FIFEHANMI couldn’t tell if that was death or what could happen next. He looked at the tall figure of Alhaji and dropped his head again. He knew Alhaji who had been quiet since he had been speaking must have been processing some things within. He tried to turn to check Halima’s facial expression and he could see worry written all over her face as they all awaited Alhaji to either slap them or call Adamu to deal with them as usual.
“I wish you were for my daughter, young man.” Alhaji said.
Fifehanmi looked at Charles as he doubted if he was the one Alhaji was talking to and even if it was coming out from his mouth. That was certainly a lie! Alhaji wouldn’t say such a thing! He knew what he faced when he was still lying, now that he had let out the cat out of the bag he was expecting himself to be fried.
“I know you are expecting me to either throw you a slap or do something to you, Fifehanmi.” He stopped again and smiled. Even Halima still had her mouth wide open as she looked with shock. Was she really seeing her father or what? She doubted if she had ever seen her father in that state. He looked so real and soft while he spoke.
“It’s rare for you to find a boy that will hit someone and still wait to pick her up these days. I have been involved in a scenario like that before and trust me, I ran away because I didn’t want anybody to crucify me. I can’t tell today if the person died or still alive.” He dropped his head and continued. “You didn’t only do that, you still followed her home to help her out.. you are someone with a kind of soft heart from what I can see.”
Charles balanced himself on the sofa. His head was thinking of what would be said about him as he watched Alhaji speak.
“I know you must have been the brain behind getting this boy out of his shell again, I know. Who knows if Halima was even going to die that night before you met her? I’m just so shocked and your actions have been a great surprise to me.”
“Sir.. like I said, I am not the father of the unborn child.” Fifehanmi repeated after pinching himself to know if he wasn’t truly dreaming. He really wasn’t dreaming! He was really awake, but this truth was just too hard to believe. “I know what I’m saying. I’m just letting you know what I feel at the moment because I am so shocked. I know you must be expecting me to call Adamu or someone to deal with you but everything you have done is just for the good of my daughter and the progress of her life.” He stopped and faced Charles. “So you are the one, right?”
Charles almost shivered but he tried to comport himself.
“You ran away after you got her pregnant. Is that not it.”
Charles opened his mouth to talk but Alhaji interrupted him. “If you mention a word there!” Charles kept quiet immediately.
“How can I trust the life of my only daughter with you when you ran away because of responsibility? It shows how irresponsible you must be.” He clasped his hands together and continued. “If not for the state I am presently, you’d be under suffering presently. The worst that can happen is for you not to marry her again.. wait, who even said you will marry her in the first instance?”
Halima jacked her head up.
“Yes.” Alhaji threw his hands into the air. Just then, Fifehanmi’s phone buzzed again and he did the usual again. This time, he brought out the phone and placed it on a silent profile as he continued to watch the issue unfold. He had even forgotten about his problem at hand – Nifemi.
“If you could run away just for this, what will you ever wait for?”
Fifehanmi hummed as his eyes caught the drink again, At last, Charles would not be able to take his drink again. Charles head was already down as Alhaji spoke to him. “You are not ready for marriage yet. You are not.” Alhaji sat down and was staring at the three.
The silence was getting longer than expected. Halima cleared her throat. It wasn’t as if something was blocking it, but she needed to do that to break the loud silence. “We are sorry, Sir.” Halima said.
“What am I even saying? Fifehanmi, are you interested in my daughter?”
Fifehanmi was blank.
** ** **
Adebisi reached for her book and thought for a moment. She felt like writing about everything happening to her again but she was not getting inspired as she held the pen and was staring at her sister. “I will be resuming the office on Monday.”
“That’s true. Are you happy to resume back?”
She shrugged. “I don’t even know if I’m happy. I’m not getting inspired here.”
“What do you want to write about?”
“Everything happening to me is enough for a storyline.”
“Hasn’t Fifehanmi called you yet?”
She nodded. “He hasn’t called.”
“But what would you do if you found out that what happened was true?”
