Dru did not have the energy to meet Luke that evening. She told him she had a bad headache that could only subside with some bedrest.
He sounded disappointed.
“Is there any other reason that you don’t want to see me,babe?” Luke asked. She knew that he was worried about the scene with the woman at the bank.
“Babe, of course not. Or do you want to come visit me and have to answer my parents’ many questions? I wouldn’t mind, you know!” She replied, hoping she was convincing enough.
“Well, there is time for everything. I will see them on a planned day, for now rest and recover quick, my dear. You will be in my prayers.” He replied, convinced by her lie.
“You will be in my prayers. ” Dru mimicked him after hanging up on her phone. Her eighteen year old brother laughed.
She had called him and asked him to come to town urgently. He had been watching the latest series of Money Heist at home so he was reluctant at first but Dru had promised more action drama for him and she would buy him some credit too as a thank you.
Dru’s brother was the typical teenager and the mention of action and money had excited him, prompting him to rush to town to his sister.
The two sat in a taxi, watching Luke as he exited the hotel that she was supposed to meet him.
She had parked her car in the ground parking of her office building and taken a taxi to avoid being caught.
“That’s the man. Follow him.” Dru ordered the taxi driver as Luke got in his Toyota Mark X 250.
“Don’t you know where he lives?” Her brother asked.
“I have visited a few times but never spent too much time,and never spontaneously.” She replied. The woman at the bank had planted enough suspicions for her to investigate Luke.
“I wonder where he is going?” Dru muttered because Luke wasn’t driving to the place he had taken her as his home. They watched as he parked his car outside an apartment building. He took his coat and laptop and went up the stairs to the third floor.
Before he entered a house that he apparently was very familiar with, he stretched his hands to the hanging lines and picked some clothes.
“Are they his clothes?” Dru’s brother asked.
“They are. I don’t know this place and I don’t remember him telling me he shifted.” Dru stated.
“Well, you need to find out if he does stay here.” Joe, her brother suggested.
“How will I do that?” She asked
They paused to think about that until the taxi driver came to their rescue.
“Madam, I think I know how. One of the ladies standing outside there is a househelp. I know her. She will help us.” He said. Dru and Joe urged him to call her.
The lady in question was excited to see the driver, eager to talk to him. They exchanged pleasantries, flirted around for a bit then dived to the point.
“I am looking for Luke, he is a pastor, I think his flat is in the third floor. I am not so sure.” He lied.
The lady frowned as her mind tried to trace the man in question.
“No, I don’t know any pastor by that name.” She said.
“Tell her he drives a Toyota Mark that just got in a few minutes ago!” Dru whispered. The taxi driver did.
“Oh, are you talking of Tom?” Then she started an unrestrained laugh. “You think Tom is a pastor…huhuhu…that one is a con! He once told me that if I gave him two thousand shillings he would help me secure a job in Qatar, I’m still waiting for the job!” She laughed again.
“For four years he has lived here, conned almost all of us here, but even if we report him, nothing happens!” She added frowning in annoyance.
Dru shook her head in anger. She remembered the two hundred thousand shillings she had given him to buy a plot on sale he had so convincingly talked about.
“The plot goes for six hundred thousand. I have three hundred thousand only.” He had said, and she had foolishly offered him two hundred thousand which at first he had adamantly refused. Then he had accepted it, and said he would borrow a loan for the one hundred thousand, the remaining balance.
Now, Dru wondered if there was ever a plot on sale. The househelp had confirmed her fears. Luke was indeed the Thomas that the woman at the bank had spoken about.
As Joe got entertained by the driver and househelp who had gone back to flirting, she made a call, prompting the driver to leave the car and continue pursuing his luck with the promising lady.
“Hi babe. My car got a puncture as I was driving home, can you please come and help me? My parents have attended some fellowship and they aint picking my calls! I am scared because dusk is falling rapidly!” She said, feigning fear and desperation.
“Right away babe!” Luke replied and she saw him, up there, closing the door behind him, looking around before hiding his door key under the vase that was right outside the door.
“What is in your mind?” Joe asked, his eyes bright at an expected event of action.
“Whatever is in your mind. We will gain access to this house that he had never let me know of its whereabouts. I have a feeling this house will tell me more about him. Hopefully, I might even recover my money back.” Dru said and was glad she had involved a hot blooded eighteen year old who did not think twice about any act.
He watched through the tainted window as Luke drove out and then led the way to the apartment building. They threw a quick glance at the taxi driver and giggled at his swiftness to get himself a girl. His hands were already on her waist. Joe brisked up his pace to Luke’s house.
“Try not to look so excited.” She warned
“It’s already getting dark, nobody will see us!” He whispered back as he took two stairs at a go.
