Victoria, the female cop whose name Amara did not know yet, lowered her gun and placed it back in its holster before walking in, eyes fixed on the three criminals seated on the floor. She bent in front of Abdi Hassan, raising his chin with her finger so she could look at him, but she quickly lost interest in him. She turned to Masai and noticed he was holding the area on his chest where he had been cut, and blood was leaking from between his fingers. “Doesn’t anyone here know that his wound needs to be attended to?” Worried, she walked to him and pulled his hand away so she could have a look at his cut. Without waiting for an answer, walked Masai to the couch, picked his reaped shirt from the floor and gently wiped out the blood with it.
Everyone turned to Amara who wasn’t sure how she felt about this. She loathed how Victoria had swung into action, attending to Masai as if she didn’t know she was his girlfriend, yet she had done nothing when she had the chance. She looked at Masai and he had his eyes shut. She hated him too but did not why exactly. She felt that she had forgiven him too easily. That he had not proved in any way he was worthy of her forgiveness, yet she had given it to him, and now she wished she could take it back.
“Can I have water in a basin and a clean washcloth, please?” Victoria asked.
Hassan offered to fetch water and the washcloth when Amara made as if to move like he knew she was upset. Later, after Masai’s wound was cleaned and bandaged, James announced that he had called the OCPD who was sending police officers to come pick Abdi Hassan and his men. Everyone nodded their heads. Abdi Hassan cursed under his breath but no one paid attention to him. Masai, who was seated next to Victoria, looked up and for the first time after the whole episode, his eyes met Amara’s. He saw the hurt in her eyes. And the disappointment, too. It was then that he realized that, he hadn’t really cared about who attended to his wound, or that Victoria was seated too close because he was in too much pain. He tried to stand but Victoria stopped him.
“You need to relax,” she said.
He looked at Amara and turned to Victoria. “I will be fine.” as he walked to Amara.
“Mind if I talk to you in private?”
She wanted to tell him they had nothing to talk about but all eyes were on them. Silently, she walked into the bedroom and he followed her. Victoria begrudgingly watched them disappear into the room and looked away as the door banged shut.
“Are you okay?” he asked her.
She was standing by the window, looking outside, not wanting to turn even when he stood next to her, back against the wall.
“Amara, I am sorry,” he said, though not sure what he was apologizing for.
“You haven’t done anything wrong, why are you apologizing?”
“I don’t know. You look upset and I suspect it’s because of something I have done, or haven’t done.”
“Do you love her?”
“That cop of a woman.”
“Is that her name?”
“How can I love her yet you are the woman of my dreams?”
“It was a simple question, Masai.”
“I don’t love her. I love you.”
“Yet that couldn’t stop you from sleeping with her,” she said, almost in retrospect. She turned to him and ran her palm over his chest. It was a gentle touch, one that made him feel things. He loved especially how she held his gaze while touching him, and he was going to touch her too when she stopped and walked a few steps away from him. “I thought I could forgive you just like that and life would move on but now I know I was wrong. Seeing her near you, touching you, and you too comfortable under her care, brought the resentment back. I honestly don’t know how I am feeling towards you right now.”
“My love, there’s no woman alive that can be able to make me feel the way I feel about you. And for Victoria, I can’t speak for her since I don’t know what she’s thinking or feeling but I know that I am not in love with her. I am so sure about that because there’s no shred of doubt in my mind that you are the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
“Yet you still had sex with her.”
“And I will keep apologizing for it over and over until you forgive me.”
“I have already forgiven you, just not ready or able to forget it.”
“What do you want me to do?”
She stopped pacing and looked at him. “To go away…”
“I know this might sound crazy but I think you going away will be the best thing for me. For us. I may have led an empty life before I met you, languishing in the trappings of my father’s domineering behavior and my mother’s worrisome nature that I couldn’t think of my life without thinking about what they will think of my thoughts and always trying, unsuccessfully, to please them, but this is no better. My mother is in a hospital bed as we speak, all because of me, and the worst part is I know she hates me. My innocent brother was abducted, because of me. I thank God He brought him back to us in one piece but still, it could have been worse. And all because of what? Love? Love for someone who couldn’t keep his pants on because he wanted to save me?” She shook her head. “My father was right, this love should have ended before it even started, and it might be too late now, but I want it to end.”
