He smelt her before he saw her, a soft fresh scent tantalizing his nostrils, he got up abruptly adjusting his trousers, he could hear her voice just outside the door way addressing one of her staff.
Her voice sounded soft but authoritative her English fluent , he was not surprised everything about her screamed perfection, she walked in and he actually felt dizzy , her long black hair was wrapped neatly behind a Black silk scarf, she wore a loose fitted black hijab that covered her appropriately .
She was the perfect picture of a dutiful wife in mourning but his body would not let him forget that behind all that material was a beautiful crafted master piece.
Her smell enveloped him as she stepped up to him and extended her hand politely,
“So sorry to have kept you waiting for this long I hope you were thoroughly entertained while you waited?”
hazel brown eyes tinged with slight mischief stared straight into his and he could swear she knew that he had been watching her at the pool.
He smiled and touched his hands with hers, a quick jolt of electricity pulsated as flesh touched flesh.
“So sorry for your loss ma’am” He began stuttering a bit but She waved him to stop, he didn’t know if it was because it was too painful to talk about it or she felt guilty.
“I just have a few Questions…. “
“Please sit down Inspector? ”She tilted her head to the side as she waited for introductions.
“Richard, Inspector Richard Osuji” She watched him as he scrambled back to the comfort of the sofa, her expression was blank he could not read her thoughts, he proceeded to bring out his note pad perhaps if he acted like someone who came here to work he would regain his composure .
“When last did you see your husband?” he began,
“Four days ago” she responded curtly, he raised his eyebrow but said nothing,
“Does that surprise you Richard”
He gave an involuntary shudder as his first name rolled out of her tongue with familiarity.
“I ..erm..It’s a bit curious because he was at a party three days ago.one would have thought.”
“It’s a big house” She cut in bluntly, “We don’t live in each others pockets “
He noted down *Distant couple * in his note pad and tried another angle.
“What of his health? Does he have any health related issue?”
“He was Sixty three years old” She replied coldly,
“at that age they have a myriad of health problems , I will inform them to give you the Family doctor’s contact, I’m sure he will be glad to deliberate more on my husband’s health.”
Richard angrily closed his note pad with a snap, he met her gaze coldly and wondered to himself
“what on earth is going on here, “For a second an emotion effused from her eyes, he could see that his action had startled her a bit.
“Is there something else on your mind Detective?’
She asked suddenly, he ignored the warning tone in her voice and went with his gut.
“You seem awfully disinterested in this conversation ma’am, for someone who just lost her husband you are peculiarly calm”
“As opposed to what, am I supposed to be rolling on the floor?”
“At least some kind of human emotion, your husband’s dead body is lying in the mortuary for Pete's sake!”
Richard knew he had crossed a line when two heavily built bodyguards rushed into the sitting room, he had no idea he had raised his voice.
He was in big trouble now, she was probably going to have him sacked, He didn’t know what to do, he didn’t know if he should apologize or just leave.
“It’s Ok Gerald you guys can go.” She finally responded after what seemed like an eternity of deafening silence.
“I am truly sorry …that was extremely out of line, I had no right…”
She waved her hand in that characteristic way of hers and got up cutting him off.
She stood by the window staring out into the vast garden in front, when she finally spoke her voice was soft, tired and honest.
“You’ve probably heard about my misfortune, that’s why you’ve been avoiding looking into my eyes since you came.” Richard opened his mouth in shock but said nothing.
“you never get used to death, my husband and I had our differences but I still miss him, tears never brought any of them back so why waste them …besides what do you think I have been doing all night.”
Richard got up before he knew he was up, he almost caught himself as he made to console her, the naked pain he heard through her voice touched him deeply. He was a blind fool for believing those half-truths Gbenga had spun in his head, he stood confused at his emotions for this stranger, wondering the sudden cause for his emotions spiraling from one extreme to the other, He contemplated taking a step towards her when she suddenly turned and faced him, they stared right into his each other eyes and Richard could barely blink.
Her eyes were like pure Hazel crystals, they could stare right into your soul, Gbenga’s warning rang through his head as he stood there transfixed.
“Stay away from her, whatever you do, do not look into her eyes, they say that her eyes can turn the hardest man into mush, burning into your soul and leaving you at her mercy, Richard do not fall for her!” Gbenga had screamed
She smiled and held out her hand again.
“It’s been refreshing having a honest conversation with you Richard, I am sure we will meet again.” It was a Dismissal, one he deserved for his discourteous tone during this interview but it was a dismissal that was tinged with hope.
As he made his way to where he parked his car, his head was spinning in different directions, what did she mean by “I am sure we will meet again” he thought to himself, was she being polite or would he really see her again he queried. He threw his note pad on the passenger seat and sped out of the Medina Residence, he needed to put as much space between this woman and himself he smelt trouble.
Grace stood by her bedroom as the car sped by, there was something wistful in her eyes, the Detective had awoken something long forgotten in her emotions, his soul was so pure, so untouched by evil she longed to spend more time with him.
“Grace!” Her mother’s rough voice cut through her thoughts, “What did that police man want? He was here for over forty five mins what were you people talking about.”
Grace turned in exasperation flinging the black silk scarf that held her hair on the bed,
“Anthony is dead Mama , the police would want to query us on his last activities.”
‘wetin concern you na you kill am, “ Her mum replied in deep pidgin,
“ Man wey dey follow ashawo both boy and girl waka how e no go die.? I dey surprise em live reach this age sef, the man too spoil.”
Grace shrugged, partly because her mother was telling the truth, partly because she did not care anymore, she was oblivious to this conversation, her mum did not read the memo that you should never speak ill of the dead, she knew from experience that this conversation was going to last longer than she cared for, maybe in her own local way she was trying to cheer her up, remind her that she was better off without a ruthless bisexual nymphomaniac trying to rape her most nights ,that was her experience with her late husband, but it still did not change the fact that this was the fifth man she was grieving, Sixth if she counted Charles.
As her mind wandered back to the detective she sighed, perhaps it was a good thing he sped out of here and away from her, Perhaps she was truly cursed. Destined to walk this earth alone and unloved. She lay down on her silk bed sheets and let the cool air from the air conditioner waft over her. It was time to stop thinking of childish thoughts and prepare for the fight to come.
She had walked this path before, and she was a Professional at this Dance . Anthony’s kids were going to come for blood and she was ready, her Hazel eyes turned cold again as she turned her attention at her mother, as expected she was still ranting against Anthony. She responded so softly her mother almost didn’t catch it.
“And to think mama several years ago this was the same man you said was our angel from heaven, what was it you told me, the man that would change all our destinies for good”
Her mum suddenly kept quiet,her mouth wide open in anger, muttering under her breath she hissed and walked out of her bedroom banging the door.
Grace smiled as she ran her hands through her hair, finally some peace and quiet, this was a luxury she knew she had a few minutes to enjoy before the visitors start pouring in. It would soon be evening and she would have to re play the part of the grieving widow, for now she would close her eyes and sleep.
Thank God for some Peace and Quiet.