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“It is not Rosaline,” Funke said audaciously. “Are you sure? She seemed too keen to jump into bed with Bola,” Amarachi pointed out. She ...

“It is not Rosaline,” Funke said audaciously. “Are you sure? She seemed too keen to jump into bed with Bola,” Amarachi pointed out. She was busy organizing for her big move to Abuja in a few weeks. The three of them operated by phone in an effort to demystify who the mystery ‘texter’ was. “Earlier today when Bola sent and received replies from the anonymous phone number, Rosaline was busy at work at her desk,” Funke explained. “If she had been the culprit, she would have at least picked up the phone from somewhere to reply Bola’s text. I was watching her like a hawk, and she did not move. It is not her.” They moved over to Ekwutosi. She was less receptive towards Bola’s flirtatious advances. She smiled shyly and shrugged them off without taking the bait. By evening, Rosaline send a text message to Bola;

12 Iguru Street, Warinpa Estate. Shall we meet tonight? I live alone. Can’t wait to get my hands on you.

Bola replied: You have no idea how much I want to be with you tonight, but my brother is ill. I have to dash to the hospital to take care of him.

Rosaline: I am sorry to hear that. Hope he is well soon. How about Saturday?

Bola: I will let you know.

Rosaline: I can’t wait!

The next morning, Funke was busy watching Ekwutosi while Bola shot off a text message to the mystery phone number. To Funke’s greatest shock, a phone beeped in Ekwutosi’s purse. Her Samsung Galaxy S6 was seated on her desk while another phone beeped in her purse. She looked around to make certain that no one was watching. She picked up another phone from the purse and headed to the bathroom. Soon, she was back at her desk while a text message flew into Bola’s phone. Funke could not be more certain that Ekwutosi was the mystery text sender. “She is our culprit!” She said barely containing her excitement as she spoke to Bola over the phone. “She had the phone in her purse.” By the next morning, Ekwutosi was picked up by the police for blackmail. She accompanied the police to the station with a cool demeanor on her face. She seemed as calm as an Archbishop. At the police station, holes began to appear on her usually calm demeanor. A slap from behind and a kick that sent her flying to the ground broke her coolness. “Why were you blackmailing a poor girl? Why on earth would you want to ruin Bola’s relationship with his girlfriend? You like him right?” An angry looking policeman asked her. Before she could answer, she felt a slap across her face. Her left eye watered almost immediately. A peppery sting stung her face as the ferocity of the slap sunk in. “I am sorry!” She said.” “Don’t be sorry. Tell us what you were up to,” a policeman yelled at her. Knowing that a lawyer will soon come in to bail her, they worked hard to extract every piece of information they could before her lawyer arrived.

“It was Chinonso and Abdul that got me involved!” She pleaded in an attempt to avoid another robust slap across her face. “Who?” “Our colleagues at the office, Chinonso and Abdul” Bola and Funke who were listening in from the neighboring room could not believe their ears. “They are my best friends,” Bola whispered to Funke. “I can’t believe this. Chinonso travelled to Kaduna with me.” “Wait, let’s hear everything she has to say before her lawyer comes to bail her,” Funke cautioned. The police quickly sent another arrest team to the bank to pick up Chinonso and Abdul. They had fled by the time the police got there, having got wind of Ekwutosi’s arrest. “I was in love with Bola, but he never looked in my direction,” Ekwutosi began to spill the beans.

“I am not that beautiful you know. He…he did not seem to show any interest in me,” she continued. “But you are colleagues at the bank you know. It is not encouraged for bankers to date their colleagues,” the police interrogator pointed out.” “Everyone does it. If we were to get married, then one of us would have left the bank. I loved him so much that each time he overlooked my gentle and subtle overtures at him, a piece of my love towards him turned to hate. I bought him fruits…I asked to have lunch with him…I helped him finish off his work whenever he had backlogs to clear. I was always there for him, but instead, he preferred to laugh and flirt with Rosaline. Is it because I am not that pretty? Well, Chinonso began to give me attention. We have been sleeping together for some time now. He and Abdul were very angry that Bola was promoted over them last year. Bola gets all the praise and recognition even though we all do the work. The two of them connived to break him to pieces when they found out how happy he was in his new relationship. I wanted so badly to see his relationship crumble.”

