She usually shut the door immediately she stepped into the house but because she had a lot of things to carry this time, she had left it open while she went to empty the things she was carrying in the kitchen.
And because she normally had nothing to worry about, she had taken that time to rinse an apple by the sink. That had taken a few seconds.
It was when she turned off the tap that she heard the sound.
They were footsteps.
She turned around sharply. Someone had crept into her house and the person was being careful not to be heard, probably so she wouldn’t be prepared for him.
Her blood ran cold.
She had a visitor, an unwanted visitor; A predator maybe?
Before she could think, he appeared in the kitchen. He was tall, very tall and well built and he was wearing a facemask.
He approached her slowly and quietly.
He carried no visible weapon but his hands could snap her neck in an instant, she knew that.
The first thing that came to her mind was what she did. She threw the apple at him and it hit him hard on the chest but that did nothing as he continued to amble towards her.
Then she screamed and yelled and picked a knife.
He held her now and tore her clothes. She tried to fight back with the knife. She cut him once but he overpowered her and wrestled the knife from her.
Then he slowly trailed her arm with the sharp edge, cutting her skin and causing her to yell in pain.
When he was satisfied, he stood, picked the apple she threw at him earlier, bit into it and marched out of the apartment.
Tiwa was in pain, but she couldn’t sit there and nurse her wound. She hurriedly picked her phone and dialed Chima.
They left the hospital some minutes to twelve midnight. She was still traumatized due to what happened to her but Chima was kind enough to help her through it.
He offered to call the Police, but she told him to let it be till morning when she would feel better enough to talk.
Then he drove her to his house, watched her use her medication and watched her sleep.
That night, she dreamt of being chased around in a dark forest by a tall guy with mask.
It was the only dream she had each time she went back to sleep and so when it was four in the morning and she couldn’t sleep without nightmares, she picked her phone and started doing the only thing that came to mind, browsing.
It was then she saw the news that had broke over five hours earlier.
Dapo Obisesan had been shot and he was unconscious.
She sprang up from the bed.
“I don’t understand what is between you and this criminal. I just don’t get it” Chima was not ready to understand why his fiancée was rushing off to the hospital when she should be resting.
“Are you going to take me there or not?” She asked him, willing to take a cab to the hospital to see Dapo if Chima wouldn’t take her.
“Was it not just to set him free? Now that you have done that why are you still bothered whether he is dead or alive?”
“That is because unlike you, I am human. So are you going to drive me there or should I find my way?”
She was almost at the door. He considered it and decided to drive her there.
“After today, I do not want you hanging around that guy. Is that clear?”
“You can’t tell me what to do, Chima”
“Oh I can. I am going to be your husband.”
But she didn’t bother to argue; He could say anything he wanted. As long as she saw Dapo, she was fine.
She rushed into the ICU to see him immediately she entered the hospital. Chima refused to go in there with her. He told her he was going to wait for her outside the hospital, in the car.
There was no way he was walking into a general hospital.
Tiwa had paid him no attention. She had darted into the hospital as soon as they got there.
She sat by his bed now, her hands holding his while she stared at his unconscious body.
She was not sure what this man was doing to her, she could not put a name to it yet but she knew it was something she would never be able to explain in a million years.
Setting eyes on him made her heart race and made her enthusiastic. He was a high on his own; with him, marijuana was a joke.
She sensed she was no longer alone and turned to find Monica staring at her.
Monica only nodded in response.
“I heard about this… so… so I came”
Monica nodded again.
Mrs. Obisesan walked in and found Tiwa by her son’s bed. She collapsed in Tiwa’s hands and began to cry when she saw her. She narrated how it all happened and how she couldn’t figure out why anyone would want her son dead.
“He won’t die, He would be fine” She assured the older woman.
She waited by his side for two hours until Chima stormed in angrily and demanded that they leave.
He watched as Mrs. Obisesan walked her to the door and told her to come back. Monica had gone to get a snack and she was yet to get back while all of it was going on.
“Please come back soon. You know he likes to see you” Mrs. Obisesan pleaded.
“I would”. Tiwa promised and touched Dapo’s hands gently.
Chima watched the look in her eyes when she spoke to Mrs. Obisesan and when she touched Dapo, he decided he was uncomfortable with it.
Tiwa felt too at home with them and he did not want her having an excuse to fall in love with Dapo or his family. He had to do something fast.
As they walked out of the hospital, he draped his arm on her shoulder and asked casually, “What do you say we get married this weekend on my yacht or at the registry? I could get that to happen in a few days because of my contacts”
Tiwa frowned at him, “Why are you in a hurry?” she asked, suspicious of how he had suddenly proposed a quick marriage.
“Why shouldn’t I be? We have been engaged for too long. I thought this was what you wanted?”
“Please give me time”
He removed his hand from her shoulder, “Time for what?” He snapped. “Time so you can be hanging around that ex con all the time? Is that what you need time for?”
“Chima please not this morning” She was not in the mood for another one of their exhausting arguments. Those were already wearing her out.
“Tiwa I want to get married this weekend and I will get married this weekend! That’s final!”
Tiwa looked at the serious look on his face. He wasn’t kidding.
During their drive home, he proved to her how serious he was about the marriage plans by putting a call to one of his contacts in Ikoyi local government.
Tiwa knew arguing with him was a lost cause.
When his mind was set on something, he didn’t stop until he made it happen.
“I cannot believe you sha. So all these years that you could have married me you chose not to. But just because you feel threatened by someone, you suddenly decide it is time to get married.”
He ignored her and made another call. This one was to Kunbi of April by Kunbi one of his closest friends and a top designer in Lagos.
“Hello Kunbi, it is that time o” He laughed and then proceeded to secure an appointment between Kunbi and Tiwa. Kunbi was making the two reception dresses Tiwa would be wearing on their wedding day.
“This is ridiculous, Chima” Tiwa said when that call was over and he was making yet another one.
“Tosan!” This call was to cakes by Tosan.
Tiwa chose not to argue. If he liked, he could call Vera Wang or Karl Lagerfeld. She wasn’t bothered anymore.
Chima glided through the marble walls, got on an elevator and strode towards the boardroom where his financial advisor and his Chief accountant were waiting for him.
His Personal assistant tried to keep up with him as he marched towards the boardroom. She updated him about the day as he moved closer to the boardroom and when he reached the entrance, he stopped and faced her, “Excuse Me,” he said dismissing her.
She nodded, opened the door to the boardroom for him and shut it after him.
Chima eased into a seat near his financial advisor and opposite his Chief accountant. His face seemed calm and his dressing looked stylish but nothing on the inside mirrored the outside.
On the inside, he was in turmoil.
For the first time since he started his company seven years before, they were threatening to go bankrupt.
Sales had dropped drastically at the beginning of the year but they had been optimistic that it would pick up. And of course when the opportunity to purchase more gadgets for sale came, he had dipped into the company finances and bought them.
It felt like a good buy at the time. He was the first person in Nigeria notified about the new gadgets and he had jumped at the opportunity to be the first company to sell it to the public.
They hadn’t sold like they had expected, that coupled with the ailing state of their finances was now responsible for where they were at.
“What are our chances?” He asked his financial advisor.
“The company will fold up before the end of this year if you do not get someone to buy into the shares.”
Chima scoffed, “That’s not an option. This is my company, I don’t want or need a partner”
“On the contrary sir, you do. If someone bought half of the shares, you would be able to stay above water for a while and then work on getting back on your feet.” The financial advisor explained.
Chima hated to hear this but he knew deep down that it was the only option he had.
Now a lot of expenses had to wait. Including his upcoming nuptials to Tiwa. And that didn’t make him pleased in any way.