Derin’s Plight (Cut 4)

CHAPTER 6

Derin had become a stalker in the past weeks. She was practically monitoring Mr Jolaosho; her Late father’s partner. The private investigator she hired was not impressive at all. Speed was certainly not one of his strong points. He was utterly slow in digging up useful information. 

“If only Sope and his team were kind enough to solve a case they started,” she hissed. Bisola was not impressed with Derin’s attitude towards Sope each time he visited.

 “He is getting what he deserves,” She occasionally reminded Bisola. Thankfully he had stopped with his incessant calls and visits to her house.

 “There is no need keeping friends that can’t fight for you,”  Derin concluded. 

Despite Bisola’s’s persuasion to relent on the revenge quest, the urge to continue grew stronger. Derin had pondered back and forth about her father’s murderer and the only person she suspected could have a motive to kill her father was Mr Jolaosho.

Her private investigator forwarded Mr Jolaosho’s contact details to her mail. It was the least he could do considering how slow he had been on the job. I should be able to reach him first with a phone call. She picked up the phone and dialed him. 

“These horrible networks only exploit us with their bad service,” she blurted out in frustration.

 “I would call him back later in the day.” 

The workload at the pharmaceutical firm where Derin worked had doubled ever since she resumed from her leave. It was easier to trail the case when she didn’t have work stress. 

Bisola had a difficult time adjusting to her granddaughter’s absence during the day.

 Derin smiled when she saw her grandma’s call come through. 

“Hello dear, when are you coming back home?’ Nana asked with a tinge of excitement in her voice. 

“I am about leaving ma, It seems you miss me a lot these days.” Derin chuckled.

 “Don’t worry I would be home in thirty minutes.”

“Ok dear I made my special delicacy, I can’t wait for you to try it. See you soon,” Bisola responded.

The traffic was light as she drove back home. Bisola stood by the door and waved with a wide smile when she saw Derin drive in. She enveloped her granddaughter in a warm embrace as soon as she got to the doorstep.              

 “You took more than thirty minutes,” She teased.

“The important thing is that I am here now ma,” Derin giggled. She noticed the beautiful set up in the dining as she walked past. Her Grandma had gone all out with dinner.

 “Wow! No wonder you wanted me home early. This looks really good.”

“Consider it my special treat,”   Bisola winked. 

“Go upstairs and freshen up first and then come downstairs to enjoy your meal.”

“Yes ma,” Derin replied with a hand salute to her grandmother before heading upstairs.

She was back in less than fifteen minutes, the food was so nice that she ate to stupor. 

“If you keep feeding me like this, I would blow up one day,” Derin teased.

“It would be a pleasure to see you add more curves to those bones,” Bisola replied with a smile. 

“Thank you for the food grandma, I want to make an important phone call in my room. Please excuse me. I would be back in a few minutes to tell you about my day.”

Bisola was convinced her granddaughter was up to something. 

“You can make your call here dear, why go all the way to your room?” Bisola asked.

“I don’t want to disturb you ma, your favorite TV show is coming up soon.” 

Derin was a bit startled when her grandmother burst out with laughter following her statement. 

“I am not complaining dear except you have something to hide,” Bisola insisted.

“I give up Nana. If you must know, I want to get in contact with Dad’s partner; Mr Jolaosho.”

“What for?” She asked looking really confused. “Does it have to do with your Dad’s murder case?”

“Yes ma it does. I have thought deeply about it, he is the only suspect that had any motive to kill Dad.”

Bisola instantly became weak. Her granddaughter was even more stubborn now compared to her younger days.

 “O child, why are we still on this matter. I thought the case was closed?”

“I don’t need the help of those deceitful people to find the monster responsible for Dad’s death.” Derin obviously still held a grudge against Sope. 

“My dear, that popular saying; Let sleeping dog lie……it has a really deep meaning. I don’t want you to get hurt by whatever you discover.”

 She looked away almost immediately after her statement. It was as though she was hiding something that was eating her up. 

“What’s wrong? Why do you look so tense?” Derin asked

Her grandmother however remained quiet which was very unusual.

 “Something is definitely wrong Nana, please talk to me.”

“No dear there is nothing wrong. I only feel you should let go of this obsession,” Bisola replied.

“Don’t worry, I would let go when I expose the culprit.”

Derin went ahead with the phone call despite the long interrogation from her grandmother. Mr Jolaosho seemed surprised by her request to meet up with him. He however agreed to meet with her on Saturday afternoon. 

“I respected your father a lot when he was alive, he was my mentor. Don’t worry I would make out time to see you.” 

“Ok Sir, thank you,” she replied before ending the call.

 “What a Liar! Mentor indeed! but you still went ahead to kill him. At least the first part of my plan is sorted,” Derin muttered.

 “Getting a recorded confession to committing the crime shouldn’t be so hard. I would simply follow my laid down strategies.”

“I guess he agreed to see you,” Bisola blurted out, interrupting her thought process.

 “I hope you find what you are looking for dear. At least then we would have some peace in this house,” She stood up and headed for her room. 

