Everything was in slow motion.
It was as if we moved through the scenes in the movie Inception.
My mouth went dry.
My heart was racing.
My eyes began to water as my palms got sweaty.
I was angry, very angry.
Lost in my head trying to make sense of this but I couldn’t believe what I was staring at.
My father’s coffin in his home?
I was still trying to process when I heard a sharp wail from my left hand side.
My mother dropped to her knees as she was crying uncontrollably.
“Ta ni mo se”
“Who did I offend?”
She continued to repeat as the twins tried to console her.
Inconsolable as you can imagine.
My older sister snapped into action and she said
“Dejo, how did this get here?”
Genuinely confused and fearfully of being blamed, Dejo began to shake as he responded.
“Madam, I swear to you, I no know”
“You don’t know?”
Dejo tried his best to explain.
“Madam, I dey that side dey wash the cars when I hear wetin be like truck for outside.
I just think sey na delivery people dem dey drop something. Na when I finish come open gate, na him I see am”
As he wrapped up a small gathering of neighbors was forming.
I could see everything playing out but it was like I was and just watching everything play out and I was still.
“Oya, help us bring it inside the gate and close the gate before the whole estate knows what is happening”
My sister instructed.
Dejo, the drivers of the lawyer and my brother were joined by a few other men from the neighborhood.
The coffin was lifted into the compound and the gate closed.
My sister said
“Do we know if the body in there?”
No one answered. No one was certain.
Then she said
“Open it up”
My mother who was still on the floor crying suddenly sprung up and said
“Don’t you dare!”
Huffing and puffing, she looked enraged and possessed.
“That our family name has been dragged through the mud is not enough? You want to dishonor the memory of your father?
NO WAY! That coffin stays closed and you all go about figuring out who in the hell would do such a despicable thing”
She turned around and began walking inside when I snapped out of the trance and I headed for Ivie and Kunle.
They were standing apart as you can probably imagine that the things he heard inside had rocked his world a bit.
“You did this”
I said to Ivie with conviction.
I could tell she was scared.
“You fucking did this with your diabolical ass. You did this shit like you planned all this other shit”
Kunle stepped in and put his hand across my chest
I turned and looked directly at him
“Kunle if you do not remove your hand from my body, I swear to God who made this earth, I will fucking pound in your face till you bleed to death.
Get the fuck out of my way”
He stepped back but not too far, he seemed a bit concerned about what I could do to Ivie.
“Ivie, tell us how you are months away from a wedding with me but carrying my brother’s child.
Tell us how you planned with Adesuwa to get me killed and then killed her yourself?
Or just tell us why you dug up our father’s coffin and brought it into our home?
Kehinde sprung and said
“Ivie is that true?
Please tell us it’s not true”
Ivie in tears, said
“I had nothing to do with this”
Pointing to the coffin laying in front of us all.
“And the other things?”
“I can explain honestly”
Sobbing she began to explain.
“I am sorry for lying to you Tomiwa, I really am. You did not deserve this.
I was misled but my father…”
My mother jumped in
“I was instructed to get information on Tomiwa and the family by my father. I would often listen to business conversations with Tomiwa and funnel the information to my father.
He told me to marry Tomiwa and that Chief Fehintola and he had come to an agreement to merge our families.
But I was also told to not have sex with Tomiwa. Under any circumstances.
The plan was to marry Tomiwa and ultimately get as much money from the family.
Kunle and I met before I was introduced to Tomiwa. The day we met at your family Christmas party a few years back, I actually came with Kunle.
We even had sex upstairs in the twins room while everyone was downstairs because it was the only free room.
Kunle and I had been seeing each other. He knew nothing about the rest of the plan.
And initially, all I wanted was Kunle.
But once I knew I could choose to not sleep with Tomiwa and continue having Kunle, I was fine with that. I made peace with it.
I would have the man I wanted.”
Teary eyed and flushed with tears, she rubbed her belly and said
“Kunle, your son or daughter is inside of me and I love you. And I will love this child with all of my heart.
I completely understand if after all I have done, you no longer want to be involved in our lives but I love you and I will love this child”
Kunle looked down and away. Clearly the words got to him but he was conflicted and then he said
“Did you try to get my brother killed?”
Ivie sobbed harder and looked away.
“Yes. Yes, I did
My dad told me I had to. Something had come out that would affect our plans and frankly, it seemed like a better deal to go that route and we could have just married without issues”
I was shocked.
“You wanted me out of the way. So you decided the best way was to kill me?
When you could have just asked me to leave? When you knew it was Adesuwa that I wanted to marry and she was the woman I loved???
You are evil”
I was fuming.
“How can I be sure the baby is mine, with all these lies?”
