CJ spoke in hush tones on the phone, trying not to raise his voice as he rebuked the boy that had taken it upon himself to silence Titi Williams as a favour to him.
“Banjo, let me always give you orders before you go ahead with them na. And if you insist on giving me present, ask me first before you do it…”
He seemed angry and whatever the person on the other end of the line had said to him seemed to anger him more, because his next response was “Shut up and see me now!”
After then, the rest of his statement was lost on Funlola. She just lay there, her eyes on the ceiling, her arms folded beneath her breasts and her mind far away from where she was.
Her mother was dead and she was not feeling a thing.
At her father’s burial, she had managed to shed a tear or two and then drank many bottles of liquor till day broke the next morning.
But with her mother, she felt nothing. Absolutely, nothing.
She was not sure if that was what she was supposed to feel or if it was the right way to feel. The woman was her mother only by birth, but in all sincerity, she was not real family.
“Funlola, are you okay?” she heard CJ’s voice. He was staring at her with concern in his eyes, Dede and Toni stood by him, each of them worried about her.
“All of you should leave me alone abeg” she said and before anyone of them could answer, she added “All of you should get out of this house now and don’t come back”
CJ looked around, “Funlola, I know you are shocked, but this is my house”
“I know” she replied, unmoved.
“I cannot just leave my house like that, I am expecting visitors”
“Go and receive your visitors elsewhere and leave this place” she snapped.
CJ was shocked, he looked at Dede and Toni who were equally surprised.
“Funlola…” Toni called but she was not letting him say a word more.
“I said go away. Ahn ahn, what is wrong with you people sef? Leave me alone!”
Dede and Toni nodded, CJ stood there, refusing to believe he had just been ordered out of his own house.
“Call us when you need anything. Please” Dede said and left the room. CJ was still staring at the woman in front of him in shock when Toni gently pulled him with him out of the house.
Funlola watched the door shut and she returned her gaze to the ceiling. Her thoughts returned to where it was before, the place where she was thinking what to feel about her dead mother.
CJ WAS GLARING AT THE STURDY MAN IN FRONT OF HIM, he looked angry and the way he was puffing, Toni knew war was about to begin.
“Baba, I did not know you were still waiting to strike. Me I owe you my whole life and that is why I silence that woman for you” the sturdy man said, his head lowered. He dared not look CJ in the face.
“I have told you boys, times without number that you should never take me by surprise. You should have waited for me to give you an order Banjo!” CJ yelled.
“Baba agbalagba, e mabinu. E joo. Tuale baba” Banjo saluted, still carefully avoiding CJ’s gaze.
“I don’t even know what to do to you. You and the other boys should go and clean the mess you created in that house up, carry her to the hospital and ensure this does not get to the police. Understood?”
Banjo nodded, he knew how that worked and he was no stranger to cleaning messes up.
“No wahala baba. I hope you are not vexing again?” he asked, flashing a smile. CJ eyed him.
“Do that quick and come back here in good time to escort these two home” he said pointing to Dede and Toni.
“Its okay CJ, we don’t need protection anymore. This is over” Toni said, he did not see why they needed protection when Dede’s chief enemy was dead.
“If you say so. But you are not leaving without having a drink with me in my guest house. Seeing as I have been thrown out of a house I built with my own hard earned money” he said, inviting them over for a drink they both knew they could not turn down.
Toni shrugged, he faced Dede, she did not seem to have a problem with the invitation. She wanted to be close to her only family, Funlola anyway.
“We can stay for drinks” Toni conceded and Dede followed them as Banjo assembled a few guys and headed out of the compound to clean up a mess he had created some hours before.
EHIME HAD BEEN WAITING OUTSIDE THE GATES FOR HOURS. He had strategically parked his car a few meters away from CJ’s mansion for one sole purpose; to be undiscovered.
He had a mission and he knew he could not dare to implement it around CJ’s house. If he dared it, he would be a good as dead and that was not his plan. His plan was to kill Toni this time without any single mistake and to take that little bitch away with him, out of the country.
He had planned it well this time, he had learnt how to shoot straight, how to kill with a knife like a Pro and how to inject Dede with an anesthetic that will ensure her unconscious state till they reached a safe place.
A place in the woods in faraway Kenya that he had prepared for them.
He dug his hands into the nylon with him and ravished another donut; his third in five minutes. He belched and finished the coke in the bottle he bought some minutes before. He looked around, he had to pee. He stepped out of the car and found a suitable spot to ease himself.
BANJO WAS NO STRANGER TO KEEPING MURDERS CLEAN, he had worked under CJ for years before going off on his own in Oshodi where he became a clean bus driver and even ran for the secretarial post in NURTW wing of Oshodi.
He had won and he had gained respect and had stayed away from the life of murder and assassination. However, one thing he never joked with was being messed with.
When he had served under CJ, it was one thing he admired the most about the man. CJ never let anybody go after they had messed with him and what endeared him more to the man was that, anybody he held close to his heart, he looked out for.
CJ had looked out for him twice and he had sworn by everything he believed in to give his life to him since then. And that was why he had silenced Titi Williams the moment word got out among the guys that she had tried to kill their boss.
