He opened his eyes to a sunny morning. Daylight from one of the windows cast a ray of brilliance on the floor, just at the foot of the bed. It looked like it was going to be a normal day but an uneasy feeling settled on him. He brushed it away and mentally went through his wardrobe for the appropriate outfit to wear for the busy day ahead. Asleep in his arms was Genesis, her hand resting comfortably in his boxer shorts.
He had a few minutes of lazing about before getting set for the day and he didn’t want to wake her. He was content to spend the little time gazing into her face and wondering how she had gotten him to commit to their relationship with little effort the night before. She hadn’t said much after returning from her apartment where she dumped Eva. He had expected trouble from her over Eva’s behavior but her first line surprised him.
“Eva needs help. And you’re going to help her because whatever goes on with her affects Lexus and you and it affects me too. And I don’t want to add stress to my life, so help the mother of your child with her alcohol issues and save our relationship from more drama.”
Replying her, he said, “Funny enough, Eva’s not an alcoholic. She is light-brained and tends to lose her mind whenever she’s high. But I’ll try to help her. Thank you for…”
Genesis raised her hand and got herself in that manner that women had whenever they were hot for serious talk.
“I know we have a deal, you and I, to work together and put Mamisi and Bashorun where they belong. I know the sex between us is great. I know you’ve turned my life in the right path. I know I’ll be forever grateful for that. And I know I love you, Dominic. But I don’t know what you feel for me. I’m left in the dark here. Can you shed light on the part, Nick?”
The quality of her voice had been uncompromising and unbroken, the look in her eyes fiery, and somehow he knew the moment had arrived for him to finally commit to her. It was something he had pondered over for a long time, even before Mofe’s appearance from Germany. He had also fought his feelings and clung to his rational mind, telling himself Mofe was a better choice because she made him think in clearer terms. But Genesis was a different kettle of fish. Effortlessly she wormed herself into him and was a constant source of distraction. He wrestled always with the way she made him feel and was annoyed at her for altering his life in so many different ways. Now it was time to either come to terms with it or deny the way he was feeling.
He chose the latter.
“There’s nothing to shed light on, Gen. I like you and that’s that. Come to bed.”
“Maybe I need to repeat myself.”
Dominic shifted uneasily. The woman meant business.
“Dominic, I need to know, right now, right here, what you feel about me.”
“Come on, Gen…”
“I like you and that’s enough.”
She untied her bathrobe and revealed the best nude figure he had seen in any female. “You see this? Men paid top dollar to have all you’re seeing here. It wasn’t for free. But I gave it to you for nothing and added my heart to it, plus my culinary services and other wifely duties. Are you saying that after all I’ve done, you’re going to push me away because you’re terrified of loving me back?”
“No.” He had been weakened.
“Okay. Okay!” He gave up. “I’m in love with you, Genesis. Satisfied?”
“Oh, come on…”
“Don’t let me interrupt you as you make a fool of yourself, Dominic Ditorusin. Keep talking.”
“Yes, I’m in love – whatever that means. But I don’t believe in it. I believe in the real deal, the type of love that dumps images of you in my mind when I plan my future, or that keeps me worrying about your safety when I’m not with you, that makes me see a married couple and I want us to be them, that makes me think of calling a furniture company to come create a special closet for you here, that makes you my go-to person whenever I have a story to share about anything that happened to me during the day… and that makes me tell Wura to sing Officially Missing You just because I don’t want you to go away.”
His husky voice croaked and lost its tone. He continued in forced whisper. “That kind of love, Genesis. That’s what I have for you. And I hate that it happened to me too fast but I’m scare I might lose you because I lose everyone I get attached to. They either die or I ruin them. I wish there was some place I could keep you so that the darkness around me wouldn’t touch you.”
She walked to the bed and enfolded him in a tight hug.
“There’s no darkness around you.”
“You have no idea.”
“Shh.” She kissed his cheek.
“Are you satisfied now?” he asked and she nodded, letting him go. They both lay on their sides, facing each other.