“True in what sense? You know you said he might be set up, so I don’t understand the definition of your truth.”
“What I’m trying to say is that what would you do if you found out that he was probably drugged and that was done to him?”
“It depends on who drugged him and did this to him.”
“What if he doesn’t tell you anything about this when you guys meet?”
Adebisi smiled. “It’ll be annoying! Then I’ll know that he probably knows something about it… just like every other guy too.”
“Okay, what if he doesn’t tell you anything because he doesn’t even know anything about it?”
Adebisi hummed. “One is even confused.”
“Whatever you meet across the way, wisdom is profitable to direct. Don’t just assume and take him like every other guys. You know that not everyone is the same, Adebisi. So, it’ll be an error to be taking him as every other guy too when he has never been.”
“See, let him call first.”
Abigail was so interested in the case. She had a high level of trust in Fifehanmi and was sure it was a set up that must be from Pelz or the lady in question. She hardly would want to wait to know the reality.
** ** **
“Dad, that’s..” Halima was about talking when Alhaji interrupted her. “Let him speak for himself.”
Fifehanmi rubbed his forehead as he spoke. “Sir, I am.. engaged.” He said. At least,, he was already having the future in view, but at the same time, what if Adebisi gets to know about the issue and pulls out?
He nodded. “Yes, Sir.”
“That’s a great one anyways. It’s a good thing.”
“I’m sorry, Sir.” Charles found his voice.
Alhaji glared at him and faced Halima. “Since when have you two been together?”
“Almost two years.” She replied.
“What can you also say about him?”
She glanced at him before she started. “He’s always been there, Dad. Since we have been together, he has been someone who has been helping me emotionally when I’m down. He has always told me he would love us to get married someday, we never knew pregnancy would just get into the equation.” She explained.
Alhaji gave a soft chuckle. “Is that true, Charles?”
“Sir, I was only scared. She knows how much I love her, Sir.”
“The true proof of love is that you face whatever thing it is to prove it.”
“I’m sorry, Sir.”
“It’s Halima you’ll beg, not me.”
Charles faced Halima with a sober face. “I’m sorry.”
Halima smiled. “Dad, we have talked about it.”
“So what’s your take?”
She threw her hands into the air, smiling.
“No problem then. But what do you do, Charles?”
“I work with a small company.”
“Small company? Okay, what do they do there?”
“Supply of building materials. I work as the manager.”
“That’s not it. You have to resume my company next week. Just let us meet this week again with your credentials.”
Halima’s eyes widened as her lips curved into a smile.
“Thank you, Sir.” He bowed.
“Fifehanmi, you have to see me later.” He said softly, rubbing his eyes.
Fifehanmi nodded. “Yes, Sir.”
** ** **
Fifehanmi used his left hand to fan himself as he stepped out of the building. That was a big relief! A very big relief. He never knew he could come out of the place whole and hearty. He thought he was going to be thoroughly beaten or he could even lost his life. We are talking about a retired soldier in this case with someone like Adamu in his house. Wow! What spirit touched his heart?
He hopped into his vehicle and stared at the building again. He wondered what Alhaji still wanted to see Charles for. He shrugged as he concluded that he has met his original son-in-law and they’ve got to start planning for the wedding.
What has he been thinking about? He was thinking about another guy’s wedding when Adebisi might have found out about what happened between him and Nifemi. He reached for his phone quickly to check who has been calling him severally. He was shocked as he saw that the caller has been Ben. What has he been calling for? He thought as he looked outside the car for a moment and kicked the car.
He didn’t even know which one to do between calling Ben or Adebisi. As he was about to drag the gear to drive, he paused as another thing dropped in his mind. Was it that Ben already knew about the incident? He didn’t tell him before he left in the morning, or has he found out? Ha Nifemi gotten through to him?
He picked his phone and dialed his phone number. He couldn’t wait for him to pick up his call. He already finalized that if Ben should know about it now, Adebisi has known then.
“Hey!” He greeted as Ben picked up the call.
