Bobby paced up and down his hotel room. The events of the last two hours had taken a huge toll on him. He could not believe any of it had happened. He brought out his phone and stared at it for a while but he didn’t know whom to call. Ese’s mother had slumped in the midst of the chaos and she’d been rushed to a hospital. The twin girls were in his custody now. He watched them as they slept peacefully on his bed and he sighed. If only he could shut his eyes that way and not have a care in the world.
He looked at Ese’s bag lying on a corner of the bed. She’d left it in the car when she got out at the graveside. He walked over to the bed, picked it up and began to search it, uncertain what he was looking for. It didn’t take a long time for him to find her phone. He remembered his conversation with her about her elder brother and immediately decided to call him.
Josh was livid with rage.
“What do you mean kidnapped?! I gave specific instructions that she was to be closely monitored. What went wrong? How could they have lost her?”
Bobby made no attempt to pacify him. He let him go on and on with his rants. At least Josh could express. There was no one for him to yell at or take out his frustrations on. He had no idea where to start fixing this problem from and that was why he called Josh. When Josh eventually calmed down, he said
“I’ll speak to the commissioner again. I’m sure Gabe’s family orchestrated the kidnap. What are they saying?”
“Nothing actually. They’re denying it and we’re pretty helpless here. Your mum is in the hospital by the way. She collapsed after Ese was kidnapped but she’s alright. The doctors said she would be fine.”
Josh was genuinely worried and his voice carried it.
“My goodness. This is a huge mess. What about the girls?”
“They’re with me in my hotel room. Thankfully, asleep. Seeing their mother violently taken like that was pretty traumatic to say the least.”
“Thank you very much. Sorry, who did you say you were again?”
“My name is Bobby. I was Gabe’s colleague at the office and now I’m Ese’s friend.”
There was a brief pause before Josh spoke again.
“Gabe’s colleague? Why should I trust you? How am I certain you didn’t have anything to do with Ese’s disappearance.”
Bobby sighed. This man was going to be difficult.
“You don’t need to get dramatic. I was Gabe’s colleague, not his friend. Ese is a wonderful lady and I like her but there’s nothing amorous to it. I’m just a concerned fellow trying to help”
“Well, thanks” Josh said rather gruffly.
“Keep me posted. I’ll make some calls now. And if anyone contacts you for a ransom please let me know.”
Bobby agreed to do so and he hung up. He looked out the window and wondered why so many bad things were happening to Ese.
“Dear somebody in the highest, if you’re really out there, you better help Ese. She’s been through a lot already.”
He let down the curtains and darkness fell on the room then he turned and sat on the couch in the room as he watched the two girls sleep.
Ese tried to open her eyes and discovered she couldn’t. She’d been blindfolded and the blindfold was tight around her eyes. She tried to sit up but her hands and feet were bound tightly as well. Her head was pounding and her entire body hurt. She tried to think and remember what exactly had happened. She remembered being bundled into the jeep. She’d bumped her head as she was pushed in and that explained why her head hurt. She’d been stabbed with a syringe and she blanked out afterwards. She wanted to cry but she didn’t even have the strength to. This was it. Her life was over.
The only people she could think of as responsible for her kidnap were her late husband’s family. But were they that desperate? She lay there on the cold hard floor upset and expecting the worst.
She must have drifted asleep again because she didn’t hear anyone come in. She only felt a stinging slap to her cheek that woke her up. She tried to sit up but she was unable to.
“You better sit still. Murderer that you are!”
It was a lady’s voice but she didn’t recognize it. Ese felt the tears pool in her eyes but she did not try to stop them. She was tired of fighting.
“You’re going to confess on tape to killing your husband. When you do that, we’ll let you go.”
If the situation wasn’t so dire. Ese would have laughed. The entire scene playing out before her felt like something out of a nollywood movie. But she couldn’t laugh. Instead, she let the tears continue to flow and soak her blindfold.
They loosened her mouth and she let out a sob.
“You better stop that your yeye crocodile tears you’re shedding o. We don’t have time for nonsense.”
Ese mustered some courage and finally spoke through her tears.
“You’re cowards, all of you! Shameless cowards! You kidnap a helpless, defenseless widow and you torment her. My God will strike you dead! All of you.”
She heard the lady laugh
“Helpless widow? You made yourself a widow and now you call God? You do not know anything. You’re going to be here for a long time. You don’t even know anything yet.”
The lady gave orders for her mouth to be tied up again and soon they were gone. Ese stayed weeping in her corner. This was a terrible nightmare.
