It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #5

Read episodes 1-4 of It’s Another Novocaine Saturday

For those who asked for a bonus… 



Jide says he has a gift for me. He has just passed me this black box that has the brand name ‘Self Pleasures’ written on it.

“Open it,” he says, hiding a smile.

I take the lid off the box and pull out a string of heavy Ben Wa balls.

“Really?” I look at him. He winks.

“Recommended for pelvic exercises,” he explains, adjusting Jiney’s cap that has shifted off her forehead.

“So I’m supposed to shove this in where?”

He points at my crotch. “You were complaining of feeling loose…”

“Jideofor, my normal pelvic exercises and the hot water Nne has been making me sit in are working, thank you. I don’t need these funny looking things to tighten my walls which by the way, are still tight.”

“Stop. You’re turning me on.”

I smack him.

“I’ll teach you how to use them,” he offers.

“I know how to, thank you.”

“Baddest babe!”

I put the Ben Wa balls away. I don’t tell him that I have used all sorts of them in the past, from the ones without strings to the vibrating ones. It’s good to maintain the mystery. Genesis has taught me to hide certain aspects of my femininity from him.

“Men like to be oblivious, so keep him wondering.”

For me, I’m all too happy that I’ve married a bad boy and he’s beginning to show me his naughty side…and I like it. He is doing this countdown to the day we have sex. He wakes up every morning and goes, ‘Day so and so.’ But this doesn’t stop him from being naughty. There’s a lot of kissing and petting. I never knew one could feel pleasure on certain odd places in the body. Jide showed me all my erogenous zones. Now I am left with the challenge of finding his. I plan to ask Genesis for pointers.

Speaking of which, I have to pay her a visit this morning, on my way to pick a few things from the mall. Nne is not going to be happy about me leaving the house. Jide is cool with it. He even thinks I need a bit of the outside air.

“Don’t just starve my daughter.”

He is particular about Jiney being exclusively breastfed until she is six months. I don’t even have a say in the matter. It’s his baby and his breasts.

I rise up from bed and go for a shower. A short while later I’m out. Jide and Jiney are not in the room. I can hear his voice coming from the kitchen. He is with Nne. I take my time, dressing into a pair of jeans and a tee. When I step out, Nne straightaway asks me where I’m headed.

“She’s going out,” my husband answers. Nne is about to say something but he stops her. I smile at both of them and walk to the room where Ndidi is lodged.

I knock. She opens the door. A bright smile hits her face and she hugs me.

“Aunty Honey!”

“Hi Didi. How are you?”

“I’m good.”

She lets go. “Wow! You don’t look like you just had a baby.”

“Thank you.”

“How did you lose all the fat?”

“I didn’t have much of it, to begin with.”

She pouts cutely. “I wish I was like you. I’m here struggling with my weight. I’m so fat.”

“No, you’re not. You’re chubby.”

She shrugs. She doesn’t believe me.

“So, I want to hit the town for a little shopping. Care to join me?”

She throws her fists up into the air.

“You may want to change into something decent, though.”

“Sure.”

She runs back in and the door bangs in my face. I turn. I’m not sure I can handle her energy. I wait for her in the living room while trying to keep up with the latest events online. Actually, I’m more interested in what’s happening on Jide’s instagram. A photo of me breastfeeding Jiney, which he shared, attracted some trolls who felt they had a say over my body. Some blog even took the photo and did a piece about mothers sharing their breastfeeding pictures online. It was a terrible article aimed at body-shaming mothers. But neither Jide nor I bother about these things. We just live our lives.

“I’m ready.” Didi steps out in a short dress and pair of flats. She looks charming. She has no idea she is about to meet Genesis. I can’t wait to see how she will freak out.

Minutes later, we’re on the road. I quickly take control of the conversation. Didi is talkative. I learned about this the hard way over the course of last week when she and I literally spoke every day on the phone, she doing most of the calling.

“So, Didi, are you ready for the Lagos life?”

“Yep.”

“You’re sure? It can be quite draining.”

“I am ready. I’m sooo excited.”

“Okay. Wish you the best with your hustle. So, I’ve been meaning to ask you. Do you have a boyfriend?”

“Nope.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. I don’t have time for boys.”

“That’s new.”

“I had a boyfriend before coming here. I broke things off with him because I can’t do the long distance relationship thing.”

“Why?”

“I don’t trust him. He’s so particular about sex and I’m very sure he was cheating on me while we were dating.”

“You never caught him?”

“No. I didn’t bother, really. We weren’t having sex so I expected him to cheat.”

“Oh, okay.”

She is silent for a few seconds and even I have run out of what to ask her but she comes back on again.

“You didn’t ask me why we were not having sex.”

“No, I didn’t. Why?”

“I’m a virgin.”

Okay, I didn’t need to know that but seriously? I look at her. Outwardly, she’s wild, but I’ve come to know that appearances can be deceiving and that also, some virgins have this manner of overdoing things.

“So what type of virgin are you?”

“I don’t understand.”

“There are virgins who have never done anything sexual before. They are called pure virgins. And then there are those that virginity for them is just about the hymen. So they would do every other things except penetrative sex. So which are you?”

She laughs. “I’m In-between.”

“Well, whichever it is, I’m proud of you that you kept it this long. Are you going to keep it until you get married?”

“No. I’m just looking for the right guy. I’m so scared to give it to an asshole.”

“Then you better be wary of the boys in this town. I must warn. Your average Onitsha guy has his life planned. It’s basically make money, find wife and get married. But here, it’s different. It’s more like make money, find girls to spend it on, sleep with them, break their hearts and repeat the vicious cycle again.”

“That’s cold.”

“And don’t be carried away by the one who tells you he is willing to wait until marriage either. He may just be one of those ones who wants a good girl whose cherry he can pop so that he can control her while he sleeps around outside. Choose your men wisely. Your friends as well. Don’t party or club every weekend. Make yourself scarce. Avoid alcohol and drugs at all cost. Stay away from boys’ houses as much as you can. Focus on your career. Work hard. Make daddy and your late mother proud.”

“Thank you, Aunty Honey.”

“Just call me Honey.”

“Okay.”

I realize she is subdued by the counsel I have just given her. I hope I haven’t scared her.

“Can I buy coconut chips, please?”

We’re in traffic and hawkers are busy with their wares, running in-between cars and flashing them at windows.

I let Didi’s window down. She calls some guy selling coconut chips and picks two. “You want?” she asks me.

“No, thank you.”

“It’s sweet o.”

I know it’s sweet. In fact, I used to like it but I’m not feeling it right now. Didi pays for the chips and begins to munch on them. She talks as she eats, telling me about Onitsha and her second cousins whom she is not friendly with. She talks all the way to the Ditorusin home, finishing the entire two packs of coconut chips. Now she’s complaining about not having bought water.

“You’ll drink some when we get in,” I say to her as we wait for security at the gate to confirm our access in.

“Whose house is this?”

“A friend’s.”

“They seem rich.”

“But you haven’t seen the house yet.”

“From the outside I can tell.”

I hear a beep and the gate slides open.

“Wooooow!” Didi exclaims, eyes popping out. I smile as I drive in. “Is this house for real?”

I laugh. I totally feel her. The house is grand and sturdy with architecture that is different from most. But it is not the structure that arrests attention. It’s the greenery. It takes you from modern day Lagos to a dream of colorful flowers, hanging bougainvillea, awning Jacaranda trees with purple leaves and a stone path that leads to the front door.

We are standing at the door now, waiting to be invited in.

“This house is really fine,” Didi says for the third time since we drove in.

The door opens and we’re blessed with Genesis’ smiling face.

“Hi Honey.”

“Morning, Gen.”

We hug and when we break apart, she gazes at Didi.

“Hello.”

Didi is struck. She can’t move. Her eyes are fixed on Genesis in utter disbelief. I laugh.

“She’s a fan.”

“Oh.”

“And she’s the one I told you about.”

“Oh. Your sister-in-law, Ndidiamaka, right?”

“Yeah. Didi, stop staring and say hi.”

Didi tries to speak but a stammer comes out. Genesis and I laugh.

“Come in, ladies.”

She invites us in, leading us to the main living room. By the time we make ourselves comfortable, Didi has returned to her old self. She now falls into this long speech about how she is so crazy about Genesis and how she follows her online like fly to shit.

Yes, she actually uses those exact words.

She is excited to meet her and can’t wait to start working for her.

“Great then.” Genesis chuckles. “We’ll have fun. But hope you aren’t lazy?”

“No.”

“Good. Work begins on Monday.”

Did claps her hands silently.

“So what can I get for you guys?”

“Nothing. We’ve had breakfast.”

I see a protest in Didi’s eyes. I’m beginning to think she likes food too much.

“I’d like some water, please,” she requests.

“Follow me, then. If you’re going to be working for Novo Knights, you must know your way around this house.”

Didi excitedly hops on her feet and tails Genesis. I take out my phone and go back online. I am in the middle of reading about a holiday bonanza Qatar Airways is offering when someone walks into the room. I look up and see that it is DJ Kasbi. He and I met only once, a couple of days before my wedding. It was a brief meeting in which Mary and I told him the type of songs we would love him to play at our reception.

I look at him now. I don’t think he remembers me.

“Mrs. Onuora?” he calls, unsure.

“Yeah. You remember.”

“I can never forget.”

His words are with meaning. I can pick out the discreet way in which his eyes take in my features.

“How are you?” I ask.

“I’m good.”

I notice that he is taller than I remember. He seems quiet too. His sense of style fits his age. Hanging on his neck is a pair of headphones. I have a feeling it’s his signature look.

He doesn’t sit, he moseys around a little. I suspect he is familiar with the house, maybe even more than I am.

Genesis walks in and coming right behind her is Didi.

“Kasiobi, you’re here,” Genesis utters.

“Morning, ma,” he greets. Didi looks at him, he looks at her, and their eyes lock for some seconds.

“Hi,” he says to her.

“Hi,” she responds and walks over to where she was seated before. DJ Kasbi throws a quick glance at her backside.

“Boss Lady,” he calls Genesis, “I’ll be waiting in the other parlor.”

“Sure.”

Didi’s eyes follow him as he leaves.

“You know DJ Kasbi?” Genesis asks. Didi shakes her head. “He’s a celeb in Lagos alone, I guess.”

“So, Gen…” I face her. “About the souvenirs…”

“Yes. They are ready. Unfortunately, I don’t have them here. They’re all in the gift shop. Do you want them delivered as we planned or you want to pick them yourself?”

“Please, let them be delivered. I want to go to the mall to buy some things.”

“Fine. I’ll call them and tell them to take it to yours immediately. So, is there any other thing I can do for you today?”

“No,” I reply, getting up. “Just show up with your beautiful self and your equally beautiful family tomorrow.”

“Okay, darling.”

She puts her arm around my waist as we leave. DJ Kasbi is standing outside the door to a smaller sitting room. He nods a farewell in our direction. Didi pretends not to see him.

We step outside.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

It has begun to drizzle a little. There are no dark clouds to show that the weather will get worse. But one can’t predict the elements these days. They seem to have a mind of their own.

Genesis hurries into her house, away from the drizzle, and shuts the front door. Kasiobi is still waiting outside the sitting room. She ushers him in and closes the door.

“I know I’m in trouble, Ms. Genesis,” he states as he takes a seat.

“Oh, you so are.”

She sits beside him and places her elbow on the back rest as she faces him fully.

“Start talking, young man.”

Kasiobi gives a quiet chuckle.

“Is it a laughing matter?”

“Chill nau.”

“Kasi, Chichi being in your house is a bad idea. You know that, don’t you?”

“She has changed, ma. She really has.”

“Don’t be so naïve, Kasi. She is digging her fangs deep into you and by the time you realize it, it may be too late.”

Kasiobi scratches his head. “There’s nothing I can do about it. If I ask her to leave, I’ll have to rent a house for her and start paying child support. But this present arrangement is cheaper for me.”

“Cheaper but not better. Chichi will enjoy milking you dry. And let’s not forget that you’re going to be constantly seeing her – all of her – and you’ll fall into old habits again. Are you sure it’s what you want for yourself?”

“I won’t sleep with her, if that’s what you mean. I’m still seeing Shakira.”

Genesis sighs. “Even worse. But what did she say about the whole Chichi thing?”

“She doesn’t know. She’s out of town, presently.”

“Well, good luck with your impending drama. You caused it for yourself.”

Kasiobi smiles. “You’re really mad at me.”

“I am, Kas. You have Lexus who will do anything for you and you go and choose two useless girls who are only after their own selfish gains.”

“Lexus dumped me.”

“She had her reasons, Kasiobi.”

“She always has reasons to be selfish. Always.” His voice comes with a rough tone. “We were doing well as a couple and then from nowhere, she leaves. Then she comes back a year later, after I have moved on, to say she wants me back? No, I’m not playing such silly games with her. I’m too old for that.”

“Kasi, calm down. Please, listen to me. Do me a favor and talk to Tonbra. Ask her why she really left you.”

“She already told me.”

“Not everything. Ask her to be honest with you. Talk to her. And please, just please, give her another chance.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t. And with all due respect, Ms. Genesis, you’re coddling her and it’s bad. Lexus needs to hear the truth from you that she’s full of shit. She needs to get up and become something for herself. I think when she works hard at something for a while, she will understand and appreciate human relationships. For now, she’s just a fourteen-year-old trapped in a woman’s body. She needs to grow up.”

He is angry. Genesis understands. Lexus is quite the expert at pushing people to the wall. But Genesis also recognizes that Kasiobi’s anger is from a place of passion. His feelings for Lexus are so strong that he is mad at himself that she has that much power over him.

“Just try, you hear? Try and talk to her.”

“I will.”

“Thank you.”

“Can I see the twins?”

“Sure. They’re upstairs. How is fatherhood coming on?”

Kasiobi grins. Light brightens his eyes. “The best thing ever.”

“I know.”

He continues to smile. “When Chichi came with her to the house today and I went towards her, she smiled at me. It was classic. Chichi says she hardly smiles, but she smiled at me today. I think it’s a good sign.”

Genesis shakes her head with a laugh, telling him he would soon learn that babies are not always so adorable.

“But you understand that I’m doing this strictly for Trinity, right? Not for Chichi. Not even for my mom.”

Genesis nods.

“I’m sorry you’re disappointed.”

“I’ll get over it. All I want is for you to do what’s right.”

“I will,” he promises as they both head out. “Erm…about that girl that left here just now…”

Genesis frowns at him. “You don’t have enough woman trouble already?”

