Tag Archives: baby

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #16

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noka

My mom, the religious nut she is, will always tell me, “Nothing is ever hidden under the sun. One day God will expose you.” It makes me always wonder what type of mother she is. Normal mothers support and protect their kids but my mom will gladly throw me under the bus to please Jesus. And today, she has reared up her ugly head to remind me that nemesis is at my door.

“Mommy, I have heard you,” I say to her on the phone. I don’t even know why I answered her call. I am in the middle of something here.

“Ojonoka, pray o! Pray well-well! Devil wants to use you.”

Devil is already using me. He’s six foot tall, rugged, the exact opposite of my husband and he is presently screwing his fine tool into my lady parts. So, nothing new, mommy. I am potty in the hands of the devil because you refused to help me cover my sins.

“Can I go now?” I tell her gruffly, biting down my lower lip to contain the pleasure the father of my illegitimate son is giving me. I can’t tell you his name, so let’s call him B.

I dump my phone on the floor and clasp my arms around B as he digs in deeper in a manner that would make you think he wants to drill a hole all the way to my mouth. But it’s pleasure to me. It comes with pain that I’m used to. Pain that I like. This is a lot better than waiting and begging to be loved by Ibro. Forget that I shed tears before Celia just the other day. It’s tears of regret, not of guilt. I regret that I didn’t listen to my mom when she told me to be straight with Ibro on the issue of my first son. The money was all I saw and I was going to have it even if it meant denying my own blood. That was what I did, and now, I am paying for it. B has refused to stay in the shadows but it’s all good. This is a blessing in disguise. He gives me the attention Ibro denies me. Yes, I have to pay for it but body no be firewood. This is me loving myself. So, please don’t judge. You have no idea what it means to be neglected and to spend many nights alone until you have walked in my shoes. I started collecting B’s tool a long time ago but for people like Celia and Bimpe who like to poke their noses into people’s affairs, I had to play the victim card.

The two annoying creatures caught me leaving a hotel with B a year ago. It was after dark and we had the shadows to our advantage but that hawk-eyed Bimpe sighted us from afar as B was shoving his tongue down my throat while begging me to go back with him to the hotel for another round.

“Is that not Noks?” I heard her say. I froze and spun around. Guilt filled my face but I played a quick one, when I turned around, slapped B and hurried towards my friends.

“Noka, what is going on here?” Celia asked. I began to cry. She faced B. “Excuse me, what were you just doing to my friend?”

B laughed. “Ask her.”

And then he walked away. I held Bimpe tightly and bawled my eyes out. When they were finally able to get me to stop, I opened up to them and revealed everything. The only part I doctored was the part about how I enjoyed my moments with B.

“Please, don’t tell anybody,” I cried. “If Ibro hears it, he will divorce me. What will now be left of me and the boys?”

Celia who was also in tears with me, promised that she would keep her mouth shut. Bimpe also gave her word. All has been good so far. My mom’s prophecies can hit a brick wall and shatter to nothingness for all I care. The universe is on my side. Ibro does not love me. B is my recompense.

“Is he as good as this?” B asks me, his hand grasping my hair as he grinds me senseless.

“No,” I reply breathlessly.

“Say it.”

“You’re the best,” I moan.

“Again!”

“You’re the best!”

He is not the best, though. Ibro is. My husband can make love like humanity depends on his dick for survival. But dick that can form for Africa, is that one dick?

I hold on to B, clutching his hairy butt for more of what he’s giving but I know dude is spent. So I brace myself for the end of my short-lived pleasure and start making plans for dinner. My boys are spoilt; they won’t eat yesterday’s leftovers or the nanny’s meals. I have to go home and prepare something fresh.

“Please, don’t cum,” I beg B. If only he listens and lasts as long as Ibro does.

“I’m sorry, baby but…”

He cums. Hard and noisily. I wish I have another fifteen or more minutes to spare to get the full measure of the type of pleasure I want.

B withdraws from me. I pull my legs up. He can see that I’m not happy but he doesn’t care. Shey he has taken all my money and gotten his satisfaction.

“Same time, next week?” he asks. “Or rather, come earlier. These days you just want to pop in and dash out. What’s up with that?”

I shrug. These days I’m being careful. Celia is insisting I tell Ibro the truth and my mother keeps preaching to me. Somehow it’s all getting to me.

“Nothing. I’m just busy.”

“Don’t be too busy for me.” He taps my ass, and when I try to walk away, he pulls me back. “Watch this.”

He shows me a video on his phone. It’s the latest recording of our son. Tears fill my eyes as I watch the boy playing football with a friend. B might be greedy and lacking of morals but he’s a good dad. He actually uses some of the money I send to him on our son. I am grateful for that.

“I’m tired of him asking for his mother.” B stops the video midway. “When are we going to tell him the truth?”

My tummy knots. “B…” I sigh. “You want me to lose my marriage? Where will the money come from if I do?”

“Your son thinks you’re his aunt and that we’re brother and sister. How does that sound right in your ears?”

“As right as you eating my monthly income!” I yell. “I don’t hear you complaining about that! But if you want it to stop coming, go ahead and tell him who I am! In fact, go and tell the whole world! Or better still, invest the money so that when my husband eventually kicks me out of his life, we’ll have something to fall back on!”

I hiss and pick my clothes off the floor. He watches me without saying a word as I dress up.

“See you next week.”

I pick my handbag and phone and head out. The moment I shut the door, I bump into Eno.

I gasp. Loudly. She gasps as well. She is also leaving a hotel room, and I can hear the voice of a man. Well, well… This should be interesting.

“Noka.” She recovers faster than I do. “What are you doing here?”

I am about to throw the same question at her when the door behind me opens and B sticks out his brainless head.

“Baby, you forgot your watch.”

I grab it from him and he retreats, totally oblivious of what he has just done. I turn around to find Eno’s arms crossed and a malicious look on her face.

“Noka, what did I just use my two eyes to see?”

“I should also ask you the same question,” I throw back at her as the man she is with steps out of the hotel room. Unfortunately for me, even before she says a word, I can see a clear resemblance between her and the guy. They possess the same complexion, same eyes, same lips and same color of brown hair.

“You mean, this guy?” She laughs. “This is my baby brother who just completed his NYSC and is here for some seminar being organized by this hotel. Should I assume that the guy that just handed you your wristwatch is your brother too?”

“Erm…yes. I’m his sister.”

“So brothers call sisters ‘baby’?”

I laugh drily. “That’s what everyone calls me at home.”

“I see. So, Ibro knows him?”

“I… No. Ibro hasn’t met him yet. He doesn’t live in Nigeria. He just came in from…Kuwait. He’s a…basket baller. See how tall he is? Hehehe.” I scratch my neck uneasily. I’m a rusty liar.

“I see. Why don’t you take him home? Why is he here?”

“Erm…”

She walks past me and knocks on the door. Stupid B opens it.

“Hey, Noka’s tall brother.”

B frowns at her and then turns his eyes on me.

“I’m Eno, Noka’s mate.”

“Mate?”

“We’re married to the same man.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, nice to meet you. I was just scolding her about letting you stay here when she has this really fancy house.”

“No, it’s fine. I’m…”

“Nonsense. You should come to hers. My husband would be glad to meet you. Seems you guys haven’t met before, which is quite strange. He knows every member of my family. I don’t see why he shouldn’t know Noka’s.”

Right now, I am praying for a bomb to drop or rapture to happen so that I can escape this mess. How do I get out of this one?

“Really, I’m fine here.”

“Okay. If you say so but Ibrahim won’t like it. Welcome to Nigeria.”

B looks at me. I smile.

“Thank you.”

He goes back into the room. Eno turns to her brother.

“Get your things, let’s go home.”

I see a complaint on his face but the frown she flashes him makes him disappear back into his room. The moment he leaves, she faces me.

“You smell of sex, you know that? Your hair is a mess, your lipstick is gone and there is guilt all over your face.”

“Sex? What are you talking about?”

“I have nothing more to say to you. Ibro will hear about this…”

“Eno, no.” I grab her hand. She looks at me and I withdraw. “Let me explain…”

She opens the door to her brother’s hotel room. “Explain it to your husband.”

And that is how my mom’s has used her mouth to jinx my good fortune. I clutch my fearful heart and handbag and leave the hotel to my car where I mull over what awaits me. It doesn’t matter what I would cook up to tell Ibro, Eno will paint a terrible picture and that would be the end of me. The only person that can save me is my mom but she would rather be burnt at a stake for Jesus than lie to save her daughter’s ass.

I am done for. Nobody can tell me anything. My own is finished. I better call the girls and start finding a way to twist this tale my way.

∞∞∞∞  ∞∞∞∞  ∞∞∞∞

I haven’t seen Naomi since the incident. I had taken her to the hospital that night, following what her husband did to her, and stayed until the morning when she begged me to leave. She expressly told me I was never to visit her again. I knew it was the abused woman in her talking and so I ignored her pleas, went home and checked in on her later that day. I wasn’t allowed in to see her, however. I left and made plans to visit the following day. When I returned, I was told that she had been transferred to another hospital. According to the nurse at the front desk, the doctor who had handled a few other similar cases from Naomi was tired of her shielding her husband and lying about her injuries. She had claimed the latest one was from a car crash and he wasn’t buying it. Hence, he asked her to leave, stating that he was scared of being implicated if she eventually ended up dead. No one knew what hospital she was taken to. I called her number several times but she ignored my calls. I am scared for her.

It’s a Tuesday, a tiring one, but not too tiring for me to respond to a call from a friend. I don’t do it alone. I take Peace and Honey along to see Mary. I don’t really suggest the visit. I just drive up to see Peace, pick her up and then do the same to a whining Honey.

“I’m tired,” she complains. “This is 3pm. We’ll jam traffic on the way. Can’t we do this during the weekend?”

“No. Lasting friendships do not run on convenience. Mary needs us…”

“No, she needs you. She called you alone.”

“Honey, stop being such an annoying person this afternoon.”

“I’m tired!” she almost cries.

“Enter the car, jare.”

“You’re lucky I used a cab today. I wouldn’t have followed you,” she says, taking the backseat. Once she gets in, she sets to nurse Jiney. “I hate you, Celia.”

“Feeling’s mutual.”

I get in behind the wheel.

“What’s with Mary, though?”

“I don’t know. She called me, says she needs to talk.”

“Then it’s serious. Mary’s the one we all go to when we need to vent. Now she needs to talk to someone. That’s new. I hope Kene’s not being an ass.”

“I hope so too.”

I put the car in gear and we drive away. For the first part of the journey, we are quiet. Well, Honey and I are. Peace is on a phone call with one of the girls manning her boutique. After trying her hands at different businesses and small-time jobs, Peace decides to settle for running a boutique. Reno finances the project single-handedly and now her stylish shop stands in one of the lavish spots at the Lekki mall, the one owned by the BSD Group.

“I didn’t want to go expensive,” she explains to us after the phone call, “but Reno insisted. And now, the shop is draining me.”

I rub her thigh. “Things will be fine.”

“But I think the whole thing is Reno’s way of letting you guys know that, despite the fact that everyone’s giving him the silent treatment, he has not crawled up into one hole and died. He is doing very well.”

“He’s a rapist,” I remind her even though I know it would hurt her.

“Ex-rapist,” she corrects.

“Celia, be nice,” Honey scolds.

“But he’s your current friend with benefits?” I look at Peace.

“Cee, don’t start.”

“Swear that you’re not having sex with him.”

She stares away from me.

“You see?”

“Once in a blue moon.”

“That’s why you dumped the German guy? Eyha.” I make a weepy face. “And I was hoping for cute kids.”

“Oyibos are overrated if you ask me,” Honey states. “Besides, he couldn’t fit into our circle.”

“Hon, he got circumcised for her and she didn’t even let him taste the goods.”

“I was not in love with him, Celia,” Peace responds. “Apart from that, at my age, I shouldn’t be looking for love. I shouldn’t even be looking for a man. I can do well by myself.”

“That’s the spirit.” I give her a high five. She doesn’t slap it.

“Awww, you’re hanging my hand. What’s wrong, darling?”

“Nothing.”

She seems annoyed. I really have to stop bringing up these discussions. They always leave her uncomfortable. It’s not an easy decision when you choose to walk on the path of solitude. The new Peace is done with giving her heart to men and to getting involved in any kind of relationship.

“There’s something empowering about being alone but it can also get lonely,” she whispers. “That’s why I still spend some nights with Reno.”

“We’re not judging you, P,” Honey responds. “Ignore the rapist statement Celia made.”

Peace smiles. I smile too. Peace is all grownup. Just the other day she was crying over how much she needed Reno. Today, she is doing fine by herself. Even her sense of fashion has improved. She has evolved into her own style. She’s doing the whole Naturalista thing; replete with the Ankara head-wraps, earthy sandals, African inspired jewelry and long Boho skirts. In fact, this is the precise description of what she is wearing now. A batik tee gives her appearance a modern edge that leaves her looking younger than her current age.

“I hope Mary has food.” Honey takes a long yawn that pushes me into yawning as well. “This child is killing me with all her sucking.”

“Pele.”

“I’ve not even had lunch.”

“Mary always has food.”

We all go silent as I navigate a busy street. My thoughts are on Naomi, and on the threatening text I received from her husband last night. It came in one short line: leave my wife alone, Celia.

I have read it so many times that I now feel I wrote it myself. I didn’t show the text to Shady and my reason is simply that I want to handle the situation alone. I need to get Naomi out of the abusive situation she is in right now. As for her husband who thinks he can send me texts, he doesn’t know what his problem is yet. Dude is soon going to suck on his own balls for making that mistake with me.

“I’ve not seen Noks in a while,” Peace murmurs. She is rummaging through her handbag as she says this. I wonder what she’s looking for.

“I haven’t seen her too. Have you called her?”

“No.” Peace stops her rummaging. “Have you?”

“Nope.”

“Honey, have you?”

“I don’t care. Meanwhile, I have found out her dirty, little secret…”

Peace makes a sharp turn. “What secret?”

I look at Honey through the rearview mirror, trying to see if she’s kidding.

“I’m not telling anyone, Peace. But Noka should never insult me or any of you or I swear, I’ll expose her.”

“What’s the secret nau?”

Honey shakes her head.

“Please nau!”

“No. Face your front.”

“Whatever it is,” I say, “if it will ruin her marriage, Honey, please don’t expose her. I know she’s been mean to you but it’s not enough reason to share whatever you saw with anyone.”

Honey holds my eyes in the mirror. I look away.

“You know the secret, Celia.”

Chai. This Honey sef. Why is she always this smart? And how on earth did she find out about Noka?

“I don’t know anything,” I reply.

“You do.”

“So two of you know this secret and you’re not telling me?” Peace whines. “Tell me how that is fair.”

We both ignore her and she goes on and on until we arrive at Mary’s.

“We’re all not good friends, Cee,” she concludes. “We’re losing our little circle. I blame Bimpe. She was the glue that kept us together.”

“We’re fine, madam,” Honey snaps. “Nobody is losing anything.”

My car stops outside Mary’s compound. I honk and seconds later a guard comes out. When he sees us, he smiles and returns to the compound. Soon, the gate slides to let us in. I drive through. Mary is waiting at the front door, dressed in white leggings and a matching top. She blends with the whiteness of the house, except for the pitch blackness of her new hairdo.

