I apologize for my long absence as I have been under the weather. Thanks for checking in on me.
“How did it go?” Idara asked Toyosi.
She flung her shoes off and sank into a sofa before answering. “Don’t you trust me?”
Idara sat up, eager to hear the details. The laptop on which she had been editing pictures was abandoned on the table before her.
“Give me the gist.”
“By the way, I saw your husband on my way home,” Toyosi remarked.
Idara let out a long hiss. “Is that supposed to be a joke? You are beating about the bush because PA shunned you.”
“Shun ke?” She rose and turned her bum so that it was in her friend’s face. “Do you see any man rejecting this?”
Idara pushed her away with a laugh. “It’s not by bum or by cleavage but by revelation.”
“Exactly! The divine revelation I had today, even you will not believe it.”
“Tell me more.”
She sat again and began unbuttoning her jacket. “You know PA works with teenagers, right?”
“Yes, I have heard about it. PO’s wife has been planning to copy his idea for sometime but she is yet to find a capable hand to run the group as she is so busy with women.”
“I have officially begun a teen’s group in our church O!”
“Just like that?”
“Overnight! I called Sis. Remi to back me up. Make she no go fall my hand. She was happy as the lady who attempted to handle the group initially fell short of expectations,” Toyosi narrated.
Idara clapped her hands in delight. “How wonderful! Your idea is genius.”
“My dear, I had to think on the spot. That Ovie of a person just abandoned me on the parking lot. You can’t imagine how much I have spent on designer perfume for him.”
Idara made a hissing sound and snapped her fingers. “I thought he said he could arrange a meeting with PA for you.”
“That guy is a joke. Anyway, he has his uses. It was his phone call that enabled me get past the security.”
“So what’s next?”
“Off to google. I have to read up about the teen ministry and all that.”
“What is PA’s role in all this?”
“He has to mentor me, my sister.”
“I need that kind of mentoring O, Sister.” Idara rubbed her chest in jest and rolled her eyes.
Both ladies laughed as they hi-fived each other.
Zina was working late when a message alert made her pick up her phone. She had largely ignored it all day but it was 8pm and she needed to cool off. The message was from Imaobong. It read, “I just noticed that you are not yet home. Kindly turn off that laptop and get into the car. Afang soup awaits.”
She laughed to herself as she replied. “I am suspecting you. I hope you did not invite any blind date as well.”
“No! I would never do that. I can’t be sure you are not wearing one black suit or the other. That would be a risk.”
“Wearing black is a risk?”
“Promising much and under-delivering is. I would have told the guy how hot you are only for you to show up dressed like a widow.”
Zina chuckled. “Get off my case. Black is beautiful.”
“Why do you labour so, whom the Lord has given rest? It’s time to go home. Sufficient unto the day are its troubles.”
“Okay. Alright. I am closing right away. Happy now?”
“Yipee! See u soon. Xoxo!”
Zina smiled at the smiley her friend inserted and inserted one of her own. She really could have closed earlier but there was no one to go home to. In Port Harcourt, she had often had her mother over, her father being late. Here, she had to return to an empty house, mocking her with its two bedrooms, large kitchen, study and balcony. She was given the house because it befitted her status as M.D but in truth, she would have been happier in a one-bedroom apartment. Her voice would not echo in the stillness and her loneliness would not be so amplified.
She called for her driver and asked him to meet her at the front. He lived very close to her house so she did not feel bad about working late. Besides, she gave him a tip whenever she felt she had been unfair even though his contract put him at her disposal for 24 hours, 5 days a week. This was a privilege reserved for her position as she was expected to be available for late meetings with executives and he was paid higher than his colleagues.
At home, she found a note taped to her door. Imaobong had accessed her flat with her spare key and deposited the food in the microwave. She silently blessed her. It would have been rude to call her up at that time of the night as she had a family to care for. Zina decided not to make eba since it was late. She would eat some of the soup and save the rest for later.
PA and Ovie were planning his meeting with the parents of Cybil who Amara had sent her nudes to. He had walked into the trap which they set up in her house and they were able to record him on video, threatening her. She had invited him over, assuring him that her parents were abroad. He was defiant when caught, insisting that he had done nothing wrong and that she was his girlfriend.
“Girls send their nudes to me all the time. I didn’t ask her for it and I never intended to publish it online,” he had said.
