The entire bus burst into laughter at another of the driver’s jokes. As the bus approached the stop, the passengers all forgot about their problems for a split second and just enjoyed the moment; everyone, except one passenger.
Ada was oblivious of the frolic and glee around her, her mind kept replaying the events that unfolded at the hospital the day before. Her sister was in a deeply precarious situation, and she felt as guilty as sin. She’d been far too timid in standing up for what she knew was right. “If only I had been brave enough to stand against Mama” she muttered under her breath with deep regret.
Amaka was close to tears as she narrated her bizarre experience. “There was a charmed rope by the toilet door, I was so scared.” Ada had never seen her so shaken. “I had to avoid crossing it, I’ve never been involved with any one so shamelessly fetish. There were strange objects lined up around the room, but I couldn’t run away from him; we arrived there in the dead of the night. He slept with me.” She was in tears now. “No” she continued, “he raped me, I pleaded and fought back, I told him I changed my mind, but he didn’t budge, and he was too powerful for me Ada.”
“I am not safe, I know it and I feel it” Amaka had said to her sister. “I have to seek help, but I don’t know where or who can help me.”
Her tears smeared her makeup completely. Ada felt totally helpless, it all seemed like a dream to her. Her baby sister had finally deemed it fit to talk to her but there she was, dumbfounded and without a clue as to what to do. They had never really been close since Mama started using Amaka to get money but it was late now, the deed had been done.
“Neither Mama nor Papa has to know about this” Amaka continued, “…at least not until I have found a solution”
“Amaka, you have no other place to run to except to God.”
“God?” She laughed hysterically. “No o, definitely not God. Not after all the atrocities I have committed, I can’t even stand in the same room with him” Amaka rebuffed. “I know exactly what to do about all this. I only told you so there can be someone at least, who knows about my predicament. I’ll take care of my self.” She stood up to leave.
“No! Amaka, I won’t let you go like that. This is a serious issue, it is spiritual and you need God!” Ada protested.
“I know I need God, I will meet him myself. Don’t worry about me, I will be fine.”
“If you won’t listen to me, you leave me no choice but to tell Mama and Papa about it.”
“Suit yourself then… I’m going back to school” Amaka wasn’t deterred by Ada’s threat. She dabbed at her face with her already soaked handkerchief and walked out of the ward without looking back.
Ada knew her sister was headstrong, the only option left now was to pray for her. Telling Mama or Papa would be suicidal, they already had a full plate. She had to keep it all to herself, pray and hope for the best.
The bus stopped finally, and all the passengers alighted. She was back in Lagos to see Benjamin. They had not spoken since the last time he called to inform her he was going to send #50,000 for Papa’s treatment. She had called him severally after then, but he never responded; she decided to visit him to know what was happening.
It was a saturday, and she expected him to be at home. She arrived at his house at about 2:10pm and met some of his neighbours outside. She greeted them and asked if Ben was home, but they were coy in replying. One of them however was quick to say ‘yes’ and Ada went in through the veranda, going straight to Ben’s room.
She knocked severally and after a few minutes, the door opened but it wasn’t Ben who got the door.
“Yes, na who you dey find?” The strange lady questioned.
“Err… I’m here to see Ben” Ada replied, with her heart in her mouth.
Ben appeared bare chested behind the lady.
“Adamma, you didn’t tell me you were coming.”
“I did call.” She answered him as calmly as she could. “I called your number severally but got no response, I got worried and decided to come to confirm that you are alright.”
“Well, as you can see, I’m perfectly okay” Ben answered dryly.
“Wouldn’t you invite me in?”
Ben shook his head and looked at the other lady who walked back into the room.
“You can come in”
Ada was trying so hard to control her temper, she could read the handwriting on the wall, but she didn’t want to cause a scene. She entered, but stayed by the door, fighting back the tears that were already welling up in her eyes.
“Ben, what did I do wrong? How did I offend you?” She asked.
“Look Ada, this is not the right time to talk about this. Sit down and let me offer you something.” Ben appeared unconcerned.
“Offer me what? Do you think I came here to eat or drink?” Ada was getting agitated.
“How’s Papa now?” Ben asked, trying to diffuse the tensed atmosphere
“You haven’t answered my question” Ada wasn’t giving up, “Why have you been avoiding me?”