He stared at her in protracted silence and then kissed her lightly before his hand began to touch her sensually. The desire to make love to her in a different way was strong. He was ready to make a dream they both shared come true. They touched and kissed, working themselves to a new type of foreplay that got Genesis ahead of him in the arousal zone. She begged him to end her torture as she handed him a condom from the bedside drawer and shut her eyes in fevered anticipation. But when he pushed into her and commenced a slow rhythm, her eyes popped open and she pulled away. She rested her gaze on his penis and gasped.
“No protection, Nick?”
“I thought you wouldn’t notice.”
“What’s going on?”
“Let’s have that baby we both always fantasize about.”
Her surprise turned into something pleasant. “Are you serious? I thought you were joking the whole time, indulging in my own fantasies.”
She laughed. “No, I’ve always wanted another child. Lexus is old and with the way she’s going on with Kasi, I might be a grandfather soon.”
“Oh, you noticed they both disappeared for some minutes during Wura’s performance?”
“Okay. Quit the story and let me do some disappearance of my own… into you.”
She released anotherlaugh. “You bad boy.”
He continued where he left off and with that they embarked on a new journey to seal their fates.
He slept content after that. His fears had been reduced to a barest minimum.
But why did he wake up in the morning with that strange feeling of darkness looming over him?
Dominic stared out the open window that was letting the sun in and still found the day normal. His leisure time was over. He gently and quietly tried to extract himself from Genesis’ hold but she gripped his penis and asked in a murmur, where he was going.
“I have to…”
He didn’t complete the sentence as a loud, blood-curdling scream cut him off. He sat up straight and fixed his eyes in the direction of the guest house.
“What’s that?” Genesis asked as the scream wore on.
Dominic slipped into a bathrobe and hurried to his balcony and was able to decipher that the screaming was coming from Genesis’ apartment.
He turned back into the room and rushed out. He took the back entrance to Genesis’ place. By now, Wura, who was responsible for the noise had been pacified and Dominic found her, Kasi, Chris and Mahmud in Genesis’ bedroom when he arrived there. Chris saw him first, just turning away from Genesis’ bed with a disturbed look on his face. He tried to erase the expression but Dominic caught on that something really bad had happened and he inched closer.
It was difficult to determine what type of feeling hit him the instant he saw Eva, lying there, dead. A strong tremor spread over his entire body, starting from the base of his spine, right to the tiniest hairs on his skin. On the outside he maintained his calm by pressing his feet hard to the floor and grinding his teeth. Yet he couldn’t stop from blinking nonstop; neither could he quiet his sprinting heart.
Mahmud was bent over Eva, feeling for a pulse but Dominic knew she was gone. When Mahmud looked up and shook his head in the way doctors did, Dominic nodded in understanding and Wura went crazy with her tears.
Dominic looked around him with quick eyes. He wasn’t searching for anything in particular. It was his first real response to the devastating sight before him. He spoke on impulse.
“Kasi, go to the house and tell Iya Idaya to give you my phone from my bedroom. Chris, follow him and make sure Lexus doesn’t come here or even know what’s happening. Mahmud, step away from the…”
He couldn’t bring himself to say the word ‘body’.
“Step away so you don’t contaminate evidence. Take Wura downstairs. Please hush her.”
“Oh my God!”
Genesis had just walked in and she froze at the door, her hands to her chest. “Wh-wh-what happened?”
Dominic didn’t reply. His mind was beginning to register what his environment was telling him, yet it was hard to take in. Eva couldn’t really be dead. She just couldn’t. She was going to wake up soon or he was. One of them was sleeping.
“Evangeline,” he called.
“Oh God…” Genesis was standing beside him, face soaked with tears already. “She’s not dead, is she? Nick? Please tell me she’s not.”
“Evangeline,” he called a second time. He knew she was never going to respond but he tried a third time. Just maybe…
“Ah, God! No, this can’t be happening. I dreamt about it yesterday. I thought it was going to be me.” Genesis held her cheeks and Dominic put an arm around her, responding to the distress in her voice distractedly. He was the one who needed comforting but he wasn’t processing clearly yet. His mind was still darting between accepting reality and wishing it was a bad dream.
Kasi returned with his phone. He made a quick phone call to a private detective.
