Shadows Part 2

You need to do the right thing.

As far as Leke was concerned, doing the right thing was containing the situation and making amends to Jeffrey, the person he had framed. It wasn’t only reasonable, it was wise. Confessing his crime to the company would only bring up an already forgotten matter. Besides, the money he had stolen wasn’t an amount that the company missed. In his opinion, Jeffrey wasn’t likely to get reinstated if he confessed, so why lose his own job over sentiments? The best thing to do would be to get Jeffrey a lump sum of money that he could use to start his own business. Life would even be better for him, he wouldn’t have to be caught in the hustle and bustle of traffic and he would have more time for his family. Yes, giving Jeffrey a huge amount was the best course of action.

Now he regretted confiding in Rotimi. Why did he allow himself to be overwhelmed by guilt? What if he told someone? What if Rotimi reported him to the Pastor? What if he got sent away from the church? Worse still, what if Rotimi reported him to the police?

First things first.

He would call Jeffrey.

**********

Jeffrey Akume was depressed. Losing his job was the worst thing that had happened to him. He had always been told that the worth of a man is determined by how much he can provide for his family and he had tried. He wasn’t an ambitious man, he avoided risks but was diligent, sticking to his regular routine and doing his job well. Losing his job was a big blow to his ego. His wife’s meagre salary as a secondary school teacher was not enough to cater to the needs of the four children they had. How would they manage? Already he felt his wife’s coldness towards him and he was tired of telling his children that he couldn’t afford everything they requested for. He needed a change.

His phone rang, it was Leke.

“Hello?”

“Mr Jeffrey!”

“Leke Leke! The man of the moment! How now? You remembered me today, it must be my lucky day!”

Leke laughed. “Mr Jeffery, I didn’t forget you o! How can I forget you? You were one of the best accountants we had. Anyway, I’m calling to check up on you and the family. How is Madam?”

“She’s fine.”

“And how are things?”

“To be honest, thing are hard. I didn’t have any savings.”

“You didn’t have any savings?” Leke repeated surprised.

“My brother, with four children it is hard to have savings in this Lagos.”

Leke shook his head and hoped that he would never be like this. “Anyway, I wanted to see how you’re doing and offer you something.”

“What’s that?”

“Some money.”

**********

Augusta, Jeffrey’s wife was afraid. It looked like her mother’s experience would be hers after all. Growing up, she had watched her mother provide entirely for the household and promised herself that she would never be in her shoes. So when she was ready to get married, Augusta was only interested in men who were financially comfortable, not those were still struggling to make it. She had had her own fair share of poverty before she married. However with childbirth came some realizations, her husband was content with his achievements and was not willing to exceed the boundaries he had created for himself. He lacked passion and hated the stress that new challenges would bring so he stayed with the same job and company for years. Initially it was okay for him to be complacent, but after the twins were born, it became obvious that he needed to step up to new responsibilities. Jeffrey however wouldn’t budge and found his wife’s constant urgings annoying.

Now that he had lost his job, had absolutely nothing to fall back on, and lacked the passion to start again she began to see traces of her father in her husband. Jeffrey was content to sleep all day and then lament to her about how callous human beings were. He was stuck in what life had served him and never attempted to rise above it, hence her coldness towards him.

As she walked home she wondered what stories Jeffrey would have cooked up to garner her pity.

“Welcome!” Jeffrey said excitedly.

“Thank you…” She answered suspiciously. Why was he so happy?

“How was your day?” he asked happily

“Fine. You look happy…”

He laughed. “Yes, I’m happy. God has turned my sorrow to joy.”

Augusta folded her arms waiting for the rest of the news.

“One of my colleagues called me today and offered me some money to start up my own business. Guess how much he offered me Augusta? Guess!”

“I don’t know.” she shrugged, too tired to play guessing games.

“Three million naira!”

“Three million naira?’ Augusta asked surprised. “Where did he get that kind of money from?”

Jeffrey’s excitement was deflated. “Why are you like this? Instead of you to be happy that God has made a way for me you’re questioning my blessing. Did you expect me to ask that kind of question?”

“No, but this person is your colleague, not your boss…”

“Look Augusta that’s enough, I should have known that you wouldn’t be happy for me…”

“It’s not that, I’m just concerned. It sounds fishy…”

“Augusta!!! Did I ask for your opinion?”

“So why are you telling me?” she asked irritably.

“You’re a bad woman!” Jeffrey concluded, his evening totally ruined.

**********

Rotimi tried to pray. It was all he could do to make him feel better about the dream that had come back but everytime he closed his eyes all he could see were those large piercing eyes. Kayinsola noticed that her husband was disturbed and it had all begun with the nightmare he had had.

“Rotimi what’s going on?”

“Nothing.”

“That’s a lie.”

“Kayin please, I’m not in the mood to argue with you tonight. I’m tired.”

“Timi why won’t you talk to me? What can be so difficult for you to tell me? I’m your wife, and I thought we were a team.”

Rotimi breathed out trying to keep his temper in check, he was really not in the mood to talk. “Kayinsola, if you really want to help me, you’ll leave me alone.”

“But Rotimi…”

“Kayinsola!” he yelled. “I said leave me alone!”

Kayinsola had never seen her husband so angry and she was confused. Something was definitely very wrong with him and it was eating him up. As she lay in bed unable to sleep she decided to chat with her friend Gbemi.

Something is wrong with R and I don’t know what it is.

Have you talked to him about it?

Yes, but he only told me to leave him alone.

Odd. Maybe it’s pressure from work. Give him time, I’m sure he’ll be okay.

Okay. Thanks.

Kayinsola tuned off the light and lay back down. Perhaps it was nothing after all. Beside her, Rotimi’s phone beeped and she picked it up it was a text from Leke.

I’ve settled it. There’s no problem anymore. I’m counting on your discretion. 

Rotimi had had the nightmare on Sunday, and she remembered that he had spoken to Leke earlier in the day. Could their conversation have anything to do with Rotimi’s sudden state? Deep within her, Kayinsola knew that the two events were connected. But what could Leke have told Rotimi? Kayinsola decided to find out.

Later that night, the dreams tormented Rotimi again but this time Kayinsola pretended not to notice.

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