Bolu Coker walked sloppily into his study. He held his marijuana stick in one hand and a newspaper in the other. He took a deep breath as he sunk into a chair. “Am I finished yet?” he asked himself as he laughed softly. “Not yet…I am not yet finished.” He answered to himself as he lifted the intercom. “Bring me some coffee and crackers.” He ordered and replaced the intercom.
The door opened shortly afterwards and a maid walked in carrying a tray with his order. “Good morning, sir.” She greeted with a smile and dropped the tray gently on the table.
“Where’s Mary?” he asked as he watched her pour the coffee.
The maid took a deep breath. “Mary left the house yesterday and hasn’t returned ever since.”
He cleared his throat. “Any idea on why she would do such a thing?”
“Not at all, sir” She replied, handing him the cup of coffee.
He shrugged slightly. “Okay, you may leave.” He said as he sipped his coffee gently. The maid walked out of the study briskly. He reached for his drawer and pulled out his aspirin bottle and took a few tablets, as he tried to replace the lid, the bottle slipped sending the tablets scattering all over the floor. He swore quietly and bent down to pick up the bottle. His jaw nearly dropped to the floor as he gasped, staring disbelievingly at his half-open safe. He took a shaky breath and opened the safe with trembling hands. Empty safe!
“Is Wura in such a haste to get rid of me?” Tunji asked as he pulled out his pen from his jacket pocket.
Mark took a deep breath as he watched Tunji Bankole stare at the divorce papers. “She told me to retrieve them.”
Tunji nodded and smiled lightly. “I have lost my wife, right?” he took a deep breath. “She won’t even forgive me.” he shrugged. “I don’t blame her. I mean, who would let such go just like that?” He flipped the first page open. “Is she leaving me for you?” he asked quietly.
Tunji’s eyes burned. “Are you marrying her?”
Mark scoffed lightly. “Of course not, she is like a mother to me, a woman I respect a lot, we have nothing but a business relationship between us.”
Tunji smiled. “Don’t mind me, I was not being serious.” He blinked and wiped a tear drop. “I must be really silly to have tears in my eyes before a young man as yourself.”
“We are all human, sir”
He nodded. “Where do I sign?”He asked, regaining his composure quickly
Mark bent over and showed him where he was to append his signature, which he did without any hesitation.
“Would that be all?” Tunji asked.
Mark nodded. “Yes, sir”
Tunji smiled faintly and handed him the document. “Tell her to have a good life, she deserves it. And, please tell her that I am sorry for everything.”
Mark nodded. “Of course, sir” He replied and walked out.
Tunji bowed his head.
I pressed the doorbell gently. I loved everything about this house, I would be proud to have it as my home, someday. I pressed the doorbell again.
The door opened gently and David smiled lightly. “Kim, Good morning”
I stared at him till he bowed his head in some form of mock shyness. “How are you?” I asked.
He took a deep breath as he folded his arms. “I am a little tired. I just made breakfast, come in.” he said.
“Did you make for three?” I asked.
He scoffed lightly. “What do you mean?” he asked with a smile. I stepped out of the way gently and Elizabeth came from behind and stood before her son. “M..Mo..Mom.” David’s voice broke as he stared at her. I took a deep breath as I watched them. Tears rolled freely down Elizabeth’s cheeks as she threw her arms open in love. I stared at David who didn’t even bat an eyelid as he ran into the arms of his waiting mother like a toddler. I wondered how they felt in their hearts with a wide smile on my lips.
Tunji Bankole drank his water gently as he relaxed in his seat.
“Did you do all these, Professor Tunji Bankole?”
He nodded. “Yes Mustapha, and everything I have said in my statement.”
Mustapha held his head and slammed the table. “Professor Bankole, why sir? You are a respectable man, why?”
“Come on Mustapha, I don’t need you going Saint Francis on me. I came to you because I want this case treated as soon as possible.” He replied calmly.
Mustapha took a deep breath. “What do you want me to do with what you have told me?”
“Do what is right, Mustapha. Rid the society of people like myself and Bolu Coker.”
He nodded and placed the document in his locker. “We would start investigations on everything you have told us.”
“Do that quickly.” Tunji replied and picked up his phone. “Thank you.” he replied and walked out.
Elizabeth ran her finger across the painting on David’s wall. “When I gave this to Kimberly, I never knew it would come back to you.”
“Mom, I don’t know how to explain how much I regret hurting you.”
She smiled. “You were just a boy.”
“Don’t make excuses for me, you taught me right.”
