A rose by any other name, p.8
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       A Rose by Any Other Name, p.8

           Nia Eze
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  "Obi, you of all people should know not to scare me like that." she chided as she walked down the steps to him. "I hope you aren't hurt. I pushed really hard." she commented.

  "You do push hard." Obi complained, holding unto his side as he struggled to get up off the ground.

  "I can't seem to help it nowadays." she said. They were both quiet for a few long moments, taking the time to access each other, see how well or not the other looked in the long month since they had last seen themselves.

  "You look..."

  "How are..."

  They both began at the same time. They both stopped abruptly and smiled sheepishly. Sarah indicated with her hand that Obi should go first.

  "You look...alright I suppose, all things considered." he said on a shrug and he walked up to meet her at the bottom of the steps.

  "You are too foolhardy for your own good." she scolded as she noticed his slight limp and wondered if she had hurt him more than he was letting on. He sat on the second to last step and patted the space next to him inviting her to take a seat. She hesitated but a moment and then sat down next to him. It felt good to sit with someone and not feel the need to hide what she was becoming, had become.

  Life in the last few months had not been easy on her. Sarah Jane would never have imagined that her life could ever have turned out this way. She had wanted to be a doctor for as long as she could remember. She had trained for a substantial part of her life to make that dream come true. She had made sacrifices, forsworn relationships that had had so much promise just to fulfill that life-long wish to be a doctor and she had made it. She had been rising so rapidly through the ranks. She had taken an interest in genetics very early in her career and she had pursued it. Her parents had been so proud of her when she had been accepted to work with the revered team of doctors at The Centre.

  It had been all they could talk about to family and friends, 'Our daughter the scientist!' How it had all come crashing down. She could imagine that there would be a lot of people who would laugh at her now and say, 'Well, it's only fitting what happened to you. You were going too fast. There had to be trouble on that road.'

  "How are you keeping?" Obinna asked her as he shrugged out of the back pack she now saw that he was carrying.

  "I'm getting desperate." she answered with her usual forthrightness.

  Obi clucked his tongue, whether in rebuke or commiseration, she was not sure. He unzipped the backpack and brought out something wrapped in a nylon bag. The scent of peppery, fried chicken assailed her nostrils and Sarah Jane smiled. It started small and then widen as he brought out yet another nylon wrapped parcel and the sweet smell of her favourite soap bar reached her.

  "You really...thank you." she said softly overwhelmed by her feeling of gratitude for her unlikely friend. When she had run to him for help that day that her world as she had known it had come crashing down in that hospital room, she had not realized that it had to have been the Lord ordering her steps.

  "That's better! I was getting fed up with your complaining. It's not going to stop me from doing what I can you know."

  She snorted out a chuckle as she peeked into first the nylon bag that smelled of soap and then the other. She took out a piece of chicken for herself and offered him another which he took smilingly from her.

  "There's been no luck getting in?" he asked.

  "None." Sarah Jane answered despondently.

  "Don't know why you won't let me break in." Obinna griped.

  She slapped him on the hand in reprimand. "What if it sets off some alarm or there's some...something that's there that it releases." Obinna was quietly thoughtful for a while as he slowly gnawed at his piece of chicken.

  "I wish I could say your experiences are making you paranoid." he conceded moodily.

  They both lapsed into silence as they polished off the pieces of chicken and drink that he had brought her. As they both cleaned up with the tissue napkins that he had brought, Obi began to talk.

  "I've been thinking of something but I thought I should clear it with you first?" At Sarah Jane's nod, he continued. "You know that briefcase we retrieve from Doctor Greene and his clan is still with us at the HQ."

  "It's evidence though. I thought of it but wasn't sure if it was something I could lay my hands on." she said.

  "Well the good doctor said that most of it was untested stuff and that he couldn't say for sure what they would do exactly. Perhaps there's something there that could help you." he concluded.

  Sarah Jane smiled. She always enjoyed a conversation with Obinna. He had a way of going round in circles before hitting the nail squarely on the head. Very squarely on the head.

  "How do you propose we lay our hands on it?" she asked.

  And Obi launched into his plans.

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