”Ahh, you too, you are too ‘as if, as if’, Why do you always give him Pentecost ‘aatuu?” Pam chided her elder sister half seriously for not hugging Yoofi well enough.
”And what is a Pentecost hug, if I may ask?” Rose stated sardonically.
”Yes, what is a Pentecost ‘aatuu’,” Yoofi, now familiar with their light banter asked with amusement.
”Pentecost aatuu is when you give someone a hug without actually getting the body to touch well,” Pam said and stood up to demonstrate it with Rose.
”You are crazy,” Rose said but she nevertheless went over to Yoofi to give him an ‘unpentecostal hug’. Even with that, Pam chose to complain that it was too brief a hug. They had a good time laughing over it and on other antics Pam dished out to them. He saw that he had been smiling a lot whenever he was with them. Being with them was fun. It gave him the chance to unwind well.
His fondness for Rose had grown immensely and they had even been giving each other pecks and kisses on the blindside of Pam. But she wasn’t altogether fooled. She guessed, without knowing much, that something was sizzling between them. She wished that Yoofi would marry her sister in future.
Later, he took them out for some refreshments and was happy with the excitement with which they enjoyed themselves. It gave him the utmost satisfaction to see them so carefree and happy. But beneath it all, he had a sense of foreboding and he remained alert and scrutinized anyone who went nearer to see who was a friend or foe. He was of the view that whoever was harassing Rose was part of the football fraternity and the person could be known as ‘Capo’ ‘Capone’ or ‘Kabo’.
Maybe it’s Capo and the three men had their own way of spelling his name.
”Whatever his name is, he’s human and can be exposed,” he thought as he watched Pam dancing to the song being played by the resident band.
”Penny for your thoughts,” Rose who had been quietly observing him said, tugging at his elbow gently.
In answer, he pulled her to the dancing floor and showed her a few dancing steps which got her in stitches with unrestrained laughter.
He took them home when they got tired and left immediately but not before she whispered to him that she had a great time.
”Goodnight, Jackie Chan,” a WhatsApp comment from Pam appeared as soon as he got home.
”Goodnight, superwoman” he replied.
”Goodnight Yoofi” Rose joined in.
”Goodnight, sourface,” he replied with a straight-faced emoji.
He put the phone down and went into the bathroom and only came out when he was well-refreshed.
He heard a message land on his phone. It wasn’t a group chat message but a personal one.
”Goodnight Yoofi dear. I am missing you already,” it said and it was from Rose.
”Goodnight dearest Rose. I miss you too. Call me when Pam leaves for school,” he replied.
”Ok. Sweet dreams she sent, with a lot of red hearts.
”Sweet dreams,” he sent ”see you tomorrow”.
The next morning, Rose called him soon as Pam stepped out of the house. He went over, and they embraced in a rush, kissed and reluctantly disengaged. She served him breakfast consisting of Milo, toasted bread with pineapple jam and left to have her bath.
She returned just when he was done and sat opposite him.
There was such sexual tension between them she was afraid she would be scorched if she sat close to him. Even then, she felt the vibration between them.
”I want to talk to you about some matters of importance,” he said as she gazed at him with a smile on her radiant face.
”Please don’t smile at me like that. It makes me lose concentration,” he said half seriously.
She stopped smiling and made a zipping sign across her lips.
”I have come to like you very much. In fact, a lot. I have great feelings for you, and your safety is of paramount importance to me. I will want you to go with Pam when she leaves for the U. S. So that I can dedicate my whole time to unmasking the Capo,” he said in a rush, wondering whether she was going to agree.
”And” she said, urging him to continue.
”And I want you to suspend what you are writing for now until the danger is gone.”
He went on to tell how the arrested men were dead from poisoning, and of the myriad of text messages he had been receiving from the Capo.
”You aren’t analyzing well,” she told him in an equally serious tone of voice. ”You are talking with your heart instead of your mind. If I stop writing and go away, how would you be able to find him? How would he be able to expose himself with the articles discontinued? Look, I can still be here and work on the exposé, rattle him into making mistakes that would unmask him,” she said heatedly.
”Rose, listen to me. He is a dangerous fellow and seems to know everything about you and even me,” he told her desperately.
”Use your head for once Yoofi dear,” she said emotionally ”You trapped him once and can do it again. He’s playing mind games and our combined teamwork would triumph which might not be so with me out of the picture.”
He stared at her with exasperation.