She scoffed lightly. “You know, I spent days and nights in that home praying silently that one day I’d still see my son, my boy, the David I have always loved.” She said and took a seat. David took his seat beside her. “You know what really makes me proud today?”
She smiled. “The woman you are with.” She started and he smiled. “I know you must be proud to have her.” She said as she stroked his hair. “You know, I have to say this is the only right thing Bolu did. At least, he arranged for you and Kim to be together.”
“Oh well, can we not talk about him?”
She scoffed. “We can skip him temporarily, but, I want to go to the house, I want to see him.”
She swallowed. “He owes me.” she replied. “Bolu destroyed me and everything I stood for, he made me feel less than human. I want my life back.”
“Mom…” David struggled as his voice broke. “Dad is dangerous. I don’t want you to go there.”
She nodded. “I want to see him, I need to move on with my life and he needs to hear me out.”
I walked into the living room with a tray and placed it carefully on the table. “Do I serve your drinks?” I asked.
Elizabeth shook her head. “No, I would like to see the house, it’s antique, and I like it”
“You could paint it, Mom.” David said.
Her face fell. “I don’t paint anymore.” She replied. “I’ll be outside.” She said and walked out.
David stared at me. “Kim…I love you, only God knows what I would have been without you.”
“Awww...I’m so touched” I replied sarcastically.
He smiled and pulled me closer for a hug. “Don’t ever leave me, Kimberly. Please…”
“I am not going anywhere, David.” I replied, softly.
He kissed my forehead. “Thank you for coming into my life. You are a blessing to me.”
“And you complete me.” I replied with a smile.
He smiled and his lips came down tenderly on mine as he kissed me deeply.
“Who is going to show me the house?” Elizabeth screamed behind us. David and I giggled as we broke the kiss and stared at her. “You guys can get back to what you weren’t doing when I see the house, how about that?”
David nodded and cleared his throat. “Yes ma.” He replied, pulling me along as we walked out.
Wura Bankole smiled as she went through the divorce papers. “This is good news.”
“I guess…but I think he is sorry”
She laughed. “Mark, don’t be fooled, Tunji has always been sorry.”
“I think it is for real this time, he even had tears in his eyes.”
She blinked and took a deep breath. “Mark, when you break something really bad, say an egg, and you had all the resources to mend it, would it ever be as good as new?”
“No, but, I would at least still have my egg, right?”
She smiled faintly. “The marriage is over and there is nothing we can do about it.”
He nodded. “When do we return to Abuja? I have received several calls from the office there demanding your attention.”
She tapped the table lightly. “We’ll remain in Lagos for now. I need to finish some work here and call for a press conference to announce this divorce.”
“Really? Is it worth the spectacle?”
She scoffed. “You don’t know a thing about spectacle.” She sat up. “I am taking Tunji down! After all he has done to me and my daughter… It’s high time” She replied coolly and sipped her drink. “Besides, they would find out eventually, I’ll make a subtle announcement, the press will do the rest.” She added with a smile.
Henry lingered around the gate until he saw Mirabel come out of the house. “What took you so long?”
“I am sorry, you sprung a surprise on me saying you wanted to see me. So, what’s up?” she asked, folding her hand.
He took a deep breath. “Are your parents in?”
“Of course, it is still early.” She replied raising her eyebrow.
He nodded with a smile. “I want to see them.”
He smiled. “What do you mean ‘why’? I like you.”
“You like me?”
He nodded and gasped. “I am sorry, I haven’t even told you.” He replied with a smile. She blushed faintly. “I don’t have much to offer you, you know…just the grocery store and my first degree for now, but I am going to work hard and provide for you.” He grinned.
“Shut up! What are you saying?”
He bit his lip. “I like you a lot, Mirabel.”
“Like?” she asked as she stared at him.
He nodded. “Uhh…and a little more.” He winked.
“You are a kid.” She replied.
He shrugged with a smile. “A boy’s love is like water in a sieve, it pours freely.” He replied.
She smiled widely. “That’s lame.”
He grinned. “I know you love me.”
Mirabel gasped as she saw her father. “Da…Dad!”
“At least you guys could be responsible enough not to do this outside.” He said, pushing the gate open. “Or do we hold the meeting here?”
Mirabel took Henry’s hand and they walked into the house past Niran Briggs who shot a warning glance at the security. “Idiot!” he said, eyeballing him. “Wait there you both!” he shouted.
Mirabel and Henry stopped in their tracks and stared at him. “Dad, I am so sorry.” Mirabel started.
“Enough!” Niran replied and stared at Henry prompting him to speak.
