rang once before it was picked.
“I have been expecting your call, Bintu. I take it that you watched the news, since you are calling back,” Jamila said amiably.
“Madam, this is Rasheed Sanda, SAN,” Rasheed said, trying his best to sound impressive.
“Barrister, I thought I would be speaking with Bintu. Good morning to you,” Jamila said.
Rasheed responded “I wish I could say good morning, but unfortunately, it isn’t. You know that this illegality of an arrest you have concocted and that we will fight you with all that we have if you dare…”
Jamila cut him short “Oh, Rasheed, cut the prattle. We both know what this is about. It isn’t about legality, or you would not have taken away the livelihood of my in-law and threatened to do the same to his wife. It was about power, and vindictive vengeance. So do not tell me about legality now that you taste a dose of your own medicine. Look, if this is what you want to say, I have nothing to say to you. Now good day, Mr.”
“An an, Madam, it’s not like that now” Rasheed said, trying to be conciliatory. “I’m just worried about my brother ni.”
Bintu eyed Rasheed with venom. Why the hell was he begging this woman.
“Your brother will be released temporarily in about an hour. Now, if as much as a hair on Awazi and her husband get hurt by any action or otherwise from you, I’m hurling him in. and I’m sure you know I can hurl you in, and legally too. I don’t have to tell you I mean this.”
“So Arinze will be released today?” Rasheed asked to be sure.
“Stay by your phone, I’m sure he will have a few things to say to you when he gets out. Now, for the second time, good day, Barrister Sanda.”
Once Bintu saw that the call was ended, she said to the lawyer “haba, we gave you phone to handle the issue, you were begging like a student with his headmaster.”
“Woman, shut your mouth, gbe enu e soun. You think I don’t know what I am doing? Let us first get Arinze out of this. All of them, abowaba no oro won (we will return to their matter after that is sorted).
Awazi slammed the phone on the couch in anger. “Derin!” She thought. “DERIN” the thought tore through the seams her mind.
“I know what I’m going to do,” she said out aloud. He wanted this? Then that was just what he was going to get. She went into the room and got dressed. Her car was yet to be fixed, so she simply called a cab.
It took the cab a mere twenty minutes to get to Omole Phase 2 since the Lagos roads were free of traffic on this Sunday morning.
All through the trip, Awazi kept muttering to herself and at some point the cab driver had to ask “madam, hope all is well.” Her cold “please face the road,” warned the guy not to meddle any further in this passenger’s business.
The gate looked very different in daylight but she remembered the smaller wicket gate that she had gone through the night before and so let herself into the compound. Apparently, that gate was not locked during the day. That also told her that there was someone in the house. She saw the familiar car parked in the compound, and the sight of it strengthened her resolve.
But then, she got to the door, and stood before it. The sight of the door drained her of that resolve. Knocking on this door meant she was crossing a point of no return. Her hands trembled and she began sweating.
The door opened and Samir stood before her in nothing but shorts. He eyed her with raw lust from head to toe and then asked “were you going to just walk to my door and turn away?”
The sight of him and the way he looked at her caused her blood to race. A sense of guilt tried to creep into her heart, but she pushed it back with an effort, reminding herself that Derin had done this with Ope yesterday, and then left her in the house today to run back into her arms. She pushed Samir lightly back into the house, startling him.
“First, you are going to shut up Samir. I’m doing this for me. Do not annoy me with your jabber.”
With that, she undid the bow at the shoulder of the satin dress she was wearing and it slid off her shoulders without any help. She stood naked before Samir. A bulge rapidly formed in his shorts, but he stood there, immobile, disbelieving that this was really happening until she said “are you just going to stand there and stare, Fulani boy?”
He didn’t need a second invitation. He went over and kissed her hungrily, as if to satiate the many years of hunger. This time, unlike yesterday night, there was no resistance on her part. Her hands reached for his shorts and yanked them down, freeing his erection totally.
Arinze stepped out of the Ikoyi office of the EFCC. They had detained him for only an hour and from the amount of journalists and photographers on hand, he had guessed it was all staged for the benefit of the press, for the public who condemned people as corrupt by what they saw on TV and read in the papers. So substantial damage had been done already to his public image.
They had actually treated him with courtesy once the photographers were gone. They took his handcuffs off, and then the small man who had chaperoned him since the arrest ushered him into an office where he had spoken quietly
“Mr. Kilanko, do you know why we brought you in?” the man had said.
“You are the ones that came to bring me in, so you tell me,” Arinze had retorted.
“Very well,” the man had answered, with a smile tugging at the corners of his small lips. “I am not going to beat about the bush. You are victimizing a poor boy whom you think has no one. Derin Banwo. I’m certain you are familiar with the name.”
“What? How is Derin involved with this? Not any of the other importers? How can this be about Derin?”
“Oga, I cannot categorically tell you how, but I’ve been told to tell you that you and your cohorts at Omega Hospital had better stopped the witch-hunting of Mr. Banwo and his wife Awazi for the reasons you know, otherwise, you will be coming back to EFCC and your visit will definitely not be as pleasant as this one. And we both know that we can make this happen. The activists will feast on you.”
Arinze knew that even if the EFCC brought charges against him, he could wriggle out of it if he spent enough money. But the battle would be messy and the money would be much. He didn’t need all of that.
When they released him, they had made sure it was through a side exit, with no press.
Rasheed’s phone rang and when he checked the caller ID, he heaved a sigh of relief. It was Arinze.