“Why is Nana so dramatic? To think she should also be interested in finding out her son’s murderer,” Derin pondered.

 For the first time in a long while, Derin slept soundly. She had every conviction that she was a step closer to her destination. Thankfully, she was free on Saturday therefore work would not interfere with her meeting. 

Fridays had never been so free at Phozoid Pharmaceuticals. It was unbelievably peaceful and chaos free, there were only a few customers and little paper work to sort out. 

Bisola was down with Tonsillitis so Derin had to close early to accompany her to the hospital. A few investigations were carried out after which the doctor prescribed some medications for her. Bisola was set to go home and there was no need for an admission. Derin remembered her grandmother in prayers that night. She really wanted to be calm with no distractions or worries during her meeting with Mr Jolaosho. 

Bisola was surprised to see her granddaughter bring her breakfast in bed the next morning. It was the first of its kind. 

“You mean you got up early just to make this for me?” She asked with a smile.

“Yes I did ma, you always take really good care of me and of course I would do the same for you, especially now that you are ill.” 

Derin was glad her grandmother enjoyed the meal.

 “Hope you are feeling better this morning?” Derin asked.

“My throat still feels a bit sore but it is much better compared to yesterday.”  Bisola replied with a smile.

“Ok, we thank God. It’s time for your medication.” She brought out the drug bag, handed the pills to Bisola and made sure she gulped them.

“I am going to see a friend later in the day ma, I won’t take too long. Don’t worry I would tell the butler to check on you occasionally.”

  “What friend? Is it Sope?”

“No ma, I have other friends you know. He is not my only friend.” She immediately left the room to avoid further questioning.

It took almost an hour before she could locate Mr Jolaosho’s residence. It was nothing superb but it definitely did a good job of providing shelter. It was rather strange that he had no neighbors. The area seemed secluded and really quiet. She actually didn’t care if he lived in the bottomless pit. All she wanted was to get her recorded confession and be on her way. She walked up to the doorstep and pressed the doorbell. A brief wave of panic consumed her initially when there was no response. She was scared he might have changed his mind. Mr Jolaosho however opened the door after the third ring of the doorbell. He looked confused as he ushered her into his living room.

“Please give me twenty minutes to tidy up a mess I made, I totally forgot about your visit.”

“No problem Sir, You can go ahead,” Derin replied as she looked around. The living room was quite neat but dull. He apparently had no passion for interior decoration. She was shocked to see a picture frame hanging on the wall which displayed  Prof A and Mr Jolaosho holding hands.

“This man has the nerve to put on a façade even after what he did!” she exclaimed.

 “Anyone that walks into this living room would assume they were bosom friends,” she lamented. She quickly turned on the audio recorder on her phone before he got back.

Twenty minutes gradually turned into forty minutes. At this point, Derin had started to get impatient and angry. She had an obvious frown on her face when he returned.

“Sorry for the delay,” he apologized before taking his seat.

 “You said something about finding out some of the shared scientific investments I had with your late Father.” Mr Jolaosho recalled.

She noticed his neckpiece just as he finished his statement. It was exactly the same design as the damaged one found in the car safe. There was no doubt now that he murdered her father. Derin quickly glanced at her phone to make sure it was still recording their conversation.

 “Lovely neckpiece you have there,” she commented.

“Oh thank you, it is a family heritage. Everyone in my family has one,” he replied with a smile.

“So what happens when it gets missing?” Derin asked.

“It is usually replaced by the elders in the family,” He proudly mentioned.

“Has yours’ ever been missing?” 

His countenance suddenly changed. It was obvious her question made him uncomfortable. He had a sweat break out on his forehead.

“Why do you ask,” he stuttered.

“There is no need to beat around the bush Mr Jolaosho.” 

At this point, all she needed was his confession. 

“I would like to find out why you killed my father.” 

Mr Jolaosho was completely stunned by her question.

 “I beg your pardon Ma’am; I didn’t kill your father.” 

He stood to usher her out of his house.

“Why then was this exact neckpiece found in the safe of the car in which he was murdered,” she screamed.

 “This was exactly what Prof Cole was trying to prevent,” he muttered.

“Madam, I respected you enough to invite you into my home. I feel you have now overstayed your welcome,” He stood and made a gesture to usher her out of his house.

 “You can’t get rid of me easily you know, I am not leaving this place until I get a confession from you,” She screamed.

“Why don’t you ask your grandmother? She might give you useful information.” He mentioned with a slightly raised voice.

“Excuse me?” she blurted out in confusion. 

“Look, I am telling the truth I didn’t kill your father,” he reaffirmed and showed her the door.

“I hope you don’t think this is over, I would definitely be back,” with that comment she left his house and drove straight home.

Derin had thought back and forth about questioning her grandmother, especially since she had not fully recovered. She eventually decided to wait for a few days.

The days that passed after her meeting with Mr Jolaosho were awful. Derin could just not concentrate at work. She was very disturbed about the comments he made regarding her grandmother. Even her boss at work noticed how detached she had been in the past days. 

