All In A Circle Episode 52

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The mood inside the ward was tense, Clement had his fists clenched as he breathe in and out to release his anger gas. Ngozi carried the cute little girl in her hands as she sang to her ears. Clement tried as much as possible to look at Rachel in the eyes, his eyes fell on his baby and he smiled out of reflex, thereby cooling his nerves and his anger dying down. The baby was cute afterall and he admitted it himself, she took the beauty from him and her mother, but the stark resemblance between the baby and the mother was there.

“Sweetheart am sorry.” Rachel said for the upteenth time. Clement moved closer to her bed and sat down beside her sleeping frame.

“Do you realise that what you did was very dangerous?” Clement asked.

“I just wanted to surprise you.” She replied.

“What if things go wrong? Do you think I’ll ever forgive you?”

“I know things will never go wrong.” She replied confidently. He has so many things he wanted to say, because it still beat his imagination why his wife will enter the labour room without informing him and to say the delivery involved a ceaserian section in the theatre.

“Congratulation darling.” He found himself saying and that was the end of it. Ngozi handed the baby over to him and he said some things to her in his local dialet.

“What is that you are saying.” Ngozi asked. Clement ignored her until he finished whatever he was whispering into the ears of the baby.

“Am explaining to her that I am her daddy and daddy is a policeman.” He replied and they all bursted into laughter, Rachel smiling weakly. Just then the door into the ward opened and Dolapo stolled in carrying a food basket.

“Am I missing something?” She asked as she dropped the food on the nearest bedside table. She exchanged looks with Rachel and she smiled. “Congratulations sir.” She said to Clement.

“Thank you dear.” Clement spoon fed his wife for a minute before he announced his departure. “I’ll be back in the evening.” He assured.

Doctor Rapheal chosed that second to enter the ward. Clement bent down to kiss his wife then he walked towards the door. He could see the jealousy in Rapheal’s face. But why should he be jealous? He owned his wife.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The euphoria of becoming a father has beclouded Clement’s desire to restore peace in the country. He was all smiles as he led Ngozi downstairs, the reason why he was at the hospital remained unaccomplished.

“Clement.” Ngozi called. Clement only turned to face her. “What will happen to Jay?” She asked.

“We’ll come back to question him.” He replied.

“Have you forgotten that the earlier the better. We need to get the necessary informations that will be helpful in our investigations. And we’ve got no time to waste.” She explained. Clement looked at his partner for a while, then a smile ran accross his face.

“Here, you can question him.” He said throwing his car keys at her. He was in no mood to listen to the crazy story of a criminal, while with the recent happening, he couldn’t bring himself to asking questions at this time of happiness.

“How do you intend to go back to the office? I mean are you going to take a cab?” She asked.

“I’ll drive Rachel’s car.” He said as he returned to Rachel’s ward to pick the car keys.

——–

Ngozi eased herself into the ward where Jay was lying with eyes open and hands and legs cuffed to the bed posts.

“Hey.” She said approaching his bed. He snapped out of his reverie and faced the lady before him. Immediately She sat down, she went into a deep slumber as she tried reminiscing an event that took place many years ago, probably seventeen.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The moments they have been waiting for finally presented itself, its almost a week since they started their barbing business and only two people had patronized them. Today brought the greatest smiles to their faces as the gate into Deoye’s residence opened and one of his boys, a well built handsome boy of about twenty-two or twenty three came out dressed in a basketball jersey and a short. He approached the newest barber shop, the aura of power all over him.

“Abeg I want make my hair.” He said as he peeked his head into the shop. In three minutes, everything was set, the generator running, the clipper working just the way it shoud work.

“Guys, I know sey you be town guys too.” The guy began. The two barbers exchanged looks and they looked at Mike who was lying on a bench like a typical shop owner who allowed his apprentice attend to the customer.

“We be town guys o. We just felt like going lowkey for a while.” Mike replied. The guy smiled.

“Abeg, this hairstyle enter school?” The guy asked.

“Which school be that? It depends on the class the school places itself.” Mike asked.

“LASU.” He replied. The three men exchanged looks, LASU again?

****

FLASHBACK: SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO.

It has become a traditon for a young Ngozi, then a nine year old girl to sleep in her parents room at night. She was the apple of her parent’s eyes as well as the apple of God’s eye as the children pastor in her church will say then.

