‘Omotara,’ Mrs. Atinuke smiled. She then stared deep into Tarasha’s eyes, ‘I know who she is…’
There was silence for some seconds.
‘So, who is she?’ Tarasha asked impatiently.
A knock at the door interrupted the conversation. Tarasha glanced at the door but remained silent. The knock sounded a second time and without waiting for a response, the person at the door stepped in.
Stephanie was surprised on seeing Tarasha seated beside her mum. She closed the door and stopped at the entrance.
‘Good evening,’ Stephanie greeted.
Tarasha replied with a gentle nod.
‘I’m sorry, hope I didn’t disturb anything,’ Stephanie apologized. From the way the two were seated, she knew they were in the middle of a conversation.
‘There’s no problem,’ Tarasha said with a forced smile. ‘I’ll just like to be alone with her for some minutes, I’ll tell you once I’m done.’
‘It’s alright,’ Stephanie said and turned back.
Tarasha turned her face back to the woman after Stephanie closed the door. She saw an unhappy look on the woman’s face and knew that the woman did not want her daughter to leave the room. ‘She’d return as soon as we’re done with the conversation,’ Tarasha said with a forced smile. ‘I had to ask her wait outside because you said you didn’t want anyone else to hear the secrets.’
The woman nodded silently as if she understood what she was told. ‘So, let’s continue, you were about to tell me about Omotara.’ Tarasha urged. Her phone began to ring before the woman could start talking. She quickly picked it out and silenced it. ‘Please proceed,’ she said as she dropped the phone beside her in the bed.
Instead of proceeding, the woman turned back instead and picked a phone on the footstool. She scrolled through the phone for about thirty seconds as if she was looking for something serious and then dropped it back.
Tarasha watched her patiently until she was through with the phone. ‘Okay ma, let’s continue the discussion on Omotara,’ Tarasha urged, having to force a smile on again.
‘Yes, Omotara,’ the woman smiled. ‘Omota…’ another knock at the door interrupted.
Tarasha sighed. Who the hell was at the door again? She asked herself. The knock sounded again.
‘Come in,’ Tarasha answered, managing to sound as calm as possible.
The door opened and Henry stepped in.
‘Boss, I’m ready but there seems to be lack of funds, I can’t pay for the needed car with your card. I need another card or a reload,’ Henry said to her.
‘Oh!’ Tarasha nodded. ‘I’ll join you soon.’
‘And I’m also ready to go out, I’ll need out to dress me up.’
‘Sure…Okay, give me two minutes to join you,’ Tarasha replied.
‘Okay,’ Henry replied. He bowed slightly to the woman before stepping out.
Tarasha turned back to the woman. ‘Please can you just tell me a little about Omotara now, we would continue the remaining part of the discussion some other time.’
‘Yes, Omotara. Omotara was the only daughter of the Danjuma’s family, but she was not their biological daughter, she was adopted.’ the woman said.
Tarasha squinted. She was disappointed with the woman’s response, she wanted to hear something which she didn’t know about already.
‘Yes, can you tell me a little more about her?’
‘Omotara was beautiful and intelligent, only Jerry the youngest son of my brother Danjuma was as intelligent as her.’ the woman continued. ‘Danjuma and his wife brought her home on a certain wedding anniversary they had and…’
‘Okay ma, I need to go now, I’ll be back to continue with you,’ Tarasha said reluctantly since she wasn’t getting any useful information from the woman yet. She had to attend to Henry at that moment.
The woman did not stop talking however, she continued to tell stories of how Omotara began nursery school with her brothers and how she used to be beaten by bullies.
Tarasha held the womans hands warmly to thank her even as the woman continued talking. She looked in her eyes and noticed the woman was staring at something behind her, she turned to look but saw nothing there. She looked at the woman’s face again an realized the woman was already lost in her own world even as she recounted the stories.
‘We’d continue later,’ Tarasha said and shook the woman to get her back to consciousness but Mrs Atinuke kept on talking without being listened to. ‘Thank you ma,’ Tarasha had no choice than to get up and leave her talking.
She walked to the door and turned to look, the woman was still talking and staring at the same place. She shook her head in pity and proceeded out of the room.
‘Samantha is still with your mother?’ the doctor asked as Stephanie sat beside him.
He was putting on his lab wear, seated behind a table. On the table were lab instruments including a glass cylinder, burettes, pipettes and a bottle of distilled water. On the other side of the table were three ampoules of different sizes, two syringes and small pan containing some whitish powdery substance.
‘Yes, I left there a moment ago. They’re having a discussion,’ Stephanie answered.
‘That Samantha may just be someone related to you,’ Dr Ekwueme said.
Stephanie squinted, she stared at the doctor’s face questioningly. ‘What do you mean sir?
The doctor smiled and shook his head. He realized that he may be making a mistake if he told her of his suspicions, especially if it were not true or if it happened that Samantha wanted no one to know. ‘I was just kidding,’ he replied. ‘The way she likes to spend time with your mum is strange.’