It took four days of debating with herself on whether to ask or not, before Derin finally decided to confront her grandmother. After dinner that evening, she seized the opportunity.

“I would like to discuss something important with you ma.” She casually mentioned.

“What is the problem dear?”  Bisola asked obviously concerned.

“This is very difficult to say Nana but I would proceed notwithstanding. The other day I accosted Mr Jolaosho about Dad’s death, he told me you might know something about it.” 

Derin studied Bisola’s facial expression. She had something that could pass for guilt on her face. Nana however got rid of the facial expression and became slightly defensive. 

“What in the world are you talking about child? I hope you are not trying to imply that I had a hand in my son’s death?” 

“This is a new low for you; I am highly disappointed,” Bisola stormed out in anger. 

Derin had trouble sleeping that night, she kept condemning herself for confronting her grandmother. It was a struggle dragging herself to work the next morning. Her boss noticed her melancholic mood and gave her the rest of the day off. For the first time in a long while, she remembered her ever available shoulder to cry on; Sope Bello. Growing up without him would most definitely have been very difficult. 

As a teenager, she was always teased for having supernumerary fingers. He never laughed at her or made silly jokes about it unlike everyone else. He was really supportive when she had the surgery to take them out.

 She picked up the phone to dial him but became hesitant.

 “He most likely would give me a dose of my own medicine by ignoring me,” she concluded. She however summoned the courage to dial him. Derin was glad he picked up immediately.

“I can’t believe queen Derin of the Cole kingdom is actually giving me audience today,” Sope spoke sarcastically. 

“I am sorry for bothering you. This was a horrible mistake,” she quickly responded.

“Don’t cut the line please dear, I didn’t mean that,” He actually sounded desperate.

 “What can I help you with?”

“Please, I would like to see you Sope,” Derin pleaded. 

“Are you Ok?” he asked with a worried tone.

“Where are you at the moment?”

“I am still at work Sope but my boss has given me the day off.”

“Ok. I am on my way to your workplace,” He immediately grabbed his car keys and walked out of the station while still on the phone.

“Don’t worry I would drive to your office instead,” she suggested. 

Sope however insisted on picking her up.

 “Just tell your driver to pick up the car and take it home. I am already on my way.”

Derin was so glad to see him when he got to her work place. She actually did not deserve his attention considering how she had deprived him of hers’ in the past week. He drove her to the freedom park so they could talk. The park brought back lovely memories, it was one of their favorite spots as teenagers. 

She remembered what a gentleman he had always been. He was ever ready to help her out of any difficult situation. 

“So talk to me, what happened?” he asked.

 “I am really sorry for ignoring your calls and visits this past week Sope. I was only quite emotional about the turnout of events,” Derin spoke with remorseful eyes.

“It’s fine dear,” he smiled.

 “So what’s bothering you?” Sope questioned. He was very eager to get to the root of her problem.

“It still boils down to the homicide case. I went to see Mr Jolaosho; my father’s business partner yesterday. He made some serious allegations against Nana.” She spoke in a low and defeated tone. 

“Even after the case was closed, you still went snooping around for leads! Have you for once thought that this case might have been closed for a reason?” Sope had a disappointed look on his face.

“Well I only started thinking now. That’s why I needed to talk to you. Please can you give me an explanation as to why the case was abandoned?”

She shut her eyes after talking as though she was expecting a devastating answer. Sope however remained quiet for a few minutes. He thought of the best way to pass across the information without getting her angry.

“You see Derin, at the Police Academy, we the Lower cadre get instructions from those in power such as the commissioner of police. Once these orders are given, we obey without much questioning hence we risk losing our jobs.”

She listened to Sope with an undivided attention so she could understand all he was saying.

“To be honest, I don’t know why such an order was given. The only thing I am sure of is that it had to do with protecting a certain person’s interest.”

Derin’s eyes were filled with fear as she imagined the worst. The information Sope just gave her together with Mr Jolaosho’s statement about her grandmother made her really scared.

“Do you know whose interest they were trying to protect? Is this person my grandmother by any chance?”

“What!” He exclaimed. 

“Who put this sick idea in your head?” Sope asked. 

“My Dad’s business partner Mr Jolaosho implied it when I went to see him yesterday. I actually saw him wearing that exact chain design that was found in Dad’s car safe.”

 “So did you confront him?” He asked.

“Yes I did. He told me to ask Nana what she knows about the murder. I was too dumbfounded to respond after that statement. To be honest, I had always suspected Nana was withholding a piece of information from me. She had always been so persuasive about dropping my obsession to find the murderer. Her reaction was quite strange when I confronted her about Mr Jolaosho’s comment.”

“Get up Derin, I feel we should pay him another visit. Please promise me you would let me do the talking.”

“I promise. What if he isn’t around when we get there?” Derin asked while trying to decide if it was a sensible idea. 

“Not a problem dear, even if we don’t meet him today, we would keep trying.”

