Tag Archives: cry

To Tame A Virgin #20 (The Wedding Invitation)

 

Finally, we come to the end of To Tame a Virgin. For all of you who started this and are here now, thank you. Your comments and retweets and facebook updates made me feel appreciated.

Special thanks to Oye and the 360nobs team.

This is dedicated to my husband…my muse. I almost threw away this story but he fell in love with the character, Dami, and introduced me to her.

HUGE DISCLAIMER: No character in this story is real. All my imagination. If they remind you of someone you know, I categorically state that I know no such person.

thighs

 

 

There was an SMS going round. Which simply read:

SHE’S BACK!

Click on the link to go to totameavirgin.com @rhodiumvee has a new post waiting for you.

 

Uyi got the SMS at exactly 7am; same time with Dike and every other subscriber to the totameavirgin website. Dike was still asleep when the alert came in. Kachi handed his phone to him as she got off the bed and went about her day. With sleepy eyes, he clicked on the link and was directed to the site. He could hardly recognize it as everything had Dami written all over it. There was a Youtube video. Dike clicked on it…

 

Uyi put his breakfast of noodles and eggs on his bed and set his laptop to click on the video link. With his other hand, he put a bottle of coke to his lips and waited with held breath.

 

Peter had watched the video a million times. It was he who edited it and others and got paid handsomely for it even though he clearly told Dami that he didn’t need the money. Nonetheless, the money had come in handy. With it he paid for two nights in a squalid hotel in the neighborhood. He was buying time before he went home to tell his folks about his HIV status. Strangely, he couldn’t stop thinking about Temi. He clicked on the link.

 

Temi was just two doors away from Peter in the same squalid hotel. Having accomplished what her mind set to do with the guy she met at the bar the night before, she saw no need to leave the hotel. Her eyes were grainy from crying all night. She had hit her lowest and was at the point where her life hung in an uncertain place; it was either going to make or break her. A can of beer found its way to her mouth and she clicked on Dami’s video.

 

Kachi peeped down the corridor to be sure Dike was not coming in the direction of the kitchen. She got the alert the same time he got his. He had no idea she was subscribed to the site. She did so when he first told her about it, just a day before it was put down. They hadn’t spoken about Damaris since then. It was a relief to hear from Ene that Damaris dropped the lawsuit against Dike. She had called Uyi to thank him for speaking on her behalf to her; but she was not too pleased with Dike’s tell-all on 360nobs about his affair with her even though he didn’t reveal his identity and marital status. Turning on the electric kettle, she waited for her browser to direct her to Youtube.

 

Thousands of other people online were watching Dami’s video at that moment. It was a two-minute montage of her sitting on her bed in crossed legs wearing nothing but a t-shirt over a pair of black pantyhose. With no makeup on and an early morning look to her hair, she began.

“So, it’s not news that a video of me going half-naked was spread by some mean girls that I called my friends. They succeeded in destroying my career, getting my dad to stop speaking to me and my boyfriend to break up with me. Nice one, girls. Secondly, I know you’ve all read the confessions of some guy who went on 360nobs to talk about my relationship with him and how it ended badly and how he got back at me by opening the totameavirgin site. Well, we’re friends now and he was kind enough to let me have the site and I intend to use it to rant, not giving a damn about those of you who are going to be coming here and leaving your player-hating comments. Sha, you’re all welcome. But know that this is not about you and your perceptions of me. Somehow you guys think by seeing my breasts you now know me. You don’t. I am not my breasts. I am Damaris Alechenu, a recovering drug addict, a model, a dancer, an ex-virgin and I don’t give a shit what you think.

“And now to the business of the day…”

Dami fished around the bed for something and came up with a card. “So ever since my boyfriend dumped me, I’ve been in a mess; crying, starving, playing Avril Lavigne, eating and adding weight, watching romance movies, drinking like a fish and doing a whole lot of other pathetic things. I don’t intend to share them with you but I’m using this medium to beg him nicely, since he won’t pick his calls, to allow me tell him how much he means to me. I was in rehab for twenty-eight days. Not your normal rehab but the Rihanna type. I was trying to do away with the addiction of loving you, Mr. Smith but I couldn’t. Instead I found twenty-eight more reasons why I love you and I am going to tell you today. But not here.”

She moved forward to the camera and placed the card in her hand before the lens. It was a wedding invitation with gold and blue writings. The bottom part that held the address was crossed out by a marker.

“My cousin’s wife’s younger sister is getting married and Mr. Smith, I am inviting you for it. You know the venue; it’s the place where we first kissed. When you come, look for the girl in the blue dress and she’ll tell you the twenty-eight reasons why I love you.”

Dami withdrew the card from the screen.

“And for the rest of you who are not invited, I have a brand new BB Q10 to give out.”

She went back to the bed and flashed Blackberry phone with its pack.

“If anyone can guess correctly, just three out of the twenty-eight reasons why I love my boo, they can claim the phone. But remember to follow me, then use the hashtag #Dami’s28 as you tweet. Be creative.”

She walked back to the camera and switched it off.

Word spread. Tweets and retweets flew across Twitter. People were talking. #Dami’s28 was trending in no time.

************

Temi got home sometime after nine in the morning. Ovie was not back from his sister’s where he had spent the night. Temi didn’t like the silence. The power was out. With a long hiss, she walked to where the fuse box was located to have a look at it. Something was wrong with some of the switches and she had complained severally to Ovie and Peter to find an electrician to fix it but they always did it themselves. She stood staring at the fuse box, lost. She didn’t hear when Edet walked in until he put a gentle hand on her arm. She jumped and turned to him.

“Edet! You scared me.”

“Sorry.”

“Thank God you’re here sha. Abeg, help me do this thing. I don’t know what they touch there.”

“Get me a stool or chair to climb.”

Temi walked into her bedroom and came out with a plastic chair. Edet got on it.

“So, you and Peter have broken up?” he asked. Temi was surprised at his question but she replied him even so.

“No.”

“And he left?”

“Yeah.”

“Doesn’t he know that HIV is not automatic death? There are so many people living with it in Nigeria.”

“Abi.”

“I pray he comes back. He has a good job and he’s intelligent. He can still live a full life.”

Temi was somewhat surprised at the way Edet spoke. To her, he had always been that jobless neighbor that sat around while everyone went to work and smoked himself silly.

“Edet, what do you do?”

“Mm?”

“Your work? Where do you work?”

“Online. I’m a third party merchant. I help people buy and sell stuff in naira on the web.”

“And it pays?”

“Yeah.” He shut the fuse box and pulled at the main switch, bringing power back into the house.

“Yay!” Temi beamed. Edet got down but missed his landing and tumbled into her. He had his face in her breasts and she backed away immediately as he straightened up.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

“It’s okay. It’s not as if you planned to fall on me.”

She had no idea.

“See, I have soup in the fridge. I’ll warm it and make eba for us.”

“That sounds nice. Eba in the morning.”

“Okay, I’ll make semo. It’s lighter.”

“Eba is fine,” Edet said and pulled out something from beside her lips. He showed her.

“Tissue paper. Wonder where I got that.”

“And there’s one more here.” He picked out another tiny piece of tissue beside her right eye.

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Fine girls should not be crying.”

Temi smiled. She needed the compliment and the relief it brought. Edet was going to be nice company if he didn’t fall into her breasts again. She didn’t want to be alone. There were condemnatory thoughts waiting for her in her mind, a flood she kept at bay that was pulsing at the seams of her emotions. The littlest moment alone with herself would send her crumbling.

When Edet left the house, she went into loud music mode, playing a collection of party songs as she waited for the water she put over the cooker to come to a boil. She sang out loud too; she didn’t want to hear her inner voice.

Finally, the water began to bubble out and pour on the cooker. She took down the pot, poured the water into a bowl and got out the Ijebu garri she had set aside earlier. She kept her feet busy in a light dance as she set garri to the steaming water. But tears came to her eyes. They was no stopping them. She sang really loud now, louder than the thoughts condemning her, still they forced her into a choking sob. She stopped for a second and sniffed to pull herself together. Afterwards, the loud singing continued as she danced more.

Then out of nowhere, she felt it. The hot breath on the nape of her neck, the hands on her sides and the unmistakable feel of a boner on her bum.

Temi swiveled round in instant anger and landed the wooden stirrer in her hand on the head of her assaulter. Edet backed away with his hand on the spot he had been hit and hot water splashed into his face. It scalded him at first but cooled immediately.

“Are you mad?!” Temi screamed. The stirrer in her hand went up in the air again and was aiming at him when Edet stopped her hand and gave her a slap.

“Look at this useless human being! You poured me hot water!”

Temi recovered from the slap and lunged at him but he held her hands and pushed her towards the counter. She aimed a knee at his groin. He ducked with a lascivious laugh and pressed his body into hers. Temi squirmed helplessly. The more she moved, the more he forced himself on her.

“Stay one place and stop fighting me! I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Leave me alone, Edet!” Temi was livid but it came with no power. She was afraid; Edet’s firm grip gave her no means of escape. She screamed out and he stopped her mouth with a hand. She shivered. Instant fever tremors shook her as his other hand grabbed her breast. For the first time in her life, she wished she had long nails. Her fingers on his face were not giving her the result she wanted. Therefore, she used the only weapon she knew. She dug her teeth into his upper arm and bit down as hard as she could but he raised his hand and rammed his elbow into her face. She went weak, her knees buckled. The floor seemed to shake underneath her as gravity forced her down.

Is this how you’re going to be all your life?

The voice from within her was loud. It came to her ears above the sound of Kcee’s Limpopo coming from the sitting room.

They pull you down, you fall. They abuse you, you hide in a hole. They hit you, you’re down to the floor.

Edet had her in his arms again, not letting her fall.

“Edet, please let me go,” Temi stopped fighting and lowered her tone.

Don’t let him get away.

“Please, stop,” Temi begged. Edet wasn’t sure at first.

“Please. I promise I won’t tell anyone. Just let me go.”

“You promise?”

Temi nodded.

“I didn’t want to hurt you.” He was breathing hard. “I just wanted to… I thought you and I could, you know… Your body, it does things to me.”

“Maybe we can but not now. Anyone can walk in.”

Edet nodded and moved away from her. Temi let out a relieving breath.

“I’m sorry.”

But Temi’s anger had been refueled by her inner person and she surged at him with renewed energy, picking the stirrer from the floor. This time she had him right on his forehead with three vicious blows. Next, she went for his nose, breaking it in one hit. She drew back with a heaving chest and watched him struggling with the stunning pain as blood flooded his face. She saw his eyes coming to rest on her in anger and she dashed out of the kitchen through the backdoor and ran all the way to the front gate.

“Aunty Temi, wetin dey happen?” the gateman asked but Temi stood, the stirrer still in her hand which was shaking non-stop.

The pedestrian gate opened and Ovie walked in. He stopped and gave Temi a once-over.

“What’s wrong?”

Temi, amidst her tears, narrated her encounter with Edet to Ovie who listened with a face that got incensed by the second.

“Is that all? Apart from slapping and touching you improperly, did he go any further?”

“No.”

Ovie turned to the gateman. “Mallam, lock the gate. No allow Edet commot.”

The gatemen obeyed the instructions with no questions as Ovie drew Temi to sit on a bench by the fence. He got out his phone and dialed a number.

“Peter, show… Just come house abeg… Just come.”

He dialed the next.

“Uyi, abeg try come crib… Now… Ehn, me sef dey go for the wedding… Just come.”

He dialed the third.

“Murphy, abeg person need that your Buran Tashi… Carry am come for me now-now-now…  Guy chill, I go pay you… Just carry am come.”

“OV, what are you doing?” Temi asked when he was through with the calls. “Why did you call all of them?”