“Come to my house immediately, Ayo. There’s been an incident. Someone…died. Come quick.”
“You won’t call the police?” Genesis sniffled. Dominic hadn’t heard. “The police.”
“I’ll call them…soon.”
Genesis drew another sniffle. “I left her alive. She was murmuring in her sleep when I was leaving. I couldn’t hear what she was saying, Nick. But she was alive. How could this have happened?”
Neither Dominic nor Kasi had an answer for that question. Dominic ushered them out and they joined Chichi, Wura and Mahmud in Genesis’ sitting room. There was a painful silence brought on by shock. The only sounds were from Wura. Mahmud had not been able to shut her or lead her out of the house.
“Who found her?” Dominic asked.
“Me,” Wura replied. “I was looking for Miss Genesis to answer a client’s call and I came in and… I thought it was Miss Genesis. I thought it was her… I didn’t know… I… it was… I…”
“It’s okay, Woo.” Mahmud managed to drag her off the couch they were both on. “Let’s go downstairs.”
“Yeah, the rest of you can leave too,” Dominic ordered. “And please, keep this news to yourselves, I beg you.”
“Yes, sir,” Kasi answered as they filed out.
“Mr. Dominic, I’m sorry for your loss,” Chichi murmured and her words hit Dominic like poisoned arrows fired into wounds from his past. How many times had he heard that line before. Now he had to endure it again and go through the pain he had faced so many times before. Was it ever going to end?
“Thank you, Chichi.”
Chichi walked out and he was left with Genesis.
“You should leave too.”
“Go away, Genesis. Please.”
His head was bowed really low so she couldn’t see his face. She squeezed his knee and left the house. He walked back into her bedroom, half-hoping to find Eva awake but she was the same way he left her.
“You could have left a message, at least, Eva. Something, telling us why you’re leaving; that somehow, you prepared for this… you saw this coming…. Now, what will I tell Tonbra? How do I tell her that she’s lost another person? You could have stayed! Geez, Evangeline! One simple thing! Stay alive but you fuck it up – as usual!”
He laughed and it was dry. As dry as his eyes.
“And you had to go, leaving me in a lot of shit, you know that? You kicked it in my girlfriend’s bedroom, and she was the last person to see you. You know what that means, right? I’ll have to lie and pay a lot to make them look elsewhere. Then I have to start finding who really killed you because you had a lot of life in you, Eva. This wasn’t how you told me you’ll go! And I know…I know Bash did this! Don’t ask me how I know! I just know! And even if the autopsy reveals that it was natural causes, I’m still going to blame him because if he had treated you right, you wouldn’t be like this! He put you here!”
Dominic’s phone rang and it took him a moment to realize that he had been pointing his finger at Eva’s lifeless body. He let down his hand and stared at his phone. It was a client calling. He took the call and spoke normally, even laughing a little. When he was done, he faced Eva again. He was out of words this time. He walked closer and gave her a long look, finding it hard to believe he had kissed those lips and loved that body once with all his heart. The moments they shared filled his head in a rush and he felt tears burn his eyes. He took a step back and went to the door. He held the doorpost and forced the tears away.
“What do I tell Mama and Ralph or the boys? What do I say to them?”
His expression was genuinely expectant for an answer but the same silence that had been his companion for the past few minutes was all he got as response. He exited the room but didn’t leave the house. He put a call through to Seyi as he settled for a cold glass of juice from Genesis’ fridge.
She couldn’t stand hearing Lexus cry that way. From the moment Dominic broke the news to her, right up until the present, she had been hysterical. Twelve hours of tears and no one could stop her. Even Wura had calmed down hours earlier and was able to eat something but Lexus had kept her momentum and remained locked in her bedroom. No one was allowed in, not even Kasi.
They were all seated in Dominic’s private parlor upstairs and subconsciously everyone avoided the particular seat Eva had sat on the night before. They were sharing moments of silence that stretched on for long minutes and then someone would come up with a story about Eva and they would all talk about her. Genesis listened, mostly. She knew very little of the late actress. Save for the last conversation she had with her, every other memory about her was unpleasant. Hence, she chose to listen to Wura, Kasi and Ehi as they opened up about their best moments with Eva.