Thankfully, he was standing outside at his car park when they arrived. He didn’t seem too pleased to see them. He probably muttered something about his displeasure just before they walked up to him. 

“Good day Sir, I am Sope Bello an officer from Command B police station downtown.”

Mr Jolaosho took a good look at him before facing Derin.

 “Ma’am, I honestly do not need this kind of stress. Your father was a very good friend and mentor; he is someone I would forever hold dear to my heart. Why on earth would I want such a great man dead?” Mr Jolaosho sounded frustrated.

“Nobody is saying you killed him Sir. We only want to find out the details of some sensitive issues you spoke about the other day.” Sope immediately commented.

“Look officer, you most likely won’t believe anything I say to you. It is obvious the both of you have concluded I killed Prof Cole. Please come with me.”

They followed him to the door, he paused to unlock it, and then ushered them into the house.

 “I would have to take drastic measures to convince you. Please hold on while I get proof,” Mr Jolaosho begged.

Derin and Sope had never been more confused, they however waited patiently for him. Mr Jolaosho returned with three objects that looked similar to wrist watches. He was acting abnormal as far as they were concerned.

 “What do these objects have to do with the matter on ground,” Derin asked with an irritated tone. 

“You must think we are here for fun right,” She was obviously angry and frustrated.

“Calm down Derin, remember I asked you to let me do the talking,” Sope resounded.

“Please listen to your friend. I need just a few minutes of your time and you would get your answers.” Mr Jolaosho advised.

He started to manipulate the objects he had brought while Sope and Derin stared at him with keen interest. 

“So each of you would have to fasten one of these objects to your wrist, I already dated it back to the evening Prof Cole was killed.”

 Mr Jolaosho handed the objects over to them with alacrity. 

“How are we sure you are not trying to kill us as well?” Derin asked as she thoroughly scrutinized the objects. It had a case body, two straps and a buckle just like that of a wrist watch. It was however slightly heavier with two holes at the back of the case.

“This looks similar to the diagram I saw in my father’s diary. You are a thief!” she exclaimed.

“I beg your pardon ma’am. First you called me a murderer and now a thief,” Mr Jolaosho was apparently upset but still managed to compose himself.

“Derin! Please relax,” Sope whispered before patting her shoulder in an attempt to calm her down.

“Sir, I really don’t know what exactly you would like us to do with these objects. It is of utmost importance however to inform you that I am here on official duty. If any harm comes to either one of us here today, you would be held responsible.”

At that point Derin looked at Sope in awe as he told the blatant lie of being on official duty. 

“That is no problem; I don’t plan to hurt anyone. Please fasten the objects to your wrists. It might hurt a bit. Two needles would pop out when the strap is put on; not to worry though only new needles pop up each time it’s used.” Mr Jolaosho was in no way intimidated by Sope’s statement.

“Look Mr Jolaosho, you keep urging us to wear these wristbands or whatever they are called. We won’t put them on until you tell us exactly what they are,” Sope spoke sternly. 

“Miss Cole definitely knows what they are judging from her initial reaction. Nevertheless, they are called Time changers. Professor Cole and I worked together on this particular project. They are used to help people go back in time without physically taking a trip. As soon as the time changer is programmed to the particular time in question, the needles pick a certain aspect of the DNA and channel the brain into being receptive to the time change. It makes you feel like you are experiencing the events first hand. The only drawback is that you have no power to change any past events. You can only simply observe.”

Sope took a quick glance at Derin for confirmation.

 “Yes I figured they were some kind of time machine he stole from Dad,” She mentioned with a bitter tone.

“This better be worth our time,” Sope warned while they strapped on the time changers. 

Mr Jolaosho was not kidding when he mentioned the popping needles. They winced as the needles delved into their skin. The moments that followed were quite bizarre. They initially felt numb and then it was as though they were in a parallel universe. There was a brief moment of black out followed by an extreme period of rush. The feeling was like that of watching a 4D movie. The only difference was that her Dad featured in this particular movie. 

The car he was murdered in pulled into Western Avenue after which the driver stopped to obey the traffic light. The gruesome scene ensued thereafter, a frill looking woman walked to the front of the car with a gun in her hand. She seemed confused initially, it looked like she was trying to figure out her next move.

A few minutes later, she shot the driver and in the process shattered the wind screen. She then faced Professor Cole and muttered some words which were not audible before shooting him as well. It was difficult making out her face but it was obvious she had been crying. The constant wiping of her face with her palms made it evident. 

It was a smooth operation as there were no witnesses. This particular female murderer took off after her job was done. Strangely, someone else drove into the murder scene moments later. It was Mr Jolaosho. He was obviously shocked on arrival at the scene. He immediately dialed the state emergency ambulance. While making feeble attempts to save her Dad’s life, his necklace fell off. Professor Cole spoke to him panting, he was in obvious distress. Thereafter he nudged him to leave the scene just before the paramedics arrived. 

The jolt back to reality was less dramatic. It simply felt like the movie had ended. Derin was however still stunned by the revelation. A million and one questions buzzed through her mind. It was difficult deciding which one to ask first.

