“Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!” Juliet hit her table in annoyance and the contents jumped in response rearranging itself, some on the floor, some lying haphazardly on the table. Her expensive bottle perfume her boyfriend had given her did not survive the fall. The bottle broke into pieces and the liquid flowed lazily out of the bottle unto the white tiled floor. But that was the least of her problem. Her father was her biggest problem and her mother no help at all. She moved to sit on her bed and picked up her phone and started a video call with Taiye her boyfriend.

“Hello baby,” Taiye’s smiling face showed on the screen, but Juliet’s scowling face wiped the smile off quickly.
“It didn’t work right?”
“Yes, kept telling me I do not need #100,000 at this age. Can you imagine? At this age?”
“What did your mother say?”
“She said she would go with me to the boutique to get what I want.”
Juliet rested her back on her pillow and crossed her short chubby legs. She wiped at her hair in annoyance.
“I’m just so pissed off now.”
“What do we do now?” Taiye asked resignedly.
“I don’t know, I don’t know.”
” We need a plan, I will come up with something and get back to you okay?”
“Yea, just do it quick.”
“Okay baby, take care.”
“Yea bye.” Juliet placed the phone on the bed beside her and sighed folding her arms. Her father was a kill joy, a big one.

Juliet Dolapo, a beautiful bright girl and only daughter of renowned Barrister Seun Dolapo and Mrs. Mary Dolapo. She was of average height, dark in complexion and chubby, a replica of her mother. She studies English in the University of Abuja and was home for the holidays. Her two elder brothers were abroad studying.

Juliet did not lack the basic necessities a growing girl needed. Her parents made sure she was provided with all her needs so as to prevent her from seeking them elsewhere. Her father had always told her to come to him for her needs and not to seek then from anyone, that they would definitely want something in return which she would not be ready to give. She understood what that meant and does as he said. But school life had exposed her to so many things. For one, her parents does not know she has a boyfriend. She was old enough, she reasoned. She would definitely tell them about Taiye when the right time comes.

Juliet was lying on her bed listening to the lyrics of fireboy’s party scatter and trying not to doze off. Her mind was in a daze as she tried to come around what Taiye had messaged on WhatsApp. But she could hardly form coherent thoughts, her head kept aching and fireboy’s voice began sounding like a loud jumble of voices. She unplugged her earphone deciding it was best she slept. Tomorrow she would know what to do.

Juliet woke up the next morning and picked up her phone and messaged Taiye immediately. She had concluded on what to do. Her dream was the green light, telling her to go ahead.
That night Juliet told her parents she was going down to the eatery for a box of pizza but she never returned, leaving apprehensive parents behind.

“Uh uh, aiye mi o!” Mrs. Mary Dolapo sprang up on her feet and began fanning herself with her right hand. The AC was on but she was completely hot inside, filled with burning fear.
“Calm down Mary, calm down,” Barrister Seun was the reasonable voice. He was standing by the window, his fingers busy on his notepad, dialing and redialing numbers. His heart was also heavy with fear, but he refused to give in to the feeling that kept gnawing at the back of his mind. Someone actually needed to be collected and seeing that his wife was a step from going mad, he swallowed his nerves and acted normal.
“How can you ask me to calm down when Juliet is not back? It’s being three hours she went for pizza, three good hours she went down the street and her numbers are not connecting.” Mrs. Mary danced around, a dance of confusion. What could have happened to Jule? Her mind raced with a thousand thoughts.
“I know all these Mary, that’s why I am working on finding out what happened and your pacing is not helping.
“See let’s go to the police, Daddy Samson let’s go to the police,” his wife seemed not to be listening and Barrister Seun sighed and answered the caller who had returned his call.
“Hello, this is Juliet’s father, have you seen Juliet this evening? He ended the call sighing and rubbing his forehead in frustration. His wife clearly reading the reply in his expression fell on the couch and began crying.
“Please let’s go to the police, we are wasting time.”
Barrister Seun seemed not to hear her, he was completely lost in his thoughts. His shaved head was bent in worry and he kept stroking his beards.
“Ah! Omo mi da? Daddy e da mi lo hun!” Mrs. Mary called louder.
Snapping out of his cloud of thoughts, Barrister turned and went to his wife and raised her up. “The police won’t do anything this night, we will make a report tomorrow.”
“Ah no! But…”
“Mary e fara bale, let’s go to bed, tomorrow we go to the police.”
“But how can we sleep?”
“Let’s just go to bed.” He led them up the stairs, a heavy silence enveloping them. Only the quiet sniffing of his wife could be heard.