Genesis was more concerned about Lexus and the little intervals when she went quiet. She feared that she could harm herself and thus Genesis would go to her door to find out if she was okay. Sometimes, Kasi went in her stead but Lexus wouldn’t speak with anyone. They carried on like this until it struck seven in the evening and Dominic returned home.
Genesis followed him into his bedroom and asked how his day went.
“Eva’s mom is even in town.” Dominic sat on the bed and slipped out of his shoes.
“The poor woman fainted when I broke the news. Eva is her only daughter. Her elder brother is in denial. He simply walked away as I was speaking to him.”
“And the detective, what did he say?”
“From what he saw in your room, he said there was no foul play but he couldn’t tell much because the place was a mess already.”
Genesis sat beside Dominic.
“Preliminary reports will be ready tomorrow but I’ve asked them to check for methanol in her system.”
“A poison extracted during the process of making alcohol that replicates the symptoms of drunkenness or alcohol overdose. It was used to kill a politician’s wife last year and her death was ruled as an overdose until they found traces of methanol in the glass she was served her drink on her birthday. The moment I saw Eva, it was the first thing that hit my mind because that other woman died in similar fashion.”
“So Eva was killed?”
“I know she was and Bashorun did it.”
“Are you sure, Nick?”
“He raped her, Gen! He raped a pregnant woman! Only a murderer can do such a thing! Eva wanted to ruin his reputation and he killed her to shut her up!”
“But what if she really died after choking on her vomit?”
“Don’t piss me off, Genesis!”
Dominic left the bed and into his study where he poured himself a drink. He consumed the glass in one long guzzle and poured another.
“By the way, the police are downstairs and will take you to the station for questioning,” he revealed.
Genesis nodded. Having been prepped by Dominic’s lawyer who had visited earlier, she was ready for her interrogation with the police.
“Don’t say anything outside what you and the lawyer discussed,” Dominic ordered. “I have paid to swing this whole thing Bash’s way but only you can screw it up. Stick to your story and keep a straight face…”
A loud cry from Lexus interrupted his directive and he stared in the direction of her bedroom briefly before he continued.
“Don’t screw it up, Gen.”
He was going for his third glass of whiskey but Genesis stopped him and put the drink away. To comfort him, she put her arms around him in a hug and was aiming for a peck on the cheek but he pushed her off.
“This is not the time, Genesis.”
He started for the door.
“The police are waiting!”
She sighed and followed him out, noting how tense his shoulders were and the brisk pace in his stride. When he walked by Lexus’ bedroom, he didn’t as much as flinch. Genesis was prompted to tell him to check on Lexus but she had never seen this side of him before and she feared that he could snap at her. He seemed more angry that mournful and she was afraid of what he could do.
Genesis came back from the police station, exhausted. After a warm bath and a meal, she joined Kasi outside Lexus’ bedroom and tried to speak with her but Lexus was not yet in the talking mood. Her voice was worn-out now and Genesis could hear the tiredness that came with each moan.
“I didn’t know she loved her mom this much,” Genesis said to Kasi.
“They were close at some point until Eva disappeared for a long time. But it wasn’t a new thing. It was something Eva did a lot. Yet Lexus always accepted her back. It was shaky relationship but they were somehow close.”
“Oh.” Genesis raked her fingers through her hair and sat in a plastic chair stationed by the door. “Today is such a sad day. And tomorrow would be worse, Kasiobi. Have you lost someone this close before?”
“My brother and my dad. I never really knew my dad but my brother mehn… it was hard.”
“I lost my entire family in a fire. I had left the house very early that morning to the stream to fetch water. My mom, my dad and my grandmom all died before I came back.”
“So sorry, Miss. Genesis. How did you cope?”
“The whole village blamed me. They were already calling me a witch before the tragedy because my mom had given birth to four children, all of whom died before I came. They said because they were all boys, I’d killed them in the marine world and stolen their humanity to come and reign as a queen to destroy men on earth. Such bullshit.”
Noting the bitterness in her own voice, Genesis realized she had revealed too much. She ended the conversation suddenly.