Kasiobi pushes his hands into his pocket and forces away laughter.

“Behave yourself, boy. You have three girls on your case already.”

“I didn’t say anything nau, Boss Lady. I just dey ask ni. Babe is cute. Chubby cute. I haven’t seen her type in a while, that’s why I asked. And the nose ring…”

“You and girls with piercings and tattoos.”

“They are freaks. I love freaks.”

“Then go back to the number one freak in your life.”

Kasiobi’s hearty expression vanishes. Genesis withdraws from the topic entirely. She walks him to the door and bids him a lovely day.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞


Tomorrow is Jiney’s christening and baptism. My baby will be two weeks old but I feel I have known her my whole life. I can’t count how many times I stare fixedly at her in the course of a day, even though she doesn’t notice. All she does is sleep. And then she feeds. A lot. Everyone marvels at how much she can take in during a feeding session. She’s so chubby and so big that people say she looks two months old. I’m at the stage where my nipples hurt like hell. Nne has this ointment she gave me to rub on them to ease the soreness but it still doesn’t help. No one warned me of this part, of the pain that comes with it. Or of my feet getting bigger and my tummy looking like a tired old lady, or of leaking breasts and skin discolorations.

But it is not all complaints. The pains can’t dumb away the joy. I live for little, simple moments as these, when I can be alone with my baby even when I’m surrounded by a crowd. It’s priceless.

Right now I am with my friends who have come to help with the catering aspect of Jiney’s christening party. As always, we are discussing a myriad of things, but I particularly notice that Celia is quiet. She seems worn out as well, like she hasn’t slept well in a while. And the brown top she’s wearing over black jeans does not flatter her one bit. Neither does her frazzled hair.

“Cee?” I call. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

She replies that she is, and the reply itself is an indication that all is not well. The normal Celia would have given a sarcastic answer to my question.

“No, you’re not alright, Cee,” Mary comments.

I’m glad someone else notices.

“I’m fine.”

“I’m fine,” Mary mimics. “That’s not how you talk. Something is wrong with you. Oya, start telling.”

“I said I’m fine nau. Please, leave me.”

“No, I’m not leaving you. Talk.”

“I don’t want to talk!” she snaps. “Leave me alone!”

She throws back the plastic chair she’s sitting on as she makes for the door. Mary goes after her and stops her. She spins her around to face us. We see that she is crying.

“This is the person that is saying she’s fine. Abeg, Kate, bring that chair.”

Quiet Kate, madam of Bobby’s life (as he calls her), mother of his son, drags Celia’s chair to her and Mary pushes her into it.

“Oya, aunty, talk.”

“Please, get me my bag.”

Noka passes over Celia’s handbag to me and I fling it towards Mary. She catches it. Celia drops the bag on her laps and pulls out a white envelope from it.

“What I’m about to tell you girls must not leave this kitchen. Please don’t tell your husbands because I don’t want Shady to hear about it.”

We all promise her that we’ll keep her secret.

“What would you do if you’re dead broke – dead, dead broke – that you don’t even have money for your next salon appointment, and then someone comes into your life and offers you three thousand dollars just like that?”

All of us are silent. We don’t know what she means. And so, she starts to speak, taking us smack into the middle of this distressing tale of financial crisis, a marriage facing hard times and a temptation too sweet to turn away from.

She has just laid bare the envelope in her hands and we see three thousand dollars of crisp notes. The sight makes Noka’s greedy eyes bulge out.

“Wonders shall never end!” Peace exclaims.

“I don’t get it,” Mary says, abandoning the carrots she is grating. “You mean a fellow woman gave this to you? To sleep with her?”

“Yes,” Celia answers.

“Na wa o! This world is going to burn for all its evil.”

“Oh, please,” Noka murmurs.

“Let me understand this well. She promised to give you more money just so that you and her can be sleeping with each other?”

“Why are you making her repeat herself?” I step in. “Can’t you see how uncomfortable she is? Do you know what it took for her to let this out?”

“I can’t do it.” A rush of tears fills Celia’s eyes. “I can’t but I desperately need this money.”

“Well, me I see no big deal in it,” Noka states. We all fix our eyes on her. “They’re both women…”

“So it makes it alright?” I ask. Noka shrugs. “It’s called cheating, Noka.”

“And lesbianism,” Peace adds. I look at Noka who is ready to fire back. I predict a spicy argument coming on.

“And being a lesbian is so wrong?”

“It’s a sin. A very disgusting one. How can you put your mouth on another woman’s whatever?”

“And putting it on a dick is less disgusting?”

“It is the way God wants us to do it.”

Noka laughs. “Please what chapter and verse?”

“Don’t misquote me.”

“I’m not misquoting you. You said putting your mouth on a dick is the way God wants us to do it. That means, according to you, God encourages oral sex. So, madam, book, chapter and verse.”

I raise my hand. “Let’s not get distracted, please. Celia needs our help. What do you advise?”

“Abeg, give her back her money,” Peace answers.

“Sharply,” Mary adds.

“Keep the money, Cee,” Noka advises as we expect she would. “She has already told you that it is for your family, so go ahead and use it jare. The fact that you kept it with you for almost two weeks shows that you don’t have any plans to return it.”

“Yes, I just told you I’m tempted, Noks,” Celia replies. “I desperately need it.”

“The person that is pissing me off here is Shady,” I say, “let me just be honest. You don’t have to be in this position, Cee. Shady is doing this to you.”

The other ladies concur with nods.

“I still feel sad that you allowed him convince you to hide what is going on from us. Where did you think it was going to end?”

Celia rubs her eyes.

“Now look at the predicament you’re in.”

Celia begins to sob. Peace deserts her bowl of green beans and walks to her to put her arms around her. I watch in sadness. Celia has lost a lot of weight and her skin holds signs of stress. How were we so consumed with ourselves that we missed the part where our friend needed us?

I pass Jiney to Kate and hold Celia as well. With soothing words, Peace and I both placate her until she stops crying.

“Everything will be fine, Cee,” I assure her. “And that’s because we’re going to help. This money has to be returned.”

Celia nods, dabbing her eyes with her apron.

“Ladies, I suggest that we all contribute to have Celia’s rent covered and also put some extra money in her pocket.”

“And this one just goes like that?” Noka points at the dollars.

“Yes.”

“Ah! O ga oo!”

I ignore her. “Any objections?” I question. None of them oppose my proposal, except Noka, of course.

“First of all,” she chips in “donating to help her is not going to change the fact that her lazy husband is sitting about doing nothing.”

“Don’t call my husband lazy.”

“But he is lazy. His show was cancelled and he couldn’t get up and do something for himself? Even if it’s bricklayer job?”

Celia breaks down again.

“You see what your sharp mouth has caused?!” I yell at Noka. “What is wrong with you?!”

“Noka, take it easy nau,” Kate pleads.

“I’m sorry you’re hurting, Cee. Forgive my brutal honesty. But let me be even more honest here. I don’t have money to spare,” she discloses. The response she gets is four different types of nasty stares. “I am investing my monthly upkeep in something important that I can’t talk about. So, the best I’ll do is to speak to Ibro on your behalf, Cece, and he’ll give you guys a brand new car. This ultimately means I’ll be breaking my promise to you not to tell my husband. But in the end, it’s for your own good.”

I am pissed. I face her. “Noka, first of all, we know Ibro gives you nothing less than five hundred thousand monthly. Are you saying you can’t spare something out of it or even the whole thing for your friend?”

“I didn’t say that. I said my money is tied up somewhere.”

“Celia needs your help, Ojonoka.”

“I know and that is why I said I’ll speak to Ibro. Then they can sell their present car and get some cash from it. That is the most I can do, please.”

I’m about to give a biting response but Mary shakes her head to stop me.

“We’ll do without you, Noks,” she tells her.

I am so angry I want to ask Noka to leave my house. I don’t think I can stand her anymore. The chick is insufferable.

“Thank you.” Celia passes a grateful stare around that almost looks like a smile. I notice a worry line forming at the side of her nose. It drives me further into sadness. For a while none of us speaks. We are all occupied by our individual chores until evening comes. Celia, Noka and Kate leave, and it’s just Peace and Mary left. Both of them are sleeping over. We discuss on how much each person is to contribute to help Celia. Peace suggests that anyone can give any sum they wish to but it shouldn’t be less than a certain stipulated number.

“We just have to make sure it covers the rent and changes her wardrobe,” I emphasize. They agree with me. We are still in the middle of discussion when Ekene walks in from the backdoor. Just like Mary, he is no stranger to our home. He can come in and leave at any time, having developed this chummy relationship with Jide. It had taken quite some time for him to bond with the other guys, owing to his pride and reclusive nature but he eventually came to. Sometimes the bond he has with Jide worries me. Two men who have both had the privilege of knowing me intimately. It rings somehow. I now understand why keeping one’s body until marriage is not such a bad thing. Your ex and your husband might just become close friends. I know they don’t swap stories about me but sometimes I wonder if they do.

“Mama Jiney,” he greets. “And the only Peaceful Peace. How una dey?”

We respond to him. He turns to his wife. She smiles – in a shy kind of way like they are just meeting for the first time.

“I brought your overnight things. Mind escorting me to the car?”

I give them the eye. He is probably going to kiss her silly until she begs him to stop. That is Ekene’s life. He can kiss from sunup to sundown. But wetin concern me? Tomiwa is not complaining.

The backdoor bangs shut when they leave and Peace comes close.

“I think she’s pregnant.”

“She’s not. They’re waiting two whole years.”

“Two? What for?”

“Honeymoon sturvs,” I answer.

“Ekene is a strange Igbo man.”

“You can say that again.”

Sammy, Peace’s little boy appears at the door. He has just woken up from a long nap. He rubs his eyes, yawning at the same time.

The boy looks nothing like Peace. She says he takes after his father, a man who gives all of us reason to worry. He moved into town after his family relocated abroad. Just the other day, he asked to see Sammy but Peace turned down his request. Her refusal had nothing to do with him breaking the confidentiality agreement they signed but with the fact that she still has feelings for him. Because of this, she has started considering seeing Reno again. Reno, by the way, has cleaned up his act, even though he is yet to be welcomed back into the circle of friends.

“Oriaku!” Nne calls. That’s the name she has given me. It roughly means the one who eats her husband’s wealth. I like the name. But Jide prefers to call me Odoziaku which means the one who takes care of the wealth. I’m fine with both because I literally have the lock and key to Jide’s bank accounts.

“Oriaku o! Come and give my baby breast!”

Wtf! Didn’t that girl just suck? My nipples go sore at the thought and I consider begging Jide to let me start giving her formula.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞
Drained and upset at Noka, I arrive home at about a quarter past eight. Dara has had dinner and is already asleep. I slip on a diaper for her and place her in her bed. Noka’s behavior towards me has left me shaken and given me perspective on who is important in life. You think you know people until they betray you. I alone, alongside Bimpe, know Noka’s terrible secret. If Ibro ever finds out, she will be done for. But I have said nothing to no one. I have protected whom I thought was a friend and the reward I get is cold-heartedness.

As we say, God dey.

Tomorrow, first thing, I’ll call Naomi and ask her to send her driver over. When he comes, I’ll give the envelope to him and end my short chapter with her.

I hear a sound and I turn. Shady is standing behind me – really close. His chin rests on my shoulder and he kisses my neck.

“I can’t imagine losing you, Cee. I just can’t.”

An arm wraps around my waist and he turns me to face him.

“I’ve been an ass these past months. Can you forgive me?”

I nod. He encloses me in a hug, my head resting on his heart, listening to the strong, steady rhythm. I’m thinking about how we take for granted simple things like a beating heart, ignoring that we have no power to keep it going when it stops.

I’m thinking of Noka’s betrayal and everything else. And then the tears come. Shady places his hand on my head and holds it steady as I cry. I hold tightly to his waist, arms clasped around him. I don’t want to let go. I have missed being in this position. The holding, it used to mean so much to me. Just losing myself in his clutch. I hope this lasts longer than today.

“Let’s go to the room,” he tells me as he lets go. We enter our bedroom and in the dark, with just moonlight streaming in from the windows, Shady continues to hold me. But his lips are between mine now. In a flash, things heat up. The hunger is real. This has not been us for months.

We kiss like we’re doing something abominable and would soon be caught. The wildness of the kiss soon spreads through us like a contagion and we’re knocking things about as we move from the door to the bed. We make love savagely with our clothes on, throwing ourselves into gloomy pleasure with abandon. All the emotion and stress are converted into raw energy and we spend it on each other until Shady climaxes.

I want more but for now this fills that deep hole he has left in me. For now, I’m fine. He holds me still, not wanting to let go but I tell him I have to pee. I wriggle away and turn on the lights on my way to the bathroom. After I pee, I take extra time cleaning myself and washing makeup off my face. When I return to the bedroom, I find Shady seated, and in his hands, the stack of dollars.

I gasp.

“What’s this?” he demands.

“You went through my bag?”

He doesn’t answer. I spot my handbag on the floor. The flap has been thrown open and a few items are sticking out. It is clear that the handbag was one of the things we knocked down during our amazon session.

“Celia, where did you get this type of money from?”

I can’t speak. How do I begin to tell my story? Will he even believe that a woman gave this to me?

“Celia?”

“Somebody gave me.”

“Somebody gave you three thousand dollars. For what?”

“Shadrach, calm down.”

“Answer my question.”

“Calm down first.”

“There is no calming down! A man gave you three thousand dollars for what?! What did you give him in return?!”

“Stop shouting, Shady. Just stop and listen to me.”

“So this is what you’re doing in the name of work?!”

“Shady, don’t go there. Please calm–”

He flings the notes at me. “I’m down on my luck for a short time, Celia, a short time, and you start sleeping around?!”

He charges up.

“You’re disgusting! Oh my God! I can’t even look at you! Take your dirty money and leave my house!”

He aims for the door but I rush towards it and block his path. I am mad and he is about to have a taste of the bull crap I have had to put up with.

“I’m not going anywhere, Shadrach! Nowhere! That money was given to me by someone who wants my body. And you know what? I was considering the offer because you have abandoned your duties as a man! I have been the one feeding your lazy ass, stroking that stupid ego you carry around, lying to everyone about our condition and working my ass off to the bone! So what is so wrong if someone out there wants to take the load off my shoulders and give me a better life?! With that money I can pay the rent and take care of myself and feel like a woman again! Because, Shady, you have stripped away my womanhood! You have robbed me of happiness! Look at me well! See how I’m aging! Just because of you! And don’t deceive yourself that one night of jungle sex can whip me back to shape! I’m still the one who will get up on Monday morning and go to work while you sit your lazy ass here and do NOTHING!”

