REDEEMED (A SERIES) – EPISODE 9
(WRITTEN BY JOY A. ADEWUMI)
My phone rang again in its holder, beside the steering wheel and I put it on speaker as I answered it.
‘You didn’t hang up on me, did you?’ Otunba asked in a dangerously low voice.
My hands tightened on the wheel and I tried my hardest to be calm as I replied, ‘I figured if you went as far as abducting my friend, then you must be desperate. I’m on my way to the Palace.’ Then, I hung up. Anger bunched up my muscles and I let go of the steering one arm at a time to stretch each, by throwing a fist in the air. I swallowed hard as I felt control slipping. Just how far would the old geezer go to have his way?
He must be desperate for that investment deal, but I wasn’t going to be a pawn he’d use in his stupid scheme. I wasn’t going to help him get the littlest thing, not to talk of something so huge and important to him, even if it killed me. But it was not just about me anymore. My friend was now involved, but how on earth did that even happen?
And what did this mean? Did it mean Otunba would really have his way? I let out a loud deep growl that reached up from deep within me and punched the steering. The horn honked, but I couldn’t care less.
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Dammit! I hated that Otunba already won this and I hated that he kept winning. Why did BJ even have to matter? Couldn’t I just act as if BJ didn’t mean a thing to me? Anger surged through me again and I held the steering wheel in a death grip, trying to rein it in and garner control from anywhere it might be inside of me.
I couldn’t let BJ be a pawn because I wanted, no, needed to be a better man than Otunba. I wanted to prove to him that this apple was farther from the tree than he could even imagine. Of course he would laugh at my supposed weakness and think he had won, but I schooled my mind to believe I was winning a bigger battle, howbeit different.
I would be proving to myself that I was not an animal who treaded over any and everybody and used whatever and whoever was at his disposal to get what he wanted. I would be proving that I was nothing like that old man!
‘So, let me get this straight,’ I said with mock calm as I tucked my hands in my pocket and slouched in front of Otunba’s office desk about forty-five minutes later, ‘You abducted my friend in order to get me here, so I can prepare to have dinner with your guest?’
I could tell Otunba was not buying the facade and his smug smirk told it all. I took in a deep breath and reined in my urge to throw the ceramic vase on his desk at a wall! I hated that his smirk looked exactly like what one would have found on my face.
‘Simply put.’ He said simply as his smirk got wider. I held my tongue and took a moment to control my temper that was threatening to burst at its seams.
‘Otunba, that’s low. Even for you. What would you do if I told you I didn’t care.’
‘Oh, I know you don’t. It’s not like he means that much to you. But I know you won’t say so, because you’re so obsessed with proving to yourself that we are two different men.’ He burst into a robust laugh after that and my hands fisted in my pockets.
‘Where is he? For all I know, you might have only his phone.’ He laughed again as he signalled at his bulky mass of a secretary, standing just by the door some feet away.
‘You wound me, son. Are you accusing me of petty theft? Why settle for the phone when I could get the boy himself?’ Otunba replied as he laughed again.
‘Right about now, I don’t think anything is below you.’ I retorted as I took BJ’s phone from the table and followed Kaka out of the office, to where I expected they were holding BJ.
My hands fisted and un-fisted in my pockets and I tried to remind myself of the bigger battle being won here. I hated it however, that to the bystander, I had lost to Otunba. Again. Suddenly, I felt like I was tied and restricted to something way heavier than my weight and I tripped. Physically. I shook my head since I knew it was all in my mind, but I couldn’t shake off the feeling. It was exactly how I felt.
Time and time again. Whatever Otunba wanted, Otunba got. And he’s done just that again. I wanted to punch something so bad.
‘Dude, there you are.’ BJ stood up as I walked in and I turned a stony look on Kaka. He walked out of the room with his sidekick who had been watching BJ before I came in.
‘Man! Your old man is a nutcase!’ My dude exclaimed as soon as we were left alone. I took in and released a deep breath before asking.
‘Why on earth did you follow them? You could have refused.’ I knew I sounded stupid but I didn’t know what else to say at the moment. BJ stared at me like I just argued that the earth was cylindrical.
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‘Man! Have you seen your dad’s bodyguard?’ I shook my head and sank into one of the chairs in the room.
BJ mirrored my actions and asked, ‘See, if he’s using me to blackmail you, you don’t have to do what he wants, we can find a way around this. You can’t let him win.’ It was my turn to look at BJ like he had gone bonkers, and he simply nodded his head in acknowledgement of his stupid comment.
After a short pause as both of us mulled on our thoughts. I stood up abruptly, extracting BJ’s phone and handed it over to him.
‘Guy, I’m sorry about this whole wahala.’ I took in a breath and swallowed with difficulty.
‘I promise it won’t repeat itself again.’
BJ took the phone from me and asked, ‘So, you’ll just do what he wants. Just like that?’
I was silent for a while after which I said, not because I thought BJ really had to know but because I’d rather he didn’t beat himself up as the reason I lost to Otunba, ‘BJ, you see when it comes to the relationship between Otunba and I, there are more grey areas than there are clear ones. Right now, each of us is fighting a different battle and he’s winning his while I’m winning mine. In the same vein, he’s losing mine while I’m losing his.’
BJ blinked twice and stared at me in utter confusion. I knew he couldn’t make sense of my jargon but I wasn’t inclined to explain further, so I said, ‘Guy, I apologize again for dragging you into my family mess. Please go. I have a meeting to prepare for. I’ll try to call you later.’
And with that I left the room.
Who else think this is a ‘wawu’ situation? I mean, who can blame Skinny for turning out the way he did? Or do you think his character is inexcusable even in the light of the character of the man who fathered him? I’m looking forward to this meeting? Do you think Skinny will wreck havoc? Let me know your predictions in the comment box below.
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The Girl with the Winning Smile,