Click here to read the previous chapter; The Night Shift
It was with great reluctance that David rolled out of his bed the next morning. Groaning with exhaustion after barely 3 hours of sleep, he got to his feet and said brief morning prayers just before his phone rang. With half closed eyes, he groped about for it before he finally found it in the corner between his bed and the wall.
“Hello?” He murmured; his voice was rough with sleep.
“Where on earth are you? I’ve been waiting for nearly half an hour.”
Her voice alone was enough to send panic rushing through his veins.
“Late! You’re late. When are you ever early? Do you think I can continue this way? You never keep to time and you’re hopeless in the morning.”
“I’m sorry. Just give me some time, okay?”
He heard her sigh before she hummed in a way that he already knew meant she was irritated but close to forgiving him.
“Alright, just show up.”
Once he ended the call, he jumped to his feet and had the quickest shower of his life. After throwing on a dark shirt and a pair of denim trousers, he slipped on some shoes and grabbed his wallet, nearly sprinting out of the house. He stopped an Okada rider and gave him directions. When David arrived at the Fusion Palace, a popular event centre on Lagos Island, he was over an hour late. Amanda’s parents’ 20th anniversary party was planned to start by 10 am in the morning but there he was walking in by half past eleven.
David stopped just before entering the hall and adjusted his shirt as he looked into the reflective glass doors. He knew that he was nothing like the kind of man she would choose to be with and sometimes, he stopped to wonder what she really saw in him that made her stick around. Some girls would agree that he was quite attractive with his deep brown eyes that were almost black and the way they complemented his light brown skin. He was also tall, slightly above 6 feet and had a physique that would make any girl feel safe just standing beside him. But he knew that all those qualities aside, Amanda came from a home of wealthy socialites and he could not match that.
Maybe once upon a time when he lived in the wealthy and flourishing Johnson household, it would not have been a problem but now, it definitely was.
“David, what are you still doing out here, get inside.” It was Amanda’s brother Samuel. He was happily married with two beautiful children who happened to be twins. He was very welcoming although, he almost interrogated the life out of him when they first met.
“Did you just arrive?” He asked.
David nodded hesitantly, knowing what was coming next.
“Then you’re in for it. You know what Amanda is like when it comes to punctuality.” Samuel shook his head and patted him once on the back before walking away.
He sighed and followed him inside. Just a little way inside, he spotted Amanda seated with her parents. Unconsciously, he stopped to watch her. She had a way of drawing his attention along with that of most men. He watched as she frowned slightly into her drink, her smoothly arched eyebrows furrowed together for a second before she glanced at her watch and looked toward the door. Her gaze became alert when she saw him and she waved him over. Three men turned to look in the direction she was waving. He immediately became self-conscious when he realised he had somehow missed the dress code for the party. Everyone looked formal with the men in suits and ties while the women wore beautiful gowns. But when he looked at Amanda again and saw how she smiled at him, he pushed his worries away and walked up to her.
“I’m sorry.” It was the first thing he said, grabbing her into a hug.
At first, she didn’t respond but then she returned the hug and smiled at him before her smile melted away.
“I’m still mad at you though.”
“I know. I’ll make it up to you.”
“David, it’s good to see you. Your face has been scarce at our family dinners.” Amanda’s mom, Mrs Lawanson said as she walked closer to them.
“I’ll try my best to attend the next one ma’am.”
“I’ll be looking forward to seeing you.” She said before an elderly-looking woman in a powder blue suit came and drew her attention away.
“Your mother still scares me.” He said, turning to whisper to Amanda.
She shook her head and laughed, dragging him away by his arm. After much socializing, Amanda led him to a quiet corner in the room. She folded her arms and her expression became serious.
“What’s wrong? Are you still mad about me showing up late today?” David asked.
“You always show up late for every occasion and despite your many excuses, something isn’t adding up. Look, I want to trust you but you’re not giving me much to build my trust upon and you’re always avoiding the issue.”
David sighed and rubbed at his eyes, holding back a yawn. It was evident that he hadn’t had a peaceful night’s rest.
“What do you want me to say, Amanda?”
“I want the truth for once.”
For a few tense moments, all he could do was stare at her distressed face in silence. How could he explain that he wasn’t who she thought he was? How could he explain what had happened between him and his family without losing her trust completely? Or the fact that the daughter of a wealthy oil magnate was with a security guard who had almost no future prospects?
“I had somewhere to be last night and it took a lot of energy out of me. I was really busy.”
Amanda narrowed her eyes slightly in disbelief.
“Who were you with?” She asked.
“Some colleagues of mine.”
“Was there any female there?” She fired back.
“Well yes, quite a lot… wait! It’s not what you think.”
“How do I know what to think? You always show up claiming to have been busy all night and I don’t have any idea about the nature of your job.”
In that instance, he realised he was at crossroads. He could tell her the truth and bear the consequences of her reaction whatever it may be, or try to buy some time to break it to her in a way she might understand. But before he could reply, a voice interrupted them.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I was looking for the restroom.”
They both turned to see a lady who was already walking backwards and looking embarrassed at interrupting them.
“I can’t do this right now. It’s my parents’ anniversary.” Amanda sighed before walking away, leaving David staring at her retreating figure.
Later that night as David prepared for his shift he noticed that the ambience of the hospital had changed.
“Segun, what’s going on?” He asked his partner on the shift.
“Didn’t you hear the news? The lady that was brought in yesterday night is the only daughter of Senator Mfon Abasi. He has put several bodyguards in place to watch over her while she’s recovering from the accident.” Segun looked around discreetly before continuing. “I don’t know about you but I think they suspect that there is some foul play. Why else would there be this much protocol about the incident?”
“Don’t say what will put you in trouble.” David frowned and nudged Segun’s shoulder.
Just then, two heavily built men in black suits wearing wireless earpieces with official looking tags walked past them, not sparing a glance.
“See what I’m talking about? They’ve been patrolling the area ever since.” Segun said when they had passed by.
David watched them go, noticing that indeed the situation seemed tense but he was determined to do his duty despite the presence of the men.
“It is still our primary assignment to guard this hospital despite these bodyguards.” He told Segun before walking away to patrol the grounds.
In the dead of the night David fought back a yawn as he made his way towards the ICU rooms. It was usually one of the last few areas he went through before his shift was over. His shoes padded the ground softly as he was always careful about noisy movement. He frowned when he heard it, the quiet rustle of noise coming from the direction of the ICU rooms. He moved towards the noise with his baton raised in his hand and his flashlight in the other.
“Where do you think you’re going?” A voice asked.
David turned around to face a tall man dressed in dark clothes. He couldn’t see his face clearly because he had on a pair of dark wrap-around glasses obstructing part of his face.
Glasses at this time of the night? David wondered.
“I’m patrolling tonight and I have every right to be here.” David replied. He had been getting annoyed at the way some of the bodyguards usually disregarded his assigned position in the hospital, treating most of the workers like they were suspects and some of that piled up irritation was showing itself. He didn’t know who this man was but he was determined to put him in his place.
“I suggest you turn around and leave now.” The man said, dismissing him.
David felt insulted at the command but something about the situation felt off. He was trained at what he did and he knew when he smelt something fishy.
“I need to see your ID.” He suddenly asked the man.
With his face completely neutral, the man dug his hand into the chest pocket of his suit and brought out an ID card which he flashed in front of David’s face. While trying to read it, David never saw the hand that slipped towards the man’s back and it was too late by then because a powerful blow landed on his head that knocked him to the floor. All he felt was a sharp prick of pain in his neck before his eyes drifted shut.