After Emmy had run away from Alex’s constant beatings and threats, even with her almost heavily pregnant form, it was Frank who sent her money to relocate to another state, Ekiti, where Alex wouldn’t find her. It was he who sent her money to rent a home and furnish it. It was he who gave her money to start her mini supermarket so she could have her own source of income. How could she have known that a man she rejected almost 10 years back would be the one to take care of her and her unborn child?
How things turned out the be. If anyone had told her back then that Frank would be her shoulder to lean and cry on, she would have rejected it, saying her husband would be a caring man who would take proper care of his family.
She was not going to forget Frank’s help so easily. She decided she would work hard so as to repay every Kobo spent on her and her baby. It didn’t matter if he asked for a refund or not.
Three months after she was settled and her business was set up, she gave birth to her bundle of joy, Charles. They say a fruit doesn’t fall far from its tree. But thankfully, Charles looked more like her, not his abusive father. And she hoped he wouldn’t take after his father’s abusive nature.
After putting to bed, she called her mum from Edo state and she came to perform her maternal duties to her daughter and grandson. It was a secret movement, as none of them wanted Alex to find out where Emmy was hiding. He had raised hell at her parent’s, saying if he found her he would kill her. Her parents warned him to leave their daughter alone or face life in prison.
Divorce papers had been sent to him through her lawyer, but he refused to sign them.
Mama’s presence in the house was a relief for Emmy. She was no longer lonely or without physical support in running the house and caring for little Charles.
The only person outside of her immediate family who knew of her hideout was Frank. Apart from being her benefactor, they talked on phone all the time and had gotten really used to each other. Now if a day went by and she didn’t hear from him, she would worry and start acting up, wondering if he was with another woman. She found herself getting jealous over a guy that was not her boyfriend or husband, a guy she once rejected. But it wasn’t too late to fix her mistake. As long as there was life, there was hope. Although Frank had been a very good friend, he never gave her the impression that he wanted more than just friendship. All the same, if he ever showed even a little interest, she would jump at it before he even had time to think about what he was asking for.
Frank had once been married too. But his ex-wife was not only a cheat, she was violent too; picking up unnecessary quarrels, fights and constantly threatening to end her marriage. She knew that because of the beautiful girl child she had given him, Frank would do anything to please her, so he could keep having access to his daughter and give her a home. But his wife’s excesses continued and he finally filed for divorce, after gathering enough evidence against her and showing to a judge – his proof that his wife was not the right person to care for his daughter. Jessica was her name. But after the court granted him custody of the child, with his wife only allowed to visit one hour per week, he changed her name to Francess.
Emmy looked forward to seeing her and carrying her. But she wasn’t sure when. Frank had said he was really tied up with work but his leave period was close, and he would visit Nigeria. How soon that would be, he didn’t say.
It was already eight months since Charles was born. Her mother had long gone back to Edo state and she was once again, alone, save for a house keeper that comes over every Saturday to help her. The only other visitors she had were neighbours or her workers who came around to take a few items for the supermarket. And they usually came during the day. The person ringing her bell had to be a different visitor because the time was 8:30pm. Who could be visiting at such hour?
As if in line with her thoughts, the door bell rang out again, causing her to panick some more. She couldn’t pretend she wasn’t home because her lights were switched on. Now she had two options, find out who is at the door and depending on the visitor, she would go out to attend to the person, or, leave her door locked and call the police for help. She chose the first option.
Putting aside her pot of warmed soup, she left the kitchen and headed to the sitting room door. “Who is there?” She called out.
“Me.” Came the reply. The familiar voice sounded excited. The excitement got to Emmy and spread all over her body. She rushed for the door knob, turned it and pulled the door open.
There in front of her protector, he stood. The man who had carried her burden as his. He was casually dressed in blue jeans pant and a red T-shirt. His side beards were neatly shaved, and so was his hair. He looked cool and collected. She was truly surprised but she still managed to quickly unlock the padlocks.
“Frank!” She called
“Hi Emmy. I guess my surprise package worked.” He said, smiling as she rushed into his open arms.
“Yes. It worked very well.” Her voice was muffled against his shoulder. She pulled back briefly to look at him, “But when? When did you come into the country?”
“Last night.” Came the reply, from the ever smiling face. “I thought I’d see you first.”
“Oh dear. Hope your mother won’t be mad at me. I’m sure she’s eager to see her son.”
“Don’t worry Emmy. She will still see me. Its you and I who have a lot more to discuss.”
“Sure.” She chuckled. Although she had no clue what he wanted to discuss. “Come in.”
She helped him carry one nylon bag while he carried his traveling bag. Together, they went in to the house.
To be continued…