We walk up to her. She has hugs waiting. We haven’t seen each other in a few days but it isn’t us she’s really interested in. The moment she sights Jiney, she gets all mushy. She takes her off Honey’s arms.

“Come in.”

She leads us into her beautiful home that still manages to take my breath away even after my many visits. The décor makes no attempt at being modest. Our dear Ekene is ostentatious; the house reflects his person. Mary, on the other hand, is the opposite. As long as she is comfortable and the house is clean, she can live in any condition. It’s interesting how both of them find a balance.

“First of all, food!” Honey cries. Mary laughs.

“Help yourselves. Jiney and I will be right back.”

“You kukuma have big breasts. Give her some while you’re at it.”

Mary disappears while three of us help ourselves with meals of our choice. There’s so much to pick from and we knock ourselves out. We settle in the living room. Mary joins us shortly with Jiney, now dressed in a complete Versace baby ensemble.

“Whoa!” Honey exclaims. “What have you done to my baby?”

“The same thing she did to Dara and Sammy,” Peace answers.

“I got some things from my last visit to Paris with Kene.”

“Awww, this is so sweet. Jide will fawn over her.” Honey coos at Jiney and gets out her phone to take a photo. “Jiji, did you say thank you to Aunty Mary?”

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Jiney lets out a grin and Honey takes a photo. I also take a few shots.

“Mary?” I call, after we go back to our meals. “Are you fighting with Kene? Is that why you called me over?”

Mary smiles sadly.

“You cook a lot when you’re upset. You know that? What’s going on?”

“Yeah… Kene and I are fighting.”

Peace passes her a glass of orange juice. She declines. A minute later we are listening to her talk to us about her desperate need to have a child and how it has become a problem between her and Ekene.

“Now, he’s avoiding sex, and even when we do it, he uses condoms. All he wants is for us to keep going out on dates, traveling to exotic places, doing romantic stuff and all that.”

“Isn’t that a good thing, May?” Honey asks.

“Hon, we have all the time in the world to do that but my uterus can’t wait another year. It’s not him whose biological clock is ticking.”

“May,” I put my hand on hers, “do you love this man?”

She withdraws her hand in quick anger. “What type of nonsense question is that?”

“Exactly,” Peace mutters.

“I’m sorry. Let me rephrase. Do you love him as much as he loves you?”

Mary’s angry bearing disappears. “I love Kene but you know me…I can’t express it the way he does. Apart from that, I’m still growing into loving him.”

“No, you’re guarding your heart, May. And you have to stop it. Your days of spinsterhood where men hurt you are over. You don’t own your emotions alone now. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I’ll advise that you give Kene the key to your heart, please.”

“That’s scary. And I don’t think it’s okay for me to do that just because I’m married to him. He will hurt me. I have seen it happen to all of you. P, look what Reno did to you. And you too, Celia. Men do these things. They hurt us. I have to stay guarded.”

“Mary…”

“Kene and I had an agreement. We are to play our roles as husband and wife. But he’s turning the script by demanding too much from me. I just can’t let down my guard like that.”

Honey and I sigh at the same time without meaning to. Mary has always been this tough with men. Jide was the only man she loved wholeheartedly and then he went and broke her heart. In addition, what Reno did to her left her with deep trust issues. Our dear Ekene has his work cut out for him. But I think we can lessen his load a little.

We advise her on ways she can let her guard down and allow Ekene in. We teach her how to express her love through numerous means without losing herself.

“You’re sure it’ll work?”

I nod.

Honey raises a finger. “And please, make love, not babies. Then watch the babies drop in unannounced. That’s how more than half of the world gets pregnant, my dear. So, get with the script. If you do it right, Kene won’t have time for condoms. Imagine you hearing his car driving in at night and you rush out to meet him and take him right there, while the engine is still running. Will he have time for a condom?”

“Abi o!” I exclaim.

“Hmmm…” Mary gives our words some thought as she rests her chin on her cupped palm.

“And remember this…” Peace takes the last sip of her juice. “You don’t have a great marriage. You make a great marriage. You fight the odds to make it work.”

I nod in hundred percent agreement. Told you my darling Peace is all grown.

“Well, I feel better now,” Mary comments. “Tonight, I’ll swing into action.”

Loud laughter takes all of us. I stand up to have a second serving of my meal. When I return, Peace asks about Naomi. I set my meal on my lap quietly. I don’t want to talk about it but when I’m with the girls, there’s really nothing I can keep a secret. So, I take my seat and let out everything.

“What sort of monster is he?” Honey is most appalled. “So because she won’t get pregnant for him he decides to destroy her womb?”

“How did they even meet in the first place?” Mary asks. “Most times, the foundation of a relationship can tell you a lot about why that relationship is the way it is.”

“Well, they’re both from rich families but Charles’ family is richer and Naomi’s family basically sold her to him. He is almost nine years older than she is.”

“Thought as much,” Mary comments.

“They never loved each other but Nay wanted it to work in the beginning. Charles wasn’t just there. He would go away for long periods and when he returns he looks for reasons to abuse her.”

“That’s sad.”

“Would you believe it if I told you that they have been married for six years and have had sex only twelve times.”

“What?!” Honey yells. “Twice every year or what?”

“I don’t know but that’s what she told me. And twelve times, it was terrible. He would give her everything – his money, cars, access to his bank accounts but not himself.”

Mary frowns. “Is he gay?”

“No. He has a mistress.”

“So why can’t he love his wife?”

“Naomi is beautiful, educated and from a wealthy family. She also runs his business well. She is the perfect wife and he can’t do without her. She knows this, and that is why she has refused to get pregnant for him.”

“And why she chose to be a lesbian?”

“She said she found love in the arms of her aerobics instructor four years ago and hasn’t looked at any man after that. Asides that, the abuse makes her hate men.”

“I’m happy for her,” Honey says snidely. “She should just carry her lips away from yours. And I think it’s time you too should leave her and her marital problems alone as her husband warned.”

“Honey, he has involved me and I will give him what he’s looking for.”

“Meaning what?”

“Meaning, I want to know what he means by that his threat. The fool must be mad to send me that type of text. And that nonsense he did to Nay, he will pay for it.”

My friends are shocked at my stance on the issue.

“Cee, this is just a harmless question o,” Peace utters quietly. “Don’t be annoyed that I’m asking but are you in love with Naomi?”

“So I have to be in love with her before I help her out of an abusive situation abi? You girls think that if it happened to any of you I would just walk away?”

“No. I was merely asking…”

“Naomi is my friend. I have grown to like her and I will not sit down and let anyone touch her again.”

“But Celia,” Honey faces me, “what if you know only half of the story? What if there’s more to this?”

“Honey, I will not sit and let a friend get hurt.”

“But when did you even meet her that you now call her your friend? It’s not the same type of friendship we have.”

“You and Genesis nko? If her husband abuses her, will you sit down and watch it happen?”

“You’re not getting me, Cee. The basis of this your friendship is not on leveled grounds. Your feelings are genuine but Naomi wants to have something deeper…”

“She is an abused woman! She only fell in love with me because she was looking for an escape!”

“I know…”

“Please, let’s leave this talk. I’m getting annoyed here.”

I see Mary pass Honey a look.

“Fine. I’ll let it be,” Honey tells me in a resigned tone. “Just be careful.”

“I’ll be.”

No one says a word for a while. I feel somehow about the way I just spoke to Honey. To lighten the mood, I leave my seat and hug her, kissing her cheek.

“Seems like your Naomi has infected you with a kissing bug, Cee. Step away. I like dick too much.”

I don’t step away. I hug her again. I can’t help it. She smells like a baby. I think I might be having baby blues.

Just then my phone rings. I’m surprised to see that it’s Naomi calling. I leave the girls to take the call.

“Nay?”

“Cece?”

I smile. I am genuinely happy to hear her voice.

“Nay, how are you?”

“I’m good. You?”

“Great.”

“Gosh! I miss you, sweetie,” the lesbian in her says. I ignore the emotions I hear in her tone as I walk into Mary’s all-marble kitchen. I find a chair and lower myself on it.

“How are you feeling, Nay?”

“A lot better. I am so sorry about the way things went these past days. Whenever Charles gets into his monster mode, my world turns upside-down.”

“Charles did not get into his monster mode, Nay. Charles is a monster, and you have to get out of that marriage before he kills you.”

“He’s not going to kill me, Cece…”

“He almost killed you. Where is he right now?”

“He went to his girlfriend’s place. I don’t think he’s coming back until tomorrow. He forgot to take my phone along. He confiscated it and that’s why I haven’t been able to call you.”

“Did you know that he texted me last night?”

“I was with him when he did it. He questioned me about you. Apparently, he found out about our trip to Fiji. He’s convinced something is going on between us. I told him that we were just friends and that I offered you the job to be my PA and personal consultant but he doesn’t believe me. He doesn’t want me to see you again.”

“He has no right to tell you who you shouldn’t see. You’re a person of your own, Nay. You don’t have to take shit from him.”

“He’ll calm down, Cece. He’s just angry because he found out that I had been lying to him about not being able to get pregnant. All he wants is a baby. Once I get pregnant, he’ll get off my ass.”

I am speechless. My friend really needs help. She has no idea how oppressed she sounds right now.

“Nay, the worst thing you can do to yourself is to get pregnant for that man. Don’t even think about it. All that should be on your mind at this moment is how you will divorce him.”

“But I can’t.”

“Why not?” I almost cry.

“My money is tied to his. Both of us built our company from scratch but he put in more money than me. If I walk away, I’ll lose a lot.”

“But your life will be safe. You’ll be free. Don’t you want to be your own woman, date whoever you want to date, do whatever you want to do?”

“Celia, you don’t understand.”

I stare at a clock on the wall facing me. It’s just a few minutes past six. “Nay, I’m coming over so we can talk better.”

“Okay.”

I hang up and hurry back to the living room.

“I want to dash somewhere and come back real quick.”

“Where are you going?” Mary questions.

“It’s not far from here.”

Honey stares at her watch. “Let me kuku follow you and find my way to the family house. We have a meeting.”

Peace shakes her head. “The Onuoras and their meetings.”

Honey stands and takes Jiney in her arms.

“She’s so adorable,” Mary comments, kissing the child’s forehead.

“Don’t worry, you’ll soon have yours,” Honey tells her. “Thanks for the sweet rice.”

“Don’t mention.”

I impatiently wait for Honey by the door as she hugs Mary and Peace.

“Cee, you can go home from there,” Peace says to me.

“Sure?”

“Yeah. I’ll find my way. Don’t worry about me.”

I rush back and hug my friends and dash out with Honey.

∞∞∞∞  ∞∞∞∞  ∞∞∞∞

I park outside Naomi’s compound and walk to the gate. The gateman lets me in after informing me that Naomi is expecting me. I take a long walk to the main house and I am let in by the maid. I see Naomi walking towards me just as I step in.

“You can leave,” she tells the maid as she spreads out her arms to hug me. I notice, just before our bodies touch, that she has lost so much weight.

She hugs me and clings to me like I am a long lost lover.

“You have no idea how I’ve missed you, Cece.”

I want to tell her I’ve missed her too but I don’t want to give her the wrong impression.

“How are you?” She breaks the hug but caresses my cheek. If she is Shady and we are in this position, we would be kissing now. The awkwardness makes me pull away. She takes my hand.

“Come this way.”

She leads me to her main living room. This is quite different from the one I was taken to the first time I was here. It is more spacious and carries that look that marks living rooms of people who collect expensive art and décor items from all over the world. Everything in it is either gold-plated or nearly so. If one sells the room and the items in it, the money made would be enough to rent another house for years. It’s a shame that Naomi has all of this and can go anywhere she wants to in the world at a whim and yet she has no freedom.

“Let me get you something to drink.” She walks through another door, leaving it slightly open, and I see that it’s the room I was led to the first time I was here. The place is cozier and has a modern feel to it.

Naomi soon returns with two glasses of God-knows-what. It’s amazing how her skin heals. I had expected to see her still marked by bruises but nothing on her shows that she has faced any type of violence, except for a fresh scar on her chin.

“It’ll go,” she tells me as she notices me staring at it. “I heal nicely.”

“I noticed.”

“Here.”

I take what she offers, smell it and decide I don’t want it.

“You don’t like it?”

I shake my head. She downs it at a go, clutches her glass and sits beside me.

“I really missed you.”

“Cut it, Naomi. That’s not why I’m here.”

“I know.” She lifts a leg up on the sofa and leans towards me.

“Nay, you have to get out of this marriage fast. And while you’re planning to do so, don’t make the mistake of getting pregnant.”

“Cece, I understand why you want me to do this. I really do but it’s not so easy to get up and just leave…”

“You can.”

“I can’t.”

“Are you waiting till you’re six feet under?”

“God forbid.”

“God has nothing to do with it, Naomi. He will not force you out of here. Only you can do it.”

“Charles is…” She clasps her fingers around her glass of liquor. “He’s not always like this. It comes and goes. Sometimes he hits me just twice a year and it’s always my fault. Maybe I was disrespectful to him at work or he gives me instructions and I ignore them or I am rude to his mom… He’s generally nice. You understand it, don’t you? It’s like what happened to you with your husband. He’s a nice man but you pushed him to the wall and he reacted. We women are like that and men, they don’t know how to hold themselves.”

I rub my eyes in utter frustration. I can’t believe this side of Naomi. I’ve always seen her as a strong, independent, successful woman. Who is this person with me?

I am about to respond to her when she suddenly springs up, runs to the nearest window and peeps out.

“Shit! He’s back!”

“Who is back?”

“Charles! He’s back! He’s not supposed to come back this night. Cece, you have to go. Get up.” She stretches her arm to me as she returns to the sofa.

“I’m not going anywhere…”

“Celia, please! He’ll kill me if he sees you here. Please!”

I stand up. “I’ll stay right here. I’m not going to run out like a rat hiding from a cat. I’m not afraid of him. And I think it’s time someone faced him. I want to see if he’s man enough when his shit is thrown back at his face.”

“Celia, please.” She clutches her dress, eyes darting to the entrance. “Please, don’t do this to me.”

Unfortunately, my ears are blocked. I am enraged and have gone into that mode that Shady says only God and peppered chicken can get me out of.

“Celia!”

Too late. The door opens and soon we hear Charles’ footsteps. I brace myself for what is to come, and it comes at us as I expect it would. Tall, huge and quite ugly. A beast in human skin. It looks at its wife and back at me with four o’clock eyes. Even I will abort any offspring it deposits in me. Charles Ogbeiwi is an appalling man.

“Hi darling,” Naomi greets as she sweeps towards him. I note that he doesn’t respond.

“You have a visitor,” he says after she hugs him. He gives me the look that demands that I acknowledge his presence. I don’t.

“Yes, this is my friend…”

“Celia,” I say defiantly.

“Celia,” he repeats. And then laughs. I smile, lifting just one corner of my lips to spell out a smirk. I wait for him to say something about the text he sent to me but he doesn’t. Rather he speaks into Naomi’s ear and they both walk to the other room.

