HER phone ringtone filled the car distracting her from her thoughts. She looked at the dashboard and it was her sister calling. She didn’t want to pick it over the Bluetooth because Paul was in the car but she had no choice as she was speeding on the highway. She might forget to call her back if she didn’t pick it so she did.
Ola: Hey sis. What’s up?
Toyin: I’m so stressed! These little devils are draining me! I swear I need a break!
Ola: Hahahaha! You don’t get a break from being mom, besides, my niece and nephew are sweet! Don’t call them devils!
Toyin: Enh Enh? No problem! Wait till you have yours! Anyways, are we still good for the weekend?
Ola: Yes ma’am.
Toyin: Great. Please I need the magician you hired during Christmas. The kids are insisting on him!
Ola: Okay. I will forward it to you as soon as possible and I will take care of his bill too!
Toyin: Awwwww! Aren’t you the best sister in the whole wide world? If only you can be the best daughter too!
Ola: Just don’t start! See what I get from being nice to you!
Toyin: Na you know! Make sure you bring a man to the party oo! My children need an uncle and your father…
Ola: Tito! Stop it! There’s a man in the car!
Toyin: What’s new? Smith knows everything now. Hello a Smith!
Ola: It’s not Smith! Is that all you want to talk about?
Toyin: Wow! Hello stranger! Are you the new boyfriend? I’m Toyin, her sister.
PAUL was enjoying the banter going on between the two sisters and when the sister said hello to him, he saw it as an opportunity he must not lose.
Paul: Hi Toyin. I’m Paul and I am not the new boyfriend, yet…
Ola rolled her eyes at Paul who shrugged at her while talking.
Toyin: Wow! I like your voice. I’m officially inviting you to my children’s birthday party on Sunday! If you are in the car with her you will know she’s a very rough driver and it gets worse when she drinks at parties. So do me a favor, bring her along!
Paul: Yes ma’am and thank you for the invitation. I will surely be there!
Ola: Really? Toyin?
Toyin: Thank you Paul. Bye sis. Muah!
OLA was fuming with anger at her sister! How dare her! She had embarrassed her in front of Paul and made her look desperate! Paul would be thinking she couldn’t get or keep a man. She dashed a look at him and there was a mischievous smile on his face. See what her sister had caused? Paul was laughing at her and what was funny by the way? She snorted and said;
‘You look like you want to strangle someone, I just hope it’s not me. I must say, you are cuter when angry!’ Paul told her.
‘Cuter? Don’t patronize me. By the way, you don’t have to come to the party, she didn’t mean it.’
‘Oh! I think she meant it very much and I’m a man of my words! I gave my word that I would come and I would go!’ Paul said ready for an argument. No way was he going to miss an opportunity like this. He had been trying to get her to dinner to no avail and now that her sister has invited him over, he planned on going.
Ola didn’t know what to say, she had been cornered. She shouldn’t have picked that call in the first place but there was still a solution. She was so not taking him! She was a grown woman, she could make her own choices! It wasn’t the duty of people around him! She must call her sister back and give her a piece of her mind but first things first, Paul has to go!
‘Okay. No problem.’ She said with a smile.
“No problem? Oh no! She’s up to something!” Paul thought. The Ola he has been working with since morning didn’t let anything go unchallenged! She was a fighter and he must be vigilant and attentive.
‘Thanks, please give me a pointer, what do the children like? What can I get as gift?’ Paul asked. Ola was quite for a while like she was thinking. Maybe she forgot what the children liked but then a devilish smile appeared on her face and Paul knew she was going to lie!
‘Well, Darasimi likes the color red and he wants a red car while Gabriella is into pink she wants a pink stuffed elephant and a car too. I’m buying the car, you can take the elephant.’ Ola said misleading him. She struggled to contain herself as she fought the smile threatening to expose her lies.
Paul knew she was lying to him, he just knew it! Thank God for the internet because he could go online and search for Toyin and from there he would find out what to buy. If need be, he would look for Toyin’s number and ask her directly but still he said;
‘Are you sure?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Nothing, never mind. Thank you.’
Ola wanted to change the topic before guilt ate her up alive.
‘You know, I think I need to talk to Junior…’ Ola said but Paul squeezed his face trying to remember who Junior was.
‘Junior! Joy’s boy!’ She reminded him.
‘Oh! Okay! What for? He’s too young for interrogation Ola.’
‘I’m not interrogating him, just want to talk. He mentioned something when I had a chat with him earlier. He said “at least no one will hurt mummy anymore” and I think there’s more to that. In this line of work, I’ve learned to believe the children. They see what we don’t see and they don’t lie…’
‘How do you propose that? He’s a minor and we can’t talk to him without his parent unless we have concrete evidence and if the man is guilty, he won’t allow his son to talk to us!’
‘We can go there and ask how his blood got on her face and use that opportunity to talk to the child.’
‘I don’t think we should alert him yet until we have more evidence besides, his son might not be there.’