“Go and call Mahmud. I heard his voice around somewhere. We’ll kick down this door and he’ll sedate her. I can’t stand this anymore.”
Kasi disappeared and Genesis exhaled loudly, banishing the memories of her past. She had never recovered from it but she had coped. She wasn’t sure about Dominic or Lexus, though. Tragedy seemed to have a huge crush on them.
Kasi returned with Mahmud and they kicked Lexus’ door in. They found her crouched in a corner of the lower bunk of her bed. Her eyes were swollen shut and all that was left in her were weak shivers and torturous whimpers that put Genesis to tears. The room had little air, the windows were shut and the air conditioner turned off. As Genesis opened the windows to ventilate the place, Mahmud checked Lexus’ vitals and the signs were not good. On instinct, he measured her blood pressure with a monitor and found it low. He sent Kasi to town with a prescription to get some items and sat with Lexus to ask her a few question about her health history. She mumbled for the most part but Mahmud was content with her answers.
The moment Kasi returned, she was straightaway put on IV fluids to rehydrate her and subsequently sedated. Mahmud gave a few instructions to the housekeeper and Genesis on how to care for her and took his leave, promising to return in a few hours. Depleted, Genesis retired to Dominic’s bedroom and drifted off. Hours passed before she heard the door creak open and clicked shut. The whiney meow of Vhasti coming in with her owner forced Genesis’ sleepy eyes open. She turned around and saw Dominic getting out of his clothes. His back was to her.
“Go back to sleep, Gen. Sorry for waking you up.”
“Just sleep. I’ll have a shower and join you.”
“Have you checked on Lexus?”
“Yeah. She’s sleeping. Thanks.”
He kept his face away from her. His shoulders still carried the tenseness she had seen earlier and she was learning that it was a sign that he wanted to be left alone. The only company he needed was the meowing cat that followed him right into the bathroom.
Genesis wasn’t at ease with leaving him all by himself. She shoved her feet into a pair of slippers and followed him. He was beneath the shower, hands spread out on the wall. She hung by the door for a while, listening to the sound of the rushing water, and failed to notice the injuries on the knuckles of his right hand. It wasn’t until after he got out and was toweling himself that she saw them.
“Nick, what happened to you?” She held the hand. “What did you do?”
He smiled. It was a mordant twisting of his lips.
“I got Bash to confess,” he answered as he walked out, leaving wet patches on the floor.
“Confess to what?”
“To killing Eva. He sent an assassin. A dwarf.” Dominic laughed mirthlessly and picked his phone from the dresser. “I have it recorded.”
“Nick, you’re joking.”
Dominic handed Genesis his phone and she listened to a long argument between Bashorun and Dominic until it got to a point where Bashorun, in detail, bragged about how he had hired an assassin to murder Eva.
“Oh my God! Oh my God, Nick! Oh God!”
“But we have a problem, Gen. A really big problem.”
Genesis couldn’t speak. She was still reeling from Bash’s confession and the blasé manner in which he had said it. Dominic walked to the bed and sat, staring at his knuckles.
“I got really mad after he confessed and I… messed him up.”
“What does that mean?” Genesis’ eyes darted to his bruised hand.
“It means I beat the shit out of him in blind rage and I… think I went too far. He might not make it.”
“Wh-wh-what are you talking about, Nick? What do you mean by he might not make it? You killed him?”
Dominic was silent.
“Dominic, you killed Bashorun Balogun?! His Royal Highness, Bashorun Balogun?!”
“You don’t… you don’t know him, Gen. You don’t know this…Bashorun! This… royal fucking highness! He deserved to die! I just couldn’t stop because it felt right! He deserved it!”
“SHUT UP!” Genesis screamed. When her voice died down, she observed Dominic carefully and it felt like she was looking at a different man. His external visage had changed before her eyes and she saw some form of darkness in him she had never perceived previously. She didn’t understand anything he had just said. It was as if her mind had short-circuited and needed a reboot. It was too much for her to bear and she felt her feet on their own accord moving away from him.
She shook her head strongly and left the room in a hurry.
Thanks for reading, people. I will allow the Novocaine Knights to mourn for two weeks but I’ll be back shortly. Don’t miss me too much 😉