Andrew’s heart came to a standstill but he forced himself to think rationally.
Dear God, he doesn’t deserve this. Don’t let him die like this. Please, God. The prayers tumbled through his brain and mouth desperately.
He realized Joseph’s lips were moving. He dropped to his knees in the pool of blood and put his ear close to his mouth.
“Call……Dad…..Kayode……Hoodlums…” His breath was labored, raspy. He went silent.
“It’s okay. Please live for me, Joseph. I need you.” He pleaded desperately. Stephen and Gbenga charged in.
“I have called the ambulance. Thank you, sir. You saved my life. We don’t even know how they got into the premises. Is he still alive?’ Gbenga panted as he stared down at the still body.
“An insider aided them. He is barely alive. Thank God the paramedics are here. Stephen, go and release the elevator. It is faster.” Andrew’s calm voice didn’t betray the turmoil going on inside him.
Stephen left with a heavy heart and led the paramedic team into the room a few minutes later.
Olayemi was in the sitting room, watching a football match while he waited for dinner to be done. A text message entered his phone.
“Please call me as soon as possible. It is urgent. Don’t alert mum PLEASE.” It was from Andrew. The alarm went off in his head.
“Naomi, I forgot something in the office. I will be right back.” He stated in a loud voice as he hurried out of the house before she could respond. He dialed the number on the go.
“Andrew, what is the problem?” He asked quietly.
“Please meet me at the UITH emergency ward, sir. Joseph’s life is in a critical condition. He was attacked by hired assassins in the office.” He didn’t mince words.
“I will be with you in ten minutes. Thank you.” He pressed the red button. His hand trembled as he brought out his car key.
This is my fault. I know it. Dear God, spear his life for me, for Naomi. He couldn’t remember the last time he prayed but he prayed desperately and fervently as he sped towards the hospital.
Olayemi disliked hospitals, especially since the death of his sister, Aderonke Coker in their family hospital in the UK, The Reddington. Nigeria hospital made him feel like weeping. He drove through the security post, passing out a few bills to the security men on duty.
One of the security men whose name tag was Ismail Alabi practically jogged after his car to direct him to the parking space. He made sure he parked his car in the right place.
“Good evening sir. You are welcome.” He beamed as he held the door open for him.
“Thank you. Where is the way to the emergency ward? I believe my son was brought in not quite long ago.” He stepped out of the car into the steamy night air.
“I am sorry to hear that sir. Please go down this walkway. The emergency ward is on the right side.” He gesticulated with his hand.
“Thank you. I appreciate your help.” Olayemi smiled as he locked up his car door.
“I wish him soonest recovery.” He wore a grave face. He believed emergency ward victims were rarely survivor and pitied the nice good-looking man that just paid for his family breakfast.
There were people hanging around the entrance of the ward, sober-faced. A middle-aged woman sat on the floor, weeping uncontrollably while a man tried to console her, even as tears filled his eyes.
He struggled not to allow the death and sadness hanging in the air to weigh him down as he pushed open the swinging wooden door. It was a huge battle.
“Yes? How may I help you?” The harassed looking nurse on duty asked rudely. He was not surprised. He knew being rude is the hallmark in almost all government parastatals and it never ceased to shock him each time he experienced it.
“My son is Joseph Coker. He must have been admitted about half an hour ago.” He explained quietly.
“Coker? You are welcome sir.” She practically jumped to her feet.
“Where is he now?” He asked coldly.
“He is in surgery, sir. His brother is in the waiting room. Please come this way.” She hurried out of the ward. He followed without another word but his phone rang on their way to the operating room.
“Hello.” It was James Hogg, the head of the intelligence team hired by the Coker. He had news about the attempted murder of Joseph Coker and his mouth tightened grimly as he listened.
Andrew was pacing up and down when they walked in.
“You are here.” His face lit up. His phone rang noisily and he brought it out of his pocket.
“It is mother.” He whispered as he put his finger to his lips, indicating he should be silent.
“She has a terrible intuition.” Olayemi muttered under his breath. Andrew moved away from him.
“Hello, Mum. Are you still awake at this hour?” Andrews asked with a smile.
“How can I sleep when all my men are out of the house? Is Joseph with you? Can I talk to him?” She asked quietly.
“Ah…..we drank quite a few bottles of beer at the club tonight. He is already wasted in the room.” He injected amusement into his voice.
“You mean he is drunk? I should come over and knock both of your heads together.” She stated angrily.
“We are sorry, mum. It won’t happen again.” He smiled ruefully.
“Really?” He could almost see her raised eyebrow and he laughed heartily. “You are a crook, Andy. I love you. Talk to you tomorrow.” Her voice was full of smile.
“I love you too, mum. Sleep tight. There are no babes in our bed, so you can sleep with your eyes closed.” He stated solemnly, even as his throat ached. She was laughing when he pressed the End button.
His eyes were red when he faced Olayemi and the latter lowered himself onto the wooden chair.
“It is bad, right?” Olayemi asked quietly.
“Terrible. They used hatchet and gun.” Andrew’s voice vibrated with anger as he narrated night’s event.
“I have spoken to James, the head of my intelligence team. The whole event was recorded and covered. It was unfortunate they couldn’t get there on time to save him.” Olayemi’s voice was incredibly sad.
“Yes, the medical team gave me the security device on his body. His phone recorded their voices too. It was a well-planned event. The time was perfect.” Andrew’s voice was bitter. They were both silent.
“I know the culprit. I should have listened to Naomi. She foresees this happening but I thought I can stop it. Whatever happens, justice will prevail. I will damn the consequence.” He stated grimly.
Andrew sighed heavily. He sat down beside the elderly man and took his hand in his.
