A bad feeling,
burned through the ceiling
Leaving my healing heart with a new scar
A dead fire
rose and rose higher
Like a vampire,
up from the graveyard
When did the sky turn black?
And when will the light come back?
We all suffer but we recover
Just to discover life where we all are
Owl City (Beautiful Times)
Tori wasn’t really sure if she heard right. She surveyed
Jo’s expression for any possible post-effect of alcohol
but the straight, serious and blank face doesn’t look
any sort of after-effect of any intoxicant she knew of.
Not sure whether to trust the words from her cousin-
boss, she stayed where she was. At a spot completely
lost on what to do.
Tori wasn’t sure what the expression on her own face
Stunned? surprised? Or even unreadable? She couldn’t
‘You heard me, right?’ Jo threw her eyes on her and she
narrowed her gaze in detest.
Tori opened the door and climbed in wondering what the
possible reason Jo had to stop to give her a ride, to
even talk to her be. Hoping her curiosity would be
satisfied immediately she settled in, it was rather
disappointing Jo uttered no word ten minutes into the
It was hard to swallow or even breath right next to Jo
but Tori was less concerned about that. All she really
had on her mind was that guilty feeling gnawing right at
her heart and more than half her concentration and
senses were in her head, helping with the collation of
Tori’s attention was slammed back to reality when her
body was thrown forward unexpectedly narrowly
escaping banging her head on thein reflex to Jo
suddenly stopping the car beside the road. Tori was
completely taken by surprise by Jo’s sudden, careless
and somewhat intentional action.
Tori shot her a hurt stare while trying as hard as
possible to hold in her anger. She maintained the stare
like that would make Jo explode and catch fire. All the
dramas occuring in her life these days have been rather
too much for her to handle and she wasn’t really ready
to add Jo to her long list of armies of depression.
She wasn’t in the mood to endure Jo’s stewpid
Jo, not allowing Tori to show her dissatisfaction, shot
her blazing glares.
‘What exactly is your problem with me!’ She started
raising her voice.
‘Are you some form of nemesis or something? Why
can’t you just stay away from me? Away from
everything I hold dear?’ Jo probably didn’t realise she
was screaming but Tori could feel the heat from her
mouth on her own face.
And judging with the rhythmic rising and falling tone of
Jo’s chest and the almost panting sound she made
while trying to catch her breath, Tori knew she..
Okay. Tori had no idea what Jo was talking about.
Or she did know but never knew that the boss she
respected and feared so much could get herself all
worked up by ‘that’.
By everything she hold dear, did she mean her home?
‘I don’t understand y….’ Tori wasn’t allowed to finish
her ‘stammered out’ statement before Jo came in
‘I hate your pretense!’ She yelled into Tori’s face. ‘I
immensely hate it! Stop trying to get to people by
acting all innocent and helpless! You warmed your way
into Tobi’s home using one of those cunning tricks of
yours and you also actually succeeded with Marcus. But
must you really go after my mum too? Must everything
I find important interest you?’
Right now, Tori wasn’t sure what to feel.
Anger because Jo just called her helpless and threw
false accusations at her or feel sorry for a daughter
whose motherly appeared to have been stolen.
Tori really have to admit that she got more attention
and care from Ebiere than Jo actually did.
Tori opened her mouth to say something but shut it
almost immediately when she realised she really had
nothing to say to a feisty, angry lady who sees her as
the cause of her predicaments.
And especially because Jo was talking again.
‘You started with Tobi.’ Jo started trying fiercely to
calm herself down.
‘He was the only one I could talk to when there was no
one around. He could be desperate and acts childish
sometimes, but the most important thing is he was
always there when I needed him. When no one was
there to help. Not even my own mother. He was always
there until you appeared on the scene like a scourge.
Ruining everything. Right from him to Marcus. Now my
mum when we just started building her relationship from
the ground!’ Tori was listening carefully to her until the
last sentence when she switched from calm Jo to
‘I did some research and I realised your situation was
worse than I pictured. I understand it made you this
desperate but I never knew you were so desperate to
stick your fangs into any available wealthy person
around you to suck the wealth out of them, rendering
your pride and self respect useless even though that
was the only thing you possessed when you moved in
with a guy you barely knew!’
