image

   Tolani and Stella met again the following day. Stella herself hadn’t stopped trying Tobiloba’s mobile number but it wouldn’t go through. Stella gave him the ticket to the singles’ forum they were invited to and both discussed about it and finalized that they’d attend the forum.

****

    It was evening again, Tolani had picked Stella up to drop her off at home. It was then he loaded a recharge card of #750 and also gave Stella hers. Both parted happily and Stella walked in.

    It was just fifteen minutes after that there were severe knocks at the gate. Favour rushed out to get who was at the gate when he saw a guy inside the house already and was holding a knife. “Open the gate for others.” He instructed her, threatening her with the knife.

     She had no choice but to dance to their tunes.

    She opened the gate immediately, shivering. She was pushed forward to head them inside the house. One of the guys stood by the gate, looking so scared. He was Paul, who just joined the gang forcefully because he had to pay for a kidney operation for his only left sister in the hospital.

    He had told the guys he didn’t want to join them but had no choice when he was threatened and his sister was dying.

    Not quite long after, the guys returned carrying Stella and left with her that night.

*****

    “Stella?” Tolani rushed out of the house on hearing that stella had been kidnapped. He had a short knicker and a white shirt on him when Favour called him and got him informed about what happened. He rushed down to her place that night, sweating profusely. What next would he do? Who would have done that?

*****

    Early in the morning the next day, he went to the station with Favour to report the case. The cops followed them, they said they wished to check the house in case something was forgotten that might be used to trace them.

    Just then, they searched the living room amd found a MTN recharge card that had already been used. It would at least serve as a source of investigation. One of the cops headed to Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) for further investigation on the recharge card used.

    ****

    “Did she fight anyone?” Tolani asked Favour.

    “Not at all. I don’t think so, asides those that embarrassed her and she told me it has been settled.” Favour replied.

    “I don’t think Feyi and Kate could have done that, it’s not even possible.” He hissed.

    “I also don’t think Tobi could do this… he didn’t look like that when I saw him.” Favour expressed herself.

    “Who’s Tobi?” Tolani quickly asked.

    “He’s the guy that wanted to date Stella before you guys met again.” She replied.

    “And you said he didn’t look as if he could have done that?” He asked again.

    “Yes. Moreover he should be in Lagos.” She replied.

    “Wait, were the guys masked?” Tolani asked Favour.

    “Yes, all of them.” She replied.

    Tolani sighed and drove on, both heading to the station again that afternoon.

▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀

    They arrived at the station and both walked in. They demanded tp see their boss to know how the investigation was going on because Stella’s mothee must not know her daughter was missing.

    They were told to sit down as they gave them the printed list of her last call logs and phone number of the person who loaded the recharge card. “Hope you aren’t Mr Tolani?” The cop asked him.

    “Yes, I am.” He replied as he stared at his phone number as the person who loaded the recharge card in question. It was his exact picture that was printed again as the owner of the mobile number.

How come that happened?

….

    “How did it happen?” Tolani was questioned by one of the cops.

    “How would I know? I loaded a #750 recharge card yesterday and I can’t tell if the recharge card was with her but I’m sure I threw it away. I’m seriously sure!” He said again.

    “But if you had done that how come we found it in her house?” The cops asked again.

    “How would I know? It might be a set up for me. I might be set up by some people- maybe the guys who love her and had always wanted her.” He replied.

    “You think so?”

    “I’m sure.” He replied. “Besides, I also bought her a recharge card but she kept it in her bag. Do you know where her bag is?” He asked Favour.

    “Sure.” Favour nodded slowly, still shocked.

    “Then, this case is getting solved little by little. Tell me where thr other guys and the lady in question are!” The cop exclaimed.

    “Excuse me!” Tolani stood angrily. “I’ve told you it might be a set up! Immediately I heard she was kidnapped, I heeded to the call and I’ve been running helper skelter just to get things right. How would I have kidnapped her?” He was getting cheesed off.

    “Sir, be patient. I’m just asking you questions, you’ve not been detained or arrested so be calm.”

▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀

    Paul was standing by the door of the room sadly. He hated causing someone sadness because he wanted joy. At least the share of thr monet would soon be given to him, but he was pretty sure his conscience wouldn’t let him be.

