“You didn’t know?”
Tiwa gaped at Oma with what was a mixture of shock and puzzlement, “I didn’t know. When did this happen?”
“Around the time you were in the hospital I think. But it was that your case that let the whole world know because I don’t think anybody was supposed to know.” Oma said, leaning on Tiwa’s desk.
“My case.” Tiwa frowned and Oma nodded.
“He was the one that got angry and started showing himself anyhow. I think he even confronted Oga Lanre.”
It dawned on Tiwa what Oma meant now, her case was Dapo.
“But how did Dapo know?” She asked, more confused at this point than she was at the beginning of the conversation.
“I think they went somewhere together, then the other guy got shot and your case…”
“His name is Dapo.” Tiwa snapped, slighted that Oma had refused to call Dapo by his name, instead referring to him as her case.
“Okay sorry Dapo. Anyway sha as I was saying, they went somewhere together, Dapo now came back and started raking for the Oga. I think he was angry because of something that went wrong. If you ask me, I strongly think its because of the guy that died.”
Tiwa nodded slowly, the rest of the words Oma spoke was lost on her. Dapo had not mentioned any of these things to her, maybe he felt the time was not right yet. But it made her very uncomfortable that his partner had died and that Dapo had gone ahead to confront her bosses.
She reached for her phone and tried to call him but stopped herself. He had stopped picking her calls since he walked out of her apartment three days before, if she tried now, he probably would not pick. So she decided against that and thought of something else to do.
She grabbed her bag and marched towards the door, deaf to all of Oma’s questions and chatter.
She almost collided into Queen when she stepped out of her office, “Yeah?” she asked impatiently.
“The boss wants to see you ma” Queen said and then added, “Both of them.”
Unlike the first time Tiwa got that type of message, she walked confidently through the office into Lanre Ige’s office. There, she shut the door and stood by the chair opposite both men. Not even when they asked her to take a seat did she sit down.
“I’m sure you have heard from your friend.” Chibuzor began to say and all Tiwa did was to nod. “But as you probably have learnt, he has gotten way out of control, like a dog without a leash.”
Tiwa was not sure what she was expected to do to that but she listened to them anyway, her face a blank expression, masking the anger that was beginning to grow and threatening to be revealed.
“You were instructed to put him under control, Tiwa.” Chibuzor continued to say, “What happened?”
She shrugged in response, partly because she did not know what happened and partly because she did not feel the need to gratify these two men with any form of explanation.
Chibuzor and Lanre continued to look at her, refusing to take the earlier movements of her shoulder as a response.
And she stared back at them defiantly, refusing to give them any other answer.
“He is supposed to be grateful” Lanre Ige muttered after a long stretch of silence.
“He’s grateful.” Tiwa replied.
“This is not how people who are grateful behave, they live the rest of their lives in service to their saviors. We are Dapo Obisesan’s saviors and we expect him to be grateful for the rest of his life.” Lanre Ige said quietly but Tiwa could swear he wanted to shout the words instead, because his eyes carried nothing of the quietness his words bore.
“That sounds like slavery if you ask me sir.” Tiwa said, almost not recognizing her own voice as she dared say the words to her bosses.
Chibuzor watched her coldly, lit his ciga and slowly inhaled the smoke.
“I think you should let Mr Obisesan be whatever he wants to be. If he does not want to do this revenge thing, then maybe you should let him be.” Tiwa said, trying to put her anger under control but she knew it was a war she was soon to lose. Because the harder she tried to quench the fury, the stronger it became.
“Tiwa, nothing has changed. Dapo Obisesan would get his revenge and you would help him through it.” Chibuzor Obi said with a note of finality.
“Have a nice day.” Lanre said with a tone of dismissal and Tiwa left the office without a word to any of them.
Dapo had not seen his cousin in years. Yeah, he had come visit him a few times in Prison, but then he had to travel to the UK for his masters, worked there for a while before finally coming home to settle.
And in all those years, they had barely communicated. Now as Bode stood at the entrance of his house and they stared at each other for a few minutes, they realized time had passed, things had happened and a lot had to be shared.
Bode made the move first, he shook hands with Dapo and then pulled him into a embrace with a pat on his back.
“Guy, prison did you good. See how you come fresh” Bode said with a chuckle and Dapo burst out laughing. He hit Bode playfully on the arm as they both walked into the large sitting room IGE&OBI had given to Dapo.