Tori grimaced with hurt while staring at the floor of the
car. Jo’s words hurt so badly she felt like a knife just
sliced through her heart. She bit the inner part of her
lower lip so hard she tore a piece of tissue out of it
while trying to hold back the tears flooding her eyes.
Mustering all the courage she had, Tori raised her head
shutting off Jo’s voice to look right up her with a
tomato red eye while she sniffed. Readying her lips for
the impending speech, Tori opened her mouth only to
leave them hanging to look at Jo’s outstretched hands
which held bales of naira notes.
‘Stunned, right? Oh! This is your first time seeing this
much money?’ Jo laughed like she was amused even
though all Tori could sense in her laughter was mockery.
‘ You don’t have to start doing some calculations of
how much this could be. It’s two hundred and fifty
thousand naira and it’s all yours. Take it and never
come to MY HOUSE nor contact MY MUM again!’ Jo
said, emphasizing the last word between gritted teeth.
Tori couldn’t say nor feel anything. The only thing she
felt was the twitching sensation in her eye, threatening
to let go of the tears. But courageously and stubbornly
she held it in.
‘And also stay away from Tobi! My mum might start
looking for you there and most importantly, stay away
from Marcus. Just stay away from everything that links
you to me! Dissapear from this place without a trace!’
Jo yelled again into her face.
Tori glanced away from Jo and grinned sarcastically.
Before steadying a hurt pride by huffing out a sigh.
‘What? Considering your pride? You don’t have to.
Don’t forget you left it right in Tobi’s bedroom! And
besides, you have no choice whatsoever. You just have
to accept my offer because I know something you never
know I do.’ Jo smiled mischievously at Tori
‘I know about you dating a patient’s husband in the
past. Oh, I know, she’s dead now and somehow you are
scared. Scared your ex boyfriend would come after you.
If you are wondering how I ended up with such a
wonderful information, I’d advice you to stop discussing
your private matters with others right where anybody
could hear you! Especially outside the wards!’ Jo patted
the bales after her speech.
‘So, do we have a deal?’ She finally said throwing the
bales on Tori’s lap while a few rolled off her lap to the
floor of the car just beside her feet.
Tori appeared taken aback by Jo’s discovery of her
relationship with Richard but she was past caring. She
had endured enough of Jo’s crap and bullying for too
long. It’s time to let her have a piece of her mind.
‘I never knew someone as respected and as important
as your or, as you protrayed, would deign yourself with
the responsibilty of researching a lowlife like me with
that much accuracy. I have come to realise you see me
as a giant opponent of a course I knew not. I avoided
you, I made sure I didn’t get in your way at work and at
home hoping that by doing that, you’d realise l respect
you and wouldn’t want to annoy you in any way but
right now, it’s so relieving to discover you really don’t
deserve that much respect. It’s relieving I wouldn’t have
to stay under the same roof with someone like you. So
relieving I would be staying away from you and
everything that links us together. And just so you know,
I have no interest in Marcus. He is sweet and kind and
everything but I just don’t want him. Your ‘cash offer’ is
tempting but I wouldn’t be accepting your money. You
can keep it, possibly to buy your self esteem back or
something and before I go…’ Tori threw her head
backwards to look at Jo’s shocked face.
‘A little advice though, you should stop throwing
yourself at a guy’s feet. You are only doing so much
damage to your self esteem that way…’ Tori stopped
talking when Jo snorted at her.
‘So says the girl who sleeps at a male stranger’s
place.’ Jo retorted.
‘I guess this is goodbye then.’ Tori ignored Jo’s obvious
method of annoying her and opened the door to step
out. She slammed it closed and kept walking. She had
no idea where she was going but kept walking anyway.
She let the tears flow freely, blurring her view as she
crossed the road. Jo words hurt and Tori heart ached
when of dawned on her that Jo had only seen her as a
gold digger and a whoore.
Her phone started vibrated in her bag but she ignored it
as she stepped off the zebra crossing onto the road.
She was deep in her thought, unconscious of her
surrounding which was why she didn’t notice the Jeep
speeding towards the lane she was about to step on.
The honking of the Jeep drew her attention to the jeep
but it was too late. She could feel the world spin around
her at that spot within that milisecond.
She knew she had been in this situation before.
She knew she had been at this very spot before.
The Jeep hit her so hard, knocking her to the side of the
road while she lay facedown on the ground,
numb to the pain…
…and slowly snapping out of consciousness…
…remembering this part of her dream before completely
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