Rosita ran into the station as though she was being pursued and she didn’t stop until an officer barked at her.
“Abegi! Dis place na for marathon?”
“I’m sorr..sorry…please…I am so…sorry…I need…to see my friend. She’s here…” She said breathlessly.
“Ya friend nor get name?” The officer shouted.
“Her name is Marianna Okonkwo…” Rosita said breathing heavily.
Anna’s husband walked into the station and stood beside her, he placed his hand on her elbow for support and she felt so grateful for his assistance.
“Oh…dat woman wey mess up!” The officer said. “The man wey she be wan kill get connect for commissioner office ooo…she nor go comot from cell soon…”
Rosita looked at the police officer in fear, she was so worried.
“Can I see her please?”
“Yes…but wait, Eugene never chop finish…when he don chop finish, he go call am come.” The officer said, making himself comfortable on a chair.
Rosita nodded and taking Anna’s husband’s hand, they both walked to the wooden bench in the station and sat down.
“What in the world did she get herself into? What in the world did she do?” Rosita asked with tears in her eyes.
Just then, Ifeanyi rushed into the station, he looked very disoriented.
“Officer! Officer! I am here to see my wife! Is she here?” He called out to the officer who was flipping through a register.
“See question? Na me bring am come?” The officer spat as he didn’t stop what he was doing.
Rosita stood up immediately and walked to him.
“Ifeany, hi…” She said.
He spun around and saw her, then he hugged her close.
“Thank you for being here, Rosita…you’re such a good friend.” He said.
“Have you been in town? I came to your house this morning but you weren’t there…” She said.
“I was in Ibadan this morning, thankfully, I was already in Lagos when Cynthia told me the news. I rushed here quickly.”
“Do you know why she was arrested? On what grounds? I have spoken to my friend who knows the DPO and he says…” Ifeanyi started.
“DPO nor get mouth for dis case ooo…” The officer said finally getting off his seat and slamming the register shut. “Na big ogas dem don talk say she go dey lock up so…na de levels we dey so.”
“This is a mistake…I am sure that you’ve mistaken my wife for someone else.” Ifeanyi yelled.
“Ha! Na me talk say make we arrest am? Na de man wey carry us go her house go fit tell una wetin she do am.” The police man said.
“I want to see her…” Ifeanyi said to the police man.
“Eugene still dey chop…una go siddon wait. In fact, Eugene fit chop for like three hours sef because he go still buy water join am.”
Ifeanyi looked at the policeman in confusion, then, he dipped his hand into his pocket and brought out a one thousand naira note which he gave to the officer. The officer laughed in glee.
“You too dey sharp!” He said as he took the money and left the counter.
As soon as he left, another police officer walked in with a plate of food covered in a nylon bag and stainless plate. He gave Rosita and her companions a sour look and raising up the counter flap, he made his way inside and dropped the food. The officer that had gone inside to call the supposed Eugene walked out and smiled at his companion.
“Eugene…see your food ooo…dem nor get moi moi.” The officer who’d just came in said to him.
Rosita’s mouth opened in shock. So, the officer was Eugene and not someone else. She was about to say something when Marianna walked in, she looked terrible.
“Marianna!” Ifeanyi said aloud, hurrying to embrace his wife.
“Oga, nor go too close ooo…she suppose get barricade for her front, na dis ya one thousand naira dey talk ooo…” Eugene said as he ate his food.
“Marianna, what happened? Why are you here?” Rosita asked.
Ifeanyi broke the hug and stared at his wife and placed his hand on her abdomen.
“Are you hurt? How’s the baby?” He asked.
Marianna looked at him and burst into tears.
“Shhhh…sweetheart…shhhh…” He consoled. “I will get you out of here, I promise.”
Rosita walked up to Marianna and took her hand in hers.
“Marianna, are you okay?” She asked.
“I need you to…to talk to God for me…tell Him that I am…I am…so sorry…and that I regret it…I regret it all.” Marianna sobbed.
“Hey…it’s okay. God is loving and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love. There is no way that He is holding a grudge against you.” Rosita said.
