As soon as those hands grabbed me close, I sunk into his warm embrace. I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears, ‘Benson was here!’
‘Benson! Oga Benson! Na you?’
“Na me ooo…” Benson whispered as he roughly kissed me on the lips.
“Wia Johnny? Wetin happen for our office?”
“Ahh…dat one na long tori ooo…”
“How you dey? Hope say you dey fine?” Benson asked, carefully deviating from my question.
I start sobbing quietly.
“Na for kitchen I dey work now ooo. I nor dey do seke work again.”
“E fit you ooo…see as you come fine like paw paw.” Benson says.
“If I hear…” I warn angrily.
“Why you dey vex…kitchen work fit u na.”
“Senorita nor come Lagos for Kitchen work ooo…nor dey talk dat kain rubbish.”
“Okay…sorry, no vex. You dey go house?”
“Yes ooo…I dey live with Solo…e don even try for me sef after de time I collect im money.” I say and suddenly stop quickly. ‘Benson, wey de money wey I give you?”
“Which money?” Benson asked.
“De money wey I give una for dat business wey we talk…wia e dey?”
“Ohhh…no be me you give money ooo…na Johnny and e dey police custody.”
“Wetin? For wia?”
“My dear…abeg forget that tory…I just miss you die.”
I look at him and hissing, I turn away and head out towards the street. He runs up to meet me and pulls me close.
“Senorita…I know say wetin we do you no good at all but nor be me ooo…na Johnny.”
“Na so una come troway me for dustbin abi?”
“Me? When?” Benson denied vehemently.
“Na for dorty dem find me na…” I continue.
“What are you talking about?” Johnny asked, changing rapidly to English.
“Forget jare…make I dey go house. Tomorrow na kitchen work again.”
“Err…Senorita…abeg I need ya help.”
I stare at him confused, this was the man who just a few days ago told me about the money he had made due to business investments. I didn’t understand why he needed my help.
“Wetin you want?”
He smiled and placed his hands on my shoulders.
“Sweetie, abeg I dey find place were I fit sleep for today.”
“Wetin dat one come mean? I resemble landlord?”
“Senorita abeg, na you be my only hope. I take God beg you. Johnny carry all my money run comot…all de investment wey I make don waka. Abeg if I fit sleep for ya house, I go dey happy.”
‘Nor be me get de house abegi. Na Solo get am.”
“You fit beg am on my behalf? Tell am say I be ya broda.”
I look at him and immediately feel sorry for him, his shoulders slumped forward and his eyes looked tired and weary.
“De day Solo see me for express road, I tell am say I be orphan. I nor fit tell am long tori again.”
“Oya make I follow u reach house, we go agree wetin we go talk.”
Ten minutes later, we were inside the house, Solo was already at home and from the look he gave me, he wasn’t too happy that I stayed out later than usual.
“Solo gurevening.” I greeted.
“Where have you been?” Solo thundered.
“Na work I go…”
Solo turned to stare at Benson rudely.
“Who is this man with you?”
“Ehen Solo make I gist you. As I dey waka from kitchen na so I see one man wey dey for front, something come tell me say, ‘Senorita! Dis na ya broda ooo…’ na so I come shout im name. I come see say na my broda for village.”
Solo looked carefully at the man.
“I think I know you…you’ve been seen regularly at the next street right?”
“No…lai lai…na my first time to see Lagos be dis ooo.”
I fall on my kneels before Solo and beg.
“Abeg Oga Solo, e nor get wia e go sleep for today…abeg helep am.”
Solo grudgingly agreed, he stared at Benson for a while and said to me.
“I am going to for night taxi work, will be back tomorrow morning because I will be sleeping over at my friend’s place. Make sure you go to work on time tomorrow.”
“Sure…thianks Solo.” I echo.
As soon as Solo leaves the house, I fall into Benson’s arms in helpless relief.
I woke up as soon as I heard the door crash open. I yawned and stared at the intruder, it was Solo. Everywhere looked different, the whole house had been picked clean, there was not even one furniture left in the house. I was astonished as Solo was, my mouth hung open in shock.
“What happened here?” Screamed Solo.
I clean my eyes with the back of my palms and stare around the room in a daze.
“Wetin happen?” I squeak stupidly.
Solo crouches to the ground and sobs loudly.
“What kind of misfortune have I brought upon myself. Senorita! Oh my God!”
Neighbours started gathering, everyone had questions and no one had seen anyone leave the house with any of the furniture, besides the house must have been raided in the night while everyone was asleep.
“Senorita! Where is my television? My radio! My fridge! Where are my valuables?” Solo asks in confusion and despair. “I worked hard to get all those appliances and now, they are all gone. Not even a dust trail is left.”
“Solo…I nor know…na sleep I dey sleep…” I croak.
“Don’t let me slap your senses back into your head. Where is your brother?” Solo screams.
“My broda…Benson!” I said in alarm “Benson! Oga Benson…wia you dey ooo?” I ask in tears while I look around the empty sitting room.
“Who be Benson?” Asked one of the neighbours “Abi una get broda wey dey live for dis place?”
“Her brother came here yesterday, begging to spend the night. I let him in and…” Solo trailed off.
“Wait…where ya broda?” Our neighbor asks me.
“I nor knooooo…” I wail.
“You sure say na ya broda or ya boyfriend?” Asked another neighbor, a woman this time.
“Na…na for wia I dey do seke work, na dia I see am ooo…” I confess.
“What? He’s not your brother? Who is he? Who did you bring into my house?” Screamed Solo.
“Na de man wey collect dat money wey Anna give you. Na im I give all dat money, e talk say he wan use am do business…” I start.
Solo charged towards me like an angry bull. I felt the heavy slap on my face, then another till I felt numb with pain.
I had finally crossed the line…
I had finally crossed the line…