THE TENANT EPISODE 20 (Fugitive)
© Ajiboye Ayobami Tomilayo
The three got back into the car and Francis drove off. Nike didn’t bother to go back to the office as it was already closing hour.
Francis drove straight to Vanessa’s house since his mum and sister were already waiting in her house. They had called earlier and Van asked them to check under the flower pot at her backyard for the key.
The gate man swung the gate opened and Francis drove in.
The trio stepped down with Niks battling between her handbag and office file. They got in and Francis relayed all that happened at the police station and that they needed to be there again the next day as he would be charged to court on Monday.
The mum was so astonished at how fast the case was moving just then the door burst open to reveal Van’s worst nightmare, Francis and an elderly man probably a learned officer too . He looked skinny in the black jeans he wore, Van wasn’t surprised at his stature as drugs were his main food. And yes! That’s another thing the police ought to know, the chief was a drug pusher.
Francis had a deep frown on his face as he pointed his index finger at Van.
‘Withdraw charges now Vanessa or else…’
‘Or else what? Or else you will kill me like you killed Engineer Adeoti and Mr Leke? Like you killed my mum?’, Vanessa cut in rising up from her seat. Francis eyes bulged out as he was surprised she knew about that though he want surprised about her mentioning her mother as she witnessed it.
‘You and your father ruined my life, and now you want me to withdraw charges? Are you insane? Van was already yelling as she wept.
‘I grew up to accept you as my brother but what did you do? You took that love a young girl had for her so called brother and dumbed it in the trash can. You took advantage of me. Even if we are not blood you didn’t think of the bond between us. My mum took you as her son.’/Van said and by now Francis was already seated with the lawyer on a couch and he had his head bent deep in thought.
‘I hate you Francis!’ Van exploded and Francis looked up at this confession his eyes was grimed and red though tears wasn’t in sight. It was very obvious he was feeling guilty. Van was not moved as she continued, ‘tell me what have you now accomplished in your shattered life, what happiness, what gain? Tell me’ Van said hysterically as she gave him a pointed look.
‘Vanessa! Please Francis said as he went on his knees, I should have known! There is really nothing I can say to justify myself. I am just shitty and my life sucks.
I know that man is evil, I know but what can I do? He won’t bat an eyelid before he murders me! He turned my life upside down and wait a second, he suddenly said, why am I working myself up to getting him out?’ No one answered, my life is just in a mess.’ He said
Francis took this cue to talk to Francis about why.he did all what he did to Van not once, twice or even…
‘ why did you do it?’
‘I- I he stammered, I can’t justify my actions but after my mum left, or let me say when my dad sent her packing, my dad got an housemaid- she would do bad things with me then, she will tell me to lie on her and stuffs like that and when she left when Van’s mum moved in with a baby dad told her to leave as there was no use of her anymore. I grew up to become sexually hungry, I slept with virtually all the girls in my high school. Van never really caught my attention then probably because she wasn’t matured and when I gained admission, Van was already in senior secondary school, she was already an adolescent and I lusted after her. Dad was always my cover, he believed he wasn’t her father and doesn’t care whatever happens to her. She wasn’t only the one I victimized, and I know by now they will be raining curses on me, I was expelled- no one knew.’
Van cried and Francis comported her just then a call came in. It was the DSO.
‘Hello Mr Francis, the case is no more yours’
‘What do you mean Francis asked and had the phone put in loud speaker.
‘Let me explain, we just came back from the Chief’s mansion and found pounds of cocaine and then found his secret cemetery with about ten different graves, its however funny the person that occupied the post before me swept the case under the carpet.
‘So the CPO was here and the case is now the for the CPO as he is very much interested in the case’
‘Wow everyone exclaimed’
They said the necessary goodbyes and click the phone went dead.
Francis looked defeated but changed from his kneeling position to a prostrating one.
‘Vanessa please forgive me’ he said and Van’s face hardened. Sharon nudged her to forgive him.
‘I forgive you!’ She said simply and a flash of relief washed over Francis. He was grateful. He left with Hus feet dragging on the floor after thanking Van.
I have to now, Nike finally spoke up to break the silence.
‘Where to? Van asked confused.
‘Wait Niks! Francis said
‘I am sorry if I led you on’
‘You don’t have to be sorry. Vanessa is always the lucky one. She was the reason Jude jilted me in the first place.
Van was even more confused as she asked how!
‘Jude said I was a badluck, a lazy barbie because I had no job and my best friend works a bank. You see!’ She said clearly frustrated and continued but its fine you can be together maybe I am just frustrated, desperate and depressed because my boyfriend of Four years left me. Niks finished and started crying.
Francis moved to hug her including Van who felt a tinge of guilt.
They finally reconciled and Sharon’s mum looked on happily.
Reality just downed on Chief. He was surprised he would spend almost a week in the police custody and to the extent that he would be charged to court. Where was Francis? His lawyer came over to see him but he said he won’t be able to do much to help him.
He bent his head low in shame as the policemen led him to the court which was already filled up, he wasn’t so fortunate as cameras caught his face for the up tenth time. He looked at his left and saw Hus son looking at him horror and hatred. The police saw his reluctance to walk and dragged him.
Chief was charged with murder, money laundering, drug trafficking and lot more. He couldn’t escape punishment as the judge was incorruptible.
I hereby sentence you to death by hanging’ the judge said with finality and the chief collapsed. The court session ended and everyone beamed with laughter including Francis. It was funny no one pitied him.
Hours later Chief was gone!
Three months later:
Jude held Nike’s hand all smiling, Niks just forgave him. He said he was crazy to ever think she was a bad luck. They were about to kiss when they heard a statement from Francis.
‘Would you make everything complete and perfect by marrying me’ Francis asked with one knee on the ground. The diamond ring in its case flashed and shone in the dim light.
Van was caught off guard as she covered both her mouth and nose at the same time.
‘Yes-yes-yes’ Van exclaimed as she stretched out her left-hand and Francis slid in the ring. It was exactly her size. People cheered and clapped. Francis stood up and kisses her fully on the lips.
Tears cursed down Van’s beautiful face as she kissed him.
God has given her double for her trouble, testimonies instead of her trials.
Francis was almost through with his contract. After the contract he got married to Van and both travelled back to the US, he had to go back to work over there. Francis’s mum stayed back as Sharon had gain admission at Lagos state university.
Nike walked down the alter before Van got married with Sharon as her chief bride’s maid.
Sharon went back to school with high hopes of a better future.
Vanessa and Sharon are both fugitives.
What have you learnt???
⬅️ PREVIOUS episode