“Talk of being between the devil and the dark blue sea?” He looked him in the eye. Olayemi sighed heavily. “Just take it easy, sir. Take it a step at a time. Let’s pray for his survival first because no amount of justice will bring him back if he dies.” He swallowed hard.
“You are right. Thank you.” Olayemi’ s eyes smarted with tears.
It was a long wait.
It had been a stressful but satisfying day. Rebecca had been on her feet practically all day. Two ward rounds to in-house patients, attending to walk-in patients and three successful surgery was enough to make anyone exhausted. She was preparing to leave the office as soon as the relieve doctor resumed on duty.
As she wolfed down her cold lunch of white rice and stew and pursued it with a bottle of coke, her office door flew open. Nurse Amina hurried in.
“We have an emergency on ground. It’s very bad. Attempted murder patient I think. Several hatchet cuts and bullet wounds. Missed his heart by 2 inches. Lost lot of blood. He needs immediate surgery. Though the chance of survival is very slim.” Nurse Amina rattled off with a smile.
Rebecca sighed. She lost her appetite instantly.
“Is Doctor Emeka in yet?” She asked hopefully as she moved to wash her hand in the wash hand basin in the corner of the room.
“Yes, he just came in. Though the senior surgeon, Tunde Fowomola requested for you specifically. The patient is one of the Coker family.” Amina told her as she watched her put on her lab coat.
“Influential lots. I wonder what he did to deserve hatchet cut and bullet delivered mercilessly to his body.” Rebecca grinned as she walked briskly out of her office. Amina chuckled as she followed.
“The rich also cry. Best of luck, Doctor Becky.” They separated at the next corridor and went their separate ways.
Rebecca stepped into the operating theatre and her legs threatened to fold beneath her.
Lying on the operating slab was Joseph Coker. He was stripped to the waist. His smooth handsome body was marred with deep hatchet cuts and bullet wound. He looked too still for her peace of mind.
“What is wrong, Doctor Becky? Hope you are okay? We need to get this done right away to increase his chances of living.” Doctor Tunde Fowomola frowned at her.
“I am alright.” She buried her emotions and went to work.
“Hi, mum. Grandma, how are you?” Kayode greeted with a smile as he sauntered into the swimming pool area where Patricia and Afolake lounged under the huge umbrella shade.
It was Sunday. Patricia spent most of her Sunday afternoons with her mother in law unless one of them was not available.
“Hello, Kay. You look relaxed this afternoon. Did you win a lottery?” Patricia teased her son with a smile. He laughed.
“To whom do we owe the honor of this impromptu visit?” Afolake raised an eyebrow at him as she leaned back on her chaise longue. She dangled the glass of green smoothie she was holding and cubes of ice rattled noisily.
“Common, Grandma. You know I have been quite busy but I promise to check on you more often. You look more beautiful today.” He flashed her a grin as he rocked on the balls of his heel.
“Thank you. Flattering doesn’t befit you though. Why are you here? You need more money?” She asked pointedly.
Patricia sighed inaudibly, wondering why they all think the worse things about her son.
“I am not that bad, Grandma. Anyway, I came for a reason.” He took a deep breath, holding her gaze. “I want to get married.” He added firmly.
Patricia released a sigh of relieve as she threw her mother a triumphant look. She picked up her drink and sipped deeply.
“I see. You are long overdue. Who is the woman? Your baby mama?’ She didn’t look surprised.
“Yes, ma. Though I have not proposed to her formerly, I intended to do that as soon as possible as she would be graduating from school in a few weeks’ time.” He smiled confidently.
“Mummy, that means he needs a regular paying job. Don’t you think it is right time you give him a position among the executives in the company?” Patricia suggested tentatively.
“Well, I will do that when I am totally convinced he won’t ruin the family name. That reminds me. I met your potential father in law sometimes ago.” Afolake smiled smugly.
“Who is that? How do you know him?” Kayode frowned at her.
“I make it my business to know everything that concerned my kins and I. Salmon Awodele is Aliyah Awodele’ s father, isn’t it?” She gave him a side glance.
Patricia choked on her drink and sputtered as the glass cup dropped onto the tiled floor. It shattered into tiny pieces. She coughed vigorously as her eyes turned red and tears streamed down her face.
“Mum, are you alright? Can I get you something?” Kayode asked in concern.
“I’m fine.” She managed through the coughing fit.
“Do we need to get a doctor?” Afolake asked in concern, even as she watched her carefully.
“No, I am fine.” She insisted, even as her hands trembled.
“Take it easy please. Grandma, what do you think? Do I have your blessing?’ Kayode turned to her.
“You can’t marry her, Kayode. It is not possible.” Patricia stated in a fierce whisper as she stared ahead.
“Why not? I have been dating Aliyah for years. We have a son together. What do you mean I can’t marry her?” Kayode asked in an incredulous voice.
“You can’t marry her. I have my reasons. I will see you later, mother.” She didn’t meet her mother in law’s penetrating gaze as she got shakenly to her feet and walked away.
“Grandma, what is going on? She knows Aliyah and used to like her. Why is she suddenly against our relationship?” He was more puzzled than angry as he turned to her.
“I believe she has her reasons. You need to exercise patience. She will talk to you when she is ready.” She glanced up at him.
“Are you supporting her? You know everything will work out fine once you give your go-ahead.” Kayode persuaded.
“I know. Let’s give her time to pull her thoughts together. Go and propose to your girl first. We will take it from there.” She smiled at him.
“Thank you. I know I can always count on you.” He smiled as he dropped on the seat that was previously occupied by his mother.
“What has been happening in your life? Don’t lie to me. You know I will always find out the truth.’ She grinned, even as her mind worked furiously to dissect the reason behind Patricia’s blunt refusal to approve her son’s relationship.
Kayode laughed and popped a piece of cake into his mouth.
Glad to be back.
How have you been my peeps?
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