… Previously on Roulette Of The Damned!!!
Andrew was not in the mood to meet any guy. Just because he and Jiro were not in a good place at the moment didn’t mean he wanted to spend his days getting to know another man, no matter how hot he might be. Irritated, Andrew asked Funke, “Didn’t you just hear what I said? It’s only the two of us that came here. We aren’t expecting anyone else.”
Mofe tapped Andrew’s hand and said “You might want to take a look at the guy before you say that.”
Feeling betrayed, Andrew looked at Mofe in surprise and said “You too? You know that I’m not interested in anyone else Mofe. Why would you tell me to look at another guy. I’ll never be over Jiro and I’m not interested in any other guy, not matter how hot he is.”
Noticing the waitress looking uncomfortable with the conversation, Mofe said to her, “Can you please get us our bill. Thank you.” As she hurried away quickly, Mofe said under his breath “You idiot, calm down and look at the guy already. Stop being such a difficult bitch.”
Funke, the waitress, came back with the bill and handed it to Mofe. Andrew whispered under his breath so only Mofe could hear him. “Don’t call me a bitch, bitch. And I’m calm.” Sighing heavily, Andrew asked “Okay, so where’s this must-see guy you want me to see so badly.”
Smiling, Mofe pointed towards to front door of the bar. “Over there. Sexy guy in the black shirt.”
Andrew looked at where Mofe was pointing to. The minute he saw who the sexy guy in black was, Andrew dropped his beer and his hand sprang free like he’d been electrocuted. The bottle bounced off the table and hit the grungy carpet with a thump. Foam splattered everywhere, soaking his arm and spraying up the side of his face. Sudden heat suffused his entire body. A burning hot point of flame centred itself in his chest and banked slightly to the left to flare brightly inside his shattering heart. I’m having a heart attack, Andrew’s head told him. As the wave of heat rushed from his chest region to his boxers, his shaft sprung to life like it was on salute. Okay, so maybe it’s not a heart attack.
Andrew registered the sound of Funke angry and squealing about the mess he had made of the beer and knew he should respond somehow, do something. He just couldn’t think. Or breathe. Jiro is Here. You’re not imagining it– He’s really here. Andrew absolutely couldn’t tear his eyes away from Jiro either In case he vanished again in an instant and it was all a dream. Jiro stared back at him and pulled at Andrew’s iron will like a magnet.
Mofe cleared his throat.
The deep rumbling sound of Mofe’s chuckling finally intruded into Andrew’s focus on Jiro and his sudden appearance. “For someone who asks me why I chose Abbey, you seem to find it easy to forget that any other person exists whenever Jiro is around.” Mofe said smiling. “It’s actually kinda poetic.” Even though Jiro was still standing like a statue by the or the bar and Andrew was towards the back of the bar, Mofe still spoke like Jiro and Andrew were standing beside each other. “Maybe I should leave you two alone so you can catch up on things. We can have drinks another time Drew.”
Even though he had heard everything Mofe had said, he was not interested in looking away from Jiro. Despite his lack in interest in looking at anyone or anything else, Andrew eventually looked at Mofe to thank him for dragging him out of the house. As Andrew looked at Mofe, he realized that tearing his eyes off Jiro actually hurt in a weird way. As it was, the sight of Jiro had made Andrew hard in a public place. Embarrassed he said “Jesus Jiro, I’m so sorry. I’m being such a dick. Its just that Jiro…oh my God, he’s actually here. Trying to understand how Jiro could have walked into the same bar he and Mofe were having in a drink out of the hundreds of bars in Lagos, Andrew cautiously asked “Wait, Mofe did you– was this your idea?”
With the biggest grin on his face, Mofe said “Yes. actually no. It was Abbey’s. Now make it worth it already. He’s a hot-headed man but he’s still your man. So, go get your man.” Mofe winked.
Happy for the first time in three weeks, Andrew smiled an appreciative smile to his cousin and said “Thank you Mofe. You and Abbey rock!.”
Still smiling, Andrew turned his head towards the door of the bar to look to at Jiro.
Jiro wasn’t there anymore. Panicking, Andrew looked all over the bar but couldn’t see Jiro anywhere.
He was gone…
No…no…no. Andrew’s heart felt like it was going to jump out of his chest with the pain and sense of loss he felt.
==========AND NOW on Roulette Of The Damned!!!==========
—– IF IT KILLS ME!!! —–
In the art of war, if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the approaching battles. If you know only yourself and not your enemy, for every victory there is also defeat.