“Where is Nwankwo?” Her mother had asked her father.
“Woman, I should ask you that question.” The always angry Mazi Obiora replied. Mazi Obiora was a father that is not to be joked with, a farmer that is not to be taken for granted, a traditional Chief that is not to be overlooked during council meetings with the Igwe unless you want to see the other side of him. Then the front door creaked open, the time was eleven o’clock in the dead of the night. Mazi Obiora tip toed to the living room in the dark and switched on the lights immediately he got there. Nwankwo his sixteen year old wayward boy froze in fear.

“Nwankwo where are you coming from?” Mazi Obiora asked his son.

“Papa, I went to play football and I decided to play with Samuel before coming home.” Nwankwo replied.

“You went to play football? At night? Or has the Igwe erected light stand at the village field?” His father asked.

“No papa.” He replied.

“Who is Samuel?”

“You don’t know Samuel? My friend, the son of the Reverend Father.” He replied.

“Oh! Samuel, that good boy with good characters.” Mazi Obi exclaimed.

He knew his son can never be friends with the Samuel of a boy. This same Samuel came to report his son the other day claiming he called him names because of his devoted christian life. He knew his son doesn’t make friends with boys who cannot play football, and of all the teenagers in the village, Samuel is the only one who doesn’t play football. Even the girls can play better than him. The Samuel of a boy is busy preparing for life after secondary school, he has plans of going to the University in the nearby city of Calabar.

“What are you doing in Mama Nkechi’s night stand?” Mazi Obi asked shocking his son and at the same time his wife. Everyone knew Mazi Obi to be a regular patroniser of the bear palour, but he doesn’t drink himself to stupor. He visits the place once or twice a week, spending at least one hour in the bear palour, drinking palm wine and pepper soup and other times, bottled beers. Other day, Mazi Omenka will only buy what he wants to buy and come back home to consume them, other chiefs are regular patronizers too.

“That is the route to the parish.” Nwankwo replied.

“With Mama Nkechi’s daughter, Chidera and this good for nothing son of the palmwine tapper?” His father asked. He knew his father had caught him red handed. If truly he was caught by his father as at the time he was with Chidera, then he was in a big trouble, because that moment was when he was handling with the girls br.e.a.st and eating her lips, after which the girl sneaked some marijuana for them and they took drags and left.

“My son is sleeping around with girls that has no future other than inherit their mother’s brothel. My son is smoking. I will kill you today.” Mazi Obiora said removing a cutlass and a horsewhip. And that was it. That was the encouragement he needed, he has been looking for an opportunity to leave the village in search of greener pastures and as God would have it, someone has promised to take him to Lagos. And now is the time to go to Lagos.

In a flash, he sped out of the house that night but never returned. That was the last of him that Ngozi ever saw as a kid. But the stark resemblance with their father was still there, his broken teeth too. And a big scar below his left eye are enough to recognize him.

BACK TO THE PRESENT

She hugged her brother after so many years and everything took an emotional swing. She cried on his shoulder while he shed tears of regret.

“Baby, you will have to help me.” Jay said. So he still remembered she loved to be called baby as a kid.

“I’ll see what I can do.” She replied. If this will be the last favour she’ll do for her brother or her family, then she was ready to go to the extreme to get him out of this mess.

Ngozi drove back to the station with mixed feelings, she was happy and at the same time sad. Meeting her lost brother after roughly seventeen years is a thing of joy to her and meeting him in a situation such as this is enough reason for her to be sad.

First she had to relay this good news to her parents who have concluded that they had lost Nwankwo(Jay) for good. And her father once said he would only die a happy and fulfilled man if he find his son before his death, and not only that in an envious position. Maybe as a successful business tycoon or a politician with a beautiful wife. The question now is will Mazi Obiora die a happy man.

“Hello Mama.” She greeted as she turned off the ignition of the car.

“Hello Nne, how are you?” Her mother asked over the phone.

“I am fine. How about papa?” She asked.

“He is fine. Taking his afternoon rest.” The woman replied. The two women discussed for a while, about Ngozi’s traditional wedding which will hold in a six weeks time much to Ngozi annoyance. She expertly changed the topic from anything that relate to Tobiloba or their wedding.

“Mama, I saw Nwankwo today.” She burst the bubble. There was silence at the other end. Ngozi just hoped her mother had not fainted. But the sound of her hard breathing told her she was processing the news.

“Nwankwo! My son?” Her mother asked.

“Yes mama. I just left his place now.” She replied. Was the hospital his place?

