In his drunken state, he thought he switched off the phone. Instead, he had answered the call. And his daughter was on the other end.
“Hello, daddy? Are you there?” Lara repeated.
Tobi slowly picked up his phone. “Yes, princess. How are you?”
Lara squealed in excitement. “Daddy! I’m fine. Nonso is fine too. He’s here.”
“Daddy!” He heard Nonso’s excited voice.
Tobi smiled. “Hello, my boy?”
“Daddy, where have you been? We’ve been calling and calling. But you refused to pick your calls. Uncle Mike said you were busy. Daddy, remember you promised that you will take us out for cold stone last week. We’ve not seen you since.” Lara whined in that cute voice that never failed to make him succumb to her wishes.
Tobi grimaced, grateful that they couldn’t see his shame. “I’m sorry, princess. I’ve been so busy with… things.”
“Okay, daddy. We forgive you. Are you coming to pick us from uncle Mike’s house?”
The question hung in the air for a second. Tobi stared at the gun and set it aside. “Yes, dear. And I will take you guys out for some cold stone.”
“Yeah!” The kids screamed in delight.
“You guys take care of yourselves. Don’t make your uncle and auntie crazy. I’ll see you later. Love you. Bye.”
“Okay, daddy. Bye bye.”
Tobi hung up and smiled, his mood becoming brighter. In his misery, he had completely forgotten that he had two beautiful kids who looked up to him as their universe. How could he even think of committing suicide? He remembered how he felt when his own father died. He was so angry, bitter and lost. He thought he could never forgive the man for leaving him in the lonely world. He would never do that to his kids.
Tobi straightened up in renewed determination. He wasn’t the first to fall from grace to grass. And he certainly won’t be the last. He would pick up the pieces of his fragmented life and rise again.
His phone rang. It was Andy, his secretary- former secretary now. “Hello, Andy?” He answered.
Andy sounded relieved. “Oh thank God. Hello, sir?”
“Hello. How are you? What’s happening?”
“Sir, there’s been a new development. We’ve been looking for you.”
“What for?” Tobi asked, surprised.
“Sir, the board held a meeting yesterday. You’ve been reinstated as CEO.”
Tobi went so silent that Andy thought he ended the call. “Sir, are you there?”
Tobi blinked. “Yes, yes. What about Melinda?”
“She was removed. I don’t know the details but I heard the board found out she’s been diverting company funds to her personal account.”
“Yes. Now, everybody wants you back. They asked me to call you. What do I tell them?”
“I’ll be there in an hour.”
“Alright, sir. I’ll inform them.” He hung up. Tobi was stunned. But he honestly wasn’t surprised about Melinda. The woman was fond of calling him olodo but she was the real one. She knew how to spend money. But she didn’t know how to make it.
Tobi quickly cleared all the alcohol. His alcoholic haze had miraculously disappeared with the two calls he received. He quickly cleaned himself up. He didn’t want to appear at the office looking like a mad man and reeking.
He was about to leave his cheap hotel room when the third surprising call came. It was his accountant. His account had been unfrozen and all corruption allegations dropped.
“How?” He asked, stunned again.
“They say it was a misunderstanding. Congratulations. You’re a wealthy man once again.” The accountant said and hung up.
Tobi’s mouth remained open. He couldn’t believe it. Someone was helping him. It wasn’t Mike. Mike didn’t have that kind of connection. But he was the only one who knew about his problems and was on his side. Which leaves Anita. But why would she try to help him when she hated him with every fiber of her soul? He didn’t understand. He looked across the room where he thought his uncle sat. of course, the man wasn’t there. Tobi smiled.
“Thank you, uncle.” He whispered gratefully.
Then, he checked out of the hotel and drove straight to the company where he was received like he was Nelson Mandela. Afterwards, he didn’t waste time to reassume his duties as CEO. He was so absorbed in his work that he didn’t realize that all the workers had left and night had approached.
His phone rang for the fourth time jolting him from an official document he was reading. It was Cynthia, Mike’s wife.
“Hello, Cynthia?” He answered.
Cynthia sounded frantic. “Tobi, where are you?”
“I’m at the office. Why?”
“I’m so sorry. I had a very busy day. I took the kids home from school and went back to work. Then I went from there straight to the women’s meeting in our church. We didn’t finish early. I just came back home.”
Tobi sat up immediately. “What are you saying, Cynthia?”
“It’s Anita. She took the kids.”
Tobi bolted from his seat and raced to the parking lot. He entered his car and drove in top speed toward his house, now Anita’s house. His heart pounded furiously. A thousand terrifying scenarios ran through his mind of what she was doing to his kids. Maybe she kidnapped and ran away with them. Right now, the kids maybe crossing illegal boundaries towards the Libya. Perhaps, Anita sold them. That woman was crazy.
He swore. If anything happened to his children, he would hunt her down the pits of hell and make her die a slow painful death. And he would relish every minute of watching her beg him to end her misery. He could endure anything from her. But his children were out of bounds. He would never forgive her!
By the time Tobi got to the house, he was breathless with fear. He barely parked the car before he bolted out and raced to the house. Luckily, the door was unlocked. He barged inside.
“Anita!” He bellowed. Nobody answered. His fear mounting, he took the stairs three steps at a time. he could hear Anita’s voice. He traced the voice to the master bedroom.
And what he saw made his jaw drop.
Episode 11 will be out on Thursday. Please don’t forget to drop your comments and share.