“Ajike, do I need to ask if you still love me?” It was a dark, cold evening in December. Ajike stared helplessly at Stephen across his small room from the window overlooking the lagoon behind the University of Lagos campus. Except for Stephen’s old guitar and his keyboard, the room was sparsely furnished; He had managed to afford a mattress and a few cooking utensils since they graduated together three years back. Recently, after several complaints from her, he obliged to give the room a facelift, or so he thought. He used very cheap wall paper, and at the end of the day the room looked more like a studio situated in dingy Ajegunle. “I’d be sad if you had to ask.” She blurted. “Sadly, I have to ask.” Stephen ran his fingers across three octaves on the piano. “The rhythm of our relationship is changing. Do you still love me?” “I need a break. “ The words slipped through her curved lips. “ From what? From me? From our relationship?” “From our relationship!” She retorted sharply. Stephen tapped the piano and let his mind drift from the room for a few seconds. Memories flashed in his head, and He wondered what happened to all the good times they shared, all the kisses they stole, and the prayers they said. What happened to the vision of the beautiful Christian home they had planned together? Or perhaps, He shouldn’t move too fast. His fingers trembled visibly tapping the piano keys without order. He drowned his thoughts in Hezekiah Walker’s Every Praise. He didn’t know where the song came from, perhaps from recent practice or from his heart as an antidote to pain. Across the room Ajike picked up her bag, and opened the door. “I’d be sad if I had to lose you, but I’d feel worse if you lose Him.” Ajike stopped in her tracks. “Our love may wane after five years, even though all that time I tried to ensure this was all about God. Maybe I was in your life for a purpose. Maybe I have fulfilled my time.” Ajike walked out and shut the door quietly behind her without saying a word. Her stiletto heels could hardly keep under the weight of her trembling feet. She tried to gain control of her thoughts and her movement at the same time. Her feet succumbed to pressure and she fell to the ground.  It was past  8 pm, and the last thing she needed was a wayfarer’s assistance. She picked up under her weight, and dusted the dry sand from her red skirt. It was time to go home. ********************************************************************************** Franca had managed to find a clandestine spot away from the lights streaming across the entire Club Ninety.  While she waited for her guest, she ordered a bottle of Bailey’s. It was much needed, especially when she had tried unsuccessfully to regain her sanity from consistent marital crisis. Her husband was a serial womanizer, and she was about to teach him hard lessons. Somebody gat to die. She sang along to the famous song by Notorious BIG, and it fuelled her passion for mortality. Before I lose my sanity, somebody’s got to die. She watched the bulky frame of her contact move briskly across the hall. Tobi assured her that as a former member of the Nigerian Secret Service, he was excellent in surveillance. His private security firm had been run for close to five years in Lagos, and many women like her testify of his ability to unravel even the minutest details during investigation. He walked up to her and grabbed a seat and sat without greeting. “Abami” He stretched forth his hands for a handshake. “I thought he was a gentleman.” “Not while He is on duty.” His head carried evidence of deliberate sculpts of muscles, and they contracted rigorously as He spoke. He wore a harsh perfume that sent chills through her nasal orifice. “A drink?” She smiles at him. “Let’s go straight to the point.” He ignores her question. “I understand my brief is simple; to help you with the office and home address of Miss Missy, in addition to her daily routine” He looked around for a second as if he were monitoring someone, and then continues the conversation almost immediately. “Miss Missy is the code name for your target” “Yes!” “Is that all?” He wondered “I need to have a GPS device that enables me track her car online real time, twenty four seven.” A drunk girl dances past and blows cigarette smoke into Abami’s face. He smiles and continues without a word. “Very possible. My fee is five hundred thousand naira, and that includes a GPS application I will install on your phone, and a device to complete a handshake.” He looked at her with urgency. “Eighty percent upfront!” This man means business. Franca thought to herself. She opens her bag and stacks four packs of a thousand naira notes on the table. “I will call you within two weeks.” He stood up and left before she found the words in her mind. “No receipt?” The question came rather late.  Abami disappeared into darkness through the smoke that had n

Source: Heat


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