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BROKEN MIRRORS – ALL THE EPISODES

Here’s all the episodes of Broken Mirrors in one place. Enjoy.

TL

Broken Mirrors Art

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10
Episode 11
Episode 12
Episode 13
Episode 14
Episode 15
Episode 16
Episode 17

 

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Broken Mirrors – Episode 17 – The Finale

And we come to the end, where the mirrors are finally broken. Enjoy. Don’t forget to visit http://www.lushdeals.com/ for the best discount deals and make una buy ooooooooo, don’t just visit the site.

Thanks for reading Broken Mirrors all the way. For the next two Mondays, I’ll be posting short stories, the first of which will be Miracle’s Manhood (first written for the Oyo State Ministry of Womens’ Affairs). And after those two weeks, we commence another series, Rekiya’s Tale (I read the 1st Episode of this at the Write Right Prize Giving). You should look forward to these. Once again thanks for making tlsplace the number one fiction blog in the country.

TL

Broken Mirrors Finale

“Calm down man,” Kamal said, even though he didn’t feel very calm himself. Derin was pacing up and down, pausing every few seconds, his eyes darting furtively around at each stop, as if expecting Awazi to emerge from the spot he looked at.

Derin had come to him that morning to ask him to help beg Awazi, and he had harangued Derin after hearing the story of what had happened. They had rushed back to the house together, but met it locked from outside. Once in the house, Derin dashed into the open bedroom and met it empty. They had gone through every room in the house, shouting for her, but she wasn’t there.

“Dude, calm down and let’s call her,” Kamal said again to the pacing Derin.

Derin reached for his phone and came up with empty air. It was only then it dawned on him he had left his phone in the house in his rush to get Kamal. He quickly scanned the living room, but didn’t find the phone.

“Kamal, can you flash my phone? I can’t find it,” Derin said.

Kamal attempted to dial the phone, but couldn’t get through. Derin began searching methodically in the living room and when he didn’t find it, he moved into the bedroom. There on the bed was the phone.

He picked it up but immediately saw it wasn’t his own. He had bought the phone for Awazi on their anniversary when she had kept whining about using an older BB than his own and his own was older than hers.

“She probably took your own phone, thinking it was hers,” Kamal thought out aloud, speaking what Derin himself was thinking.

Derin dialed Awazi a couple of times but the phone rang out.

“We just have to wait, man” Kamal said to Derin.

And so, they waited. Or rather, Kamal waited, while Derin paced.

******************************************************************

Rasheed came out of the doctor’s office, with a small fireproof safe. The weight of the small item made him sweat even in the AC of the corridor. He entered the conference room, with the two women waiting, staring intently at him.

He carefully placed it on the table and then produced a strip of paper from his pocket. From it, he retrieved the safe combination and slowly dialed it. The safe opened with a crack and in it was a plain brown envelope.

By now, they were all standing, gathered around the little box. With measured movements, Rasheed extracted the document from the envelope, waved it a little and simply said “Haruna’s will”. When he unfolded the document, he was in for a shocker. “This is not the will I prepared,” he said.

“So is it genuine?” Bintu asked, raising an eyebrow.

“It is. This combination to this safe was only known to Haruna, and it was only by following specific instructions I retrieved it. The will is dated last week Thursday, the day before that ill-fated meeting. He changed it without telling even me.”

“Well, let’s get on with it now, shall we?” Bintu said.

He went through all the preliminaries mechanically until he got to the meat of the matter – the sharing.

“To Bintu Mogaji, I give my 8flat house in Bodija as well as 12.5Million Naira in a fixed deposit with Wema Bank as well as the lands in Abule Egba, Lagos.

To Hakeem, I give my 5 bedroom duplex in Agodi as well as the 4Flat house in Agungi, Lekki. A trust fund will be set up with my lawyer, Rasheed Sanda and Bintu Mogaji as the trustees. The annual yield of the fund will be paid to Hakeem for his upkeep. When he does decide to get married and have children, 20percent of the fund will be liquidated and paid out to each of his children when they reach the age of maturity.

To my friend, Rasheed Sanda, I give all of my Ibadan land. He has been a true friend and will use them better than I could ever do anyway.

Finally, to Mr. Derin Banwo, I will my hospital, Omega Clinic. From where the elders go, I would like to see how eager Mr. Banwo would be to destroy the hospital, sack all the staff that depend on it and all the patients that have years of treatment and history with it, now that it belongs to him. Maybe he will then understand the cruelty behind his seeking to destroy all that I had worked for all my life.”

The will named Rasheed and Agatha as the executors of the will.

“Wow!” Agatha said, when Rasheed was done.

“How could Haruna name this woman an executor? And give me just one house in this Ibadan? To spite me? Rasheed, are you sure this will is real?” Bintu said indignantly.

“Woman, you better watch that your tongue. If it wasn’t for that tongue, we would still have Haruna with us, instead of being here reading his will.” Rasheed thundered.

Bintu cowered and became quiet after that. Turning to Agatha, Rasheed said “now, we need to get the grant of the Probate to execute the will properly. Congratulations to your son, for now owning the hospital he wants to destroy. My chambers will formally inform him of this development, but you can do so informally.”

With that, he gathered up all that was on the table and left, with Bintu quietly following. They were gone for a full five minutes before Agatha finally got around to calling Derin.

**********************************************************

Awazi was all dressed and racing to stop a cab. Samir had tried to talk to her, but she had just kept pushing him away. She had to get home, and fast, before Derin. If he was already at home before she got home, she would give herself away, she was sure of that.

Then Derin’s phone rang and from the ringtone, she guessed who it was – her mother in-law. Had Derin called her? What did he say to her? Was she calling to tell her to leave her son’s house? These thoughts ran through Awazi’s mind as she contemplated whether to pick the call or not. “I’d rather at home than here in the taxi,” she said out aloud to herself. The phone rang out.

********************************************************************

Derin paused from his pacing at the sound of the gate opening. It happened every time he heard that sound. He was hoping it would be Awazi each time, and had been disappointed all the times so far. This time however, moments after the gate, they heard the burglary proof opening and Derin knew it was her.

The moment the door opened, he said with relief “where under God’s heaven have you been Awazi? I have looked everywhere for you.”

To Awazi however, Derin’s relief sounded like an accusation.

She shot back “and where did you go too Derin? I came out of the room to talk to you less than ten minutes after I’d been in there, and you were nowhere to be found. You run off every time we have an issue Derin, you always run off on me.”

“Babe, I didn’t run off. I was afraid and worried, and I thought you would listen to Kamal if you weren’t going to talk to me. So I went to get him”

“Hi Awazi,” Kamal said, and she noticed for the first time that he was also in the room.

“Oh God, I’ve been such a fool!” Awazi exclaimed.

Kamal interjected “No it’s my friend that has been foolish, but we’ve talked and he would do right now. We…”

“So it was Kamal you went to and not Ope,” Awazi said to Derin, cutting Kamal short.

“Ope? Whatever put that idea into your head that I went to her,” Derin asked.

Derin’s phone rang again in Awazi’s hand, the Sweet Mother ringtone piercing the air. She handed it over to Derin and he took the call.

The conversation was quick, and Derin’s interjections of “What!” “It cannot be!” “When did it happen?” “This morning?” “In the last twenty minutes?” and so on put both Kamal and Awazi on the edge. The moment he ended the call, Kamal asked “what was that about?”

Awazi’s mouth went dry, believing that the only reason Derin could have been exclaiming the way he did in the conversation was because Agatha had somehow found out about what she had done and told him. She blurted out “I’m sorry Derin, it was a mistake, the greatest mistake I have ever made and one that I will regret forever. But please forgive me, I beg of you. For the sake of what we’ve had, I beg you.” She went on her knees.

“Awazi, what are you talking about?” a surprised Derin asked.

“Whatever your mother told you, at least let me say my part,” Awazi began, with tears streaming down her eyes. “I thought you had left me in the room and gone to Ope when I came out of the room and met an empty house. So I went to Samir…”

“What! You didn’t even wait for one moment, no hesitation! So you went racing back into your lover’s arms, yesterday night was too sweet, you just had to go for more abi? Kamal, shay you dey hear wetin I dey hear?”

“Kamal, please help me beg him, it’s the handiwork of the devil. I don’t know how the anger came over me. Please.”

“Derin, please…” Kamal began

“Kamal, don’t let me fight you! What are we even protecting in this marriage sef? En, what? I’ve had it, look, Awazi, it is over, you understand? Go back to you Fulani boy, shebi you people will be speaking language to each other. And look, if you do not leave this house, I will leave the house for you.”

“Derin please, I beg you, don’t do this to me.” Awazi said earnestly.

“You are leaving my house, and not one moment later than now. Your guilty conscience and my God pushed you to confess. My mother only told me about the death of Doctor Ajanaku this morning and you thought she had somehow gotten to know about what you did. My mother’s head is fighting for me.”

“Kamal,” Awazi said, turning to Kamal. But Kamal turned his back. She was alone.

“Derin,” she said “you went to this woman, Ope, years ago, and lived with her for months. I took you back. In what should have been a moment of pain and consolation for both of us after we lost precious Isaac, you went right back into her arms, I didn’t leave, I tried to keep us working. You didn’t see or share my struggles, how I was nearly running mad, how lonely I felt. Derin, I have made this one mistake, and I ask that you forgive and do not leave me alone, this one time. Please.” She tried to reach out and touch him but he slapped her hand away.

“Listen to yourself Awazi! You are a woman! How can you compare? Look, there is no point flogging this horse, it is dead, decomposing and buried. Please go. Just go.”

Awazi saw that she could have been appealing to a rock, Derin’s mind was made up. She went inside, and began to pack a box. She would pack light, and hope to return soon.

She called her cab man, and left the house.

**************************************************************

“Aunty Jamila,” Awazi said into the phone, “he threw me out”

“What!” Jamila said, surprised at the turn of events “What happened? I thought you were going out of the room to sort things out?”

Awazi explained all that had happened to her aunt amid tears.

“Awazi! How could you do such a thing! What has Lagos done to you? Let me speak with Derin. Do not go anywhere; I will call you back now.”

Awazi waited for Aunty Jamila to call her back. She had bought a ticket for Abuja on her phone. She needed time away from Lagos, from these southerners, from everyone. Irrespective of what her aunt was able to say to Derin now, she wasn’t going back to the house. She was wrong, yes, but his hypocrisy stank to the high heavens.

