BROKEN HEDGE (Part 37&38) – TOYIN TAIWO
I drove Daddy Afam back to the h0tel. We got to the h0tel, cleaned up while he ordered for food. I asked when he’s finally leaving the h0tel and he said he’ll check out on Saturday morning, that’s the day of the house warming ceremony. I know I had to talk to with him about Crystal. The room service came in to clear the dishes.
Then I told him I’ll like to have a talk with him.
“Go on, I’m listening” he said.
“Sir, I have something to tell you. No I mean I want to ask you for something.
Though I know this is not the right time but…
“Is it about Crystal?” He said interrupting my last sentence. I was shocked, my eyes almost pop out of it’s sockets.
“Oba I’ve you told her about your feelings for her”
“Oba I’ve spent more than five decades on planet earth. I’m a man and I recognize a man in love when I see one. Have you told her?”
“I planned on asking her out officially but I’d like to seek your permission first”
“And if I say no”
“You don’t have to, the ball is in her court. If she love you back, then the two of you have my blessings.
“Thank you very much sir” I prostrated, I was so happy he consented.
“Stand up and sit” I sat and I felt sad all of a sudden.
“Why the long face again” he asked.
“Daddy Afam, I’m sure of Crystal’s feelings for me. I just hope my background and status won’t get in the way. How will she introduce someone like me to all his rich and famous friends” I said pouring out my mind.
“I don’t think your status can get in the way. More so you are a hard working man, a graduate with potentials. I’ve forwarded your CV to some of my business partners. Don’t worry, you’ll get a good job.
I told you that you are free to come work for me when the company is opened but you said no and I know it’s because of Crystal but left to me I see nothing wrong in that”
“Thank you very much sir for your help. It means a lot to me. Thanks for boosting my confidence sir”
“Oba, no need to thank me. Ever since I knew I had a daughter and you became a part of my life, I’ve always wished to have someone like you as son in-law”
“I’m flattered, you like me that much?”
“I love you like my own son Oba, I don’t know how you get into my heart but you did. Remember the first time we all ate at Amara’s place. That day I wish the four of us can live like that for the rest of our lives”
“Seriously Daddy Afam you’ve been more than a father and if God have it that way and I ended up been your son in-law I promise you won’t regret it”
“Just tell Crystal before someone else corner her. You know how pretty my daughter is” he said proudly and we both laughed.
Of course he’s right, I have to be fast about it, so I won’t loose her to someone else.
“I’d like to take my leave now sir”
“Yeah, it’s been a long day. Thank you for everything Oba. Also I’ll like to give the vigilantes a token for their help” he said and brought out two envelope.
“Here” he handed the first envelope a bit bulky. “And this is for you” he handed me the second envelope.
“No sir, you don’t have to do this”
“Oba you didn’t work all day, you are with us all through. Remember you’ll soon have a girlfriend to cater for” he said jokingly.
“More reason why I won’t collect it, I can’t get paid for looking out for my girlfriend to be” I said jokingly too.
“Hmm… I think you are right I shouldn’t pay you for that” he said and open his arms and gave me a bear hug. I left the h0tel afterwards.
Mum came to my room later in the day. She hugged me tightly and she was close to tears.
“Never you shut me out of your life again”
Now I understand why. This what about the story I told her. “Mum, I’m sorry for disappointing you”
“We all have our flaws but never you go through any difficult time alone. I’ll always be there for you no matter what”
“Thanks Mum” I said and Mum started crying again.
“I though I gave you the best life, I never knew you’ve suffered this much my baby. You handled a miscarriage all alone. Oh my world!”
“Mum, it’s ok. I’m fine now, that’s in the past” I said trying to calm her down.
She calmed down and we discussed a bit before she went back to her room.
I was preparing to leave the office, the next day. Then I got a call from my mum.
“Crystal your father just called, we have to be at the police station. Beatrice had been arrested and transferred to Lagos”
“Ok, I’m on my way. I’ll meet you there”
“Ok, drive safe”
“You too mum” I ended the call and started tidying up.
I called Oba to ask if he is coming as Dad now drives himself this days. He told me my dad just called him and he’s on his way to the police station too. I quickly tidy and left the office.
45minutes later, I was at the police station. I was the last to arrive as I sighted Daddy, Oba and mum’s car at the station.
I walked into the station, we exchanged greetings and went straight to the DPO’s office
We met with the DPO who and he briefed us on the case before him.
“As we are all aware Mrs. Beatrice Afam is now in our custody. The case will be taking to court as she confessed to the crime”
“She confessed?” I asked.
At first she denied but when she was been tortured she confessed”
The DPO made a phone call telling the receiver to bring in the woman.
Two sergeant came in with the woman, Beatrice I suppose. From her look she had really been tortured.
