Anita hadn’t smuggled the kids to Libya as he had feared. She was quietly reading them a bedtime story while they slept in her arms. The scene was so adorable and sweet that Tobi felt it was a sin to interrupt. So, he watched her read to them. He was confused. This was totally unexpected of her.
When Anita finished, she slipped out of the bed and tucked the kids in, making them more comfortable as they slept. She tiptoed out of the room. Tobi followed her and she shut the door quietly.
She smiled. “You’re back.”
“Yes.” He replied.
“I heard they’ve called you back as CEO. Congratulations.”
He gaped at her. “Thank you.”
Anita nodded. “Just a second.” She went back into the master bedroom. A few seconds later, she came out again, holding a file and shut the door.
She gave the file to Tobi. “This is the document of this house. I’ve signed transferring the ownership back to you.”
Tobi looked at her suspiciously. “What’s the catch?”
“Nothing. I’m just giving you back what belongs to you.”
“Were you the one who exposed Melinda and stopped the corruption allegations against me?”
“I told you. I have friends in high and low places.”
That made Tobi even more confused. “What’s going on, Anita? Why are you doing this all of a sudden?”
Anita smiled sadly. “Lara. I kept wondering how she’s going to grow up in a broken home. She’s so innocent and sweet. The same with Nonso and even your wife. It’s not fair to punish them for what they didn’t do. The world is hard for a woman already. I don’t want to be the reason why Lara didn’t grow up in a loving family. I don’t want her to end up like me – angry, bitter, lost. It’s not a good feeling, Tobi. Trust me, it’s not.”
Tobi looked down shamefully. “I’m so sorry, Anita. I caused all of this. You’ve always been the better person between us. I will forever regret my actions against you.”
Anita’s eyes welled up with tears as she looked at him with a vulnerable curiosity. “Tell me the truth, Tobi. Why did you abandon me all those years? Why did you do it?”
Tobi’s shame worsened as he said quietly. “I was a fool.”
Anita had announced her fourth which turned out to be her final pregnancy to him. That was a few months after his uncle died and his property shared according to the will. Tobi wasn’t happy about it and he tried to talk her into doing abortion again. This time, she put her foot down. She refused to abort the baby and not even Tobi’s extra sweet tongue could shake her resolve. He was forced to propose to her. Anita was over the moon and quickly began to make their wedding plans.
Tobi wasn’t looking forward to that wedding. He felt trapped. Sick to his stomach, he went to the house in Lekki that his uncle left him to be alone and think. Anita didn’t know about the house. In fact, she didn’t know about his new wealth. But Mike knew and he showed up when Tobi was having breakfast.
“Oh boy eh!” Mike exclaimed as he took in the opulent living room. “Guy, you don blow!”
Tobi smiled modestly. “Na God.”
“And a very loaded uncle.” Mike remarked. “Chai! Why don’t I have an uncle that will leave me with a fortune like this?”
“Guy forget that food. You suppose take me out to one better place to launch this house. You know na. Big boy levels.”
Tobi laughed. “No wahala. We will paint this Lagos red tonight.”
“Ehen, now you’re talking. Tobi! Tobi! The newest biggest boy in town!” Mike hailed and looked around him in awe. “Oh boy, see money.”
Tobi laughed. And then he began to cough. All of a sudden, he was jerking on the floor and coughing sporadically while white foam formed in his mouth. He couldn’t breathe. Mike held him and raised a panicked alarm. The security man heard and ran in. Luckily, the elderly man knew what to do and forced some palm oil into Tobi’s mouth. Tobi vomited everything in his stomach and passed out.
When he woke up, he was on a hospital bed and hooked to a drip. Mike and the lawyer were peering anxiously at him.
“You’re awake. Thank God.” Mike said in relief.
“You got sick. Mike brought you here and called me with your phone.” The lawyer answered.
Tobi smiled weakly at Mike. “Thank you.”
Mike smiled back. “You’re welcome. Guy, you scared us o.”
Tobi didn’t reply. His stomach felt like it was scraped with a shovel. The lawyer looked at Mike. “Will you excuse us for a minute?”
Mike nodded and left. The lawyer smiled at Tobi. “How do you feel?”
“Like I’m going to die.”
“No, you won’t. The doctor left a few minutes ago. He told me the result of the test he ran on you.”
“What did it say?”
“You were poisoned.”
“What?” Tobi gasped in shock.
“They found traces of poison in the juice you had for breakfast.”
“But who would do that to me?”
The lawyer shrugged. “I have my suspicion. Your security man’s intervention was very timely. You could have died if he didn’t feed you that palm oil.”
“Remind me to thank him later.” Tobi said. “I’m not safe, am I?”
“No, you’re not. Does anyone else have access of the house?”
“No, I told him about the house only this morning and invited him. It couldn’t have been him. He saved my life. The security man too. I hired him this morning.”
The lawyer nodded. “Where did you buy the juice?”
“At the mall. I bought it last week and put in the fridge and left. Yesterday was the first time I slept in the house.”
