Gbenga saw his uncle’s missed calls as well as his mother’s on his cell phone but he ignored them. He had been in aunt Lizzie’s place for almost three hours and there was no sign of Ola.
“Are you sure she’s coming?” He asked Chekwube.
“She’s taking quite a while.” Mickey said tiredly.
Auntie Lizzie’s police friends were already in the house but they weren’t dressed in their uniforms. Mickey stood by the window, waiting silently for Ola to show up. She still felt very sad and she prayed with all her heart that it had all been a misconception and that her brother didn’t have a hand in Gbenga’s father’s kidnap.
The gate of the house opened and she saw Ola step into Auntie Lizzie’s compound and head towards the door.
“She’s here.” Mickey said, turning to address everyone in the room.
The policemen slipped away into the visitors’ toilet, while Gbenga hurried into the kitchen. Auntie Lizzie gave Chekwube a reassuring squeeze and left the sitting room also. The only two people in the sitting room were Mickey and Chekwube.
Ola knocked at the door and Chekwube walked to open it. As soon as the sisters saw each other, they hugged tightly.
“How are you?” Ola asked.
“I am doing well. How are you? You look pale.” Chekwube noted.
Ola walked into the house and saw Mickey standing by the television. Mickey gave her a small smile and she smiled back.
“Ola…are you okay?” Chekwube asked switching to their native tongue.
“I lost the baby…” Ola said with tears in her eyes.
“I am sorry.” Chekwube answered.
As Chekwube spoke to her sister and they conversed in their native language, Mickey was lost. She couldn’t understand what they were saying to each other.
“Where have you been?” Chekwube asked.
“Where is mama?”
“Answer my question first.” Chekwube said.
“Come, let’s go to her…I am afraid that something bad might happen to her.” Ola said with tears in her eyes.
“We will go to her but first I want you to tell me where you’ve been? Where did Baba Tee take you?”
Ola looked away.
“That’s not the reason I am here.” Ola said quickly.
“Ola, I know that you have been doing something wrong.” Chekwube said.
Ola gave her a sharp look.
“What…what do you mean by…by that?” She stammered.
“Baba Tee is doing something bad and covering up for him means you are his accomplice.” Chekwube said, staring at her sister unflinchingly.
“Baba Tee is not doing anything bad…he is just…just holding someone captive because he owes him money.” Ola blurted.
“That’s not true. Baba Tee kidnapped that man.” Chekwube said.
“What do you mean by that? How do…you…know that?”
“To tell you the truth, our mother is not in Lagos and neither is our father. We just wanted to bring you here so that you can tell us where Baba Tee is hiding.”
Ola’s eyes widnened, she was angry.
“What? You called me here for nothing?”
“Tell me where Baba Tee is keeping the man he kidnapped.” Chekwube started.
Ola stood up from the sofa and headed towards the door. Mickey ran to her and the door to the visitor’s toilet opened. The two policemen emerged and hurried after her. Ola was stunned. She stopped at the door and stared at everyone. Gbenga and Auntie Lizzie emerged from inside the house.
“Where is my father?” Gbenga asked. “We believe that Baba Tee kidnapped him.”
Ola looked at everyone in shock, the words had dried up in her mouth.
Baba Tee looked at his wristwatch and hissed, it was almost six pm and Dusty had assured him that they were on their way back. He was the only one with the rich man whose family were delaying in paying the ransom. He had stopped picking Bunmi’s calls because she was already getting so annoying and he hated it that she kept calling and asking the same things.
He was about to check up on his captive when he heard the sound of a vehicle. He stood up from the stool and made his way to the gate. He opened it and stopped, raising his hands over his head in surrender.
Heading to the gate was Dusty with hands raised in the air while a team of police men followed behind holding guns and pointing them at him.
“I surrender…please…nor shoot me…I surrender!” Baba Tee said in plea.
The police station was silent and Gbenga, Mickey, Ola, Chekwube and Auntie Lizzie sat and waited for news. Soon, they heard the sound of a vehicle engine and in after a while, Gbenga’s father strode right in, Gbenga ran to hug his father with tears streaming down his face.
“Gbenga!” His father said, hugging him tight. “Thank God you’re okay.”
“No, thank God that you are okay.” Gbenga said in tears. “I was worried sick dad…I was worried.” He cried.
Auntie Lizzie, Chekwube and Mickey watched father and son embrace, they felt quite relieved. At that moment, the police dragged in Baba Tee and Dusty, they bowed their heads in shame. Mickey stood up when she saw her brother.
“Tee…” She called out.
He turned around to stare at her in silence, then made his way towards the cell. Mickey began to cry. Auntie Lizzie placed her arms around her.
“Don’t worry dear, you did the right thing.” She said.
Gbenga looked at Mickey and said to his dad.
“Dad, it was Mickey and Chekwube who helped me find you. You should thank them.” He said.
Gbenga’s father walked towards Mickey and Chekwube and said to them.
“I owe you my life…I owe you everything.” He said in gratitude. “I am so glad that you are my son’s friends.”
Mickey continued to cry while Chekwube nodded and gave him a small smile. A police man addressed them.
“We were able to get the name of the person behind your kidnap sir.” He said.
“Who is it?” Gbenga’s father asked.
“It’s a woman named Bunmi Omotosho Davis.”
Gbenga’s jaw dropped, the police officer had just called his mother’s name. No wonder she had been so persistent with him to speak with his father’s lawyer and accountant so that the money could be released.
“My…my mom?” Gbenga asked in shock.
“I thought of this…something told me that she had a hand in this but I didn’t…” His father started.