“We are coming to Lagos tomorrow.” The old woman said happily. By the word ‘we’ Ngozi knew she meant herself and her husband(their father)

“Mama, don’t bother yourself. We’ll come there before the week runs out. I promise.” She said.

“Is he married? What does he do now? How did you meet him?” She threw loads of questions at her daughter who didn’t know which one to answer first. Even though she had no answer for the questions, except she wants to lie.

“Mama, we’ll talk when we come home. I have to go.” She said and ended the call. She swung the car back on the road and drove off deep in thought. Now she had promised her mother that she’ll come home with her brother before the end of the week. And this brother of hers was a criminal in detention, how will she pull this through? Maybe Clement would help her afterall.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Abdul Maleek kept on angrily at two of his men who were bowing down in front of his throne inside the great hall which served as his office.

“You should have told me you can’t do the job.” Maleek said.

“Sorry boss. We’ll get it done this week.” One of the two men replied. This response infuriated Maleek to the extreme as he stood up angrily and descended the stairs to meet the men on the landing.

“I gave you a week to eliminate two people. You couldn’t. And to say these people are women. It will take Hakym twenty four hours to kill them both without trace. Danger-kelv will pull it through in few hours.” Maleek said using his hand to pull one of the two men to their feets.

“You know what? You just blew your only chance to cement a place in this corporation. Remember we are running a very large payroll and we want to cut it to the minimum. People have to die and you’ll serve as example to the others.”

“No mistakes when the great Maleek gives an assignment to you.” He said holding the man by his collar and tightening his grip. He released two quick shots to the second man who was still on his knees and wasn’t expecting the bullet to be fired at him.

“Squeeze life out of this b—–d here.” He said to one of the security men at the door who came over and dragged the other man away. Without being told what to do, another two men came in and exited the room with the dead body which laid on the floor.

“Get Danger-Kelv and Hakym on the job.” He said as walked into his inner chamber without another word. The question on everybody lips now was, will Danger-kelv be willing to do this, considering the fact that one of the women in question was his brother’s wife. Maybe he’ll swap with Hakym afterall, he taking Sylvester’s wife and Hakym taking Clement’s wife.

****

She was anxiously waiting for the arrival of Frank. He had called her a few minutes ago and she wasted no time in sending her address to him. She planned spending one hour more at home before driving down to the airport where she’ll board a plane to Turkey and then Ukraine where she planned to live and school. The sound of the gate being opened alerted her. Of all the occupants of the apartments in the compound, only three people have cars, the landlord who returns home after midnight, one of the tenants, a bachelor who was also a nightcrawler and herself. Any other car driving in this moment must belong to a visitor.

A few minutes later, the much anticipated knock sounded on the front door and she wasted no time in walking towards the door.

“Am coming.” She said as she turned the key twice and turned the door knob. A smiling Frank stood before her looking handsome and breathtaking.

“Hi.” He said.

“Come in.” She said stepping aside to let him enter. With hands in his pockets, he walked into the living room.

“Take a sit.” She said pointing to a nearby couch, he wasted no time in sittling on the chair.

“A nice place you have.” He complimented.

“Oh! Thanks. I did the interior decor myself.” She bragged.

“You are pretty good at it.” He said as he look into her eyes with neither of them blinking or looking away. They both seemed to be communicating with their minds and only the one with a strong mind can hold on for long. She looked away.

“What can I offer you?” She asked, even though her fridge was not stacked with drinks, she still had a few fruit juice, something she had learn to love from her time working for Sandra Oselu.

“Anything will do.” He replied.

From her time working for Sandra, she had served Frank drinks many times and she knew his favourite, but in the absence of his favourite, she had to get his second favourite, something he ask for anytime he comes visiting his cousin. She returned after a few seconds with a bottle of Soda.

“So tell me. What do you do now?” He asked three minutes later. She sighed deeply.

“I run a beauty shop and interior decoration by the side.” She replied.

“It must be a profitable business for you to have put up a place such as this.” He said.

“You know am just starting from the scratch. Its quite profitable but you need to establish yourself permanently then customers will come.” She replied.

Maybe he has an idea of what she did to Sandra. But come to think of it, he would have heard about it, considering the fact that he saw her leaving. Maybe he is here on Sandra’s instruction. But they’ll be surprised to meet an empty house the next time they come around.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Victoria led the way as Don followed her closely out of the gate.

