Dawn stared at the phone in her hand as if it was a snake coiled to strike. She gingerly placed the phone on the table staring at it all the while, unable to process what she just heard. Did Ugochi just say someone will kill her? She turned to Paul, her boyfriend of two weeks, who was staring at her, waiting for her to say what the problem was.
“That was Ugochi. She told me to come pick her up before someone kills her.” saying it out loud like that propelled her to action. She jumped to her feet and dragged Paul by the hand. “Come on, we need to move.”
“What exactly is the problem? What did she say?” he asked as he grabbed his car keys and watched her put on shorts and a T-shirt hurriedly.
“She was crying, and she said I should come get her before someone kills her.”
“Did she say where she was?”
“No. but when I talked with her earlier, she said she was home. She sounded fine then. I can only assume it’s a problem between her and her man.”
By this time they were driving out of the compound. Dawn quickly dialed Ijay’s number as she gave Paul directions. Maybe she could give some meaning to this mess. Ijay picked on the first ring.
“Hi dear. What’s up? Why are you calling so late?”
“It’s Ugochi. She called me now to come pick her before someone kills her. I don’t know what is going on. I’m on my way to her house now though.”
“Kills her? Really? How did she sound?”
“She was crying. She sounded scared.”
“Yeah. I’ll let you know. We are at her place now.”
“Paul is with me.”
“Okay then. Keep me posted.”
They dropped the call just as Paul drove into the compound. Dawn barely waited for the car to come fully to a stop before opening the door and hurrying out. Paul was right behind her. She knocked loudly when she got to the door. She could hear shouting coming from within. She knocked again.
Few moments later Ikem came to the door. He was sweating profusely and breathing heavily. “What do you want?” he asked blocking the door
Dawn tried to look behind him into the room but she couldn’t see anything. “Where is Ugochi?” she demanded
“She is inside. I’ve packed all her stuff, I don’t want anything with a liar and a cheat.” He stepped back and Dawn rushed inside.
Ugochi was sprawled on the settee in the living room. Dawn covered her mouth with her palm to keep from screaming when she saw her. Her face was covered in bruises, one eye swollen shut and there was a deep cut on her lower lip. There were bruises all over her body too, it was like she was involved in a motor accident.
“What in God’s name happened to you?” Dawn exclaimed
Ugochi pried her one good eye open. She blinked the eye several times before focusing on Dawn. She tried to sit up and groaned in pain. Paul quickly came forward to help her up. “Dawn, is that you?” she asked feebly.
“Yes dear. What happened to you?”
“Can you get me out of here first? I’ll explain to you later, please.”
“Okay, okay.” Dawn went to the other side of her and guided her to the door. They met Ikem by the door, still sweating, his arms crossed on his chest and his right leg jiggling as if preparing for battle.
“I don’t ever want to see you in this house today.” He said once they got to where he was stationed by the door. “Just come and pack your stuff tomorrow and get out of my life forever.”
Dawn was so angry she couldn’t see straight. “You mean you were the one who hurt her like this? You beat her black and blue? And for what?” she demanded
Ikem refused to answer. He just kept staring at them and tapping his foot on the floor.
“Dawn, please let’s go. I need to leave this house now.” Ugochi said
They all filed out and went to the car. Dawn helped Ugochi in and arranged her in the best way to avoid pain. All through the drive back to the house, nobody said a word, they were all deep in thought wondering what could have made Ikem act that way. It was a very baffling situation.
Dawn called Ijay to keep her appraised of the situation and she promised to check on them tomorrow. Paul helped Ugochi in and drew Dawn aside when he had her settled in a chair.
“Babe, I need to go now so you’ll have time to take care of your friend. I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”
“Okay. Thanks for your help.” She stood on tip-toe and kissed him on the cheek.
Dawn went to the kitchen, got a frozen pack of peas to use as a makeshift ice pack, grabbed her first aid box and went back to her friend. She handed the peas pack to her so she could place on her swollen eye, and focused on treating the minor bruises and cuts that arrayed her body.
When she was done, she sat beside Ugochi and offered her shoulder for her to cry on, all the while thinking of how much she would like to hurt Ikem for hurting her friend.
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