Fiction, Never Let Go

Never Let Go 18

Episode 18

Dirin couldn’t forgive himself after Yoma fell into Eva’s trap. She wasn’t supposed to get hurt. It was the whole essence of protecting her, keeping her away from Eva and her brother. He felt useless again. Jaya was used before and he found out a bit late, now it was Evan’s wife. He couldn’t let it just slide by. If he didn’t take any action, it would happen itself, especially with haters around. But would she truly be protected with haters around?
He didn’t give up, he would do anything for Yoma to have and live the life she deserves. He leaned his head back on his seat. Deep down, he was scared his actions might trigger a big chunk of reactions that would drown him and harm lots of people. Eva’s gang was a big threat. He felt a headache coming, he massaged his forehead.
All of a sudden, his Venza car door was flung open. Before he could yelp at the person, he was dragged out by an exaggerating force and crashed into warm chocolate goodness. He felt something wet on his neck that was tightly wrapped by surprisingly strong arms.
“I’m fine Nuella” Dirin muttered. He recognized her scent when she hugged him. Judging by her actions, someone snitched on him. He won’t let the person off so easily. She just had a baby, what did the person have in mind, rattling him to her?
“It’s okay, I am fine” he wrapped his arms around her, bringing her closer, not allowing air pass through them.
It took some time before she calmed down and released him. She hit his chest continuously, questioning his rather stupid move.
“Ouch!” He cried out. “You’re surprisingly strong for a new mother” He chuckled, wiping her tear-streaked face
“I told you not to allow me to find another godfather with a shady hotel for your godson”
“I did no such thing”
Nuella stepped away from him. “But you will.” She spoke in a doleful voice, her face gloomy.
“What are you talking about? I am here, aren’t I? I am fine, you don’t have-”
She interrupted him. “Evan told me everything”
Dirin cursed him in his mind. Why did he have to involve her? Aren’t there enough people involved already? What will he gain? Is he trying to redeem himself?
“Allow the authorities to do their job. It’s not worth it Dirin, don’t do this, please” she pleaded.
“She shouldn’t have been hurt again, I should have protected her”
“You did Dirin. You protected her and kept her safe, she knows that and if she doesn’t pull through, it’s on her. She is probably too tired to continue but I know she won’t give up because there are a lot of us here, waiting on her. She will wake up, you should trust her” she said, her hands cupping his face.
“I can’t allow them to walk freely, they hurt her”
Nuella nodded. “I know. They hurt us too, so let the authorities do their job. We need you here” she told him. “Evan needs you” she added.
He raised a brow. “Evan? Which Evan?”
Nuella burst out laughing. “Seriously?!”
“Your friend and your godson,” she said, pulled him along, approaching Dirin’s shady hotel.
“Evan Nna is not a friend”
Nuella threw her hands in the air. “Fine. I give up”
Dirin smiled. He wrapped his arms around her, keeping her close. She reciprocated his action.
“Since I am here now, what do I do?” She questioned. She had planned on staying at Yoma’s foundation but with the chaotic situation, Dirin needs her more. She wasn’t worried about her safety as he would always keep her safe. Besides, it was over and they lost.
“What you have always done, gossip”
She playful hit his chest. “How about a makeover for your hotel?”
Dirin halted in his tracks. He tilted his head to her. “Why?”
Nuella was confused. “Why what?”
“You don’t have to change a thing about my hotel,” he said, resuming his tracks. He added before she could speak. “I told Yoma when it was over, she would choose a different path, starting from her makeover of my hotel. I promised to help her do it, to help find the right track again”
“I’m sorry” Nuella quickly apologized. “You don’t have to-”
“Jaya?” Dirin cut her off. “Wait for inside,” he said, not taking his eyes off of Jaya.
She tugged his arm. “Dirin please”
Dirin looked at her briefly before he approached Jaya. He threw a punch at him.
Jaya winced in pain, wiping his lips, in case he bled. “I deserved it”
“You have no idea” Dirin spat coldly.
“I’m sorry”
“Sure you are” he sarcastically replied.
“Not for Yoma but what I did to you. Yoma is guilty in the eyes of the law, you can’t change it”
“I can defend her from the law, society and narrow-minded people like you” Dirin asserted.
“I didn’t come here to pick a fight with you”
Dirin tugged his hands in his pocket, a face locked in a scowl. “Of course, you didn’t.”
“For the sake of our friendship-”
“We can’t be friends anymore. You’re a lawyer and I am a murderer, parallel path. I defended myself to live but you won’t hesitate to throw me in prison as you had in mind when you worked for Eva”
Dirin turned around and walked towards his hotel. He didn’t care about Jaya anymore. He thought he knew his friend, turned out, he didn’t. Yoma was right about him, he was one of them.
***
Two years later.
“Are you okay?” Nuella asked.
Evan gave her a toothy smile. “I have been waiting for this”
“Don’t guard your walls too high for me to reach you. It has been a tough time for you and everybody-”
“Be right back” Evan interrupted when he spotted a familiar face.
Evan approached Kessina and her family. “Hi, glad you came”
“I have goosebumps,” Kessina said. “I had to bring my support system” she gestured towards her family and boyfriend Garen.
“I know right? I am so excited”
“You don’t look excited,” Her father remarked.
“People come and go in life, but the best ones remain in the story, no matter whether they stay till the end or leave after a few pages,” Evan told them, feeling so proud to be a part of Yoma’s life.
“You did that for her”
He winked and excused himself. He was about to step unto the stage set for him when Dirin pulled him aside.
“Why doesn’t your book have an ending?”
Evan rolled his eyes at him, releasing his arm from his grip. “Not every story has a happy ending, besides, the story is not over yet” a knowing smile plastered on his face.
Dirin narrowed his eyes at him. “Evan?” He growled.
“We had a deal. I give you a copy of my book, I use your rebranded hotel for my launch” Evan said, completely enjoying his reaction. It was nice having to be the one getting under his skin, being dramatic at every opportunity.
“I can cancel it” Dirin flaunted his authority.
“And tell her you canceled it because?” His cockiness irritated him.
“Evan its time,” Nuella said, handing over her son to Dirin. “Here’s your godson,” he told him with a sweet smile.
“Don’t forget both kids will walk up the stage to hand over the bouquets of flower and a small note. Where is my daughter Dirin? Didn’t you volunteer to babysit? How could you lose a child? How irresponsible” Evan taunted.
Nuella pulled Evan away before Dirin could respond, their bickering could last all day long. They climbed the stage.
“You can back out and no one will question you” Nuella reminded him for the umpteenth time.
“I just need a minute and we will begin”
She nodded and stepped down to meet Dirin.
“I feel bad for him, his wife might not be allowed to leave prison until she serves her full term. He needs all our support.”
“Is he backing out?”
“He just doesn’t want to struggle, so he’s going with the flow,” Nuella answered him.
“He didn’t have to write their story all over again, Yoma did that already and it didn’t end well”
“The stage play never saw the light of day, it doesn’t count”
Dirin shifted the child in his arms to a comfortable spot before he picked up Evan’s daughter, who was tugging his pants. “Why did I agree to this again?”
“Let me think” Nuella didn’t try to hide her amused face. “I got it” she snapped her fingers. “Evan Nna is a friend. Friends don’t abandon friends, they help out”
“He is not a friend, I came here for the book in Yoma’s name”
“The book named after Yoma would have been nicer to say,” Nuella said.
He snorted.

Evan stood in front of the thick curtain, his hands in his pants. He simply stared at the curtain. He finally fulfilled one of his dreams but he couldn’t say he was overly excited. He was just happy for the achievement, nothing more.
It wasn’t how he had envisioned his first book. But lots of things happened to him and around him. At a point, he stopped deciding and allow fate to take its course, it would anyway.
Soon it was time to start the event and was asked to unveil the book cover. Evan’s eyes wandered in the sea of people, searching. He found Yoma’s family, Kessina’s family, His wife’s family and Oyim. A smile played on his lips.
He gladly pulled the curtain, to reveal a stunning picture of Yoma’s side profile face smiling, with bold letters beside it.
Dirin snorted in his seat. “Eva doesn’t deserve to be in the title. She’s not even supposed to be in Yoma’s story”
“Yoma Eva is a fine title” Nuella teased.
“You heard of Eva, I witnessed her havoc. I can say what I want” Dirin scowled.
Thank you,” Nuella said.
“For?”
“What you did for Eva. I know you can’t readily forgive or accept her but handing her over to the authorities took a lot from you”
Dirin hadn’t responded when she squealed, attracting attention. “OMG!”
“Look” she pointed to the door.
Dirin followed the direction of her finger from his spot beside the stage and saw her. A red polo shirt tucked in a black pencil skirt, paired with a red peep-toe heel. There was something different about her from mere looking at her.
Maybe he wasn’t supposed to see the old her or perhaps, he was expecting a completely different person. But she simply had to be present while her story was being told to the world.

THE END

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. – Norman Cousins

A heartfelt thank you for all your audience and interaction. I appreciate you all.

Adekoya Oluwatobi thank you for the beautiful picture you permitted me to use for this story.