Ben realized he couldn’t stall much longer, he braced up and replied. “Since you want me to speak at all cost, I’ll open up to you.” He sat on the only chair in the room and looked directly at Ada. “I have not stopped loving you, but I wish circumstances were different between us. I don’t want to go into deep details, because I don’t want to speak ill of your family. We both know what I am talking about, and I want you to understand that I just can’t cope anymore, I have my own life to live. The earlier I take the necessary step, the better for me”
Ada was perplexed. “Ben, you are not engaged to my family, you have business with me.”
“Yes I understand that… But will you denounce your family to be with me?” Ben asked.
Ada wanted to speak, but the words got stuck somewhere in her throat. Ben had said the truth; no matter how bad Mama was, she still remained her mother, and if Ben was asking her to choose between him and her family, she knew exactly what to do. But as stubborn as she was, she didn’t want a relationship that had lasted so long go down the drains, she made one last attempt to salvage the situation.
“I love my family, I will never denounce them. If it’s just my mother you have problems with, it can be resolved. But if you sit there and tell me, every member of my family bothers you, I’ll gladly leave.”. Ada submitted
Her argument was genuine. Papa had been good to him, the problem had only been Mama who saw him as a liability, and of course, Mama’s influence had really been great on their relationship. He had to decide if he was willing to carry on with the relationship despite Mama’s problems.
They both had been oblivious of the third party in the room until she spoke, “Dearie, what will you have for lunch?”
Ada looked at her with so much contempt, she wished she could grab her ugly neck and just strangle her to death, but she couldn’t blame her. Ben had been loving for six years, and like he mentioned, ‘if only circumstances had been different’.
“I’m okay for now. As you can see, I’m having a serious discussion” Ben shot her a ‘keep your mouth shut’ look and faced Ada again.
“Adamma, the truth is…. I would be lying to myself if I told you I could keep up with this relationship. I think it’s just the best decision to let go. I’m sure you’ll get someone ten times better than me.”
Ada felt life leaving her body from her toes, up to her knees and finally her legs gave way as she slumped to the floor.
Tunji arrived in his room and met Wale, a room mate. He greeted him and asked if he had seen Sunky lately.
“He left for the common room some minutes ago, I think there’s a match going on” Wale answered quickly. He was rushing out to attend a program.
“Thanks” Tunji replied, as they both left the room. Tunji made an hurried attempt to lock the door and ran towards the common room.
He was almost ascending the stairs leading to the common room when a large crowd appeared from the top and were making their way down, all discussing the outcome of the match that had just been played. Tunji knew he had to be patient and really vigilant to single Sunky out among the crowd.
“Sunky!” He shouted as soon as he saw him.
“How far? Where have you been? I didn’t find you in the room when I came back from town.” Sunky replied when he got closer to Tunji.
“I had been expecting you since Thursday. Seems you have been sleeping at J-boy’s place”
“Yeah… We are running some packages. I came to pick up a few things in school, so I seized the opportunity to watch Man Utd’s match.”
After walking a few metres away from the crowd, Tunji pulled out a letter and gave it to Sunky.
“Have it, that’s the letter Amaka left for me.”
Sunky read the letter, shook his head and smiled.
“I asked you right from the start if you were fit enough to bear the burdens of that girl… You’ll have to just ignore this and focus on what you really want from her” Sunky advised.
“That’s my problem, I really don’t know what I want anymore.”
Sunky was silent… He just kept on walking. Tunji didn’t know how to say it, but he wanted to tell Sunky that joining his team won’t be necessary anymore. He hoped it was still early enough to pull out.
“Err… I want to also discuss something with you” Tunji added.
“I’m going to town now.” Sunky cut in. “J-boy called me a few minutes ago, seems there’s an important deal on ground. I will advise you come with me, we can always talk about that girl later.”
Tunji complied without asking questions, and in a few minutes they were in Fine Touch. Sunky knocked on J-boy’s door for a few minutes before he answered the door. On entering the room, Tunji almost ran back as what he saw scared him to death.
A young man was tied and laid on the floor, blood all over his body, he had been severely beaten.
“OH MY GOD! This is Peter! How did you find him?” Sunky asked J-boy.
J-boy laughed wickedly, and puffed up some smoke from his cigarette. “There’s no escaping J-boy! No one can mess with me and escape. I got him today, and he’s serving his punishment.”
