Two hours later and it was all over.
Femi breathed a huge sigh of relief. He’d recognized Morenike immediately he entered the ward and it took less than a minute for him to overcome his shock and get briefed about her condition by the attending nurse, after which he’d swung into action. A suicide attempt by swallowing an overdose of sleeping pills can be nipped in the bud if discovered on time. Thank God someone had gotten to her early. The patient had fallen asleep, but he evacuated her abdomen by inducing vomiting and ordered an intravenous infusion to wash all traces of the drug from her system.
She was still asleep, but at least he was sure she was now stable.
“Nurse Ada, hand over everything you have lined up to any of your colleagues and come back here to sit with the patient. I want to be informed immediately she opens her eyes.”
“And make sure you check her pulse every ten minutes. Plot it on a chart and call me if anything looks amiss, no matter how tiny.”
“I will sir.”
“Thank you. Meanwhile, has anyone heard from Doctor Bruno?”
“No sir, his phone is still off.”
“Okay, keep trying him. Tell him to call me immediately if you get across to him.”
“Alright sir, I will.”
He was tired and needed some rest, but he wanted to be there the moment Morenike opened her eyes. His mind was in turmoil. What could have made her want to end her life? Rose should know.
With that thought in mind, he headed for the stairs.
“I saw the state she was in when she walked out of the party. When I waited for five minutes and she didn’t come back, I went looking for her. She wasn’t outside, so I called her phone and she told me she was on her way home. Her tone was worrying, and something prompted me get a taxi and go in pursuit. Thank God I still had her house address which she sent to me along with the party invite. Getting a taxi however took a while, and by the time I got to her place she was sprawled on the floor of her sitting room, conscious, but just barely. Another stroke of good fortune was the taxi guy that was still on standby to take me back to the party. That was how I was able to get her here so quickly.”
Femi listened attentively till Rose finished as they sat at the now deserted reception area.
“But what happened at the party? You said it was her father’s 50th birthday, right?”
“Then why would she want to kill herself? It just doesn’t make sense.”
“It doesn’t make sense to me too. Plus her dad had just announced his engagement….”
Femi looked up.
“His what? Engagement?”
Rose nodded again, before she continued.
“Her mother died a long time ago. Speaking of her father, I spoke to him earlier in the evening and he promised to be here in a little while. That was before you commenced treatment. I’m surprised he isn’t here yet, it’s been two hours or thereabouts since we spoke.”
“That’s strange. Have you tried calling him again?”
“I would have, but my phone is dead and hers is locked. I was hoping he would call me on her line. That was how we spoke the first time.”
Femi brought out his own phone from his pocket and handed it to her.
“Here, use this one.”
“I can’t. I don’t have his number, or Morenike’s phone code.”
“That means we have to wait then, till either he calls back or walks in here. In the meantime, we’ll wait for Morenike to wake up. She’s fine now and should open her eyes anytime soon.”
“Thank God for that, and thank you Femi. Fate does work in mysterious ways, imagine running into you here of all places. So this is where you’ve been all these years? You still look the same as you did way back in school.”
“Abi. And you haven’t aged a day yourself.”
She smiled at the compliment.
“Yeah right, keep flattering me. I know that’s not true, my daughter stresses the hell out of me and I know the worry lines are there.”
“You have a daughter? Congratulations! Lucky you though, ever since the death of my father forced me to come back home from America and take over this place, I’ve had little or no time for myself much less another human being. Running a place like this is no joke at all, it takes too much of my time.”
A mischievous smile suddenly started dancing on Rose’s lips.
“Awww. So are you stylishly saying nobody has replaced my friend in your heart? Confess openly o, ‘cos you were so smitten with Mo’, so much that even when she did all those horrible things to drive you away, you always came back. We used to laugh at you so much.”
Femi didn’t say anything but just smiled.
The entrance door burst open and someone rushed in. Femi turned around at the noise and saw Doctor Bruno coming in, looking disheveled.
“Hey B, where have you been all night…”
Bruno saw him and came running in their direction.
“Ha Fems, thank God you’re still here. There’s trouble. I had an accident on my way back to work, very serious one. A car ran into me at top speed somewhere in town. I somehow escaped with no injuries but the other guy wasn’t so lucky and it took a while for me and other passersby to free him from the wreckage. I was able to convince them that I’m a doctor, so we brought him here. He’s outside.”
Femi jumped up, instantly back in work mode.
“Oh my God. Let’s bring him in.”
As he and Bruno ran in the direction of door leading outside, he shouted back over his shoulder.
“Rose, please call any of the nurses you can find. Tell them to meet us outside with a gurney.”
They finally make it to the bed, and he flops on it. She turns around to go back to the sitting room and check on her mother, but his words stop her in her tracks.
“Morenike. Where are you going?”
“Back to the sitting room, to see how my mother is doing.”
“Please don’t leave me, I need you here. Who knows, if you go out there she may get up and attack you again and I won’t be able to protect you. Come back and stay with me for a while, and when I regain my strength we’ll go back to see to her together.”
His pain sounded so real, his voice so sincere and so close to tears that she was caught between two minds. Then power went off again, and her fate was decided.
She joined him on the bed
They hugged in the darkness. First it was just a comforting hug between father and daughter, until it became more, of passion, one between a man and a woman. He was an adult, and she was little more than a well-proportioned child, but he dragged her along on the highway of passion till they went beyond the boundary of propriety into the land of abomination.
That night, Morenike’s father made her a woman.
The next morning when they went to check on Morenike’s mom, she was as stiff as a board with her head resting on her a patch of her caked blood.