Bode paused and took in every detail of the beautiful house, then he turned to face his cousin, “These guys want something, this is too good to be true.” he said seriously.
Dapo nodded, “That’s exactly why I called you. We have to figure it out together.”
Bode caught the expensive artworks on the wall and then faced his cousin, “One of my guys just opened one nice buka in Lekki. Let’s go and have lunch there and then we can discuss everything else.”
Dapo liked the idea, “Let me change into something better and we can leave” he said to his cousin and then dashed into the room.
When Tiwa got to Dapo’s house, he had left with his cousin and so she could not get into the house. She sighed in frustration and stared hard at the phone in her hands, she decided to try his number again and see if he would pick this time.
Bode and Dapo had just settled into the exquisite buka when the call came in. Dapo wanted to ignore it like he had been ignoring her calls in the past few days but it was not getting any easier. Every time the phone rang and he ignored it, he felt a stab of pain in his heart. It was not easy not speaking to her, not hearing her voice.
“Hello” He finally said, speaking through the phone.
“Dapo. Thank God, Dapo.” She muttered in gratitude when he picked up. “Dapo please where are you? I need to see you. You can’t keep staying mad at me. Its hard not to hear from you, I love you…” the words surprised even her as they tumbled off her lips and she couldn’t say much more.
“What’s the address of this place?” Dapo asked Bode and the latter told him then he recounted the details to Tiwa on the phone.
“I’ll see you soon.” she said and ended the call.
“Who was that?” Bode asked, his interest piqued. He had watched his cousin’s expression when the call had come in and he knew Dapo well to know it was someone close to him.
“Its someone I just met” and who I am head over heels for and whose declaration of love is going to make me fall harder for…
“I can see she don collect your mumu button. See how you dey look.” Bode said and Dapo smiled, that one was for sure.
“She’s also the lawyer that got me out of jail.”
“Oh” Bode said and then asked, “One of the guys who gave you all that stuff for a price?”
“Then you should stay away from her. She could be an informant of some sort. And you know you cannot trust women, they get into your head, make you feel like you can trust them and before you know it, they backstab you.” Bode said but Dapo chose to disagree with him.
“Tiwa is not like that.” Dapo said.
“You are tripping for her na. How else she go be?” Bode asked and added, “Guy, you cannot afford to go back to jail or worse, get in some bigger trouble. These guys are trouble I can almost smell it. Free the babe abeg, plenty pussy fill this Lagos if na dat one.”
Dapo wished it was as simple as that. He wished it was just about pussy like Bode had simply put it. It was more, it was a whole lot more. He had never even made love to Tiwa and he did not know what it felt like to be inside her but she got him on hold and he knew no matter how mad he was at her, he was never letting go.
She breezed into the buka at around the time their lunch was arriving. Lunch was a delicious meal of steamy amala, drenched in equally steamy ewedu and goat meat stew. The food was hot and it increased the men’s want as it landed on their table, however, the woman who joined them at the table made the hot food seem cold because every man stared, every eyes acknowledged the beauty and sex on legs that was Tiwa Abiona.
She stretched her hand for a handshake and Bode took it, all the while trying to remind himself he was a married man and it was rude to ogle at his cousin’s love interest like that. But heck, he couldn’t help himself.
He had seen this woman in the papers a few times and even read about her in blogs especially during the time her family had their crisis but he’d never seen her in person. Now that he could see her however, he had one word for her; underrated. The cameras had reflected her beauty but nothing was more beautiful than seeing her in person.
Most of the eyes in the buka might been set on the chocolate skinned beauty that just walked in, but her attention was for just one man, Dapo.
She threw her hands around him and muttered an apology, repeating every word she’d said in text messages and that she’d said when he picked up earlier. Every word but the three he was dying to hear.
Dapo felt disappointed when she wouldn’t repeat it. Maybe it slipped earlier and maybe she hadn’t meant it. Whatever the case was, he was not going to make her say it. She had to say it only when she meant it.
“Its fine, I was just angry at the fact that you couldn’t see what was very obvious.” He said to her, “But its fine now.” He added.
“Thank you. Thank you so much.”
“This is my cousin, Bode Oloye. I call him Chairmo. He’s a real bad guy.” Dapo said lightly. Tiwa smiled at Bode and shook hands with the chubby sweet looking man opposite her.
“Now I know why he is falling so hard.” Bode said to Tiwa, “Nice to meet you, Barrister.”