Things are silent for a while and even when I pick out their voices, they’re very low. Something tells me to leave but I don’t listen, not with the way my heart is pounding. I want to see how this ends. The problem with us barrack kids is that we love trouble. I remember Joey taking me around Kaduna town in his small Volkswagen beetle in those days, just looking for who would cross our path. We both enjoyed the thrill of seeing stupid bastards get beat. It is the same way I feel right now.

I hear a sound and I pay close attention to the door leading to the next room. It is left open but I can see only Naomi. She is speaking, shaking her head, gesticulating in a defensive manner. As I try to make out what is happening, I see her head fling to the side as if she has just been slapped. It happens so fast that I am not sure I witnessed it. I hold my breath to see what will happen next. Several seconds go by and when I begin to conclude that I imagined what I saw, it happens again. And this time, I actually see the hand that hits her. I can’t believe my eyes.

But he does it yet again and she moves backwards, begging, whimpering.

“Didn’t I say I didn’t want to see her near you?!” The monster emerges in a bawl as his hand strikes one more time. It’s more forceful than the rest and it sends Naomi to her knees. I am in utter shock that he would do this in my presence. My feet itch to move and the boiling rage in me longs to rush towards her but curiosity keeps me back. I want to witness this. I want to know what my friend goes through. I need a story, a reason to react.

I watch as she lifts her hands to shield her face when he towers over her. She is crying and begging but he doesn’t listen. He throws yet another fist and she falls flat to the floor. My feet move fast and I rush into the room.

“What type of devil are you?!” I scream as I jump in-between them. He advances towards me. I face him squarely. “You’ll hit me too?! Please, go ahead and make my evening!”

He looks down on me in condescension but at the same time I can see that he is taken aback by my brazenness. It fuels my trouble.

“Hit me, coward! Or I’ll give you reason to.”

“Celia, no.” Naomi stands and puts her arms around me from behind.

“You’re a small man!”

The veins on his neck bulge out as his breathing reaches a crescendo. I expect him to burst anytime soon but he remains there, a man whose ego has been deflated by a woman. I wait, still, for him to do his worst. Instead he points at the door.

“Get out of my house!” Spittle hits my face as he growls.

“Let’s go, Nay.” I can feel her holding tightly to me.

“Naomi, if you step out of this room, never come back here! I’ll divorce you and leave you with nothing!”

“Fuck you and your threats! She’ll see you in court–!”

“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!”

I make to move towards the door with Naomi but he grabs my shoulder with his paw, grabs Naomi’s hand with the other and tears us apart. When he lets go of me, the force of his strength flings me to a bookshelf. A vase resting on it shaken by the impact, leaves its position and crashes down on my head.

Perfect! This is what I have been aiming for. All I need is just a scratch and Joey will have his boys burn this house down.

“Jesus! Celia!”

Naomi tries to come for me but Charles stops her by pushing her behind him. He then comes for me, hooks those ugly hands on my upper arms and drags me out of the house. I know I should stay calm but I struggle and make it difficult for him. I want his fingers to leave marks on my body. I want to stir my brother’s bloodlust. Charles must pay for everything he has done to Naomi through the years. He must bleed for every drop of blood of hers that stained my clothes that night when she passed out in my arms.

As he takes me towards the gate of the house, I hear Naomi calling and crying. The sound of her voice breaks my heart. I fear for what he would do to her when I’m gone. I pray she stays strong. I hope I have not made things worse for her.

©Sally@Moskedapages

Images: Black EroticaPinterest

 

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #7

Hi lovelies!

Just wanted to surprise you with this episode this evening but before you read, here’s a short announcement

elsie

Please tune in this Friday. I’ll be here to remind you again on Friday and to bring you a new series from @Ibukunwrites

Have a cool evening.

This episode is dedicated to Seye who recently walked down the aisle with his sweetheart. I wish you a happy married life, Seye.

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He looks into his bag. He has packed light. Nothing more than the basics. A few shirts, a few pants, a pair of shoes, underwear and toiletries. He knows he is missing important items but his head cannot just figure out what needs to be added. Genesis usually does his packing for him. She would include all he needs and extra things that never cross his mind. Sometimes she tosses in little surprises like handwritten notes, her thong or one of the children’s stuffed animals. He always looks forward to discovering what new item she leaves in his bags.

Today, however, she’s in a mood. She blames it on the housekeeper’s illness which has left her handling the bulk of the house chores. But Dominic knows she’s upset because of his trip. She tries to be a big girl about it, having just told him a few days ago that she is done getting upset over his trips.

“Fly to Jupiter, I don’t care. I don’t need you to make me happy.”

Since then her moods have fluctuated a great deal. He hates that she hurts over his absences. He lives for the moments when he makes her happy but she has always been an outrageously-difficult woman to please. Gifts and elaborate romantic gestures have no effects on her. She simply wants the little things – love, family, and waking up beside him every morning.

“Just a little longer,” he would tell her, but her response would be a brushing away of his words. She stopped believing him when he had started to sound like a chant. He however, means to keep his promise. Soon she wouldn’t have to worry about him being away. Business is good, despite the recession. Four years ago, the BSD Group invested in foreign currency, partnering with European financiers to spread the BSD chain of malls across Africa and in some parts of Asia. The returns have been unprecedented, pushing all partners involved into unimaginable wealth. It has been four years of sleepless nights and dedication. Soon, he would go on the much needed break and give Genesis all she desires.

Dominic takes another peep into his bag and decides he would abandon the idea of packing and have breakfast with Genesis instead. She had slipped out of bed as early as 5am and is yet to return to their bedroom.

He grabs his phone and a t-shirt on his way out. The sound of the twins playing draws him to their bedroom where he finds them in the company of Iya Idaya who is seated, watching them. Just recovering from a brief illness, she looks worse for wear but upon sighting Dominic, she manages a smile and a greeting.

“How are you feeling?” he enquires. She tells him that she is doing better. He wants to know if she is taking her drugs. She replies that she is.

He stops for some playtime with the twins but they barely acknowledge his presence. They are already so attached to each other that they do fine entertaining themselves. After a few minutes of being ignored, Dominic rises up and asks Iya Idaya if she knows where Genesis is. The old woman shakes her head.

He exits the room and makes his way out of the house to the next building. The apartment upstairs, once belonging to Genesis, is still very much hers. When she wants to get away from the stress of work or if they get into one of their intense fights, she would leave the main house and hide out there. The fact that Eva passed away on her bed does little to bother her.

Dominic comes to the building and takes a door that leads to stairs going up to the second floor. But just as the top of the first flight of stairs he spots Genesis engaged in her fitness routine, which to him is a collection of sexual poses that turn him on. She doesn’t have a regular schedule for them but does them quite often to keep in shape. Dominic’s best pose is when she splits, either with her legs up in the air or flat on the floor. It always amazes him how someone who is plus size can have so much control of her body and make it do impossible things. He is most impressed by her discipline and dedication to her fitness goals. It is this same manner of mind she employs in Novocaine Knights that has kept them at the top.

Dominic stops for a moment to watch her. She has her entire weight on her hands alone and her feet up on the wall.

gen4

“Hey, gorgeous.”

She turns her head in his direction and turns it back. He is ignored for the next couple of minutes in which he sits and waits. She eventually lets down her legs and straightens up.

“Packed yet?” she asks, wiping perspiration off her forehead.

“More or less.”

“I’ve always told you never to bother doing it. I’ll come help.”

She picks a towel hanging off the bannister, slings it around her neck and comes down the stairs to meet him. When he rises up, his hand takes her waist and pulls her close for a kiss but she pushes him away.

“You know we don’t do this, Nick.”

“I’m sorry,” he apologizes, grabbing her again. “But I need you. I feel so drained and I’m not looking forward to this trip at all. You’ll give me the strength I need.”

“Domi, no. You’ll make love to me and leave me in an emotional mess for days. Don’t ask for what I can’t give. Just do your usual disappearing so that I can adjust to being single for two months.”

“Two months? Who says I’ll be gone two months?”

“Seyi.”

Dominic laughs. “You shouldn’t be listening to him.”

“Aren’t you guys traveling together?”

“We are but I’m not staying two months.”

She looks at him with something of an expectant expression. “So when will you be back then?”

“I don’t know.”

The expression vanishes. She starts out. He goes after her and forces his arms around her. In that manner they walk into the main house through the backdoor and end up in their favorite sitting room where she had left her phone charging.

“You want coffee?” he asks as she stretches out. The day has just begun for her. Her phone starts to buzz and she lazily stretches to the extension cord it is plugged in to take the call. An angry voice meets her ear and for a minute or so she has to endure whatever it is the person on the line is saying, throwing in apologies every now and then. Someone in the décor department has just messed up a bridezilla’s wedding decoration, substituting a shade of red for a deeper one.

“Maroon! Not burgundy!” The bride screams on. “Now my wedding is ruined!”

Genesis rubs an eye with the heel of her palm, feeling sore in the ear from all the shouting. Somehow she manages to bring the bride to calm and assures her that she’ll fix the situation in good time.

“Email a photo sample of the original color you asked for and a picture of what was done. I’ll look at it and if your complaints are legit, I’ll have it fixed in record time.”

“You’re sure?”

“Isn’t your reception six hours away? Have no worries. I’ll make you happy. All I want is for you to relax and smile. It’s your day. Don’t let anything spoil it for you. Your husband and the cameras need that beautiful smile.”

Genesis knows nothing about her, if she has a beautiful smile or not. Like many of the weddings and events that are handled by her staff, she is hardly aware. She takes on the big jobs for the big names and leaves the minor ones for her capable staff to attend to. She hates to be called in to repair someone else’s screw-ups.

Genesis rambles out her email to the woman and dumps the phone just as Dominic walks in with a pair of mugs containing coffee. She hadn’t known for how long she had been on the phone.

“Angry bride,” she explains, taking an offered mug. “I don’t even know how she got my number.”

“I hope you didn’t tell her you’ll fix whatever she’s calling you to fix.”

Genesis stretches out her legs on Dominic’s laps after he sits. “I did.”

“Remind me again why you hired people?”

“Don’t start.”

“If they’re not doing their jobs, fire them.”

“That’s why people call you heartless.”

Dominic slips his hand underneath her top and leaves it resting on her tummy.

“But I’m sure it’s nothing. Just a normal bridezilla fit. I’ll handle it.”

They sip their coffees in silence until her phone rings again. Dominic passes it to her. It’s the same bride calling. She wants to know if Genesis got her email.

“I haven’t.”

“Ah. I sent it almost ten minutes ago.”

“I’ll check my spam folder to see if it’s there. Please don’t call again as I’m busy right now and will not take your calls. I’ll call you if I need you to resend the email. Besides that, relax. I’ll fix everything that needs fixing.”

“Thank you, ma.”

The woman hangs up and Genesis consults her phone to get the said email but discovers she is out of internet service.

“Can I use your phone, Nick?”

Dominic dips his hand into his pocket, pulls out his phone and hands it to her. She types in the password. The screen brightens up as a text message pops into view.

“You have a text,” she informs him.

“Read it. I’m expecting some money.”

“You’re always expecting some money.”

“Abeg read it.”

Genesis taps on the SMS icon and it opens up to a short message from an unknown number which she reads out loud.

I’ve done all you asked for. I hope you’re happy. I’m on my way out of the country now. I’ll be expecting the rest of the money in 24 hours.

“Shit,” Dominic mutters. “Let me have that.”

Genesis passes the phone over to him and he returns it to her shortly.

“Something you care to share with me?” she asks.

“Nope.”

“Nope?”

“It’s nothing.”

“It’s not nothing, obviously, and I don’t want to pester but I’m curious and a little worried. My guts feel uncomfortable with that text.”

“Gen, let it go. Just do whatever it is you want to do with the phone.”

Genesis taps on the message icon and discovers that the message is no longer there.

“You deleted it.”

“Genesis Raymond, can you please let that text go?”

“No, Nick. You tell me everything. Why are you hiding this one?”

Dominic throws his head back and rests it on the couch. “Fine…” He sighs. “I paid Chichi off to leave Kasiobi and disappear for good.”

“Chichi? Chisom?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t understand, Nick.”

“I’m giving her ten million bucks to get the hell out of Kasiobi’s life so he can go back to Tonbra. She left the baby behind.”

“Nick?” Genesis sits up. “Why would you do that?”

He straightens his posture. “Because Tonbra deserves to have the man she loves but with Chichi in the picture there’s no way in hell that’s going to happen.”

Genesis gives a dazed wobble of her head. “You scare me all the time, Dominic.”

“I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m simply nudging the lovebirds towards each other.”

“They are eventually going to end up together. Nothing can tear love apart.”

Dominic laughs. “Sometimes you’re so naïve. Nothing can tear love apart?”

“If they’re meant to be…”

“Genesis, please. You’re sounding like a cheesy romance novel. Love has never been enough to keep two people together. You have to give it a little nudge sometimes and that’s exactly what I did. I don’t want my daughter spending her youth being lonely and seeking for love in the wrong places. Soon, she’ll get over Kasiobi and start settling for less. As a father, I can’t watch that happen. She will not become Eva and end up being murdered by some man who can’t control her. So I’m doing everything to see her happy, and no one will give me the third degree over it. I’ll do it for Zach and Zoe if they fall into the same situation. This is who I am, Gen. I have the money and I’ll use it to fulfill selfish needs. Get used to it.”

Genesis lays a hand on his lap. “I understand, Nick. Relax.”

“I made Chichi sign a non-disclosure. If she ever comes back for her child, I’ll expose the documents to Kasiobi so he’ll know she gave up her child for money.”

“But what if Kasiobi has his sights on someone else?” Genesis asks, recalling the couple of times she had watched him flirt with Didi at the office.

“As long as the girl is not carrying his child, there’s no reason to worry. Chichi was the biggest threat.”

“I pray she never returns.”

Dominic pushes his hand into Genesis’ top once more as the mood mellows. “I pray you let me touch you before I go.”

Genesis ignores him as she signs into her email account and handles her client’s issues. The case takes her over fifteen minutes to sort out, during which Dominic graduates from just touching her to fondling her breasts. After she is through, he takes the phone off her hand, pins her down on the couch and starts to kiss her. She feels weak to stop him. His stunt with Chichi is a huge turn on. She has always had a weakness for his darker side.

“I’ll miss you,” he says into her ear, tickling it with his breath, and at the same time, pushing his hand into her pants to find the lushness of her bum.

She encloses her arms around him. “I never get used to you being away, Nick. It always hurts. Please, don’t stay too long.”

Her last word is caught in his lips. He kisses her lavishly but stops to look into her eyes.

“Just a little longer, Ms. Raymond.”

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

didi9

So I’m lying on this blue couch, doing my décor thing in my head and trying to take a selfie at the same time when my roomie steps into my sunlight and goes, “Is my ass big in this dress?”

Annoyed for losing a perfect shot that captures my eyes, I retort, “What ass?”

A pair of bespectacled eyes lands me an unpleasant stare. I return a smile. The person who has just spoken to me is a cute, petite Edo girl we call Ehizogie or Ehi for short. She is my housemate and also my colleague. We don’t particularly like each other but somehow we manage. Work and accommodation lumps us together. It’s only wise that we get along. Good thing I get to spend only weekends with her; during the week, I stay with my elder brother and his wife.

“If you want to see what they call ass, check this out.”

I get up, turn around and give Ehi a good view of my heavily-endowed behind. It is African in every sense, the type that gets fellow females jealous and males drooling.

