Mofe knew all wasn’t well the moment he stepped into the reception room at the centre. Maureen was not as welcoming as she usually was.
Her “good morning sir” sounded very bland and lacked its usual warmth.
“Is Ezinne on seat? I am with some people who need to look around.” He said ignoring her strangely stiff attitude. Ezinne might have told her the whole story between them and that was possibly why she was acting strangely.
“Just a moment, Sir…em.. Miss Rachel asked that I informed her whenever you came around.”
That was odd, Rachel was hardly ever around on the weekdays.
“What about Ezinne? Where is she?” He asked wondering why she wasn’t on her seat as usual.
“Madam is indisposed.” Was her clipped reply.
“Since when?” He asked. He had last seen her on Sunday and this was wednesday.
“All week now.” She replied.
“Why? What’s wrong with her? Is she in the house and can I see her?”
“Sir, I suggest you wait for Miss. Rachel, she will explain everything,I am quite sure.”
“Alright, call her.”
“I already did when I saw your car park outside, she should be……”
She didn’t get to finish her statement as Rachel barged into the office, looking pissed as hell.
“MJ, you son of a ……”
“Whoa!” He cut her off before she finished her statement.
“I want you out of here, gone, now!” She pointed at the door, her expression not to be argued with.
“What? Why!” He asked.
“Why? Are you seriously asking me that? You worm your way into our lives, into our hearts under the guise of being a reporter and caring for the place when all you wanted to do was take Zora by force from her?
“You are a real piece of work, you know that? I can’t believe I thought you were a real friend, you only pretended to care about Ezinne so as to learn more about her and know how to strike her, didn’t you?”
“What, no! Of course not…I do care for Ezinne’s well being, that’s why I am here with those people. To look at the place, renovate it and make it safe for living.”
She shook her head “I can never trust a word out of that lying, deceitful mouth of yours, I want you off this property right this minute!”
“Calm down Rachel, I need to talk to Ezinne. To reassure her I have no plans to hurt her or take Azora from her. If I did, I would have done so already.”
“MJ, I am not buying it, you obviously told Ezinne something and it’s gotten her blood pressure high as hell! Did I mention she is hypertensive? Yeah, she is, she has been okay for a few years now but thanks to you, it’s begun all over again?”
“That is why I should talk to her, to reassure her that she has nothing to worry about.” He tried again but he might as well have been speaking to a brick wall.
“That’s not true, she has you to be scared about! Give me one reason why I should believe you aren’t planning some sinister move to make her pay for keeping you out of Azora’s life?”
“Have you been listening Rachel, if I wanted to yank Azora off, I would have done so already….it wouldn’t take much for me to get a court order, you know?”
“Just because you haven’t done so already, doesnt mean you aren’t planning something. I know your style, you will hit when we least expect it.”
“I am not hitting anything.” Mofe was getting frustrated from having to repeat himself over and over again. “I have no sinister plans Rachel, you have to believe me.”
“Well, I can’t bring myself to! I want you off this property as you are trespassing!”
“You know you can’t keep me out of my daughters life, right? You will only regret it if you make me do this the hard way.” He warned now seriously riled up.
“Is that a threat? Johnson?” Rachel’s eyes flashed fire.
“No, it’s fact. I will be back.” He promised.
She folded her arms across her chest. “And I will be waiting.”
He would leave for now but goodness knew he would be back soon.
The room was dimly lit but she could make out his silhouette. It was the same dream and she was very familiar with it. Even though she always knew it was a dream, she never could rouse herself awake.
It was strange that in her dreams she was able to see, probably because it was more of a memory than a dream. A memory she couldn’t get rid of.
She knew what was coming, and she braced herself. It was the same recurring nightmare that came when she was at her lowest emotionally.
It had been one of the worst times when she had been married to that horrid Ekene. For some reason, this nightmare which was a reenactment of one of her worst nights with him, had found its way into her dreams and haunted her every chance it got.
He stood in the corner engulfed in darkness, she could never make out his features in the dreams. He spoke his voice still clear, still managing to scare her and draw goose pimples on her skin even after six years
“If I can’t have you no one else will, I will make sure of that.”
Suddenly he was in front of her, she still couldn’t make out his physical features but his hands were around her neck, choking the life out of her. She tried to plead with him but she knew he wasn’t real, there was no point. In time it would pass, all she had to do was wait it out.
“Ezinne! Ezinne!” It was Rachel’s voice calling her.
She tried to speak but couldn’t, Ekenes hands around her neck was tighter. Suddenly she felt a cool substance on her face. Liquid, it felt like water.
