By Tomi Adesina
“Slow and steady.” Yusuf ordered as Fola, Aaima, Yemi and Obi fell into a line. He took a deep breath. “I hate doing things the hard way, trust me. It’s not my style.”
“Really? I remember suffering when you held me in here.” Aaima retorted.
Yusuf smiled. “I am sorry about that.”
“Just know that the police will get you.” Fola said to Yusuf.
He nodded. “That would have been cute, except that I am the police.” He replied, strapping his gun against his belt. “I am sorry I had to accost you the way I did, but I did not expect you guys to want to talk to me, knowing my association with Umar but I don’t work for Umar.”
Fola stared at him. “Yeah, you work for yourself.”
“Something like that. Anyway, this is top secret and I should not be sharing this with you guys but for your own safety, I think you should know that I am an undercover Government agent.” He started. “I was sent to infiltrate Umar and so far, that’s what I have been doing.” He added, before turning to Aaima. “I am sorry for any discomfort you might have experienced in the process of my carrying out my work.” He added.
Yemi stared at him. “Where is your badge?”
“Do you even believe this phoney? He can create a badge if need be.” Fola replied.
Yusuf stared at Obi. “You look calm. How are you associated with this annoying lawyer?” he asked.
Obi smiled. “Annoying people have friends.”
Yusuf nodded. “True.” He replied, pulling out his badge. He tossed it to Fola. “Hakeem. That’s my real name and that’s my badge. Now, I don’t have much time for pleasantries and autographs. I think you guys have an enemy in a lady called Sarah.”
Fola was stunned. “Sarah?”
“Yes, she sold your location out and Umar sent some men after you. She got fifteen million for it. She should be riding off into the sunset by now. Anyway, I took care of that, but there are more and they would be ruthless and vile. Seeing that you’re all in alliance, I want to believe that this case is already processed to court?”
Yemi nodded. “Yes. Very soon.”
“You guys can stay here.” Yusuf said.
Aaima interrupted. “No way!”
Yusuf nodded. “I understand your decision, but it’s either you are here or you are close to Umar’s reach. This is the last place he’ll search for you.” He replied. “Fola King, this is your call. I cannot protect you while doubling for Umar if you are out of reach. I can’t continue mopping up the loose ends by killing every man he sends after you. I have my own mission and time is not on my side.”
“Then why are you doing this for us?” Aaima asked. “You can’t sleep at night? You punched me in the face several times, is it haunting you? Do you feel bad for all your crimes even while you claimed to be a double agent? My sister died. Was she collateral damage?” she replied.
Fola stared at Aaima as she ranted to Yusuf.
“Tell me something, Yusuf or Hakeem or whatever you are.” She yelled in his face.
Yusuf sighed. “Yusuf. The name is Yusuf. Honey, I am not sentimental. I sleep well at night, and yes, I asked the guys to release you because I didn’t see the need for your pretty face to go to waste. That’s all.”
Fola grabbed him by the collar. “Apologize to her.”
Yusuf smiled. “Ohhh…someone likes someone.”
Fola hit him in the face.
Yusuf shook his head. “The only reason I am letting this punch slide is because I probably deserve it, but not from you, Fola…from her.”
Aaima took the initiative and slapped him.
“Okay! Party is over.” Yusuf yelled at them, fetching his gun. “No more hitting or slapping.”
Yemi chuckled. “I, for one enjoyed, that.”
“I am sure you did.” Yusuf retorted. “Now, what’s the plan?”
Obi stared at the others. “I think we should stay here, guys.” He suggested. “I am tired of running.”
Yusuf’s phone rang. “Umar is calling.” He announced and stepped away from them. “Hello!”
“Are they dead?” Umar asked.
Yusuf stared at Fola and the others. “No.”
“What do you mean by no?!” he asked.
Yusuf took a deep breath, “I have been looking for them. I think they got tipped off. Maybe Sarah double-crossed us to make some money?”
Yusuf nodded. “Yes, she has disappeared off into thin air. I think she played us.”
“I am going to find her and I am going to kill her.”
Yusuf exhaled. “I am more worried about finding Aaima.”
“Good. Get back to me as soon as possible.” Umar replied as the line went dead.
Fola stared at him. “You just made Sarah his target! He is going to send people after her.”
Yusuf shrugged. “And so? Didn’t she make you his target? Why are you being so nice?” he asked, turning away. “I need to get some of my boys down here to look after you.” He added, dialling on his phone.
Obi turned to Aaima. “How are you doing?”
“I just want to leave this place.” She replied.
He smiled. “It’s going to be alright. Yemi would win this case in court and you’ll be fine.” He said.
