Again – 12

shola
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Hi readers, ofcourse you have been enjoying this story and i am pleased to announce to you that the book “AGAIN” Written by – Greg Emuze is now available for purchase and download on Okadabooks. Click Here to download. Support a job well done.

Previous Episode

The office was suddenly quiet. Shola looked around, most of her colleagues had gone to lunch including Lola. Slowly, she put her desktop to sleep, put her files away, put on her shoes, picked up her bag and got up. She walked to Lola’s desk, sat in her seat, then called her. “Hello, Shola.” Lola answered, “Babez, can I quickly use your car?” Shola asked, “You leaving?” Lola queried. “No, dear. Just need to pick up some meds, not feeling too good.” Shola replied. “Ok. Sure you can drive? The keys are in my bag.” Lola said. “Ok. Thanks, love.” Shola said, hung up, dug in Lola’s bag and withdrew the keys to her CRV. Shola left the office through a longer route, got to the car lot and drove out, hoping no one would notice her departure. Not other staff and definitely not the police, who she knew, like Joe had said, were watching.

Shola was almost laughing at herself. If someone had told her a few months ago that she’d be driving away from work in a borrowed car, eyes on all mirrors, to a pick up a pistol for her fiancé who was wanted by a Warlord and being watched for possible arrest by the police, she’d have said “Impossible!”. How had she come to this point, from being a simple single girl whose highest point of the day was merely catching laughs on twitter? That life seemed light years in the past. She pulled up outside the house, got her bag and headed in. She unlocked the door and stepped inside, the door had shut behind her before her instincts kicked in – something was off. She made a quick turn around meaning to exit and make a run for the car. Her hand had barely touched the handle when she felt something very cold on her nape, “Don’t even think about.” a voice said. She slowly put her hand back down.

“Turn around.” the voice said, Shola turned around to find Razak pointing a pistol at her chest. She didn’t know whether to be relieved or not. “What are you doing here?” he asked, “Joe sent me.” she said. “Ok. What for?” he asked, “To get something for him.” she said, “You can call him and ask.” she added, strength returning to her voice. This was Joe’s underling, she was sure Joe would not like him treating her in this fashion. But then, he had a gun pointed at her, so she had to behave. He stared at her for a moment longer, then put the gun in his belt. “I’m sorry, I just have to be careful.” he said. “Its Ok. I understand.” she said breathing easy. “What exactly is it you want?” he asked retreating. “His pistol.” she said pointing towards the bedroom. “Ok.” he said, standing aside to let her through. She walked past, into the bedroom, knelt and retrieved the knapsack.

Shola didn’t understand it and, honestly, was just glad to have left the house in one piece. Why was Razak there now and not there the time she had last been there? Why had Joe not called him instead? Why had he not asked after Joe’s condition? He had also not shown up at the hospital. None of them had. She knew why Dave had not, she had assumed all of them were out of the country. She had been wrong. She could see her office building up ahead, a new worry gripped her. How was she to get the pistol through the security check? She had it in her handbag along with the small box Razak had handed her. She could guess what was in it. As she pulled into the lot, she had an idea. She simply retrieved the items she needed from her bag, took the bag with the rest of its contents and put it in the back of the car.

Joe was was standing at the window of the hospital ward, looking at the road below. He had hobbled to the window trying severally to put some weight on his left leg. It hurt a lot. He knew Opeyemi, the lady therapist, would frown at it, but he needed to know how ready he was for the trip ahead. OJ had called with news that he’d ben able to secure a Dubai visa for Shola. Joe wanted Shola to keep her movement to the barest minimum, she was the open link to him, so he had asked OJ to drop it off at the address on the passport. He knew picking it up from there was a simple task of having Kola bring it over. Things were getting set, Joe was coming back. He smiled. He was going to blast his way out of the country, no matter what it took. Shola had reported back on getting the pistol and also meeting Razak. That had gladdened his heart some, for Razak was at Buju’s the day of the shoot out. So, he was not the only one who’d gotten away.

He had instructed Shola to hold on to the pistol till after work when she would be due back. He didn’t want her deviating from her usual movements for the benefit of the police who he knew were watching Shola and the hospital. He would keep up the dance with them and then surprise them. He was going to slip away somehow and woe betide anyone who stood in his way. Dave had been in touch earlier saying things were still the same: four of them were safe in different parts of the globe (all outside Africa), no word on Esosa and Joe needed get the hell out the hospital and find his way to their safe house in Geneva. He hobbled back to bed, his thigh seriously aching. “Damn!” he swore putting a pillow under his knee. “Dubai.” he murmured. He had converted most of his banked Naira to US Dollars, using cheques to pay for the fresh hospital bills.

Shola took a deep breath as she stepped off the elevator. She had had Lola drop her off at the bus stop and trekked the rest of the way to the hospital. Lola had not found it strange that she picked her handbag out of the back of the car, and had said nothing. The walk had been the longest of her life. The thought that the police could stop her and find the gun in her bag was unnerving. Every passerby seemed to look at her strange. She did her best to stay calm and walk straight, knowing eyes were on her. She was not going to crack. And here she was, she had made it to Joe’s room without incidence. Joe looked up at her and smiled, putting his PSPVita away. He’d been playing soccer and had taken his team, Real Madrid, to the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League.

