“Ateke, I told you I was on my way, and rather than send a car, you send the press to meet me at the airport?” Ada vented in her usual condescending tone. Ateke was at a loss for words, he had honestly forgotten she was on her way.
“I had assumed you had complete travelling arrangements. My mistake.” He rallied. “What is this you say about the press?”
“Yes, I and my assistant had to shove past them to get to the VIP lounge. They want a statement.”
“Whatever you do, don’t give a statement.” Ateke warned urgently. “Take a cab, there’s a guest house close to the hospital. I’ll make lodging arrangements before you arrive.”
“I hope the guest house is up to par, I won’t stay in a flea bag motel.”
“Off course.” He ended the call and sighed in frustration. Ada coming to Lagos now was just going to bring added complications. And she came with her PA? Why? He shrugged, he could hardly order her to stay away, she is Tom’s wife. He went back into the hospital room to make his excuses.
Lady Ada couldn’t have planned this better if she did. After her call to Ateke, a thought occurred to her. Why not use the press to her favor. They were here already, not her making, but she could use it to her advantage.
“Mary,” she called her PA.
“Yes Ma.” Mary a mousy lady replied, turning to her mistress, setting her glasses aright.
“I’m going to use the ladies, make arrangements for a luxury car to whisk us out of here. Then tell the gentlemen of the press that I will give a brief statement.” Lady Ada ordered.
“Yes Ma’am.” Lady Ada walked towards the convenience, while Mary went to carry out her mistress’ bidding.
When Ateke arrived at the hospital after making lodging arrangements for Lady Ada, it was to the good news that Tom had regained consciousness again, and was still awake. He rushed to his friends room.
“Tom!” He exclaimed with joy, clasping his hands to his chest. “This is a good sign, thank God.”
“Ateke, truly God be praised. Help me to sit up.”
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea, let me get the doctor.”
“Nonsense, you help me up. After all I’ve been through, sitting up in bed won’t kill me. Help me up.”
Ateke helped Tom up. Supporting him with fluffy pillows, while he sat on the chair facing him.
“So, how many days has it been since our skype chat, bring me up to speed. What has been happening.” Tom asked.
“That can wait, tell me about your ordeal, do you know who was behind it?” Ateke countered.
“No, although by process of elimination I suspect Chief Magnus, he has the most to gain if I were no more.”
“My thoughts exactly.” Ateke agreed.
Tom nodded. “But the kidnapper said two people contracted him. One of them close to me. That’s the part that bothers me.”
“Yes. But until we know who it is, this is just between us both. Let the police continue their investigation. I assume the police are investigating?”
“Yes, the CP was here this morning. You should call your cousin, Mr President, he has been worried.”
“Yes, I meant to do that but I couldn’t find my phones.”
“I have them with me.” Ateke produced the phones and handed them over. Ateke’s phone rang, he glanced at his screen, Lady Ada. “Its your wife calling.” He said to Tom. “She arrived in Lagos, and is on her way here.”
“What! Why? Answer the call.” Tom indicated to Ateke’s still ringing phone.
“We are in the car now, what’s the name of the guest house and where is it?” She asked.
Ateke replied with the name and details of the guest house. When he ended the call, Tom said.
“Now is a good time for you to bring me up to speed with all that has been happening. I hope you haven’t told her I’ve regained consciousness?”
“No I haven’t.”
“Good, start talking.”
Ateke told Tom all he had missed.
“Dayo.” Chima replied coolly. Her heart was beating wildly.
“I’m outside your house.”
“My parents are on vacation if its them you here to see.”
“I know. I’m here to see you.”
“Oh!” Her heart rate tripped, she was suddenly tongue tied.
“Aren’t you going to ask me in?” He asked after a while.
“Ehm, come on in.” She quickly got up from the bed where she was lounging and stood in front of the full mirror to check her reflection. She quickly patted her hair in place, checked her breathe, and when he rang the bell she skipped to the front door to open it.
“Come on in.” She said trying to appear cool and indifferent.
He took in her shorts and tank top, how it fitted her beautifully.
“Sit.” She indicated. He sat, and she sat facing him, tucking her feet under herself.
“So?” She prompted him after a while of silence.
He smiled. “I really don’t know where to start. I came for us to talk.”
“Us, I didn’t realise there is an ‘us'”?
He sat forward. “Cut the pretence Yemisi, we’ve been skirting around this for years. Neither of us is getting younger.”
“Speak for yourself. Besides, do you have a problem with me being half Igbo? Why can’t you call me by my name?”
“Yemisi is also your name.”
“My name is Chimamani!”
“Then call me by my name.”
“For the love of God, Chima, why do you derive joy in antagonising me?” He got up. $ began pacing the floor.
“Maybe its ‘cos you are so easy to tease.”
“Only by you Yemi, only by you.”
“Well unless you are showing me your ass, or your cool jeans, I suggest you sit down.”
He laughed heartily, and sat back.
“I don’t understand, you recently bought a ring for another woman, and you are here, to talk about US?”
“I don’t know where you got this idea of another woman, I bought you that ring, I’m here to ask you to marry me.”