It was a dark, moonless night and coupled with the streetlights being off as a result of the power outage, one could barely see past the car ahead, even with one’s car’s headlamps blaring at full gusto.
Efe slowed the car as the driver of the vehicle ahead had done the same because a Police roadblock was in front and we were just about five cars away from it.
I had noticed the trend in the area recently. It had begun right after the son of the new Police Chief for the precinct had been murdered in cold blood. It had been to send a message to the Chief who had come down hard on drug dealers in the area.
The Police Chief was obviously still playing hardball and I wondered if this road block tactic made much difference as I still heard gunshots consistently every night and drug deals still went down as usual.
“Shit!” Efe cursed, hitting on the wheels with his fist. I turned to him concerned, knowing something was horribly wrong from the look on his face.
“What is it?” I asked and he glanced briefly at me before turning his gaze back to stare at the back of the vehicle in front of us..
He didn’t trust me enough to tell me what it was.
We had only been dating two months, I wasn’t even certain yet if we could call what we had, dating.
I had known Efe all my life. I had watched him rise from a mere corner boy for the kingpins in the area, acting as a look out for them and alerting if the police were in the area. Now, he was presently the head of the hard drugs syndicate, they were a wholesale operation in charge of supplying the four sections of town.a
I heard he had killed the former heads to take the position, I had heard a lot of things about him. Things that should have made me run in the other direction from him but growing up in a tough neighbourhood, on the poor side of town, I’d had to sharpen my survival skills early in order to survive.
Efe was respected in the neighbourhood and being with him meant some sort of respect for myself, I figured. I and my family would be sacred and be under the protection of the boss.
Only a few people had this information that he headed the syndicate. I knew it because my cousin was the babymama girlfriend to Efe’s right hand man, Maro. She was ride or die, and even though she kept her mouth shut most of the time, I was able to weasel some information out of her a few times.
I was sharp like that, my friends called me crazy. I wasn’t too sure how true that was but thinking on it, I had done some questionable things which uptight people might wonder about, but I always had my reasons. One of which was dating a dangerous man like Efe.
It had been like any other day when he had walked into the fast food joint where I worked. I had taken his order but noticed he had been staring at me unusually longer than necessary. At the end of his meal, he had approached me and asked for my number.
Quite surprised, I had written it on a piece of paper and handed it over.
Maybe I was indeed crazy, maybe I loved danger or maybe I just had feelings for him.
He was good looking guy, tall, lean muscled and chocolate skinned. Very attractive, he had a body, most women lusted after. He carried himself with an air of confidence befitting of his position in town. Who was I to say no when a guy like that asked me out on a date?
He was careful with his shady dealings, had never been arrested and had no police record. On the outside, he was a young man of thirty two years who legally owned a few car wash companies in town and was making a pretty good income off it. Of course the car wash business was a guise to launder and clean up the drug money but what the law did not know couldn’t hurt anyone, I guess.
Even though it had been a few dates, I really liked him. He was quiet, didn’t talk much and a bit of an introvert but unmistakably smart and he did make me laugh plus he was an excellent lover.
I didn’t consider myself a material girl but the fact that he wasn’t broke like most guys in the area of his age, was definitely a plus in my books.
I was into him and I knew he knew this. If we went on for much longer, I would begin to feel too deeply for him but the problem was, I wasn’t exactly sure what this was between us. I sure as hell didn’t want to become his baby mama, I wasn’t cut out for that life. I wanted something permanent but I knew better than to tell him that.
It would be too much pressure on him and he would end it.
The police were now a car away from us and with the way he tapped his foot nervously, I saw he was quite apprehensive. I decided to put my smart mind to work and probably figure a way out.
Drug dealers like Efe usually carried a weapon for their protection. I had never seen one on him but I had a feeling it was what made him so nervous. There was a gun in the car and it wasn’t hidden.
This was my defining moment. I could choose to mind my business and wait for the police. They would check the car and probably find the gun. Then Efe would be charged with possession of an unlicensed weapon. The second option involved me stepping up and winning his trust, showing him I could be ‘ride or die’. It was a no brainer what option I would go with.
