“Babe, look this way.”
Tinu held her phone up and shaped her lips into a pout as she leaned into Williams whose phone was held up to his ears. William did as he was told and flashed a smile. Tinu took a few selfies and proceeded to edit one for her Instagram.
“No, I won’t be back until next week…” William was saying.
She soon uploaded the picture with the caption “When bae decides to spoil you with a spontaneous pre-birthday trip. #MadridLoading #BooIsBae”
“Alright, thanks. I’ll look into it then.”
Williams hung up and planted a quick kiss on Tinu’s forehead. He saw the picture she had just finished uploading and shook his head affectionately.
“You ehn, one of these days, we’ll get kidnapped and it will be all your fault. Every single thing we do goes on Instagram or Snapchat or Twitter.”
“My Instagram is private. Not everyone has access to it. Besides it’s not everything I upload.”
“Sure… I think the only thing left is for you to put a live sex tape on Snapchat.” Williams said laughing.
“Will!!” Tinu smacked him and got off the sofa.
“That’s just gross.”
“Well.” He laughed some more and then opened his arms.
“Come back here jor.”
Tinu shook her head.
“You’re making me sound like a vain person who lives her life online.”
“Well, technically you do.”
Tinu rolled her eyes and hissed.
“You’re not helping yourself.”
“Are we about to fight?” Williams still had his smile on.
“If we are, it’s because you started it.”
“Okay. I apologize.”
Tinu went back to sit beside him but she was still wearing a frown. Williams sighed.
They were seated in the VIP lounge of the International Airport in Abuja. Two young men dressed in Nigerian Army uniforms walked up to them briskly and one spoke to Williams.
“Hello sir, my name is Captain Abdul. Can you both please come with me? We’ve just been alerted to a security threat here at the airport.” Abdul flashed an ID at Williams as he spoke
Tinu sat up quickly and Williams looked at the young man suspiciously.
“What sort of security threat?”
“Intelligence reports reveal that someone is planning to kidnap you and your fiancée. My instructions are to take you back home and ensure your safety until the threat has been neutralized.”
Williams stood up and his arms instinctively went around Tinu.
“We have an orderly here-”
“Checking in your bags. One of my men is with him to get your things out. They’ll be joining us by the cars.” Abdul finished
“After you then.”
Abdul led the way and Williams and Tinu followed with the other soldier bringing up the rear.
Abdul led them through a back exit down a flight of stairs and into an open space where two cars were parked.
“Should we call your dad?” Tinu asked in a slightly panicked voice.
“No babe. It’s nothing serious to bother him about. He’s busy. He probably already knows.”
“You won’t be able to reach your dad if you tried. He’s under a similar threat so his meeting with some other senators is locked down and they have no access to their phones.” Abdul said.
Abdul opened the back door of the first jeep and Williams and Tinu got in. The other uniformed man got in on the other side and shut the door.
The way the driver grinned into the mirror as they got into the car left Williams feeling slightly on edge but he shrugged it off. They would be home soon and whatever the threat was would be taken care of. He wished he had listened to his father and taken the private jet but he really was not about that life. Now he anticipated receiving some jibes from him later at night. It didn’t bother him much. He would argue that the threat would probably still be valid regardless of how they were travelling.
“All good Gozie. Let’s go.” Abdul said.
Aisha was exhausted. It had been a long day of meetings with investors and she had even forgotten to eat. She kicked off her heels as she settled into her seat behind her desk for the first time that day. Her phone was buzzing with messages but she ignored it. She had only just turned off the airplane mode so all the messages sent to her through the day were flooding in.
When the buzzing stopped, she picked up the phone and opened up her Snapchat. Her eyes looked tired as she recorded a video.
“Still at the office because hustler. Who forgets to eat food dan Allah?”
It was not quite five minutes after she shared the video that her phone began ringing. She looked at the caller ID and shook her head. What did Williams want? He had told her the other night he slept over at her place that he was going to Spain with Tinu, so why was he calling her? She let it ring out twice. When he started calling the third time, she figured he would not stop so she picked up sounding slightly annoyed.
“Shouldn’t you be airborne now? What do you want?”
“You sound upset.” She heard Williams say. Only it did not really sound like him.
“Of course I’m upset. And you sound weird. What’s going on?”
There was a brief pause and Aisha sat up.
”Liam, is everything alright?”
“Yeah, I- I miss you.”
Aisha sighed and rubbed her forehead
Don’t do this to me she thought.
“I miss you too baby. But you’re the one that left me and took another woman to Spain mana”
“We didn’t go again. I cancelled it last minute.”