The slap that meets my face hits me so hard that I fall to the floor.

Silence drops but my ear rings from the assault of my husband’s hand. I literally see stars that blind me for a moment. But it’s neither the stars nor my ringing ear that keeps me on the floor. It’s the shock. The absolute stupefaction. I don’t want to believe this is me. I have probably been switched along the way home to inhabit the body of a lesser version of me. I am not the woman whose husband hits her. Not the woman who is silenced by domestic violence. It is not Celia. It is not even my nightmare.

But I touch my face and it becomes real. I feel the sting my touch brings.

“Shady, you slapped me,” is all I can say but I don’t even say it because the only thing my mouth wants to do is weep.

I clasp my palm over it to stop it from acting foolishly but it wants to let out and so I let it.

I weep.

©Sally@moskedapages

 

Images: bwdbf, eBay

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #4

Read episodes 1-3 of It’s Another Novocaine Saturday

I walk blindly into the living room, my eyes smarting from the effects of being dragged out of sleep rudely. I’m totally done with all the visitors coming to see Jiney. I don’t think I can entertain one more person abeg.

I unlock the door and pull it open. Smiling into my face, together with a bright morning, is the last person I want to see.

But she smiles on, unmindful of how I feel about her. And then she does something stupid as her legs leave their present position and she comes for me. I feel her hug me, pressing her huge breasts into me and squeezing me like I asked for it.

I don’t hug her back. She pulls away – smiling, still.

“Good morning, Uncle Jide. I’m finally here. Yayy! I’m so sorry I’m coming in this morning. I flew in yesterday but there was this old classmate from secondary school I bumped into at the airport. She carted me off to her house. So I stayed there and this morning I told her I had to run. So here I am! So, so happy to be here. Where is Aunty Honey?”

Aunty Honey? This person is planning on ruining my wife’s beautiful name. I will not let her.

Guys, allow me do a proper introduction. Meet Ndidiamaka, my younger half-sister.

another novocaine saturday

She came into our lives as a result of the affair my dad had years ago. Remember the woman I saw him with at the hotel? Yeah, she was Ndidi’s mom.

Let me start from the beginning. Or rather, somewhere close to the beginning.

Three weeks ago, we were invited by the old man for dinner. All of us, including Honey who was heavily pregnant then. But it turned out that it was no dinner. My dad had called us to introduce the newest member of the Onuora family who was seated beside him while my mom was in another chair nursing a blank look. She always goes blank when she’s angry.

“Sons, I’d like you to meet Ndidiamaka, your half-sister. She is here to stay and it would make me happy if you welcomed her warmly and treated her kindly.”

*insert long silence, frowning faces and tense atmosphere.

I was on my seat thinking my dad was a joke. Welcome who kindly? We should all just wake up one morning and be at ease with a woman who claims to be his daughter? Were we the ones that told him to go and sleep with her mother? What sort of irresponsibility was that?

“And that’s Jideofor,” I heard him tell her. “Director of Midwifery at the prestigious New Eden Hospital which is partly owned by Omotola, Chukwuemeka’s wife.”

“Wow,” Ndidi smiled at me. The frown that met her made her turn her attention on Emeka who was then being introduced.

“Stop making faces,” Honey whispered to me. “You look like a pouty, little baby.”

I studied the features of this ‘half-sister’ of mine. Chubby, restless and wild in the eyes. Of course, beautiful but paling in gorgeousness when matched with the Onuora wives.

“So, welcome to the family, Ndidi. We are all glad to have you with us.”

Only the wives and Kalu smiled. Nne upheld her blankness. She had had sleepless nights over the girl, and if I wasn’t a grown ass man, I would have been hating my dad for the sudden intrusion into our lives.

Okay, let’s not say sudden. We were informed a week before that night about Ndidi, in a similar meeting. The man had called us together and broken the news that his ex-mistress who had just passed away left behind an only child in his care. Ndidiamaka does not biologically belong to my dad and thus, is in no way related to us. But she had been bearing the Onuora name since she was six years old, just a year after my dad had an affair with her mother. The woman had fallen in love with and chosen him as a preferred father figure over Ndidiamaka’s deadbeat biological father. She changed her daughter’s surname after the affair ended but maintained the lie she had told her through the years that her father was dead.

Her reasons were obvious: to give Ndidiamaka a better name and future if anything ever happened to her, as is the case now.

But here’s the twist to this whole thing. The babe doesn’t know that she’s not family. She believes that twenty-seven years ago, popsi slept with her mother and nine months later, she was born. Her mother upheld that lie until she day she died, making the old man promise to accept Ndidiamaka as his daughter and never tell her the truth about her paternity. Also she ‘came clean’ with Ndidiamaka, telling her that her father was alive, after all, and she was to move to Lagos to be with him. And well, if you guessed that my dad is keeping his promise to his now late ex-mistress, you guessed right.

Nne was mad when he explained the details, as were the rest of us, with the exception of Kalu, who simply said “well, we now have the sister we always wanted. God works in mysterious ways.”

“God does not factor in this,” I told him.

Nne didn’t wait to hear what else anyone had to say; she rose up and left us all in the living room.

“Ndidi will be visiting in a week. Please, she should never know we are not related.”

“But why?” I asked.

“The poor girl has no one. Her mother was considered one of those ogbanje children. She was the fifth after four children who all died really young. Her mother also passed away when giving birth to her. She was then left in her father’s care but he remarried and had other kids, leaving her at the mercy of a stepmother who maltreated her. Ultimately, she ran from home and lived her entire life having no one. She met Ndidi’s father and got pregnant by him. But he disappeared from the scene the day the child was born and has not been seen since then. Ndidiamaka has borne my name for twenty years and she will continue to do so for as long as she desires.”

“Just tell her the truth,” Emeka said.

“I made a promise, son, and I cannot break it.”

“Well, I don’t see a problem here,” I stated. “You made the promise. Not us. We will help you break the news to her.”

“What if I made the promise because I’m comfortable with the status quo?”

“Oh?”

“I always wanted a daughter, after we lost ours. Ndidiamaka is a very lovely girl, well-mannered and god-fearing. You all will love her when you get to know her.”

“Pops, are you sure this chick is not your child?” Emeka questioned.

“I co-ask,” Oba commented.

“She is not. I met her mother in 1995. Do the math.”

At that point, I felt it was useless talking to him. He had made up his mind to keep the chick and there was nothing we could do, although I had my own plans not to let her into my personal space. To me, she was as much a gold-digger as was her mother who felt it was alright to sleep with someone else’s husband and dump the paternity of her child on him. I didn’t buy into the sob story then and not even when Ndidi sent a warm smile Honey’s way and the latter smiled back.

“So when’s your baby due?” Ndidi asked.

“In two weeks,” Honey replied.

Ndidi crosses her legs comfortably in her seat. “Boy or girl?”

“We’re not telling. You all have to wait until he or she comes.”

“So, Jide will birth the baby himself?”

I was uninspired by her audacity. What next would she want to know? How the baby was conceived?

“Well…” Honey looked at me. “We’ll see.”

The living room went quiet. It seemed everyone was waiting for the man of the house to end the meeting but he didn’t give the impression that he wanted to.

“So, Ndidi?” Honey called.

“Yes?”

“I was thinking that if you wouldn’t mind, you could come stay with us when you get bored of staying here.”

I turned my head and gave Honey a sharp glower.

“Really?” Ndidi responded in excitement. Evidently, Honey was her most favorite person in the room. None of the other wives had been openhearted. Tola, resting her head on Emeka’s shoulder was exhausted from working two night shifts. Yazmin was more interested in her nails which she had been staring at for quite some time. Elsie was going to support Nne all the way, and since the old lady was not smiling, Elsie stayed loyal.

“We just moved into a new house,” naughty Honey continued, “and we have a spare bedroom. I’m sure Jide wouldn’t mind. Right, hotstuff?”

I felt her hand rubbing my knee. It was her way of placating me. I lifted my eyes up to find everyone else focusing on me. I concentrated on my mom’s eyes, particularly. She was literally begging me to take the intruder off her hands.

“Jide?” Honey pressed on.

“Well, it’s not like it’s a permanent thing, is it?” I probed.

“I’m searching for a job right now,” Ndidi answered. “Once I get one, I’ll find my own place.”

“What type of job?” Tola enquired.

“Something that has to do with event planning. I love weddings. I planned two of my friends’ weddings, from start to finish.”

“That’s great!” Honey exclaimed. “My friend owns Novocaine Knights. We’ll see if they have an opening.”

I gave up on Honey.

“You know Mrs. Ditorusin?” Ndidi asked with disbelief in her eyes.

“Yeah,” Honey answered.

“Oh my God! For real? I love that woman to death!”

“I will talk to her on your behalf.”

“Please do,” my dad implored and I suddenly felt it was time to leave. I stood up.

“We have to leave,” I announced. Honey took my hand and I helped her up.

“Thank you, Uncle Jide,” Ndidi said. “I’ll be leaving for Onitsha first thing tomorrow morning but I’ll be back in a week.”

I didn’t give a reply. I prayed that something would stop her from returning.

Honey and I left the house. Roughly an hour later, while we were at home preparing dinner, she apologized for her stupid decision to bring a total stranger into our house.

“Nne and I spoke last night,” she explained, rubbing the back of my neck this time. “She begged me to offer to accommodate Ndidi. I’m sorry, I didn’t tell you. I knew you’d be against it.”

My anger instantly vacated me like a demon exorcised from a soul. The look in Honey’s eyes melted me. I still haven’t found the secret to staying mad at her for long periods.

“I’m more worried about you. Will you be fine with her around?” I asked.

“Of course. She’s going to help with the cleaning and the baby and all of that. She’s not here for osho free o. By the time I’m through with her she’ll turn to lepa and run away by herself.”

We laughed, and that unfortunate night was forgotten. Ndidi never crossed my mind until this moment. She stands before me with nothing less than four travel cases behind her. I give her a good look, observing her physical features in the daylight. I still find her fat. And short. And with a nose ring I didn’t notice the other night.

“How did you locate this place?”

“Aunty Honey sent me the address.”

This Aunty Honey needs to be caned.

“Come in.”

She bends and picks two of the suitcases while I help with the other two.

“Wow. Your house is so yellow and so beautiful,” she exclaims when she steps in.

I don’t respond.

“And your wedding pics are so beautiful.”

She is referring to a series of framed photos hanging off one of the walls. Honey and I hadn’t had any theme in mind when we were putting them up but somehow they worked well with the entire décor.

I lead her into an empty bedroom right beside Jiney’s.

“Kitchen is that way,” I inform Ndidi. “The backyard door must be closed at all times to prevent flies from entering. The baby and my mom are next door, so no noise, no loud music. And erm…as for house rules and chores, Honey will brief you when she wakes up.”

“Thanks, Uncle Jide.”

“Just Jide will be fine.”

“Okay. So, can I see Jiney? I’m following you on Instagram and I see all her pictures. She’s so cute. Don’t mind all those bad belles that were bashing Aunty Honey for that breastfeeding picture. We Africans and our hypocrisy.” She hisses. “Don’t our old mothers in the village carry around their sagging breasts without clothes? Who is telling them to cover up? But they won’t let young mothers be. The same people will attack any woman who feels ashamed to breastfeed her baby in public. I just don’t understand Nigerians sometimes. So, can I see Jiney?”

Have I told you that Ndidi talks like her mouth is suffering from dysentery?

“Jiney is sleeping.”

“Oh,” she lowers her tone. “Later then.”

I turn.

“Uncle Jide?”

I turn back.

“Please can you follow me back on IG? I know you have like almost two hundred thousand followers and I have only one thousand and you don’t follow people like me but please follow back. Please!”

“Sure.”

I turn again.

“Wait!”

She comes to me and lifts her phone in the air above us for a selfie.

“Duck face, Uncle. Erm…I mean, Jide.”

I frown. The shutter goes off.

“Thank you.” She giggles and dashes into her room, banging the door in my face. I stare after her quizzically. What a strange being.

Before I get to my room, I hear the sound of a notification. I pick my phone. Ndidi has tagged me in a photo.

Me and my big brother, @husbandmidwife. Love him to bits. We woke up like this #TheOnuoras #Family #grateful

For some reason, I smile.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

It’s morning in the Ditorusin mansion. Genesis and Dominic are whipping up breakfast in the kitchen. The twins are with them. Just learning to stand on their own, Zach and Zoe find it a good pastime to flex their legs while playing with a yapping toy dog they soon would destroy. Vhasti, the cat, sits beside one of the fridges, watching the scene. She’s not a fan of the twins. She does all she can to stay away from them and this is quite hard, being that Zach always enjoys going after her.

He spots her now and yells some gibberish, stretching out his hands in her direction.

“Zach, no.” Genesis points a finger at him as he begins to crawl towards her. Vhasti looks at Genesis and meows for help. Genesis walks to her, picks her up and dumps her outside the kitchen, closing the door. Somehow, this upsets Zach and he begins to cry.

“Shut up,” Dominic mutters. The toddler bawls louder. Iya Idaya, the housekeeper, comes in and lifts him up. Zoe crawls to her, demanding to be carried as well.

“Abeg, just take them upstairs,” Genesis orders, carrying a tray of two plates of boiled yam and scrambled eggs out to a small sitting room she and Dominic prefer to use. Dominic joins her with water and juice and they both sit to breakfast on a couch. For Genesis, this is her first meal with him in days. She had been busy planning a birthday party for the governor’s wife, a three-day event that ended the night before. She is happy to finally have quality time with Dominic who has largely been occupied with the mall.

As it is with them, they fall into hearty conversation with Dominic having Genesis in fits over some experience he had on his last trip. She leaves her meal half-consumed eventually, dabbing away moisture from her eyes as her laughter dies down.

“I can’t… I can’t, anymore. Please, stop,” she begs.

Dominic puts away his plate and hers and relaxes on the couch. She rests her head on his laps

“Come with me on my next trip,” he proposes.

“It’s going to be all work for me but then I get to spend my nights with you.”

“Are you serious? What happened to your never-mix-work-with-pleasure policy?”

“You’re the exception, sweetheart. You have no idea how crazy I am over you.”

She blushes, turning her attention to the wall behind them.

“You think I enjoy my trips away from you? No. I’m thinking of you half the time, worried about you, knowing you’re lonely as I am.”

