The next few seconds met Nora standing in a small room. It had no window and the walls were painted blue. The only things in the room were a table and a chair.
An interrogation room. She thought. What else do they want? They want me to confess that I want to also kill my mother? She chuckled weirdly. The officer had said she had a visitor. There was a visitor’s room why then did she choose to bring her to an interrogation room? Something isn’t right. She thought, pacing the small room. Did something else happen? Something she’s being blamed for? Maybe, just maybe the Ade…
Her thoughts were interrupted at the sound of the turning doorknob. A squeaky sound followed as the door slowly opened to admit the visitor. Subsequently, the door closed and she heard the key turn in the lock. Someone had locked it from outside.
Her visitor looked good in his blue jeans trouser and a red t-shirt. His hair was a little grown, not the normal low cut she was used to. His cream coloured snickers matched the colour of the bandage sitting around his neck and holding up his swollen right arm. His eyes, however, looked like they lacked sleep and rest of mind.
Nora’s eye widened and her heartbeat ceased for a fraction of a second. With mouth ajar and her heart beating faster, she took two steps forward. “They said you were dead!” She managed to find her voice. “They said I killed you.”
“Apparently you didn’t. Can you please sit, so we can talk?” Kay asked instead. His face was void of expression. He wanted to hear from her first before he gave away the fact that he was bleeding inside. Right from the moment, he regained consciousness at the hospital, he had wondered what really happened and what was still happening. There was no one by his bedside and when he asked for his parents he was told only his wife brought him in.
“Wife?” he asked, perplexed. “I have no wife, I am not married.”
Worried that he might have woken up with amnesia, the nurses went out to get his supposed wife. Upon seeing each other, the woman screamed and asked where her husband was. The man lying on the hospital bed bore no resemblance, not even in a small way, to the man she married.
“I thought this was your husband,” one confused nurse asked. She knew her stupid mistake was going to cost her. A sack letter was inevitable.
“No! This is not my husband. Where is my husband? The aggrieved woman asked.
The doctors were called in and upon questioning; discovered that Kayode Adepoju was different from Kayode Adebisi. On the night they arrived, the nurses on duty mixed up the names.
Kayode Adebisi was dead and they told the Adepojus their son was gone. The young widow, however, was told that her husband was recovering well from his wounds, but since they were yet to let her see him, she didn’t know the man was not her husband.
Mr and Mrs Adepoju, along with Tayo, were extremely happy about the good news. They thought their son and brother was gone and they had spent time mourning him. However, throughout his stay in the hospital, they mentioned nothing about Nora’s arrest to him. Several times, he begged them to let her visit but one excuse or the other followed his request. His constant plea made his parents believe that Tayo had been saying the truth. Kay was in love with Nora. But as long as she was tagged as the person who tried to kill their son, they hated her and wanted nothing more to do with her. Tayo wanted to tell Kay everything that had happened, but his mother rebuked him.
“Don’t you dare! she warned him. We are glad that your brother survived but don’t forget Nora was the one who put him in the hospital in the first place.”
“That’s unfair, mum.” Tayo shot at her. “We didn’t even give her a chance to explain herself. No investigations were carried out. What happened to the love you used to have for her?”
“I lost that love when she tried to kill my son.” Mrs Adepoju said. “I mourned for almost one week, thinking my son was dead.”
“And Nora has been suffering for three weeks. And for what? A son that is alive?”
“Tayo! You aren’t arguing with your age mate.” His father stepped in. “You better talk to your mother with respect.”
Kay didn’t know anything of what was going on until he was discharged and brought home the following week.
“Where is Nora?” He asked as soon as he noticed her absence.
“She left. She said she can’t work here again.” His mother lied.
“Since when?” He asked, shock and sadness taking over his expression.
“Since last week, dear.” She lied some more.
“Why? She knew I’ll be home today.”
“Well, maybe she didn’t want to see you.” His father joined the conversation “I guess she thought it better to go out and get a better job. Besides, she was sure you were dead. Nothing we said, convinced her otherwise.”
For the next two days, Kay was like a moving shadow in the house. He wouldn’t talk much with anyone and most of his time was spent in Nora’s room. Even though her things were no longer in the room, he could still feel her presence. Been stabbed and in critical condition made him realize that he could have died without forming a bond with Nora. It was on his sickbed he realized he was making a mistake trying to play games with her. The mere thought of her made him smile and whenever he remembered the few moments they shared together, the more he admitted his true feelings for her. He wanted to tell her how he really felt and do things the proper way.
But his parents had refused to allow her to visit him. Now he was home, they say she left. Something was fishy. Something was not right but, he did not know what. On the other hand, his parents had started to talk in low tones, something they never did before, while Tayo remained locked in his room, whenever he was home. The doctor had advised that Kay still take another one week rest before resuming work. But what he was taking was no break. Nora was away and his parents were keeping secrets. Tayo, on the other hand, was withdrawn.
“What is really going on?” He asked one evening when Tayo came to give him feedback from the office.