“Efe!” I called again turning fully to look at him, the urgency in my voice and the expression on my features must have gotten to him because I had his full attention. “Where is it?”
“Where is what?” He asked still trying to play dumb.
“Cut the dumb act, you know what I’m talking about, you only have a few seconds before the police search this car… And you know when they search it, they will probably find it, I doubt you relish going to prison and having a record. So… where is the gun?”
He sighed then, shaking his head, “I don’t want to involve you in this, if you get caught you could go to jail, I wouldn’t….”
“Where is it, now?!” I snapped raising my voice as the police were done with the car in front and waving for us to move forward.
“Glove compartment.” He clipped and I worked fast.
Opening the glove compartment in front of me, I snatched the piece, shoved it into my handbag and zipped it closed just as he moved the car forward.
Efe wound the glass down as he turned on the light in the car and the two policemen on either side of the vehicle flashed their lights in our faces.
The one on Efe’s side of the car asked him to alight and pop the trunk open. Efe complied leaving me with the other one who kept staring at me.
I consciously tried to settle my nerves but doubted I was doing a good job of it. If I were, I doubted the officer would be staring, as if trying to decipher if I was hiding something.
I told myself I was paranoid because I was guilty and tried to make a light conversation instead.
“How’s your evening going?” I began knowing it was a stupid question to ask and regretted asking the moment the words had left my lips.
“Good.” he clipped, asking a question of his own. “Where are you coming from?”
“Err… A date with him..my ahh boyfriend.” I managed through pauses deciding I needed to work better on my lying skills. If I wanted to be ride or die, I would have to be a better composer of untruths. This didn’t seem to be going well.
Efe had picked me up from work and was dropping me at home, where I knew we were would make passionate love as we had been doing the past few months, but I couldn’t tell the officer that.
Efe returned and I was glad we would be moving away off finally, but just as Efe opened the door, the officer suddenly spoke up again.
“Can you open the glove compartment, Miss?” He asked me and Efe’s eyes met mine as he sat down.
I looked away and did as the officer asked.
“Alright.” He said as there was nothing to see in there and I was just about to heave a sigh of relief when he suddenly spoke up again.
“Is that your handbag, miss?” He asked and I nodded looking down briefly at my handbag held tightly in my hands. I hadn’t been aware I had been holding on to it so tightly and tried relaxing my grip on it.
Looking back up at the officer, I tried to put up a straight face as I held his gaze but I doubt I was successful.
“Can I take a look inside? Can you open it up?”
“Sure,” I replied feeling anything but sure.
I unzipped it and opened it up, leaving the gun in his full glare and knowing this was the end for me.
I was going to jail, I had been caught because I had wanted to secure a man I loved. A man who I wasn’t sure felt as much for me. A man who probably saw me as booty call, I would be going to jail for that man.
The officer flashed his lights into my handbag as if to be sure, his gaze caught the gun before he looked back up at me,holding my gaze.
“Officer, I…” Efe was about to speak up when the he suddenly waved the flashlight at us in a motion that said we could leave.
“Nothing to see here.” He said, adding, “have a good evening.” He then straightened up and moved away, his colleague on Efe’s side following him.
In my shock and confusion, I realised I had been holding my breath all the while as my heart had been racing faster than was normal. Releasing my breath slowly, I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest.
Efe snapped out of it quicker than I did and drove off.
We didn’t say a word to each other as I ran the scenario over and over again and wondered what had happened.
The officer had clearly seen the weapon, so what in the world had happened? Why had he let us leave? I should be in the police car by now, being driven to the precinct but he had let me leave. I was confused.
We got to my place quicker than usual, I wasn’t sure if Efe had sped or it was because my mind was eons away but Efe brought me back to reality when he pulled me into his arms just after he had parked the car in front of my building.
He wasn’t rough but he was insistent, he was probably overwhelmed by the emotions from narrowly escaping being arrestee and his surprise at my bravery or maybe stupidity.
When we made love in my apartment that evening, it was different. He wasn’t detached like before, he gave me his everything and I knew I had finally gotten to him.
He could trust me.
When we were done and basking in our post orgasmic haze, he held me close and asked, “Grace, will you be my wife?”