“I’m almost touched.”

gendon

“So, let’s go away for a while. A whole week. I know you’re tired of traveling but I’ll make this trip worth your while. A second honeymoon of sorts, before your Mamisi comes into our lives and uses her witchcraft to separate us.”

Genesis gives him a harmless frown that holds a smile underneath before going back to her meal. He keeps his stare on her for a while. It’s nothing new to her. In the earlier stages of their relationship, his stares had been longer, like he was trying to read her. It had made her uncomfortable. These days, she pretends she doesn’t know when he does it, understanding that it is his way of expressing feelings he finds hard to let out.

“Nick, this is the fourth day and Lexus is still locked in her room. She says she’s fine but I’m worried.”

“Ignore her. She’s going through some sort of heartbreak, or should I say breakdown.”

Genesis raises her head a little. “What did you do to her?”

“Nothing. We just had a talk about her life and where it was headed. In my opinion, the talk ended well. She got my message.”

“Did you go hard on her?”

Dominic doesn’t reply.

“Dominic?”

“Yep, I did.”

Genesis sits up. “Why nau?”

“She’s not a kid, Gen. She just turned twenty-eight. She should know what she wants in life by now.”

“Nick, I did not know what I wanted in life until I met you.”

“You had a half-woman, half-fish as a mother.”

Genesis rolls her eyes.

“Lexus had and still has everything, yet her life holds no direction,” he continues.

“You and Eva were hardly there for her. The foundation was very faulty. You have to give her time to understand life, to understand herself.”

“At twenty-eight?”

“Nick, I don’t like this at all. At all.”

“Well, it gets worse. I told her to move out.”

“What!”

Dominic spreads out his hands and shrugs.

“Where do you want her to go?”

“Anywhere but home. I’m done cosseting her. Her mates are married with kids…”

“I hope you didn’t tell her that.”

He shrugs again.

Genesis shakes her head in disappointment. “You are impossible. Sometimes I wonder why I married you.”

She stands up.

“If Lexus leaves this house and goes out there and anything happens to her, I will not forgive you.”

“Yes, step-mommy.”

She flings a napkin at him and starts out. She climbs up the stairs, the sound of music drawing her towards Lexus’ bedroom. She finds the door slightly open and walks in. Lexus, who is in the middle of folding a pair of jeans, looks at her, and turns back to her activity.

“Hey, Lex.”

“Hi, Gen.”

Genesis takes in the bedroom which is a mess of clothes and boxes. Lexus seems ready to leave the house; most of her things are folded neatly in the boxes. Genesis tries to imagine the room without her and it doesn’t feel right.

“Can I turn down the music?” she asks. Lexus walks over to her electronic stand, picks a remote control and soon the music is off.

“So your dad told me that you guys had a talk.”

Lexus doesn’t respond. She is now folding a pair of leggings.

“Lex, I’m sorry for anything he said that hurt you, but I want you to know that he has good intentions…”

“Gen, please stop. You don’t have to waste your energy explaining anything. He’s right. I need my own place. It’s about time.”

Lexus pulls up the jeans shorts she is wearing which can’t quite stay on her waist. Genesis notes that she has lost some weight, going back to her original body size before she left Nigeria. It upsets Genesis. The girl has only been around for a total of two weeks and she is already showing signs of stress.

Genesis closes the door. “Can we talk about it?”

“No.” Lexus slams a face cap over a pile of folded clothes in one of the boxes and moves to the next which is half-filled.

“Please, don’t shut me out, Lex. Something is going on with you and I want to know what it is.”

For a stepmother and stepdaughter, their relationship is enviable. Genesis over the past year became Lexus’ go-to person whenever she felt the need to vent out. Genesis held a lot of Lexus’ secrets, ones she could never tell anyone, including an abortion she had in New York that almost messed her up psychologically. Genesis had played the role of a shrink, holding long phone and Skype sessions with her until she pulled through.

“Talk to me, Lex.”

Lexus lowers her weight over the box for a while and then turns around to sit on the floor. She heaves a sigh and her eyes throng with tears. She starts to sob. Genesis slips in beside her.

“Chichi is moving into Kasi’s today.”

“Are you for real? She’s in the country already?”

“She came about a week ago and they went for a DNA test and it was positive. Trinity is his baby.” Lexus’ voice thins out through trembling lips.

Genesis takes her hand.

“I mean, I knew she was his kid but I was kind’a hoping she wasn’t, you know?”

“Me too.”

“But she is, and it fucking hurts. I’m looking at Trini and I’m thinking she should be mine. I should be the one having his baby. I shouldn’t have aborted mine. I should have told him I was pregnant and stayed with him. But I didn’t. I ran off because I was scared of commitment and responsibility. And now, there’s Chichi with his baby and I have to live with that every day. Every fucking day, Gen.

“To worsen it, Chichi’s mom made a phone call to Kasi’s mom and told her everything. Two days later, Kasi’s mom was in Lagos to see her granddaughter. She then made Kasi promise to marry Chichi but first she said he had to give her accommodation in his crib so he can have a relationship with his daughter.”

“What nonsense. And Kasi agreed to this?”

“You have no idea how he is with his mom. She’s gold to him. He had refused to her demands at first but after she went into a hysterical crying fit that made her ill, he agreed to all she said.”

“No, that’s wrong. That’s just plain wrong. I’ll have a talk with him. Bringing Chichi to his home is going to be a disaster. That girl is so manipulative.”

“I thought she had changed and I honestly forgave her and let her in. I should have listened to you. I’m so stupid sometimes.”

“Lex, you did the right thing, hon. You made Kasiobi responsible and I am proud of you. How he handles that responsibility now is the issue. I have to make him see that the route he’s taking might ruin him.”

“Please, just let him be. I’m moving on.”

“Tonbra you love Kasiobi.”

Lexus shakes her head, not in denial to the statement but as a way to stop another crying spell.

It doesn’t work. Genesis stretches an arm over her shoulder and pulls her in for a side-hug which soon turns into a full embrace.

She had warned her about getting into Chichi’s life but all Lexus had wanted at that time, after hearing Chichi’s story, was to redeem herself. The abortion had left her in pieces. The instant she had done it she fell into some kind of rut. The pain never left, no matter how much Genesis had tried. She only succeeded in lessening it. Lexus’ relationship with Russell had been nothing more than a distraction until Chichi sent a direct message to her on Twitter. Lexus then told Genesis in an elated voice over the phone that fate was giving her a second chance to redeem herself. From then on, she lived vicariously through Chichi’s pregnancy. The moment Trinity was born, she made plans to see her. When she eventually did, she called Genesis and told her it had been an amazing moment but it was not powerful enough to drive the guilt. Rather it came with its own sting in the tail, and now she is forced to watch the man she loves commit to a relationship that should not be.

“Chichi is suddenly acting distant after getting what she wants,” Lexus reveals, pulling away from Genesis.

“But what did you expect, Lex?”

“Bitch used me.”

“She uses everyone.”

“Well, she should enjoy. Like I said, I’m moving on. Dad’s talk helped. He was harsh and I hate him for the things he said and I’m probably not going to talk to him in a long time but dude was right. At twenty-eight Eva already bought her first car from cash she got off acting. But me, all I can show is the money she left me and what my dad gives me. I’ve not made a single cent of my own. That’s crap.”

“So what are you planning to do with yourself?”

Lexus let out something akin to a smile, wiping her tears.

“I have this idea. It’s huge.” She sniffled.

“I’m listening.”

“I want to open an art center.”

“Okay.”

“Not like your average art center but a hub for artists to do their thing and get paid doing it. All sorts of artists, from the one who does makeup, to the painter, to even the graphic artist. Everything will be there, including art classes.”

“That sounds like a great idea, Lex.”

“Yeah. It’s huge too. I’m so afraid to start doing it.”

“You don’t have to be. I’ll help you by getting someone who can see through the details and get things started. All you have to do is supervise. He will get a good spot for you, fix it up the way you want, register the company and do everything else.”

“That sounds expensive.”

“Yeah, guys like him help build businesses from scratch for a price but we can negotiate. Just leave it all to me.”

“No, I want to be involved.”

“That’s fine. Once you’ve moved to your apartment and you’re settled, we’ll start.” Genesis smiles. “So proud of you, Lex.”

“Can we not tell Dominic?”

“Sure.”

“Thanks, Gen.”

“You’re welcome. Now, for that makeup you have been promising me.”

“Yes, o.” Lexus rises up and after flinging off a few clothes over a pile on her bed, she takes out a state-of-the-art makeup box and opens it, stunning Genesis.

“You of all people bought this?” she says, getting up.

“This is not anyhow shit. Cost me thousands of dollars. I got it after my three-day crash course in makeup. Didn’t even see such a big deal in the whole thing.”

“Oshey Van Gogh.”

Lexus laughs. Someone knocks on the door and she invites the person in. Iya Idaya peeks in and announces to Genesis that Mamisi is waiting downstairs.

“Tell her I’ll be right down.”

“Okay, ma.”

In Iya Idaya’s absence, Lexus makes a comment about not being a fan of Mamisi.

“She’s creepy. Her eyes…”

“I know, right? When I was little I used to feel like she could see into my soul.”

“But you know you kind’a look like her, right?”

“How?”

“Apart from the eyes and your dimple, you guys look alike. Same shape of face, lips and even nose.”

“Very funny. What weed did you smoke this morning, girl?”

“I’m not kidding. You look like her.”

Genesis walks to the door. “I’d rather look like Lucifer.”

She left Lexus’ room and trudged downstairs. Mamisi is waiting in the living room, feet crossed together, legs neatly put side by side and back held up straight. As usual, she looks nothing like her age. Today, Genesis notices that she goes for a simple look, wearing a modest gown of animal print. But her feet are a different matter. They are clad in a pair of stilettos that leave Genesis wondering what their use is for if all she had done was gotten into her car and driven over from her house which is just a walking distance.

“I thought I wouldn’t meet you at home,” Mamisi comments. “You’re always busy.”

“Good morning, Mamisi.”

“Come and sit.” She invites Genesis to the three-sitter couch she is seated on. Genesis sits, leaving a full space between them.

“Are you enjoying your new house?” she inquires.

“Yes, I am. But how are you? How are my babies?”

“They’re fine.”

“When will you bring them over to spend time with me? That house is lonely.”

“I’ll come and visit, Mamisi.”

“Please do. And come with them.”

She gives Genesis a sweep of her eyes. “You’re looking so basic this morning, Gen. Or is your husband not home?”

“He is.”

“Then why are you dressed this way?”

“What way?” Genesis takes in her appearance. She feels her casual attire of leggings and a shirt is satisfactory. In fact, Dominic hadn’t given rest to her nipples pushing through the soft cotton material of the shirt all morning.

“You’ve not even showered.”

“Mamisi.”

“You’re not acting like the girl I raised. Your man has to see you fresh and perky at all times. Give him the image of eternal beauty, of perfection.”

Genesis chuckles while her eyes roll. “Mamisi, I’m so done with that your perfection thing abeg. There’s nothing like that. Dominic has seen me at my worst.”

“And that is why you still smell of breastmilk?’

Genesis takes a sniffle of the shirt she has on.

“You’re still breastfeeding?”

“Zoe has refused to be weaned.”

“That is such a disgrace. How do you handle her in public?”

“I give her what she wants.”

Mamisi claps her hand. “Breastfeeding in public is classless, Gen. Please, stop it. Wean the child. She will not die. I weaned you early too.”

Genesis pulls a frown. “Me or Nancy?”

“Sorry. I meant, Nancy. And thank God I did because despite all my efforts to housetrain that your sister’s voracious appetite, she still turned into a warthog.”

Genesis shakes her head. “So not nice.”

“But please, stop nursing Zoe. Wear strong, supportive bras and express all the milk before having sex with your husband or funny accidents might happen.”

Genesis looks away, embarrassed. Funny accidents had happened already.

“Mamisi, is there a particular reason why you’re here? I see it in your eyes. You want something.”

“I’m glad you asked. I want a few things, actually.”

“I’m all ears.”

“Or rather a few people.”

“People?”

“I’m short of household staff.”

“Okay?”

“I need a cook, for one. I find culinary activities rather boring these days. I also need a housekeeper. If she can cook, perfect. I need my gateman changed to a security guard just like the ones you have here.”

Genesis lifts her brows.

“And lastly, I need a driver.”

Genesis swallows for lack of what to say.

“Wow, Mamisi. That is a lot to ask. What do you need a security guard for?”

“Gen, I have nightmares from what happened to me. I wish I had altogether not gotten my memory back but I have and I’m having nightmares that someone will break into the house and snatch me away to kill me. Only God knows if the person that tried to kill me before is still out there.”

“Mamisi…” Genesis complains.

“And also, I wouldn’t mind if my driver is a bodyguard too.”

“How do you want me to find all these people? And who will be paying them?”

“My accounts are frozen because of that case I have with the crimes commission. The goddess will punish those bastards that tried to ruin my name.”

“Mamisi, you were recording videos of highly placed men having orgies. What did you expect?”

“Let’s leave the past where it is, my darling. Let’s talk about now. When will I be able to get the new staff?”

Genesis feels frustration coming up.

“You’ll have to let me think about it.”

“And how long will this thinking take?”

“I don’t know. Just…give me a few days.”

“Thank you, anyway. You’re always a sweetheart.”

She leans forward and kisses her on the cheeks.

“Oh, before I forget, I brought some clothes that need to be laundered. Can you have your maid come get them from the car?”

Genesis feels sudden weakness in the bones. “Her name is Iya Idaya.”

“Is she not a maid?”

“No, she is family.”

Mamisi shows a confused stare. “I hope she doesn’t boss you around?”

“No.”

“You better put a tight rein on her. Maids can never be part of family. They are what they are.”

She stands up.

“Walk me to my car.”

Genesis accompanies her outside. When they get to her car, Genesis takes out a bag of dirty clothes from the backseat, hugs her and watches until she leaves the compound. She then looks up and sees Dominic staring down from his office window.

©Sally@moskedapages

 

images: paulateles8blacklovestories

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #3

Hi guys,

I want to say something… I have failed you guys…

By not answering comments as I should…

I feel bad over this…

I am very sorry….

I’ll start doing things right from today.

Thank you.

And for today’s episode…

Kasiobi’s mouth has just gone dry. His hands holding his phone are both unable to move. Lexus’ last message has somehow become the only thing on his phone screen.

-Yours, Kas. She’s your baby.

His mouth gets drier.

“Kas, what’s going on?” Kira questions but her voice seems to him like it’s coming from outer space. He has no idea what she just said. Everything else apart from the message ceases to be relevant.