Ehi hisses.

“You’re just fat,” she claps back. “Nothing sexy about it. Go and lose weight.”

To infuriate her further, I lower myself and give a twerk. There’s music coming from my bedroom, something that sounds like what Patoranking will sing. And I don’t only twerk to the beats, I give my booty a slow grind as though I am doing it for the viewing pleasure of a dude. And well, what do you know! A dude walks in unannounced, catching me in my moment.

He stops and focuses on me with a frown. I don’t stop. I’m not specifically doing it for him but if he chooses to be entertained, then he should by all means knock himself out.

By the way, while he watches, let me introduce myself. My name is Ndidi but people call me Didi or Chubby Di. I don’t mind, though. I’m fat, curvy, thick, voluptuous, plus sized and full of myself. You’ll never find me feeling sorry over how I look. Naa. I love my body and I am comfortable in my skin. There’s a huge market for my type, especially on this side of Nigeria. God bless the day I packed my belongings and moved from the east to the land flowing with men that appreciate booty. I have a long list of thirsters and blessers, already and I’m not even a ho. Just wild, sexy and more entertaining than your average girlfriend.

“Hello Kasi.” I stop tormenting my male spectator with my behind and face him.

“Hi Didi.”

Gosh! Kasiobi’s voice is to die for! It’s deep but not in a baritone way. Just deep and smooth like he should be whispering sweet nothings in your ear all night. And don’t even start me on his looks. He’s fine, with Will Smith kind of ears and pink, kissable lips. He is tall and (the best part) thin. Just the way I love my men. I can’t be plus size and go after fatsos like me. How do we enjoy sex? By bumping into each other’s cellulites? No, thank you. Skinny boys are best. They know how to love a big woman.

So, I’m thinking Kasi has a thing for me but he hides it well. Same way I hide mine. Dude’s got me feeling some kind of way but he’s never going to know I’m crushing on him. We’ve met on four different occasions but it has all been work-related. I’ve heard gist of his pathetic love life with the boss lady’s stepdaughter, Lexus, and how she dumped him. It’s not clear if he has recovered from the heartbreak but he’s yet to replace her. I’d have offered myself as a rebound girlfriend but not yet. I am watching the tides. I am barely three weeks old in these environs. It’s best to keep my head in what brought me here – and that is to work as an events planner at Novocaine Knights and to build a relationship with the family I never had.

I am an only child of a mother who was branded an ogbanje and rejected by her people. My grandmother died giving birth to her after losing four babies. My grandfather alone was left with the burden of caring for her but he remarried and had children by his new wife who maltreated my mom endlessly. Eventually, she ran away from the village and moved to Aba where she survived by selling food during the day and attending school at night.

According to her, one day, this rich man in his luxurious car drove up to her food stall to buy lunch and she fell in love with him. He was a married man with three sons but she didn’t care. A short affair culminated and I came to be. Sadly, the only thing mommy knew about my dad was his name – Lawrence Onuora. It took her five years before she bumped into him again. At that time, her hard work had paid off and she was able to secure an admission into University of Lagos, her dream school. And while I was left in the care of my maternal great-grandmother, mommy got herself educated, paying her fees with money she got from selling food in a canteen on campus.

She met daddy again at the school gates and they resumed their affair, meeting in hotels, until one unfortunate incident when his second son ran into them. The affair ended and left mommy heartbroken. She had told daddy about me but he made it clear that I was to remain in the shadows for the sake of his family. This didn’t stop him from being responsible for me. I was taken away from the village to Onitsha for a better life. Mommy eventually graduated but dropped all prospects of getting a decent job and returned to the east. She opened a beer parlor, faced her life and forgot all about my dad. Each time I asked, I was told he was dead. I only discovered he was alive when she was on her deathbed. She told me the entire story of how I came to be and gave me his phone number. Right in her presence, I called him. They spoke in Yoruba, a language I didn’t understand. When they were done, she asked me to put the phone on speaker. Her last words to us were, “Lawrence, your daughter, Ndidiamaka. Take care of her as your own. Ndi, your father. Go and be with him. God bless two of you.”

And then she breathed her last. It is barely three months since she passed. Daddy gave her a grand burial in the same village where she was treated as an outcaste. He took her shame away. He gave her a royal farewell and left tongues wagging for a long time. After my mourning period, he put me on a flight to Lagos. I was introduced to his wife, my brothers and their wives on a quiet night. Not all of them welcomed me with open arms. Nne, especially, doesn’t like me but I don’t take it personally. She lost her only daughter a short while after her birth. I understand her angst.

Wait, did I just deviate to talk about my family and forget about Kasi who is still standing in front of me in all his male hotness?

“Please, Ehi, I need your help desperately,” he says to Ehi.

“Anything, Kas,” she replies with a smile I never saw on her before.

“Please, come.”

I watch two of them leave the house and return shortly with a baby that looks every inch like Kasiobi. I take two, slump back into my seat and gape at the scene. He has a child?! How on earth did I not know this whole time?! And who the hell is her mother?!

“I’ll just change into something real quick and we’ll be out of here,” Ehi says and disappears into her room, leaving Kasiobi and I. And of course the baby whose cheek is enjoying the touch of his lips.

“Is she yours?” I ask.

“Yeah. Her name is Trinity.”

“Cool. So you’re married?”

He laughs. “No. Single dad.”

“Where’s her mom?”

“Oh, she’s out of town for a bit.”

“And left her all alone with you?”

“I’m capable.” He looks at his daughter. “Am I not, Trini? Is daddy not capable?”

Awww, how cute. But why would a mother leave a baby so little and travel? And why on earth did Kasiobi go and get a girl pregnant? Well, the whole thing now has K-leg. Who wants to be loving up a guy that has a baby under his care? I can’t be doing nanny abeg.

Ehi returns. “Let’s go.”

“Bye, Didi,” Kasiobi tells me. “See you later this evening at the concert.”

“Sure.”

They walk to the door and then Ehi turns back. “I forgot my phone.”

She runs to her bedroom while Kasiobi makes his exit. I become moody over the latest development as I sit staring after him. Ehi comes back again but stops and blocks my sunlight once more.

“Stop wasting your time fantasizing about him, Ndi,” the silly thing speaks without permission. “His soul is tied to Lexus.”

“Plizz! Fantasizing is for teenagers like you,” I snap. “Speak for yourself.”

I flip my braids backwards, barge into my bedroom and begin fixing my scattered bed. My phone rings while I’m in the middle of it. The boss lady is calling. I pick the call in excitement. It’s not always she needs me for something outside office hours. I’m still a rookie in the business and apart from doing my job, I always aim to please her. Today of all days is a good opportunity to prove myself with the love concert. I had been assigned to do only a few things but I want more responsibility.

“Hello ma’am?”

I don’t get an answer.

“Hello? Good morning.”

I meet more silence.

“Hello?”

I bring the phone to my face and put it back on my ear.

“Ma’am? Hello?”

I hear some sounds but not a word. I conclude that the network is bad and go offline. My thumb is about to tap on a button to return the call but a better idea pops into mind. I hurry out of my bedroom and find my way out of the apartment. There’s a small fence separating the bosses’ house from ours. In-between both houses stands a tree and beneath it a swing bench I enjoy spending spare time on.

I follow a small gate and come out to the massive mansion that is probably the most beautiful house I have seen in Lagos so far. At my entrance, guard dogs begin to bark fiercely. I ignore them because I know they have been caged. I follow a path that takes me straight to the kitchen via a backdoor. Upon entry I expect to see Iya Idaya, the housekeeper but I find no one present.

I leave the kitchen, finally having my opportunity to take a good look at the house. I have only been here once and it was on a brief visit. Now, I get the chance to absorb the elegance and beauty all at once, which blows me away at second glance.

Now, mind you, I’m standing in what seems like an anteroom which opens up to a stairway that leads up. If I guess correctly, the sitting room is to my left. It is where I plan to end up after I call the boss lady and tell her I am waiting for her. Before then, I decide to take a small tour.

Facing me, some feet away, is a door. My curiosity tells me to find out what is behind it. Since the door is ajar, it won’t be bad to take a peep.

I walk towards it and when I get there, I push the door open and come upon a beautiful sight of the boss and boss lady making out. The room is a mini-parlor with diffuse lighting and bright colors. It is not meant for any type of entertainment but somehow this beautiful couple has found it worthy enough to make out in.

The boss, lying between his wife’s legs which are spread apart, kisses her like he is born to kiss women. He stops and lowers his head to kiss her breast which is in full glare of my eyes. He does this as his hand goes between her legs. When he touches her ‘there’. She moans.

And I think I moan alongside her or something, because they stop abruptly and turn in my direction. My chest tightens, I step back, and find to my relief that they had not seen me. They have been startled by the stupid family cat that has just slipped past my leg and into the room. I had been too engrossed to feel its fur over my skin.

I withdraw and end up in the living room, trying not to keep the image of what I had just witnessed. It doesn’t help me. Who will quench the fires when I’m all alone? My bae-lessness, which has carried on for a long time is becoming something of a headache. I have dated just two boys in my life and both relationships didn’t have happy endings. Every other guy I met after them just wanted to be there for the nacks, something I wasn’t giving. It’s not like I’m looking for love, either. I simply want a reasonable guy that I can grow into loving, someone who is not all about sex. I might ooze it and talk so much about it but the fact is that I’m a novice. Literally, a virgin. Never known a man before, although, I have known men enough to understand the workings of their third legs. When people see me they automatically assume I have a PhD in men and sex. But I’m just a neophyte. A wild one, though.

Ehi has this theory that I’m wild because I’ve not been popped.

“When you have your first, you’ll calm down. I was like you – wild and wanting – and then I got disvirgined and became sane.”

I had rolled my eyes and almost snored to her unsolicited speech.

“In my opinion, the penis is overrated, and I’ll advice that you keep your body for marriage and use sex just for babies. That is what God would want of you.”

I had smiled. She wasn’t aware that I knew about her failed marriage to an old man her father’s age, which barely lasted four months after the man caught her engaged in lesbian sex with an unnamed chick. Now, she was using the religious angle on me. Bitch, please.

I pick my phone and plug in my earphones to listen to music. Boss Lady is moaning very quietly but I can pick out the sound. Well, they need it as a couple, with the boss always out of the country and his wife swamped with work– as I’ve heard.

I wait much longer than I thought I would and finally, I hear words and not moans. I also hear a door close. Only then do I choose to make my presence known. When I step out, the boss lady shows some surprise.

“You’ve been in there?” she asks.

“Yes, ma. Good morning, ma.”

“What happened to you calling me Genesis? How many times will I correct you?”

“I’m sorry Ms. Genesis.”

She smiles. A dimple shows on her cheek.

“Hello.” Her husband steps out of the mini-parlor. He shows no signs of what had just occurred between them, unlike her whose hair is in disarray.

“Good morning, sir,” I reply to his greeting.

He grabs his wife by the bum for a kiss and whispers into her ear. I look elsewhere.

“Oh, please, go away,” she tells him as he walks off. She turns to me. “So, Didi, why are you here?”

“You called me, actually. I answered the call and you weren’t saying anything, so I thought you needed me. Here I am.”

She gives me a guarded look. “How long have you been here?”

“I just got in.”

She suddenly becomes conscious of her hair. She shakes the expensive locks and they fall back into place. I wonder how much they cost.

“I think my phone dialed you on its own. It has a mind these days.”

I giggle. Not like what she said was funny but because she’s Genesis, the most beautiful woman I have ever come across that has a huge heart, and is an inspiration not to plus size women alone but to all women. I think I can fittingly call her a goddess. Let me digress a little and tell you how I almost ran mad on the day my elder brother’s wife, Honey, brought me to this house to meet her for the first time.

My dream had always been to work for Novocaine Knights. They were and still are that much of a big deal. Apart from the fact that they organized the best parties, weddings and events, they were rumored to pay their staff well. So on that Saturday when Aunty Honey brought me to the house and the door opened and I saw Ms. Genesis standing before me, I went blank for some seconds. I told myself she wasn’t the one. I said, ‘Didi, you have only seen her pictures online and videos of her. This can’t be her. Naa! This is a prank.’

But Aunty Honey hugged and greeted her, calling her name, and that was when I knew that it was her for real.

I fainted. Not literally. Just fainted out of my old life and into my new one with Genesis Ditorusin. So now you understand why I giggle when she says certain things even though there is nothing to giggle about. She is quite used to me doing that, though.

“Anyways, it’s good you’re here. Iya Idaya is not feeling so well, so I’d be glad if you step in and help me babysit the twins today. I have another event I’ve been planning which I have to attend briefly.”

Oh?

She touches my arm. “I know this is last minute and I hate to do this to you but I need them out of my hair today. Can you handle them?”

This is not what I have planned. I want to be part of the décor team putting things together for the concert. I have dreamed about this. Why is Ms. Genesis doing this to me?

“Iya Idaya will put you through. Can you help out?”

“Sure,” I answer. I feel sad but anything for Ms. Genesis.

“Thank you, Didi. I owe you one.”

It better be an Hermes Birkin. You have four of them you aren’t using or so they say.

“But does that mean I’ll miss the love concert?” I ask.

“No, dear. You’ll be there with them. I’m sure by then your colleagues would have some free time on their hands to help you out.”

Great. I’ll be the fat one carrying babies around while my mates are fishing for men. I see Ehi laughing at me right now.

“You’re such an angel.”

Ms. Genesis pats my cheek and leaves me standing alone.

Permit me to swear…..

Fuck!

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

“That’s the last of her friends I know. If she’s not here, she can’t be anywhere else.”

Kasiobi fixes his eyes on the glass door of a beauty salon that has designs of beauty and fashion accessories etched on it. Ehi has just emerged from the place, having gone to ask a onetime mutual friend of Chichi if she has any knowledge of her whereabouts.

“None of them have seen her since she left for South Africa last year.” Ehi pushes her glasses upwards to scratch her nose. “They didn’t even know she came into town.”

“Ehi, we’ve been to four different places. Definitely somebody is lying. One of them must know where Chichi is.”

Ehi shrugs. Kasibi rubs his eyes in frustration. “Three hours of nothing.”

Ehi throws her head back to stare at Trinity who is fast asleep in her seat. “At least, someone’s not stressed out or stressing you right now.”

“Are you hungry?” Kasiobi enquires.

“Yeah.”

“Let’s stop at the mall to eat and buy some baby formula.” He starts the car. “I swear, I’m so frustrated right now.”

“Everything’ll be fine.”

He puts the SUV into gear and connects with a busy street.

“I could offer my services for free.” Ehi faces him, playing with her braids. “I’ll gladly take care of Trini and in return you get to be my boyfriend.”

Kasiobi laughs despite his exhaustion. “Who spoilt you like this for me, Ehi? You used to be such a good girl.”

“Life showed me pepper jare.”

“I so badly wanted you at some point but your forming put me off and then you went and allowed Chisom to disvirgin you.”

“Can we not talk about that phase of my life right now?”

“The lesbian phase?”

“Chichi is bad influence and that’s why I don’t understand why you want her back. Trinity doesn’t need a mother like her.”

“And who’ll be the best mother?”

“Lexus.”

“Not you?”

“I’m not crazy about you like that, Kas. Besides, I’m smart not to come between you and Lex.”

