***before y’all start reading i beg in advance for forgiveness because of the length of this one, i needed to fit in as much info as possible and it could not be any shorter, its all the muse’s fault! lol! if u haven’t already please read the other parts b4 reading this one oh… enjoy…***
I dove into the water in a split second, without thinking it through, the last thing I saw were the anguished tears in Ayo’s eyes. The water was lukewarm; I bobbed in the water for five seconds or more, unsure of what to do. My heart was thudding frantically; I was starting to sink too! Then calm came over me, instinctively my feet and arms knew what to do, my body moved in fluid motions like it was natural. Something I had done many times before, yet I knew as well as I knew my name that in all my twenty-nine years on earth I never learnt how to swim because of my insurmountable fear of water. I held my breath as I swam deeper into the pool. I reached blindly for Tomide’s hand; he was still fighting the lack of air. It was so silent down here, almost tomb-like. I grabbed him by his arm and made for the surface. Ayo was still screaming, she seemed frozen to one spot. I single-handedly put him on the floor. My shirt dripping with water but it was plastered against my body like a second skin. I shivered as the cool evening air played with the wet hair on my fore-arms.
I checked if he was breathing…he wasn’t…Oh Lord! I thought back almost ten years ago when my ex-boyfriend taught me how to perform CPR. I was trying to remember the exact procedure, was it the chest first or the mouth? My hands were shaking uncontrollably.
“Do something Aanu!” her voice shook me out of my reverie and I snapped into action.
I held his nose and breathed into his mouth before pumping his chest… I checked no pulse. I repeated the process again, breathing into his mouth again, Ayo was sniveling by now. I could hear her saying Tomide’s name over and over again…
“Tomide, Please don’t do this to me, Mummy is here, please wake up!”
She was clutching his right hand as she said this, her tears streaming from her cheeks to the floor, uninterrupted…
I had already performed CPR twelve times, still no response, my arms were getting tired…my lashes caught my tears, as I stopped to look at Ayo…
“Don’t you dare stop! He is not going to die today! Do you hear me?” she was shouting
“I’m trying…”I started
“Try again Aanu, I beg of you!!!” her eyes were beseeching me
I pumped is chest again, held his nose and breath into his mouth…nothing…Oh God! I silently prayed please let him live…take me instead, please!
I pounded on his chest desperately, breathe into his mouth again… finally he coughed. Water spurted out of his nose and mouth, as life returned to his small body…and I breathe a sigh of relief.
Ayo hugged him tightly, as I leaned back, happily exhausted, Tomide was alive.
She didn’t say anything but her face spoke volumes, her forehead was furrowed and she squinted like she always does when she is thinking… I could bet on my life she was thinking the exact same thing I was thinking,
“When and where did you learn how to swim?”
I really wish I could answer that question myself…
One hour later we were standing together in the corridor of the hospital. I was still in my wet clothes. Ayo was wringing her hands nervously; the doctor having just came out from Tomide’s hospital room, he was speaking to us.
“He will be fine, the CPR was a bit vigorous though, his ribs are a bit bruised, no ribs are broken, he will be required to stay here for a few days” we both breathe a sigh of relief.
The Doctor turned and walked away, he was probably hurrying to attend to another patient.
“I’m going to see him, want to come?”I shook my head, pretending to take particular interest in watching the nurses’ station in the opposite direction of her inquiring eyes. She stood there for a full minute trying to catch my attention, then she shrugged. I saw her leave from the corner of my eyes. I let out a sigh of relief, savoring my minutes of freedom. I didn’t want her to have the opportunity to ask me the question I had no answer for just yet.
I sat in the hospital corridor staring blankly at the sterile white wall. How did I know what to do in the water? My nails bit into the middle of my palm as if causing the pain would help me remember the exact moment I learnt how to swim.
My thoughts were interrupted by running feet. Kunle, Ayo’s husband, I personally called him the handsome devil; was running down the corridor. Ayo met him in our first year at varsity, they dated all through and the minute she finished her course, they got married. Ayo had just turned twenty-one that year and for a while I resented them both; it was like he stole a piece of me. I felt so left out and alone.
However I could never be mad at Ayo for long, she was me and I was her; we were two sides of the same coin. When she went into labour, I was at her side holding her hand while she gave birth to Tomide seven months after the wedding. Right now however, he didn’t look so handsome. He looked flustered, worry lines on his face, his tie was askew, and his dark gray silk Armani suit was flapping about as he ran towards me, a nervous look on his face.
The same minute he got to me, my cell-phone started to ring. I looked at the screen, it was Demola, I picked it up,
“Is the brat ok?” he sounded bored, like drowning was such a normal thing
Kunle raised his eye brows; I covered the speaker to speak to Kunle.
“Tomide is going to be fine, the CPR I performed was a bit too vigorous so they are keeping him for a few days, he is in there with Ayo” I pointed to the private ward that Ayo stepped into barely a five minutes ago and he gave me a strange look as shooed him away.
“What’s going on now? Is the kid going to be ok?”
“Yes he will be fine, Demola, thanks for the concern”
Ayo and I hated Demola, he wasn’t actually our brother, but the closest thing we had to a brother. Daddy married his mother about five years after mother died; we were ten at that time. We hated and distrusted her intuitively. Looking back now I realize we could have been more accommodating at least for daddy’s sake. We just thought five years was not enough grieving time. Ayo and I saw Demola as a devious opportunist who was content on living off our father’s hard earned money.
“I heard you say something about Ayo?”