 “Who was that monster that shot him? Why did you drive to the western avenue that night? What did Dad say to you just before he died? Does my grandmother know this woman? What did Dad ever do to her?” She looked at Mr Jolaosho with tear filled eyes for answers.

“My dear, I don’t have the answers to every one of your questions. I would tell you only what I know,” Mr Jolaosho sat down and thought of reasonable answers to her questions. 

“So pertaining to the murderer, I honestly do not know who she is but I feel your grandmother might have an idea.”

Derin was confused judging from the look in her eyes.

 “Here you go again with the ridiculous accusation what makes you think Nana would know such a terrible being?” 

“Well, your father mentioned something about your grandmother knowing the murderer. I didn’t quite understand what he said. He asked me to mention ‘Bola Opara’ to her. I think that is the name of the murderer.”

Sope was very attentive as he processed the information Mr Jolaosho relayed.

 “So how come you were at the murder scene that night?” Sope asked.

“Yes that was just too coincidental,” Derin affirmed.

“About that, Prof Cole struggled to put a phone call through to me, I was close by at the moment so I rushed to the scene. He gave me final instructions concerning the time changer project and urged me to introduce it to the science world shortly after his death.”

“Oh that explains the emergency science convention,” Sope mentioned as he took a quick glance at Derin. She wasn’t looking too good. He was really worried about her. This was what she had always wanted anyway. 

“Now that I have said all I know, I hope I can have some peace?” Mr Jolaosho asked.

“I am sorry for the wrong accusation Sir. It was never my intention to create an uncomfortable situation for you.” Derin could see that she had made some erroneous assumptions about Mr Jolaosho. She got up and signaled Sope to indicate she was ready to leave. 

“Thank you for your time Sir. We would like to take our leave now,” Sope mentioned and stood as well.

“You are most welcome officer,” Mr Jolaosho replied. He looked much more relieved as he walked them to the door. They drove silently back to the Cole’s residence. The silence made Sope uneasy, he however made no effort to start a conversation. It was better to avoid getting her upset. She was a bit reluctant to get down from the car when they arrived at the mansion. 

“I feel terrible,” She suddenly burst into tears.

“Why on earth would Nana hide something this serious from me? It is so unlike her.”

He sighed and thought deeply about the most logical answer to give her. The events of the day had been traumatic for her, there was therefore a need to tread carefully.

“I sure can’t say why Mrs B would keep such information from you dear. I know though that she loves you and would never intentionally do anything to hurt you.”

She got down from the car, thanked Sope for his help and headed inside. He had started the engine and was about to drive off when she ran back towards the car.

 “Would it be too much for you to spend the night at my place?” 

He was actually surprised at her request; the thought of bonding again with his childhood crush was nonetheless very exciting.

 “Any particular reason?”  Sope asked with curiosity.

“I feel guilty for keeping you out till this late, it is only right for me to offer you shelter. Your home is quite a distance you know,” she stuttered.

In all the years he had known her, she had never looked more vulnerable. Derin was quite popular for being the stubborn and spoilt Daddy’s girl. A lot of people really never understood her. She was more of an individualist who never got close to anyone. The only person that broke her barriers and discovered her personality first hand was Sope.

He realized what a beautiful soul she was right from their teenage years. She could be fierce and uptight on the outside, maybe it was her protective mechanism. She constantly needed to ward off unscrupulous beings. Sope could however see right through her. She was pretty much meek and innocent on the inside. He never got upset that she kept him in the friend zone though he had always secretly prayed to mean more to her. Nonetheless, he was deeply hurt when she travelled abroad for further studies without informing him. He felt like he lost a very significant element of his daily living. They had become inseparable before she took off with no explanation. Though his father was not as wealthy as her dad, she never minded driving around town with him in his father’s beat up Mercedes Benz. He remembered those days when he used to drive her around. She still had four years before she could apply for her driving license. He therefore automatically became her personal chauffeur. Her absence actually broke him, he found it difficult to have fun without her. It was too late when he realized how much joy and laughter she had brought into his life. The only girl he had ever loved left without a word. Worse off, he never even got to express himself. He played the regret card every time he saw her pictures in his album. He thought he had gotten over her and struggled to make a career for himself at the police academy. Her arrival back at Koje City was however chaotic for him. It wasn’t like she came back on his account or even tried to contact him. 

He had mapped out a plan to keep his distance, there was no need awakening feelings that might never be reciprocated. He was however fine until Prof Cole was killed and he was assigned to the homicide case. His plans were totally ruined. 

There was no force in the world notwithstanding that could make him reject the offer to spend the night. Bisola was super excited when she was told Sope would be sleeping over. She barely noticed her granddaughter’s countenance at dinner.  Sope could almost swear Mrs B winked at him as Derin led him to the guest room. 

“It could get really cold in the early hours of the morning, remember to adjust the temperature of the air conditioner before you sleep,” she informed him. 

