Again – 13

shola

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.

It was the third weekend after Shola had packed her things and returned home. The last few weeks had not been easy – the stress of commuting to and from work alone itself was horrendous. Add to that the fact that she had a lot of idle time in traffic to miss Joe and think about the situation. Often times, she cried silently, regretting, wishing, and hoping. She had decided on danfo buses and BRTs to get around. She felt safer having folks around her, she didn’t worry about being followed. There was really nothing she could do but hope and pray she would be safe. Likely the police would have noticed her fresh routine and maybe even given up on her. Why waste resources on an uninteresting character like her anyway?

 Previous Episode

She picked up a novel she had abandoned reading months ago and tried to find where she had left off. She had outsourced her laundry and done the other house chores. As long as she was home, she could as well be useful and pay penance for the time she’d been away. Her mum had asked after Joe and his health, Shola had simply said he was fine and switched the subject. Half an hour later she had barely turned a page of the novel. This was really hard, but she knew there was no going back. She could not come to accept the conditions Joe wanted to live in. It was bad enough already that she had lied to the police and then gotten him his gun, but that was how far she was willing to go. She would not go back and willingly get herself into whatever was to come. She was confident her love for him had been proven beyond doubt.

Dekunle had called, asking of her whereabouts, she had lied that she had traveled and would be gone for a while. She knew Joe was close to being discharged, so it really would not matter in a bit. She almost asked Dekunle about Joe’s progress but had held back. That would have been such a mess. She had finally spoken with Pastor Keji recently, told her she didn’t think she could continue with the relationship, that they had had a fight and she had moved out of the hospital and not been in touch since. Pastor Keji was surprised that Joe had not made an effort to reach out to Shola either. Shola had explained that the last time they had a sort of falling out, it had taken him 9 weeks to get in touch. Because Pastor Dipo had kept visiting, Shola was able to glean through Pastor Keji that Joe was doing better.

The time had finally come. Joe walked into the bathroom in his private ward. The thigh hurt a bit still, but it was nothing he could not swallow. He looked at the scar on his forehead; it didn’t look so bad after all. Yes, it had subtracted some points from his ‘freshness’, but the doctors had assured him it would get better with time. Dave had called again a few hours ago; things were set on his own side. Joe knew once he got on a plane at the airport, the rest was easy, between his hospital ward and the airport was the real work and he could not be more ready, given the circumstances. The doctors had advised he stayed on for a week or a few days at the least, but he had other plans for his own departure. He had booked an Air France flight out of Port Harcourt that would get him to Geneva through Paris in a few days.

Babes!” Lola said, jerking Shola out of a nap. “Sleeping on duty?” Lola added perching on Shola’s desk, “I have a slight headache, jare.” Shola responded. “Pele, dear.” Lola said. Shola could tell from Lola’s face that something was up, the girl was grinning ear-to-ear. “What is it?” Shola asked curious, she really needed her peace and quiet, all this excitement was too much for her. “Guess!” Lola said still grinning. “What?” Shola replied getting tired of the discussion already. “I said ‘guess’” Lola reprimanded but went ahead anyway, “Bode is in town!”. For a moment, Shola was lost then it hit her – Bode was Lola’s boyfriend! She had spoken with the guy a few times over Skype with Lola. Last she knew, Bode was out in Ontario Canada doing some MSc or something. “Really?” Shola said trying to get unto Lola’s excitement level.

Yes! The silly boy surprised me. Just called me up a few minutes ago, he’s in a hotel somewhere in G.R.A., Ikeja.” Lola poured.

He didn’t mention he was coming?” Shola asked honestly surprised.

Nope! Not a hint.” Lola said, now laughing.

Great!” Shola said getting up and giving Lola a hug. She knew what this meant for Lola. Bode the Professor’s son was going to take her to a registry, marry her and return to Canada for her to join him later. The best she could do was ‘rejoice with them that rejoiced’ and hope one day, someday soon, she’ll meet a man she’ll be willing to go the length of the aisle with.

So, what’s the plan?” She asked.

We going to see him!” Lola replied

We?” Shola queried.

Yes, babes! He’s dying to meet you in person. You doing anything tonight?” Lola asked,

Errrmmm….” Shola was not doing anything.

It’s Friday night, Honey.” Lola said, pecked Shola’s cheek and left.

Shola touched up her makeup and waited at her desk for Lola to come get her. It was 5:03pm. She could not bring herself to get truly excited; she didn’t feel like hanging out or any such stuff. “Shola! get a life!” she murmured scolding herself. It was time she came to terms with the fact that Joe was gone. She knew he’d be on the first plane to Switzerland the moment he was discharged. He’d be gone and would want nothing to do with Nigeria or Africa again, he had been lucky to have gotten out of the last scrape alive. Her phone rang, it was Lola.

Shola, I’m downstairs” she heard when she picked up, “Ok!” she replied, got up and headed for the elevator. It was going to be a long night, but she had decided to ditch her worries anyway. It was a free ride, there would be food and drinks and hopefully fun. Who knows? Bode’s friends may be there and she might meet some interesting folks.

It was a discrete hotel on one the major streets in the G.R.A., she’d been by the neighborhood a good number of times but had never really noticed the hotel. Lola squeezed her RAV4 into a really cramped car park and they both got off. They walked to the reception together as Lola made a phone call “Where are you? We are here.” she said. Shola tuned off as she took a good look around. It was really nice and cozy and, she guessed, expensive. She noticed most of the folks she’d seen since they drove in were foreigners. She wondered why Bode would be spending so much. Maybe to impress his babe though, and of course a place to stay in style. She knew his folks were out in Ibadan where they were lecturers at the University. She turned around to see Lola heading towards her.

