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It was an art and slowly, Grace found herself deeply
immersed in it, she loved the feel of him and moments after they were done, she
almost cried, it was the most beautiful moment of her entire life. It was his
words that jolted her back to present, her face mask was still on, and the room
was dimly lit while the slow hum of the air-conditioning ate up the silence
like it was never meant to be.
“Are you always like this?” Isaac Mobola-Jacobs, asked.
“What? Like what?” She asked huskily.

They were both exhausted and lying on the king-sized bed.
Isaac’s house was really grand and it had some of the biggest rooms, Grace had
ever seen.
“Your mask. Are you always covered up?”
“I love mystery.” Grace replied in a husky voice.
“Nice…” Isaac replied and stretching his hands towards the
bedside stool he picked up a cigar and lit it.
“Smokers are liable to die young.” Grace supplied.
“And so are prostitutes.” He replied stonily as he lit the
cigar and inhaled the smoke then puffed it at her face.
“I’ve never heard that.” Grace replied trying not to choke
from the cigarette smoke.
“Hmmm…just because the federal government decides to brand
garbage on cigarette packs doesn’t mean the same warning doesn’t apply to other
things. How many men have you had in your lifetime? Twenty? Two hundred? A
thousand? Femme Fatale…your time is running out!” Isaac said lazily as he
propped his elbow on the bed and regarded her calmly.
“I hope your contact told you that I don’t do
conversations…” Grace said, getting up from the bed to put on her clothes.
“Is that it? Do we say goodbye at this point?” Isaac asked.
“Yes…” Grace said praying with all her heart for the
strength to run home and resist him. She had let Isaac Mobola-Jacobs under her
skin and woe betide her if she didn’t purge him out sooner than later.
“What if I pay you extra…let’s say I give you double, will
you stay till dawn?” He asked.
“That sounds fair but not fair enough…” Grace said.
“Okay then, I’ll give you fifty thousand naira in total, is
that fair enough?”
Grace nodded and began to take off her clothes but his words
chilled her.
“No…not sex…I’ve had enough, let’s talk, you must have a
name other than Femme Fatale, I’d love to know it. I also want to talk to
someone about the heirloom my family bequeathed me.” He gestured his arms
towards the ceiling. “This estate…I need some type of advice. I hear prostitutes
are the greatest harbourers of secrets and I’d like to make you my secret
vessel.”
Grace stood there in shock, she didn’t know whether to laugh
or cry.
*****
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Chioma opened the door and regarded George in pure delight
but the stare George gave her was enough to raise the dead. She smiled
nonetheless, she had always liked her relation’s husband and his mood wasn’t
going to dampen hers.
“Who gave you that dress?” He asked in anger pointing at her
outfit, his voice was veiled in pure venom.
“Why do you ask? It’s Auntie Amelia that gave it to me as a
gift. Aunty is very generous you know, this dress is very expensive and it’s new
too. I wore it to church.” She said happily turning around for him to get a
closer look at the outfit.
“I bought it for my wife, she asked me for DVF and I gave it
to her, I borrowed money to buy this dress and what did she do with it? Give it
out to charity?” George asked, with eyes blazing in anger and his ears almost
letting out smoke.
“Excuse me…I am not charity…” Chioma retorted angrily.
“What’s the noise all about?” Shouted a mature voice from
within the house, it was Amelia’s mom.
“Mummy, it’s uncle George that wants to bring the house
down.” Chioma said angrily and stormed off, leaving George to walk into the
large house like a drenched cat.
“Oh…George dear, it’s so good to see you, we are just coming
back from church…” Amelia’s mother started.
“Yes I know ma…” George replied, already feeling light, he
was too angry to care.
“Is everything alright? I heard your voice from the stairs,
I hope you are fine.”
“I am fine ma, I just want to see my wife.” George said
rather rudely.
Amelia’s mother stared at him baffled at his behavior, she
decided to frustrate him further by replying;
“Does it look like I tied her up and held her captive? Go
ahead and look for her, you might find her somewhere in the house.”
“Amelia! Amelia!” George screamed as he rushed upstairs.
He had hardly reached the first floor when Amelia and her
father almost bumped into him at the staircase. There was one thing about
Amelia that took his breath away everytime, she had the beauty of a goddess and
she knew how to dress like one. She was wearing a floor length midnight blue
sequined gown and on her head was a silver turban, while her face was carefully
painted with the finest make-up. George found his tongue glued to the roof of
his mouth. His anger evaporated like smoke and the first sentence he uttered
was;
“You look gorgeous darling….” Then remembering that he was
standing before his father-in-law he greeted. “Good morning sir.”
“I heard your voice, George, is everything okay?” Amelia’s
father asked.
“Yes sir, everything is perfect, I just wanted to see if
Amelia is alright.” George asked.
“Hahaha…don’t tell me that the love is so strong that you can’t
bear to be separated from my daughter for just a few hours. But I shouldn’t be
surprised, my Amelia is a lovable angel.” Amelia’s father said as he pulled his
daughter closer to himself.
