The Capo: Episode 1: Cobby Grant
That confident stance of hers attracted her to him. The way she held the bottle of malt, and the aura of self-assuredness marked her as a woman with a strong sense of self-confidence.
He had gone to the recreational spot to unwind from work stresses, and his gaze had strayed to her. She was beautiful in a sort of bold way as she looked around with disinterest at what was going on around her.
Yoofi, a charming unassuming young man of twenty-eight, had quite unlike him, gone to the popular spot to breathe in some fresh air. He looked again at the lady as she hailed the kebab over with the confident air of someone who buys with her own money. She was wearing a pair of white jeans with a rather large T-shirt but it did nothing to hide that great shape of hers. He assumed, by observing her that she could be in a male-dominated profession.
”Maybe she’s a footballer” he said calmly to himself ”definitely a sports person.”
Before he knew it, he had gotten up, a drink in hand and was approaching her.
She looked up instinctively as he walked towards her. As he neared her, he saw that she was more beautiful than his initial observation made him believe. She had a chocolate complexion with a great skin tone that glowed under the neon lights of the place.
”Hi, nice atmosphere, right?” he said in a cheery voice, proffering his hand for a handshake, ”I am Yoofi.”
She appraised him coolly, her eyes examining him as if he was a child before her.
”If you say so,” she responded huskily, making him seem like an idiot.
He was stumped for words, to say the least. This was neither the response nor the reaction he expected to get from her. She looked too nice for that. He, being a lonely person had sensed some semblances of that in her and was sort of offering to keep her company.
”I do say so, but courtesy demands that you also tell me your name as a goodwill gesture,” he said with a smile.
She sized him up as her eyes looked from his head to toe, and with a dismissal shrug, sauntered away from where they were to go and stand at the other end of the railing, which though, a little dark, offered a much more revealing view of the scenery.
He shrugged and went back to his seat only to find out that it had been occupied by two uncouth-looking men, who he saw had no intention of leaving the table for him. He had no option than to go back to perch where the young lady previously was.
He had no intention of imposing himself upon her or on any other woman for that matter.
His only quest in life was to enjoy life to the fullest without engaging in the frivolities of life. He, even at that young age, had gone through Law school and had graduated with honours, attracting a lot of prominent law firms who wanted him to join their chambers. Some even wanted to make him outright partners but he had graciously declined all offers, satisfied to lead a life of the idle rich, courtesy of the millions of dollars his late parents had bequeathed to him. Most of his time was spent perfecting the art of unarmed combat. He could have bought any luxury car he wanted but he was quite satisfied with the new-looking fleet of cars that had formed part of his inheritance.
The only legal service he had was when a feuding family had gone into litigation over the estate of a prominent timber merchant and had been persuaded to represent one of the factions.
The bone of contention was a massive four-storey building in a commercially strategic area with the ground floor housing large business entities including some banks. The case had dragged on for a while and it had finally gone into arbitration. It was decided that the building be sold to enable the family to share the proceeds equally. To cut a long story short, he had ended up owing all of the Ground Floor. He was the one who now collected rent from the banks and other businesses. He dressed well, carried himself well, hardly drank alcohol and stayed away from women.
He ordered another bottle as he stole glances at the lady who seemed to want to be alone.
He glanced at the two men who had stolen his seat and saw that they were stealing looks at the lady as they whispered among themselves. There was something about them that made him pay close attention. He saw how dangerous they seemed and felt that they could be harbouring evil plans against her.
On finishing his drink, he looked at them again, and at the lady and casually walked out of the spot to the spot he had parked his car.
Thirty minutes after Yoofi had left, the men also quickly went to sit in their car and switched on the ignition but waited with the car’s system on full blast as if they were in competition with that of the spot. Soon, other patrons went out of the place including the lady. She went into her car and screeched away, quickly followed by the men. Yoofi, who was still in the place hidden in his car, followed too, now very convinced that the men were up to no good.
The lady, when she got to the deserted route that led to her home, noticed the men on her tail and instinctively stepped on the accelerator pedal in order to get away from them but it proved to be an exercise in futility. They parked behind her when she stopped at her gate and got out swiftly to bang on her car ordering her in vicious voices to get out at once which she did after it became obvious to her that they were about to smash her windscreen to get at her.
”Please, please, what do you want?” she asked, full of fear, her voice and body shaking.
”Shut up and get into the car,” one of them hissed furiously and dragged her towards their car.
”No one is going into anyone’s car,” Yoofi, who had parked his car out of sight at the next junction before sprinting back to them said softly, but the seriousness with which he said it was not lost on any of them. The men, startled, turned to him turn around to face him but were no match for him. He used the speed with which they attacked him to his advantage.
