19 Jul Love Explosion as Lucy Shocks Hunter in Port Harcourt
At Port Harcourt Hunter was tempted to head back to Editor Duke in Lagos to bounce his ideas off him, not to mention have a decent night’s sleep, but he wasn’t quite ready to leave Port Harcourt yet. His intuition told him there was still something that could be learned here.
He obeyed his instinct and headed for his apartment at the Quest House. Although the security situation had eased in certain parts of Port Harcourt, the building was heavily guarded with security officers and cameras located at every conceivable angle. After speaking with Oil Executive, Nassau, he liked the idea of being protected by the best security money could buy. His story, if he followed it all the way through, was likely to lead him directly between some powerful government officials and some angry militants, both of whom were willing to destroy anyone who stood in their way. He didn’t want to make himself vulnerable to either side.
He was only three blocks from Quest House when he looked into his rearview mirror and saw a car following him. It was unusually close. The tinted windows combined with the evening darkness made it impossible for Hunter to identify anyone sitting inside. Traffic was light, so there was no casual reason for the following car to be practically attached to his bumper. Anyone who saw them drive by would have thought Hunter’s taxi was towing the pursuing vehicle.
Hunter considered telling his driver to steer off onto a side street in an effort to end the chase, but he opted to race for the security gate of his apartment. He felt that if a confrontation was about to happen, it would be beneficial to have some armed guards nearby to back him up, so he told the bulky driver to leave everything to him.
The car continued its close pursuit as Hunter’s cab pulled into the long driveway that led to the Quest House gate. It stayed close to his bumper as Hunter reached his gate.
“Good evening, Mr Hunter,” the guard said. “I haven’t seen you in quite a while.”
“Good evening, sir,” Hunter answered. “Unfortunately, you might not be too happy to see me tonight.”
“Is there something wrong?”
He pointed back. “It looks like that car has been tailing us for a while now,” Hunter said. “I don’t know who’s inside it or what they want.”
Hunter quickly paid the driver, who was visibly shaking as he screeched away in his car down the dusty road… When Hunter turned, he saw the guard had drawn his gun and turned it toward the mysterious car. “Go inside, sir,” he urged. “I’ll handle this.”
Hunter walked a few feet inside the compound and turned to watch the scene. He saw the guard position himself in front of the car.
“Turn off the ignition,” the guard ordered. “Step out of the car and put your hands up where I can see them!”
Hunter watched as the car door opened and a person stepped out. He saw the person’s face and instantly ran out, astonished.
“Hello, John,” she called.
The guard looked back at Hunter. “I take it that you know this woman, sir.”
Hunter ran back to the guard. “Yes, I do” He turned to Lucy. “Why didn’t you let me know it was you back there?”
“I didn’t expect you to have some big guy in a uniform pull a gun on me!” Lucy said.
Hunter laughed and patted the guard on the shoulder. “She’s with me.”
( ( ( ( (
“So, what brings you to Port Harcourt?”
Lucy lounged back on Hunter’s sofa and smiled. “I was hoping you would buy me dinner at least before you started the inquisition.”
Hunter rolled his eyes and laughed. “How ungentlemanly of me,” he said. “Is Chinese food acceptable?”
“Sounds good,” Lucy said.
Hunter called a restaurant in the neighbourhood and placed a delivery order. He was told it would arrive in approximately half-an-hour.
“It’s been an interesting day,” Hunter told Lucy. “I’ve travelled a great distance and covered a considerable amount of ground, but I still don’t feel as if I’ve gotten anywhere.”
Lucy laughed. “I know how you feel,” she said. “I’ve had plenty of days like that lately.”
“Then if you don’t mind,” Hunter said, “I’d like to take a nice hot shower before the food arrives.”
Lucy ran her hand through her silky hair. “Would you like some company?” she asked with a sexy lilt to her voice.
Hunter smirked. “Normally, I would.”
( ( ( ( (
“Are you sure you’ve had enough?” Hunter asked as they polished off the last bite of Chinese food. “I can order more if you’d like.”
Lucy held up her hand. “No, thank you,” she said. “I probably ate more than I should have. It was delicious, the best meal I’ve had in the last few weeks.”
“Good,” Hunter said. “Now perhaps you are ready to tell me what you are doing in Port Harcourt.”
Lucy nodded. “I suppose I do owe you an explanation of sorts,” she said. “You need to hear me out, though. I don’t want you jumping to any conclusions until you get the whole story.”
Hunter was suddenly more intrigued than he had expected to be.
“I have been working in conjunction with the militants and I had to keep away,” she said.
Hunter felt his jaw drop, but he tried to keep his reaction from becoming any more dramatic. “There’s a really good explanation for this, right?”
“Are you ready to hear it?”
“Yes, I am.”
