THE LAST SMILE
Two weeks passed and the turmoil continued. Everyone went from pillar to post looking for Lucy but no one came close to finding her. The tension going on in the houses of her loved ones was so terrible. Teju had gone from one hospital to the other in search of her best friend, all to no avail. The break she had begged for at work had now elapsed and she had to resume back. Remembering that this same job came as a result of Lucy’s influence, she winced. She doubted she would be able to concentrate at work.
She picked up her intercom when it rang. “Yes?… oh… let him in” she said and immediately adjusted her face, in order not to show signs of depression. She had become close to Deolu over the past few days. She had never really liked him ever since he became friends with Lucy; she never quite trusted him with her friend’s heart. She had been playing the protective sister, even though they were not siblings. She had suspected Deolu’s real feelings right from the onset but Lucy had been too blinded by work and independence to see the obvious. Even Deolu seemed to fight the feeling for a long time. She smiled.
Deolu entered the office with a smile on his face even though the smile did not reach his heart, due to the pain he was feeling. He never knew Teju was so cool till now. She had always been hostile, looking at him with hostile eyes every time he went to visit Lucy. He guessed she was just looking out for her friend, but when he tried to break the hostile façade and didn’t succeed, he forgot about her.
“Hi Teju” he greeted with the smile still playing on his face.
“Hey Dee” she said with a smile also. Deolu did not know why he loved that nickname she formulated for him. It brought a smile to his face, a genuine one. “What an honour to have you in my office on a Monday morning. Only a boss like you can leave the office on a Monday morning” she teased, pointing to a seat opposite her.
“I have to. I came to tell you something”
“I am all ears” she said seriously, suspecting that they were about to talk about her friend.
“I am going to Abuja” he declared.
“For what? Did you hear anything?”
“No… actually, I was giving a contract by one of the top government officials in Abuja some months ago and the job needs to be executed. You know these government officials, they would not listen to any excuse, no matter how tangible, as long as it involves an agreement. I really wish I could stay or send some of my workers but I have been told that I need to deliver it myself so that I would not have the excuse that the fault came from my employees” his eyes pleaded for understanding.
Teju smiled faintly. She knew he was being sincere but she did not know why she was disappointed. She almost felt like he was running away from his responsibility to her friend. She sighed.
“I also want to use that opportunity to comb that state looking for that filthy peasant. Ogun state is already thoroughly combed but he is not there; Lagos also. Since I am going to Abuja, I would make sure I leave no stone unturned”. Deolu finished. Teju smiled again. She could see the love and pain in his eyes and she felt sorry for him.
“It is alright Dee… I understand” she said.
He smiled again. “Thanks a lot. I also want to thank you again for what you did for me; getting me out of police custody.”
“How many times do you want to thank me? It is almost two weeks now” she was surprised.
“What would I have done? I did not know that my lawyer travelled. If you hadn’t been there, I probably would have slept in that cell for many nights and had those thugs beat me up, asking me to confess to something I know nothing about”.
Teju laughed. She was always happy whenever she had to flex her power as a lawyer. She felt fulfilled because, she was working for a fast-rising law firm.
“You don’t have to thank me” she said.
“I have to. Something still baffles me though… who sent those people to arrest me? As far as I know, that police station is not the one we registered this case in”
Teju was thoughtful. “Yeah… I have thought of that. Don’t worry though, I am on it” she said with confidence.
Deolu laughed. “I think I would have you as my new lawyer”
She gave a mock bow. “At your service”
“Please don’t relent in your efforts. Life feels useless without Lucy, please” he pleaded.
“You know I can’t do that. She is my best friend” she seemed surprised.
“Doc T, do you really think she can be discharged now? Is she fit to leave?” Ray was so worried that something might happen to Brenda and that was the last thing he needed.
“Well, do you want to test her yourself to be sure?”
“I would have loved to if I knew what to do. Is she ready to leave now?” Tunde nodded.
He had bought some clothes and given them to the doctor some days back because Brenda had been putting on the hospital gown ever since. Tunde stood up and led the way to Brenda’s room, happy that once again, his hospital had rescued an almost impossible case. The fact that her being alive had almost nothing to do with them was very obvious though; he was sure she would have survived in a poor hospital. She is definitely God’s favourite.
Immediately they entered the room, they both couldn’t go beyond the door post as they stared at the person standing beside the nurse. Nurse Rola was beaming from ear to ear. The look on the faces of the two men told her she had done a good job even though she did next to nothing. Attending to beautiful patients always made her like her job as a nurse because she loved to play dress up.