Stephanie shrugged. ‘I don’t think she likes to spend time with my mother, she just needs some information from the woman and that’s all.’
‘Hmm…’ the doctor replied as he raised an ampoule up to see check the level through the light from the bulb.
‘What’s this mixture you’re preparing?’ Stephanie asked.
‘It is an extract from Benrylcarboxyl,’ the doctor replied. ‘I started preparing it in the laboratory in the house we stayed before we had to move here, I couldn’t take all the ingredients required to complete it, so I’m stuck here at this point. And there are also no laboratory equipments to continue.’
‘So, how do you plan to continue?’
‘Well, I will speak to Samantha. It’ll be done if some of the equipments and materials in that lab can be moved here since we now stay here.’
‘What about buying the new ingredients or making them in another lab?’
‘New ingredients?’ The doctor chuckled. ‘These ingredients are not easy to come by, it is not sold just anywhere and to anyone. It took Samantha some efforts to get them the first time.’
The doctor picked another ampoule, the largest one amongst the three and checked it through light like he did with the first.
‘Are the mixtures the same?’ Stephanie asked, referring to the first ampoule the man picked and the one he had with him.
‘No, they aren’t. This second one is used to reduce the effect of the main mixture, just in case it is administered in excess.’ the doctor answered.
‘Are the ingredients for these mixtures part of what you sent the nurse to get yesterday?’
‘No, this is something different. It’s not for your mum.’
Stephanie frowned. ‘Is it not medicinal?’
‘Then who is it for?’
‘For another patient,’ the doctor replied evasively and got up from the seat to walk to the window.
Stephanie knew it seemed she was asking too much questions already. The other patient except for her mum she knew the doctor was attending to was Dave James.
‘But can I ask what the mixture is being used for?’
‘You asked already, but you won’t get an answer,’ the doctor replied as he turned towards the door. ‘You won’t even understand if I decide to explain the details to you,’ he added and began to proceed towards the door. ‘I need to take a rest now.’
Stephanie got up and followed him. The door opened before they could get there.
Tarasha stepped in. She took a glance at Stephanie but fixed her gaze on the doctor. ‘I think you’d need to check Mrs Atinuke before you take a rest.’ She said and stepped back out immediately.
An hour later.
Cole’s mind was unsettled and disturbed as he put on his shirt. He buttoned the sleeves first and then fixed a gun behind his belt at the right side of his waist before he buttoned it from below almost to the neck. He looked at his image in the mirror to check if the shape of the gun was revealed through his shirt. He put another gun in his pocket before he turned. He picked his two phones from the table, he tried Patricia’s number on the extra phone again, the call wasn’t still answered.
He could feel weakness in his body as he proceeded out of the room but he refused to stop. He couldn’t rest yet until he located Patricia according to Tarasha’s instruction.
He met Tarasha in the living room. She was working on a laptop with full attention.
‘I’m going out boss,’ he said to her.
‘Where are you gong to?’ she replied without looking at him.
‘To get Patricia,’ he replied.
‘Where is she?’ Tarasha questioned.
‘I tracked her through her phone and got her location, she’s in Opebi.’ he answered.
‘And what do you intend to do with her?’
‘Bring her to you.’
Tarasha chuckled. ‘So you feel comfortable walking into the hands of the same person who organized Tomi’s kidnap?’
Cole’s mind skipped a breath. Tarasha had just confirmed his greatest fear. He had been hoping and silently praying that it would not turn out to be that Patricia was an enemy and was only getting close to the gang through him. He had no words to reply Tarasha. He had thought Patricia was the angel sent to change his life as he had decided to quit the assassination job after the mission with Tarasha ended. He had accumulated enough wealth to set him up for the rest of his life. Hearing that his supposed angel was an enemy was more than heartbreaking to him, it was totally devastating.
‘You looked surprised,’ Tarasha said with a scorn, now looking at him. ‘What were you going to do there when you weren’t sure yet of who she is?’
There was no response from Cole.
‘Go take a rest, you’ll need your strength later,’ she said to him dismissively.
Cole stood still. He couldn’t move or talk for some seconds until Tarasha spoke again.
‘Go take a rest, you need to keep your strength.’ Tarasha repeated, this time it sounded more like an order than a suggestion.
‘No boss, I’ll go get her.’ Cole said in a determined tone.
Tarasha chuckled. ‘I won’t waste more than a bullet in killing you if you step out of this building,’ Tarasha said as she got up on her feet. She took the laptop with her and walked away from the living room.
Later that Night
Tarasha, Henry, Cole, Dr Ekwueme, Tomi and Madam Henrietta all sat and ate silently on the dining table. Stephanie had prepared the meal that night but couldn’t join at the dining table because she had to be with her mother in the room. Even though the meal was delicious and they all enjoyed eating, nobody seemed to express that enjoyment as the atmosphere was tensed instead of being lively.
