*A Kiss To Dried Lips*
Frank rolled over his bed and suddenly jolted awake from his sleep, he’d barely slept for an hour when his phone startled him. He checked the message notification and it was a credit alert from his bank. He just got half a million Naira payment. He gave a lopsided smile and slumped on the bed on his back. Nothing excited him as much as the way he smartly did his business.
This business has sustained him for three years and has paved the way for better opportunities. It gladdened him too that he could cater to Isabelle’s dues, the girl he loved so much. Just recently, he’d transferred fifty thousand to her, to assist the uncle who was recently hospitalized. This work of his made him live an outrightly conserved life. He hardly moved about in public vehicles nor carried his laptop to go to open places. This was to prevent unplanned search warrants by the police. He couldn’t imagine an arrest at that point in his life so he took every precaution. The country shunned cybercrimes but he alone saw the need for it. He spends several hours each day on the net to eke out a living by the very smart trades he makes with these people meets.
He thought about life-threatening situations he’d been in the past. Once, his sister was arrested for stealing at a supermarket she worked and he paid a huge sum to bail her. Twice in the past year, his mother had slumped at her shop due to cardiac failure. Had he no savings of his own, he would have lost his only parent for a whopping hundred thousand which the hospital had requested since it was an emergency case.
To him, family meant nothing rather than mother and sister. His father died shortly after his birth. Uncles and distant relatives never existed throughout his years till present. He only imagined monstrous men who stole all his late father willed to them, just the way his mother told them when they got older. Virtually all the firms in southeastern Nigeria knew about his stubborn nature. Refusal to leave company premises after being informed about no job vacancies. He definitely fought to lead a responsible life but society didn’t let him.
A second class honour in civil engineering, with only a ten thousand naira job offers, was not what he had planned for himself while at school. The same school he had met his heartthrob. That was in his final year and the young girl’s first year. Isabelle had borrowed his pen at a bank to fill the bank teller for her school fees. Afterwards, it was the exchange of digits by both parties. The next day, Frank discovered the girl had given her the wrong digits after a middle-aged woman picked the calls consecutively. This inked him more than ever that he prayed never to cross such a fresher again. The girl later called him several weeks later when he’d almost gotten over the trick she played.
“This is Isabelle. I sincerely apologize” she had said the moment he picked the call. Her voice mediated the anger waxing in him and the eagerness to blurt the way he felt about what she did.
“It’s fine,” He had said smiling widely.
This last conversation had served the purpose of drawing them together on several occasions until their love grew from mere likeness to affections.
Frank had, from the onset, pressed the button of secrecy by keeping it cool to conceal his personality from Isabelle. But it appears there would soon be an outburst of an open secret, as he had learnt about how obvious his dark secrets seem to be unfolding gradually to her knowledge. He knew he had to do something as soon as possible to avoid letting the cat out of the bag.