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“Stop there!” A loud angry voice growled from behind her. Tania froze and turned to the unknown person. Her mouth dropped as her eyes widened to the realization that the person standing in front of her had a gun.

“Your hands above your head. One wrong move and you’re history” the masked man with a gun added. She did his wish as her heart took several uneven flights. She had heard tales of robberies and gunmen but never had she been confronted with a man with a pistol that could end her life.

***

It was my first real kiss. Save from the childish pecks on the lips I had gotten from silly teenage boys in high school. As he made love to my mouth all I could feel was a thousand fireworks and the feeling of being in paradise. His hands gently massaged my skin and he left a trail of electric sensations as he explored my skin. He kissed me so passionately I began to moan. I had had fantasies but none of them could match up to this. I didn’t want him to stop. But as If he felt my last thoughts and wanted to ruin them he stopped and released me abruptly. At the same time the door opened simultaneously to reveal a gunman dragging a distraught looking Tania Thompson. She looked so sad, scared and vulnerable and one glance at Seju made me realize we had just done the despicable. I had just made out with my best friends boyfriend.

“Hands above your head,” the masked gunman said. We both obeyed in milliseconds.

“All of you out!” Another masked gunman shouted from the doorway. Weirdly his voice sounded dangerously familiar. But I didn’t know any man that age or any man that could be doing something so hideous. The other released Tania and three of us left the room slowly. No one wanted to make a mistake that would result in a gun being fired. As we went down the stairs Tania whispered with tears streaming down her eyes “Should we run? I don’t want to die”

“No baby we might get shot. We would be fine…” Seju replied. He gently squeezed her palm and said “I would not let anything happen to you. Not while I’m alive”

It was a beautiful statement from a loving boyfriend but I felt angry about it. I felt neglected. I felt like screaming on top of my voice because all of a sudden I felt like he had an obligation to equally soothe me. As if he sensed my thoughts he glanced at me, lips parted to speak but he stopped and looked back at her. The aura of strong guilt cascading his every move.

We got downstairs to meet an empty parlour every one had left but their stench still lingered in the whole place. There were numerous empty bottles all over the floor. The chairs were messed up and as I walked around I stepped on a very disgusting used condom. It was horrible.

We suddenly had a eureka moment and looked at each other. All three of us. “They are gone,” I said not glancing Seju’s way. And again as if to answer my questions we heard footsteps. We all gathered together and braced ourselves for it. They came down still with the masks on their faces. If they were robbers shouldn’t they have left by now? I wondered intently. What the hell was their mission?

“All three of you on the floor!” One ordered. We did his bidding.

“where is your dad?” He asked. We all knew it was Tania he was referring to. She just kept sobbing didn’t answer. He moved up to her grabbed her hair and raised her face. “Tania Thompson where is your dad?!”

“Dead! Dead!” She forced through sobs.

“that’s a lie. Damnit that’s a lie! Get up!” He said and added “get the hell up!” when she hesitated.  I looked at Seju. His fists were squeezed tightly like a boxer in the ring or in Nigeria a street hooligans ready to oppress the innocent. He was clearly fighting the urge to fight them. Seju was a smart guy he knew one wrong move could change his life forever, that was if he had one after. As such the poor guy had to bury his rage and watch helplessly as they rattled his lover.

“Answer me! Where is your dad?!”

“Dead he’s dead!”

The man shook his head and gave her a slap that brought her crashing to the ground. Tears streamed down my cheeks. It was so heartbreaking. It had Emmanuel written all over it. I concluded at that moment that it was all my fault. My heart sank at the realization that Seju was right. And it hurt, even more, to realize that the first guy that showed interested in me was a fake. Coupled with a night I had just betrayed my best friend. I started to cry real hard. It was too much to handle.

“Get up!” He roared. She struggled with the pain on her cheek and she obeyed, hands to her face.

“Beautiful,” he said as he trailed a finger around her chin. “I’m going to have a lot of fun with you,” he said and grabbed her by the waist.

“That’s enough!” The man with the dangerously familiar voice said.

He grumbled. “It was just about getting fun.” Then held her chin and continued. “I don’t know your religion but pray to your God that your dad is truly dead.” And he released her.

And in a few minutes, they left. Left us in confusion and dismay. For minutes none of us could utter a word. I was shivering and not because I was cold but because it was all too much to handle. Robbery and betrayal. I was too blown away.

“G-guys w-what are w-we gon do?” She stammered. She was the most badly shaken. I couldn’t even now imagine how she would be if she found it what had happened between Seju and me.

“I don’t know babe. I don’t know” he said barely glancing at her. He looked like he just wanted to be out of her way. And I could sense the guilt he was equally feeling.

“Ada say something. What am I going to do? Should I call him?”

“C-call what? Who? O-oh your dad… Errr… That’s…em that’s not a g-good plan sorry idea right now” I was struggling to be coherent because I felt like the devil.

***

Detective Leslie couldn’t help the rage that overtook him. Jacob went too far in his actions. He was so mad that he dropped the poor guy in the middle of nowhere. Not minding if he got lost or caught.

He had hurt Tania. The frail girl. The woman he so desperately desired. She didn’t deserve that. And he was glad he insisted on going on the discovery mission. He couldn’t have imagined the alternative. None of the girls would have left there untouched. He just hoped they didn’t recognize him.

I have to tell Mr Thompsom. I just have to. He decided after a few seconds that first thing the next day he would drive off to the senator’s house and tell him the truth. It was time. Mr Lawson he knew wouldn’t be okay with the outcome of just rattling and asking questions. He would want an investigation and it wouldn’t take so long for him to realize that Leslie was a double agent.

And Leslie had worked with him enough to know how grave the outcome of that would be. Tommorow. Tomorrow we tackle. Tomorrow we fish out the devil before he fishes us out.  Those were the last things Leslie said to himself before he fell asleep in the car.

***

“One of them sounded awfully familiar,” Seju said.

“yeah, t-the tall one” I managed to utter ignoring meeting his or her gaze.

“Yes!” I noticed it too. Tania said as if she reached a eureka moment. “It’s that Detective or at least someone similar to him.”

“y-yes!” Seju and I answered in unison. “But let’s not be too sure. Let’s invite him over. I’ll call him upstairs because anyone could be eavesdropping. You both should stay here”

“O-oh okay. I n-need to quickly use the toilet.” I managed and began to walk briskly to the toilet I needed to gather my thoughts.

“Oh me too let’s go together,” Tania said.

“Ah but who would watch over the Parlor,” I said.

Tania stopped in her tracks all of a sudden.

“Seju wait! Adaeze turns over here. You both. What the hell is going on?! Why do you both look so guilty? And I didn’t want to ask before but what the hell were the two of you doing in the guest room alone when we were having a fucking party downstairs?”

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