”The pen they say, is mightier than the sword. I can even go to the press with the news that someone is trying to stop me from going on with the story,” she said, her eyes throwing daggers at him.
”Ohh God. I don’t know what I’ll do if anything were to happen to you,” he said and for once, he wasn’t in charge of the situation.
She saw the quandary he was in and went to sit by him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulders. He just sat, leaning against her and time stopped for them. They were just two bleeding hearts that found themselves united in a fight for survival against the evil machinations of a criminal.
After what seemed like an eternity she stirred, stood and pulled him up and with no more words exchanged led the way into her bedroom.
TWO WEEKS LATER
”The football transfer market is fraught with shenanigans. It’s a Pandora’s box which when opened could reveal a whole can of worms,” Carl Yeboah who had finally been able to meet him said as an introduction. He went on, and spoke of players being cheated out of their monies, especially the illiterate ones, and of others being without the proper documentation and proper consent from families and governing authorities.
”A lot goes on and people, both players and others have been killed to ensure that secrets remain hidden.”
”Wow. I see,” Yoofi said as he chewed on the fish and chips placed in front of him. ”So people get killed from exposing deals.”
”It depends but the actual cash involved is most of the time not what is relayed to the public, ” Carl explained.
Yoofi dwelled on that for a while. He knew Carl was apprehensive of his motives for seeking that information so he was choosing his words carefully.
”Thank you so much, Carl. Is it possible for you to send me a list of all club owners in the league?” he asked.
”No problem, Mr Baiden. I will forward it to you from my PC as soon as I get home,” he replied and left. Yoofi left too after a couple of business calls.
He found his way to Rose’s doorstep, ostensibly to see how she was coping but met her absence.
He let himself in and called her on phone but he kept getting the line busy signal. He was getting quite agitated and began to wonder what could have happened to her.
”What if something has happened to her?” he mused in fear as a copious amount of sweat began to run down his face.
He called again, and again but to no avail. It was still ‘line busy’. He stepped out, went to interview the security men at the checkpoint and was informed that she left home about two hours ago.
He called Pam who he hitherto hadn’t wanted to call so as to not get her worried but her phone was switched off.
Quite uneasy now, he sent an urgent WhatsApp message to the Three Musketeers group and drove away aimlessly around town hoping to somehow see her.
He later went back to the estate and fell into an uneasy sleep. He was awakened by a call.
”Jackie Chan,” she said softly into her ears.
”Ohh Rose. Where were you? Where have you been all day? Where are you?” he asked relieved that she was ok.
”Hey, hey, hey, slow down. I only went to my insurer to see to the payment of the claims,” she explained.
”Thank God you are ok,” he said quite unsteadily.
” I can say with no fear of contradiction that you have missed me,” she said with a chuckle, teasing him a little.
”Please come back home. I am waiting. Drive carefully,” he cut the call and went into the bathroom to wash away the sweat and fear from his system. He hadn’t realized how much she meant to him until that moment when he thought something might have happened to her.
”Ohh God, she makes me feel so vulnerable and exposed. With both her beauty and personality,” he said, day-dreamingly as the refreshing shower washed away the stress. Done, he tied an unused towel around his body and went to her dressing mirror to search for a comb he could use.
Rose walked in then, having driven in very fast and dangerously because he had said he was waiting for her. She surveyed the towel wrapped around his waist, his fine-tuned torso with the 6 pack muscles that demonstrated his fitness and concluded with a mischievous smile on her lips that he was a fine specimen of a man.
”I believe you need another shower,” she said huskily and kissed him, leading him to the bathroom while she shed her clothes along the way.
One hour later, they were resting on the bed, both exhausted from their exertions in both the bath and bedroom. She raised her head and looked at him. He stared back at her and counted himself very lucky to have such a gem in his arms. Even the sleek thigh flung lazily across his thighs was worth all the trouble he had been in. The pear-like orbs on her chest, of velvety texture on his chest, gave him a great feeling of blessedness and he drew her much closer to his body.
His next words spoiled the magical moment.
”I wish there’s no story and I wish there are no Capos,”
She looked at him, sighed and got up from the bed to put on her clothes. She seemed on the verge of tears. He watched warily as she sat straight back on the edge of the bed.
”That was a wonderful moment we shared a while ago, and you had to spoil everything with a chauvinistic comment,” she said with a tight smile.
He said nothing but observed her, noting her cute nose and that succulent lips of hers.
