The following Monday, 6:30 A.M, met Gabriel on a ladder, outside the mechanic workshop, fixing cameras on the nearby tree. Done with that, he moved to fix other cameras on two condemned vehicles. He erected a pole and fixed another camera on it.
He got down from the pole, just as Priscilla’s Sienna pulled up in front of the workshop. All four sisters arrived together.
“You’re here early,” Ella said, as soon as she stepped out of the vehicle.
“Well, an employee has to arrive before his employers,” he winked at her. “Good morning, ladies,” he let his gaze rest on Priscilla.
“Good morning,” the ladies chorused, randomly.
“You’re early,” Priscilla said, looking up at the pole they saw him descend from. “What’s that,”
“I’m not so sure I feel comfortable being filmed. I feel like I’m being spied on.”
“But you and I know that’s not the case here. As soon as your workshop door is open, you all get access to your Instagram account, and to the live feeds from the cameras…”
“Cameras? How many cameras did you plant?” Faith asked.
“Four so far. Will plant another two in the workshop.”
“Hmmm… feels like we’re about to lose our privacy,” Grace frowned.
“More like we’re about to get famous. Don’t forget BBN and even the Kardashian show is a reality TV. This stuff gets people popular and rich,” Ella reasoned.
“But even those celebrities do not have their privacy anymore,” Faith supported Gloria’s line of reasoning.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed. Let’s see how it goes,” Priscilla said.
As the girls moved to open the workshop and start activities for the day, Priscilla called Gabriel aside.
“I appreciate what you’re trying to do here. I appreciate your passion and dedication. But I do hope that in the long run, you’re not planting ways to blackmail us?”
“I’ll never do such a stupid thing. All I ask for is cooperation. Without that, I don’t know how we’re going to pull this off.”
“We’ll give all the cooperation you need.”
She made her way into the workshop. Gabriel followed behind. And while they went straight to finish the previous week’s jobs, before new customers start to come around, Gabriel set up the other cameras and linked them to his laptop.
It was 9:14 A.M. when he announced to the ladies, that he was set for recording.
“Ok, so what do you want us to do?” Ella asked from where she stayed bent, over some metals.
“I think we should start with you ladies introducing yourselves and your expertise in this work you do.”
“Isn’t there a formal way we can do this, so we don’t sound stupid?” Ella asked.
“There are formal ways. But I do not advise you go formal. There’s nothing formal about your work here or the work clothes you wear. So freestyle. Act normal. Talk the way you’ve always talked. You can even continue with your work while you talk to the camera,” he pointed at the different points the cameras were placed. “I’ll also hold one camera for a closer shot. So who is first?”
“I’ll go first!” Faith announced.
“Great. So we can take this from the bottom to the top. The rest of you, go on with your work. Act like nothing else is happening.”
Gabriel moved his hand camera to where Faith lay halfway underneath a car.
“I’m going to move closer to you while recording. As soon as I say ‘go’, slide out from underneath the car, say ‘hi’ to the camera, tell us your name and what you’re doing right now. Ready?”
“Yes, I’m ready!” She called out. “I feel like I’m about to be an actress.”
Gabriel chuckled. “You are. I’m coming up to you now. Go!”
Faith slid out from underneath the car, spanner in one hand.
“Hi, guys. I’m Faith, and I’m a mechanic. Right now, this car’s gearbox is having issues that need to be fixed. It might take me thirty minutes or an hour. But by the time I’m done, it’s going to be as good as new!” She blew kisses at the camera and slid back under.
“Brilliant!” Gabriel yelled in excitement as he cut the recording, “I need a high five, Sis!”
Faith emerged again from under the car and gave him a high five while giggling like a child.
“You see, this is perfect because you talked with style about what you know, not what anyone arranged for you. We need more of this. Who’s next?”
“Me!” Gloria jumped.
“Now I’m coming your way. All you need do is look up from that engine when I’m close enough. Say ‘hi’ to the camera. Ready?”
It was thirty minutes later he took his camera outside to where Priscilla was pumping a car tyre. She looked so inviting in her jean jumpsuit, despite beads of perspiration gathering all over her glittering sun-kissed ebony skin. She looked up as he approached.
“How’s it coming?” She asked.
“I’m done with the others. It’s your turn,” he pointed at the camera.
“What am I supposed to do. Keep pumping your tire. I’ll approach from the trees sid. As soon as I say go, you look up. Say ‘Hi’ to the camera, introduce yourself and tell us what you’re presently doing.”
Priscilla sighed. “Ok. Let’s do it.”