“Kas?”

He feels a little pain on his arm and comes to.

“Talk to me or I’ll pinch you again,” Kira threatens.

“Excuse me, abeg.”

He pushes her away and gets off the bed. He makes his way out of his bedroom to his studio, a lot of questions driving him there in haste. When he gets in, he slips into the dark voicing booth and sits on the bare floor. Saliva returns to his mouth in a rush as he gathers his wits from the breaking news.

He sends Lexus a reply.

-You were pregnant?

Her answer to his question comes back immediately.

-It was why we broke up, Kas. I’m so sorry

-So sorry?

Anger starts to grow in him.

-Please let me explain

And so she gives him details. She tells him the baby’s name is Trinity, amongst other things. At the end of her tale, Kasiobi draws in a long breath and lets it out to shake off his nerves. He is not taking the story in well. He believes he is being pranked.

-Stop playing with me, Lex. Just come clean

The message is delivered and he waits for her reply, but what he gets is a video – a close-up shot of the baby’s face, her mouth latched to a nipple as she is being breastfed. Kasiobi can hear Lexus’ voice in the background, telling the baby how angelic she is and how her daddy is going to be head over heels in love with her.

Another message from Lexus drops.

-Convinced now? I have more of these. Wanna see?

-Yeah

She sends four pictures of her breasts taken at different angles; none of them has her nursing Trinity. All the same, Kasiobi notices the breasts are fuller but he is irate by her pranks.

-Are you alright?

-Lol!

She sends videos of Trinity. Two of them. And by the time he is through watching them, all his doubts are cleared. Replacing the shock is a new feeling of fondness for Trinity and respect for Lexus.

-When are you telling your dad?

-Tomorrow morning but I’m freaking out Kas. He’ll lose it. Remember how he warned us before we traveled not to get pregnant

-Yeah but there’s nothing anyone can do now. We just have to tell him

-We? He’ll kill you Kas. Don’t come near my house for the next week abeg. I love you too much to watch Dominic fuck you up

-You love me? TF is that?

whatsapp

 

 

-Bitch, don’t play me. You got preggers, dumped my ass, went to stay with a white boy, had a whole baby without telling me and you’re here talking shit about love. TF is wrong with you

-Nigga it’s not that deep whatsapp2

-It’s not that deep? You had a whole baby, Lex. You, of all people! You breastfed and shit and didn’t tell me and you’re here talking crap about it not being that deep? You high or something
whatsapp3

 

 

-You need serious ass whooping

-On which ass? This one?

novocaine

-Stop playing. When am I going to see Trinity? By the way, I don’t think she’s mine

-Then do a DNA oga. I’m not even gon get into any crazy drama with you, Kasbi. She’s your kid.

Kasiobi takes a short break from the chat, letting it all sink in. His emotions come to him in a mix. He’s uncertain of what to feel.

-Tell me more about Trinity

-You can call her Trini, Kas. Trinity is too long

-But you named her that

Blame the nurse who enters my room with this huge ass crucifix hanging off her neck and tells me that they need a name on the baby’s birth certificate. I ask her why she can’t just use Baby Ditorusin. She says she just can’t. I have to give her a name. So I’m staring into the air and my eyes catch her crucifix and I think of the holy trinity and I tell her that I’m calling my baby Trinity

-Are you ok???

-It will make daddy happy and it’s a good name. Hopefully she doesn’t get the generational curse of getting preg outside marriage because God the father, the son and the Holy Spirit are with her

-Smh. Just tell me about her

-Let’s meet and talk

-Where?

-Just come and pick me

An hour later they are both watching the waves of the Atlantic lap at the shore of a quiet beach they both call Fuck Zone. The place is famous for car sex. People drive there simply to have sex in their cars. Some, with the windows up while some enjoy the thrill of being watched. No one bugs anyone. Not even robbers drop by. Once you pay the touts manning the area a fee of five hundred bucks, you’re allowed through to do as you wish.

Thus Kasiobi and Lexus sit in Kasiobi’s Renegade, feet hanging out as Lexus smokes a joint. Her first since she left Nigeria. She had made a promise to Dominic not to touch the substance while in the States. Now she is back home and on her favorite high. Kasiobi, on the other hand, is nursing a bottle of Hennessey mixed with a coke. They are listening to Bryson Tiller on the SUV’s speakers. Kasiobi is anxious to get more information about Trinity but he waits until Lexus is done smoking.

She steps down from the car and stands before him like she is about to render a performance of some sort. He figures she is high.

She begins: “On why I broke up with you…”

Kasiobi raises his hand to stop her. “That’s not why I’m here.”

“Please, Kas. Let me explain.”

“What’s there to explain? You woke up one day and decided we were done and then you moved on to Russell or whatever his white ass name is.”

“That’s your own version. Don’t you wanna hear mine?”

“No, Lex. I came here to hear about the baby.”

“Fine. Trinity is yours…”

“You already said that,” Kasiobi replies gruffly, lifting the Hennessy bottle to his mouth.

“But she’s not mine.”

Kasiobi’s hand freezes.

“She’s Chichi’s.”

Kasiobi lets the bottle down in slow motion. He turns down the volume of the music.

“What kind of nonsense play is that, Tonbra? Which Chichi?”

“Which other Chichi do you know?”

“So the baby is not yours?”

She laughs – long and annoyingly.

“Me, a mom? Are you out of your freaking mind? I’m not having kids! Ever! Who wants that type of yeye responsibility?”

“So all the shit you were telling me on Whatsapp…”

“Just pulling your legs, Kas.”

“But your boobs are bigger.”

“Somebody cannot even add weight again?”

“I hate you. I really hate you.”

She blows him a kiss.

“Someone needs to choke you almost to death.”

She crosses her arms. “So, apparently, when you left New York at the start of summer last year, you came back here and started piping Chichi?”

“So? She was my ex. I was heartbroken. She was there for me. We had sex but I am not the father of that child.”

“Kas, Trinity is yours. She has your ears and pink lips.”

“All babies have pink lips!”

“Calm down.”

“Where did you even see Chichi? She’s in South Africa! And last I checked you guys weren’t talking to each other.”

“When Chichi was five months pregnant, she sent me a DM on Twitter, telling me how you guys hooked up again when you came back and then she had to leave because her mom was sick. Two months later, she discovered she was pregnant. She freaked out and tried to abort it but her mom told her she had a dream in which she saw her bleeding to death. So, she said she called you and told you but you denied…”

“Why won’t I deny? Chichi and I went bare only once and then she told me she took a morning-after pill only to call me two months later to say she was pregnant, that the pill didn’t work. What sort of nonsense joke is that? Am I a fool? Chichi that can sleep with anything. Abeg, nobody should bring that bullshit my way.”

“Anyways, I felt for her, asked her to send me her number. She did. I called her. She was crying on the phone, saying you blocked her on social media and you were refusing to take her calls. She even called Genesis but Genesis said it was not her business.”

“She was rude to Genesis before she left. The woman fired her ass from Novo.”

“She said so. Anyways, three weeks ago Russell and I flew to South Africa for their SA menswear fashion week. I didn’t feel like going but I was curious to see Trinity. So, I went to Durban, to Chichi’s and spent a whole day with her family. Chichi has changed, Kas. Motherhood changed her and that’s because Trinity is adorbs! The cutest, little baby. I took loads of videos. She makes me want to have my own babies.”

Kasiobi washes down a bad taste in his mouth with his drink.

“I know you don’t believe she’s yours but trust me, Kas, you’re her daddy. The first time I saw her, I was looking at a smaller version of you.”

“She’s not my kid, Lexus. What the fuck is wrong with you? Chichi is a ho!”

Was a ho. She’s changed. She even goes to church now.”

Kasiobi snorts. “You don’t know that girl. And I’m mad that she’s using you to get to me.”

“Just fucking do a DNA, dude. She’s flying in soon with Trini. You guys can do a DNA so you can rest.”

“You think it’s that easy? That I’d just do a DNA and the kid is mine and things go chill? Do you know that once you’re a parent you can’t undo it? There’s no going back?”

“Then you should have had protected sex.”

“We went bare only once! And she was supposed to take care of herself!”

“Well, it takes two to make a baby and you did your part well. Get over it.”

Kasiobi raises the volume of the music once again. His mood is not lifted and the liquor does not make him feel any better. He corks the bottle and dumps it on the backseat. When he lifts his head, he catches Lexus yawning, her arms stretched out under the full moon, lifting her t-shirt to reveal a body he had missed. Kasiobi eyes rests on her navel briefly before they travel up to her breasts which are not held in a bra.

She returns to the SUV. Quietness takes over. A moaning woman lends her voice to the night as the waves provide background music to her pleasure. Kasiobi feels some kind of calm settling in.

“Russell was not my boyfriend,” Lexus reveals. Kasiobi looks at her. “We never fucked. You were the last guy I laid with. Russ and I were just friends.”

“He was all over your Facebook and gram.”

“He was in love. I wasn’t. I was still all about you.”

“Why did you leave?” Kasiobi asks.

“Kas… I turned twenty-seven and reality hit hard. All my friends were getting married or having babies and I didn’t want that. Not then. Not now. Not ever. But you were there, making me breakfast in bed, talking about how many kids you wanted, asking if I’d like a diamond ring… We wanted two different things, Kas. You just automatically assumed that because we had something deep going on, that I wanted to commit and that I wanted the same things you wanted…”

“Then why didn’t you say that?”

“I did. So many times but you thought I was playing. And so I had to leave. I didn’t want to lead you on or get to the point where I was forced into wearing a wedding dress. It was the hardest decision to take, Kas. In many ways, I regret it but at that time, I just had to leave.”

“Your dad is right about you. You’re spoilt, selfish and impulsive. Why are you back sef? To torture me again?”

“To build my life, Kas. My tattoo parlor needs to really kick off and I want to do something huge with my art. Diversify. Maybe go into fashion or anything that needs designing. I’m not so sure. But I’m tired of America, abeg.”

“After breaking Russell’s heart.”

“I was not his girlfriend like that.”

“So what do you want from me?”

“Nothing. Just you and me as friends like we used to be.”

Kasiobi cackles. “Yeah, good luck with that.”

He climbs down and makes to walk to the driver’s side of the SUV but Lexus stops him.

“I’ll drive. You’re tipsy.”

He hesitates for a second and then gives in. She takes the wheel while he sprawls on the backseat, head on one end, feet resting on the other.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

Vhasti wakes him up, all four limbs doing a catwalk on his body. He’s thinking to himself as he stirs awake that one of these days he’s going to kill the cat.

He picks her up by her neck and flings her off the bed, across the room. She whines angrily before scuttling away. His eyes open fully, colors of grey and claret, mixed with a deep shade of brown that seems almost black, come to him intrusively. The scent of Genesis’ mild perfume caresses his nostrils and he immediately longs for her, noting he is alone on the bed. Their fight from yesterday carries on, no doubt, and he knows it falls on him to make amends.

She had slept beside him the night before, Zoe in her arms. Zach who is a lot different from his twin can sleep well in his cot without any fuss. But Zoe is different. She still enjoys being breastfed and sometimes nuzzles in Genesis’ arms before she sleeps. Last night she had kept them both awake and slept only after Genesis sang to her, much to Dominic’s annoyance. But he had dared not complain because Genesis’ wrath was waiting in a corner, ready to be unleashed. This morning, he hopes it is all expired.

He leaves the bed to the bathroom, and after washing his mouth, he walks back to the room and out to the balcony where breakfast is laid on a table and Genesis sits staring out, wearing only his shirt.

He takes it as a good sign as he bends to give her a kiss. The cold feel of her cheek beneath his warm lips reminds him that she is still mad at him.

“Coffee or tea?” She regards him with silent eyes. He sits.

“Tea.” He yawns.

She lifts one of two silver kettles off the table and pours him a full mug of coffee. He pretends not to notice.

“Sugar or honey?”

“Sugar.”

She tips in honey.

“Milk or cream?”

“Whatever you want.”

She adds nothing and passes him the mug.

“Thanks.”

“There’s toast bread I made. It has cheese and egg in it with slices of sausage.”

“No, I’m good.”

She pushes a saucer of the said toast towards him. He knows better than to reject it.

“Thanks.”

As he takes his first sip of coffee, he keeps his stare on her. Netted hair, face free of makeup, passive-aggressive, she presents an un-screwable-with exterior. The moment passes by in quietness and then she speaks.

“Don’t ever call me names again, Nick. I’m not that type of girl. Don’t do it. Ever. Give me the same respect I give you.”

“I’m sorry, sweetheart.”

She rises up. He smiles. He loves this side of her and relates better with it than the side that cries and throws tantrums. But she won’t be Genesis if she doesn’t switch from diva to boss lady at caprice. It is what keeps her employees on their toes.

He takes her hand as she makes to leave.

“Let’s go somewhere today. To Seyi’s place. Back to that bedroom where we first made love as husband and wife. You remember.”

Warmth clouds her eyes briefly.

“To what gain? You’ll disappear tomorrow to some end of the earth. Why bother?”

Dominic pulls her onto his laps.

“We can recreate that night. No kids. No work. Just Mr. and Mrs. Ditorusin.”

“Tempting, but no thank you.”

She tries to remove his hands from her body but fails.

“You do this every time – come home, wow me with gifts and great sex and while I’m still recovering from the magic, you disappear. I feel like I don’t own you, Nick, and I don’t think I ever will. No one can. I’m beginning to understand that.”

She manages to free herself and gets back on her feet.

“I’ll be waiting at Seyi’s this evening,” he says. “Please, come.”

Genesis walks to the door.

“Nice ass, by the way,” he compliments. She stops and turns. He doesn’t look at her as he picks the day’s newspaper off the table.

Later on, after the fight is settled over angry sex in his study, Genesis tells him she is making plans to bring Mamisi to come live with them. The reaction to this is a cutting glower from him.

“Can you repeat yourself?”

“Mamisi is well now. She’s out of her catatonia and can communicate as well as she used to. I don’t want to take her to a retirement home, Nick. She deserves more.”

“She deserves nothing.” Dominic’s husky tone comes with a sting. “I wonder why she didn’t even die.”

“Nick!”

“She is not coming here. Period.”

“Nick, she’s my mother. She raised me when I had no one and took me to the best schools…”

“She taught you how to sleep with other people’s men and then bring them to nothing. Have you forgotten? This same woman arranged five men to rape you and sat there watching the whole ordeal. She is not your mother and she is not welcome into this house.”

