His eyes were fixed on the TV screen, but he didn’t hear a word that was being said. The 4 o’clock news was on air, but it was the newscaster that made his mind wander. She looked so much like Bimbo, and he suddenly realized how lonely he had become without her. Bimbo had been of tremendous help to him, she took care of the house chores, handled his laundry, fixed him great meals and on top of all that, she was wonderful company. His friends were envious of him back then; at some point they even labeled her “the perfect wife material”.
Whenever her topic arose in their conversations, it was unanimously agreed upon that she was nothing like the typical Lagos girls who can’t cook or handle so many house chores. They would go on and on about how lucky he was to have her and encourage him to hold on to her tight. He never told them that all they saw was a facade; because in reality, it had always been a war of love and wills with Bimbo. He loved her, but he didn’t quite appreciate her as much as his friends did. Only now did he truly understand the saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”
It had been three days since Bimbo disappeared into thin air and all effort to reach her had proved abortive. Dafe was tempted to inquire of her whereabouts from his acquaintance in the personnel department in charge of corpers in the company, but he realized he could be putting her in trouble by alerting them if they were previously unaware of her continued absence. After much thought, he decided to wait one more week before tabling a report. Work at the office had been slow (as usual since monday when Bimbo disappeared), he closed earlier than normal because he just wanted to go home, think, and do some chores which Bimbo would have taken care of if she was around.
He sauntered around the apartment, not knowing where to start from. There was a giant heap of clothes to wash and iron, dirty dishes to tidy up, the bed had to be made and his work-desk was a complete mess. The tasks seemed so enormous just thinking about them made him weak. He had lazily opted for the choice of sitting in front of the TV to distract himself with the news, but the face of the newscaster he saw staring back at him didn’t help to take his mind off worry, rather, he sunk deeper in his regrets of letting Bimbo leave.
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The news was over, and he was returned to the reality of the work that still had to be done. He rose up from the couch and glanced at the clock hanging on the wall, it was 4:32pm. He decided to start working from the kitchen so he braced up and started packing the plates he used earlier in the day which were still on the dining table. He was making his way towards the kitchen when the doorbell rang.
“Who’s it?” He called out, but there was no response. He asked the same question again and still got no response, the security conscious part of him immediately came to life. He dropped the plates, and quickly reduced the volume of the TV. He sneaked towards the window and quietly made his way towards the door to take a peek at who might be the “deaf and dumb” person there, but he couldn’t get a good vantage point. He was angry but he remained cautious enough to refrain from doing anything rash. “Please who’s at my door” he asked again, he waited for a response and then he heard muffled sobs. He threw caution to the wind and flung the door open to find Bimbo crouched by the door, trembling and in tears.
Kolawole Ajayi, the MD of Rock Holdings had been having a tough season. He was in a total mess and he knew it. Each time he tried to rub off one dirt, another came calling. The latest one, however seemed like the last straw that would break the camel’s back. He dreaded the possibility of what might happen if Frank was aware of his involvement in Dennis’ death. A lot of explanations would have to be made, going as far back as how Frank’s promotion was planned and even farther back… There were too many secrets, secrets that had to remain in the dark at all cost.
Having watched Frank closely, his behaviour and movement for the past days suggested he didn’t hear anything but he still needed to take necessary precautions. The option of calling Bertola to do one “last” job came to his mind, but he quickly remembered that he promised himself not to engage in such dealings any more and then, there was Sandra to think about. If she somehow managed to survive her coma, she would be still be angry at what led her into coma, and even angrier if anything happened to Frank. He thought it best that she didn’t survive. “At least the poor boy will be set free and left alone to go and marry the one he really loves” he said to himself. “But wait a minute, why can’t I set him free myself?… Sandra may not recover in 3months, 1year, or even 2. He won’t wait that long, will he…?”
He rose from the bed where he had hitherto been doing all the thinking. Arms behind and pacing around the room, he kept on talking to himself.
“Now this should work. I sell off the company and leave the country. I pay Frank off, giving him a huge sum of money to start a new life. Sandra wakes up from coma after Frank must have moved on with another lady, and everyone is back to where we all started.”
The plan seemed good, and he was happy with what he had arrived at. His face brightened up for the first time in a long time. He started making plans in his head about selling off the company. He picked up his phone to put a call across to his bank manager when he got a call from an international number.
“Hello, Kola Ajayi on the line. Who am I speaking with please?” He said after answering the call.
The voice at the other end laughed out with glee, “Gosh, dad! You haven’t changed one bit! Always official.” It was Damola, the MD’s Son and his twin sister Damilola was with him.