“We’re not together. I have a babe.”

“Shakira is a ho. Everyone knows that.”

“Ouch.”

“So you’re not getting back with Lex?”

Kasibi’s hand stiffens around the steering. “No.”

“But Kasi, I’m very sure you guys are meant to be together and no matter how hard you try to fight it, you’ll end up with her.”

“You’re making it sound like there’s some power out there that controls these things.”

“God, maybe.”

“He doesn’t have time for our love lives.”

“Cupid then?”

“Are you serious?”

“I believe in love, and I think you guys have it but if it never works out, I’m right here waiting.” She waves her hand. Kasiobi takes it and kisses it.

“You’re such a lowkey flirt, Kas.”

“I’m just trying to be nice in case I’ll ever need you to babysit Trini. But on a good side, though, that baby behind is going to score me enough booty. Watch what happens at the mall, but then you’ll have to give me some distance so that they don’t think we’re together.”

“You’re not well.”

Kasibio tries to smile but a yawn stops him. The drive to the mall is an uphill task and when they get there, he leaves Ehi with the chore of sourcing for food while he embarks on finding the best formula for Trinity. As he browses the stacks of different brands of baby foods in the kids section the last thing on his mind is the attention he is getting from female shoppers.

“Don’t go for that one,” a familiar voice stops him as his hand stretches to pick a can of milk amongst many off the shelf.

He turns around and Lexus’ smiling face meets his.

“Hey.”

“Hi Kas. Hey, Trini.”

The naturally-unsmiling tot gives Lexus a grin.

“Weird,” Kasi mutters.

“We have a thing. Can I…?” She stretches her hands out and Trinity inclines towards her.

“She remembers you?”

“Not really. She fell in love with me from the first day. I think I have something she loves. Must be my piercings.” She kisses Trinity’s forehead. “How are you, bae? Did you miss me?”

Kasiobi watches both of them bond with Trinity trying to go for one of Lexus’ earrings. He notices other things too – like Lexus’ body con top tucked into a ripped jean that shows off her petite butt. He picks out faint signs of makeup on her face but the best part of her look is the pair of ankle strap heels she has on. He had never imagined she could comfortably go about in any footwear other than sneakers. He had hated Russell for a long time but at the moment, he is grateful he came into Lexus’ life and changed her style.

“So where’s Chichi?”

“Um…she’s out of town for a couple of days,” Kasiobi replies. “She’ll be back on Monday.”

“Okay.” Lexus faces the shelf. “Pick the SMA. That’s what she takes.”

Kasiobi glares at his daughter. “She takes formula?”

“Yep.”

“But Chichi told me she has been exclusively breastfed from day one.”

“No offence but Chichi is a liar.” Lexus looks at Kasiobi. “And you too.”

“I’m a liar?”

“You’re lying about where Chichi is.”

“She traveled.”

“Still lying. It’s in your eyes. Something’s wrong. You look fucked, rings around your eyes, you smell of sweat and metallic stuff and you’re here buying baby food. Where the hell is Chichi? You guys fight or something?”

Kasibio shuts his eyes. “I hate you.”

“Or you caught her with your girlfriend on your couch?”

“God, no.”

“Then where the fuck is she? Why is Trini having soiled diapers?”

“She is?”

“Yes, she is, daddy. And she’s about to start crying over it.”

Kasiobi rolls his eyes in exasperation. “Chichi left, okay? I came home this morning and saw a note. Says she’s tired of the arrangement and she’s not coming back… She left.”

“Awww, poor Trini.”

“She took all her stuff…and…left. I’m still traumatized.”

“I don’t particularly give a fuck about you. I’m worried about this angel here. Has she eaten?”

“Thrice already.”

“What did you give her?”

“Refrigerated breast milk and then custard twice.”

Lexus frowns at him. “Grab a ready to eat formula, a bottle, and a bib while I get diapers and go and change her.”

“Thanks, Lex.”

“I’m not doing it for you.”

“I know.”

She begins to walk away from him.

“I’ll be at the food court,” he announces. “Jollof and peppered chicken?”

“With ice-cream.”

“Yeah. Always with ice-cream.”

She disappears to the next isle while Kasiobi remains standing until someone passing by nudges him. He begins to toss baby food into his shopping cart, going back to Ehi’s words about a force out there that wants him and Lexus back together. Thirty minutes ago, he would have fought against it but here he is, already coming up with a million ways on how to play nice with Lexus. Getting back with her doesn’t seem like a bad idea right now.

Anything for Trinity, he tells himself.

©Sally@moskedapages

 

Images: Tabria Majors, Paulateles

It’s Another Novocaine Saturday #6

I love you guys. I don’t even know how to start expressing how much. When I said show me love on Bellanaija, I didn’t know y’all will take it that seriously. I was dumbfounded when I saw the comments. Good Lord! Na so una love me?

How do I say thank you? How do I show my gratitude? The love you expressed in the comment section doubled the sales of the book, beating Fish Brain Madhouse records which has been there since January. Hmmmm…

Thanks a lot.

And here’s that my famous kiss.

blow kiss

So in retaliation, I will give the book freely to three lucky peeps next week. Today, enjoy IANS.

I’ll see you in the comment section..

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“Awwww.”

“Isn’t this the cutest sight?”

I groan loudly. I don’t know for how much longer I can sit in this car with indecisive females and take one more ‘awww’. Or even stomach the sight before us. Yes, it’s supposed to be cute as Mary just said but I have to remind these girls that we’re here on a mission.

“Can the three of you just focus?” I snap my fingers. But they don’t hear me. Their eyes remain on Shady having a daddy moment with Dara as they both dance to music we can’t hear. The duo is in my husband’s biggest and classiest car showroom, surrounded by expensive luxury cars. And somehow Shady thinks this is the best place to perform his daddy duties.

I groan again. This is just wrong. Shady is going to ruin this business with his lack of class. How can you be dancing with a toddler when you have business to attend to? Look at the caliber of people around him and he’s stuck on parenting goals. I knew this was going to be such a bad idea. I had warned Ibro about it. Shady is an actor, not a car salesman, but Ibro had told me that he had been a hit realtor.

“It’s all about the numbers. If he can get people buying cars, then what is your problem?”

My problem then (and even now) was that my younger brother had waited for that spot for two years and when finally the manager is fired, Ibro tosses the job to his friend. Just like that! I have been pissed for three weeks and my anger isn’t going away anytime soon.

“Hasn’t he proven his worth?” Ibro had asked me just last week, showing me a printout of the sales Shady has made already. “In this harsh economy the guy is selling cars like no man’s business. I’m thinking that maybe Celia leaving him is a good thing. Abeg, she shouldn’t come back.”

“She should. At least, for the sake of Dara. The child needs her mother.”

“And Shady needs to learn responsibility. His present situation is perfect for him.”

I didn’t speak further. If I did, Ibro would call me unfeeling, a term he generously uses on me. Coldhearted bitch and ruthless too. I get those ones when we’re fighting. But his darling Eno – she’s all sweet and loving, tenderhearted and kind. Even after she cheated on him with her ex, Ibro finds no flaw in her.

Forgive me for rambling. I just had to get that off my chest after seeing the two necking in her car outside my house this morning. The effrontery! Would I do that to her? Would I blatantly shove my love for Ibro in her face?

Again, I wander off tangent. I apologize.

Back to Shady. Dude has stopped dancing, and is presently attending to a buyer, some pretty, little thing that has Dara in her arms and is flashing her thirty-two at him. I understand that he has a certain appeal with his tall, thin appearance. He carries his lankiness well and has an impeccable sense of style that I sometimes want Ibro to own. But that’s all there is to him. He’s broke and classless. Forget that he’s now earning huge for this present job; it does nothing to save him from his basicness which would soon bring my husband’s business to ruin. Of course it’s not something I want, and like my friends here, I’m supposed to do my bit to ensure that he keeps his head above water but really I don’t care if he falls flat on his face. It works well with my aim if he does but I’m not going to be the bitch that does not show compassion for a father holding a nine to five and caring for a two-year-old at the same time.

It was for this reason that when Peace threw in the suggestion that we take Dara off his hands so he can concentrate on selling cars, I didn’t object. However, they are all getting cold feet and I’m the only one still on the objective.

“Can we go in already?” I raise my voice, bringing them back to curve.

“Maybe this works for him,” Honey tells me. “Dara is his selling point.”

“Yeah, people just look at her and buy cars,” I answer sarcastically. Honey lends me a bad stare. I’d love to pluck out her eyes one of these days. She likes to oppose everything I say or do. She thinks her beauty, her handsome husband and trips around the world are good enough reason to compare herself with me.

I give her an unreadable stare as I secretly admire her outfit of a green fitted dress that shows no sign of her having just had a baby five weeks ago. I’m so tired of her and her perfectness and the way she flaunts it. She has the perfect body, the perfect husband and the perfect in-laws, and that’s why she feels so superior to all of us.

“Noka, I know you don’t like Shady for obvious reasons but can you please tuck that in and be nice to him? Don’t go there acting all ‘I’m your boss’ wife’. He’s your husband’s friend.”

“I should tuck what in exactly? The fact that he hit my friend?”

“He apologized,” Peace reminds me. “Did Celia tell any of us what he did? No. She just upped and left but Shady reported himself to every one of us and begged, including her brother.”

I take my hands off the steering for a second and turn around to face Miss Goody-Two Shoes. “And what is your point, madam?”

“Be nice. Forgive.”

“He is a wife-beater.”

“He is not,” Mary counters. “It was a moment of not thinking right, a bad decision, and he deeply regrets it. You should let it go and be reminded that we’re going in there to take Dara off his hands to ease his stress and not to punish him. He’s been a wonderful father for three weeks.”

Whatever. I don’t care. My brother deserves the job and I won’t rest until I see him get it. Ibro owes me that much.

“Let’s go in, abeg.” Honey steps down and the others follow suit. I’m the last to leave the car, stretching out my short Nautica skirt which I bought just a week ago at a ridiculous price. Eno has been sporting some new clothes; I don’t see why I shouldn’t indulge as well. I bought a whole wardrobe. I am yet to decide where to put the old ones, some of which I’ve not even worn. Bimpe used to say I have enough clothes to start a boutique with but I don’t think I do. Until I have the type of closet space Eno has, I’ve not even begun.

I follow my friends into the exquisite showroom that is proof of my husband’s wealth and refinement. It’s also proof of my hard work and unending support. The idea from the onset was not just to make it a showroom (like the other ones he owns, scattered about lagos) but a hub for car freaks. In addition, there’s a classy restaurant running from lunch hour till evening, just to help us make money on the side to keep the utilities running since they’re always paid for. Whenever I look at the place and think about how far Ibro and I have come, (of course I married him already swimming in money) I pat myself on the back by indulging in something nice. This is why it angers me much that Shady has brought his ghetto lifestyle into my family business.

showroom2

The thin rake of a man sees the girls and I entering the showroom and lets out that killer smile he uses on Celia. Weirdly, I smile back. There’s actually something nice about it.

“Hi ladies. This is a pleasant surprise,” he says, walking towards us. I notice that he has abandoned the customer with his child. Such business ethic.

We exchange pleasantries and he leads us to his office where he offers us a leather couch to settle in.

“Give me some minutes, ladies, and I’ll be right back.”

He leaves and Peace engages us in a chat about some German guy in her church that likes her. We had first met him at Jiney’s christening and subsequently at a barbecue that Bobby invited us for. The guy’s accent is thick and sometimes he exchanges his V’s for W’s. He always smells of soap or aftershave. Never of cologne. His fashion sense is a total miss. He dresses too European for my liking. But the best part of him is that he’s really crazy about Peace, ready to propose at any moment.

“We’ve kissed and done the irregular ‘touching’,” she reveals with a look of embarrassment.

I cross my legs, ears itching to hear more.

“Which one is irregular touching again?” Mary asks. Peace laughs. Such a prude.

“How big is he?” I question. Peace covers her mouth in embarrassment again.

“It’s not all about sex, Noka,” she replies in a small voice. “I’m not planning to sleep with him. Not now and not in the future.”

“Is he circumcised?”

“Noka!” she gasps.

“Simple question.”

“He’s not.”

The mutual look of disgust that rests on all our faces pushes us into laughter.

“Urgh!” I make a face. “Those white guys and their uncut peens.”

“Are you speaking out of experience?” Honey turns in my direction.

“No. I’m just… you know…”

“Mm-hmm?”

I notice all the girls watching me intently. I flash a wide smile. “I’m not telling anything.”

Shady returns with Dara who immediately runs into Peace’s embrace. She takes the little girl in her arms and hands her a chocolate bar she had bought along the way.

“What would you ladies want?” Shady asks. “Coffee? Breakfast?”

“Nothing,” I answer for all of us. “We’re actually here on a serious matter.”

“Not that serious,” Honey puts in with a smile.

“It’s about Dara.” I take control of the conversation again.

“Okay?” He crosses his arms warily, resting his flat bum over the edge of a glass table behind him that reflects the posh leather brownness of the office.

“We feel, and this is out of concern, that Dara is too much distraction for you, and we would like to help out with caring for her by taking turns. That way you get to concentrate on your job. It’s not easy for a man who has a lot on his hands to care for a child at the same time. Besides that, having her here at work might not be a good image for the company.”

A silent sigh from Mary tells me she doesn’t support my last statement.

“So, if you wouldn’t mind, we would like to offer our babysitting services to you. For free.”

Shady chuckles. It’s a silent chuckle that shows he’s only being polite.

“So you want to take Dara off my hands?”

“Yeah.”

“Because you think I’d hit her like I hit Celia.”

“No!” the others chorus. I simply take two and ponder on his insinuation. Why didn’t I think along that line?

“Shady, actually…” Honey speaks up. “It’s fine if you think this is ridiculous. We’re just concerned…”

“Dara and I are fine. And really, I appreciate it but you shouldn’t worry yourselves. We miss Celia and we desperately want her back but we’re coping. I need to bond with my daughter. Daycare was tearing us apart but her being here every day reminds me of Celia and keeps me focused.”

The others throw on pathetic faces and I roll my eyes in my head. I knew they’d sell out. Honey, especially. She thought it was a bad idea from the start. Well, whatever. It’s Shady’s loss. When customers start complaining, I’ll be quick to suggest to Ibro to have him changed to someone who is more competent.

I sit up. “But Shady, we haven’t heard from Celia since she sent us a message to our Whatsapp group that she was fine. Her phone rings unanswered and she’s never on Facebook. Please, are you sure she’s okay?”

Shady has the polite face on again. I know my insinuation comes off like I’m accusing him of getting rid of Celia but I don’t give five farts. We need to know what happened to our friend.

“Give me a second.”

He pulls out his phone from his pocket and soon we hear a line ringing as he puts it on speakerphone. After a long ring, Celia’s voice comes on.

“Shady, you’ve called me four times already this morning. Shey Dara is fine? What do you want?”

“Just checking up on you, baby.”

“I’m good.” There’s a pause. “You?”

“Missing you,” he answers with his eyes darting away. I spot an emotion in there and I suddenly feel bad for what I hold against him.

But the feelings lasts a second.

“When are you coming back?”

“I don’t know, Shady, and you calling me doesn’t help things. I need to clear that night out of my head. So please, respect my space and stop calling. Thank you.”

