Evening had come and she had not turned up as she had promised. I had spent half a day in my room trying to ensure that everything is in place so that I don’t disappoint her. She was a girl that everyone in the neighborhood felt I was lucky to have. I also felt I should cherish her like other people thought.
Now that she had not turned up, I felt like my day was wasted and I therefore decided to go and hang out with my friends. I knew it was unlikely for her to behave the way she did but what could I have done? Her phone was off and her best friend says she hasn’t heard from her since the start of dawn. I knew I was supposed to be worried but I just didn’t want to think of whether something bad had happened to her. It was a thought that I didn’t want to think about.
I walked down towards the south to go and meet my friend Cruz. Both of us had gone through the same university and were now working in separate companies and lived in the same locality. As I made my way there, the thought of Vivian kept lingering in my mind. The more I thought about her, the more bitter I felt about the whole scenario. Normally, she would come around and both of us would spend good time together thinking about our future. I had devoted my life into loving her. No single day or moment had I ever thought she would disappoint me. Or perhaps I was just overreacting.
‘Vic!’ A soft voice called from my back.
I turned my head to figure out who it was. It was Cheryl; she was Vivian’s best friend.
Out of curiosity, I stood to know why she was calling.
‘Have you seen Vivian today?’ She asked
‘That is the reason I called you a couple of minutes ago to find out, remember?’ I replied.
‘I’m worried something bad might have happened to her. Her phone is not going through and her mum just called to find out whether everything is OK with her. From the look of things, she did not go home as she had said the last time I was with her.’
‘Ooh, so you knew she was supposed to go home and you didn’t care to mention that to me when I called. Why are you so selfish Cheryl, why? You know very well how Vivian is of importance to me yet you don’t even care. She is your best friend remember?
‘And you fiancée too. So who’s supposed to be well informed about what she does or where she is, me or you? Please don’t judge me. I care about my best friend and that is why I am asking about her. For Christ’s sake, it’s almost two days now when I last saw her and I haven’t heard from her since then. Doesn’t that appear strange to you?
‘You are now beginning to scare me. What do you mean two days? I thought she has always been at your place because every time I went to check up on her I always found her door locked.’
‘OK, when was the last time you checked up on her?
‘That should be the day before yesterday. We were even supposed to have lunch together today but she did not show up. I just hope she is fine wherever she is. No wonder I have been having this feeling.’
‘Vic, the earlier we let her parents know this the better, because I have a feeling something bad might have happened to her. This is not her usual character. I know my friend very well.’
‘OK! OK! I’ve heard you. I mean she is my fiancée I also know her well. But the thought of going to her parents is not a good idea at all. We should try and persuade them that Vivian is fine. Her mother won’t be able to stand it when she learns that her only daughter is missing. Remember she is hypertensive and anything negative about her daughter is enough to send her to an early grave.’
The news about my fiancée missing hit me like a big shock. I prayed to God that nothing bad should happen to her.
‘Where could she be?’ I thought.
‘Or perhaps she is at the place where we first met. Many times when she was upset about anything she would go there because she said the place gave her a cool and quiet time to calm her anger.’ I thought.
I left in a haste to go there where I hoped to find her. Cheryl was behind me also following me hopeful that I knew where she was.
After searching the whole place and not being able to find her, Cheryl was of the idea that we try and ask around to see whether anyone saw her. Therefore, we went on separate directions trying to ask everyone if they had seen her.
That was the longest day of my life. It felt so afraid trying to look for someone you love with no hope of ever finding her. Everyone was like they have never seen such a person. Or is it me that did not know how to describe her well.
The more the hours went by, the more scared I got. ‘Could it be that I did something to hurt her and did not know?’ I thought to myself. ‘Well then, I am sorry…’ I consoled myself desperately in need of seeing her. The thoughts of the good memories that we had shared together came into my mind and it was unlikely that the more I imagined of how she was nice to me, the more the thoughts came into my mind. At this point, Cheryl was scared about the whole situation and the only thing she kept saying was that we should let her parents know what was going on. So, I had to balance between trying to convince her otherwise and trying to figure out where Vivian was. The whole occurrences seemed like a nightmare to me.
That night, just before I went to bed, I received a strange call from someone I did not know and all she said was that Vivian had instructed her to tell me that she was OK wherever she was and that I should not worry about anything. I tried to ask her where my Vivian was but she wouldn’t let me do so. Yes, at least I knew she was fine, but I had the right know where she was as her fiancée. I was really desperate about seeing her and to find out what had triggered her decision to go missing all of a sudden.