In other news,

My ebook will be out next month, more details will be posted on the blog 😁

Fiction, Never Let Go

Never Let Go 17

Episode 17

Evan walked away from the grisly scene. He didn’t look back cause he didn’t have to. There was nothing to see, his mind was occupied by prayers for Yoma. He didn’t want to be responsible for her death but it might be too late. The choice he had made ruined her. He hadn’t made amendments for the past, then this happened. He was so full of guilt.
Yoma deserved better. Back then, she gave up so much for his family and she never recovered from the heavy blow life dealt her. He couldn’t be responsible for her demise, he would never forgive himself. The sweet smile playing on her lips, her glinting eyes, the peaceful aura around her in the midst of the gruesome scene, it was like she had finally been at peace with herself. As if it was what she wanted. She didn’t struggle, she let herself be vulnerable.
Evan hadn’t heard from Dirin, his wife Ugo, and Eva. He was too afraid to ask what happened after the last gunshot he heard or be reminded his wife and sister were culprits in the chaos. He didn’t know what to do either, he thought to stay away for a time being. They all need time to evaluate their actions and it’s repercussions.
It haunted him each day after. Every day, he reminded himself it wasn’t goodbye. Every day, he was reminded not to build on the beach, as it wouldn’t last. Yoma wasn’t responding to treatment like she did the previous time. He was scared of the next minute and didn’t know what would happen to her.
“Hi Yoma” Evan started. “It’s me again. I know you really want to hear any voice but mine, what can I do? I didn’t look back when I left so I know nothing. Don’t worry, I will soon stop pestering you.” He looked down at his hand holding hers. “I know you can hear me, live for yourself, not for me or my father. Wake up because you want to. Just this once, think about yourself. I’ll be fine with whatever you decide and I am so sorry I failed you over and over again. No use crying over spilled milk but it hurts….” His voice became hoarse. “I don’t want you to hurt anymore”
Would her life have been different if she hadn’t met me? He asked inwardly.
He didn’t have the chance to ponder, as a knock drew his attention. He turned in his seat to see who it was.
“Doctor Nna” a nurse called, popping her head into the room.
“Is my daughter okay?” He questioned at the sight of the nurse he had told to help him watch his daughter after he had collected her from his in-laws where his wife had dropped her.
“She’s fine. She’s sleeping. You have visitors”
Evan heaved a sigh. It was time, he told himself. He gave Yoma a kiss on her forehead, a long gaze, then left the room. He bumped into his wife’s parents Mr. & Mrs. Cheta.
“So you are here while your wife is missing” Mr. Cheta accused.
“She is not missing. She is somewhere I don’t know” Evan said, his head lowered, hands tucked in his white coat.
“Is it not the same thing?” Mrs. Cheta spoke loudly.
“This is a hospital, please”
“We’re not blind, we know we are in a hospital” Mr. Cheta rebuked him.
“Ugo almost killed a person,” Evan said in a small voice.
Ugo’s parents were stupefied.
“The person she hurt has someone behind who is not willing to let it go,” he told them.
“She can’t do anything like that, I know my daughter very well,” Mr. Cheta said daring glances between his wife and son-inlaw.
“Ugo can’t just wake up one day and tried to kill a person. There must be a reason behind her action.” Mrs. Cheta defended her daughter.
Evan kept quiet as they protected their righteous seed. It would be useless narrating the whole buildup to her action. They glared at him angrily because of his silence.
“You won’t say anything, will you?” Mr. Cheta questioned.
He shook his head.
“Where is our granddaughter?” Mrs. Cheta inquired.
“Well taken care of” He answered.
“You’ll abandon your wife just like that?” Ugo’s father questioned.
“I can’t do anything if I wanted to,” Evan replied.
They were about to demand an explanation when a nurse came for Evan. He excused himself with comforting words.
“I’ll try but I can’t give any guarantee”
Mr. & Mrs. Cheta couldn’t believe he had become cruel towards his wife. She almost killed a person, almost for Pete sake! Why was he deserting her? Marriage is for better or worse!
***
“You can’t keep me locked up forever” Eva screamed. She didn’t know which hurt more, her bullet wounds or her inability to kill Yoma. Not to mention losing her freedom, even her brother hadn’t tried to contact her. She was livid.
Back at the grisly scene of her trap, when Evan had arrived just in time to watch the bullet rip Yoma’s soul off her body, she had a flashback.
All of a sudden, she saw her eight-year-old self clutched tightly on Yoma’s back on a side of the road, while Big Ike held her mother on the other. He had a smug look on his face, a gun in his hand, the other beckoning on us to save her.
Yoma had set her down. She was extremely frightened. She assured her of safety before she bravely approached him. She hadn’t taken ten steps when her mother was shot in the head.
Yoma’s shrilling scream echoed loudly in the bushes but was abruptly cut off when a car accidentally knocked her down. Eva didn’t think it was a mere coincidence then because of Big Ike’s action. He sent men to grab her and the rest was history.
The images were vivid in her head, haunting her since then. She was too busy dealing with the self-righteous black market businessman to ponder on the flashback.
“Self-righteous maniac” Eva yelled at the top of her lungs. It was surprising her voice hadn’t been raspy from her ceaseless screams.
“Here I am” Dirin cooed leaning against the door frame of the small room she was held.
“Let me go”
“How much longer will you repeat those broken words?” He asked with a smirk.
“You’ll not get away with this” Eva said through clenched teeth.
“I pulled you from the brinks of death for a reason. But till I rid the world of your filthy pollution, allow your darling sister inlaw a moment of peace”
“I want to see Evan!”
“You too?” Dirin let out a throaty laugh. “He doesn’t want to see any of you. You didn’t get the message when he walked away with Yoma in his arms?”
Eva glared at him. “If Yoma is dead, keeping me here rotting in pain without painkillers won’t bring her back. Unless she isn’t dead and you want to torture me till she wakes up. But you forgot so soon.” She shook her head. “Yoma will ever love Evan”
Dirin didn’t flinch at her words. “She will eventually get over a dead person”
Eva was dumbfounded. “You’re bluffing”
Dirin shrugged his shoulders, turned around and walked out. Eva yelled his name over and over again, cursing and hissing.
***
Oyim had watched Dirin these past days. He seemed to derive pleasure from the anguish of both women who hurt Yoma. He hadn’t gone to the hospital to see her, but he understood. Dirin couldn’t really face Evan though he didn’t exactly kill his sister.
Dirin was also afraid. Yoma had received one too many blows, nobody would blame her if she couldn’t pull through. Oyim felt Evan and Dirin could weather the storm if they put their grievances aside.
“You haven’t decided what to do with them?” Dirin asked Oyim entering his room.
Oyim arched a brow. “Shouldn’t I be asking you?”
“Any news on Yoma?” He asked redirecting the conversation.
He shook his head. “Why don’t you spend time with your godson while I handle things here?” Oyim suggested.
“I won’t be at ease until it is truly over” Dirin refused.
“Look around you, you have won. You have the culprits, what-”
“Evan is still out there”
Oyim was startled. “Evan?” He shook his head. “Don’t hurt him”
Dirin gave him a mischievous smile.
“Dirin-”
“I need to pay Evan a visit,” he said and stood up.
“Don’t hurt him. You have Eva and crimes against her to lock her away, you have his wife for attempted murder, why-”
“And every night, I ask myself if I have done enough, then maybe why Yoma whurt again by the same people”
Oyim didn’t know how to respond after he heard his words. Dirin waited for a response but didn’t get any, so he left.
***
“She cried,” the nurse told Evan when he returned.
Evan nodded. Yoma heard him earlier. He was tired of the day’s work and decided to spend the night in his house, not the hospital.
“I’ll be heading out. Update me if there are any changes” he told the nurse.
He stared at Yoma for a while before he walked out of the room. He was on his way to fetch his daughter when he saw Dirin. He waited till he got to him before he spoke.
“How are you holding up?” Evan asked, trying to make light conversation.
“Shouldn’t I be asking you?” Dirin said in a hostile tone.
“I’m so so-”
“I can’t forgive you, Evan,” he told him, looking into his eyes. He didn’t want to beat around the bush. “I told you to protect her, to keep her safe and away from harm. I told you to but what did you do? You brushed it off. I let you have your way and this is the result. Don’t think for a moment that I couldn’t prevent it from happening, that I was scared of you. I did what Yoma would have wanted”
“I know”
“No, you don’t” Dirin flared up. “You don’t know how much she has suffered and is still suffering because of you.”
“That’s why I won’t interfere, do whatever you feel is right”
A vicious smile tugged his lips upwards. “Anything I want?”
Evan nodded.
“You realize your wife and sister are with me and could be handed over to the authorities for persecution right?”
“Will it make any difference if I plead for them?” Evan countered his question.
Dirin feigned a thinking expression. His pointer finger pressed against his temple. After an eternity of pondering, he spoke. “I’ll pardon one. Choose who it will be”
Evan was expecting it. He knew it would be nearly impossible to choose between his wife and sister without a guilty conscience. Who will he save? His wife Ugo who was of the wrong opinion about Yoma and was badly influenced or Eva who blamed all her misfortunes on Yoma.
“If Yoma were to choose, who would she save?” Dirin asked.
It was such an obvious answer and he knew it. But couldn’t bring himself to say it.
“I got my answer” with that turned and walked out on him.
***
Yoma was tired of her walking. She didn’t know how far she had walked and for how long. Her legs ached. She sat down by the shore, facing the sea. The cool breeze kissed her, soothing her, luring her to the netherworld. Her eyes became heavy. All she wanted to do was close her eyes and sleep but she couldn’t.
Not with a bright light far off in the distance. A light she had run after for so long yet she wasn’t any closer. Then the voice always apologizing to her and telling her to do what she wanted. She never really saw the person except for a blurred image.
Yoma heard clearly the words to do what she wanted but she felt it nudging her to do something else. Something other than giving up and closing her eyes, encouraging her to keep reaching for the light.
She admired the blue sea. It was so calming, her heart was at ease. For the first time in a long time, she felt peace. She was at rest from everything and anything.
“Yoma”
She heard her name. She lifted her head and saw her father, Mr. Nna.
“What are you doing here?”
“I have always been here.” He replied.
“I’m glad you found me, daddy. I am so tired, I want to sleep” Yoma said.
He sat down beside her on the white sand and gently laid her head on his laps. “You can rest now”
“You’ll accompany me?”
Mr. Nna nodded.
Yoma suddenly felt overwhelmed and cried. She cried for so long she spent her last gas and embraced sleep.

