‘Here,’ Patricia handed over the item list back to the waiter who stood by their table to take their order. ‘You can ask him what he wants,’ she said to him.
‘Just give me the same thing she ordered for,’ Victor said to the waiter with a smile, refusing to collect the paper the waiter was handing to him. The man bowed slightly and walked away, leaving the two to themselves for a brief moment.
The restaurant was one of the bests and most expensive in town. It was known for its provision of a wide variety of food and drinks, both Nigerian and popular foreign dishes. And that was the reason it received high patronage from visitors in the country as could be seen at that moment. The environment was quiet and serene. The workers were always well dressed and attentive and they answered the customer’s queries and requests always very quickly.
Victor kept his gaze on the Patricia’s face without saying any words and both looked into each other’s eyeballs like kids who were amazed at the inverted image of themselves formed on the retina.
‘Is this how you’ll stare at me all day?’ Patricia asked with a chuckle.
‘I’m just amazed,’ Victor said, releasing a breath.
‘Amazed at what?’ she questioned.
‘Amazed at your beauty, never seen one like this.’ Cole said and licked his lips as he adjusted his seating position and placed his right elbow on the table.
She smiled at his comment and made a shy face as she relaxed her back, also examining his face. ‘You could flatter a dead body till it blushes.’
‘No, I’m saying the truth.’
She wondered why he sounded like a gentleman instead of the rough assasin she expected him to be. Ever since he had picked her that evening, all his actions have been contrary to what she expected and she found it hard to believe that everything was going so smooth. For her, it only meant two things; either that Victor was falling for her easily like Dave had predicted or that he already suspected her and was playing along to get her trapped. If the former was true, then it meant that the fall of Samantha Osman was really close but if it was the latter, then she needed to pull out totally or apply extra care or her life could go with it. However, one thing that gave her more confidence was that Dave was close and was listening to their conversation.
‘Here,’ the waiter spoke out to their hearing, announcing his arrival with the tray containing their order, a waitress was standing behind him with another tray containing the exactly the same substances in the first.
‘Wow!’ Victor exclaimed with his mouth widely opened as he saw the food being served on the table. He looked at Patricia’s face in surprise, ‘You requested for Amala and reedy?’
‘Yes, what’s making you so surprised. This is what I was making at home before you called.’ she replied, already beginning to unwrap the food.
‘What the h***!’ he said, still in surprise as his was being served. He began to imagine her in the kitchen preparing the Amala like she claimed and he presumed that she must be a good cook. Thoughts of settling down in the future after saving a lot of money began to drift into his mind, he wondered if it would ever be possible to settle down and if he would find someone as beautiful as Patricia who could also cook well.
He began to calculate in his mind how much he had in his Bank accounts. He was a millionaire already as he had been able to save a lot since he began working for Tarasha and also had less time to squander the monies on drugs and women like he used to do when he was with Don Dan. However, squandering the money or getting it out of the Bank account then was important so as not to draw attention of the authorities if he had so much in them, but working with Tarasha, he had learnt and was able to keep the monies in foreign accounts with a different identity.
He remembered Benny as he thought of his previous lifestyle of squandering monies on girls and partying again, Benny was his partner in the act. Benny was now no more, same as Aisha. An assassins life could never be predicted, it could end at any time, so saving money for the future shouldn’t even be part of his focus because he wasn’t sure he would have that future. It was important that he enjoyed his life to the fullest; party as much as possible, drink as much as possible, sleep with girls as many as possible and also buy all expensive things he could find.
‘Hey Victor,’ Patricia was waving her left hand at his face as he looked lost in thoughts. She was already eating her meal while he just stared absentmindedly.
‘Hey!’ he forced on a smile, coming back to himself.
‘What are you thinking about?’ she asked after swallowing the food in her mouth.
‘Was I thinking?’
‘Yes, you were thinking. You were far away from here.’
‘Hehe, it happens sometimes,’ he said, now unwrapping his own food. ‘I was thinking about my friend who used to love eating Amala,’ he quickly added to stop her from asking more questions. ‘Died few months ago.’