CJ was angry at the moment but he knew he would get over it with time and would realize he was only helping out. He had come clean but he still had CJ’s back.
As they returned from cleaning up the Titi Williams’ mess, he noticed a figure entering a rickety car a few meters away from the house.
“Who is that one?” he asked, his brows creasing in a frown.
The other three guys that were with him looked in the direction he was facing.
“I no sabi am.” One of them said and looked away.
“What is he finding here at this time of the night?” Banjo asked, his frown had deepened.
“Pesin no fit piss again Banjo? E be like say you don turn Vampire for dat your Oshodi sef. This one man blood dey always thirst you.” The guy who had answered him earlier replied.
“Who is talking about blood now na Gboski? That guy enter his car how many minutes ago and he just sit there. Except the car faulty, I suspect he is a informant.”
“And me sef I don dey suspect you. Leave am abeg.” Gboski faced the driver. “Ogbeni horn for gateman make im open gate abi you wan dey follow Banjo dey look TV for hia?”
The driver listened to Gboski and alerted the gate man.
“I agree with Banjo, why hasn’t that guy moved? And I can swear I saw him there before we left!” one of the other guys said.
Gboski couldn’t be bothered. As long as he was concerned, whoever was there couldn’t walk into CJ’s compound anyhow and to him, that was all that mattered.
FUNLOLA SUCCOMBED TO THE TEARS AND COLLAPSED IN HIS ARMS, it had taken her the whole day to find what emotion she wanted to feel and now that she had, she could not control it.
She cried buckets as Toni held her and whispered to her that it would be okay. She held tight on to him as if scared of letting him go.
CJ faced Dede, “Should I have dinner prepared for you? It does not look like you would be leaving here soon.”
Dede shook her head and managed a smile, “No, CJ” she responded. She dragged her gaze away from the duo in front of her and faced CJ. She had told herself and Funlola that she could let Toni go if the need arose but now as she watched Funlola in his arms and battled the jealousy inside of her, she knew there was no way in the world she was ever letting him go.
She had deceived herself all her life that she was not in love with him, that the words he scribbled under pictures he drew of her as a child and sent to her did not matter to her, that the kiss they shared when she was eighteen and he was fifteen meant nothing, that the lovemaking at the back of his car on his wedding eve did not mean a thing but she knew right there and then that it was a lie. And Toni was one person she was never trading.
But she was willing to let Funlola have him that night. She needed him and she could have him.
Funlola needed to purge herself of all the emotions and it was the least Dede could do; give her all the support she needed and allow her to be in the arms of the person who mattered most to her.
“I will go home and have dinner” she added to CJ.
“Are you sure? It is very late.” He said, glancing at the wall clock closest to them in the large sitting room.
Dede nodded, she was very sure.
CJ shrugged. “I will tell one of my boys to follow you home then.”
Dede shook her head, “No CJ. There is no need for that. My enemy is dead, we both know that”
CJ nodded. “Since I have been allowed entrance into my own home by the benevolent Miss Williams, I will like to take a rest and have dinner. Who knows if she would kick me out again? I will need to be prepared for that one” he said and in spite of herself, Dede laughed.
When the laughter had died down, she faced him and held his hands, “Thank you CJ. For everything.” She said to him.
He placed a kiss on her forehead, “You are welcome honey. It has just been a few weeks and I feel like we have been in this together for a longer period. You are family now dear. By the way, thank you too for allowing me the opportunity to deal with Bifarin. By the time, the public is done humiliating him, then I will start my own campaign against his career. The boy is as good as dead”
Dede smiled, she did not need to imagine what lay ahead of Kunle Bifarin. He was in deep trouble. She told herself that his late wife and daughter would be happy knowing he was going to pay for his sins for a very long time to come.
“Good night darling” CJ said, placed another kiss on her head and left.
She glanced at Toni and Funlola, the barely acknowledged her and she decided it was a good time to leave.
Silently, she stepped out of the large sitting room into the massive compound and was immediately welcomed by the cold air outside.
It was time to go home.
EHIME STARTED THE ENGINE AS SOON AS HE SAW HER DRIVE OUT OF THE COMPOUND AND AFTER SHE HAD MOVED, HE FOLLOWED HER.
There was no way he was missing this opportunity again. He was going to give it his everything, he did not even care that she was alone and Toni might be coming later.
This was his time and nobody was messing with it.
HE WATCHED FOR A FEW MINUTES AFTER SHE HAD ENTERED HER COMPOUND, from where he sat in his car, he saw the lights in her room come on and he saw her shed her clothes.
If anybody was coming after them, he would have seen them and he had not seen them for a while. Now was the time to strike.
He got down from his car, tucked the needle he was using for the injection safely in his back pocket and sauntered into the house.
He did not need to knock, he already mastered how he would enter because he had been learning that for weeks while she spent time at Toni’s apartment. So he eased himself in and went straight to her bedroom.
She gasped when she saw him, dread filling her face as she stared at him in horror.
“Please don’t do whatever you came here for” she pleaded in a whisper but he was having none of that. He covered the distance between them in seconds and slammed the needle containing the anesthetic into her.
The pharmacist who sold it to him was right, her eyelids closed in unconsciousness in seconds.