THE LAST SMILE Episode 8 – 9 by NISSI ADEOLA

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THE LAST SMILE Episode 1 by NISSI ADEOLA

THE LAST SMILE Episode 8 by NISSI ADEOLA

Tinuke knocked on the door to her mother’s house. She wondered why the door was not being answered. She had packed up her load with the aim of going directly to Raymond’s house but she had decided to get some real advice from someone that loves her unconditionally – her mother. She had been standing there for more than three minutes and the door didn’t portray the fact that it might be opened. Suddenly, the door opened and she stared at the sleepy face of her mother. She had known that her mother would be at home because she passed by her shop and met the sales girl there.

“Atinuke mi” her mother called, surprised.

“Good evening ma” she knelt halfway, embracing her mum.

“You did not tell me you are coming, come inside”. She entered with her mother following behind.

“Oh… mummy, I am sooo thirsty” she proceeded to the kitchen and pulled out a pack of juice. She returned with a full glass of juice in one hand and the remaining pack of juice in the other.

“What is with the luggage? Where are you going?”

She sat on the chair opposite her mum. “I was going to Ray’s house but I decided to stop by your place”.

Her mother laughed. “The route to his place is different from mine, so get another excuse”.

Tinuke smiled but the smile soon faded out. “Mum, I need your advice. Ray wants to replace me”

“What?” her mum exclaimed. “Don’t joke with something so serious”

“I am not joking mum. For the past few days, I have been calling him but he has refused to pick my calls. I tried using another number but immediately he heard my voice, he hung up. I am tired mum”

Bewildered. “And you did not tell me since”

“I am sorry mum. Do you know the most ridiculous part of all these? The other lady is his maid. Can you believe it? A stupid maid” she hissed.

Mrs Rogers could not believe her ears. “Don’t just fold your arms while your husband is being taken from you; this is not how I ended up in your father’s house”. She almost yelled.

“Then what do I do mum, that is why I came here”.

“Ok… here is what you would do….”

**********

**********

Sleeping while Luciana is missing was obviously an impossible task for Deolu. He left the room after he had called Caleb. Caleb had told him that the police is out, searching for Fred. The pictures of Fred now graced every corner of the state with the promise of a handsome reward for anyone who leads them to Fred. He hadn’t taken anything since morning and his stomach was beginning to complain but he had no appetite. He sat on the chair in the sitting room with his thoughts scattered. He took out his phone and started going through all the pictures again. His album was filled with pictures of Lucy. You can never get tired of looking at her pictures; the more you look, the more attractive they become. Tears threatened to break free and he quickly blinked them away.

“What is this? My son is getting emotional, right here in my sitting room?”

Deolu looked up and saw his father. He smiled and prostrated before him. At least, he would have his best friend to talk to, he thought.

“Good evening dad.”

“Evening my boy. I don’t need to ask how you are doing because it is obvious that you  are not yourself. I would bet my fortune that the problem has to do with a woman” he sat beside his son. “she is a beautiful one” his eyes was fixed on the Deolu’s phone which was displaying Luciana’s picture.

Deolu had heard it said before that men love their mothers more while women love their fathers more. That logic does not apply to him. The love he has for his father is great and even though he still loves his mum; it is not as much as he loves his dad. Though his dad chastises him at times, he is still his closest friend. No problem brought before him can leave the same way it came. Although, in this case, he seriously doubted that anything would happen to his problem today.

“She is a rare gem dad” he responded, dropping the phone on the table.

“I can see that” he looked at Deolu with worry lines on his forehead. “Last time I checked, she was just your friend. Has something changed?”

The question did not quite sound like a question because the answer was very clear.

“That status changes four days ago” it seemed more like an eternity ago.

“Hmmmmm” his father grunted, waiting for him to proceed.

Deolu stood up and started pacing. “But what is that when she is nowhere to be found?”

“What are you saying?”

Deolu exhaled slowly. “Lucy is missing dad”

“What?” He exclaimed. “Are you sure she didn’t travel or… Or run away with someone”.

“No. None of that happened. All her things are in the apartment, including her phone” he exhaled again and proceeded to explain everything to his father: Bewaji’s dream; the empty house; Fred’s disappearance and all the efforts they had put in finding Lucy.

Mr Aremu just stayed there, listening without interrupting his son. When Deolu finally landed, silence prevailed for the next couple of minutes. “What if he is not in Ogun state?”

Deolu raised his eyes to his father.

“Yes. If I killed someone which is impossible, I would flee. If I am running away from the cops, it would be stupid of me to tell someone where I am running off to when information can easily be coerced from that person. The only way I would do that is if the information I am passing is a wrong one.”

Deolu stood with his eyes fixed on his dad. There is always an added advantage when you talk to him. His ways of looking at things are always superb. “I never thought of that… I would search the whole planet if I have to. I must see Lucy and that bastard would pay.”