“Damola, how are you? This is really a surprise. I thought I would always be the one doing the calling.”
“Yes dad, we chose to surprise you since you forgot today is our birthday.” Damilola speaking now.
“Oh my God! Ejire, e ma binu (do not be angry) Happy Birthday. A lot is happening in Nigeria, and daddy is very busy. I hope you are having fun?”
“We ain’t dad, we’ve been reading all this time. Examinations ends tomorrow; you’ll soon be celebrating a doctor and a pharmacist in the family.” Damola back on the line.
“I can’t wait, I wish you the very best my children. May God be with you. I’ll send you some money to celebrate your birthday and graduation from college.”
“That won’t be necessary dad. We’re making plans to come home after our exams already, we’ll celebrate all of that in Nigeria.” Damola responded.
“I’ve missed home, and every one over there. My friends wanna see me as much as I wanna see them. Can’t wait to be back home dad” Damilola said away from the mouth piece but audible enough for her father to hear.
“Errr…. But don’t you think it’s better for you to stay a little longer…” The MD responded sensing a total change of course to his plans.
“No dad, we’re coming… Expect us in a week.” The twins replied quickly. “See ya!” Before the MD could say a word further, they had hung up.
Frank was given the opportunity to have a photocopy of Dennis’ letter. The detective asked him to go home and digest the letter as it might further help the police investigation. He got home still wondering what Dennis could have been talking about in his letter…
“I have no strength to face you and tell you all I have done. I am not worthy to be called your friend, definitely not your best friend. I have betrayed your trust, I have sold my conscience at the expense of your joy and happiness. By the time you are seeing this note, I should have been given my judgment in heaven. I hope God forgives my sins, even as I try to make restitution for my mistakes. Please look for Bimbo, she is your one true love. Sandra is just a…..” That was where the letter ended.
His head was pounding with a deluge of questions. What did Dennis have to do with Bimbo and Sandra? How did he know that Bimbo is his true love? And what was he going to say about Sandra, and why did he stop the letter at that point? Things were getting too complicated for him. Bimbo was nowhere to be found, if he was to find her, he would have to travel down to Port Harcourt. Sandra who might be able to provide some answers was in coma. The only person he could talk to and possibly get some directions from was his mother. He had not spoken with her since his last visit. The death of Dennis had caught him by surprise, and events that ensued ever since then hadn’t given him time to think of home. But now, consulting his mother and letting her know of events of the past weeks was the only option he could come up with. She might be able to offer one or two advice which might help.
The police detective had requested Frank to bring Bimbo in for questioning if he could find a way to reach her. He was willing to wait till Sandra was out of her coma; if she survived. But Frank was tired of the whole situation. The police detective was willing to concede to suicide but the mystery remained in the absence of the gun that shot Dennis. It was believed that the first person to get to the scene might have removed the gun, and that made Frank a suspect. The earlier he found and heard whatever Bimbo knew or didn’t know about Dennis’ death, the better for him. According to Aliyu, who had been released conditionally, there were no other visitors that morning other than those from Dennis’ office. The second person to visit was Frank. If Frank didn’t pick the gun, then those visitors did. All these were going through his head and he was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn’t hear when his newly employed security guard came into the room.
“Oga!” John said for the fifth time this time tapping Frank’s shoulder.
“Yes John, what is the matter?” He responded dryly, trying not to let the guard know he was worried.
“One lady dey outside, she dey ask of you. She say she come from Port Harcourt.”
At the mention of “Port Harcourt” Frank jumped to his feet and said “Really? Let’s go and see her.” He folded the letter into his pocket and walked behind John. He was not expecting that Bimbo would come back to him just like that. He was excited, but he tried to maintain a calm stance as he walked steadily behind the guard, who was walking majestically like the real owner of the house.
John opened the main gate for the visitor and led her to the pavilion right in front of the car garage where Frank was waiting. Of course, Frank was disappointed that Bimbo was not the lady that was brought to him, but he was scared at the thought that someone coming from Port Harcourt might be bringing a “not so good” news about Bimbo to him.
“Good afternoon Mr Frank” the lady said as she approached him.
Frank was further surprised that the lady knew his name. “Good afternoon. You are welcome. Have a seat” he responded as he ushered her into a seat. “I was informed you have come all the way from Port Harcourt.”
“Yes sir. I am Susan, Bimbo’s friend.” She said with a smile on her face. The smile seemed to put Frank’s mind to rest, knowing that no bad news was around the corner. Susan went on.
“Bimbo sent me to you and we have a lot to talk about.”
Cupid’s Quandary continues….