An Unusual Christmas In Ibadan – Episode 6
© Kayode Odusanya
Christmas Morning, 2016
A cold shower at dawn had gotten her ready for the day. Now she was sitting in bed, wearing her red gown, using her laptop while Wole got a haircut. The barber had come in around 9 am and was almost done.
He still insisted he didn’t want to see his family yet, and she had to come up lies to tell Gloria when she called to ask when they were to continue the search. She remembered one of her professors telling her back in her university days; ‘Ngozi, when you feel you are on the verge of getting a big scoop, you have to make a lot of sacrifices.’ She didn’t care if she had to tell little lies, share a room with a mentally unstable man, or spend her Christmas without her loved ones; she was determined to follow this story till the end.
After the barber left, she got a good look at his face and he looked like an entirely different person. It was like a transformation from a Daddy Showkey look to a Tuface Idibia look. He smiled when he caught her staring.
“Thanks by the way.” He said and headed over to the window. He opened the curtain and look outside for a few seconds before saying, “I need to go and see one of my aunties.”
“Yea…She will have answers.”
“Why don’t you just go home?” She said with a curious look on her face.
He turned around to look at her from where she sat at the edge of the bed and said, “Home? I don’t really have a home.”
“But your Dad was so excited to have found you. And your brother…”
“Ngozi…my stepmother doesn’t really like the fact I exist.”
“And my brother and I were closer when he didn’t know I was his brother.”
“They feel I might get more than them when the old man dies. I think my brother even…” He was saying, but stopped midsentence. He left the window and walked over to lean on the chair, and then his eyes lit up like something just hit him. “So, you said my Dad was living in the place you described to me?”
“Yea, that’s what it looked like.”
“That’s really odd.”
“Well, the past two years hasn’t really been rosy for him.” She said and cracked her neck. “And it is clear he really misses you.”
He looked at her for a long while till she started to get uncomfortable, then he smiled and looked away. “Sorry.” He said and laughed lightly. “It’s just weird. It feels like I have known you for a long time.”
“Can I use your laptop? I need to show you something.”
“Okay.” She said and placed the laptop on the wooden table beside the bed. He squatted next to the table, did a little typing and scrolling, and then turned the laptop around so it was facing her. “Oh my God!” She said out loud.
“She was a youth corper that stayed in one of the single room apartments I managed for my Dad.”
“Oh! Okay. And…What was her name?”
“Actually, she was from Niger state and had a really long name, so Tunde and I just started calling her by her BBM username.” He said and stopped to crack his knuckles before saying, “Pretty woman.”
“Hmm! Now I get it.” She said, still studying the picture. “Were you guys…Did you…”
He smiled before answering with, “Let’s just say it was a complicated love triangle.” Then his face got serious. “The last thing I remember was going on a trip with her to Abuja. We got on a bus…that’s all I remember.”
“Hmm! That’s strange. So my doppelganger is out there somewhere?”
“Maybe; or maybe not.” He said and Ngozi looked up at him, trying to deduce what he meant by his last statement.
They went out to get new clothes at a mall in the center of the city that morning and came back to the hotel to change before heading out to Wole’s aunt’s house. Ngozi thought it would be best to keep the hotel room for another day as they didn’t know what to expect where they were headed. As awkward as it seemed, the thought of the whole saga ending in a couple of hours made her sad. She hadn’t had this kind of excitement in years. Even though she had spent the most part of her savings on this, she felt it was well worth it.
It was a quarter past 3 in the afternoon when the cab dropped them off at a house with low fences and a palm tree in front. She got out of the car before him and took time out to tuck in her pink blouse properly into the jeans she was wearing. She usually felt self conscious while wearing clothe for the first time.
They were at a cul-de-sac with just about 6 houses total, and everywhere was quiet like most of the occupants of the dead end street were holidaying in some other part of the country. Two expensive looking black sedan cars were parked a few meters away from where they stood. He looked up and down the street before grabbing her hand and walking towards the gate of the bungalow. She didn’t know where that came from but she flowed along with him. They hadn’t taken more than a few steps when the doors of one of the black cars flung open and two hefty looking men jumped out. Wole instinctively put Ngozi behind him, and moved backwards towards the direction of the streets only exit. The door of the second car opened, and a third guy came out and walked over to where the other two men were standing in the middle of the road. She peeped from behind Wole, and recognized Tunde as the third man.
“Reporter lady, please step away from him.” Tunde said
“Why? What’s happening?” Ngozi enquired.
“Wole can be very violent at times like this, so please step away from him.”
Ngozi stepped in front of Wole and said, “No, He is alight now. No need for force.”
Tunde laughed lightly before saying, “You just met him yesterday. What do you really know about him?”
Wole took a deep breath and walked out from behind Ngozi, “What are you doing here?” He said to his half brother.
“Sorry, you aunt doesn’t live here anymore. But I knew you would come here.”
“I asked what you were doing here!” Wole backed out.
“I am just trying to save our family from more embarrassment.” He said and looked at the two guys before saying, “Get him.”
The two muscular guys approached them and Wole put his fists up while guarding Ngozi from harm. “No!” She screamed and ran in front of him again. One of the guys grabbed her petite figure off the ground in one swift move. It was now Wole and the other mean looking goon, face to face. Wole threw the first punch which connected with the man’s mouth and burst his lower lip. The man stopped to observe the damage and smiled.
The other guy handed Ngozi over to Tunde as she kicked and scratched. “Leave her alone.” Wole shouted out. Just then, the man with the injured mouth tackled him to the ground and gave him a few dazing slaps that left him disoriented. He then turned Wole around so his face was to the ground, brought out ropes from his pocket, and he and the other guy proceeded to tie him up.
Still being held back by Tunde, tears rolled down her eyes as she repeated over and over, “Don’t hurt him! Don’t hurt him!” The white button down shirt she had just bought for him in the store was dirty now, and she noticed a few bruises on his face when they stood him up.
A couple of people came out of the other houses on the street and approached them. But Tunde said some things in Yoruba to them, and they shook their heads and walked off. “This is best for everyone.” He whispered into her right ear. She was no-longer struggling, and he had let her go, but she just stood there in dismay as tears continued to roll down her eyes.
“Where are you taking him?” She backed out when she saw them leading him into the car they had come out of earlier.
“We are taking him to the hospital. I will drop you off where you can get a bus to Lagos.” Tunde said and led her towards the second car.
“Ngozi, they are going to kill me. Call my Dad.” Wole shouted out as he was being forced into the car by Tunde’s goons.
“You see what I told you.” Tunde said and smiled at Ngozi, “He sure needs his meds. How can I kill my own blood?” He added and opened the door of the car for her. She hesitated for a second, and then decided to get in as that was the best option she could think of at the moment. He shut the door and hurried to get to the driver’s side of the car as the other car zoomed off.
To be continued