Andrew quickly paid Funke her bill and dropped a large tip apologising for the mess he had made. He ran after Jiro but only got outside fast enough to watch Jiro’s car pull away. Mofe ran outside and met Andrew looking lost and confused. “Where’s Jiro?” Mofe asked as he looked up and down the street. “Did you catch up with him before he left?”
Looking at Mofe like he was the most irritating human on the planet, “Does it look like I caught up with him?” Andrew asked and answered before Mofe could speak. “No, Mofe. Jiro is one fast fuck when he wants to be. He clearly didn’t want to be here and he must have felt cajoled to come here today.”
“Damn it.” Mofe said. He looked truly disappointed.
“Did you set this up?” Andrew asked Mofe as he swirled round to look at him. Mofe took an unconscious step backward because he could see that Andrew was livid. “Was this your idea?” Andrew was seething and he didn’t know why. All he knew was he had to take his frustration out on someone somehow.
“No.” Mofe said defensively. “I told you before already. It was Abbey’s idea. She wanted to come to your office over a month ago to apologise for everything that went down between both of you and mend fences with you and Jiro but Bukunmi had advised her against it. Apparently, Bukunmi noticed you and Jiro had a major falling out around that same time. In truth, she said that a lot of people at work noticed.” Andrew flinched. Mofe sighed, wiped the sweat off his brow and kept talking. “Three weeks ago, Abbey planned a surprise getaway package for you and Jiro as her personal apology to the both of you but she cancelled it last minute…something about Bukunmi saying it wasn’t the best time for the both of you to be getting such a package because you were dealing with things in your relationship. So far, it is obvious that you and Jiro are not exactly on talking terms and Abbey is concerned. She personally believes that three weeks is a long time to have a fall out in a relationship but she was certain you wouldn’t have come here if she had been the one to invite you so she sent me instead. She also called Jiro and said she wanted to mend fences. That’s why he was here. Her master plan was to ignite the spark you and Jiro share when you saw each other again. She obviously didn’t think of how ugly it could get or just how angry Jiro must be at you. I’m sorry Drew. I should have told you.”
Andrew felt like an ungrateful bigot for shouting at Mofe the way he had. Mofe sounded so sincere, Andrew didn’t have the heart to remain angry at his cousin. “Its okay Mofe.” Andrew said as shoulders drooped in defeat. “It all my fault. I messed things up and now I’ve lost Jiro for good.” Putting one hand on his head and another on his waist, Andrew continued. “I said some horrible things. I destroyed what I had with him without even knowing. To hell with all my good intentions! I’m the one person that should have been on Jiro’s side even if everyone else in the world abandoned him. If he didn’t want to be with me, he would have told me. Instead, I pushed him to make that decision of leaving me because he thought it was what I wanted. Now I’ve lost him for good. He’ll never listen to me at this point.”
Without warning, Mofe tapped the back of Andrew’s head. Andrew frowned his face in pain and yelped “Ouch! What the hell was that for?” He asked as he rubbed his throbbing head.
“That was meant to help you get your head back in the bloody game” Mofe replied. “Snap out of your depression this instant or I swear I’ll give you a backhand slap next. Quit being a bitch! Granted, you said some things to Jiro that you shouldn’t have said and he’s mad at you, and rightly so. It still doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be happy.”
“Mofe,” Andrew started. “You don’t get it. It complica—-”
Mofe swung his hand to tap the back of Andrew’s head again but Andrew ducked his head from Mofe’s painful palm just in time.
“Quit hitting me Mofe!” Andrew yelled.
“I’ll stop hitting you when you start doing what you need to do.” Mofe replied in his matter-of-fact voice. “The thing about Jiro right now, the thing you don’t seem to realise is that he is very dangerous right now because he is very angry at you. He’s a walking suitcase nuke waiting to go boom because he is not thinking like your best friend anymore. Right now, he is thinking like a victim. He is thinking like a boyfriend. He is thinking like a man who’s heart has been broken by the last person in the world he’d ever have expected to break it. He is a credible threat to you right now and if given the chance, he’d most likely beat you into a comma or a coffin. It’s time to fold and give, Andrew. You fucked up but you can still make things right.
“How?” Andrew simply asked.
“What do you mean ‘how’ Andrew?” Mofe asked irritated. “You already know how! Give Jiro whatever he wants. Give him anything and everything he asks for except an exit from the relationship! Don’t let him go no matter what. Give him everything except that.”
