A TALE OF FOUR WOMEN (Ndidiamaka's story)contd

Ndidi came out of the bathroom confused, events from last night kept on haunting her and she didn't mean just the phone call, she had crossed a line and suspected her younger brother would be furious with her, she glanced at her bed, He was still sprawled out asleep, her eyes drank in the sight of him, 6 ft 3 inches ,lean all muscles hard male, her brother would be mad she slept with his mentor but standing there staring at him and recollecting last nights activities she felt a rush in her insides and knew she was not sorry.

30 minutes later standing in front of her bedroom mirror in her bra and a pair of black denim jeans, putting the last strand of her tinted dark golden blond hair into place she felt her visitor move, "you're a sight for sore eyes" he muttered in that deep baritone voice of his, she felt herself blush all over and steeled herself, "one would think i worked you to death last night with the way you slept all through the night " she responded coyly , he wrapped her bed spread around his waist and swung his legs out of bed so fast she almost laughed out loud, wrapping his arms round her waist he put his head on her shoulder, she had never felt so secure with a man for a long time "was that movement supposed to show me how agile you are ?" she joked, trying to control her voice from shaking, she didn't want him to see the effect he had on her, "no" he replied after some minutes of silence "..that was to show you how much i wanted to just hold you in my arms, last night was beautiful i,ve wanted you for a long time."

She allowed herself relax in his arms for a minute then quickly removed his arms and put on her shirt frowning, " you know last night was a mistake, james will not like this, you are his mentor, his boss , lets just pretend this did not happen and move on." she felt bad saying that but she had to be realistic, she did not have time to be all mushy, they were too many things at stake and the connection with James would just complicate issues, she turned her back to him and pretended to be spending so much time buttoning her shirt so that he would not see how conflicted she really was, after 5 minutes of unbearable silence she turned to face him and was surprised to see him back on the bed, adjusting the pillows to go back to sleep,

 "Fredrick didn't you hear a word i said?" she exclaimed , he just stretched his long body like a cat ,with his hands behind his head on the pillow watching her after a while he whispered so low that she had to strain her ears to hear, "you and i know that James is not the issue here"
 " you know this was bound to happen sooner or later, i am not those kids you pick up and dispose of the next morning, i know you Ndidi, i,ve watched you for two years..this act" he continued raising his hand and pointing around
 " this hard babe act you put up, i am not buying it, when i drove you home from the party last night and you asked if i wanted a drink upstairs i looked at your face , not the beautiful cold distant mask you carry along but i looked at your real face, and a part of you wanted me to say no and i saw the fear in your eyes, what's done is done i,m not going to forget this ever happened , matter of fact i am not going to let you forget."

She stood there astounded with her mouth open , she was furious , her brown eyes beginning to grow tiny with anger " before you go all gangster on me, because i can see those cat eyes of yours dilating just know i have a hangover, trying to keep up with your alcohol intake last night has ruined me." she melted, crossing her hands and shaking her head "what am i going to do with you Fredrick?" " you could marry me?" he joked she ignored him and reached out for her shoes, "or you could cook me breakfast" he continued " guy i am late for work , cook breakfast yourself this is not a service with breakfast motel" she saw his hands sneak up on her from the other side of the bed and darted to avoid it, " where are you running to now, how about morning service , if i won't eat breakfast at least feed big Fred he is hungry" Fredrick joked as she literally ran out of the bedroom, "big fred, is that we call it now" she responded laughing "leave my key under the mat when you are leaving this man, and go to work don't you have patients to attend to this lazy doctor!!" she shouted from the parlour "i'm too hungry to concentrate on my patients and its all your fault, drive safe love" she didn't look back, she would have seen her security man staring at her in wonder as she drove past him in her Grey colored Hyundai Elantra, Ibrahim was thinking to himself for one year he had worked in this apartment building and he had never seen this oyibo madam smile , today not only was she smiling she waved to him.

