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THE TENANT (episode 6)

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THE TENANT
(Fugitive)
© Ajiboye Ayobami Tomilayo

Vanessa opened her heavy eyes as early morning rays shone on her face through the window. She turned and turned over as she rubbed her eyes. She didn’t have a very good night rest as she kept on having nightmares- in the first one she saw a masculine figure running after her, she ran and stumbled over a stone, then he caught up with her. The figure whipped her before having his way with her, she was screaming but it was in a thick bush- no one heard- it was just like the first time Francis raped her. And in the second nightmare, an elderly man was pursuing her with her knife, she ran and he didn’t get hold of her.
She sat up in bed and threw the duvet to the left side of the big bed and then two lone tears dropped as she remembered the nightmare. What else do they want from her? Why are they hunting her? She asked herself all over and over again but couldn’t provide suitable answers to them.
She finally pushed her self up from the bed, unclad herself and stepped into the light lemon tiled bathroom. She had a quick warm bath and stepped into a pink top with black leggings. Van packed her hair into a messy bun and walked towards the window. She looked out and saw two children jumping into the backseat of a car obviously dressed for church. Then the parents moved towards the car dressed in the same outfit- Ankara. Van quickly averted her eyes so they won’t have the feeling someone is staring at them to much.
She leaned against the thin portion of wall beside the window.’ No one can tell me to attend a church service that I would heed because God was up there watching while my step brother had his way with me- not once, not twice not even thrice, God was there when my mum was lying in the pool of her own blood, he was watching doing nothing’ , Van spoke out loudly then anger swept over her and she found herself shouting and scream with tears flowing down her cheeks like an ocean of water. The neighbor’s car was out of the compound by now. ‘God where were you? I loved you Lord- I served you since I was a little child, but why- what was my offence- why did you choose to hate me this much?’Van continued and suddenly felt her legs become weak as she went on her knees crying. Just then she heard someone banging on the window panes.
‘Tenant!!!’, the voice called repeatedly. It was a feminine voice.
Van stood up and faced the direction of the voice.
‘laihilah! Tenant are you crying? Please let me come in’, the woman spoke with pleading eyes. And van could only nod as she exited the room to open the front door.
Vanessa turned the key and the door swung open to admit the woman in. the woman entered closing the door behind her and walked towards the tenant who stood at a side with her head bent. She took the lady’s right hand in hers and raised her chin so she could face her- then she saw an extraordinary beauty.
‘You can tell me everything’, the woman said reassuringly and motioned her to sit on a one of the cream sofas which matched the cream tiles. The walls were painted lemon and a deeper lemon colored curtain with a light lemon drapery hung on the windows.
Van settled in a sofa and the woman joined her.
‘ I am Aishat, I am married but my husband is away on a business trip and I own a variety store. We’ve been married for four years now without a child and there are other two tenants you haven’t met- Mr and Mrs Chidi, they have two wonderful children and Miss Bosede.’, the middle aged woman revealed probably to warm me up for a conversation.
‘Now tell me everything about you’, she added adjusting herself in the settee.
‘ I am Vanessa Williams and I got that surname when my step dad legally adopted me. My biological father died 10 days after I was born- mum told me. And unfortunately for me I lost my mum two weeks ago. I am 22 years old. I started working in a bank six months ago and there is another problem I am facing there- I will tell you everything. My worst nightmare started eight years ago.’, Vanessa said already sobbing silently.
Nike entered her car and drove off to Vanessa’s new apartment after getting two packs of food from a restaurant. She checked the time on the dash board, it was 12:30 PM. She got there in another ten minutes. She got down carrying her the two cellophane containing the food in her right hand and she held her purple handbag which matched her purple high heeled sandal in the other hand. She wore a black suit skirt and a purple silk camisole. She walked through the part way and rung the doorbell. She heard voices inside and wondered which visitor Vanessa had. The door swung open almost immediately to reveal a tear stained face- Vanessa.
‘What the hell? Who is making you cry?’, Niks blurted out as she walked into the warm apartment, and before she could reply she saw a woman sitting on a single couch also in tears an then she knew exactly what had happened, Van had spoken with the woman. She thought as she looked from both figure, she then strode to the dinning at the left to drop the cellophanes.

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Van did the introduction and was very pleased that the woman has a very soft spot for her friend. They talked some more before Aishat left for her apartment.
Francis drove the car into the compound with his sister sitting beside him smiling all over- church service was over. He parked the car in the parking space and both of the alighted. Francis looked very handsome n the deep blue shirt he wore on black trousers and Sharon wore an army green gown with a matching hat. They looked good. They already ate at a restaurant close to the church.
Francis went straight to his bedroom to put a call through to Nike, he smiled to himself as remembered their encounter yesterday- actually the two ladies are pretty but there is something about the second lady he couldn’t place his fingers on yet, Vanessa. She probably had a problem. Francis thought as he removed his shoes, he laid his shirt on the only sofa in the room on laid on his back the king sized bed as he searched for Niks’ number, he found it and dialed…
Van and Niks ate silently at the dinning. Van was grateful for the food. Just then Niks’ phone rang and before she could find it in her handbag it stopped ringing but started ringing again, the caller ID was Francis the cute guy, she can bet she is already crushing on the guy and she was also surprised that he called after the embarrassment they caused him the previous day. She picked…
‘Hello Francis,’ she spoke into the speaker
as she strode back to the dinning area barefooted and Van who was almost through with her meal looked up with raised eyeballs, she knew she cant possibly be speaking to her step brother- then whch other Francis does she know- oh! Guy.she thought as she scratched her hair. Niks was probably right, he seems nice cause after all the embarrassment he still called, maybe I overreacted, maybe he is different. She thought soberly.
‘Hey beauty!, how are you’, Francis said and Niks chuckled obviously enjoying the conversation.
‘I am fine handsome and am terribly sorry for the embarrassment we caused you yesterday. Niks apologized.
‘its fine Niks and how is your friend?’
‘Van is here and she wanna speak with you’, Niks lied as she eyed Van to take the phone from her and at the other end, Francis withdrew the phone from his ear surprised.
Van hesitated a little before she took the phone from Niks.
‘Hey Vanessa’, Francis spoke obviously excited.
‘Hi dude, sorry about yesterday and you don’t get tired, do you?’, Van said rushing her words and Niks narrowed her eyes at her clearly irritated by her outburst.
‘Its all good ma’am and yes I do not get tired’, Francis replied laughing.
Niks snatched the phone from her when she sees she is about saying more rude things. She apologized to Francis who promised to call her again very soon.
Niks finally left at Six in the evening.
To be continued… 
NEXT (episode 7)                                                                                        PREVIOUS (episode 5)

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