“And if the dreams are true, then your girl is in danger. She must still be in Lagos. We need to start a thorough search for her here. Go to every hospital and mor-“

“Don’t even mention it dad” Deolu cut in, alarmed. “She is not dead.”

“OK son.”

**********

**********

Bose was perplexed. This is the first time that she would admit her feelings to a man and now, she is feeling like crap. She wondered why she had answered the question. Why hadn’t she lied? It would have been easier for her. She could have easily told him that he was imagining things. Instead of ‘yes’, she could have said ‘no’ and everything would be fine. Why did she make herself look like an opportunist?

Ever since Ray drove out, she had dived into work like her life depended on it, hoping that work would distract her from the past hour but no. Instead, her thoughts increased.

Ray is obviously not in love with her. She had seen it in the way he looked at her, in the way he held her in his arms. He is just someone that is too friendly and down to earth. Anyone would fall in love with him; she only wished that ‘someone’ was not her. How can you cope, knowing that the love you feel cannot be returned?

She contemplated leaving without any goodbyes but had a rethink. She already had more than enough in her savings to sustain herself and start up a small business but how would repay good for evil? Raymond and his family had been good to her; too good actually; and vanishing just like that would be too bad. Who would see to Ray’s meals, chores and other necessities? Even though Ray would not love her like a woman, she was hundred percent sure that she meant more to him than just a mere maid. The heart cannot be controlled so, his not loving her is not his fault.

She heart a knock, coming from the gate and tensed up. She went to the gate and opened it. Tinuke bounced in, almost throwing Bose off balance in the process. She had three bags with her, which she dropped in order to stretch her hands. She picked one of them and made for the house. “Bring those bags inside for me” she ordered. She had noticed the absence of Ray’s car and she smiled internally. ‘Perfect’ she thought.

Bose was bewildered. Things just got worse. “You can’t enter ma’am” she said, blocking her.

“Oh… And why is that? Ray called me this evening, asking me to come over. If I were you, I would choose my words very, very carefully, if I have a job to protect”. With that, she pushed Bose out of the way and marched into the house.

Bose was left standing there, momentarily stunned. So Ray had called her. Is it because of my confession? Perhaps he called her to remind me of my place in this house. All these went through her brain as tears rolled down her cheeks. She wiped her face and proceeded to carry out madam’s orders.

Tinuke lay fully clothed on Ray’s bed with her eyes closed, feeling so tired. She heard the door open and guessed it must be Bose. She opened her eyes as Bose dropped the bags and saw the sober expression on her face. She smiled. She remembered her expression of shock and surprise some minutes ago. ‘I don’t think she knows who she is dealing with’ she thought.

Bose exited the room and Tinuke stood up. She stripped and walked into the bathroom. She allowed the cold water to caress every part of her. After some minutes, she was back in the room. After wiping her body dry, she polished her skin with body lotion. She took out her body spray and applied it on some sensitive spots, keeping it moderate and not too toxic. She had realized over the years that Raymond goes wild with desire whenever he perceives the scent of that spray. She unzipped her box and pulled out a wine coloured gown who stopped just below the butt. She gave a winning smile. God bless experienced mothers!!!

**********

**********

Teju alighted from the bus and entered the street by the junction. She does not have the connections required to pull the police force but she has legs to walk the whole of Lagos if possible, in search of her friend. She had been to six hospitals and she so wanted to visit one more before the day runs out.

She sighted the hospital she was looking for – Hope Hospital. She entered the reception and greeted the nurses there.

“Good evening miss, how can we help you?” One of the nurses asked with a smile.

“Please, I am looking for someone named Luciana Jones. I don’t know if she was admitted here. We have been looking for her for days”.

The nurse looked thoughtful. “No, I don’t think so.” She pulled out their register and checked through with Teju checking with her but found no one with that name. Teju looked dejected as she exited the hospital. She passed by another nurse on her way out who was wondering why she looked so depressed. Teju did not bother look at her, she was too depressed to pay attention to anyone. Something told her to go back but she didn’t. The nurse entered and asked the other nurses what the lady came for and they explained the issue.

“What if it is the lady that was brought here by Mr Raymond?” The nurses looked at each other. She ran out to see if she can catch up with the lady but she was already gone. She exhaled and went back inside.

THE LAST SMILE Episode 9 by NISSI ADEOLA

Raymond stepped out of the room. He had never been so breathless in his life. He walked silently with Doctor Tunde to his office, and after sitting down, they both stared silently. Ray was too preoccupied with his thoughts.

“So, what are you going to do Ray? Are you going to follow her wishes?” ray was lost. Even the question made him feel weirder. He would not incur any damage or problem if he decides to go against Brenda’s wishes but he had been forced to promise. He does not go back on his words. It is the only thing that has not really changed in his life. On the other hand, doing what she wanted might lead him to a lot of problems.