Lucy drew in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “First off, it’s not as ominous as it sounds. I am not involved in the planning or implementation of armed attacks on oil platforms, business offices, or people.”
Hunter pushed his empty plate aside and leaned back in his chair. “Well, that’s great to hear,” he said. “So, let me hear the rest of it. What exactly do you do for the militants?”
Lucy looked Hunter directly in the eye. “The violence needs to stop, John,” she said.
“I wholeheartedly agree.”
“The oil industry is on the take, and the militants have a right to be angry,” she said.
“If it were just a battle between those entities, I’d stay completely out of it. But it isn’t. Innocent people are getting caught in the crossfire.”
Hunter nodded again. “I am well-aware of this,” he said. “I don’t understand how your working with the militants stops it.”
“All sides want to see their adversaries vanquished. The government thinks if it offers to negotiate with the DNDR, they will be giving in to terrorists and inviting violent outbursts from any faction that has a grievance. The DNDR thinks if it negotiates with the government, it will somehow be selling out its values and principles.”
Hunter sat on the sofa next to her. “So, what exactly do you do in DNDR?” he said.
“Many innocent people have been taken hostage during the DNDR attacks,” she said. “DNDR has an arrangement to ensure these people are not harmed while they are in captivity. Many of them are foreign workers. Some do not even speak English and cannot communicate their needs. We make sure they are fed properly, that they are held in safe shelters, and that they have access to medical care if they need it.”
“That sounds very altruistic,” Hunter said.
“Yes, but we need to work with the DNDR to be effective,” she said. “We cannot violate their trust.”
“If you do, you’re likely to become a hostage yourself,” Hunter pointed out.
Lucy nodded. “Exactly,” she said. “DNDR does more than work with hostages, though. It also works with the people of the Niger Delta.”
“Do you provide humanitarian services to them as well?”
“Yes, but we also provide them with information.” Lucy leaned forward, her face flashing a serious expression. “Most of these people do not have access to news via media such as newspapers, television, or the Internet. They know that their situation is bad, but they don’t see themselves as part of a larger picture. Many think things are just bad all over. They believe it doesn’t matter where you go because everything is the same. They have no comprehension of how completely marginalized they are.”
“So, you tell them?” Hunter said.
“We show them!” Lucy exclaimed. “Information is power, John. It’s easy for the government to keep the residents from recognising their own plight by controlling and manipulating all the information they receive. Once they know the truth, they can stand up for themselves. They can represent themselves in negotiations with all business contracts to ensure that they are not exploited or left out of the decision-making process.”
Hunter reached over and placed his hand on her shoulder. “That’s a wonderful long-term goal, Lucy,” he said, “but I don’t think it will resolve the current conflict.”
“It probably won’t,” she said, “but even so, the educational process needs to start as soon as possible so the people will be properly informed in the future. We can’t wait on this, John. There is valuable oil beneath the Niger Delta. This conflict could end tomorrow, but when you are living on top of a gold mine, you can be sure there will be more conflicts.”
Hunter had to admit that he was impressed with Lucy’s forward thinking, but he was so enveloped in the current situation that he could not see beyond it.
Lucy dropped her face into her hands. Hunter couldn’t tell whether she was crying or not. They sat quietly for a moment. Hunter gently massaged her shoulder until she leaned back into his arm.
“You still haven’t told me what you’re doing in Port Harcourt,” he said. “And how did you locate me?”
Lucy finally raised her head and looked Hunter in the eyes. “I wanted to see you.”
Hunter brushed a few loose strands of hair off her forehead. “Why?” he asked.
“I wanted to be sure you were safe,” she said. “I know you’ve been travelling behind militant lines. The men speak of you often.”
“What exactly do they say?”
Lucy’s lips curled up into a soft smile. “They all speak very well of you,” she said.
Hunter laughed. “Well, that’s good to know.”
Lucy laughed as well, but then her tone turned serious. “You are taking way too many risks, John,” she said.
“Says almost everyone I’ve spoken to who has come in contact with you,” she said. “They believe you have honest motives, and they admire your courage, but they also believe that you are pushing your luck. You can only cheat death so many times.”
Hunter appreciated Lucy’s concern, but he couldn’t help but smile at her motherly tone. “Are you saying you don’t trust my judgment?” he asked.
Lucy swatted him hard in the arm. “This is not a game, John!” she said. “Think about it. Heavily armed anti-government militants are saying you take too many risks. If that doesn’t say that you’re putting yourself in grave danger, I don’t know what does!”
Hunter felt touched. Lucy was genuinely worried for his well-being, and it was cruel of him to dismiss her fears, especially when she was acutely aware of the circumstances under which he was working.
“It’s all right, Lucy,” he said. “This is my job. I know the risks, and I take them very seriously. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have had the guard at the gate house pull his gun on you tonight.”
Lucy suddenly let out a loud laugh. “You win,” she said.