“Yes sir…I love her too much sir.” George croaked.
“We are about having a late breakfast, care to join us?” His
father-in-law asked.
“I don’t mind at all sir.” George replied.
All the while, Amelia acted as though her husband did not
exist, she clung on to her father’s arms like the spoilt brat that she was and
as soon as her father and husband’s conversations were over, she prattled on
about the items on the wish-list for her birthday. George in turn felt so
helpless, he watched father and daughter laugh over millions of naira as though
it was nothing but dust and following them behind, he swallowed the huge bile
rising in his throat.
*****
Grace sat down on the seats provided, her palms were
suddenly sweaty and her nosy neighbour was giving her dirty looks. It was two-thirty
pm in the afternoon, the meeting had long started and she was late, it wasn’t
because she had spent so much time in church as most would have thought-she
rarely ever went to church and today was no exception- she was late because she
didn’t know how to face him again. After last night, she knew things would
change in the way she regarded the new estate owner, during the course of the
night he had opened a lot to her. She had learnt that he was the first grandson
of the late Mobola-Jacobs and the estate was one part of his inheritance. She
knew that he was faced with the decision of either leaving the estate as it
was- residential domain or transform it for commercial use. He had less than
three years to turn the Mobola-Johnson estate to a money vending machine and he
was in a cross-road as he hasn’t lived in Nigeria for most of his life and was
clueless on what could actually bring in the kind of money his family proposed
that the land would bring. Grace had stayed up all night with him, listening to
him talk about his past, his present and what he wanted from his future and
true to his word, after their chat, he had slapped fifty thousand naira into
her waiting palms.
Thirty minutes ago, she was pacing about her house waiting
for the meeting time and even after two pm, she was still pacing about in fear.
She had finally stepped her shaky feet out of her house at two thirty and
braved the short walk to Isaac’s house which was the venue of the meeting. The
estate residents were seated under an artificial raffia wooden shed in his
compound.
”You are late…” Isaac accused.
“I’m…I’m sorry…I errr…” Grace stammered.
“It’s okay, let’s continue with the meeting…” Isaac was
saying.
As he started talking it was as though everything he said
was recorded in her head as it was a recount of what he had divulged to her
just last night. He only excluded the part which bordered on what he wanted to
do with the estate. None of the neighbours knew that he was looking for the
quickest means to make money out of the land they lived on except her and she
felt somewhat special about that fact. They all submitted their forms to him
and the meeting ended, Grace cringed as she remembered what she had written on
her form. In the occupation section, she had filled a fake company name and
website address. As soon as the meeting ended, she stood up, in a hurry to
leave the compound when his voice stopped her.
“Hi…it’s Grace right?” Isaac asked with a smile.
“Yea…Grace…” She muttered, accepting his outstretched palm
in a cool handshake.
“I know you must be busy, your form indicates that you work
with an online company…” Isaac said taking a peek at her form.
“Yes…” She lied through her teeth.
“Would you mind if I hired you?”
“What?”
“Your job description here indicates that you spend most of
your time at home due to your job doesn’t require that you go to the office every
day.”
“So…”
“I’d like to hire you as the estate secretary, I want you to
help me organize the estate and its affairs.” Isaac said.
“Oh…” Grace stammered.
“I’ll take that as a yes. Here are the forms, I’d like you
to document them for me and I’ll take it from there. We can discuss the price
of your services whenever you want.”
Grace was tongue-tied, he sounded just like he did yesterday,
‘a man whose money paved ways for him’. Considering the fact that she had lied
on the form about her job and all, she decided to accept the job, she didn’t want
nosy neighbour to be the one to take the job. God forbid if she was! Then, she’ll
make sure that she investigated on the company Grace had listed in her form
till everyone knew she was a scam. And besides, that would avail her the
opportunity to get closer to Isaac besides, she could always make do with some
extra cash and since he was ever so willing to give, who was she to desist?
“Okay, that sounds great.”
“Why does your voice sound familiar?” Isaac asked.
“Perhaps it’s because we live on the same street.” Grace
answered and turning her back to him, she walked away.
Isaac stared at her retreating form, there was something
nagging about her, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Shrugging lightly, he
jogged back into his house.
*******
Kehinde relived the past three hours over and over again.
“My daddy warned me…” She sobbed aloud while remembering the
driving lessons her father had thought her years ago. “She was still at the
waiting room of the hospital but she had heard no word yet from the doctors or
nurses. “But she wasn’t looking na…it wasn’t my fault. People should be
schooled on crossing the road, must the drivers drive for everybody?” She said
aloud.
Immediately the doors to the operating room opened and the
doctor emerged, he smiled and held out his hands to her.
“Is she going to be okay? Babalola please tell me that she’s
going to be fine…” Kehinde sniffed back the tears. Babalola was the doctor as
well as her husband for six years, immediately she had hit the unsuspecting
pedestrian to the ground and was almost lynched by the street mob, she had with
the help of good Samaritans, placed the woman in her car and zoomed off to the
hospital where her husband worked which wasn’t too far away. She knew she could
trust him to save the young lady’s life.
