“Have they called?” Henry asked Zainab as she returned with the three million naira, he looked rather cool and relaxed compared to Zainab who looked like someone whose brother had just been kidnapped… Well, her brother had just been kidnapped.
Her mind was somewhere else and Henry had to ask the second time before she nodded her head in response.
“Good! That gives us more time to get ready.” Henry replied.
“Get ready? They requested for ten million but we have just three million. They obviously don’t want the police to be involved and surprisingly, you don’t want the police to be involved too… I’m beginning to wonder whose side you are on.”
“Firstly, I didn’t say I don’t want the police to be involved. I said, I don’t want you to call the police YET, we would involve them in the right time.” He replied and started walking out of the room. “Now, while I go get the bags, can make yourself useful and divided the money with you into three equal parts?”
Zainab really wanted to reply, but none of the responses that popped into her head made sense. She just closed her opened mouth and started doing as she was told.
“Are you enjoying the meal?” John asked.
Jummy had her mouth full so she had to quickly chew and swallow before she replied.
“Enjoy? That’s a modest word to express how good this food tastes. How did you know that I loved Pounded yam and Egusi with STRICTLY goat meat?”
John smiled, “when you date someone long enough and love her truly, everything she says is important and you don’t forget it even if you want to.”
Jummy couldn’t help but blush, but the thoughts of how much John had hurt her crossed her mind once more. She just couldn’t accept him because of a fancy dinner and the few changes he had made, after all what’s worse than walking home and catching your husband screwing his best friend who happens to be MALE.
“It would have been much better if it was a female.” She suddenly said out loud without even knowing.
“What did you say?” John asked looking confused, he heard her clearly but didn’t quite get what she meant at the time and was wondering what that had to do with the meal.
“Nothing.” Jummy replied and started rinsing her hand. “I’ve lost my appetite,” she added as she did so.
John was more confused now, what have I done wrong? He thought “Jummy…” He called out her name.
“John… Please don’t even start. You know one funny thing, even after what you did to me…”
“Jummy…” He cut in.
She continued like he hadn’t said anything. “I still love you, and I hate it that I love you. But whether I love you or not doesn’t matter anymore…”
“Jummy…” He cut in once again.
“I’m glad you have changed because that would make things easier for the next lady you meet. We can be friends but you and I can never be together again.” She picked up the napkin and wiped her mouth then stood up to leave.
“Are you done?” John asked.
“I’m going.” She replied as she fought back the tears that were in the mood to let loose.
“I know I’m a jerk and a huge idiot who doesn’t deserve you especially after what I did to you, and I also know no apology can relieve you of the pain I caused you. But there is a small problem, I just don’t want to be just your friend.” John paused, stood up and walked to the front of Jummy, he held her hands. “Jumoke, you are the one I see anytime I sleep, the one I can’t survive a minute without thinking about, the one makes life worth living… I mean I think about you and it’s like nothing else matters, you bring me joy… Jummy…” He looked her straight in the eyes, “you complete me.”
Jummy was speechless. No one had ever said such beautiful things to her and she really wanted to kiss him on that spot and forget everything, but the ugly memories of what he had done crossed her mind once more.
“John, I wish it was that easy. I’ve forgiven you but like I said earlier, you and I can’t work. I’m going home, don’t bother about taking me home, I’ll find my way home.”
With that, Jummy stormed out, tears rolling freely down her cheek as she did so.
John sat on the floor confused. He finally realized something; he really meant everything he said to Jummy and he hated himself for hurting her.
He stood up and walked over to the roof’s slab and looked down. Without having Jummy, life didn’t seem worth living anymore to him.
A few minutes later, Henry reappeared with three identical bags but instead of them to be empty, they all seemed to be half filled with something.
He walked closer to Zainab and dropped the bag at her front grinning.
Zainab looked up at him and saw he was grinning. “What’s making you grin?” She asked.
“Never mind, just put one million into each bag and make sure the money covers the newspapers under totally.”
“Newspapers? What are you talking about?” Zainab inquired.
“You are a smart lady, you can’t possibly tell me you don’t get the idea of what we are going to do yet.” Henry said with a sigh.
“Wait… Wait… Wait! We are talking ’bout my brother here. We aren’t going to try and trick the kidnappers, they might get angry and I’m sure I don’t want them to throw their anger on my brother. When they call…”
Speaking about the devil, Zainab was interrupted as her phone suddenly started ringing.
She looked at the screen and saw the number was hidden just like the first time the kidnappers had called. She knew it was them. She picked the call and put it on loud speaker.
“Hello.” She said.
“Have you gotten the money ready?” Mr Dayo asked.