She took a gaze at Yusuf who was still on the phone and another at Fola and Yemi who seemed to be engrossed in some matter, before turning to Obi. “Do you really think Yemi would win the case?”
Obi nodded with some optimism. “I believe so. All the evidence is gathered against him.”
Aaima hoped that this one would be successful. Umar made her disappear before the previous trial. She was sure he could do anything. The only difference now was Yusuf.
Yemi stared at Obi and Aaima with a snicker. She goaded Fola. “Don’t they just look perfect together?”
Fola ignored her. He was not exactly pleased to see Aaima talking to Obi when she was finding it hard to say a few words to him. Women! Yemi, on the other hand, was enjoying all this.
Yemi’s phone buzzed. “Hello, Sir?” She stopped to listen. She exhaled and then turned to Fola. “They are going in for Umar tonight.”
“Who are you? I asked for Fola King.” Umar shouted as he stared at the lawyer. “I don’t know you and I don’t need you.” He replied.
The lawyer turned to leave.
“Wait!” Umar shouted.
The man stopped, dropping his briefcase on the table. “I see you are now ready to get out of here.”
“I want you to help me send a mail to Fola King that I need him here.” Umar replied.
The lawyer frowned. “It’s like you enjoy this room.”
“It’s temporary. Get me Fola King and I’ll pay you in full as though you represented me. Does that make you happy?” Umar asked.
The lawyer stared at him. He hated Fola King. This was his chance to handle a high profile case and the client won’t ‘allow him be great’, he was seeking Fola King. Fola King!
Umar stared at the lawyer who seemed to be thinking too much about a good deal. Not like he had no respect for other lawyers, but Fola naturally intimidated his opposing counsel. He needed that. If Aaima had gotten the court to charge him, he had to be double ready and he would not be if his lawyer could not even frighten any of the guys from the department of public prosecution.
The door opened and a police officer stepped in with Yusuf. Umar smiled. At least, one familiar face. Umar waited until the Police officer had stepped out before turning to Yusuf. “What is going on, Yusuf? Those rats came over to my house and arrested me. Where is Fola King?”
Yusuf signalled to the lawyer. “Please, wait outside for us. I will call you.”
“No! We won’t be calling you.” Umar retorted.
The lawyer frowned and walked out.
Umar stared at Yusuf. “Where did you get that pot from?”
“Do you have any intention of leaving this place, Umar?” Yusuf asked.
Umar nodded. “Yes, I do.”
Yusuf sighed. “Then I suggest you let the man do his job.”
“I want Fola King.”
Yusuf scoffed. “Fola is done with you.”
“No! Tell him no one is done with me! I am going to blackmail him. I am going to tell everyone that he knew Aaima was my hostage.” Umar groaned. “And I am serious!”
“But he did not.” Yusuf replied.
Umar smiled. “Yes, I know…but that is my strategy. You better tell him to come here and get me out or he is going down with us.”
Yusuf cleared his throat. “Us?”
“Oh yeah! Do you think you get an exemption clause now? No, Yusuf, we are in this together.” Umar replied.
Yusuf took his seat. “Umar, you are not going to jail for a kidnapping case. Don’t fret. I brought you change of clothes for court tomorrow.”
Umar sighed. “Get me Fola King.”
“I’ll relay your message to him.” Yusuf replied, standing up.
Umar stared at him. “Any update?”
Umar cleared his throats. “My containers?”
“Oh! That? I don’t think you should be worried about that right now.” Yusuf replied. “There are more pressing matters like getting out of here.”
“Do you know how much funds are stashed away in those containers? Those are more pressing matters, Yusuf.” He replied.
Yusuf nodded. “I’ll let you know what I find.” He said, approaching the door. He turned to Umar. “Get comfortable, Umar.”
“My friend, shut up!” Umar replied and rubbed his forehead.
Yusuf smiled and walked out of the room.
Umar stared around him. He was in an interrogation room not in the cell. He couldn’t stay here for long. He was starting to get worried as he thought of the possibilities of losing his stash of drugs coming into the country. He was sure that he could trust Yusuf to get him through this tide.
Yemi joined Fola and Obi in the living room. “Fancy I say that Obi has a nice place?”
Obi smiled. “Thank you.”
Fola stared at her, expecting some news. “Yemi…”
Yemi smiled. “Oh! I am done with the first phase of prepping her. She needs to get some rest and then we would be doing the long haul later on. You guys can rest.” She said, sinking into a chair.
“And what about you?” Fola asked. “Shouldn’t you be resting?”
She smiled. “I know what you are trying to do…you want to channel the feelings you wish you could show Aaima to me.” She said. Fola frowned. “It’s not working.” She added with a grin.
“You know you are really annoying, right?” Fola said.
