Rebecca: “your friend, you trust him?” she asked, her ears glued to her phone.
Pius: “of course. We have been friends for years.” He replied, over the phone.
Rebecca: “well I was thinking that someone should make sure he kept to the schedule we have set out at the beginning.” She replied.
Pius: “what is that supposed to mean?” he asked.
Sister Rebecca: “I have somebody watching Bishop Hezekiah and according to the person, they are not where they are supposed to be.” She replied.
The phone was silent for some seconds.
Pius: “let me call you back.” He said and ended the call.
Chief Omuah stared at the streets as they passed, his mind filled with thoughts of the task he had been assigned. His driver was taking him to the hotel where he usually lodged with Osato any time she came visiting. She had called him as soon as she got off the plane. He sighed and turned to look at the hotel gates as the driver drove in. “this is going to be a difficult task to carry out. I wish I could get another alternative.” He thought to himself. He picked his briefcase and came out of the car as the manager of the hotel rushed out to welcome him personally.
Manager: “welcome sir.” He said beaming with joy. Chief Omuah was known for his generosity.
Chief Omuah: “Sylvester how are you? Please I will take the suite today. I have a meeting with my accountant and my girl is coming also. So arrange for another suite for my accountant as usual. I hope there are suites available?” he asked, smiling in return.
Manager: “of course sir. We had it properly cleaned and aired as soon as the call came that you were coming, sir. I will go and prepare the second one as requested immediately sir.” He replied as they both walked into the hotel reception, leaving the driver to park the car.
Damian: “I am at my stop. Where exactly are you headed?” he asked, warily.
They had been moving for a while and the lady had not shown any interest in stopping. He did not know what she was up to, it made him nervous.
Ruth: “can I confide in you?” she asked, looking at him hopefully.
Damian sighed and nodded his head, as he dipped his hand into his suit pocket to bring out his wallet. “I knew she was after something. It definitely will be money. I am even surprised it took her this long to speak up.” He thought to himself.
Ruth: “I am sick and dying. I have tumour in my head.” She said quietly.
Damian paused his hand clutching his wallet inside his pocket. He looked at her curiously.
Ruth: “it is in the early stages, so it is not showing. I know what you are thinking that I am out to scam you, I know but I promise you I want nothing from you.” She replied on noting his pause.
Damian: “well… I am really sorry about the tumour. Cant it be operated or something?” he asked.
Ruth: “I am a realist, sir. Operations and hospital stays and all that will be costly. I would rather have the money used for my children’s upkeep than wasting it on me.” She replied, staring out through the window.
Damian: “you have kids? What about your husband?” he asked, surprised. She didn’t look like she had given birth.
Ruth: “my husband is why I am talking to you now. I see you as a decent man. My husband is about ten years older than me, also my two boys are quite young. My husband did a contract for one big man that lives around this Asiokoro part of Abuja but the man has refused to pay. Now he does not know that I am sick because I have not told him but I want to help him get this money before I am too weak to move around.” She said
Damian: “I don’t understand. How do you intend to get this money from this man? You didn’t do the contract, your husband did. Besides from what I can see, you do not have any document to prove that you are the man’s wife or that he sent you to collect money on his behalf.” He replied; looking at her questioningly
Ruth: “the man has met me before and he has, in not so many words, given the impression that if I agree to sleep with him, my husband will get his money.”
Damian: “hold on. So you want to sleep with this man, so that he will pay your husband the money he owes him?” he asked incredulously. The lady nodded. “Jesus! I have heard everything. This is despite the fact that you are dying of a brain tumour?” he continued and Ruth nodded.
Damian stared at the lady then he chuckled in disbelief. He rubbed his hands over his eyes and sighed.
Damian: “so where do I come in?” he asked quietly.
Ruth: “you have been to Abuja several times in the past to do business with Chief Omuah, right? I need you to help me plead my case, in case decides not to pay after the sex.” She said looking at Damian with sad eyes.
Damian stared at her with his mouth wide open.
Damian: “you knew it was me when you stood on the road. You were waiting for me? Are you mad? What if the car had hit you? Jesus Christ. I am sorry I will not be involved in such a plan. My relationship with Chief Omuah is purely professional.” He shouted at her.
Ruth: “please sir. Have you never been in a place where you wished for a miracle to save you? Please sir, I am sorry about how I came on to you but I am a desperate mother and wife. Please…” she begged, tears in her eyes.
Damian stared at her, remembering the envelope still in his pocket. “Well I have no miracles to save me…God…” he thought to himself.
Damian: “you will stay in my room while i am conducting business with him. When i am done, i will come and pick you up. We will do this delicately. Chief is an important client. I don’t want to lose his patronage because of the tears of a lady whose name i don’t even know.”
Ruth: “Ruth Ajayi. That is my name, Damian.” She replied smiling.
Damian: “Ruth…okay.” he replied as the driver drove into the hotel premises.
It never crossed his mind to ask how she knew his name.
Osato called Chief Omuah as soon as she got down from the plane. He informed her that he had sent his driver to pick up his accountant from the airport earlier on and he was not yet back. The other driver had carried him to the hotel. She grumbled about using a scrap taxi
Osato: “In Benin taxis used for drops are gorgeous affairs. Here in Abuja, you can’t tell the difference between taxis used for drops or the regular taxis. It is disgraceful.” She complained.
Chief Omuah: “Okay i will send an Uber taxi driver to you. Just wait.” He replied, laughing.
Osato: “Better. I am waiting.” She replied.
As she put her phone into her bag, the man who had been engrossed in a conversation with the fat he-goat who was seated across from her on the plane, walked up to her
Jackson: “hello beautiful. How are you?” he said to Osato, smiling.
Osato: “am fine. Do I know you?” she asked, trying to be polite.
Jackson: “no but i know you.” He replied, smiling at her.
Osato: “Okay… well are you going to tell me, who you are then?” she asked, frowning at her wristwatch.
Jackson: “call me Jackson. I am Amadi’s cousin.” He said quietly, watching her face intently.
Osato’s breath caught in her throat. “Jesus! Amadi…I am finished.” She thought to herself, her face a mask of calm indifference.
Osato: “am i supposed to know this Amadi? You said his name like he is the senate president or something?” she replied, bringing out dark shades from her bag and putting them on.
Jackson: “oh…that is how we are going to do it eh? No wahala…for your information though, he wants his baby. So you’d better start arranging a bag for the little one.” He replied then turned abruptly and left.
Osato watched the man as he walked away.”I am in soup o. How did Amadi find me? God please help me. What will i do? Why now when everything is going smoothly? I will ask Chief for help. He has friends in high places. Amadi and his gang are in for the shock of their lives. They think i am still that naive girl he had tied to his shadow. I have got enough problems as it is now, i don’t need another…” She thought to herself. “I hope Chief understands that it wasn’t intentional o. Men can be narrow minded sometimes.”
The taxi arrived, she got in and the taxi driver turned to her and smiled
Taxi Driver: “we meet again, madam.” He said.
Osato: “you! How!” she replied in shock.
Question: Who is the Taxi Driver? Damian is trying to help a distressed lady; do you think Ruth’s story is true or is she up to something else. Everyone seems to have secrets hidden behind their smile. I know you are eager to find out what those secrets are?
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