“She has nobody, Domi. Nancy is no longer in the country. All she has is me and I think I owe her that much.”

As Genesis speaks, Dominic pours himself a stiff glass of whiskey.

“And I think she has changed after her ordeal. She lost everything.”

Dominic leans on his work desk and turns his eye on his wife.

“Please, Nick. I know how you feel about her and I know you think I’m being weak… but my conscience won’t let me rest if I send her to some old people’s home when she’s full of life.”

Dominic ponders on the situation. Genesis is still oblivious of the fact that Mamisi is her biological mother. He fears that the old woman would let that cat out of the bag if Genesis threatens to cut her loose. He also understands where Genesis is coming from. She alone had paid Mamisi’s hospital bills during her nineteen-month stay in a mental institution. She alone visited her every Saturday, judiciously, throughout the woman’s stay there. Dominic understands how difficult it would be to sever that relationship. But what he doesn’t understand is why it has to become part of his life too.

“That woman is soulless, Gen, and to have her here with the kids worries me.”

“Me too. And that’s why I want to suggest that we put her in the guest house, upstairs.”

Dominic shut his eyes. “Please, don’t do this, Gen. Don’t do this.”

“Please?”

“Okay, we’ll do it this way. I will rent her a house close by and get a maid for her and you can see her as often as you want. Is that okay?”

Silence meets his suggestion. He opens his eyes and sees a sad Genesis.

“That’s the most I can do, sweet cakes.”

“Okay.”

He drops his glass of Johnny Walker. “Come here.”

Genesis walks over to him and he holds her in a sheltered embrace.

“Your good heart will get you in trouble, baby,” he whispers. “Sometimes you just have to be a coldhearted bitch.”

She smiles.

“But you’ll learn. You’ll learn soon.”

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

This is one of those days when I don’t feel like going to work. Owing to the way the weather has been since the month before, it has become increasingly difficult to leave my bed at mornings. I’d rather sleep in for an extra hour or two but sadly, I don’t have that luxury. Not when the breadwinning role falls on me.

I start my hustle as early as five in the morning and it doesn’t end for me until I get home in the evening, many times, to no food and a messy house. And then it falls on me to prepare dinner and clean up the place, also attending to a toddler, who, having missed me all day, clings to me butter to bread. I am always left exhausted, falling to bed like deadweight until my alarm sounds the next morning and I start the hustle all over again.

I am losing my youth fast. Just the other day, I saw a line breaking on the side of my nose and threatening to go down the side of my mouth. Actually it was Peace who noticed it. She had held my chin and turned my face this way and that and said to me, “Celia, you’re having worry lines. What’s wrong?”

I had laughed, making her look silly with her assertions. But what was I supposed to do? Tell her that I’m both the woman and man in my home? That Shady is not on his way to superstardom and sits about the house in his boxers doing nothing? That we’re relying on my salary alone to take care of us? That I’m on the verge of losing my mind from the suffering?

No, I can’t tell her these things. I just can’t. The façade must continue. Shady’s face must be saved. We must give the impression that all is well with us. We must not let our friends know.

Those had been Shady’s words, actually, not mine, on the day he sat me down and told me that his huge acting break was never going to be as the show was canceled even before it started because the Nigerian crew had squandered a huge sum and were being sued by the producers.

“I have nothing, Cee.” My husband’s voice had been barely a whisper. “I quit my job and I have nothing.”

I had hushed him, told him to stop being pessimistic, told him something bigger was coming. But he laughed and repeated, “I’ve lost everything.”

And I didn’t understand what he meant until months passed and I watched him sit about on the couch all day and all night, doing nothing. Only then did I realize that he had lost his will to do anything. And for me, I had lost the Shady I used to know.

I don’t need to tell you what it means to have a man whose pride is bruised, whose manhood has been robbed of him. And I’ll spare you the ordeal I go through daily to ensure that I keep sane and not wake up one day to set the house on fire with him in it. My job is all the distraction I need but at the same time, it is killing me.

I mumble a prayer as I leave the bed. The bedroom is a mess, of course. Later on, while at work, I will text Shady to help me clean up, praying he catches the mood to do so.

I get into the bathroom and while I shower, I decide that I’ll go see Mary today to borrow some money so I can pay the rent. We’re six months behind and the landlord, who lives next door, isn’t smiling anymore. I am yet to think up a lie to tell Mary when I ask for the money. I’m considering just opening up and telling her the truth. Lord knows I’m tired of lying. Maybe if all our friends know that Shady has been jobless since November, they can all come up with ways to help him. I’m tired of nursing his lazy behind and ego.

When I step out of the shower, I go to the sitting room and without thinking it through, I put a call across to Mary. It’s still dark outside. My landlord’s chicken is crowing.

“Hello?” Mary answers, and only then do I realize I had called too early.

“May, I’m so sorry for waking you up.”

“That’s okay, Cee. I’m wide awake,” she says and chuckles. In the background I hear Ekene’s laugh as well. I instantly know I have interrupted an intimate session. I feel a sting of jealousy. Life is unfair. Mary and Ekene, much like Jide and Honey have everything – the money and the love. But I pine away here, unable to even afford my next salon visit. And sex…let’s not even broach that topic. Shady, amongst other things, has lost his erection as well. I have been in a sexless marriage for months.

“What can I do you for?” Mary asks before bursting out laughing. Ekene’s voice is louder this time. I hear something like a spank and then Mary squeals.

“Cee, can I call you later? I’m kind of in the middle of something here.”

I want to tell her my reason for calling, that I want to see her later in the day but I think against it.

“Okay. Take care.”

“Bye.”

She is off with another giggle. I put my phone away and stare into the dark, feeling tears in my eyes.

“God, for how long?”

I am too weak to pray these days. What do I even pray for? I feel the little strength I have leaving me. I’m no longer the Celia everyone knows. When last did I throw a party or go shopping for underwear or even pay my tithe? In fact, when last did I genuinely smile?

Sobs shake my thin frame and I let it out, knowing I must brace up in a few minutes and embark on another monotonous day. I don’t even have the luxury to cry properly anymore.

“Lord, please give me something new and different today. I’m tired of this life I’m living.”

I stop the tears midstream and dress up for work. I take the bus. The car has issues. It’s somewhat of a miracle that it was able to take us to the Onuoras’ home and back yesterday. I am thinking of selling it but Shady has warned me not to try it. The car, like his fancy clothes, helps put up the impression that all is still well with him.

I arrive at the office to smiley faces from energetic colleagues. Somehow when you’re down in a financial rot, it seems like all is well with the world except you.

“Oga is asking of you,” one of my colleagues informs me.

“Any problem?” I ask, putting my handbag down.

“No. He just poked in his head a few minutes ago and asked of you. Says you should see him once you get in.”

I straighten out my jacket and head straight to my boss’ office, following a long corridor that has walls which appear to be closing in on me. I have often thought about this – if it’s my imagination or if the corridor is too narrow. I am yet to ask anyone if they feel the same way about it.

“Come in,” my boss answers to my gentle rap on his door.

I walk in.

“Morning to you too, Cecelia.”

I smile. There’s something calming about this man. Forget the fact that he is so fat he probably hasn’t seen his toes or penis in years. Forget that he blinks forty-two times (yes, I counted) in one minute. Forget that he has bouts of rage that come from nowhere. Forget all of that and you have the coolest boss in the world who answers to greetings not thrown at him and calls his employees by modified versions of their names.

“Morning, sir.”

“I’m good. And you?”

“Great.”

I make to sit but he asks me to remain standing.

“And that’s because you will be on your way to see Mrs. Charles. Clearly, she was impressed by your first visit and is asking of you.”

At the mention of the name ‘Mrs. Charles’ the image of a young woman in her mid or late thirties or even early forties comes to mind. One can’t really tell how old she is, considering the fact that she takes good care of herself. She reminds me of Genesis Ditorusin, only less glamorous but not lacking in refinement.

However, there’s something strange about her. I just can’t figure it out yet.

“Her driver is already waiting outside to pick you up. She’s up to an early start today and requests to see you this morning.”

“Okay, sir.”

“Please, do everything to impress her the second time, Cecelia. She’s paying big for our services.”

“Of course, sir.”

“Go slay.”

I laugh. This man has jokes for life. Which one is go slay again?

I leave his office, elated that I don’t have to sit behind my desk or hound potential clients with phone calls. Sometimes the job of a financial consultant is easy. Other times, it’s not so much fun.

I step outside the office building. An expensive-looking SUV is parked away from the other vehicles and by intuition I walk to it.

“I’m here for Mrs. Charles?” I say to a sleepy man behind the wheel. He jolts up and bows his head in a greeting.

“Mrs. Celia?” he asks.

I nod. He steps down, goes round and opens the backdoor for me. I enter the luxurious vehicle and soon we’re on our way to see Mrs. Charles. It’s a long drive, one in which I fall asleep. When I wake, we are driving into a compound that takes the breath right out of me. I feel like I have been taken from the streets of Lagos to a dream that stands grand and white with greenery and flowers that could have only be cultivated by a horticulturist suffering from OCD. It’s all too perfect and intimidating and beautiful at the same time.

The driver leads me into the house through a huge glass door I am sure costs as much as my rent. I find myself taken into a cozy den with a little too many couches that have rich fabrics giving off an overall feminine feel. There’s a collection of black and white art and an extensive assemblage of books on shelves that line two walls. The colors are a range of brown and mellow beige, made diffuse with dim lighting coming from wall lamps.

I am asked to make myself comfortable and I do so, waiting for Mrs. Charles. She walks in after a short while, tall and fair, with long braids falling all over the place. The scent of her perfume spells money. But she comes to me, all smiles as if I am an old friend.

“Hello, sweetie.”

I am given a hug and a wet peck on just one cheek.

“How are you?” she asks, some foreign accent present. Can’t tell which.

“I’m good, ma.”

“Ma?” she puts her hand to her chest and laughs. “I’m not that old, baby. Call me Naomi, with a ‘Nay’ not ‘Nah’.”

“Okay.”

“So, have you had breakfast?” she asks, walking away from me. “Follow me, Celia.”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Great. Breakfast is already served.”

She takes me out of the cozy room and up a staircase that brings us to a large empty room with white walls and huge double doors. Naomi throws open the doors and to my surprise, I see a body of water below us. Breakfast is a rich meal of all sorts on a table laid out on a terrace overlooking a lagoon and most of Lagos Island. The sight is amazing.

“Sit down, hon.”

She takes a chair that is wooden except for the all-white cushions resting on it. She stretches out as I settle into the second chair. She is backing the view but I can see it all and I am wondering how much the house itself costs.

Naomi engages me in mild conversation about everything and then finally touches down on the topic of husbands. Her voice mellows at this point and then she stops, asking if she can trust me.

I nod.

She goes ahead to tell me how her husband does not remember she exists.

“I can’t recall when last we had sex. I stopped counting when we went past a year.”

She breaks from chewing a slice of apple.

“It’s like I don’t exist. You don’t know how hard that can be. To have a man constantly around you but you can’t have him.”

I relate to this, I blurt out. Her brows perk up.

“How so?”

I hesitate a little but I can’t hold back now. I need someone to unburden to. And so I tell her everything, my tale coming in tears I have not had the luxury of letting out. Naomi comes to me and lends me her shoulder. It is comforting, as is her hand on my back. When I’m done crying, she suggests we should spend the day at the spa.

“I’m sorry, Naomi. I must go back to work.”

“Work? How do you people do that boring thing?”

“Well, we must survive.”

“Work, work, work, work, work, work,” she sings in a not-so Rihanna tone. I laugh. “It’s all nonsense! Trust me. You need to get your own thing going on, bae. Give me a minute.”

She picks her phone from the table and calls my boss right in front of me, telling him she has hijacked me for the day. They talk for some more minutes and then she hangs up.

“Let’s hit the town, baby.” She winks.

We’re on the road, she behind the wheel, me listening to Melissa Etheridge on the car’s speakers. Mind you, we’re not in the same vehicle that picked me from the party. This is a Bentley—luxurious and girlish—chosen out of a collection of seven cars. Naomi first takes me shopping, calling it retail therapy. She doesn’t buy me much, just a change of clothes out of my office attire. She then drives me to Tirta Ayu Spa in Lekki, a place Noka always talks about. We are given first class treatment, the whole works, something I have never experienced before. It leaves me feeling crisp, refreshed and beautiful.

spa

After that we have lunch at Bangkok Restaurant not far away. At this point, I tell Naomi I have to call it a day.

She opens her handbag and takes out an envelope.

“This should help you solve some of your financial issues.”

“Naomi, you don’t have to…”

“Shh. Just take it.”

“Naomi…”

“Celia, please accept it.”

She clasps my hands around the envelope.

“Don’t open it yet.”

“Okay. Thank you so much.”

She looks into my eyes. “You’re welcome.”

“So, take care,” I tell her, “and I’ll call you tomorrow to know how far on your decision on which brokerage firm you decide to go with and then I’ll also guide you how you can get the best out of them.”

She nods absentmindedly. I doubt that she has heard anything I just said.

“Bye.”

I go for the door handle but I feel her fingers around my neck and before I realize what is going on, Naomi’s lips are on mine.

Shock. Total shock. Earth-shattering shock. Shock that makes you want to slap yourself a few times to wake up shock.

I pull away. “Wh-wh-what the hell was that?”

She returns to her seat, patting her lips as if she is the one that has just been assaulted.

“I like you, Celia.”

“You’re a lesbian?”

“No. I don’t know… I just know I had to kiss you. I’m not a lesbian. I’ve never been with a woman before. I just…I really like you, Cee.”

“Don’t call me Cee!” I shout.

“Please, keep your voice low. I hate when someone shouts on me.”

“Then don’t call me Cee or ever put your lips on me again!”

She nods. “I’m sorry.”

“So this was what this whole day was about?”

“No.”

“And this envelope too?”

“No, Celia. The thing is I hardly have friends. The few I have, it’s either they have slept with my husband or are planning to or they just don’t really like me.”

“Yeah, I can see why.”

“No, no, no, please don’t think of me as this crazy person. I liked you the first time and then again today, I just sort of fell for you…”

“You know what? Take your envelope and it’s goodbye from me. Our business relationship is over.”

She picks the envelope I have flung at her and pushes it into my handbag. “Forget the kiss. You need this. Please, take care of your family. Please.”

I almost burst into tears, realizing how desperately I need whatever it is she is giving me. I really need it. And I hate that I really need it.

I pick my handbag and open the door.

“Bye, Celia.”