Ovie handed his phone to her and walked towards the front door as soon as he saw Edet emerging from it. Edet spotted him, took a step backwards and dashed back inside. Ovie set his own feet into a spring and went for him. Seconds after, Edet appeared from the backyard and ran straight to the gate but he was met with a huge padlock. Knowing there was no way out for him, he turned around with his apartment in mind but Ovie caught up with him and threw him flat on his back through a punch. A second fist in his face thumped him out cold.

************

Temi watched from the window of her bedroom. Peter, Uyi and Murphy had arrived and they listened as Ovie recounted what she had told him. She didn’t really see why they were having a conference over the issue. It wasn’t after she listened in that she understood what was really going on.

Apparently, Edet had slept with Uyi’s ex. But that wasn’t all. Odun, Doctor Ahmed’s younger sister once reported that Edet had tried to sexually molest her at the backyard where they hung clothes. Edet got a slap on the wrist but the girl was sent back to her hometown. Finally, Ovie added that a few weeks before, a girl who had slept over after one of their Friday parties told him how Edet had been inappropriate with her at the party. Edet denied and said the girl was drunk and came on to him. There was nothing Ovie could do about the incidence.

While he was still recounting the story to them, Peter left where he stood and went to Edet who was now awake and was seated on the bench occupied by Temi earlier.

“You know say na my babe you touch?”

Edet gave him a demeaning stare.

“Forget everything wey happen for these past few weeks, forget say we be neighbors and you know my shit and I sabi your own, forget all the gbana wey we dey smoke steady. Forget everything. Guy,” he tapped Edet’s chest and had his hand pushed away, “Temi na my babe. Me, I no be Uyi. You no fit touch my babe go free.” Edet got off the bench and faced Temi’s window.

“Temi, you said I touched you inappropriately? How? I just tapped you and you turned around and poured hot water on me and broke my nose!”

Temi pulled the curtain shut. She looked around the mess that was her room. She needed to pack her things quickly. With what had happened to her, she didn’t need anyone to tell her that her time in that house was over.

“Temi, come out and tell the truth! Did I touch you?!”

Edet’s voice caused her to cringe. It now had a creepy effect on her. She commenced on packing her clothes and shoving them into her biggest box which was sprawled open on her bed. She shut her ears to the sound of blows coming from outside. Schooling in one of the roughest universities in the country gave her a firsthand experience of what the male specie could do to their kind when it came to thrashing. She packed hurriedly but was compelled to stop when she heard Edet screaming and begging in a terrified tone.

Temi turned to the window and pulled the curtain aside to peep. Edet was on his kness, his head sandwich between Peter’s long legs as Ovie poured the first drops of a liquid in a brown bottle down his throat. He struggled but Uyi held his head firmly as the liquid went down. They let him go afterwards and he got to his feet. He staggered a little in bloodstained clothes and eventually sat on the bench.  Murphy poured a bucket of water over him and they gave him a short time to put himself together.

“Oya!” Peter tapped him and pulled him to his feet. “Commot your clothes.”

“Ah-ahn,” Temi butt in. “It’s enough na. Please, stop.”

“Commot you shirt and short knicker! You think say I dey play?!”

“Peter, please na. Forgive him.”

“Temi, close that curtain!” Uyi ordered.

“Uyi, please. Please, you guys stop.”

“Temi, close the curtain.”

“Okay Uyi, come. Please, come.”

Uyi frowned at her but she pleaded with her eyes. He left his friends and went to meet her in the house.

“See, let nothing happen to him because of me. Buran Tashi can kill him. Please, Uyi… Please, stop.”

“He’ll be fine. We didn’t give him much. Just two capfuls or so. He needs to learn a lesson. We want to teach him what it really means not to control a hard-on.”

“So you people will just leave him like that?”

“After we tie him to his bed.”

“Uyi!”

“Forget him. Are you okay?”

“Yes.” She listened to the sound of Edet being carried away and didn’t hear Uyi’s question.

“Temi?”

She came back to him. “Ehn?”

“Where are you going? You’re packing.”

“I want to go and stay with my friend, Hafsa, until I can come up with enough money to help me get a new place. But I can’t stay here again, not with Edet in this same compound.”

Uyi remained by the door, staring at her. She wasn’t the same girl he had known. She was no longer the Temi he still couldn’t stop worrying about. It looked like someone had come and sapped the beauty and life out of her in one night. Her skin was lacking its fresh glow and rashes had broken out on her face. The hunch of her shoulder was back.

“You’re looking at me and you’re still judging me,” Temi said.

“I am not.”

“I slept with someone last night,” she confessed. Her hands squeezed a t-shirt in her hand. “A stranger. A married man. I don’t even remember his name. After everything, he paid me like I was some prostitute.”

She sat down and proceeded to pick invisible things from the smothered t-shirt in her hands.

“As a teenager, I could give anything for attention. Anything to have somebody have my time. There was a time I used to steal dollars and jewelry from my aunt’s room to give my friends in school just so that they’d accept me into their click. Other times, I took them foodstuff because I was a day student and they were boarders. When boys came into my life, I realized I didn’t need girls anymore; male company was more fun and free. The only problem was all the boys wanted me and I didn’t know how to handle it. Eventually I ended up dating the headboy and almost every afternoon after school before I went home, I had sex with him in the storeroom of our class. Sometimes he took me back to his room in the hostel. Sex gave me the love and attention I didn’t get from my family. My aunt was always away, so I really had no one in my life. In the university it was worse. I had a boyfriend who made me have threesomes with his friend and so many times I wanted to break out of the relationship but he was the only one who had my time. When I eventually left him, my life became worse…

“Uyi, I don’t want to be like this. I am not a ho. Please, believe me.” Temi’s body shuddered in tears. “I wish you could look inside me and see my heart. I am not what people think I am.”

“I know.”

“I don’t want you to go away again. Please, Uyi. I promise I won’t kiss you; I won’t be a threat to your relationship and I won’t see you if you don’t want to see me but please, tell me you’ll still be in my life. You’re the only one who never took advantage of me.”

“Temi, stop crying, abeg,” Uyi muttered but it seemed he opened a dam. Temi cried for a long time and he watched from the door. He longed to comfort her but he needed her to understand her anguish and source of her sorrow.

“Would you like to go for a wedding?” he asked. “Just to get your mind off your pain?”

Temi shook her head.

“I promised I was always going to be around for you. You’re my friend and there’s still good in you. That’s what I want to believe…”

Uyi paused as he heard Edet screaming somewhere in the compound.

“You need tough love. A different kind of love. You need to see yourself differently and I think I can help you. I’m not intimidated by your body and gone are the days I wanted to sleep with you. I’m in love with my girlfriend and I’m committed to sticking with her. But I will not let you go, Temi. My conscience will kill me if I do. So, will you follow me for the wedding and quit this mad nonsense about you going to disturb your friend in her matrimonial home?”

Temi looked at him.

“Edet is the one packing out tomorrow. This is your house; you’re not going anywhere. You can’t keep running. Now, get up, have a shower, fix yourself up and look good and confident like the Temi I know. Then you can choose who will be your plus one at the wedding. We’re all going.”

“I thought you alone got the invitation.”

“Ovie and Murphy want to win that Q10 but I can help you get it.”

Temi smiled and Uyi saw a hint of life in her cheeks.

“Thank you.”

Uyi peeped out. “Your boyfriend is coming.” His tone flattened to almost a whisper. “He’s going through hell. He’s about to leave to his village to spend the rest of his life there. Please stop him. HIV is not a death sentence. Talk to him.”

************

To be Continued…

 

The conclusion comes tomorrow. Don’t miss it!

 Read previous episodes here

To Tame A Virgin #17

to @kidmanmorello HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Read previous HERE

The sun was doing its usual thing, being unpleasant outside. Dami wasn’t envious of anyone caught under its burning rays. A spotless glass window pressed to her side as she got a full view of the street where her car was parked. A pair of little boys had chosen the car as a shield for which they protected themselves from each other while trying out their new, sophisticated squirt guns just bought for them by their mother. Dami turned to look at their mother who was in the same fast food joint as she was, trying to gather the bags of food she paid for in one hand while doing a balancing act with a restless baby on her waist with the other.

Dami’s eyes were drawn back to her car and she saw that the back windshield had been blessed with colored liquid from the boys’ squirt guns. The older boy was now taking aim from the driver’s side and he popped out his gun to squeeze out a good dose of yellow squirt on his brother. Angry that he was caught unawares, the younger boy opened his mouth in a heated scream and charged out from the other side of car. Dami let out her first real giggle in days as she watched a chase between the boys ensue. Still laughing, she turned back to her table and heard her phone beeping. She opened her Twitter account and checked her mentions. As usual, they piled high but she was looking for one in particular; she found it and tapped on it.

Lothario @brolovehandles

@RhodiumVee I sent you an email.

“Oh good.”

Dami went straight to her email account while her other hand picked a potato chip from a plate on her table. She found the email she was looking for and tapped over her screen.

From: Lothariolovehandles@gmail.com

Re: Are you done?

Just finished editing. Will send the video later tonight. Still don’t wanna get paid for dis. Just a little ad when you kick off and a good working relationship between us.

Dami tilted her head backwards and dipped the potato chip she picked into her mouth.

“My God, you have the neck of a giraffe.”

Dami let down her head and looked at her date who was standing before her, holding his car key and a freezing glass of orange juice.

“You’re late,” she said to him and pulled up the hood of her sweater to cover her face.

“A hoody and sunglasses? Are we hiding from the paparazzi?” her date teased.

“No. I’m just feeling gangster.”

He laughed and sat across the table.

“You’re still too fresh for an old man,” she said, looking at him fully.

“I am not old,” he retorted.

She adjusted her sunshades. “Dike, you’re forty-what? four? If you had gotten a girl pregnant at eighteen, she would be my age today.”

“How are you, Damaris? I see you’re still killing guys out there with your hotness.”

“Not really. I’m dying of a broken heart.”

“That never happens to you.”

Dami took off her sunshades and exposed sore eyes. “I’ve been crying like an idiot for more than a week and he still won’t pick my calls.”

“Who? The new boyfriend?

She nodded.

“Does it have anything to do with the video where you exposed your breasts?”

“Yeah.”

“By the way, it was…nice.”

“You 70s perv. You finally saw my boobs,” she muttered, dusting something off her sandal. “You and the rest of the world.”

“But you’re crazy. What were you thinking?”

Dami sat up. “Nothing. The bride was my friend and she’s female. It’s not like she hasn’t seen breasts and a vagina before. Now everyone’s calling me a lesbo and for the first time, stuff like that is getting to me. Maybe it’s because everything else is crumbling. My dad is also not talking to me, my agent dumped me, Felix fired me, I’m supposed to be at a fashion show in London by this time but…” she rubbed her eyes and her phone beeped once more. It was an SMS from Uyi. Dami sat up and with a fluttering tummy, opened the SMS.

Stop callin and texting. U shd be getting ur act 2geda and not running my ba3 down

Dami shut her eyes but tears escaped the lids and slid down her cheeks.

“Damaris?” Dike took her phone from her and read Uyi’s SMS. She buried her head on the table and cried a little.

“I’ve called him like a million times today,” she said, raising her head. Dike handed her a serviette and she blew her nose into it. “I heard he’s not feeling fine. I just wanted to check up on him. Dike… you’ve pissed your wife off so many times. How do you say you’re sorry and have her forgive you?”

“You really love this your guy? What’s his name?” Dike drew his juice toward him.

“Answer my question na,” Dami rubbed her eyes. “I’ve done everything to tell him how sorry I am but he doesn’t even care.”

“On a serious note, what did he say or do that had you sold like this? Look at your eyes when you talk about him. They sparkle even in your tears.”

“Forget the sparkle, Dike. What should I do? I miss him like mad and I hate the silence. Why won’t he pick even one call?”

“Give him time. He’ll come back to you.”

“How do you know?”

“As long as he loves you, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done. He’ll come back… Okay!” Dike slapped his hands together. “Putting sad issues aside, what’s this meeting about? Have you finally decided to let me go free?”