    He was waiting for the other guys by the door so they could give him his share of the money and quickly pay for his sister’s operation. The guys stormed out with cruel and threatening faces. “What do you want?” They questioned him.

    He exhaled deeply. “Money of course… my own share.” He added.

    “Do you think I’m so foolish to the extent of letting you join us? Who here doesn’t know you as a coward? You were just used because sniper wasn’t around. You better leave!” One of them shouted at him.

    He was really a coward. He started walking away because if he should start shouting with them, the guys were so deadly that he’d be wasted.

    They were laughing wickedly as he left.

    It was after ten minutes he left one of the reasoned that he might try to implicate them. He didn’t even utter a word neither did he show he was annoyed. “Do you know his house?” One of the asked the other.

    “Sure. It was at the front of his house i saw him weeping the day I brought him here.” He replied.

     “Let’s go and deal wit him, I guess he should also be wasted.” The guy suggested and both stood up before he would take any action.

***

    It was immediately after Paul left that he headed to the hospital, weeping. There was no one who would give money for the kidney transplant and his sister was in pain.

    He got to the hospital and met the sad news that his sister just died when the agony was too much. He couldn’t control his tears as he headed home. He didn’t even wait to take his dead sister away, he just kept weeping till he got home.

    He just sat at the entrance of the door to the sitting room weeping profusely when the other guys arrived.

    “He’s there.” The one that lead whispered to the other who stood behind.

    “Shoot.” The other guy also demonstrated.

   “Alright.” He said still facing his colleague whem he shot.

    “Yeah!” He grinned and both ran away.

▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀

    The guy didn’t face his business, he was facing the guy he came with him as he shot so he missed his target. He didn’t know he had made a mistake as he hurriedly left with his friend.

    Paul almost collapsed on hearing the loud gunshot around him. He wanted to rush out but he felt it would be dangerous, the best thing he could do was to pretend as if he was dead so that he wouldn’t be disturbed any longer. In case the guys came back, they’d meet his dead body.

    He never believed the guys could do that. He was betrayed, yet what they wished him was death. After many minutes that he guessed they might have left, he rushed to Stella’s house immediately.

▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀

    Paul didn’t meet anyone at home but he made sure he waited till Favour came home with one of the cops to get Stella’s handbag because it might be useful. They met him by the gate, his eyes were already red, he had wept his eyes out because of his sister’s death.

    He didn’t care if he was arrested, the truth must be told.

****

   
    PAUL got up on seeing the two, approaching him. He still recognized Favour and knew it was her immediately he sighted her. Tolani was still at the station sorting himself out with the cops when Favour arrived. “Hello.” He greeted the two.

    “Hi, can I help you?” Favour wasn’t in the mood to laugh with anyone.

    “Yes ma. I have a solution to where your friend is.” He stopped and wiped his tears. “I know where she is.” He added.

    “You do?” The cop quickly asked.

    “Sure, I really do. I was part of the guys that came to get her but my conscience hasn’t been at rest since the deed had been done. She’s in Senator’s house.” He explained.

    “Senator? Don’t worry, you’ll be able to explain well at the investigation station… I don’t think we need the bag again, let’s go.” The cop said, grabbing Paul.

▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀◀▶◀▶

    Paul started the explanation of how he was invited into the operation because his sister was dying and told them where Stella was.

    It was the Senator that called her in the hotel, the day she was disgraced that planned her abduction. Paul explained how he met them and gave them money, he also explained how much the guys had been trailing her as well as Tolani because he was the one suspected to be dating her.

    They were coming from behind when Tolani loaded the recharge card and threw it away. It was them who picked it up to implicate him during Stella’s operation.

    “I’m ready to take you there. The earlier the better because that Senator is very deadly and I’m sure he’d want to marry her with force.

    *****
A week later….
    The case was getting solved as they headed to the Senator’s house. The car was parked at a distance while theh walked to the gate so that they wouldn’t be noticed easily. They knocked at the gate softly and put Paul forward because he’d be easily recognized.

    The gate keeper opened the gate for him on seeing him, then the cops gained entrance.

    Paul had told them the best thing that could be done was to eliminate the guards at first because they were dangerous. Stella was in a room,  up in the house.