“Your phone and your heart?”
Teni rolled her eyes. Yet another idiot on her case
“I didn’t want to intrude on your party of one yesterday but I’m hoping you’d oblige me and we’ll have a dinner for two tonight.”
Teni shook her head. This one was just shot himself in the leg. His arrogance floated easily through the phone line and that was a complete turn off.
He interrupted her.
“Ben. Call me Ben.”
Teni rubbed her eyes and continued.
“Whatever. I’m really not disposed to games. So here’s a little piece of information. I’ll consider the phone a most generous gift from you and I will discard your sim and keep it. In the meantime I suggest you go get yourself a new phone and quit trying to play games with random women. You’ll only get hurt.”
She turned off the phone and tossed it on the bed. Deola looked at her expectantly.
“Omo, people are stupid in this life o.”
“Who was that?” Deola queried.
“Some annoying fella I met at Spar yesterday when I was picking up my drinks. Dude slipped his phone into my bag and is trying to form Mr. Romantic. ‘Hi, I’m Benjamin Tariye and you have my heart and my phone.’ Mtscheew.”
Deola laughed. She laughed so hard, she banged her fists on the bed.
“Ahhh. Sis, you’re wicked o! Haba. You now seized his phone.”
Teni laughed alongside.
“I didn’t seize his phone. He gifted it to me. I accepted it and I don’t want anything further to do with him. Abeg.”
“Sis, you said you haven’t been able to find the man of your dreams. How would you even find him when you keep chasing all of them away?”
“I’m not chasing them away. This one is just an A-class douche bag. I can see right through him. He’s the typical annoying male element I described this morning. They see women as game to be hunted and captured. He’s arrogant and full of BS.”
“And you gathered that from a two minute conversation. Interesting.”
Teni shook her head.
“I told you I met him. Let me walk you through this. He slipped his phone into my bag and called it. He’s certain he’ll have his way and somehow I’ll be excited that he’s got ‘moves’ and then I’ll give in. Then he asked for a date. He’s certain I’ll say yes and then the wooing proper can begin. He doesn’t feel the need to work hard. He just wants to bait me. And I, my darling, am no fish.”
Deola shook her head.
“Kai. You’re difficult sha.”
“No sweetie. I’m just smart.”
An idea suddenly popped into Teni’s head and her smile widened.
“Uhh, I don’t trust that smile. What are you thinking of?”
“Oh, I’m just thinking maybe I should give prince charming a run for his money.”
Deola shook her head.
“Okay, now I really feel sorry for this man.”
“No need to dear. I’ll just make an example out of him but I try not to scar him.”
“Smh. You really need help. Please come and find something for me to eat. I’m hungry.”
“You no sabi where kitchen dey? Oya, hanlele! To the kitchen! Forward march.”
Teni looked at the phone she’d dumped on the bed. Ben would call back. She knew his type. They thought they were smart and smooth. Now she felt like taking up the challenge. She would definitely enjoy this game.
Benjamin Tariye waited exactly three hours before calling back. He could tell she was a stubborn person. Tough, confident and self-assured, she was just his kind of woman. He smiled as he thought about their conversation. He knew she would not discard his sim like she’d threatened. She was clearly not a cheap skate. She wanted to be chased and chase her he would.
He called back and smiled pleasantly when the phone rang
“You still have my sim. I’m glad.”
“Seriously, what do you want?”
“The pleasure of your company. If after dinner tonight you decide you don’t want to see me again, I’ll take my phone back and I won’t forget anything else with you.”
He could sense a smile in her reply.
“Alright then. You text me details of the restaurant and I’ll meet you there.”
“How about you send me your address and I come pick you up?”
She laughed out loud this time.
“No thanks. Send me the details of where you want to meet and I’ll show up there. Either that or nothing.”
“Okay. I’ll send you a text as soon as I hang up. Let’s meet there for 6:00pm”
She agreed to meet him and he hung up the phone.
It had been a long time he went hunting. Maybe this might be the one woman he’d end up settling with. He wasn’t getting any younger.
Deola looked at her sister and shook her head.
“I told you you’re wicked, you said it was a lie.”
Teni threw her head back and laughed.
“I told you I’ll give him a run for his money. When I’m done frustrating him, he’ll think twice before he hits on some random woman at a super market again.
Let him go to Dunes and stew tonight. I’ll switch off the phone and chill here and watch a movie or get some work done. I’m not hungry fellow. I can afford to make myself a decent dinner here at home and that’s exactly what I’ll do. Let him have dinner by himself tonight”