“Free keh.” Dami blew her nose a second time. “You opened a website to make fun of me.”

“True but I have apologized.”

“It’s not enough.”

“Then what do you want?”

Dami exhaled, smiled mischievously and crossed her legs. “A public apology.”

Dike rubbed his beard and grinned cynically.

“Pay for an online interview on one of those gossip blogs and make a public apology. Tell them why you opened the website and then, say you’re sorry.”

“Wow!” Dike laughed. “You’re really gangster, Damaris.”

“I’m trying to repackage myself and you’re going to be my first online PR guy.”

“I’m not doing it.” Dike picked his juice and took a first sip.

“See, Dike… don’t start being difficult. I’m not asking you to expose your identity or anything like that. Be anonymous, don’t even say you’re married; just apologize for the website and tell the whole world I am a very nice girl. Blame my fuck-ups on daddy issues or lack of a mommy in my life but paint me as a really nice girl deep inside – with amazingly strong virtues.”

“And this does what? It makes people like you?”

“No. It makes me trend. And when I trend, I rise from the ashes like the Khaleesi!”

Dike muttered something to himself and when Dami asked him what he said, he began to laugh. Dami drew his juice to herself and dipped a straw into it.

“Okay, Khaleesi,” Dike tried to keep a straight face. “I’ll do it. What else do you want?”

“I want the website.”

“Totameavirgin?”

“Yes.”

“I closed it.”

“Get it back and give it to me.”

“Why?”

“Because I want it.”

“All part of rising from the ashes?”

She nodded.

“Okay, that’s doable. Anymore?”

“Don’t divorce your wife.”

Dike’s smile went missing.

“You know I went to rehab, right?”

“No.”

“More than once but that doesn’t matter. It turned out that I learnt something all the times I went there. We have this twelve-step recovery program and the number nine step is forgiveness. So last week I went to Felix’s to tell him and Aunty Ene I’m sorry for my behavior and blah-blah-blah… and I saw Travis. Mind you, he thinks I’m the coolest aunty ever, even though your wife keeps giving him the eye when he’s around me. He’s always calling me his tree while he’s a monkey.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know but he’s soooo cute.”

“He has a crush on you.”

“Like father like son.”

“Plizzz.”

“Admit it, Ogudike, you fell.”

“It’s Ogbudike. And I didn’t fall.”

“As I was saying, after climbing my whole body in the name of monkey climbing tree, Travis stops midway and goes, ‘Aunty Dami, what is a divorce?’ And I’m staring at him, confused. And that, is why I don’t want children. They can’t ask what ten times ten is or why Barney is a big fool. They want to know what a divorce is?”

“What was your answer to him?”

“I told him to Google it.”

“What da?!” Dike spread out his hands. “You could have told him it’s the name of a movie or a word for adults!”

“When it’s not me that gave birth to him. Totally not my problem. So, in conclusion, for the sake of that cute boy who is going to break a lot of hearts in the future, go back to your wife.”

“Wow. Dami’s giving advice. Thank you but totally not your problem.”

“Okay.”

“So that’s that? You’re dropping the whole lawsuit?”

“Everything.”

“Nice.”

“But my dad cannot know about it. I’ll tell him by myself.”

“I’m cool with that.”

Dami’s smile was for Dike but it turned sad when she stared at Uyi’s SMS again. She blinked rapidly to ward off tears and glanced outside. One of the little boys was scratching the butt-end of his squirt gun on her car and she stood up.

“Hey!” She pointed. “See why I hate children?!”

She dashed outside.

************

When Dike left Dami, he drove straight to Felix’s. It was the beginning of August and schools were closed, which meant Kachi and Travis were home. He wasn’t yet prepared to see Kachi but with what Dami told him about Travis, he felt it was time he had a one-on-one with the boy.

Kachi was at the door when he got to the house. She was still wearing her night coat and her hair was in a mess. She wasn’t expecting him, so she straightened her hair and covered herself properly when he walked in.

“Good afternoon,” she greeted.

“How are you doing?” he asked. He was looking up the staircase.

“I am doing well. The baby is fine too.”

“And Travis?”

“He’s upstairs.”She looked in the direction of the stairs. “Travis!”

Dike could hear the sound of play and laughter from within the house.

“Travis?!” Kachi yelled again and Travis came running down with his friend, Felix’s son, chasing after him.

“Daddy!”

Dike smiled. The reaction towards him was always the same. It was priceless to hear the sheer joy in the boy’s voice every time he saw him.

“Uncle Dike!” George, Felix’s son also ran to him and he lifted both boys in his arms and twirled them around.

“Daddy you promised to take us out,” Travis said after the excitement mellowed down.

“I did?”

Travis and George nodded.

“Well, I have to go to the office.”

“No!” Travis protested.

“You promised, Dike,” Kachi said with a low voice.

“Okay, let’s see… Why don’t you guys go and get dressed and come back?”

“Yay!” Both boys shouted simultaneously and Dike let them down.

“Have your shower first o!” Kachi added and they grumbled as they ran up. When they were gone, Dike bent over a little, holding his waist.

“I must be getting old.”

“Sorry.”

“Thanks.”

Kachi turned around and walked to the foot of the stairs and stopped. Dike didn’t notice; he was glued to his phone. She walked back to him and stood by awkwardly until he noticed her presence.

“My visa has been approved and school starts in September.”

“Good. Then we have to hurry things up. I believe they can grant a Decree Absolute in your absence. All we need to thrash out is where Travis will be living. I don’t want him staying abroad; I will not raise my son on foreign soil. I can allow the new baby live with you but you cannot take my son away from me.” Dike heard his voice get edgier with each word.

“I don’t intend to, nnai.”

Her tone struck something in him and so did the name she called him but he pushed his emotions aside.

“So what’s the plan?” he asked her.

“Travis stays. That means you will look for someone to take care of him.”

“I will do what is best for my son, even if it means finding someone else to take your place. Yes, I will not hesitate to do that.”

“There’s a nanny agency…”

“Nanny what? Who told you I would want a nanny for Travis?”

“Please lower your voice, Dike, and listen to me.”

“I’m listening.”

“He needs someone who will cook for him and wash his clothes and pick him from school and all that. We can’t dump him here or take him to our families. He can always visit but it would be wrong to put the load on them. We’ve not even told him what is happening yet and I don’t think it’s advisable to bring in someone else into his life other than a nanny.”

“You’re expressly telling me that I can’t see another woman when you’re taking yourself and my child in your womb to go and be with another man?!”

“No. I’m not going to Leke. He is in Nigeria. He’s married now.”

“Oh, so you’re running away from him without a care of what it could do to your son?”

Kachi paused a little before she continued in a leveled voice.

“We need to get Travis someone. I know a very good agency. They’re expensive but worth it. The women are capable and paid well and every one of them has some form of background education in child psychology. Travis will be in good hands.”

“My answer is no. I will take care of my son by myself.”

“Nnai,” Kachi broke the barrier between them and held his hand. Her cool touch calmed him and he listened to her without interruptions. “Please, trust me on this. If it doesn’t work, then you can take him to be with Mama or bring him back here. I don’t want him to be tossed around anyhow. I see the pain in his eyes when George plays with Felix and I don’t want it to be a constant. I need him to always be with you. Please, biko.”

“I will think about it.” He pulled away from her and walked to the front door. She tried for a satisfied smile but nothing came out. She had more to tell him. She wanted to say she didn’t want to go away. If there was one little window he left ajar for her, she was willing to climb in through it. After days of prayers and counseling with her pastor, she had finally let go of all the pain and bitterness left in her and she was willing to start again. But Dike had made it clear that he was done. He had stopped wearing his wedding ring and had taken every last property of hers left in their house to her mother’s place. All that was remaining for them was the final decree from the court and a traditional divorce settlement at Kachi’s hometown which was fixed for the following week. Kachi was ready for neither. She wanted her husband back. She tried asking Ene for help but Ene, for the first time, somehow conveniently had no ideas up her sleeve. Kachi suspected that she had taken orders from Felix who in turn had taken orders from Dike.

Kachi was to be left alone to find her way back. If only Dike would open the door.

************

Dike and Kachi spent the following week at the nanny agency. They went through an interview and filled forms. Subsequently, they went through a list of résumés and handwritten applications by the nannies, each of them stating why they were good for the job. Finally, on the last day, just two days before Kachi’s and Dike’s trip to the village, they were introduced to the nannies. None of them were up to Kachi’s taste.

The first was too old; the second had eyes for Dike; the third wore a fake smile; the fourth was too young; the fifth didn’t sound convincing; the sixth was too religious; the seventh looked lazy and the last one which Dike approved of entirely, Kachi just didn’t like. When asked why, she replied, “I don’t know. I just don’t like her.”

Dike was livid. He held his anger until they got out of the agency.

“You’re setting out deliberately to piss me off, Onyekachi! You’re doing it again! Must you be in control all the time?! This was your idea! You convinced me and now, no one is good enough! We’ve been coming here for a whole week and I have been missing work and…”

“Calm down. Calm down, Dike,” Kachi pleaded. “We’re going to my village next tomorrow. I will get a girl for you there. I’m sure there’ll be someone. She’ll be cheaper and she will have the added advantage of cooking your favorite meals…”

Dike left her talking and walked towards his car. She went after him.

“But in case you don’t like that idea…”

“I don’t!”

“Okay, I have one more letter.” Kachi took out an envelope from her handbag. “I’ve gone through it. She’s not done nanny work before but she’s a mother and that should count for something.”

Dike snatched the envelope, got into his car and drove away.

************

Temi was crying in the dark. Discretely. Peter was asleep beside her. She loathed herself for her weakness. Her mind scolded her for being broken over Uyi but her heart was too shattered to do otherwise. She was now officially Peter’s girlfriend and he did everything to make her happy but she wasn’t connecting with him on an emotional plane. She had tried to stop the sex since Uyi caught them almost three weeks ago but she found that she couldn’t. The more she bled for Uyi, the more she wanted Peter. She would wake up each morning soaking in guilt from the previous night but she would go back again, longing for more.

She sat up and got down from the bed. Her hands felt around the floor for her nightgown and she found it. As she began slipping into it, the door flung wide open with a loud bang and she saw the silhouette of a female at the doorway.

“Peter!” The silhouette screamed. There was anger and pain in her voice and it jolted Peter from his sleep. He rubbed his eyes and sat up while his hand went for the light switch behind his bed. He turned it on and the silhouette turned into a girl with wild hair and a body like Temi’s. She had tear-stained cheeks and snot running from her nose. But in her hand was a machete and it was posed to strike. Temi quickly backed away towards the bathroom as Peter sat up straight.

“You and me will die today!” the girl shouted.

“Lolade?”

“Come here and meet your fate or if you allow me meet you there, it will be bloody, I swear to God!” She raised the machete into the air and Peter’s eyes followed it.

“Peter, go to her nau,” Temi begged.

“Lola, calm down. Let’s talk. Whatever is wrong, we can handle it but not with that cutlass, abeg.”

Lolade laughed and her voice brought chills to Temi. “Peter go, abeg. Just go.” She looked at Lolade. “Please, don’t kill him or me, abeg. I don’t want to die.”

Lolade looked at Temi and laughed again. “Oh no, my dear. I won’t kill you but you will soon die. Piro!” She turned sideways and left a space between herself and the door post. “Oya, in the parlor! NOW!”

Peter hesitated and she hammered the machete into the door post. Temi screamed and ran into the bathroom.

“If I do as the tin dey take do me now, Piro, I swear me and you go die for here today!”

“Hah-ahn. What is it? Kilode?” Ovie had come out of his room. “Lolade, wetin?”

She ignored him. “PETER!”

Peter got to his feet and walked to her slowly and as he walked past her, she hit his head with the blunt end of the machete. Temi ran to Ovie and held him.

