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Episode 5 Title: Love, Flowers and Tomiwa.*******
“Won’t you say anything?” Quincy asked after two minutes of me being dumbfounded.
“I…I really don’t know what to say.” I said to him. “Uncle Freddie never mentioned you to me. He never told me he had a son.”
“Now you know the truth.”
“Are you really saying the truth?” I had to ask.
He brought out his wallet and took out a small photo and handed it over to me. I took it from him to glance at the picture and I saw a young Uncle Freddie holding a little boy.
“That’s me with my father when I was nine years old.”
I gave it back to him and I cleared my throat. “I believe you but how come you bear Harvey instead of Arinze?”
“Don’t you think the people that came after my father will come after my own life? I could not risk it and bear his name. I don’t want anyone to know I am linked to him. You are the only person I have told and I want it to remain that way. Leroy, Oscar and Jasmine must not know, please.”
“Why?” I asked.
Before he could answer my question, Leroy knocked on the door and asked if everything was okay.
“Everything is fine.” Quincy said in a loud voice, he walked to the door and turn to look at my face. “I will explain at the right time but for now, I need to focus on my guests.” He opened the door and went to meet the other detectives. I remained there in deep thoughts, thinking of Uncle Freddie, the love he showered on me, my secret he kept deep in his heart. My heart stumbled as I recalled all that I have told him about what happened between my late father and me. Could he have told his son? He promised me with his life never to reveal my past and I believed him. I still do. I could not understand why he withheld the identity of his son away from me. I still could not comprehend.
As I stood in the kitchen alone with my thoughts, my phone rang and that was when I realized Jasmine was standing in front of me.
“What are you thinking about?” she asked.
“Nothing.” I replied and answered my call from an unfamiliar number. “Hello, who is this?”
“Hello Jenny, it’s me Aunty Bimbo.”
“What happened to your phone?!” I asked and walked to the door leading to the backyard. I needed privacy. “I have been trying to call you but unavailable.”
“I am sorry. I lost my phone. How are you?”
I smiled. It was so good to hear the voice of my aunty. The only blood relative I recognized. “I am fine.”
“How have you been?” she questioned. “I know I should be with you after the loss of Uncle Freddie. My business is taking my time…”
I could not allow her finish her statement, I understood. “You don’t need to explain. I am fine.”
“Whenever you need me there, do not hesitate to give me a call.”
“I will and do take care of yourself.” I ended the call and went to meet my colleagues. Some of them were done eating, some drinking. Quincy was standing in their middle as they surrounded him. I could see them smiling as they listened to the boss. I went to the storeroom to get a beer for myself and as I closed the deep freezer, I saw Oscar.
“What are you doing here?” I asked in surprise.
“What were you and the director talking about that you had to lock the door?”
“Point of correction, the director locked the door. To answer your question, we were talking about me being his partner.”
He looked at me with his left eyebrow raised. “Just that?”
“What do you think?” I asked and strode away to the living room. He followed me behind. “I hope you have not forgotten your promise.”
The moment he reminded me, I remembered I had to work the next day. I faced him with a solemn facial expression. “I have a case to attend to tomorrow.”
“On a Saturday?” he asked in a stunned tone.
“I tried to tell the boss we don’t work on weekends but he didn’t want to hear that.”
“Yvonne will not be happy about it,” he alleged in a disappointed tone. “I really wanted the three of us to spend some time together as family.”
I faintly smiled and touched him gently with my left hand, a bottle of beer in my right hand. “I will make it up to her. I will try and come on Sunday.”
Oscar nodded. “I will appreciate that.” I opened my bottle of beer with an opener I saw on a table. I drank half of it and left to the kitchen to take a lap of fried chicken to eat. I went back to the living room to stay by the side of Leroy, I noticed his eyes were on his wrist watch.
I leaned towards him to whisper into his ear. “I understand what is going on, you need to go home and be with your wife.”
He stared at me with a grin. “I miss rubbing her stomach.”
I laughed moderately. “I can’t wait to be an aunt.”
“Me too and I can’t wait to be a father.” Leroy rose on his feet. “I should go home now.”