‘Oh! Sorry about that. He must have been so close to you, ‘ she sympathized.
‘Yes, she taught me how to eat Amala.’ he added, now thinking about Aisha who really Mac’s made the first Amala and served him with the soup he enjoyed.
‘She?’ Patricia seemed more interested about the friend now. ‘She must have been so important to you.’
‘Yea, kind of.’ Victor replied.
‘Can I know more about her?’
‘We have to finish eating first,’ Victor reminded her of the food, taking a mold in his hand.
‘Yea, sorry for my bad manners.’ she apologized in low tones and continued to eat.
It took them some minutes to finish eating and the plates were taken away by the attendants.
‘So, when did you start working with EasyShoppers?’ Victor began the conversation.
‘Just this year,’ she replied without much enthusiasm in her voice. She bit her lips slightly, thinking on how do change the subject of the conversation. She couldn’t allow him continue asking her questions about EasyShoppers because she didn’t have many answers available and wouldn’t like to say something contrary to what he already knew about them.
‘So, you’re new there. EasyShoppers is really a…’
‘Shh…’ she hushed him playfully, putting a finger on her lips. ‘I don’t entertain people when I’m invited on a date.’
He raised his brows. ‘I don’t understand,’ he shook his head gently. The waiter arrived at that moment and dropped on the table, two packs of juice and two cups.
Patricia took time to open the juice before talking again, also using the opportunity to think on what else to say. ‘I mean I don’t do the talking, you do the talking and answering while I ask the questions,’ she said, raising her eyebrows and shaking her lips in a playful way.
He chuckled and rested his back. ‘Okay then, let’s have you ask the questions.’
‘You know where I work already, what about you, what do you do?’
‘I’m a businessman, I deal with electronics majorly.’
‘You have a company that manufactures electronics?’
‘No,’ he smiled. ‘I help companies in importing and exporting.’
‘Importing? Do we still import electronics in Nigeria?’
‘Yes, we still import some rare parts though eighty percent of electronics used in Nigeria today are locally made. So I do more of exporting and very little importing.’
‘Okay, what’s the name of your organization?’
‘For now, I run my company as a division under AA Ltd.’
‘AA? I think I’ve heard something like that before.’
‘You should have, I’ll be surprised if you’ve not.’
‘Well, I don’t really remember certainly.’ she said, staring up like she was trying hard to recall. ‘What’s the full for AA?’
‘Oh! Alexander Amaechi,’ she repeated under her breath and then stared thinly at his face. She leaned forward on table, ‘I’ve been wanting to ask, how do you relate with Alexander Kimberly, the lady whom you come to get the supply for? Isn’t she Alexander Amaechi’s daughter?’
Victor replied with a forced smile. He appeared a bit unsettled but did his best to hide it. He never expected the question but he had to come up with an answer.
Dave had his earpiece in his ears as he walked around the car in the security guard’s uniform. He peeped through the window glasses to see if there was any weapon in it but he couldn’t find any. He turned to the driver’s side and examined the lock of the door for a moment and then took out a flat long metal from the bag which hung from his shoulders down. He thought for a moment about forcing the door open but realized that it would only make things harder for he and Lizzy, there was no way the owner of the car wouldn’t know that the car had been tampered with. He returned the metal into his bag and took out a tracker as he walked to the back of the car, he attached the tracker under the boot closed to the left hand side tyre. He dusted his palms as he got up and looked around briefly to see if anyone was looking his way.
‘Alexander Kimberly is Mr AA’s daughter and she’s my sister, my senior.’ Victor finally found an answer to her question.
‘Oh! That means you’re also an Alexander and is that why you can work under the division of the AA Ltd?’
‘I’m not an Alexander, I’m a nephew to Kimberly, I have a different surname.’
‘And what’s yours?’
‘So you’re Victor Amos.’
‘Kimberly Alexander, what’s she like?’
‘Well, can we limit our conversation to myself and you for now. You’ll get to know about the others later.’ Victor said in a dismissive tone. He looked pretty uncomfortable about the conversation.
