Ehis felt like his world was falling apart. Things couldn’t possibly get any worse. He’d actually thought for a moment that he had it all figured out but when he opened his front door, bags in hand and came face to face with an unsmiling Katrina, he realised for the umpteenth time that fate was great at screwing people up big time!
He’d been so careful, so discreet, but yet here he was looking straight into the barrel of a gun just like in his dreams. Well there’d be no more nightmares after today cos he knew how the story ended. What a shame, death had chosen this bright Sunday morning to pay its last respects.
He looked at Amaka, trying hard to hide the emotion he felt. He couldn’t let Katrina see his weakness, couldn’t let her know just how much this other woman had taken her place. He looked away. Seeing Amaka as she lay in a crumpled heap on the floor beside her fierce looking attacker broke him. He felt so helpless. He hadn’t been surprised to see the man creep up behind her. It’d be foolish to assume that Katrina would appear unannounced at his home without her goons, the real surprise was seeing Amaka walk through that door. It had left him stupefied. What was she doing in his house on a Sunday morning? They had a fairly regular pattern and surprise visits hadn’t been her style till this week. It was like she sensed the decision he had made. When she didn’t show up on Friday and Saturday, he’d heaved a sigh of relief because his decision to leave was hard enough without having to worry that she’d catch him on a Sunday morning, fleeing for his life without even a simple goodbye.
Deciding to leave his family, friends, job, life in Lagos and possessions was one of the toughest choices he’d ever made but he knew that Katrina wasn’t to be toyed with. He couldn’t risk her hurting the people he loved yet he had inadvertently put Amaka in danger. He needed a plan. Today might be his last day on earth but he would very well make sure it wasn’t her last. His mind went to the conversation he and Katrina were having before Amaka walked in. Things were definitely worst than he thought.
“Nathaniel, my little puppy. Going somewhere?”
“Ermmm K-k-katrina. What are you doing here? How did you find me?”
“That was easy, Nigeria is even easier to operate in than Italia. Anybody would tell me what I need to know for some measly change. Where are the codes?”
“Don’t play dumb with me Nathaniel. Nobody steals from Katrina and expects to live!”
“S-steal from you? I would never steal from you. All I took was the money you gave me, honest.”
And Amaka had burst in at that precise moment. What codes? He knew Katrina wasn’t playing. He needed to get Amaka out of this mess anyway he could. His mind was racing, things were sure to get ugly pretty soon.
“Katrina she’s of no importance to you, let her go. You have who you came for.”
“Nathaniel you underestimate me yet again. Is this not your little butterfly Amaka? The woman you bought the ring for? You know I have a penchant for details.”
“Katrina please don’t hurt her. Please…”
“Be silent. What does this woman have that I do not have? Is this the reason you left me in Italia?”
“No Katrina, I left because I was scared. Scared of getting killed, scared of Raphael…”
“I would’ve protected you. Why didn’t you trust me? Instead you stole from me, you bastard! You are wasting my time, hand over the codes now!”
“Katrina I swear to you, I do not have them…”
“Nathaniel do I look like a fool? My husband was murdered by his business partners because of those codes. They thought he was double-crossing him. Poor Raphael would never have believed his darling wife Katrina would steal from him and he paid for his stupidity with his life. I hid the codes at our nest. I knew Raphael would never suspect me or ever find out the location of our nest but you double crossed me and I will take great pleasure in torturing you before I end your miserable life!”
“Katrina I beg of you, please have mercy. I swear I did not steal from you. Where did you keep the codes? Maybe someone else took it.”
“Everyone who ever knew about the nest has been tortured or killed save for you. You took it Nathaniel. I hid it behind a portrait of me on the oak dresser. I figured hiding it in plain sight would keep it safe. I forgot I was dealing with a Nigerian.”
“Did you say portrait? The one where you were wearing that red dress? The one I loved so much?”
“Aha, so you did take it!”
Katrina aimed the gun at his head.
“Where is it?”
“I took it as a memento. I didn’t want to ever forget you bella. I had no clue it carried codes. Please forgive me.”
“Forgiveness will come later, where is it?”
“Somewhere in this house. Please let me search for it.”
“Fernandez follow this man into his chambers. If he tries anything funny, shoot both his knee caps!”
Three hours later…
Ehis was sweating. He’d checked every possible place he could have dumped that potrait but he couldn’t find it anywhere. Katrina was not a patient person, even Fernandez grew restless. He knew he would not hesitate to shoot him giving the slightest provocation. He wondered if this was Katrina’s new toy. He had tried to strike up a conversation with him an hour before but it was like talking to a wall.
“Dear God, please help me find this potrait. I promise that if you let me live, I’ll make my life count. I swear I’ll marry Amaka. Please God…”
He wasn’t sure if God had heard his whispered prayer but he began to search with renewed vigor. He suddenly had this strong feeling to search his old shoe box. It had been one of the first places he’d searched but the potrait hadn’t turned up. As he removed shoe after shoe, he thought of Amaka. He needed a miracle. At the bottom of the box was a newspaper, he picked it up and low and behold, there was the potrait under a thick layer of dust and cockroach eggs.
“I’ve found it, I’ve found it!”
He screamed in jubilation. His scream had Katrina by his side in a flash and she took the potrait from him without saying a word. She brought out her phone and began to punch in the codes.
Katrina laughed excitedly and even Fernandez seemed to visibly relax.
“Come Fernandez, we must leave for Italia tonight.”
She began walking out of the room and Ehis scurried after her.
“Nathaniel I will keep the promise I made to you all those years ago and let you and your butterfly live. We will have no more dealings. This time you should trust me.”
Nathaniel was too over-whelmed to speak.
As Katrina walked out the door, she turned to him.
“You are still the best I ever had my puppy…ciao”
And she was gone. Ehis broke down into tears. The sound of her car fading away.
They were tears of joy, tears of relief, tears that only a second-chance could bring. He allowed them flow freely.
Two hours later, Amaka was still unconscious. He unpacked and put away his bags and lay her comfortably on the couch. He was in a wonderful mood. He put a bottle of champagne in the fridge, prepared some rice and chicken sauce and started searching for his old boys2men cd. He had a plan and this time nothing was gonna mess it up.
Amaka opened her eyes and tried to adjust to her surroundings. She felt very confused and for some reason terrified but her mind was still hazy. As she sat up, she saw Ehis on his knees beside her and he grabbed her hand.
“You are awake!”
“Ehis, what happened? Who was that woman? What-”
And Ehis pressed a button on the remote control and Amaka’s favourite boys2men song began playing in the background. She looked at Ehis and then at the room. There was a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket on the table along with 2 glasses and he’d cooked.
“Amaka, will you marry me?”
Amaka looked at the ring in his outstretched hands and her eyes widened in shock.
…To be continued
Have a beautiful Sunday peeps…xoxoxo 😉