‘Hmmmmm. How about I invite the boy to the party? I’m sure he would want to get out.’
‘Yes but will his father allow and I don’t think you should socialize with the suspects.’
‘I know but I want the boy willing to talk! Let’s give it a trial.’
‘Do you know where the doctor is right now?’
‘No but I can find out. I don’t want him to know we are coming.’
‘Okay.’ Paul said.
PAUL liked being with Ola and he didn’t want the day to end. He would go anywhere she wanted to go as long as they are together. He watched as she called the police station and asked for Dr. Akin to be tracked down. She stayed on the line while they found out what she wanted. She looked determined and dedicated, the kind of woman he liked. He has tried to date before but he didn’t enjoy it. The girls were too needy and he didn’t like it. They policed him around as if he had put a ring on it. It scared the hell out of him and he ran from them. He has been like this for a long time but now he wanted more and Ola looked good to him.
‘I got him.’ Ola said bringing him back from his thoughts.
‘Alright. Where is he?’ Paul felt gully for not listening and getting lost in his thoughts.
‘He’s at work and the kid is there too.’
‘Okay. Have you decided on what to tell him? I mean there must be a reason why we dropped by…’
‘Not yet but I will think…’ She was saying when the phone rang. It was Smith.
Smith: Not much. We don’t have the laptop. I’m heading to the house to look for it. Maybe the suspect took it.
Ola: Okay. Keep me posted. I’m off to Dr. Akin’s office.
Ola: No. See you later.
Ola fed the GPS the address she was going as she tried to understand why Smith’s voice was scornful, he should get over it already! She wasn’t a baby and she could take care of herself. She stole a look at Paul who was looking straight ahead and her heart twitched. She wasn’t the soft kind, she didn’t drool on men but her heart wasn’t cooperating this time. How could you meet someone in a day and feel something for them? She couldn’t even understand or define the feeling. She just knew this was different. She tried to access her head and heart by imagining what could go wrong or right if she gave her heart a chance.
“Calm down Ola! He hasn’t asked you out yet!”
“How else do you want Him to ask? He asked you to dinner and he wants to come with you to a children’s party!” Her sub-conscience argued.
She didn’t like commitment and this relationship couldn’t be an affair, it was too close to home. She had a feeling she would be seeing a lot more of him and they would be working together in the nearest future.
‘Destination reached! Destination reached!’ The GPS announced and Paul and Ola snapped out of their thoughts.
‘We are here.’ Paul said for lack of anything to say.
It was a bungalow, painted with green color with animals drawn on the wall. A neon sign on the front read PETCARE. Ola was leading in the front but Paul quickly overtook her and held the door open just before her hand touched the knob. Ola looked at Paul with suspicion written all over her face. She almost said; “I can take care of myself” but let it go. Besides, she liked that he held the door open for her. Smith doesn’t do that! “Really Ola? Why are you comparing them?” She brushed her thoughts aside as she entered the building with Paul right beside her.
BECKY wasn’t in the mood today to receive clients today but she had to. A sad thing had happened, his beloved boy had lost his mother. The doctor has been worried and moody since he got to work and it was understandable. He had just lost the mother of his child whom he loved in his own way. She had advised him to go home but he said there wouldn’t be anything to do at home. She was grateful he stayed though because the doctor had saved two dogs life this morning. On her part, she was keeping a cool face around Junior but she was breaking apart inside. Junior adored his mother and his mother loved him back. How would he cope? Could the doctor take proper care off the boy? She felt like hugging the boy and never letting go of him. The boy loved dogs so she opened a cage of a friendly dog for him to play with. They must be around somewhere.
She heard the doorbell sound and she looked towards the door to see two strangers walked in. Usually, people rushed into the ER with their sick or injured pets but these people walked in calmly. They have a note of authority around them and Becky suspected they were police. Dr. Akin had said he was at the police station earlier to answer some questions but what were they looking for again? Since she wasn’t sure who they were, she welcomed them in the usual way.
‘Hello. Good afternoon. Welcome to PETCARE, where your pet matters to us. How may we help you?’
‘Good afternoon, I am detective Ola and this is barrister Paul. We’ll like to see Dr. Akin.’
‘Oh! Let…’ Becky was saying when running feet and laughter stopped her. Junior was chasing a dog towards them and he looked very happy. His laughter brought a smile to her face.
‘Easy Junior! Be careful!’ Ola said as the boy stopped in front of her and Paul. The dog seeing its running mate had stopped turned back and came to sit by Junior’s legs. Junior looked up at Ola and smiled.
Becky suspicions were right and Junior had confirmed it. They were the people in charge of the case. As Junior talked with the woman, Becky quietly got on the intercom and told the doctor he had guests from the police station.
Ola saw the boy running towards her and it was a happy sight. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a child running around like this? The boy stopped when he saw her and smiled up at her. As she talked to the boy, she saw from the corner of her eyes as Becky got on the phone.
