He sat facing her, gently kissing her forehead, nose and lips. Since their lives took a new turn months ago, this was the first time he was actually spending time with his wife, waking up next to her and thinking again about the divorce and how much they could do without it.
Last night had been very intense for them both but her apology had somehow touched him and here they were the next morning.
Kofoworola smiled at her husband and once again, they shared a passionate kiss. They had made love countless times the night before and now she wanted it again.
Wanted to share more moments with him. He was back to her just as she wanted it. Things were looking good again.
Their moment of bliss was suddenly interrupted by the constant knock on their door. It wasn’t soft or the usual – it was loud and demanding.
Akin, sensing something might be wrong, threw a shirt on and headed for the door.
When he opened it, he saw the maid at the door, a look of fear in her eyes.
Something was certainly wrong.
“Policemen. They are downstairs”
And those words immediately changed what seemed like a perfect morning. Before he knew it, they asked for his wife, dragged her out of the house like a criminal without allowing her wear more than his oversized top and shorts she had slept in and hurled her into their van, which had been parked just outside the gate.
He wanted to ask what was wrong, what she’d done, what they thought they were doing. But he couldn’t. He just stood there, transfixed; too shocked to think or speak.
She yelled at them, clearly angry at how they were treating her but they only pushed her more and zoomed off before he could find words.
Korede arrived at the house and only then could he utter the words “the police just took my wife away”.
ONE HOUR LATER.
Korede, his brother in law and the Bucknor’s family lawyer, Ivie Smith sat opposite the DPO as the latter narrated to them what seemed so unclear.
“Malika Aliu disappeared from her home last night in a very suspicious way. Her door was forced open and her car was discovered close to Lagos Ibadan expressway with bloodstains. Some of her things were recovered but we fear she might be dead.”
Akin, stunned for the second time that morning hoped what he just heard was a joke.
Korede’s heart skipped several beats. Malika? Missing? Might be dead? How? He still saw her the night before. And why in God’s name was his sister being accused of this?
“Why was my sister arrested?” He asked without thinking.
“She was the last person who saw Malika last night. She called her last” the DPO responded.
“Mr DPO you know this isn’t enough evidence to lock an innocent woman up” it was Ivie speaking now.
“No. It isn’t. Except that there is a witness who walked in here and told us with very clear evidence.” The DPO replied
“And who is this person?” Korede asked. His heart was racing fast. He was worried about Malika, about his sister. What in the world was going on?
Before the DPO answered Akin faced Korede “but you were supposed to take care of Malika. Did you and your sister plan this?” He inquired
“Plan what? Why would we plan to kill someone?” Korede asked angrily. Was he being serious?
“Well you have planned enough silly and embarrassing things in the past, why would this be different?”
“Because someone’s life is involved! I won’t kill Malika, I’m in love with her!” Korede yelled. Ivie fearing that the unfolding situation might worsen their case decided to calm the two men.
“Please Mr Bucknor and Mr Kuti. Let’s take this outside”
Akin nodded as he held his brother in law’s gaze.
“For someone who you’ve been married to for sixteen years, shouldn’t you know how dearly she holds human life?” Korede asked his brother in law.
“I would have remembered that if you didn’t just lie to my face that you love Malika after all you did to her” Akin snapped.
“But I love her. And I don’t need to prove that to you, but it is the sincere truth”
And Akin knew deep inside that it was the plain, undiluted truth.
“Gentlemen, outside please” Ivie said calmly but sternly.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Malika wasn’t sure why she was agreeing to the countless weekly dates with Korede Kuti but she sensed it was something that had to do with the fact that she liked spending time with him, the fact that he made her laugh effortlessly, the fact that he was the sweetest man she’d ever met and most importantly, the fact that he went out of his way to defend her to the public that she wasn’t the bitch they had termed her to be.
She remembered the video he’d sent out to major blogs and posted on various social media. He’d stood up for her, even when she hadn’t known why.
He was her hero …silly but true.