“I need to go now. Frank already sent me Janet’s address.” She said to him as they both stood side by side leaning against Victoria’s car, a Honda CRV belonging to her mother.

“Do you mind if I drive you?” Don asked.

“No I don’t but don’t bother yourself.” She replied. He knew it, she will always decline.

“So will you call me once you are done?” He asked. Just then one of his guys came strolling into the house.

“Where are you coming from?” Don asked.

“I went to make my hair.” The guy replied pointing to the barber shop opposite the gate. Don looked at the shop for confirmation. His eyes turned in their socket immediately he saw Mike in the shop but he waved it off.

“He certainly can’t be the one. He looks baber- ish.” He concluded amusingly. The guy walked into the house while Don continued his conversation with Victoria.

“Talk to you later.” She said hopping behind the wheel.”

“Alright. Goodluck.” He said as she started the ignition and drove off. Don gave one last look at the baber shop before walking into the compound.

*******

Doctor Rapheal stood beside Rachel’s bed, looking at her and the baby with contempt. He hated her that moment and felt tempted to kill both the mother and the baby, but what does he stand to gain at the end? He gave Rachel an angry look and understanding what it means, Rachel turned to Dolapo who was playing with the baby inside her cot.

“Excuse us.” Rachel said to her. Dolapo wanted to ask why they needed to be excused. But she concluded that the doctor wants to run some examination of her, but on a second thought, the doctor came empty handed without any equipment and anybody whose sense of observation is still intact will notice something is not right. The doctor has been looking all gloomy since Clement showed up and he has been acting all strange. But it doesn’t concern her. She walked out of the ward.

—–

Confirming that Dolapo is out of earshot, Rapheal spoke.

“Now that you’ve delivered, what will happen to us?” Rapheal asked.

“I don’t know what you are talking about. There was no us.” She replied. Rapheal smiled, she seemed to be getting courage from somewhere he couldn’t fathom.

“I know you’ll say there was no us. But what about us that kissed the other time? Remember we almost had sex if not for your bulging tommy.” He said smiling mischievously. She was left wondering why some people have no shame whatsoever that they feel comfortable talking about their secret affairs with someone else wife.

“Rapheal, please let me be. I have sealed my marriage with this baby. Please let us pretend as if there was never something between us.” She said pleadingly.

“That’s impossible. Everyone in this hospital knew something was on between us. They even questioned the paternity of your child, but I am less concerned. I can father someone else child.” He said confidently.

“Rapheal, there is no way things will continue between us. Or I’ll be forced to report you to my husband.” She threatened.

“How do you intend to do that? Are you that shameless? Tell your husband you had a short fling with your doctor. This is the twenty first century, secrets like this are kept for life.” He said as he started closing in on her. She flinched on her bed as she tried sitting up, but the instruction of the doctor says that she should avoid sitting up or doing anything stressful till the stitches will be removed.

“What are you trying to do?” She asked.

“You just watch me.” He said bending down. She knew it, he was trying to kiss her. He knew she will become weak in her struggles if he managed to plant a kiss on her lips. She knew she could put up no resistance whatsoever if he gets to kiss her. She was not ready to allow that. Twwwwwaaaaaaaccckkkk! She had registered the outline of her palm on his cheeks.

“You slapped me?” He said rolling the sleeves of his shirt.

“You forced me to, Rapheal, don’t do anything funny.” She said, almost at the verge of crying. The door burst opened and Dolapo walked into the ward.

“If you’ll please respect yourself, please get out of here now.” Dolapo said to Rapheal who was still shocked at the burst in.

“What if I don’t what will you do?” Rapheal asked eyeing her.

“You’ll be surprised. Is this how you harass every patient of yours?” Dolapo asked. Rapheal knew exchanging words with Dolapo will be his greatest undoing. She was yoruba while he was from the east, Yoruba people, especially girls have razor mouth. He was not ready to ridicule himself. He shrugged before walking out of the ward angrily.

Dolapo herself was surprised at her wonder woman outburst. Not even in her wildest dream, she never thought she could do something like this. Maybe she was under influence of something.

“Am sorry ma. That’s how those young doctors behave.” She said to Rachel who looked away at once. She knew Dolapo must have overheard her conversation with the Doctor. Meaning she’ll begin to see her as a wayward kind of woman who has no respect for the marital vows binding her marriage. Her greatest fear was Dolapo reporting her to Clement.

–to be continued–

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