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Fiction, Never Let Go

Never Let Go 16

Episode 16

Oyim plopped into the chair opposite Yoma’s room. He had a gut feeling to follow Dirin, stopping him from acting rashly, but he knew better. He was doing it for her safety and Evan seem confused about whose side to pick. It must be hard for him to believe Yoma over Eva, his flesh and blood. Hopefully, he realizes her ill intentions early.
The justice system would found Yoma guilty if her confession was charged. She wasn’t guilty in his eyes. Love had never been wrong, all she did was love their parents. She shouldn’t pay such a hefty price for it. Sadly, not everyone thought that way.
***
Eva had feigned her sleep. When Evan left, she opened her eyes. She was very furious. Dirin didn’t seem to believe her, leaving her without any traces of remorse to wreck his content life. Of course, he wouldn’t want to hurt Yoma, he had gotten over their father’s death and forgotten about her and their mother. He didn’t take any action either after he saw her state earlier. It was so easy for him to turn a blind eye.
She got up from her bed and peeped out. No sign of Evan or any other person, she stepped out. She stopped at a bending corner. Her eyes fixated on the poster on the wall, while one of her men updated her on Yoma, looking like two coincidental people attracted by the same poster.
“Yoma’s room is still guarded”
“I know that already” she spoke with gritted teeth. “Is Yoma awake?”
“I think so”
She turned sharply to him, glaring hard at him. Cold chills ran down his spine. “We couldn’t get close to find out. No one is allowed anywhere near her room”
“Dirin!” Eva clenched her fists angrily. If he wouldn’t let anyone near her, she will have to tread the path herself. He wouldn’t do anything to Evan’s precious sister. Maybe it might trigger Evan to take action against Dirin for earlier.
“Where is her room?”
He gave her the description, a vicious smile on her lips.
***
Evan felt relieved after a lengthy phone conversation with his wife. She reluctantly forgave him and was thrilled to meet Eva. She wanted to come to the hospital but he insisted she waited at home for her. He didn’t want her bumping into Dirin at the hospital. He hadn’t successfully convinced her of Yoma’s innocence and Eva was of the same opinion. He feared what would happen when she meets Eva.
But how could he stop the inevitable?
Eva was an issue he didn’t know how to handle. He knew Yoma didn’t feign a Dream-reality confusion but his sister hates her so much.
How does he convince her Yoma would never hurt anyone?
***
Kessina and Yoma were having a light conversation when the ruckus outside caught their attention. She told her to stay put while she checks it out. She opened the door and a female voice screaming Yoma hit her ears. She turned sharply to her friend.
Yoma slowly got out of bed. The voice felt familiar to her. It must be someone she knew who wanted to see her but Dirin’s guard and Oyim wouldn’t allow it.
“You don’t have to stand up,” Kessina said, rushing to assist her. “I will sort it out”
Yoma shook her head. “Let me”
Eva wasn’t relenting. She needed Yoma to step out of the room. If Evan arrived at the scene, it would be mind-blowing.
But the guards and Oyim were not doing anything that could be deemed harmful. Perhaps, it was an instruction left for them, not to manhandle her.
Oyim saw right through her action. She was deliberately provocating them. They didn’t exactly succeed in covering her mouth or dragging her away and when the door opened, he let her go. He signaled the guards to do the same.
“You need to be resting Yoma,” Oyim told Yoma who stepping out with Kessina’s support.
He wouldn’t mind them meeting if she didn’t physically attack her. She gave him a weak smile. An idea popped up. If Evan heard their conversation, it would foil her plans. He walked away, giving them space.
“We meet again” Eva started with a sinister smile. “I had always imagined our next meeting would be you behind bars. What do I expect from you? And Dirin always following you about like a lost puppy”
“Who are you?” Kessina questioned.
“Why don’t you tell her Yoma? Tell her who I am”
Yoma was silent. She felt her anger towards her familiar, like the raging emotions she had in her dreams. If it was a dream like Evan confirmed, why does it feel so real?
“Eva,” Yoma said in a small voice.
“Wrong” Eva said bridging the gap between them. Kessina got in their middle while the guards quickly rushed to pull Eva, creating distance between them.
Eva laughed hysterically. “My distance from you doesn’t matter, I will continue to haunt you till you pay for your sins. You ruined my life, I will never forgive you. Evan might have stopped the play but not the story. It ends after retribution for my parents and my horrible life, an eye for an eye.”
It wasn’t a dream, Yoma thought. Her head felt like it would explode any minute as her body trembled, the memories of her supposed dream overwhelmed her. She couldn’t hear a sound as if the world was toned down. The scene of the incident which took her parents lives played repeatedly in her head, vividly. Each time, it broke her a bit more.
Thankfully, Kessina was behind her to support her as she felt someone snatch the ground from under her feet. She was falling hard and fast.
“Yoma didn’t kill your parents” Kessina asserted. “She would never hurt anyone”
Eva smirked at Yoma’s reaction. Guilt trip succeeded. With that, she turned around and left.
****
Yoma had a pained expression long after Eva left. Her body shuddered, cold chills engulfed her. She felt disdain for herself. She took away their parents, what right did she have to live without retribution?
‘It wasn’t a dream’
It was a statement that she had to come to terms with. It was a reminder of Evan’s sacrifice.
‘Evan….’
He was her biggest happiness and the worst trauma of her life, both arrived at once. The anguish in her was indescribable.
Did he think the same way? Did he blame her? They never spoke about it, what if he thought differently, did it change anything?
Fat tears dripped down her cheeks. She took lives, she could never repay that. She suddenly felt suffocated.
Kessina was scared of her reaction. She shook her lightly, calling her name but the voices in her head drowned out her voice. She asked the guards to go get a doctor when Oyim arrived.
“Yoma” he called, gripping her arms. “You didn’t do anything wrong, they did. You are not responsible for their deaths”
Oyim didn’t think Evan would be of help. He wasn’t ready to pick a side, why inform him of her episode? When will it be over?
They kept talking but she wasn’t listening. They carefully led her back into the room. To them, it was like she was reliving painful memories. She wasn’t responding though her eyes were opened, almost like her body was an empty shell and her soul gone.
They kept talking to her until their words sank in. She mumbled in a small voice. “I want to go home”
Kessina was expecting this. “I will talk to your doctor”
“Dirin left to make arrangements-”
“My home is in Alik” Yoma cut him off. Her eyes wandering, avoiding both of them. “Get me out of here today. I need to be in Alik”
Kessina and Oyim exchanged looks.
Was she going to attempt Alik suicide again? Oyim wondered.
“I’ll get you discharged,” Oyim said.
