Ike sat back down.
“Chikwado had twins; two girls, identical.”
“Gabrielle and another. Two little girls exactly alike. Rosie took Gabrielle and the other…”
“Gabrielle has an identical twin.” Ike whispered.
“Did anyone else know this?”
“No.” Mrs Aku closed her eyes and shook her head. “Nobody knew there was a second baby except the Agus. And me. James was not there when the children were born, and the girl’s mother wanted to keep one of the children. Chikwado just wanted it to be over, and James was expecting only one child so Chikwado’s mother kept the second child. As far as I know she raised the child with the money she blackmailed out of James.”
Ike’s mind was spinning with the implication of what Mrs Aku just told him. “You knew Gabrielle had a twin and you said nothing when she was arrested on eyewitness testimony? You know there is somebody else out there who looks exactly like Gabrielle and you did nothing when you know the whole case is based on identifying her as the killed? Didn’t you feel any obligation to come forward and tell what you know?”
Mrs Aku avoided his gaze, saying nothing.
“No, of course, you didn’t. It was more important to keep the secret to yourself and watch her go away than tarnish the family name.”
“Detective, please! That’s preposterous. We are talking about my granddaughter here. Of course I would never have let her go to jail.” Mrs Aku finally spoke.
Ike could barely handle his anger. The thought of what Gabrielle had been through while her grandmother sat back on her laurels made him want to throttle the old woman.
“You were going to wait till she was convicted to come forward. You were going to wait it out, see if she gets out, so you won’t have to blow the whistle on yourself.”
“I was going to tell someone before that. I just wanted it to be someone I could trust with such a secret; someone that could protect my Gabrielle; someone like you. That was my sole purpose of coming to your apartment. I wanted to see for sure the only man that doubted the possibility of my girl being guilty.
Ike calmed down. “I understand.” He said quietly. “You must tell me everything you know of the Agu family. Where they lived, where they are from, and how the money was being forwarded to them.”
“The only survivor now might be Gabrielle’s twin, and I have no idea where she is.”
“What happened to Gabrielle’s birth mother and her grandmother?”
“The girl’s mother died around the time Rosie died. That’s all I know.” Mrs Aku wiped the sweat accumulating on her forehead.
“I assume you would be taking this information to the prosecutor?”
“Yes,” Ike said flatly.
“Remember to keep my involvement out of it, Detective.”
“We would see.”
“It is difficult to take a child away from its biological mother, Detective, but we did what we had to do at the time.”
“I see.” Ike stood up. “I must take my leave now, Mrs Aku.”
Ike could hardly conceal his elation as he ran down the stairs and stepped into the street to hail a passing cab.
Gabrielle had a twin. There was someone else who looked exactly like Gabrielle. This must be, had to be, the person who had murdered George Rosenfeld.
For the moment he was not concerned with how or why. The existence of a lookalike was all he needed. His immediate task was to get to Gabrielle and console her with his new discovery.
Ike drove straight to Gabrielle’s house and ran towards the door, nearly crashing into Nelo as the door sprang open.
“She’s in her room.” Nelo called out at him as he ran up the stairs leading to Gabrielle’s room.
He stopped short at her door to regain his breath, and then opened the door gently. She was sprawled out on the bed. She was an exhausted and vulnerable woman. Her cheek had deep hollows and her collarbones were too prominent. The lines of tension in her face had released, and she was sleeping deeply like a child. He wished he could make her feel even better.
He walked to the bed and watched her eyes flutter.
“Ike,” she said.
“Shh! Go back to sleep. You’re making up for a lot of lost time.”
“No, it’s fine. I’ve been waiting for you. How is Nana?”
“Your grandmother is fine, and she sure as hell had a lot to say. I think you should sleep.”
“Oh, I’m fine. Just lie with me.” Gabrielle said and pulled him close.
He lay down facing her. “Everything would be fine, Gabby.”
“Please kiss me.”
“Okay,” he replied shockingly, reached forward and kissed her. He had never seen her so vulnerable. She parted her lips and moved slightly closer to him.
“Better?” he whispered.
“A little. Not enough.”
“You want more?” he asked hoarsely.
“Much more,” she murmured and he kissed her again.
His mouth was soft but firm and he drew her in slowly with his arms so that their body pressed against each other. It had been so long since a man had kissed her with passion that she thought she’d thought she would forget how to react, but that was not the case.
All her senses reawakened and responded with a rush to meet his desire. Her lips opened fully under the pressure of his, she felt his tongue and caressed it with hers. When he made a sound deep in his throat, tightening the pressure of his arms, she found herself moaning softly in return.
Ike was big, both taller and heavier than her husband. He pulled her more closely against him and she put her arms around his neck, but slowly her hands moved up to the back of his head. Short strands clung to her finger as she buried them wholly, reciprocating his embrace so wonderfully that he finally groaned in frustration and lifted her to her knees.
Gabrielle gasped as he broke the kiss and pressed his face into the hollow at the base of her throat. His skin was hot, his mouth wet from her kisses, and Gabrielle arched her neck to give him greater access as his lips travelled down the collar of her sleeveless top. He had one large hand against her back at the base of her spine to hold her to him. With the other, he fumbled with the buttons of her blouse, never taking his mouth from her skin. Gabrielle shrugged and let the blouse fall, staring at him as he finally raised he head to admire her bare skin.
His lashes lifted and met her gaze. His expression was needy, almost drugged, and she knew just how much he felt. When he moved to kiss her again, she opened her mouth expectantly and wrapped her arms around his back.
This time, he did not hesitate, he knew she wanted him as much as he wanted her, and he acted accordingly. His mouth moved from her lips to her cheek and down to the curve of her shoulder as she lay back in his arms. She moaned as he trailed his lips to the hollow between her breasts and gasped as he covered her swollen nipple with his mouth, biting gently.
He pulled her towards him again, lifting her up to brush his lips over her breast. Gabrielle closed her eyes and held his head against her. His mouth was everywhere. So hungry to feel his skin on hers, she pulled off his shirt and ran her hands up the smooth skin of his back.
He released her long enough to pull of his vest. As he moved forward to embrace her again, Gabrielle looked at the strong line of his throat, the dense black chest hair, the muscles of his arms, the flat ribbed abdomen. The man was gorgeous and decent, and on fire with desire for her.
She lay back on the bed and reached up to touch his hair. His head turned to kiss her palm. Her throat closed with passion and she flung her legs around his hips. She leaned into the cradle of his hips and felt him, hard, ready, against his trousers. She unbuckled his belt and unzipped his trouser down, sending his trousers down to his knees. His cock was massive and her mouth watered with desire.
She wanted to feel him inside her. Her mouth. Her vagina. Everywhere. He never stopped watching her with eyes drowned with passion. She pulled her skirt above her waist and pulled him in. He slid into her gently, moaning and groaning in pleasure. Gabrielle held his head close to the hollow of her neck.
She heard herself moan louder and dug her fingers into his curves of his back, pulling him deeper into her. His thrust gained momentum, serenading Gabrielle in ways she had never felt. His massiveness filled her up in ways that George had never.
Each thrust pulled her farther and farther away from her reality, and she let herself drown in the cradle of his thighs.
Orgasm was blissful.