“If only you know what I’ve done…if only…” She sobbed loudly.
“What did you do?” Ifeanyi asked. “Tell me honey, what did you do?”
Unknown to them, a man walked into the police station and was watching them speak to one another.
“She lied to you.” He said.
Rosita and Ifeanyi turned to look at the strange man.
“No…please…Robert…no…I beg of you…I beg…do not…do not destroy my home…” Marianna cried falling on her knees.
Ifeanyi stormed up to him and wanted to fight him but Anna’s husband was fast enough, he quickly stepped in the way.
“Order for hia! Order!” Officer Eugene shouted, with food in his mouth.
His fellow officer didn’t even move a muscle, he continued eating his food.
“How dare you?” Ifeanyi shouted. “What has she done to you? Don’t you see that she’s pregnant?”
“Pregnant? Of course, I can see that.” He said.
“If anything happens to my baby…if anything…” Ifeanyi warned.
“Your baby? Hahahahaha…your baby?” Robert mocked.
“Yes, my BABY!” Ifeanyi yelled.
“The baby is mine dude, and she was trying so hard to hide it from you that she decided to pay some hoodlums to beat me to death.” Robert said.
The air in the station stood still and if a pin was dropped, it would be heard miles away. Officer Eugene’s voice broke through the silence.
“Kweke!” He exclaimed and refocused on his food.
Ifeanyi turned to look at Marianna who was staring at the ground and crying hard.
It was as though his world had stopped.
“You haven’t decided what you want for dinner love, tell me…do you want rice with chicken or fish?” Patricia asked with a smile as she walked to her car.
As she neared her car, her neighbour walked to meet her, she was followed closely by the gateman.
“Hello Pat…” Her neighbour greeted.
“Hey mummy Junior, how are the kids?” Patricia asked breezily.
“They are well…thank you.” The woman said, giving her a queer look.
“Have you met my fiancé? I bet you haven’t…” Patricia said with a smile. “This is Chuks…Chuks…meet my neighbour, mummy Junior, she has the most beautiful kids.”
The woman looked with horror at empty air, nothing had prepared her for the realization that the other neighbours had indeed been telling the truth and that Patricia had gone mad.
“Are you…err…going somewhere?” She asked.
“Yes, we’re going to get chicken from the supermarket. Can you believe that I forgot to get it when I went to the store earlier today?” She suddenly laughs as though the invisible person had said something to her. “Oh Chuks, don’t tease me. I know that you’d never have forgotten something as important as the beef when you got to the supermarket. It’s just that I’ve been planning our wedding so, my mind hasn’t been on things as of late.”
Her neighbour and the gateman glared at her.
“Oh, that’s true.” Patricia said to her neighbour. “Chuks and I will be getting married in a quiet ceremony soon and I want to know if you could let your daughter stand in as my little bride. I would have asked my friend’s daughter to do it but I’ve lost touch with her mother.”
Her neighbour opened her mouth but words didn’t come forth. Patricia suddenly looked at the non-existent Chuks and said.
“Oh, stop hurrying me Chuks. I know it’s getting late and we need to make dinner on time…” She laughed, then regarding her neighbour, she said. “I’ve got to go now…we’ll chat about my request soon.”
She got into her car and soon, drove away.
“I nor tell you?” The gateman said to Patricia’s neighbour who was staring at the car as it drove off as though in a daze. “Dat woman get skoin skoin for head.”
When she finally found her voice, she asked.
“Do…do you know anyone…anyone we can contact to come and help her? I…I am …so stunned…”
“E get one of her friend wey come dis afternoon but she tell me say she go return but till now, I never see am.” The gateman said.
“Something has to be done and soon.” The woman said. “Next time she comes in, never let her leave the compound unless there’s someone sane with her. Am I understood?”
The gateman nodded. As Patricia’s neighbour made her way to her flat, she wondered how on earth a beautiful and smart lady turned out this way.
Was someone playing games with her destiny? She wondered.
To be continued….