“Hey, Honey!” he said spreading his arms for a hug. She went to him and hugged him, sitting next to him on the bed. “How’s the leg?” she asked, “Almost there.” he replied, flexing the knee slowly. A minute passed in silence, then he said “OJ got a Dubai visa for you. I’m still thinking on how we would proceed, but definitely, we should be out of here soon enough.” “Dubai?” she asked twiddling her ring, “Yes. From there, we’ll find our way to Switzerland.” he replied pulling up a map on his iPad. “This here is Dubai,” he said touching the map, “this is Switzerland.” he added touching another spot. “OJ should drop your passport at your house today. In Dubai, we’ll see to applying for another visa to get you into Switzerland. Dave will look into that.” he replied.

“The stuff I sent you for?” Joe suddenly asked. “In my bag.” she replied. She had waited patiently for this moment. “Lemme have it.” he said, “Why, Joe? What do you need it for?” she asked getting off the bed. “What?” he asked taken aback. “What do you need it for, Joe?” she repeated holding his gaze. “You know damn well what I need it for, Shola!” he said visibly pissed. What was she getting at? Why the hell was she questioning him at this crucial stage? For all he knew, someone could walk through the door gun blazing right now. How was he to handle that. He’d relied on hiding for so long, now his whereabout was no longer a secret, he had to step up his game – be prepared to fight back here and on his way out. Why could she not see that?

“Joe, I’m sorry. I am not going to authorize anymore bloodshed by handing you the gun.” Shola said, resolute. “Shola, are you trying to get me killed?” he asked, “No! Why would I? If I wanted you dead, I’d have left you to die when you fell.” she defended. “Then why this? Have you lost faith in me?” he asked. “Joe, this whole thing is too crazy. I can’t watch you go on along this path. It only ends one way.” she replied. “I know what I am doing, Shola, and all I ask is that you trust me.” he said sitting up and facing her direction. “I trust you, I’m not just sure about this decision of yours.” she said standing her ground. Joe got up, pain shot through his left thigh, ignoring it, he took a step in her direction. “So, you question my decisions now?” he said gritting his teeth. “Sit down. Joe, you’ll hurt yourself.” she pleaded reaching out to steady him, “Do not tell me what to do!” he shouted.

She did not budge. “Let’s not get side tracked here, Joe, the issue here is my refusal to give you a weapon.” she said calmly, “No. the issue here is that our lives are at stake and you think this is the best time to pull a funny trick.” he replied, barely restraining his anger. Shola kept quiet, eyes locked with Joe’s blazing pair. She had thought this through and was not going to step down. She could not quell this feeling that had settled on her heart, since she left Razak, that Joe was going to kill someone again and this time, get caught. If she could get him to chill a bit and maybe think of some other way out other than this dare-devil preparedness for battle. That aside, all this talk of running halfway around the world with killers on their tail was beginning to sound unrealistic. Joe may be an operative, but she was not cut out for that life.

“Give me the weapon, Shola.” Joe said, ice in his voice. “Let’s find another way, Joe.” she replied, “Another way? Like refund $1.6million I didn’t spend? Even if I managed to swing that, there are still no assurances.” Joe explained. “I don’t know, Joe. We could go to the police, yeah?” she ventured, “Okay, this argument is over, just hand me that gun right now!” he said getting real tired of the subject. Shola spun around, picked up her bag, got out the knapsack containing the gun along with the little box of bullets Razak had handed her, walked past Joe and placed them on the bed. “There, Joe!” she said. Joe exhaled, relieved, then managed back into bed and hoped the pain would let off. While he lay down and tried to get comfortable, Shola opened her travel bag containing her stuff and threw in her other items lying around.

“Joe, at this point, you’ll have to choose. We can get through this together or you can go about this your own way alone. Keep the gun and I leave.” Shola said, “Apparently, you have your mind made up. I see you have packed up your stuff.” he replied throwing her a level look. He had learned the hard way; whatever he could not let go at a moment’s notice when the heat was on was a weakness and could get him killed. He was not about to compromise his safety by taking orders from a female who had no experience or even a concrete alternative plan. No matter how much he loved her, he knew only the living loved. Without a word, Shola picked up both her bags and left the room. The nurses she met on her way out threw her curious glances, she ignored them. She walked towards the bus stop, found a cab and got in. The moment she was seated, Shola broke down in tears.

It was raining by the time the taxi pulled up at her home. Shola paid her fare, grabbed her bags and got out of the cab. Kola opened the door for her before she had a chance to knock. They had been chatting from the moment she had got into the cab. He took the travel bag from her and followed her, without a word, into her room. She lay on her bed, exhausted. She could not bring herself to tell Kola the details, she only said they had a fight and she decided it was best to leave him be for a while. “Ok.” Kola said and left. She looked at her watch, it was 9:07pm, she took a shower and changed into her nightwear and got back in bed. She needed to talk to someone. The only person she could even talk to was Pastor Keji, but there was no way she could tell her about the gun. That was a little too much.

Shola was woken up by her alarm. As she got up to get set for work, she looked through her messages hoping to find one from Joe, there was none. Somehow, she didn’t feel disappointed. She looked at her passport and the e-visa, thinking about how ironic it was to have a visa to such a fabulous destination, all expense paid, but be totally unwilling to go. As she headed for the bath, she tweeted:

“It is really not about the destinations, but with whom life’s journeys are made.”

She slipped the ring off her finger for the first time since she got it, placed it on the bathroom shelve and stepped under the shower.

The book “AGAIN” Written by – Greg Emuze is now available for purchase and download on Okadabooks Here’s the link: http://okadabooks.com/book/about/8293

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1 comment

  1. Awwwwwww….. This is sooooo sad. Men and their stupid pride! They never see what the women see and even when they do, they are head strong about doing the right thing. I’m not sure if this is the end but I don’t want it to be. Shola is a real ‘ride or die’ babe.Congratulations Mr Greg Emuze on the publication, btw…. May you attain greater heights

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