I had died several times in my mind before we arrived the station. I was taken to the same office I had visited severally. I sat impatiently trying to conceal how nervous I was. Few minutes later, Thomas joined me. He looked surprised to see me, then smiled.
“Mike Mike, so you’re here again?” he jested.
I tried to let out a little smile then asked him nervously almost in a whisper, “have you seen the person who’s to identify us?”
“No. Let’s wait and see what unfolds,” he said casually.
Then, he looked at my bandaged arm that was suspended around my neck and said, “I heard about your accident. Sorry I didn’t show up, was out of town.”
I cared less of what he thinks. My concern was how to get out of the mess I was in.
About an hour later, two policemen came in and escorted us into an empty room and asked us to stand, facing a big mirror in front of us. We obeyed and were looking at our reflections in the mirror. They asked us to turn our left, then right. Later, they ushered us back into the room we once were.
After waiting for a long time, we were asked to go home. I was surprised they let us go like that. I didn’t know what happened and they didn’t bother to tell us. Thomas had been calm and smiley all the way.
“why are you so calm?” I asked in his car as we were about driving off.
“do you think you are the only one with people of importance?” he said, smiling.
“how do you mean?” I asked.
“I know a lot of top men in this country, many I’ve dated, many want to have me. I knew about the identification nonsense before now. We dealt with it.” he said, then engaged his engine.
I was getting better and I had resumed working with Phila’s dad. Phila kept our relationship at friendship level, but we were still best of friends. Ruth automatically made herself my wife since Sandra had not returned. She was sent outside the country for a peace keeping mission. Amaka on the other hand, used the baby and the money she lent me as a bait to lure me over. But i had refrained from sex with her using flimsy excuses as a getaway. My life seem to return to regular until one day.
Thomas invited me over for a little birthday party at his place. I refused to attend because of what happened the previous time, but he assured me that it was going to be a straight party. I took Ruth with me to the party as an assurance and my bulletproof. The party got to its peak, everyone had a little too much to drink and the dancing floor was crazy. Thomas excused me from Ruth and took me to his bedroom. I sat on the bed wondering what he is got to say.
“Mike. Do you know what I have done for you?” he asked.
I shook my head and kept my stare.
“I slept with an ugly old fool just to push the case away from you. The boy who saw you was a passer by. I shut him up with 500,000. Why am I doing all these?” he asked again.
I became aware of the hole I just entered. I was expecting this but not as blackmail. Still, I kept quiet for him to hit the nail on the head.
“why?” I asked.
“I love you Mike!” he said.
I was surprised that I wasn’t shocked to hear it. I also believed he was drunk as was everyone else, including myself, but the alcohol left me the minute he used the L word on me.
He started coming close to me and stood in front of me.
“Mike, I just can’t get you off my mind. Please help me, I don’t want to go nuts,” he said.
I stood up and went closer to the door and said, “guy! I am as straight as a pole. It took all effort to hangout with you irrespective of who you are. Please, I beg you, don’t ruin it.”
He looked at me as if I wasn’t understanding him then stood up and started walking towards me, while I moved closer to the door.
“Mike. Can’t you understand that I put out my neck because of you? I got involved because of you. I am an accomplice to murder because of you Mike. I can teach you how to be like me, it’s no harm, it’s a new way of life,” he said, drawing closer to me while I opened the door and was half way out.
“Thomas! You are drunk. Let’s talk some other time,” I said and made to Leave.
“Mike!” Thomas called.
I stopped and turned to him. He was furious looking.
“please don’t push me Mike!” he said, frowning.
“push you? How?” I asked, stunned.
“dont make me do what I don’t want to do. What will it cost you to be my boyfriend? I love you, I don’t want to hurt you. But if you refuse…”
He suddenly stopped his speech halfway, then angrily walked past me into the sitting room where the party was going down and Left me to stare behind him, thinking of another trouble I just got into.
The next day I called Thomas, he wasn’t picking. I tried again and then he answered.
“hello Mike, have you thought of what we discussed?” Thomas asked.
“I actually called to pay you back the 500,000 you paid the witness guy,”I said.
He suddenly hung up. I dialed his number again, he refused to pick up. Few minutes later, I got a text message from Thomas:
“you better agree to my terms. I give you five days to make up your mind.”
I looked at the message over and over again, but couldn’t understand why Thomas would choose this path. One mind wanted me to go and confront him, but I knew the implication. Another said something that got to me, ‘our statements have been taken. He agreed to have left with me in his car, So, whatsoever stone he throws up will definitely land in front of him.’
This gave me the confidence to call his threats bluff.
I was returning from work on the sixth day when I noticed a police van in front of my house. I drew back and ducked in a nearby bush. From my position, I could see clearly the happenings in my house. Three armed policemen stood at the gate, looking observantly. I drew back slowly, took another route to the road and board a commercial bike to Jacky’s house.
I called mum to know what was going on. She told me that someone called them and claimed he saw me kill the boy. I explained everything to Jacky except that I know a thing about the boy’s death and Thomas’s blackmail.
“is that why you’re hiding? The person should come and I. D you before anyone can arrest you. Just a phone call and you are afraid?” he said, smoking his weed.
Suddenly, a text rang on my phone. It was from Thomas: ‘THIS IS A WARNING.’
To be continued…