Edet parked the black Prado jeep outside the three-bedroom bungalow. He got out of the car, locked it and followed his wife into the building. The front door was flung open before they reached for the door-bell.
“This is a pleasant surprise!” Excited Pastor Mrs. Victoria Majekodunmi squeaked and pulled Edua into her arms.
Edua giggled and held her close. She missed the woman, who was like a big sister to her.
“Look at you…” Victoria let her go. “You look so good,” her delighted eyes sized her up.
“Thank you, ma,” Edua grinned from ear to ear.
“I am proud of you,” she directed her gaze at Edet. “You are really taking care of her.”
Edet smiled proudly, “I have no choice, ma.”
“Come in, come in,” she led them into the house.
Edua and Edet followed her in. Pastor Victory got to his feet immediately he saw them walking into the sitting room.
“My two favourite people,” Pastor Victory beamed at them.
“Pastor…” Edua approached him.
“Look at you, as beautiful as the sun,” he drew her into his arms, in a warm hug.
“Pastor! You and your lyrics,” she chuckled.
He let her go and turned to Edet. “Well done my brother. I can see that you are taking very good care of her.”
Edet giggled, “Thank you sir. I have no choice sir.”
“What can we offer you? I have just prepared some native soups. Should I pound yam or do you prefer Semolina?” Victoria took Edua by the hand and made her sit right beside her.
“I have missed your cooking. I am going to eat every single thing in that your kitchen,” Edua addressed her.
Victoria began to laugh. “Anything you say baby girl. I am ready to pack some food for you to take home as well.”
“Yippee!” Edua began to dance.
“You and food,” Edet sat next to his wife.
“What?” she eyed him. “As if you do not like food.”
“Sharaap there.Who like food pass?”
Pastor Victory and his wife shared a knowing glance. The young couple’s banter reminded them of their first year of marriage.
“How was the burial?” Pastor Victory sat down on a sofa and cleared his throat.
Edua turned to him. “It went well.”
“Good. The world might think that you are now an orphan, but, God is your father and mother,” he encouraged her.
She nodded and bit her lower lip.
“And we are also here for you,” Victoria placed a hand around her shoulder.
“I know ma,” she returned her gaze and smiled.
“How is your Automobile business? I need to bring my car to your shop next week. I need to change some parts.”
“Business is good sir. I can send one of my boys to come pick the car, sir.”
“That will be splendid. I will call you.”
“All right sir.”
“Honey, next week is their first wedding anniversary,” Victoria informed her husband.
“Really? So soon?” Pastor Victory looked at Edua, then at her husband.
The young couple shared a happy look. They planned to travel to the Bahamas to celebrate and relax.
“Let me pray with you,” Pastor Victory got up.
His wife got up too, but Edua and Edet went on their knees and closed their eyes.
“Father lord, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, Almighty God, we thank you for Edua and her husband, Edet, we thank you for their beautiful and divine union. As their first anniversary commences next week, we ask for your continual protection, divine provision, your constant guidance, your unending favour, your peace that surpasses all understanding, your everlasting joy and unfailing love in their home in the mighty name of Jesus!”
“Amen!” they chorused.
“Father, give them a gift. A gift that will make the whole wide world marvel as they celebrate their first wedding anniversary in the mighty name of Jesus!”
“Amen!” they chorused.
“We lift your name high, we magnify your holy name, we bless you Lord and we thank you for answered prayers, in Jesus name we pray.”
“Amen!” they chorused.
“Congratulations! You will both celebrate many more years in Jesus name.”
“Amen!” they said in unison and got up.
“Come with me, let’s go prepare what we will all eat for lunch,” Victoria reached out for her hand and pulled her towards the kitchen.
“Aye, aye Captain,” Edua followed her willingly.
Pastor Victory and Edet settled back on their seats.
“I think there is a match today,” Pastor Victory picked up the television remote.
“It’s Liverpool and Arsenal,” Edet informed him. It was a match he had been looking forward to watching.
