Obiekwe was already waiting for them at Amobi’s office.
He rose and shook hands with Ike and Gabrielle. “Mrs. Rosenfeld. Congratulations on your recent good fortune. The prosecuting attorney has given me a copy of Regina Agu’s full confession since I would now handling the case.”
“Thank you, Mr. Obiekwe, I am glad you have agreed to do this.” Gabrielle started. “My only question is why she confessed so quickly. She seemed to be doing well evading capture, and suddenly she caves in as soon as she is captured? It doesn’t make sense.”
“It’s usual with first time murderers. They are initially swallowed by rage or revenge or anger, then after their actions, the guilt kicks in, and believe it or not, by the time they are arrested, what they feel is relief.”
They looked around as Regina was brought in by Amobi and a uniform officer. She was handcuffed and wore leg irons with the khaki jumpsuit that didn’t flatter her look.
Gabrielle looked at Amobi, and then met her sister’s gaze. Even with the drooping bags under her eyes and the unattractive clothing, the resemblance was astonishing.
Regina looked a little heavier, but perhaps it was just the outfit. Amobi waited until she had seated, chains clanking, then glanced at Ike and left.
Gabrielle stared at her.
“Quite a surprise to find out about me, wasn’t it?” Regina addressed her dryly. “I have had the advantage all these years of knowing about you.”
“Miss Agu, as your legal attorney I must remind you of what we discussed this evening. Anything you say here is between – ” Obiekwe began smoothly.
“Abeg save it.” Regina interjected, cutting him off abruptly. “I’ve decided I don’t want anything from goody-two-shoes here, including you as my lawyer.”
Obiekwe glanced at Gabrielle, who gave a pleading look. “Please stay.” She said to him.
“Oh, isn’t this sweet?” Regina asked rhetorically. “The good twin wants to do the right thing. Mother would be so proud.”
“Why did you kill my husband?” Gabrielle asked quietly.
“Your husband!” Regina replied, laughing. “That’s a good one. I saw more of that man than you did. Why you were busy representing and rearing his kids I was keeping his bed warm.”
“How did you meet George?”
She smiled. “I wish I could say I met him by chance. I knew he liked working girls, so I did what I had to do to get his attention. He booked me for a night, and once he saw me he was thrilled to hire me to do in his bed things you couldn’t. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement; we both got what we wanted.”
“You haven’t answered the question,” Ike said. “Why did you kill him?”
Regina looked at him with a devouring eye. “This must be the boyfriend,” she said, amusement in her tone. “The infamous detective. Not bad. Not bad at all I understand I have to thank you for my arrest. So excited about the princess you just couldn’t watch her go to jail, right?”
“Not for something she didn’t do.”
“Oh she did it.” Regina said bitterly. “She and all those other Mgbakos who made her the apple of their eyes while I wallowed in garbage,”
“The circumstances of your birth and upbringing were not Gabrielle’s fault,” Obiekwe said.
“Why is he still here?”
Obiekwe rose and said to Gabrielle, “I’ll call you,” Then left the room.
“You should let him help you. Considering your situation, he could help you get a lighter sentence.”
“My situation?” Regina said with a mocking laughter. “And what is my situation? George’s whore, secret sister to George’s wife? I was raised on stories of your wonderful life, my mother would cry when she saw you on TV or the newspapers. You were the one she wanted, the one she missed. I was the less respectable one, the one she had to manage, the undesirable duplicate.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“Oh, and you would have embraced the wretched sibling if you had known?”
“I don’t know what I would have done, but I wasn’t given the opportunity to decide.”
“Yeah, my heart bleeds for you. Such a tough life. I’ve been in your house, seen your antique furniture, your clothes.”
“He brought you into my house?” Gabrielle asked irritated by the idea.
“Oh, shocking isn’t it? Of course not. He never considered me good enough to walk on your carpet. I took his key while he was sleeping, and duplicated it. That was how I was able to get your suit. I checked his schedule from the appointment book he kept in his briefcase. I knew when you both would be out of town, so I went to your precious home at Independence layout and took the suit. On the day I nailed George, I sent your housekeeper a phony message to get her to leave.” She laughed. “Smart, right?”