She came in with her gazed fixed on Afam, she looked at me for a while and back to Afam.
“Beatrice why, why do you stoop so low. I left all my property in Enugu for you and our sons. Why do you still have to come after my daughter and her mother.
You manipulated me all this years and separated me from my child. The least you could do is to leave me in peace Beatrice!” Afam said with anger, hitting the table hard to vent his anger. Beatrice remained quiet and didn’t say a word.
“It’s okay sir, she will face the wrath of the law. I assure you justice will be served” DPO said with all confident.
“Beatrice you can rot in prison for all I care, you are just irredeemable” Afam stood up to face Beatrice who still remained quiet.
“Take her back to the cell” DPO ordered the sergeant who brought her.
“Wait!” I said and in few seconds all eyes were on me.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! I’m no longer pressing charges”
“What!” They all chorused including the DPO.
“Do you know how dangerous this Beatrice is? Amara this woman heart is fraught with evil deeds. The only way you can keep her from perpetuating evil is by sending her to prison for attempted murder” Afam pointed out.
“I said I’m no longer pressing. I’m the victim not you” I stood my ground despite all the things Afam said about Beatrice.
“Well, you can’t be the only one to decide that. Your daughter’s life too was threngthened too, she has a right too” Afam said.
“Crystal what’s your take on this” I asked her.
She remained quiet starring at Oba closely.
“Crystal will you drop the charges too? Oba asked her.
She looked at me for some seconds then faced the DPO.
“If my mum wants to drop the case then so be it. I want to believe she knows what’s she doing”
“You too” Afam stood up and paced up and down the room then took his seat again. “I hope you two won’t regret this. You don’t know Beatrice and I pray she won’t show you who she really is” He said.
“If that’s their decision. DPO, I suggest she sign an undertaking before her release. That we protect them from her.
“That’s not a problem, since the case is more or less a family issue then I’ll oblige the request. he said pointing at Beatrice. “Once again I’ll ask the two of you again.
Are you sure this is what you want?” The DPO pointed at Crystal and I.
“Yes” we both replied.
“Fine, there are some papers you need to sign. I mean the two of you” DPO said.
And he ordered for the forms.
Oba and Afam were just looking at us and remained silent as we proceed to sign the papers.
“Beatrice will be released but the two criminals will be charged to court as they are threat to the society” DPO said.
Beatrice said nothing. Not even thank you for her release. We all thanked the DPO and left his office. We went back to the counter. She was bailed. Still no thank you,
Instead he told Afam to arrange how she’ll get back to Enugu.
“You can trek to Enugu if you want. Do I look like I care. That’s your problem so fix it” Afam lashed at her.
“Afam, I’m still the mother of your children. I wasn’t allowed to take anything with me. I don’t have wings, so make arrangements for me to go back home” She said sternly.
Indeed Afam was living with the devil.
Like Afam said I just hope I won’t regret my actions.
“Afam!” I called out and he looked on to me. He understood what my eyes was communicating. He bought out his wallet, he counted some cash and dumped it on the counter and left the police station leaving us behind.
She picked the money, hissed and left the station too. I bursted into fresh tears as if on cue Crystal joined me too.
“It’s okay…., everything will be alright” Oba said as we walked closer to us and hugged us side by side.
“Oba now I’m scared” I said
“Me too” Crystal added.
“It is well” that was all he could say. I’m sure he was thinking the same thing we were thinking.
We stepped out of the station. He walked me to my car and did the same for Crystal. He entered his car as our cars file out of the station.
Crystal and I got home, she got in ahead of me like 10mins intervals.
I tried Afam’s line when I settled down but it wasn’t reachable. Crystal tried reaching him too but couldn’t. I’m sure he switched off the phone deliberately just to avoid us. It’s crystal clear that he did that on purpose, he is angry with me. Oba too called and said he couldn’t reach him too but he assured us that everything will be fine.
I couldn’t take my mind off what happened at the station. One thing is sure, undertaking or not Beatrice will not back down without a fight.
I was scared though I’m angry with Amara, reason why I switched off my phone cos I know she’ll definitely call. Talking to her at this state of mine is a bad idea. I might say something I will regret later. Aside that I’m really scared more than ever.
I still don’t understand women. How on Earth will she drop the charges against that devil in human form called Beatrice.
I need to really watch my back, no silly undertaking can stop that Beatrice that I know.
I got a call from the receptionist. I was told Oba is at the reception, I told the receptionist to allow him.
“Daddy Afam, why did you switch off your phone. Crystal and her mum left the police station in bad shape You are making things more difficult for them”
“Good evening to you too” I said since he forgot his manners. He was just venting as soon as he set his feet in the suite.
“Forgive my manners, good evening sir but please you need to call them”
I looked at his pleading eyes. “Okay”
I put on my phone and called Amara. She was crying on phone and I tried to calm her down. I can’t believe what I made the woman go through because of me. She apologized for not consulting with me before making her decisions.