“Then someone who has access to the house must have sneaked in when you were not around and spiked the juice with poison.”
Tobi shook in fear. “Who?”
“Like I said, I have my suspicions but there’s no proof.”
“What am I going to do, sir?”
“First, I’ve already ordered that all the locks in the house to be changed. I’ve instructed the doctor that you’re not to have any visitors except me. Once you’re discharged, I’m taking you to a safe house. From there, we’ll make arrangements for you to relocate abroad.”
“What about my studies?”
“You’ll complete it there.”
“I can’t do that.” Tobi said firmly. “I’m already in my fourth year. I’ll be graduating next year. And you want me to start afresh abroad? No way.”
The lawyer leaned closer. “Listen to me, Tobi. You and I know the people that want you dead. We can’t prove it but we know. They may have failed now but they will try again. You can trust me on that. Don’t give them the chance. You have to relocate for your own safety. You won’t go to an obvious country. You will relocate to Switzerland and tell everyone you went to America. That way you can live your life in peace. I’ll take care of things here. And when you’re ready, you can come back and take over your uncle’s company.”
Tobi didn’t like the idea of abandoning everything he knew and relocating outside the country. But his near death experience had shaken him badly. He still couldn’t believe that someone wanted him dead. So, he found himself agreeing reluctantly to the lawyer’s plan.
The lawyer sighed in relief. “Now, do you have anything you want me to take care of before you leave?”
Tobi remembered Anita and her happy wedding plans. He felt guilty about what he was about to do. But he had no choice, he reasoned. “No.” He said.
“Great. Everything is settled then. Remember, no one should know where you’re going. Not even your best friend.”
And so, everything went as planned. As soon he was discharged, Tobi was taken to a safe house and then, relocated to Switzerland. He never came back until he finished his studies and was ready to take over his uncle’s company.
“I’m so sorry.” Tobi continued, his voice thickening with remorseful tears. “I was so scared of the responsibility. So I ran when I got the opportunity. I should have been there for you. I don’t blame you for hating me. I hate myself too. And I deserve every punishment.”
Anita’s tears rolled as she heard those heartfelt words. She remembered her heartbreak the day she learned Tobi had dumped her. She was so happy when Tobi proposed to her. But after a few weeks of not seeing and hearing from him, she was worried. She called and texted. No reply. She tried to talk to Mike but Mike avoided her. Finally, she learned of Tobi’s house in Lekki and went to pay him a visit. It was the security man that finally broke the news that he relocated to America.
Anita’s world shattered that day. She was pregnant and alone. Tobi had abandoned her. She walked along the road in a daze. She wasn’t looking where she was going and an oncoming car knocked her down and gave her serious internal and external injuries. She lost the pregnancy.
Her soul died when the doctor informed her that she had lost her womb as she lay on the hospital bed. The only thing that sustained her was her burning hatred for Tobi. She lived for the day she would see him again and make him pay for what he did to her.
Her life held no meaning to her. She drank, smoked, partied like mad and slept with the first man that caught her fancy. She didn’t bother about protection. Why would she? She had no womb and she didn’t fear terminal diseases.
It was on one of those sexual escapades that she met James, one of Tobi’s twin cousins. They had met in a club and ended up in bed together. During their pillow talk, they discovered their relationship with Tobi and their mutual hatred for him. James later introduced him to Melinda and Jack and together, they plotted to destroy Tobi. It was a well-executed plot until she allowed Lara and Nonso wiggle their cute little ways into her life and changed everything.
Anita wiped her tears. “For a long time, I hated you. I thought if I made you suffer; it will ease the burning pain in my heart. But it didn’t. And I’m so tired of hating you. I want to move on. So, I forgive you, Tobi from the bottom of my heart.”
Tobi broke down and hugged her, gratefully. Together, they sobbed until they were no tears left. Eventually, they separated and bid each other good night.
Anita entered her room. Her phone rang. She ignored it. James had been calling and sending threatening messages when he found out she sabotaged them. She would deal with him later. But for now, she had one more thing to do before she left.
The next day, she announced to the kids that they were going on a surprise trip. She drove them out of town and stopped in front of a compound. Bidding the kids to remain in the car, she stepped out and stopped in front of a flat. She knocked on the door and the owner opened.
“What are you doing here? How do you know where I live?” Amaka demanded, glaring at her in distaste.
Anita grimaced remorsefully. “I’ve been keeping tabs on you. Can I come in, please?”
Amaka hesitated and finally let her in. Anita fidgeted. “I’m sorry for everything I caused you. I shouldn’t have punished you and your family for Tobi’s sins. I’ve forgiven him. Please forgive me. I want to make it up to you.”
Amaka crossed her arms and raised her brows. “How so?”
“The kids are in my car outside. I told them I was bringing them on a surprise visit. They don’t know we were coming to see you.”
Amaka gasped in pleasant surprise and ran outside straight to the waiting car. Anita smiled and followed her. They stopped. Lara and Nonso weren’t in the car. They had been kidnapped.
Watch out for the Final Episode next week Monday. Please drop your comments and share. See you on Monday!