”Ezinne!” Rachel’s voice was louder now, it penetrated through her sleep and pulled her from Ekene’s grip.
She was almost out of it now as she could feel Rachel shaking her, urging her to wake up.
”yeah, yeah, I’m awake.” She said but still chose to lie down.
“It’s about time you got out of bed, Ezinne,” Rachel told her. “You have been in bed for three days now and seriously it is beginning to get on my nerves.”
“Rachel, you know I’m not feeling well.”
“It’s been three days, how much longer are you going to keep doing this to yourself? Even medicine says if after three days you’re not better, you should see a doctor.
I won’t stand by here and see you slide back into depression. If you don’t snap out of it, we will resume seeing your doctor.”
Ezinne sighed. She really didn’t want it to go that far.
Rachel wasn’t done, “you know you have a daughter to take care of. For now she understands you are not feeling well but you can’t let it go on for too long or you will get her worried.”
Rachel was right as usual, Ezinne sat up and put her legs over the bed on the floor so that she was sitting.
“Your blood pressure is a bit lower today, I checked earlier.”
” Thanks, I am sorry for just zoning out like that. You know how I am when I’m upset.”
“It’s okay, I understand and I’m here for you. Although I don’t like that you kept such a huge thing from me all these years. I liked to think we were close…”
“We are….I just didn’t want you judging my actions.”
“Oh please, you know I don’t judge…. But I would have advised you let him know about it and I guess that’s what you didn’t want to hear.”
Ezinne groaned, she really didn’t want to hear this.
” You can groan all you like but it’s true. No matter what he did to you in the past, no one deserves what you did to him.”
“Don’t you think I know that? I don’t need you adding to my grief.”
Rachel sighed “Okay, I’m sorry. He was here a few minutes back.”
Ezinne head jerked up, “what did he want?”
“He said he came to look over the place with some people who were going to work on it but I didn’t care, I sent him off with his people.”
“You didn’t annoy him did you? ”
“And what if he’s annoyed? I hope I annoyed him after hoodwinking me that way. I believed he genuinely cared for us, for you… Only to find out what his true intentions had been all along. So if I annoyed him, great!”
” Rachel please, I don’t want us to make him do anything rash…. He has the means to take Azora away, you know?”
” I am not afraid of him, let him try, he’s not taking her anywhere. He would have to get through me first.”
Ezinne sighed. She was afraid Rachel would push Mofe too far and force his hand. Keeping him away was dangerous but so was bringing him too close. She was confused.
She felt Rachel come close, she sat down beside her and took her hand. “Don’t worry Ezinne, I am here with you. This time no man is going to oppress you, not if I have anything to do with it.”
Mofe was wearing the rug thin as he had been pacing up and down it for quite a while as the events of that morning played in his head as if on loop.
So this was how Ezinne planned to keep him out of his own daughter’s life? So she hadn’t learnt her lesson still?
They had made a huge mistake and he planned to show them that they were nothing. They couldn’t hold him back from what was his, not after keeping him away for so long.
He had meant to forgive Ezinne and move on from it all but Rachel’s action today had made him realise Ezinne didn’t really deserve his forgiveness as she was unrepentant.
He had another mission now, which was one of revenge. It was a simple plan, worm his way into his daughter’s life and then get her away from Ezinne when she least expected it.
Ezinne was going to have a taste of her own medicine. She was going to know what it felt like losing the only person that mattered to her.
He could even take it to the next level now and show Rachel that he had the power and means to do whatever he pleased but he knew that would be wrong. It might affect his relationship with his daughter as she had no idea who he was at the moment. That wasn’t the way to go.
It would be better to do this when they least expected it. The shock on them would be gratifying to him. He needed to make a connection with his daughter first before taking her from her mother. He needed to have her trust.
He had spoken to his lawyers and they were preparing their case against Ezinne. Building up evidence on why she was unfit to be a mother. When they had sufficient evidence with which to go to court, he would serve her the papers and pay her back in kind.
First, he needed to get to Ezinne, talk to her and lie that she had nothing to fear from him but he knew he would never get past Rachel. Even if he did get past Rachel, she most likely wouldn’t believe him. He needed help.
He needed someone Ezinne could trust and he had an idea who the person was. His aunt, he didn’t relish involving her in this as she was going to be really pissed with him when everything unravelled but he really didn’t care. Ezinne was going to pay and nothing was going to change that.
She was would be very sorry for her actions, he would make sure of that.