He knew she wanted his help with something. It was obvious there was more to the invitation. She had never begged him to spend the night at her place before; even as teenagers. He had always left the mansion regardless of how late it was.

“Talk to me dear, what can I help you with? It’s obvious you want something but can’t seem to get around asking.”

She sighed before giving her reply.

 “Please Sope how do you advice I go about questioning my grandma?”

“It’s Mrs B you know, nothing has changed. No need to attack her this time, you can simply ask who Bola Opara is,” He said with a warm smile.

“Ok, thanks,” she whispered

 “Can you please stay till tomorrow evening? I would like you to be present when I ask her.”

 She was actually fidgeting. Sope smiled, her coyness reminded him of when they were much younger. 

“No problem Derin, I really feel you need to rest. Do have a lovely night.”

“Thanks, have a wonderful night too,” she replied and walked out of the guest room.

CHAPTER 7

It was a calm morning at the Cole’s residence. The aroma of freshly baked Akara and Banana bread woke Sope. He had been tormented for almost twenty minutes before the cook came to knock on his door. 

“Sir, breakfast is ready, would you like me to bring it up?”

“Not to worry,  I would rather eat downstairs,” Sope replied with a smile.

“Ok Sir,” she curtsied before leaving.

 The cook was a middle aged woman who always kept a straight face. She obviously only cared about getting her job done, unlike some other household staff he had met who would rather gossip about their bosses. To his surprise, Derin and Bisola were already at the dining table when he got downstairs. 

“Top of the morning to you son,” Bisola greeted with a smile. 

Derin waved to him and managed to ruffle up a smile.

“Good morning ma, thank you for your hospitality. I actually feel like royalty, Derin is so lucky to have you as her grandmother.”

“Oh it’s nothing dear, you should stop by more often. I am really sorry about her uncouth behavior these past few weeks. I scolded her severely for refusing to see a fine young man like you,” she giggled and cast a glance at her granddaughter. 

Derin was obviously lost in thought; she didn’t hear a word her grandmother spoke. 

“What’s wrong with her,” Bisola asked Sope apparently worried. 

Sope was sitting right next to Derin so he gently tapped her leg with his under the table to draw her attention. 

“Oh sorry Nana, were you speaking to me?”

“Yes child. What were you thinking about?” Bisola asked.

Derin was quiet for a while, she took a look at Sope before proceeding with her question.

“Who is Bola Opara?”

The mention of the name made Bisola very agitated.

 “Where on earth did you hear that name?” She asked.

“Dad’s partner; Mr Jolaosho mentioned her name. We sort of watched the murder scene using one of Dad’s inventions known as the ‘Time changer.’ This particular Lady is the murderer I have been searching for. Do you know who she is?”

She watched her grandmother pace up and down the living room. It seemed like she was having some sort of internal battle.

 “Derin! Why wouldn’t you just let things go?” she sighed.

“There is nothing more I can do. I would tell you the full story.” Bisola took her seat before she began her story.

Many years ago, your father met a pretty young woman in secondary school. Her name was Omolade Opara. They both became lovers. She is the woman whose portrait hangs in your Dad’s room. Unfortunately for them, nature was not too kind to their blooming love. 

She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer stage III which progressed very rapidly. She however got your father to make her a promise. You see, Molade opara had a twin sister who she loved dearly. Her twin sister was however,  a mental wreck.

She suffered from a psychiatric condition known as schizophrenia. The stigma attached to mental illness in this part of the world made it difficult for her to seek proper care and counseling. Her father did not help matters either. His selfish political ambition made him constantly lock her up and hide her from the public eye. 

Her mother (Kemi Opara) who is now Late, succeeded in admitting her into a psychiatric ward. Bola made significant improvement afterwards and lived a productive life like every other person. 

Your father got married to this woman ( Bola Opara) twenty six years ago. He did it to keep the promise he made to her twin sister. It wasn’t like Adetola loved Bola as such, the fact that she looked exactly like her sister was however a strong driving force. 

We all discovered after the wedding that there was something odd about Bola. Although, we were not informed about her previous medical history, your father’s attitude towards her was quite appalling. He unconsciously neglected her. I actually would not totally blame him, he was devastated when Molade passed away and never really got over the pain. The hurt he felt due to the loss caused him to transfer aggression to the poor lady. For a while, everything seemed to be going fine. She was pregnant with you and gave birth without any issues. Her mother (Kemi) was her pillar. She stood by her daughter all through the pregnancy period and even shortly after. 

Kemi however died in a ghastly car accident six months after your birth. Bola was devastated, she had a relapse. She became very irritable. There was this constant feeling that she was being watched. Even her way of speaking became peculiar and there was a drastic change in her personal hygiene and appearance. 