”Yoofi Baiden, while I’ll always be grateful to you for all the care you have been giving to my sister and me, I’ll not have you or any person or Capo asking me when to write or not write. Are you any different from the Capo who wants to kill me? You want to kill my passion, my love and that is worse than death. You must as well kill me,” she said in tears because she knew he was the only person in the whole world who could successfully stop her from writing. She loved him that much.
”I am very sorry for upsetting you, my flower,” he said to her ”I didn’t mean it that way. I only wanted to express how precious you mean to me.”
Please don’t tell me to stop writing. Not when I am getting into the nitty gritty of it,” she said and ran out of the room, still in tears.
”Yoofi was sad. She obviously didn’t get that her death meant his death too. He dressed up and went in search of her to assure her of what he really meant.
He eventually tried Pam’s room and saw that the door was locked. Tried as he did, he couldn’t get her to open the door for him.
The situation was suddenly out of hand. How could such a romantic and magical moment turn on its head within such a short time? Within the blink of an eye. He raked his fingers through his hair in despair.
”Listen, my love,” he said from behind the door. ”I had no ulterior motive for saying what I said. I love you.”
”Ok, I accept that I had an ulterior motive but it was driven by my love for you and about how I couldn’t find you earlier in the day. I thought something bad had happened to you and I was dying inside,” he said with his back against the door.
”Please go away. Leave me alone,” she said from indoors, evidently in tears still.
”If you love me as much as I love you, you’ll understand the premise upon which I made that statement. See you later,” he said and left looking very confused.
He drove in a haze, with no particular destination in mind, until he saw that he was in Ursula’s area and drove into her driveway to visit her.
”Only a woman can put that lost look on a man’s face,” she said as soon as she saw him. She was done with the day’s consultations and was in the process of giving her hands one final scrub before she left.
He smiled woefully at her and gave her a peck.
”I should have listened to your dad when he asked me to marry you,” he said and slumped in a nearby settee.
”He asked you too?” she asked, quite surprised. ”Who marries his cousin in this modern world?”
”It happens and don’t forget that your father is actually my father’s step-cousin,” he said and smiled wickedly at her even though he was hurting.
”But still,” she stammered, shocked that he thought it feasible.
”Don’t worry, Ursula Baiden, we love each other too much to allow that to happen,” he said with a wink.
”So what did that girl do to you, cuz?” she said, relieved that their conversation had gone onto safe ground.
They spoke at length on personal issues, of family and of themselves, and on business too and that helped take his mind off what was hurting him.
”I am thinking of investing in football,” he said out of the blue.
”Is there any money in it?” she asked with an arched eyebrow. ”Kofi owns a division two club and it’s draining his resources.”
”Is that so? I never knew he was into football,” he said, happy that he at long last knew someone who was part of the game and could provide critical information.
”Yeah. I only got to know about it when he brought a boy in for medicals,” she explained.
”Wow. When is the wedding then?”’ he said, surprised at how close they had become.
”Don’t be ridiculous. Which wedding?” she said, picked up a syringe and pretended to jab him with it.
”He got up, backed away and jokingly waved her goodbye and ran out, smiling as her strident laughter rang in his ears as he walked down the hallway. That greatly lightened his mood.
He was more than geared up to catch the Capo with or without Rose’s cooperation. With her love or without it. That was what he had set out to do and he was going to do just that.
Later, he got a WhatsApp message from Carl and he saw that it was a list of the football clubs in the local premier league with their owners and bankrollers.
He went through it and saw that some division one league clubs were included in it and among them was Kokonte United by virtue of them having reached the group of sixteen stage of the FA Cup before being eliminated. He was surprised to note that Kofi Aboabo was credited with being the founder and CEO of Kokonte United.
Tired, he looked at the wall clock and saw that the time was getting on to 11:00 pm. Long past his normal bedtime. He got up tiredly and, as was his usual practice, scanned through the phone to see any message he might have missed and as if the phone knew what he was looking for, a flurry of messages dropped on the Three Musketeers platform.
”Good evening Jackie Chan. Sorry for the late response. I was busy in the library so switched off my phone and forgot to put it back on when I left. Goodnight, Pam.”
Another message landed on it was a different tone that suggested that it wasn’t a group chat.
”Goodnight. dearest Yoofi. I miss you.” Rose wrote.
”Goodnight, crybaby. I miss you too.” he sent it and put the phone away. His mind was at rest.
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