‘I know you will come back to me one day. It doesn’t matter for how long you will be gone; I am more than willing to await your return because you are my only love.’ This was the thought that I kept having each day I woke up ever since I received that strange call. It was over two months now and though I was struggling to accept the reality, I got courage to face a new day with the hope of seeing my love again.
Days turned to weeks, weeks to months and eventually months into years without hearing from Vivian. Two years down the line and my hope of ever setting my eyes on her again kept diminishing as days went by. The paradox behind this whole nightmare was that the strange caller kept reassuring me about Vivian being OK yet she wouldn’t allow me to ask any questions. At some point, I felt worked up with the whole thing. I felt like a lesser human being trying to wait for someone who probably will at the end of the day never come back. I therefore decided that I would move on with my life. After all, time and tide waits for no man. I wasn’t getting any younger.
The search for Vivian and the fact that she was close to both I and Cheryl meant that we both shad her in common as a friend. Though she was not around and she was the one that united us together, the bond that she had created between us continued growing stronger as the days went by. Cheryl and I had become more close to one another. No one saw it strange for us to be together.
‘Hey Hun, I hope you will not do what Vivian did to me.’ I would joke
‘No! I wouldn’t dare do such thing to you. You know why? Because I was jealous of the love the both of you shared all along. You two always made me feel like I was not loved in this world.’
‘You have me now, all to yourself.’
Our love grew stronger and stronger each day and after a year of dating, Cheryl moved in to live with me. She said she liked it when we are more close to one another like that. The way she behaved around me was not any different from Vivian. The two of them had grown up together and their behavior had some unique characteristics that were common to the both of them.
One evening as we were having dinner, Cheryl, my fiancée received a call from her long term friend saying that she would be coming to visit her tomorrow. In addition to that, she also said that she would be coming along with her colleague friend of hers at her work place. Since Cheryl was happy about it, I thought it wise to let her enjoy the company of her friend together with her colleague. I had no objection about it.
Morning had come and it was the beginning of a new hustle for me as usual. I prepared myself for work and before long, I was ready to go. I bid my fiancée goodbye, wished her a nice day with her visitors till I came back and off I left for work.
My stay at the work place was so busy that I barely had time to ask Cheryl whether her friends had come visiting. Normally, I would call her while at work yo find out how she was doing. Since I was almost leaving work that day, I decided I would just meet her at home rather than call her.
At exactly 5:30 pm, I was at my compound and when I walked into the house, I could not believe my eyes. There she was, seated comfortably like nothing has ever occurred. I noticed she was not aware that Cheryl had taken over her position. Maybe, she imagined that I was called over the phone to come and see her at Cheryl’s place. She was surprised when she saw Cheryl come to welcome me back home. I noticed the bitterness in her eyes as she stared at us.
‘Cheryl!’ she exclaimed ‘you mean you and Vic are now married or something?’ she asked.
‘Vivian, honestly it’s not what you think. Vic and I….’
‘Ooh, doesn’t it look obvious that you took over my man after I went away for a while. I trusted you as my best friend. Now you turned and stub me on the back. The world is funny.’ She said, her eyes now lingering with tears of disbelief.
I could not intervene because at the moment, I did not realize where my heart was.
‘Vic! After all we have been through together, you can also do this to me? I trusted you with my heart’
‘You can’t blame me on that. You left without saying a word and even after knowing you are fine wherever you were, I tried to inquire about you but your ‘PA’ couldn’t let me. I was desperate and you were nowhere around. Vivian, you abandoned our love. What was I supposed to do? At least you could have called to let me know you were going to be back. Instead, you didn’t want to hear anything from me.’
‘I am back now Vic, I still need you back. You are the reason I came back here. Let’s forget the past and all that happened’
‘What about her?’ I said pointing at Cheryl ‘she was there when I needed a shoulder to lean on. I can’t just leave her that way.’
She became angry and walked away but promised she is not done with us yet.
‘Are you going to abandon me now that she is back? You always told me that you love me and that you won’t lose me to anyone. What now that she is back?’
‘I am not going anywhere. Let her do whatever she thinks she can do. As for me, I stopped loving her the day she decided she doesn’t want to hear from me. Not to worry my dear. I will be by your side till the end of this.’
A week had passed since we last saw Vivian and we continued to hope that she will remain wherever she was and let us enjoy our peace. She was the mastermind of all these in the first place. We did not seem to care about what her last statement to us meant and so, for us, things were back to normal as if nothing had happened. Nevertheless, we knew we were supposed to be extra careful just in case she decided to do something stupid. Our security was not guaranteed with her out there gauging from the last words she said to us.