“Amara, you are not in the right state of mind right now, just let me—”
“I am in the right sense of mind. It was when I forgave you and even allowed myself get lured into having sex with you again after confessing on cheating on me that I wasn’t in the right sense of mind. Trust me, I know what I am saying.”
“I am glad you showed up tonight to make sure nothing bad happens to us,” she rubbed her baby bump and looked at his sleeping brother.
“I will always be thankful to you for that. But I really mean it, I want you gone.”
“You don’t have to thank me, it was my fault you were in this mess, to begin with.”
“Still, you could have chosen not to come back.”
“What about our baby?”
“What about it?”
“I am the father and—”
“I didn’t say you are going to stop being the father.”
He nodded and turned to leave.
She watched him walk out the door before easing herself on the edge of the bed and burying her head in her hands. She heard someone groan in pain in the living room so she ran to see. Masai was kicking Abdi Hassan in the stomach and everyone else was letting him do it. James was standing at the door, hands deep in his pockets. Victoria was still on the couch, seated with her legs crossed. Hassan was rubbing the area on his hands where the rope had been fastened. Abdi Hassan, after groaning, would look at Masai and smirk.
“You are not angry that I was going to kill you, your girlfriend or her brother,” he said, “You are angry that after everything, she is leaving you anyway, right? She is leaving you, isn’t she?”
He was going to hit him again but Victoria was quick to wrap her arm around him, whisking him away.
“I have lived long enough to see women dump men who were fooled into thinking they meant the world to them. And quite honestly, I loved seeing that look on your face today, son.” Abdi Hassan said.
Masai felt his words spear the back of his head. His stomach churned and hands balled into fists as he glanced at Abdi Hassan over his shoulder. “I thought I warned you to never call me son.”
“Or what? What are you going to do, shoot me? You can’t even keep a woman, or you think I don’t know my nephew here is married to your ex-girlfriend? I am not scared of shitty men like—”
Masai grabbed Victoria’s gun from her holster, shoved her aside and without thinking, pulled the trigger sending the whole room into a state of chaos. Amara screamed her lungs out. James rushed and grabbed the gun from Masai. Hassan curled in a corner, eyes bulging in terror. The two frightened bodyguards, squirming, tried to free themselves in vain while Abdi Hassan, with his hands tied behind his back, lay still, blood from his head and mouth soaking into Amara’s carpet. The bullet had dug a hole right into the centre of his forehead, sucking the life out of him.
“What have you done?” Victoria was asking, but Masai paid no attention to her. He watched on with a smile as James bent over Abdi Hassan to untie his hands. There was something about seeing Abdi Hassan lifeless that filled him with joy. That made him feel light and normal again, like shooting someone dead was something he had needed to be at peace with himself again. He looked at Amara who was stifling her scream with her hands. She was probably going to hate him even more, but he did not care. He was happy knowing that no one was going to threaten her and their unborn baby. The bedroom door creaked open and Alexis walked out of it. Amara swooped him from the floor swiftly, covering his eyes with her hand before walking him back into the bedroom. He started crying. A loud piercing cry that echoed through the house, which now reeked of nothingness. It was as if the hole in Abdi Hassan’s forehead had sucked the life out of the room too.
“Everyone, calm down,” James said, though everyone had been shaken to calmness already. “The police will be here any minute. The story we are going with is, this man here tried to attack Masai and Masai shot him in self-defence.” He then walked to Masai, standing a few centimetres from him. “That was stupid of you. You can go to jail for this, you know.”
“Better than going to the mortuary, yes?”
James smirked and walked away. Masai turned to look at Hassan and he could tell that he was avoiding eye contact with him. It then occurred to him that the man lying on the floor lifeless, was his uncle and though they didn’t see eye to eye, he was still his blood. He made as if to walk towards him but James raised his finger, signalling him to stop.
“I am sorry, man. I had to.”
“Y-you didn’t have to.”
Masai stared at him. Hassan stared back and sensed, between them, a feeling of animosity.
When the police came, James narrated everything as it happened, emphasizing on the self-defense theory, making Masai wonder why he was keen on protecting him. The body was taken to the morgue while the two bodyguards and Masai were taken into custody. The police promised to release Masai the next day after recording his statement. Everyone else was asked to report to the police station the next day so each one of them could give individual accounts of all that happened that night and as Masai was being bundled into the police car; before being driven away, he and Amara exchanged glances. Masai knew that theirs was over from the look in her eyes.
(Story continues on Page 2, find the page number button below)