Tiwa grinned, “Oh please call me Tiwa.”
“Its a pleasure meeting you Tiwa. You should join us for lunch.” He said as he rinsed his hands and dug into the inviting bowl of amala in front of him.
“I will certainly love to!” Tiwa said and Dapo offered her part of his.
“Who would have thought a Tiwa Abiona eats Amala?” Bode said and Tiwa laughed.
They ate lunch and chattered every once in a while. And then finally lunch break was over.
“Chairmo doesn’t trust you. He thinks since you are part of the wolves, you’d be after blood too.” Dapo said to Tiwa as he rinsed his hands clean of the soup he’d just had for lunch.
“Fair enough. But I am not one of them. I don’t know if that counts for much but I am not one of them, I just work for them.”
Bode shrugged, “But you are very well aware of the evil looming over my brother? The things your firm gave him could not have been for free, they must be expecting something in return.”
“Yes they are. But I am as confused as you all are about what they want.” Tiwa replied.
Bode faced his cousin, “Guy, abeg can’t you return everything and move on with your normal life? You can’t let them own you.”
“Unfortunately, they have owned me from the moment they picked me as their Pro Bono case this year. I did not know that then but I do now.”
It dawned on Bode now, “So there is no escaping them.” he said and Dapo nodded.
“However, I just want to know what I am getting myself into and how far gone I am. That is why I need you Tiwa.” Dapo said to the woman by his side who was listening to him attentively. “I need you to get me the files and every single thing there is about the other guys IGE&OBI have helped in the past. Their name, address, facebook name, anything. Because when I.K got out, there were some things he said that made me realize our cases are similar. And that this might be a way the firm is making helpless people do their dirty jobs for them.”
“You think they used I.K?” Tiwa asked
“I don’t think they did, Tiwa. They did. The guy died in my presence when we went on an assignment given to us by your bosses and when I questioned them, they acted like it was nothing.” The anger and disbelief that had washed through Dapo that night was slowly returning. He could not wait to get to the bottom of the whole mess.
“I think since Tiwa has access to past case files, then she can help us from here.” Bode suggested and Tiwa agreed.
“I will get every case file from the beginning of the Pro Bono cases of IGE&OBI tonight” She said and stood up, “Let me go and start as soon as I can.”
Dapo stood and hugged her, “Be careful.”
“I love you.” He said but she merely nodded and disappeared through the door. Dapo hoped she’d be safe.
Tiwa had chosen the one person she knew liked her and who had worked on two Pro Bono cases for IGE&OBI in the past to brief her on a few things regarding the past cases they’d worked on.
He hadn’t kept in touch with any of his clients, he did not feel the need to. Only Tiwa had kept in touch with hers and he did not understand why.
Tiwa said she was just being human and then threw a joke in about the guy being suicidal and she was there to keep him alive. He’d not questioned how sick her joke was, rather he laughed and told her if she needed to know more she could tell Queen to go into the room that housed old case files and search through it for her.
Tiwa said it was fine. She would go through the files herself. When he asked her why she needed it, she told him she might be handling the next pro bono case because as challenging as it was for her, she loved it. She loved challenges.
Later that night, when everyone had left, she entered into the room that held the files and packed all the case files. Then she threw them in her backseat and drove home.
At home, she sat on the floor, while she ate a plate of salad and carefully looked through al the files. IGE&OBI had helped a lot of people in the past, different people from different backgrounds and tribes but what caught her by the time she reached the seventh file was that all of them where male and with serious criminal records or cases.
By quarter past midnight, she had gone through it all and then, curious about where they all were began to look for them online.
That was when she realized about twelve of them were dead and even though they did not die the same way, they had all died under extrememly mysterious circumstances.
She barely slept that night, more questions had popped up in her mind and she’d begun to worry a lot about Dapo.
Armed with two more casefiles, she traced the addresses of the other two guys as she’d seen in their files and looked for them in their separate Ikorodu residences.
One of them was buried in front of his father’s house and the other, his family couldn’t trace his whereabouts.
She had sped all the way to Dapo’s house and narrated everything she’d found out to him.
“Dapo they want you dead, I think they want you dead.” She said breathlessly. holding tight to him.
“I know. But why?” He asked.
She looked at him surprised, “You know?”
He nodded, “A particular car has been trailing me for days now and they killed I.K. Its only a matter of time before its my turn.”
A shiver ran through Tiwa’s body, who the heck were her bosses?!