‘He will see you now.’ The secretary said indicating Tunde.
Tunde rose, straightened his shirt and proceeded into the man‘s office. He had been waiting with Mark for close to half an hour before the call came in and the secretary indicated that he should go in. As he walked towards the office, the events of the last two days came rushing back.
He walked back into the bar after watching her exit the gate. His anger dissipating by the second as he guessed she would be walking away to safety as he strolled back into the bar, whistling.
He re-entered the bar and fell into an ambush. One of the bouncers sent a left hook flying through the air as he opened the door. He had seen the punch rather late, yet managed to duck getting hit marginally by the blow. His head reeled as he staggered back.
His hands shot back and found the wall. He steadied himself against it and counted three men. Four, depending on whether Shina was an onlooker or participant. He stretched out his hand and tried talking his way out of the ambush.
‘Guys, come on, we work together.’ His left hand was outstretched in an attempt to stop the men from rushing him.
The lead guy laughed. ‘You just took out three of my men. I bet you must be feeling super fly about yourself. Well, I’ll beat you to a pulp, and show that your pretty missus that in here, we rule.
Tunde became alert; he gently increased his pressure on the door. Anyone trying to get in would have to literally break in; he wasn’t ready to have his position weakened. He began studying the subordinates.
‘You will do well to focus on me, and channel your energy. They’re here in observatory capacity. Their presence is to keep you from running.’ He was smiling as he cracked his knuckles and exercised his neck. He was ready to give Tunde the beating of his life.
Tunde allowed himself smile. ‘This won’t be a fair fight…’
‘You damn right it won’t…’
The lead bouncer did not see the kick until it hit him. He heard something snap in his jaw as he yielded to the force of the kick. He turned his head and that was the last thing he remembered before blacking out. Tunde’s punch had landed squarely on his throat, crushing his carotid.
The others watched in horror as their leader succumbed to defeat without fighting. Shina seemed impressed, shook his head and walked back to where the ladies were and action awaited him. He had confirmed firsthand that Jude was a killer, which was all he needed to know.
The two other men stood still, simmering with anger. They could understand he wasn’t to be rushed, yet with every muscle in their body craved a crack at him. Tunde looked from one man to the other, waited a few minutes for them to make their move. When it was apparent all they would do was try to browbeat him, he smiled.
‘Well then,’ he clapped his hands removing imaginary dust. ‘I believe your leader requires medical attention, see to him.’ He stepped over the man supine body and strolled nonchalantly past the two men. He was goading them to move, make an attempt on him. They did not disappoint him.
Simultaneously, both men charged at him. Like raging bulls frothing at the mouth they tried to in-close him.
Tunde had anticipated their move. He raised his right leg, spinning on his left as he feinted left, reach for the man that was charging from that direction. Before the man could respond, Tunde had gotten a hold of his waist and thrown him at his comrade whilst spinning on one foot.
His pirouette caught the eye of the drunken man who obviously thinking he was seeing a ballet dance, started clapping.
Tunde watched as both men collided with themselves then fell in a heap. He dipped his head imperceptibly in a sign of camaraderie and respect. Then, he started off for his seat. No way he was going to get that girl again he smiled ruefully.
The men had seen his head dip, they feared he would attack them, but when he walked away, they knew he was a true champion. Though he was slight of build compared with them, he was faster and better than them all. He had taken out a security outfit without as much as breaking a sweat.
The men did not want to process what would be, if there were two or maybe more of him in that place to contend with. Their focus moved back to their inert leader. Time to get the boss medical help, they pulled themselves off the floor and carried him away.
The drunken man watched in admiration as Tunde went past him to join his gang. He had witnessed it all; this man was more lethal than ten security guards. He smiled, took a long drain of his bottle. ‘Tomorrow,’ he told himself. ‘Tomorrow, I will own that bastard.’
That night, Tunde slept in her room. He begged off going away with the gang and they allowed him stay. At first, she had thought he was there to hold up his end of their bargain. She was surprised when having entered her room, he sat on the small chair, shut his eyes and slept off.
All through the night, she kept hoping he would come. That he would leave the discomfort of the chair and join her in the more accommodating bed. He did not.