***
Eva arrived in her room just in time as her brother checked on her. She insisted she wanted to leave, citing the excuse of accumulation of the hospital bill. She looked really pitiful, and he gave in. He thought it would be better they met and convinced them at once, saving the drama of later.
He got her discharge papers and went to check on Yoma before he left. The guards didn’t allow him in. He didn’t think Dirin and Oyim were serious earlier. He had a long way to go with them. He left, with a promise to check on her later in the evening. It had been one hell of a day, the longest in a while.
***
“Why can’t I accompany you?” Kessina whined beside Yoma in the car.
“I left for a reason,” Yoma said adjusting in her seat. Oyim was quick in getting her discharged.
“I’m not upset you left.”
“This is the end of the road for-”
Kessina cut her off. “You think I blame you for Mr. Nna’s death? I don’t. You never did anything wrong”
“You’ll never blame me, I know that.” She paused. “I am sorry for my attitude, my rude-”
“Is this goodbye?”
She shrugged. “Pretty much. Not sure I will want to continue with this burden, I am tired. Very tired. I just want to rest”
“By rest you mean die?” Kessina questioned.
Yoma chuckled. “You know me well, I hate you for that”
Kessina’s heart winced in pain. She couldn’t let her go. She didn’t do anything wrong, why take this path? She had paid enough. She should be allowed to live her life in peace. “I’ll get you a lawyer to prove your innocence, just hang on a little more” a tear dropped from her eyes.
“I’ll stay with you before I-”
Kessina threw herself at her before she could finish her statement. She just needed Yoma to return with her and she would never let her go. Or so she thought.
***
It had been eighteen days Yoma disappeared from the hospital. Eighteen days Evan had tried to convince his wife and sister Yoma wasn’t responsible for their parents’ death without success. He was tired. He didn’t have peace in his home anymore. His wife Ugo and Eva’s favorite talks were Yoma.
One such incident, he lost his cool. He didn’t exactly remember what he said during his heated arguments with them but his wife’s word didn’t stop echoing in his head.
‘You still love her.’
Four simple words that shook the foundation of his marriage. Evan didn’t know how to respond after her utterance, then his sister struck.
‘You both were married right?’
He spent the next couple of hours, explaining the marriage his father performed was a sham though he didn’t believe it was. He just didn’t want to change anything, he feared he would lose Yoma forever if….
“Hi”
The familiar voice that he had grown to love, fluttering his heart, disrupted Evan’s thought.
“How are you?” Evan asked.
Yoma flaunted smile, opening his car in the parking lot. “Alive,” she said.
Yoma had called Evan to meet up at the theater in Alik. She had spent days with Kessina, healing from her car accident.
She sat in the front passenger seat of his ash Hyundai Santa Fe car. “Eva is in pains. If you want to help her heal, allow her to vent out her anger and hate.”
Evan nodded. She always had the right words to say. But her next words darkened his world. “Towards me. Don’t stop her from blaming me, let her scream, curse and even hurt me, to let out all the bitterness in her heart so she can move on.”
“No,” Evan said coldly.
“I held onto our marriage rite our crazy father did” she paused. “You’re happy with her, I am happy too, forget about the marriage. Consider it annulled.”
Evan gazed at her intensely, before he pulled her in for a hug. “Don’t fight for me anymore, I am strong now” he whispered.
Yoma pulled away. “Okay,” she said with a smile.
They remained in silence, staring at each other until Yoma spoke up. “I’m very sorry about your parent’s death. I only-” she raised her hand to stop him from speaking. “Let me say this”
He nodded.
“I had good intentions, I wanted to help, and I am sorry. I should have waited before giving dad the herbs, I should have waited for mom when she was tired, I should have-” Yoma stopped. She blinked back her tears. “I’m sorry”
Evan reached for her face and held it, wiping her tears with his thumbs. “Thank you so much for loving my parents, being crazy about them”
Yoma chuckled.
“Thank you for all of your support, unwavering love, and your selflessness” Evan said sincerely. “I’ll handle Eva, don’t do anything foolish”
Yoma removed his hands from her face, squeezed it tightly before she got out of the car.
Evan looked at her for a long time, a charming smile on her lips, contrasting the black gown and black wedge heels she wore. He felt like this was goodbye. Or was it his emotions playing a trick on him?
***
At a distance, Eva and Ugo watched the scene. Ugo was seethed in anger when her husband hugged Yoma. Her grip on the steering wheel tightened. Eva was enjoying her reaction. She succeeded in getting her to hate Yoma as much as she did.
“This vicious woman shouldn’t be allowed to live, after everything she had done. She acts like a victim, seeing my brother in secret. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had shared a bed”
Ugo was stunned. “They slept together?”
“I-I-”
Ugo stepped hard on her accelerator, plunging her brown Venza car at a high speed, in Yoma’s direction. Eva opened the car and jumped out.
***
Yoma saw a car heading in her direction. She didn’t move. But before the car could hit her, she was pushed away.
“Dirin” she was surprised to see him. She quickly sat up and inspected him for injuries.
“Are you crazy? Find another day to die, like a hundred years from now” Dirin said with a scowl. His body ached from the stunt he pulled.
Sounds of gunshots boomed in the air. Dirin quickly dragged her to seek shelter. He gave her a knowing look.
“You walked into a trap. Good thing I came prepared”
“Don’t hurt Eva,” Yoma said coldly.
“She hurt you first” with that, he brought out a gun.
“Dirin!” She yelled but he was gone.
She peeped out from her spot, heat exchange of bullets filled the air. No one had to get hurt because of her. She was tired and want to rest. She wanted it over. For how long will it drag on?
Yoma stepped out of her safe spot. She approached the scene, yelling. “Eva!”
“I’m here. Don’t hurt anyone because of me”
“Yoma!” She was stunned.
How is Evan back here?
“You have a reason to not die today,” Dirin said, dragging her away from the scene, to Evan.
***
Evan was shocked at the scene before him. His wife was on one side in a banged-up car, a gun in Dirin’s hand, Yoma in the midst of a hot zone, and calling out for his sister. What did he miss? He had left less than five minutes ago. It was sounds of gunfire and turned around, worried about Yoma.
Before his hands could reach Yoma, she slumped in front of him. His eyes almost popped out of its socket. “Yoma!”
***
Dirin looked around for Eva, firing randomly as he searched. A shrill cry from a direction nearby caught his attention. He ran to her.
Staring into her eyes, he shot her right leg, her right hand, her left kneecap and left shoulder. He aimed at her heart.
“Coward” Eva spat bitterly. “You can’t finish me off”
***
Evan applied pressure to her gunshot wound. Yoma was struggling to keep her eyes open, mouth gushing from her mouth.
“You’ll be fine” he carried her in his arms, running to his car when he saw Dirin shooting at something.
He froze momentarily in his tracks at the voice. He looked down at Yoma in his arms, his wife in a car and his sister at Dirin’s mercy.
“She isn’t worth it Dirin,” Evan said.
“For Yoma, she is,” Dirin said and pulled the trigger, causing Evan to shut his eyes.