“Bro, have you been sleeping?”
“Forget that one, Ben. How far, wetin happen?”
“Your boss wan see you o, guy.”
“Is that why you have been calling?”
“Sure, is it not an enough reason?”
He heaved a sigh of relief. “Why does he want to see me?”
“The Dave Inn guys are here.”
“So? He should attend to them.”
“Na you dem wan see o, guy.”
“Me? Why do they want to see me? They had better see Mr. Kolade and don’t disturb my life.”
“Guy, you don get another job?”
Fifehanmi relaxed his head on the headrest, closing his eyes. “You better forget that one. I have to meet Adebisi now.”
“Adebisi? Your Oga wants to see you and you want to see Bae? This is an opportunity for your suspension to be cancelled.”
“Tell him you couldn’t get me.”
“All the very best for you.”
Fifehanmi ended the call. “Thank God.” He quickly dialed Adebisi’s mobile number to tell her he already left where he was. He felt he should tell her everything about Halima and Nifemi today but his heart skipped. He hissed and drove off.
** ** **
Adebisi rolled up her window and alighted from the vehicle. She hoped Fifehanmi was going to open up to her about everything that happened between her and Nifemi. She knocked and was allowed in. Her heart raced as she hoped to hear something different from him, but was she going to really tell him?
She stood before his door and waited a little before she’d knock. She was still waiting when Fifehanmi opened the door . He had been hearing the footsteps while she was coming upstairs and it suddenly stopped, he knew she might be by the door, probably thinking or packaging herself before she’d come in.
He had programmed his mind to pick any action from Adebisi’s end when she enters the house so he could know the next thing to do. Truly, one have mind before facing his fears but as the fears appear, it takes a greater energy to keep the mind bold. He felt like drowning as he saw her. She was looking good though, she didn’t look as though she knew anything, but at the same time.. you know that feeling? His mind was alert and quick! “Why didn’t you knock?” He asked her as he opened the door wider and stepped aside so she could come inside.
“I was about knocking when you opened the door.” She smiled, replying.
It seems she doesn’t know. Fifehanmi had thought as his stare caught her smile. “Welcome.”
“I’m deeply sorry about your suspension, Fifehanmi.” She stated as she got to the edge of the sofa to sit.
Fifehanmi smiled. “Just have your seat.”
“Why are you doing like this now? At least answer me first, Fife.”
Fife brushed his beard. “What do I say? There’s nothing to be sorry about. Just sit down.”
“I dragged you into this.”
Fifehanmi heaved a sigh of relief. He had thought that if she knew anything about the issue she wouldn’t be so soft and cool with him like she presently was. She looked rather calm and perhaps her purpose of coming was just based on the fact of his suspension. “Love did.” He corrected, walking to her side as he pushed her to the sofa lightly.
Adebisi sat down after the slight push and stood again. “Is it your seat? Let me finish the major thing that brought me here, Fife.”
Major? Is there any other thing? Fife breathed fast as he remained standing beside her. He was almost sitting when she stood up again and he wouldn’t sit and watch her stand up to keep begging him. “I said you never dragged me into this, dear. I did!”
“If not for me, would you know Pelz?”
He chuckled. “Is it a crime to love? All these are coming probably because they must prove something.” He said, thinking about the meaning of what he just said. He didn’t even know why he said it, he just knew he opened his mouth and some words filled it. He prayed she wouldn’t ask for the meaning of what he just said.
He scratched his head. His prayer was not answered as she had asked her. He just shrugged. “Just leave this, Debisi. You know everything is based on love. Love endures all things.”
“Please have your seat.” He repeated.
Adebisi sat down and he sat after her.
** ** **
Pelz knew trouble was brewing. From the moment his father had called him that morning, he knew there was a trouble rehearsing already. Why would his father call him in the morning to see him? He didn’t want to pick the call but he didn’t know how he mistakenly picked up the call before he saw the caller ID. The voice was surely firm and he knew the message was obvious through the voice.