Yemi nodded. “I have always known that.” She replied, rising. “I don’t enjoy seeing the police men that are lurking around the building, but then…I have to enjoy this celebrity feeling.” She added with a smile, leading for the bedroom.
Obi stared at Fola. “Don’t you want to talk to Aaima?”
“She is the one who isn’t talking to me!” he replied. “Look, man, I am just tired of all these.” He added, relaxing in the chair.
Obi knew his friend better than to push him once he started getting defensive on an issue. Aaima’s silence was hurting Fola. He knew this, but there was little he could do to help Fola at this stage. Aaima was going to confront Umar, surely her emotions were expended elsewhere.
Fola stared at Obi who seemed not to be here anymore. “And you? Why are you not telling me the thing with you and Greg?”
Obi did not see the need to go down that lane. “Look, Fola, drop it.”
“Why?” Fola asked. “Say something! Why don’t you want to talk about it? Why are you keeping it to yourself? Is this what friendship is all about? Is this it?”
Obi rose to his feet. “I should just sleep.”
Fola rushed after him. “What is it?”
“Fola, chill. You can’t take out your anger from Aaima’s silence out on everyone!” Obi replied.
Fola stared at him. “What are you not telling me?”
Obi exhaled. “Greg has been sleeping with Sarah.”
Fola blinked as he stepped back. “Greg?”
“Yes. You wanted to hear it so bad. There you have it! I don’t know how long it has been going on between them, but that’s what I found out.” Obi confirmed.
Fola exhaled and ran his hand through his hair. “Greg?”
“Fola, I know how you feel. Greg is like a brother to us. I am sorry.” Obi said.
Fola nodded. “Not anymore. I don’t know him anymore.”
Obi clenched his teeth. He feared this and that was why he tried to hide the information from Fola. But he was getting so angry, he needed to channel his emotions elsewhere.
Fola knew what he was going to do. He was going to relieve himself of this anger and of the fact that he would not be in court tomorrow with Aaima. He had to distract himself. Greg was just perfect. “Thanks, Obi.” He said, approaching the door.
“Where are you going?” Obi asked.
Fola shrugged. “To take a walk.”
Obi smiled. “Does that walk involve you taking out Greg’s teeth?”
Fola nodded. “Something like that.”
“I’ll drive.” Obi replied.
Fola led the way out and Obi followed.
Sarah zipped her box. She checked her wristwatch. Her flight was due in a couple of hours. She did not know where she was going in Australia, but she was sure it was going to be a long time before any of her family member heard from her. Her taxi had arrived and was waiting outside the hotel. She had also settled some officials at the Service corps to help with her certificate on the passing out day. She had her bases covered. She had sent some money to her parents. There was no way she’d forget them. She knew they would have tonnes of questions about how they received such kitty from her, so she did not bother visiting them. No time for story. She spared a thought for Fola King – ultimately the man of her dreams. She always knew she was not going to have his heart, but she was comfortable with playing in the winds, in the hope that someday, he’d be able to love her. But then, his heart found someone else and she was useless to him. She hated him for letting go of her so easily. She learnt a lot from him…enough to last her ambitious mite for a lifetime. She had no regrets that he would be killed. If she could not have him…no one else should.
She had spared more than a thought for him. She thought as she approached the Taxi. She opened the door and stepped in, pushing her bag in. “International Airport.”
She smiled as the AC flustered through the cab. She deserved this life. The baby girl life. She thought.
“I hope you are having a nice evening.”
She stared at the Cabbie. Was he flirting with her? Such filth.
Yusuf turned to her. “I sent your cab man on an extended leave.”
Sarah gaped. “Let me out!” she ordered, trying to force the door open.
“Auto-lock, madam.” He replied with a smile.
She started banging the glass. “I am going to scream.”
“Scream away, ma’am! I am in the mood for so much fun tonight.” He replied and stepped on the gas pedal.
Sarah was in trouble. Why did Umar send his man after her? Could Fola, Aaima and Yemi have gotten away? She pulled out her cell phone and started dialling.
“That’s not a very smart idea.” Yusuf said, swerving to the right, causing her head to hit the glass. “So, I decided to take you for a spin, just for my own personal amusement. Please take no offence. I was feeling bored.”
Sarah rubbed her head as she stared at the rear mirror. Yusuf smiled at her. “You are a cynic!”
“I know. So, tell me what I want to know. Why did you sell your ex-boyfriend out?” he asked, swerving as he watched her tap on the phone. The phone dropped to the floor, rolling under the passenger’s seat. “Sarah?”
“What do you want from me?!” she yelled.
He smiled. “Answers.”
“Well, you have them. He is an ex, he met Aaima. I am pissed about that.” She replied.