Aisha’s eyes softened.
“Really? You did?!”
And then she felt bad.
“Liam, I’m so sorry I gave you a hard time the other night. I understand how things are, I really do-”
“I want to see you.” His voice stopped her short. And suddenly all the fatigue was gone.
“Okay? Sure. Where? I’m just about leaving the office. I’ll ask the driver to bring me to wherever you are.”
“No. I’m sending someone to come get you. I want you to be alone when he comes. Tell Ibro to go home.”
“Alright love. See you soon!”
She heard a click that indicated he had hung up and stood up quickly. Of all the days for him to pull a surprise on her! Her outfit to work that day was boring and regular. Thankfully she had a few extra clothes at the office. She pushed a button behind her that opened up a small wardrobe. She scanned through some of the dresses there and settled for a simple blue body con dress that she knew he would love. She also picked up extra underwear then went into her bathroom to change.
He had sounded weird. Perhaps he’d had a fight with Tinu. That had to be the reason.
Aisha sighed as she stood before the mirror. She and Williams had dated for a couple of years while they were both students in Canada. Then they had ended things when she moved back home and she had gone on with her life until he surprised her by moving back two years later. She was in a relationship then so nothing had happened. Then he started dating Tinu and her boyfriend cheated on her and she ended things with him. She had found comfort in Williams’ arms and they had unwittingly started an affair.
She told him she was content with being side chic and encouraged him not to break up with Tinu because she was not ready for a commitment anyway. But her stance had begun to change lately. Especially after Williams proposed to Tinu. She wanted more than she was getting and some days, it was hard to not be petty, just like the last time he had been at her place. She felt guilty. She was stealing another woman’s partner but technically, it wasn’t stealing. He had belonged to her first. She shrugged.
What was it Dolapo always said again? Aha! Before Abraham, Jesus was.
She touched on her makeup, sprayed some perfume generously over herself then went out again to her main office. She called the driver and asked him to head home with her security detail, informing him that she would be spending the night with Williams. They both knew she was seeing him discreetly and she was grateful that they respected her need for privacy where he was concerned.
She stood by her window, overlooking the main road and she saw her car drive out of the office space. She also saw another black jeep drive in. It was late and no one else was around. That had to be Williams’ person. She grabbed a can of malt from her fridge and some shortbread to eat as she waited.
Tinu struggled to open her eyes but could not because of the thick blindfold that was over it. There was also a gag over her mouth. She was confused and uncoordinated for a few seconds then it all came back to her. The soldiers at the airport, the car ride that led them to a lonely path where they were told this was an actual kidnap. She recalled the terror she felt and then the phone call they had forced Williams to make to Aisha. Her terror had turned into real deep hurt. Williams was cheating on her with Aisha.
She knew they were exes and had remained friends but she had never ever had any cause to suspect that anything was going on. How could Will have done this to her? She began to cry but barely made any sound. Who had kidnapped them? Were their families aware? She knew their parents would pay any sum requested but she had seen all the faces of her captors before they were drugged. Would they let them go alive?
She heard some movement around her and soon realized she was not alone. Perhaps Williams was in the room as well. She tried to sit up and discovered her feet and hands were bound as well. If they got through this ordeal, their relationship would be over. Did he even love her?
She heard a door open and footsteps as people walked into the room and she struggled to sit up.
“Take the blindfolds off.” It was a female voice.
She felt movement behind her and soon her blindfolds were off. Her eyes hurt and she stared at the woman whom she was sure must have spoken. The woman smiled at her.
Tinu looked around her and sure enough, there was Williams and Aisha. Williams had a defeated look on his face when his blindfold was taken off. Aisha looked thoroughly frightened. The two men who were taking off the blindfolds had masks on.
“My boys are usually a lot nicer. The blindfolds and gags and ropes are just to ensure that we have your cooperation. If you promise not to run or scream, we’ll take them off. Deal?”
Tinu, Aisha and Williams nodded.
Ijeoma signaled to the guys and they took the gags off. They were going to untie the ropes but Williams spoke immediately.
“How much do you want? I’m sure you know who our parents are. They will pay. Just state your price and I’ll call my dad. He’ll have it wired to any account.”
Ijeoma laughed and held her sides. She signaled to the guys to stop.
“Williams, Williams, money isn’t everything. I know you took classes on mediation and negotiation during your degree. Your dad told me. He was so excited because he had plans for you to work with the UN. Forget what your lecturers said. It won’t help.”
