Like i promised, this is the second installment of the story of Addison Pierce. Are we close to finding out who murdered her boyfriend, Denise Igbokwe? Who is guilty; who isn't? Share your thoughts please and expect the next part sooner than your next breath.
MOVING CLOCKS RUN SLOW. (Part 2)
The police came in a rusty gray 504 Peugeot; the door hands had rusted and the seats were torn and smelled of dried sweat and heavy dust. On that Sunday morning, the roads were quiet. The hawkers were out of sight and the motor cyclists were few in numbers. The streets were adjourned with trees and with the rising of the sun, their leaves glowed. The car was extremely tight; they were four at the back seat and only two could sit comfortably. Ashley and the other officer who hadn’t said a single word rested their backs, while Addison sat out with the bald head police man. The stereo was playing the hip-hop/high-life music of the modern generation: the beats were funky and the entire song had only six lines and a repeated chorus. The female officer was driving; moving her head to the sound from the radio while the fat Yoruba man stared out of the window; his hands were out, gripping onto the roof of the car.
Ashley was staring at Addison too and she felt it. Addison felt the hot air of anxiety and fear breathe down her neck. She wondered if Ashley knew the truth. The car wiggled from time to time and Addison thought she could tell her sister's thoughts with a glance into her eyes, and so the next time they took a pothole, she turned to know her fate. It was nothingness; her face was like a deserted stream at night that nurtured a forbidden secret. Looking into her eyes, they both seemed to have carved out something between themselves that no other person in the car could touch or feel. That something was either the truth, or something far more deadly.
"Have you called Sam?"Addison asked without looking at her.
"No", she whispered before raising her voice "I can't talk when I'm still struggling to breathe. Can't you see how packed we are? A little thing left before we start falling off like popcorn in a cinema bag"
The woman driving rolled her eyes at them through the rear-view.
"I'd call him when we get out of here" Ashley added.
Ashley's beautiful Malaysian hair fell to the side of her eyes and she thought of how calling her boyfriend was the least on her mind. Denise was dead; now mere ashes or like the dust that settled on the roof of the car, or, as the Christians will put it,- has gone to be with the Lord. Sam was married with kids and probably on his way to church wearing a matching lace fabric with his wife. She was not going to think of him or the way he made her feel things. She would not allow herself to feel guilty for ignoring him this past week. She needed her mind to be free from Sam; Denise was dead.
Sam was a billionaire; a very secretive, lying embezzler of the Lagos State government, but at the same time a very gentle and expert lover. Ashley was the petted, cherished young blood he needed on official trips; the desired mistress with a penchant for red lipstick, the worshiped, perfumed goddess that brought men down to race with lizards. She was all these things to Sam- or so he made her believe; sneaking her into his office and pining her hands down on the conference table during moments of brief but exciting sex; coming to have lunch sometimes in their house in Ikoyi. The first time he showed up to her house, Ashley was startled. And after she walked him out with anger and signed off to the delivery of a Cartier wristwatch two days later, she invited him over and introduced him to Addison.
"Meet my new friend." She said to Addison, standing not so close to Sam. "He's saving my sorry ass from not meeting my bank target."
"Nice to meet you" They both exchanged.
That night Addison made dinner and they all laughed and drank wine and talked about the rotting bank policies in the country and even Addison was marveled at how eloquent he spoke. He was so passionate about Nigeria; saying things in black and white on matter concerning foreign policy. Ashley sat in solitude, contended with a glass of wine in her hand as Sam and Addison bickered back and forth over the history of corruption in Nigeria. Sam argued that the white men birthed corruption, and just like every other thing they invented, we felt it; learned it and sunk teeth deep into it.
"When the British came to our country, they said everything we are doing was barbaric, was wrong, inferior in whatever way" He argued, "and we allowed them. We were fine with them sleeping with our women and sending our children across the atlantic to work tirelessly on plantations. We were fine with them doing all sorts of wrong to get by and acquire power and money; we watched hands behind our backs as this happened time and time after. Now its a way of life for us; doing whatever it takes to acquire power at the expense of anything."
Addison was charmed by his aesthetics. Ashley was proud. And there was no silence in the room but for the moments Sam churned a shot of whiskey down his throat. The cauterized liquid made him shut his eyes for a second or two, and then he continued talking about corruption, and foreign policy, and election rigging and all the numerous things that were wrong with Nigeria, till the stars were within their reach.