“Yes…she is fine. She had a deep cut at the back of her head
which I stitched. She is presently on pain killers and should be fine in no
time.”
“Thank God…Baba God I thank you, You have turned my sorrow
into joy, my mourning into dancing, I will praise and exault your name forever.”
Kehinde prayed aloud as she fell on her knees and raised her arms in the air.
“God answers prayers…” Her husband said with a distant look
in his eyes.
“Yes, he does. I prayed more than I have ever prayed in my
life. Did she wake up? Has she said anything yet?”
“No…she is still resting.” Her husband supplied. “Why don’t you
go home and get some rest, I’ll take it up from here.”
“What of her family? How do we contact her family?” Kehinde
asked aloud.
“Did you take her purse or phone with you when you put her
in your car?”
“No…I was so intent on rushing her here so that her life
could be spared.” Kehinde said.
“It’s okay…please go home, I’ll update you with her
condition okay. When she wakes I’ll see if she can give me the phone number of
any of her loved ones so that we can make a call to them.”
“Thanks a lot honey…God bless you.” Kehinde said reaching
out to hug her husband.
Her husband walked her out of the hospital where he hailed a
taxi cab as she couldn’t drive in her nervous state, he watched as she got into
the taxi and it pulled away and got back into the hospital.
******
Demilade’s eyes opened in a rush, ‘where am I?’ she asked
herself as she looked around the hospital room. Her sight was cloudy and she
felt the urge to vomit. A nurse was by her side and immediately she saw that
Demilade was awake, she rushed off to call the doctor.
Kehinde’s husband had just entered the hospital after seeing
his wife off when the nurse came calling, he hurried to the room where Demilade
lay and as soon as he saw that her eyes were open, he breathed a sigh of
relief.
“Good evening.” He greeted.
“Where am I?” She asked.
“In the hospital, you were hit by a car.” Dr. Babalola
replied.
“A car?”
“Yes…can you tell me where you live? So that I can help
locate your family.”
“Well…I know that my family lives in Lagos but I school at
the University of Ibadan…I am in my first year of school.”
“Are you serious?” The doctor asked, staring at her in a
puzzling manner, she definitely didn’t look like a starry-eyed undergraduate.
“So I reckon you came to Lagos to visit your family, hence the
reason the accident happened in Lagos.” The doctor asked.
“I just got into school and I think I have spent only two
weeks in the Uni…what am I doing in Lagos?” Demilade asked.
“How old are you?”
“Eighteen…” Demilade replied.
“Excuse me?” The doctor asked baffled. Beckoning to the
nurse who stood not too far from him he asked for a small torch-light.  The nurse handed it over to him and quietly
prying Demilade’s mouth open with her help, he stared at her dentition.
“Your teeth shows that you are well over twenty years of age…”
The doctor started.
“No…doctor I am eighteen years old.” Demilade stated
matter-of-factly.
“What is your name?” The doctor asked.
“Demilade…”
“What year is this?”
“The year 2002…” Demilade said matter-of-factly.
“Oh my God! This can’t be happening…” Dr. Babalola said
worriedly.
“What can’t be happening doctor…where am I? I am supposed to
be in school…” Demilade sobbed.
Dr. Babalola knew he had an extreme case of partial memory
loss on his hands, his patient, Demilade’s memory had been erased and all she
could remember of her life was from her childhood till her eighteen year on
earth, every other year after 2002 was wiped clean.
******
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“You
are supposed to be discharged today…” The doctor said to Bobo who was perched
at the edge of the hospital bed.
“I know…I’m
waiting for my mommy.” Bobo replied.
“I
wonder where she disappeared to.” The doctor said. “I thought she went to get
you something to eat.”
“That
was ages ago…the nurse gave me food to eat instead.” Bobo replied.
The
doctor looked at his wrist watch and sighed.
“It’s
almost ten pm, where can she be?” The doctor asked aloud.
“Can I not
stay in this hospital today? I hate the bed, it’s hard.” Bobo whined.
“Do you
have the phone number of any of your family relatives?”
“No,
just my mom’s and everyone in the hospital has been calling her number, it’s
switched off.”
“Wow!
This is tough…”
“What
if I go home with you, I mean…till my mom comes back, I’m sure she had to get
something urgent.” Bobo reassured the doctor.
The
doctor stared at the very mature Bobo who was talking like a young man already
and smiled.
“I didn’t
tell my wife that I’ll be bringing a guest over but that’s okay, you can come
home with me. Tomorrow, when your mom comes I’m going to have a word with her.
She shouldn’t be running off like that.” The doctor admonished.

“You can’t
blame her, she seems to carry the whole world on her shoulders all the time.”
Bobo said and picking up his back pack he walked out of the hospital room while
the doctor stared in his wake at the little boy whom circumstances seemed to
have made him grow up so fast.

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