“So you know my dad. If you don’t want money, then it’s something else. Something personal. Did my dad have an affair with you? Is that why you’re doing this? Do you want revenge?”
Ijeoma laughed again. Williams was very much like she expected him to be.
“Williams, please stop talking. You’ll end up annoying me and I’ll forget a bullet in Aisha’s head. I’m sure you don’t want that.”
Williams took a sharp breath and bit his lips. Tinu’s eyes watered. They had threatened to shoot Aisha and not her, yet that had silenced him. Did that mean he loved Aisha and not her? Who was this woman and what did she want?
Ijeoma smiled when she noticed the quiet.
She turned to one of the guys.
“Bring me your tool kit and Aisha’s phone please.”
The young man stepped out of the room and returned seconds later. He turned on Aisha’s phone which had been switched off and laid the tool kit on a table beside Ijeoma as he handed the phone to her.
“What’s your passcode?” Ijeoma asked.
“1-6-1-0” Aisha stuttered.
Tinu recoiled on the inside. That was Williams’ birthday. That could not be a coincidence. What in the world was going on?!
Ijeoma smiled and entered the passcode. She opened the tool kit and set out different tools on the table. There was a set of knives and other sharp instruments that looked dangerous. Tinu’s heart thumped wildly in her chest. They were going to die.
Having set them all out, Ijeoma took the phone and stood close to Aisha.
“Let’s call your dad.”
She held the home button down on the phone and Aisha spoke a little shakily
Ijeoma turned on the speaker as the call connected.
“Aisha! Where have you been all night?!”
The man on the other end of the line seemed angry. Ijeoma smiled at Aisha whose voice trembled as she spoke.
“Aisha! What’s going on?”
“Mutumi na, ya ka ke?” Ijeoma spoke. She could almost feel the chills that ran through the blood of the National Security Adviser. His silence made her smile
“Who is this?!”
“Ka san wanda ta na yin magana. Don’t mess with me.”
“Ijeoma.” His voice was cold this time.
“In the flesh.”
“What do you want? Why do you have my daughter?”
“I think we both know the answer to that.”
Major-General Yakubu sighed.
“You know who I am Ijeoma. I thought we were friends. Why are you trying to make an enemy out of me?”
“We were never friends Yakubu. You took the one friend that I had. You made an enemy out of me. And I swear I thought you knew better than to mess with me. You know what I can do. But I want to remind you in case you have forgotten.”
She turned to the two guys with her.
The two men grabbed Williams and Tinu and gagged them. Ijeoma dropped the phone on the floor the pulled Aisha to her feet and dragged her towards the table.Tinu and Williams’ eyes bulged in fear and Aisha began to scream. Williams struggled with his captor but it was useless.
Ijeoma slapped Aisha across the cheek but she only cried out some more.
“Stop, please, I beg you! Please stop!”
Ijeoma pinned her head down to the table. She could hear the NSA yelling in the background and she signaled to one of the guys who picked the phone and brought it to her.
“Aisha, tell your dad what you can see on this table.”
“Knives baba! Plenty knives!!”
Aisha continued to cry.
“Stop!! I’ll do whatever you want! Just don’t hurt her! Please!”
“Are you sure? Because I am pretty sure you weren’t thinking of this when you ordered that hit on Maiva.”
“I am sorry about Maiva, I swear I am. But she had nothing to do with that Ijeoma, please. I am begging you.”
There was a loud pounding on the door and Ijeoma turned sharply to it, releasing her grip on Aisha.
“Ijeoma, just say anything you want, I swear to you, I will do it. I swear.”
The pounding on the door continued.
“Aisha is not here alone. Bankole’s daughter and and Rotimi’s son are here as well. In 12 hours, I will be on my way out of the country. You will neutralize Walrus and ensure that they never bother me or any of the people they have been hunting the last two weeks again. Can you do that?”
Ijeoma hung up. She pushed Aisha to the floor and walked to the door
“Take off the gags and untie them. Nobody leaves.”
She unlocked the door and found Leela standing behind it.
“You said no one would get hurt!” Leela was enraged.
“And no one did! Take your sweet sensitive self out of my sight! No blood, no pain. Just a spoilt brat who is terrified of knives.”
Ijeoma walked away. Leela was tempted to walk into the room but she thought better of it. Only Aisha had seen her face when they had picked her from her office. She wanted to keep it that way. The screaming she heard had sent her into a panic. The girl sounding like she was being tortured but she would have to take Ijeoma’s word for it.
She turned and walked back to the room where Uzo was asleep. She had sedated him so he would not see any of what was going on. Now she was really glad that she did.