Stephanie held onto her baby and smashed her phone on the tiled floor. Why did Cindy have to resurrect from the dead. She had followed all her rules like she wanted. She had shown Ralph nothing but pure hate all the time they had been together. Cindy was her twin, one who always got in trouble while she cleaned up the mess. Her other phone rang so loudly she almost jumped out of her skin.
"Hey baby, hold on mama has got to take this call" she whispered to her two-year-old son.
"Sister Sister..." Cindy mocked
"Cindy, what have you done?" she cried
"Well, we both know this arrangement was temporary, why are you shocked?"
"Haven’t you done enough?"
"Done enough? Ralph knew what was coming to him"
"But I thought you made him promise to stick by me in exchange for his life"
"Yes I did"
"And he never went back on that promise... why did you have to kill him? “She cried
"Hey, wake up. I need a few documents from that house. Your husband had his late father's will"
"I can't just start ruffling his things. The police moved everything out yesterday"
"So? You were his wife. Get your hands on the will and bring it to me"
"I can’t Cindy! His things are with the police and his brother would watch my every move. I’m even lucky he doesn't suspect me yet"
"Dumb-ass! That’s what you are. How many times have I warned you to be alert?"
"I didn't want any part of this, you pushed me into it, I don't want it"
"Shut-up and stop acting like a sissy; get your hands on those documents and send them across else I’ll kill that bastard of yours"
"No, no, no, please he is no bastard. Ralph and I had been trying and I got lucky"
"Shut up, I slept with that man for years and I never got pregnant he too knew he had issues"
"That’s because you were on pills, you loved Philip yet you kept up that charade with Ralph because of your dirty ring. You pushed Ese from him- she was going to change him, make him a better person"
"Shut-up! Just shut-up! Speaking of Ese we now have a common enemy and she Will be dealt with accordingly"
"You promised not to hurt her. I agreed to step in and marry Ralph so you'd continue with your plans and Ese will be safe please let her be"
"Why do you love her more than you love me why? I am your twin" Cindy fumed
"Cindy I love you but you have destroyed everything I hold dear. Our parents, Ralph, you have ruined my life! Ese was the twin I never had"
"Shameless, that's what you are, shameless.....just get the documents ready, since you love Ese, she's pregnant and you might just be losing three people instead of just your son. Get to work!" she hissed and dropped the call
Stephanie wept bitterly....reminiscing, she remembered how she had met Ese in England, life had been so difficult after losing her parents but Ese had supported her, housed her and even ensured her last session's tuition was paid. she had been glad to marry Ralph as her twin sister wished mostly because Ese's decision to stick by Ralph despite his past way of life didn't go down well with Cindy "I’ll marry Ralph, ask Ralph to do same, just don't hurt Ese I owe her so much please" she had begged her sister. She knew giving her sister those documents only meant two things that their gang would win therefore Charles and Dr Akande and would be on the losing end. Charles had been on this case for years trying to unravel the mystery behind the deaths of those men, she would help him. In turn, he would protect Ese and her son. Cindy would never stop, until she got everything she wanted, everyone she loved would be a pawn in her dirty game. She jerked again the sound of the rap on the door
"Hey," she greeted her brother-in-law
"Are you still crying?" Charles asked
She sniffed...."Charles can I talk to you sincerely?"
"Yes go on"
"I know a lot, I just need for you to protect me, save my baby your nephew and my friend Ese."
The name struck a chord. Ese was Ralph’s ex, Sabrina’s sister..."hey Steph, relax what's wrong?"
"We can't talk here" she spoke in hush tones..."can I follow you home?"
"Yes...... pick the kid let's get out of here... hang on!” he said as he took his call
"Charles I’m headed to yours; mind sending me your full address so I can get to your place?"
"I’m not home yet, I made a quick stop at my brother's place"
"Get Stephanie out of there, get out of that place...it's not safe"
"What is going on? Stephanie is also talking about a whole lot of strange stuff"
"Meaning she knows... makes this easier. I’ll talk when we see"
"Where are you?"
"I’m in front of Ikoyi Park...just drove out from Banana Island"
"Who lives there?"
"Oh okay...my house is in Lekki, off admiralty road...I’ll head home right away"
"See you soon"
Imade saw the light from the famous Mongolian grill on admiralty road. She had spoken to Charles a few minutes back and he was held up in traffic.
She picked her ringing phone. It was tony
"How are you?"
"I’m fine... Just held up with work"
"Wait, you are still at the office?"
"No I’m not...I just have to work outside the office tonight..." to her that sounded like working in the bedroom. How on earth would two grownups attracted to each other stay in the same house without getting distracted?
"What’s wrong? You sound off"
"errrmmm... I just have this case I’m working on.... Tony are you by any chance related to Dr Gbadesola Akande?"
"Yes he was my father... why?"
"urrrmmm...nothing, I just thought you had a striking resemblance with him" she lied
"Oh really? You saw his pictures?"
"Yes...on the dailies" she lied again
"Oh I see you've been keeping tabs on me..."
She forced a chuckle..."errmmmm, can I call you back Tony?" Charles was on the line
She ended the call with tony to take Charles’s call
"Sabrina where are you?"
"Just in front of Mongolian grill"
"Oh nice, can you put on your hazard lights for easy identification?"
