Chinedu had tossed and turned all through the night. Sleep had eluded him and as he lay awake on his bed; streams of sunlight peeking through the curtains; he replayed the events of the last twenty-four hours in his mind. There had to be a missing link between Fadeke’s proposed visit to Abuja and her rush back to Lagos. What could possibly have happened that he wasn’t seeing?
After he left the Peters’ residence, he had gone home. His mother had been surprised to see him. He narrated the events that had taken place to her and she had also been at a loss.
“You said she came all the way to Abuja to discuss something very important with you?”
“Yes, she did”.
“So, how come she did not wait to see you before she left?”
“That’s the part I do not understand. Her friend, Kemi said that she was really broken”.
“Could she have succumbed to pressure from her father to give up on you?”
Chinedu thought for a minute. “If she had, she wouldn’t have left Abuja in tears. She was at my house but did not wait….”
All of a sudden, it dawned on him.
“What the …” He swore.
“What is it?” His mother asked alarmed.
“Tochukwu came to my house the day before Fadeke’s trip”.
“Who is Tochukwu?”
“Don’t you remember her? The lady I told you about; Fadeke’s roommate”.
She thought. “The lady that came to congratulate you and Kunle on your graduation?”
“Okay. What was she doing in your house?”
His face was grim. “Oh mum. I hope I haven’t made the greatest mistake of my life”.
“Calm down and tell me what happened”.
“She called me on Friday morning and said she was flying into Abuja that evening. She wanted to sleep over at my place and I told her it wasn’t possible”.
His mum nodded.
“She said she would have stayed over at her friend’s place but that her friend was travelling early Saturday morning. I asked her what she was doing in Abuja and she said she came for an interview”.
“So she needed a place to get dressed as the interview was scheduled to hold at 10a.m. I told her it would be advisable to stay in a hotel or in the alternative fly in with the first flight at 5.30. She flew into Abuja that Saturday morning and I asked my taxi guy to pick her up from the airport. By 6.30, she was at my place. I wasn’t ready for any of her troubles that morning, so I decided to leave home earlier than I had intended”.
“If you knew she was trouble, why did you allow her in your house in the first place?”
“Good question, mum. She obviously realized I was avoiding her. On my way out, she told me she and Kunle were back together. She asked for my forgiveness over all what she had done in school and she was even shedding tears”.
“Hmm. Crocodile tears”.
“I’m used to her tears, mum. They don’t move me one bit. I told her it was okay and just told her to drop the key to my apartment with my next door neighbour”.
“You left her in your apartment?” His mother asked with surprise.
“I did not have a choice. I know Tochukwu too well to have stayed there with her. I hadn’t spoken to Kunle in a while to confirm if they were back together and I wasn’t ready to wait and watch her spill tears that were scripted”.
“So do you think Fadeke met her in your apartment?”
“I don’t know mum, I don’t know. She has refused to speak to me”.
“Then we can assume that she must have met her”.
“Possibly”. He thought for a moment. “Do you think Tochukwu could have fed her with lies? She always had this beef with her”.
“You mean beef?”
“Yes. What does it mean?”
He smiled. “It means a grouse”.
“Since Fadeke would not talk to you, you could find out from Tochukwu if they met. Then you can be rest assured that Tochukwu is behind all this”. She concluded.
Chinedu stood up from the bed and stretched. He had to talk to Tochukwu. She was most likely the missing link. He picked up his phone and dialed her number. It rang out twice before she answered.
“Hi dear”. She said groggily.
“Hi. Did Fadeke meet you at my house yesterday?”
“I asked if Fadeke met you at my place yesterday”. He said getting impatient.
“What kind of question is that? Is that the reason why you woke me up this early?”
He was quiet for a while. “I’m sorry I did not realize you were still sleeping”.
“Now you know”.
“I just wanted to know if you were at my apartment when Fadeke came. She came into Abuja to see me and left without doing so”.
“No. We did not meet”. She lied.
Chinedu sighed. “Are you sure? I mean, you did not maybe see her on your way out or something?”