Breezing into her office she ignored the fake smiles her junior colleagues threw at her and went straight to her desk, it was no secret that her colleagues disliked her, they called her "wannabe bitch" behind her back but she didn't care, in less than three years since joining the newspaper, she had risen from ordinary contributor to the role of associate executive editor ,her colleagues felt slighted, some of them had been here before her but her work spoke for itself and the editor in chief believed in her,she itched for a more challenging portfolio, but her big bellied executive editor was in her way, .

She flung her sun shades to the side and buzzed in her young goggle eyed secretary to confirm her schedule for the day,
"Dike is already at the hospital ma for the Lilian Phillips story"
"has he called to submit a progress report?" Ndidi queried,
"only to state that Miss phillips was alive but was in a critical situation,apparently she is in a coma"
 Ndidi felt relieved, at least the air head was alive."what hospital is she in?" "Executive springs ma, she was transferred from general hospital to executive springs early this morning" Ndidi was pissed, getting information out of executive springs hospital was like getting water out of sand, they were known to be extremely secretive about their patients hence they enjoyed high patronage from the rich, Ndidi was bummed, this meant that she had to personally handle this story, Dike didn't have the skills to get any useful information out from a place like that.she was already mentally going through her contacts trying to see if there was anybody she could squeeze information out from and forgot that her secretary was still standing there staring at her. "yes " she replied impatiently,
" Mr Akinlade wants to see you" Ndidi was pissed, she hated going into that fat slobs room and didn't need his constant harassment.

 She was aware that her boss purposely killed some of the controversial articles she and her staff had written, and was also involved in limiting her funding especially when it was necessary for a huge story, she was not too bothered, she had some very damaging evidence of him lobbying for bribes from influential individuals all caught on tape and written documents from some junior staff complaining of sexual harassment from him, she was waiting for the right time to strike she pretended not to hear her secretary and reached out for her pack of cigarettes , her good mood from the morning was quickly dissipating,her secretary sensed this and began to edge away, "peace! " she called out sharply, "put a lid on this Lillian Phillips story i don't want anybody apart from Dike hearing this, the last thing we need is a media frenzy on this story breaking out before we get a large slice of the pie" " yes ma" peace nodded literally running out of her office, Ndidi hid a smile as she lit a cigarette, she was aware of the effect she had on her junior staff members and she didn't care, her father had taught her early, "you need to remind people who is boss, you do that either by putting fear in them or by teaching them a lesson when they cross you, everyone can't be loyal to you but if they fear you enough they might have no other choice." her former secretary had been fired because she gave out information prematurely on a story she had been working on over the phone to another colleague, the woman had been much older than her and a lot of people had come begging on her behalf, Ndidi had ignored them, fired her and suspended the most persistent plea maker for a month without pay, the begging stopped after that.

Driving into the Executive Springs Hospital complex at Ikoyi she was surprised and upset to recognize one or two faces from other media houses already circling the complex, she was about to light a cigarette when she sighted the security personnel giving her an evil look, seeing that she might need information from him soon she changed her mind, put the pack of cigarettes back in her purse and got out of her car, a young man with white shirt tucked untidyingly in dark brown trousers began to approach her, Ndidi looked at him with contempt she wondered why journalists chose to dress like waiters in a restaurant while on a hunt for a story and complained that they were treated badly afterward.
"madam good morning i.." Ndidi cut him off with a wave of her hand and signaled for him to get into the car, he quickly obliged and she drove off to the car park across the hospital complex near what appeared to be a restaurant, winding down her windows she lit a cigarette and inhaled sharply, her eyes covered behind dark shades never leaving the hospital complex, she let him stew in his seat for about four minutes whilst she finished her stick of cigarette.

 "Dike " she began in her cold voice "what did i tell you about dressing like a refugee reject?" He looked down at his clothes in bewilderment he was about to stammer a response but she raised her hands to cut him off, "who are those other journalists and when did they get here?" "erm i don't know who they are but i got here before them, they have been going around trying to get information but nobody is talking." Ndidi rolled her eyes unseen behind her sunglasses, the incompetence of her staff annoyed her sometimes.
" so you are here , you notice your rivals in information arrive and it doesn't occur to you to find out what media outfit they work for?' Dike was becoming visibly annoyed . he didn't understand why that was relevant to the investigation.
"so you,ve been here since 6.00 a,m i presume , give me a situation report"