Some minutes ago…

Raymond sat where he was, in front of Brenda. When he heard that name, he was stunned. Not by the name which he had heard countless number of times, but by the voice of the bearer. Her voice was like a whisper, cool, feminine and also commanding. He knew she had to be a spectacular person to be able to gather all those attributes to herself. He wanted her to rest but he also wanted to find out who she was so that he could locate her people. He had no doubt that they must be going through a series of horrifying ultimate search, in search of a light-skinned goddess. Personally, if he was somehow related to this lady, he would search the whole earth and proceed to the heavens if he does not find her.

“I am so happy that you are alive. You don’t know just how happy I am” he said slowly and quietly. “Where are you from? Who did this to you? We need to contact your people or go to the police”

He would gladly take laws into his hands if he sees the bastard that stabbed her. She became very uneasy and restless and they had to calm her down. He was worried he had said too much. The experience must be a terrifying one. Something flashed to his mind: what if she stabbed herself? No. she couldn’t have. She could not have stabbed herself, put herself in a sack and lay in the rain where she could die. After they had been able to stabilize her, Doctor Tunde said he would sedate her and he fully agreed. She is not well enough to withstand the torture of an interrogation. He stood up and waited for Tunde to perform his duty. He felt for her. If there is something he hates so much in hospitals, it is their ability to make you sleep, whether you want to or not. Ray saw Brenda’s lips moving and he instinctively moved closer. Her voice had become too low, probably due to the effect of the drugs being administered through the drip. She was trying to say something.

When he was close enough, she whispered again. “Please, don’t contact anybody, not even the police. Please, promise me”. Raymond was stunned. Why would she not like anyone to know her whereabouts? The vague thought of suicide returned and he shrugged it off. Or could it be someone in her family? Maybe her family wants her dead? Why would they? Wait, does she have a family? All these thought kept bugging him and he could not even make meaning of any of them.

He saw her struggling with the administered drug, trying to keep her eyes open. “Promise?” she said, barely audible. He quickly nodded. “Promise”. She relaxed and slept. He wondered if she knew anything about his inability to break promises. He stood up gently and gazed at Tunde who had been standing by them the whole time. He needed no seer to tell him that the Doctor had heard all that was discussed. He wondered how he could hear something so low when he needed to bend to hear her. Maybe his ear needs a check up, he thought mentally.

Ray sat opposite Tunde, still tied down by his thoughts. He hadn’t given Tunde the answer to the question he was asked. “Ray… I said, what are you going to do?”

Raymond exhaled slowly. “I made a promise Tunde. I don’t break my promises” he said.

Tunde sighed knowingly. He shouldn’t have asked because he knew the answer to expect. “You know I am risking a lot. None of her relations know of her presence in my hospital, I know nothing about her except her name; not even her full name; what if something happens to her?” Tunde asked, becoming more aware of the risk involved.

Ray stood sluggishly. “Then, you have to make sure nothing happens to her” he said about to leave.

“You also have to do the same” Tunde said, referring to Tinuke. Ray paused, gazed at Tunde as his thoughts took in everything he had heard. He nodded and left the office. He entered his car and headed home.

How could Tinuke descend so low as to attempt murder? Of everything that he imagined her doing, murder was not one of them. He wondered why he did not feel terribly hurt. He felt rage, enough to take on a battalion of Tinukes if she ever tried something so terrible, but he did not feel that heartfelt pain he usually feels whenever she does something to hurt him. Just months ago, he had been so sure that he would die if Tinuke leaves him, but now, he feels like Tinuke would send him to an early grave if he doesn’t leave her.

As he drove on, Bose crossed his mind and his heart skipped a beat. Since Tinuke started her rebellious acts and Bose had stood by him through it all, he had been trying to see her in a different light. He had wanted to love her the way a man loves a woman but the only feelings he had for her were platonic. She is like a sister and a friend. He had seen some signs to show that she had extra feelings for him but he hadn’t thought much of it. Bose is a very beautiful girl, with a very inviting body structure, and that gave Tinuke more reasons to pressurize him into firing her. He however had never felt sexually attracted towards Bose, and he wondered why. He had left her at home without talking about her love confession and he was scared that he would not be able to look her in the eye and tell her he had no feelings for her.

His phone rang and he looked at the name on it. He mentally kicked himself as he pressed answer and put the phone on speaker in order to focus on his driving without being caught by the police.

“Hey… Duke, what’s up now” he said to no physical being.

“You are not serious. You have not called me for the past four days and you are there asking me what’s up. What else would be up?” Duke angrily yelled over the phone. Of all the friends that surrounded Raymond, Duke is the closest to him.

“Hey, why are you angry? I am angry too. You did not hear from me and you did not call me. What if I was dead?”