“Do you know where the woman in question is?” The officer asked.
“Yes, she’s at our house.” Gbenga said.
“We just need you to sign some papers first then, we will all go to your house to arrest her.” The officer said to Gbenga’s father.
Gbenga was shocked, he couldn’t believe what he had heard.
Jermia packed her clothes into her bag and zipped it shut. When she had told Bunmi that she had something to tell her, it was that she wanted to leave Nigeria the next day. She couldn’t bear the torture of staying with Bunmi any longer.
She had just finished packing her stuff when she heard the doorbell downstairs.
Bunmi, Seyi and Adunni were in the sitting room waiting for Gbenga to come home, it was already eight o’clock and all effort to reach him had proved abortive.
“Where could he be? Soji has checked the school but he isn’t there.” Adunni cried.
Bunmi was angry, why was Gbenga toying with her plans? When she sees him, she would talk sense into him and if possible slap him for being such a spoilt brat. She thought.
The doorbell rang and Justina hurried to open it.
“If it is Gbenga at the door, I’ll…” Bunmi started but stopped when Gbenga’s father stepped into the house with Gbenga.
“Felix! Felix! Is this really you?” Adunni screamed as she ran to hug her brother.
Seyi was pleasantly surprised, he too hurried to hug his brother. Bunmi stood rooted to the spot, she couldn’t move. She didn’t believe what she was seeing.
Two police officers walked in with them and said something to Gbenga who pointed at his mother. They walked up to her, flashed their badges and told her that she was under arrest for the kidnap of Mr. Felix. She couldn’t move her legs, she suddenly felt numb.
Jermia walked down the stairs and was surprised to see Gbenga’s father and the police men who were speaking to Bunmi.
“Wait…no…no…you can’t arrest me…I have done nothing wrong.” Bunmi shouted.
“Gbenga, please go upstairs…I need to talk to your mother.” His father said to him.
“She is no longer my mother.” Gbenga hissed and walked away.
Jermia watched him head towards the staircase, he didn’t spare her a glance as he hurried up the stairs.
“This is it right? Your quest for wealth. Look where it’s led you.” Gbenga’s father fired.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Bunmi spat.
“You sent that young man to kidnap me but your plans didn’t succeed because here I am and guess what? You will not touch a dime of my money, not from me or from my son.” He said. “Gbenga got to know who you really are.”
“You should be grateful to me. You should be grateful that I gave you a child and that none of the other women you’ve ever married gave you children.” She spat.
“You’re unbelieveable. Do you think I do not know that Gbenga is not my son biologically?”
Her eyes widened. Adunni and Seyi stared at her, they didn’t look surprised.
“What…What…” She stammered.
“I can’t have children…I have known that since I was in my early twenties and when we got married I told you that I wasn’t expecting children, just the way I tell all the other women I married after you. I know that Gbenga is not biologically mine but I accepted him all the same.”
Bunmi is shocked, her hands shake terribly.
“You wanted to use your child to get what you wanted but you failed. You should be grateful that Felix loves Gbenga like his son and gave him his last name. You are a bad mother, Bunmi and I am grateful for my brother who took Gbenga as his own despite the fact that he doesn’t share his blood.” Adunni said.
“You…you…knew?” Bunmi stammered.
“Yes we all knew that you and Soji were lovers while you were still married to our brother and that Gbenga could be Soji’s son.”
Bunmi fainted. The police officers carried her away. Jermia stood there staring at Gbenga’s father and his siblings.
“I am leaving tomorrow…she…Bunmi has bought my tickets.” She stammered.
“Not a word of what you heard to Gbenga, ever!” Felix warned.
Felix hugged his brother and sister again. He was so glad to be home.
Baba Tee was sentenced to jail for the kidnap of Gbenga’s father. Mickey’s mother and siblings knew she had been the one to rat her brother out and even though her brothers were angry with her for it, her mother took it in good stride. Ola’s statement against Baba Tee including leading the police to him had saved her from jail as she returned to the village to join her parents at the farm and help take care of her younger siblings. Her marriage to Nosike was over and she wasn’t in a hurry to get married again.
Gbenga had never been happier, he was so grateful that his father was home and he vowed to be a better son and make his father proud of him. The fact that he’d almost lost his father made him realize that he never wanted to lose him and that he really loved him.
Bunmi was sentenced to a longer jail term than Baba Tee and she never received visitors in jail, not even from her family.
Aunty Lizzie spoke to Chekwube’s parents and asked them to let her continue to stay with her in Lagos and she promised to take care of her. They agreed.
Gbenga’s father couldn’t thank Chekwube and Mickey enough for their selfless act. He opened trust funds for the two girls to help fund their education to university level. Chekwube couldn’t believe her luck, she had left the village with the hope of realizing her dreams to becoming a doctor but had no idea of how that would be possible. With the trust fund Gbenga’s father had set up for her, her dreams were suddenly turning into reality.
Mickey moved out of her mother’s house and asked that she stays with Auntie Lizzie and Chekwube especially as her brothers weren’t happy that she was responsible for putting Baba Tee in jail. Her mother agreed as long as she visited the house from time to time.
Just before she left the house, she visited her brother’s grave at the cemetery and with tears in her eyes, she said.
‘I did something right bro, and I did it for you. I know that not a lot of people are proud of what I did but I know that wherever you are, you are proud of me. I hope that someday, they will look back and realize that what I did was good.’
It’s needless to say that Gbenga, Chekwube and Mickey were the best graduating students of their secondary school at the end of their school year. They all went ahead to study their choice courses in different universities and most of all, they remained best friends for all time.