The Last Smile – Episode 16
By Adeola Nissi
Raymond woke up to the wonderful aroma of hot coffee. At first, he thought his nose was playing tricks on him until he actually woke up fully. The aroma tickled his nostrils and he got up from the bed eagerly. Raymond washed his face and mouth hurriedly; having coffee early in the morning is surely one of the best ways to kick-start a beautiful day. Leaving his room only in shorts and a white singlet, he moved towards the kitchen. There, Luciana stood, still in the gown he had bought for her. He realized she would need more clothes and kept that in mind. Her back was to him and he didn’t really like that. He found himself imagining crazy things which he had to quickly shake off.
Luciana turned backwards when she felt watched and was stunned to find Raymond there.
“Uhm… Good morning sir”
“Raymond” he corrected. “It is a really good morning; the mere fact that I woke up to the delicious scent of piping hot coffee makes today a blessed day”. Luciana smiled happily. “How was your night sugar?”
Luciana was startled at the pet name. Ironically, the pet name which she had once thought was absolutely ridiculous sounded so perfect, coming from his voice. He had this foreign voice, which still sounded completely masculine; more masculine than the voices of the other men she had come across. That single fact made her angry. “I am engaged sir” she replied, staring levelly at him.
Raymond was stunned and offended by the reply. Although, he hadn’t been expecting that reply, he was saddened by the realization of her status. He was although not surprised. Such a dazzling woman cannot remain single, not even when she is fifty. “I did not ask if you were engaged, I simply asked you how your night was. The fact that I called you ‘sugar’ should not be misjudged; I always have a pet name for everyone” he looked insulted.
“I am sorry” she replied, playing at looking at her fingers.
The day had just turned sour, Raymond thought as he sought a way to bring them back on track. He cleared his throat. “I am not sure you had a good night, because if you did, you would not be up this early. You have already made toast bread and coffee; in fact, the scent of the coffee was what woke me up. Was the bed comfortable enough for you?” he looked worried, like a charming host.
“The bed was perfect, thanks. I am just used to waking up very early. I don’t sleep much” she said, smiling.
“Ok… But why did you prepare the coffee? I thought it was my treat, being my specialty”
Luciana laughed. “Look at you… I am sure your coffee is as worse as your attempt to prepare the poundo yam yesterday”
“When you taste my coffee, you would know that you still have a lot to learn”.
“Nah… I disagree. We need to embark on a coffee competition”
“And who would be the judge?” she raised her eye brows.
“Who else? He raised his shoulders.
“Not you. We need a third party”.
“Right. But for now, I can’t wait to taste that coffee”.
She laughed out. “With or without sugar?” she asked.
He smiled widely. “Yes! You see? I picked the perfect pet name for you”. Luciana glared at him but that only made Raymond’s smile grow wider. “Sugar” he called. “I would definitely have my coffee with sugar”.
Lucy turned away from Raymond quickly, in order to hide the smile that crept to her face. ‘Raymond is a flirt’, she thought.
Fred sat in a bar with countless number of empty bottles on the table before him. He had finished all the bottles of alcoholic wine at home and decided to drink more at the bar near his house. The money he had in his account was fast fading and he feared he would run out of cash within the next few days.
“Another bottle” he yelled and the eager barman hurriedly supplied another bottle of big stout. The fat barman was happy. It the day starts like this, it is sure that market would boom.
Fred, despite the amount of beer in his system, he still had his senses working. Forget his sorrows seemed not to be working. The Chris who would have been in the best position to help him would not do so because of the way he had treated him. He had thrown him out like a stranger. He wondered if his friend would forgive him for what he did and help him get a solution.
Deolu sat in the DPO’s office, feeling very impatient. He was there last night but did not get any reasonable response from the hooligans he saw at the station. He had left in frustration to try again the following day. He had been waiting in the office for more than ten minutes and the so called DPO was nowhere to be found.
This is what he hated about Nigerian police; they are too sluggish. When you look for them, you don’t see then; when they finally turn up, you discover they are all selfish thieves. ‘What a miserable country’ he thought. All the same, he still had to wait because taking the law into his hands would land him behind bars. He looked at the police officer who stood like a statue and shook his head.
The door opened and the DPO walked in with a bright smile which annoyed Deolu. “Oh… I am soo sorry for keeping you waiting Mr. Adeolu; I had to attend to some urgent matters”.
“The matter that brought me here is definitely more important and urgent” Deolu replied angrily.
The DPO would have flared up if he didn’t know the status of the person before him. “I am sorry sir. Please, how may I be of service?”
Deolu relaxed. “A murderer and kidnapper is on the loose, here in Abuja”
“Yes. I am sure he is responsible for the disappearance of my fiancée, but we have not seen him, or the girl for that matter. This mishap occurred in Lagos but the criminal disappeared along with the girl. After due and thorough investigations, we discovered that he is here in Abuja”
The DPO looked unconvinced. “How sure are you? They probably ran off together; this happens all the time”
“No” he stamped his foot. “My Luciana would NEVER run off with a man, especially not a murderer. He was her friend, the only male friend she had apart from me. He asked her out but she refused. She does not get involved with guys, in fact, she disappeared a day after she said ‘Yes’ to me. That guy, that Fred, was the last person to see her. Her neighbor is a witness”.
“Hmmmm… Do you have their pictures?”
“Yes. Definitely.” He said, pulling out two pictures from his wallet.
Immediately the pictures got to the hand of the DPO, his facial expression changed from curiosity to shock. Deolu noticed this.
“Is there any problem? Do you know any of them?”
“Uhn? Oh… erm… no” he cleared his throat. “Actually, I was just wondering why such a thing would befall such a pretty damsel”. He smiled tightly.
Deolu nodded, not exactly pleased that the DPO was checking out his babe, his woman. “I hope you would swing to action immediately”
“Yeah yeah. Of course. We are here to serve you. The police are your friends in times of need”.
“Noted”. Deolu said and stood up. He stopped at the door and turned back. “By the way, please what is your name?”
“Oh… I? I am Chris; Chris Chuks”.
…To be continued
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