The line goes off. He looks at me. “That’s your friend. She’s fine – in some ways. She’s not stuffed in some cupboard, rotting away.”

“Noka didn’t mean that,” Peace comes to my defense.

“I know she didn’t. She’s a wonderful friend and I appreciate all she has done to see me out of my financial situation.”

I give a fake grin.

“You got me this job, got me a brand new car…And I’m utterly grateful.”

“Well, as Ibro will say, ‘ba yawa’.”

“Ba yawa,” Shady adds, smiling. I can’t believe he’s smiling after what he did to Celia. I do hope she’s getting proper loving from that Naomi chick. It would be the best blow to his face.

“I also want to thank you ladies again for being generous with that huge help you sent Celia’s way.”

“Well, what are friends for?” Mary quotes. I’m suddenly bored.

“We should be leaving.” I draw my legs together. I’m glad he has declined letting go of Dara. The idea of caring for another person’s child in the first place doesn’t appeal to me. The plan was to pass the tot to my housemaid if ever it was my turn to care for her. I already have too many children on my shoulders to worry about.

Shady escorts us out to the showroom and gets into some struggle trying to take Dara off Peace’s hands.

“Can I keep her for just tonight?” Peace begs. He shakes his head. The child breaks into a cry that irritates me. I slip on my sunglasses and hurry out to my car. I have to be somewhere urgently. My phone has been vibrating in my purse, riddled by phone calls from one person.

I sigh, feeling exhausted, thinking of the trips I have to take before I finally go to see the caller. I turn around and face the girls who are now walking towards me.

“I’ll pay everyone’s cab fares and that’s because I can’t drop you all at your destinations. I have a business appointment.”

“Housewives now have business appointments?” Mary teases. I yank her hair. She whines.

“Honey, you’re going back to your office?”

“Yep. Jiney’s there and I have loads of work to do before I close. Oh, and there’s that love concert this evening.” She sticks out her hand. “My transport.”

I take out some money from my purse and dump on her palm. She blows me a kiss, says goodbye to the girls and crosses the street. Mary and Peace also get some cash but I don’t wait for them to hail a cab before I dash into my SUV and drive off in haste. Patience is not a virtue the person I’m going to meet has.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

Wura is sprawled on the floor of her living room, eyes up at the ceiling. She is a mix of different emotions. The day of her love concert with Pastor Ralph is finally here, and although she is physically ready, she is a mess mentally. This would be her first public appearance since her lewd videos hit the net. Even though everyone assures her that her past is forgotten, she still carries it on her shoulders.

The program coordinator for the concert had come up with a brilliant idea to help quash her fears. He had suggested that once she took the stage after her opening song with Pastor Ralph, they were both to share their stories to the audience and talk about how they found God’s forgiveness which became the push for the concert. The idea had sounded awesome to Wura and Ralph. The program coordinator got someone from the media team to help with writing the stories, and in the end, they came out with deep emotional pieces that were bound to score empathy from the audience. It had seemed all good with Wura over the past months but today she wakes up not feeling ready for what the evening holds.

Alone on the living room floor while Bilal lies sleeping with half his body on a couch and the other on the floor, Wura tries her best to calm her nerves. The scarily-efficient Novocaine Knights event team handling the concert has assured her that everything is under control. All she needs to do is to show up at the venue and sing. Still, she fusses, and not even the blueness of her space or the mild scent of incense in the air gives her calm.

She shuts her eyes and prays for a bit but she can’t put her thoughts together, so she remains motionless, listening to music coming from her bedroom, a jazz album by Dario Chiazzolino. She forces herself to be carried away by the complicated but mellow guitar arrangements that are distinctive to Dario’s sounds. Soon she finds herself falling into calm, but the serene moment is interrupted by a knock on the door.

She is not pleased by the disturbance, as she is observing total solitude and silence to keep her vocal chords in shape until the moment she climbs the stage to sing. Having someone dropping in unannounced is not what she needs at the moment.

She goes for the door and unlocks it. When she opens it, she finds no one outside. However, she is greeted by the presence of a brand new steel string acoustic guitar resting on a stand, gleaming in metallic brown under the light of the morning.

“Oh my God,” she whispers, leaving the door and stepping outside. She touches the instrument like someone touching the face of a lover for the first time, caressing its edges, stroking its strings – just to be sure it’s all real and she’s not imagining it.

A little card hanging off one of the tuning machines, held by a fancy string, is blown by the wind and it falls to the floor. She picks it to find a note in Mahmud’s writing.

Mami,

You always wanted this, and I think on this big day, you deserve it. Sing like the wind, doll face.

I never stopped loving you.

Your-mood.

“Mymood…” Tears attack her eyes as a feeling of lonesomeness which has now become part of her, surges in, mixing with her joy. But she doesn’t let it stay. She lifts the guitar off the ground, and expertly holding it in her arms, strums the strings. She considers herself a rookie with the instrument but Pastor Ralph who has been her tutor for under a year thinks otherwise.

“Music is just you, Wuraola. I bet if I gave you a pair of drumsticks you’d find your way around the percussions.”

To that, she had remained quiet. She already knew the basics of drumming, learned on her own. But it had never been her favorite instrument. She loved melody, strings and chords. Maybe next year she would buy a cello and start learning that as well.

“Thanks, Mahmud,” she voices out, her first loudly-uttered words for the day.

“You’re welcome.”

Wura swivels at the sound of Mahmud’s voice coming from behind her, almost dropping the guitar. She finds him standing right beside the front door. She had been so carried away with the guitar at first sight that she hadn’t noticed he was there the whole time.

“Mymood?” she whispers. He doesn’t reply. He simply remains standing, staring at her intensely, his hands in his pockets. For a second, Wura thinks she is imagining his presence. She gently places the guitar back on its stand and faces him again. They haven’t seen in over a year. Having him in the same space with her after endless months of tears and longing can best be described as being in the presence of a celestial being. She is not sure what to do. But he makes it easy for her as he walks over and wraps his arms around her, one taking her neck and the other resting on her waist.

She meets his hug with tears. The distinct scent of him that comes with cologne and cigarette finds her memories and brings them all to her head.

“You don’t know how happy I am,” Mahmud expresses. “This is like a dream, mami. I’m holding you again.”

The broken tenderness in his voice and his face buried in her neck pushes her emotions to the peak. She lets loose in his hold. He doesn’t stop her. He knows the tears are not just of joy. He understands everything her snivels and shudders mean. He holds her until it goes away.

“Do you know how much I’ve missed you, you silly Yoruba girl?”

She giggles as he steps back and feeds his eyes with her body.

“Wuraola Adegbite! God will not sha let you kill me. See as you fine like kilode!”

He takes one more step backwards and shakes his head. She suddenly becomes aware that she is wearing only a boyfriend tee and bum shorts.

“Stop looking at me like that.”

He grabs her waist again and goes for her mouth fiercely. She sighs at the taste of him and the familiarity of his kiss that is made more pleasurable by months of want. The kiss is long and sweet like a mouthful of sugarcane juice on a hot day. Even when Mahmud stops, Wura goes for more. But he stops again her and leads her back into the house.

Bilal gets his attention as they walk in. He breaks in his steps and a warm smile brings his lips together.

“He’s sleeping?”

Wura nods. Mahmud walks over to his son and stoops to study him. “He’s now beginning to look like you, Wu.”

“Everybody says that.”

“But he has my nose, thank goodness.”

“Please!”

“And my hair.” Mahmud pats the toddler’s thick, dark locks.

“It grows too fast. I have to take him for a haircut every three weeks.”

Mahmud smiles in pride, lifting the boy off the floor and onto the couch.

“But you sef, why did you leave him like this?”

“Don’t worry. By the time you stay with him for just one day, the way he falls asleep will be the least of your problems.”

Mahmud rises up.

“So, what should I cook for you?” she asks. And before he can answer, adds, “I like what you’re wearing.”

Mahmud stares down at his outfit of a pair of jeans, a checkered shirt and a sweater. “The clothes look a lot better off my body than on it.”

Wura gives him a playful frown but at the same time, forcing away memories of the feel of his hairy body against hers.

“Stop trying to make me sin here, oga. I’m ministering to thousands today.”

“Then marry me and let me make love to you before you climb that stage this evening.”

“Mymood!”

“I’m serious.” He comes closer. “We already met all the requirements last year and fixed the date for the wedding before you changed your mind. I still have my friend who works there and all I need is a phone call, a couple of friends and we’re husband and wife. And then I can smash you legally.”

“Good lord! Your mouth!”

He goes for her lips again, but taking it slowly and teasingly this time.

“I love you, mami,” he asserts between kisses. She buries her fingers in his full beard, stroking it down until she touches his neck. Her self-control begins to wane. She stops herself by pulling away. But Mahmud won’t let her go. He holds her bound for one more kiss which leads to caresses that has them both falling over a couch. It takes both her will and his for them to control themselves.

Head resting on his chest afterwards, she requests, “go away for the rest of the day so I can concentrate on my concert.”

He nips her nose as she raises her head. “That’s not fair.”

“After the concert, we’ll resume talks about us getting married.”

“Don’t pull my legs.”

“Just go away, you distracting man. Come with something nice at the end of the concert.”

“I bought so many things for you, mami. And for Billy.”

She straightens up. “Tokunboh, please go.”

He stands to his feet and drags her to the front door where they kiss one more time. “My applause will be the loudest at the concert.”

She grins.

“Kiss Bilal for me.”

She stands by the door and watches him leave. Her eyes drop down to the guitar. She fixes a long, unbroken stare that gives her a cloudy vision. And then she blinks it away as she lowers herself to sit on the double steps that lead into the house. The last time she kissed Mahmud was over a year ago; they were standing in the airport, his plane set to leave for Dubai. He was to spend a week there before proceeding to Jeddah. He had asked her to pass that week with him but she had declined, stating that she knew they would end up being inappropriate with each other. Now, as she recalls the moment, she wishes she had gone along, and done everything to save their relationship, including following him all the way to Jeddah.

Distance has left a gaping hole between them, one which gives her doubts about wanting to spend her future with him. He has no idea what his family did to her in his absence, how they summoned her and begged her to sever all ties with him. His elder sister, Asma, and her husband Usman were the only ones who stood by her side. But that had not been enough. At that time in her life, she felt she had nothing left to cling to. Even her siblings abandoned her. She didn’t blame them or anyone for how they treated her. She also hated the Wura that was in those videos. She had pulled through relying on her music, the quiet, dark days when she was alone and all she had was her voice and the black and white notes on her Yamaha keyboard. Ralph was there for her as well, upholding her ragged honor even to the disrepute of his name. He became a constant in her life, lending her his voice, his shoulders and cheering words. It was upon his back she learned to stand again. He always had enough strength for her.

But last week he had caved and brought the weight down on them both. A rather strange thing had happened during her rehearsals at a friend’s house where he was staying at the moment, having finally parted ways with his wife. The house was a large, quiet place somewhere in Badagry, and had tall, bare palm trees and a yard that looked out to a small, dirty beach. Ralph had chosen to live that faraway to heal from his broken heart. It was Wura’s first time in the place and Ralph treated her to a glass of orange and ginger juice before they set about their rehearsals.

But things didn’t go well that morning, as Ralph ran through a song in a manner so depressing and dark that Wura saved them both by placing a gentle hand over his to stop him. Music notes from the glistening black piano he was playing died down and he lifted miserable eyes at her.

“She’s taking the children to the UK, and I can’t do anything about it.”

“Why?”

“Well, it’s the best for them. I’m paying school fees, accommodation and all but…”

He ran his hand over his forehead.

“She’s taking everything from me. Everything. Nine years of marriage, my children and the bulk of my money. And I did nothing wrong. I never cheated on her. She just got tired of me…”

He sighed and dropped his hand, fingers landing on the black notes of the piano, causing an unpleasant sound.

“I’m so sorry, sir.” Wura drew closer and sat beside him. They had never spoken about his divorce, not to this extent, at least. She was unsure of how to respond to his heartbreak which was alien to her, being that he had done everything to hide his pain. The emotional side of him was new and utterly distressing. She wanted to just reach out and hug the broken man in him.

“But she accused me of many things,” Ralph continued. “Of loving God’s work more than her, of never being there when she needed me, of sacrificing for my music more than I sacrificed for the family… And maybe she was right. Maybe every other thing came before her and the kids but it wasn’t intentional. I thought I was doing everything right, Wura.”

“Maybe the problem is not with you and you should stop punishing yourself.”

But it seemed Wura had just spoken to the air. Ralph went back and in time and brought up occasions that he felt he might have missed being a good husband and father, times when the church came first and his family second. Wura stopped him again, her hand on his as before.

“It’s not your fault. She stopped loving you. These things happen.”

Ralph sought Wura’s eyes from the darkness of his.

“I’m not supposed to tell you this but I have to let it out of my chest. She also accused me of loving you.”

Wura’s hand dropped.

“Of being in love with you.”

An uneasy smile, barely noticeable took one side of Wura’s lips. It was her turn to search his face. She didn’t know what she was looking for but she held his eyes.

“But you’re not in love with me. You love me as a sister.”

Ralph was silent.

“Pastor Ralph?”

He looked elsewhere.

“Pastor Ralph.”

His eyes returned to her. “What she thinks I feel or don’t feel for you doesn’t matter. What matters is the work God has used me to do in your life. The work we’re both doing.”

Wura stood up, her pulse hastening.

“You shouldn’t bother about what she said. She was just looking for reasons to leave. Even if hypothetically, I was in love with you, and it’d been so from the first day I met you, you think I’d throw my family and ministry away for that? Come on, Woo. You should know I’m not that type of man. I’d keep it all bottled up. Put the lid on it. Treat you as I would my sister, because God knows what I feel for you is pure and wholesome. So, let’s forget that talk and concentrate on our ministry of healing broken souls.”

Wura didn’t feel better by his explanation. He had, in uncertain terms, confirmed his ex-wife’s assertions and it scared the hell out of her.

“I’m still Pastor Ralph,” he insisted. “Nothing has changed between us, Woo.”

But it didn’t feel that way to Wura. On her way home that day, her mind went back to all the moments she felt he had expressed his feelings. Nothing inappropriate in his manner towards her was recalled; Ralph had been a mentor at all times, even when he found out that she was pregnant with Bilal. He had been supportive and gracious to Mahmud then and never wavered in his character.

However, the awareness of those facts did nothing to soften the blow of what he had told Wura. She wished he had never said a word on the matter even though she understood his need to unburden himself. Looking into the history of their relationship over the period of Mahmud’s absence she came to the awful realization that they had gotten quite close; so close that Bilal now called him ‘daddy’ and he sometimes knew when she was on her period because on more than one occasion, he had helped her purchase sanitary towels when menstrual cramps left her incapacitated. They were that chummy. Hence, through her entire week, even until this moment, she had carried the feeling that she was and still is in a sort of unhealthy relationship with him. And to her, Mahmud’s surprise return is God’s way of telling her to leave the life she shares with Ralph.

She counts the hours to the concert in feverish anticipation, her unease returning.

∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞

His SUV enters the compound with the same weariness that claims his body. It feels to him like he has been driving for years without stop. He makes mental plans to sleep for five hours at least, and then wake up to map out more time to sleep for another twelve hours. Very little jobs like this claim his time and energy. He would usually delegate duties to the Novocaine Knights technical crew and hang about to see them done. But this is different. Wura, as sweet and soft-spoken as she is known to be, gets bumpy when it comes to her music and the sounds that accompany it.

Kasiobi had used most of the night and the dark hours of the morning to ensure that everything was technically perfect for the love concert. Mechanical glitches had prolonged his efforts but somehow he managed through, setting everything ready in good time.

He now longs for a warm bath and a cup of steaming hot chocolate or something of the likes. He recalls how Lexus always made the best cups of hot chocolate, adding twists with each fresh brew. He reminisces on moments when she got out of herself and treated him like he was the best thing since ice-cream. It felt good to be in love then, with nothing to worry about but whose turn it was to do the dishes or make dinner. Lexus had been the Lexus he’d always known – wild, open and bearing the mindedness and sometimes melancholy of a talented artist. In their small apartment in New York her talent blossomed, in oil paintings, charcoal and graffiti. The highlight of his nights after long hours in class and studio sessions was to come home and watch her, dressed in nothing but a single piece of clothing, throwing herself into her art. Sometimes, two or three days would go by before she acknowledged his presence. And when she did, she brought fierce affection with her. Their love was always on a high, sometimes too good to be true. But he had never nursed any worries. Lexus was not just his girlfriend; she was his best friend too. If love failed, friendship was bound to survive…

Kasiobi brusquely blocks thoughts of her out of his mind. Recalling their history together is always a torturous pastime, certainly not something he presently needs.

He steps down from his vehicle and walks towards his apartment, the sounds of reggae loudening as he nears the door.

Chichi…

He sighs.

She is becoming a problem. As he had predicted, her sole aim since she got back into his life had been to remind him that she once used to stoke his fires. He couldn’t count how many times he had wandered into the living room and found her naked or nearly so. He was now quite used to the show, something Kira constantly complains about. He foresees a fight between both girls soon, with Chichi being the instigator as is in her nature. They barely stomach each other, and it’s not that he really cares. He feels nothing particularly deep for either of them.

His present distraction is Didi whom he had had the pleasure of being with a few times at the Novocaine Knights head office. He finds her bubbly and quite naïve, but at the same knowledgeable in some areas about life for someone her age. She comes across as a spoilt child, much like Lexus, wild and willing to try anything. And maybe that’s why he finds himself drawn to her. Lexus still remains a constant crush in his life but he has no desire to get them back to where they used to be.

But Didi…

One of these days he’ll ask her out on a date, see what she’s all about.

He comes to his front foyer, the reggae music unbearable now. He opens the door and enters the living room, picking out a different, more disturbing sound than the music. He can hear Trinity screaming loudly from Chichi’s bedroom. He marches to the electronic stand and yanks off the main connection from the wall, stopping the music. He barges into Chichi’s bedroom and finds his daughter alone in her cot, kicking into the air with her screams. He takes her in his arms but the screams intensify.

“Chichi?” He peeps into the bathroom. It is empty. When he turns back to the room, he spots a piece of paper on one of the pillows on Chichi’s neatly-arranged bed. His tummy whips as he goes for the paper. On a second thought, he leaves it where it is, and stands to read its contents, written in Chichi’s hand.

Kas,

This is the worst thing I’m ever going to do in my life and everyone will hate for it but I have to go and find my happiness. I never planned to be a mother or a baby mama. I’m not good at doing both. It’s best I leave Trinity in your hands. I can’t raise her out of wedlock and God knows I tried getting you to love me but your heart is with Lex. When we got back together last year I thought it was for good but you dumped me again. You have no idea how much it hurts to keep loving one person and the person keeps dumping you. Well I wish you and Lex the best when you get back together. As for me, don’t look for me. You’ll never find me.

Chisom.

Weirdly, Kasiobi is not shocked. With Chichi one should expect anything. Heck, he even expects her to walk back in and tell him the note is all a joke.

Thus, his reaction to what he has just read is laughter. A shake of his head and more laughter. Trinity who continues to shriek at the top of her lungs is now clawing at his neck.

“Let’s go get you something to eat, Trini. Your mom has gone mad.”

He leaves the bedroom to the kitchen, opens the fridge and finds a feeding bottle containing breast milk, the only one left. After he tosses it into the microwave, he picks a chair and sits, doing his best to placate Trinity.

“She’ll come back,” he says to the tot. “Your mom will miss you so much she’ll come back.”

But his words sound alien in his ear as he looks around. Usually, Chichi would be standing in front of the cooker or the sink, dressed in a panty or nothing at all, doing everything to seduce him. Her absence rings as loudly as Trinity’s screams.

“Trini, sorry o. Biko, calm down. Your food is warming up.”

Luckily for both father and daughter, the microwave dings to a stop. Kasiobi takes out the milk, hurries to the living room and proceeds to feed Trinity. This is his first attempt and it goes badly. The milk is too hot and it burns Trinity on first taste and she goes into a fit worse than before. Kasiobi then dashes for freezing water from the fridge and spends an extra two or three minutes having the milk come to manageable temperature. By now, Trinity has given up wailing. She goes into silent whimpers, setting the most miserable expression on her face that has Kasiobi feeling inadequate. When he eventually feeds her and all seems well with the world, he stretches out to have a short playtime with her but fails at it as he discovers he is too exhausted. He yawns more than a few times and soon his eyes begin to shut without his consent.

kasi4

“She’ll come back,” he mumbles, yawning. But something in his head, sounding much like Lexus’ voice tells him, “Nigga, you know she’ gone.”

©Sally@moskedapages

 

 

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

 

 

Images: www.avitalandco.comneversatisfied.comtight hugs kisses smile on Instagram

It’s Another Saturday…#22

Eid Mubarak, guys!

This one is for the holidays just because I love you. Another comes on Saturday.

Have an awesome night, fam!

Baby Daddy 

“Love without complications? Honey, that’s like asking for a rose without thorns.”

I look at the bunch of roses in mommy’s hands. She is wearing gardening gloves but she remains careful not to touch the thorny stems of the flowers.

“Tola, please pass me that vase I gave you.”

A sulky Tola picks a green vase at her feet that contains clean water and hands it to me and I pass it over to mommy who smiles into my eyes.

I love her garden. The flowers, the way they are meticulously arranged, their different fragrances all coming to one intoxicating fragrance make me want to forget that I’m having a not-so-good day. Jide and I had this nasty fight this morning and I miss him like crazy already. I wish he would just answer my calls.

“So back to your question, Honey. Love is never free of complications. When you step out of the honeymoon phase, you begin to experience the nastiness that comes with it.”

“As for me, my honeymoon phase ended when she showed up,” Tola mouths acidly.

Mommy looks at her with a lighthearted frown. “Oya, lay you complaint, darling. I know you’ve been itching to talk.”

“I’ve been having dreams,” Tola almost cuts in. “Really bad dreams…”

“About?”

“Emeka and Yazmin.”

“And what do you see in the dreams?”

“That they have another baby together. Or the other night, it was that Mex followed her to Mexico and told me he wasn’t coming back.”

“And this somehow means what?”

“Mommy, I feel like something is going on between them.”

I look at Tola’s distressed face and marvel at the power of female intuition. Jide already revealed to me that Emeka married Yazmin and asked me not to tell anyone. So far, there has been nothing in the way Emeka relates with Yazmin that throws suspicion in anyone’s direction but Tola strongly holds that something is going on.

Abandoning her snooty attitude a few days ago, she invited me to their home for lunch and shared her fears with me. Although she didn’t mention it, I knew she wanted to know if there was something going on in the background that Jide was aware of and had mentioned to me. Luckily at that moment, I was oblivious of what was happening. Later that night, Jide exposed Emeka’s secret to me. I didn’t know what to make of it because I like Yazmin a lot and we have bonded.

On the one hand, I don’t blame Emeka; the marriage was forced on him. But on the flip side, no one got him into the mess but himself. Jide feels he should divorce Yazmin but I doubt that it would be the best solution.

“What is wrong with him having two wives?” I had asked. And I wished I hadn’t spoken because Jide gave me such a lecture on fidelity and the sanctity of marriage that I ended up apologizing for my careless statement.

“Nothing is going on between them, Tola baby,” Nne assures her daughter-in-law with a smile and a gentle rub of her back.

“I hope so.”

“You know you’re pregnant and pregnant women always have vivid dreams. It’s because of all the hormones running wild in your body. You’re a gynecologist; you should know better.”

“Mommy, this is beyond pregnancy. My instincts are telling me something is off. I feel this disconnect from Emeka.”

“Wait, I hope he’s behaving himself.”

“He is… but…”

“But what?”

“He is suddenly too loving and generous.”

“And you said your honeymoon stage is over?”

“Well…”

Mommy laughs. “This girl ehn!” She pulls her cheek. “Don’t worry, your husband is faithful to you.”

“If you say so.”

Mommy flicks off a little, green worm off a rose stem and her eyes passes over me briefly.

“Are you alright, Honey?” she asks. “You look pale.”

She is not wrong about her observation. I haven’t been feeling right all day. At present, I have this nauseous sensation building in me.

“I’m fine, mommy. Just tired.”

I dare not tell her how I’m feeling or she’ll jump into the easy conclusion that I’m pregnant.

“Maybe you need to go in and stretch out on the couch.”

“Sorry,” Tola mutters to me.

I nod and head into the house. Yazmin is watching a Nollywood movie. She is obsessed with Nonso Diobi and has gotten an entire collection of his movies after forcing Emeka into using his connections in the entertainment industry to arrange a lunch date for her with him. Now, she won’t stop going on about how handsome he is.

How do I describe Yazmin? Physically, she’s smallish and shapely. She is beautiful; I can’t overemphasize that. Character-wise, she is fun, friendly and bubbly, everything Tola is not. She charms everyone around her effortlessly and has chosen to make me her Nigerian bestie.

I genuinely like her despite her husband-snatching ways, and it was what got Jide and I into a fight this morning. Hurtful words were uttered on both sides. It didn’t start with me, though. He woke up in a mood and felt like laying down the law on my friendship with Yazmin. I defended my right to befriend whomever I wished but he insisted that she is not all she presents herself to be and is simply out to destroy his brother’s marriage.

So I said to him, “What if it was me that got pregnant for you? Would you abandon me and the baby like that?”

And he went, “First, I’ll never make the mistake of getting you pregnant until we’re married. Secondly, I don’t think you’re that irresponsible not to know how to handle your reproductive organs after unsafe sex. Only stupid women and those with bad motives get pregnant out of wedlock.”

I was dazed at the manner in which he had spoken because here was a man that clearly slept with more women than there were days in a year, yet he was going all straitlace on me. So I called him a hypocrite and in response, he told me he questioned my values if I found in Yazmin someone I could call a friend.

I was livid because his statement struck a chord somewhere. I knew he was dredging up my past affair with my pilot ex, Nonso (which I had shared with him). Hence, to hit back where I knew would hurt him, I told him the only reason he was defending Tola was because he had slept with her.

At that point, the air went dead silent and cold. Jide had a look in his eyes I had never seen before. Without telling me anything, he picked his phone and left my house.

He has refused to answer my calls since.

“Did I go too far?” I asked Mary over the phone.

“Probably,” she answered. “Here’s something you don’t know about Jide. He was a really good guy before the whole Ezinne disaster. Not that he was religious or perfect but he was one of the good ones. He didn’t sleep around, only drank socially with his friends, went to Mass every Sunday and held strong family values. His Bridemaker days are over and he’s back to being that old person. You didn’t have to dredge up Tola. He feels really bad about it.”

“But he hurt me too.”

“I know but bringing up Tola was way below the belt.”

Well, what did I expect? That Mary would take my side? She and Jide have this bond not even I can break and I have come to respect it. All the same, I have taken her words to heart and I plan to apologize to him later on. Right now, Yaz wants to accompany me to the mall where I intend to make a second installment of cash for office supplies.

The travel agency is coming up nicely, thanks to Kalu and concerted effort from Dele’s wife and Saratu. We hope to launch in a couple of months or even earlier if all goes according to plan. Sadly, the bulk of the work falls on my shoulder and I wouldn’t have bothered if my health was in order. I still feel nauseous and a little dizzy but I think I can manage to the mall and back. By tomorrow, Saratu will be in town and take over the running-around while I rest.

Yazmin dashes upstairs to change into fresh clothes while I am forced to watch Nonso Diobi do some slobbery kissing act with an Igbo-looking actress who has a budding moustache and fake grey eyes.

Out of nowhere, as it is with Nigerian movies, a horror tune takes over the bluesy song that is playing and Yazmin’s adorable baby is disturbed from his slumber. He cries out and I rush to his crib to check on him. His eyes are open but I don’t think his concentration is on me. I rock the crib gently and his eyes shut again. I smile at his cuteness. From the moment I laid eyes on him I fell in love. He is that type of baby that makes you think of having babies but just like Jide, I am not ready right now.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

I feel a presence in the room and turn. Yazmin’s maid, Maria Lena is standing by the door that leads to the kitchen and she’s giving me that look, which I’m quite used to now, that spells her dislike for me.

I head back to my seat and settle in.

Cabrona,” I hear her say. I turn to her with a frown and she smiles.

I turn back. Maybe I misheard. She did not just call me a bitch.

A couple of minutes fly by and I hear, “Puta.”

I turn again. She retains the evil smile, having just called me a slut.

“Did you just call me Puta?” I ask.

“Me?” she responds innocently. “Noh.”

I eye her real good. I understand Spanish a lot more than anyone knows. Working as an international flight attendant affords you the privilege to learn the basics of the world’s most popular languages. I have French, Russian, Chinese, Latin, Dutch and Spanish in my repertoire. Spanish, in particular, came easy for me because of a colleague who was Mexican.

Yazmin and her maid assume I know only the ABCs but I have enjoyed playing the fool just to listen up on all their gossip. I have learned from eavesdropping, that Yazmin’s mother is not in support of the marriage and wants her home immediately. I have also learned that Yazmin sometimes cries when no one is around because she feels she is going to lose Emeka to Tola. And of course, I gathered that Maria Lena hates all of us, especially Emeka, and wishes the marriage will come to a disaster soon.

Yazmin generally pays her no mind. They are more like sisters, Maria Lena having been born into their household to a mother who is still a maid to them. Both ladies grew up together.

“You should stop calling me names, Lena,” I tell the annoying fatso plainly. “I have been nothing but nice to you, although you have been a nasty bitch to me. So, stop it.”

I know she can’t translate my sentence word for word but she pretty much gets the message.

Si senora,” she replies sarcastically.

“Leave the door and sit down.”

She hesitates for a moment and then she decides to take the space beside me, which makes me rather uncomfortable.

“Don’t sit too close, Lena.”

Maria Lena,” she corrects me.

“Whatever.”

I shift away but she moves closer, nudging me with her thick arm.

“What’s your problem?”

She looks up the stairs and towards the kitchen door. I observe her cagey behavior.

“I tell you something,” she whispers. I lower my head.

“You hear Spanish.”

It’s not a question. It’s an outright assertion.

“No, I don’t.”

“You hear.”

“No, I don’t.”

Next, she grumbles in this long sentence that she knows I understand Spanish but she doesn’t comprehend why I pretend that I don’t, and it is the reason she hates us Nigerians because we’re always trying to fool someone.