“Omo Ibo, thank God you o, we saw what happened on the news…”
“Rasheed, don’t omo Ibo me, please! What kind of thing is all this that you have gotten me into sef? You know how delicate times like this are for my business, with all the subsidy report boys running up and down, and you drag me into an issue that has brought the EFCC on me, publicly! You want to ruin me abi? Wo, I just said I should call you to let you know that you better leave that boy alone, for your own good. And don’t call me on this Derin matter again!”
“Ah ah, Kilanko, ko to be, it hasn’t reached all this now,” Rasheed said.
“Ko to kini? E no reach wetin? Wo, if you were not my brother ni, this conversation would not have gone like this. Do you have any idea how much I will have to spend on PR to clean this mess up and assure my partners both foreign and local that all is well? The kind of money I will spend on this en, you cannot understand.”
“What are you trying to say Kilanko? You better watch your proud tongue. Me I cannot understand money? No matter the clothes a child has, he cannot have as much rags as his elders!”
Arinze snorted. “Abegi, I have sha said my own. Don’t talk to me on this your Derin matter again! O dabo.”
With that, he cut the call.
“This one that we took from the gutter, see as he is now talking to we, the real owners of the house. It is not his fault, it is me that needed his help. It is my yam that has put my hand in the oil.”
He had stepped into the lobby to receive the call and when he re-entered the doctor’s ward, he couldn’t recognize it as where he had just left minutes ago.
Different medical personnel were hunched over him, and others were running helter-skelter.
“What is happening here,” he asked no one in particular. None of them took any notice of him, they just kept at what they had been doing. He did a quick scan of the room and saw Bintu in a corner.
He weaved through the bodies and made his way to her side with some effort. “What is happening here?” he repeated, now to Bintu.
As an answer, Bintu pointed to the ICU monitor. The green lines on its screen that had been an irregular up and down pattern had become a flat line.
Awazi had enjoyed the sex with Samir much more than she thought she could. It must have more to do with the way she channeled all her anger into energy. Now, she lay on the couch though, the nagging sense of guilt was beginning to gnaw at the edges of her mind again.
She reached into her bag and pulled out her phone. It had three missed calls. She selected the View option and the phone displayed the missed calls after a few seconds of the annoying rotating bb hanging clock. Something was not right. The phone told her that the missed calls were from her. But the more she looked at it, the less it made any sense to her. How could she have called herself? But as real as the couch she was lounging on, the number whose call she had missed was hers. The guilt began to gnaw deeper and translate into dread.
She quickly went to the home page and typed “SAM” expecting Samir’s number to pop up, but it didn’t. only a Samuel came up.
She recalled that she had not dialed Derin’s number when Ope had picked his call earlier; she had used her speed dial. She held down three on the phone to speed dial. Immediately, the caller ID showed on the screen. Ope. The truth was obvious to her, from the moment she had seen the missed call, but she had struggled and hoped it wasn’t. In her anger at home, she had not realized that Derin had picked her phone when leaving, thinking it was his own. And she had simply dialed Ope from Derin’s phone, thinking she was dialing Derin from her phone.
“Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!” she screamed in anguish, sending Samir running in from the bathroom.
Agatha rushed into the ward where they had told her she would find both Bintu and the lawyer. She sensed something was amiss when she got there and saw the crowd. Derin had called her to tell her what had happened yesterday night and she knew she had to see these people today, before things got out of hand. These Ibadan lawyers were known to fight both in the physical and by spiritual means. She didn’t want any strange things happening to Derin.
She asked one of the nurses if the lawyer was there and the breathless young lady pointed towards where she saw his grey head. She called out “Mr. Sanda,” in a loud enough voice for him to hear above the din.
Surprise registered in his eyes when he saw her, but he made his way out of the room to her. Agatha saw that Bintu had followed him out – the hawk.
“Mr. Sanda, sorry to bother you, it seems I have come at an inopportune time. Can we talk somewhere?”
“Sure,” Rasheed said, and led them towards the conference room.
Once they were inside and the door shut, Agatha fell on her knees and began to plead
“Please leave my son alone. You have taken his job already, but please, let it not be more than his job. It is not every chicken that turns over our medicine that we break their eggs because we ourselves might need those eggs in future. I beg of you.”
“Madam, your son didn’t tell you that your in-laws have fought for him abi. His wife’s aunty our own person arrested this morning. Please get up and stop these crocodile tears here,” Bintu said harshly.
That was news to Agatha. She hadn’t suspected there was any issue between Derin and his wife, since he had called her with Awazi’s number, but with this news, she couldn’t help but wonder what was going on with her son and his wife. She quickly got up.
“Sorry about your person o, I did not know at all,” she said, more to the doctor, for fear that if he felt backed to a wall, he would attack Derin with diabolical means.
“Agatha, Dr. Ajanaku just passed on, a few minutes before you came in.
“Wow. I’m so so sorry,” Agatha managed to say.
The tears were flowing from Bintu’s eyes now.
“Well, he requested that his will be read as soon as he passed on, since he survived his wife and first son. He had assumed that Hakeem would be the only audience I would read it to.” Rasheed said.
“I should be on my way sir,” Agatha said to Rasheed, and began to gather herself together to leave.
“Actually, you should not be going anywhere. The doctor specifically requested that you should be at the reading of his will, in the event that he passed on while this case was on.”
“He did?” Agatha and Bintu asked simultaneously.
“Yes, and there is a copy of that will in his office, sealed by the police. But we will get in to retrieve and read it, here and now.”