He moved towards the tree point, capturing her side view as she pumped the car tire. Then he approached.
Priscilla raised her head up to face the camera. Her smile was sincere enough to make Gabriel swallow. He had never seen her smile this way before.
“Hi there. My name is Priscilla, and this is my workshop. My sisters and I, we fix any type of car, it doesn’t matter what the issue is. And when we are done, our bad roads or an accident can be the only reason it develops a fault, again.”
She finished pumping the tire, lifted it up and moved to the car it belonged to. As she worked to fix it, Gabriel recorded everything.
“Repairing a car is one thing,” Priscilla said, “but making it brand new, is another. A trial will convince you.”
Gabriel cut the recording. “Well done. This was brilliant. Seems you’ve done this before?”
“Kind of. Not just in this way. So what’s next?”
“Editing. I’ll edit the clips and upload them.”
“Can we at least see them before they go online?”
“Sure. You can.”
“Thank you,” she returned to work immediately like he was non-existent.
The day ran by very quickly, with a few car owners, stopping by to have their cars fixed. By 5:00 P.M. all 4 videos were ready to go live.
“So are you going to upload them one at a time, or together?” Faith asked as she wiped engine oil from her fingers.
“One at a time. So people can really take time knowing each of you.”
“Ok. Let’s see them,” Ella said, excitedly.
The ladies gathered at the table and Gabriel played each of the videos.
“Ok, first, I love the quality,” Ella said. “This is some high-grade camera you have here.”
After the videos had finished playing, Priscilla turned to Gabriel. Brows up. “Is there a particular reason why you chose to record my side view?”
“Because it was a good view. The sun was perfect from that position.”
“I think you took a side view because of my ass. You wanted my ass pronounced, right?”
“Well, now that I think of it, it is an added advantage…”
“I’m not doing this to sell my body.”
“No. You’re not. But you need to attract people first. Rip off their balls, as you ladies always do, whenever they try something funny. Yes?”
“Yes?” Gloria nodded.
“I thought you were holier than thou? How come you agree?” Faith made a face at her immediate elder sister.
Gloria rolled her eyes in frustration.
“I hate it when men have to look at my body first before thinking about my worth,” Priscilla stated flatly.
“So what will you have us do?” Gabriel asked. “I’m not going to force or coarse you to accept this video if you don’t want it. And I don’t mind shooting another. I can get it edited and upload it last. We still have enough time, while the other videos go up.”
“Pris,” Ella called, walking up to place a comforting hand on her immediate elder sister’s shoulders. “I know how you feel. But I don’t think you should allow Eric’s behaviour to continue to affect you. You deserve better. That video isn’t bad. If you ask me, it’s cool.”
“Eric is a jerk!” Faith announced.
“So is Stanley,” Gloria added.
Gabriel walked up to Priscilla and placed comforting hands on her shoulders while ignoring the frown that greeted his actions.
“If I ever know who these guys are, I’ll teach them a lesson.”
“And why would you want to do that?”
“They have no right to make you feel bad about yourself.”
Priscilla swallowed. But she looked unmoved. Peeling his hands off her shoulders, she spoke. “I’ll like to have another record done; without my ass shooting out.”
“You girls can pack up,” Priscilla looked up at her sisters. “I know you have night engagements. I’ll be fine.”
“I have no engagement. I can stay back,” Gloria said.
“Frank has been calling. I saw your phone. At least hear him out. I know you like him.”
“And since when did you start caring about our relationships?” Gloria asked. Brows up.
“I’m not insensitive. And I won’t be the reason your relationship failed.”
“I don’t bite,” Gabriel cut in. “I know we’ve only known each other for 3 days now. But I promise, your sister is in safe hands.”
Silence. The ladies seemed to be sizing him up. But Ella broke the silence.
“All I ask is that you ensure she gets home safe.”
“I will. I promise.”
The ladies packed up for the day, while Gabriel went about fixing the cameras in the garage.
Ten minutes after he watched them say their goodbyes, he called out to Priscilla.
“We’re good to go.”
Priscilla looked up from the box of tools she’d been arranging. “We do it here or outside?”
“Here. The lights are on. It’s brighter.”
“Ok.” She put the box aside and joined him. “So what do you want me to do?”
“We will need to try different angles with different activities. We’ll pick the best when we are done. Cool?”
And so the filming started. 7:45 P.M. met them rounding up after several 1-minute shots. They sat together to watch each video on the laptop screen. Some of them were funny. Some were serious, and others were just beautiful.