“There are laws against stalking, you know” Andrew mumbled
Mofe stared at Andrew like he was addressing a five year old child “Like that has ever stopped you before. Besides, don’t laws don’t apply in Nigeria and you know it.” Taking a softer approach to his tone of voice, Mofe asked Andrew “Do you love him?”
Andrew’s eyes got glassy for a brief second and he had to look away from Mofe. “That isn’t –” He begun to say but Mofe cut him short.
“It’s a simple Yes or no question Drew.” Mofe said. “Do you love Jiro?”
Taking in a shaky breath, Andrew looked at the sky for a brief moment before he finally answered.”More than life itself… more than the air I breathe. More than –”
“Good.” Mofe said. “Then give whatever the hell you have to give for the sake of what and who you love. Give him the damn moon if you have to. Go to him Andrew. Save your friendship and your relationship. Its a Saturday. Where would he be on a Saturday night?”
“Home.” Andrew said wearily. “We were meant to have guys night as always.”
“So meet him at home.” Mofe suggested. “If you r lucky, you’d catch up with him, but you need to go now to beat any kind of Saturday evening traffic!”
Andrew looked at his watch. He could still make it. He fetched his car keys from his pockets and ran to his car a few feet away. Before he got in, he looked at his cousin and said “Thank you Mofe. I owe you big time. Thank Abbey too for me as well. If all goes well, you both may just have saved me from a life of loneliness.”
“Yeah yeah.” Mofe said easily, waving off Andrew’s thanks. “Happy we could help. Now get to driving already! Go get him and I hope to God that you have good news for me on Monday. Abbey will kill me if she thinks I messed up her chances of playing match maker or cupid or something.”
Andrew smiled at Mofe. I hope to God what I’m about to do doesn’t backfire, Andrew thought. I hope I’m not to late to win Jiro back. Although by now, Andrew figured God had probably washed his hands off the whole affair. A bisexual man trying to get the courage to run after — and catch up with — his once-straight-now-bisexual male lover in a country built on overtly sanctimonious religious beliefs, sexual prejudices, and a passed law that insisted on throwing individuals into the farthest bowels of the earth with a fourteen year jail sentence for being sexually attracted to the same sex? It would be nothing short of a miracle if God heard his prayer about getting Jiro back. For all he knew, God was probably off elsewhere listening to a choir concert or saving starving babies from death in some remote part of the world.
Andrew gave a quick nod in Mofe’s direction and jumped into the car. He could feel his head starting to hurt from an oncoming migraine, his ears were ringing from the loud music from inside the bar, and his heart…well, that was miles ahead of him down the road in the hands of the sexy man wearing grey that had sped off after seeing him only moments ago.
All Andrew wanted was the chance to tell Jiro how he truly felt.
He put the key in the ignition, started his car and drove off.
I’m coming Jiro…I’m coming!
Jiro knew he was driving like a mad man that had just escaped from a psyche ward but he didn’t care. He was angry enough to kill. He could not believe that Abbey had pulled a bait and switch on him tonight. He had ignored her call twice during the day before she sent him a text message explaining that it was important that she spoke with him via a telephone call. Her text had literally begged him to pick up her call and he hadn’t had the heart to ignore her so he had reluctantly obliged. She said she had wanted to make amends and build their friendship from scratch. So far, she was off to a very bad start.
As he approached the traffic light on a major road, he honked his horn for the car in front of him to move quickly so that they could beat the green light before it turned red but the car kept moving leisurely.
Just as the car in front of him saw the light was on yellow, it sped past the traffic light and as the lights turned red, Jiro tried to speed past but three LASTMA officials jumped in front of him.
“Please officer,” Jiro pleaded. “No vex. I didn’t mean to run the traffic light when it had turned red. It was the car in front of me. It –”
The LASTMA official stopped Jiro from talking too much. “Oga, let’s not talk too much. You ran the traffic light. That’s all I care about. Open your car.”
Knowing his excuses would not fly, Jiro unwillingly opened the back doors of his car and let the LASTMA officials get in.
Fuck, Jiro thought. This is all Abbey’s and Andrew’s fault.
Thirty minutes later, Jiro was driving home with his wallet N5000 lighter. I hate this country, Jiro thought to himself. All officers of the law ever care about is just bribery.