‘I’m sorry, it looks as if you don’t really like to talk about your family.’ she apologized and drew back from the table. She poured some juice into the cup on the table.
‘Not really but I won’t like to talk about them now.’
‘It’s okay, let’s just discuss something else.’ she said and took a sip from her cup. ‘By the way, what’s the time now?’
Victor turned his wrist to check the wristwatch. ‘It’s past nine already, eleven minutes.’
‘Wow! I have to leave for home by nine thirty.’
‘Oh! Barely twenty minutes more.’ he sounded disappointed. ‘I thought we were going to spend more time together tonight.’
‘I wish we could too but it’s already late.’
‘Well, no problem. But permit me to ask, do you club or go to late night parties?”
‘Yes, I used to, when I was in school and when I was staying with my friends.’
‘Okay, I guess you don’t anymore because you now stay with your parents.’
‘Kind of, but I can still go out if I have it well planned. I had to move in with them when I got the job here in Abuja with EasyShoppers.’
‘Okay, where were you working before?’
‘Never worked since I left school.’
‘What did you study in school?’
‘The University of Ilorin.’
‘Nice, what year did you graduate?’
‘2029 and I served in 2030.’
‘So you barely stayed one year without a job?’
‘Well, that’s right but I don’t consider what I do in the EasyShoppers now a job. It’s what I do just to stay busy and help my family.’
‘Hmm… Tell me briefly what your family is like,’ Victor relaxed his back, sounding more interested about her private life.
‘Well, I also think we should just only discuss about the both of us for now.’ She replied, paying him back for also refusing to talk about his family and also using the medium to escape forming lies.
”Not bad,’ Victor leaned forward to pour his drink. He rushed it down his throat and dropped the cup noisily on the table which made her stare at him in surprise. ‘I must confess,’ he began with a chuckle. ‘I’m not used to this fruit drink stuff, so it tasted strange now that I drank it.’
‘Oh!’ she giggled. ‘Why didn’t you order for what you are used to then?’
He shook his head and forced a smile.
‘What are you used to? Beer?’ she asked with a smile.
‘Not really, I take non-alcoholic wines too. But this particular fruit,’ he stopped to check the fruit pack. ‘Pineapple is not really my thing’.He leaned forward again and stared at her face as she took another sip of wine. Her eyes met his as she put the cup on the table. She leaned forward and stared back at him, both looking into each other’s eyes and smiling and waiting for the first person to get tired of staring.
‘And why are you staring at me like that?’ Patricia widened her eyes as she giggled.
‘I just can’t seem to get enough of your beauty,’ Victor blinked and chuckled. He checked his wristwatch again, ‘Well, I think we can start leaving now, it’s almost nine thirty.’
She sighed and reached for her bag.
‘But we’re not leaving until we pick another date to see.’
‘Ermm… I work from Mondays to Fridays, and sometimes I get called to come on Saturdays and Sundays.’
‘So you’re busy everyday?’
‘No, I can choose not to go on Saturdays and Sundays.’
‘I don’t really think I can wait till Saturday to see you again, what time do you close from work on weekdays?’
‘I close from work by five pm except for Fridays which is by three o’clock.’
‘Ermm… I don’t know if we could go out during the week again.’
‘You don’t know?’ she asked him in a tone depicting that she believed he wasn’t serious about taking her out again. ‘You can give me a call when you know.’ she said and picked her bag to get up.
‘Hey! Calm down.’
5 minutes later
He opened the door and bowed slightly as she stepped into the car majestically. Then he closed it back and turned to the driver’s side. As he stepped into the car, he began to wonder where he learnt all the gentlemanly actions he had been performing that night. For example, he never remembered ever opening the car door for any lady in his life. The last time he made romantic gestures like he was making now was in his first year in school and he didn’t have a car then. Since he began to work with Don and specialized in criminal activities, the only place he had taken girls to were hotels and nothing romantic ever happened apart from what they did on the bed.
