The two women stared at each other for a very long time, neither saying a word and neither shifting her gaze.
It was obvious they had plenty of things to say to each other but none of them seemed willing to start.
After a while, Funlola sighed, “Okay, I will start. I think you are an annoying person and a self conceited bitch and a very selfish woman”
“I am not selfish Funlola…”
“Let me finish!”
Dede nodded, “Okay”. She motioned for her to continue with her hand, “go ahead”.
“You slept with my father… did you think that was just going to go away?”
Dede said nothing, she stared at her friend who raised an eyebrow.
“Am I allowed to talk now?” Dede asked.
“Of course that wasn’t a rhetoric”
Dede nodded. “Your father and I weren’t lovers, contrary to what you like to believe or think. Your father abused me like those girls were abused by their fathers and Uncles and trusted relatives”
“You weren’t being raped, were you? You consented to it didn’t you?”
“Yes I did but that was because I had no other choice. Where I was coming from, I was being abused by my own relative, wherever I went to, I was not loved and was being taken advantage of… I decided to enjoy it. I did not want to but it was the only way I could go through life without losing it”
Funlola scoffed. She looked away from Dede and stood up, creating space between them in the living room.
“Everyone thinks there is just one type of victim, the one who is helpless and who does not enjoy what he or she is being put through. But the thing is that is a better Victim to be. A victim who starts to accept the abuse she is going through is the one who needs more help.”
“Stop justifying your sick actions Adesuwa, its pathetic”
Dede did not say anything. She paused for a few minutes while she watched her friend who had taken her seat in another couch.
“Do you think you are a victim, Funlola?”
“Of you and my ex husband? Yes”
“Aren’t you a victim of your mother’s insensitivity and neglect? She never showed you love and she always pushed you away. She was never your mother and she never had time for you. In her world, you simply don’t exist.”
Funlola was listening to her and every word that was being said couldn’t be truer. She was a victim of her own family, a victim of neglect, a victim of an uncaring, unfeeling and insensitive mother.
“Funlola, I hate to break this to you but your parents are the first guys who made you a victim. They neglected you, pushed you away, made you perceive love wrongly and made you insecure that you felt the need to chase a man who simply didn’t love you enough. They created all the chaos in your world and just thrust you in to be the victim and unfortunately, you did not realize soon enough to fight… you did not…”
“Enough!” Funlola roared, her eyes were misty and it was not until she interrupted Dede that the latter realized her words had more impact than she intended it to.
Dede raced to her side and sat by her, Funlola moved away.
She had not been expecting the response she got. Yes, she had been expecting it years back but she did not think they were still at the stage where this response was still valid.
The slap she received made her pause in shock for the next few minutes.
“You think I did not realize all that?!” she asked, standing and pacing the room.
“You think my brain is slow and that never occurred to me? It did, you idiot! I watched those people treat me like dirt and like I was nonexistent and I knew deep down inside of me when I fell in love with Toni that he would never love me back. But I was not that woman, I have never been that woman. The woman whom you are and the woman whom I loved to be but didn’t find the strength to be!”
The tears flowed freely now, “And then I leaned on you for strength and you went to stab me in the back!”
“I’m sorry Funlola” and she truly was. She had been sorry for a long time and she had been hoping Funlola would forgive her, it was the one genuine thing she had hoped and wished for in a very long time.
“You were my strength Adesuwa, my only family and my best friend! You were the one who knew what to do and who made life easier to look at. I lived knowing you would always be there for me…”
“I am still here for you Funlola and I swear I would leave Toni if I had to do that.” Dede said silently, hoping she would take her seriously.
“Its not about Toni or my father, it is about the knife you drove through my chest when I trusted you. I trusted you Dede, I fucking trusted you!” there was no stopping the tears as they poured down her face like a heavy storm, Dede stood and walked closer to her friend, she held her gently and held her.
Funlola collapsed in her hands and cried buckets.
