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The day simply got better from the moment she saw Dapo’s mother till later on that night. She had discussed a lot of things with Mrs. Obisesan and had promised to pay her a visit the next day so they could discuss further.

On her way home, she had bought herself a bottle of red wine to celebrate and then branched at Dominos for Pizza.

Chima had still not called her and though she somehow knew what to expect from him, she was still slightly disappointed he had refused to check on her. She was the woman he was going to marry for heaven’s sake, shouldn’t that mean something?

She decided to check what he had been up to on social media. The recent pictures he posted some three hours before told her he was clearly having fun without her. In one of them he posed with a girl and hash-tagged #myfavegirl and in the other, he posted a picture of him getting set to go for a meeting.

He was trying to send a message across and she got it. What he didn’t know was instead of this making her jealous, it was pissing her off and further driving her away from him.

Later that night, her younger sister, Ewa appeared at her doorstep with some guy who possessed movie star looks. She had quickly introduced him to her as her fiancé and stated that they were getting married as soon as they got her blessings.

Tiwa was shocked beyond words and she knew she would be for days to come. Ewa was the spontaneous one, the one who did things without thinking twice and who went about life in a happy go lucky state.

Not that there was anything wrong with her being that way, but she feared a lot of people would take advantage of her because of it.

Before they left her apartment, Tiwa dragged Ewa into her room and made her sit on the bed.

“What are you doing? You just graduated from school, shouldn’t you be done with your NYSC, get a job and kick-start your career before you start popping kids all in the name of marriage?”

“First Tiwa, the fact that we are getting married doesn’t mean we would be having kids soon and second, I really love John and I want to marry him yesterday!”

Tiwa was worried for her sister; things sometimes weren’t the way they seemed. She had learnt tremendously from her relationship with Chima.

Her tone softened, she inched closer to Ewa and sat beside her on the well laid bed. “Ewa, mummy wanted me to take care of us. I am not sure what she would have said about this.”

“Don’t say what mummy would say, Tiwa. Say what you would say.” Ewa smiled at her sister. Tiwa held Ewa’s hands in hers and squeezed them.

“I just want you to be happy. You are all I’ve got right now and I want you to be happy.”

“I promise you that I would be”

They hugged each other.

“What happened to you and Chima?” Ewa asked when they disengaged from the hug.

“Common sense happened. He was walking all over me and taking my emotions for granted. I had to walk.”

Ewa knew her sister well and she knew that she might be strong enough to mask the pain, but she was deeply hurting.

“I would tell John to go home without me, I would like to spend time with my sister tonight.”

That was why they were more than sisters, it was the reason they were best friends and soul-mates. They both knew when the other needed them.

“I love you” Tiwa muttered.

“Love you too sis.”

 

*********

Tiwa watched as Monica talked animatedly with Mrs. Obisesan and then took a seat near her in the small sitting room, on the worn out sofa.

She had come to see Dapo’s mother to ask her to her to talk to her son; they were to leave to see him together. Mrs. Obisesan had informed a yet to be married Monica about the development of things and she had rushed over.

Monica faced Tiwa and smiled warmly at her, “My name is Monica Edoho. Thank you very much for helping our Dapo”

Our Dapo.

She still laid claim to him. It means she waited all these years. Maybe Dapo would see her as yet another reason to want to come out.

“I am very honoured to be doing this, Monica. Dapo doesn’t deserve to be anything but free.”

Monica’s eyes lit up, “I like the word free. And you are right, he deserves just that.”

Tiwa smiled back. If Dapo had this much love on the outside waiting for him, then why in God’s name was he okay sitting behind bars and refusing to take the help being offered to him on a platter of gold?

 

**********

It pretty much became easy from the moment Mrs. Obisesan had convinced her son to take Tiwa’s services. She had applied for bail and he had been granted bail and allowed to leave confinement for the first time in seven years.

He had not talked much to her since she went to see him with his mother and somehow Tiwa missed that. She liked the way his eyes bored into her, the way he gazed at her intently as if trying to undo something in her simply by looking and the way he asked his questions directly without fear of being turned down.

As he walked out of the prison doors, he had asked her how possible it had been to get the officials to grant him bail. She had told him she simply did it but she knew it wasn’t that.

Working for IGE&OBI had its perks. When she had first applied for his bail, it had been rejected and then her boss Lanre Ige had made just one phone call and Dapo had been free within seconds.

Dapo was not sure how he felt about his temporary freedom after seven years. He looked from an enthusiastic Monica to his grateful mother who could not stop thanking Tiwa.

Tiwa.

Now he had the chance to allow his eyes roam her body from her head to her feet. Sitting down and watching her from across the table was certainly different from standing right in front of her and seeing what she really looked like.

She was beautiful and he was not sure any other woman could make a plain black dress look so sexy.

“I missed you, babe” Monica whispered and he smiled at her and then placed a kiss on her forehead.

Tiwa turned in time to see that. She wasn’t sure what she felt but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was why was she feeling anything at all?

 

********

“IGE&OBI is a joke! All those people parading themselves as lawyers in that place are criminals! Or how do you explain a law chamber providing pro bono services for a common criminal? How?”

It was the third time Tiwa was watching the clip on YouTube and she couldn’t get enough of it.

They had pissed somebody off and she strongly felt that he was coming for them. There was no way he was letting Dapo go like that and the agitated man she saw intended going to the ends of the world to make sure he wasn’t free.

“They even say he has been granted bail. By who? For who? Why? He is the cause of the limp I have today. I cannot walk well again because of that criminal, yet a reputable firm like IGE&OBI set him free. I am going to sue that yeye chamber. This is war!”

