Jaiye watched her husband leave the room and house without attempting to stop him. There was no need for that, she could clearly see that this was their end. She didn’t want to remain in the marriage any more than he did. This was the time to strategize, she won’t accept to be left broke in the cold. She realized she’d benefit more with Yemi as a friend than a foe. She’d derive immense joy in using her to bring her father down to the level she wanted to put him. She smiled to herself, knowing she was capable of even that.
As if she could read her mother’s thought, Yemi rose from her seat and went to her room. She was not in the mood to argue or fight with her mother. She was not even in the mood for reconciliation. She locked herself in the room and considered her options.
Jaiye remained seated while she plotted how best to get her daughter on her side. She knew it would be difficult if not impossible. Yemi was stubborn and difficult and because of their fracas over kamil, she knew she must work extra hard on her. Well, she was aware of her weakness. The stupid girl was still in love with kamil even after everything. She would use kamil to lure her. For now, she’d allow her sink in her situation and later she’d take her juicy proposal to her.
Later that same evening, Yemi heard a slight knock on her door. She had no doubt it was her mother. She has expected the knock, she has expected to see her sooner than she came. She was so desperate to speak with someone that she wanted to see even her. She unlocked the door.
“Yes, what do you want?” She asked rudely, blocking her from entering her room.
“We can’t continue to fight now Yemi as we both have a bigger problem to deal with. So I suggest we work together and make your father soft pedal.” Jaiye said, pushing past her into the room.
“Why do you think I’d be interested in working with you on anything?” Yemi asked as she quietly closed the door and sat on her bed.
“Because I know you have no other choice.”
“What makes you think I even want my dad to soft pedal?” She asked coldly.
“At least I am smart to know you don’t want to bolt off to America any time soon. At least, not without seeing Kamil again.” Jaiye explained plainly.
Yemi considered her statement briefly and realized she was right. She definitely wanted to see him before going back to America.
“The solution to your problem lies in the hands of your father. So is mine. That is why we both have to agree on this one.”
“This is all about rescuing Kamil right?” She asked sarcastically. “And who gets to keep him after our joint efforts in finding him? You I suppose, as the master planner and schemer?”
“Stop being so insolent. I have more pressing concerns right now and kamil is not even one of them.”
“You know I know that’s a big lie. I heard you tell him you want to run off with him. Besides, you have done nothing these past weeks that didn’t have to do with finding kamil.”
“Yes but as we speak right now, I don’t care if he’s dead or alive.”
“What then is your benefit in this great alliance of ours if I may ask? I really want to know because I can’t be deceived to imagine you are doing this for me, mother!”
“For you? Never! You and I have clearly crossed that line. I cannot be a mother to you now as much as you can no longer be a daughter to me. I am sure we are both aware of that.”
“Of course, of course. Then what is your benefit?” She asked again in irritation.
“Just so you know, I no longer have interest in kamil. I can always pick another from the same slum where I picked him from and clean him up too. A better one perhaps and believe me, it is as simple and as easy as I have just put it.” She said and paused, giving her time to sink it in and believe it. “My benefit is this. I do not want a divorce, at least not now” she added quickly when Yemi was about to protest. “Yes I wanted one earlier. I had planned to go off with kamil but as a rich woman. My plans naturally must change now that your father has threatened to leave me with nothing. I cannot survive without money and he knows it. That is why I think he doesn’t really want me to go. I intend to apologize to him and seek his forgiveness. I definitely will remain married to him than to lose everything we have both laboured to have. So you see my dear, I have a more pressing problem now than finding or running off with Kamil.”
Yemi realized her mother had a point. A good one for that matter. And it means she’d have kamil all to herself now. The thought gave her joy but her joy was only short lived. She didn’t know if he was still alive. He could be dead already.
“My question now is, do you want kamil back or not?” She heard her mother’s voice.
“Yes, yes of course I want him back. Especially now you won’t be in the picture.”
“OK, that’s good.”
“What exactly is my role in this scheme of yours?” Yemi said, caution taking over desire.
“I want you to make your father come back home.”
“How the hell do you want me to achieve that?” She asked in shock.
“You are his pet remember?”
“Not any more and I am sure you are aware of that.”
“You can still make him come if you put your heart to it. Just for a few moments and I will take it from there.”
“You mean all I need to do is make him come home for a few moments and not permanently?”
“Yes. Make him come and I will handle the rest.”
“OK, that shouldn’t be difficult. So, in all of this, how do we find kamil?”