Fiction, Never Let Go

Never Let Go 15

Episode 15

Dirin watched Evan leave with one of his men. He might have just played into Eva’s trap but he knew he was doing what Yoma would have done. He didn’t know how much longer Yoma would be out, there was only so much he could do. If only he could do things his way, Eva would be peacefully resting in a black hole, almost forgotten.
He returned to Nuella room. “Hey” he called out softly. “You don’t need to sit up”
His words stopped her movement. She looked at him, she could tell something was up. “Is it Evan?”
“Yes.” He promptly replied. “No, it’s not him,”
“I know you can’t readily trust him-”
Dirin cut her off. He was tired of hearing Evan praises and the sight of him was beginning to wear him out. “Do you remember I once told you the time would come when spineless cowards would haunt those I care about to get me?”
“It’s time to go into hiding?” Nuella asked back.
Dirin nodded, his hands in his pants, eyes lowered.
Silence lingered until Nuella spoke up. “On one condition”
“Anything”
“Do not make me have to find another godfather who has a shady hotel for my son”
Dirin burst out in laughter. “Promise”
Nuella chuckled. “When do I leave?”
Dirin bridged the small gap to her bed and carefully hugged her. “You’ll be fine and safe.” He whispered. She nodded. “And your bratty son too”
She hit his shoulder, earning another laughter from him. He left her room and made a couple of phone calls before he left her with his men who would take her to a safe location.
***
Oyim gripped the phone in his hand tightly. He didn’t know how Dirin would react but with his never-ending banter and sudden disappearance, Yoma would be alone and he wouldn’t be enough. Yoma needs a reason to wake up and her family fits the criteria. Sadly, she wasn’t in good terms with them, Evan has his own family, which leaves him with Kessina Odeta.
Kessina just has to be with Yoma in the midst of the chaotic situation. Dirin would have to understand.
***
If the drive from the hospital was his longest drive time ever, the drive to Dirin’s hotel is the shortest ever. Evan didn’t even notify Nuella of his abrupt leave. His heart throbbed rapidly. His brain and mind were on the verge of explosion. His thousand questions weren’t answered as Dirin didn’t say more than Eva Nna was alive. Maybe it was his mind playing tricks on him but he seemed pissed and irritated when he tried to probe.
Evan felt anxious. He was happy his sister was alive but sad he wasn’t the one who found her. What if she hated him? What if like Yoma, her life had been a river of pain, drowning her? What if she never forgave him for not protecting her and their mother? What if she resented him for not finding her sooner? What if it wasn’t Eva his sister but a complete coincidental namesake?
He fidgeted. He should probably call his wife, he can’t do it alone. He reached for his phone in his pants. His finger hovered on her name. She was angry the previous day, maybe he should meet her first, alone. They would have so much to talk about.
How does she look like? Mom? Will she recognize me?
He shook his head. She was five years old when she was taken, she can’t possibly remember my face. Will I be able to recognize her as a sister or a familiar stranger?
Evan was lost in thoughts all through the drive. He got out of the car and took a deep breath. He straightens his non-existent crease on his shirt.
“This way” a baritone voice sounded. Evan nodded.
Maybe it was his wishful thinking to have Dirin drive him to his sister not one of his men. But he is Dirin, overly dramatic.
***
Eva stared out the window. She wondered what Dirin was up to, with his clinging presence, she wouldn’t be able to harm Yoma. But his patience was wearing thin, Evan wouldn’t let him have his way and it would be a matter of time before he snaps. She would act on it to do her heart desires.
She was pondering when she heard a knock. She stiffened her back and swiveled to the door. She heard voices, she sprinted to the door and pressed her ears to it. She couldn’t pick out Dirin’s voice and there seems to be hesitation and deep loud breathes.
Evan. The first name that popped in her head.
Knocks on the door sounded again. Her brain went into overdrive, thinking of anything suitable for the first meeting in over fifteen years. Eva switched off the light and closed the windows. She ripped her clothes, scratching herself leaving ugly marks.
***
“Why isn’t she opening the door?” Evan asked with a grim.
The guard by the door turned the doorknob and opened the door. He gave Evan an askance look.
Evan didn’t take it to heart. He carefully pushed the door opened, scared a slight aggressive sound would agitate her. He frowned upon stepping into the room.
The windows were closed and the light turned off. Did Dirin play an expensive joke on me?
He switched on the light to find a scared and trembling petite figure at a corner, with tattered clothes. She had the same small pretty face his sister had.
Evan was shocked. He quickly ran to her. “Eva?”
“Pl…please do not..force anymore” she pleaded whimpering. “Please”
Evan quickly grabbed a blanket from the bed to cover her up properly but she flinched back, trembling. He felt his heart winced. He clenched his fist angrily, silently swearing to avenge whoever did this.
“It’s Evan, your brother.” He said softly. “Evan. I won’t hurt you, don’t be scared” he lovingly cajoled her.
Eva didn’t bulge, vexing Evan, who stormed out of the room. “Who did that to her?” He yelled at the guards. “Dirin would never do such a thing, why did you? Couldn’t you find someone else?”
He threw a punch at the nearest guard to him and a brawl ensued. Well…more like a beat down on Evan.
Eva effortlessly pulled off the assaulted drama, making a fool of Evan, she couldn’t be happier. But she didn’t want the chaos to erupt now. She sprinted to the door.
“E-Evan” she stuttered. They didn’t hear her amidst the flying punches. She made a really sad pitiful face and called out a little louder, drawing their attention.
He quickly rushed to her, catching her in time as she slumped. “Eva”
There was no response. He carried out, running as he did. He settled Eva in the backseat, he was about to back into the hotel to collect his car keys from Dirin’s man who drove him but saw him approach. He briskly walked to him, collect his keys and drove off.
***
Evan paced the hospital corridors while a doctor checked Eva. His fists clenched, seething in anger. He would not take this lightly. If he hadn’t arrived, they would have done much worse to her. It was his job to protect her but he failed woefully.
The female doctor came out much later. He quickly went to her. “How is she? Was she….”
“She is fine. Just scratches”
He let out a breath of relief. He thanked the doctor and went into her room. She was staring blankly into space.
“Eva” she didn’t respond. He went to her, gently turning her to him. “I’m so sorry. I am sorry I couldn’t protect you”
Her shoulders trembled as she cried. “It’s not just them and you can’t fight them”
He pulled her in for a hug and she completely broke down in his arms. His heart winced painfully.
“Y-Yoma…I thought she came for me…for us.” She started. “Our mom loved her and when she needed her, she turned her back. She humiliated her along with Big Ike, she accused her of being unable to protect her from Alik people….she tortured her, used her to do horrible things, then one day…” She choked. “she died.” She whispered, tears flowing down her face. “Our mom died right in front of me and I couldn’t do anything.” She whimpered. “Yoma left me there…” She trailed off.
“I’m here now. No one will hurt you ever again.”
He rubbed her back, trying to soothe her. He felt conflicted and couldn’t accept her words. His sister didn’t have any reason to lie to him but Yoma wasn’t capable of such cruelty. His father’s death was a heavy blow to her, she lost it back then, did it trigger evil in her?
The Yoma he met at Alik was the Yoma he knew or was he too gullible to see her true colors?
“Evan” her voice disrupted his thoughts. “Please don’t ever leave me”
His heart ached for her. “Never”
His arms tighten around her. This wasn’t what he had envisioned as a reunion with his sister. He patted her back gently, cajoling her to sleep as he does to his two years old daughter.
“Avenge our parents ”
Evan stopped his movements. He couldn’t possibly hurt Yoma.
“Yoma will not stop, she will come for us, despite wreaking havoc in our lives. She has to pay for her sins” Eva cried out.
“Get some rest.” He said in a small voice.
Evan waited till she fell asleep before he left the room. He had brought Eva to his hospital, so he could be closer to Yoma and closely monitored their health. He headed for Yoma’s room. He had to see Dirin but he didn’t have his contact, his guards would.
***
Dirin was inquiring about Yoma’s visitors in his absence when he spotted Evan approach, visibly fuming. He didn’t need to be told Eva had made her move. He pretended to be oblivious of his approach.
“How could you Dirin?”
“Hallelujah! He knows my name” he answered in with a snide manner.
“What type of man are you? Your men’s action says a lot about you and what you do. I expected so much from you but almost violate my-”
“So they didn’t actually rape her?” Dirin clicked his tongue in annoyance, sitting on a chair opposite Yoma’s door and crossed his legs. “I should have done a proper calculation. They need to let off some steam”
“Dirin!” Evan yelled.
“Evan!” Dirin yelled.
“My sister was almost raped under your nose and you act arrogantly a-”
“What will you do about it?” Dirin challenged.
Evan was furious and frustrated. He had respect for him but after what his men did, he lost it.
“I suggest you have your face checked out before we get into a fistfight” Dirin jeered. “My men did a good job on you, I presume you must have lost your cool when you saw her almost violated” he emphasis on almost.
He grabbed Dirin’s collar, raising him up, teeth gritted. He was about to punch him when Oyim shouted at him.
“Evan!” He roared. He quickly ran over and removed his hands from Dirin.
Dirin sat back down, a smug look on his face. Evan glared at Oyim. “His men almost rape my-”
“You think Dirin would have rapists around him? That’s a low blow I didn’t expect from you” Oyim chided him.
“Of course, he would believe his sister.” Dirin jeered.
“Watch your…Yoma?” Evan was surprised.
All eyes flung to the door. Yoma stood by her door, an arm on her midsection, the other, gripping her iv drip pole for support, pouting her lips childishly.
“Where is mom? I didn’t take off the iv drip myself. She is always mad at me for it but I….” She frowned. She looked at each men before her; Evan, Dirin, and Oyim. “I am already uneasy, don’t increase it with your weird stares” she grumbled.
“You shouldn’t be moving around” Evan scolded, coming to his senses. He carefully led her back to her bed and pressed the alarm to get nurses to assist him.
“Why didn’t you alert the nurses?” Dirin chipped in.
“I felt suffocated when I woke up and the dream I had was horrible,” Yoma said sitting while Evan checked her vitals.
“Tell us your dream,” Oyim said, leaning on the door frame.
“I was happy and content with dad, Evan’s father, next minute I was accused of killing him. Mom and Eva were sent away” she narrated the Alik incident and its aftermath as her supposed dream. “I went for them but I couldn’t succeed, we were humiliation and mom assaulted. When we did, we were haunted and mom was shot. Eva never forgave me, she told me an eye for an eye, a life for a life”
She turned to Dirin. “We became friends but I never told him anything. He cared so much for me but I gave him cold shoulders, never letting him care”
Yoma looked at Oyim. “You knew I was doing something that could land me behind bars but you never stopped me. You supported me but had plans to sabotage mine”
“I hurt her time and time again with my abrupt leaving, silence and attitude,” Yoma told Kessina.
They turned to the door, to find Kessina beside Oyim. They were confused. They all knew it was their history with her but why was she saying otherwise?
They eyes were fixed on Evan, who was feigning ignorance of their questioning glares.
“It was just a dream,” Evan told Yoma. “Get some rest and call if you need anything” he tucked he in before he dragged. Dirin out of the room.
“It is not a dream Evan,” Dirin told him.
“What happened to her?” Kessina asked.
“She is her best friend and only female friend Kessina Odeta” Oyim introduced.
“Who are you guys?” She probed.
“Evan” Dirin growled, ignoring her question.
“Yoma is suffering from DRC”
“In lame words” Dirin yelped at him.
“You’re lame as it is” Evan retorted.
“Can you guys not bicker right now?” Oyim scolded.
“I don’t know you, any of you,” Kessina told them.
“Evan, Oyim, and Dirin,” Dirin said pointing out each. He turned to Evan. “What’s DRC?”
“It’s called dream-reality confusion, mostly found in patients of Borderline Personality Disorder. People usually confuse their dreams for reality but she confuses her reality for a dream.”
They were dumbstruck.
“She doesn’t have Borderline Personality Disorder,” Kessina told her doctor.
“I concur” Dirin chimed in.
“No. But she has a history of emotional reactions. Some people feel pain worse than a normal person and Yoma is one of those people because of her childhood trauma” Evan explained.
“Yoma mentioned her trauma in the script she left for me but never said what it was” Kessina confirmed his words.
“We should let her keep this delusion for now. The incident years ago was a huge blow to her and I don’t think she truly recovered. She must have triggered some sort of psychological shock in Alik. She is fragile right now, one wrong move could shut her system down. There is only so much she can handle-”
“Shouldn’t you be telling your almost violated sister that?” Dirin sneered, cutting Evan off. He turned to Kessina. “Keep her company while I arrange for her to be transferred” with that he walked away.
“You can’t do that”
“Didn’t you hear her supposed dream? Eva hates her” Oyim told him.
“She suffered a head blow during her accident, what do you expect?”
“I hope it can make you sleep at night” Oyim taunted.
Kessina watched them banter. She had no idea Yoma had other friends, who care so much for her. she was happy to meet her other friends though not the way she imagined but sad she wasn’t completely herself.
“We don’t care what you think Evan, protecting Yoma is our priority. You should stay away from her, I won’t be able to stop Dirin now” Oyim told him.
“Why? Because Eva spoke the truth?” Evan retorted.
“He’s not allowed in her room,” Oyim told the guards, leading Kessina into her room.

