His plans were simple; get across to Tiwa, get her to shed some light on the other people IGE&OBI had provided pro bono services to in the past, where they were and if anything interesting happened to them post prison.
Then he would take it from there.
However, when he kept calling her and her number kept ringing off the hook two days in a row, alarm bells started ringing in his head.
Something must have gone wrong. But what was it? He wished he knew.
Ewa was stupefied, she looked at Chima in utmost shock, too dazed to speak or to even think.
“Stop looking like you’ve not heard it before.” Chima muttered.
Ewa tried to get over the shock as she leaned on Chima’s car for support, “Only on TV! I have never heard this from anyone close to me before.” She confessed and then added, “Chima please don’t do this.”
“She does not want to marry me, Ewa.”
“But how do you know this?
Chima laughed, “Come on, you can’t seriously tell me you cannot see that.”
Ewa nodded slowly, maybe she had. But she had been hoping they would be able to settle whatever issues they had between them.
“I love this woman but she does not feel the same way for me anymore. And if I go ahead to marry her, I will always wake up sad,knowing what she felt for me in the past has now been replaced by some sort of indifference”
Ewa reached for Chima’s hand instinctively, she could feel his pain. The comforting touch was all Chima needed to pull her close in an embrace and squeeze her tight.
It might have been a mere hug to Ewa, but it wasn’t to him. This hug was therapeutic, it was helping him prepare for the loss and emptiness he was going to feel after he broke up officially with Tiwa and moved on alone.
And as the cool breeze blew around them, raising strands of her hair and bringing some physical relief to him, he realized he had lost his best friend and the only woman that ever truly mattered.
“I just hope she has not gone ahead to fall in love with that hot prison guy.”
Chima had consciously tried to push the thought behind his mind, he had purposely decided not to think about the possibility because it did not only hurt him deep, it bruised his ego.
But now that Ewa mentioned, he found himself feeling everything he had tried so hard to evade.
Ewa looked at him and noticed immediately the look of intense pain on his face, “Oh my gosh, I’m sorry Chima. I did not mean…”
“Its okay” He muttered, “We can’t help who we fall in love with.”
Ewa nodded slowly, feeling his pain, understanding how hard it must all be for him.
She disengaged from the embrace slowly and smiled at him, “Let’s go and have dinner someplace that’s not quiet, maybe it would help you?”
Chima was not sure about that, he had left Tiwa’s side because he wanted to go home, mourn the end of their love and brace himself on how to face the world and tell them it was all over and that there would be no wedding.
He began to hesitate, “Ewa I just want to go and sleep. All of these is exhausting abeg.”
Ewa understood, she gave him one last hug. “Alright then. Have a good night.”
“You too.” He made to enter his car, “And thank you for being such a nice person.”
She nodded with a smile and then watched him drive out of the hospital.
Dapo sat in front of the computer and cautiously read every line that popped up on the internet about IGE&OBI and what they had been up to since the inception of the firm.
Most of what he got were the history, background and major cases they had won. There was nothing more than that and that was not what he needed. What he needed to know was the Pro Bono cases and the people who like him had benefited from it.
After an hour of fruitless search, he sighed and sauntered into the kitchen to make himself dinner.
His mind wandered off to Tiwa as he fixed himself a plate of fried eggs, garnished with tomatoes and red pepper and sliced bread. He reached for his phone and dialed her number again, as usual it rang off the hook. He sent yet another message to her, telling her how worried he was and how badly he wanted to hear from her.
Then he grabbed a chilled plastic bottle of coke, picked his dinner and strolled back into the sitting room.
He wished he had other means of knowing what went down inside IGE&OBI and how to get into their archives but he had told himself that instead of pining over that which he could not have, he would make whatever he has work for him.
He punched into Google: The people who had benefitted from IGE&OBI Pro Bono.
Then he dug his teeth into two slices of bread separated by the delicious steamy hot eggs he just made.
There were many results of what he typed into google and he scanned the first page for the most interesting one. He had almost reached the bottom of the page before he found the one that seemed interesting.
It was an article written two years before by an unpopular blogger. When he clicked on it, it directed him to a page that had now been deleted. He frowned, why was the page deleted? Because it had pretty interesting news perhaps.
He clicked on the second most interesting article and that too had been deleted. As he opened the bottle of sweaty coke near him, something occurred to him.
Were these guys trying too hard to cover their tracks? The two blog posts that had been deleted had read something about the drastic end to the ex cons. Was someone trying hard not to make anyone suspect anything? If the answers to any of those questions was a Yes, then it meant his fears were right after all.
He enjoyed the sweetness of the drink that washed down his throat and then clicked on Images. As he scrolled down with one hand, his eyes caught the most gory sight he’d ever come across on the internet. He dropped the drink in his hands immediately.
He had seen worst sights in his life before and during prison but the image that stared back at him was still hard to see.
There was a disclaimer at the bottom of the picture and when he right clicked, he saw options that suggested going to the page that hosted the picture. He clicked on it and once again got the feedback that the article on which the picture was posted had been deleted.
He frowned and went back to the page he had been redirected from and then his eyes fell on the link under the picture, it was the same interesting link from the first set of results he had gotten on the Google web page.
He had stumbled on something, and as much as all he could get was a brick road from here, he’d found answers to a lot of questions.