Andrew got outside Jiro’s house and noticed all the lights were off. He got down and did a walk through round the entire house but there was no sign of life anywhere. Jiro’s car was not parked outside either. He’s not home, Andrew realized. Maybe he decided to go somewhere else because he knew I’d chase him. Just my damn luck. He sat down. I guess I’ll just have to wait for him.
After ten minutes, Andrew’s thoughts began to run wild. Jiro had gotten a good head start from the bar but Andrew had beaten him home. Something was wrong. Thoughts of Jiro running into the arms of another man or woman to tell his woes to made Andrew want to crawl into the floor and waste his life. He had no idea what he’d do if Jiro had found someone else. Then again, with the way Jiro had sped down the road when he was fleeing from the bar, Andrew began to worry if Jiro had gotten himself involved in an accident. The image of Jiro bleeding out in a ditch somewhere on the brink of life and death, calling out his name or cursing Andrew’s lineage for causing the accident shook Andrew out of his reverie. I have to find him, Andrew decided as he got up in his panicked state. I just have to.
As he got up and started running to his car when he saw Jiro’s car pulling into the car park. Jiro is safe. Thank God. Getting down from his car, Jiro barked “What do you want here you bastard?”
“I came to see you Jiro.” Andrew said. “We need to talk.”
All Jiro could remember was the embarrassment he had received from the LASTMA officials and how his wallet was N5000 lighter. “Get out of here Andrew. I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to speak to you. I don’t want to so much as breathe in the same as you right now or ever!
As Andrew started walking towards Jiro, Jiro gave Andrew a pointed look and said “Get the fuck away from me and my house before I beat you to a pulp.”
Okay… Andrew thought. So Jiro may be safe and sound but he’s in kill-mode and I’m his target. I don’t give a damn. I’m still not going anywhere. If he’s going to kill me, he can get it over with already.
Andrew stopped advancing towards Jiro but he stood his ground and refused to make any move to leave. “I mean it,” Jiro threatened.
“No,” Andrew said calmly.
“No?” Jiro asked, surprised at the balls Andrew had grown all of a sudden.
“No!” Andrew said with more gusto in his voice.
Jiro was too tired to deal with Andrew’s bullshit. “Suit your damn self then,” Jiro said. He pushed Andrew out of his way and walked up the stairs leading to his house. Jiro stormed to his front door, opened the door and walked in. Jiro knew he wasn’t in the mood to listen to Andrew right now so he attempted to slam the door immediately after he entered but Andrew was faster. Andrew slipped in and made his way directly to the living room saying “No more hiding. we have to talk.”
Jiro closed his eyes and blew out a breath. “Get out of my house now.”
Andrew dug his legs into the carpet and stood his ground. “I said No. We have to talk. I am not leaving until you have a conversation with me today Jiro. You will have to kill me first.”
Jiro took a menacing step towards Andrew “Sound’s like an awesome idea.” Jiro said, ” so don’t think I wont take you up on that offer of killing you.”
Andrew smiled. At least Jiro was having a conversation with him and not ignoring him. That was more progress than he had gotten in the last three weeks. “Go ahead.” Andrew said. “Make my day. Put me out of my misery.”
Jiro wanted Andrew out of his house so he could drown his sorrows at the bottom of a whiskey bottle but it was obvious Andrew was determined to have his way no matter what. Jiro sighed. “I’ve had a long night Andrew,” Jiro said. “Say what you want to say and get the hell out of my house.”
“I want you back” Andrew stated simply
Jiro didn’t think twice. He already had his answer at the ready. “Fuck you Andrew.”
“I’d like that,” Andrew said. “In fact, scratch that. I’d love for you to fuck me but that isn’t why I’m here. I’m here right now because I need you back.”
Jiro made his way towards the whiskey bottle. If he was going to listen to this bullshit, he might as well do it drunk. “People in hell want cold water but they cant get it either,” Jiro said. “I’m sure you’ll survive. If on the off-chance you don’t survive, fantastic! You can die for all I care.” Jiro got a glass and started pouring out the whiskey. “I don’t care if you need me to donate blood for you or whatever you claim you need me for. I don’t care if Jesus Christ himself asked me to take you back as he hung on the cross. Jesus is not me. Jesus forgives. Jesus saves. I’m not that kind. I swear on the grave of my ancestors, I will kill you on the spot if you touch me.”