“I don’t know what you just said.” I laugh, enjoying the annoyance I am building up in her.

Escúchenme!” She grabs my skater skirt, hiking it up my laps and exposing my nakedness.

I slap her hand away in embarrassment.

“Oh! No panty!” she sniggers.

“Don’t do that again, Lena.”

I straighten out my skirt.

“Sorry.”

Her face switches on to a serious manner and she moves yet another inch closer.

“You hear me?” She takes my hand now. Her grip is scarily strong but I extract my hand from it.

“Okay. I’ll listen to you. Just don’t strip me or break my hand or come near me. Okay?”

Stubbornly, she shifts closer one more time!

Okay, I’m officially freaking out here.

She begins to make certain gestures with her hands that I cannot comprehend. She links her fingers together and slams the heels of her palms into each other in a continuous motion that leaves me confused. I know she is talking about Emeka and Yazmin but I’d rather have her say the words in Spanish than this charade thing she’s doing.

Yazmin y Emeka …”

She does the hand motions again. I sigh.

It’s time to give up my pretense and expose that I understand her language. But she beats me to it as she grabs me forcefully and whispers really fast into my ear.

“Sabes porque anoche Yazmin y Emeka se desaparecieron? Estaban singando en su carro.”

WHAT?!!!

Okay, give me a minute and I will explain what she just said but WHAT?!!!

“No, Lena. You’re lying. It’s not…”

She slaps her hand over my mouth and I pick the sound of Yazmin coming down the stairs.

“Shhh!”

Maria Lena disappears just as Yazmin appears.

“I’m ready!” Yazmin announces with a bright smile. I take a good look at her from top to bottom and her smile dies away.

“Is everything okay?” she asks in her Mexican-American accent. “You don’t like what I’m wearing?”

I absolutely love what she has on. It’s a little black dress with teal floral prints and on her feet are purple sneakers. She looks casual, yet fab. I should tell her that but I am still reeling from what Maria Lena just shared with me.

“No, your dress is fine, Yaz. My mind was somewhere else.”

“Okay.”

She leaves a peck on her son’s cheek and we head out, she leading the way. I give the sitting room one last look before I leave and I see Maria Lena with a finger over her lips, instructing me to keep my mouth shut.

Like hell I will!

It’s drizzling when we drive out to the road. Yazmin stays in character, filling my ears with fascinating stories from her privileged life. She is quite the storyteller. She knows how to weave a tale with suspense and anecdotes that would leave you begging for more. Daddy, in particular, makes her entertain him every chance he gets.

“So last night, did you and Emeka have sex in his car after dinner?” I ask unexpectedly, repeating word for word what Maria Lena told me.

Yazmin slowly turns her head in my direction.

“Last night?”

Yesterday, I was at the family house to pick Aso-ebi for Jide and I. One of their cousins is getting married soon and Nne insists we should all pay for the ridiculously expensive Aso-ebi material. After picking it up and dropping the money, daddy had insisted I stayed for dinner. Emeka was also present, and of course, acted distant towards Yazmin. It’s still hard to believe he shagged her in his car after dinner. I hope Maria Lena was lying.

“Yes, last night. Did you screw Emeka in his car, Yaz?”

“No,” she replies.

I stare at her squarely. I wait for her to say something further but she doesn’t.

“Look, I know you’re married to Emeka. I was told the whole story.”

“Okay.”

“Okay? That is all you’ll say?”

“Yeah. And that I don’t have to lie about last night. We had sex, okay? It’s called conjugal rights.”

I hold back words that are about to say something nasty in response.

“Yaz…I think marrying Emeka was a stupid move because you’ll always be Emeka’s sidechick, wife or not.”

She chuckles and says silently. “I know.”

“And then, Tola is an Adeniyi. The name is pretty important around here. I doubt that Emeka would want to dump it for a Ramiros.”

“I’m fine with the arrangement, Honey. I’m not fighting for Tola’s place. I don’t want to tear them apart. I just want my son to grow up with his father. It’s a gazillion times better than life as a Ramiros, trust me. And it’s my escape from hell too.”

Her tone silences me. I realize her shoe pinches where no one sees or feels. I shut down my argument and promise to keep my opinion and nosiness to myself from now on. Love triangles are complicated things. I just hope no one gets hurt when the truth eventually blows out.

I slow towards a traffic stop and fight the nausea that is coming on me full force now.

“Are you okay?” Yazmin touches my shoulder.

“Yeah.”

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

“You’re pregnant,” Ekene says the moment I stoop down, bend over my toilet seat and barf up my lunch.

“Get out.”

I point the way out of my bathroom. My head is still crouched over as another upsurge of puke comes to the surface.

I feel terrible; I don’t need his unsolicited diagnoses about my health. Come to think of it, who even asked him into my house?

“How did you get in here?” I ask, wiping my mouth. I don’t get an answer.

I briefly recall parking my car outside my house and he showing up with his dog. I remember being really dizzy…

The toilet flushes and it startles me. I look up to see Ekene standing over me.

“Go away.”

“So after the last time, you didn’t learn shit. You still stupidly got yourself pregnant again?”

“I am not pregnant.”

“You are! And you’re showing the same symptoms like the last time! Night sickness, nonsense vomiting and faintness!”

I look at Ekene again. Why the hell does he think he has a right to shout on me?

I rise up.

“Please, go home. Whoever annoyed you outside, go and meet the person and stop shouting on me inside my own house, abeg.”

His face is a deep red shade of anger and seriously, I can’t understand why he should even care.

“You have your life ahead of you and you ruin it with a dick?! Learn to close your legs, Erhinyuse!”

“Okay, leave!” I scream back and instantly feel a burning sensation in my throat.

Ekene stomps out and seconds later, I hear the front door slam. I walk to the sitting room, lock the door, turn on classical music and walk back to my bathroom. I am too tired for a shower but I strip down to my underwear, rinse my mouth and lie in bed.

I pray Jide slips in later at night as he usually does. The weather is too cold; I can’t sleep in my bed all alone. I miss him.

Pregnant.

Ekene’s words return with a sting. I ponder on them.

No. Impossible.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

This priest, I don’t like him. He is boring and his homilies are as long as I used to know. One would think he would have changed after five years but it’s like I went away, returned and met him right where I left him. I prefer the older priest. He is more engaging.

I yawn loudly and get a disapproving stare from my darling mother who is seated with her husband two rows ahead of us. I smile at her.

Scolding after Mass, loading…

“Christ admonishes us to forgive one another just as he forgave us our sins on the cross,” the priest says and I catch some people nodding in seriousness like they had just heard breaking news. Isn’t the whole message of Christianity centered on God’s forgiveness through his son, Jesus? Why pretend like you’re just hearing it for the first time? God is not impressed by anyone’s falseness. I tire for these church folks sef.

“No matter what is done to you or what has been said, Christ wants us to forgive.”

I think about Honey. I have forgiven her but it feels good to punish her some more. I wonder if that counts as malice and if God would hold it against me.

“You didn’t have to tell Kalu,” Emeka, seated beside me, comments.

“Shh!” replies Kalu, seated on his right.

I’m in no mood to revive the conversation we were having before the homily began. It was about Emeka’s unfortunate marriage to Yazmin. I hadn’t planned to tell Kalu but coming to church and seeing Yazmin with the family, all happy and feeling at home with herself, I let my dislike for her get the best of me and blurted out to Kalu what was going on. Emeka hadn’t been pleased; a hushed argument between him and I ensued and we flagrantly kept on until Kalu stopped us just at the commencement of the homily.

“You are in God’s house, for God’s sake!” he had said with clenched teeth and we both conducted ourselves. Now, Emeka is pushing my buttons again.

“I will not divorce her,” he makes clear. “Deal with it. That is her, sitting two rows before you. Get used to her back view, her side view, her front view and every other view because she is your sister-in-law and will call you Dede from now on.”

I feel like elbowing his face. And why on earth did Tola decide to worship in her own church today? Why is she not here to put an end to Yazmin’s madness?

The homily ends and we all rise to recite the Nicene Creed.

“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen…”

“You shouldn’t have married her,” Kalu speaks.

“I didn’t ask your opinion,” Emeka squelches.

“In God’s eyes, Tola is your only wife.”

“Don’t speak for God.”

We bow our heads as we recite more lines from the creed.

“But what has been done has been done,” Kalu continues. “Live with the consequences.”

“Meaning?” I question.

“Divorce is totally out of the question.”

“He should keep two wives?” I ask, aghast.

Kalu looks from me to Emeka. “It’s called consequences. Let Yazmin choose to leave you on her own. But you have to love and respect her and the vows you made to her.”

I don’t miss Emeka’s smile as the Nicene Creed comes to an end.

“We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

The lector then launches us into general intercessions and I go through the routine like a zombie. We sit and I carry on my zombie mode. I feel annoyed over Kalu’s opinion and the way he uttered it.

I do get where he is coming from. I also feel it would be heartless to displace Yazmin, and that Emeka ought to face up to his responsibilities as a husband and father but at what cost?

I honestly do not see a happy ending for those involved. But as it stands, I officially withdraw myself from the saga.

∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞            ∞

I am staring at the blue line on the pregnancy test strip like it is an alien color to me. I have broken into a sweat and my heart races twice over.

How did this happen?

“I am so disappointed, Hon.”

Ekene’s words are a million miles away, coming to me only in an echo.

“I am not pregnant,” I whisper, wishing the blue line away.

Why did I agree to the test when Ekene showed up at my door with Saratu and the test kit some minutes ago? Why didn’t I kill that proud voice that was telling me to go ahead with the test just to prove that I was not pregnant? Why did I do this to myself?

“This result is false,” I say.

“The pee is still there and so is another strip,” Saratu tells me. “Do a second test.”

I eagerly take out the second pregnancy home test kit from its pack and dash into my bathroom. I still want to prove to them that there is just no way I am pregnant.

I dip the strip into the urine and wait, my heart thumping.

After a while I pull it out and sadly, get the same result.

“No.”

Tears invade my eyes.

“No,” I repeat.

I walk back to my sitting room, dazed. Saratu is irked when she sees the result.

“I told you not to do this to yourself, Hon. I told you.”

“Does she listen to anyone?” Ekene lashes.

I slip into a chair and sob. Neither of them consoles me. Not that I want them to, though. My mind is on Jide and how he would react to the news.

“You don’t need this baby now, Hon,” Saratu states. “It will just ruin your life.”

“The worst part is that she doesn’t even know this guy well and she’s already carrying his child. If this is not the highest order of irresponsibility, I don’t know what is.”

I’m too devastated to reply their harsh words. What in heavens will I do with a baby in my life right now? Erhinyuse, what type of mess have you gotten into?

“And I will not support you in any abortion like I did the last time,” Ekene states. “For that one, I followed you because it had been a one-night stand. For this one, I remove myself kpata-kpata! In short, I wash my hands off you, Honey. Disappointment is an understatement for what I feel. I am heartbroken that you’ll do this to yourself and to us.”

“Us?”

“Yes, us! You knew I still wanted us back together. Your ring is waiting in my closet! You were supposed to be the one but you go and do this-this irresponsible thing to yourself?!”

That’s the word Jide used yesterday– irresponsible. Am I?

“I don’t have feelings for you again, Kene.”

“I didn’t tell you I was looking for your feelings!” He eyes me up and down. “Have a nice life, Iya Ibeji!”

He breezes out the front door. I am a little baffled at his behavior but it is the least of my problems.

“Well, there goes a good man,” Saratu murmurs.

I ignore her.

“So what are you going to do now?” she asks.

“Do?”

“With the pregnancy. What will you do?”

“Sara, I don’t want to talk about it now, please.”

“You know you have to get rid of it, right?”

“Get rid of it,” I echo.

“Yes. Go for an abortion.”

“Saratu…”

“Abeg, spare me any religious crap you want to spit out now. That baby needs to go. We have a company to build and you are the face of that company. We already have a baby mama onboard; we don’t need another. So, chin up and wipe those tears. It has already happened. Tomorrow, I’ll take you to a doctor in town and he’ll handle it like this.” She snaps her fingers.

I can’t say anything to her. I am still wondering how it all happened. Jide and I had that one night of unprotected sex and my period came in the morning. In fact the rush was so heavy I went through a tampon in just two hours. How on earth did anything survive that flood? Or does semen take a different route to the same uterus that releases the egg? And how can fertilization and menstruation occur at the same time? What the hell happened in there?

I hear the sound of a car outside. I peep out the window and see that it’s Emeka dropping Jide off.

“Jide is home.”

Saratu stands. “I’ll say hi to him later. Let me go in and unpack and rest.”

She kisses my forehead and wipes away the tears on my cheek. “You’ll be fine, luv.”

I watch as she gathers all evidence of the pregnancy tests I conducted.

“Don’t tell him anything yet.”

She vanishes into the guestroom while I enter my bedroom. Seconds after, Jide walks into the house. I’m standing at my bathroom door when he makes an appearance.

“Hi,” I say.

He doesn’t respond. I’m about to launch into an apology over our fight when he walks to me and kisses me really slowly and sensually. I bury myself in his embrace and struggle to keep my emotions in check.

“I’m sorry for all I said, hotstuff. I didn’t mean them.”

“I know. I’m sorry too. I love you so much, Honey.”

My emotions can’t be held back any longer. I break down in his arms. He doesn’t ask me why I’m crying; he thinks it’s because of our fight. I squeeze him tightly and get consoled by the affectionate words he uses to assure me of his love.

Somehow emotions transform to desire and before I can stop myself, we are peeling off each other’s clothes. Sex comes in a slow but passionate way and afterwards, we lie back in bed, both staring up the ceiling.

“Is there a reason why you were crying so much while we were having sex?” Jide questions.

I don’t know if I am to smile or be scared that he can read me so well.

“What’s wrong, sugar lips?”

He has his weight resting on his elbow and he’s staring at me in concern.

“I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not. If it’s something my dick didn’t cure, then it’s serious. Come on, talk to me.”

He lightly runs a finger from my earlobe down to my shoulder and then to my nipple.

“I’m pregnant.”

His finger stops moving and he lifts it off my body. Slowly, he withdraws from me and shifts away as if I have a contagious skin disease.

“Can you repeat yourself?”

“I am pregnant.”

His eyes rest on my tummy for almost a minute.

“Honey…” His voice is hushed.

“I…”

He stops me with a raised hand. I can’t bear to look into his face and see something that might break me further. I gaze away and the moment I turn, I hear him leave the bed.

“I hope you’re happy,” he says, putting on his briefs. “You accomplished what you set out for.”

“What I set out for?”

“This was what you wanted all along, wasn’t it?”

“Jide?”

“Well, congratulations, Hon. Regrettably, I won’t be a part of it.”

I bury my head in shame and weep.

large

©Sally@moskedapages

Images: blog.daum.net, v0gue-en-soiree.tumblr.com

Translations:

Cabrona – bitch

Puta – slut, bitch

Si senora – Yes, madam

Escúchenme – Just listen for a moment!

Sabes porque anoche Yazmin y Emeka se desaparecieron? Estaban singando en su carro – You know why Yazmin and Emeka disappeared last night? They were fucking in his car.

kpata-kpata – totally, completely

Iya Ibeji – pregnant woman