Reaching for the Stars (Part 2)

...Continued from last post...

The next thing I knew, I woke up with a start. I had slept off on the couch. Oh well, she was sleeping on the bed, snoring quietly. I decided to let her be. She’d had a pretty rough night. I stared at her and found myself admiring her; she was actually looking pretty now that she had freshened up. She had an oval face with a strong jaw, her nose was… well, she had the most beautiful of features. What could have terrified her so much? Who was she? She could be a criminal for all I knew, but looking at her, I seriously doubted it.

Wanting to get some sense of normalcy back, I picked up my cell phone and dialed my secretary, Jumoke. She was my best friend. She was there when my business started and has been a constant source of good advice and moral support. She picked up on the third ring.

“Hello,” she answered sleepily.

“Ju-ju,” I called her nickname, “How are you? I’m sorry I called so late. I have a bit of a situation here.”

“It’s alright. I suppose it goes with the job. What is this situation you are talking about?”

“I have a girl I picked up on the road today. As things stand, her life is in danger. Can you get an extra ticket for her on tomorrow’s flight?”

“Girl huh? I didn’t figure you out to be among those that ‘pick girls up’. I’m too tired to argue anyway. I’ll see what I can do but I wouldn’t bet on it.”

“Alright. Thanks.”

“Anything for you, boss.”

With nothing to do but wait, I decided to go over some documents concerning one of our software programs that was being developed for an agricultural project. I was so engrossed in trying to decipher a way to prevent malware attack that I didn’t notice her shaking until she screamed. I immediately closed the document and went to her side. She was shaking and couldn’t control herself. I just held her hands not wanting to scare her.

“It’s alright dear. You’re safe now. Just take a deep breath and calm down,” I said, gently stroking her palm. “It was just a nightmare.” She nodded, but calmed down a bit.

“He nearly killed me,” she let out fresh bursts of tears. I just held her, murmuring soothing words. Later she became a lot calmer. “Thank you very much.”

“You’re welcome. But you have to tell me who those people were and why they were chasing you.” She shook her head. “It’s alright dear. You have to tell me so that I can be able to help you out.”

“They are the goons of my boss. My boss hosted a party in honor of his son who finished school abroad. I was bringing some documents to him when I overheard him talking to someone on the phone about a drug deal,” she answered.

“Drug deal?” I queried.

“Yes, drug deal. He hardly takes calls in my presence. Now I know why. When he noticed I overheard him, he told me come closer. I couldn’t because I suspected that he was not happy I found out about his shady business. I turned and ran downstairs. As I was about to leave the gate of the premises, one of his bodyguards slapped me. I fell down and started crawling away. He grabbed my hair and pulled me towards the house. I knew that if I went inside that house I would not come out alive. So I twisted myself and hit him in the groin. That gave me the opportunity to run out of the compound. The rest of his bodyguards chased after me. One even shot at me but I was barely grazed by the bullet. I now came out of the junction and saw your car. The rest you know.”

As she finished her story, I was very quiet. I was at loss of what to say. Luckily, my phone rang. Jumoke had managed to secure another plane ticket for her. My angel, she knew how to get things done.

“Well Clara, you would be going back with me. How do you see that?” I asked.

“Really?”

I nodded. She gave me a look of appreciation that melted my heart. Tomorrow, I thought, you will forget about your terrors.

~~~~~~

Six months later, and look at her! Who would have believed that she was on the verge of death a mere half a year ago? She was working at a law firm as a secretary and today I’m taking her out to dinner. The past months have been a little crazy for everyone concerned. She had to battle with nightmares, my family was against me for taking in a girl I hardly knew anything about, my friends thought me lost in love. But I just extended a hand of help. That’s all. OK, there’s the fact of my growing feelings for her but it wasn’t the reason she still slept in my guest bedroom. We were just being cautious.

She came out of the office looking resplendent. How can she manage to look amazing on any cloth she wore? Today she was wearing matching blue trousers and a blue jacket; she wore a silver blouse inside which matched her stiletto heels. She came into the car and gave me a peck. “How are dear? And how was work today?” she wanted to know.

“Well I’m fine. I just lost the nanotech deal today. They said it was not as good as they thought. Can you imagine?”

“Of course I can understand that some people do not like something good. Don’t fret about it too much, okay?”

I just smiled and drove off. At the restaurant, she chose seats close to the window. She liked seeing people through glasses, she said. We ordered the same food: fufu with egusi soup. After eating, we were relaxing when she said,

“Tell me about your days in the military.”

I laughed. I had promised her I would tell her all about my military days when she got over her nightmares. It was some sort of challenge between us. Anyway I’m glad she was past the traumatic events.

“What is there to say? I was a major and also a communications expert. One day, we were sent to rescue some hostages being held by a terrorist group. I was supposed to scramble their communication system but they ambushed us. Bullets flew like mosquitoes, there was so much carnage that I thought that would be my end. My best friend stepped on a mine and got blown away. The force wave threw me onto a rock. I hit my back on it and thought I was dead.

I woke up later in a military hospital, I was among the lucky few that survived. But at a great price — I had lost control of my legs. It took three months of physiotherapy to get me to this level of movement. Sadly, I am doomed to forever use crutches. When I got better, I decided to leave the military and opened my software company. That’s the story.”

“I’m sorry about what happened.”

“It’s not your fault dear. I wouldn’t have met you otherwise,” I said looking into her eyes.

...To be continued...

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