“Good,” Andrew said, raising his voice as well. “You’ll need to touch me to kill me. At least I’d get you to touch me before I die because frankly, not touching you or being close to you has been killing me every minute since you left and cut me out of your life. I would go to the highest mountain, offer any necessary sacrifice, and come out of the closet for the world to know just to be with you again Andrew.”
Jiro drank his double shot of whiskey in one gulp and slammed the glass cup on the bar table. Jiro looked at Andrew with a pointed look and said, “And the republic will burn and the seas will run blood and the four horsemen will ride just because you wants to be with me?”
Andrew gave Jiro a curt nod and said “Precisely.”
“What do you want Andrew?” Jiro barked?
“To earn you.” Andrew said simply.
“Fuck you!” Jiro said angrily before taking another gulp of the whiskey from his glass cup.
Andrew took a step closer and spoke with confidence. His adrenaline was at an all time high and he knew that it was dangerous getting close to a drunk Jiro because he was even more unpredictable then. Andrew didn’t care. He had to weather the storm that was Jiro to get the rainbow that was Jiro’s love. “You asked me to earn you if I wanted you and I’m going to do just that even if it kills me.” Andrew said. “I love you Jiro.”
Jiro couldn’t think straight. He took a gulp of whiskey directly from the bottle.
“Do you hear me Jiro?” Andrew said louder, his voice laced with more emotion than he had bargained for. “I am in love with you.”
Jiro dropped the bottle of whiskey slowly and turned to stare Andrew down. “And how does that change anything that has happened Andrew? What’s the point of this exercise in pain?”
Taking a chance at broke, Andrew asked Jiro “Do you still love me?”
Jiro looked away from Andrew, his emotions getting the better of him. “What does it matter?” Jiro asked quietly.
“It matters.” Andrew said immediately. “Love is an emotion and is a mixture of pain and pleasure. The two are sometimes inseparable. Love knows nothing of rank or riverbank. It could spark between the Queen and the poor Vagabond who plays the King and their love should be minded by each, because love denies blight the soul we owe to God.” Andrew paused and asked again. “I ask you again, do you still love me? Its a yes or no question.”
Jiro shifted his weight from his left leg to his right, hesitated for a bit and said. “Yes, I do but I can’t do this anymore. I cannot keep placing my faith and trust in you when all you do is bitch about how things will never work out between us. Even if you claimed you’d change from now on, I cannot possibly bring myself to believe you enough to continue a relationship with you”
Andrew moved carefully and set his car keys on the table. He put his hands in the air in open surrender and said “Okay. I deserved that, but you might want to think about whether you believe I’d ever deliberately hurt you. You might not trust me to always be optimistic or to make you feel like you didn’t make a mistake choosing to be with me; but you know you can trust me to always be there for you and step up to be the kind of man that deserves you when it counts. You know me.”
Jiro huffed. “Correction,” Jiro said “I thought I knew you”
Andrew shook his head and added more gusto into his voice “You–know–me.” he said. “You know me better than anyone else. You can trust me to keep my promises when I make them. You know you can trust me with your life like I trust you with mine.”
“Yes Drew, I know I can trust you with my life,” Jiro said in a sure voice.
Andrew breathed a little easier and almost smiled. Jiro stared directly at Andrew and repeated his mantra for the umpteenth time in his head He has kind eyes but the soul of the devil before he spoke again.
“Unfortunately Andrew, even though I trust you with my life, I cannot trust you with my heart.” Jiro stated categorically, the iceberg of indifference coming back into his eyes.
Andrew’s smile crumbled to dust. Jiro turned and started walking away from him when Andrew desperately yelled “If nothing else, fight for the three percent!”
Jiro turned around, a confused look gracing his handsome features. “What?”
“Three percent!” Andrew repeated, his voice a bit calmer.
Jiro snickered. “What about three percent? What the hell? Is that meant to mean something to me?”
Standing his ground, Andrew shrugged and looked directly at Jiro, “It should. They are your words. You said them to me.”
Fighting to remain level-headed and calm, Jiro breathed in an out before speaking again. “Since you seem to remember so much about what I said, why don’t you remind me what I said about three percent?”
“Sure.” Andrew said. He remembered the conversation like it happened an hour ago because it was the last conversation they had together. It was the same conversation that he had been playing in his mind over the last three weeks. “You told me that you are a one-man-wrecking ball. You said you know the odds are against us. You said our relationship’s survival rate is 3% and even though it’s bad, its not nothing. Those were your words, not mine. You asked me not to give up on us so here I am… I’m fighting for us.”