Adetola was totally confused about the changes he noticed in her behaviour. He called her father; your paternal grandfather to inform him. Mr Opara however still did not deem it fit to discuss her medical condition with us. Instead, he sent his driver and two guards to pick her up. Apart from the household staff, I was the only one around the day they came. Till date, I regret allowing those men take her away without much questioning. They told me your grandfather had discussed with her husband and it was a mutual agreement. I had no idea they were lying to me. Adetola came back surprised, he insisted that he never made such a decision with Mr Opara. Though your mum was not the love of his life, it was his responsibility to take care of her. All our attempts to see her proved abortive. We had no idea of where he took her. Your grandfather was only interested in upholding a reputation in the society that was untarnished.

I eventually filled in for your mother and took care of you considering how young you were when she was taken. I really don’t know where your grandfather hid her all these years or what he put her through.

Mr Opara is not worthy to be called a father. All he was interested in was his political ambition. He apparently never took care of her and her condition grew worse. 

The incidence with Adetola was devastating. Honestly dear, I only found out about it a few weeks ago. She was said to have had auditory hallucinations; commanding voices that instructed her to kill Adetola and anyone who tried to stop her. Bola Opara didn’t spare herself either, she committed suicide shortly after. 

Bisola already had tears in her eyes.

 “Just maybe if I had been more diligent when she was being taken away, she could have gotten specialist care. I have been living with this guilt all my life. Please forgive me Derin for keeping you in the dark.”

Sope had two seriously wailing women right in front of him and he was confused about how to salvage the situation. To be honest, he was more concerned about Derin. It was a devastating feeling knowing her mother was the murderer she had been itching to catch. The worst part was that her mother was seriously ill and didn’t even get the chance at recuperating before she died. The information was too much for her to handle. She was in a disoriented state. Her knees suddenly became weak when she stood. It seemed like she was dizzy, Sope immediately got up when he saw she was about to fall. Bisola was terrified to see Derin lose consciousness. She called the ambulance while Sope made an attempt at resuscitating her. Derin regained consciousness after a few minutes.  Sope carried her up the stairs to her room. She burst into tears again. 

“I am the daughter of a murderer” she murmured. 

“Be still Derin,” he begged.

 “Your head isn’t clear at the moment you have to rest please.”

 Sope was extremely worried at the turn out of events. Derin was restless for over thirty minutes until the paramedics arrived. She was eventually sedated to calm her down. 

Bisola was really grateful Sope stuck around. She would have been totally helpless if he wasn’t there. Derin was knocked out for about five hours. He sat on the Sofa in her room till she was awake.

“Everything would be fine dear, you have nothing to worry about,” He persuaded.

Things however took a drastic turn in the days that followed the big revelation. Derin became a slob. She stopped going to work or anywhere else, her relationship with her grandmother became estranged. They both behaved like two strangers living under the same roof. Bisola’s love for her granddaughter however remained relentless; Derin was her only grandchild after all. She however gave her some space. Derin’s boss (Mabel) was concerned about her absence from work. She was one of their best staff at Phozoid Pharmaceuticals and had never taken her job for granted in all the years she had worked there. After several failed attempts at getting through to Derin, Mabel was able to reach Bisola. She apologized for the inconvenience Derin had put the firm through. Bisola explained why her granddaughter had been absent although with very little details. Mabel being a kind hearted boss was very understanding when Bisola mentioned that her grandchild wasn’t doing good health wise. Although Derin took her annual leave when her father died, Mabel didn’t mind giving her some more time off. She only wanted her hardworking and diligent staff back in good health. 

Sope had been sent on an official assignment to a neighboring town for a week. He was very uncomfortable with leaving Derin in that terrible state. She never picked anytime he called, Bisola’s report about her mental health was also very disturbing. The thought of her losing interest in previously enjoyed activities, weeping all day and ignoring work was quite alarming. 

The Coles’ residence was the first place Sope visited when he got back to Koje. Derin didn’t seem excited to see him. She was withdrawn all through his visit, it also seemed like she had lost significant weight.

He called Bisola aside to discuss Derin’s condition.

 “What is going on ma? She looks wasted,” He commented frowning.

“My dear, I really don’t know what to do anymore. She has become so distant lately,” Bisola couldn’t hold back the tears.

 “No matter how nice the food I make is, she doesn’t touch it. We don’t even talk anymore these days. I really miss my granddaughter.”

“We have to find a way forward ma, I feel she might need specialist care. I am no physician but this mood has elapsed for too long,” He pointed out.

“I agree with you dear, do you have the contact of any physician that can help out?  Bisola asked.

“I have a friend who is a medical doctor. He should be able to guide us in the right path,” He replied before dialing Dr Funsho.

“Good evening Funsho, its Sope Bello. I need medical advice from you please.”

“Oh Sope! It’s been a while Bro. What do you need advice on?” He asked.

“Do you remember Derinsola Cole?” 

“Who wouldn’t? She was that loner you had a crush on but never told. You really suffered in the friend zone man,” he rumbled with laughter.

“Please forget that already. I need to discuss a serious issue with you with respect to her health,” Sope spoke urgently.

“What is the problem,” Funsho asked sounding a bit worried.

“About two weeks ago, she was told a very unpleasant but seemingly life changing story about her parents. Ever since that day, her mood has been one of constant melancholy. She has lost interest in previously enjoyed activities, she has also shed significant weight and weeps all day.”