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Fiction, Never Let Go

Never Let Go 14

Episode 14

The incessant ringing of a phone disrupted the calm atmosphere. Ignoring the phone after the first few rings, it stopped. Glad to have a serene air back, a slight smile flaunted her satisfaction but she celebrated too soon. Simi famous track Love don’t care rang out again. She grunted pressing her face hard into her pillow. It was damp.
Did I cry myself to sleep again? Her face scrunched up.
She searched for the damn annoying device. “What is it?” She barked into the phone, without a glance at the screen.
“Yoma was moved from the hospital.” Came a baritone voice. “There was no order from you yesterday and you weren’t picking your calls, we couldn’t-”
Eva cut him off, pissed at his excuses. “You have the common sense to trail her right? If you don’t know where he is taking her, consider yourself a dead man. All of you. Useless!” She cursed and hang up.
Eva was still groggy from her sleep and forgot the terrible shape of her messy room. Her feet were pierced by shards of glass when she stood up, waves of pain ripped through her. She screamed in pain, falling unto her bed. She carefully removed the shards from her feet.
The previous day event flashed in her head. Eva gritted her teeth and closed her eyes. She opened her eyes, sparkling with determination. She picked her phone from the bed and dialed a number.
“Send me the address once she arrives” Eva ordered her men. “Where is Evan?”
“He is leading the convey”
She gripped her phone tightly, seething in anger. “I need the address of the hospital,” she said coldly and ended the call.
“Traitor!” She screamed. “Despite being married, you are clinging unto Yoma. What will you do when you find out what she did to our mo-” she stopped abruptly. A simper smile split her face in half. She plopped back unto the bed. “I don’t have to lift a finger after all. Evan is a doctor, Yoma unconscious and he doesn’t know about his mother’s death, when he does, he will do the needful.” She laughed maliciously. “How will you save your precious Yoma self-righteous Dirin?” A wicked smirk playing on her lips.
***
A week later.
Evan stared at Yoma with longing eyes. Yoma was in a coma and had been transferred to the hospital he worked in. Dirin, as usual, went overboard with the arrangement, throwing tantrums and assigning tight security for her. He hadn’t wrapped his head around the type of relationship they shared because Yoma hadn’t liked such type of person back then. Perhaps, she likes him enough to keep him by her side. The thought caused his chest to tighten.
He had questions but didn’t have the guts to ask. From the accusing words of Dirin, she had been in pain. Oyim’s words weren’t any better. He had told him she was frosty and aloof.
He had missed her terribly over the years. He was constantly reminded of his decision. He left so she could live and be with her family but looking at Yoma now….
“I missed your smile,” Evan said in a small voice. “I let you go once but never again. I am stronger, strong enough to keep society at bay.” He briefly paused. “If it’s for family, nothing is too hard. Live Yoma. For dad, mom, and Eva. But most importantly, for yourself. Live your life and dreams. You can’t remain comatose. This is not the Yoma I know”
Evan held her delicate fingers. “Distance makes the heart grow fond and not a day goes by when I don’t think of you.” He leaned closer to her ear. “Wake up Yoma. I’ll never let you go, never again. You have always had a special place in my life and it would hurt me if you don’t wake up. We have to complete our story, Alik is waiting for it”
He pressed his lips on her temple, for a soft kiss. He told her random stuff about himself after he left Alik. He didn’t realize it was late and had spent so much time with her. He checked her injuries and vitals before he left her room.
“Call me if there’s an emergency,” Evan told the guards outside room. They gave him a slight nod.
Evan felt a little better Yoma wasn’t left unattended too. Dirin wasn’t overly dramatic with her strict security after all. Speaking of Dirin, he hadn’t seen him since she was brought to the hospital but he made sure to call, strictly to ask for her updates and nothing else. Yoma might have been lonely but she had friends.
***
Dirin’s face was cold as he made his way to the theater. Oyim had called him, demanding his attention urgently. He was tired and desperately needed rest but it wasn’t a luxury he could afford. He had been on his toes since Yoma’s accident and Eva being alive, haunting her agitated him. He had been searching for any clue that could lead him to her but it seemed like his way was deliberately blocked.
He would get his hands on Eva one way or another, regardless of a whole vicious gang behind her. Maybe Eva knew who he was and was scared to face him, so she blocked every opportunity to meet him.
“You’re not going to war, loosen up,” Oyim said approaching him.
“Why am I here?” Dirin growled. He didn’t have time to while away.
“You have to calm-”
“Oyim” he barked.
“I can’t speak to you like this” he turned to leave but Dirin held him back and grabbed his shirt aggressively.
“Do not make me repeat myself” he gritted his teeth.
“Evan?” A delicate innocent voice rang out. He tilted his head to find a petite frail female in haggard clothes and worn out shoes. He gave her a thorough look before returning his eyes to Oyim.
Oyim knew the obvious question he wanted to ask, so he spoke up. “Eva Nna,” he told him, removing his shirt.
He blinked his eyes repeatedly. His tired eyes could be playing a trick on him. How is she Eva Nna? The leader of a gang?
“Evan’s sister” Oyim’s voice jolted him from his daze.
“Evan’s sister?” He asked in disbelief.
Eva stepped closer, her eyes big and round, giving him a lost puppy look. “Evan” she spoke in a hushed voice. “It’s Eva…your sister. I am alive”
Dirin narrowed his eyes at her. He dragged Oyim by his shoulder to a distance. “Explain”
Oyim told him how he was called by the guards of the theater when she showed up, demanding to see her family and threatening to pull down the theater. She was creating a scene and Greg couldn’t handle her alone, the guards called him. He recognized her from his days in Red Ring but she didn’t seem fazed, meeting a familiar person.
“We were together in Red Ring but I never knew her name or that she was Evan’s sister.”
“It all makes sense now. Her plan for revenge, using Jaya and a stage play.” Dirin said.
Oyim nodded, confirming his words. “She blames Yoma for every terrible thing that happened to her. She didn’t seem bothered I know her and it isn’t a good sign. She is definitely up to something”
Dirin was enraged. It was bad enough she haunted her without his knowledge, playing hide and seek but stepping out in the open is a bold statement. A step to her final plan but an open challenge for him.
He took long strides to Eva, gripping her jaw tightly. “I will kill you-”
“You can’t hurt her” Oyim voice cut him off. He turned to him sharply. “Are you daring me Oyim?” His words sounding dangerous.
“Evan is important to Yoma and Eva is his sister. Hurting her is indirectly a pain to Yoma, besides she loves her”
Dirin loosens his grip on Eva. His words were a truth he couldn’t deny. He clenched his fists and jaw.
“You are not my brother,” Eva said with a frown.
Dirin looked at her, a smug expression plastered on her face. She has a plan and he won’t let her succeed. She can act pitiful others but not him.
Oyim wasn’t surprised at her smug look. She knew Dirin would hunt her down and decided to use Evan as leverage. But it wasn’t enough to prevent him from hurting her. She was too dumb to realize it.
Dirin dragged Eva and shoved her into his car. She didn’t show any sign of resisting.
Oyim watch him leave. He would eventually find out what he would do to her.
***
Evan arrived home extremely tired. He just wanted a soft mattress comfort to soothe his aches. The house was dark when he stepped in, assuming his wife had slept, he headed for his bedroom.
“What is today?” Ugo’s doleful voice halted him, startling him.
“Ugo? Why aren’t you-”
“What is today?” Ugo repeated.
Evan switched on the light to find his wife beautifully dressed. A silver body con dress, red heels, a diamond Rolex watch adorning her wrist and heavy make up on her face.
“Where is the Evan I married?” His wife questioned. He frowned.
“Why-”
“You have changed ever since our trip to Alik. At first, I dismissed it, ruling it as a nostalgic moment but when you forgot my parents anniversary today to spend time in the hospital, I realized I was wrong. You said if for having family alone, it is the richest asset ever. Today, you dish that same family for a murderer.”
“I’m so sorry. I forgot-”
“Good night,” Ugo told him, walking by him. She resisted his hands that attempted to hold her.
He followed her, apologizing profusely. She ignored him, preparing to sleep. She eventually laid down to sleep and he had no choice but to sleep too, hoping tomorrow will be a better chance at rectifying his blunder.
Evan barely had five hours of sleep when his phone rang. Because he was a light sleeper, he had no problem answering the phone on the first ring.
“Hello” his groggy voice sounded late in the night.
“Evan” came a sorrowful voice.
Evan immediately sat up. “I’ll be there soon,” he said, getting out of bed. “Don’t be scared, I’m on my way.” with that he ended the call.
He hurriedly wore his clothes, waking up his wife. “I have to go, it’s an emergency. I will make it up to you when I return, I am very sorry” he kissed her cheeks and ran out of the room, leaving his wife puzzled.
***
Eva tapped his shoulder. “Your phone is disturbing my sleep” she grumbled.
He shoved her away.
She gritted her teeth, wishing she could hurt him. She took a deep breath before she spoke. “I will tell Nuella you are busy”
Dirin sat up immediately and grabbing the phone from her. He answered the call and became giddy with delight. An enchanting smile on his face.
Eva rolled her eyes and sat on the couch. He had dragged her to a hotel the previous day after they left the theater. He had drunk himself silly. He had been frustrated by the sudden news and she didn’t miss any opportunity to agitate him.
She wasn’t scared of him. She knew who he was and his capabilities but she had an even stronger force behind her. She decided to speed up her plans before everyone became too happy to be hurt.
She was certain Dirin would take her to Evan and hide her evil intentions from him, to protect Yoma. She would be a distraction to both men and it would be her chance to end Yoma.
“You can’t hurt Yoma. Not now or ever” Dirin’s voice jolted her out of thoughts.
Eva was surprised to see him dressed up. She gave a smug look. His vicious eyes glared at her before he banged the door. She leaned back relaxing. She knew Dirin wouldn’t leave her without any security to watch her move, which didn’t bother her.
***
Dirin stopped at the reception desk to inquire before he ran to her room. He was bubbly in delight until he barged into the room and met Evan beside her. He grimaced.
Why is he connected to every woman I care about? He questioned inwardly.
“Dirin” Nuella’s weak voice called him. He forced a smile and walked to her.
He caressed her cheeks. “You are a Mummy now”
She smiled sweetly, playing with the bundle of joy in her arms. “Meet Evan, your bratty godson”
Dirin was stunned. Another Evan?!
She lifted her eyes to find him frowning. “Oh sorry, Dirin meet Evan. The guy I have been talking about.” She tilted her head to Evan. “Evan meet Dirin, my friend”
“Nice to meet you,” Dirin said with an outstretched hand. Evan wondered if he hit his head.
“You never came back when you left the theater. What happened?” Nuella asked.
Dirin glared at Evan. He met Yoma first and then met Nuella before him. His hatred for him was on the rise. His sister a catalyst to him.
“I had to take care of something” Dirin his eyes never leaving Evan.
Nuella noticed his gaze. “You can trust him”
“I can’t,” Dirin said curtly.
“He is not a bad person. He is my family and the legal guardian of your godson. You told me to trust you when Miss Nna offered me a job, now I am asking you to trust me” she cooed.
“I can’t” he repeated.
Evan wasn’t interested in their conversation until he heard ‘Miss Nna’. He wasn’t the only one with that surname but for some reason, he couldn’t help but ask.
“Who is Miss Nna?”
“Dirin’s friend” she answered.
Evan looked at him, a smirk on his face. He rolled his eyes at him. He wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
“What type of job did she offer you?”
“She employed me in her foundation.” She replied.
“How-”
Dirin interrupted him. “Quit nagging her with questions. She just delivered, be sensitive. Let’s go out. She needs to rest”
He heaved a sigh. Dirin will always be Dirin. He kissed her bundle of joy before he stepped out.
“Do you love Yoma?” Dirin asked when they stepped out of the room.
He frowned.
“You are a reminder of her pain and horrible past. I am so close to completely hating you”
“You hate the fact that I met Yoma first?” Evan inquired.
“Yoma is the only reason I haven’t hurt you and she will also be the reason for hurting you. Do not let her get hurt because I let forgive you”
“What are you yelping about? First, you acted like you don’t know me, now you are threatening-”
“Do you love Yoma? Yes or no” Dirin cut him off again.
“I am married” He answered flaunting his ring.
Dirin shoved it away. “Eva Nna showed up in Alik. Go get her.”
He was shell shocked. “E-Eva?”

