It’s been a week and five days since the news of Charles Coker’s death. It has also been twelve days of sleepless night for Derrick. He has been worried about Cait. He hasn’t heard from her since that wednesday of the sad news. It wasn’t easy watching two women cry. The suits men―men who worked with Cait’s dad―had left him afterwards to console the grieving women. He had admired the way Cait had stopped weeping abruptly and started consoling her mom. She was trying to be strong for both of them. Derrick guessed that she had always been like that, ever wanting to take care of her mom and ever the strong one.
The whole scene brought memories of Cait, starting from their first encounter. When he remembered that faithful monday he had fired her, he winced. Her P.A job was practically what she depended on and he had taken it from her all for what? Because he wanted to get into her pants? He felt like an asshole. He didn’t want to leave her side but had relunctantly left for work. He had a board meeting at three in the afternoon. He had assisted Cait in geeting her mom to her room―the woman had dozed off from her sobs.
Today was Monday, 15th of November, his dad’s birthday. But it looked like Falana Senior was celebrating it in the hospital, lying flat on the bed fighting for his life. This was another issue that bothered Derrick. The man had suffered another cardiac arrest. He never knew the man had suffered one before. All his dad told him when he came home to help manage the company, was that he was sick, that he had lungs problem. The man hadn’t explained further. However, when he was rushed to the hospital three days ago, the doctor had told Derrick everything. His father’s lungs suffered because of the marlboroughs he smoked. “My dad smokes?! Are you fucking kidding me right now!” He had exclaimed with surprise when the doctor told him. His mother, Ibironke Falana, was the cause of all these calamities befalling his father. He had added two and two together, after he found out a lot from the maids at home. He learnt that his mom was rarely home. This absence was as a result of the fact that she was always busy attending events or hosting events. The woman was the head of various women associations. All these outgoing nonsense was at the expense of her husband. His dad was a workaholic because of her. Burying himself in work kept him going. She was going to be the death of him.
As he was changing his clothes―being that he had been in the hospital for two days and now he stank―in his room, Derrick remembered Cait again. Although they had different stories, they were cut from the same cloth. While Cait’s dad cheated on his wife with a woman, his mom cheated on her husband with parties. The woman hadn’t even called to wish a happy birthday. Derrick checked the wall clock, it was four in the afternoon. Four in the afternoon and the woman hadn’t contacted anyone. He was sure she didn’ even know that her husband was in the hospital, or that he had suffered two cardiac arrests, or that his lungs were in bad shape. Derrick shook his head sorrowfully. What kind of man still loved a woman who treated him like this? Derrick thought as he tied the lace of his shoe. He was going to Eko Hotel and Suite―his mom was presently hosting an event there―to charge at his mom. Whether she was going to feel embarrased or not, he cared not. It was time she behaved like a wife, and like the woman he knew her to be, before he left for New York for his university education.
He was heading for the door when someone rapped at it. He opened it and found Cait. She wore a big blouse which hung down to the side, showing off one of her delicate-looking shoulders. Her cheek bones potruded than he remembered them to be, indicating that she had lost weight. She had black circles under her eyes and her hair was tied in a bun dishevelled on top of her head.
“Hey” she said with a wry smile. She hadn’t been able to sleep since her dad’s death. Apart from her mom’s cries which woke her at night, Cait found herself dreaming of her dad’s face every night. She dreamt of the good times. The fifteen years of her life when her dad would take her out, having father-daughter time. She remembered his genuine smile, his kisses on her cheeks and praises he gave whenever she did well in school. Whenever she woke up from these dreams, she would cry and inwardly chastise herself at the same time. The man had hurt them, yet all she could remember was the good times they had had together. The times when Charles Coker behaved like a true dad.
Derrick opened the door wider for her to come in. She took a seat on one of the couches and looked at him lazily. “Looks like you have somewhere to be.” She said, having seen him all dressed up. “Go, I will wait you. I didn’t come here for anything important. I don’t even know why I’m here.” Cait continued shyly.
Derrick walked towards her and scouted in front her. He brought her hands in his as he spoke. “It’s okay dear, I’m always here for you.”
“Thank you.” Cait managed to say with a small smile. The guy understood her. He could read her perfectly. She had come here because she needed comfort. She couldn’t bother Bunmi. Her friend still didn’t know about Charles’ death, Cait had decided to hide it from her for a while. Right now, Bunmi is having fun in Ibadan with her lover. They are probably on their baby making project, and she wouldn’t want to disrupt that.
“I will be back soon okay?” Derrick said giving her a kiss on the cheek before leaving. He stopped at the door and looked back at her. “And I will get chocolates.” He said with a wide smile. That seemed to lighten Cait as she gave a wider smile of her own.
* * *
Felix Osagie punched numbers in his phone as he saw Derrick leaving his house.
“What’s the situation?” The man he had called―his boss, spoke.
“You were right Beast, she came to that Derrick guy’s house. And right now seems like the best time to strike, because the guy just left the house, meaning she is probably home alone with just the gateman.”
The Beast had given him the task of spying on Cait since the day after she found out about her dad’s death. He had been spying on her house for days, waiting for the day she would finally go out. He saw that she did today so he had called his boss. Beast had assured him that she was heading to Derrick’s house being that he had already found out that Bunmi was not in Lagos. Plus, the Cait he knew had no friends. It had always been just Bunmi, but as it seems now, Derrick. So, Felix had taken off, following every vehicle Cait boarded to Derrick’s.
“No felix, we can’t do that. We have to make it look like an accident, just like we did to her dad.” The Beast told him brusquely.
“Are you sure we must wait till wednesday? What if she leaves the house today? I mean, I remembered you telling us at a time that she wasn’t one to like men. So why would she spend the night? Is it even a must we strike exactly two weeks after her father’s death? We can take her now.”
“I said two weeks and two weeks it will be! Is that clear?! The Beast said angrily, going impatient with his Felix’s enthusiasm. “Now come home!” He said and ended the call immediately.