“Look, if you are not sure, why don’t you give her a call and leave me alone”.
“She has refused to pick up my calls”.
Tochukwu smiled. “Well, I can’t help you”.
“Sorry, I woke you up”.
Tochukwu dropped the call and smiled. Her plan had worked. The next step was ensuring that they never came back together.
If she couldn’t have Chinedu, neither would Fadeke.
By 9.00p.m, Chinedu was back in his apartment in Abuja. This weekend had been his worst ever and he felt he needed a break. He was tired both physically and emotionally. What was he supposed to do? He had run out of ideas. He had tried calling Fadeke on different occasions during the day but as usual, she had refused to pick up his call. The only option he had now was to send a text message.
“Baby, I don’t know why you are doing this to me”. He texted. “What have I done wrong? Don’t you think you should at least let me know? You came to Abuja to discuss something very important and left without even waiting to see me. My love, please talk to me. I am down and out of ideas of how to reach you”.
After waiting for five minutes without a response, he sent another text. “My love, please talk to me. You are breaking my heart”.
He went to bed two hours later dejected.
Fadeke had seen the text messages. She was still upset. He had betrayed her love and her trust so why was he trying to reach out to her now. When she read the second text message, she broke down in tears. He wasn’t the one heartbroken; she was. She had given everything she had to him; body and soul. And she had to pay the ultimate price. She thought about her father’s threat earlier in the day. How could he be advocating for an abortion? She was torn. What was she supposed to do? What if she died in the process? She had heard stories of people who never survived one. No, she wouldn’t do it. If her father wanted her out of his house, so be it.
Chinedu woke up earlier than usual on Monday morning. He hadn’t been able to sleep all through the night and he knew if he continued this way, he was probably going to break down. He got dressed early and stepped out of his apartment. The next flat was directly opposite his and as he tapped on the door, he prayed in his heart that his question wouldn’t sound silly to his neighbour.
“Hi Wale, I’m sorry to disturb you this early”.
Wale was knotting his tie as Chinedu spoke. “No problems. I hope everything is okay”.
“I just wanted to find out if you saw my girlfriend here on Saturday?”
“You asked her to drop the key to your apartment with me, didn’t you?” Wale asks.
“Erm…not exactly. I mean that’s not my girlfriend. She is just an old friend that needed a place to change; she had an interview that morning”.
“So, who else are you asking about?”
“Fadeke. Did you see any other lady come out of my apartment? I know it sounds weird but I really need to know”.
Wale thought for a few seconds and shook his head. “Nah…I don’t think so. I wasn’t taking note anyway”. He shrugged.
“You are welcome. I hope no hassles. You don’t look like you’ve had any sleep”.
Chinedu rubbed his eyes. “I’m okay. Thanks”.
He walked back into his apartment and sat down on the couch. Who else could he talk to? He picked up his phone and dialed.
“Hi Chinedu”. Kemi said picking up the call on the second ring.
“I’m sorry if I woke you up”. He realized he was beginning to do that often.
“Not at all. I am getting dressed for work”.
“Has Fadeke spoken to you?”
“No, she hasn’t called since she left. I tried calling her yesterday but I guess she must have been resting ‘cos she did not pick up”.
“If she calls you, could you please convince her to talk to me?”
“She hasn’t spoken to you?” Kemi asked surprised.
“No, she hasn’t. I had to fly to Lagos that evening”.
“Are you serious?”
“Yes. I went to her house but her mum walked me out. I did not get to see her”.
Kemi sighed. “I’m sorry Chinedu. I really wish I could help”.
“Just ask her to please talk to me; that’s the help you can render”.
“No problems. I will”.
“I really appreciate your help. Thanks a lot”.
“You are welcome”.
With that done, the only thing he could do now was to look forward to his leave which was just two weeks away. He had asked for a four week vacation because he needed time with Fadeke. He had also intended to use the period to see Fadeke’s father but with the turnout of events, he wasn’t sure of anything anymore. The only thing he was sure about right now was that whatever had caused the friction in their relationship had to be nipped in the bud.
And that was exactly what he was going to do.
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