“Who is she?”

“His ex.”

“Ex? So what is she doing here with cutlass na? Is she crazy or what?”

“Lolade, crazy? No. She caught Peter cheating and they ended it and next we heard she found some other guy to marry. I don’t know what she’s doing here. I’m as shocked as you.”

Temi walked to the sitting room but hung by the entrance. Lolade had put Peter on a couch opposite her but the weapon was still in her hand.

“Peter, me and you knew ourselves tay-tay! We grew up in Gwags and even the fact that you schooled in Port did not stop our relationship! I kept it real. Even when I knew that you were cheating on me, I still remained faithful. The day I decided to end everything was when I felt I had had enough! It was too much for me! Even a million dogs on heat are better than you!  And let me not lie, it pained me! It pained me well-well when I left you but I was happy that I was done with your cheating ass! And as God will have it the guy that had been toasting me for years still wanted to me!” She smiled bitterly.

“The wedding plans were done sharp-sharp, everything was set! I felt like the luckiest girl in the world! My bobo is nothing like you! He is stinking rich! Nothing like you at all!” She flashed her left hand at Peter. “Look at the ring! Four solid carats! He was not taking me to play! Everything was set! All that was left was blood tests! Simple blood tests!” Lolade stopped at this point, stared into the air and tears flooded her face. She took out a paper from her back pocket and flung it at Peter. “You did that to me! You useless dog gave me HIV!”

“Jesus!” Temi gasped.

“What did I do to deserve this type of punishment, ehn?! Didn’t I love you? Didn’t I stick with only you even with all the loaded Abuja guys toasting me? Didn’t I give you everything you wanted, Piro?! Why will you destroy my life like this?! WHY?!”

“What are you talking about, Lola?” Peter frowned at the paper in his hand. “This is not true. It’s a mistake.”

“SHARRAP!” Lolade shot up from her chair and the machete followed her. “Are you deaf?! I have AIDS, you wicked bastard! And today, me and you will die because I cannot watch myself turn to nothing! Ha-ha! NO! I will not watch myself die! We will end it today! Together! Here!”

She lunged towards Peter but he got up and dashed out of the house, stumbling on his way. She ran after him but Ovie caught her in time and wrestled the machete out of her hand. He held her afterwards as she cried.

Temi watched the whole scene in shock. As she stood there immobile, she didn’t realize that she wasn’t breathing. The moment she felt a tightening in her chest and she let out a breath, her head began to swirl. Her vision deemed, her body went lax and she blacked out.

 

©Sally @moskedapages

 

 SAY NO TO #childmarriage Sign the online petition HERE

 

Only A Flame #ChildNotBride

girl

I sat crouched at a corner of the room… With my arms circled around my folded knees.

Another stream of tears rolled effortlessly down my cheeks as I relived the experience.

I could still feel his fingers like the gentle slithery movements of a snake as he caressed my body.

I closed my eyes….If only I could shut out the images…

But No…. They were there… Refusing to leave…They came with such vivid clarity!

Images of flailing arms … Fighting to keep away the evil that loomed above me.

I remembered trying to scream… But I couldn’t hear the sound of my own voice.

Randomly the images came, in no defined order. I recalled a struggle to retain my underwear as groping hands determined to take them off…

The sound of a dress being torn…

Then I remembered the slap! Like a thunderbolt, the impact had gone through my whole body shutting down every remaining resistance I had.

I had lain there passive… Like one in a daze… And watched in horror as my young and innocent body was brutally ravaged!

I could still hear the wicked but ecstatic grunts of pleasure as he forcefully entered me again and again. Beads of sweat dropped from his forehead as saliva flowed in tiny streaks from the corner of his mouth. The stench of alcohol literally exuded from the pores on his skin.

For a moment my eyes had locked with his and I cringed in disgust!

“Who is this animal?!” I remembered thinking. There was a deadness in his eyes which were filled with fiery desire and burning lust! As I looked into those eyes, I realised I was staring at a beast… For I couldn’t bring myself to call him a man.

A surge of bitter tasting bile rose in my throat as I retched under a strong wave of nausea.

But nothing came out! My stomach was probably empty… But I did not care!

There was only one word that could explain how I felt…….

VIOLATED!

That was thirteen years ago, when I was just twelve years old… and now it is happening again!

Still crouched in one corner of the room, my hands still folded around my knees, I know what is about to come as he nears me. I feel like screaming, like getting up and charging at him but I know it would be useless. He would pick me up as if I am a piece of paper and throw me hard on the bed and I would not be able to escape his grip. So I sit there, shivering, tears stinging my eyes, my heart beating wildly. I know what to expect. After all, it has happened a million times before. From that first encounter thirteen years ago, I had somehow become a vessel for him to express his depravity. It isn’t something new, yet I am still terrified as hell.

I close my eyes as he grabs my hand and yanks me off the floor and throws me to the bed.

“So you think you can leave me and follow another man abi?!” he growls, landing me a resounding slap on my arm, careful not to touch my face. I scream and try to kick him away but I know it only ignites him. He is blaming me for following another man but I am guiltless. I only visited my aunt who just came into town and she kept me fifteen minutes longer than my curfew time. Now I am being punished and called a whore in my husband’s house. The other people in the house are listening but they will do nothing, they will say nothing. I will walk out with a limp and bruises and they will greet me with a smile as if nothing happened. They will ignore the cry for help in my eyes as my own family has ignored them for thirteen years. My life will continue with no hope because the world around me has no place for me to run.

“How many times will I tell you that you belong to me?! No man will ever have you as long as I’m alive! You are mine, forever!”

“Please, don’t…” I cry but he slaps me again. He puts his hand around my neck and holds me in a choke. There is darkness in his eyes as a cackle erupts from his throat.

“Open your legs!”

“Don’t do this. Please…” I beg. Maybe today is the day he will look at me with those eyes and have mercy. Maybe, just maybe he will not force himself in today and will love me the way a man should love a woman. But why should I hope for such things? It is not my place to enjoy them. I am only a woman and have no soul, as I was told. And it seemed like just yesterday, when I was but a little girl and was told my body belonged to a man old enough to be my father. Sadly, I don’t think I have grown from that time. As a girl I have come into this pain and it has lived my life for me.

So, I lie there, unresponsive to his touch, dead at every thrust he makes, numb to my own self. I keep my eyes up at the ceiling and look at the light bulb until it fades into memories of a wonderful past I have kept secure in my heart.

I see my brother teaching me to throw stones at lizards on the fence of our house. I see my sisters and I playing suwe and fighting over whose turn it is to wash the plates. I hear my father’s hearty laughter from the parlor as he watches something on TV. I listen to the cries of my baby brother while my mother bathes him in the backyard. The air is breezy and smells of rain but the sun shines brightly, refusing to go away though the clouds enshroud it. I look up and try to take in all its brilliance but grandma says I could get blind from doing that. So I lift my hand and shield my eyes while I hear my mother calling me. But the sun breaks through stubbornly, aiming to blind me…

I blink and I am back to hell, the light bulb stinging my eyes while his sweat pours over me. How many times have I been in that position, looking at that same bulb, at the ceiling it is hanging from? How many times have I taken the pain and yet emerged and kept a happy smile when I am outside with my children?

He gives one final grunt and pulls out of me. “Go and get ready for our in-laws,” he says with an evil grin and walks into the bathroom. I pull my legs together and try to cry but I can’t. There are no more tears here. I have to do as he says.

I secure my wrapper tight and hurry out, carrying around my familiar limp, trying to hide the pain in my arms. The compound is already buzzing with activities as the maids prepare for my husband’s new wife. I have never met her but I pray she is someone I can relate with, a friend that can finally keep me company. I go about preparing the meal and making sure the maids clean her room properly. It is my former room and now that I am a senior wife, I have been moved to a different room.

I finish what I am supposed to do and ensure that everything and everyone is set. Then I retreat to my side of the house and sit silently as the wedding ceremony progresses. There is music and dancing and food and drinks. Everyone is happy and cheerful and for a while, from my prison, I forget my pain and smile. Hours pass and finally the last drum is beat and there is a cold hush in the large compound. The generator goes off and I light a candle in my new room. My bladder alerts me that I must use the toilet and I grumble. How many times must I go in an hour? The maids call me ‘Aunty Piss’ behind my back but they do not know my weak bladder is a souvenir from my battle with VVF. I am glad to be alive even though my bladder embarrasses me every so often.

I stop in my tracks as I hear the sound of someone crying in the dark. I look around me, flashing my candle in the shadowy corridor but I see nothing. The crying continues and takes me only a few more steps for me to know it is coming from my old room. I go cold. But I strain my ear to listen some more if I can hear my husband’s voice. I hear nothing.

I move forward, each step with a churning stomach and I finally come to the door. I clasped the handle tight and slowly push the door in. The crying doesn’t stop; instead it is turned up a notch as I walk in. I put the candle before me and I freeze. Lying on my bed, hugging my old pillow with eyes sketched in fear is someone’s little girl. I feel a shiver in my bones as I look at her. She can’t be older than eleven and yet her future is going to be destroyed in one night.

I cannot move. I can hardly breathe. I feel like I am looking at myself. It is happening all over again. The girl sees something in my face that beckons to her. She leaves the pillow and runs to me, falls at my feet and hugs me. She is crying, pleading, begging me to take her home.

Home? I don’t know where home is right now. Maybe it never existed; it could be all in my head, for I do not understand how a parent can give their child away to be raped and abused. They call it marriage but it is no marriage. It is rape, it is abuse, it is evil, it is death.

I look at the girl and pull her up to me, holding her tight in my embrace, telling her it will be alright as the candle burns away. But nothing will be alright. Nothing will be fine from the moment he touches her. In one night he will take her from childhood, past her youth, past her womanhood and dump her right in a dark grave. And every night after that, he will pummel her to death.

Is this what I want for her? Should she suffer as I still do?

I pull away from her but she holds me tight. She won’t let go. Together we walk to one of the windows and I peep out. I can see him emerging from his side of the compound. How many times have I looked out this window and watched with dread as he approaches me.

Something sparks in me. I look at the candle. It is just a flame but I know what power it holds.

I set the flame to the thin curtain at the window and watch as the cloth fights the heat. But it is no rival for the fire. It whorls backwards and gives in to the flame, embracing it. I do the same to the second curtain and both of us watch as they both burn. I lift the bed sheet and set the mattress ablaze also.

The girl’s eyes are wide and she moves back from the rising inferno. I see the question in her eyes. I have an answer in mine.

I will buy you another night, maybe a second night but that is all I can do.

I have wilder ideas of running away but I have children. Where will we all go? I look at the flames leaking up everything and though I know this is temporary, it gives me pleasure. It also gives me strength and courage. And I feel a tingling, a tiny tingling in me to fight for my freedom, for her freedom.

Maybe I will fight…someday soon. Maybe today.

Written by yours truly and Valentine Oje Ikenna who blogs at Valentineoje.wordpress.com. He is a doctor, a pastor and a passionate writer.

Both of us SAY NO to #childmarriage. The Nigerian Literati say no to #childmarriage

 

Please stand up against these sick senators who are pushing for child marriage. It is not enough to sit and say it is never going to happen. We should raise up our voices against it and insist that strict measures be taken to have it completely abolished in places where it is being practiced. How can a lawmaker marry a thirteen year old and we think it’s his prerogative? How many more girls will go through pain and horror in the hands of sick men who abandon them in shacks to die and still roam around the community with no one punishing them? How can we all sit and have this injustice being done to innocent children and yet expect God to come down and save us? If we keep quiet, what then is the hope for our children? Don’t think because you’re a Southerner, it has nothing to do with you. What affects one, affects all.