‘Make sure you take good care of yourself for me all the time. You know I won’t stand it if anything happens to you.’ That is what I kept telling my fiancée every time both of us were not together. Our wedding was just around the corner and I didn’t want anything to happen to her before that day.
‘You make me scared every time you say that to me. You talk like Vivian is out there to harm me.’ She would say
‘I am just trying to ensure that nothing bad happens to you. Besides, people change. That she was a nice person in the past does not mean she can’t do something bad to us. She thinks we both betrayed her even if she was the one that caused it all. Just be careful.’
Both our families and friends had gathered at the church for our wedding. It was the happiest day of our lives now that we were going to become husband and wife. The processions went on well and though we were both scared of what our now turned enemy could do to us on that day, everything seemed to move on according to plan. Cheryl was so happy. It has always been her dream wedding and I thought I couldn’t deprive her of her happiness by doing otherwise.
After our wedding, we went ahead and had our honeymoon. It was during this period that Vivian decided to show up. How she got the information about where we were, nobody amongst us had a clue.
‘Surprised?’ she asked
‘I know you expected to have a good time together as husband and wife. But think of me. Cheryl, I am the one who is supposed to be in your position now. But because you are a betrayer, you went ahead and snatched him away from me.’
‘Hey, she did not snatch me away from anybody. Can you just disappear to wherever it is that you came from? Let us enjoy our honeymoon for God’s sake.’
Clapping… ‘Well said, very well said. I did not expect that to come from you. But let me tell you one thing Vic, it’s either I have you or nobody else have you. Do you know what that means? It’s either you come with me or you die.’
I became worried when I heard that come from her. I had expected something bad to happen but the thought of anyone dying was out of order.
‘I am not going anywhere with you. If you want to kill me, go ahead and do it. I am not scared of death.’
Cheryl was more scared than anyone else in the scene. The thought of losing her husband just one week after the wedding is not what she had bargained for. She was already in tears as I thought of how to save the situation.
‘Did you say die? No! I won’t kill you because I still need you. Maybe you didn’t get me right. She is the one to die. Not you. So what do you say? Is it her or you’re coming with me?’
‘I still maintain my stand. I am not going anywhere with you. If you want to kill her, you’ll have to kill me first. I believe that gun you’re holding has enough bullets for the both of us, doesn’t it?’
‘Well goodbye to the both of you.’ She said, this time ready to pull the trigger.
Cheryl was already screaming as I woke up to shield her. I was ready for anything at that time. But I knew we were not going to die. Yes she would have killed us, but the gun had no bullets in it. She was surprised when she pulled the trigger and nothing came out.
‘Congratulations Vivian for killing us. Next time check your gun before going out on a mission.’ I told her as we left the scene, leaving her surprised and still wondering how her gun was not loaded. Somehow, I was grateful that it all happened that way. She had helped me to show Cheryl how much I loved her. Even though I knew she would have ended our lives. But she was going to pay for that.
‘Sweetheart, I still don’t understand how the whole thing happened. It’s still like a nightmare to me.’
‘Well let’s just say, I was told Vivian was planning to kill anyone of us on our honeymoon. I actually bumped into Sandra, your friend that came visiting some time back, remember? Yeah, and she told me that. I was shocked to hear that too but we had a deal with her. That is why she unloaded Vivian’s gun which was actually meant to kill the both of us.’
‘You scared the hell out of me. I can’t honestly imagine that my one time best friend could actually want to have us killed.’
‘People change baby, remember when I told you that? You should always be careful especially when you have an enemy out there.’
‘Thank you so much for the love you have for me. I really appreciate having you by my side. I guess am lucky to have you.’
‘I couldn’t have let her kill you when am alive. She was to kill me first. You are my angle, come on’
‘I just hope she will never try to harm us again. I want to enjoy life with you. I know maybe I shouldn’t have fallen for you but love has no boundaries. I tried to but…’
‘Hey, don’t get yourself worked out for nothing. It’s now all in the past. Let’s just focus on our future together. OK?’
‘Talking about our future together, I went to see the family doctor today and he gave me this.’ She said, pulling a piece of envelope from her bag.
‘What is this…? Wait, you can’t be serious. You mean am going to be a father? So soon?’
That was the best news I heard that day. Though I wished Vivian shouldn’t have been on the wrong side of the law, I couldn’t do anything to stop it. She was a threat to our peace and something needed to be done concerning her.
She had been arrested by the police and charged with attempted murder. Cheryl and I now lived peacefully without fear of any kind. Our relationship even grew stronger after the arrival of our first daughter.
THE END Read also Daring Abroad