Fifteen minutes later, Aunty Jamila called back.

“Awazi, he is a man, he is still angry. I will still call back and talk to him, but I want you to come here to me in Abuja, until we sort this out. I’m sure if we give it a week, he will be sufficiently calm.”

She thought about it, in the light of what had been on her mind just as the call came in.

“No, aunty,” she said. “Derin has been doing this to me for years, and even as recently as last night, and I forgave him, repeatedly. One mistake, and he throws me out, him and his friend. Aunty, I will be travelling, but won’t be coming to Abuja,” she lied. She really, truly wanted to be on her own for now.

“Awazi, stop being rash. It is this your rashness that has gotten you here. And now, you are about to make an impulsive decision again. Pause and think!”

“Aunty, my mind is made up. I will keep in touch. They just announced my boarding, I have to go now,” she lied again.

“Awazi, Awazi! Where are you going, you this child?” Aunty Jamila was saying.

Sanu, Aunty. I’m sorry.” She cut the call and turned the phone off.

***************************************************************

“Derin, what will you do now, the hospital is yours.” Kamal asked.

“I’m confused man, I cannot lie” Derin said, running his hands over his hairless head.

“That man was just a shrewd old man. Now, will you be suing your own hospital? Won’t you just look absolutely ridiculous to the court? The two human defendants are dead, and the hospital is yours. No case, my brother.” Kamal said.

“But I can reject the hospital now. I am not compelled to take it, I’m not under any obligation.” Derin said, perplexed.

“And would you still not look stupid? It is within your power to deal with the hospital you’ve always wanted to go to court to deal with, and you refuse to. Will you now go to court to shut the hospital down after you’ve refused the hospital, when you could easily have done it? Look, any path you take, you’ll look bad. If you take it and shut it down, you’ll leave many jobless and be seen as evil, running down such a legacy. If you take it and keep it running, you’ll look like the hypocrite who always wanted to shut it down before it was yours, but now couldn’t shut it down. And if you refuse it, you’ll still look stupid, being handed the chance of a lifetime to have money and refusing it. Kai, these old people are terrible.”

“My mum said to reject it, that it would carry a curse, since the two people who owned it died because of my actions.” Derin said.

“That’s pure superstition bro, and it is not your actions that killed them. Don’t take guilt for what isn’t yours,” Kamal responded.

“So what should I do? If you were me, what would you do?

“I’d take the hospital, and keep it running. That’s the wise, pragmatic thing to do. And get an experience doctor to be the Chief Medical Officer, seeing to the day to day running. You’d retire as you are, instead of trying to get another job now.”

Derin looked up at Kamal, doubt in his eyes. “You’re sure?” he asked.

“You could pass the ownership to me and find out for sure,” Kamal said, smiling.

Derin attempted a smile and then shrugged his shoulders. “Very well, that’s what I will do.”

Throughout the conversation, there was not a single mention of Awazi.

******************************************************************

17 Months Later.

Derin sat in the conference room of Omega Hospital. Around him was his team – the Chief Medical Officer of Omega Hospital, Dr. Omololu Bucknor, the lawyer, Professor Charles Acha and an ashen faced young doctor, Shem.

On the opposite side, a stone faced Korede Adams and his two lawyers sat. They were negotiating a settlement with him. Korede’s wife had come to the hospital to deliver a baby, and eventually, after two days in the hospital, with her blood pressure rising, the doctors had advised that they do a Cesarean Section. And Dr. Shem had performed the operation. The baby had been delivered successfully and the mother closed up, when she began to complain of tummy pains. It was a long time before they discovered that she had been closed up with a scalpel inside her and this had caused the bleeding. Now, her husband was taking the hospital to court for the matter, and asking that their license, as well as that of Dr. Shem be revoked.

Try as they had, they had been unable to convince Mr. Korede Adams to let the matter be settled out of court.

“I want justice, that is all,” he had said, eyeing Shem coldly.

His lawyer had said with some respect to the professor “see you in court sir,” and the professor had told Derin things were not looking good for them. It appeared Shem had realized the scalpel was inside her while she could still be saved, but had kept mum out of fear, and that was what the other lawyers were going to court with.

He went straight from the conference room to the car. He needed to go away from this madness, from Ibadan. He had relocated to Ibadan to run the hospital a month after he had taken it over, after Kamal had finally gone to join his family.

The driver was already running the engine when he got in from the hot sun and the AC felt like heaven. He was having a splitting headache but he just wanted to get away from the hospital, its smells of drugs, its sounds of stretchers and wheelchairs, from all of it. He unlocked his blackberry and saw that he had waiting emails and a series of waiting BBM messages. The old Derin would have checked BBM before emails, but now, he checked his email first. He opened the email. The first was from Awazi.

(I was tempted to end this episode here but you guys would probably kidnap me, so keep scrolling for the rest of it. >=) )

He had not heard from her since she left his house that day. And after the way he had spoken to Aunty Jamila, he had been unable to call her. He tried to call Awazi, but she seemed to have changed her numbers. He quickly opened the email and here’s what it said

“Dear Derin, I hope you are happy. I hear you are doing well with Omega Hospital now. The attachment should interest you. All the best in life.”

Derin opened the attachment, cursing the network for the almost one minute it took to load.

When it finally opened, it was a picture of a smiling Awazi in a definitely European background, holding a little boy to the camera, his smile revealing a toothless mouth. It took only that look for Derin to know that he was looking at his son.

Broken Mirrors – Episode 16

Don’t forget to check out http://www.lushdeals.com/ for your best discount deals in Nigeria

If you missed this, then you should pause now and read this. https://tlsplace.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/bursting-your-bubble/

TL

Broken Mirrors Art

Rasheed collected the phone from Bintu and dialed the last number she had spoken to. The phone merely rang once before it was picked.

“I have been expecting your call, Bintu. I take it that you watched the news, since you are calling back,” Jamila said amiably.

“Madam, this is Rasheed Sanda, SAN,” Rasheed said, trying his best to sound impressive.

“Barrister, I thought I would be speaking with Bintu. Good morning to you,” Jamila said.

Rasheed responded “I wish I could say good morning, but unfortunately, it isn’t. You know that this illegality of an arrest you have concocted and that we will fight you with all that we have if you dare…”

Jamila cut him short “Oh, Rasheed, cut the prattle. We both know what this is about. It isn’t about legality, or you would not have taken away the livelihood of my in-law and threatened to do the same to his wife. It was about power, and vindictive vengeance. So do not tell me about legality now that you taste a dose of your own medicine. Look, if this is what you want to say, I have nothing to say to you. Now good day, Mr.”

“An an, Madam, it’s not like that now” Rasheed said, trying to be conciliatory. “I’m just worried about my brother ni.”

Bintu eyed Rasheed with venom. Why the hell was he begging this woman.

“Your brother will be released temporarily in about an hour. Now, if as much as a hair on Awazi and her husband get hurt by any action or otherwise from you, I’m hurling him in. and I’m sure you know I can hurl you in, and legally too. I don’t have to tell you I mean this.”

“So Arinze will be released today?” Rasheed asked to be sure.

“Stay by your phone, I’m sure he will have a few things to say to you when he gets out. Now, for the second time, good day, Barrister Sanda.”

Once Bintu saw that the call was ended, she said to the lawyer “haba, we gave you phone to handle the issue, you were begging like a student with his headmaster.”

“Woman, shut your mouth, gbe enu e soun. You think I don’t know what I am doing? Let us first get Arinze out of this. All of them, abowaba no oro won (we will return to their matter after that is sorted).

**********************************************************************

Awazi slammed the phone on the couch in anger. “Derin!” She thought. “DERIN” the thought tore through the seams her mind.

“I know what I’m going to do,” she said out aloud. He wanted this? Then that was just what he was going to get. She went into the room and got dressed. Her car was yet to be fixed, so she simply called a cab.

It took the cab a mere twenty minutes to get to Omole Phase 2 since the Lagos roads were free of traffic on this Sunday morning.

All through the trip, Awazi kept muttering to herself and at some point the cab driver had to ask “madam, hope all is well.” Her cold “please face the road,” warned the guy not to meddle any further in this passenger’s business.

The gate looked very different in daylight but she remembered the smaller wicket gate that she had gone through the night before and so let herself into the compound. Apparently, that gate was not locked during the day. That also told her that there was someone in the house. She saw the familiar car parked in the compound, and the sight of it strengthened her resolve.

But then, she got to the door, and stood before it. The sight of the door drained her of that resolve. Knocking on this door meant she was crossing a point of no return. Her hands trembled and she began sweating.

The door opened and Samir stood before her in nothing but shorts. He eyed her with raw lust from head to toe and then asked “were you going to just walk to my door and turn away?”

The sight of him and the way he looked at her caused her blood to race. A sense of guilt tried to creep into her heart, but she pushed it back with an effort, reminding herself that Derin had done this with Ope yesterday, and then left her in the house today to run back into her arms. She pushed Samir lightly back into the house, startling him.

“First, you are going to shut up Samir. I’m doing this for me. Do not annoy me with your jabber.”

With that, she undid the bow at the shoulder of the satin dress she was wearing and it slid off her shoulders without any help. She stood naked before Samir. A bulge rapidly formed in his shorts, but he stood there, immobile, disbelieving that this was really happening until she said “are you just going to stand there and stare, Fulani boy?”

He didn’t need a second invitation. He went over and kissed her hungrily, as if to satiate the many years of hunger. This time, unlike yesterday night, there was no resistance on her part. Her hands reached for his shorts and yanked them down, freeing his erection totally.

********************************************************************

Arinze stepped out of the Ikoyi office of the EFCC. They had detained him for only an hour and from the amount of journalists and photographers on hand, he had guessed it was all staged for the benefit of the press, for the public who condemned people as corrupt by what they saw on TV and read in the papers. So substantial damage had been done already to his public image.

They had actually treated him with courtesy once the photographers were gone. They took his handcuffs off, and then the small man who had chaperoned him since the arrest ushered him into an office where he had spoken quietly

“Mr. Kilanko, do you know why we brought you in?” the man had said.

“You are the ones that came to bring me in, so you tell me,” Arinze had retorted.

