I followed Maria to the reception hall where I paid N5500 and took the receipt. We went upstairs and settled down. After taking my bath, which I did alone, I laid down on the bed and faced the wall.
”Are you Ok Baby?” I heard the soft voice of Maria said behind me.
”Yea, I am just tired from the long distance” I lied.
I wanted her to leave me alone. I didn’t want much chat or even sex that night. I wanted to replay the events of the the day on my mind.
Her phone rang. She answered it in Edo language. After the call she tapped my back and as I turned, she said ” Madam Comfort said you didn’t give her the money again”
”She is a liar” I said knowing that she won’t believe me.
”Mama won’t lie to me” she said.
I kept quiet.
”why did you lie to me that you gave her money when I asked you” She said with a slightly raised voice.
”Why did you ask if I had given her the money” I said getting down from the bed.
”I understand she was the one who called you now and told you that I didn’t give her the money, Maria why did she do that” I said, standing in front of her.
”Since you are so interested in me giving her the money today, I am going back there to give it to her” I said as I grabbed my jean trousers and started wearing it.
Maria placed her two hands on her waist and watched with surprise as i put on my whole clothes and shoes, then picked up my car keys and headed downstairs.
I got to the car and started the engine. It was getting past 8pm, but I knew that the city would remain lively until Atleast 10pm.
I drove out of the compound as I saw Maria coming out of the hotel reception. My phone was ringing. I checked and saw that it was Maria calling me.
”Don’t worry, I will find the way to Madam Comfort’s house and give her the money. I will be back before you know it.” I said and switched off the phone.
I drove out to the old Lagos- Benin road and turned right towards east. I didn’t know where I was going but I knew that I was going to locate a new hotel somewhere down the road. I came to a junction and turned left, then I busted to a major road called Mission road. There was a sign down the road indicating that a hotel was located there.
The gateman approached me as I drove towards the gate. He didn’t open the gate as I expected.
”Oga, chance no dey inside again” he had said.
I packed the car outside, walked through the open smaller gate and went into the reception hall.
The receptionist said that they had a room of N3000. I paid for it and went upstairs. Since I had taken my bath at the previous hotel, I just removed my cloths except the boxers, then I laid on the bed and switched on my phone.
Maria called instantly.
”Baby please come back, I am sorry. It is dangerous out there. Where are you…” I am sorry” she said in quick succession.
”Don’t worry Maria, you know nothing will happen to me. I need some time to think alone. I will return to the hotel as soon as my head cleared” I said and cut off the line. She called again and again but I didn’t answer.
I wanted to switch the phone off but I felt that my cousin could decide to call the DPO since I had given his number to him.
Sleep caught up with me later in the night and when I woke up, there were numerous text messages on my phone. All from one person, asking me to either forgive her or return to the hotel.
I sent her a message telling her to start going back to Lagos when she finished what she came to do in Benin.
”I am going somewhere else and don’t ask me where or when” I had added in the message.
She called as soon as she got the message. She asked where I was and how she could come to me…
” I am in Madam Comfort’s house. I slept there” I said and cut the line off.
After the phone call, I check the time and it was a few minutes past 8am. The time was good enough to move, therefore I ignored the bathroom and put on my cloths. I got to the reception, dropped my keys and went out through the gate.
As I looked left and right, I saw two young men hanging across the road with a bike. They were looking at me but since I had already covered my eyes with dark glasses, they couldn’t figure out if I had noticed them or not. I was alerted. Actually I had been on alert since I left Maria the previous night. I had a feeling she could be looking for me.
I walked past the car without even looking at it. Down the road, I saw a bike man and stopped him.
”Where is the nearest Police Station here” I asked him. He said it was about 5 minutes away since the traffic was still light that morning.
I climbed on his bike and asked him to take me to the Police Station.
We got to the station and I paid him off. Inside the station, I met a lady Police officer and told him that I saw some two suspicious men trying to open my car with a knife. I told her that they were with a bike and that they were looking at me…
She quickly alerted three other police men who asked me a few questions before asking me to lead them to the place. There was no car in the station, therefore, they had to join bikes as I did.
The two suspicious men were still there when we returned and so was Maria.
I pointed to the two men, ignoring Maria as she attempted to approach me but stopped when she saw that the three cops came with me.
One of the Policemen had pointed his old AK-47 towards the two men and asked them not to move.
”What is all this” Maria said.
I ignored her like I did before and started my car, turned it around and swerved left unto the road and headed towards Lagos. The traffic was still very light, therefore I was moving steadily.
I knew that the Police would like me to follow them to the station and make some written statements and possibly give them money but I also knew that if the men got released while I was still at the station, I could have been in a whole lot of troubles. I had decided to take my chances and run.
If they caught up with me, the worst would be to return with them to the station where I would twist the whole situation and bail myself out with money.
As I crossed in front of University of Benin complex, My phone rang. It was Maria.
”What’s up sweetheart. Are you Sending more thugs to stop me again” I said.
”No, I only asked them to help me locate you Austin. I didn’t send them to do anything to you”. She said slowly.
”Well, we can talk about it when you return to Lagos because I am already half way back home” I said and put the phone down.
” We must respect the past, and
mistrust the present, if we wish to
provide for the safety of the future.”