He blocked their blows, parried without throwing any blow of his until he saw the desperation in their frantic attempts to subdue him and hit them in areas that soon got them reeling on the ground with blood oozing from their noses and mouths. They escaped into the car and sped away when it dawned on them that he was a pro and they were out of his league.
He went to the wide-eyed woman who was so petrified that she was standing immobilised like a statue, her hands balled as she waited for her fate.
He squeezed her shoulders gently as he went to open the gate for her. When he saw that she was still rooted to the same spot, apparently with shock, he went into her car and drove it into the compound and parked it neatly. He then pushed her towards her front door with the intention of getting her indoors and it was only then that she became active.
She dipped her hand into her pocket, pulled out the keys and unlocked the door, thinking that he was going inside with her but he rather made his way to the gate.
”Please,” she called to him, ”My name is Rose Dadzie.”
He turned to face her and regarded her gravely.
”If you say so,” he said left without looking back.
Rose, a journalist, quickly slipped indoors when the man who saved her left.
She double-locked the doors behind her and checked on Pam, her kid sister who was fast asleep. She stared at the sleeping girl who continued to sleep the sleep of the innocent. It was a carefree sort of sleep which not even the sounding of the end times trumpets could get her to wake up.
She left for her own bedroom after a while but she doubted whether she could have any meaningful sleep.
She rather had her bath and pulled her laptop towards her to put finishing touches to the first episode of the investigative piece she was working on. It was an interesting piece on the business side of football in the country’s league, of which she had already posted the blurb to whip up interest from the general public.
On the surface of it, there was nothing explosive about what she was writing but she was of the opinion that she could make it an interesting read for all lovers of sports and football in particular. She was an ardent football lover herself and she found writing about it a fulfilling enterprise.
Suddenly, she could not proceed with it. She was frightened; the after-effect of her encounter with the hoodlums.
What were they after?
Why did they want to take her away in their car?
She thought and thought about the night’s happenings but was not able to come out with a reasonable answer.
And that handsome man had appeared out of the darkness to rescue her, she thought.
She wished now that she had been courteous to him earlier in the night.
”I must look for him,” she silently said, staring at the lighted screen of the laptop. As a dedicated journalist, she knew she had the ability to successfully track him down.
”He’s so brave. It would be heavenly to have his arms wrapped around me. To protect me,” she said dreamily and stretched luxuriously.
”Hey. Sleepyhead. Wake up,” Pam her sister screamed into her ears.
Rose woke up with a start, mildly angry with her little sister for interrupting her dreams. She wanted to have gotten to the end of her dreams.
”Who’s your sleepy head? You that slept through all the noises of the night?” Rose said, flippantly and stretched her body frame to shake away the cramps she had developed as a result of sleeping in the swivel chair
”Why did you sleep in this chair,” Pam queried. ”Anyway, I’m off to school. See ya!”
”No wait,” she said quickly, and when she saw the enquiring look on her sister’s face, sat her down and narrated the events of the night to her.
”Please be careful when out there. It’s dangerous,” she cautioned her sister when she was done with the narrative.
Pam sat down and looked steadily at her elder sister. She sometimes carried herself as if she was older than Rose.
”Are you sure it wasn’t a prank?” she asked sounding amused.
”It wasn’t. I was saved by a stranger,” Rose said and saw how her sister was struggling to come to terms with the frightening news
”I know it’s true. You’ll never make up something like this,” Pam said gravely as if she was humouring a child.
Of the two, she was the outgoing type in contrast to Rose’s reserved nature. There were times that she went overboard with words when dealing with her sister but now was not the time.
”So be careful out there, do you hear me?” Rose admonished her and turned towards the bathroom.
”What if that supposed saviour of yours was part of the assailants? Maybe the whole thing was arranged. To get your attention. You are beautiful, you have your own home. A target for opportunists,” Pam said after her.
A sharp intake of breath escaped from Rose. She hadn’t thought about that angle at all. That could explain how he had suddenly appeared at her gate even when she had snubbed his advances at the pub.
”Didn’t you say that he earlier approached you at the spot just before you left?” Pam reiterated, making her point.
Rose nodded in the affirmative.
”How then did he suddenly appear out of nowhere to play ‘hero’,” Pam reasoned.
Later, long after Pam had gone, Rose pondered about the matter, taking into consideration Pam’s angle. She had seen a movie in which something of the sort had happened before.
Suddenly, Rose Dabala wasn’t afraid anymore. She was furious, to say the least.
She had her bath, dressed up in a pair of stretch jeans with a tucked-in T-shirt to match, picked up her purse and car keys and made for the door, a determined expression set on her beautiful face.
”Now Yoofi or whatever they call you. By the time I am done with you, you’ll wish you had never crossed paths with me,” she said forcefully as she reached for her car’s door.
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