Sunky turned to Tunji immediately and spoke, “Tj! That’s Peter. He joined us when he needed help. J-boy gave him a deal worth N2.5million, and he disappeared. For more than five months, we’ve been on the search for him around school. I had to get a room in campus, just to be able to track him down. And here he is. I can bet you, he’ll cough out the money and more.” Sunky explained, sensing Tunji was lost and confused. He left for an inner room afterwards.
“I hope you won’t toe his line… I won’t be this merciful with anyone else. I’ll take the ultimate judgement straight! And you know what that means…” J-boy swiped his fingers in front of his neck to signify death.
Tunji’s face was aghast. Right in front of him was a picture of what could happen to him if he bailed out.
He swallowed hard, and nodded to tell J-boy he understood the message. He sat down and began to wonder how on earth he would escape the tentacles he found himself in.
“Yea, Tunji…. There’s a deal on ground for you” Sunky announced, as he emerged from the inner room. “But first, you said you had something to discuss with me”
Tunji chuckled, “Err….not…not now pls”
Ngozi all but yelled at her phone for ringing at that moment. She was still seething in anger for the abrupt end of her getaway with one of her sugar lovers. She hadn’t made as much as she expected, and was still wondering what happened to her friend, Amaka whose sugar lover went crazy and almost died in the pool.
Amaka vanished into thin air, and all efforts to reach her had been futile. Ngozi returned to school that morning, totally worn out. All she wanted to do was lie on her bed all day. She had hardly laid down for five minutes when her phone rang. She ignored it at first, but after the seventh time, it became obvious that the caller had something important to say. She hoped it would be Amaka, so she could lash out at her and ask where she decided to go awol.
Lazily, she got up from her bed and went to unplug her phone from the charger, it was Deji her sugar lover on the line.
“Mstcheew! What does he want from me?” She muttered. “I have nothing to say to you”.
She returned to her bed, but the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Angrily, she went back to the phone to switch it off and get some good sleep, but the caller had changed. This time, it was Amaka.
“Hello…” She spoke after answering the call. “Amaka, where did you go to? What happened to you? I have been worried sick about you!”
“I’m fine… I left very early in the morning yesterday, and went home to see my parents. I’m close to school now. Are you still at Osogbo?” Amaka asked.
“Osogbo gini? No ooo, after all the drama that ensued yesterday? I’m now in school, my room, on my bed! I was looking for you after your chief was rushed to the hospital…”
“Hospital? What happened to him?”
“Oh… so you mean you weren’t around when all the drama happened?”
“I told u before, I left the hotel very early yesterday.”
“It means I have a lot to gist you when you come”
“Same here, there’s something very important I must tell you.”
“Really? I hope it’s nothing bad ooo”
“Hmmm… Just wait till I arrive. I’ll come straight to your room” Amaka hung up.
Ngozi was eager to know what it was that Amaka had to say, the enthusiasm propelled her to answer Deji’s call when her phone rang again.
“Yes….what do you want from me?”
“Why haven’t you been answering your calls, you made me panic.” Deji replied.
“Why should you panic? Afterall we ended business yesterday.”
“Yes, I know…but I still want you. I just can’t get you out of my mind right now. Guess what?”
“We are back in Osogbo. A different hotel though. I want you to please come back. I’ll text the address to you”
“Over my dead body!” Ngozi shot out. “I can’t come back to Osogbo again.”
“Okay… Do you want us to come to Ife?”
Ngozi wondered why Deji was really interested in seeing her again.
“Why did you come back? Is your friend alright now?” She inquired.
“He’s fine… Nothing was really wrong with him. Just a misconstrued experience.” Deji explained, hoping Ngozi didn’t understand him.
“Yes baby… We re not in a hurry to return to Lagos, we still want to have some fun. And with you.”
“I’m not sure it can work anymore. I’m back in school. I’ll tell my friend however. If she wants, she’ll join you.” Ngozi answered.
“She’s not in school at the moment, but she’s on her way.”
“Okay… Let me know by evening, if she will be coming…and tell her we’ll add to the original price. This time, we’ll pay N700,000!”
“Really?” Ngozi’s eyes expanded with greed. “We will come… Expect us!”
“How about we come to pick you from school?” Deji asked.
“Errr…. I’ll let you know when Amaka arrives. Expect my call in an hour” Ngozi ended the call and let out a loud “yes!”
“Her name is Amaka…write that down” Deji said to Gbade, who was still shivering and grief-stricken. “We will be going to her school to pick her, and straight to professor’s temple”
To Be Continued Next Week…….