“Very well,” the man had answered, with a smile tugging at the corners of his small lips. “I am not going to beat about the bush. You are victimizing a poor boy whom you think has no one. Derin Banwo. I’m certain you are familiar with the name.”

“What? How is Derin involved with this? Not any of the other importers? How can this be about Derin?”

“Oga, I cannot categorically tell you how, but I’ve been told to tell you that you and your cohorts at Omega Hospital had better stopped the witch-hunting of Mr. Banwo and his wife Awazi for the reasons you know, otherwise, you will be coming back to EFCC and your visit will definitely not be as pleasant as this one. And we both know that we can make this happen. The activists will feast on you.”

Arinze knew that even if the EFCC brought charges against him, he could wriggle out of it if he spent enough money. But the battle would be messy and the money would be much. He didn’t need all of that.

When they released him, they had made sure it was through a side exit, with no press.

Rasheed’s phone rang and when he checked the caller ID, he heaved a sigh of relief. It was Arinze.

“Omo Ibo, thank God you o, we saw what happened on the news…”

“Rasheed, don’t omo Ibo me, please! What kind of thing is all this that you have gotten me into sef? You know how delicate times like this are for my business, with all the subsidy report boys running up and down, and you drag me into an issue that has brought the EFCC on me, publicly! You want to ruin me abi? Wo, I just said I should call you to let you know that you better leave that boy alone, for your own good. And don’t call me on this Derin matter again!”

“Ah ah, Kilanko, ko to be, it hasn’t reached all this now,” Rasheed said.

Ko to kini? E no reach wetin? Wo, if you were not my brother ni, this conversation would not have gone like this. Do you have any idea how much I will have to spend on PR to clean this mess up and assure my partners both foreign and local that all is well? The kind of money I will spend on this en, you cannot understand.”

“What are you trying to say Kilanko? You better watch your proud tongue. Me I cannot understand money? No matter the clothes a child has, he cannot have as much rags as his elders!”

Arinze snorted. “Abegi, I have sha said my own. Don’t talk to me on this your Derin matter again! O dabo.”

With that, he cut the call.

“This one that we took from the gutter, see as he is now talking to we, the real owners of the house. It is not his fault, it is me that needed his help. It is my yam that has put my hand in the oil.”

He had stepped into the lobby to receive the call and when he re-entered the doctor’s ward, he couldn’t recognize it as where he had just left minutes ago.

Different medical personnel were hunched over him, and others were running helter-skelter.

“What is happening here,” he asked no one in particular. None of them took any notice of him, they just kept at what they had been doing. He did a quick scan of the room and saw Bintu in a corner.

He weaved through the bodies and made his way to her side with some effort. “What is happening here?” he repeated, now to Bintu.

As an answer, Bintu pointed to the ICU monitor. The green lines on its screen that had been an irregular up and down pattern had become a flat line.

****************************************************************

Awazi had enjoyed the sex with Samir much more than she thought she could. It must have more to do with the way she channeled all her anger into energy. Now, she lay on the couch though, the nagging sense of guilt was beginning to gnaw at the edges of her mind again.

She reached into her bag and pulled out her phone. It had three missed calls. She selected the View option and the phone displayed the missed calls after a few seconds of the annoying rotating bb hanging clock. Something was not right. The phone told her that the missed calls were from her. But the more she looked at it, the less it made any sense to her. How could she have called herself? But as real as the couch she was lounging on, the number whose call she had missed was hers. The guilt began to gnaw deeper and translate into dread.

She quickly went to the home page and typed “SAM” expecting Samir’s number to pop up, but it didn’t. only a Samuel came up.

She recalled that she had not dialed Derin’s number when Ope had picked his call earlier; she had used her speed dial. She held down three on the phone to speed dial. Immediately, the caller ID showed on the screen. Ope. The truth was obvious to her, from the moment she had seen the missed call, but she had struggled and hoped it wasn’t. In her anger at home, she had not realized that Derin had picked her phone when leaving, thinking it was his own. And she had simply dialed Ope from Derin’s phone, thinking she was dialing Derin from her phone.

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!” she screamed in anguish, sending Samir running in from the bathroom.

**********************************************************************

Agatha rushed into the ward where they had told her she would find both Bintu and the lawyer. She sensed something was amiss when she got there and saw the crowd. Derin had called her to tell her what had happened yesterday night and she knew she had to see these people today, before things got out of hand. These Ibadan lawyers were known to fight both in the physical and by spiritual means. She didn’t want any strange things happening to Derin.

She asked one of the nurses if the lawyer was there and the breathless young lady pointed towards where she saw his grey head. She called out “Mr. Sanda,” in a loud enough voice for him to hear above the din.

Surprise registered in his eyes when he saw her, but he made his way out of the room to her. Agatha saw that Bintu had followed him out – the hawk.

“Mr. Sanda, sorry to bother you, it seems I have come at an inopportune time. Can we talk somewhere?”

“Sure,” Rasheed said, and led them towards the conference room.

Once they were inside and the door shut, Agatha fell on her knees and began to plead

“Please leave my son alone. You have taken his job already, but please, let it not be more than his job. It is not every chicken that turns over our medicine that we break their eggs because we ourselves might need those eggs in future. I beg of you.”

“Madam, your son didn’t tell you that your in-laws have fought for him abi. His wife’s aunty our own person arrested this morning. Please get up and stop these crocodile tears here,” Bintu said harshly.

That was news to Agatha. She hadn’t suspected there was any issue between Derin and his wife, since he had called her with Awazi’s number, but with this news, she couldn’t help but wonder what was going on with her son and his wife. She quickly got up.

“Sorry about your person o, I did not know at all,” she said, more to the doctor, for fear that if he felt backed to a wall, he would attack Derin with diabolical means.

“Agatha, Dr. Ajanaku just passed on, a few minutes before you came in.

“Wow. I’m so so sorry,” Agatha managed to say.

The tears were flowing from Bintu’s eyes now.

“Well, he requested that his will be read as soon as he passed on, since he survived his wife and first son. He had assumed that Hakeem would be the only audience I would read it to.” Rasheed said.

“I should be on my way sir,” Agatha said to Rasheed, and began to gather herself together to leave.

“Actually, you should not be going anywhere. The doctor specifically requested that you should be at the reading of his will, in the event that he passed on while this case was on.”

“He did?” Agatha and Bintu asked simultaneously.

“Yes, and there is a copy of that will in his office, sealed by the police. But we will get in to retrieve and read it, here and now.”

Broken Mirrors – Episode 15

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There’s a lot going down with what next to do with the series on the blog, and Write Right. I’m dying to share, but would wait until things solidify. Hope to be able to share soon. Enjoy Broken Mirrors today.

TL

Broken Mirrors Art

“Babe calm down, I was going to tell you. I have not had the chance to tell you just yet. I was trying to tell you when Mr. Samir picked up yesterday” Derin said, trying to placate her.

“Tell me which exactly, Derin? That you were jobless, or that you had hurled your jobless ass into bed with that witch all night?” Awazi was on a roll now.

“If you had picked that call, none of this would have happened!” Derin said in a voice he wanted to thunder but didn’t quite turn out that way. Her words stung.

“Listen to yourself Mr. Banwo! You are saying in essence, that the reason you were fucking Ope yesterday night was because your wife didn’t pick your call. So you go around sleeping with someone each time your wife does not take your call? And by extension, should your wife have a quickie each time she calls and cannot reach you?” Awazi responded contemptuously.

“Awazi, stop talking nonsense! I did not sleep with Ope yesterday! No, I didn’t!”

“Ow, she was merely camping in your room all through the night perhaps?” Awazi shouted.

“Madam, if we follow your logic, that by being in my room yesterday, Ope was shagging me, then, by being in Samir’s house yesterday, you were definitely humping him!”

“Oh puleasa! You as usual like to turn logic on its head. It was obvious I wasn’t doing anything with Samir and you know it! And everything you’ve said right now confirms that you were actually… damn!”

Derin turned around “You know what, this is not what I came home to hear.” He picked his key and went towards the door.

“Derin where are you going? We are still talking!” She raced to his side and held him back.

“Awazi, you will leave me alone this minute!” Derin bellowed.

Awazi refused to, maneuvering to face him and standing between him and the door.

“You are not going anywhere until you tell me what you were doing with that bitch yesterday night!” Awazi shouted, nostrils flaring.

“As much as you are attempting to draw out some physical response from me, I will not descend to pushing you out of the way. I have never hit you and today will not be the first time I’m going to.” Derin tried to free himself from Awazi’s grip and turn into the house, but she held on firm.

“Awazi, let me go!” he said forcefully, but she refused to.

“I said,” he forcefully disengaged himself from her grip and sent her reeling backwards “let me go!”

Immediately she fell, Derin felt a wave of sremorse wash all over him. He knelt beside her “Awazi, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…”

Through teary eyes, she just gave him the “talk to the hand” and gathered herself up and went into the living room, leaving him kneeling.

He quickly got up and followed her into the living room.

“Awazi, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” he tried to go over and hold her but she got up and went to another end of the room, moving as he followed her around. She put the L-shaped couch in between them.

“How could you, Derin? How could you!” she shouted from behind the couch that separated them.

Derin knew she was asking both about him shoving her, and about Ope in that question. He just kept saying he was sorry, trying to get to her. But try as he did, she made sure the couch was always between them.

She had gotten herself to the door of the bedroom, and still had a couch between them. She gave him a look that pierced his heart and then dashed into the room and locked the door behind her before he could climb over the couch to go in.

He banged on the door repeatedly, but Awazi didn’t respond. Derin crumpled into a sitting position in front of the door.

*******************************************************************

Inside the room, a crying Awazi dialed Aunty Jamila. The moment Jamila picked the phone on the other end and heard Awazi’s sobs, she knew something was seriously wrong.

“Awazi, menene?”

“Aunty, my home is falling apart all around me, and I’m clutching for straws. Every other issue we’ve had, I at least had Derin on my side. But this time, it is different. Derin is outside the bedroom and I’m inside. I locked myself in.” Awazi said.

“Calm down and tell me what is going on,” Jamila responded, wondering why her niece would lock herself in except she was under some threat. If that Derin was beating her en. She tried to hide the alarm in her voice.

