Rhexa’s Inn, Calabar…
There were two policemen, they seem to be waiting on Rhexa’s arrival. Maria had been watching them, battling with the idea of going over to them to discuss her previous gruesome encounter with the fellow who almost choked life out of her. Just then, Rhexa walked in to attend to the men. She directed the them to her office, and few minutes later, she came out with puffy red eyes. The waitresses wondered what was up with their boss. They however, didn’t wonder for long, for Caroline, the olofo of all olofofos came to deliver what she had heard, while eavesdropping.
“Hmmm it’s not a good thing oo. Chai!” Caroline said, hugging herself, and shaking her head in a left-right motion.
“What is it!” the waitresses waiting on her gist pressed her further.
“It’s her father oo. Hmm!” she said, taking a pause again, and shaking her head as she did before.
Maria was beginning to sense something terrible. Whatever it is, she had a feeling it’s going to be terrible. She knew Rhexa’s dad, courtesy of Abi.
“He is dead. Somebody killed him. Na wetin the police talk o.”
At that point, the all the hairs on Maria’s neck stood.
Could it be? Oh God! She said inwardly, fright enveloping her. She knew who was responsible, who else could it be?
“Oh God, please let Abi call me today please!” She made a silent prayer; something she has been doing quite a lot lately.
Tonye’s Residence, Lagos...
Being a nurse to Grandma Kehinde was no joke! The old woman was a pain in the ass, who belly-ached about almost everything. Abi had woken up at six am, following the schedule list delivered to her last night by Nike. When the maid had given her the list, she had gone further to tell Abi how annoying the old woman could be, that it would be a miracle if she lasted, because she drove away the nurses with her frustrating attitude. Abi had underestimated the degree of her patient’s irksomeness, until she experienced it herself this morning.
When Abi tried to help her in having her bath, the old woman had refused. She only allowed Abi wheel her to the bathroom.
“I can do it myself!” She had said indignantly. This was a frail old lady, who used a wheel chair. But her hands still worked to some degree, so she can as well use them. She also insisted that Abi leave the room, while she dressed.
“Just stay outside the door or something. When I’m done dressing, I will call for you.” Grandma Kehinde had said.
Abi had looked at her patient like the woman was crazy, before finally succumbing to her wishes. She spent forty-five minutes outside the room, waiting for grandma Kehinde. The woman actually, did manage to put herself in a gown. But she couldn’t do her zipper, so Abi had helped her, overlooking the woman’s unnecessary grunts.
After eating her meals and taking her drugs, grandma Kehinde asked that Abi wheeled her round the house. “I’m bored” she had said. As much as Abi found wheeling the stubborn old woman round the big house silly, she complied. It was better than dreading the day a man decides to perform vile actions on her body.
They went to every room as directed by her patient. This, they did for fifteen frustrating minutes. It was as though Abi was playing with an annoying big baby. She wanted to cry. Yes, she had practised nursing, but not on someone like this.
Finally, after fifteen minutes of wheeling, her patient found her spot and time right for her, to stop. They halted at the veranda, where she asked Abi to read to her, the newspaper. After five minutes of listening to Abi’s voice, the woman dozed off. Abi couldn’t be more grateful. According to Nike, the woman slept like the dead for long hours, Abi was grateful for that too.
Immediately after taking her boss’ grandma to her room, Abi made a beeline for the kitchen.
At the moment, she was nuking her already cold meal, even though she was intensely hungry, but a cold food was no food as far as she was concerned.
While she ate, she thought about Maria, and smiled at how her friend would make a joke of her first day as a nurse, finding the story hilarious. She needed someone to laugh with, so she decided to call Maria, before the end of the day.
Muritala Mohammed Airport…
Tonye, having spotted his mother in the airport, walked towards her to welcome her. She was dressed in an posh jump suit, swaying her hips in a way that turned the heads of men. She’s one to love attention, everyone in the Raymond family knows that. She was a very beautiful woman, of which, having children for, and getting married to Mr. Benson Raymond at the age of seventeen had served her to her advantage. At age forty seven, his mother still carried a youthful look and demeanour; something her husband loves about her. Hell, the man was head over heels for her.
Tonye shook his head mockily as he looked at the way his mother swaggered intentionally and beautifully, in such a way that a man couldn’t help but look.
This woman tho. he mused playfully, as he gave her a warm smile, and welcoming hug.
“Welcome home.” he said.
“Thank you my dear.” Simisola Raymond replied her son, and said further. “There is someone I will like you to meet.”
Until now, Tonye hadn’t noticed the lady behind his mom.
“Tosin, here is my son, Tonye.” Mrs. Raymond said. The way she emphasized the the first syllables on both names, weird to Tonye.
“Nice to meet you” The Tosin lady said in a syrupy tone.
“Nice to meet you too.” Tonye reverted, a slight frown already surfacing. He could sense something wasn’t right.
Seeing her son’s unease, Simisola said, “I think we should start heading home. I’m really famished right now.”
“Welcome ma. Welcome sir.” Nike greeted her boss and his mom, while the other work men took care of the luggages.
When they entered into the living room, they were greeted with the sight of Abi, who was staggering on her feet, as if she just awoke from sleep.
Abi went to bed after eating. She had nothing doing, and found being idle boring. So, she chose to sleep. Better than doing nothing. She had back to the people in the living room―oblivious to their presence―as she went tottled to the kitchen, in the bid to get a glass of water.
Tonye relished the way she lookeright that moment. With her hair rough―probably as a result of sleep―and the way she kept rubbing off sleep from her eyes with her fingers, she looked so innocent. That innocence, to him, was a lure. He hasn’t seen her since last night. She failed to come for dinner, choosing sleep in its stead. She was probably exhausted from the long journey. He didn’t see her this morning either, because he needed to get to the airport.
ehem! ehem! ehem!
The sound of someone clearing her throat brought him back from his riverie.
“Who is she?” Simisola, the ‘throat clearer’, asked her son. As she spoke, slight scowl lines showed on her face. The same showed on Tosins’.
“She’s grandma’s nurse. I hired her recently.” Tonye replied, waving off their frowns.
“Oh, I see…”
Just then Abi emerged from the Kitchen. On seeing an elderly woman, she gave an almost-kneeling gesture, as she greeted Tonye’s mom.
Tonye did the introductions.
“Miss Abi, meet my mom.”
Abi gave a warm smile which faltered immediately, for Mrs Raymond replied with a smile that was entirely forced and false.
Tonye continued with his introductions.
“And meet err….Tosin-“
“His fiancee” Tanya injected, giving an insidious smile, as she stretched her hand to Abi.