Chinedu was confused. What could have happened? He wasn’t expecting Fadeke until 2p.m and he was meant to pick her up at the airport. If she was coming early, she would have called him to pre-inform him; but she had not done that. She was supposed to discuss something very important and he had not the slightest idea what it could be about. And now; Kemi’s call. He remembered Kemi back in school as the nerd but he hadn’t known that she and Fadeke had become friends. He also did not know that she was also in Abuja. So much he did not know.
He stood up from his desk to go talk to his boss. It was just 10.30a.m. He had sought for permission earlier on in the week to leave the office for 1.30p.m. He hoped his boss would grant him another favour if he asked to leave now.
“No Chinedu, you can’t leave the office now”.
Chinedu’s countenance fell immediately. “I understand that our earlier agreement was 1.30p.m but I really need to attend to some personal issues”.
His boss looked at him over the rim of his glasses. “What time should I expect the report you are meant to deliver?”
Chinedu sighed. The report was what had brought him to the office in the first place. He had not gone half-way with it and he knew there was no way he could leave the office without delivering it to his boss. “You would get the report in another two hours”.
“Once your report is submitted, you can leave”.
Chinedu walked back to his desk and for the next two hours, he put all his efforts into getting his report done. If he had to leave the office, then he had to be focused. By noon, he sent the report to his boss by email and immediately shut down his laptop. He did not want his boss calling him back, so he removed the battery out of his official mobile phone so that he would be unreachable and put the second one on silent. His colleagues could reach him on the second one if there was anything urgent. He however prayed that nothing would come up. He hurriedly went down to meet his taxi driver as he had called him about thirty minutes earlier. As he eased himself into the taxi, different thoughts ran through his mind.
“Mr. Chinedu, I dropped Madam Fadeke in the house this morning”. The taxi driver said as he drove off.
“Oh, did she call you?”
“Yes, she asked me to pick her up at the airport before eight this morning”.
“Was she okay?”
“Okay? I don’t understand, sir”. The taxi driver asked looking confused.
“Never mind”. Chinedu said trying to focus. If she had called the taxi driver to pick her up, it meant she had changed her flight but had not informed him. He checked his personal phone to see if he had any missed calls from any of his colleagues and found out that Kemi had called him six times. Oh no! He had not considered that Kemi would also try to call him. He rang her number back and she picked up on the first ring.
“I thought you said you were coming immediately. Why haven’t you been picking your calls?” She hissed.
“I couldn’t get away from work earlier but I’m on my way to your place now”.
“Don’t bother coming”.
She sighed. “She left already”.
“How? How could you let her leave without seeing me?”
“Look Chinedu, I am pissed already. So don’t let me say what I would regret later”. She said with irritation.
Chinedu tried to calm down. “Okay, I’m sorry I flipped. I just don’t understand what is going on”.
“Well, I also don’t. You were meant to come and fix whatever went wrong, right?”
She had a point and he had bungled that opportunity.
“What time did she leave?”
“She left with the 12 o’clock flight to Lagos. She was bent on leaving. I almost felt that she knew I had called you”.
“But she had not pre-booked, had she?”
“No, she was a walk-in”.
Chinedu blew air from his mouth. “She was running away from him. But why?”
“Kemi, I know the question may not sound right; but did she give you a faint idea of what could have happened?”
“No, she did not. But whatever it was, she was really hurt”.
“Thanks. I appreciate your help”. He said cutting the call with Kemi.
He scrolled through his phone and dialled.
After the usual introductions, he spoke “Hi, my name is Chinedu Ugo and I would like to fly to Lagos on the next flight”.
“The next flight is at 2.30p.m sir but there are no available seats”. The lady on the phone crooned.
“Please I really need to get to Lagos. Could you check through again?”
“Please hold on sir”. She was silent for about two minutes which looked like forever to Chinedu as he tapped his fingers endlessly. “We have an available seat for the 6.15p.m flight. Would you like to book that sir?”
“6.15 is too late. Please I need your help. I need an earlier flight”. He said in desperation.
“I am sorry sir. I wish I could be of help but….”
He interrupted. “Could you take down my number and call me once you have a window on the 2.30 flight? It is 0801 234 5678”.
“Okay sir. I have your number penciled down for a probable 2.30 slot”.
“I would really appreciate it. Thanks”.
As soon as he arrived home, he asked the taxi driver to wait for a few minutes. He went in, packed an overnight bag and he was off to the airport. It was a quarter to two already and he was getting really tensed. The airport attendant hadn’t called back to give him news and he was spent already. He wasn’t thinking straight anymore. He decided to call Fadeke. She should be in Lagos by now. Her phone rang out three times without a response. She was running away and now she wasn’t picking up his calls. What have I done wrong? Why would she torment me this way?
He got to the airport and eased out of the car in a hurry. He ran towards the departure desk and introduced himself. “I called earlier for a seat on the 2.30p.m flight. Tell me there is an opening now, please”. He said almost out of breath.
The attendant smiled at him with compassionate eyes. “I’m sorry, sir. It is filled but we have an open slot on the next flight which takes off at 4.45p.m”.
He put his hands on his forehead. He was beginning to have a headache. “Please put me on that flight. I need to get to Lagos today”.
The attendant asked for his details and when he was done, he looked for a tuck shop to buy a coke. He was tired, hungry and absolutely on edge. As he opened the can, he tried calling Fadeke and her phone rang out again. “What is the meaning of all this? Why won’t she even pick up my calls? Even if I have done something wrong, at least, I have a right to know what it is”. He spoke to himself. He looked at his wrist watch. He had over two hours to wait for the next flight.
Two hours of his life which seemed like forever right now?
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