And that went on for a long time that day. Dede was grateful she had asked Toni to excuse them and leave them alone in his flat after Funlola had delivered the news of the pregnancy.
She had wanted to tell Funlola it would be okay but she did not think it would involve all of the emotions which she now witnessed and was a part of.
Yet, she was glad. She knew it was the first step towards recovery and healing. The first step towards making their friendship right again.
“I hate her, Adesuwa. I hate her. I did not realize that until recently but I just came to see that all the love I ever showed her she threw back in my face. I hate her.”
Dede knew who she was talking about and she just let her, because it was the only way she could heal and Dede had all the time to be there for her through that.
CJ DID NOT HAVE TIME FOR BULLSHIT. That was what his boys and the people who truly knew what he was capable of whispered around each other whenever he told them to get something done.
It was what he told his boys when he recruited them and the words he constantly spoke to enemies who dared to try him, he would smile, replace the smile with a frown and then in a calm Pete Edochie manner, he would refer to himself in the third person, “CJ does not have time for bullshit”
And to be honest, he did not.
He was a monster, one who nobody should mess with and one who gave an eye for an eye. Sometimes when he was really angry, he got two eyes for one eye.
He was that type of man.
He checked his phone and realized Funlola was not picking again, that irked him.
He had been trying to reach her since the day before to tell her about her mother’s plan to kill Dede and the fact that he was angry he had been hit in the process but he had not been able to get through.
Titi Williams was not his favourite person in the world, in fact, he preferred not to come in close contact with her when they were in their social circles and he liked to let her be on her own.
She was icy, unfeeling and cold.
To her, the world started and ended with her and nothing and nobody else mattered.
Even though he had a close relationship with her late husband, he and Titi had never been fans of each other. Never.
And she was a woman who was more than what people saw on the surface. She was evil, so evil that the word “evil” was not good enough to describe her.
She had gotten her hands dirty so many times and had been involved in many deals, which almost ruined her late husband’s life and everything he had ever worked for.
Nobody had been surprised when everything he owned went to his mistress and daughter after he passed.
He had left her nothing.
Not even a thank you note.
And it was no surprise that Titi had been bitter to find out about that. She had been in business with many people initially and it did not really get to her that she had lost a lot but when they all began to screw her over, she had gotten angry, bitter and blood thirsty.
Makun Bello had been one of the people she had dealt with and then had asked the confused assassins to go back and finish their job when she realized Dede had not been killed.
She hated Dede and it was no news but nobody knew she could go to the lengths she did.
CJ never liked her but he never had a problem with her until now, until her clueless assassins had channeled their bullets his way instead of Dede’s way.
And she was going to pay and not with cash, with blood. Plenty of it.
But first, he had to tell her daughter what she had done before he took his revenge. He owed her that.
He dialed her number again, this time she picked.
“CJ” he heard her soft voice say from the other end of the line and the initial anger he felt disappeared momentarily. He had a soft spot for Funlola and even though she had never wanted to have a serious affair with him, he knew she would always have his heart and he would never hurt her. And that was why he was telling her what his mother had done before he took any action. Usually, he would just go ahead and finish Titi Williams.
“I need to see you” he said to her and he heard her begin to object immediately. “It is very important Funlola” he added, leaving her no room to object. “Your mother has been the one trying to kill Dede”
Funlola paused for a few minutes, apparently allowing the news to sink in and then she laughed for a long period. “But how can that be possible na CJ? Kunle Bifarin owned up to this. Besides, my mother might be capable of a lot of silly things but I don’t think murder is one of those things she can actually do”
“Listen, Kunle Bifarin was an idiot trying to scare Dede away and he knew about the attempts on her life and used it as a weapon just so she can back off. I am telling you categorically that the idiot knew nothing about it and it has been your mother all along.”
Funlola gasped, “that woman” she whispered.
“Funlola what do you want me to do?”
She did not respond, not for the next few minutes and he asked her again, “Funlola what do you want me to do?”
“Please let me call you back CJ” she said and hung up.