Bola was in total shock as he listened to the plot by his friends and colleagues to ruin his life. “How did you people dig into Amarachi’s background?” The interrogator asked. “Abdul knows people in Kaduna. He asked around at NNPC in Kaduna and found two girls who work with Bola’s girlfriend who told him everything they knew about Amarachi. They said her father was a cultist and that mental sickness was prevalent in her family. That one really got into Bola’s head,” Ekwutosi said with a malicious smirk on her face. “I was…we were very happy to see him suffer with that one. We could not afford to make ourselves suspicious so Abdul and Chinonso appeared to be very supportive when he had issues with his girlfriend. From the back, we kept sending the text while they encouraged him verbally not to leave her. The weekend that Chinonso travelled to Kaduna with Bola, he had the phone on him. He kept sending multiple texts to Bola while he drove to his girlfriend’s house. It nearly worked, but he is strongly in love with that girl. Well, it was good to see the person who turned down my advances suffer for a while. Chinonso and Abdul hate him so much. He overshadows them even though they have been here longer than him.” A few weeks later, Abdul and Chinonso were arrested. Helen and Biola were identified as the ones that offered up information to Abdul and Chinonso.

One afternoon, some weeks later, Bola, Funke and Amarachi were at the police station. The police wanted to know if Bola and Amarachi wanted to press charges against Helen, Biola, Ekwutosi, Chinonso and Abdul. It had been weeks since their arrest. Bola and Amarachi had the option of either pressing charges against them in court or dropping the charges against them. Amarachi had just moved to Abuja. Funke and Bola helped her find a new apartment. She was staying a short distance from Bola’s street. Her mother’s health had improved tremendously. She was on hand to help Amarachi with parking and organizing her things as she left Kaduna for Abuja. Realizing how many years she had been unwell, she had been eager to make up for lost time with her husband and children. Hardly any day went by without her calling Amarachi and her siblings on phone. She had shared the scenario with the police case with her mother. “Let it go my daughter. They have already lost their jobs. There is no point in making them suffer any further. Consign the situation to God and walk away,” she suggested.

None of them could look Bola, Amarachi or Funke in the eye. “If you want we can charge them to court. We have enough evidence to convict them,” Baba Yaro, the police inspector said arrogantly to Bola and Amarachi. “They are criminals. I suggest you press charges. People like these should be locked away,” he continued. “No officer, Amara and I have decided not to press charges,” Bola explained. “You want them to go free just like that?” Yaro asked in disbelief. “They wanted to ruin your life madam. They dragged the name of your family in the mud,” Yaro explained in an attempt to get them to change their mind. “I stand to gain nothing from their suffering. They should be allowed to go. They have already lost their jobs. That is enough punishment. In the end, Bola, the love of my life and I are still very happy together. We lost nothing really. The whole experience made us stronger. I do not want them to suffer any more. We insist on dropping all charges against them,” Amara replied. “You two are more like angels. If I were in your shoes, they would go to jail for blackmail,” Yaro threatened.

When they left the police station, Yaro and his men were reluctantly doing the paperwork to release Chinonso and his cohorts. Funke went to Blossom Supermarket for last-minute wedding shopping. Bola and Amara took a taxi to Millennium Park, Abuja. A cool, breeze gently caressed their skins as they walked arm-in-arm amid lush green trees, cascading water fountains and a sea of humanity soaking in the early evening breeze. They found a spot and lay on green grass beside each other. They looked in each other’s eyes. Neither of them could take their eyes off the other as though life would cease to exist if they looked away. “You have enriched my life honey. Funke was right. She said my life would never be the same after meeting you. I never want to let you off my sight. Funke’s recommendation was perfect because you are perfect for me,” Bola said still peering into Amarachi’s beautiful, bright eyes.

“I don’t know what I’d do without you Bola. It feels like I am going to run out of breath when I don’t see you for long. I am so thankful that Funke recommended you to me. You make me very happy!” She answered. A little boy who was walking past with his mother kicked his ball in their direction. The ball rolled right in-between them. The boy ran as fast as his legs could carry him to retrieve his precious ball. Bola held the ball in his hand. The little boy ran over to him breathing hard. “Can I have my ball please?” He pleaded. “Yes you can, but first, can you tell my girlfriend that she is the most beautiful girl in the world,” Bola asked. The boy’s mother watched with a ravishing and emotional smile on her face. The little boy blushed for a moment. He looked at Amarachi and then at Bola. “Are you going to marry her like my daddy married my mommy?” “I will someday,” Bola answered. The boy smiled even stronger. “You are the most beautiful woman in the world,” he said still blushing. “Thank you very much,” Amarachi answered hugging him tightly. “Can I have my ball now?” He asked. “Yes, you can sweetheart,” Amarachi replied as she let him go. Bola handed him his ball and he ran towards his mom with his ball in hand.

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Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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