Chapter 8: the tide III

"How are you doing?" She asked once we reached outside the church building.

I knew it wasn't the best time but I felt the need to say something to her about what happened. Even though it was years ago, I owed her an explanation and if not now, I don't think I ever would.

"I'm surviving Crys," I answered meaning my words. I was struggling actually with everything lately and this was like the final blow.

"I don't like seeing you get hurt," she said, placing her hands on the arm cast. The touch of her hands were always like a calm to the tides but too bad I could never get back to that point where I had been allowed to be comfortable with it.

"Me neither," I said while taking the hand that was on me in mine.

We stayed like that for some time before I spoke up,

"Look Crystal about all that happened between us I-."

"It's been so long ago Lade and I'm honestly okay," she cut me off but I knew her better than anyone.

"When you say you're okay, it means you're not," I said with a half smile and she didn't meet my stare.

"You chose your job over me, it was very hard to take in but I've learned to move on."

Her words reminded me of how foolish I had been. Yes, I was in love with her then, I would even call it the cheesy love at first sight because I knew I was smitten the first day I stepped into the Young's home, but then I started moving higher in ranks and everything changed.

"It was something I had no control over and I'll never stop apologising for what I put you through," I explained and she let go of my hand before offering a slight nod. I missed the warmth of her hands immediately but it was crazy because I wasn't in love with her, that ship had sailed but still, I was allowed to miss what it felt like to be in love with someone, right?.

"Friends," she said smiling after a moment of awkward silence.

"Soulmates," I added in return, smiling back too as I recalled our usual sayings in those days.

...

I blew out a heavy breath as I walked through the doors of the church. The day's events were a little too much to handle; the burial, meeting crystal and every other thing that had happened in the past week. The church service was over and we were all headed to the cemetery for the final process.

The mass was also for the rest of the soldiers and our brothers that had lost their lives that day. They were going to be buried at a special ground, giving them the honour in which they were due.

I and my team with the entire armed forces needed to get back to reality. We were done wallowing in sorrow, now it was time to get to the bottom of things and get our revenge against whomever.

My driver had brought the car around the corner, so I wouldn't have to start walking a long distance to the parking lot. I couldn't wait to leave this place but before I could step in someone stopped me.

"You are not the easiest person to catch these days, Lade Adenuga," a familiar voice called out and I let out a smile when I turned to see a fellow colleague I hadn't seen in a while.

"Says the person who didn't want to be found," I said while we shared a bro handshake and a laugh.

"How were the reserves in Ogun?" I asked further, remembering the hunt he had been sent on a month ago by our late Commander.

"It was strangely interesting, you know, the usual rush of finding some exciting and juicy detail," he replied and we shared another hearty laugh.

"Jeff honestly, you sure were lucky to have missed out on all that had happened here," I said dismally and his laugh fell. I see he knew the detailed events of the incident, someone must have filled him in.

"Yeah I did man, it was really tragic," he accorded, folding his arms while I nodded, drooping my head a bit.

"If it's possible, could we meet up after the burial at Rhapsody?" he suggested after a moment of reliving the pain.

"I don't think it would be but we can still arrange something tomorrow."

"Lade its important."

"I really just want to go home and take a shower and pass out because you know, the day's events have been really enervating," I replied and he looked a bit disappointed but hid it effectively.

"I may have discovered some-" he began but unfortunately was cut off by an incoming voice,

"That sounds like so much fun, Lade," someone said but it wasn't Jeff and I knew it was obviously Emeka. He made the statement as he joined us, throwing his arms over our both shoulders. Again, I knew he was referring to my plans afterwards but it was typical of him to always suggest or accept any hangout offer In any situation, even when he didn't know the full details behind it.

"Emeka like who is talking about fun now, we are headed to the cemetery."

"Any social function is associated with fun, no matter its kind," he said and I just sighed, ``I wasn't going down the road of a banter with anyone.

"Jeff don't worry we will be there," he uttered again, beating me to it and before I could counter Someone had already whisked Jeff away from us.

"Why do you always have to interfere in my business?"

"Huh! that's funny, I remember asking you the same thing and besides I'm your buddy, what would you do without me," he replied and I recalled the morning of that tragic day when I saved his butt.

I didn't want to keep reliving that day and I wanted it erased completely from my mind. I stayed silent, still reflecting on Jeff's words and it was like Emeka had read my thoughts.

"Look, he said it was something important, it might be of interest to us," he assured me, putting on a more serious face and I heaved out a sigh, wordlessly declaring my consent.

There was nothing left to say as we both headed off to the cemetery and later the restaurant for the meeting with Jeff.

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