As the plane touched down, Rael felt something at the pit of her stomach that she could not explain. She started to pray not to get a panic attack. Her sister had made her take Xanax after dropping her at the airport to help her calm down. She had also called Sandra and asked to keep checking on her and if possible, accompany her to the morgue. She thought Steve as very unreliable and even gave her money for Uber from the airport just in case he did not turn up. Rael was skeptical too. She did not understand why this man was still after her despite all that had happened. She was curious to hear what he had to say and hoped he would not try any nonsense because she was honestly not in the mood. She called Steve and managed to locate where he was parked and as soon as she got into the car, he hugged her and passionately kissed her.
“Well, I was not expecting that.”
“I have missed you too should be the appropriate response but I take that as you did not mind it”
“Hahahaha! This is an extreme change. The last time we saw each other, you wanted to skin me alive.”
“I thought we agreed that we are not going to talk about that babe. That is water under the bridge. I like you and I am back to ensure that you are rightfully mine.”
“We will see about that. Thank you for coming to pick me up by the way. It means a lot.”
“Any time. I am really sorry about your colleague. Do you want to talk about it?”
“Not now because I am confused as hell. Can we talk about something else? Something that will distract me for a while?”
“I am getting a divorce”
“I asked for a distraction. Not a heart attack. I even don’t know what to say Steve. What happened?”
“She has always been very insecure and jealous but it got worse in the last couple of months. She took advantage of the fact that she works for the DCI and she had me tracked and followed everywhere. I have been thrown out of my own house randomly in the middle of the night then she started getting very abusive verbally and physically. She would call and abuse any female contact on my phone, you included, and I lost a lot of business. I tried to make her feel secure by allowing her to control my bank accounts and gave her all my passwords but nothing changed. I got tired. I am tired Rael.”
Steve parked his car by the roadside and started to cry uncontrollably. Rael did not know what to do so she just hugged him and let him cry. She in no way saw this coming but it now made sense as to why he had suddenly changed his attitude towards her. She knew he was hurting and was looking for anyone who would listen to him so she did not want to judge him as selfish.
“I am so sorry Steve. Is your wife aware of your intention to divorce her?”
“Yes she is aware. I walked out of that house with just my clothes and looked for a one bedroom house to stay in as I figure things out. She has been threatening me since then claiming to ensure that she gets every single cent of mine and honestly at this point, I do not give a fuck. All I want is peace”
“I hear you. I am here for you. It must be hard. Can we go and sit somewhere we talk and probably get something to eat? Let me first call my sister and tell her I am home or she will not stop calling me”
“Let us go to that place near your house, Bob’s right? You can call her when you get there. Right now she will be very suspicious at how fast you got home. You are such a terrible liar.”
“Hehehe! Lying is terrible. Ni sawa, let us go.”
She called her sister and Sandra and once she assured them that she was home and okay and in safe hands, she went to join Steve in the bar. She promised herself not to take more than two beers because of the early morning meeting she had the following day. They ended up staying at Bob’s way past midnight as Steve had so much to rant about. The poor man had so much bottled up that Rael just let him talk. As she listened to him, she for the umpteenth time, reminded herself that marriage was hard and hence not her cup of coffee. Just thinking that one day, her husband will be sitting down with someone talking about her shortcomings, petrified her. She had never seen Steve so vulnerable like today. In fact she had never had to console a crying man. He got drunk and could now barely speak. She had to ask for help to take him to the car and had to drive him to her place. She had no option but let him spend the night at her place. The night watchman helped take him up the stairs and to her room at a fee. She took a shower and it hit her that taking care of Steve had made her not think about Collins for a few hours and she was really glad for that distraction.
She was shocked when she did not find Steve in bed the following morning when her alarm went off. She thought he was in the toilet, only to find him deep in thought in the living room.
“What time did you get up?”
“I don’t know. It has been like this for me for the last few days. I cannot sleep.”
“Have you thought about therapy? Insomnia is not a good sign. I have been there. You cannot function. If you are not going to work, I can give you my sleeping pills to help you get some sleep until when I get back.”
“I have things to do today plus I have to drop you at work and ensure you are okay. You can give me those pills in the evening. Right now, get ready for work.”
It took a lot of convincing by Steve for Rael to get out of the car once they got to the office premises. Steve had to convince her that he would take her up the lifts and would not leave the premises until when she asked him to. She did not know how the rest of the colleagues would receive her if they all thought she pushed Collins to his death. The office was in a sombre mood and everyone barely nodded when she said hi. Elizabeth did not even bother to look up. Thankfully, the meeting was all about work and the mention of Collins only came in when his accounts were being reassigned to new people. Two clients made personal requests that she takes over their accounts and she could swear she saw Elizabeth sneering. She actually ended up getting most of his very important clients and it made her a little uncomfortable. Another meeting was scheduled for in the afternoon to plan for the funeral plans. After the meeting, she noticed that most of her colleagues were actually okay with her and she even got to ask if any of them knew what really pushed him to suicide.
“His suicide note said that he was tired of taking care of many people who did not appreciate him. Apparently he was the sole bread winner at home and all his siblings looked up to him for help. He also had a crazy baby mama and half of his salary went to child support. Who would ever have known Collins was going through all that? Poor man. He looks so peaceful dead. You should see him.”
It is then that she remembered she had not asked Steve to leave after she got comfortable. She rushed to the parking lot only to find him deeply asleep in the car. Knowing that he had not slept that much during the night, she decided to let him be and texted him asking him to call her once he wakes up. He called after two hours complaining of a stiff neck.
“I am glad you got some sleep though.”
“Yeah, I am feeling better. So, what is the plan?
“I want to go to the morgue and view the body. Will you take me?”
“Sure, I will have to cancel a few errands but I would not want you to go there alone”
“Sawasawa, I am coming down right away. I have to be back for another meeting.”
There is a certain vibe that a morgue gives that cannot be explained. Everything and everyone looked like a blur. Seeing so many people sad and crying broke her heart. She does not understand why but the moment Collins body was brought for viewing, she started to feel very cold and could not stop shivering despite Steve holding her and covering her with his coat. Linda was right, he looked so peaceful. She found herself holding his cheeks and wanted to ask him loudly why he had to leave the way he did but she was shivering to the point she couldn’t talk. After a few minutes, she let him go and asked Steve that they leave.
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