He felt the vibration of one of his phones in his pocket. He drew it out and groaned when he saw the caller ID.
“Hello,” he got up slowly and walked to the front door.
“Kaosara, how are you?”
“Oga Edet, I am fine. How is madam Edua?”
“She is fine. Thank you. How may I help you?”
“Oga Edet, you have abandoned us here. It is not fair o.”
He rolled his eyes and leaned against the door.
“I heard that you are now living in a big mansion in Ajah. You have also moved your mechanic shop to the island. God has buttered your bread and you have forgotten all of us here.”
“Kaosara…” despite the fact that they had moved out of their previous residence, their former neighbor remained a pest.
“Is it not true? You are now a big man. You cannot enjoy alone o. It is not possible at all. I will not allow it.”
“Kaosara, how much did I send to you three weeks ago, when you called and told me that you do not have food in your house?”
“Last week, how much did Madam Edua send to you, when you told her that you needed money to foot your hospital bills?”
“Ehn… I know, I know that you have both been trying for me.”
“Kaosara, we are not your ATM machines,” he spoke sternly.
“God forbid! Of course you are not now. You are both my God-sent brother and sister, my siblings from another papa and mama.”
“I hear you.”
“Ehn… when can I visit you? I miss you both. I want to come and know your place in Ajah.”
Edet began to laugh.
“Oga Edet, why are you laughing at me? Is it a bad thing if I want to come and know your place?”
“That is out rightly impossible.”
“Abeg, Kaosara park well. You want to come and disturb us here abi? It will not work. Just stay where you are. Whenever we can, we will always help out in your time of need.”
“Ah! Oga Edet. It is not fair o.”
“I hear you. Bye, bye.”
“Wait now. Won’t you send me something?”
“Send you what again?”
“Send me something now. Anything, no matter how small, I go manage am.”
“Kaosara, abeg free me.”
“Oga Edet, please now.”
“Call Madam. Pray that God will touch her heart. She might send you something.”
“I don’t want to call your wife jor. She is too strict. She will be asking me JAMB questions.”
“It is good. If you need anything henceforth, just call her.”
He hung up and returned to his seat. He slipped the phone back into his pocket and moved to the edge of the chair. The soccer match had already started.
Edua stepped out of the kitchen when her phone began to ring. She moved to the dining and sat on one of the chairs when she saw the caller’s ID. It was her late mother’s lawyer. Her heart beat accelerated. The last time they spoke, he shared the autopsy result of her mother with her. She began to wonder how far the detectives had gone in regards to the case.
“Good evening, Mrs. Edua Udeme.”
Madam, I am glad to inform you that your mother’s killers have been apprehended.”
She placed a hand on her chest and gasped. She was astonished that more than one person was responsible for her mother’s death.
“I need to ask you a question.”
“Were you aware that your mother was running a private, first class prostitution ring, alongside her clothing and property business?”
Edua closed her eyes and bit at her lower lip.
“Were you aware?”
She cleared her throat. “Yes, yes I was.”
“The detectives in charge of your mother’s case found out that two of her best girls pulled off the attempt on her life and succeeded.”
She placed a hand on her forehead as she felt a throbbing headache. She couldn’t fathom the reason why her mother’s girls perpetuated such an act. She knew for a fact that her mother loved money above everything else, but, she paid her girls handsomely.
“The detectives found out that these girls set up a coup, to take over your mother’s business. They are going to be charged to court for the death of your mother, the driver and four other girls who died in the fire.”
She sighed heavily and remained mum.
“I will keep you posted, madam.”
“Thank you Barrister. I appreciate your effort to see this through.”
“You are highly welcome. Your mother was one of my very good clients. It is the least I can do.”
“Thank you once again.”
“You are welcome. I will get back to you as soon as I have more information.”
“Okay, thank you.”
The line went dead. Edua placed her phone on the table and covered her face with her palms.