“Aunty, I did as you asked and went to show Derin support in Ibadan over that court case. It turned out to be a disaster. When I found out that the doctor that killed Isaac was a drug addict, I lost it and went ballistic on him. Before then, Derin had agreed with me to drop the case. But that witch of a lawyer manipulated him using that incident and he decided to pursue the case, even if it meant digging Isaac up for autopsy. I mean how could he agree to anything that would involve violating Isaac like that? I left in anger.” She sniffed

“Go on,” Jamila urged.

“My car broke down at 11PM and I was stranded. I called everyone, but couldn’t get through. I had to call Samir.”

“Which Samir is this?” Jamila asked, trying not to believe it was who she thought it was.

“The same Samir Aunty,” Awazi said.

“The Fulani boy, Awazi! Haba, of all the people under God’s heaven, it had to be him, and at that time?” Jamila said.

“Aunty I had no choice!” Awazi said in exasperation.

“Okay, I’m listening. What now happened?” Jamila knew better than to stifle the flow

Awazi continued “he dragged my car to his house and I went in, just to rest till I could go home…”

“Kai Awazi, you went to another man’s house at that time!” Jamila could not help herself.

“Aunty, where should I have gone? Stayed on the road? Waited for Derin who was in another woman’s arms to finish with her and come for me from Ibadan?”

Jamila wasn’t sure she had heard right “Derin was in which other woman’s arms?”

“That his lawyer. That Ope, the same woman he went to when we had those issues. He accuses me of calling Samir in desperate need, but he chose Ope as lawyer when he wasn’t desperate and went on to sleep with her.”

“Awazi, are you sure about what you are saying or this your hot body is what is talking?”

“Bintu told me, and when I confronted him, he could not deny it.”

“Who is this Bintu?” Jamila queried

“Aunty, she is the doctor that owns the hospital’s second in command. The drug addict younger doctor I told you about committed suicide and his father, the old doctor that owns the place had a stroke as a result. Now they’re blaming us for it and they are out for revenge. Their lawyer is Derin’s oga’s brother and they have made Derin lose his job. She called me this evening to tell me about all that happened, since Derin did not tell me himself. And she threatened to make me lose mine too, and continue to deal with us. Only if Derin had listened aunty. I’m just tired of all this,” she burst into tears.

“What! After they took Isaac from you, because they suffered loss now, she made your husband lose his job? And is threatening you? And you chose to believe this woman?” Jamila asked in quick succession.

“I didn’t believe her, but when I confronted my husband, he didn’t, couldn’t, deny it. He only accused me of doing the same with Samir.”

“How did he know you were with Samir? Did you tell him?” Jamila queried.

“No Aunty. It was that foolish Samir. Derin called my phone while I was in the loo in his house and he picked the phone and spoke with Derin.”

“What! How? And you expect your husband to be calm! Lagos has done something to you Awazi. Which Eggon man will allow that? He will be waiting for you with a machete”

“I explained…” Awazi said.

“You explained what? By going to accuse him of sleeping with another woman? Listen to yourself.”

“But aunty, I didn’t do anything wrong, and he did sleep with the woman!” Awazi felt herself getting angry again.

“I am coming to that your Lagos to talk sense into you tomorrow. But first, I need to deal with the fox and chase it away, before I chastise my chicken. You said this Bintu called you to threaten you.”

“Yes Aunty,” Awazi answered.

“Give me her number. I will deal with her myself.”

“I will text you her number now, once I get off the phone,” Awazi said.

“Good. Now, go and open the door and beg your husband!” Jamila ordered.

Awazi mumbled an inaudible response.

“I did not hear you,” Jamila pressed.

“Okay Aunty, I will do as you say,” Awazi said finally.

“Good. Now send me that number.”

Nagode sose, aunty” Awazi said and ended the call.

She texted the number to Aunty Jamila and then walked gingerly to the door. This was going to be hard, but she would give it a shot.

When she opened the door, Derin was not there. She tore into the living room.

*******************************************************

Bintu did not pick her phone at first. She was in no mood to talk to anyone. Since last night, she had eaten nothing, and she still hadn’t regained her appetite. She had camped in the hospital room where a visibly emaciated Doctor Ajanaku lay, watching him, and sobbing deep, quiet sobs. But the caller was persistent and she eventually picked it up the fourth time the call came in.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hello Bintu,” a female voice responded. It had a slight northern accent but spoke with authority.

“Yes, speaking. Who is this please?” Bintu responded.

“My name is Jamila and I am Awazi’s aunty. And let me be direct. I did not call to chat. You will stop threatening my niece.” Jamila spoke with measured tones.

“She has told you of our loss. After we pleaded and pleaded, they insisted on destroying us and they are on the verge of achieving this. Let them have a taste of their own medicine,” Bintu replied, in equally measured tones.

“They first experienced loss, a needless loss shall I say, and could be expected to be headstrong. They are children. And I’m sorry about your loss, I have heard about it. And the pound of flesh you’ve taken already in Derin’s job. That is not a problem, I will concede that to you, and we will get him another job. You must stop trying to destroy the family. If you touch my niece, you have no idea what I will bring against you.”

“She destroyed my own family, so why should I hands off hers?” Bintu asked

“Family? I thought it was your boss and his son that things happened to? How did that translate to family?” Jamila asked.

“Madam, what are you driving at?” Bintu queried.

“It’s just as I suspected. There’s more involved here than mere employee loyalty. You would not go to such extremes except there was something personal. Let me state the obvious – the doctor was your ‘family’” Jamila said with obvious meaning.

“I don’t have to listen to this,” Bintu said.

“Before you cut the call, let me tell you exactly what will happen. And you will hear the first one of these on the news if you tune in to the 10am bulletins. First, the EFCC will arrest that boss who took Derin’s job. You will hear it in the news. Second, I have personally reached the MD of her bank. Except there’s someone higher in that bank to sack her, you cannot touch her job. Third, if that your lawyer doesn’t want to end up being blamed for the death of that Hakeem boy, you will back down or we will find a way to make it a murder case with the lawyer as the prime suspect. Believe me I can make it happen. My full name is Jamila Shehu, the vice chairperson of the EFCC and a policewoman. I CAN make it happen, but will do so only if you persist. I wish for nothing more than for you to nurse your lover to health. Do not push me. Good morning Bintu.” The line went dead.

Bintu was visibly shaken, but she reasoned that it was a threat and anyone could say anything.

Rasheed came in, fresh from the night’s rest.

“How is he?” he asked.

“They say we have to fly him out on Monday. But he is stable now.”

“Better.” Rasheed tried to be cheery.

“One Jamila just called. She says she is Awazi’s aunty” Bintu said.

“We are not listening to any begging. I spoke with Arinze earlier this morning and he has given me his assurances. He will call the MD of the girl’s bank later today and make the demand. I will call him too and make a similar demand. The man will have to bend or we will begin to move funds out.”

“She did not call to beg,” Bintu said.

“Oh?” Rasheed raised his eyebrow, curious.

Bintu checked the time. It was ten o’ clock. She turned the small TV in the room on and tuned to Channels TV for the news. The lady was just about to start reading the headlines.

  • –   20 killed in fresh attacks in Yobe by Boko Haram
  • –   The 2013 Budget yet to be signed as faceoff between the president and the National Assembly continues
  • –   EFCC arrests oil magnate, Arinze Kilanko over fuel subsidy probe report.

“What!” Rasheed exclaimed.

“She promised that this would happen and it has. Rasheed they’re fighting back.”

“What’s her name? Who is she?” Rasheed asked, obviously livid.

“She said her name is Jamila Shehu,” she responded.

“Jamila Shehu? Of the EFCC?” Rasheed inquired.

“Yes, she said she worked with the EFCC.”

“Haaaa! We are in trouble. What else did she say? That woman is not to be toyed with. She has the presidency’s ears. She said she’s the girl’s aunt?”

“Yes. She threatened you, the hospital, and myself,” a visibly shaken Bintu responded.

“We have to call her back. You still have her number, yes?” Rasheed said.

*************************************************

Awazi had checked everywhere in the house but Derin was nowhere to be found. She felt the anger rising again and she clenched her fist, counting to ten. “Awazi, calm down,” she said to herself, and took deep breaths. She had carried the fantasy of falling upon her grieving husband waiting to beg her outside the door and then begging him profusely until they both fell into each others’ arms crying their sorries until they ended up making sweet love. But all that greeted her was an empty house.

She dialed Derin’s number. And he had better answer this call.

The phone rang out the first time and she dialed again, angrily this time.

It was almost ringing out when someone picked it up. She was almost going to go into a tirade about why he had left and why it took him so long to pick but she breathed and calmed herself down. Her calm was shattered when a female voice said

“Hello”

Awazi answered furiously, “and who the hell are you picking my husband’s phone?”

“My name is Ope.”

Broken Mirrors – Episode 14

Broken Mirrors Art

Samir wondered why Awazi was coming towards the car. He glanced around the car and did a quick scan to see if she had forgotten something, but didn’t see anything that looked like her own. It occurred to him that maybe she had been unable to rouse their mai-guard to come and open the gate for her. He smiled, pleased at that thought.

As she reached his side, he wound down and said with a cocky grin “having troubles getting in? It would seem you are stuck with me this night. I had said the time was too late…”

Her response caught him totally unawares “Why the hell did you pick my husband’s call, chose not to inform me that he had called and then turned off the network on my phone? What exactly were you planning on achieving by doing that?”

“Awazi what are you talking about? I don’t like all these accusations. Is it your husband that said he called you? You husband that didn’t care enough to stop you from…”

“Oh please. Samir, stop being coy! As smart as you were, you forgot to erase the call records. Someone took a call from my husband while I was at your house, and it was not me. And I’m certain that even if there are spirits living with you, they don’t take mobile phone calls.”

Samir banged his fists on the steering wheel in anger. Awazi took two steps back, startled

“So he called, so what?” In the reflection light of the dashboard, Samir’s face had transformed into a mask of anger. “He called and rather than being grateful that I was available to do what he was supposed to be doing, he began to cuss out at me. Dan iskanchi!” He got down from the car and tried to get close to Awazi. Again, she took a few steps back and put some distance between them

“Look Awazi darling,” his voice was considerably softer and his expression tender “all I was trying to do was to protect you from more emotional turmoil this night. And from the way he was sounding, that was all you were going to get by talking to him. It was like he was angry at something and wanted to take out that anger on you. I was having none of it, I would not let him hurt you,” he said.

