I lifted up the sofa and picked up the tape recorder and walked out of the room. I brought out my phone and sent a quick text to Dubem.
“Where is the baby?”
“Laying on ogboni76’s bed.” Came the reply.
“Where are you?” I texted back.
“Hiding, inside his wardrobe. Where are you?”
“On my way. Please keep the baby safe.”
I dialed Tade’s number and he came on the line.
“Where are you?” I asked.
“Waiting for you at the estate gate.”
“Cool…. see you in few minutes.” I said and disconnected. A placed a call to the police station next, reporting the kidnap and I sent them to the hotel the baby was. I picked Tade up by the Estate gate and drove down to the hotel.
“How did it go?” He asked.
“It worked.” I replied.
He cussed and slammed his fist into his palm. “That biatch!”
“Enough!” I said. “You will be calm, let me handle this.”
“So she confessed to killing my mother? How do you expect me to be calm after hearing that?”
“You took advantage of her naivety. Why did you mess with her in the first place? You weren’t even there for your son’s birth and you have never asked of him since he was born.” I said. “She’s also human you know.”
“Are you defending her?” he asked. “Are you saying she did the right thing by killing my mother?”
“Shut the f*uck up! I told you I will handle this!”
The police was leading Ogboni76 out of the hotel with cuffs on his hands when we got to the hotel. He took a long look at me and sneered.
“You!” Ogboni76 screamed, “You were behind this.”
“Officers where is my baby?” I asked.
A female police officer walked to me with baby Tom in her arms. He was bawling and I took him into my arms. The poor baby must have been so scared, I soothed him and he calmed down. He stuck his little fist into his mouth and suckled on it quietly, his big eyes, staring into mine. Dubem came out of the hotel just as Ogboni76 was driven out of the gate in the police van.
“Good job mate.” I said.
Shook up Funmi until she was jittery at the drop of a pin. I used her line to send various text messages to Cecilia while Dubem and I went to pay her a visit in the dead of the night. We roughened her up a bit and dropped the hint that it was Funmi who was behind her attack. Somehow I felt it in my guts that they were both in it together but tonight’s revelation shook me up a bit. Funmi and the baby had sneaked their way into my heart and I couldn’t help but think of them as family now.
I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her despite her faults. I couldn’t stop thinking of her either. I would explain everything to her when I get back and I would convince her to turn herself before I hand over the tape to the authorities.
“Don’t you want to know how I pulled it off?’’
“Yea sure.” I replied distractedly.
“After I took the baby from Funmi, We came here to the hotel. Mark, the guy who drove the car distracted the receptionist and I stole into Ogboni’s hotel room with the key you gave me. I placed the baby on the bed and jumped into the wardrobe. Few minutes later he walked in and started at the baby in surprise. He pulled out his gun, while staring at the baby and in that very moment the door was kicked open and the police men rushed in. They ordered him to drop his gun and cuffed him.” Dubem laughed. “It was so comical, watching everything from my hiding spot.”
“Let’s get this baby back to his mother.” I said.
“Where is the tape?” Dubem asked.
“In my pocket.” I said, “Where is Tade?”
“Who?” Dubem asked.
I handed him the baby and ran to the car park but my car was gone. I searched my pocket for the tape, it was still there but my car key was gone.
“Sly….Sylvester…. is that you?” I asked in a little voice. I was going crazy with paranoia.
He had been gone for over an hour and I was on the verge of nervousness. The silence of the house echoed through my muddled mind, making me squeak at every little sound. I stood up shakily and inserted the key in the lock, Lord knows I would go crazy hiding in his bedroom. I just had to do something to take my mind off the present. I walked out of the living and found myself walking towards the B wing of the house. I had never been to this part of the house and I was fascinated by the paintings which was on the wall. The portrait of the woman whom I assumed was his mother blinked back at me, almost making me jump out of my skin.
I walked further, idly, opening each door and peering into it. Each of the rooms were artistically decorated and each of the beds were made up like someone would sleep in them at night, strange, I thought. There was something strange and intriguing about the owner of the house too so I wasn’t too surprised. I tried to open another door but it refused to give way, I turned and made to go when I heard it creaked open. The room seemed like an artist’s studio, there was a big sofa in the center of the room, a table holding various cases of paints and brushes were beside it. A big portrait was stood on another table but it was covered up with a white cloth.
I pulled back the white cloth covering the portrait and gasped in shock. Dupe. It was a portrait of Dupe standing in a flowing white gown on a beach.
“Dupe?” I cried out in disbelief, my mind was whirling with questions. He had also played me, I screamed in my head. Sylvester must have known who I was and now I had foolishly played into his hands. For the third time another human had betrayed me, why do I always trust blindly? Why do people keep using me? So he has been acting all these while? It was all a lie… the sensual stares, the kind words, the…. It was all a lie, I thought, furiously.
I walked out of the room just as my phone, which I held in my palm, rang. I stared at the number on the screen, pondering if I should answer it or not. I clicked on the green button and lifted the phone to my ear.
“Funmi” He said and my heart sprang up.
“Tade” I said, feeling a sea of pain wash through me. Why was he calling now? What does he want?
“Where are you?” He asked, “I want to see you. Can I see you now?”
“How long have you been in Nigeria?” I wanted to know. This man had stolen my innocence and in the end he had betrayed me. They had all fooled me and now he was asking to see me? Maybe he was trying to set me up so the police could arrest me.
