Imelda jerked up from sleep the second time, the nightmare again, but this time she saw the shinning blade firmly held high by the lady with the big round eyes, smiling in a wicked way and coming towards her.
She was covered with perspiration and was panting like someone who has been racing a power bike.
She removed the Duvet that covered her, and shivered as the first wave of cold hit her, she sat down, afraid to go back to sleep, she wiped her face with her hand and wiped her hand on the bed sheet.
She was released earlier that day, but was told to always report to the station whenever they needed her, and she shouldn’t leave the state.
She was grateful for coming out of that horrible place, she remembered the first night she slept in her cell, the darkness, the odor that slapped her nostril and later became part of her, the crawling neighbors that became friends to her, the hard eyes of Agunwanyi who said she had been there awaiting trial for two years.
She felt for her though, nobody ever came to see her, they said she stabbed one Alahaji who was once her husband. she also remembered the sister whose loud prayers and songs kept them awake and alive too.
‘She wondered what Kola would be thinking of her, why anyone would stick to an unfortunate being like her’ she thought
She looked at the pencil drawing of his dead sister again, what was her story? What was her life like? Was she able to figure out her life before she died? Or was she stuck in a place without any clue how to get out of it before she died, like her.
It was still around eleven pm and morning was still far, she was feeling lonely and afraid in that big room, she opened the door and went to the sitting room with one of his books, probably to occupy her mind.
“Can’t sleep?” He asked her
She turned from the sofa and saw him leaning by the door from the passage, with his loosed jogger and bared chest, crossing his hands on his chest,
“Yes, I can’t sleep, series of nightmares, I guess peaceful sleep may not be for me for sometime” she answered, tearing her eyes away from his body
He had insisted she stayed with him until she gets stronger;
“The house would be lonely, grace is not there with you” he had said when she wanted to go back to the house she shared with Grace
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She eased himself off the door and walked towards her, he held her shoulders while standing behind her
“That makes the two of us, I couldn’t sleep either” He said
“So what was keeping you awake?”She asked him
“Many things” He replied, and walked towards her to seat down
“Am I part of those thoughts? Am I bothering you so much?” She asked
She was concerned he had decided to let go of her but didn’t know how to tell her, she wouldn’t blame him if he chose to turn her out of his life
“Yes, you are part of that thought, and no you are not bothering me” he answered, cupping her face in his hands
“I was thinking that it is time you get your life back, you are becoming too uncertain of yourself and I don’t blame you, you have gone through a lot lately and you are letting it define you, I am still in love with you girl but there are things I cannot help you do, like standing against the tides in your life…” he continued
She was looking so heard at him, trying to make out sense from what he was saying and what he was yet to say
“… I would love to have you as mine forever, you are an amazing woman, but I wouldn’t offer that now, I don’t want you to see me as your life wire, I will rather we build you again, I want to see that woman you were few months before all these things happened, I want to see the formidable woman you became before this… do you understand?” he looked her in the eyes and asked
She nodded without words
“So I will try not to go beyond friendship for now, no matter how much I would love to kiss you and make love to you… I will not do that, until we build you together, get your career back, get your confidence back and every other thing, I wouldn’t want to take advantage of your vulnerability…” he said
She understood, he didn’t just want a woman, but an emotionally strong woman, she place her head on her chest and silently sobbed
“I love you so much Imelda but please don’t tell me that you love me yet, until you are strong and sure of it”
He wasn’t sure if she understood why he was doing what he did, one day he was asking her to love him back, the next moment he was telling her not to assume loving him yet until she was sure.
She slept on his chest listening to his heart beat.
“I don collect am Oga” Kabiru said
He watched edu played the voice recording and smiled, he was pleased with what he did
“Good Job Kabiru” Edu slapping him at the back in a friendly manner
“Thank you sir…thank you” Kabiru said, grinning
“This will help me a lot” Edu commented, transferring the voice to his own phone
“But Oga o, na true say that woman no die?” Kabiru asked with all seriousness
Edu was shocked, he looked up sharply
“How you take hear that one?” He asked
“Ehm… Na she talk am o, I don off the recorder when she talk am, I no fit bring the phone out again, she go suspect me” Kabiru said
“Jesus Christ!… so how did she know…what else did she say?” Edu asked dragging Kabiru by the hand in search for a place to seat down
“She dey vex o, say she think say that Man way she dey pursue don become her own, she know no say that auntie no die, I come ask her how she take know, she say she been wan go see that Man for him house come see the auntie for him car, she say the thing pain am well well…” Kabiru narrated
“Ehen… what else” Ken asked
“She say she dey plan something, say me I go help am again for that thing wey she dey plan, as we don become friends, make I help am this last time, she say she wan settle the matter once and for all…”
“And when is she planning to carry out this plan?” Edu asked
“Me I no know o, she say she go call me when she ready, she go tell me watin I go help am do?”
“Now Kabiru, you will do all you can to delay her action, make you delay am, and make you dey inform me anything way she want do you hear?” Edu pleaded
“Oga this thing don dey turn to action movie o, me I no like how the thing dey go, I no wan enter
olokpa net o, that girl fit kill person and police go come catch me…”
“Nothing will happen to you I promise, just keep an eye on her for me abeg” Edu pleaded, he brought out some naira notes and handed over to Kabiru
Kabiru quickly snatched the money from him and walked away.
Edu pulled the phone from his pocked and made a call to Ken
“She knows Grace is alive”
“She knows…how?” Ken wondered
Life has been so interesting since Grace moved in with him, apart from her initial complain of wasting away, though he found a way of keeping her busy by getting her involved in his own work, they had been good.
His house has been filled with her laughter, her dry jokes and her presence. He had forgotten what it feels like to share a home with a woman until he saw her panties hanging on his bathroom.
She always does that when they were still together, to taunt him, she knew he always complains about it. But that day he saw it, he turned and saw her standing and chuckling behind him, he held her by the waist and said
“This is the sign that confirmed to me that you are here, welcome home my Grace”
They had laughed and had fallen on the bed
She had resumed work this week after two weeks of forceful rest and now this news is coming to him
“So what do we do?” He asked Edu Over the phone
“Does she know about Chinyeaka?” Edu asked
“Not really, but am planning to tell her” Ken replied
“Okay, just tell her everything before she hears the wrong thing elsewhere”
“Sure I will do that when I get back”
“And please keep her safe” Edu warned
“Yes…Yes… I will, thank you my Man, I own you big time”
“Oga that your Hausa costumer wan see you o” One of his boys peered into the office and said
“Where him dey?” Ken asked
“Him dey outside, him say e wan choose color of kitchen tile but him no know the one him go choose” his boy said
“Okay, give him all our tiles catalogues, I will come and meet him” Ken said
He quickly dialed Graces Number, it Rang and was not picked, he dialed it again for the second Time before she picked
“Why are you not picking your call” He said
“Hey! What’s up, you only called me ones, I was far from where my phone is” She replied
“Sorry, I was only worried…where are you right now?” Ken asked
“I am in the office…is there any problem?” Grace asked
“No not at all, I wanted to know that you are fine” He said and gave a sigh of relieve
“K, hope there is no problem?” she asked again
“Ehm, just tell me when you will be done so I can come and escort you home”
“But I have my own car; I can find my own way home”
“I will drive behind you”
“Ken you are scaring me, is everything alright?” She asked
“Yes…yes… don’t bother about anything, enjoy your day sweetheart”
He was gone before she could say another thing
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