I catch moistness in her eyes as I leave and also the look of warmth. I shut the door. There’s a keke passing by. I quickly hail it and it stops a few feet ahead of me. I hurry to it.

“Eko Hotel roundabout,” I say. The keke rider nods. I hop in. Naomi’s Bentley zooms past.

As the keke continues its journey, I take out the envelope and to my shock I find bills of hundred dollars, all thirty of them.

My heart misses its rhythm. I take out the money, shield it with my bag and count again, slower this time – and nothing changes. Three thousand dollars. I quickly get out my phone and calculate how much this amounts to in Naira. The figure I get can pay my rent twice and leave me with change.

I sit in silence, robbed of reasonable thought. I remain that way until I get home. Shady is sitting in his boxers as usual, holding our daughter who has just returned from daycare. I walk past him, uttering a sparse greeting. The smell and state of my house suddenly irritates me having tasted the luxury of Naomi’s home and the spa.

“Did you go to work dressed like this?” I hear Shady ask. I don’t give him a reply. I enter our bedroom and take the money out one more time. It is still the same.

I exhale. How can a fellow woman give me this much money?

I hear my phone ring in my handbag. I take it out. Naomi is calling, of course. I put the phone away. It rings on until it stops. Next, an SMS comes in. I open it. As I suspect, it’s from her.

I’m actually not sorry for the kiss, Cee. I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to more. Please don’t say no. I’ll take care of you better than any man can. And that money, it’s chicken change. There’s more where that is from. Please, think about it, bae.

I fall back on my bed, staring up at the ceiling.

Lord, when I said I wanted something new and different today, I didn’t mean this. Please, take away this temptation.

I close my eyes, clutching the dollars. The kiss lingers.

©Sally@moskedapages

Images: psychologybenefits.orgbombshellssonly.tumblr.com, tirtaayuspa.ng

 

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #2

Good evening,

I’m so sorry for the missed episode of The Immortals’ Code. I was too lazy to do a last minute edit. Please, don’t be mad.

Read the first episode of It’s Another Novocaine Saturday

 

novocaine saturday

It is Noka who first notices the ring on my finger barely seconds after I let them into the house. She has an eye for glittery things, a look of greed I’ve come to accept as part of her nature. And it’s not just the look. It’s her entire person. She is of a covetous kind. It was for this reason she got pregnant for Ibro and became his wife and is now in a loveless marriage. One would expect that she would have learned after all this time but she gets worse by the day.

She clutches my hand and gasps.

“Honey! This is so sexy!”

I smile at her. I think her dress is sexy too. It is worn for Ibro whom she hasn’t seen since in a while. He now lives with Eno in a smaller house somewhere in Ikeja, miles away from her. I can’t imagine her pain. She literally begs him to touch her and it seems she would be doing so tonight. Her dress is red and hugs her curves sinfully, showing off a plunging neckline no one can ignore. It’s a good thing the men are all outside. It would be awkward to have people’s husbands trying not to stare at her boobs.

“Why did you buy it?” she asks of the ring as the others make themselves comfortable on pale yellow couches.

“Jide bought it. It’s my push present.”

“Are you serious?”

“Push what?” Mary asks, glowing in all lights of Ekene’s love. I hardly recognize her these days.

“Push present,” Celia repeats. “It’s a father’s way of saying to the mother of his child, thank you for pushing my child out of your vagina.”

“I’m just hearing of it,” Peace confesses. “But I love the sound of it. I wish men would start giving sex presents too.”

“Well, I get a present every single time Ibro and I have sex…”

Celia stops Noka. “Which is like almost never. Abeg, spare us. We know your husband has money. It’s getting quite irritating the way you remind us. Can’t you learn from Mary? Does she brag about everything Ekene gives her? By the way, they are probably richer than you people but no we won’t hear word from you. Abeg, shush.”

The message is to Noka but somehow all of us comply, no one saying a word after the outburst, waiting for Noka to retort. But she doesn’t. She sits beside me, silent as a mouse.

“Am I the only one that is anxious to actually see our little Jiney?” Mary turns to me. “Madam, go and bring the latest Onuora bundle. Abi you think we came here to look at your ugly face?”

I rise to my feet but stop when Genesis steps into the living room with my little angel. Another moment of jerky silence follows. Of course, my friends are not awed by my baby but have been taken unawares by Genesis’ presence.

“Hi ladies,” she greets, calling each of them by name. Their replies are polite but lacking of cordiality. Only Mary responds with friendliness, rising up to take Jiney off her arms.

“Awww, she’s so adorable. See her face like her daddy’s.”

The others crowd around Jiney and she gets passed round, taking kisses that Jide would not approve of. He is already very protective of her.

Peace is the last person to hold her. She gently rocks her back to sleep after she had been awoken by our loud voices. While she drifts off, we talk about my birth experience and share a good laugh over how it went. They each tell their own birth stories, Celia lamenting on how long it took for her to regain her body back after she had Dara.

“I tied my tummy like there was no tomorrow but it didn’t work. Last-last I resorted to aerobics and tummy exercises.”

Noka lifts my t-shirt without permission. “Who tied yours for you?”

“Nne. Jide doesn’t like it, though. He says it’s archaic.”

“It is,” Genesis agrees.

“It is not,” Noka counters. “It worked for me.”

“And me.” Peace lifts her hand.

“Maybe I didn’t do it well,” Celia says. “It should have worked for me if I did.”

Her statement is said only to oppose Genesis who simply smiles back at her.

“Well, I didn’t tie mine,” Genesis insists.

“And you’re flat like that?” Peace asks, taking everyone’s attention to Genesis’ scandalously-dangerous curves. She is wearing a loose jumpsuit that should naturally understate her sexiness but it does nothing of the sort. Genesis has the type of body that even a blanket would find hard hiding.

“You must have done liposuction,” Noka concludes. “I did mine in Abuja. Who’s your doctor?”

“I didn’t do any liposuction. This is the way my body is. I dance to keep shape.”

“Ah. You’ll come and teach me the dance o!” Mary pats her own tummy. “I need it.”

“No wahala.” Genesis stands up, as do I. I can hear Jide entering the house through the backdoor. I’m guessing he’s getting drinks. They’ll also need peppersoup.

“So can I get you ladies anything?” Genesis asks. “There is goat meat and catfish peppersoup, party jollof, yam porridge and egusi with pounded yam.”

“You cooked all of that?” Peace gapes at her.

“Well, I’ve been here since morning, so…”

My friends look at me as though I have betrayed them but I pretend not to notice. Genesis is as much a friend as any of them. Even more than they may ever be. She had visited as early as 8am, melancholic in her manner when she cornered me in the kitchen to ask how she can help. Nne was leaving to the hospital at that time. Elsie’s eldest daughter, not so accustomed to Nigerian weather, had fallen ill and was admitted in the hospital. Hence, Genesis’ presence was much needed. I asked about why she looked so glum and she told me she had a fight with Dominic just before leaving home. She had admitted it was her fault for giving him stress over his constant absences. She had planned to apologize later in the day but Dominic had resurrected the issue and led them into a row that saw them exchanging offensive words with each other.

“I am tired of the money,” she sobbed. “It’s become a burden. The fame, the status… I wish someone would just take everything away. Just strip it off and let me have Dominic again.”

I lent her my shoulder to cry on and she had a good one. Shortly after, while we ate breakfast with Jide, she told us how she came into Dominic’s life and how they ended up together and built their business to what it is today. It was a peculiar story but a beautiful one. Jide and I advised her to be patient with Dominic and find subtler ways to express her concerns next time. After breakfast, she and I got busy in the kitchen. She did all the cooking while I entertained visitors. I am surprised that she is still pumped to serve my guests after all that work.

“Don’t worry,” Celia speaks, getting up. “We will serve ourselves. This is our house.”

She leads Noka and Peace to the kitchen. Mary stays behind, obsessing over Jiney.

“It’s almost seven o’clock, Honey.” Genesis reads the time on her watch. “I have to go.”

I look at her with a grateful smile. I don’t know how to thank her. Apart from the cooking, she has left a check for Jiney with an amount I’m still reeling from. I give her a bottle of vintage wine to take home to Dominic, and just as she is about leaving, Noka walks in on us with an expression I’m not comfortable with.

“I’ve been trying to place your face, Genesis.”

“My face?”

“Yes.” Noka drops her dish of peppersoup on a stool and straightens up. “Did you ever date the petroleum minister some five, six years ago?”

“Me?” Genesis places a hand on her chest.

“Yes, you. Were you dating him then? He was just a director or something like that in NNPC.”

Peace and Celia file in, each with a dish of something to eat.

“What’s happening?” Celia sits.

“I was just asking Genesis if she ever dated the petroleum minister.”

“That’s silly,” Mary puts in. “The man is in his fifties or so and married with kids. How could she have dated him?”

“Well, shit happens.”

I am upset with Noka. I don’t know where she is going to with her assertions. Genesis is clearly embarrassed by the line of questioning. I already know of her past but I don’t think she needs to explain anything to anyone. I decide to step in.

“Genesis has been here all day and has left her babies for almost twelve hours. Please, allow her go home to them.”

“Just answer the question,” Noka presses.

“Yes,” Genesis replies. “Yes, I dated him. Any problem?”

“So it was you who tore my aunt’s marriage apart.”

“Ojonoka!” I scold. “What’s wrong with you? Behave yourself!”

“Honey, I have to leave,” Genesis announces a second time. “Thanks, again. Goodnight, ladies.”

They all respond, excluding Noka. I walk Genesis to her car and apologize for Noka’s rudeness.

“It’s okay. The past will always come calling, Honey. And maybe I deserve what I’m getting from Nick after what I have done to other people’s marriages.”

“Haba! Don’t speak like that. Your marriage is fine. Dominic adores you. And your past is your past. Ignore Noka. She’s just being the basic bitch she is.”

Genesis pulls me close for a hug. I can feel her heaviness through her hold. I assure her that all will be well. As she drives away, I stand outside until the taillights of her car disappear. Jide calls me over to say hi to the guys. I spend a few minutes with them, accepting congratulatory messages and lighthearted teases. They eventually let me be and I enter the house to give Noka a good scold for her rudeness to Genesis. She listens to my rant without uttering a word but doesn’t show any remorse.

“She ruined my aunt’s marriage, Honey. You would hate her too if she did the same to you.”

“So you hate her?”

“I didn’t say so.”

“You just said so. You hate her for no reason.”

“She is a husband snatcher.”

“Was! That was her past! Why are you judging her without even knowing her?!”

“Honey, calm down,” Mary pleads.

“I’m pissed, abeg!” I retort, keeping my eyes on Noka. “You come to my house to visit me and then you insult my guest! Why can’t you just be a nice person?!”

“I wonder,” Mary murmurs. “You were totally out of line, Noks.”

Noka ignores us both. For all she cares, I might be a buzzing fly trying to steal her peppersoup. Peace motions to me to calm down.

“I think you really need your husband’s dick to help you take the edge off,” I add acerbically. “Try and do that tonight. And by the way, Genesis is here to stay. You just have to get used to her.”

“As long as she’s not stealing my husband, we’re good.”

“Your husband is already stolen,” I bite back as I march off to the kitchen.

What a way to end the day! I wish Bimpe was here. She alone knows how to put Noka in her place. I wonder how she and Bright and the kids are coping in Angola. The last time we spoke on the phone she expressed that she was making friends with other expatriates. She actually used to be my least favorite amongst the wives but I now realize how her presence had been influential on them. Noka needs to be tamed and since Bimpe is not here to do it, I’ll take it upon myself to put her straight.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

Dominic is welcomed into Wura’s three-bedroom home by her cousin. He’s a young boy in his teens, face riddled with pimples and sporting a few strands of hair on his chin. He greets Dominic with a smile much like Wura’s. Dominic returns the gesture as the boy points him into a couch of navy-blue fluffiness that matches little, azure dots on buttery-colored curtains that hang off the windows.

The room is small and cozy, the type of space lovers might enjoy, snuggling in under dim lights and the fragrance of mild incense which Dominic spots burning in a corner. Certainly, Mahmud’s northern influence on Wura inspires her décor choices. The couches all bear distinct Afghan designs that complement each other. And Dominic, without having to look twice, can tell that they are all imported pieces, including the Moroccan lantern hanging off the ceiling that gives the room its subtle lighting.

Dominic makes himself at home in the comfy space, putting away a toy truck he almost crushes as he sits.

“Aunty is in the studio with Pastor Ralph,” the teenage boy informs him. “They’re rehearsing for their concert.”

“Just tell her I’m here. But she shouldn’t rush out. I’ll wait. You know who I am?”

The boy nods.

“Okay. Just inform her I’m here.”

“Yes, sir.”

The boy disappears through a door to his left, leaving it wide open. The sound of music floats in, carrying rich, full notes from a piano playing a familiar song that puts Dominic in a calm disposition. Before long, the smoky tone of Ralph’s voice hits the air, harmonized by Wura’s subtle soprano as they take on Bebe and Cece’s It’s Okay.

Maybe we can talk it over
And save our hopes and dreams
Though the waves seem endless
Somehow we’ll cross this angry sea
With love all things are possible
If we just believe

I need to know, yes it’s okay
Can I hurdle this storm
Yes but only together
With love in our hearts, the only way
Somehow, things will work out just you wait and see

 Oh it will, believe it will

See real life confrontations
Caused our vows to break
But I learned the word forgiveness
Can time chase the pain away
True love made our hearts inseparable
If we just believe

But right now it hurts so bad
And feels so bad
But tomorrow waits with laughter
If we endure the tears then joy comes after

I need to know, you need to know
It’s gonna be okay
Can I hurdle this storm, oh-oh-only together
With love in our hearts, the only way
And somehow, somehow
Somehow I can feel love again
Somehow, things have worked cause you stayed with me
I’m glad to know it’s okay

 It’s okay

As the ending notes on the piano die down, Dominic realizes that the song has taken him to an emotional place. His fight with Genesis earlier had been the worst they ever had. He had called her names that he wishes he can unsay. The pain he saw in her eyes as she hurried out of the house might need more than a verbal apology from him to heal. It would need all of him, and he isn’t so sure he has the time or endurance to give Genesis what she wants at the moment. She was raised a diva, taught to be demanding of her men. She either gets the best or nothing, and this includes affection and time. If Dominic doesn’t love her the way she wants to be loved or spends quality time with her, they get into a fight. He is coming to learn that as successful and as business-savvy as she is, she is beginning to lose grip of what’s important to them as entrepreneurs. He fears that she will let her sentiments get the best out of their business and ultimately ruin what they had both worked for. It is for this reason he is paying Wura an August visit. She alone can fix things.

