Written by Chibuzor Iwobi
Abisola was still sobbing heavily so I let her talk when she was ready. I tried to imagine being in her shoes, she had gone through enough already. I was determined to help her get her father back. Meanwhile, Angie sat beside me holding my hands. I could tell how deeply she empathised with Abisola by her grip. Ayo burst into the living room suddenly.
“Why’s Aunty Abisola crying?” She asked, innocently.
Angie immediately stood up and walked Ayo out of the living room.
“Aunty Abisola isn’t feeling too good,” I heard Angie say. “Daddy will help her. Let’s not disturb her.”
“Is it because of Uncle James?” She asked.
Angie dragged her further away and their voices turned to whispers.
Abisola laughed. “Kids,” She said.
I smiled in response.
“I’ve always wanted one of my own,” She continued. “James and I used to have lengthy conversation talking of how many kids we wanted and how we would raise them.”
Her eyes lit up as she talked about James, I knew how much she missed her brother. I wasn’t going to tell her about my run-in with James’ killer, well not for the time being. I kept my eyes on her, she looked as if she had spaced out. There was a wide smile on her face followed by an outburst of tears. I ran to her side to comfort her and Angie walked in. I could tell that seeing me hold her like that made her jealous and that is because I dated Abisola before I met her. She was my first love and it was her breaking my heart that drove me to Angie. Although we were kids then I believed our love was genuine but what I never understood was why she broke up with me. We had no problems or whatsoever. So, till that day, it had been a mystery to me.
I patted her on the back and then gently rubbed her. My kind gesture only seemed to make Angie more uncomfortable but I didn’t stop, I couldn’t. There was a soft spot I still had for Absiola.
“Thank you, Alfred,” She said. “You’ve always been a darling.”
I blushed like an eleven year old boy who got pecked by the cutest girl in class.
“What happened to your leg?” She asked.
“That’s not important,” I replied. “Tell me what happened to your dad.”
Angie took her seat on the couch and cleared her throat.
“Yesterday, I went to see my dad. Just to check up on him. James’ death brought us closer. He’s usually around except for when he has something important to do which is rarely. I showed up at his place around3pm,” She paused to take her breath and continued. “To my surprise, he wasn’t there-“
“Sorry Abisola for cutting you short. Rebecca and Ayo, I can see you both. Come here,” I interrupted.
Shyly, they walked into the living room.
“Good evening, Aunty Absiola,” They greeted in unison.
“Good evening my dears,” She replied them, smiling, trying to mask her pain.
“Don’t indulge them,” I said, scornfully. “Why aren’t both of you in your rooms?”
They said nothing.
“You don’t want daddy to flog you, do you?” I asked.
They shook their heads.
“Good,” I said. I signaled Angie and she took the kids away.
“Don’t be too hard on them, they’re just kids,” Abisola said in their defense, her voice still weak from all the crying.
“It’s better for them so they don’t become unruly,” I replied. “Please go on.”
She smiled and held my hand. “You’re such a good father. It makes me wonder what if……”
The feeling of her warm hands against mine made me want to grab her and press my lips against hers. Why my feelings for her had not died all these years confused me. I almost succumbed to temptation but I quickly pulled away and moved to another seat.
“So….. your dad?” I asked, trying to ease up on the awkwardness.
“Um….. yeah…,” She smiled. “As I was saying, he wasn’t there. His number wasn’t going through. I waited for three hours and nothing changed. I was worried.”
“Why didn’t you call me?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I….I…”
She looked away to the passage-way door, I did too. Angie had been there a while watching us. Her arms were folded and her face was expressionless. Walking to me, she sat down and said nothing, looking at Abisola to continue her story. Still the room was silent. I was like an armed robber caught red handed. Seeing that nobody was willing to talk, Angie spoke up.
“So what makes you think he is kidnapped?” Angie asked.
Abisola looked at me and resumed her narration.
“I got a call this morning. It was from my dad. He was begging for my help and next thing I heard a loud thud followed by a man’s voice. His voice was bold and deep. That kind of voice that demanded respect and dashed out orders. He told me he had my father and If I wanted to see him alive, I should do as he says.”
“Let me guess, he said no police?” I asked, shaking my head.
She nodded in reply.
“What did he say he wanted?” I continued with my questions.
“That’s the thing. He asked for nothing,” She replied, almost shouting.
“Strange,” Angie said.
“Not really,” I replied.
“What do you mean?” Angie asked.
“A kidnapper takes a hostage for two reasons. Either it’s for money or it’s personal,” I replied.
“Are you saying it’s personal?” Abisola asked, sounding terrified.
“I don’t want to jump into conclusions just yet,” I replied.
There was a loud knock coming from the front door that redirected all our heads. Angie got up to open the door; It was Ahmed. She hugged him.
“How’s Alfred doing?” He asked.
“Fine, just fine,” She replied, smiling and walking back to where she sat.
Ahmed followed right behind her.
“Hey man, how’s the leg?” He asked.
“Just there,” I replied. I looked at Abisola and back at Ahmed. “I doubt you’ve met. Ahmed this is Abisola, James’ sister. Abisola this is Ahmed, my partner.”
“Yeah,” He said, giving her a warm handshake. “I saw her at the burial. I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you,” She replied, sniffing.
“Are you okay?” He asked.
“Yes bro,” I replied.
“I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to her,” He replied me.
“I am,” She whispered.
“Her father was kidnapped yesterday,” I announced.
“I’m sorry about that,” He said to her, being apologetic and holding her hand.
Seeing that stirred up a bit of jealousy in me and it led to a look on my face which Angie caught and smiled after.
“What did they say they wanted?” He asked.
“Nothing,” I replied.
He sighed heavily.
He still hadn’t let go off her hand and crouched in front of her.
“I promise you. We’ll get him back,” He said to her.
I couldn’t help but wonder what Ahmed was up to. Abisola was an attractive woman and it would take a man without his sight to say he wasn’t interested.
“Thank you,” She whispered.
“What’s the plan, Alfred?” He asked, now facing me.
“We will have to wait for them to call first,” I replied.
“One more thing,” Abisola announced. “They said…. they said to ask you why you never paid for your crime and that blood must spill at both ends.”
A ghastly whiteness spread over my face. Scared out of my mind, I let out a loud gasp and exploded off the couch then I limped to the dinning table, bending over it using my hands for support. As my stomach churned, I was filled with misery. My body was so jittery.
“How do they know?” I whispered, under my breath
“Alfred?” Angie called, walking to me sounding terribly worried. “What’s wrong baby?”
“How do they know?” I repeated.
“How does who know?” She asked. “Alfred, please talk to me.”
“Alfred, buddy, are you okay?” Ahmed asked as he walked to me but stopped at the sound of Abisola’s phone ringing.
It’s them,” She shouted.
“Answer it,” Ahmed’s instructed her.
She looked at me waiting for a response. By now, I was facing her and nodded in agreement.
“Hello,” She answered.
“Oh my God!” She gasped. “Yes…yes he is.”
She put her hand over the receiver. “Alfred, they want to talk to you.”
Written by Chibuzor Iwobi
Edited By Olamide (@Miss_Ola_D) & Gbadebo (@Oaa148)
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