“You can’t tell me nothing, Tayo.” Kay frowned. “This once happy home is no longer that. First, you people refused Nora from visiting me at the hospital. Now she’s gone. Like being gone isn’t enough, dad and mum are now talking in low tones, keeping secrets. And you, you’re just a moving shadow and you’ve become very withdrawn too. You didn’t use to be like this with me. What is happening?”
“It’s nothing brother, you should just rest yourself.”
Well, Kay didn’t take his advice. He simply took Tayo by the hand and pulled him to the sitting room where his parents were watching the 9 o’clock news.
“What is happening in this house? He demanded, obstructing their view. “I want the truth.”
“Ah ah, Kay.” His father called. “What’s the matter? And what do you mean by what’s happening?”
“The matter is simple. You have all been lying to me and now I want the truth. What’s the situation of things?s”
It took a lot of yelling and quarrelling before Tayo finally spilled everything. His parents tried to stop him but he ignored them.
“Nora is in a police cell?” Kay asked, dazed.
“Without investigations, you sent her to a cell? And you had the nerves to tell me the police had caught my attacker?”
His mother tried to explain but he waved her aside. He didn’t want to hear anything else. The first thing the next morning, he left the house with Tayo. They rented another place and refused their parents knowing its location.
Now he was at the police station. He had to see her. He had to hear from her, he had to prove to himself she was innocent. His eyes swept over her dishevelled form. She was thinner and looked like she had seen a lot of sad days. He wanted to gather her in her arms, kiss away all her pain and shield her from the people that had hurt her. But not yet. He needed to hear her. He needed to know if she was guilty or not.
“Nora, please. Sit, let us talk.”
“Why are you even here?” Nora asked instead, refusing to take the seat he offered. “They said I killed you. Can you please show yourself to the police and tell them you’re alive?”
“They said a lot of things,” Kay admitted. “Things that I only just found out.”
“Tayo was the only one who stood up for me the day I was arrested. I can never forgive your parents for what they have done.”
“I heard Mustapha made a statement.”
“To hell with Mustapha and his statement.” She fired. “He lied! When I get out of here, he will be the first person I deal with.”
“You’re not dealing with anybody.”
“Says me,” Kay replied moving to stand in front of her. Throwing all caution to the wind, he reached out and pulled her gently into his embrace. “Let me deal with them, please.” He whispered into her ear. “They hurt us both and now they’ll have to face the music.”
“Nora closed her eyes and sighed, snuggling closer into his warmth. Kay was alive and he believed she was innocent. What more could she ask for? All the time spent in her cell room, she had cried and prayed he was alive. She thought only of him, his smiles and all the happy and even sad moments they shared. Now he was there, holding her in his embrace and not for once, doubting her innocence.
“Kay.” She called at last.
“Yes dear.” He answered, patting her scattered hair backwards.
“I’m glad you’re ok. I spent three weeks plus thinking you were dead. I’ve been thinking and dreaming about that night over and over again. Still, I can’t make out the image of the person that hurt you.”
“Image?” He frowned and pulled back, so as to look at her. “What image? You saw something that night?”
“They didn’t tell you that?”
“I’m not surprised, especially since they want me taking the blame.” She said and then went on to explain that been worried that they were helping with the dishes, she couldn’t sleep that night. She stayed up, wondering if she would be sacked the next morning for sleeping on duty. So she stayed by the window. She watched him take out the trash. She then confessed she pulled back after he looked up at her window but, when she heard him cry out, she moved back to see what had happened. He was on the ground and the dark figure of a man ran into the shadows and away from sight.
“Did you mention it to the police?”
“I tried. But they didn’t listen.”
“Then we need to investigate. The sooner we do that, the faster we find who the real assailant is.” He took her hand and led her to the door. He knocked and the lady officer opened it. “We are ready to go.”
“Go where?” Nora asked, perplexed.
“But I’m not cleared yet. The police won’t just allow me to up and go.”
“I dropped the charges, Nora.”
“You… you did. I… I…”
“Stop the stammering, Nora. I’m taking you out of here.”
Wow. Kay just happened to appear and drop the charges. Even before hearing from her. Like that wasn’t enough, he wanted to take her home. Home sounded nice. At least she’ll be away from mosquitoes and heartless inmates. Not to talk about the terrible food they ate. But no. She couldn’t go back with him. She couldn’t bring herself to be under the same roof with his parents ever again. Besides, she had her own home. Her parents would be glad to have her back.
“I can’t go with you, Kay. If you really want to help me, don’t take me back to your house. I can’t live under the same roof as your parents. Not until I find it in my heart to forgive them. By the way, my parents have a home and they will be glad to have me in it.”
“I’m not taking you to my parent’s home, Nora. And I’m not taking you to yours. I’m taking you to mine. Please, we have a lot of catching up to do.”
She couldn’t refuse him. How could she? He was her knight in shining armour and as long as it was his house they were heading, she had no qualms.
“Ok,” She said, almost in a whisper.
To Be Continued…
A Pelleura story by Karo Oforofuo
See previous chapters here
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