The two shifted their eyes around and smiled at a four or five year old child passing by, then Dru took the key from below the vase and opened the door.
It was a bachelor’s house. Stuffy and unkempt unlike it’s owner who always had a Dolce and Gabbana scent around him. There was one sofa that faced a home theatre system and an untidy rugged carpet between them.
“I think you should come see this!” She heard her brother call her from the bedroom.
Surprise hit her face when she went into the bedroom.
It wasn’t the unmade bed that surprised her or the thoroughly highlighted pages of the Bible that lay on the pillow (no wonder he kept up the pious attitude so convincingly). What surprised Dru were the pictures on the wall.
There were ten pictures of women from the ages of possibly mid twenties to forties. Eight of them had an X crossed on their faces. Dru’s picture was the ninth. There was evidence of an X that had been rubbed off. The tenth woman was one of someone she knew all too well, her friend Wandi.
“Are these all the women he has duped?” Joe asked.
“Mmmhhh…the eighth woman resembles the woman at the bank…It must be the sister. I wonder why he erased the X for me!”
“He probably thought he was done with you then he realized he still had to steal more from you!” Joe said, stabbing his sister with the painful truth. She remembered how he had come back after catching her cheating, with sweet soothing words , “God told me to forgive you”.
“The imbecile has already planned his next woman, my friend and colleague…”
“Ts..ts..ts. this guy is the archetype of conmanship. See this,” Joe said as he surfed through the computer files.
Dru’s jaw dropped at the horrifying discovery. Luke/Thomas had a folder for each of the ten women. Dru grabbed the mouse from her brother’s hand and moved the cursor to the folder under her name.
Joe clapped his hands in bemusement when he saw what was in his sister’s file.
There were screenshots of all her social media pages. Dru was impassioned with wrath when she realized that Luke had unearthed all her social media posts and saved them.
I think I am in the wrong country, how can I tarmac for four years after graduating, seriously! SMH
Dru remembered posting this tweet on Twitter in a fit of vexation at not finding a job. She remembered how Luke had used this on her, claiming God had told him about this.
She saw another screenshot of an Instagram picture of her and her grandma, and a caption.
Six months are enough! I can’t work in a dairy anymore. Goodbye grandma!
Then she saw her Facebook profile, she had said everything about herself, her parents’ names , their jobs, her school history and where she worked.
She sighed in resignation when she realized that she had provided him with all the information about herself. Posting her every move on social media had cost her a great deal.
“Let’s see what he has about Wandi.” She said as she opened her friend’s file.
“Ok. This guy is damn smart. I will give it to him. ” Joe said when he saw Wandi’s screenshots.
Wandi never missed on any challenges. She had posted the #hotmommychallenge. She also was not left out on #singlemomchallenge. She had also posted her four year old daughter’s picture on the #firstbornchallenge that was trending. And being the stalker he was , the #schoolstattendedchallenge was not lost on him.
Everything about Wandi was in his desktop computer. All he needed was a good lie to convince her she was the woman for him and not Dru.
Then a call came through. It was the taxi driver.
“Madam, he is already here! He is coming up with two other guys! Please run out fast before he gets you!” He screamt through the phone.
“What? Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” She screamt back. The taxi driver mumbled something about dozing off. But Dru knew he was lying. The girl he was wooing had taken all his attention that he did not notice Luke drive in.
Joe’s thrill had turned to fear. He bit his nails as he looked around searching for exit. “Dru, I don’t want to die, please!” He cried.
“Shut up, no one will die. Get a grip of yourself Joe !” She whispered as she paced up and down wondering what to do. Then she decided it was better if they took the taxi driver’s advice to leave the house as quickly as possible.
“Let’s go!” She urged her brother but it was too late.
At the door stood the young girl they had met at the door passing by, a woman who Dru presumed was the mother. Thomas stood next to them. The two men who accompanied Luke were quick to show their identification cards to Dru. They were policemen.
“My neighbours called me and told me that there were intruders in my house. When I drove to the place you claimed to have stopped and didn’t see you,I knew you were the intruder.” He said, his sweet nature all vanished and a harsh man in his place.
“Officers, please take them away!” Luke/Thomas ordered.
The taxi driver had driven off in fear. The police men called their boss to alert them of two arrests. In the conversation, Dru and her brother discovered that Luke had a relative in the high offices. This was bad news to the two. A police land rover came to pick the policemen, Dru and her brother despite the pleas they made not to be arrested.
“Tresspassing is a very serious offence,” one of the policemen remarked as he booked the two to their cells.
“Ok, can I at least make a call?” Joe begged. They allowed him to do so.
Unfortunately, the one call he was allowed did not go through. Their parents always switched off their phones while attending prayer fellowships.
