THE LAST SMILE
Lucy lay on the bed as her mind wandered away. She swallowed as various unwanted thoughts clouded her brain. She wondered if it was possible to sleep without thinking.
“Luciana” Bewaji called and she jerked out of her thoughts. She was not aware of the door opening.
“Hey mum, you are not asleep yet?”
Bewaji smiled. “No. I feel we need to go and thank the Good Samaritan that helped you. You surely know the place. That guy was used by God to save your life.”
Lucy’s heart skipped severally. “You know mum that I ought to lay low for now. We don’t want someone to p@ss information to Fred that he or she saw me. You know, we had been friends for a long time and most of his friends know me”.
“That filthy thing” Bewaji swore. “Although, you could write the address of that Raymond so that we can go there without you. I would never be at rest until I appreciate that guy for the great thing he did for me. Your dad and I would go; you would stay here with Dana” she concluded.
Lucy swallowed h@rd. “Ok mum”
Deolu knocked on Teju’s door the next day. He hadn’t been able to get her to open the door the previous day and he had called for dinner to be s£nt to her room. He was already dressed for the day ahead and he wondered if Teju was awake yet. He wanted to confirm what she would take for breakfast so they could eat together and possibly talk about her heartbreak.
The door opened and Teju stood before him – fully dressed. “You are awake?” he managed to murmur.
“Obviously” she grinned. “Good morning Dee” she looked him over with the same grin on her face.
“Lemon looks good on you Teju, so much” Deolu said with an appreciative look in his eyes.
“Anything would look good on me” she dropped.
“Obviously” Deolu mimicked and Teju smiled. “Why do I feel that you are dressed to seduce?” He raised his eyebrow.
Teju feigned a look of innocence. “Can’t say I know what you are talking about” the look he gave her forced her to drop the pretense. “Alright, fine. Looking good and appealing is part of my tactic today. No one refuses a beautiful lady anything, thanks to God, I have a lot of beauty at my disposal”. She landed and Deolu grinned.
“Won’t you invite me in?”
Teju opened the door wide enough for him to enter. As he entered, she grinned again mischievously and Deolu became nervous. “Spill it” he dropped.
Teju laughed. “I never knew that you could dress so erm… so normally.”
He blanched. “Normal” he repeated.
“Yes. I mean, no suit and tie that makes you look like a pastor or a banker. You look like a guy in this outfit of jeans and T shirt” she said, tongue in cheek.
“Wow… I never knew that the suit made me look so cheesy and serious”
She laughed. “Not so serious. They all look good on you. You won’t be Luciana’s guy if you were anything less” she grinned.
He cleared his throat, sitting down. “Thought she didn’t care about the physical appearance”.
“All ladies do. We like to show off our man” she picked up her shoes and started putting them on.
He saw the tray on the table. “You have eaten?”
“Yeah. Had to do so in order for me to get to business early enough” she was done with her shoes.
“Can we talk”
Teju glanced at him, and without even looking, she knew what was coming. “Maybe when I come back; time is against me”
He frowned. “We are going together”
She shook her head. “No Dee. I have to do this on my own. You people did not understand me when I talked then. It won’t work well if they see you there now. They don’t know me, especially the DPO who is our target. It would be easier for me being a lawyer and I don’t want you to ruin everything with your pres£nce. Don’t get me wrong, the DPO might see you afar off and flee. That is what I am against”. She smiled at him. “I can take care of myself, you don’t have to bodyguard me”.
“I would love to take you up on that but-”
“But I am late. The earlier the better” she concluded. Deolu knew he would get nowhere by arguing with her. He would get her later, but for now, she needed to have her way.
He stood up as his tummy grumbled for attention. “Guess I would be eating alone then. Be careful” he murmured when he got to the door.
She smiled as she lifted her bag. “No mortal can do anything to Teju except God allows it”. She smiled at her own words, remembering Tunde and the fact that she had not yet accepted that his leaving her was God’s will.
Lucy washed the dishes and her mum kept on pestering her. She wondered why the questions her mum was asking were affecting her comfort; but she knew. She knew why she felt uncomfortable.
“Answer me Lucy, I am your mum. You should not be shy to tell me about your love life. Knowing how long you stayed without a single boy in your life, I bet Deolu did what all those guys could not do. Tell me, how did you meet?” Bewaji glued herself to the side of the zinc, grinning like a teenager.