    The gate keeper was guarded by a cop while others walked in. Tolani and Favour were at the junction waiting for the return of the cops.

    The cops entered into the living room gently and met two huge guys. They brought out their guns and got them arrested immediately. Paul continued leading them till they got to the room where Stella was kept and got her out.

    She was already weak.

▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀▶

    No one could believe that getting Stella would be as easy as it was, the cops still went to the kidnappers’ place and got them all arrested, though one tried to play a funny game and was shot on his arm.

    The case was solved.

    It was from the day Stella turned the Senator down he had been trailing her and Tolani. Some other cops had gone to his office to get him arrested while Stella was taken to the hospital.

▶◀▶◀▶◀▶◀◀▶◀▶◀▶◀

6.0

    Tobi was sitting on a three seater sofa in his friend’s house when his friend, Shola came out, fully dressed. “My babe dey wait for me at the playground.” Shola grinned as he walked out.

    “Idiot, I pray prostitution won’t send you to early grave.” Tobi chuckled.

    “So how far with you? Will you come with me?” Shola enquired, adjusting his belt.

    “You know I’m not into that kind of stuffs..” he smiled.

    “Wait oh, since you arrived, you not gone anywhere with me except church services. Who turned your life around?” He grinned and sat beside him.

    “What brought me to Lagos?” He questioned him.

    “According to you, a lady who you said you fell in love with.” He replied. Tobi hissed. “Then who else?”

    “That babe must be a bad one… so she changed this criminal’s story around.” He laughed.

    “Hey! Talk wisely, Stella is not bad.” He frowned.

    “Abeg oh, I was just playing na.” He laughed.

    “Na you sabi but don’t dare term her bad again.” He hissed again.

    “Anyhow.” Shola stood up, ready to leave. It seemed Tobi was already taking it personal.

******

    “When on earth is dad going to forgive you?” Kate asked Feyi.

    “I don’t even know. I’m really bored andbi feel I should just travel.” She replied.

    Both had been on the phone call for minutes, gisting. “Travel? England?” Kate asked.

    “No, he wouldn’t let me.” She smiled.  “So where?”

    Feyi paused for some seconds before she could Kate the answer to her question. “Lasgidi should be alright, my aunt’s place.” She replied.

    “I’m really bored likewise, but dad wouldn’t let me travel.” She hissed dryly. “That’s your own cross. I’m going to tell dad and I’m sure he’s going to approve it because I’m visiting his family’s place.”

    “I trust you… I know you are going to bring him down.”

    “Not in this case, that man has gone difficult.”

    “Alright, gist me as things dey go sha..” Kate smiled. “Alright.” She replied and ended the call.

    Feyi had been the only one at home since, her mother had started taking steps to head Diamond Hotel while she’d still be serving her punishment. She was sure her father would let her go to his sister’s place in Lagos, at least to spend some weeks.

****

    Two days after.

    Tolani drove Favour and Stella into the house. It was the first time he’d enter into the house. “I should be able to spend a little time with you ladies.” He grinned as he dropped from the car. “A reasonable guy should always help a lady, bring your handbag.” He walked briskly and collected Stella’s handbag.

    He was smiling as the ladies led the way and he followed. He turned around the living room. “Nice.” He smiled and sat down.

    “What would you like to eat?” Stella asked him.

    “Eat? I don’t eat outside.” He grinned, trying to cause a discussion.

    “You don’t? Wait, you cook yourself right?” Fave asked, smiling.

    “For sure, I’m the best cook.” He grinned.

    “God! Why are guys like this? Who told you that? You better stop making yourself unnecessarily happy.” Fave laughed.

    “You want to try me? Where’s the kitchen? Let me prepare you something nice.” He stood, laughing.

    “Are you serious?” Stella asked.

    “Sure, lead me to the kitchen and telk me what you’d love to eat.” He grinned.

    “Let’s go, we go eat porridge.” Fave lead the way, smiling.

    Stella smiled. That was part of the things she missed about him.

   “You guys shouldn’t forget tomorrow is the stuff oh.” Favour said as she was going.

    “Stuff? What’s the stuff all about?” Stella asked.

    “Singles’ Forum.” She replied.

******

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3 thoughts on “THE ONE I LOVE- EPISODE EIGHT

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