Henry smiled as though he had waited for this moment. “Sir,” he started as he cleared his throat. “I am sorry for disrespecting you and your daughter by not coming in to speak with you directly, but, I want you to know that it is not in my intention to be rude to you or your family.”
Niran Briggs shook his head as a wry smile lurked around his lips. “It’s obvious Mirabel hasn’t said a thing to you about our family. Please walk with me.” He said as he led the way.
Bolu adjusted his neck scarf as he stared at himself in the mirror. He took a deep breath as he snapped his cufflinks in place. ‘Tunji Bankole, that bastard! He must have taken the bond.’ He thought.
“Still as dashing as ever.”
Bolu’s eyes popped as he saw Elizabeth in the mirror. ‘Am I dreaming?’
“It’s not a dream.” She replied as though she had read his mind.
He turned slowly and stared at her from toe to head and then head to toe. This had to be a dream. “You?” he panted.
“Yes, me. Elizabeth Sunflower.”
He shook his head incredulously and slid into his bed gently. “What do you want from me, Elizabeth?”
“My life!… I want it back. My sanity. You took everything away, but now, I want it all back.”
He took a deep breath. “What do you mean? I don’t understand.”
She strode across the room. “I see you have renovated the place.”
“Your paintings were depressing.” He replied as he swallowed.
She smiled faintly. “You sent me away from my home, you kept me away from everyone, from everything, from my son.”
He scoffed. “Your son never cared.” He replied, standing up. “He wanted you out.”
She nodded. “But on your instruction, right?”
Bolu adjusted his jacket and walked up to her. “I forgot to ask, who dressed you up? You actually look good which isn’t very Elizabeth-like.” He said with a sly grin. “You are not this beautiful woman; you are dirty, smelly and a terrible artist.”
A slap landed heavily across his face as he fell into a chair. He was shocked. “Did you slap me?” he shouted.
“I will do it again with all pleasure, you shameless low life!” she replied.
Bolu nursed his cheek gently. “I could kill you right now, you know.”
She nodded. “I know, but I am no longer scared of you.”
She smiled faintly. “When you spend seventeen years of your life with a man who never loved you and another twelve years in confinement, what or who else is there to be scared of?”
“Don’t exempt David! That creep is not innocent either!”
She laughed scornfully. “Bolu, you are pitiful. Are you going to drag a then-fifteen-year-old into this?”
“He was a man. He had a choice!”
She shook her head. “No one has a choice with you. You are a domineering piece of thrash, how is Tunji? Have you succeeded in destroying him too?”
“Not yet! But very soon too.”
She took a deep breath. “I wish you won’t ever repent, you don’t deserve a good life.” She said as she walked past him. “Bolu, I am back already. Show’s over.” She added and walked out.
He panted and rushed after her but bumped into David. “You?”
“Are you going after her?” David asked, standing in his way.
“I will finish you off, both of you, I promise.”
David nodded with a grin. “I guess you will be doing that behind bars.”
“What do you mean?” Bolu yelled as he grabbed David’s shirt.
“It’s high time the police got wind of your innumerable crimes, don’t you think?”
Bolu pushed him back. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“Not me, Dad. You have hurt other people, like my mom. She won’t forgive that.”
“Your mother hit me, tell her I don’t forgive easily.” He replied and returned to his room slamming the door hard after him.
“Thank you very much, Mr. Ojo.” Oyinkan said as she stretched out her hand to a client for a handshake.
Mr. Ojo took the hand as he tried to avoid her stare. “Thank you, Psychic.”
She scoffed. “I am not a Psychic, Mr. Ojo.” She replied. He bowed his head. She smiled. “But if it would help you apologize to your daughter and wife, I’ll gladly be your Shrink.”
He nodded and used the chair for support as he rose to his feet. “Thank you. I hope I won’t have to come back here.”
“Me too…I hope you have a happy family from now.” She replied and watched him leave. She cast her gaze back on her laptop. She heard the door creak slightly. She didn’t even look up as she knew it as her assistant announcing the next client’s session.
“Next session is in ten minutes, Sophia, please put the next client on hold.”
“I was thinking we could speed mine up.”
She looked up and smiled at Ben. “What do you want, Ben?”
“Hey! Ben…you look tired! Awww…sweetheart, I have missed you.” he replied with a grin. “That would have sounded better than a grumpy ‘what do you want Ben?” he said as he helped himself to a seat.
She rolled her eyes. “Do you want some water?”
“Water?” he scoffed. “I come all the way here and you are offering me water? Come on, we are going out for lunch.”
She scoffed. “Some of us have work to do, you know.”