From that day, Ashley and Sam only met at the penthouse suit of WestFoster Harbour on Queens Drive, Ikoyi which cost a whooping two thousand dollars a day. Ashley loved walking to the balcony in the morning and staring at the blue ocean before the sun intruded; she loved waiting for the little fishes to pop out; waiting to be blown away by the aromatic presence of the waves. Sometimes Sam would want them to just stay in all day without a care in the world, without the strain of the everyday city life, just the stress of going to get the door when their room services delivers. And Ashley would remind him that she had a job with the bank. He would lay there on the bed, shirtless, expossing his round stomach and brag about how much money he had and how he could take care of her for the rest of her life. Still, Ashley constrained.
Walking through the high walls of WestFoster Harbour made Ashley feel powerful; the high roofs and lavish curtains sown with hundreds of yards of fabrics and embellished beadings threw a splendorous feeling on her total existence .To her, it felt like royalty. The walls swallowed her petite frame, but at the same time acknowledged her strength. And when the polished staffs greeted her at the massive lobbies with huge artworks eating up corners of the wall, it felt like walking the streets of Manhathan in a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti shoes. To her, that was what being a woman was all about; having a certain ability to bring men and everyone to scuffle like trees in a storm without saying a word. She didn't have to shrink.
To Ashley, the most important part of seeing Sam every weekend wasn’t the fooling around or the lavish gifts his driver emptied into the trunk of her car. It was the few minutes they talked while holding each other, the feeling of security she got with him, the feeling of trust- her mind being the temple of all the secrets behind the fuel subsidy. It was the feeling of being understood and loved without the pressure of reciprocating those gestures that made Ashley agree to go on trips with him. Sometimes they went to Calabar or Abuja, and the other times the beautiful cities in Italy. It made her feel powerful. Before she met Sam, she wouldn’t have believed that she could cuddle up at night with a man who didn't star in her dreams during her teenage years and not be totally preoccupied with sex. And it wasn't because the sex was awful- because indeed it was-, it was for the mere fact that since they met at a hotel lobby 3years ago, Ashley had never met any other man that had held her attention like Sam did. Until recently.
A heavy blanket of silence fell on the police car as Ashley's phone began to ring. All the officers couldn't peel their eyes away from her.
"What?" She yelled.
The officer in front returned his gaze to the road before they all chorused "Nothing oh"
"Who is that?" Addison asked without looking at Ashley.
"Mom?" She was aghast. "Do you think she knows?"
Ashley was silent.
"Are you going to pick?" Addison pressed.
"Can you text her and tell her we are in church or something?" Addison continued "she won't stop calling."
Ashley spoke after her phone stopped ringing.
"We are almost at the station", she squeezed her nose, reacting to a stench "Like i said, when we get there, I'd make use of my phone".
Addison could see the black police man's arm stretched over the back of Ashley's head. There was a patch, washed out with a lighter shade of black by the armpit tract and somehow this made Addison want to chortle, but she desisted and resolved not to pester Ashley anymore till they got to the station.
They both were already exhausted because the journey from Ikoyi to the Obalende police station felt longer than normal. The traffic lights lasted longer; the pot holes that slowed cars down were multiplied in dozens; everything seemed to drag on, as if to give the wobbly dragons enough time to catch up with Addison. As they drove, Ashley began to think of the unforeseen; the fact that they were on their way to the station just dawned on her. She wanted to freak out; allow the movement around her throat break free through her mouth; maybe caress her arms copiously to relax the hair sprouting from their tiny pores; but she had to be strong for her sister. Being strong was never a trait of Addison: the average woman of whom when a man told her he loved her, felt a feeling of accomplishment. That him loving her validated her existence and made her feel complete and powerful. Addison was an excitable woman who only tried to understand love through the intensity of its presence; a woman in whom her feelings were much stronger than her reasoning. In the past she had always been so thirsty to experience love; that only that feeling of loving someone had power over her. Any relationship she could not transform into painful, overwhelming and intoxicating love, she would let go. Ordinary love didn't and will never impress her. Addison only believed in intoxication, in ecstasy. And in the past when ordinary love would shackle her, or when an intoxicating love would turn into an ordinary, trivial experience, she would escape. One way or another. "No more walls", she would tell herself when it was finally over.-->
The police men exchanged random conversations and once there was a joke about the President's wife and Addison could tell that her sister desperately wanted to laugh. Somehow Ashley now found a certain comfort in the triviality of the evidence. There was no case and truthfully, a colleague of Addison could get her out of there in no time. Or she could call up Sam. Still she worried each time there was a stop sign; each time a familiar billboard reminded her of the closeness to the police station. It was as though fear had crawled inside her head and burrowed itself into her subconscious. Her heart began to race.
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