The Nigerian community is speaking up against this. It’s just a flame but you can help the fire spread by sharing this message, irrespective of your religion and beliefs. It may not be enough to stop these men who are comfortably playing god with the bodies and souls of little girls. But it is enough to stir something in you. We should not be known as a nation that sits down and does nothing. Stop saying our efforts can’t go anywhere. These girls have to know there is another way to live. They have to know that marriage is a contract between two consenting adults and they have nothing to do with it. They have to know that there are people who hear their cries and are fighting for them.

If you are in Abuja, the venue is: Unity Fountain, by Transcorp Hilton. Also the Park. Time is: 9am-12noon.

For those in Lagos, the venues are:

1. Ojeez Restaurant, National Stadium Surulere.

2. Alausa Park, Opposite Lagos State Governor’s Office, Ikeja.

3. The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki

4. New African Shrine, Agidingbi, Ikeja.

5. Arrangements are still on-going for those in Festac Town and it’s environs.

Time is 9am-12noon.

And in your little corner, let your candle burn.

Related Posts:

Will You Give Us Your Daughters?

Let Us Marry Your Daughters

Don’t Call Me Bride

She Is Just A Child

For Halima’s Sake

To Tame A Virgin #12

This is the second part of yesterday’s post. But actually, it is two posts in one. And that’s because I will be taking a two-week break. I need to rest for a while and concentrate on other stuff. But I’ll be back with episode 13, Lord willing. Thanks guys, for loving it so far.

Read previous episodes HEREthighs

DPS Solutions was all Uyi had imagined it would be. The ten-storey glass structure stood impressively in the heart of Abuja’s central business district. Uyi had always fantasized about working there. Apart from the fact that the pay was high, the work environment, as he had been told, was also friendly and inspiring. It was an established company, dating twenty years with its head office in Egypt and branches in Lagos and other West African countries. The Abuja office was just ten years old but it boasted of young, vibrant and intelligent staff. Apart from the administrative, customer relations and corporate affairs departments, the technical staff were allowed to dress as they desired as long as they were decent and presentable. Uyi felt odd decked up in his Sunday best as he waited on the sixth floor at the Network Securities department, watching people walking in and out of the lobby in casual wear. A lady wearing a pink, fitted dress and extremely high heels with her hair held up in a top knot walked to him with a serious face. She had a tablet in her hand and she studied it before she addressed him.

“Omoruyi Emmanuel?”

“Yeah.” Uyi nodded.

“Hi, I’m Binta. Please come with me.”

Uyi stood and followed her out of the lobby. They went down a dim hallway that branched off to a smaller lobby which led them to an office.

“Go in.” She held open the door to the office while Uyi walked in. There was a guy in his mid-thirties leaning on a desk, wearing a plain Polo t-shirt and a pair of jeans. He was watching a tennis match on TV when Uyi came in.

“He’s here, sir,” Binta announced.

“Thank you, Binta.” The guy replied and urged Uyi forward. Binta turned off the television and exited the office.

“Morning. My name is Faisal.” Both guys shook hands. “And you’re Omoruyi, Damaris’ boyfriend?”

Uyi pulled his brows together and Faisal laughed.

“Don’t mind me. I’m a social media addict and you can’t fault me on following Damaris. She’s one hell of a girl and I mean that in a good way. Tell her I’m a fan.”

“I will.”

“So, I’m glad to have you on my team, Omoruyi. I’m in charge of this department and you would be working under me as Chief Malware Analyst. I was informed you were doing something similar at Geek Elysium?”

Uyi nodded.

“Well, here, it’s a bigger position. The guy whose post you’re taking was fired because he couldn’t handle the job. It’s very tasking. It comes with whole lot of benefits though, as you’ll soon find out. I don’t require much from people working under me except dedication, hard work and honesty. DPS has its rules and you must abide with them. Have you ever been in an administrative position before?”

“No.”

“Well, there’s always a start. You’ll have an eight-man team working under you and they would need training…”

“Wait, what? Eight people under me? I’m just a corper.”

“I know,” Faisal said, studying Uyi more intensely. “Ehm…tell me, are you close with oga at the top?”

“Who is oga at the top?”

“Who else? Your girlfriend’s father.”

Uyi thought the question strange but he answered nonetheless. “No, we’re not close…wait, you said he’s oga at the top?”

Faisal laughed at the confused look on Uyi’s face. “You didn’t know? How do you think you got the job here?”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Geek Elysium is under DPS Solutions. DPS is owned by the Alechenus’, the Peters’ and an Egyptian-based company.”

Uyi was dumbfounded. He knew the Peters – two wealthy brothers who were computer engineers, renowned for their research in technology in Africa, but he had no idea the Alechenus’ were co-owners of DPS.

“Remember the late Professor Damaris Alechenu?”

Uyi almost slapped himself for his ignorance. He could have easily researched more on DPS before showing up for the interview.

“She started DPS with the Peters brothers in 1992, opening a computer business center in Lagos. Then they merged with their Egyptian partners in ‘96 after the internet came into Nigeria and expanded on a massive scale. How don’t you know this?”

Uyi scratched the nape of his neck in embarrassment.

“So now you want to tell me you didn’t get this job because you’re dating Damaris?”

Uyi didn’t know how to respond to his new boss whom he was beginning to notice was very blunt, especially for someone his height. Uyi towered over him but it didn’t stop Faisal from sounding direct and intimidating.

“I’ll pass on that question, sir,” Uyi replied.

“Call me Faisal. It’s not beans to get into DPS and get the type of position you’ve been given. Don’t screw it up. Your records say you’re good. Let’s see if you’re DPS material.”

“I’ll do my best.”

Faisal shook his hand again. “Welcome to the team.”

He led him outside where Binta was waiting.

“Show him his office, Binta, and help him process his documents with HR and give him info on whatever else he needs to be intimated with.”

“Yes, sir.”

Faisal walked back into his office and Binta walked Uyi past two doors and came to a third where Chief Malware Analyst was boldly written. Uyi saw that the name of the previous analyst had been scraped off. He imagined his name in its place as Binta opened the door and welcomed him into a spacious, modern day glass office, almost as large as Faisal’s. Uyi couldn’t contain his shock. He turned to Binta with questions in his eyes but she was on her tablet, reading out his duties, schedules and benefits. Uyi stood rooted to the floor, unable to move, afraid to venture any further.

“Are you listening, sir?” Binta raised a brow at him. She had been speaking for a while and every word she had uttered sunk into Uyi but it was too much for him to handle.

“I’m with you,” he rambled.

She continued with her brief. “Upon completing your processing with human resources, you will be automatically registered to join the EC council and obtain a Certified Hacking Certification and other affiliated certifications…”

“What?” Uyi interrupted her and she gave him an impatient stare, repeating what she had just read. She added a few more lines and stopped.

“That will be all. You are not required to resume work today but you’re expected to be here on Wednesday when you will meet your team and be introduced at the department meeting. Please be informed that Mr. Faisal doesn’t tolerate tardiness.”

Uyi nodded, still confounded by all he had heard and seen. He couldn’t believe the benefits attached to his job.

“Please come with me, sir.”

Again, he followed Binta out of the office to an elevator that led them to the ground floor. She took him through a pathway to the parking lot in the direction of a designated spot where a driver was waiting by a sleek car. They both settled into the backseat and she ordered the driver to a certain address in Maitama. They commuted in silence with Binta keeping a straight face and Uyi struggling to still the million excited thoughts running through his mind. He couldn’t wait to call and tell his mom that her prayers for him had finally been answered. He also couldn’t wait to share the good news with Ovie and Peter.

“We’re here, sir.”

Uyi realized they had stopped. He wanted to tell Binta to stop calling him ‘sir’ seeing that she looked older but he let it slide, hoping he wouldn’t have to meet her again. Her serious demeanor unnerved him.

“Please, follow me.”

Once more she led the way as they walked in through the gates of a beautiful house that had flowers surrounding the entrance. Nodding back a greeting to the gateman, Uyi kept in step with her as they trod up the front door of the house. She pressed the doorbell and they waited. The door opened from within and a young boy in his late teens gave way for them to walk in. Uyi stood by the door and admired the simple décor of the living room which held only furniture, curtains and a flatscreen TV. It seemed somebody just moved out of the house, for he could see leftover property in the dining area.

“This is your house, sir,” Binta said unceremoniously and Uyi looked behind him, wondering who she was referring to. For the first time since she first met him at the Network Securities department lobby, she had smiled. But it was a taut smile.

“It’s a little too big. It has five bedrooms but it is all we have for now. The smaller houses are still under construction. When they’re completed, we’ll relocate you to one of them.”

“This…is my house?”

Binta nodded. Uyi rested his hands on his waist and bent his head, trying to put himself together as he felt his knees go weak.

“That’s not all,” she added and he looked at her with butterflies in his stomach.

“There’s more?”

“The car outside is yours. It’s brand new, just bought two months ago and used by your predecessor. It’s for official and personal use. The driver, unfortunately, is company driver. You are not entitled to one yet. However, if you need his services, I’ll put it in writing and process it for you. And one last thing. I’ll be your personal assistant.”

Uyi looked up slowly, his eyes taking in every inch of her. He hadn’t meant to be so brazen but he couldn’t believe he had a personal assistant, let alone a beautiful one.

“Please, I’ll advise that you try not to make advances at me. That was what got the previous guy fired. DPS has zero tolerance for office affairs.”

“Believe me, I have no intention of making advances…”

Binta cut him off curtly. “That’s because you can’t afford to, being that you slept your way into this job.”

“Excuse me?”

She raised her hand and Uyi temporarily forgot his new-found fortune and wondered where her anger was coming from. “The guy whose job, car and house you’ve taken worked seven years to get to your post. Mr. Faisal worked eight to be boss of the department and that’s because the former boss died. You don’t deserve where you’ve been put and God help me, you slip up, just a little, I will bring you down myself.”

Uyi was bowled over at her words. She straightened herself and presented a tight smile, putting the key to his new car into his hand. “Have a wonderful day, sir.”

Uyi watched her sashaying away from him and he couldn’t shake off the feeling that his life was about to turn into one mad rollercoaster. But first, he dialed Ovie and waited until he heard the click and Ovie’s voice.

“OV?”

“Wetin?”

“Omo, your brother don hammer oh!”

************

Temi looked up from her computer screen and stared at Uyi’s empty desk. She pushed her glasses to her eyes and stopped what she was doing. Work was not the same without him. If he were present, he would have bothered about her scarring cheeks hidden behind the wig she wore to cover her face; he would have asked how she was healing, he would have taken her to lunch, he would have lessened her work load, he would have walked her home and held her while she slept.

Home.

What was it to her these days? She hated her bedroom, her bathroom, her kitchen, the very bed on which she lay. She hated her personal space. She hated being alone. There was no longer Dike to warm her on cold nights or Uyi to force her to watch Naruto. All that she had in her life had been taken away in just one night. She didn’t know who she was anymore. A volcano of emotions containing her regrets, past and deep agony was boiling at the surface, waiting to erupt. She was afraid of the storm it would bring because she knew she couldn’t handle it alone. She needed someone. She needed Uyi.

Temi lifted her phone. It was a new one. It still had the protective cover over the screen. It was a gift from Doctor Mola, bless his soul. She wondered where her old phone was. Had it found a new owner? She wondered if the person knew it was stolen.

“Hello?”

She could hear Uyi faintly as she stared at the phone. Slowly she lifted it to her face.

“Tems? Temi? Tem-Tem?” she heard him laugh teasingly. “You finally decided to call. How far na? Talk to me.”

She couldn’t talk to him. She put the phone down and cancelled the call and switched off completely, knowing he would call back. She couldn’t talk to him yet. He was part of the storm. If she opened up to him again, he could cause the volcano to erupt.

THUD!

A pile of files landed on her desk and she looked up. A shrewd-looking lady rested large eyes on her as if she were searching for something.

“Transcribe!” she ordered. Temi knew their department boss was punishing her for being away a whole week. It was typical of him. Instead of writing a query letter to offending subordinates, he made them transcribe his own handwritten computer codes into programs.