He’s out to get suya! Can you imagine? Anyways, we have the keys” Lola said waving a card. They made their way to a room upstairs. Shola found a comfortable sofa and sank in. “Make yourself at home, dear.” Lola said pouring herself a drink from the fridge. Shola smiled and shook her head, Lola was pretty excited still. Shola asked for and got a bottle of water then got watching TV. She was beginning to relax and enjoy the ambience when the door opened. She tugged at her skirt to cover her knee a bit more, she was about to meet Bode in person. Two images appeared in the doorway, Shola’s breath was caught in her throat. She swung a quick look at Lola who was grinning happily thinking it was funny. Shola was angrier than she had ever been in her life, only one person made her feel such extreme emotions.

Hello, Sweets.” Joe said walking towards her as Deb, Dave’s twin sister, shut the door. Shola was surprised, she never expected to see Joe without the luxury of, at least, preparing for the meeting. She had thought a lot of what kind of conversation they would have if ever they saw again, she had a few things she wanted to say to him, but this had taken her completely unawares and she was knocked flat out. She could never forgive Lola for this. She jack-knifed out of her seat, as she noticed Joe’s slight limp, grabbed her bag and tried to walk past him. He grabbed her arm stopping her in her strides, his grip was firm. She could see he was still in shape. “Please, Shola, hear him out” she heard Lola’s voice. The ignorance that filled that sentence and its originating thoughts nearly made her laugh. Deb too was standing in her way, saying “Please.” over and over.

Ladies, kindly excuse us.” Joe said. “Goodnight.” Lola said, looking really deflated, as she walked past the couple. “I’ll be in my room.” Deb said leaving too. Shola snatched her arm out of Joe’s grip, turned around and went back to her seat. “You have every right to be angry, Shola, and I am sorry for all of this.” Joe said sitting on the bed across from her. He looked as handsome as ever in a white sweatshirt, black jeans and sneakers. She noticed the scar and was a little relieved that it looked much better than the last time she had seen it. “Why did you bring me here?” she said. “I’m leaving in the morning.” he said, “Geneva?” she asked, “Yes, through PH. I leave for PH at dawn.” he replied taking his shoes off. “When were you discharged?” she asked, “I left. Tonight.” he replied. Shola could not help smiling. Joe was just a character.

He smiled back. “Got tired of the bed and the drugs and the food. And really, I missed you badly.” he said. “No, you didn’t.” she countered making him laugh. She was no longer angry, she’d never really been able to stay angry at him for long. “Is it safe here?” she asked. “I guess. Deb got me out of the hospital. I don’t think anyone noticed, we took a back way. I am pretty sure we were not followed either. We drove straight here, I had made the bookings 3 days ago.” he explained.

The hospital will notice soon, they’ll call me.” she pointed out. “I doubt. I left them a note. But if they do, tell them you have no clue. You’ve not seen or heard from me since the day you left. The staff there have been on my case anyways, asking after you like crazy. They love you.” he replied. She sighed, thinking back on her stormy exit. She now realized Joe had let that happen to put her in the clear.

The three of them sat on Joe’s bed having dinner. Shola had called Kola to say she would not be home. In less than 10 minutes, her mum had called asking why she would not be home “You know your father is in town.” she had said. “Joe’s leaving the country in the morning, ma. I want to see him off to the airport.” she replied then explained it was an early flight and there was no way she’d make it to the airport in time since it was a sanitation Saturday in the morning. Her mum had agreed with an “Ok o.” which simply translated into “You are on your own.” It was nice to be with Joe again and Deb was as cool a company as the last time they had met. They laughed and gisted heartily, but Shola could sense the tension underneath it all – In the morning, Joe would be out in the open and the risks of him getting in trouble would multiply astronomically.

Sometime past 1am, Deb took her leave. Joe secured the door as Shola went into the bath. He went to his bag and got out the pistol. Quickly, he checked it, turned the safety off and put it in the top bedside drawer. He prayed he would not need it, but there was no harm in being ready. Shola didn’t have to see it, he didn’t want to freak her out, if not he’d have kept it on the bedside drawer. Its location in the drawer would cost him two, three seconds max, extra to get it, aim and squeeze the trigger. Shola sighed as she got beneath the shower, “So, this is it?” she said. It was going to be their last night together, unless she decided to go join him later. He had made it clear he was not coming back. She could not blame him. He had let her know there was no pressure, “Take your time. If you ever wanna join me, a call is all you have to do.” he’d said.

He watched her every move in the darkness of the room. She had changed into one of his boxers and a T-Shirt. He hoped she would decide to come join him in Geneva, they could get married, live anywhere of her choosing in Europe and be truly happy. No girl had ever made him feel this way, it was amazing. She got in bed and snuggled close to him, he turned and held her a little too tightly, “I’ll miss you, Shola.” he said, “I’ll miss you too, Joe.” she replied. He reached in his pajama pocket and got something out; he took her left hand and, to her surprise, slipped a ring on the fourth finger. “You forgot this at home.” he said. She was shocked when she turned on the bedside lamp and found the ring she’d taken off weeks ago sparkling on her finger. “How did you….?” she was saying then stopped. “I love you, Shola.” he said, then kissed her.

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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