I get off the police van and lights flash in my eyes as reporters hover around me. My name has become a chorus on their lips. One of them pushes her microphone to my mouth but I can’t push it away; my hands have been restrained by handcuffs.
“Mr Bola, any comments? How do you feel about…”
She’s pushed aside by the police officers who lead me to towards the courtroom.
“I DIDN’T DO IT!” I roar. No one pays me any attention. One look at their faces remind me what they are. Newshounds.
“Famous last words” one of them behind me says. Sniggering follows.
I try to look back but the policeman on my right holds my head from behind and forces me to look forward.
“Ogbeni move fast” the one by my left says and slaps my head. I shake my head and quicken my pace.
As we reach the entrance, the wind blows the scent of vanilla and grapes to my face. My eyes and nose follow the direction the scent is coming from. I freeze.
“Ogbeni!” the policemen shout in unison. They try to push me forward but I don’t bulge. I stare intently at the owner of the scent–my only hope of getting out of here. Loretta; my fiancee. In the hands of the man who put me here. Folarin. My Stepbrother.
All I see is red as I try to push the policemen away with my shoulders. One of them holds me and I bite his palm. The other hits my knees with his condo and I drop to my knees. The murmuring behind me intensifies at this.
“Loretta!!” I scream and she shifts her eyes away from mine, letting Folarin place his hand on her back and lead her away.
I roar on my knees and the policemen pull me up and drag me into the courtroom to face my end.
The moment he gets off the van, I am aware. Neither the camera flashes nor the reporters shouting his name alerts me but the buzz I always feel in my chest whenever he’s around me does. My gaze remains fixated on the ground as I await Folarin. I pray silently that Bola is taken inside before Folarin arrives.
Fingers like scale touch the back of my neck and my breath hitches.
“Babe, wassup?” Folarin says, grinning from ear to ear as he watches the reporters follow his brother. The arrogant bastard! I eye his blue polo shirt and jeans trousers and wonder how he can be so casual about everything.
“Just hi? No hug? No kiss? Nawa for you oh Loretta!”.
I am about to reply him when Bola shouts “I DIDN’T DO IT!”. My heart starts to pound.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
“Hey” Folarin whispers, stroking my hair “relax, it will be fine. Just do the right thing and it will be fine”.
I watch the policemen drag Bola and tears fall from my eyes.
“Loretta…” Folarin starts but I silence him with my hand. I dry my tears and try to put myself together. Folarin sets his left hand around my shoulders.
Then Bola freezes and slowly meets my eyes with his. Try as i may,I cannot tear my gaze from his.
“Think of the baby” Folarin whispers to me at the same time that Bola shouts my name and I shift my gaze from Bola’s. Folarin moves his hands to my back and leads me away. As we head to Folarin’s car, I do not turn back till we are inside the car.
“Here” Folarin says, handing me a box of serviettes. I don’t realise I have been crying till he hands me the box. My taste-buds do not detect the salt.
“Don’t be weak now Retta, we have to win this. Think of the baby. Think of me”.
But I don’t think of him or the bastard in my belly. Rather, I think of the day Bola proposed to me. It was on valentine’s day in Alpha beach. We were talking when he suddenly started screaming and running towards the sea. I felt the knock of fear in my heart that day as I ran after him screaming his name. Then he “fainted” just in front of the sea and I reached him.
“Bola!” I screamed at the top of my voice and sat down on the sand beside him. He opened his eyes slowly and started mumbling.
“Ww…what is the problem?” I asked raising his back up and supporting it with my hands. He slowly put his right hand in his pocket and brought out the ring.
“Marry me Retta” he said and I burst out craughing(crying and laughing). People at the beach were clapping and whistling while I was crying and laughing.
“Yes, Bola!” I screamed “Yes!” and the cheering increased. A DJ started playing “Aduke” by Tjan and we were both about to get off the ground when a tide hit us and sent us back down.
“See, even the ocean supports” he said and we laughed. Then we kissed and I remember how different our kiss felt at that time. It was like we were cementing our union with that kiss.
“You see, you are smiling. You understand what you stand to gain if you come with me” Folarin says, interrupting my day dreams. I close my eyes and ignore him.
Someone taps the window and I open my eyes immediately. I stare at the time and my heart almost jumps out of my chest! 12:30 pm! The trial was supposed to begin by 12:00 pm! I am alone in the car; Folarin could not even wake me up!
The person taps the window again and I frown. Winding down, I find myself facing a black policeman with tribal marks.
“Prosecuting witness 3 you are needed in court now”. Cold fingers run down my spine as I nod quickly and follow him through the back entrance into the courtroom to destroy the life of my lover and possible father of my unborn child.