“And that decision should have been mine to make Samir, not yours. If you were my husband, and we were having issues, and then tried to call me and another man picked the call at the time I was in your house, would you really be civil?”

“Awazi,” Samir said, sounding exasperated “I might have been wrong in picking your phone, I admit, but my intentions were pure, couldn’t you see that?”

“I don’t know what to think again Samir,” Awazi said. There was an awkward silence, all the more awkward as they were on the road, in the middle of the night. Thoughts of whether Samir had done what he did with the hopes that she would still spend the night, which she would not have if she had spoken with Derin, ran through her head. She caught herself just in time before she voiced those thoughts. Samir didn’t plan any of this, she reminded herself. She was the one that dragged him out of his house impromptu at night today with all her troubles. When she spoke next, her voice was considerably softer.

“Samir, please don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for all you’ve done for me tonight, and for being honorable and all. It’s just that things are rather complicated in my life right now, and I don’t want them to get even more complicated.”

“The reason for those complications is that your husband! Awazi, he doesn’t deserve you. What have you gotten from him for the past twelve years? Grief from his mother, infidelity from him, no child, now he’s hell bent on pursuing a case with the woman he was unfaithful with as his lawyer, utterly disrespectful to you, not concerned about how that would affect you. Is that what you are holding on to? Is that what you are protecting? Twelve years of?”

“So, Samir, this is what you chose to do with what I’ve told you? Because I opened up to you as a dear friend and told you about my troubles, you decided to turn it into a knife and cruelly drive it into my wounds?” She began to sob, because, cruel as his words were, her brain told her he had summed things up well.

“Awazi, I’m sorry if I was rather blunt. But sometimes, it is necessary for clarity’s sake to speak like that. And I intend to make you see things as they really are.”

Awazi tried to speak but Samir hushed her up “please listen to what I have to say to the end as I might not have the courage to say it again. We are meant for each other, you and I. Our parents allowed archaic tribal sentiments drive us apart all those years ago and we have both tried all sorts – you, marriage, me, other women and travel to exotic places. But look at us now, we are back here. This is our opportunity to right the wrong of those years, to make their mistake and our helplessness of then of no effect. Leave him now, and come to me. He does not deserve you; he can have his lawyer lover for as long as he wants.”

“Stop, Samir, stop. How can you say this? That I should leave my husband. No!” Awazi shook her head to emphasize each word as she spoke.

“How are you sure that right now, he is not curled up in her arms as you’ve left them in Ibadan? En, Awazi?” he asked, a cruel light coming into his eyes.

Awazi looked up through eyes that were glistening with tears that had not yet begun to flow. “Goodnight Samir!”

“Awazi, I didn’t mean to…” he began to say, but she had already turned to go towards the gate. He raced to her side and tried to stop her “Awazi, please, I’m sorry I said that. Please listen,”

“Good night,” she repeated, her voice so cold it sent a chill down his spine even though he had been standing outside in the cold for minutes now. Dejected, he let her go and walked back to his car. That last statement had been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

**************************************************************

Ope got up at six the Saturday morning. She brushed, bathed, ate, made up and got dressed. All that took another two hours, and she had hoped that in those two hours Derin would have called to tell her it was time to go. She was still incensed at what had happened yesterday night. How could he? She had never felt so foolish in her life, as she huffed and puffed without any result. “Ope, you are more than this,” she had told herself in the room when she was alone, through quiet tears. She had decided on a few things yesterday night, as the scales fell from her eyes. This was a brand new Ope.

When he didn’t call, she walked up to his room and knocked impatiently.

“Who is it?” his voice came from inside, deep and gruff.

“Derin, its Ope,” she said simply. So he had been awake. She hissed.

“Come in, the door is open,” he said.

He was seated on the edge of the bed, looking disheveled. There were rings around his eyes and he didn’t look like he had slept at all. He looked ten years older than his age. In spite of her resolve, concern for him flooded over her

“Derin, what happened to you? You look terrible,” she said, squatting in front of him.

He responded in a monotonous voice like a bad newscaster “Doctor Ajanaku had a stroke and is unconscious. His son is dead. And I lost my job.”

Ope shook him. “What are you saying Derin? This is totally confusing. How and when did all these things happen between when we left them and today and how are they even related events? How do you even know any of this, I recall I left you lying naked in this room some minutes to midnight yesterday. Have you been drinking?”

He laughed, a mirthless, humorless sound. “I wish.”

“Derin, you are not making any sense. You need to tell me what has happened,”

By the time he had finished relating the events of the previous night, Ope’s mouth was wide open. “All that in one night!” she exclaimed. “But why didn’t you call me? Your boss has no right to sack you over a personal matter that isn’t an issue of professional competence or violation of your job contract. Do you have a copy of this contract?”

“Ope,” Derin said quietly “he warned me about leaving work for the case. I lied and he has proof I did. The case will fall apart. And which judge in Nigeria would give judgment in my favor in such a case? And what would the judgment be? That he should reemploy me? Or compensate me?  And how long would that take?”

“So you are just going to take it lying low? Why are you sounding so defeated Derin, this is not the Derin I know!” Ope said loudly. There was a tinge of disgust in her voice, and she knew it was not totally because of this conversation. Last night’s episode between them had something to do with it.

“There’s nothing I can do Ope.” He said with finality.

“Oh yes, there’s much you can do! And I just outlined it for you. Men like that don’t want public scandals, and we will give him one until he stops this madness.” Ope said, exasperated. She badly wanted to shake some resolve into Derin.

“Rasheed is his brother. And he is ready for whatever scandal we want to whip up. Ope, Hakeem died. The doctor is paralyzed, I saw him with own eyes yesterday. Even my son’s case we came here to negotiate is dead. Abi, who do we want to take to court for the court to take away their license? The dead man or the paralyzed man?”

“Derin what are you saying? This is not about the men; it’s about getting justice for Isaac and serving as a deterrent to others. The two of them are not the main defendants in this case, it’s the hospital and the hospital is a separate legal entity from them. I can amend the statement of claim to remove the other defendants, while pursuing the license revocation and the compensation from the hospital. We need to set the legal precedence. We might save some future souls in doing this, think about that.”

“And in saving the future souls, we should lose ours? Is that what you are saying Ope? One man died already and another is dead for all practical purposes. And you expect us to keep fighting?”

“Have they stopped fighting? Didn’t they threaten you that your job loss was only the beginning? Man up Derin!” she said the last phrase stamping her feet indignantly.

“Ope, you always want to have your way! Why can’t you see reason with me and let us end this. Yes, they promised to fight, but if they see I’m not fighting again, won’t we all cut our losses and move on?”

“It’s this your simplistic, naïve outlook that caused us to breakup that first time. I totally forgot, thank you for reminding me so vividly. You always lose heart, fail to follow through with things you start and fear taking risks all the way. And when I forge ahead to grab things with both hands and urge you to do the same, you begin to complain that I don’t listen and that I’m too independent. You would always find someone to say it’s because of them that you are being considerate, but we both know the real reason; you are just not a risk taker. When it was about traveling, you hung your consideration on your mother. Now, you hang it on your wife or the dead and infirm. Pulease! Hell, if I had married you, I would probably not have been allowed to achieve what I have, in the name of not being independent. You would have limited me!”

“And you have succeeded in getting another man abi? Keep on doing exactly how you have been doing and become old and still being a Miss!” Derin shot back.

“You know what, Mr. Banwo, since you are not interested in pursuing any cases, you do not require a lawyer’s services. I will take my leave now. I can find my own way to Lagos, I won’t be needing you!” with that, she stormed out of the room.”

Derin sat on the bed for a few moments, immobile. Then he mechanically began to pack his things.

**********************************************************

Awazi had been trying both Derin’s phones all morning, immediately she woke up. But both numbers he had were switched off. She went about cleaning the house, trying his number intermittently, hoping for a different response and sighing in disappointment each time she heard the female voice say “the number you have called is switched off…”

It was about ten and she was in the kitchen when she heard the rattling of the door that she knew was Derin coming in. A chill crept up her spine and she developed goose pimples.

She didn’t have to turn around; she could feel his eyes on her.  She turned around and their eyes met. He was standing in the doorway of the kitchen.

“Hi,” was all she managed to say.

She noticed the bags around his eyes and how bloodshot his eyes were.

“Derin what happened to you?  You don’t look okay,” she said, concern filling her voice.

“And how is that important?” he growled angrily. “Who the hell was that man that picked your phone yesterday night, at that time of the night?”

“I can explain Derin…” she began.

He interrupted her, cutting her off abruptly with a wave of hand “explain what? That you, a married woman, left your husband when he needed your support and ran straight into the arms of your Hausa lover?”

“Will you let me speak Derin? You are misunderstanding things here, and imagining untruths. When I left Ibadan, my car broke down at Berger. I tried your number, but didn’t get through. I tried Kamal and it rang out. I tried the mechanic and didn’t get through too. So I called my friend Samir…”

“Which Samir?” he growled.

“The same Samir,” she responded.

“So you were in Samir’s house yesterday night? Your former lover, Samir! You could not call any other person, it had to be him. And you had to follow him home.” Derin shouted.

“So I should have stayed out in that dangerous spot on the express rather than called Samir?” she asked, feeling the anger she was trying to rein in rising fast.

Derin turned away, without an answer.

“Answer me, Derin Banwo! Samir helped me, when you were nowhere to be found!”

“Oh, so you put those words in his mouth abi? No wonder he said them so confidently. What gives your ‘friend’ the audacity to pick your phone and talk to your husband anyhow if you didn’t give him permission?”

“Oh Derin, please! Stop being dramatic. You can call your Ope to be your lawyer, in spite of my protestations and expect me to understand. But I cannot call Samir in a potentially life threatening situation where I was stranded at ten in the night on an expressway? Stop being a bloody hypocrite Derin!” The floodgates of her anger were open now and Awazi let it all out.

“So that’s what this is about? You were trying to get back to me because of Ope?” Derin asked

“No, they are two different situations. In your case, you premeditated picking Ope, and planned to spend the night in Ibadan with her in the same town in my absence. In my case, an impromptu situation came up and I needed help desperately. I tried every option I had to get out of immediate danger”

“Then why didn’t you call back? I waited and waited for your call.” Derin shot back.