Imade noticed him flash his headlights through her rearview mirror ...she let down her glass to speak with him..."good evening Charles" just then she saw Stephanie...."hello Steph" she greeted
"Hi Imade..." Steph replied
Imade wondered how she was taking the death of her husband...the very man she stole from her sister.
"You can follow me" Charles said breaking the silence.
Imade paced about the living room...she didn't understand any of this. Charles had filled her in on what Ember had called to say earlier. Ember’s husband was the kingpin in all these murders. Stephanie had a twin sister who was a concubine to Dr G. Akande and was also secretly married to Chief Coker. She even had twin boys for him. Although she had this connection with Chief Coker, her main lover was Ember's husband. According to Charles, his name was Philip. Hmmmmmm, it was getting deeper, deeper than she had thought.
"So wait, why all the murders, what's their purpose?"
"My father and Dr Akande ran a string of businesses somewhat similar to the Brandon’s. Chief Coker was an illegal oil baron. So my dad and Dr Akande who were also friends with chief Peremo decided to hook him up into the legal way of doing oil business. After a while, they were awarded two oil wells but the major persons who handled the affairs of the business were chief Peremo and Dr Akande. Dr Akande was a onetime senator, his political influence brought in a lot of favors while my father was a legal counsel and a senior advocate hence everything moved smoothly until Chief Coker got too greedy and decided the oil wells be split and the profit marginalized. My dad, Dr Akande, and chief Peremo who had been close friends since schooldays saw no reason to disentangle the business. Dr. Akande had the higher stakes and refused for the business to be disentangled. When Chief Coker saw that he made no headway, tragedy struck and his business partners began to die mysteriously"
"So why hasn't he been arrested or even investigated?"
"Well mostly because there's no evidence, I was really close to my dad and he trusted me more than my older brother ralph so I had access to this information. After his death, I tried all I could to link his death to Coker, but all efforts proved abortive"
"Who is in charge of those wells now?"
"Well, as of now, no one is. The rightful person who should be in charge is Tony. By right, Tony’s dad got those wells in his name. Chief Peremo had a subsidiary that runs on his behalf but he isn't the rightful owner of the wells"
"Meaning tony should have inherited all the wells while you and Ember assist in its running?"
"Yes he should have"
"Does he know this?"
"no he doesn't, as a safety measure, we all decided to make the hoodlums believe that ember is the sole owner so as to take their eyes off Tony... his mother wanted it that way too"
“In essence, what you are saying is that, Tony could be at risk right now if they knew this fact"
"Yes he would..."
"I need to call him" Imade shook with fear
"Sabrina relax, relax don't, I’ll do that myself"
Charles went on to drop a detailed voice message for Tony. If he listened to the message and understood its content, he was to respond by coming over to his place for further discussion
Stephanie cried quietly, "I could draw Cindy out, if I get a fake copy of those documents that's all she wants. She spoke like your brother ralph was also aware of these happenings"
"Stephanie do not insult my brother's memory. I’m only listening you because I don't have a choice... Cindy could have put you up to this"
"She didn't I swear....I only want to help. She threatened to kill everyone I hold dear, my son, Ese"
"Shut up Steph... we treated you like a sister yet you went behind Ese to court and marry ralph" Imade hissed
"You don't understand!" she cried
"Understand what? That you were a back stabber?"
"I didn't back-stab Ese, whatever I did was to protect her. Ralph was in a gang with my sister and they needed him to remain brutal and focused for the task they had so they put him on Cindy’s watch. Ese met Ralph through Kunle who is my cousin and being the sweet soul she was, Ralph was easily charmed by her. Ralph started regretting his ways and wanted out but the gang thought it was too dangerous. Ralph had gone too deep to opt out. Cindy wanted Ese dead for obstructing some of their plans so the condition for Ese to live was if Ralph stayed away from her and married me instead. I agreed to this arrangement to save my friend's life. I was already engaged to be married, Ese knows this you may ask her. I had my plans halted for all these to happen..."
Imade sighed...her eyes, teared up, what had she gotten herself into?
"Hey Sabrina, its okay we will find these people, I promise”....Charles said taking her hand in his
"Okay what do we do?" Steph asked
"We will play along with Cindy, get her those papers, the fake ones. Meanwhile, Tony has to be brought up to date on these happenings, his mother too....everyone needs to keep pretending to stay safe. I’ll speak with Dave, I want my sister out of this mess... she will be relocating to the us for now till the dust settles"
"I already dropped a voice note for Tony, and he sent an acknowledgement message saying he'd be here soon"
Imade stepped aside to call Ese....after several futile dials she hissed and leaned her head on the wall
"Hey... hey...." Charles rushed to her side
"Yes?" she turned towards Charles
"I’m sorry for bringing you into all of this"
"You don't have to apologize, my sister is also involved"
"I don’t know what I did right by finding or employing you, but I just want you to know that I don't feel alone anymore"
"And you will never be....Charles"
He drew her closer to her and met her mouth with his....just in time to give the entering tony a show.
"I got your message" he said loudly to get his attention. He didn't know which hurt most, finding out his life was at stake because he was an heir to billions of dollars or seeing the woman he loved in the arms of his good friend, and brother of his own father's murderer. Yeah, he knew Ralph had pulled that trigger, he had seen him do it.
To be continued................