Difficult? Had Helen actually imagined preparing for the arrival of Bukola’s family would be only difficult? She had been wrong. It was a nightmare.
For some reason, Bukola had decided it was time to step up and run the house, preparing for her role as madam-to-be. Naturally, she had thrown Helen’s precise organization of that chore into total chaos. The house staff was confused and annoyed at the conflicting instructions Bukola kept giving them and Helen’s job became a lot harder. It had not been easy to keep everything running efficiently, with Bukola underfoot. The woman couldn’t cook and had no idea what detergent was, but she thought she could tell everyone what to do.
It had really been a nightmare.
Helen sighed and rubbed the back of her neck, happy to be out of the house, and in the front passenger seat of Lionel’s jeep, heading to the airport. She had volunteered to help pick up Bukola’s family when they arrived at the airport. In truth, she had just been looking for a reason to get away from Bukola before she choked her out of frustration.
“I’ve never seen anyone dive into a car that fast.” Joe-B, Lionel’s new bodyguard said with a loud laugh. He had offered to drive Helen to the airport, and she was a bit comforted by his hulking presence. It would be additional security for the Deindes as well. “What was chasing you?”
Helen grimaced. Joe-B was referring to how eagerly she had left the Thomas mansion. “I had to get out of that house, abeg. I left so fast, I forgot my phone. I’ll have to commandeer yours, Joe-B.”
“The phone is yours to command, pretty lady. Now I understand, still it’s not like waiting in the airport for a flight to arrive is fun, so I don’t see how this is a better alternative.” Joe-B quipped. He smoothly rounded a corner, his black blazer straining at the seams as his big hands turned the steering wheel. “Or were you just interested in spending time with me?”
Helen chuckled and hit his muscular arm playfully. The bodyguard was always flirting with her, but she knew he was just being playful.
“You couldn’t handle me, Joe-B.” she teased. “I know you could probably lift me with one finger, but e no mean o! I’m small, but mighty.”
The bodyguard shook his head in mock-sorrow. “You’re such a violent woman, Helen. I wasn’t asking for a wrestling match abeg. Women have very sharp teeth, they love to bite…”
Helen’s laugh was cut short by the rest of his comment.
“…and besides I’m not your type.”
She stared at him curiously. “My type? How would you know my type, Joe-B?”
The man grinned, eyes watching the rear-view mirror and the busy road as he drove carefully. “I’ve seen the way you look at Mr Thomas, my friend. I may not have sharp teeth, but I have sharp eyes. Part of my job requirement.”
Helen forced out a strangled laugh, surprised.
Joe-B noticed her expression and laughed. “Don’t worry your small head there. Your secret is safe with me. I keep secrets very well; also another job requirement. If you know how many big men i have helped to sneak out so they can see their girlfriends eh…”
Helen let Joe-B chatter on, thinking. Was her fondness for her boss so evident? She would have to be more discreet. And what Joe-B said about keeping secrets struck her as true. Even though Bukola had told her to say and do nothing about Bernard’s and Kelechi Dike’s kidnap plot, she suddenly felt an urge to tell Joe-B everything. Surely, she could convince him to keep it from Lionel but it would help him be more alert to any danger to the man he was hired to protect.
Helen bit her lip. It was the smart thing to do.
She turned to the bodyguard, “Joe-B, I have to tell you something…”
“Not the time, dear.” Joe-B said, his eyes flicking to the rear-view mirror again. “I don’t mean to alarm you, but I think you should hunch down in your seat a bit. Two jeeps have been following us for a while now.”
Helen’s heart jumped in her chest, and she twisted around, looking through the back windshield. “What? Where..?”
“Please, Helen.” Joe-B cut in firmly, using his free hand to turn her around. “Just do as I said. It may be nothing, and its daytime, so nothing may happen. But just to be on the safe side…”
She hunched down in her seat. “Oh God! Oh God! Maybe they think Lionel is in here. Maybe they have finally come to kidnap him.”
Joe-B shot her a look of concern. “Kidnap?”
“Yes! That’s what I wanted to tell you. I overheard plans to kidnap Lionel… Mr Thomas. This must be the kidnappers following us.”
“Damn. Then daylight won’t matter.” Joe-B threw another quick glance in the rear-view mirror, and then pressed down on the accelerator. The vehicle sped up smoothly, its purr increasing. “It would have been really nice to know about this before now, Helen.” He ground out between clenched jaws.
Helen felt fear fill her. He was right. She should have told him before now. She risked peeping over the edge of her seat. She could see two jeeps that had picked up speed and were getting closer to them.
She ducked back into her seat, shivering with fear, and looked at Joe-B. He was concentrating on driving very fast and carefully, but she could see the concern in his eyes.
This wasn’t going to end well.
To Be Continue On saturday