She can hear all movements stop behind the door when she knocks. “It’s me.”
Samuel opens the door and relief floods Armani’s face. “You came back.” Jamila looks at her oddly, “Of course.” She takes Armani’s hand and gives it a squeeze.
Samuel looks worried. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to leave again. What if you are followed?”
“I’m not a novice. I make sure. And this was important.”
“Ok, so what was this about?”
“Jaja knows I’m alive.”
Armani’s eyes widen.
Samuel looks alarmed. “What? How?”
Jamila gives a little wave of her hand, “Oh it was bound to happen sometime. I don’t know. I had to find a way to get closer, to see what he is.”
Samuel is studying her closely, “You made contact with him?”
It’s more a statement than a question. Jamila shrugs.
“That is a very dangerous criminal! I can’t believe this. Does he know what you look like?!”
“Oh I highly doubt that,” She couldn’t help a small smile. He had been using the head between his legs at the time. “The only thing he knows is that he’s been outsmarted by a woman. He’s furious and he’ll slip up.”
Armani interjects. “If you and the IG know he’s such a dangerous criminal, why hasn’t this maniac been left behind bars already?”
Samuel exhales, “Connections. We need irrefutable evidence to successfully lock him up for good. He needs to be caught in the act.”
Is Armani really talking about an arrest? This Jaja? The dog needs to die. But no need to stir the pot. She’ll play along and do what she needs to, with Anita’s help. Her sister needs to be safe and she would never be as long as Jaja drew breath.
“Then I have given you exactly what you need,” Jamila says and points to herself. “Bait.”
The encounter with that vamp Jamila had Jaja questioning everything. He had thought he had a bird’s eye view, but in no time he had discovered she was not just alive but pulling the strings.
And then she had the audacity to parade herself in front of him!
He was squeezing his glass so tightly it would surely break. He set it down.
No Jaja, not anger, think. Nothing is as it seems. All these unanswered questions.
Who else could have killed Armani? It was not plausible that some unknown figure also had a vendetta against her. But Buntu and Dangan had seen the body. Stabbed they said, Gruesome.
Anita was the only other person who could hate Armani that much after finding Jaleel dead. She said she didn’t catch feelings but it was an obvious lie. She had gone to his home, to his bedroom, risked it all out of worry. But Anita was no killer.
And Jamila? Armani was her last surviving relative but she did not have the look of someone mourning. No, she was… gloating. She was savouring a victory. What was that again in her note?
You have no idea what you’re up against.
Well, he would not underestimate her twice.
How had she even known where to find him? The only people who had known where he was were Buntu, Dangan… and Anita.
It was time to get out. This lot were all just as crazy as each other. Loyalty was a fool’s errand here. She had already helped Jamila with information on Jaja’s whereabouts. If Jamila had any sense, she would get her revenge quickly and they could all carry on with their lives. Hers preferably far away, perched on an Oyinbo’s arm, chopping money. Love was a luxury she couldn’t afford twice.
If only Jaja had taken out Armani before she could murder Jaleel…
There was no time for reminiscing. It was done. She would lay low until she got a call from Jamila that Jaja was gone forever. Until then, she would give Jaja the performance of a lifetime and he would never find out her role in this.
Her phone rings, jolting her out of her reverie. Was it Jamila?
. . .
Anita arrives at Jaja’s and is let in quickly.
There’s an empty bottle of whisky on the floor beside him and a new opened one beside it. He’s been drinking even more than usual. The lights are dim. Something’s up.
“Hello Jaja,” Her instincts say she should bolt, but she wouldn’t get very far. Play it cool.
“Guess what I did today Anita.”
“Huh? I’m not sure what…”
“I went to the mortuary and the attendant got very chatty when I opened my wallet. Do you know what rigor mortis is Anita?”
“18 hours after Armani’s time of death, the body was still floppy. Strange isn’t it? Then her sister came and claimed the body.” He said using air quotes around “body”.
“What?!” Anita’s mind is going a mile a minute. Jamila hid this from her?
In a flash Jaja is up and across the room, body slamming Anita into the wall and knocking the wind out of her.
“You found her. You told me she was dead!”
Anita nods frantically and manages to gasp “I saw the body… I swear!”
Jaja thinks. Buntu and Dangan also confirmed Armani dead. Perhaps it was an honest mistake. But there’s another matter.
“Anita. Sweet, slippery Anita. You know more than you let on don’t you?” He was smiling dangerously now. “Tell me, and maybe I decide you’re more useful to me alive”.
She was crying now, shaking her head, blinded by tears and getting crushed between a wall and a hard place, literally.
Suddenly he moves back and she drags in breath. In a second she realizes why. Her phone is beeping. With one arm he holds her by the neck to the wall and with the other, he gets her phone out of her bag.
“From J,” He reads aloud. “10pm at usual place. Make sure you’re not followed.”
No. No no no no. Of all times, Jamila!
“J, hmm?” Jaja drops the phone and holds her face in both hands, almost tenderly and pulls it towards his face.
“Please Jaja…” she breathes.
His grip becomes vice-like and he returns her head to the wall with a powerful flick of his wrists.
Anita’s world explodes and goes dark.
Writer: Sandra N.U . Blog