He was shaking his legs as he watched Tofunmi. He knew he couldn’t face his father alone if he should ask about Adebisi. What would he say? He knew Tofunmi was specially gifted in missions like this as if it was his purpose. Leaving the office without him is like going to the battlefront without weapons, one would just die like a chicken.
Why! How could they have forgotten to rehearse their lies before getting there? How? He looked at Tofunmi and whispered. “Guy, how we go take start?”
Tofunmi touched his ear, making a gesture that he was not hearing his friend clearly. Pelz repeated what he said but he still didn’t hear what he was saying. Pelz just hissed and rested his back when Tofunmi couldn’t hear him and he didn’t want to stand up. He hardly rested his back when his father descended the stairs with his mother. He was too scared to even go upstairs to greet them before they’d come downstairs. He only sent the maid upstairs to tell them that he had come and here they were, pulling each other downstairs as if they were in their eighties.
He stood up and bowed as he greeted them. Tofunmi also greeted them and the two remained standing until the parents sat down. “How is work?”
“Work is fine, Dad.” He replied.
His father faced Tofunmi, expecting him to reply the question.
“Are you boys sure?”
“Yes.” They chorused.
“What about your own wife?” He faced Tofunmi.
Tofunmi grinned. “Wife? Dad, I have not gotten married.”
“Really? Till when?”
He stared at Pelumi for a moment before he beamed again. “Very soon, Dad.”
“I called you, Oluwapelumi to know how far with you and Adebisi.”
He tried a fake smile. “Dad, you still remember her name?”
“How will I forget?” He faced his mother.
“I wonder how such a name can be forgotten.” His mother added.
“Mum, it is possible.” He grinned.
“Not in this case. What are we thinking about that’ll make us forget the name of that girl? How is she?”
Pelz looked at Tofunmi and was about to speak when Pelz spoke. “She just left him, Mum.”
Pelumi’s eyes blazed with fire as Tofunmi spoke. He glared at him angrily, wondering if he told him to add to the discussion at that moment. He was only afraid because he thought that his parents might have found out that he was not with Adebisi again, but now that it looked as if they were still together and Pelz just added sand to his flakes.
“Huh?” His father faced Tofunmi.
Tofunmi noticed the angry expression written on Pelz’s face. He wondered what he was there for. He was there to bear witness to the lie, why was Pelumi now angry that he already let out the cat from the bag?
“Can’t you two talk?” The mother’s voice brought them back to life.
Pelz stuttered. “She.. Dad she..”
“So you are still not ready to get married, right? You are still not ready, Pelumi? I know it’ll be like this when the fellow you walk with is nothing different from this. I know you must have done something bad for the girl, that’s why she left you. Who doesn’t know that you really don’t wish to get married? Who?” His mother accused.
“See, Mum… the ladies of these days are just after the money, fame and position. It was not like your own days when everything was good and based on true love. She was the one who betrayed me, is that not it Tofunmi?”
“Yes. See, you know we have to be very careful.”
“Will you two shut up! What is this nonsense you two are happily discussing here? Do you think you are getting older? DO YOU?” He clasped his hands together.
“Will you just hold it there?” He shouted again. “Do you know why we have called you? We have to travel next week and we might take time before we return, we just want to know your plans and now you have none. You never come home until you are called upon, you never do things until you are pushed. Today should be your last day in that company!” He ordered.
“Sir?” He jumped to his feet.
“You heard me right, didn’t you? Until the girl is back, you cease being my son.” He stood up and walked out angrily. He had already told his mother he was going to do what he did if he found out Adebisi had left him again.
** ** **
“So, what’s up?” Fifehanmi asked Adebisi.
Adebisi shrugged. “Trying to be fine. I won’t lie to you.” She replied.
Fifehanmi felt that it should be because of Pelz. He cleared his throat and continued. “What’s exactly up?”
“You are exactly up.” She replied.
Fifehanmi’s eyes popped wide open as he drifted forward. It seems the deal was done. Does she know about it already?
WAS ADEBISI GOING TO TALK TOO?