But Gabriel didn’t pay much attention to the funny videos until Priscilla laughed.
With brows shooting up, he turned to her.
“This is the first time I’ve heard you laugh.”
“Well, I wasn’t the one who asked me to take such stupid pose.”
“It’s nice to hear you laugh,” Gabriel said, ignoring her accusation.
Priscilla rolled her eyes and turned her attention back to the screen. “Are you going to run the editing now, or you do that at home?”
“Home. It’s best we pack up, so I can get you home in time.”
“I’m not a baby,” she said, getting to her feet.
“I never said you were.”
Priscilla went back to arranging her tools, putting them in place, before heading out to cover the vehicles. While Gabriel put his gadgets together, excluding the cameras.
He had only finished zipping up his bag when he heard Priscilla’s yelling at someone from outside. He rushed out in time to see a man pulling her hair and trying to put her down. But she put up a good fight.
“Hey!” Gabriel rushed forward, pulled the man away from Priscilla and landed two blows on his stomach and head respectively, before throwing him on the ground, face-down.
“Aren’t you ashamed? Raising your hands against a woman?”
“No!” Priscilla yelled as she pushed Gabriel two steps backwards.
“Ah!” She cried out.
Gabriel, shocked by the gunshot, quickly recovered and moved to hold her, just as he watched the man get to his feet and run off with a dark figure in the shadows. From his expression, one could tell he was boiling with anger. But Priscilla’s well being was more important.
He carried her back into the garage and locked the door, before placing her on one of the work tables.
“Let me see,” he said, taking her hand off her bleeding arm. The bullet had penetrated it.
“This was supposed to hit me,” he swallowed, looking her in the eye.
“Well, you still have some editing to do,” she managed a pained smile.
“Do you have a first aid kit?”
“Yes. Drawer. The table in the inner room.”
Gabriel moved swiftly to get the kit box and returned. Good enough, he had all the tools to remove the bullet. And although Priscilla screamed in excruciating pain, he got the bullet out, cleaned the wound and bandaged it.
“I need to get you to the hospital.”
“Is that still necessary?”
“Yes! You need to take certain injections to avoid infection and swelling.”
He packed up his bag and helped Priscilla pack up her’s. But before they made for the door, Priscilla drew his attention to a box underneath the bench.
“I have a gun inside it. Just in case.”
Gabriel pulled out the box and took the pistol and a flashlight out. He turned to her.
“You know how to use this?”
“Of course I do, else I won’t have it.”
Gabriel nodded. “Let’s go.”
He opened the garage door and flashed his light on the surrounding. He led the way to Priscilla’s car.
“He burst my tyres,” Priscilla said, drawing Gabriel’s attention to the ripped tyres.
“Do you normally face these kinds of attacks? Or is this just someone trying to be stupid?” He had to ask.
“My ex,” Priscilla said.
For the first time since he knew her, he saw her look really scared.
She turned away from him.
“Let’s use my car.”
Gabriel led the way to his car, and surprisingly, it was the same thing.
“I think he came here to ruin me,” Priscilla said. “Even the client’s cars have their tyres torn. Now I have to pay for those, and yours too.”
“Hey! You’re not paying for anything. My major concern now is getting you to the hospital. When you’re settled, I want every detail about this ex of yours, everything he has done to you before now, his location, his description…”
“You can’t fight him. Forget it. Just take me home.”
“I’m getting you to the hospital.”
Gabriel took out his phone and ordered an Uber ride. The driver showed up within 5 minutes and their first destination was the military hospital along airport road.
“I’ve forgotten you’re SSS,” Priscilla said.
Gabriel ignored her comment and led her straight into the hospital after the uber dropped them.
The nurses in attendance seemed to know him, even though he was not an army officer. But while they attended to Priscilla, Gabriel swiped out his phone, scrolled through his contact list and hit the dial button. The phone rang twice before the receiver picked up.
“Are you done playing mechanic for the day?” A male voice teased from the other end of the line.
“Samson, I need your help. Something serious just came up,” Gabriel said, ignoring the tease.
“Where are you?” The receiver asked.
“The military hospital, with the lady I told you about.”
“What happened? Why are you two at the hospital?”
“It turns out someone has been harassing her. Her ex. And it’s quite serious.”
“Say the words, bros. We’ll find him and lock him up in my personal guard room.”
“As soon as the doctors are done with her, I’ll take her home, then I’ll meet you up. You’re home, right?”
“Ok. See you in about an hour’s time.”
Gabriel cut the call and went back in to join Priscilla.