Hunter leaned over and gently kissed her lips. Her body melted into the sofa cushions.
“I don’t want to lose touch with you, John,” she said. “You stood up for me when no one else believed my story about the Senator. The Niger Delta is such a mess right now. It’s difficult to stay close to friends and family. In a split second, they could be gone forever. I want to cherish every person close to me for every moment we have.”
Hunter’s hand slid down her shoulder and brushed across her breast. She slid away from him for a moment and flashed a poignant smile. A playful look appeared in her eyes as she slowly unbuttoned her blouse. She then reached back and unclipped her bra, allowing her voluptuous breasts to spill out into her open shirt.
A beaming grin took over Hunter’s face. Lucy was beautiful, and particularly good in bed. Their meeting in Lagos had been short but blissful.
“Do you remember the day that I brought your food to your tent at the camp?” she asked.
Hunter laughed. “I was sure it was you,” he said, “but you wouldn’t talk to me. I was afraid you had been taken hostage or violated in some way.”
“I was there working with DNDR,” she said. “I was told you were there, and I wanted to see you, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to let you know exactly what I was doing there. I didn’t want you to think I was involved in the bombings. I ran inside the tent as quickly as possible so I could see you and then I ran out. I’m sorry we didn’t speak.”
“It’s just as well,” Hunter said as he carefully reached inside of her open blouse. “Talking could have gotten both of us in big trouble.”
He leaned over and kissed her lips. She fell into his body and he wrapped his arms around her back.
“I wasn’t able to sleep after I saw you that day,” she said. “I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I just wanted to grab you by the arm and run out of there as fast as I could.”
She buried her face in his neck and then continued kissing him until she ran her mouth all the way up the side of his face. He rolled over and she continued to kiss him until the momentum of their bodies threw them off the sofa and onto the living room floor. Her fingernails scratched through his shirt and clawed into his back. He suddenly jumped to his feet and dashed off into the bedroom.
Lucy lay on the floor silently, beads of sweat dripping down her brow, her well-endowed chest heaving. Her emotions quickly overcame her, and she started to cry at the thought that Hunter would taunt her so and then leaves her alone, lying on the floor.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
She opened her eyes to see him standing over her, wearing a mischievous grin and unwrapping a condom. She got up to her knees, grabbed his belt, and pulled him down on top of her.
( ( ( ( (
Lucy slept soundly with her head resting upon Hunter’s chest. They lay on the living room floor, covered with sweat. Their clothes had been recklessly tossed aside, and they were now strewn about as if someone’s laundry had been stolen by a strong wind. Hunter drew in some deep breaths as he stared up at the ceiling. Lucy’s body finally shifted, and she opened her eyes.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Is it morning already?” she said, still sounding a little groggy.
“Yes, following a very long night.”
“It didn’t feel long enough to me.”
He ran his hand through her hair. “I hope you realise I sacrificed my journalist’s ethics by sleeping with you,” he said. “This was not very professional.”
“You sure seemed like a professional to me,” she said with a grin.
He laughed and kissed the top of her head.
“You’re not the only one who supposedly crossed the line,” she said. “The authorities at DNDR cannot find out that I became intimate with someone they perceive to be a stakeholder.”
“Your secret is safe with me,” Hunter told her.
“It better be,” she said as she rolled over and sat up on her elbows. “In fact, I can’t even let anyone know I was speaking with you.”
“For what it’s worth,” Hunter said, “we didn’t say much.”
Lucy playfully swatted him. “I’m serious, John,” she said. “DNDR wouldn’t want me to be with you, but there are some individuals who would actually appreciate it. They want to learn as much about you as possible. They want to be sure about what you are going to do with the information you have been collecting. I don’t want them to know we’ve been together or they will come after me in search of information.”
Hunter reached up and massaged her shoulder. “I guess you’ll have to go back to your university and hide out for a while.”
She shook her head. “I wish I could,” she said, “but the universities are still shut.”
“Why? Have there been threats?”
“No, the lecturers have gone on strike.” She let out a long, tired sign. “Until classes resume, I need to be at the camp.”
Hunter pulled her down to him and kissed her lips. “It’s okay.”
“Finally,” Lucy whispered into Hunter’s ear and paused.
Hunter waited anxiously for the rest, his eyes wide open.
“Finally, a group of technocrats in the region are working on a strategy document to be presented to some people in government.”
“What could that be about?”
“They believe that an amnesty for the militants is the only possibility to break the circle of violence.”
“Exactly what I have concluded,” Hunter said happily. “I need to talk to some of the people involved, don’t you think so?”
“An amnesty will save you from all those dangerous movements and my heart will rest.”
Touched, Hunter pulled her closer and kissed her lips so passionately Lucy trembled with ecstasy. Hunter responded as the electrical charge ran through him again.