I apologized too for the way I acted. I assured her I’ll protect her and Crystal with my life. I also promised to check on her the next day.
I called Crystal too and we settled.
“Mission accomplished” Oba said when I was through making the calls and took his leave.
I got back to Enugu, very tired and worn out. The bus I boarded was faulty. We had to be transferred to another bus. It was a stressful journey. I had a thorough bath when I got back home. I lay quietly on bed, I doubt if my sons even noticed my absence.
I remember the day the police came to arrest me at my store. The humiliation was much in the presence of everyone. You need to see the crowd that was gathered in front of my store when I was been taken away just to feed their eyes.
I put myself together and decided to feed my stomach. I won’t give up without a fight. Fine, I signed an undertaking. If I can’t get them physically, then there’s another way.
The door bell rang and I got the door. I opened the door to Afam and offered him a sit. But instead of sitting, he hugged me instead. A tear escaped my eyes.
“I’m sorry for bringing troubles your way” he said.
“It’s okay. We are in this together” I said as we took our seats.
“Crystal’s car is not in the compound”
“Yes, she’s not back. Afam I can’t allow you send the mother of your children to prison. I can’t live with that”
“Amara, I know everything you did was for me. So let’s put that behind us”
“We’ll continue to pray for God’s protection. He will surely keep us safe from her”
“Amen. Are we good now” he asked.
“Yes we are” I replied with a smile. He held my hand and looked into my eyes.
“Move in with me Amara”
“What! That’s not possible”
“Then let’s make it possible”
I laughed and laughed and laughed and he was right there just watching.
“At what age Afam?”
“Amara, is there a age restrictions for marriage? I mean aside minors”
“Please think about it”
“I’ll pray about it”
“Good, please do. Now let’s finalize our plans for Saturday”
“Let me go in and get the estimation list”
“Ok. Go ahead”
“Before that let me get you something to drink first” I said and went to the kitchen. I brought a pack of juice and glass cup in a tray. I served him and excused myself.
The house warming party went well as planned. Trust my friends they were all around to grace the occasion. My dad was so happy at the turn out of my friends. You know my friends alone her enough to make up a party. Lol
I must confess I was so happy having my Dad very close is something I wouldn’t trade right now for anything in the world especially now that I’ve come to love him.
Trust Oba, Daddy Afam’s adopted son(smile) he was all over the place fixing one thing or the other. He ensured all the guests were satisfied. I’m beginning to like him more. Though we never raised the issue we had between us, the both of us did well to sweep it under the carpet.
Dad gave mum and I a room each including Oba. He said we can come in anytime ‘It’s our home’ that was what he told the three of us before the party started.
I can’t wait for my mum and dad to come back together. I love what I saw today and I wish things remain like that.
After the ceremony, the other guests from mum and Dad’s side left. The cleaners we’re at alert and started their work immediately.
My friends were already at the building at the back of the house where our emergency meeting is to be held. I joined them when I was done supervising the cleaners. Leaving the rest to Oba to help me handle.
They we’re all settled down waiting for me I guess. First of all I thank everyone for gracing the occasion. Then I told them we have an issue that needed urgent attention to discuss. Having said that, I called Soma out.
He stepped out and stood in front of everyone while I took the front seat.
I greeted everyone and presented my case.
Me: House as we all know that Crystal and I were not able to move forward after the incident that happened between us. Many of the guys had called me privately to ask if there’s any progress and I told them that Crystal only see me as a friend now, she feels nothing for me again. So I had to move on. I’m standing here before you today to seek your consent as regard the woman I want to be with. I beckoned to Ezinne to come forward.
Onochie: What’s going on here? (Sarcasm written in his tone)
Zite: Onochie, Let him land. Please…
Soma: Ezinne and I like each other and we want to start dating.
Enitan: You want to…or you already are.
Soma: Excuse me, where did you get that from?
Ezinne: Enitan we are close but we are not dating.
Enitan: We saw you two k!ssing. Crystal, Hauwa. Why are you not talking?
Crystal: K!ssing someone doesn’t mean they are dating. Plus you don’t really have to say that. It’s supposed to be private.
Crystal: Oh! you think I don’t know what all this is about? You took this personal because I’m involved. Please the world does not revolves around Crystal. The world does not revolves around me, so you people should just stop and do the right thing.
Dume: You ladies should just calm down and allow us process everything that has been said.
Enitan: There’s nothing to process here.
Onochie: She’s right, there’s nothing to process, we have rules.
Feso: We know but we still have to discuss this. This is happening for the first time in our circle.
Hauwa: You people should keep your voice down o. You know where we are. Ehn! Don Allah!