“She wants the pictures back,” PA had told him. “Hand them over and destroy any back-ups you have.”
He had laughed in PA’s face and stormed out. It took a lot of effort to stop her parents from manhandling the boy. As it was, her mother followed him out, cursing loudly with no care who heard.
“Return those pictures, anu mpama! Idiot! You think you will get away with this but God has exposed you! A small boy like you who should be concentrating on his studies; being stupid. God will judge you!”
Her husband had to beg her to come back into the house. They stood at their doorway and watched him saunter off, oblivious of the pain he was causing.
PA’s lawyer, Ebie, was present. He had given his counsel and they had already involved the police. It was the phone call from Ebie that made his parents wade into the matter. They had hired their own lawyer as well. As PA anticipated, they saw nothing wrong in their son’s actions. Over the phone, they abused Amara, calling her a loose girl who was trying to seduce their son. PA did not bother defending her. He simply asked for the nudes to be returned.
Cybil first claimed he had deleted them. PA then requested his phones and computers so a technician could verify his claims. He then stalled and claimed he saved them in his dropbox. The matter was spiraling out of control. Amara was under pressure in school as she could not change schools in the middle of the term. He had spread rumors about her and conscripted his followers to taunt her whenever the teachers were not watching. Notes were left on her desk with obscenities whose writers were never traceable. PA suspected the teachers were sympathetic to Cybil since it could be argued that she could have simply refused to send the nudes.
Shortly, Ama let in Cybil, his parents and his lawyer. PA greeted them cordially and offered them refreshments which they declined. They sat on the sofas in his lounge.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen,” Ebie began. “I believe we know the issue at hand. I would like us to introduce ourselves and then we’ll take it from there.”
Introductions were made with no particular enthusiasm. Both lawyers knew each other, so they shook hands cordially. Ovie sat in a corner, eyeing Cybil and his family. The thoughts going through his mind were uncharitable to say the least. He could see the boy was indulged; wearing Gucci trainers that even he could not afford and slouching in his sofa with a scowl on his otherwise handsome face.
PA interrupted his thoughts by speaking next.
“We have been asked by Amara and her parents to handle this matter because emotions tend to run high when all the parties involved are present. Besides, they trust our judgement.”
“Loose girl!” Cybil’s mom muttered under her breath.
“Madam, kindly refrain from any abusive language. This behavior is the very reason we felt it was unwise to invite her. She is not guiltier than your son.”
“My son is innocent!” she protested.
“Then let him release the pictures to us!” Ebie said.
Their lawyer, Ogwa interrupted the exchange. “We asked him not to because you have a video that implicates him. You also have to release it to us. Also, we are not happy that his parents were not approached directly. Rather, you set a trap for my client. That was very low.”
“Considering their behavior since they heard of their son’s actions, I think we did the right thing,” Ebie countered testily.
“Is that a supposed to be a veiled insult?” Cybil’s father roared.
“Calm down, everyone.” PA raised his hands to appeal for calm. “The two lawyers will make their recommendations and we will go with what they say. Ebie, what do you propose?”
“Cybil should transfer the pictures to me right now and then sign that he has held back no copies and if he is found to have released any into the public domain, he is liable for prosecution,” Ebie said.
“He will delete the stupid pictures. They were unsolicited and he has no use for them,” his mom snapped.
“Our video proves otherwise. He was trying to coerce her to have sex with him. Would you like to see it?” Ebie asked.
“Nonsense!” his dad spat.
“We want the video before he transfers any picture and you also have to sign that the video will be destroyed and never used against him,” Ogwa demanded.
“Fair enough,” PA nodded.
A laptop was brought forward and all the parties came forward to observe the proceedings carefully. Ovie could not take his eyes off Cybil. He had shown no remorse at all and was probably already planning who his next victim would be. The school had tried to punish him but his lawyer threatened to sue since the school rules did not spell out that no one should receive nude pictures of fellow students. They were forced to back down.
Task completed, the guests rose to leave. Ama let them out and then came in to ask how everything went.
“Watch out for that boy,” PA said. “I will not be surprised to hear he has raped someone in the near future.”
“The boy is already using weed,” Ovie added.
“How did you know?”Ama wondered.
“My sis, it is not only women who have intuition. Don’t worry; you will soon hear how he ended.”