The Awakening

Jumoke tapped her fingers impatiently as she waited for the Legal Team handling the companies affairs to leave, Lawyers were like Kangaroos, they appeared to jump at the slightest opportunity straining their long necks and always prophesying doom, they had showed up unannounced to her office  to discuss the Companies  financial situation , she knew that she would be deceiving herself if she thought  they were remotely interested in the companies affairs they were just bothered about their Fat Retainers , Her father had been unusually absent these days his vacation had been extended by one week then another now three week extra, she suspected as was always the case with her dad that he had come across some little young thing in the Bahamas that had him distracted, "so miss Benson i suggest the best way to resolve this issue is for you to travel India and bargain with the chemical companies" The leader of the group suggested politely, she managed to force out a grimace wondering why the Principal partner of the firm had thought it wise to be absent from this intruusive delegation he sent, in truth Jumoke's head was reeling she looked at them squarely, sizing each one of them in their smart suits and polished shoes they had been receiving N2,000,000 monthly as retainer for doing practically nothing apart from regular Insurance renewal and shipping contracts rectification , in all honesty if she was going to cut costs she decided that she would commence by moving their business to a cheaper law firm. She was not ready to move an inch out of Lagos State until she was certain Lillian was in stable condition and out of her coma, a part of her knew her behaviour could be termed as  irrational ,feeling so strongly attached to a a stranger but she felt that maybe in Lillian she had found the intimate relationship that she had been lacking all her life, she had not heard from her mother or siblings for almost two years and her father,s relationship with her was more business than personal , she decided that she would control her notorious temper and usher this lawyers out of her office cordially, she was aware that their contract with them had a few more months to run it's course and she did not want to expend the companies resources on a law suit that could come from their vendetta. Lawyers she thought to herself what a bunch of wolves.

Ndidi stretched in contentment as the sound of running water woke her up, she opened her eyes and for a minute and felt disoriented before it suddenly dawned on her that she was not in her own bedroom. "Fredrick" she whispered out loud suddenly remembering the events of last night, she looked down at herself and couldn't remember changing her clothes or putting on these over sized man's T shirt she was wearing , The noise of the running water stopped and she suddenly felt shy, Fredrick walked in wearing a pair of briefs with water dripping from his dark tan body, she tried not to duck under the covers she couldn't understand what was happening to her she was not this jittery under any situation. He stopped and smiled when he noticed she was awake "hey" he said softly, "hey" she responded sitting up, " didn't mean to wake you up" "it's fine" she responded wondering if she should just blurt out that she could not remember what happened late last night. "i know that look Ndidiamaka" he laughed tossing his towel on the bed playfully "what look ..did you drug me last night this doctor eh?" she repeated playfully suddenly lunging at him, grabbing his neck and choking him mockingly  , he picked her up effortlessly and threw her on the bed like she was some limp rag doll ,she loved playing around like this without a care in the world , she sat up grabbing his briefs for support as she placed her head on his flat tummy, he instinctively held her close , she sighed wondering where this man had been during the dark periods in her life. "what happened last night Fred?" she finally asked. He pulled away and looked at her seriously "you were in shock, you kept  muttering gibberish about some Nurse Esther and Rotimi, talking about blood this and blood that to be honest you scared me, i had never seen you like that and then you kept on shivering, when i looked at your eyes and noticed that your cornea was becoming dilated i gave you a cocktail of drugs to calm your nerves and then you slept off" she pulled him closer in gratitude brushing her face against his hairy belly  "do you want to talk about it?" he asked stroking her hair softly, "no, i just want to keep on rubbing my head against your belly " she responded soothingly crushing him tightly "you,re like one big teddy bear  fred with a big ass though" Fred laughed slapping her hands off ," If you keep that up i will show you how much of a bear i am " Ndidi laughed falling back on the bed , pulling off the shirt she was wearing and stretching seductively  "Show me then, just how much of a bear you are."

