Fidelia got up and ran after Voke as he rolled out of the hospital room. She got there as a nurse was about to push the wheelchair into the room.
Fidelia: “don’t worry, I will take him inside.” She said, putting her hand on the wheelchair.
The nurse looked at Voke, who nodded his head in agreement. As the nurse left, Fidelia pushed the wheelchair into Voke’s room and sat down on a chair. They looked at each other for some minutes.
Fidelia: “I am sorry about earlier. I was not myself.” She said softly.
Voke waved his hand as if it was nothing. Fidelia sighed and stared at her fingers, twisting her shirt into knots.
Fidelia: “I am pregnant.” She said.
Voke: “God…from the robbery? Which of the men…” he could not complete the words.
Fidelia: “raped me? None of them. I was forced by your brother to rape a guy I just met; someone who had been kind enough to escort me home.” She replied sadly.
Voke: “wow! That’s deep. Is the guy aware?” he asked.
Fidelia: “he is not even aware that we had sex. He was passed out the whole time.” She replied.
Voke: “ha! This is big o. you should tell him o. Do you know where he lives?” he asked.
Fidelia: “I don’t even know his name sef. I met him at the mall some days ago. You think I should tell him?” she asked, worried.
Voke: “do you want to repeat the mistakes of the past? Look at what is going on now. It is as a result of keeping silent. Even if you do not want him or you do not care for him, he deserves to know; not for your sake or for his sake but for the sake of the child. Because a time will come when the child will want to know who his or her father is and why he or she has never seen him. If it means going to the mall and announcing in the public address system, then do it.” He replied.
Fidelia: “the last time, I saw him I was very rude to him o.” she replied.
Voke: “then go and fix it; the earlier the better.” He replied.
Fidelia nodded her head. She stood up and gave him Friday’s notebook and poems.
Fidelia: “you are not so bad.” She said, smiling.
Voke: “I thank God then that you did not kill me before realizing my worth.” He replied, smiling.
Brukeme stood as still as a statue, waiting for his employer. The woman soon came down the stairs with her daughter. He watched them quietly as the girl did something with her hands and smiled. He smiled and did it in return. The girl grinned.
Stella: “you know how to use the sign language?” she asked, surprised.
Brukeme: “yes. i went to a deaf school one time. No I am not deaf.” He replied, answering her unspoken question and laughing.
Stella: “how long have you been driving?” she asked, settling into her seat.
Brukeme: “six years ma. I was a bus driver until recently.” He replied.
Stella: “what happened?” she asked.
Brukeme: “the owner of the bus took the bus from me when it was almost time for the bus to become mine.” He replied.
Stella: “that’s sad. Anyways, you will be taking my daughter to school and back. When she closes from school, you will bring her to my shop at Delta mall. I will pay you thirty thousand naira plus provide lunch for you every week minus Saturdays and Sundays. Is that okay by you?” she asked
Brukeme: “yes ma it is. Thank you ma.” He replied.
The door opened and Ashley entered the house. Brukeme greeted her and she answered without interest, her eyes on Stella.
Stella: “my friend abeg no vex. Abeg no vex for me. Na emergency… i get to rush go Dubai. I just forget.” She said, quickly.
Ashley: “no wahala. Your gate man refused to let me in. I had to go back to the hotel that night.” She said, as she sat down and dropped her bag.
Stella: “how far? How did it go?” she asked. Ashley shook her head sadly. “No information?” she asked.
Ashley: “my pikin don go.” She said, then she burst into tears.
Stella: “ehm Brukeme, you can go. You will resume on Monday okay.” she said, waving Brukeme away as she rushed to Ashley’s side and embraced her in her arms.
Brukeme turned and quickly left the house. “Even the rich also cry.” He thought as he left.
Stella turned to Ashley as soon as the door closed.
Stella: “what happened?” she asked.
Ashley: “he was being oppressed and he ran away from home. He could be anywhere. Anywhere in the world or he could be dead. Stella how long will I continue to pay for my mistakes? How long?” she asked, her eyes filled with tears.
Stella: “don’t worry. It will be fine. Don’t worry. You know what I just opened a shop at Delta mall. You will be managing it, so you can learn the tricks of the trade, okay? As you have given up your old life, things will get better for you. You also need to quit smoking, my daughter does not like the smell that is why she has never hugged you.” she said.
Ashley: “that’s too late…” she paused as her phone started to ring. It was Tega. “How far?” She asked, wiping her eyes.
Tega: “come club make we discuss how the level go play.” He said.
She said okay and ended the call. She picked her bag and stood up.
Stella: “where are you going to?” she asked, looking at her with worry in her eyes.
Ashley: “there’s something I need to do. Then we will do whatever you want. I will be back. Whatever happens, Stella, please do not think bad of me, okay.” she said.
She hugged the worried Stella and left the house.
Dele watched as Tega drove into the hotel. He quickly rushed to him and opened the door for him. They greeted each other and Dele followed Tega as he walked into his office.
Tega: “how’s business?” he asked.
Dele: “a little bit slow for now. Once it is evening, things will improve.” He replied.
This was a ritual for them. Tega knew what was going on in the hotel but he always asked Dele as if he did not know. Tega sat down on his chair then raised his head in surprise when he saw that Dele was still there.
Tega: “is there any problem?” he asked.
Dele: “last night, one of the girls said she saw Ashley moving about the hotel premises.” He said slowly.
He was always careful about discussing Ashley with Tega because he still could not define the kind of relationship they have.
Tega: “that is no problem. we have some matters to discuss. She is even coming here today.” He replied, smugly.
Dele: “the girl said she was seen near your back entrance.” He continued.
Tega: “what are you implying?” he asked. “Do you know how long I and Ashley have been running shit together? From Spain to Italy to Nigeria. You see this hotel?” he asked, waving his hand about. “It was built with her money. If I tell her to go on her knees and give me a blow-job, she will. That is how much control, I have over her. So relax.” He said, smiling.
Dele: “but sir, you have to remember that a woman scorned is…” he starts to say.
Ashley: “deadlier than a serpent.” She said, cutting off Dele as she entered the office.
Dele swallowed and quickly rushed out of the office.
Question: Do you think Tega will listen to Dele’s warnings? Will Fidelia take Voke’s advice?
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