Tunde quickly composed himself and went to meet his patient. “I really would like to meet the idiot that almost murdered you because I would love to retaliate. He is however lucky that you are fine now. How are you feeling now?”
Brenda smiled a little. “I am fine doctor, thank you so much for everything; you too nurse, you have made my stay here very lively”. Nurse Rola beamed.
“Don’t thank us; we were only doing our job. We thank God. The only person that needs to be appreciated is Mr. Raymond. He really tried”. Everyone’s gaze moved to Ray who was still standing at the door.
Ray had never seen someone that beautiful in his life. Her brown, almost black hair was combed backwards to her back and he could see that she had a long hair. He had always said that Tinuke was the sexiest lady he had seen and also dated but here, he stared at the most beautiful creature on the planet. He wondered if she was a marine spirit like a mermaid or the queen of the sea. Maybe that is why she does not want me to tell anyone about her. Was she sent to monitor me? Make my life miserable?
The vague thoughts roamed his mind until the thought became stupid and senseless to him. He wondered when he started believing in all those fetish things and got his answer: Tinuke had fed him with a lot of stories in that line and he was no longer thinking straight.
“Raymond?” Doctor Tunde called and Raymond jerked out of his thoughts to find everyone looking at him. He felt embarrassed and quickly put his palm on his forehead. “Oh… I am sorry. I just feel tired. What were you saying?” his eyes never left Brenda’s who also stared at him.
“I want to thank you very much sir for what you did for me. I would have died if you hadn’t helped me. You took that risk for a total stranger; may God bless and reward you” she said, going down on her knees slowly due to some little inconveniences.
“Woah…” Ray rushed there to pull her up. He saw her grimace. “Doc, do you really think she should be discharged? She still feels pain.” He looked at her with concern written all over him.
“I am fine sir” Brenda said with confidence.
“Ray, she can leave today. I would love to keep her here because it is always good to have beautiful faces around but every other thing can be fixed with those drugs I prescribed”.
The drive was quiet but he spared her glances to be sure she was OK, although, all he could see was her beauty. The long gown she wore did nothing to disguise her shape. He focused on driving, looking at the moving vehicles, in order not to look at her. But could he do that when she was still a total stranger?
“Where do you live?” he asked.
She was quiet. “You don’t need to take me to my house sir, you can drop me off wherever you find comfortable; I can find my way home” she said.
“I don’t understand this. Are you a mermaid or a witch?”
“What?” he yelled, almost losing control of the steering.
“Please calm down sir, I was only joking” she said and laughed heartily.
Ray enjoyed the musical sound of her laughter. “Not a really funny joke. I almost felt dead right now” he knew he had just exaggerated. He wasn’t that scared but he just wanted to draw another laughter from her, and he got that.
She kept quiet.
“Well, since you would not tell me where you stay, you would have to come with me to my house”
“But…” she started.
“Don’t worry, I don’t stay alone; though I wish I do” he glanced at her and she blushed slightly.
He meant what he just said actually. He wished Tinuke was not in his house. She had made his life a nightmare for the past two weeks. He wished he could just throw her out but he couldn’t. Why had he accepted to deflower her? Why did he promise to never leave her after the deed was done? why?
He had employed a new gateman who had been his companion whenever he was at home. He never ate any food prepared by Tinuke and he had searched for a new maid who would cook his food but he had found none that could fill the space that Bose left. Tinuke’s food never invited him one bit. Every night had been spent in the club with his friends in order not to engage in any fight with her because she was always pissed about something. He swallowed at the thought that he would meet her at home. He really wished they hadn’t given him that one month leave at work. He had known no peace ever since he accepted to take the well-deserved break.
Brenda looked at him and saw worried lines on his head. He seemed to be thinking. She wondered if he was married. He was not putting on a wedding ring but that was normal with guys these days. “Are you married sir?”
“Uhn?” “No… but I have a fiancée who is at home now” he said.
Oh… so that was it. “You don’t have to do this sir. Really, I am fine. I can get home by myself. I would hate to be a burden”.
He almost laughed. “No. It is not a problem. You would at least recover fully before you leave my house. By the way, My name is Raymond James; you can call me Ray.”
Before she could answer, his phone rang and he picked it up with a smile on his face. “Hey puppet…how is my baby doing?…You are coming? That is great. I’ll be expecting you dear….” He said a few words and hung up.
“Well, your stay just got better; my kid sister would be arriving tomorrow. Believe me; you would love her”
WATCH OUT FOR EPISODE 12