“I am your next client for the next one hour and how about I say I want to take you for lunch and then we discuss my problem there?”
She shook her head stubbornly. “Declined.”
He chuckled. “I have paid already.”
She took a deep breath. “Can we order in?”
“I’ll take anything.” He replied with a smile.
Niran laughed as he folded the monopoly board. “Young man, to be a business man, you have to think like one.”
“He is no business man, Dad. How can anyone be bankrupt in Monopoly for five times in a row?” Mirabel jeered as she poured Henry and her Dad some juice. “It’s unbelievable, totally hilarious!”
Henry scoffed. “It must be the food you served me before the first game.”
Niran laughed. “I agree with you, I blame my past failures on Olamide too.” He replied as he eyeballed his wife who seemed not to be paying attention to them but occasionally stole glances at them. “Back then, she wouldn’t let me mingle with the top guns, she would lace my meal with pepper and I would be unable to attend.”
“You are better off for it.” Olamide replied coolly as she flipped through the magazine she was reading. “Kim Banks is wild fire. That girl’s got talent.”
Niran eyeballed her and turned in Henry and Mirabel’s direction. “She changes the topic a lot.” He whispered. “One advice for you both, don’t get married, it ruins everything.” He grinned.
“Come on, Dad. I don’t even like Henry.” Mirabel replied.
He gasped. “Seriously? What have I been making friends with him for?” he shouted and gripped Henry’s collar. “You ate my food, drank my wine and juice and even played my prestigious monopoly, and yet she doesn’t like you?”
Henry panted in fear as he stared at Mirabel with his mouth agape. “Bu..buuuttt….But I like her.” He stammered.
Niran grinned and adjusted his collar gently. “It’s okay, son. Mirabel likes you. She never brings guys home.”
“Dad…he came here. I did not invite him.”
Niran nodded. “And how did he get this address?”
She rolled her eyes and took a deep breath. “Okay Dad, I give up. I like him…but just a tiny little bit”
“That’s all that matters.” Niran replied.
I handed Elizabeth a glass of cold water. “You shouldn’t have gone to see him.”
“Bolu is unrepentant. I fear for him.”
I wore a faint smile. “Don’t worry about him, worry about yourself.”
She nodded. “I have plans, I want to open a facility like Victoria Homes. There are so many unloved people out there; it’s time I made good of my money.”
“Way to go!” I replied with a smile.
She held my hand. “Thanks for saving my son. Only God knows who David would have been without you.” she said, with a smile. “God bless you.”
I blinked with a smile. “Amen. And speaking of which, where is David? He didn’t even come in.”
“He said he wanted to clear his head.”
I smiled. “He’ll be fine.”
“You two would make a great couple.”
I nodded and prayed silently in my heart. I could only hope for the best, sometimes, that’s all we can do.
“Wura is getting a divorce, and Bolu would be signing ours pretty soon.” She said. “I want to be totally free from him.”
I stared at her. “Do you think Mr. Coker would sign the papers?
“I don’t know, but even if he doesn’t, I’ll help him. I’ll go public. The world must miss me anyway.”
I smiled. “True…they will be shocked to even know that you are alive.”
“Well, it would be a good surprise.”
I nodded. “Yes, a very good surprise.” My phone buzzed and a text message popped up from David. “Kim, please bring my mom to this address……………”
“What’s going on?” she asked.
I shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Ini closed the door of the apartment after Marcus. “Hectic day!” she said as she collapsed on the sofa.
“You can say that again.” He replied taking a seat. “Good thing the shoot is almost over! It’s so tiring”
She nodded and dragged herself up. “I’ll get you some water.”
He held her back. “No, I’ll do that for you.” he said with a smile.
“Am I dreaming?”
He smiled. “It’s for a while.” He replied as he left for the kitchen and returned with a glass of water. “Ini…I am considering looking for a better apartment.”
“You should…your current neighbourhood is a mess, no offence.”
He smiled. “None taken.” He replied casually. “When I get the money from the deal, I will find a decent place to live.”
“Oh my dear, it had better be a good place. You have responsibilities.”
He nodded. “Yes, I have two ‘INIs’ to cater for. I must be lucky.”
“What do you mean?” Ini groaned as she jumped on him.
He laughed. “Ini, I mean you guys are a big deal, don’t you know?”
“Oh well…I never knew that.” She replied, kissing him.
He kissed back. “Have you always liked me?”
“Oh shut up…you are ruining the moment.” She replied.
“Professor Wura, could you please explain the reason for the divorce?” A reporter asked.