Fiction, Never Let Go

Never Let Go 13

Episode 13

The drive back to the hotel was extremely slow. Even a bicycle overtook his car but Evan did not mind. He was too disturbed. Before the doctor delivered Yoma’s bad news, he already guessed it. He was a doctor so he knew and wished she would lose her memory when she woke up. He didn’t want her living in guilt for his father’s death.
The time he spent at the hospital waiting for her doctors made him realized Yoma lived his dream and never settled with her family. His decision turned out to be her ruins. But what could he have done? How could he fight for his mom, sister and her all at once? What could he have done? What could a sixteen years old boy do against a vicious world?
Eva clung to their mother who was being dragged away by her inlaws, Big Ike arrived in disguise of an angel but in reality, was a spiteful beast. He agreed to help clear her debts and took them to his house. He never saw his mother and sister after that day. He searched for them ceaselessly but couldn’t find them and Big Ike denied taking them to his house.
Yoma’s health deteriorated each day she spent moping in his father room after he was buried. A part of her died along with his father. She became ill. He couldn’t afford any treatment for her as his Uncles raided his home, taking away their meager valuables. It wasn’t peaceful anymore in Alik, the residents didn’t relent in their assault.
Yoma suddenly snapped one day and used a knife to hurt herself. He was hurt in the struggle to collect the knife, but she managed to stab herself. He panicked. He rushed her to her parents home and they didn’t waste time lashing out on him. They made him promise to leave her life for good or be arrested for attempted murder on Yoma. He chose the former.
Evan arrived at the hotel sooner than he thought. He gripped the steering wheel hard. Pain ripped through him from his injured palms, screaming in frustration.
He dragged his body to his room. His wife Ugo rushed to him. “What happened to you?” She asked worried at his disheveled shape, a bruised jaw, and injured palms. She led him to the couch. “How did you get-”
He interrupted her. “I saw her,” he said quietly, staring down at his palms.
She was confused. “Who?” He only had few friends, who could he have seen? That too in Alik?
“Yoma”
“Uh?” Ugo couldn’t place the name.
“My childhood friend who later moved in with us-”
“The one who killed your father” she remembered.
He glared at her. “She did not kill my father”
“If it wasn’t for her, my father in law would be alive. She deserves to rot in jail. Good thing you-”
“If I had given him the herbs, would you have accused me?”
Ugo was startled. He looked straight into her eyes. “I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t have married you, I wouldn’t have a daughter, I wouldn’t be a doctor saving lives. My accusers would have sold me like my mother or hand me over to the police.” His quiet voice paused for a second. “I’d have died Ugo and society would not care”
“Evan, I-”
Evan got up and walked to the bed. Carefully lying down, so he wouldn’t wake his daughter. She followed him, rambling.
“You could not have done such a thing. He was your father, he wouldn’t have told you to….”
She continued speaking but he ignored her, pretending to be sleep. She gave up and laid on the other side of the bed.
***
“Has she slip into a coma?” Eva asked coldly, seething in anger at the bodyguard roaming the entrance of the hospital in colored clothes to blend in. She knew trained bodyguards anywhere even in colored clothes in a crowd of people. Her time in Red Ring wasn’t in vain.
Eva had arrived early in the morning at the hospital, to start the implementation of her plans. She needed to see Yoma’s pitiful state. Her previous plan failed but this one wouldn’t.
She was furious to find the entrance well guarded. Only one person could be responsible; Dirin, the self-righteous black-market businessman. Did he find out Yoma other plans during the stage play? Does he know she’s in danger? Did she slip into a coma? Why would he suddenly tighten security around her?
She was fuming madly at Dirin’s action when she saw her brother’s ash Hyundai Santa Fe car drive into the hospital’s parking lot, a little further from her car.
She looked at him with yearning eyes. She missed him, she missed having a family. Love, care, warmth was non-existent in her life. She fought for the tiniest thing she had.
“Evan has a child?” Eva barked at the sight of Evan carrying his daughter in his arms, walking into the hospital with his wife behind him. “Why wasn’t I told? Why do I pay you guys? Why is he here?” She questioned no one in particular.
The men seated in front didn’t have any answers for her. She had sent them to search for him but she had told them to stop trailing him a while back to focus on Yoma.
“Evan has a wife and child, Yoma has that self-righteous man and me? I am stuck in the past with harmful substance to fill myself to sleep every night. Yoma killed my father and mother, I was sold like a used good, treated like trash and that self-righteous man is protecting her. I live in pain and they are happy, falling in love, having a family, receiving care and love, what about me?!” Eva roared pulling her hair. “Get out of the car! Get out!”
Eva highlighted the car and opened the driver’s door, dragging him out. The occupant in the passenger’s seat hurriedly got out. She sat behind the wheels and drove off.
***
Dirin was instructing a bodyguard when he saw Evan approach with a woman and a child in his arm. He dismissed the bodyguard and strode to him. His eyes glaring at him. “Who is she?”
Evan resisted the urge to snort. Isn’t it obvious she’s his wife?
“My wife”
He turned his gaze sharply at her. For some odd reason, she smelled like trouble. Or maybe he hadn’t gotten all of his answers from him he was wary of those around him.
“Quit giving her that look,” Evan said shielding his wife from his scrutinizing eyes.
Dirin scoffed. “She’s nowhere near Yoma, your loss”
Evan and Ugo frowned. He smirked.
“You left Yoma for her?” He jeered. “She’s not beautiful, Yoma is”
“Grow up” Evan spat out annoyed.
“I am nothing like her. She’s a murderer” Ugo sneered.
Both men glared at her.
“Put a leash on her. I would be responsible for anything if she utters those words again” Dirin said, clenching his fists and teeth.
“Don’t speak to my wife-”
“What will you do Evan Nna?” Dirin challenged, taking a step closer to him.
Before he could reply, his wife spoke. “She destroyed a lovely family, shattered his life. She took everything from him-”
“Yoma did not kill my father. Society did” Evan said loudly.
Ugo was startled. Her husband rarely raised his voice or got angry. He has been defending her too. What has gotten into him?
“Settle this Evan,” Dirin said over his shoulder, walking into Yoma’s room.
“She is the last person you should persecute after those who made our lives difficult, those who ostracized us, saw us less than humans and cursed beings, those who did nothing while my family fell apart in front of them,” Evan said coldly. He gave her their daughter and cupped her face. “Yoma was the reason my father laughed, she gave him something to look forward to. She gave him the courage to dream again, holding his hand and walking through the dark path life gave him. My father loved her as his own flesh and blood, he gave her his name. She is family Ugo, family. Blood doesn’t make you family, loyalty does. She was a victim of circumstances when life conquered my father and he turned his back on her love”
He searched her eyes for doubts, questions, and accusations but it was blank. Perhaps, his words cleared up her misunderstanding or she’s just surprised. But in time, she would come to terms with it. He released her.
Evan approached his Yoma’s room but was blocked by two bodyguards in a black suit. He pinched the space between his brows, his other hand on his hand. “Dirin let me in”
“Why?”
“Do you need the obvious answer?” Evan retorted.
Dirin didn’t answer. He let out a breath. He hadn’t met any as childish as him. He was still holding on to a petty argument. He didn’t want any round of argument, so he walked back to his wife.
***
“Hey, Yoma” Dirin who was seated by Yoma’s bedside spoke. “You can wake up now. I will protect you from everything and everyone. I know what happened and I am not upset at you, I am upset you had to go through all that alone. You are so strong, the strongest person I know. Evan is strong too but not like you” he chuckled quietly.
“If you were awake, you would have given me a deadly glare, though you know it doesn’t scare me.” He smiled slightly. “I am not used to having Evan around, I don’t know if I will eventually. Evan reminds me of your painful past but he is a part of your life so I can’t hate him.”
Dirin held Yoma’s cold hand. “You don’t have to fight anymore. You don’t have to worry about Eva too, I will handle her. No one will ever hurt you again, including Evan”
He gazed at her lovingly. “You’re safe”
Dirin stood up. “I’ll take you far away but first, Evan has to say his farewell speech.” He sighed dramatically. “It will be one long speech”
He adjusted the sheets before he stepped out of the room. He took long strides to Evan and his wife. He sat beside him and crossed his leg over the other. Tilting his head to him, he spoke arrogantly. “You can see her now”
Evan shook his head. He won’t give him the satisfaction of being annoyed at him. He led his wife to the room but was blocked by two bodyguards.
Turning to him, Evan frowned. “Really?”
Dirin shrugged his shoulders.
“Your wife and child are not an acquaintance of Yoma, they can’t go in.” One of the guards said in an astute voice.
Before Evan could reply, Yoma’s family arrived with Oyim. He could always see her later. “Let’s leave” he mumbled to her wife. Dirin gave him a knowing look as he went by him.
“You can go in and see her,” Oyim said.
“Thank you” Yoma’s parents chorused.
“It will be the last time you will see her until she wakes up and decides to see you again” Dirin announced loudly. Evan halted in his steps.
He continued. “That will be a really really long time”
“You can’t do that, we are her family.” Runo Yoma’s brother told him.
“You can see her just not-” Dirin interrupted Oyim.
“Yoma told me her family is dead. Imagine my surprise when you guys showed up. You can’t just show up whenever you feel like it”
“Don’t interfere” Ugo whispered, using her free hand to hold her husband back.
“He can’t do that,” Evan said releasing himself from her grip. He approached them. “You can’t do that Dirin”
“Can you stop me?” Dirin challenged.
“They’re her family. You don’t have the right to keep them away” Evan explained. “I can stop you and will stop you”
Dirin smirked.
“We don’t need you to fight for us Evan” Runo chided him.
“It isn’t about you or your family. It’s about doing the right thing” Evan told him.
Evan’s wife, Yoma’s parents and Oyim watched the scene before them silently. Any interference could blow it beyond control. It was a good thing the corridor was lacking outsiders otherwise the scene would have attracted a lot of attention.
“As you dumped her on our doorstep after you cut and stab her with a knife was the right thing too right? You think she killed your father who would have died anyway”
Evan glared angrily at him. “Yoma will be transferred to the hospital where I work and no negative ill-minded mannerless brat is allowed” he turned to Dirin who had a smug expression plastered on his face. “Yoma will be with me”
Ugo fumed in anger but didn’t say anything.
Oyim broke his silence and the sudden tensed atmosphere. “Let’s make the arrangement,” he said pulling away a fired up Evan.
***
Eva screamed her lungs out breaking everything in her line of sight in her room. She was furious she’s the only one suffering, while they lived happily. The image of Evan and his family vexed her so much, she removed his framed picture from the wall and smashed it.
“If I am not happy, no one else can” she roared. “I am the victim!” She pushed the items on her dresser table to the floor. “But no one is bothered. Not even my brother”
She pulled her hair in frustration, teardrops flowing down her cheeks. “You brought Yoma who stole our father and broke our family, now it’s another woman. You forgot me, Evan! Your sister!”
She slumped to the floor crying. She lost track of time and her eyes drained of tears. She rocked herself back and forth but stop abruptly.
“I’ve to be happy first. I am the victim. Yoma, you will pay for ruining my life, an eye for an eye, a life for a life”
Eva roared in hysterical laughter.