Esther walked briskly into the Finance department of the hospital, as expected by 8.00 a.m the place was almost empty only Debo the secretary had come, He was busy munching on agege bread with tea when she came in,"Good morning ma " he greeted ,"good morning dear, is Alex not around?" she asked , "no not yet" he replied she knew that Alex the Chief Accountant came in  daily at  9.00 a.m so she figured she  had about an hour to source for the information she needed, "i really need to check my mails can you help me turn on his system, my husband sent me an important message from Ghana " she was surprised at how comfortable she had become with lying and worst of all how at peace she was with this arrangement with the reporter, last night she had slept well for the first time in a long time, she felt as if sharing her burden with another human being had made her  feel lighter, Debo as she suspected was eager to buy her story and offer his assistance without hesitation ,her reputation in the hospital was solid everyone looked up to her. Alex's seat was located behind Debo's and the junior accountant Stephen's desk so it was very easy for her to delve straight to the hospital information software without Debo having a clue as to what she was up to, she was grateful for the minimal knowledge she had in computer applications so she did not find it difficult navigating through the system, she typed in Lillian Philips when the patient information list came up and was surprised to get no result, she tried again  but got no match, she was surprised and began to panic, she scrolled to where patients names were arranged with an L ,patiently scanning through about a dozen names but she could not find Lilian Philips anywhere , she was confused according to what she was looking at here Lillian Phillips was not even in the hospital's directory as a registered patient,. she cringed as she heard Debo begin to scrape the bottom of his tea cup with his spoon, scooping the last remnants of the beverage stuck in his cup "Debo" she said sharply, perhaps too sharply as the young man jumped. "have you people updated your software?" "software ? " Debo repeated with a blank expression on his face, "our information system has it been changed" enlightenment suddenly showed on his face. 'no ma, it's the same programme we have been using." Esther was exasperated , forcing a smile to avoid suspicion she shut down Alex,s system and left. she could not understand why Lillian Phillips was not registered as a patient in the hospital, for someone who was staying in the executive suite who was paying  the  outrageous bills she wondered to herself. she began to sweat on her palms the exhilaration of this morning leaving her, she suspected that if she did not give that reporter all she wanted she may report them to the police and she could not risk that, she walked to the end of the fourth floor and saw something familiar which made her stop, "The file room" she thought to herself, "it  contained all the documents on patients including doctor,s notes and each file on a patient contained that patients ID no" she walked briskly to the file room, as expected it was open the file manager had  either not come to the office or was busy eating breakfast somewhere, she walked to the cabinet and found the section for patients who had been  registered three weeks ago, just as expected she found Lillian Phillips file, she quickly brought out her phone and took down the ID nos.

If Debo was surprised to see her return so soon he did not show it, he didn't even ask her any questions as she made a beeline for Alex,s system, the time was now 8.45 a.m and she was aware she had less than 15 minutes to extract the information and leave, the system took forever to restart and she was beginning to lose her patience , sighing in relief when eventually the system came on, hurriedly she sorted out  patient's names through their  ID numbers and gasped out loud in surprise when she found a match for Lillian Phillips , Debo who at this time had been chatting away in yoruba on the office phone line jumped again, "Nurse na wetin?" he asked , she forced a smile "Nothing dear , the message my husband sent" she lied " ..his grand aunt just died.' "sorry for your loss ma" he said half heartedly continuing with his conversation, Esther shut down the system and walked slowly back to her office, what she just saw made no sense.

Jumoke rushed out of her apartment almost knocking down a man in uniform  in the process, "what is wrong with you are you blind?' she shouted angrilly, "i am sorry ma " the young man replied politely tilting his cap as she gave him a rude look, " who are you by the way?" "sorry ma i'm Tony the new security man we will be taking over from akpan & co" "taking over?" jumoke queried, nobody had informed her of any change , she hissed loudly and continued on her way , she was running late for a meeting and would deal with this later. Breezing into the meeting she almost knocked over her secretary who was coming out of the meeting room carrying a tray filled with used tea cups "what is it today can't anyone see!" she barked angrilly , she breezed in to see the other members of staff already seated, refusing to apologize she marched angrilly to the seat at the  head of the conference table, she almost screamed out loud when she heard a phone ring but held her tongue when she discovered it was hers , picking it up she shouted "what!" "hello is this miss benson" a cultured voice at the end of the line replied, she almost bit her lip in regret praying it was not one of their customers. "yes please who is speaking?" she queried. "i am calling from executive springs madam,there was no one else to call""yes" Jumoke repeated impatiently fearing the worst."i just want to inform you that miss philips has just come out of a coma" "what!" jumoke could hardly believe her ears "Miss Lillian Phillips madam, she came out of the coma she has been in about 15 minutes ago" Jumoke cut the phone and rushed out without giving the other members in the room a backward glance , all she could think of was "Lillian is ok now." this time she actually knocked down a messenger that had been bringing documents to the meeting room, "get out of my way!"she barked as papers went flying every where.

Ndidi threw another mint into her mouth as she danced out of Fred,s kitchen , she had just washed off the bowl they used to drink cereal and was humming away contentedly, this morning had been beautiful , she had literally pushed Fredrick out of his house to go to work this morning he had not wanted to leave her ,she could not remember the last time she had felt this happy in a long while, she knew she had to get to work herself but she was in no rush to get back into her crazy reality,her phone rang shattering her mood, rushing to the bedroom she hurriedly picked it up before it rang off, she stayed silent for a couple of minutes not saying a word until the conversation was over, throwing another mint into her mouth she smiled like she had just hit the jackpot muttering out loud. "well..well....well Dr Richard Omisakin what have you to do in our precious story line" she dialed Abbass's number immediately not bothering with phone etiquette as soon as he picked "Abbass it,s me" she blurted out "listen i need you to find out everything about Dr Richard Omisakin..yes owner of Executive Springs hospital, i want to know his connection with Lillian Phillips and why he is paying her hospital bills, ..yes of course do whatever it takes." Ndidi felt great with herself  when the call had been completed ,she always liked it when her hunches were right. she had always known from day one that there was more to this story and finally the hidden characters were coming to life, she could not wait to get to the end of this story something big was brewing.....

To be continued