His phone has been ringing all day. There were calls from family and friends sympathizing with him and assuring him he could count on them. Also, the press has been disturbing him all day. They wanted an exclusive interview he couldn’t give so he silenced his phone, he would return important calls later in the day. He dropped his head on the table trying to rest and relax his tensed muscles. A phone started ringing and he couldn’t figure out what phone it was immediately but then he remembered it was the intercom. Becky was calling him, it must be that a pet needed help. Dr. Akin was expecting the loud but pleasant Becky’s voice but the voice that came was very low like a whisper.
‘I can’t hear you. What?’
‘I say the police are here to see you!’
‘Oh! Okay! I’m coming!’
His heart dropped. What were they looking for? Oh my God! Have they come to arrest him? Not in front of my boy. He was already sweating despite the air conditioner was on.
‘You are here! Have you found who hurt mummy?’ The boy asked innocently.
‘No dear but we are working on it. I came to see your daddy.’
‘Okay. He’s in his office. Aunty Becky, can I take them to daddy?’ The boy asked Becky who was spared answering the question as the doctor appeared.
Paul has been watching everyone. He saw the compassion in Ola’s eyes for Junior and his heart melted. It made him missed not having children yet and he began to think Ola would make a good mother for his unborn children. He saw when Becky got on the phone and called the doctor and Paul was the first to see the doctor came out of an adjacent door. He was sweating profusely and he didn’t look well at all. Their eyes met for brief seconds before the doctor averted his. Paul could only image what he was going through if he wasn’t guilty and also what he could be going through if he was guilty.
‘Good afternoon detective, and barrister…’ He said with a very shaky voice. Ola heard the greetings from above her and stood up from his kneeling position. First, she heard the fear in the doctor’s voice and now she saw it in his face. He didn’t look good at all.
Becky’s mouth dropped to her jar. The man she left his side some minutes ago wasn’t looking sick. Yes he was worried, upset and tired but he looked fine. She quickly rushed to his side like a mother hen.
‘Are you alright doctor? You look like you’ve got fever!’ Becky said touching his neck and immediately snatched her hand away from his neck. Junior giggled loud moving to Becky’s side.
‘He’s hot! Give him the stick and injections Aunty Becky! Hahaha!’ Junior announced.
‘Wow! You are so hot! You need to sit down!’ Becky said being the typical nurse she was. She had forgotten the law enforcers standing with them.
‘I’m fine Becky, please stop the fussing.’
‘You should have let me give you something stronger for that cat bite! Let me see your hand.’ Becky didn’t wait for the doctor to show her his hands, she grabbed and examine it. His fingers had bruises on them and blood was visible.
OLA and Paul looked at each other, Becky unknowingly had helped them with some information. So the doctor had a wound on his finger, a cat bite Becky said. The blood must have get on Joy’s cheeks when he slapped her. The doctor had lots of explanation to do because he claimed he didn’t get near the victim but somehow his blood got on her cheeks with a slap mark.
‘Leave me be Becky! I am fine and can’t you see we have visitors?’ Dr. Akin said slightly embarrassed.
‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ She said quietly moving back to her desk.
‘Junior, go play with Becky while I talk to my guests.’
‘Okay daddy.’ The young boy said walking in the direction Becky had while the doctor led the way to his office.
‘Can I offer you anything? Tea, coffee, water…?’ Dr. Akin asked his unwanted guests.
‘No we are good. Thank you.’
‘What brings you by? Any information for me?’
‘We are still working on the case. I’m here to inform you that the CCD will come for your son tomorrow.’ Ola said with the straightest face she could have while lying. She saw Paul’s eyes pop with the corner of her eyes.
‘What? Why would Child Care Department come for my boy?’ Dr. Akin screamed. What has he done again? All his troubles were for nothing if the CCD took his child away!
‘Calm down. You haven’t done anything wrong, it’s just protocol. The child was living with his mother and you don’t automatically get him just because his mother is dead. The authorities have to make sure he’s safe with you. It’s just for a few weeks…’
‘No! They can’t take him for a day! He’s very safe with me!’
‘If he was why didn’t the court give you custody? Let the CCD do their job. Okay?’
‘Please help me. The boy just lost his mother, he can’t lose his father too. I need him, he needs me. Please! Isn’t there anything you can do to help me?’ Dr. Akin pleaded but before Ola could answer, Paul stepped in.
‘Calm down Dr. Akin. I think I can help you. If you are to report at a police station every day with the kid and a high-ranking police officer and a lawyer are to vouch for you that the boy his safe, then he can stay with you till the CCD take their decision. I can vouch for you as a lawyer…’
‘Oh! Thank you! I will report at the station every hour if that’s what it takes!’
‘Well, you will need the detective to vouch for you too. Can you do that for him ma’am?’ Paul asked looking at Ola and Dr. Akin also shifted his pleading gaze on her. He looked desperate, this man wanted to keep his son at all cost. Could it be for love or for money?
…to be continued…
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Written by Olatorera.
Edited by Kevin.
Edited by Olatorera.
© 2016 by IBIOLAT communications.