He laughed. “Isn’t that petty? I think Fola indulged you too much. Unfortunately, I am not in that business.” He said.
“What do you mean?”
He smiled. “I have a surprise for you.” He said. “Hang on and enjoy the ride.”
Sarah could not hang on for much longer. The ride was upsetting her stomach. Yusuf drove too fast, she was getting nauseated. She wanted to throw up.
He screeched, stopping the car. He then turned to her with a gun. “I have a job for you and you can’t say no.”
“What?” she said, with teary eyes.
He smiled. “You are Umar’s defence attorney in court tomorrow.”
“What?!” She gaped.
He nodded. “Think of it as a chance to blow Yemi away, and inadvertently, crush Fola. What say you?”
She blinked. “Why are you doing this?”
“Think of it as a gift.” He said with a smile. “From a special person to you.”
Fola watched Aaima as she stepped out of the room with Yemi the next morning. “Hi.” He said.
Aaima stared at the bandage around his hand. “You went fighting?”
Obi cleared his throat. “No, just an exercise in the gym.”
Yemi blinked. “I am not buying the story. Anyway, we are off to court.”
“I’ll join you guys in an hour.” Obi said.
Aaima stared at Fola. “I wish you could come.”
He exhaled. “I am sorry.”
“Okay, people, save the emotions for later. It’s Yemi time! Let’s do this.” She said, leading Aaima out of the room.
Fola swallowed as he watched them leave.
Obi stared at him. “It’s okay, bro.”
“Yeah, I know. Do you think Greg is alright?” Fola asked, turning to Obi with some seriousness.
Obi chuckled. “You didn’t think about that when you knocked him out last night. Well, he is a tough guy, he’ll live. But, I sincerely do not care.” He replied.
“Do you think Yusuf or Hakeem would do what we asked of him?” Fola asked.
Obi nodded. “The guy seems to enjoy trouble.”
Yemi was enjoying seeing Sarah unnerved. She lived for moments like this. The little firm rat deserved it. She was willing to have her killed, she would show no mercy. Sarah jumped up at every possible chance to object Yemi and this was boring the old judge.
The judge banged the gavel. “Counsels, would you please approach the bench.” He said, interrupting Sarah’s latest objection.
Umar shot a glance at Aaima. He was losing his mind. Aaima had spoken confidently against him and Sarah was terrible at defending him. He wondered why Yusuf had gotten him someone who seemed to be off her game. Speaking of Yusuf, he had not seen him in court. His circle was getting thinner as fear loomed,
“My Lord, the defence counsel is trying to unnerve my client with her ceaseless objections.” Yemi started.
The Judge stared at her. “Do I not know that? Or did I call you both here to serve tea?” He asked.
Sarah snickered at that jab.
“Defence counsel, what are you doing? I am getting tired of your objections.” He started. “If you have a case, put it forth before I lose my mind.” He added.
Sarah nodded. “Yes, my Lord.” Her confidence level grew as they returned to their seat.
“Objection allowed.” The judge said, continuing the case.
Yemi gaped, unable to believe what had just happened. Fair play by the judge, though. She was trampling all over Sarah.
Sarah nodded. “My Lord, the claimant here has reiterated without possible evidence that she was kidnapped by my client who unfortunately was mourning the loss of his late wife at that time. This, my lord, is false. Aaima Bello is a sheer case of a lady who came into the country to inherit some of her sister’s funds and since she wasn’t given any share of it, she has become scorned. This, my Lord, is a simple bait to make some money off my client.”
Yemi smiled. Sarah had hit a new level of low.
“Can you prove this?” The Judge asked.
Sarah cleared her throat. “My Lord, the claimant came into the country precisely some weeks before the death of a sister whom we have no record of close ties with and this is an evidence that she had other interests. We have docvments from the airport to highlight Aaima’s arrival into the country. They were submitted as exhibits.” She said. “I would ask this court to please dispute this case against my client as it is about the money she can make off him. He is a man who is still mourning his late wife, we should not subject him to this.” She said, taking her seat.
The judge nodded.
Umar smiled, on seeing this, Sarah was interesting. He sure was keeping this one.
Yemi rose to her feet. “My Lord, I would like to call my last witness who places the defendant at the scene of the kidnap amongst other crimes.”
The judge nodded.
“Special Agent Hakeem Dan Foster.” She said.
Umar couldn’t place the name. He gaped as he watched Yusuf walk into the room. Yusuf flashed a coy grin at Umar and Sarah.
Sarah gaped. Yusuf had tricked her down her to deal her the final blow. First, Fola got to choose Aaima over her and then Yemi used her, finally they all played her. She bowed her head as she knew she had lost this case.
Yemi smiled as Yusuf stepped into the witness stand.
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