Awazi looked away, afraid that her eyes would give away a hint of what Samir had done.

Derin stepped into the kitchen “oh, so you don’t have an answer to that?”

“Derin, I was in the loo when you called, and didn’t know you called until I got home…”

“Oh, so innocent Samir chose not to tell you your husband called?”

“I cannot speak for Samir, but once I knew you called, I tried to call you, and I’ve been trying to call you since then. Your phones have been switched off.”

“I see,” was all Derin said.

“Derin, what are you seeing? I’ve told you what happened.” Awazi said. “You are turning all this on its head. A hint of what you’ve been doing with Ope is happening with Samir and I and you are trying to make me feel guilty like this. Yet when I spoke before, I was the unreasonable, unsupportive wife.”

“What! What have you been doing with Samir? Did you…” Derin allowed the question hang in the air

Awazi looked Derin straight in the eyes “if by doing, that is the first thing that came to your mind, then tell me, Mr. Banwo, is that what you have been doing with your lawyer?”

They squared up, locking eyes with each other, memories of times when trust was broken in the past passing silently between them. None of them spoke a word, but the silence spoke loud and clear.

The shrill sound of Awazi’s mobile phone ringing shattered the silence.

It was a welcome distraction and she quickly picked it up before the ringtone got to the second line of the song.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hello, Mrs. Banwo. My name is Bintu,” the woman said.

Awazi’s brain searched for where she had heard the name before.

“I’m the one who stopped you from murdering Dr. Hakeem in Ibadan yesterday evening,” the woman said, and realization of who she was struck Awazi immediately.

“How may I help you,” she said curtly.

“I didn’t call to be nice so I’ll go straight to the point and tell you what I know. First, Dr. Hakeem committed suicide yesterday.”

Awazi gasped at the news and Derin raised his eyebrow, wondering what the person on phone was telling her.

The woman continued “Dr. Ajanaku had a stroke because of this and is totally incapacitated till further notice. All this has been brought on us because of your husband’s stubbornness and unwillingness to listen to reason from anyone, you included. All deals are off the table.” Bintu said.

Awazi was angry “what do you mean? If Hakeem had not…”

“You will let me finish, Mrs. Banwo,” Bintu said authoritatively and Awazi kept quiet. “Your husband is aware of all this, he came here to check for himself late in the night yesterday. Your husband has lost his job and we will make sure it is hard for him to get another one. Rasheed is working on that now. We run an account with your bank and your husband’s boss who is Rasheed’s brother does too. It will not be hard to make you lose your job too. That will be our next line of action.”

Awazi turned to Derin, the questions almost popping out of her eyes.

“And ask your husband what he was doing with that his lawyer in Room 221 of Tee Exclusive Hotel yesterday night. Adulterous man.”

The line went dead in Awazi’s ears.

“Derin, when were you going to tell me you’ve lost your job?” Awazi queried.

Derin reeled backwards. “How did you know?”

“So I’m not supposed to know?” Awazi shouted. “The same way I’m not supposed to know that Ope was in your room all through yesterday night and that was why you turned all your phones off till now?”

Broken Mirrors – Episode 13

Had my first TV interview with the lovely Oyinbra of OnTV on Hitz last Thursday. Here’s a mashup of that interview on YouTube for those who missed it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZaJfMBozMk

Also, I’ll be posting non-fiction on Demola Rewaju’s blog on Fridays now. Heres the debut piece. http://demolarewajudaily.com/so-you-want-a-patriot-not-in-nigeria-by-tunde-leye/ 

Enjoy Today’s Broken Mirrors.

TL

Broken Mirrors Art

Samir navigated to the network connections of the phone and unchecked the mobile network option. Awazi would not be receiving any further calls from Derin tonight. He heard her fiddling with the toilet door and quickly dumped the phone, face down. She would not even know he had called.

She came out of the bathroom and looked at him so intensely, his skin crawled. He felt for a moment that she knew what he had done, and was about to begin to explain himself when she said “I don’t think it’s wise for me to stay here tonight. I don’t know what I was thinking, but it’s just 11:30. I’m sure I can get home, whether you decide to drop me off or not. I’ll send the mechanic down here tomorrow morning to come fix the car and bring it down home.”

“Haba, gaskiya Awazi, how would I allow you to leave here for home this late? No, I insist…”

“Samir, you are not allowing or disallowing anything. I am not asking for permission from you to go home, except this is a kidnap, abi? I am telling you that I’m going home tonight, because I don’t trust myself to stop a second time.” Awazi said firmly.

Samir got up, and went beside Awazi. He attempted to put an arm on her shoulder but she quickly put distance between them.

“Samir! I said I do not trust myself. Please!” Awazi said.

“Okay, okay, okay…” Samir mumbled, raising his hands in the air. “The house is big enough, I’ll stay in the living room, you can stay in any of the rooms and lock it from inside, if that makes you feel better…”

“Samir! Menene? You are not hearing me! Even if I left the door open, you would not touch me without my consent except I’m mistaken, in which case I should flee. Locked doors cannot stop what I’m afraid of – the fact that if we talked for long enough, my resolve will fail me. You know what, the more we talk about this, the later it gets. This is Lagos, even 1AM isn’t too late to move around.”

With that she began gathering her things. Samir saw she was truly serious about leaving, and he quickly offered “I can’t let you start finding your way yourself at this time, and I see that you’re bent on going. Let me drop you off.”

Awazi considered it for a moment. She had been planning on calling her cab guy and hoping he’d still be working at this time. Well, if Samir was willing to go and drop her off, then it was fine.

Nagode Samir, I appreciate so much, and really sorry for the inconvenience.” She said.

Samir mumbled something about not being an issue and they made their way to the car.”

****************************************************

Rasheed shook the head of the police team as they made their way to the morgue with the body. The office was sealed and he was finally able to see the specialist who had concluded his examination of Dr. Ajanaku.

“How is he?” he asked the bespectacled doctor.

“I’m afraid this is not good at all,” he responded, running a hand across the bald center of his head. “His body was not fully recovered from the first stroke, and this one was much more severe. I don’t mean to be alarmist, but most people that have strokes this close lose the use of at least some parts of their body. I doubt if Dr. Omega will be able to walk properly again, and he might become paralyzed on one side of his body. I’m sorry.”

“Ha! What are you saying doctor! An active man like Haruna, that would be like a death sentence for him.” Rasheed said.

“I can imagine sir. It’s really unfortunate. I will do all I can do for him.”

“Okay doctor. Thank you very much for responding to us this late.” Rasheed said and shook him.

With that, he left for the conference room to be alone. He needed to think.

Bintu scrambled to dry her eyes as the big doors of the conference room creaked open, the quiet amplifying the sound.

“Bintu, you are here?” Rasheed said flatly, more of a query, than a statement. She didn’t respond to that, but asked, “have you spoken with the consultant?”

“The doctor is unsure of many things now, but he said his preliminaries tell him that Haruna will be fine, just like the first time. We don’t have much to worry about,” he lied.

“Rasheed, you’re not a great liar, for a lawyer,” she said. “I’m a nurse and I know that two strokes in such a short space is very much to worry about. Come out clean to me please. How is he?”

Rasheed sighed. “The doctor says he might not walk again or have use of one of the sides of his body…”

She burst into hysteric tears. “Ha! What have I done! Me and my big mouth, why couldn’t I keep it shut! Now, I’ve turned him into a vegetable, for what?”

“Bintu, it’s not you!” Rasheed said emphatically. “it’s a lot of people, not you. Haruna who married a woman he didn’t love and ended up beating her into another man’s arms. His wife, who brought a bastard into the house. The bastard, who, in spite of love and care who chose to behave exactly like what he was, a bastard!”

“Rasheed, don’t talk about Haruna like that, because he cannot defend himself!” Bintu shot at him.

Iwo lo mo, na you know. But the boy had it coming. And yes,” his tone darkened “while at the matter of all these foolish children that don’t think of consequences, that other boy has it coming for him now.”

“Who?” Bintu asked, a quizzical look on her face.

“Who else? Derin of course. He’s the one whose stubbornness let us here. If only he had been reasonable, listened to the doctor, his mother, even his wife, we would not be here in the first place.”

“Yes, that impudent boy. It’s because of him that my Haruna lies there now. What are you thinking?” Bintu’s voice was filled with the malice of a woman who had been in possession of something she couldn’t show proudly and even that had been taken from her now.

Before Rasheed could answer, she continued “shebi he was trying to take away Haruna’s livelihood from him by shutting the hospital down without thinking? Well, his livelihood should be taken away first and let him see how that feels.”

“I’m already thinking of that. This time, Arinze has no choice but to do what I want. And that’s just the first thing. I will finish that boy.”

*********************************************

Agatha had been unable to sleep. She had given Derin time to get to Lagos from Ibadan and had been trying his number since. Her anxiety had been heightened when she had been unable to reach him. She had decided to call his wife’s number but that had been unreachable too. She was in the living room, watching a movie on TV when her phone rang beside her. She speedily reached for the phone, hoping it was Derin. “Unknown number,” she mumbled. “who is this one at this ungodly hour,” she said to herself and was going to ignore the call, when it occurred to her that it might be Derin. She pressed the green button and held the phone to her ear, waiting for the caller to speak, rather than say hello.

“Mrs. Banwo, my name is Bintu,” a female voice said.

She sighed. It wasn’t Derin calling. “yes, how may I help you?” she asked.

“I’m the chief matron of Omega Hospital.” Bintu said, in the same cold voice she had learnt to use with her nurses when they were being silly.

“Ha, hope there is nothing wrong with Derin abi why are you calling me at this time?” Agatha’s curiosity was piqued.

“No, as far as I know, nothing is wrong with Derin.” And then after a brief pause, Bintu added with meaning “yet”.

“Madam, what are you trying to say? Are you calling to threaten me or my son?” Agatha asked aggressively.

“Mrs. Banwo, your son, your stubborn, heady, impertinent son has caused me great pain. Doctor Ajanaku’s only surviving son committed suicide today, a shot to his head, after your son insisted on ruining us. Immediately that happened, the doctor had a stroke again, and is about to be reduced to a vegetable.” At that, her voice broke, and the pain came through when she continued. “I will ruin your son. I will make sure he loses everything, just as he has made me lose everything I hold dear.”