She smiled as the cameras clicked away. “Like I said earlier, Professor Tunji and I have come to a mutual agreement to continue our lives separately. I know this is sudden and might be disappointing bearing in mind that we were recently crowned Father and Mother of the year, but sometimes, we have to make tough but good decisions so as not to put more pressure on ourselves.”
“Professor Wura, did Professor Tunji Bankole protest the divorce?” Another reported asked.
“Yes I did…” Tunji shouted as he walked into the room. The reporters swirled in his direction and flashed the cameras on him. He blinked as he walked forward slowly. “Any reasonable man would protest a divorce, especially when you are at fault.”
“What are you doing, Tunji?” Wura muttered beneath her breath.
He blinked and stared at the press. “Fellow Nigerians, I am a disgrace to every father out there. I have failed in my duties as a man, a father and a husband, and I am sorry. Wura was the one who held the home, I broke it apart, and yes, I protested the divorce because I realized my wrongs and I felt ashamed about it, but, I have to let her go. She doesn’t deserve me. No woman deserves an animal.”
“Professor Tunji Bankole, could you shed more light on what led to this divorce?” A reporter shouted.
Tunji wore a wry smile. “I am afraid those details are better left unsaid, but, what I can tell you is that is I am ashamed of myself and that I failed Wura, I failed my daughter, Kimberly, I failed my friends, I failed the society, I failed myself and I failed God.” He concluded and went down on his knees.
Wura stared at him in her seat, she held on to her seat as she restrained herself from standing up.
Tunji Bankole bowed his head. “For not being a real husband, father and role model, I am sorry.” He concluded and walked out slowly. Some members of the press chased after him like cats but were fended off by his security men who helped him out of the hall.
“Professor Wura, what do you have to say?” A reporter shouted as they swirled in her direction again.
She turned her face away. Mark immediately stepped up to his duty. “This session is over. Thank you all for coming.”
Wole closed the door of the house. “I hope you are happy with this.”
“Yes, it is small and decent. We could take care of ourselves here without having maids.”
He raised an eyebrow. “No maids?”
“No maids! What do you want them for? Answer me!”
He grinned. “Easy babe, it’s just that you work so hard at the real estate and I work too, and I just feel, we would be tired after work and would need someone to help us out.”
“We would help each other.” She replied, sharply.
He nodded. “Chill…” he grinned. “It is not a big deal you know…”
“It is o!” she replied. “Let’s familiarize ourselves with the house. Our house…Our home!” she chanted leading the way.
He scoffed lightly. “Yes ma!” He replied and followed coolly.
Elizabeth and I met David in front of his car. He winked at me and fetched a tiny scarf from his car. “I have a surprise for you, Mom.” He said and tied her face gently with the scarf. “Help me, Kim.” He said and I joined him as we walked with his blindfolded Mom. We stopped in front on a gate and he opened it. We walked in and then stopped at the door. I smiled as I kissed his forehead. David had gotten his mother a house! He removed the scarf gently from her eyes. “Your home.” He said as he got on his knees. “I am truly sorry, mother.”
She kissed his forehead, helped him up and hugged him tenderly. I smiled at them from a distance. She then broke off from the hug gently and hugged me too. “Thank you, Kimberly.” She whispered.
I smiled as she stared at the house. “Thank you, David.”
He handed her the key. “Take a good look around. Kimberly and I would be around.” he said and held my hand.
“I love the view here.” I said as I rushed to the water front.
David walked slowly behind me. “It’s a fantastic view.”
I smiled as I walked back to him. “David…” I asked as I kissed him.
“Hum…uh…” he replied cheekily.
“Why did you leave Elizabeth alone in the house?” I asked, as I smiled staring at him. “You are up to something, aren’t you?”
He drew me closer for a hug. “I did something there, it scares me too…”
I broke away from the hug as I stared at him. “What did you do?”
Elizabeth smiled as she walked up the stairs. Everything she had seen downstairs was beautiful, the living room, the kitchen, the backyard. A simple haven! She smiled as she saw a large tag on the floor. “TURN RIGHT” she read. “Oh David…what are you up to?” she said as she continued in the direction of the tags she saw as she walked.
The directions stopped and she was standing in front of a room. She held the door knob and turned it. The door squeaked and she was standing in a dark room. She found the switch on the wall and turned on the light.
She stood motionless for a few seconds and couldn’t fight back the emotions in her eyes as she stared at a painting brush, paint, and a board. She walked to the board and ran her hand across the paper. ‘Priceless joy’ she said as she picked up her painting brush. Her eyes caught a note stuck near the board. “Welcome home, Mom. You never left my heart.” She read and smiled from the depth of her heart.