The Philips’ Residence.
“What are we doing here? The man we came to help is missing. We should leave,” Sugar said.
“Kokoro would be concerned that we haven’t called,” Diana said.
Ngozi ignored them. She looked up. “Wait for me. I will be back.”
She went upstairs, got to the master bedroom and pushed the door open.
“Come in,” Shade said from within. “I have been expecting you.”
Ngozi entered the room and looked around. She noticed two full glasses and a bottle of champagne on the side table beside the bed. She turned her attention to Shade. “What have you done to Gbenga?”
“He is my husband. What I do to him or with him is none of your business,” Shade picked one of the glasses and drank some champagne.
“I want you to go as far from Lagos as you can and make sure you don’t return until I tell you to,” Sadique held Yemi’s shoulders and looked into her eyes.
“I have nowhere to go,” the maid protested. “I want to be with you.”
“Hmm,” the ex-military man exhaled. “Don’t you understand what is going on? Shade wants you dead,” Sadique said.
“I can’t live without you. Sadique, I want to be with you,” Yemi pleaded.
“If I don’t do it, she will send someone else after you. She won’t rest until she destroys you.”
Yemi clung to his arm. “But you will be here to protect me. I will be safe with you.”
Sadique shook off her hands. “I can’t protect you from her. She hates you and will not stop her quest to terminate you until she succeeds. The best thing for you to do is to stay completely out of sight for a while until things cool down a bit, then you can return.”
“My parents are in Lagos. I have nowhere to go.” Yemi said.
Sadique brought out an envelope from his pocket. “Take this and leave for Kaduna first thing in the morning. There are taxis by the restaurant down the road. Take one and find a hotel to lodge tonight.”
Yemi did not touch the envelope. “But I don’t know anybody in Kaduna,” she protested.
“I have a friend who owns a hotel in Kaduna. You can stay at his hotel for as long as you want. The address is in the envelope. Take it.”
Yemi looked at the envelope for a moment, then she took it. “Thank you Sadique,” she kissed him on the cheek.
“I have a job to do. I will call you in the morning. Now go,” said Sadique.
Sadique watched her leave, then he turned his attention to the man tied up inside the car.
“We have located the position from where the text messages were sent. The number rang but the call wasn’t answered,” Nosa explained
“So what are you going to do?” Chief Babalore asked.
“I have sent some men to that area. They will search for any suspicious activity going on. If she’s still there, we will find her.”
“Thank you Nosa. I deeply appreciate your help.”
“It’s nothing. I just hope we are not too late to rescue her.”
Chief Babalore’s hands shook slightly as he ended the call and dropped the phone on the table. He was tired but couldn’t afford to go upstairs to join his wife in the bedroom. He wanted to be awake in case Yemi was found alive and the police gave him a call. He picked up a newspaper and struggled to keep himself awake by reading. Some seconds later chief Babalore leaned back in his chair snoring loudly and the newspaper fell from his tired hands, the pages scattering on the floor.
Sadique dragged Gbenga towards the edge of the water.
“Where are you taking me? What do you want to do to me?” he asked.
Sadique stopped by the edge of the lagoon. He set the man down on the ground.
“Please, let me go!” Gbenga begged.
Sadique didn’t answer him. He began to lose the ropes on his feet. When he was done, he looked at Gbenga in the eye. “Did you ever take swimming lessons?”
Gbenga wondered the importance of the question at such a time but he decided to answer him. Maybe if he answered his questions Sadique would let him go. He had untied his feet, he may untie his hands and release him. “My father wanted me to take swimming lessons. I started but I lost interest and I stopped attending the lessons.”Gbenga explained.
Sadique looked at the dark lagoon and shook his head with sadness. “You should have listened to your father.”
Gbenga followed the trajectory of Sadique’s gaze. “What do you want to do to me?”
Sadique untied his hands and set him on his feet. Gbenga tried to get away from the ex-military man but his weak body refused to obey the commands of his mind. His feet buckled under him and he fell to the ground.
Sadique regarded him with pity. “You should have completed those swimming lessons.” He lifted Gbenga from the ground and carried him up effortlessly.”Say your last prayers,” he adviced. “Nothing can stop you from joining your ancestors tonight.”
“No, Sadique don’t do this!” Gbenga begged his security guard.
Yemi heard the scream. It sent a chill up her spine and stopped her in her tracks. Seconds later she heard the screech of tires and a car sped past her on the road. She ran to the restaurant. There were some tables and chairs arranged outside with a few people drinking and raising their voices to be heard above the loud music which blared from speakers placed in front of the establishment. “Somebody help me! My husband just fell into the lagoon!” Yemi was hysterical.
Two men stood up immediately. “Where is he?” One of them asked her.
Another one stood up.”How did it happen?”
“Please follow me,” Yemi said and ran in the direction of the place where she left Sadique and Gbenga Phillips, praying that she wasn’t too late to save him from a watery grave.
“If anything happens to Gbenga, I swear you will regret it!” Ngozi hit the door with a clenched fist.
Shade stood up from the bed. “I know you have feelings for my husband, but it is really not your fault. I am responsible for it. Since the day I married Gbenga I felt a sort of disconnect. I felt out of place with him. That was why I took a job that would take me away from my home. Away from the pain that consumed my soul. I guess he reached out to you because you cared enough to listen to his constant whining and complaining about his business and his overbearing mother. I so detest that woman!” She said.
Ngozi took two steps into the room. “Where have you taken Gbenga?” Ngozi asked again. “Do you realise this is kidnapping and it is a serious offence. You and your co-conspirators will rot in jail for this offence.”
Shade moved closer to Ngozi. “It is time you left the past behind and stepped into the future. Gbenga is in the past. I am totally over him. Let me introduce you to the future, my future.” She stood by the door of the bathroom. “Darling, could you step out for a moment.”
A handsome man came out. Shade smiled at him and held his arm, clinging to him like a snail attaching itself to a tree.
“Ngozi, meet Roberto,” Shade smiled. “My future.”
The first thing that hit Ngozi’s senses was the strength of his cologne. It smelt like expensive Cuban cigar dipped in musk. As Ngozi looked at the couple smiling before her, she was overwhelmed by rage. Her left hand reached inside the bag she carried, searching for something. “Shade, what is the meaning of this nonsense? Where is Gbenga?” she removed her hand from the bag, bringing out a metallic object.
Roberto saw what Ngozi held in her hand and he stopped smiling. Fear descended like a dark cloud on his handsome face.
Ngozi pointed Shade’s gun at the couple. “I will ask you this for the very last time. Where is Gbenga Philips?”
To be continued.