“I will leave too but you have to tell the boss.”
“Of course. You have not told me what the both of you were discussing that the two of you had to shut the door. I thought you had issues to be in the same room together with him?”
I simply gave him a smile. I could not tell him the main reason. “It’s nothing serious. We have a case together.”
“That’s good.” he said and moved to the direction of Quincy to speak with him. I drank the remaining beer and finished my chicken. I went to the sink to wash my hands, later followed Leroy and Oscar outside. Quincy came to meet us as the men entered their cars. He thanked them for coming before they drove off. Quincy walked with me to my car.
He spoke, “My father loved you.”
I smiled. “I know but what I still don’t get is why he didn’t tell me about you. Maybe he had his reasons, I don’t blame him.”
My boss sighed. “My father was going to tell you about me on his 65th birthday.”
“He died at the age of 64.” I said unhappily.
“He wanted it to be a surprise to you because I was planning to come to Nigeria before his next birthday. I never knew you facially because he refused to send your pictures. My father said if I wanted a younger sister, I should come over to see you.”
“For real?” I asked in exited tone. “Uncle Freddie wanted us to act like brother and sister?”
“Yes and I was looking forward to meet you but not in this way. I never knew death would destroy our plans but I am happy to see and work with you. The only thing I do not agree to is me pretending to be your brother. I can only manage to be your friend and partner but I cannot promise that forever. I don’t have a clue what will happen to the two of us in the future but I know we will stick together and fight to help those who cannot help themselves. Genevieve Cole, I want you to trust and believe in me. I will help you in any way I can if you let me.”
I managed to smile and felt contented with him. “Did your father ever tell you about my past, my childhood?”
“No, he never discussed that. He was always praising you for your dedication and hard work. Sometimes I get jealous because I felt you were closer to him than me. He was very proud of you. Keep up the good work Genny.”
“Thank you.” I said. “I can’t wait to work with you.”
We shook hands before I opened the door of my car and stepped inside.
The next morning, after eating breakfast, Quincy called me to meet him at the hospital.
I got dressed and drove to meet him and doctor Ibinabo. She showed us the lifeless body of a man.
I got dressed and drove to meet him and doctor Ibinabo. She showed us the lifeless body of a man.
“What is the cause of death?” Quincy asked.
“He was stabbed in the abdomen and on the neck. He bleed deeply from the injury from the neck because it was very deep.”
“Was there anything to identify the victim?” I asked and moved closed to the body to check his hands.
“His briefcase was seen on the floor close to him. It contained bank documents, house keys, phone and there was something also.”
“What is it?” I continued to ask the questions.
“Two wristwatches were seen. One on the wrist of the victim and the other one on the floor."
“That means it could have been the killer’s own. Is it a gold wristwatch?”
“A silver wristwatch.”
“There is no wedding ring on him,” I said. “I don’t think he is married.”
“No, he is single because I have called the elder brother to identify the body. He is expecting the both of you in case you have questions.”
"Of course we have questions." Quincy finally spoke. "Do you have an idea where the victim worked?"
“He works in a bank.”
“We can’t go there,” I said. “Today is Saturday.”
“We will go there on Monday.” Quincy said. “Can you tell us the time of death?”
“He was killed yesterday, between 6pm to 9pm.”
Doctor Ibinabo gave us a piece of paper where the address of the brother of the victim stayed. My director took the wristwatch as evidence. I took the victim's briefcase. We were about to leave when I had to ask an important question.
“What’s the name of the victim?”'
She answered. “Mr. Tomiwa Adekunle.”
I forced a smile and followed my boss outside. He turned to look at me.
“You will visit the victim brother, I have to go somewhere, I will meet you wherever you are when you are done.”
“There’s something else you should know.”
“What is it?” I asked.
“Detective Jasmine tried to kiss me last night but I refused. I could not let it happen.”
I swallowed and peered into his eyes. “Why are you telling me this?”
“I told you I had feelings for you.”
I closed my eyes, shook my head and opened them to look at him. “You should have kissed her.”