Yeah, that was it. The call to war she knew was coming all along.

 

*********

“Good night”

“Good night, Queen”

She did not turn to see the door close behind her; she was too occupied watching the two men who stood talking to each other downstairs.

Her boss, Lanre Ige was talking to the man she had watched on YouTube earlier and she might not hear a word of what they were saying to each other, she knew these two men had bad blood between them.

Lanre walked towards his fancy Benz and the man limped behind him, talking all the while.

Lanre of course made it to his car, jumped in the backseat and the car drove away in seconds. The limping man pointed and shouted, saying something Tiwa didn’t catch but something she knew was serious.

The man watched the car disappear from view, he looked up and as if he saw her, sent her a chilling look that made her very uncomfortable.

**********

The drive home had her glancing in her rearview mirror to ensure the limping-sicko wasn’t trailing her.

She had given him a name, Limping-sicko. She did not care about his real name… limping-sicko would do just well.

She nodded absentmindedly to Chris Brown’s New Flame as it began to play on the radio. She was a Breezy fan, this was a catchy tune and she knew it was only a matter of days before it became her new fave.

come on, just baby, try a new thing

A line in the hook jumped at her. And she was pondering on it when the OAP on air said something over the music. Something about her and Chima.

“And Tiwa is such a hot chic you would never think any man would cheat on her. But sources say Chima constantly cheated on her when they were together”

Like she needed an OAP with a funny accent to tell her (and the rest of Lagos) that.

She had always strongly suspected there were other women with Chima but her suspicion has never been confirmed. She shrugged it off. The man was gone and so was all the bullshit she had to deal with.

She turned off the radio and drove home in silence, Chris Brown’s New Flame being the only thing in her head.

*******

She was in her lingerie, a half empty wine glass in her hand, Breezy’s new song playing from her home theatre and her gaze fixed on CNN when the picture caught her eye. She reached for her remote and turned up the volume of the Television.

She stared in horror as she heard and watched the most devastating news since her parents passed.

Her phone rang. She grabbed it. It was Ewa.

“Tiwa are you watching it? Those assholes are letting mom’s killer walk free! He assassinated mummy and now they are saying he has been discharged and acquitted? Those guys in government are up to something! Those assholes!!!”

Ewa was screaming angrily from the other end of the phone, yelling and crying and swearing. But at least she could feel something. Tiwa just stood there, frozen, unable to feel a single thing.

********

He was standing in front of the mirror like he had done a lot of times since he was freed. He had been scared to leave jail for two reasons; He was scared he would not know what to do with his life and he was scared he would go for the man who supervised the killing of his friends.

Standing in front of the mirror everyday with a gun in his pocket somehow helped him push down the thought from overwhelming him and causing him to dash out of the house and go in search of the asshole.

It was that Tiwa woman who caused all these.

He was fine behind bars.

“Adedapo”

His mother was calling him. She called him every morning to check on him. He never really said anything to her and he noticed the sad smile she had whenever he did that.

It tore him apart to know he was doing that to her but he honestly did not know how else to react. He felt empty, he felt the overwhelming need to revenge and he felt very restless.

He opened the door; there she was standing at the door.

“How are you this morning, oko mi?” She asked.

He nodded.

“Monica said she called you and you did not pick up”

“She needs to stop calling”

“She waited for you”

“She needs to stop waiting”.

His mother nodded slowly. A few seconds passed, none said a word.

“She suggested something that I think is a very good idea”

Dapo said nothing. His mother continued, “She thinks we should do something nice for the lawyer that helped you secure your freedom”

Again, Dapo just stared at her blankly.

“So I have invited her to dinner tonight.”

Dapo frowned, “Tiwa is coming here?”

“You don’t like it?”

On the contrary, he loved it.

***********

Tiwa went through dinner and everything else halfheartedly. Dapo barely spoke and barely touched his dinner but he made sure his eyes bored into her every time she breathed.

“Let me walk you to your car” He said when she was ready to leave.

“Thank you, Dapo” she said.

They headed to her car together and when they got there he leaned on the car and pulled her towards him.

“What’s the problem?”

Tiwa shrugged, “Nothing”

“I’m not buying that”

“My Dad was Mahmud Abiona”

“Mahmud Kash Abiona?”

She nodded. And that moment, it hit him. If he had stared harder and tried to remember, he would have realized she shared an uncanny resemblance with her late mother. The beautiful and delectable Kuburat Abiona.

He remembered how hard the woman had fought for the release of her husband. He had read all that in the cell. And he remembered how brutally she had been murdered on the streets of Ikeja in broad daylight.

“They are letting her killer go free”

The pain with which the words tumbled off her lips was not lost on him. The news he had also listened to and watched on CNN had been rough on her and he did the next thing that came to his mind.

He pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her. Tiwa sniffed in the strong masculine cologne he was wearing. It was soothing, that coupled with the warm hug she so terribly wanted, made his arms feel like home.

“I know what it feels like for the asshole who took your loved one away from you to walk away free” He muttered.

And just because she knew he knew what she was feeling, she let the water works down.

**************

Mrs. Obisesan listened to Monica’s endless chatter about her new job and how glad she was that Dapo was back and how they could now move on and start a new life together.

All what Monica was saying did not really matter. What mattered was her son who she was staring at now through the kitchen window and who was staring at Tiwa like the world started and ended with her.

He smiled at her.

She had not seen him smile since he returned from prison. His arms draped protectively and instinctively around her, as if that was where they belonged.

And because Mrs. Obisesan was a woman who wanted her son to be very happy, she decided that very moment that Tiwa was going to be around Dapo as many times as possible as long as she was alive.

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