Tunde left Chief Badru’s office wondering if he really was in the right profession. He couldn’t help thinking that he may have made a mistake signing up with the good guys. He was seriously tempted to take the man’s offer. Although he had coyly told Chief Badru to give him a few days, both men realised it was a customary dance.
Mark was long gone when he reappeared at the secretary’s office. He hoped the man was not in trouble and would take his cue to start afresh. He had given the criminal a clean slate. Tunde had shown him a legitimate opportunity and provided the cash – the bounty for his delivery, he hoped Mark would be honourable enough to walk away. He wasn’t sure he would let Mark go twice if it came to it.
He smiled at the secretary and waved. ‘I’ll be seeing you around.’
She smiled back. ‘Have a nice day.’
He walked briskly out of the building. He needed a fix badly. He was thinking of the closest bar to get drunk in when he remembered he hadn’t checked his secure messages for days. He mentally kicked himself; he was out of the loop because he chose to be. He looked round at the faces at the car park of the building, brought out his phone and dialled a number.
‘You have fourteen messages.’ The automated voice told him. He checked the caller ID to determine the more important calls. It was a habit he picked up way back. To his surprise, it was just one person that had dropped fourteen calls for him. Fourteen!
He randomly chose one and listened. ‘This is agent Alpha Bravo Dix we need to talk. I have important information to share and I do not trust anyone else.’
He inclined his head and tried to attach a face to the name. It came to him, agent Adigun Bakare. He smiled, one of the few people who truly knew his identity. He frowned as he recalled the agent’s message and played another message. The message was the same.
Tunde became disturbed; the man had called him fourteen times for a gist. Damn, it had better be interesting and worth his while. He dialled the agent’s number, ‘the usual place, 18:00hrs, be early.’ He clicked off his phone. Got into his car and drove out the building. It was still early in the day, he would make it.
General Musa’s phone rang as he got to his military issued jeep. He hissed as he clicked the answer button. The Leader could be frustratingly obnoxious. He put the phone to his ear.
‘So, what was the conclusion?’ There was no greeting or preamble.
‘The damned DG is either holding out on the president, or the president’s acquired new acting skills.’ He was irritated and annoyed; the meeting had been a total waste of his time. He did not learn anything new, and just sat in on a three-hour meeting he could have skipped.
The other end was silent for a bit. ‘Find the agent in Jos, I have a feeling he’s still holed up there. He needs to recuperate doesn’t he? Find him, relieve him of his package and extract what we need to know. See to it.’
‘Yes sir.’ General Musa said. His anger was reaching new heights by the second. He hated it when the Leader actually lived up to his title and gave orders.
‘By the way, we need to recruit a new man. See to the safe passage of the dead wood.’ The line clicked off, the Leader was gone as abruptly as he came with the ringing phone.
General Musa got into his car, rubbed his chin thoughtfully, thinking of whom to assign both tasks. He was still in a pensive mood as his driver drove out of the Villa. Then it hit him. Captain John O’Brien was up for appraisal and promotion, and he would do anything he was ordered to do without question. The general allowed himself smile as he picked up his phone.
Damilola took a long walk. Her discussion with the senator not only had surprised her, its revelation was worse than what she caught the senator doing. She had sat there as he told her the story that was the relationship between him and his wife. She begged him to stop; he insisted she had to know. All the while, as he spoke, she found she was cringing.
She knew he was not lying to her. He asked her to check with her mother. That spawned a moment of awkwardness in their already stilted discussion. Her eyebrow arched and he had quickly dispelled her fears. ‘No, no, no! I did not sleep with your mother. She helped us through the ordeal. Counselling and advising like a true shrink. Pity,’ he had shaken his head in sadness. ‘Pity, her best did not count for squat.’
Her brows lowered, she said a prayer of thanks and looked at the man. ‘Daddy? Does he know?’
‘I’ll assume he does. Women being women, I expect his wife has filled him in. Remarkably, he never asked me about it. I do not think he ever will.’ A sad smile spread across his face. ‘Maybe on my deathbed, he’ll put me out of my misery and ask, maybe not. Know this; you have a really strong man for a father.’
The mood in the room lightened a bit, none of them smiled. She knew he was telling the truth, she knew he was suffering too, still she couldn’t find it in her heart to forgive him just then, she got off her bed, put her feet in her flip flops and walked out the door. She had been walking for almost half an hour when she saw him.
Dare didn’t have anywhere to go. He thought of going home but decided against it. He would end up beating himself up if he did, so he decided on a gamble. Go to Damilola’s house and see if she was home. He didn’t expect her to be though.
He was almost ten minutes from her house, when he saw her walking towards his car. His jaw fell as he beheld her beauty in the afternoon sun. This woman was going to be his wife he fantasised. He did not realise that he had stopped moving the car until the car behind him honked impatiently. She raised her head and saw him instantly.
He pulled over beside her, got out the car and hugged her tightly. ‘I’ve missed you so.’
She nodded her assent. She was still too dazed to speak. The thoughts still weighed heavily in her mind.
He peered curiously at her, ‘what is it love?’
She shook her head, smiled faintly and started towards his car. ‘Can we go somewhere else? I need to put a lot of distance between me and this place.’
He obliged her, knowing that asking questions would produce no results. Whenever she was in her dodgy mood, he had found it was best to let her go through it alone. When she wanted, she would share in detail, her ordeal. Or not. He got into the car and drove away.
He drove lost in thought, afraid to tell her of his suspension earlier that day. She was silent beside him, still mulling over her discussion with the senator. Her biggest story yet had gone up in flames because she could not write it. And no one had to persuade her not to.
He drove the way he came. Accelerating, cruising and all but flying the car. The car was silent, a pensive mood hung in the air. He kept driving, after a while; he slowed, turned onto a dirt road and accelerated a little. She refocused then, as the car went through bumps that made her dance in her seat.
Dare had driven her to the beach. She looked as Oniru beach beckoned. Something melted in her, as she found she started letting go of the man. They paid the attendants at the beach, got a canopy and chairs, bought drinks and just sat there, enjoying the sea breeze and their drinks. They didn’t talk to each other. The other’s company was enough.
They were there for till the sun set, she looked at the clock and jumped. He checked his wrist and almost froze. They had sat there for close to three hours. She got up, and he did same.
He pulled her gently to himself, and then spoke to her for the first time that day. ‘I got suspended today at work.’
Her eyes dilated in disbelief. The day just kept dishing her tough blows. ‘What happened?’ Her concern was apparent.
He smiled. ‘It was my fault. I ran away from meeting clients I was scheduled to do a presentation for this morning. Mr Adenekan didn’t like that and he made his discomfort known. I’ll be back at work in no time.’
She arched her head and observed him. ‘Okay what is the matter now? Why would you do that?’
He shook his head. ‘I just couldn’t bear to say I’d failed. I was at a loss then. Thankfully, I got inspired and completed the software before I was suspended.’ His grin was wide.
She smiled too, her heart fluttered. Sometimes, when she wondered why she had agreed to date him, all she had to do was remember his grin. It always made her insides soft.
He knelt then, in the sand and spoke. ‘I know you said your father would determine what happens with us, still I cannot but ask again. Will you marry me?’
She looked into his eyes; she could see the glint of the sun in his eyes as she looked into his soul. She felt drawn to him in a powerful animalistic way. She didn’t know when the words escaped from her lips. ‘Yes. Yes, I will.’ She gasped as realisation dawned.
He didn’t wait for her to regret, he got up, gathered her up in his hands and threw her in the air. He caught her and spun on his feet. Somehow, in the dark recesses of his mind, he knew, everything would be okay. It was already unveiling.