“What’s with your face? Did you fall or something?” the lady asked.

Temi covered her face with her bob wig and picked the files.

“He wants you to start right away.”

Temi nodded and the lady walked away. With one last glance at Uyi’s table, Temi began working on the transcription. Hours would pass before she would look up again, and only because of the shuffling of feet of people leaving the office, indicating work hours were over. A colleague asked if she was leaving; she mumbled a reply and continued working. She typed away endlessly and didn’t notice three hours had gone by on the clock until one of the security men popped his head in.

“Aunty, extra hours are over.”

“Are they?” she asked and looked at the time. “I’m sorry. I’ll be done soon.”

The man disappeared and she gave it ten more minutes before she shut down and left the office. She hugged the files in her hands as she walked home, keeping her head straight but glancing about every few seconds to check her environment. Since her house was not far away, she decided not to use any form of paid transportation. There were a good number of cars and pedestrians on the road but something told her she was being followed. She turned her head to her right, scrutinizing the street around her. But she saw no one. Cars zoomed by and people walked past and nothing indicated that anyone was on her trail. She quickened her steps and hugged tight her handbag which she had now placed in front of her, over the files. Her eyes kept to the junction ahead of her, hoping to get there in faster time than she used to. Out of habit, she began to count her steps, hurrying forward, but a firm hand from behind grabbed her hand and stopped her.

She screamed but it came out hushed and in tiny whimpers when a familiar voice spoke in deep tones into her ear.

“No shout. Just dey waka.”

Temi shivered and felt the files slipping off her hands. She pulled them up and secured them tight again. Her throat swallowed painfully as she dared to look at the guy behind her. He flashed a gun and she looked away and began walking in the direction he nudged. She thought of shouting, she thought of breaking away and running but she didn’t have the guts to do either. She let him lead her and they crossed the street to a waiting car. He pushed her into the backseat and had himself sitting in front. He took a moment to look around his environment, and then he spoke. The moment his mouth opened, Temi’s shivering reached an all high and she felt warm liquid pass from between her legs and spread around her bum.

“Temidire…” the man called and she looked away. He had a dressing covering his left eye but his right eye was glued on her angrily.

“Oh girl, look me!” He forced her face into his and recent memories came pushing through…

Temi woke up and instantly felt a throbbing in her head. It was difficult for her to collect her thoughts but when she saw a teddy bear dangling from a rear-view mirror and her skin felt the rug-like material of the seat she was lying on, she remembered that she had been kidnapped by a cab driver.

She remembered the color of the cab. It was red and had one functioning headlamp. She had stopped it at the junction of her street and gotten in and murmured ‘Gwagwalada’ to the driver. She had preoccupied herself with thoughts of eliminating Dike’s foetus growing in her. Dike had called and gotten on her nerves. She hadn’t noticed the cab driver was going the wrong way until she looked around her environment. When she complained he had pushed something over her face. The last thought on her mind was Uyi, right before she passed out.

Now the cab was moving. She wanted to raise her head to find out where they were heading but she didn’t want the man to know she was awake. She already had a plan forming and it didn’t need long to map out or else her guts would fail her. Silently and carefully, she stretched her hand to the door and pulled her body towards it and in one quick movement, opened it and jumped out.

Her body hit the ground with a vicious impact, causing her to roll dangerously over gravelled pavement several times. She couldn’t think of pain or what would become of her skin. All she wanted was to get away. But that was not going to happen. She heard the cab screeching to a halt as she tried to gather herself to a crawling position. Then she heard the unmistakable sound of the vehicle reversing in full speed and she screamed out. The highway was dark and lonely. The sky was moonless. A few cars zoomed by. None of them noticed her. In her black dress and dark sweater, she blended with the night. Yet she dared to keep screaming as she tried to lift herself off the ground, but a searing pain pierced her side and coursed through her entire body. Then to add to her torture, a heavy kick connected with her centre and had her falling back on the ground. Two more kicks were inflicted and then she was lifted off the ground callously and dragged back to the cab where she was shoved into the backseat again and the door slammed against her.

Temi cried and begged her assaulter to let her go but he ignored her and continued his journey. He increased his speed and turned on the radio. Temi kept with her pleading. She cried, she prayed, she threatened, she cursed but the man was hearing none of it. Yet he could hear his ringing phone above all the noise. He answered it and lowered the volume of the radio.

“You say wetin?” he shouted into the phone as the car slowed. “Ehn, I dey on my way na…” Temi studied him carefully—bulgy eyes, toned arms, thin lips and a coarse voice. He had a strong, sweet smell or was it the thing he had shoved up her face earlier?

“Which kain rubbish yarns be dis one? Which one be yawa don gas? You know the kain waka I don do dis night?”

The car had come to a stop and Temi listened to the guy’s conversation.

“See, me I dey wait for you. I no fit carry the babe go back. She don already see my face. So better handle yourself for there. I dey wait for your call.”

The guy hissed and threw his phone on the seat beside him. Then without warning, he turned and gave Temi a painful slap. Her ear rang and she dazed out for a couple of seconds before regaining herself.

“You wan run abi? No be today dat one go happen! You go die!”

At his last statement, Temi began to cry again but she got another slap, more painful than the previous and her voice immediately simmered down to nothing.

“We go wait here today.”

And they waited four hours, the guy trying over and over a particular number and not getting through. Temi was now in critical pain, because she discovered that she had just lost her baby. Cramps riddled her stomach and she began to squirm under the assault, feeling a gush of blood leave her. When her kidnapper saw her moving, he threw her one last slap and commanded her to sit up. She pulled herself up and began asking to have her life spared. But she was ignored and she begged till she felt her strength leave her. By now, daylight was peeping from the eastern horizon. The guy threw out a loud hiss and tried his phone one last time. Again, he was unsuccessful.

“Wetin I wan do with dis babe now?” he asked himself.

“Abeg oga, no kill me,” Temi pleaded with a faint voice, a high fever causing her body to convulse. “Just… allow me go. I no go ever remember your face, I swear. Take my phone and wallet but no kill me, I take God beg you.”

He glared at her for an extended time and finally got out a bottle of chloroform. He poured an ample amount of it on a cloth and held it over her face. Temi was too weak to fight him and the drug. That familiar sweet smell filled her nostrils as she inhaled. She embraced the calming sleep that followed…

Next Page 

To Tame A Virgin #10

Read previous episodes HEREthighs

Kachi couldn’t believe what she was about to do as her fingers formed a fist and rapped softly at the door before her. She had prepared a speech with solid points and a winning ending but as she waited for the door to be opened, she felt her nerves give way. Travis who was beside her was hopping from one foot to the other restlessly and humming a tune she couldn’t quite make out. She knocked at the door again and pulled in a bolstering breath as she waited.

“Maybe he’s not at home,” Travis said and continued with his music, adding a rap Kachi thought sounded vaguely familiar.

“Yeah, maybe.” Kachi brought her bag to her face and was going for her own copy of the key when the door opened from within and Dike appeared before her with a sleepy face covered in stubble. She marveled at how fast he could grow a full beard. Her first instinct was to touch him and have her fingers feel the roughness of his face but she steeled herself and gave him a straight, “good morning.”

“Daddy!” Travis flew into Dike’s arm as he carried him and turned away from Kachi, walking into the house. Kachi followed them in but stopped just by the door, taking in the state of chaos her once lovely home had now become.

She disabled her ‘clean by default’ button and stood awkwardly in a corner watching her husband bond with their son, ignoring her as though he hadn’t seen her.

“Daddy what happened to your face?”

“Nothing. I got attacked by an army of hairs.”

“Army of hairs?” Travis frowned. “I don’t understand.”

Dike laughed, turned on the television and the games console and threw Travis a control pad.

“We’re going to play? I will flog you today!” Travis bragged, hopping excitedly on the three-sitter facing the television.

“Yes, you’ll flog me but first play alone while your mommy and I talk, okay?”

Travis didn’t like the arrangement but a look from Kachi silenced the grumbling that was already forming on his lips and he sat down quietly. Dike began towards the bedroom and Kachi followed him, clutching her bag in front of her. When he opened the door, she encountered another mess he had artistically created in her favorite space in the house. She bit her acerbic tongue and found a spot by the door to stand.

“Come on, Kachi, sit down nau. This is your house,” he said.

Kachi walked to the vanity table and perched on the stool before it, avoiding a pair of boxers Dike had left hanging there. Dike sat on the bed, both legs barely touching the floor.

“So, why are you here?” he asked, pulling his eyes away from the distraction of her breasts which she had deliberately gathered into a luscious, exposed cleavage. He wondered how many men had seen her along the way dressed like that.

“I have a proposition to make, Dike.” She sat up straight, aware of the effect her breasts were having on him. Ene was on point with the choice of blouse. At first she had kicked against it but Ene had sworn by the powers of what blouses like that could do to men.

“A proposition?” Dike asked and moved into the bed. Kachi watched her favorite pillow being assaulted by his hairy legs as it lay squished between them. She knew Dike knew what he was doing. Little acts like abusing her pillow would normally get a rise out of her but having gone through a lesson in patience from Ene and Felix for the past five days, she fought her nature and kept her eyes on her husband’s face.

“I want this marriage to work,” she said as Dike scratched his stubble.

“Really? I thought you were rushing into a divorce.”

Kachi pretended not to hear his comment. “We’ve known each other for a good number of years. Let’s not throw it away like that.”

“So you’re coming back to me after all the posing.”

Kachi felt annoyance rising from her pits and she cracked her knuckles to keep from showing it.

“I’m not coming back to you, Dike. I’m falling into a compromise.”

“Compromise? Ngwanu, let’s hear. Go on.”

“You know you don’t deserve another chance. If I want to pursue a divorce, I’ll get one, citing adultery as grounds…”

“Adultery? Do you have proof?”

“I have the text from your mistress. And with the pregnancy…”

“My mistress?” he sniggered. “Temi’s not pregnant. Maybe she was but she isn’t anymore and I doubt that she’ll corroborate your story of her being a mistress when news of it can get back to her aunt and parents.”

Kachi shifted her head restlessly, feeling nauseous at his frustrating behavior. She breathed in deeply and calmed the wave of anger that was already at the surface.

“Pregnancy or not, Dike, I want us to work this out.”

“And what does ‘work this out’ mean?”

“I’ll give you another chance on the following conditions.”

He smiled at her as he would a little, ignorant child.

“One,” she began, “you have to stop seeing Temi or any other woman.”

“Okay.”

“Two, you have to win my trust and love back.”

Dike laughed, his lips barely opening. “Win your love back? Kachi, you’re loveless. How do I get from you what you don’t even have?”

“I love you, Dike,” Kachi said silently. Her anger was now being reduced to flaming tears.

“What else? Is that all?” he questioned further.

“We’ll see a marriage counselor.”

Dike threw himself into laughter again while Kachi dabbed at her eyes, her throat burning with suppressed emotions. She swallowed and sniffled.

“Are you done?” he asked. “Can I now make my own demands?”

“You’re not in the position to.”

“Isn’t it all about compromise?”

“I’m listening.” Kachi replied stiffly.

“Since there would be ‘wooing’ as you said, you would do some of your own as well.”

“I’ll woo you?”

“Kachi, you’re dull in bed. Sex with you is hell. You carry your emotions, especially your anger and put them in-between your legs and I can’t deal. I’m always punished when I’m in you and that is why I’m not crazy about making love to you. I don’t think sex when I look at you. I’m thinking trouble and torture.”

Kachi was nodding bravely but she was crumpling inside with every word he was saying. She remembered Ene’s advice to her: no matter what he says to hurt you, don’t let it get to you. Find the truth in his words and do away with the trash.

Kachi painfully sifted his words but realized that there was nothing to trash. He was a hundred and ten percent correct. She was too angry and too frigid in bed. She tried recalling when last she had enjoyed sex but she couldn’t remember. She had used her body as a revenge tool for years.