“I know where kamil is kept. Your father is keeping him hostage. He has not made up his mind yet what to do with him.”
“And you didn’t bother to rescue him?” Yemi asked in both shock and surprise.
“I couldn’t, the house is heavily guarded. The only way is to have the keys.”
“Where are the keys?” She asked anxiously.
“They are always with your father and he carries them in his brief case.”
“How do you know all these?” She asked suspiciously, caution taking over her again.
“I have an informant among your father’s men. He gave me the info just this morning. The only way, he says, is to get him the keys for a few moments and he will leave the door open and help kamil excape.”
“I came up with a plan. I was hoping I’d make a copy of the keys as soon as your father came back home. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity. You were here and saw what happened.”
“Yes, yes but how do we get the keys?” She asked quickly, very much interested.
“I already had that worked out when I was still interested in rescuing kamil. I guess I have to tell you now but you will do it yourself.”
“You will have to mould it in clay and get a blacksmith to make an impression of it.”
“That’s quite simple.”
“Yes but you first have to get the keys from your father and keep it for a few minutes. Not really quite simple huh?”
“Yes, I didn’t think of it that way. So how do we get it from him? It is not as if we are going to just ask him to hand over the keys are we?”
“We? That’s your problem. I have given you the idea and that’s about what I am going to do.”
“Since you are the mastermind, you should come up with a plan otherwise, I am not interested.”
That was exactly the way Jaiye wanted the conversation to go. She watched her daughter for a while, pretending to think of a way. She had everything worked out but she was not about to reveal the next plan to her yet. She wanted her to be too desperate to reject her next plan.
“I will think of something, right now I am out of ideas.” She said.
“I thought you had everything planned? Don’t hold back on me now.” Yemi said slowly, watching her mother. She could sense she was deliberately making it difficult for her.
“Yes I had everything planned but I didn’t know then that he will move out of the house. I had planned to get the keys while he was deep asleep.”
“Perhaps we could make him sleep!” Yemi exclaimed.
“Hush, lower your voice.” Jaiye cautioned, smiling. That was exactly what she wanted her to suggest. “Yes, that’s the only way. And I have the right potion to put him to sleep fast and for enough time to get an impression of the keys. From then it is your business because I also need time with him to convince him to drop the divorce.”
“And how do I get to the house?”
“You don’t need to. I will bring my informant here. You will give him the keys and he will help kamil escape.”
“OK. So when do we begin?”
“As soon as you convince your father to come home.”
“OK, I will speak with him immediately.”
“Let me know when he is coming so I can take care of my end.” Jaiye said and left the room. She was very satisfied with their discussion. Her daughter bought everything she had told her and she had no doubt at all that she’d play along. In a few days, her plans will be in motion, paving way to her freedom. She smiled, knowing she could now afford a sound and peaceful sleep that night.
Yemi shut the door and stood by the dressing mirror. She stared at herself for a long time, thinking over their discussion. She wanted Kamil alright but was he worth all the trouble to get him back? And what if her father discovered she drugged him just to get the keys and free him? What was likely to be his reaction? And her mother. Could she be trusted? She knew her mother would rather have her father’s money than giving it all up for Kamil. After all of these what next? What if he doesn’t really love her the way she thinks he does? What if he refuses to go away with her? She certainly had her doubts but the desire to see him again was so strong that she pushed aside her doubts for the moment.
Somewhere else far away in the five-star hotel that was his new abode for the time being, Chief Ani lay awake in his bed. Bukky lay beside him, both tucked under a thick soft duvet. He could hear her soft snores and was indeed glad she was asleep. Hours ago, she had tried without success to make him fall asleep but he simply could not close his eyes in sleep. And after watching her try every trick she knew to make him sleep, he knew he had to pretend to be asleep so she could permit herself the same privilege. He was glad she was now fast asleep and he could think.
He couldn’t sleep that night. His mind told him he couldn’t get rid of Jaiye as easily as he wanted. Her revelation that she has been aware of his affair with his secretary further destabilized him. He had been so sure it was a well guarded secret that he was now so scared that she knew all along and yet she never mentioned it. He wondered what else she knew about him she could use against him should their divorce become messy. Their divorce was inevitable, it was over, especially now that she openly admitted to him that she knew about his secret affair all these years. He was guilty of the same offence he was basing the divorce. He must reconsider his terms. For peace to reign, he must come to an amicable compromise with her. Tomorrow, he’d go to her and they’d work out the settlement amicably. He was now ready to give her half of his wealth.