Almost everyone finished eating at the same time but it took more than three minutes for someone to get up and that person was Madam Henrietta.
‘Retiring to your room so early?’ Tarasha spoke as the room took a step.
She stopped and turned back. ‘Yes, I don’t really feel like watching the television tonight,’ Madam Henrietta replied, even though she had never be there to watch the TV with them at any point of their stay together.
‘Well, I arranged for your flight to the United States already and you’d be leaving tomorrow morning. Cole would see you off to the airport,’ Tarasha said.
‘Okay,’ Madam Henrietta replied without enthusiasm. She herself was surprised that she didn’t feel excited about leaving even though she had always wished and prayed that the day would come soon.
‘Would you need to get clothes or anything?’ Tarasha asked.
‘No, thanks. You got enough for me already. I’ll just go with the one I have here,’ the woman replied.
‘Okay, get prepared early. The flight is for 8am.’
‘Thanks,’ the woman said and turned to leave. She suddenly stopped and turned back. ‘Please, can I get my phone back?’
‘Oh, your phone!’ Tarasha said with a sad tone. ‘For your safety, we’d have to give you another phone instead. Cole would buy you one on your way to the airport and we’d give you an email address to reach us with when you get to the US.’
‘Okay,’ the woman replied and turned to leave.
Tarasha got up from the dining table, her phone was ringing on the sofa she placed it on. She picked the phone and checked the screen before sitting down.
‘Hey! Mr Gabriel,’ she hailed.
‘Tarasha, I heard that you dropped him at his house,’ Chief Gab said.
‘I hope he’s fine.’
‘Don’t ask me, call his family to confirm. If anything is wrong with him, it has to be from those who kidnapped him.’
There was silence for a while.
‘I’m in town now, when can we see?’
‘Well, we’re quite busy at the moment, I’ll tell you when I can meet with you.’
‘D–n it! You’re busy with what Tarasha?’ the man shouted angrily over the phone.
‘Relax man, I don’t hear your words when you shout like that.’
‘What are you busy with? Am I not the one who gave you the job you’re busy with?’
Tarasha didn’t reply.
‘Just tell me why you should be so busy that you can’t see the person you’re working for.’
‘Okay, when and where do you want us to meet?’ Tarasha asked, she didn’t argue because she knew the man was right.
‘Tonight,’ the man replied.
Tarasha took a glance at the time, it was past nine already.
‘Can we make it tomorrow morning? I won’t like to step out this night.’ she pleaded. She wanted to rest well that night to reserve enough strength for the next day.
‘Send me your address, I can come to you.’ Chief Gab replied.
Tarasha sighed. ‘You don’t need to do that, I’ll locate you.’
‘Okay, let’s make it tomorrow morning.’ Chief Gab finally said after some consideration. ‘I’ll call you by nine o’clock to tell you the venue.’
‘Thank you,’ Tarasha replied.
7:45am, next morning
‘Good morning Samantha,’ Stephanie greeted Tarasha as they met with each other in the corridor.
‘Good morning Steph,’ Tarasha replied. ‘Hope you slept well.’
‘Yes, I did. How about you?’
‘I did too,’ Tarasha replied. ‘So, your foster mom should be at the airport already, waiting for her flight.’
‘Yes, I saw her before she left.’ Stephanie said in a kind of sad tone. She was going to miss madam Henrietta.
Tarasha chuckled and patted Stephanie on the shoulder as she walked past her.
‘Mum asked of you this morning,’ Stephanie turned back to say to her.
Tarasha stopped and turned. ‘Your mum?’
‘Yes, she asked to see you. She wanted to know why you left her yesterday.’
Tarasha let out a faint smile. ‘I’ll see her later today.’
‘It’ll be nice if you just say Hi to her this morning, she thinks you left because you got angry with her.’ Stephanie explained.
‘Okay, I’ll check her.’ Tarasha said and proceeded to the living room.
She stopped by and knocked on Mrs Atinuke’s room on her way back. She entered without waiting to get a response.
‘Good morning ma,’ she greeted as she stepped in.
The woman was already awake and sitting upright.
‘Good morning Samantha,’ Mrs. Atinuke replied. ‘Why did you send her away?’
Tarasha squinted in confusion. She didn’t know what the woman was talking about.
‘I don’t understand ma.’
‘What did Henrietta do?’
‘Oh! I didn’t send her away, she needed to return to the United States.’
‘Hmmm…’ the woman shrugged. ‘Omotara was quiet different from her mother.’
‘Omotara…’ Tarasha suddenly become more interested. ‘Do you know her real mother?’
‘Henrietta gave birth to Omotara, she was the biological mother of the Danjuma’s daughter.’
Tarasha’s mouth opened wide in shock. Her phone rang at that moment and she pulled it out. Cole was the one calling.
‘Hello Cole, where are you people?’
‘The flight has left already, I’m returning back already and I want to know if you still want me to stop at the mall.’
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