Jiro held up his hands in anger and pointed them at Andrew like poisoned daggers. “Andrew, you are a son-of-a-bitch oh. When I asked you to fight for us, you gave me reasons why we would never work out. Now that I don’t want to be with you anymore, you decide that it’s time to throw my own words back at me. That’s low, even for you.
“What else can I say or do to make you see how sorry I am?” Andrew asked. He sounded so sincere but Jiro was in no mood for the guilt trip.
“You can start by getting the hell out of my house and my life.” Jiro said instantly before taking another gulp of his whiskey.
“I’m sorry Jiro.” Andrew said as he walked towards Jiro. “I can’t do that.”
“Get out now or so help me, you will regret the day you met me” Jiro said as he kept moving back, angling himself away from Andrew’s advancing frame.
“I can’t leave Jiro.” Andrew said. “I won’t leave you again. I’d rather die here and now.”
Jiro closed his eyes for one minute to stop his head from spinning. When he opened them, Andrew was looking at him like a dog that had destroyed his owners favourite pair of shoes.
“Jiro,” Andrew began.
“Please just stop.” Jiro snapped out.
“Please just try to understand my point of view for five minutes.” Andrew pleaded.
“I hate you.” Jiro hissed out. ” I left Abbey for you. I stood up for you with my parents. I fought for our relationship when everyone else in my life fought against it. The least you could have done was to make my efforts worth it. No one has ever hurt me the way you did. Do you know that? I hate you Andrew.”
Andrew was close to tears. He felt the lump in his throat but fought through it to keep talking. “I know I messed up. I’m sorry I fucked up. I was wrong and I’ll have for live with that guilt forever. I just need you to know that I am genuinely sorry and I will fight for you till I win you back. ”
Genuine remorse shone in Andrew’s eyes and body language but Jiro chose not to care. He wouldn’t care. He couldn’t let himself care. He refused to let himself be deceived and sucked into Andrew’s I’m-sorry crappy act to care anymore.
Steeling himself and his emotions, Jiro said. “You hurt me. I don’t forgive you. You are not forgiven.”
Exasperated, Jiro started advancing towards Andrew in anger. “I would have moved heaven and earth to save our relationship. I tried to convince you. Had you said the word, I would have lied for you. I would have stolen for you. I would have cheated for you. Damn it to hell I would have killed for you if I had to but you were too hung up on yourself to notice that I would have done anything for you. Thank you though. Your actions have shown me that the stupid Romeo and Juliet romance I was nurturing with you was doomed from the onset. Romeo and Juliet were teenagers and they died. I’m not a teenager and I’m not ready to die. I have had enough. This is not a romance novel. Life is not a romance novel.” Jiro turned back and started walking towards his room with the whiskey bottle. “Shut the front door when you leave.”
“Jiro, please wait, please.” Andrew said.
Drew sighed and waited. “What now, Drew?”
Andrew took a pause before he decided to speak. “It has taken me three weeks, two extra nights, twelve hours and” Andrew checked his wrist watch “thirty-four minutes to realise that I cannot exist without you… that I cannot breathe without you…. that the man I am without you is an empty shell. I’m nothing and you are everything and I need you to give me another chance. I demand another chance. we are worth another chance.
“How long has it been since we broke up?” Jiro asked Andrew.
“Three weeks, two nights, twelve hours and” Andrew checked his wrist watch “thirty-five minutes” Andrew replied instantly
Jiro smiled despite himself. “You’ve been counting?”
“I didn’t need to count.” Andrew said with a solemn look on his face. “My balls are dangling with the weight of my un-spilled sperm. That’s how I know how long it’s been.”
Jiro refused to feel joy or excitement that at the fact that Andrew had stayed completely celibate since their fight. Instead he looked for something else to latch his anger onto.
“What did you mean when you said ‘you demand another chance’? Jiro inquired.
Andrew raised his hands in subtle surrender. “Okay maybe that came out wrong.” he said. “Look. I’m a talker. It’s what I do. I talk. Ever since I was a child, I could talk myself out of anything. It’s how I got guys and girls to fall for me. It’s also how I made relationships happen and it’s equally how I broke relationships up when it suited my purpose. As I got older, I got better at it. Now, I’m a freaking genius at it. You, however, are not a talker. You are a man of action. You are not just a man of few words. You are a man of the fewest words possible so I don’t know what to say or how to get through to you. This is coming from me, the man who talks his way through anything. Some of that is on you because of the way you shut me out when you’re pissed but it’s mostly on me because despite all my talk, I keep pissing you off in the most random and most hurtful of ways. You see, I have no idea what to say here because you make me realize each day and especially right now is that all I have ever been is talk so I’ll just sit here and not run my mouth by saying words that are not worthy of you. So you can beat me up, drink till you pass out, and be as full-on crazy as you want to be because I’ll be right here with you and I’m not going anywhere. You have to forgive me, Jiro. You have to.”