Zainab had to make a decision quickly. She could either say yes and hope Henry’s plan worked out as planned or say no and let her brother stay in the arms of people who could really hurt him. She was still weighing her options when she suddenly heard a scream in the background which sounded a lot like Taofeek’s voice.
“Who was that?” She asked.
“Oh! So you are still there? I thought you had died while answering the phone so I decided to motivate you… NOW IS MY MONEY READY OR NOT!!!”
Without thinking Zainab replied “yes! It’s ready.”
“Good, now we are talking. Here’s what you are going to do, get into your car now and drive to Cele express. Look around and you would see two bridges, a motor bridge and a pedestrian bridge. Carry the three bags and walk to the pedestrian bridge. I’ll call you in twenty minutes time so that means you have twenty minutes to get there.”
“Okay.” Zainab said with her voice shaking.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to tell you to come alone right?”
“Yes.” Zainab replied and a beep followed as the call was disconnected.
Without saying a word to Zainab, Henry unzipped one of the bags and started loading it with the money… Zainab paused for a minute, staring at him in silence.
“You have twenty minutes and you are admiring me?”
Zainab didn’t bother replying as she snapped back to reality. She unzipped another bag and started filling it up.
For someone who was in the hands of kidnappers who just opened a tool box filled with weird looking things that could really hurt someone, Taofeek looked pretty relaxed.
“Do you know what this is?” The other man who had walked in with Mr Dayo asked Henry as he held a tool that looked exactly like a screw driver.
“A screw driver?” Taofeek replied as if asking for some sort of confirmation.
The man pressed a button on the screw-driver and the tip of the screw-driver split only to reveal two sharp looking pin-like objects that replaced the tip of the screw- driver.
“No my friend, this isn’t really a screw-driver. It’s more like an injection with two pins. The problem I have with it is that it doesn’t cause much pain.”
Taofeek opened his mouth in shock, why would he want it to cause much pain? He wondered.
“What do you plan on doing with that?” He asked.
“Just to motivate your sister.” Mr Dayo cut in and the dialled Zainab’s number.
Everybody was quiet for a few minutes and then Mr Dayo spoke “have you gotten my money ready?”
Taofeek listened carefully and tried to understand the conversation. The next thing he knew, the weird looking screw-driver was stabbed into his laps and he let out and ear deafening scream.
The only tangible things he got out of Mr Dayo’s conversation was one: he definitely was somewhere about a place called Cele Express and Zainab had the money prepared.
He was going to be free at last! He thought to himself and smile formed on his face. He forgot things don’t also go as planned.
In no time, the bags were filled and the newspapers were properly covered with the money.
“Let’s go, I’ll drive.” Henry said to Zainab.
“Didn’t you hear the part where I’m meant to deliver the money alone?”
“And you would deliver the money alone, but I’m driving you there, besides, I’m a better and faster driver.”
Zainab wasn’t in the mood to argue. She tried to pick up the three bags and take them to the car, but they were too heavy. Henry folded his arms and watched her
struggle with the bags in amusement. When he had had enough fun, he walked over and snatched the bags from and her hands, easily lifting then from the floor.
“And later, you females would say ‘what a man can do, a woman can do better’, when you can just carry a few newspapers.” Henry said as he walked away.
By the time they got to the car and were on the road, Zainab picked up her phone and dialled a number.
Henry saw that she held the phone to her ears and became curious, “who are you calling?”
“Someone. You don’t expect us to go without the police knowing and not even a friend in case things go wrong?”
“Nothing would go wrong.”
“Well, I’m not taking any chances,” she replied and before Henry could reply, the recipient picked up.
“Do you know what time it is?” Jummy asked from the other end of the line.
“Shut up and listen, this is serious.” Zainab replied then when she got Jummy’s attention, she went ahead to tell her the whole story and made Jummy promise not to call the police… Jummy promised then Zainab hung up.
“Now, someone knows where we were last seen.” Zainab said to Henry.
They got to the bridge as instructed and Zainab walked out of the car alone, dragging the three bags along, she stood at the pedestrian bridge just as instructed.
Her phone went life at exactly twenty minutes. “Are you there?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Good. Now, do as I say. Drop one of the bags beside the middle pillar of the pedestrian bridge the take the remaining two back to the car and drive to Mile 2 – Oke, you have ten minutes to do that.” The call went dead.
Jummy did exactly as told and went back to the car.
“Why did you drop one bag there and what would happen to the remaining bags?” Henry asked looking confused.
“That was the instruction, now drive to Mile 2 – Oke.”
“Wow!!! This just got quite interesting.” Henry said as he started the car.