Cecil’s elusive appointment was to a medical lab, where she’d dropped off her first urine of the day that morning.
It had been fortunate that she’d still had the tiny plastic containers with covers from the fertility clinic, so it’d been easy to collect her first pee of the day at Usen’s house.
She smiled when she recalled what they’d done that morning before he’d insisted on dropping her at home. The man was a romantic and Cecil was totally in love with him. Even though she’d had her car with her, he’d insisted on driving behind her until she got home safe.
“The result will be ready soon,” the attendant informed her with a smile.
Cecil smiled back and nodded even though her heart thumped in dread and anticipation, what if it wasn’t a pregnancy? Then it would mean she was seriously sick. And what if it was; how would she tell Usen? Would their being together end, since the job was done?
She still didn’t understand his meaning when he’d said he wanted to be involved. Would it be like in a scheduled visit kind of thing? The thought twisted her heart painfully.
The intimacy they’d shared these past months had ruined her. She couldn’t imagine returning to be by herself. Though, she would surely not be by herself, not with the ladies, but then none of them was Usen and the brand of love and care that was purely his to provide.
A second attendant, the one that had collected her urine sample that morning finally emerged from the recess of the lab with a folded paper in her hand.
Cecil sat up nervously, her heart thumped rapidly and her phone chose that moment to ring. She wanted to ignore it, but the name flashing on her screen made her frown, so she got to her feet, strolled to the balcony of the lab and answered the call.
“What’s the problem, Ebube? I didn’t expect your call for the rest of the year, I’ve already provided a competent agent to collaborate with you on this witch hunt,” she snapped, feeling irritation more than anger.
Ebube had been her colleague at her former station at Port Harcourt and he had been a perpetual rash in the middle of her back, always itching and difficult to scratch.
She’d been glad when she’d been sent back home and he’d been sent back to his home too. But he’d called her and requested, no, demanded that competent agents with field experience be made available since the criminal he was chasing was hiding in her state.
“Apparently, our meanings of competence are miles apart, since this so called competent agent of yours never showed up,” he snapped right back.
Cecil sighed wearily; she was too old for this kind of problem. They’d always been cat and dog, mainly because Ebube staunchly believed a woman had no business in the field of security. She’d been glad they’d been posted to different locations, but he was like a groin wart that just won’t go away.
“What do you mean he never showed up?”
“I wish someone had told me that ‘he never showed up’ had double meanings,” Ebube retorted sarcastically.
Cecil grabbed the bridge of her nose and exhaled hot air in frustration. Dimly, she wondered why Slay hadn’t gone to the meeting he’d told her he’d set up with Ebube’s contact.
“I’m sorry about that, Ebube,” she apologized through her teeth, more to calm herself than to mollify him.
It didn’t work, “Do I have to come over there and handle your agents for you, Cecil?”
She had to grit her teeth when he insisted on calling her by her first name while sounding derisive, he had always wanted to put her down.
“If the agent I sent didn’t make it, then he has a perfectly good explanation for that, because I trust him and his partner and they are the best there…”
“You think they are the best because you read their files?” he scoffed, “An agent has to prove himself…”
“…every freaking day! I know your mantra, Ebube, believe me, I had to listen to you drone on about it for years. Unlike you, spy master,” she said disdainfully, “I trust my agents, I give them the benefit of the doubt, I encourage them…”
“You could breast feed them too while you’re at it,” he sneered through the phone.
“Was this call for any particular reason?” Cecil asked with controlled anger.
“You mean, apart from the fact that your agent didn’t show up for the meeting he had with my contact? The criminal has gone haywire in your town and you know nothing about it. As usual, you display your incompetence in leaps and bounds…”
Cecil felt like flinging her phone at the wall of the medical lab and watching it shatter to pieces, preferably, Ebube’s face shattering along with it. But she pulled the phone from her ear and took deep breaths; she had to be focused here.
Ebube had always been one to transmit important information wrapped in unbearable insults. He’d just said something about a criminal going haywire in her town, she needed to calm down and find out what he was talking about.
Because, despite his propensity for insults, Ebube was a good agent in his own way and he’d deserved being appointed Director of Security at Anambra state. Though she would rather pull her toe nail than tell him that; right now, she needed whatever insight he had.
He had still been spewing insults when Eddy’s call entered in, Cecil didn’t even bother to make a polite excuse, she just tapped a button and switched to the waiting call.
“Cecil, I think…” Eddy sighed heavily but Cecil could hear the trepidation in the usually calm woman’s voice.
“What’s going on, Eddy?” she asked with a frown, her own dread increasing, because, subconsciously, she knew whatever Eddy was going to say would be connected to what Ebube had alluded to.
“I don’t know the details but it seems as though, our husbands have been kidnapped and there’s a possibility that our kids will be too,” she completed in a voice gone hoarse, because, what wife or mother would be unaffected at the rumor that her family was in danger.
“How sure are we of this?” Cecil took a deep breath to calm her palpitating heart. If this was true, then this was different at all levels, the guys had become her family, there weren’t some faceless victim who would require they do everything according to the law, not minding if the victim survived or not, as long as the criminal was stopped.
They couldn’t risk that with family.
“I don’t know, Cecil,” Eddy answered and choked, probably controlling her hysterics.
How would the other women cope with this if it was true?
“When I called you first and you were on a call, I tried all their numbers, nobody answered, even Uncle Ebong,” she replied in a whisper.
Cecil’s breath caught in her throat as she heard Usen’s name.
“I was alerted to the problem by Wana, she seems to have a recording…I don’t know, I’m heading to the children’s school to meet her. Slay and Morgan’s cars are parked at the office, the security post people said they saw them enter a blue van this morning, and they aren’t back, and not answering their calls…” Eddy lost the battle and sobbed.
“I’ll meet you at the school,” Cecil said, instilling firmness into her tone. She hoped her authority would give Eddy the strength to act more like an agent than a mother…at least, until they figured out what the hell was going on.
When Eddy agreed, she ended the call and would have raced down the short flight of stairs of the medical lab to get to her car, but the attendant must have been watching out for her.
She rushed towards Cecil’s retreating back, “Your result, Ma,” she called out and Cecil turned, and snatched the result from her in a hurry.
“Thank you,” she murmured and continued down the stairs.
“Congratulations!” the attendant called out to Cecil, whose marching steps stuttered a bit in shock, then she smiled her thanks at the attendant and rushed to her car.
She put her phone on hands free and dialed Usen’s number, it rang endlessly with no answer. She swallowed thickly to push down the log of fear in her throat. Then she called Ebube, he could insult her all he wanted, but she needed to know who this criminal he was after was and what he was doing in her turf.
DUCT SEASON 4 continues
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