“Look, Bintu, I’m sorry for your loss, but Derin too was mourning for his son in his own way. You should understand that now, and I’ve been trying to get him to drop this case. He will listen to me…”

It was then that Agatha realized that the line was dead, and she had been talking to herself. The utter raw panic that had been brewing beneath clawed to the surface. She dialed Derin’s number again. This time, it rang.

**************************************************

Derin had been waiting for Awazi’s call hence when his phone rang, he reached for it immediately. That woman had some serious explaining to do this night. He had picked the call when it registered in his head that the ring tone had been Asa’s Iya and not Tosin Martins’ Olo Mi.

“Hello maami, how are you?” he asked, his disappointment evident. He would try to achieve the impossible task of making this call short so that he could leave his line free for Awazi’s call.

“Derin, now you should be proud of yourself.” Agatha began.

“Maami, please don’t let’s start this again,” Derin responded, trying to cut short what he believed was going to be a long lengthy lecture.

“Derin, keep quiet and listen to someone else that isn’t yourself for once!” She said forcefully.

Satisfied that he was listening, Agatha continued “Doctor Ajanaku’s son shot himself in the head as soon as you left them today. And to cap it, Doctor Ajanaku himself had another stroke as a result of the shock from that. He’s in coma now, and will be paralyzed. So now, let us see who you want to do case with!”

“It’s a lie!” Derin exclaimed. “I don’t believe it. They’re just attempting to deceive us in order to throw us off the case.”

“Just listen to yourself. And they would get your own mother to lie to you about something this important, just for their own gain? That’s how little this your precious case has made you think of your mother.”

“Maami it is not like that. It is just that this is so sudden and so convenient”

“Don’t maami me if you will disrespect me like this. The death of a man and the other becoming invalid is convenient abi? Because they are trying to escape the great case of Derin Banwo? Child get out of your world! The world does not begin and end with you. And let me tell you, if you love yourself, you will find a way to make amends with them. A Bintu called me, and she has vowed to make sure you feel their pain. I spoke with her, and I am a woman. She meant every word she said, I know for sure.”

“I need to find out for myself if this is true.” Derin said.

“So you cannot take my word for it abi? I am lying abi?” Agatha said, wondering how her son could be so blinded by one single thing like this.

“I’ll go to the hospital now to find out for myself tonight,” Derin said.

Agatha was silent for a moment.

“Maami, are you there?” Derin asked.

“So you are not in Lagos, Aderinsola?” Agatha asked.

“Maami, I had to…” Derin stuttered an answer.

Agatha cut the call.

*************************************************

Arinze answered his phone. He answered it at this time, because the people that had this number could call him at any time of the day, they were only his kids, really close family and business contacts critical to him in the corridors of power. It was Rasheed. Rasheed would not call at this time except it was exceptionally important.

“Rasheed, kilode? What are you chasing or what is chasing you that you are calling at this ungodly hour? Your Ibadan women have left you and you want to disturb me this night?”

“Arinze, cut the jokes, I’m calling on a very serious matter. You remember Ajanaku, my friend I told you I was handling a case for?”

“Yes, the good doctor,” Arinze answered, sitting up to listen to Rasheed.

“Your boy, that your headstrong Derin was here, like we hoped he would and we thought he would agree to be reasonable. He chose not to be and wants to go to court. And now, Hakeem, Ajanaku’s foolish son who caused this whole drama went to shoot himself in the head out of guilt. Hakeem is Ajanaku’s only surviving son, and the shock was too much. He had another stroke and Ajanaku is just a little better than a vegetable now.”

“What! Ha! This one is not good o.” Arinze exclaimed.

“Look, Arinze, that Derin must pay. I have other things planned for him, but the first is for him to lose his livelihood, like he was bent on making my friend lose his hospital. Let him know how that feels first. And look, omo Ibo, I am not making a request, I am family, and you are doing this for me,” Rasheed said.

“I can’t say no to you Rasheed, and this boy has really outdone himself this time. The person that eats gbi will die gbi.”

****************************************************

Minutes earlier, just as Rasheed began to speak with Arinze, Derin had arrived at the hospital. He had decided to come alone; he didn’t want to face Ope again tonight. He made his way past hospital staff, all scurrying up and down. He could sense urgency in their movements, but he kept convincing himself that it was just a busy night. His brain told him that the reception area was scanty, and that it was midnight and so the hospital shouldn’t be this busy. But he forcefully thrust the thought aside, and continued to the only place he remembered, the conference room. He was hoping he would find someone there. At the door, he was hearing voices and he opened the door to see who it was.

The moment he entered, he knew that it was true. The Bintu lady was sitting down, hair scattered, face strewn with tear paths. The elderly lawyer was talking earnestly on the phone, and it was obvious it was a very serious call he was making.

The moment he entered, they both froze and he heard the lawyer saying into the phone “the idiot just walked in now, the effrontery. Kuku inform him now, and let him know!”

Derin wondered what was going on, when the man gave him a contemptuous look and handed him the phone. The look the woman gave him, his mind couldn’t find the words to describe. With raised eyebrows, he took the phone and held it to his ears.

“Hello, who is this?” he said

“Derin,” a familiar voice said and he unconsciously bent over and responded “good evening sir, this is a huge surprise” looking from the lawyer to the woman. He definitely didn’t like the surprise.

“Young man,” Arinze said “first, you lied to me that you had some bogus therapy to go to Ibadan for this your case, after I had warned you strongly about it.”

“Sir, I can explain,” Derin tried to salvage the situation.

“So your explanations will bring back the dead boy? Or my friend who you have brought this stroke upon? I advised you to desist from this path. I know your wife did. I have been told your best friend and your mother did. Rasheed, the lawyer who tells me you forgot your manners when you talked to him at the meetings is my elder brother. The doctor is my friend, a close, well respected friend. I think I’m talking too much. The crux of this conversation is that your appointment is terminated. You can have all the time to fight your case against dead people and paralyzed people. But you will not do it on my company’s time, deceiving this organization. You can come in on Monday, and the security will supervise you taking your things out of the office. After that, they will be instructed to deal ruthlessly with you if you attempt to come in.

“But sir, you can’t do this to me,” Derin said, his mind racing, his heart beating.

“I can’t? You always did think too much of yourself. Now give the phone back to its owner, young man!” Arinze said angrily.

An ashen faced Derin handed the phone over to Rasheed.

A few mumbled words and he cut the call.

“You came to see if your aim has been achieved? Follow me,” Bintu said. She calmly got up, and led Derin to the executive ward where the doctor was.

The strength was gone from the man’s face. The age was clearer, the lines were deeper, and the skin hung loser. He seemed gaunter than Derin remembered him in the afternoon, and he could see the effect of the waste that had racked his body. “You can look at him all you want,” Bintu said, and then walked away.

Rasheed then added “young man, all deals are off the table. This is war, and we have only just begun. We will reduce you to what you have reduced my friend to.” Then he left a still dumbfounded Derin where he stood and walked away, Bintu’s question echoing continually in his head “how are you different from Hakeem, Mr. Banwo”.

****************************************************

“Let me see you safely in,” Samir said as he parked in front of Awazi’s house.

“I do not think that would be necessary,” she responded, and briskly got down. She brought out her phone from her bag to call the gateman to come and open the gate. She dialed the number but got a “no network coverage” message on her attempt. When she checked the phone, she noticed the network of the phone was turned off. She hissed, “All these touchscreen phones sef,” she said.

She turned the network on, and almost immediately, pings hit her phone. She ignored them and pressed the button to bring up her dialed numbers. It was then she saw Derin’s call. It was not a missed called. She quickly opened the call history, and realized that the call had been picked and had lasted for a little less than a minute. She checked the time, even as she began to fear the worst. She had been in Samir’s house at the time. She turned around and went over to the driver’s side of his car, fuming furiously.

Broken Mirrors – Episode 12

Do take out the time to read this https://tlsplace.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/the-myth-of-nigerian-publishing/

Enjoy today’s Broken Mirrors. Would be posting all the pictures from the Write Right Prize Giving at about midday today, so do check back on tlsplace.

TL

Broken Mirrors Art

“Now you are happy abi?” Dr. Ajanaku shouted at Hakeem.

“Doctor, please take it easy, you know your condition,” Bintu said, placing a hand on his shoulder.

Rasheed spoke sternly to Hakeem “do you want to kill your father? You know his condition, and yet you do everything possible to increase his blood pressure. You really should leave.”

“I should leave? A place that is my inheritance? What gives any of you the right to tell me to leave here?” Hakeem shot back.

“It is not yet yours! And I am convinced now it should never become yours.” Dr. Ajanaku said, obviously pained. “I tried my best to raise you properly, but you just refused to take training.”

“By sending me to a different school from your precious son so I wouldn’t taint him? By allowing him do what he wanted, political science, while I was forced to be what you wanted, a doctor? By treating my mother without respect for years?” Hakeem responded mockingly.

“What! I respected and loved your mother until her death. What is this drug induced nonsense that you are spewing? Rasheed! Get the security to come and take this omo buruku out of my sight before I do something I will regret forever.” Dr. Ajanaku’s nostril flared as he spoke.

“Hakeem, you heard your father, come and start going, instead of bringing disgrace on yourself by being bundled out before all the staff who have called you sir!” Rasheed said.

“Hakeem, for once, be reasonable. Don’t drive your father into another stroke!” Bintu said, her voice betraying the anger she felt for the first time.

“Shut up, you this hypocritical woman! You are afraid that I will speak the truth abi. You think we didn’t know how you became the second only to my father in this hospital? You think we didn’t know that you have been sleeping with him all these years? Really? My mother knew, but she kept quiet and hurt every day. You both didn’t even bother to be discreet. You rubbed it in her face! And you are here talking proper, looking proper, talking about loving and respecting her until death. Oh please!”

Bintu’s eyes flashed like lightning. “How dare you, you this small boy? What do you know?” She turned to Dr. Ajanaku “Haruna, caution this your boy. Abi is it because we are referring to him as a son? It is true what our people say – the house is peaceful, only because the bastard is yet to reach maturity.”

“Woman, will you control yourself!” Dr. Ajanaku thundered.

“What is she saying dad? What does she mean by that?” Hakeem asked, the import of what Bintu had said hitting him like a cudgel.

“What I am saying,” Bintu responded for herself “is that no true Ajanaku behaves like you. You should ask that saintly mother of yours if she was alive if you were truly one!”

