more than for you to nurse your lover to health. Do not push me. Good morning Bintu.” The line went dead.
Bintu was visibly shaken, but she reasoned that it was a threat and anyone could say anything.
Rasheed came in, fresh from the night’s rest.
“How is he?” he asked.
“They say we have to fly him out on Monday. But he is stable now.”
“Better.” Rasheed tried to be cheery.
“One Jamila just called. She says she is Awazi’s aunty” Bintu said.
“We are not listening to any begging. I spoke with Arinze earlier this morning and he has given me his assurances. He will call the MD of the girl’s bank later today and make the demand. I will call him too and make a similar demand. The man will have to bend or we will begin to move funds out.”
“She did not call to beg,” Bintu said.
“Oh?” Rasheed raised his eyebrow, curious.
Bintu checked the time. It was ten o’ clock. She turned the small TV in the room on and tuned to Channels TV for the news. The lady was just about to start reading the headlines.
- – 20 killed in fresh attacks in Yobe by Boko Haram
- – The 2013 Budget yet to be signed as faceoff between the president and the National Assembly continues
- – EFCC arrests oil magnate, Arinze Kilanko over fuel subsidy probe report.
“What!” Rasheed exclaimed.
“She promised that this would happen and it has. Rasheed they’re fighting back.”
“What’s her name? Who is she?” Rasheed asked, obviously livid.
“She said her name is Jamila Shehu,” she responded.
“Jamila Shehu? Of the EFCC?” Rasheed inquired.
“Yes, she said she worked with the EFCC.”
“Haaaa! We are in trouble. What else did she say? That woman is not to be toyed with. She has the presidency’s ears. She said she’s the girl’s aunt?”
“Yes. She threatened you, the hospital, and myself,” a visibly shaken Bintu responded.
“We have to call her back. You still have her number, yes?” Rasheed said.
Awazi had checked everywhere in the house but Derin was nowhere to be found. She felt the anger rising again and she clenched her fist, counting to ten. “Awazi, calm down,” she said to herself, and took deep breaths. She had carried the fantasy of falling upon her grieving husband waiting to beg her outside the door and then begging him profusely until they both fell into each others’ arms crying their sorries until they ended up making sweet love. But all that greeted her was an empty house.
She dialed Derin’s number. And he had better answer this call.
The phone rang out the first time and she dialed again, angrily this time.
It was almost ringing out when someone picked it up. She was almost going to go into a tirade about why he had left and why it took him so long to pick but she breathed and calmed herself down. Her calm was shattered when a female voice said
Awazi answered furiously, “and who the hell are you picking my husband’s phone?”
“My name is Ope.”