Quincy opened his eyes and exclaimed. “What!!”
“I never told you I was interested. I do not believe in love and I can never be the woman in your life.”
“But why?” he asked in a disturbed tone.
“You won’t understand.”
“Then make me understand.”
I sighed. “All I have to tell is have a relationship with whosoever you want. I cannot be with you now or later. We can be friends, act like family. Don’t wait for me because I won’t fall in love with you.”
“I will wait for you.”
“Please don’t.” All I got as a response was see Quincy Harvey turn his back at me and moved towards his car to drive off.
The victim, Tomiwa Adekunle elder brother Vincent received me into his house. I sat down opposite him and I could see his depressed face. He was not a happy man.
“What can you say about your brother?” I asked.
“All I can say is that he had no enemies. My brother was a good man who loved to help people. I could not believe he was killed not until I saw his body.” He began to cry very loud.
“I am sorry for your loss.”
He brought out a blue handkerchief and cleaned his eyes. “Thank you detective.”
“I will like to go to his house to see if I can get something.”
“Please do,’ he said. “My brother was a good man, he never fought anyone.”
“Was he in a relationship?”
“No but he said he was in love. He never told me who she was.”
“Do you know any of his friends or coworkers I can contact?”
“He has a friend who works in the same bank. I will give you his phone number.”
“I want the phone number and your brother home address.”
“Okay.” He left me in his living room and came back few minutes later to give me what I wanted.
“Thank you for your time.” I said to him.
He nodded and shook my hand. “I heard you are one of the best detectives in the NIB, please catch the bastard that killed my brother.”
Before I arrived at the victim’s residence, I sent Quincy a text message to meet me there. There were three flats inside the compound. Two of the houses faced each other and I saw a young lady coming out from one of them. Despite a side on her fore head was swollen, she was still very pretty. I introduced myself as detective Genevieve Cole.
“I hope there’s no problem?” she asked.
“I am here because of your neighbor Mr. Tomiwa.”
She gazed at me with an uncertain expression. “I hope he’s not in trouble?”
“He was killed yesterday.”
She gasped and covered her mouth. Tear began to form around her eyes. “Oh my God!” The tears dropped.
“Were the both of you close?”
She cleaned her teary eyes. “No…not really. But he was a nice guy. He was very kind to everyone around him. Please come in.”
I went in with her. It was a small and organized sitting room. I sat down close to her.
“Were you a friend to him?” I asked.
“We were not friends but we never had problems with each other. He was very kind to me. There was a day my generator got bad, I went to meet him if he had someone that could repair it for me, he volunteered to do it himself and he did it. Sometimes he buys me fuel without me asking. Tomiwa was a nice guy, he did not deserve this.”
“Are you sure he never had issues with anyone?”
“I remember he had issues with our other neighbor few weeks ago but he never said anything. It was Mr. Kingsley that threatened to deal with him later.”
“Do you know if he is around?”
“I don’t think so.”
I stood up. “Thank you for your time. What’s your name?”
“Ruth.” she replied. “Please find out who did this to Tomiwa. He is...was a very nice guy. I was not close to him but I will miss him because of his generosity. He did not deserve this.”
I smiled at her. “I will try my best.”
She walked me to the door and when she opened it, we saw six rose flowers on the floor with a card.
“Not again.” She murmured.
“I hope there’s no problem?” I asked.
“I have been receiving these flowers for the past two months. I absolutely do not know the person sending them. I do receive twelve flowers every week.” She picked them up.
“That’s twice in a week. “I said. “It may be from your boyfriend.”
“He’s not the one because this has been causing trouble between the both of us. I really do not know who the admirer is. He should know I have a man in my life.”
“Is your boyfriend the cause of your injury on your head?”
Ruth looked away, I guess she couldn’t stare me in the eyes and tell me the truth. “No.”
“Bye.. but wait!”
I turned to gaze at her. “What is it?”
“I really want you to find out who killed Tomiwa.”
“I will make sure I can.”
“I secretly liked him but he never knew.”
“I am sorry for your loss.”
