Zachary Hospital, Ajah, Lagos.
Simeon pulled the car to a halt in the parking lot. He checked his wristwatch and realised he was fifteen minutes late for the meeting with the trio—Dr. Abdul Zakari, Miss Chinonye Ibeh and Kathryn. Simeon had calculated that a drive from his office to Ajah would not take any longer than forty-five minutes, and he had faithfully followed his calculations to ensure he arrived the meeting few minutes later than the scheduled time. Simeon wanted to hold a dignified level of indifference, though not in any way to slight Kathryn. Maybe to slight Miss Chinonye Ibeh—Simeon didn’t like her, and he was unrepentant about it. He was sure Miss Ibeh would have arrived the hospital more than an hour ago.
Simeon adjusted his tie, and made to open the door. As the door gave way, he spotted Kathryn walking from her car towards the entrance of the hospital.
‘Kathryn,’ he called, after a moment of considering her dress and walk. Only after he had called her did he realise his mistake. He had meant it to be a whisper—of admiration. Kathryn stopped and turned towards his car, same time brushing back her hair that had fluttered out of place. Simeon could only agree that there was something about her that had drawn her name out of him. He quickly stepped out of the car, shut the door behind him and walked to the spot where Kathryn stood—having secured his car with a soft-touch on the hand-held device which, also, served as his ignition key.
‘We’re few minutes late,’ Simeon said as he extended his hand for a handshake. He felt the softness of her palm; and was reminded that their meeting the previous evening had come to an end when a finger, among the lot, had been pointed towards the door for him to leave. Simeon let go of her hand, when he realised he had held on a little longer than necessary. The touch, still, had been brief. But it had caused an arousal in his short. Simeon knew he had selected rightly, that morning, when he chose to wear a tight-fitting short. His erect penis soon wrestled in those shorts when his eyes wandered and briefly stayed on the exposed part of her breast.
‘Eighteen minutes late.’ Kathryn responded. ‘The doctor and Miss Ibeh are waiting.’
Simeon allowed Kathryn to walk ahead of him while he adjusted his trouser. He assumed a position beside Kathryn as they approached the reception desk.
‘We have an appointment with Dr. Zakari,’ Simeon said to the nurse who sat at the reception desk. Simeon liked the pronoun he had used in his description of Kathryn and himself—we. It made them appear like a couple.
‘Your names, please?’
‘She’s Kathryn, and I’m Simeon Poweide.’ He had purposely mentioned one surname. Kathryn smiled. Her smile made him hard again.
‘The doctor is in his office, Mr. Poweide.’ the nurse said. She had a beautiful smile. And Simeon smiled too. The nurse, without knowing, had become one among a few who pronounced his last name correctly, at first meeting.
‘Thank you.’ Kathryn added.
Though their arms occasionally touched as they walked to the doctor’s office, neither party uttered a word to the other.
The expression on Miss Chinonye Ibeh’s face as they entered the office clearly revealed her anticipation—and her ignorance as the only one still in the dark as regards the outcome of the test result. But her expression first revealed her displeasure at seeing Kathryn and Simeon together, like a couple.
San Diego, California, United States.
Philip Poweide settled in in the room Reverend Gregory Hipkins had provided for him the previous afternoon. He had first, at his arrival, been ushered into the church where he sat waiting for the Reverend. Reverend Gregory soon appeared full of joy and apologies. He had, almost immediately, led Philip to one of the rooms at the back of the church. When Philip was alone in the room, he wondered if the space, and materials, used in building the rooms would not have been used in making the church bigger, as the church—though beautiful—was small. The room Reverend Gregory had given him had enough space for a few modest items; still Philip found it comfortable enough.
There was a light knock on the door, before Reverend Gregory walked into the room. He had in his hands some clothes.
‘I’m sure you would need these, Philip—for a change.’ Reverend Gregory said as he placed the clothes on the bed, just beside Philip.
‘Thank you, Reverend.’
‘You are most welcome.’
As the Reverend walked towards the door, Philip called out to him, ‘Talking about change, will it be possible to change my name—last name actually?’
‘Yes. I’m sure the state laws allow that. Though it will require more time, and more expense too.’
‘Thank you, Reverend.’
‘You want to drop Poweide?’ the Reverend asked. It sounded more like poor weed.
‘What name would you adopt in its place, if I may ask?’
‘Freeman. Philip Freeman.‘
Ambrose Giwa Holdings, Victoria Island, Lagos.
‘This is just the right time for the drama to begin.’ she whined. She had tried to remain professional, but as the conversation had progressed, her voice had lost some of its professional touch, revealing her displeasure. ‘This is what the entire work has been about. Why draw the curtains now?’ Miss Ibeh spoke.
Kathryn passed the phone from her left ear to her right before she responded. ‘Philip is not even in Nigeria.’
‘Wherever he is, we will drag him in,’ Miss Ibeh begged. ‘My foundation will solicit the help of professional lawyers. All I need is—give your permission for me to proceed, then you sit back and watch.’
‘I do understand it all, dear. But I just think I’ve gotten all what I want.’
Kathryn heaved. ‘I’ve gotten all I want—thank you.’ Kathryn said. She turned towards the door as she had heard its soft squeak. Kathryn was quick to welcome James Salako in with her fingers, as he had tried to excuse himself, having realised Kathryn was engaged in a conversation on her mobile phone—certainly not official. ‘I don’t want to push it any further,’ Kathryn continued, eager to end the present conversation, and, possibly, begin another with James. ‘I want David to remain, forever, ignorant of Philip Poweide’s existence.’ Kathryn said with a sense of finality. She smiled at James who had taken a seat opposite hers. James raised his thick eyebrows, and slowly turned his gaze towards the water dispenser in Kathryn’s office. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Or was it, go on I’m not listening. Kathryn was not sure which best fit James’ expression, yet she smiled.
‘How sure are you that Simeon will remain quiet?’
‘I’m sure Simeon would do anything to protect his brother. Considering the circumstance we all find ourselves, I’m sure he knows being a talkative won’t do his brother any good.’ Kathryn said. She knew she had to make her conclusion more forceful, even if it meant telling a lie. ‘Moreover, Simeon and I have already reached an agreement.’
‘Oh, I see!’
The line went silent.
Miss Chinonye Ibeh broke the silence after a few seconds. ‘I will allow you sometime. We still need to talk. Have a lovely evening, Miss Kathryn.’
‘You too, dear.’ Kathryn dropped the phone and beamed at James who, still, was playfully not looking in her direction.
‘Dear James,’ Kathryn called as she tapped a button on her laptop. ‘I have something to show you; something to keep you busy—really busy.’ She smiled as she turned the laptop in James’ direction. Kathryn stood from her chair, picked up her bag and phone, and walked towards the door. James followed every move she made. As Kathryn turned the knob of the door, she turned and said, ‘Tell me what you think when you are done reading.’ She smiled broadly. ‘It does not have a title yet, just call it—illusion.‘ Kathryn smiled again, before she closed the door, leaving James alone in her office.
As Kathryn walked towards her car, she assured herself that she had made the right decision. James had been free with her, and she wanted to reciprocate same. James had been free enough to reveal the passions he had; passions that were mostly left untold. Kathryn was sure only a few knew that James loved men, and that he hoped he would one day write a classic novel. Kathryn knew she could trust James with her personal story. And she was hopeful that James would be willing to make a novel from what she had typed in her laptop for him to read.
Thanks to all who read the episodes of this series.