“Yes she is with Tomide”
“Are you sure about that Aanu?”
“I saw her walk in, what is with the Spanish inquisition Demola? It’s not like you particularly care!” I said with scorn.
“I care a whole lot more than you think, I will be at the house tomorrow, so will daddy” it cut me to the core every time I heard him call my daddy his daddy.
“We will be expecting you” I finished in a sarcastic voice.
* * *
The next day could not come early enough, it was Saturday and Daddy was coming. I was excited. I ordered the maids around trying to make sure everything was in order, checked the mirror a gazillion times to be absolutely sure my foundation powder and concealer covered the bags under my eyes. I haven’t seen Daddy in months. He is always so busy! He owns three companies, and has spent all of our lives building it into an empire. Ayo and I never really got to see him much, but he always made time when we needed him.
Kunle, Ayo and I were waiting in the study when he arrived; he walked in, not missing a beat, with a large winsome smile on his face. He entered the room, the same way he enters any room; with aplomb, security detail and his ever sycophantic personal assistant, Demola by his side.
Even the sight of the Demola could not drive away the extreme pleasure of seeing my father; he looked older and more stressed than when I saw him three months ago. I ran to hug him. At heart I was still daddy’s little girl. Ayo sat in her favourite arm chair nursing Adiva. She looked at him with derision.
“Ayo get up to greet him now!” Ayo turned her face away from us; she really can be stubborn when she wants to be…
“Good Afternoon Daddy, I would stand up but Adiva just started sleeping at the moment and I don’t want to risk waking her up” she said, Daddy ignored her; they must have had one of those their fights again. I shook my head in exasperation and turned back to look at him.
Kunle cleared his throat, we had all but forgotten about him. He was standing beside Ayo’s chair; he walked over and bowed low as he shook Daddy’s hands.
“How is my little angel doing? Still having your nightmares?” he said when the room had quietened down; we were still sanding face to face in the middle of the room. The entourage had left except Demola and a small man who was cleaning his glasses. I did not notice him before in the flurry of activities, but there he was, looking out of place in sofa he sat in which seemed to engulf his small frame; a white haired man with hunched shoulders, cleaning his glasses using the edge of his shirt. Kunle was at the door giving orders to the maid to bring in something for us to drink.
“No…” I answered him distractedly, still looking at the man; he had enough things to worry about…
“Are you sure?” he didn’t sound like he believed me, I redirected my attention to Daddy he was looking at me earnestly with those curious gray eyes that neither Ayo nor I inherited. I sighed…
“Yes I still have the nightmares, I still had one yesterday” I said reluctantly.
“Well then, I want you to meet a very good friend of mine” when Daddy says that, it means he just met the person…
“This is Dr. Michelson, he specializes in cases like yours” he said nodding in the general direction of the stranger.
“Cases like mine? What does that mean?”I was starting to get suspicious.
“Asides from helping with the nightmares, he can help you remember the exact details of the abduction, and probably the face of your abductor.”
“And how is he going to do that? I have been trying to remember since I escaped, but nothing!” My famous temper was getting ignited.
“Calm down, Aanu, he is just here to help, he is a trained hypnotist” I looked at Ayo, she shrugged, was she in on it?
“I cannot believe this! You brought a shrink to the house?” I made for Demola but Daddy grabbed my wrist.
“I’m absolutely sure this was your stupid idea Demola! I’m not crazy! I was abducted!” Demola didn’t look remotely scared.
“We do not doubt that, dear…all we are saying is that you should give it a try? What harm can it possibly do?” Daddy looked so worried.
“I don’t see why you shouldn’t try it, you have been having those nightmares for six months now, something has got to give” Ayo finally spoke up as she rocked Adiva in her arms.
“You should try it Aanu, it’s the only way we can catch the guy” Kunle said he was back from talking to the maid.
I took in a deep breath and calmed down, it seemed like everyone was against me on this one.
“Ok I will try it, only because Ayo agrees.” a strange emotion flashed across Daddy’s face.
“When do we start?” I asked, raising one of my eyebrows.
“Now is fine, if you are willing” the doctor said, I nodded the affirmative and he said, “Take a seat, you need to be comfortable” I took a seat opposite him.
Everyone made to leave the room and I panicked.
“Wait!!! I want you guys here”
“Is that standard procedure?” Daddy asked uneasily.
“It is not, but seeing as Aanu doesn’t trust me it can be a condition if she is to relax and reveal the needed information” the Doctor said.
“This is her first session with me, we might find out everything, something or nothing. I implore you to all be silent throughout the session; my voice is to be the only one she hears” he said to everyone.
The doctor pressed play on a tape recorder and said to me,
“Try to relax Aanu, make yourself comfortable, and take a deep breath.”
“Don’t start without me” Ayo said as she stood up and walked out with Adiva quickly, I opened my eyes and said whilst looking at Demola in the eye,
“I don’t want Demola here, everybody else can stay” Daddy gave him a look and he stood up shrugged nonchalantly and walked out. Ayo returned alone to the study and sat back in her chair. Kunle took the same seat that Demola had just vacated.
“Ok let’s try this again, relax Aanu, close your eyes and listen to the sound of my voice as I count back to ten.” I leaned back on the chair and did as he asked.
“Ten…nine…eight…seven…six…your eyes are getting very heavy” everyone was quiet; I could hear the whirring of the tape as it rolled in the recorder.
“…five…four…you are now entering a trance-like state” Right! Like that is supposed to work, I thought to myself… although I was getting a tad bit sleepy…
“…three…two…one…” and then nothing…