Jide did not bother to return to his office; he had his car keys in his hand and only one destination in his mind. In the elevator, on the way down to the parking garage in the office premises, his mind seethed with wild thoughts.If Anita Bankole had not been the one who tried to kill him by sending the adulterated food up to his office, it could only be one other person. And he knew just where to find her.Jide Babalola raced out of the legal chambers and dashed into his car. He dragged his seatbelt across his body, threw a wild look at his rear-view mirror and dashed out through the gates, almost knocking one of the security men down in his haste.As his car revved into a higher gear, his mobile phone buzzed in his pocket, but Jide ignored it. He was already high-strung enough as it was.
It would be dangerous for him to try to converse on the phone and drive while in this state of mind. “Safety first.” He muttered to himself. “Safety first.” But although he knew his next plan of action was far from safe, he had no choicebut to go through with it. He had to confront his only other suspect. He had to get to his wife, Patricia.** **Florence looked out one of the windows on their office floor, and bit her full lower lip as she saw Jide’s car zoom out from the premises like a bat escaping from hell.She wished he had come back to the officefirst before he left. She had discovered something she needed to tell him.Sighing, she rummaged for her phone in her handbag and dialled Jide’s phone number. The call went unanswered and she swore softly, hitting redial.Florence was desperate; she needed to talk to Jide. He needed to know the truth before he did something stupid.** **Jide screeched into his compound with the same urgency he had used to leave hisoffice. He scrambled out of his car and met a sight that stopped him in his tracks.An Uber van was parked in the compound,a few familiar boxes piled around it.
He squinted disbelievingly- the luggage belonged to Patricia. His security man andthe Uber driver had been in the process of loading the boxes into the van before Jide arrived and interrupted them.He turned to his security man and was startled to see guilt written all over the man’s face. “What the hell is going on here?” The man scratched his head. “Ah, Oga, no vex o. Na madam say make I no tell you anything.”“Tell me what?” Jide asked, eyes running over the boxes. There were so many of them, he knew Patricia had bundled almost everything she owned into them. “Wetin dey happen here?” The security man shuffled his feet uncomfortably, the very picture of guilt. “Oga, I no know o. When I ask madam whether una two dey travel, she say na only she. Say make I no tell you as na surprise to you. The thing do me somehow o, as woman suppose tell her husband if she dey travel, but she make me promise not to call you.” Jide struggled to understand what he was looking at. Why was Patricia doing this? And where was she travelling off to?
A grim thought entered his head. What if, as he suspected, she was responsible for the adulterated food, and she was running away, satisfied he was in a corner of his office, writhing in pain and coughing up blood as the pieces of glass he had ingested cut him to ribbons on the inside?Was Patricia on the run already? “Where is she?” Jide asked grimly.The security man pointed mutely at the house and Jide nodded. “That car should not move till I come back outside. Understand?”When the security man nodded, Jide hurried into the house, wondering what was about to happen. His phone buzzed urgently in his pocket for what seemed likethe hundredth time, but he ignored it again. There was no time to stop and talk. He had to see his wife. The confrontation would not be pleasant, but it had to be done.The front door was slightly ajar, and he pushed it open and stepped in warily. He took a few steps into the empty living room and stopped as something crunchedcrisply beneath his feet. He looked down to see pieces of glass littering the floor and his pulse quickened. He recognized the bigger pieces of glass to be from one of Patricia’s favourite flower vases. Was this where she had gotten the glass she sprinkled into food and sent to his office?He raised his eyes from the shards to see Patricia coming out of the kitchen, humming beneath her breath, a long-handled broom in her right hand. Fora moment, she was the very picture of domestication. When she saw him, she gasped and stopped short, eyes widening in surprise.The light coming in from the windows fell on his wife and Jide stared at her, emotions warring within him. Patricia looked beautiful, dressed up and obviouslyready to travel. She had on more make-upthan he had seen on her in a long time; long earrings dangled from her earlobes and her hair was piled up in a classy bun, pulling her beautiful cheekbones into sharp relief. She looked radiant, her creamy skin set off by the pair of blue jeggings and white blouse she was wearing. Gold bracelets jingled as she transferred the broom to her other hand. “Jide! You’re back so early.” There was barely disguised dismay on her voice. “I… er… I was not expecting you…”“Obviously not.” Jide said softly, side-stepping the broken glass.Patricia shrugged helplessly, and then sighed. “Alright. I can explain all this.” Jide crossed his arms and waited, eyes narrowed. This was one explanation he could not wait to hear.
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