“The Don himself!”

Ralph emerges from Wura’s studio. Dominic rises up to share a handshake and a manly hug with his childhood friend. Ralph enquires about Dominic’s family and Dominic replies that all is well. When Dominic throws the same question his way, Ralph presents an uneasy smile.

It is hardly news that he and his wife are going through a difficult divorce. As Ralph had shared with Dominic a short while ago, the marriage had been hanging by a thread for years, both of them managing each other for the sake of their reputation as church leaders. But his wife woke up one morning and decided to share with the women fellowship in a tear-jerking session that she was leaving Ralph. He got the shocking news from the general overseer’s wife after it had spread around the church like a California wildfire. Ralph did everything within his power to change his wife’s mind but it was obvious she stopped loving him a long time ago. Thus, their nine-year marriage was tossed into the hands of court documents and lawyers.

The collapse of their relationship left Ralph broken but filled him with a desire to minister to folks like him going through tough times in their marriages and relationships. And what better person to have on his tour than Wura, a woman who was publicly disgraced when her past was shared to the public in sordid videos that went viral just a week to her wedding. She had withdrawn from church and work, following the devastating scandal, also breaking off her engagement with Mahmud who was insistent on marrying her despite everything. She then fell into depression that saw her admitted into a psychiatric clinic. Ralph stood by her through the duration of her hospitalization, especially when Mahmud had to leave the country for a surgery course in Saudi Arabia. During the period, two broken souls sought God and found healing, and together commenced on the tour that has so far run for three months and will come to an end in a mega gospel concert organized by Novocaine Knights at the end of the month. As told to Dominic by Ralph, this final concert would be Wura’s first appearance since her public disgrace. Prior to this, she had stayed behind the piano and lent her voice as a backup singer alone. This would be her chance to share her story and redeem herself through her music.

“Hello Wura.” Dominic smiles at her as his eyes shifts to the corner where she stands like a stranger in her own home.

“Good evening, sir.” She curtsies in her usual courteous manner.

“I like what you did with this place.”

“Thank you, sir. And you’re heartily welcome to my home.”

“Where’s Bilal?” he inquires of her son.

“Sleeping.”

“By this time? Ah. You’re in trouble at night be that.”

Wura shakes her head in exaggerated self-pity. “He keeps me up every night. Every single night.”

“I feel your pain.”

“Sorry for interrupting you guys but I gotta run.” Ralph extends his hand for a handshake and blows a kiss at Wura before stepping out.

“Mr. Dominic, can I get you something to drink? Don’t mind my stupid cousin. The boy doesn’t have manners.”

“No, it’s fine. I’m good.”

“This is your first time here since I decorated the place,” Wura says, moving towards him, her long Ankara skirt making a whooshing sound as she walks.

“Yes, it is.”

She settles into one of the Afghan couches and picks a throw pillow that has gold trimmings on its corners.

“So, Mr. Dominic, this one that you visited me this evening, I’m scared o.”

“Relax.” Dominic laughs. “It’s all good news, the first of which is that Lexus is back.”

Pleasant surprise fills Wura’s face as she gasps. “Are you serious? When?”

“I was in my study this morning and next thing she was standing in front of my table. Best surprise ever.”

“Awww, that’s so sweet. I can’t wait to see her.”

“I’ll give you her new number before I go.”

“Okay, thank you. Yay! Lexi’s back!”

“So, Wura…” Dominic moves forward on his seat. “The reason I came here is to offer you your old job back.”

The pleasantness drains from Wura’s face.

“Novo needs you, Wu. Your management skills are top notch. Genesis and I haven’t been able to fill that hole you left. You were our most valuable player on the team.”

“Sir… you’ve forgotten that a client recognized me from the videos.”

“A client. Just one. And really, it doesn’t matter. We, your family, we did not judge you. We stood by you through that difficult time and we’re still here for you. You’ve been brave enough to put yourself out there again in your music tour with Ralph.”

“I stay in the shadows literally.”

“Well, it’s time you stepped out. You can’t keep punishing yourself for your past, Wura. You have to let it all go. And since you’re going to be on stage with Ralph for this final concert, I don’t see why you can’t take back your place as Novo manager again.”

“Sir, I don’t know. Even the thing with Ralph, I’m still contemplating. The moment I step on that stage, they’ll resurrect everything. The videos will resurface.”

Dominic leaves his seat to hers and lifts her restless hands off her skirt.

“Remember I was accused of murder and I had no one to defend my name?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You never asked me how I got over it or maybe somehow you think my heart is made of stone.”

“No, I don’t think it is.”

“It is not. I’m as human as you are and I’ve been where you’ve been and the only way I survived was just to keep going. Your shit is already out there. You can’t do jack about it. Some people will forever call you a stripper. You can’t undo that. But what you can do from now on is to write a different future for yourself. And we all believe in your greatness, Wuraola. We need you to start believing in that greatness too. Will you do that for all of us?”
Wura nods, eyes brimming with tears.

“Your salary would be doubled and you’ll get a brand new car plus other benefits. Please, consider the offer.”

“I’ll think about it, sir.”

Dominic lets go of her hand and stands up.

“Lexi’s number?” she requests as she pulls out her phone from her pocket. “So she’s completed her art course?”

“Yes, she has, and she’s back home to stay.”

“Yay! I’ve missed her like mad.”

Dominic passes Wura his phone and she copies out Lexus’ phone number.

“She says she still has to go back to iron out a few things but she particularly came because she has a surprise for us.”

“And you don’t like surprises.” Wura laughs.

“You know me nau. I was like madam, I hope you’re not pregnant for that white boy sha. That one will not go down well with me. I’m sorry but I agree with my wife that I’m the occasional racist. I will not be the grandfather to white kids.”

“Sir, it’s not that deep nau. If Lexus decides to marry the guy, then I’m sure he’s cool.”

“And Kasiobi?”

“I think you just have a bias for Kasi.”

“I do. He’s been endorsed by Gen and I and Lexus better adjust her sights on him. Enough of this her white boy persuasion.”

Still laughing, Wura shakes her head as she hands Dominic back his phone.

“I’m on way, Wura. Take care and be sure to give me your answer soon.”

“No wahala, sir.”

Wura walks him to the door and once he steps out into the night, he dials Genesis. For the eighth time, she refuses to take his call.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

novocaine saturday

Kasiobi stares inattentively at the girl in the voicing booth. She is just another voice that would be forgotten soon, even before she is known. There is no question about the power of her vocals. Her cords pack a punch but that is all there is to it. She lacks what it takes to be a star. He had sensed it on their first meeting, by just looking at her, that she wasn’t hungry enough for the fame, but he had obliged her– only as a favor to a friend.

He lets her have her moment in the booth while his mind travels to Lexus whose image he can’t quite get out of his head.

He had gone to pick her on Genesis’ request and found her in a t-shirt and distressed black skinnies, topped with a red fedora. A pair of gray Yeezy Boost 350 sneakers which probably cost a fortune also caught his eyes. Her overall look screamed ‘model off-duty’. Casual, yet chic. Kasiobi concluded her designer boyfriend was responsible for her new sense of style which had turned her tomboy looks to something modish. And he also noticed that she was fuller at the hips and bust, having added some weight in the right places. It gave her an overall mature look which turned heads. Everything about her begged to be noticed but in typical Lexus fashion, she was oblivious of what was going on around her.

Taxi drivers had tried unsuccessfully to get her attention but her phone had all her concentration. She didn’t even notice that Kasiobi was standing a couple of breadths away from her. His eyes had been on her tattoos, checking to see if she had inked on something fresh, but all he saw were the old ones.

Nothing new. Yet everything different about her. She remained the same girl who used to be his best friend amongst other things but was now a stranger.

“Lex?”

Her head jutted up, her eyes falling into Kasiobi’s in surprise.

“H-hey.”

Some uncomfortable seconds passed and then she put her arms around him for a hug of which he didn’t object to. He felt the familiar crush of her breasts on his chest and the softness of her skin that translated into memories of intimate moments.

“I’ve missed you, Kasbi.”

He had realized just then that his anger at her would not last long and it got him irate at himself. Having Lexus as a friend was fine but having her back as the girl that had the power to crush his resolve put him on edge.

Lexus broke from the hug. “Let me guess. Genesis sent you to pick me up.”

“She’s busy.”

“It’s fine. Awkward. But fine.”

They didn’t speak after that. He helped put her baggage in his vehicle and they carried on in silence as they headed into town. However, Kasiobi interrupted the peace when they hit their first traffic stop. He unfastened his seatbelt and leaned towards her. When she returned his stare, his lips took hers unexpectedly. He kissed her like he had forgotten something in her mouth and was searching for it. He went in deep and hard, his puny anger making a comeback. But he stopped abruptly and went back to the wheel.

The silence continued, now burdened with fresh sexual tension that Kasiobi had supposed was dead. He was amazed at how quickly Kira was forgotten and all he thought about was kissing Lexus again. He looked at her. Her face was pressed to the window. Her fedora was resting on her laps, letting free her full, long hair which fell all the way to her neck in different tones of brown. Preoccupied eyes continued to stare out but she turned suddenly and caught him ogling.

And to him, that had been the defining moment. Looking into her eyes, he knew he was going to let her back in as easily as it had been for her to walk out on him. The thought annoyed him a great deal and he expressed it with more quietness, giving quick, terse responses when she tried to engage him in conversation.

“Clearly, you’re still mad at me,” she finally said when he neared the street that led to the Ditorusin mansion. He kept his face away. The sight of people walking about a drab street on a busy morning was good distraction.

“Kas, I’m sorry.”

“Let’s not go back there, Lex.”

“I tried to explain but you never let me,” she complained in a Nigerian drawl that had been tainted with an American accent.

“Tonbra, shut the fuck up.”

She obeyed – but only for a few seconds.

“You know what? Fuck you, Kas. You think breaking up with you was easy? It was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. I had massive feelings you.”

“And yet you walked away.”

“I don’t expect you to understand what I was going through at the moment.”

“Oh, it’s about you now and what you were going through? When did you become so complicated sef? You have feelings for a guy and yet you leave him? I don’t get it. What happened to the Lexus who loved the simple life and lived for the moment?”

“That was what I was looking for!” she uttered. “Just the moment! Just two of us being two of us and having fun every day but…”

She broke off, staring out again.

“Tonbra, what happened to you?”

She looked at him with a weary smile. “You. You happened to us. You screwed up what we had with bullshit talk about love and marriage and…having kids.”

“And that’s a bad thing?”

“It was scary. I wasn’t ready to be responsible for anyone’s feelings or even be responsible for anyone at all.”

Kasiobi tried to ponder on her words but shook the silliness of them off his shoulders before they settled in.

“You know what? I officially give up on you. We should end this talk now and never have it again.”

“Fine.”

“Good.”

The silence returned, and went on until he pulled up in front of her house. When he said goodbye to her with a hug, he sensed that she had something to say. But she stepped back and he waited, watching stray curls of her hair, blown by gentle morning breeze shimmer in hues of brown as they flipped across her face.

“I don’t want to lose our friendship, Kas. It was and still is more important than anything else.”

“Lexus, you can’t just separate our friendship from our love life. They were interwoven. You did not only betray me as a girlfriend. You broke my heart as a friend and it’s hard to go back to being us.”

“So I should give you time?” she asked.

He gave no reply, entered his ride and fired it up.

“Bye, Lex.”

He drove away, leaving her outside the gates of the house with a look on her face that was going to break him if he stayed longer. When he got home, he fixed himself a scanty breakfast and let Kira in just to watch her grovel.

Twelve hours have gone by since then and Kira is still groveling. While the ambitionless girl in his studio sings herself into a delusion, Kira prepares a meal of starch and banga soup to appease Kasiobi. She sets a lavish table and pokes her head in to let him know that dinner is ready.

“I’ll be out in a jiff,” he replies. But he takes longer. A whole hour later. When he eventually comes out, he finds a pouting Kira and a dish that has gone cold. He renders no apologies to her. Kira is now quite used to his poor eating habits, and being that she is still in a contrite mood, she makes no complaints about her food being ignored.

“Don’t you have somewhere else you have to be?” Kasiobi asks, walking into his bedroom. “With Mayor or something?”

“He dumped me. Said I should move out of the house.”

“Maybe you’ve been begging the wrong person all day. He’s your sugar daddy. Go back to him and grovel. I’m not going to take over from him. I can barely feed myself.”

“I’m not asking you to take care of me.” Kira clutches Kasiobi and rests her head on his chest. “I can take care of myself.”

“By finding a new blesser?”

She gives no answer.

“Go home, Kira. We’ll talk tomorrow, abeg.”

She looks up at him. Her expression turns innocent. “I’m still your girlfriend?”

Kasiobi stares back, finding her artificial lashes and the deep red blush on her cheeks distracting.

“We’ll talk tomorrow,” he repeats.

“I want to spend the night. I’m scared of what Mayor will do to me if I go back there this night.”

“Kira…” Kasiobi sighs in exhaustion.

“Please, baby.”

He releases another sigh, twirling the edges of her hair in his fingers. He has no plans to do away with her just yet. She could be good reason to keep Lexus away from him.

“Just tonight.”

Fingers dig into his joggers from behind and squeeze his butt as a kiss meets his lips, seizing his mouth without consent. His t-shirt is peeled off his body and he finds himself falling backwards until he hits the bed. Kira sits on him, her face disappearing in the darkness as the power goes out.

novocaine saturday

She drops her weight over him for another kiss but a flash of light from his phone on the bedpost alerts him of a notification.

He picks the phone and sees that it’s a Whatsapp message from an unknown contact. He taps it open.

-Hi Kas, this is Lex. Store my new number

He types out a reply.

-Okay

He adds her to his contact list as another message comes in.

“Who is it?” Kira inquires. Kasiobi ignores her and reads Lexus’ message.

-I’m about to send you something. Please, don’t freak out

He waits. A blurry photo pops up in the chat thread. He taps on it and waits some more. When it clears up, the photo of a baby held in Lexus’ arms is displayed. Kasiobi frowns and thumbs over his keyboard.

-Whose baby is it?

He glues his eyes to his phone screen as the double tick that indicates his message has been delivered turns blue. An uneasy feeling takes over his mood. A few more seconds pass and he repeats his question.

-Whose baby?

Lexus’ answer drops in.

-Yours, Kas. She’s your baby.

©Sally@moskedapages

 

 

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