Ndidi was expressionless whilst Dike gave her an update on the story, apparently Lilian Phillips and her neighbor were rushed to general hospital by 3.00 p.m yesterday,  Lillian phillips had overdosed on pain killers and slit her wrists ,the neighbour had regained consciousness but lilian was in critical condition, by 9.00 p.m they had received an instruction to move lillian to Executive Springs Hospital, the transfer had been made by 11.00 p.m last night and there had been no more information, the only visitor Lillian Phillips received was the neighbour who had been in the hospital since 7.00 a.m this morning." Ndidi lit another cigarette and analyzed the information. "do we know who gave the instruction for her to be moved?" "no ma we don't, i tried squeezing my contact in General hospital but that was all he knew." "and the neighbour who is she? anybody important" "olajumoke benson, she is the daughter to a wealthy business magnate , he is also the landlord of the apartment building they both stay in and.." Ndidi turned sharply she heard the instant hesitation in Dike's voice, he looked uncomfortable "and what? spit it out" "well there are rumours that she is a lesbian, but erm they are unconfirmed.." Ndidi smiled ,this story was getting interesting "so apart from the lesbian neighbour who discovered Lillian Phillips she has received no other visistors" "no ma, nobody else."

Ndidi was calculating, she found it weird that neither rich boyfriend nor family members had visited the popular model. "who is the doctor in charge of Lillian?" she continued "its the hospital owner ma , Richard Omisakin she is staying in the executive suite only the doctor and nurse have access to her, it's at the topmost floor, cut away from other patients " Ndidi was now really bummed, getting the doctors working in this hospital to talk would have been difficult but getting the owner Dr Omisakin to talk was impossible, she would have to explore another angle. "the nurse in charge what's her story?" "erm she is a head nurse here" "you mean she is not the matron?" Ndidi cut in, "no she is not the matron, i understand the doctor wanted someone who would give miss phillips 24 hour attention." "beautiful" Ndidi muttered, a lower ranking nurse was most likely to squeal out information than a matron. "lets drop a hold on her, feel her out, see if she can provide access to miss Phillips" "erm ma there is a problem there, you see from the little i have gathered about her she is a pious christian, you know daughter to a pastor, she even leads the fellowship in the hospital she doesn't seem like someone that would co.operate" Ndidi removed her sunglasses and gave Dike the full glare of her cold stare , her brown eyes seething with anger "i didn't catch your last statement, do you want to repeat it?" she asked coldly but Dike was already shaking his head, "no problem ma i will get right to it..i mean her , will do all i can do." he almost fell off from his seat in his haste to leave her presence, he did not need a prophet to tell him not to argue with her when her eyes turned like that. Ndidi did not even take a second look at him as she sped off, Dike stared at the back of the car as it got smaller with distance and wondered if his boss didn't have a hidden penis somewhere in her body.

Ndidi was deep in thought as she headed out of ikoyi, a suicidal model, a lesbian, a rich boyfriend that would not show up and an unknown benefactor paying for her bills,plus where were Lilian phillips family members she had never even heard of them in any gossip or press story, this story was getting interesting she needed access to that hospital room and she hoped Dike could deliver, she almost laughed out loud as she remembered his excuse, the nurse was a pious christian, she had heard that line before when she decided to go after a well known pastor after receiving various tips on his involvement with a notorious arms smuggling gang,she had met a brick wall at every step of the way, the man was a holy man, pious from childhood, called to lead the flock, was all she got by people she had pressed for information she got her big break when an angry ex mistress of the pastor was looking for revenge, she talked giving her names of associates she could get more information from, she digged more and exposed all, that story had given her very first promotion. "pious christian my foot" she muttered under her breath, everything was all either good or bad P.R she believed every human being was the same ,you push hard enough the real man would come out. she jammed a Dbanj cd into her cd player and nodded her head whilst the sound blasted from her car stereo, she could almost smell her next promotion, if she could get a fantastic story and remove her boss Ndidiamaka Akiwu was heading for the executive editor position she could almost taste it. "daddy would be proud." she thought to herself .