She checked her reflection in the mirror for the fourth time and smiled at what she saw. She looked good and she knew Korede would love it.
They visited an African restaurant in Zest Ville. Korede had informed her about the place the night before and he said it belonged to a friend. She’d just opened and it was a very nice place. Now, tasting their food, Malika couldn’t agree more. It was fantastic. Negho African dishes was the best place ever!
As usual he’d made her laugh, until the girl from the disastrous dinner night had shown up.
“Chisom” he’d called when he sighted her. Malika noticed she was in company of Korede’s friend Ebuka.
Chisom had eyed her with contempt and barely acknowledged Korede’s greeting. Malika knew Chisom wasn’t exactly happy, but she shrugged off the feeling that it had to do with her.
Korede had asked Chisom and Ebuka to join their table and Malika sensed Chisom didn’t want that but she agreed to anyway.
The men chatted away while Malika and Chisom barely spoke a word, Korede had put his arms around Malika possessively and Chisom didn’t take it well, Malika could see that in the venomous glance she sent her way.
When Malika felt like she needed to pee, she was grateful. She needed an escape route out of the place anyway and needed to breathe somewhere she wasn’t disliked.
Korede had followed her much to Chisom’s disappointment.
“You are following me to the restroom!” Malika had said laughing and Korede had nodded saying he wanted nothing to go wrong with her.
She liked the overprotective thing he had going on. Nobody had done that for her. And she liked that he was spontaneous too. They’d done enough things without thinking in the past weeks and she’d felt like a child again, only now she was having fun the way she never had.
And she found herself enjoying it, losing herself in it and forgetting the world around her. The world that involved the Bucknors and their issues.
When she opened the door to the toilet she asked him “ever had sex in the toilet?”
He grinned and said no. Then she dragged him in and shut the door.
“I’m about to change that” she said and allowed him access to her body.
When they returned to the table, Kofo and Akin were around.
The duo seemed to be spending more time with each other since her and Korede got close and she felt relieved.
Relieved that the feelings she felt she had for Akin were fake and that they could get over their differences, thereby letting her be.
However, the night took a different turn as Chisom spat “you can get it anywhere can’t you? Public places, with people’s husbands, boyfriends?”
“Excuse me?” Malika had asked, feeling insulted
“Oh don’t play dumb. I’m sure you just screwed Korede. Slut”
And Malika had been embarrassed. What was it with Chisom? Why was she acting like Korede was hers? Wait…did they have a past? But Korede never mentioned that. She turned to face him.
“And he is using you. Only you can’t see that. You aren’t only a slut, you are a dumb one. Can’t you see what Kofo is doing? Making her brother use you so you can back the hell off?” Chisom continued and Malika felt hurt.
She had been foolish again. But maybe Chisom was lying. She looked at Korede, waiting for a response.
Korede faced his sister; he was shocked. To start with, he didn’t know why Kofo and Akin had shown up at Negho African Dishes, he didn’t know if it was pure coincidence like he’d thought Chisom and Ebuka’s visit was or if it was Kofo playing her games again.
He wanted answers. And he hoped Kofo hadn’t said a word because he had made her promise not to.
“You deserve this though. You really do” Kofo said icily.
Malika faced the man she just made love to, her eyes burning with tears “this isn’t real is it?” She asked Korede.
And before he could speak she stood up and grabbed her purse.
“How could you? I thought…I thought you were the only good one but…how dare you?” She asked as tears rolled down her eyes.
This was it. She was heartbroken, hurt and beyond pained.
They could have their lives – their Zestville; their everything.
She was done. She was leaving.
She ran out of the restaurant.
Kofo faced her lawyer now, hoping it would all go away. She’d not meant to do it. She only did it because she felt she had a lot to protect. That Malika was taking everything away from her.
But she hadn’t meant to hurt her.
“They say they have a witness Kofo” Ivie said to her.
“They do” Kofo’s heart skipped several beats. “Who is it?”