“Why didn’t you contact me?” Gabrielle asked quietly.
“You see, that wasn’t part of the deal. In other to keep collecting the money from the Mgbakos, mama was supposed to keep quiet and never say a word about you. But when she saw you on the news, she sorta…slipped.”
“And you never contacted Gabrielle because you wanted the money to keep coming.”
“Why not?” Regina asked angrily. “She owed me! Her whole family owes me! I am as much an Mgbako as she is.”
“But why did you kill George, Regina?” Gabrielle demanded. “Give me something.”
“Because he thought he could dump me! Just like the Mgbakos dumped me. He used me for as long as he could. He promised me a better life while he screwed me, and when I started demanding for this better life, he cut me off without one kobo.”
Gabrielle glanced at Ike.
“What happened?” Ike asked. “How did you start demanding for more?”
Regina looked down at her feet and sighed. “I wanted to start up my own business. I’m good with clothes and fashion, I really am. I know what the modern day women like, and I know how to reach out to them. I have been srewing their husbands, I know how them.”
“And you asked George for a loan?”
“The bastard fucking laughed at me.” The outrage in her voice explained her motivation to kill her lover. “He told me that I was a call girl, and not the kind of person he could invest in.”
The silence in the room was deafening. Ike rubbed Gabrielle’s arm gently.
“I would have paid him back. It was a legit business investment. He wouldn’t even consider it.”
“And so you decided to kill him,” Gabrielle said.
“Not then. It took a while. I saw you on the news about a month later, and thought that if I killed him and framed you for it, I would get away with it. I could pay you back for having the life I deserved and get back at him at the same time. It was perfect.”
“Life with George was no picnic.” Gabrielle said quietly.
“Oh, yes, that must have been tough. I sympathize with you. But you survived it with heirloom pearls intact. And now you have Peter Okoye here to console you.”
The door to the room opened, and Amobi stuck his head in.
“Time’s up,” he said briskly.
“Just a few more minutes,” Ike said coolly.
Amobi looked at him and flushed. He shut the door with a bang.
Ike glanced at Gabrielle and winked.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t have Mr. Obiekwe as your lawyer?” Gabrielle asked Regina.
“No! Take your guilt somewhere else.”
“I would like to come visit you,” Gabrielle said.
“Why? So you can thank me for getting rid of George and paving the way for Peter Okoye here?”
“No! Don’t play that card with me. It’s a little late.”
“I would like to know about our biological mother.”
“No, you wouldn’t. Trust me.”
“Please let me come visit you.”
Regina looked at her hard, and then turned away. “I’ll think about it.”
The door to the room opened again.
Gabrielle rose, shooting Ike a look that warned him not to bait Amobi anymore.
“I’m ready to go.” She said quietly and then looked at Regina. “I’ll be back.”
Amobi watched as they closed the door behind them and walked away without a word.
“I feel sorry for her.” Gabrielle said. “I know she’s done terrible things, but you can tell she’s intelligent just by listening to her. I’m sure she would have been kind if life had treated her better.”
“Gabby, lots of people have hard lives, much worse than she had. They don’t collect blackmail money and become call girls, and murder their clients. Or frame their sisters for their crimes.”
“You don’t understand. I feel partly responsible for what happened to her, whether it makes sense or not.”
Ike pulled her into his arms and kissed her. “Forget about your sister for now. I have some good news.”
“Oh, tell me,” she rested her head on his shoulder. “After the last hour, I could use some good news.”
“I’m going back to work in two weeks.”
Gabrielle drew back and looked at him. “Oh, Ike, that’s wonderful. I’m so relived. I was scared your career would suffer because of me.”
“So let’s go out and celebrate. What do you say?”
Gabrielle glanced back at the room containing her sister, who would not be celebrating anything anytime soon.”
Then she smiled at her lover.
“Sure,” she said “My treat.”