Those words broke her. I could tell.
She sobbed harder and said
“Kunle, I have never been with any man but you from day one.
He shook his head and turned away and I spoke.
“You had everything. A family that loves you, the big wedding you wanted, the houses, cars, trips around the world. All of it.
Yet you wanted me dead, as if my family had not been through enough…”
There was a honk at the gate.
All our eyes immediately shifted, who was it?
The gate swung open and a black tinted Mercedes AMG drove in.
The driver rushed out and ran around the car to open to the owner’s corner.
Out came a man that I was familiar with.
A friend of the family and someone I had watched my father spend time with as we grew up.
He was someone you could consider a true pillar of our family.
Chief Akpo. Ivie’s father.
As he stepped out of the car, I had every intention of jumping him.
But I had to contain my rage.
He smiled big as he fixed his Agbada and he said
“I know you have many questions. Let us all go inside and we can clear things up”
We all sat down in the living room. Chief glee as ever while the glum faces of all of us waited to find out what was going on.
Chief spoke first.
“I had hoped we would not get to this point but in life, some things just need to be done.
That is the truth”
He smiled as he continued speaking
“Before all of you came about, way back in the day, Chief approached me with a proposition.
He wanted me to father all of you.
I agreed out of love for the man and I wanted to make sure that he had the joy of being a father too.
But then, midway through the testing process, the Chief told me that he went with someone else.
He never said who for years.
And I could not prove who it was. I knew that if the DNA was run, it would show Chief was not the father but as far as showing who actually was, I was sure that we wouldn’t really get that luxury.
Chief asked me to join the board as one of his closest friends and when we knew international investors were coming.
I agreed but this time, because I did not trust his word, I demanded security.
I got him to commit in writing that my daughter if I had one, would marry his son.
And as you can see, God gave us what we wanted.
The deal was done.
He pointed at me and frowned a bit
“…You started making noise about not wanting my beautiful daughter.
Something about wanting to marry who you loved. Well who you loved gave you up pretty easily to protect her parents.
I bought out Adesuwa’s parents and simply threatened to run them into the ground. It was difficult but eventually we were able to convince her to take you out of the picture.”
I was stunned. The whole room was dead silent.
“This was simple.
If the Chief held his end of the bargain, I got a couple of legitimate grandchildren in one of the wealthiest families and life would go on smoothly.
When you started your drama, I approached Chief and reminded him that I knew his secret and it could be damaging if word got out.
At first he appeared to listen and then he did not.
I had to take matters into my own hands. I had my team working tirelessly to get the information I needed to make a move on him at the board level and take over the company.
But before I could put my plan in action, he passed away.
Around that same time, he told me that he was going to tell you all the truth after his trip.
I guess he never made it to that.
I knew that Chief was the type to not be blackmailed, so I sensed that he may have included the true identity of your fathers in the will.
Well, everyone except you.”
He pointed at me again.
Everyone sat up.
My mother who had now stopped crying looked on inquisitively as he spoke.
“What do you mean?”
He leaned forward in his chair and said
“Everyone knows that Kunle is not yours. No surprise.
But Tomiwa is the one legitimate child of you and Chief.”
The entire room gasped.
The lawyer looked away.
Chief smiled and said
“Lawyer Williams knew.
On our trip he told us about how his health was deteriorating and he might need a marrow transplant or something of the sort.
Tomiwa, remember the set of tests you went to do with your father?
I was able to acquire those from the hospital. It was in those results I found out that you were his only legitimate child. The results of the others showed what we already knew.
Again, I planned to release the information for the takeover but your father elected to die before the news could get out.
He stood up. Flashed a fake smile at most of the room as he smoothed out his clothes.
“Look, I have no ill towards Chief nor will I speak ill of the dead but he chose to try and outsmart me instead of keeping his end of the agreement we had many years ago.
For that, he will not rest.
Digging up his coffin is only the start…”
Enraged I snapped up and yelled
“Say another word about my father and I will finish you here”
Lawyer Williams quickly jumped up and put his hand across my chest to stop me.
Chief Akpo chuckled mischievously and said
“Now wouldn’t that be so beautiful? To see our new CEO beating up a board member.
I dare you to do it, do it, so I can bury this family once and for all.
It’s admirable to see you have the fight chief had in him though, maybe that’s why his swimmers were able to conquer out of the many failures. He chuckled”
He smiled mischievously and waved his finger in the direction of his daughter and said
“Ivie, let’s go”
She sheepishly got up, sobbing profusely and followed him out of the room.
As the door shut.
My mother looked at Lawyer Williams and said
He leaned back in the seat, almost tired and replied
“Yes but the Chief wanted to confirm. And you know I was bound by confidentiality laws”
She looked back at my siblings and said
“We are not letting any of those Bastards take what your father built.”