“C’mon shut the crap. I know you can’t die, we already said that our children would marry themselves, so tell me: where are you going to when you have not fulfilled your promise?” Duke ranted. They both laughed out. People driving by in the small traffic assumed that Raymond was having a moment of madness and put a little space between their cars. Ray smiled at their stares.

“But why did you leave the club without telling us now?”

Ray sighed. “Leave that jare, I am glad I did. I was able to save someone from death”

“What? Who?” Duke’s voice filled the car.

“Long story” Ray replied.

“Why not come over to the club tonight, you can narrate the story over there”

Ray thought for a second and realized it would be a good idea. Get home, explain everything in his mind to Bose and go to the club to drink away any guilt that he might feel afterwards.

“OK”

“You are the man” Ray smiled and pressed the red button.

**********
**********

Fred was not happy with the way he treated Chris. The guy had wanted to help him with his problems but little did he know that the situation is already beyond remedy. He had forcefully pushed him out two days ago, arousing suspicions. Every time he stepped out of the house to either buy some things or settle things, he walks like someone who is being chased, looking over his shoulder at the slightest sound. His life has transformed to a nightmare just because of a stupid act.

He sat on the bed in his room, drinking a bottle of beer. Lucy had been so beautiful that night and the jealousy of the fact that she dressed up for another man had added to his anger. He did not have any right to be angry but the mere fact that she could accept someone else when she did not accept him made him too furious. He opened his HP laptop and powered it. After letting it booth for some minutes, he connected to the internet. If he wants to come out of this mess, someone else would have to be found responsible for the Luciana’s death. Sooner or later, her body would be found and the case would move from a kidnap case to a murder case. He swallowed, opened his bag and took out a small jotter where he wrote the name of his worst enemy. Since someone else needs to be implicated, he knows the best person to implicate. How he would achieve his aim was still unknown to him. He stared at the name. “If God helps me to find a way, I promise you; you would be spending the rest of your miserable life in jail” he said.

**********
**********

Raymond arrived home to meet something really shocking. Of all the things that coerced through his mind as he drove home, the movie playing before him was not included.
“What is going on Bose? Where are you going with the luggage” he yelled, as he approached her.

Bose wiped her tears as she swallowed painfully. “I can’t stay here anymore sir” she choked.

Tinuke had made her life a living hell ever since she stormed the house, about two hours ago. Bose knew that Tinuke was there to stay, due to the heavy bags she brought with her and she could not imagine another day with Tinuke in the house. She also would not be able to cope with seeing Ray and Tinuke play the loving duo while she suffered from the love that can never be returned.

Raymond stared at Bose with his mouth agape. He could not fathom why she was doing this. “It has not reached this level Bose. Come inside, let us talk about this”.

“No sir” Bose said, shaking her head in denial. “I am sorry sir; I never wanted this to happen. Why would I want to leave this house when you have treated me so kindly? Thanks to you and your generous siblings, I am somebody today” she sniffed. “I have enough money to start a small business, I am educated and I also have self confidence. You have been so kind to me. You treated me like your sister. What more can I ask for?” She paused, allowing everything she had said to sink in.

“But I fear, I would not be able to stay any longer. I never wanted to confess my feelings today”

“And I am sorry I made you do so” Ray cut in

“Yes sir, I understand. But I am not leaving because of you; I am doing this for me. I know you don’t love me. If I stay here, I would become bitter. Please let me go sir” she pleaded.

Ray was deflated. Going to the club tonight would definitely be a brilliant idea. He never imagined that Bose would cry because of him. He did not want to let her go but, making her stay would be very unfair. She deserves to move on with her life, forsake the lowly life of a servant and be an independent woman. If she would also be able to forget him, she needs space. That very minute, he saw a woman – a very beautiful woman that can sweep the heart of any man; but why can’t he see her that way?

“I would miss you” he said softly, from his heart. “Who would prepare those delicious meals? Who would keep me company in this boring house? Who would advise me when I am lost? Tell me?”

“Your fiancée would do all that. Bye Sir” she quickly said. She wiped her face and picked up her bags.

“But where are you going this night? At least stay till tomorrow morning and let me drop you.” She looked thoughtful for some seconds, glanced at the building and shook her head.

“I have called a cab to convey me to my friend’s house. Your food is inside the cooler, in case you are hungry. Bye sir. Thanks for everything” she said as fresh tears rolled down her cheeks.

Raymond stood still as Bose stepped out of the house. He could not explain the pain he felt at that moment. Why did he ask her that question? If he hadn’t asked, she would still be in the house now. He walked inside slowly with the intention of changing his clothes and storming the club. The quilt he was feeling could only be relieved in a club where he would drink himself to stupor. He entered his bedroom and met the second horror of the day. What the hell! He swore. “Tinuke… What are you doing here?”

THE LAST SMILE Episode
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