He nodded, for her he would wait a little more time.
DEDE HAD BEEN SITTING INSIDE THE TUB FOR TWO HOURS, her mind had been everywhere but it had always come to rest on the same person, Titi Williams.
She had hurt the woman, taken away everything her husband owned and left her nothing, so it was understandable why she hated her so bad. But was it enough to want to have her killed?
She was not sure.
She remembered the threats that had been made on her life right from the very beginning and it was still hard for her to believe it was Titi Williams who had been behind it all.
She decided she would pay her a visit, pay her a visit and face the demon herself.
TITI WILLIAMS EYED HER WITH A DESPICABLE LOOK IN HER EYES, she hissed and said to her, “You have the nerve to walk into my home and ask a ridiculous question from me though? You are my maid and nothing more and I don’t have intentions of answering any question from you”
“Not even if I ask what I did for you to decide to kill me?”
A brief look of shock flashed through Titi’s face but it quickly went away, before Dede could see it. The older woman would not be caught pants down with anything.
“All the while I thought it was someone else and at no point did I ever think you would try to kill me.”
“You thought wrong” she said simply, feeling no remorse whatsoever.
“What did I ever do wrong?”
“Asides from sleeping with my husband and taking everything he owned from me?”
“But that wasn’t my fault”
Titi scoffed, “it was not your fault but you enjoyed it” she shook her head, “You were not his only mistress, he kept so many of you and chased everything in skirt and you were certainly not the only one but he chose you to mess with me. He knew it would hurt if he picked the girl who was beneath me and who was my maid more than him picking some other woman who was doing well by herself. He chose you not because he loved you but to punish me every day of my life after he was gone”
Dede had never been deluded to believe Chief Williams loved her and she had searched for answers as to why he left her a large part of his wealth when he died. She had never thought of this reason but now as the woman uttered the words and she remembered that afternoon when he made love to her and told her he would give her all he owned, it made a whole lot of sense to her.
He had picked her to punish his wife for whatever crime she committed.
Dede stood up, whatever reason she was here was done. Not like she expected Titi Williams to fall at her feet and beg, but she also did not expect her to put it in her face this way.
“I am sorry for the pain I caused you” Dede muttered.
“Oh no you are not sorry, you will be when I kill you” she stood, “It is a miracle you still breathe child and maybe God has been helping you all this while but trust me, I intend to kill you soon. Your mere existence irritates me”
Dede’s heart skipped a beat, somehow, she knew she was in more trouble than she had ever been.
CJ WATCHED AS TONI PACED THE ROOM, he dragged his gaze to Funlola who seemed restless and very uneasy. Dede was resting on a chaise lounge in the room, she ignored the other three and acted like she was not bothered by anything going on in the room.
“I say let us arrest this woman and end all of these right now” Toni roared
“I say let us kill her” CJ said, his gaze still on Funlola
“I say let us leave her alone while she enjoys herself” Dede said nonchalantly and the whole room gaped at her.
“She tried to kill you Dede” Toni said, surprised.
“And she tried to kill me while trying to kill you” CJ added.
Dede shrugged, “Titi Williams has always gotten away with whatever she wants, why can’t she get away with this?” she asked, facing the trio that were staring at her in undeniable shock.
“Young lady, you might have a death wish but I do not let people mess with me and get away with it.” CJ said and faced Funlola, “No offence honey, but I think you should start pricing coffins”
Funlola was indifferent, her mother had done the worst and at the point she was at presently, she did not care what happened to her.
CJ’s phone rang, he picked it up and listened to the caller on the other end of the line.
After a while, he said, “Okey, I need you to repeat everything you just said” then he placed the phone on speaker.
“Boss, Titi Williams was killed about an hour ago. It was brutal, her brains were scattered all over the floor, it was by one of our guys, he heard what she did to you and took it upon himself to silence her”
The whole room fell silent.
“I think I might need the coffin now” Funlola said to CJ.
The whole room fell silent after then and nothing else was said by any of them.