Madam Grace called too. She said she was in the hotel Reception and asked that Solomon did fast because she was returning to Lisbon the same day.
She was told to have patience until 2pm.
As soon as we made sure the two parties were in Golden Tulip Hotel in Porto, Solomon killed his phone.
“Give me your phone,” He said.
I quickly handed him my phone without asking questions.
He called Francis back, his number wasn’t connecting. He tried again and it was the same thing. It was no longer the phone of the Portuguese criminal immigration officer that was not connecting; Francis and his phone were no longer accessible.
It seemed we have been scammed and defeated.
“Pick the small bag, let’s go,” Solomon said as he grabbed me by hand and we walked out of the hotel room.
At the reception, we were told to pay extra money since we stayed past 12 noon. I walked to the road and waited while Solomon settled with the receptionist.
“Let’s go,” he said as soon as he came out of the hotel.
About 20 meters away from the hotel, we stopped a cab and jumped inside as if we were already being pursued.
“Your phone is ringing,” The Taxi driver said to Solomon. He had switched it on again at the hotel reception.
I was sitting at the back seat wondering where to go next. My life had suddenly turned to a fast adventure and despite it being a very dangerous adventure; I was still having small fun.
I watched as Solomon brought out his phone and looked on the screen. I didn’t see the caller but I was sure it was either Madam Grace or Jose calling from North. It wasn’t difficult to figure out anyway because he didn’t have many friends.
After the ringing phone died, it started ringing again.
“Give me your phone,” Solomon turned to me and said.
I handed my phone over to him again. I watched with interest as he located Francis’ number on my phone, and then switched his off.
He called Francis again.
“Where are you?” He asked.
I didn’t hear what Francis said but I heard when he was directed to take a taxi to the Oriente Train Station.
“Baby, I think going through Oriente is a bad idea. It’s the biggest station here in Lisbon and we could see the people we know,” I said.
It was good that I chipped in an advice too. I was ashamed not to have contributed anything since we started running away from Madam Grace. I knew the advice wasn’t much but it was something.
“We are not going anywhere through Oriente. I want to meet someone there and then we use Taxi to where we are going,” he said.
Some minutes later, we stopped across the road to the entrance of the large Lisbon Oriente train station.
Another ten minutes later, we saw Francis alighted from another cab, he was alone, and his phone was on his ear as he paid the driver and it took a few seconds before my phone started ringing; Solomon was still with it, so he answered.
“Come into the Station. Don’t put your phone off,” Solomon said.
We watched Francis go into the Station and two minutes later, he came back out; the phone was still on his ear.
“Why did you ask him to go into the Station?” I asked Solomon who was looking everywhere at the same time.
He said he wanted to make sure nobody followed Francis.
Francis was directed to our cab where he jumped to the back seat where I was.
Solomon asked the driver to move towards the highway.
We got to the major junction where the major four highways of Portugal met.
“Stop there,” Solomon said as he pointed to a corner; the cab driver obeyed.
“Wait here Jenny,” he said as he motioned Francis to come out of the car with him.
I tried to look through the back windshield to see what they were doing but it was difficult to do that from my position.
About 10 minutes later, Solomon got back into the car alone and told the driver to head North towards Porto.
“You said we are not going to…” I was saying when he turned around and looked at me. It was that look that forced one to stop whatever he or she was saying or doing. I understood it quickly and kept quiet.
I felt I was a security risk too because I didn’t speak his native Igbo language and he knew next to nothing about Edo language.
We drove for another ten minutes before he asked the cab driver to turn around and head south to Faro region. That was when I breathed a sigh of relief.
The truth was that I was still scared. Despite everything Solomon was doing for me, I still believed that it was possible for him to hand me back to Grace at the last minute. I was scared because he made money from the operation. I felt that if he wanted to just save me, he would have taken me away from Portugal entirely. But he didn’t, rather he decided to play hide and seek game with a dangerous Madam Grace who would order his death without looking back.
“Take a look at this,” Solomon said as he handed me a traveling Identity card. I grabbed it from him and smiled as I gaze foolishly at it. It wasn’t me quite alright but I was sure I could use it to get away. I wasn’t really sure how the immigration officials would treat me if they discovered that the card want mine but I was desperate to get away from Portugal, which was what really mattered to me.
We drove for another two hours before we got to a place called Vilamoura. I had listened to him and the driver talking about where a young newly married couple could spend their honeymoon. The driver, after congratulating us, told him that Vilamoura was the best place to do that.
That was how Solomon decided that we were going to Vilamoura.
It was already evening when we arrived at a large hotel and paid for a night.
Everything suddenly became better in my life as soon as we settled down in our hotel room. I had a feeling that it would take Madam Grace forever to locate us in Vilamoura. It wasn’t just a place, it was a villa. Anybody without good reason or who was not on a holiday was never expected to visit the Villa.
I was tired already and felt that the best thing for me then was to sleep. Perhaps it was all a dream but I was sure I would find out soon enough.