At first light, he shook her gently. She must have fallen asleep for she didn’t hear him rouse. ‘I have to go now,’ he said. ‘Thanks.’
Her eyelids were still heavy, she had problem processing the information he supplied her. He smiled and she found his smile soothing. It warmed her up on the inside. She stretched her hands and gave him a brief embrace. Found her pillow and was fast asleep as her head nestled.
He was gone when she was awoken by the noise and rowdiness in the courtyard. Not wanting to get out of bed, she dragged her duvet over her head and wished the noise away. It didn’t go away, instead, it grew louder and closer.
She sat up, revealing perfect breasts. She loved sleeping naked. Had been sleeping naked since she was seventeen, her nightgown consisted only of her panties. She enjoyed the stimulating feel of her duvet against her body.
She realised as she sat there on her bed that the men were looking for someone and barging into rooms. No need to incite rape she thought as she jumped off the bed, grabbed a pair of jeans and wore. She was pulling over head her cardigan vest when her door was kicked in.
‘Where’s he?’ The man who charged in was carrying a rifle.
She froze. The sounds dried up and failed to escape her already opened mouth. Fear was written on her face as she stood, looking from the gun to the man. She had been in a lot of bad situations, actually lived amongst criminals. Yet the man and his gun rattled her.
‘Where is he?’ The man reiterated.
She frowned, as it dawned on her. Her voice suddenly returned. ‘He left. This morning.’
The man looked processed her words, nodded as if she had just confirmed what he knew. ‘Okay,’ he said and backed out the door.
She sat back in her bed. She wanted to warn him, but something told her he knew what was coming and had stylishly avoided it. She shook her head in disdain. All of them were the same.
Throughout that day no one saw him. The dogs had been set loose on him and no matter where they went, no one could pick a scent of Tunde’s movement. He was totally incommunicado.
That evening, as Mark entered his apartment and slumped into his three seater, Tunde called him.
‘Jude! Where are you? How are you? Are you safe?’ His questions were a staccato.
‘That is what I want to know, are you safe?’ Tunde ignored the barrage of questions.
Mark sighed heavily. ‘You set us up men; you did us a huge disfavour. Those guys you beat up went for reinforcements, they caught up with us and rough-housed us. We were outnumbered one to five at least so they grabbed us.
‘It was when I gave them Maureen’s address that they stopped torturing us and went in search of you. We were told you’d skipped town, if that’s true, stay where the hell you are. Those guys will end you if they see you.’
‘Noted.’ Tunde said. ‘I need a favour though; do you have any good suit? Official like?’
Mark scoffed. ‘Of course.’
‘Good, I have a package for you to deliver tomorrow. Please dress smartly, tomorrow’s going to be a big payday for you. I’ll text you the details.’ The line went dead.
For seconds Mark stared at the ceiling of his apartment. He was re-evaluating Jude and what he knew of him. He was still lost in thought when his phone beeped. A message from Tunde had been delivered to him. He shut off the phone. Tomorrow, he thought, tomorrow, maybe he would get some answers.
That had been the events leading to their rendezvous that morning in the office. Mark had been surprised to see that Jude was the package he was to deliver.
‘No way am I turning you in mehn, no way.’ He argued.
Tunde had smiled. ‘Dude, the dogs are after me, the sharks want a piece of me, and the wolves will soon pick a scent. You want to do this, nothing will happen to me.’ He assured Mark. ‘Besides, you need the bounty. Let’s call it my payback for the lady.’
Mark understood the logic, and though he did not like one bit what he was about doing, he went into the building with Tunde as his prisoner. They waited for almost half an hour before Tunde was called. He had already been given his cheque for five million. He sat there as he watched Jude go, ambivalent.
Tunde rapped lightly on the door, did not wait for a response before opening the door. He soon disappeared from sight of the outer office shutting the door behind him.
‘Welcome,’ it was the drunken man from the club who greeted first. He was already on his feet, smiling hand outstretched.
Tunde covered the distance, shook his hand and sat when offered a seat. Finally, he had gotten in. Now to move up the ranks and to the man he wanted. Things were going better than planned.