She responded with a nod and closed her door. I was about to enter when I saw Quincy. I smiled at him and he gave a nod. We entered into the victim’s house. It was clean. We searched everywhere in the house including the bathroom and saw nothing that could help us with the investigation. Quincy carried a small box we found inside his wardrobe and we decided to check inside it when we go for lunch. We came out and went to the third house. We informed Mr. Kingsley about the death of his neighbor, he did not show sign of being remorseful. When we asked where he was the previous day, he told us to contact his lawyer because he was innocent.
My partner and I left him and as we passed the frontage of Ruth, I heard a male voice screaming. I was sure it was her boyfriend querying her for the flowers and the love card. When I told Quincy, he said it was not our business. If the lady really loved herself, she would report or leave the woman beater alone.
We came out from the building and we entered into our cars. I turned on the ignition and I noticed Ruth running after a man I presumed to be her boyfriend. He turned and slapped her. I wanted to get out of my car but I had to mind my own business. He got into his own car, a red Lexus jeep and zoomed off. I shook my head in pity as I saw Ruth burst out in tears.
I drove behind Quincy Harvey to a nearby restaurant. I called the victim’s friend and informed him about the demise of Tomiwa. I told him to meet us at the eatery. We ordered for some hot food and before our lunch came, he opened the box. We checked inside and I saw the exact same card the admirer sent to Ruth. I was surprised and quickly checked inside to see if it was written to different women but I saw her name all over them. He was prophesying his endless love for her. The only thing emitted was his name.
I explained everything to Quincy.
“I think he was very shy to tell her how he felt about her.” he said.
I suddenly became sad about it. “This is really painful. He never told her he loved her before he died.”
“That’s life for you.”
“She has to know about it.”
“If you say so but we have to focus on catching the animal that did this to the victim.”
The waiter came with our food and we ate in silence. As I ate, I thought about Tomiwa. How could he love this girl and could not tell her how he felt about her. She has been receiving them for the past two months without knowing the identity of her admirer. We finished eating when the victim friend came to meet us. His name was Ayo.
“I can’t believe my friend is dead.” he said in a solemn tone. He was a very nice guy. He never looked for anyone’s trouble.”
“Were you very close to him?” I asked.
“I can’t say I was very close to him but we were friends.”
“Did he tell you about a girl he admired?” Quincy queried.
“Yes but he never revealed her identity to me.”
I asked. “Do you have any idea where he buys the roses from?”
“Yes.” Ayo replied.
“Give me the address.” My partner gave me a look.
Tomiwa friend gave me the address.
“One more thing,” I said to him. “Did he have any visitor before or after he left the office yesterday?”
“I remember when we came out from the bank to go home, a car parked in front of him and the car owner told him to enter. I guess he knew the person.”
“Did you manage to see the person’s face?”
“Can you remember the kind of car?”
“It was a white Toyota Camry.”
Quincy told him to go and he left. He faced me and asked. “What do you need the address of where the victim bought the flowers from?”
“Ruth received the same flowers today and I wonder how could she be receiving them from him when he died yesterday.”
He grinned at me. “Good job.”
We left there and went to the shop to ask questions. The receptionist beamed as we mentioned the victim’s name but when I told him he died, she wept. She could speak because of the tears flowing down her eyes, another male worker there came to answer us. He was sad to hear the death of his noble customer.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” he asked us.
I told him about the flowers and he explained everything I needed to know. I understood how Ruth got the flowers after the day her admirer died. If only she knew he loved her as he professed in his love cards. My partner and I left there together to meet Ruth. We met her in the house. She was surprised to see us again.
“Have you caught who killed Tomiwa?” Ruth asked as she led us inside her home. Quincy held the carton of love notes and decided to watch me reveal the truth to her.
“No but I know who have been sending the flowers.”
“Who?” she asked curiously. “I really want to know!”
“I will tell you but first, don’t you think you deserve more?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I saw the way your boyfriend treated you. Ruth, you don’t deserve it, no woman deserves torture. You are beautiful and you deserve the best. Why stay with a man who does not value you?”
“I have no choice. We were quarrelling over a gift I gave him.”