“Like hell I do.” Jiro said. Andrew was slowly beginning to make him want to forgive him and the thought of letting his anger go made Jiro feel weak emotionally. “You might be able to move mountains and work miracles but you cant make me forgive you.”
Andrew had just about had it with the begging. He was sure now that Jiro wasn’t going to kill him so he decided the best thing to do was to quit begging and be a whiny bitch about things.”Forgive me already, damn it.” Andrew yelled as he moved towards Jiro. “I’ve been there for you through everything. Yes, I’m a dick but you still love me.” He beat his chest and raised his hands up in the air in exasperation. “This is the man that you love…the flawed man in front of you is the one you love. Don’t try denying it because you know you do. You said so a couple of minutes ago. At the end of the day, you have to forgive the people in your life for the sake of the love you have for them. Forgive my stupidity and take me back Jiro. I’m going for broke and fighting for you now with all my heart. It’s time for you to meet me halfway and be my gladiator. Save me from myself or I swear to God I will go wherever and to whoever will be willing to listen to me and I will spill my guts to them about how much I’m madly in love with you.”
A tear fell from Andrew’s face. Shocked, Jiro opened his mouth to speak but Andrew cut him short as he continued “And think I won’t because I will never let you go.” Andrew yelled. “I will never get over you. I have searched forever trying to find heart breaking, earth shattering, mind-blowing love and I finally found it with you. I’d rather lose everything else than lose you so get used to me because I’m here to stay!”
Overcome with emotions, Jiro walked over to Andrew and kissed him long and deep. When he came back up for air, he said “You bastard, don’t think I have forgiven you.”
“That’s cool.” Andrew said as the tears started flowing freely from his eyes. “I haven’t forgiven me either.”
No one had ever fought for Jiro the way Andrew just had. The best part of it was that Jiro was sure Andrew would make good on his threat if he didn’t forgive him soon. Jiro tore Andrew’s shirt with his hands, sending buttons flying everywhere as he ground his lips on Andrew’s. One step after the other, they fumbled till they found their way into the bed room.
The next morning, Abbey woke up well-rested on Mofe’s warm bed. She turned to look at where he had slept beside her during the night and saw a note in his handwriting. The note read
Gone to work my love. Be back soon.
Please be safe and call me if you need anything,
Abbey headed for the bathroom and took a quick shower after brushing her mouth. She got dressed and made herself a cup of tea and an English breakfast of toast, gizzards, and eggs.
She stepped out of the kitchen and into the living room, picked up the remote control and turned the TV on. The scene in front of her was a gory one. A view of her father’s house was on the news. The house had caught fire after a couple of kids had been smoking around the area and had thrown their unfinished cigarette close to the house. The fire was put out just in time, and although the bodies were burnt, they were still recognizable. The police were asking for any information about the incident and asking members of the public to come forward. if they knew anything. The news reporter came on. Abbey heard the words “ongoing investigation, fatal accident, gas leak, and possible robbery.” The reporter offered a few more facts and some speculation but it all sounded far away. Her stomach churned and the tea turned sour in her mouth.
She got her phone out of her pocket and dialled her mother’s number. “Have you seen the news this morning? she asked
“Yes” Tari said.
“Feel like company?” Abbey asked. She wasn’t sure whether or not to tell her mother what had happened but she knew that they should be together at this time in case the police, relatives, or other well-wishers wanted to talk to them.
“I would love that.” Tari said instantly.
Saheed had woken up and treated the day like any other day in the past one month. He had brushed, showered, turned on his television, and sat down by his computer to get information from his informants about the whereabouts of Jafar’s runaways. He had woken up to information on Tari’s location and was sure he was ready to move on to her today. Once he got Tari, Saheed was sure that Abbey would come willingly once she found out her mother had been captured.