And she stormed out of the room.
My father was re-buried and about 6months had passed by.
The vote for reorganizing the board and the company was coming up fast.
Most of the family had settled into their routines.
Life in our new normal was going along.
My siblings returned to their various homes and lives while I prepared to officially take over for my dad. My days were strictly guarded by the security team. My mother and I were basically in an enforced lockdown.
Kunle had been mostly ostracized by the family but his impact was still being felt.
We simply were not the same family.
Two nights before the vote, I called Kunle and told him to meet with me the following night.
He asked me where and I called him to give him the address.
It was a property a friend of ours was developing.
I told him I wanted a fresh set of eyes on the property as I was considering buying it.
I was standing in the middle of the uncompleted building as night covered Ibeju-Lekki.
The building was huge and was clearly going to make a very nice home once completed.
I heard a car pull into the lot and footsteps get closer.
Kunle called out
“T, you in here?”
“Yeah, just come through the front opening here”
He walked up to me and I greeted him.
“How are you holding up bro?”
I asked him.
“I guess you can say I’ve had better days”
I shook my head and said
“I totally understand bro. Hopefully things settle soon.
So I wanted you to see this place because I was thinking of buying it and using it for corporate housing for visiting executives.
We fully operate the space with cleaning crews, a maid, a driver and the full home experience.
It saves us the millions we spend on hotels putting them up in expensive hotels when they come to town. What do you think?”
He nodded as we walked up the stairs to the second level
“Yeah this is really nice.
And we can truly curate the type of experience they have when they are here. I love the idea.
Maybe we get that interior design firm to design it for…”
We both looked at each other.
There was a sound. It came from the first floor.
I looked at him and asked
“Did you come here with someone?”
He nodded and said
“Yeah, Ivie is in the car.
We are coming back from dinner”
He called out
We both headed back downstairs.
As we hit the landing area, I greeted her
“Hi Ivie, long time. How are you?”
“Fine, thank you”
“And the baby?”
“She’s doing well too”
“That’s really good”
I could hear a loud ringing in my ears.
The shock hit me like I was drowning.
I felt my back hit the floor hard.
Staring up at the uncompleted ceiling and gasping for air, the pain coursed through my body.
I was sure I was going to die.
The pain was in my lower abdomen. I placed my hand on the source of the pain and I could feel my hand wet.
I was bleeding.
Gasping for air, I was praying that I didn’t die and I was trying to pray but the words weren’t coming.
Then a familiar voice came through.
I felt someone squat next to me and say
“Breathe baby. You are going to live”
I turned my head to my right side and through the darkness, I made out her face.
She smiled at me and said
“The police will be here soon and an ambulance.
You will be fine”
I closed my eyes and the next time I would open them, I was in the hospital.
It was also there I found out that Tunde and Ivie were dead.
It was a bright and sweltering day.
The skies were clear.
It felt like one of those good days for a perfect hike or lemonade on your backyard porch.
The day was mostly perfect. With a gentle breeze occasionally reminding you to enjoy life.
You could imagine yourself in any tropical location and it would make sense.
It was the type of day for your skin and self care routine without doing much.
The summer was announcing itself in style.
The bell rang and the space flooded.
Stepping out, I opened the door with my right hand.
They hopped in.
Sitting back down in the driver’s seat and starting the car, my friend asked
“Oya finish now. Who shot them?”
I smiled and said
“Let’s just say, mother’s know everything”
“I knew it! I knew it!”
“How did she know where you were???”
I smiled and replied
“She followed me”
He exclaimed again
“Do you know if she pulled the trigger herself?”
I shook my head and said
“Fam, I don’t know and in many ways, I am grateful I don’t know anything about that night. I am just grateful for my family and continuing to grow the family business from here”
I pulled out of the school parking lot as another car sped past me almost hitting my car.
I yelled out
My twin boys in the backseat both yelled out
I looked at my friend and then at the kids in the back and said
“Sorry kids. Bad habits”
We all chuckled as I turned onto the highway and drove right into Los Angeles traffic.
The cars were backed up for miles. Traffic was notorious and ever present, not like the “forgotten” events in another overcrowded metropolis thousands of miles away.
My friend visiting from Belgium said
“What The Heck Man, is this always how bad traffic is in LA?”
I nodded and said
He looked over to me and said
“But I bet you are glad you are far away from all that drama huh?”
Feeling the twinge from the nerve damage in my abdomen from the gunshot would I suffered that night, I looked out the window and then into the rearview mirror at my kids on their iPads and I replied
“Every. Single. Day bro
Every. Single. Day”
End of the Bastards series.
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