Soma: See, I understand we have rules but I can’t let that get in the way of our happiness.
Onochie: Some rules can’t be broken, you know!
Crystal: Well….. I’m breaking this rule.
Enitan: What did you just say?
Crystal: You heard me Enitan. Wait! Is he your ex?
The whole house was sparkling clean, the cleaners did a great job. Daddy Afam insisted we pass the night at his place. By we, I mean Crystal, her mum and myself. He already allocated a room each for us.
He said he doesn’t want to be alone on his first night at the new house though he had some employees in the house. A cook, gateman and a house keeper.
I was relaxing in my room in Daddy Afam’s house. I heard a knock.
“Come in” I said.
“Hello, hope I’m not trespassing?”
“Common Crystal, not at all”
“Ok, I’m here to ask if you care for dinner”
“I don’t think so. I’m full, I can’t take anything again this night”
“That makes the four of us. Dad and mum said the same thing”
“It’s like everyone had enough during the party”
“Yes all thanks to the caterers. Every dish they prepared made sense”
“You are right. They did a fantastic job”
“Let me go and inform the cook, she’s waiting for my instructions on what to cook” she said and turned to leave.
“Crystal!” I called out and she turned to face me.
“Sorry I forgot to ask. How was the meeting with your friends. It’s like you guys had an argument. I went to pick up something at the back of the house at that time you were having your meeting.
“Oh! It’s a long story. Though we finally resolved it”
“Care to share?”
“We don’t disclose whatever we discuss in our circle with people outside the circle”
“Oh! I get it. It’s okay”
“I’ll tell you though since I was involved in the issue too”
“Really!” I gestured for her to sit.
“You already about my past we Some right?” I nodded yes and she continued.]
“Soma fell in love with another lady in the circle, Ezinne”
“And you are not comfortable with it?”
“Me! Why not, it’s not about me. It’s about the circle, we have rules and it says you can date another person’s ex in the circle”
“Wow! So you can’t date each other’s exes!”
“Yes, we can’t. But I have to intervene since I’m no longer interested in Soma. I had to convince the rest to allow the relationship” she said and I smiled within.
“But you know what! The rule is good. It will prevent you people from hopping from one person to the other within the circle”
“You get it. Remember the day I met Soma, that was the reason for the meeting, he had to seek my consent first and I gave him my blessings”
“So they finally agreed”
“At the end they did. Case closed”
“Wow! What a circle! But I really love your circle of friends but I’m not in their class”
“No… it’s not about class. It’s just that we don’t want to add new people to the circle again because our spouses who are not part of us will join once married. So we are trying to prevent crowd. Ezinne is just one lucky girl” She explained.
“So the only tickets available now is membership by marriage. Hmm”
“Something like that” She smiled.
I was really happy to hear the news that Soma is seeing someone else. The fact that Crystal was really over him gladdens my heart.
“Yes..yes” I was already lost in thought. I sat close to her this time.
“Ehm…Now that Soma is out of the picture, when did you intend to start dating again?”
“Once I meet the right guy” she replied.
“So you haven’t met one?”
“None that I’m sure of. Or you think I’ve met one?” She asked with a blank expression.
“I can’t answer that” I replied and wondered if she’s teasing me or she’s been sincere with me.
“You know the cook is still waiting for me. I need to go now” She stood.
“Is that a good night” I asked.
“You know I’ll come see you before I go to bed my friend. I doubt if mum and dad are aware that we are in this house together with them.
“Please let them be” I smiled at her slight tone of jealousy.
“Since they are engrossed in whatever they are discussing. Then I’ll have to make you my buddy this night” She said before leaving.
Ever since I came back from Lagos, my heart has been filled with abject bitterness and resentment. I’m still contemplating whether to let Afam and his new found family be or deal with them. The only thing that tied my hands at the moment is the stupid undertaking they made me sign.
I was already the talk of the town as I hear whispers around me. Everyone wants to know the reason behind my arrest but they should keep on wondering as I won’t open my mouth to disclose what happen to anyone because they will only make things worse for me. I kept it away from my sons too, I can’t let them know the truth, I’m their perfect mother.
The only thing that kept this scandal from affecting Afam is that most people don’t know I’m his wife. So the scandal had no effect on his public image.
I was inside my office at the store in the early hour of the morning when I got a call from an unknown number.
“Is this Mrs. Beatrice Afam?” The caller asked.
“Yes, how may I help you?”
“Your attention is needed at Enugu teaching hospital ma”
“Hospital! For what?”
“Your children got into an accident. They were rushed to the hospital an hour ago.
We got this number on the ID in their possession”
“Oh my God” I wailed, shivering on the phone.
“Take it easy ma, we’ll be expecting you”
“I’m on my way!!” The line went off and I screamed and throw the phone on my table. My sales reps rushed into my office.
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God bless you