“We all have choices to make. I want you to make the right decision because your life is precious.”
“I know…but who is admirer? Who has been sending me flowers and love letters?”
Ruth stared at me stunned. Tears littered around her yes. “It’s impossible!”
“I found out about it and I have decided to let you know.”
“But you said he died yesterday,” she said with tears falling down her face. “How come I got the flowers today?”
“Tomiwa paid for one thousand flowers. You will be receiving twelve rose flowers every week.”
“Oh my God! What about the love notes?”
“He gave them some of the notes to be attached to the flowers. Even after his death, you will still be receiving them.”
Quincy came towards her and handed the box to her. “Some love notes are inside. You can read them in your quiet time.”
I saw her hands shaking as she took the box from Quincy. I wanted to cry but I fought the tears never to drop. I was emotional as I saw how gloomy Ruth appeared.
“I loved Tomiwa and now I can’t have him anymore.” Ruth said in hot tears. “I was stupid to never have told him I cared. Worst mistake ever! I will regret this for the rest of my life!”
“I am sorry for your loss.” My partner said. The look on his face expressed grief and anger.
She turned to face me. “Please catch the murderer so that Tomiwa can rest in peace.”
“I will try everything I can to catch who killed him.”
“Have you found anything? I mean what’s next?”
“Well, we are searching for someone who drives a white Toyota Camry and also lost a wristwatch.”
The expression on her depressed face altered into a puzzled one. “A white Camry and a wrist watch?”
“Yes…do know anyone that drives that kind of car?”
She covered her mouth.
“You have to speak if you know anything!” Quincy demanded.
Ruth uncovered her mouth. “Is it a silver wristwatch?”
“Yes!” my partner and I answered at the same time.
“That is what my boyfriend and I quarreled about. He told me he lost the wristwatch I gave him as a gift and he drives a white Camry!”
“I saw him with a red Lexus when he left your house.”
“Danny has three cars!”
“Maybe he found out that Tomiwa was the one sending the flowers.” Quincy said. “You have to call him to come here!”
“How could he kill Tomiwa?!” she asked with tears flowing like raindrops. She managed to grab her phone with her shaky hands and called her boyfriend to come to her place to talk. He came, we showed him the wristwatch as evidence.
“I only wanted to talk to him in a quiet place.” Danny said. “I told him I knew about the flowers and letters and I asked him to stop but he refused.”
“You don’t expect me to believe such nonsense from a ruthless man like you."I said. "You never wanted to talk, if you did, you would not have carried a sharp knife. You are under arrest for the murder of Tomiwa Adekunle.”
Quincy volunteered to take Danny to the prison. Ruth came to meet me and hugged me tightly. “Thank you.” she whispered.
“It’s my job.”
“I will like to attend his funeral,” she said. “Do you know how I can reach his family?”
I smiled at her. I gave her the phone number of Tomiwa’s brother.
I have never felt this emotional in a murder case before. On my way home, tears dropped from my eyes as I remembered the victim. How could someone do such a thing for someone he loved? Tomiwa story proved to me that love is in existence. But how long do I have to wait for me to fall in love?
My phone rang. It was Quincy calling. I picked to answer and he asked if I wanted to hang out for a short time. I said yes, as I thought about Tomiwa again. I hoped that love exists. If true love is out there, I hope it finds me, I hope to experience the feeling and I pray the man I fall in love with should be Quincy Harvey.
My past could not allow me fall in love with any man. I have never been with any man except that old fool. Maybe love truly exists, maybe it is far away from me, I really do not know. How can I love when the man I trust, the man I called my biological father raped me several times. I lost my virginity at the age of fourteen. My past still hunts me and I try my best to forget the horror I passed through the dirty hands of my father. My mother and elder sister ran away and left me alone with him. I can never forgive them for abandoning me. As I turned eighteen years old, I could no longer take it anymore. My drunk and smelly father who called himself a police officer came over me. I could not let him rape me again, I pushed him away with all my strength. I reached out for his gun and pulled the trigger.
******To be continued on Saturday evening.