Fiction, Never Let Go

Never Let Go 12

Episode 12

“What is he talking about?” Dirin growled.
Greg was at lost. He didn’t think the play Yoma wrote was a confession of her crimes. She wanted to be acted out on stage and be arrested. Who owns up to the crime that way? Did she actually commit the murder? Yoma is a good person, she wouldn’t hurt a fly.
“Yoma killed her father” Jaya answered.
“Yoma killed her father” Dirin repeated and laughed. “You know Yoma, she can be crazy but she can’t hurt anyone Who told you? Yoma? Do you believe her? She can be crazy-”
“It is the truth”
“What truth?” Dirin yelled. “You were going to have her sentenced to death without investigation? You condemn her just like that, I wasn’t even aware-”
“I tried to tell you”
“Yoma was right about you. You are just like everyone else and one more reason I lost faith in the justice system. I am with him, I will prove to you and everybody Yoma didn’t kill anyone”
“She poisoned Big Ike you are aware-”
“Her mother’s inlaws sold her to Big Ike to clear her husband’s debt. He used her as a maid in his house but the other story was he had his lustful eyes on her for the longest time.” He bridged the gap between them. “You defended me several times from syndicates, why can’t you do the same for her?” He asked in a small voice.
“If I don’t do my duties as a lawyer, my family will be hurt” Jaya explained. “Besides, everyone in Alik knows about it, how she killed-”
“I’ll also do my duties as her friend.” He turned and walked towards his grey Venza car.
Greg stared at his friend dumbfounded. “Is it true?” He questioned.
Jaya’s phone beeped. He reached for it from his pants. It was a message.
“You’re a free man. I will take it from here” he mumbled as he read the message. It had a red dress emoji at the end.
He heaved a sigh of relief. He was finally free of being a pawn in the plot if revenge against Yoma. He didn’t need to be far away from her and Alik.
Greg stood there, watching him leave.
***
“Why do we have to leave?” Ugo asked her husband Evan who was distressed.
Yoma running away was distressing but he could not leave his wife behind unattended to in a town she wasn’t familiar with. He subconsciously tightens his grip on her palm.
Ugo stopped probing. He seemed disturbed. Coming to Alik was a bad idea after all. She leaned closer to him. He glanced at her. He felt grateful for having her beside him.
Evan checked her into a hotel before he set off, searching for Yoma. The look she gave him before she ran off, was vividly etched in his memory. He never ever imagined she would give him a disgusted like she gave others who made jest of his family. He shoved the thoughts aside.
He arrived at a four juncture road. He pondered on the way she went. He navigated left because Yoma once told him she wasn’t right in people’s eyes, she was left with the wrong option. After he saw her, he believed she didn’t change at all. She was still the girl he knew back then, before the death of his father.
Evan jolted out of thoughts by the frantic of people and he stopped the car immediately. His heart palpitates rapidly, he feared the worse. He was dumbstruck by the view ahead.
He was so sure Yoma went by this way and the people frantically shuffling around cars ahead could mean there was an accident and….
“Yoma!” Evan yelped.
He sprinted to the accident scene, pushing whoever stood in his way. The grey Venza car Yoma drove was wrecked beyond recognition. He didn’t care about the other cars in equal wreckage. His heart writhes in pain, spreading to his entire body. A sudden fear engulfed him; fear of loss. He lost Yoma once and could not lose her again.
Something snapped in him as he gazed at the horrific scene before him. Evan dashed at the car, shoving aside people who were trying to salvage the scene. He aggressively pulled apart the wreckage to get Yoma out.
When people saw his eagerness, they knew she was a person he treasured dearly. In no time, an unconscious injured Yoma was in Evan’s arms. It was a pitiful sight.
Evan hurried towards his car but was stopped by Oyim who directed him to his black tinted glass Murano car. He recognized him from earlier at the theater. He didn’t know when he arrived at the scene or perhaps he was too focused on saving Yoma to notice anyone else.
He stared at intently at her. He didn’t think they would meet again under such circumstances. She clearly had the day planned out but she wouldn’t make it to the dusk of the day. It was a repetition of history.
First, his father planned his death, using Yoma as a victim. Now, she planned her death, using the stage play, except he intercepted her plan but she had other tricks up her sleeves. She was determined to die 9th of July as their father did.
***
“You have to respect her decision,” Mr. Odeta told his daughter for the umpteenth time via a video call.
“I can’t lose Yoma. I have to find her and bring her home” she adamantly insisted.
“How do we find her? Where do we start looking?” Her mother asked.
“Alik” Kessina replied. “She grew up there” she added.
“Yoma wouldn’t want you snooping around-”
Kessina interrupted her father. “Yoma needs us, her family to believe in her. Before she gave me the script, I never thought of her as a bad person, probably why she let me know her past.”
“She knows we believe in her” Mrs. Odeta said.
She sighed. She had been uneasy for days now. She didn’t know if it was Yoma’s disappearance or her past that she finally knew but she simply had to find her. More than ever, she wanted to keep Yoma by her side and never let her leave.
“I know you are worried about her, we are too. This isn’t the first time she left but she returned for a reason. Hold onto that reason” Mr. Odeta couraged.
“Yoma adopted the surname Nna after she befriended Evan Nna and left her family to live with them. Mr. Nna was sick and depressed, he made her give him poisonous herbs that killed him. Everyone held her responsible for his death, she had no choice but to blame herself for not knowing the herbs were poisonous.”
Her parents were flabbergasted.
She had the same reaction as her parents when she read the script. But it wasn’t the only shock she had. “We wondered if she would ever get married with the way she avoids people but it turned out to be a waste of worry” a mischievous smile played on her lips.
She is married?” her mother said with uncertainty.
Kessina nodded. “Mr. Nna was crazy about her and when she dressed up on a certain cultural day, he was blown away. He didn’t want to marry a second wife so he got married her to his son Evan who like her very much. Sadly, it drew the line between both families as Yoma’s family refused to accept the marriage and despised the Nna’s for taking her daughter for themselves. Yoma didn’t care though. She was extremely happy until the tragic death of Mr. Nna”
Mr. and Mrs. Odeta didn’t expect Yoma’s past to be so tragic. It explained a lot about her, her attitude and color of her clothes. She never stopped mourning his death.
“We wait till we arrive, we will search for her together,” Mr. Odeta said.
***
“It looks bad, you should get it looked at,” Oyim told a dazed Evan.
He had been staring at his bloody hands. He had sustained injuries in trying to rescue Yoma but he didn’t seem to care. He sighed and stood up to go get a nurse to clean up his wounds.
“How do you know Yoma?” Dirin who had been quiet since he arrived after Oyim called him, inquired after the nurse dressed his wounds.
Evan lifted his head to look to Dirin who leaned against a wall, opposite to him. “How do you know Yoma?” He threw his question at him.
“I’m her close friend”
“Not close enough to know she was going to confess a crime she didn’t commit and be persecuted right under your nose” Evan jeered.
“You know she didn’t commit the crime, why show up now at the last moment?” Dirin spat out coldly.
“I showed up, didn’t I? I told her lawyer I will defend her, prove her innocence”
“To play the hero” he taunted. “Maybe if you had shown up a little earlier, she wouldn’t be on this dread path. She wouldn’t smile because she had plans to do or wear black all day, wallowing in pains she refuses to share or-”
Oyim interrupted him.”Yoma needs all the support us and we don’t even know our names. My name is Oyim and he’s Dirin. We are both friends of Yoma”
“Evan”
“Of course you are” Dirin snorted.
Oyim glared at him. It was obvious he was angry but venting out on Evans wasn’t a good idea. He seemed to know Yoma well enough to defend her and could also have the answers to their questions and picking a fight with him would get them nowhere.
“Fighting won’t get us anywhere, Yoma needs us,” he told them.
Tjan’s popular track Smile broke the silence lingering. All eyes flew to Evans direction. He brought out his phone from his trousers with difficulty. He looks at the screen, it was his wife.
Evan placed the phone beside him on the bench and turned his attention to the door separating him from Yoma.
Oyim who was the closest to caught a glimpse of the screen he capsized the phone on the bench. He was surprised he didn’t take the call. It was from his wife but waiting for an update was more important.
Who is he? Why does he fear the most among us? What’s his history with Yoma?
Oyim excused himself with Dirin a distance from Evan. He frowned hard at him. He didn’t want to miss out on Yoma’s condition when the doctor came out.
“What is it?” Dirin asked coldly. “I had no idea Jaya wanted to have her pay for her crimes.” He turned to leave but Oyim stopped him.
“Jaya wouldn’t have done anything to her because I made sure he arrived alone and I have a plan in place too”
“You knew?”
Oyim nodded. “But he didn’t know,” he said looking at Evan.
“Are you defending him?”
“I saw him arrived and demand for the play to stop. When Yoma’s supposedly family arrived, he was punched twice but he didn’t try to defend himself. Her parents looked remorseful and didn’t to make eye contact with him.”
“Are you saying he just showed up in Alik and found out Yoma was behind the play?” Dirin questioned.
“Maybe”
He gritted his teeth. He needed answers, not an assumption.
“However, your attention shouldn’t be on him but on Jaya and the person who wants Yoma to own up to her crimes.”
“Do you know who it is?”
“Eva Nna,” Oyim said confidently.
He was surprised. “S-she is dead”
“Those who seek vengeance cannot die so easily. Jaya said his family will be hurt if he allowed her to walk free and Eva is the only person I know that wants her dead. The play was replaced and Yoma had an accident is no coincidence” Oyim said.
He continued. “Eva is alive and she won’t stop till Yoma is dead.”
“She wasn’t found in Red Ring,” Dirin said confused at the turn of events.
“When you both infiltrated Red Ring, Yoma found Eva and didn’t tell you because you would stop her from buying her freedom and taking over the gang for her. After you both left, she returned and did that.”
Dirin was aware Yoma had insisted to return to Red Ring to finish off a personal business with one of the members that had suspected her. She had said she didn’t want anyone to trace her but after she left, it was quiet until a few months later when rumors spread of Red Ring having a new leader who changed the name to Red Queen.
“Eva is the Red Queen?”
Oyim nodded.
***
A burst of malicious laughter echoed in the dimly lit room. Clouds of smoke and a pungent smell assaulted his eyes and nose but he didn’t complain. He only wished he was dismissed immediately after he reported his update.
“Still won’t die? Such a stubborn roach?” Eva took a puff of her pipe. “Enough of this game, it’s time we meet again.” She exhaled a cloud of smoke. She lifted her eyes to the man before her, whose head was bowed. “Go scout a house near Yoma”
He nodded. He turned to leave.
“Wait!” Eva called. “Is he aware? The self-righteous black-market businessman Dirin”
“I most likely. He had a confrontation with Jaya before he stormed off”
“Let’s see how you save her from my clutches Dirin” she sneered.
Eva waved her hand, dismissing him. She stood up walked to a wall cover by a black curtain. She pulled the curtain aside and trailed her fingers over the picture hung on the wall.
“A little while longer Evan and we will be together again. I miss you so much. If it wasn’t for Yoma that killed our father and shattered our family, we would never have separated.” She said in a doleful voice.
Vivid memories flashed in her head. She gritted her teeth and clenched her fists angrily. “I will make her pay for the horrible way my father mother died at her hands”

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