‘So, where is your place?’ He asked as he fastened his seatbelt.
‘I stay in Major estate, wouldn’t that be too far for you to drive to this night?’ she replied.
‘Too far?’ he laughed and pushed the start button of the car. ‘Major estate isn’t far.’
‘It’ll take us about forty five minutes to get there, are you sure I won’t be inconveniencing you now that you have to drive me there first and then drive back home.’
‘How do you want to leave if I don’t drive you home?’ he asked as he began driving.
‘I’ll get a cab to take me home.’
‘I’ll never forgive myself if I allowed you to do that.’
She smiled. ‘Nice of you, I must say.’
He smiled back without uttering any word.
‘So where do you stay?’
‘I’ve been expecting that question,’ he smiled again. ‘I live somewhere around Gwagalada.’
‘Huh?’ she turned and stared at him with her eyes and mouth widely opened in surprise. ‘Does your sister stay there too? I mean Ma’am Kimberly.’
‘No, she stays around here.’
‘And is it your supply you come to get monthly or for her?’
‘For us,’ he replied, pouting his lips. ‘For sometime now, I’ve had to stay in her apartment because I have work to do around here.’
‘Okay, so she asks you to come and get them?’
‘No, I offer to do so.’
‘But why don’t you guys allow us deliver it to the house directly? I was wondering why I had to come and meet you at the park again today.’
‘Kimberly has more than one apartments around and I think the place she’s staying now isn’t the address she registered with your office. The park we meet is very close to the registered address.’
‘Oh! But that’s easy, it won’t take five minutes to change the address of the delivery on her request.’
‘Hmm… Maybe she doesn’t know about that, but I’ll tell her.’
‘Good and what job does…’ she stopped, remembering that he wasn’t ready to talk much about her.
They continued discussing on random things until they got into the road leading to Major Estate.
‘So where exactly do you stay? So I can drop you at the entrance or somewhere close by, ‘ Victor asked.
‘You can just drop me at the gate, I stay at the second building by the left, so I can just walk in.’
‘Is there any reason I shouldn’t take you in?’
‘The gate closes by 10pm.’
‘Oh! This is seventeen minutes past ten already.’ he said after taking a glance at his wristwatch.
‘Yea but I know the security guys. I’ll talk to them.’
‘Then I won’t leave until they allow you in first.’
A security man appeared at the gate as their car approached. He drove closer and stopped right in front of the gate.
‘So, I’ll see you on Wednesday right.’ he turned to her and took in a deep breath, wishing she wouldn’t leave his sight.
‘Yes,’ she replied him, taking off her seatbelt. ‘Have a goodnight test,’ she said with a smile and opened the door. She picked her bag from the backseat and was about to step out when he grabbed her by the arm. She turned and stared at him looking surprised, he stared back at her without saying anything. ‘I have to go now, I may have issues with the security men if I keep them waiting at the gate.’ she looked towards the man at the gate to draw Victor’s attention there.
‘Okay, I was just wondering if I could really survive the next two days without you.’ he said as he released her arm slowly.
She turned back to him and dropped her bag on her laps. She then leaned towards him and pulled his head close to hers suddenly, placing her lips on his. Victor didn’t expect it but it was what he wanted, he drew her closer with his hand at her back and engaged her lips and tongue with his.
She broke away in less than one minute. ‘I have to go now,’ she said and turned away from him. She picked her bag and stepped out hurriedly. She pulled down her skirt which had rolled up before closing the door.
He watched as she proceeded to the gate and whispered something to the man at the back of the tall gate. The man opened the narrow way for her and she walked in. He could see her squeeze some naira notes into his hands from her bag before she was allowed to walk away. He watched as she walked on until she disappeared behind the first building which covered the view of the rest of the curved road. The security man behind the gate was still watching him until he reversed and drove away, taking the opposite direction to where he came from.
Dave whose car was parked several distance away from them also started the engine again. He waited for Cole’s car to drive farther before following, he had a tracker on it, so he didn’t need to follow closely not to miss it.
To be continued