As Saheed was getting himself ready to get his work sorted for the day, his eyes were also drawn to the breaking news on TV. The sole benefactor he had banked on for years was dead. He didn’t know how Jafar had died and he didn’t care. After all, Jafar was not his family member. Jafar was however, one of his most valuable and well connected clients. Due to the number of years they had worked closely together, Jafar had transferred the money for the job into Saheed’s bank account. Even though there was no love lost or tears on Saheed’s part with the news of Jafar’s death, there was a matter of loyalty and principle of seeing jobs through, especially jobs that had been paid for in full. As if drawn back in time, Saheed remembered his last conversation with Jafar over the phone.
“Good evening my oga at the top.” Saheed had said.
“Saheed, it has been a while.” Jafar had said. “Thanks for helping out in disposing of the key witness for my last court case. I have a more personal job for you now. I need you to find my wife and my daughter.”
“Sure thing sir. Just tell me where they are and I will make sure they come back home before the close of work tomorrow.” Saheed had said.
Something had shattered in the background where Jafar was and Jafar had shouted over the phone, his anger directed at Saheed.
“If I knew where they were, I wouldn’t need your help in getting them back, would I?” Jafar had said. “Look, I don’t know where they are and I don’t care. I want them back dead or alive. Make it look like an accident if you have to. Just bring them home.”
“Understood boss” Saheed had replied Jafar over the phone.
The last words Jafar had said to Saheed were “Oh and one more thing Saheed, You know how much I hate loose ends. Don’t screw it up.”
“Understood,” Jafar had said before he had cut the call.
That was exactly what Saheed was going to do…not screw it up.
Tunde had already left for work by the time Abbey reached his place. She and her mother sat in the comfortable living room eating the chicken Abbey brought along with her. “How do you feel mum?” she asked
Tari shook her head. “I know I shouldn’t be happy but I’m a little relieved. I thought for sure that your father would find us and make us pay for leaving; me especially.
“I know.” Abbey agreed. “Its unbelievable. I know I wanted him to pay for all the abuse and maltreatment but I would have settled for seeing him in prison uniform, not dead.” On the drive to Tunde’s house, Abbey had decided against telling her mum. The secret was best kept between herself and Bukunmi.
“Yeah, but what’s done is done.” Tari said. “We didn’t kill him. I’m glad I’m free from him but I hope he makes it to heaven. It might sound silly but I don’t think anyone should go to hell. Eternity is a long time to suffer, even for your father.”
“Hmmmm” Abbey mused. She knew deep in her gut that people reaped what they sowed and her dad had been horrible to a lot of people for a long time.
They both feel silent for a moment. Then Tari said, “I spoke to Edirin’s other yesterday.”
That surprised Abbey. Tari and Edirin’s mother had been friends for as long as Abbey had known Edirin. But for some reason, she thought their friendship would have ended with the news of Bukunmi’s affair with Jafar and the pregnancy. “That’s good.” Abbey said. How is she?”
“Managing.” Tari said. “She told me that Edirin has decided to keep the baby. They had a long talk and Edirin is glad your father is out of her life too. I wonder if she has seen the news this morning.” She sighed “Raising a baby alone is going to be hard for her. Perhaps it would be best for her to give the baby up for adoption. She needs to focus on herself and on putting her life back together.”
“I don’t think Edirin could ever had handled giving up her baby no matter the circumstance,” Abbey said honestly.
“Yes,” Tari agreed. “That’s not an easy choice. I’m not sure what I would do in her position.”
Abbey nodded. “Me either.” She said. “No matter what Edirin decides, her life will never be the same. It will never be what she’d planned.”
“And how are you handling all of this?” Tari asked as she took another bite of her chicken wings.
“I don’t know,” Abbey said. “I -”
Abbey stopped mid-sentence, her eyes fixed on the stranger that had broken into the house and was standing a mere couple of feet away. As if the intrusion wasn’t scary enough, the man was wearing a black mask that only revealed two large angry brown eyes. One gloved hand gripped a short black handle with a long steel blade… a cutlass.
Abbey’s voice was frozen from somewhere deep in her throat. She glanced quickly at her mother, whose eyes noticed the fear in Abbey’s composure and mirrored all the fright she was feeling.
The intruder, Saheed, attacked them quickly, without a word. Abbey blocked her face, shrieking as the blade tore into her hands. She was aware of screams through she wasn’t sure whether they were hers or her mother’s.
Saheed shoved Abbey backward. She slammed her head against the end table. Glass shattered. The room swam around her. Abbey tried to grab the chair for support but the hands slid off, leaving a bloody trail behind.
To be continued…
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