“Don’t you think it’s time to call them?” Juliet could not hide her agitation. It was barely 5:00pm, but she was already wide awake and poking Taiye who was sprawled on the bed beside her. She had barely slept a wink last night, but Taiye had slept through it all like everything was okay. Couldn’t he see that it was not? That everything feels upside down? She couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling within her that kept saying everything was a mistake, that she should run back home before it was too late. She had confessed her feelings to Taiye, but he had brushed it off saying it was normal to feel that way, that it was only a matter of days and everything will return to normal, but this time around with her bank account loaded.
The money did not longer excite her, the bottom line was that her parents would be buoyed down with worry and that means same for her. What if they get to find out? She kept asking herself. But she decided to live through it, for Taiye at least, she consoled herself.

Thirty minutes later, Taiye called her parents and when it was time for her to act, she truly cried. Hearing her mother’s weeping voice and her father’s deep with worry had pierced her heart with a deep ache, weighted with guilt. Taiye had smiled all through, consoling her.
“Babe it’s okay, it’s 1M, cool 1M. You will be with them tonight,” he kissed her lips and went to the bathroom for his bath.
That seemed to calm her a little and offload part of the guilt. She was glad her parents agreed to pay quickly, at least they wouldn’t have to worry for long.

That night when one of Taiye’s friend had gone for the money, Juliet sat on the floor impatient, while Taiye favoured the bed. He tried everything to get her cheerful, but it was fruitless.
“Babe it’s just a matter of few hours, all these would be over.”
Juliet folded her arms and said nothing. So many feelings had gathered in her belly again- fear, guilt, worry, name them, and Taiye was so relaxed as if this was normal, like people fake kidnapping everyday. She placed her palms on the floor, they felt hot and sweaty. She then closed her eyes and tried closing her mind to her thoughts when heavy knockings sounded on the door. Her eyes shot opened immediately and she turned to look at Taiye who appeared panicked.
“Could that be him?” Her eyes asked and Taiye shook his head.
“He is supposed to call.”
“Someone is picking the lock, ” Juliet sprang up from the floor, panic clearly written on her face. “Call somebody, call the police,” she went to the bed, as if doing so would make her disappear into the sheets. Taiye fumbled with his phone, but before he could succeed in unlocking it, the door was forced open and two armed men came in.
“If you shout I kill you,” one of them said and Juliet bit her tongue badly to keep from screaming, drawing blood at the same time.
The men began checking the whole house. It was only a single room so they didn’t waste time in checking through. They took their phones and Taiye’s laptop and ATM cards. They were done in a jiffy, but one of them looked at Juliet who was shaking badly with her hands over her eyes. He moved towards her and Taiye tried to stop him.
“No don’t do that.”
A slap shut him up.
The man advanced and grabbed juliet’s hand and threw her on the bed.
“No please,” Juliet cried, but his ears were hardened as his manhood, and no sound could pierce through. As he slammed into her, she felt her whole life dividing painfully into two. This was not what she envisioned when she asked her father for money, this was not what she feared most when she agreed to this farce of a kidnap with Taiye.

“I can’t believe this, Mrs. Mary Dolapo was in tears as Juliet ended her narration. “What have your and I not given you? Ah mo ti ku!”
They were all seated in their large parlour, a cloud of sorrow hanging over them. Juliet had her head bent, her eyes red with tears. She had to wipe her nose every few seconds. Her father was stiff, he had his arms folded and his jaw twitched slightly. He was yet to say a word and that alone spoke volumes for Juliet. She listened to her mother’s sobbing, somehow finding solace in the sound as she waited for her father to say something.
“Juliet Dolapo,” her father finally ended his silence. “So you used your feet with your eyes wide opened and walked into the Lion’s den and expected not to be beaten. Well I hope you have learnt your lesson. Mary take her to the hospital, while I speak with the police.”

Juliet watched her father stand and leave for the stairs. She could read the disappointment in the way he avoided saying much. She wiped at her nose angrily and stood up. Indeed she has learnt her lesson, in the worst possible way. She took a step, but suddenly the chairs, her mother, the TV and all were moving in fast circles around her and then she was falling on the white marbled floor.


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