He definitely had something up his sleeve, I thought.
“Tade, why should I see you?” I asked.
“Funmi, I know you might find this hard to believe but I regret the way I treated you. I want to see you… you know to talk and find out how you’re doing. Can I see you right now?” He asked.
“I decide the venue” I said.
“That’s fine by me.” He replied.
“Meet me at Swann hotel, not far from your family house in an hour time.” I said and disconnected. I walked downstairs into the kitchen and picked up a tiny fruit knife. I picked up my hand bag on the sofa and slipped the knife into it. I will take care of them all one after the other. My phone beeped and a message box showed on the screen.
It was from Sylvester.
“Please don’t leave the house or open the door for anyone. See you in few minutes”
I threw my phone on the sofa worriedly while I paced up and down, in the spacious lining room, wondering what to do next. I had settled down for a short nap before Serwa gets back from her walk with her Grandpa when I had a terrible dream. In the dream, Tade had been in a pool of blood, while a mad man laughed at him, knife held high in his hand and in the next scene, we were all in a mourning clothes lowering him to the ground.
The door opened and Serwa bounced into the room, laughing at the top of her lungs. My father followed at her heels, he stopped short when he saw the look on my face.
“Serwa, please go to your room” I said and for once she went up the stairs without a word.
“What is it?” Dad asked.
“I had a bad dream Dad. I am so sacred. I think Tade is in danger” I replied.
“Have you tried calling him?” He asked.
“He is not picking up.”
He held my hand and led me to the sofa and we both sat down. He held onto my hands tightly.
“Close your eyes” he said.
“Now pray for your husband.’’
“Lord…” I started.
“I am in room089” I texted to him after I checked in. The land phone in the room rang out few minutes later and I picked it up. “Yea, send him in.”
I brought out the knife and slipped it underneath the pillow on the bed. I sat down on the bed, patiently waiting, my heartbeat was steady and I felt so calm. Few minutes later, he knocked on the door and I let him in. He walked in with a big teddy bear, a single rose flower and a cup of latte. He went on his knees, arms stretched out towards me. He might have led the police to me but I won’t be the only one going down tonight. I would rest well in jail, knowing he was laying six feet in the ground. Yes, that would gladden my heart so much. I accepted his offering, inhaling the rose deeply. This rose will lay on your grave soon, I thought.
“Funmi, believe me, I am deeply sorry for all that I have done to you.” He said.
Yea right. I was so certain the police was waiting outside but I wasn’t deterred. I accepted the cup of Latte from him and took a deep sip. It was creamy, it was just as I liked. I had mentioned it once that I preferred a cup of latte to chocolate when we went to the park and he still remembered. I looked into his eyes, was he telling the truth? Was he really trying to get back with me? No, I decided. He hadn’t even bothered to ask of his son. He was lying, he had something up his sleeve.
“Stand up, please” I said.
He stood up and sat beside me on the bed. “I want to give Mabel a divorce so we can be together. I’m truly sorry for all I’ve done to you.”
He was repeating the same words over and over again. It actually seemed like he was stalling or waiting for the right moment to strike. Was he waiting for the police to get here? There must be a reason he is stalling, I thought. For someone who wanted to see me badly, he wasn’t acting out his role well. Time to put mine into action, I thought. The b—–d still hadn’t asked of his son! How could he be so heartless?
I scooted back and laid on the bed, my thighs spread invitingly. I beckoned to him with a finger and I could see him mentally struggling with himself. He reluctantly laid beside and I caressed his arms quietly.
“Shhh…we’ll talk later. Now’s not the time” I said. “Tade, kiss me.”
He s——-d me and kissed my neck. I felt my head spin and at first I thought it was his kisses but my head kept spinning and I was becoming so weak. He’s smarter than I thought. The b—–d drugged me. I pulled up my top and his lips settled on my exposed n—–e. I reached for the bedside lamp and switched it off. The drug was slowly working its way into my system and I felt my strength ebbing out of me. I reached for the fruit knife, looking at his face closely. He was lost in a world of his own, his eyes were closed, his brows furrowed and his face was tightened. I lifted the knife and plunged it into his shoulder.
He shrieked and rolled off me, crashing to the ground. I stood up and staggered, I fell down and stood up shakily again.
“You dr…drugged me” I slurred. “I will kill you”
He groaned on the floor. “You killed my mother! You deserve to die too!”
I staggered towards the door and collapsed on the bed. My throat burned painfully and tears stung my eyes. “I…I…. did not kill your mother. Cecilia killed her!” I held my throat with my hands, rolling on the bed. “What have you….done to me…..Tade?”
I saw stars and distant lights swimming across my vision, the room spun round and round making me dizzy. It was like I was standing on my head. I knew it then that whatever was in the drink was more than a sleeping drug. My heart ached for my poor child, will I ever see him again?
“You did not kill my mother?” Tade choked out in pain.
“Tom” I cried out, coughing. “My ba…by”
Tade tried to stand up but he fell back on the floor. “Funmi…..I’m sorry.”
My joints were weakened, blood and spittle dribbled out of my mouth. Tears leaked from my tired eyes and I felt my arms fall to my side. I knew I was jerking my legs now, although it hurts terribly, I couldn’t control it. I closed my eyes and waited for the inevitable. When it eventually came, slowly but painfully, I still wasn’t prepared for it.
To be continued