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Chapter 9

The absence of Evidence is not the evidence of Absence.

When the option of a choice is brought before us. Most of us prefer not to choose, choosing means that we accept responsibility for the actions we take concerning that subject. We might even have a preferred choice, but we lay it down at destiny's feet and pray fervently that he picks what we want. Destiny isn't a mythical being that directs the order of our lives. We create our own destiny, framed by the choices we make. We're responsible for our own lives. God writes the script but we direct, produce and execute it. But all in all we should seek the script writer because he knows all and wouldn't direct us toward the wrong path.

FM didn't say a single word on the drive home. From his demeanor, he probably suspects that she lied. But he still protected her anyways. She couldn't help but like him more at that moment. But, she had to say something right? She had to explain to him? How did she forget so fast that things weren't over with Nife. They had been through a lot together and he looked really distraught. But she wasn't doing anything he hadn't done before. It was still raining heavily when they got back to her apartment.

"Are you going to be okay? You've been silent since that little incident at the restaurant, you look shaken" FM broke into her train of thought. "Ohh yeah I will be fine, I'll make a run for it so my dress wouldn't get too soiled" she replied. "Tonight couldn't have turned out any better, I enjoyed every moment we spent getting to know each other. I hope I didn't bore you with silly stories of my childhood." FM asked. "No Femi you didnt and you don't have to lie to make me feel better. It's all my fault this night ended like this. I should I have told you about him, it's just that things aren't really great with us you know" Paula replied. "Really I didn't know you could make storms now" FM jokingly replied and gestured to the rain that kept pounding on the roof of the vehicle. "You can talk to me when you feel like it. It doesn't have to be tonight, in fact you don't have to talk about it at all if you don't want to. It's totally cool" FM continued. Paula smiled sadly "I really like you Femi and I want to be open with you. I usually don't spill my life's story to people I'm just getting to meet. But, I feel I can trust you. You're different. You don't seem to be cut from the same cloth as most of the other guys I know" Paula said. "I will take that as a compliment" FM replied. "Must you joke about everything? You are just too funny" Paula jested. "How else do I make you feel at ease" FM replied. She settled into her seat to get more comfortable. It was going to be a very long talk. FM switched off the engine but left the air-conditioning on; then switched on the hazard lights because it was dark and he wouldn't want to get hit by another vehicle.

Paula told the whole story, FM made her feel at ease. She hadn't been able to tell anybody about how Nife had made her feel all this while. He just seemed to understand her and be the right person to talk to. By the time she was done talking, the rain had stopped and she was getting a little bit cold from staying in the air-conditioning for too long. FM reached into the backseat and handed her a hooded sweatshirt. It was simple gestures like this that just made her fall deeper. He didn't say anything while she ranted. He just looked on with compassion and was listening so attentively that she didn't want to stop. As she went about putting on the sweatshirt he said just four words "You will be fine". She believed it, he said it so convincingly that she just couldn't doubt those words. It was getting late, the red glow from the digital clock on the vehicle's dashboard confirmed her suspicions. She had to go. "Femi I have to go, call me when you get home yeah?" He nodded and watched her as she stepped out of the car. "Keep the sweatshirt, I'll sleep better knowing you have it" FM shouted after her. She couldn't help but smile, she hadn't even planned on giving it back at that moment.

When she got back to her room. She knew she had backed up one tree already. She was inclining towards Femi. If she wanted to be fair to herself she had chosen already. But, she just couldn't let go of Nife that easily. As she settled down to sleep, she kept seeing his face. Paula! Paula! Pau.. you have to let me explain... there is a lot going on right now... just give me a chance!

Three Weeks Later.

The boys were finally getting back into their routine. Nonso who had sworn off marijuana after their trip with Egbon was now at it again. Cracking jokes and getting bouts of laughter from Skodo and Tope. Nife wasn't absent, he was right there. But he felt like he had a loaded gun to his head telling him to kill his friends. Ghost had reached out to him the night before, asking for an update and reminding that if he couldn't deliver, he stood a chance to lose his life. He wish he could divulge or at least share his burden with someone but if any of the boys knew and Egbon caught a drift of what was going on, he would definitely be dead for sure. He also considered going to the Mrs Aranti the school counselor. But he didn't think they would believe him and besides he is an accomplice to murder.

Ahmed was reported missing by the University management and the case was handed over to the Police. But the police chalked it up to a missing persons case. Meaning that a clean-up had been done at the scene of their crime before the police got there. But still a confession to belonging in a cult group is alone to put him out of school and behind bars. "Oh boy, puff small nah. You go just they bone like say them carry your babe. Oh be like say they carry your babe for real ohhh" Nonso joked and everyone bursted into laughter except Nife. "Bruh, I don tell you tey tey say that babe no be correct babe. But, if you still want her back just said the word. Boys go take care of am" Skodo added. Nife hissed and walked out the room, like you took care of Ahmed he thought. He was just about done and ready to snitch up on all of their asses and damn the consequences. At this point he had already lost everything he valued; his freedom, someone that obviously loved him, he couldn't even think rationally anymore. Maybe he would talk to Mrs Aranti, isn't there something about Doctor-Patient confidentiality? He slammed the door hoping it jammed, locking them inside and then headed out.

Ademitutu woke with a start. The heat could be unbearable at times. Her dad had once told her that after the heat blows over it rains. She wiped sweat from her brow and fervently prayed for that supposed rain. She was wide awake now, the sleep gone from her eyes. Her mind fleetingly went to Paula. She had already heard all about the encounter between FM and Nife. She wasn't proud of that text she had sent, but she would do anything in her power to help her friend do the right thing. FM seemed to be right for her. She is happier these days, maybe that text was a blessing in disguise. She would take care of Paula, Nife was and is no good period! Tutu settled back into her bed. Before she could get together another meaningful thought, she was fast asleep.

Ghost had waited long enough. So far Nife hadn't given him anything worthwhile. But he knew that boy more now, he wasn't worth shit, maybe all he needed to do was to apply more pressure. He had him right where he needed him to be. He just needs to push the right buttons to make him squeal and spill everything that he knows. Maybe he will start with that little squad of his. There is nothing more scary that watching people around you getting hurt and knowing that you could have done something to stop it.

Thank you all for coming along for this ride. I'm sure that you've enjoyed reading Dilemmas as much as I have enjoyed writing it. But, this isn't just any story. It's not my story, it is our story and we are now at crossroads. I want to do a little something. I want you all to text me with the choice you want each major character to make. Stories are a figment of our imaginations, let me help you live those imaginations through your eyes and mind.

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