“Bintu!” Rasheed shouted.

Hakeem turned to his father, “Dad, is it true,” he asked in a low voice, the most sober he had been all evening.

Dr. Ajanaku turned away, without answering. Hakeem had his answer. He simply turned around and left the room without another word.

inu e ti dun, you are happy now abi? Even if he was behaving like a child, you had to forget your age and join him?” Doctor Ajanaku said to Bintu in anger.

“So, I should keep quiet and allow the bastard talk to me anyhow abi? Is that…”

That was all she had said before they heard the loud bang. Rasheed ran in the direction of the office it had come from. Dr. Ajanaku was right behind him. The sound had come from his office. The smell of gunpowder hung in the room and hit him the moment he entered. In the Chief Medical Officer’s official chair, Hakeem sat down. The thought corrected itself in Rasheed’s head, Hakeem’s body sat down. There was a huge gaping hole in his head where the antique Colt M1911 11mm bullet had hit. Behind him, Rasheed heard a thumping sound. When he turned around, Dr. Ajanaku was on the ground, his face contorted in anguish. Bintu rushed in and knelt over him. “Oh no,” Rasheed cried, slapping his forehead. “Damn that Derin for being so stubborn!”

********************************************************

Samir reached Awazi twenty minutes after he left home. It was one of those incidental strokes of luck that her car had happened to break down right in his backyard. He could see immediately she had been crying. “Sorry it took that long, there was slight traffic getting out of the estate. Let’s get out of here, and then you can tell me what happened.” She merely nodded and he set about tying her car to his own. When he was done, he told her “You’ll need to get in your car to control its movement as I pull it in. Thankfully, the road in is free so we should have little or no wahala getting in. hope you’ll be able to do that.”

Again she nodded and then got into the car. Samir got into his own car and started the engine. He had decided to bring the jeep for this one. Slowly, they inched along and thirty minutes later, they were safely in front of his house.

“Would I still be able to get a cab home from your estate at this time?” Awazi asked as soon as they parked.

“Why don’t you call your hubby to come pick you up?” he asked.

“He’s not in Lagos, so he can’t. I left him back in Ibadan,” she said flatly.

“What! How could he allow you leave and drive to Lagos at that time? Was there an emergency or something?” Samir queried.

“You aren’t listening to me. I said I left him there. It had nothing with him allowing me or not.”

“I don’t know what has happened, but I’m not your husband. I think I have more sense than to let you leave here in this condition. Let’s go in, before the neighbors begin to wonder what’s going on.”

“Samir, I have to go home…” she responded stubbornly.

“And who exactly are you in such a hurry to go home to meet?” Samir asked with a raised eyebrow. Awazi’s eyes dropped and she didn’t answer. “I thought so,” Samir said. “Now, let’s go inside, madam.” He said firmly.

With that, he opened the small pedestrian portion of his gate and they went inside. The house itself was a big bungalow. The compound grounds were laid with interlocking stones, and the lawn was in pristine conditions, well taken care of. Everything spoke of comfort and restrained affluence.

“You live all alone here, Samir?” Awazi asked.

“You’re astonished at how neat and orderly the place is? Don’t worry, it’s not about me that’s responsible for it, that’s paid help. But yes, I live here all alone.”

“You are not serious, have you ever done anything for yourself all your life? Of course I knew it was paid help.” She chuckled a bit, in spite of herself.

They got to the dark brown front door and he let them in. The living room was spacious, with plush colorful beanbags arranged all over, in vantage positions to view the huge TV that dominated one of the walls.”Fulani boy,” she said teasingly, “there are no chairs in your house.”

He bowed low and then went into the kitchen. He returned with a glass of water, and Awazi gulped it down greedily. “Thanks, I actually really needed that,” she said.

They settled into separate beanbags, and when they had fully relaxed, Samir asked earnestly “so are you going to tell me what all this is about?”

*********************************************************

“If I said I wasn’t wake, saying so would be a lie, wouldn’t it? My mum always told me the only question you could never truthfully answer as yes would be if you were asleep or dead,” Derin responded to Ope’s question, laughing softly.

“Alright, Mr. Banwo, now that we’ve established the fact that you are awake, and I am awake too, may I request your company, seeing that I’m in Ibadan because of your matter and sleep has chosen to go on a vacation right now.”

“Ope, I don’t know if that would be a good idea, considering what happened this afternoon at your place…” Derin said

She cut in “except you plan to rape me, Mr. Banwo, I seem to have been able to stop you this afternoon. Now cut the chatter, wear your clothes, I’m coming over.” He was trying to say something but she hung up.

She swung her long legs over the side of the bed and retrieved the wine and the two complementary glasses from the fridge. She stood briefly before the almost full length mirror and surveyed her reflection. She pulled the nightwear over her cleavage to hide the lace that was peeking out from under it. Subtlety and his imagination must do the trick. “Nice Opeyemi!” she said to herself, and then waltzed into the hallway. The reaction of the man she passed confirmed what her mirror had just told her – she was looking hot like that. She turned back, and sure enough, he had turned back to look at her. She winked at him, laughed and continued walking.

She knocked lightly on the door. There was no answer, so she knocked again, this time somewhat harder. Derin’s voice came from inside “coming,” and then the door opened moments later. She savored the look on Derin’s face for a few seconds before she gently shoved him aside and went into the room. In typical Derin fashion, the room was well arranged and none of his clothes were in sight. He was wearing one of those moslem embroidered kaftans which she guessed his wife must have gotten him.

“Would you be kind enough to shut the door sir,” she said as she sat down, chuckling.

“Haha,” was his response as he did just that. “I see you plan to get me drunk before you leave here tonight,” he said, eyeing the wine in her hands.

“Well, I’m certain the Derin I know won’t get drunk over one bottle of wine,” she retorted, the challenge in her eyes. He took the challenge and sat opposite her as she opened the bottle and poured the wine.

They were halfway through the bottle when they kissed.

*********************************************************

Awazi found herself crying for the second time that week to Samir. He joked “it would seem I have the crying effect on you dear,” as he offered her napkins to clean her tears off.

“Samir, you know it isn’t you, but I just don’t know anymore. Every time I try to do something right about this whole matter, my temper just gets in the way, and it all goes wrong, and that Ope seems to win without even trying.” She sighed heavily.

“It’s not about you Awazi. I’m a man and I can tell you categorically that your husband isn’t doing right here. How could he want to dig his own son up? Leave his wife to drive to Lagos in the frame of mind you were? Appointing his ex, with whom he had an affair while married to you as lawyer? My dear, you are even more patient than most of the women I’ve dated.”

“It’s just painful; my home is falling apart before my eyes, Samir. And it would seem I’m grabbing at straws with each attempt to save it.” She sobbed lightly

Samir got up and joined her on the beanbag she was seated on. He put an arm around her, speaking softly to her “it’s not about you dear, it is so not about you.”

Her head told her to get up from the beanbag and leave immediately, but she found herself melding into Samir’s embrace and allowing herself to be cuddled. They stayed this way quietly for what seemed like a long time, but was in fact less than ten minutes. It felt as if any movement, any attempt to do anything beyond cuddling would shatter the magic. Gently, Samir began to kiss her in places that were both safe and tantalizing at the same time. He kissed her forehead, then her eyes and then her earlobes. Still, she didn’t listen to her head, she rested in his arms. Then he kissed her on her lips, and she kissed him back. Her head stopped speaking to her and she abandoned herself to his touch.

********************************************************

Bintu had gone into automaton mode since Doctor Ajanaku had a reoccurrence of stroke. All his vitals had skyrocketed but she had worked extremely hard, marshalling doctors as if she was one. They followed her instructions without question until the specialist that she called came. Once he took charge, she went back to the doctor’s office where the police Rasheed had called were already at work. He had used his contacts to get a full homicide team there in record time, and already, he was managing them. Police could be tricky and they didn’t need them looking at this matter beyond what it was – an unfortunate suicide. She quietly retreated into the conference room, and then the floodgate of tears opened.

**************************************************************

For thirty minutes, they had huffed and puffed. An exasperated lingerie clad Ope stood over a naked Derin. “What is this about?”

Derin could not understand what was happening to him. It seemed his mind was somehow affecting his body. The kiss had led to other things and he lay naked in no time. And then unusually, he noticed he wasn’t erect yet. His heart began to race, and the more he worried about it, the more they tried, the more stubbornly his member stayed flaccid. Ope tried everything she knew in the books until thirty minutes later, she got off him, and asked that question in exasperation. He still hadn’t gotten it up.

“I don’t understand what this is about,” he said. Even saying anything felt awkward in the situation.

“Maybe it’s the stress of the whole day, the case and all. I guess I’ll just let you be then. Wake me up when you do, so I can get ready for the Lagos trip.”

With that, she left an ashen faced Derin in the room.

*********************************************************************

Samir cursed whichever of his American friends had chosen now to call him. It was as if the sound of the ringing phone had jarred Awazi from lala land. She had suddenly pushed him off and told him shakily, “Samir, you will take me home tonight. I cannot trust myself to remain here all night, dan Allah.”

She got up and went to his guest bathroom. Almost as if on cue, the moment the door to the bathroom was shut, her phone rang. Samir glanced at the caller ID and a cloud formed over his face. He picked the call. “Hello,” he said coldly.

On the other end of the phone, Derin was stunned that a male voice said hello when the call with his wife connected.

“Who is this, and what are you doing with my wife’s phone at this time of the night?” he asked, confused.

“My name is Samir, a friend, who drove onto the express to rescue her from a broken down vehicle when you were unavailable, Mr. Banwo. I think you should do a better job looking out for your wife, honestly,” Samir added the last line with a tongue dripping with sarcasm.

“Mr. Samir, I don’t take kindly to men answering my wife’s mobile phone by 11pm and telling me how to do my job as a husband. Where is she?”

“Oh, I should have left her with a broken down car on the express?” Samir asked in anger. This guy was so selfish in his thinking. “You should be thanking me for doing what you should have been doing, or should not even have happened Mr.”

“Hand the damn phone to Awazi!” Derin shouted.

“I’ll tell her you called when she comes out of the bathroom,” Samir said, and hung up before Derin could respond.

In Ibadan, Derin sat up, fuming on his hotel bed, waiting for Awazi’s call.