“Oh! That’s serious. Did you say this has been constant for about two weeks?” Funsho asked.

The network was poor, Dr Funsho could barely make out Sope’s words. 

“I can’t hear you clearly, let me dial you with my other line.” Funsho suggested.

“Ok I would be waiting for your call,” Sope replied before ending the call.

 Bisola was eager to find out if he had gotten any useful information.

“Have you gotten any solution from him?” she asked.

“Not yet ma, the connection was poor. He promised to call back with another line.”

After about five minutes, Sope’s phone rang. The connection was slightly better.

 “So you said the symptoms have been constant for two weeks yeah?” Funsho asked.

“Yes it has. Her grandmother is getting really worried.”

“I am actually an obstetrician and in no position to handle such a case. Not to worry though,  there is a good psychiatrist I know that could help out with assessing her. He works in a general hospital.” Funsho mentioned.

“That’s great, please do send me his digits so I can schedule an appointment,” Sope spoke eagerly.

“Sure I will bro, not a problem at all,” He replied.

Funsho sent the contact details of the psychiatrist as soon as he ended the call. Sope dialed him without wasting time to schedule a meeting. If he had his way, he would have driven her to the hospital immediately. Dr Afolabi however told him to hold on till Monday and bring her to the clinic since it was not an emergency case.

“Mrs B, I hope you don’t mind me taking Derin to my place for the weekend? I feel a change of environment might help her,” Sope pleaded.

“My dear, at this point, I would do almost anything to see her happy and lively again. Please go ahead. The only condition I have is that I get your house address and the permission to come visiting as much as I want,” Bisola replied.

“That is no problem ma. You can come visiting anytime with prior information. I promise to take good care of her.”

The butler and driver assisted Sope in getting her into his car. They also helped to carry the box of clothing Bisola had carefully packed for her. 

Derin was indifferent about following Sope home. There was no opposition on her part. She simply followed every instruction that was given to her. 

Sope’s residence was certainly not as exotic as the Cole’s residence. Nevertheless, it was Cozy and luxurious in its own rights. He had done quite well for himself over the years. 

“Nice place you have here,” Derin murmured.

 It was a pleasant surprise to hear her speak, she had barely spoken to him since he got back from his trip.

“Thank you dear. What would you like to eat?” He asked.

“I am not hungry Sope, thanks for asking.” 

She did not sound like the Derin he knew. There had never been an occasion where she rejected a free meal in all the years he had known her. It was obvious something had changed.

“That isn’t good enough. You have to eat something. I don’t think you realize it, you have lost significant weight in just two weeks,” He spoke sternly with a frown.

“Why does it matter to you huh?”  She started to cry again. It then dawned on Sope that he had to be diplomatic with his words and tone. She was in a really delicate condition. Thankfully he had to manage her for one extra day before their visit to the doctor.

“It’s fine dear, no need to cry. Would you rather eat later in the day when you are well rested?”

“I could call Sisi’s to order your special meal; Fried yam, sweet potatoes and fried stew. You always loved it as a teenager,” He mentioned with a warm smile.

She obviously wasn’t excited about his offer but nodded in agreement. He had to feed her when the food was delivered. A bit of pleading with encouraging smiles did the trick. Sope started to get really worried when the day was far spent. The last time he saw her was on the night of the big reveal. If his memory served him right, she slept only after she was sedated.

There was joy abound for him when she fell asleep on the sofa in his living room. He carefully carried her to one of the extra rooms in his house and made sure to remove all her tight clothing. 

It was a huge temptation for him being alone at that time of the night with his first and only love. She was still as sexy as ever! 

“Get your mind off the gutters Sope and concentrate on getting her help first!” he cautioned. He set an alarm for 3am so he could check on her at least once before the next morning. Sope was not the most studious Christian, notwithstanding, he had great faith in the healing power of Christ. He said a quick prayer with his hand over her head. 

“O Lord please help her pull through any internal battles she might be dealing with. By your grace she is of a sound mind and the devil has no hold over her life. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen!”

 When Derin was well tucked in bed, he walked into his room which was opposite the guest room to retire for the night. 

She slept really well over the night and even till midday. He started to think her sleep was a bit excessive. He didn’t disturb her nonetheless. Anything to keep her stable till their visit to the psychiatrist the next day was fine by him. Sope couldn’t leave her at home alone although he wanted to attend the church service. He however live streamed the service and had a wonderful time in God’s presence. Sope got a powerful word from the service in Isaiah 53:3; “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed”

“Thank you Jesus! No matter what the doctor says tomorrow, I believe Derin is completely healed and mentally stable.” He repeated the prayer severally till he was devoid of doubt about the healing power of the Lord.

 There was no point ignoring his feelings towards her anymore. He however decided not to act like a selfish brute at the moment when she was most vulnerable. 

“As soon as she is out of this state, I would definitely tell Derin that she is the love of my life.” Sope made his resolution confidently.

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