EMMA leaned back, perched alone in the backseat corner… as she fled Crosswalk Avenue in a cab.
Her apartment was only a 10-minute drive across a few streets. Precisely on Churchill Street. But the rain and the cold would probably make the drive home seem longer.
But it wasn’t the heavy rain or the cold that dampened Emma’s indomitable spirit now. What suddenly weighed her down was the phone call she got from Abby. The odd call from her best friend.
Emma noticed only now that the cab stereo was playing her favourite. Her best track of any collection set of oldies.
It was a beautiful, golden duet. And it poured so mellow and sweet over a craving soul.
It was Heather Headley and Kenny Lattimore’s Love will find a way.
The stereo hummed so soft with the beautiful lines now.
…They can have their world
We’ll create our own
I may not be brave
Or strong or smart
But somewhere in my secret heart
Love will find a way….
It was a calming, soothing ambience that poured over Emma. Body, heart and soul. And the girl’s mind crawled back to the incident earlier that night.
The incident of that phone call from Abby…
And with a backdrop of golden luxury.
◙ ◙ ◙
Emma had only got 6 customers stop by at her supermarket all the day through. Yet it seemed she was even lucky to be able to count up 6 today.
‘Well it’s something,’ the 24-year-old had told herself.
‘At least it is weekday today. It’s a regular workday for customers. And come to think of it, today is even Wednesday!’
It is along these lines that Emma always consoled herself in her failing trade. But there was a hurting pang beneath those words of self-encouragement.
It was about 20 minutes past 8 that cloudy night.
Emma sat down in her store, hanged her head down over her phone and scrolled through funny posts on her Facebook feed… as she tried to find distractions away from the bothers of her failing business.
The young woman’s phone rang now. And it was Abby calling out of nowhere.
When Emma picked up Abby’s voice sounded too loud and quite unlike her. So much her friend had to take another look at the caller’s name.
‘I found a solution for you, Emma!’ Abby screamed from the other end.
‘Trust me I’ve found the solution for your failed business!’ she reiterated.
Emma was lost. ‘Well did I say…?’ She just didn’t know where to come in.
Did she tell Abby she had reached rock bottom already? (Emma reasoned.) If she always told Abby that her business wasn’t doing well, why would Abby conclude it had failed before the end?
Emma found the words to articulate her thoughts now. ‘Hey Abby, why will you even put it like that? Who says my business has failed?’
Abby laughed. ‘Look at you, girl! Like you need someone to tell you what’s just so commonsensical!’
Emma snapped. ‘Anyway don’t say it that way… I don’t like it.’
‘It hurts huh…? Aw sorry, gentle little softie…!’
Emma interposed her. ‘So you were telling me something?’
‘Oh yeah… you’re still at your store, right?’
Emma nodded. ‘Yes I’m right here… at the store.’
Abby resumed. ‘You know what? I’ve found you a huge, huge something! You can’t even imagine it!’
‘Oh what’s that? Tell me Abby? Tell me…’
Abby rolled out her words.
‘Trust me Emma, you’ll hit jackpot before sunset tomorrow! Gosh I can even bet my life on it! You sell just one and you rake in… Oh man, you can’t guess it…!’
Her voice dropped to a quiet whisper now.
‘Let me tell you the figure in dollars…
‘It’s half a million. I mean… half a million US dollars!’
Abby’s whispers were with a forceful vibe.
But when Emma didn’t respond, Abby tried another way straight up.
‘You heard me right? And you aren’t saying anything. You aren’t even curious about the deal I’m offering you on a platter.
‘Well, just as expected of my coward friend!’ she scoffed.
Emma wasn’t talking still.
Abby decided to push on relentlessly. ‘I know you can be adamantly reluctant but I’m bringing it down to you right now!
‘And trust me not even God can stop me from helping you with this!’ she vowed.
Emma couldn’t hold it now. She spoke out instantly. ‘Oh no…! Are you kidding or something?’
‘About what? About the new deal?’ retorted Abby.
‘No, about you coming with it right now…!’
Abby laughed. ‘Oh that, I can’t swear less! I think you’ve just forgotten I keep to my words, huh?’
‘Please don’t come at all,’ Emma begged, her voice shivering. ‘I don’t want that deal at all! At all!!’
Abby ended her words. ‘You just stay put, girl,’ she said. ‘I will reach you with it in minutes…
‘Or else I’m no longer the Abby you know!’ she vowed.
And with that Abby dropped the call.
And Emma crashed to the floor shuddering like a leaf on water.
For she knew too well. Too well enough to fear.
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