Luciana sighed. “Work brought us together mum. We needed a supply of some furniture and I had to meet with Deolu for negotiation.”
Bewaji smiled. “At least something good came out of that job. Now I am happy that you took the job because if you did not, you would probably remain single forever. Tell me: was it love at first sight or did it grow on you?”
Luciana’s stomach turned so much that she felt she might throw up. She became whiter than she already was but Bewaji mistook her reaction for embarr@ssment. Luckily for Lucy, Bewaji’s phone rang and she went for it, leaving her to breathe in a free air again.
Teju walked stylishly into the police station with a faint and feminine smile on her face. She saw the way the policemen had their eyes on her with every step she took. Deolu had been right. The dress made her feel feminine and in control.
She got to the counter. “Good morning, please I am here to see the DPO” she said with an irresistible smile on her face. The three policemen were grinning foolishly and she felt the urge to punch them in the face.
“I would give anything to be the reason for your visit” the one facing her said.
She half laughed. “You won’t betray your DPO now, would you? Even if you are this handsome” she could not believe her own words.
Another policeman pushed the other away. “What? I am more handsome” he grinned.
Teju laughed. “Sure. You all are. Now I want to see your DPO, when I am through, I would see you guys”.
They all smiled. “You dey lucky say e dey office” the last one said in pidgin and Teju wondered if his earlier silence was because he could not speak proper English. He left for the DPO’s office after asking of her name while Teju continued chatting with the other two.
“You fit go inside”
Teju thanked him with a smile and walked to the office, knocking slightly before entering.
“Hello DPO… Mr. Chuks?”
“Yes. Please have your seat.” His eyes lit with appreciation at her beauty and she smiled internally. After she was seated, she placed her small purse on the table. “Please, I don’t know you; how may I help you?”
“The question should be: how may ‘I’ help you” she countered.
Chris frowned. “I don’t understand lady”
Teju smiled menacingly. “Let’s just say I have the power to destroy you” Chris g@sped. “The power to break you and shatter all you have ever worked for”.
Chris composed himself. “Are you here to threaten me?”
Teju’s smile did not leave its place. “I am not here to threaten. I am here to @ssure you of what I would do”. When she saw that a certain level of fear had been implanted, she slowly picked her purse and opened. “I have something that would interest you” she took out the carefully folded newspaper, opened it and gave it to the DPO. His hands and eyes froze when she stared at the same girl she had seen in the picture given to him by Deolu. The truth was already out, he knew it. “What… what… what is… this? And who the hell are you” he yelled as his palms began to sweat.
Teju deliberately took out the smile on her face slowly, leaving her face serious and blank. “That signified that Luciana was murdered and I am Barrister Teju Bello, Deolu’s lawyer” she dropped.
Chris’ mouth fell open as he tried to gather what was happening to him. His life was now completely ruined. He would be behind bars, all for helping that Fred. His wife… his two daughters… he could not imagine it.
Teju smiled and got up slowly, roaming the office slowly. “When Deolu had told me that no move was taken in Abuja concerning the search of the murderer, I decided to dig. I wondered which DPO would be at peace knowing that a murderer was roaming the FCT of Nigeria. Then I discovered the reason: he knows, or should I say well acquainted with the murderer.” She faced him as his eyes watered. “How would you love to be charged for treason sir? You know, you could as well be his accomplice.”
“No ma’am. Please for God’s sake. I did not do anything, please. My children are still very small, please” he begged, getting up.
“I know you are a good man, just don’t know why you are protecting this murderer. He murdered that innocent girl in cold blood, what makes you think he can’t do the same with you or your children? Listen, I would give you the chance to right this mistake. Produce Fred and I would not press any charges against you. My client does not know about your betrayal but believe me; he would not hesitate to ruin your life and career if he found out that you are in any way connected with Fred. The guy killed his fiancée!” she exclaimed as fury sliced through her. “You have 24 hours to think about it” she dropped a tiny card on the table and picked up the newspaper which had fallen carelessly out of Chris’ hands. “Give me a call when you have made up your mind and don’t think of doing anything foolish. You don’t want to mess with Teju Bello, believe me” her eyes held meaning as they burned fire. She straightened and smiled mischievously. “Have a nice day” she walked quietly out of the office, leaving Chris shaken.
WATCH OUT FOR EPISO
The last smile Episode 25
THE LAST SMILE