“Are you there?” she saw his hand waving at her, trying to get her attention back into the discussion. She looked at him and asked herself if she would have done any different had she been in his shoes.

“Is that all?” she asked.

Dike looked at her breasts with a smile. “Yeah, that would be all, Onyekachi. I’d like to add that you should give up your nasty tongue but that would be erasing the woman I fell in love with.”

“Are you still in love with me?” Kachi asked and Dike stumbled out of the bed.

“No, not anymore. Are we done? I need to go play a game with Travis, if you don’t mind.”

Kachi nodded and he walked out. When she heard the door close behind him, she got up from the stool and turned to look into the mirror. Angry tears spilled from her eyes as she got out her phone from her bag and called Ene.

“I told you that this was a silly idea, Ene but you insisted that you know Dike more than me! Everything I planned to tell him about how I feel and how he is hurting me, I couldn’t say! I just sat in front of him like a fool! A big fool! You should have seen him so smug and arrogant, feeling on top of the world like I was coming to beg him!”

“Calm down, Kachi,” Ene said.

“I don’t want to calm down! I can’t do this! I’m going on with the divorce!”

“Calm down and talk to me.”

Kachi pulled up her blouse and turned away from the mirror, backing the door and facing the bathroom door.

“Did he listen to you?”

“Yes but does it make a difference? He’s still Dike.”

“Did he understand what you said?”

“Yes. But Ene you’re not getting me…”

“Did he accept your conditions?”

Kachi hesitated a little.

“Yeah.”

“Then what are you talking about, madam? Give it a try na, ehn, my dear. Try.”

“I can’t oh. I don’t know if I can trust him again.”

“Just try. If it doesn’t work this time around, then you can leave, okay? Do it for Travis, my dear.”

“It’s just for Travis oh. Because I’m dying inside here.” Kachi pulled up her blouse once more.

“Oya, go on and have your fun date with your man. Me I have work to do now.”

“Date keh. I’ll leave Travis here and come and meet you. See you.”

Kachi terminated the call and turned around, finding herself within a hair’s breadth from Dike. She pulled away immediately and moved to her left to avoid him but he blocked her path and moved to her right before she even considered turning there.

“I’m leaving,” she said.

“Do you really want this marriage to work, Kachi?” he asked, lifting her chin to have her face looking into his but she moved away and let loose her resentment.

“I want it to work but you don’t! You haven’t apologized for what you did with Temi! You are too proud to see you’re wrong, to see that you’re hurting me! You think it is your right to have more than one woman just because other men in the world are doing it! But it is wrong, Dike! It is wrong! Only a boy plays with women like he plays with toys! And I am not your toy! So if you make one wrong move this time, it will be your last time and there will be no turning back for me!”

“I heard you, madam.”

Kachi swallowed what was left of her rehearsed speech and started marching to the door but Dike went after her and obstructed her path. She saw a familiar look in his eyes and she protested by pushing him away but he drew her close and placed his lips over hers without kissing her.

“Leave me alone,” she told him but he only pulled her closer. “Dike, this is not going to work.”

“We made a deal.”

“I am not in the mood.”

“Well, you better be because I am. And mind you, if you refuse, I’ll consider it a violation of what we agreed.”

He ran his tongue over her lower lip before he kissed her. She responded stiffly, refusing to accept the tremors that were slowly spreading over her skin.

“Dike, you don’t deserve this,” she said as she felt his lips on her neck.

“Your body is not yours alone, Kachi.”

“But it’s not supposed to be abused by you.” Her fight was beginning to lose its fire as his kisses traveled down the swell of her breasts.

“Have.I.ever.treated.your.body.unfairly?” he asked, stopping to kiss every part of her breasts after each word.

“When you hurt me emotionally, you hurt my body too.” She found herself pushing towards him when she noticed that he had stopped kissing her. She stared up at him and she saw a look in his eyes she couldn’t read.

“I’m sorry,” a finger scratched his temple after his hands let go of her.

“What are you sorry for?”

He put his hands into the front pockets of his combat shorts and shook it free to cover his bulge. “I can’t believe I want to do this.”

“Do what?” she asked, a bit of apprehension coming to her eyes.

“Sweetheart, you deserve better. Go to the Enenches’ or go out with your friends or go shopping. Just have fun. I need to sort out my feelings.”

“Feelings for Temi?”

“No, Kach, it’s not Temi, it’s not you and I don’t want to use the ‘it’s me’ line but unfortunately, it’s me. And I don’t deserve you right now. I need to be alone to work this out.”

“That’s why I’m here,” Kachi said.

“No,” Dike said irritably. “Just go, please.” He opened the door. “And take Travis with you.”

“You’ll break the poor boy’s heart. He misses you…”

“Biko, Kachi…just go. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

He shut the door after her and changed into decent clothes. From his window he watched as she pushed a sobbing Travis into her car outside the gate. She also got in and drove away. After she was gone, he picked his car key and left the house.

He thought of a long drive to nowhere and back. He needed to think about where his marriage was heading. Kissing Kachi reminded him of the power she had over his emotions. He still loved her. He still wanted her in his life but he was uncertain which way he wanted things to go. Her demands sounded reasonable and from what he saw she was fighting really hard to be a better woman. But was he ready for her? Was he willing to give up the games he constantly found himself playing at the expense of her emotions? Was he willing to give up his freedom to her? If he was, who would teach her not to control him once she had the power in her hands? Who would stop him from reverting back to his old ways the moment he felt emasculated in his own home?

He felt claustrophobic as he took the stairs down. He came out to the entrance of the compound where cars were parked tightly. Since it was a Saturday, almost everyone was home. He was glad he parked his car outside the gate even though it had cost him two hundred bucks. But it would have cost him superfluous time to get his neighbors to move their cars just because he wanted to drive out.

As he walked to the gate out, he saw his old neighbor sitting alone outside his house and he gave the man a friendly wave. It wasn’t until after he almost made it out of the gate that he realized the man hadn’t replied his greeting. And he found that strange. Stranger was the fact that the man had looked dejected and was not seated with his wife as he usually did. Dike made a spin and walked back. He was not a nosy person but something about the man bugged him at that moment.

“Papa?” Dike called but the man left his eyes stuck on the floor before him. “Papa?” Dike moved closer and leaned on the railing separating him from the man’s verandah. “Papa!”

Papa raised his head up slowly and looked at Dike like he wasn’t there.

“Sir, what’s wrong?”

“Ehn?”

“What is wrong, Papa? You’re sitting like the whole world is on your shoulders. What’s the problem?”

Papa brought down his head again. “It is my Celestina. She’s going to leave me. She is going to die.”

Dike straightened up and looked at the man quizzically.

“Mama is sick?”

“Ehn…” Papa’s frail voice shook. “She’s in the hospital, unconscious. I was trying to carry her into bed yesterday just like the old times but I fell and she fell too and hit her head. Now she cannot wake up.”

Dike took the sad news in briefly and exhaled silently. “I’m sorry about that, sir. But I’m sure it’s just a bump in her head. It’s happened to me before. She’ll come back.”

“No,” Papa looked at Dike, “she will go today. The moment I step into that hospital, she will go. She has been waiting for me to come and say goodbye.”

“Come on, Papa, Mama is not going anywhere. I saw her yesterday. She is fine and healthy as an ox, if you don’t mind my expression. Come on, sir. Let me take you to go and see her and hear the doctor’s good news.”

Papa shook his head. “Our daughter is there. She can take care of her but the moment I go there, Celestina will die.”

At this point, Dike decided to employ his strong power of persuasion and in less than five minutes, Papa was following him into his car, even though he kept muttering, “she will die.”

Dike hated hospitals, plus he still needed his alone time but because Papa needed company, he waited with him. They sat outside Papa’s wife’s private room because Papa refused to go in to see her. His daughter was in the room with a couple of doctors who had just arrived for their rounds. As they waited, Dike got out his phone and concluded the final process of deleting totameavirgin.com He was no longer interested in Dami. Why anybody else, apart from her new boyfriend, would bother about her was lost to him. But that was Dami. Always getting attention to herself, whether good or bad. She constantly made the headlines of gossip media, Abuja’s own Brittney Spears; everyone wanted to know what was up with her. And he was sure the disabling of the site was going to cause another stir. Monies that were bet on the site were just numbers. He laughed at the hopefuls who were actually deceived into thinking there was raw cash involved. But the whole thing was getting out of hand and two anonymous idiots had even gone as far as collecting cash online from a few unsuspecting individuals. Dike had been pushed to act fast before EFCC tracked him down.

“I think it’s okay for you to go now,” Papa tapped Dike lightly. “You look like you have somewhere to go.”

“No sir, it’s okay.”

“Your wife is here.”

Dike looked up and saw Kachi walking towards them. She looked sad and he wasn’t so sure if it was because of how he had just treated her or it was because of Papa’s wife whom she had a close relationship with.

“Papa, good morning,” she said with a slight curtsy. “Stella just called me now and told me about Mama. How is she?”

“She’s okay,” Dike replied her, guessing ‘Stella’ to be Papa’s daughter. He got off his chair and stood beside it. “The doctors are inside with her. Sit.” He offered his chair to Kachi and whispered something into her ear. When he raised himself, he asked to take his leave and with a gentle peck left on Kachi’s cheek, he left the hospital.

************

Dike sat in his car patiently. He had been left waiting in it for nearly thirty minutes. It was out of character for Temi to do this but he said nothing and kept waiting, telling himself he could remain in that car all night if need be. It would take another ten minutes before she would emerge out of her gate and walk towards his car. Wearing her favorite pair of shorts and tee shirt that exposed the lower half of her belly, Dike thought she looked lovely. He got out of his car and stood by his door with crossed arms.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi.” She put her hands on her waist. “What do you want?”

He saw a new phone in her hand and saw that she was wearing contacts that gave her eyes a lighter shade.

“Temi, I’m here to uhm…”

He let down his hands. One of them leaned on the car for support while the other rested in his pocket.

“I’m sorry, Temi, for lying to you about my wife. There’s no excuse for what I did to you and to her.”

“Did you love me?” Temi asked and Dike rested his back on the car.

“No, I…”

“It was just sex?”

Dike hesitated. “Yes… and I’m also sorry for what happened to you on Monday. I don’t really know what happened but if you hadn’t been out that night to abort my baby…”

An angry slap met his face and after he recovered from the shock, he noticed that Temi was walking away from him, heading home.

“Temi!” he called but she ignored him. He watched her disappear and then got into his car and drove home, taking a longer route. He noticed a good number of cars outside his building when he finally made it home, but he thought nothing of them as he climbed the stairs up to his apartment. He inserted his key to unlock the door but found it unlocked already. He opened it and walked in. He strolled to his bedroom and found Kachi waiting for him. She took quick steps to him and put her arms around him, kissing him fiercely. He managed to pull away after he noticed that she wanted more than a kiss.

“What’s this about?”

“Nothing.” Her lips arrested his again, taking it slower this time, kissing him the way he loved to be kissed. With every caress she surprised him and the way her hands found his favorite spots was a wonder to him. Wasn’t this the same woman who used to lie under him like a log? What had changed?

“Kachi?” he whispered, looking down as she lowered herself before him. He tried to ask her a question but her mouth had swallowed him whole and he lost his tongue and pushed out a moan. She would continue to surprise him for the next twenty or so minutes and in the end, she would fall on his chest, trying to catch her breath as he stared up at the ceiling, wondering who on earth had just made love to him.

“Kachi, what just happened?” he asked and she drew herself up and looked into his eyes.

“Life is short, Dike. Let’s get pleasure while we can. It’s senseless looking for pain where there is none. What happens when the real pain comes? What do we do then?”

He saw her eyes cloud over as she got off the bed and went into the bathroom. She took a shower and returned. He watched her dress into her clothes and felt a desire for her again. She blew him a kiss, picked her handbag and walked out of the bedroom.