“Please, let me make mine.” She pleaded and they offered her the police phone. She dialled the only other number she had by heart after her parents’ and Luke’s. She heard the call going through and waited patiently.
“Hello!” The voice said.
“Mark, it’s me I have been arrested!” She rapped. There was silence and she almost regretted calling him and even wondered how Mark would assist if he knew of their arrests.
“Which police station?” He asked, she replied and he hang up. She almost cried.
“To your cells, quick!” The police man yelled. The clang on the doors of the cells made their bodies shake. The floors of the cells were dirty and cold. Joe was beside himself in worry. Dru was beating herself for putting her small brother through all that.
She lay awake, feeling sorry and unsure about the next move. She was almost dozing off when she heard the policeman’s voice bawling at her.
“Madam, quick, quick, quick! Get out!”
She jumped up fast and walked out. She met her brother waiting at the police desk, a stranger’s hand holding his shoulder. She nighed to him and saw Mark, dressed in a striped suit, holding a briefcase.
“Madam, we have come to an agreement with your lawyer. All the charges have been dropped. You and your brother can leave now.” The arresting police officer said.
The three walked out of the police premises. To the shock of Dru, Mark opened the doors of a Nissan Rogue Monarch and ushered them in. He had never mentioned that he drove at all.
“How do you know Counselor Kimbo?” Joe whispered exhilaratedly at his sister.
“Counselor? Mark is a writer. I think he only dressed like a lawyer to hoodwink the police officers.” Dru replied.
Joe stared at his sister in disbelief, like she didn’t know what she was saying.
“Gosh! Dru, which hole do you live in? Please be watching the news! This guy is top notch lawyer. He is the one who defended Senator Rateno on that defamation case and helped him win!” Joe exclaimed.
“What…” Dru interjected as Mark spoke.
“Oh these siblings are gossiping me!” He said in pretentious irritation.
Dru was too dumbfounded to even laugh this time. Joe did, in an exaggerated way, he had been star-struck and it was even more overwhelming for him because he was waiting to pursue a Degree in Law the following year. Being a lawyer was his utmost dream.
Joe and Mark struck a conversation about the career of law. Dru listened quietly and when he arrived outside of their house, he got out and opened the door for them. Mark shook Joe’s hand enthusiastically and promised him a slot in his law firm after he finished his course. To Dru, he pecked her cheek and then drove off.
Dru and Joe decided that their parents didn’t have to know what had ensued, especially the police part. It would worry them for nought. They ate their dinner quietly although Joe couldn’t hide his excitement.
“You are very happy this evening!” Her mother remarked.
“I am, I met my role model today.” He said and they smiled as their minds quickly shifted to other topics of discussion.
The next day, a Saturday, as Dru went on with her business in her small cashier’s glassbox, she saw him, in a Red T-Shirt and the jeans she first saw him in. He walked to her counter and smiled at her. She grinned at the nice surprise.
“So, is this the cave they hide the beautiful gem?” He asked as he scrutinized the glass walls that surrounded Dru. She still had a foolish grin on her face.
“Well, first things first, an immediate arrest on the fraudster Thomas was ordered but it seems he is on the run.”
“That’s too bad!” Dru finally spoke.
“But we will handle that case and soon it will be over. I am sure about that. But I did not come to speak business. I came to see you and mark my territory. Do you know that dogs mark their territories with urine. Maybe I should just…” Drusilla laughed hard.
He made a few more jokes and an invite to a date after work, to start all over again. She agreed and he left.
“So, you finally decided to settle with the one with personal looks?” Wandi said, she had come immediately after Mark’s departure.
“Wandi my dear , do you ever watch the news? Google Mark Kimbo, please. Number 2, Luke is not Luke but Thomas and he’s coming for you.” Dru said and saw the confused look on Wandi.
“Luke is a fraudster. He wants to con you next. And please, stop accepting all the challenges that are on social media. Your daughter’s pictures are in someone’s personal folder in his computer. Only God knows what he planned to do with them.” Dru said.
Her office phone rang. It was the bank manager asking her to go see him in his office.
“Was that Counselor Mark in this premises, really?” He asked, unable to hide his excitement. She nodded. The manager pulled a book from his drawer .
“It will be an honour if he signed this book for me!” He said. “He is a great author, I tell you! This is the latest, only released a week ago. ”
“I will meet him this afternoon, I will request him to sign it for you.” She said much to the gratitude of her manager.
Dru stared at the book. It was titled, She can drive herself written by Mark Kimbo. She shook her head at the amazing personality of Mark. How could he be so great yet so humble!
A year later, he wrote another book, She is mine now, forever.
Dru’s mother read it ten times.