He didn’t understand her strange behavior and her short speech to him about life until he took a stroll downstairs later that evening and heard the wailing coming from Papa’s and saw the crowd gathered. He would learn from the old man himself his beloved wife of fifty years had passed.

Dike took a long walk around his neighborhood, saddened by the news of Mama’s death. He returned home and the sadness deepened, a form of melancholy taking over him. He struggled not to be weighed by it but he was unsuccessful. Lying on his bed, judged by his thoughts and memories, he felt his resolve slipping away from his control as hours passed by. Darkness fell on him and he didn’t even notice it. His hand reached for his phone and he called Kachi. She answered after the first ring. He heard her talking to Travis in the background and waiting, hearing for the first time the sweetness that was her voice.

“Yes?” she finally said to him.

“I’m sorry, baby,” his eyes watered. “Please come home.”

To Tame A Virgin #9

Read previous posts HERE

thighs

“So…you’re not going to tell me what happened to you, Temi?”

Uyi was sitting with Temi on her bed, under the dimming light of a rechargeable lantern in her bedroom. The power had gone out, having run out of electricity credits on the meter. Temi was wrapped in a thin bedsheet, her fingers toying with the frames of her glasses, while Uyi sat facing her with knees drawn up to rest his chin on.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Temi replied his question. “And Uyi… I think it’s late. And you should go.”

Uyi looked at her, surprised. “Late?” he stared at the clock on the wall. “Temi, it’s just nine.”

“I know. Still, just…go” she looked around her restlessly, avoiding his eyes. “I know I sound rude but I just want to be alone now.”

“Alone to do what?” Uyi asked, not liking the edgy tone his voice was carrying. “You want to cry yourself to death? Look at your body. Someone did this to you and you’re protecting the person?”

“I said I don’t want to talk about it, Uyi. Please, it’s too traumatic for me. Just go.”

Uyi was stunned at her change of mood. He felt annoyance rise in him and he didn’t understand why. He blamed it on lack of sleep. “So I’m just good for holding you when you cry, abi? I don’t qualify enough to know what goes on in your life. Then why did you call me?”

“Because I need you.”

“Make up your mind, Temi. You need me, you don’t, which one?”

“My life is screwed up!” she cried.

“And whose isn’t?! Is it my own that is perfect? Do you have any idea where I’m coming from? Because I come here and hold you in your worst times, you somehow think I have no problems of my own?!”

“Uyi, you won’t understand.”

“Enlighten me! I want to understand! Geez! That’s why I’m here! I’m probably even more screwed up than you. Did you know I’ve lost my job?”

He waited for Temi to respond but she kept her face to her glass frames.

“Yeah. I’m no longer working in Greek Elysium. All because of a stupid decision I made to sleep with Damaris.”

Temi raised her head and sought out his eyes.

“And now her father is breathing down my back. Temi, as you see me here, I’m tired of my life already. I’m just twenty-nine but I feel like I’m going on forty because of the load I’ve been carrying on my shoulders for years. I’ve never known what it means to be young, to have fun, or to even fall in love!” he laughed sarcastically. “All I’ve had were girls that wanted nothing but sex from me just because I was not up to their standards socially and financially. Apart from them, my life bored me to death. It was all books and responsibility. I won two scholarships in school but all the money went home to my younger sisters and their children. In fact one of my sisters rented a house where she stays with her boyfriend in my name. All the money finished before I graduated. I didn’t rock a dime. I went back to square one and I have been hustling since, even with all my IQ! And just when God gave me another chance with Greek Elysium, I went and slept with the wrong girl. Now, all I have is gone!” Uyi laughed again mirthlessly.

“So, Temi, my useless life should make you feel better about yourself. The fact that there is another person more troubled than you in this small space should give you hope. And when that person asks you to put his load on him, he’s asking only because he has carried worse and he can still carry yours.”

Uyi wiped a thin film of sweat covering his forehead and continued. “Temi, I don’t know you that well to demand that you share your secrets with me but I know myself well enough to know that you’re doing something to me when you cry like that. Maybe it’s just my nature but I can’t stand your tears…”

“You slept with Damaris?” Temi interjected.

“Damaris is not the issue here, Temi.” He made to hold her hand but she moved away. “What I told you earlier as I held you, I’ll not repeat but God knows that I meant it and I’ll not take it back and I…”

“Uyi?” Temi cut him off with a voice so low that he strained his ear to hear. “Please, go.”

Suddenly Uyi became aware of the heavy silence in the room. Not a sound was heard except the deep breathing coming from Temi as she spilled more tears, burying her head in her pillow.

“I’ll come by tomorrow morning to check on you,” Uyi finally said. It was the only way he could redeem his pride. “Please, don’t forget to take your drugs.”

“I won’t.”

He got off the bed, mumbled a goodbye and walked out.

As he sat in a cab going back home, he slapped himself inwardly for acceding to Temi’s wish. He told himself that he shouldn’t have listened to her. It was clear she was going through a painful ordeal and leaving her to herself was not the best decision. What if she did something stupid like try to kill herself? Or worst still, let the person in who had bruised up her body? Following that line of thought, Uyi almost told the cab driver to turn around but he recalled the look on her face when he had told her about Dami. He was sure he had seen loathing in her eyes.

“It can’t be worst than how I feel.” He found himself thinking out loud.

“You say?” the cab driver asked, slowing down, but Uyi shook his head.

“Just dey go.”

You can’t be depressing yourself like this, man. This time his thoughts remained in his head. You’re too young to be thinking too much.

So he took his own advice and tried to think of happier things. And the first thought that stabbed his mind was Temi. It had taken him only seconds as he held her earlier, to realize that he had feelings for her. It wasn’t the same with Dami who stirred his desires and his wild side. Being around Dami released his inhibitions and reminded him that he was young. She made him forget his worries and brought out his youth. She was a poster girl for seizing the moment and enjoying life as it came. But Temi was different. Temi had an essence around her that made him breathe easy and feel at home; she was a picture of comfort and of calm. Who on earth had gone and hurt her that terribly?

His phone rang and he guessed it was Dami. She had called him five times in the past two minutes even after he had sent a text telling her to be patient that he was on his way home. He wasn’t in the mood to speak to anyone but he adjusted his sitting as he picked her call.

“Dami?”

“Is this Uyi?” a strange male voice spoke into Uyi’s ear and he pulled the phone away and frowned at it before returning to the call.

“Yeah?”

“You need to come and get your girlfriend.”

“Please, who are you?” Uyi asked.

“A friend. Damaris is with me. Come and get her, please. I’m sending you a text with the address.”

The guy hung up and Uyi stared at his phone, confused at the call. What was wrong with Dami? And where had she gone?

He got into the process of dialing back when an SMS arrived and he clicked it open. It was the address of a house in Gwarinpa.

“Oga, abeg you know Asaba Street for Gwarinpa?” Uyi asked the cab driver.

“Ehn.” The man nodded.

“Carry me go there,” he said with a tired yawn.

************

He found her outside a high, black gate that led to a lavish house on Asaba Street. She was sitting on a bench alone, dressed in a long, black jalabiya. Her hair was tousled, her feet, bare and her face was stained with mascara-run tears. Uyi thought she looked lovely though, and would make a beautiful photo sitting that way.

He told the cab driver to stop and he got down. Dami looked up, saw him and rushed into his arms.

“What happened, Dami? I thought I left you at home. Whose house is this?”

“Let’s go home. I didn’t come with my car.”

“What happened? Who was the guy that called me with your phone?”

Dami merely shook her head to the questions. “Let’s go…”

As Uyi tried to help her into the cab, the pedestrian gate of the house before them creaked open and a guy who seemed in his early thirties appeared. He was carrying Dami’s handbag, dress, slippers, phone and what looked like a pair of underwear.

“Damaris?” the guy called but Dami only squeezed Uyi tighter and buried her face in deeper. The guy walked to Uyi and nodded some form of greeting. “Uyi, right?”

Uyi nodded.

“I’m Tahir. And if she’s your girlfriend, you need put her on a tight leash.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Uyi asked, a scowl slowly screwing up his face.

“Ask her. No responsible girl should be playing strip poker with four guys in a room.”

“What are you talking about?” Uyi questioned, pushing Dami aside briefly but she held on.

“Baby, let’s go.” She tugged at him. Tahir handed Uyi the items in his hand and was heading back to the house but Uyi stopped him.

“At least I deserve to hear what happened from you since you called me,” Uyi said, taking short steps towards Tahir.

************

There was a party in full swing at Uyi’s when he got back home with Dami. A crowd of people whom he visualized always hanging by their phones, waiting for Ovie and Peter to invite them over, occupied every available space in the house. Fortunately for Uyi, he found only a smooching couple in his bedroom which he curtly dismissed. He locked the door behind himself and Dami and unleashed held anger on her.

“Oya, start explaining to me what went on between you and those boys in that house!”

Dami looked at Uyi like he was crazy and concentrated on getting something out of her handbag. Uyi grabbed the bag from her and flung it to the bed.

“I’m talking to you!”

“Don’t talk to me like that,” she said slowly, resting her hand on her waist. Uyi was miffed at her insolence.

“Dami, don’t piss me off this evening. You don’t want to see me get angry. Tell me what you went to do in your ex’s house and how you ended up playing strip poker with him and his friends.”

She hesitated, playing with the collar on Uyi’s t-shirt. When she saw he meant business, she let down her hand and spoke. “So you won’t even ask for my own side of the story?”

“Is there anything you want to refute that Tahir told me?!”

“Tahir hates me!” Dami shouted back. “He never liked me, not even while I was going out with Aminu. He was always doing the big brother thing on us!”

“So you’re saying he cooked up lies about you to me?”

“Yes!”

“Okay, let’s go through his lies and please stop me whenever any of them doesn’t ring a bell.”

“I’m listening.” Dami crossed her arms defiantly.

“It was Aminu’s birthday and he invited you to his house and you went.”

“Yes.”

“He and his friends were getting high and you joined.”

“Yes.”

“Somewhere along the line, he told you he was sleepy and crashed on his bed, leaving you with his friends. Any smart girl would have taken the cue and left, being that the asshole who invited her couldn’t even see her to the door… wait, I’m not done. But you stayed back and continued drinking with his friends.”

Dami was silent. She pouted insolently and looked away.

“Yes or no?”

“Yes.”

“Some idiot suggested you play strip poker and you, the only female in the room with no common sense, agreed. Yes or no?”

“Uyi, my nudity is nothing to me. Before I get jobs, I have to completely go nude before designers. Ask any model. And when we’re doing a fashion show, we’re always naked and there are guys everywhere and nobody is bothering about anybody. It’s only in this foolish Nigeria that breasts mean something to horny boys. And by the way, I wasn’t completely nude in Aminu’s room. I had my panties on.”

“Can you hear yourself, Damaris?! You’re even defending your shameless behavior!”

Dami walked away from Uyi to one of the windows in the room. “I did nothing wrong…”

“Until you felt you could climb the bed where your ex was sleeping. For what?!”

“I was trying to get my clothes!” She turned to face him. “I didn’t climb it to seduce him or anything! I wanted to get my clothes! How was I supposed to know that he would grab me and…”

As much as she tried to put up a strong façade, Uyi could see she was struggling with the memory of what had happened to her.

“And what, Dami?” Uyi was curious to know what she was finding hard to reveal. It was the same thing Tahir said he couldn’t share with him. “Dami, what did Aminu do to you?”

Dami shook her head strongly and began walking to the bathroom but Uyi stopped her. “What-did-Aminu-do?”

She shook her head again.

“Talk to me, my friend! What did the boy do to you?!”

“We finished the strip poker… and I told them I wanted to go home and one of them offered to drop me off. So I… climbed over the bed where…Aminu was sleeping and…” Dami stopped and sniffed. “I…was crawling to the side where my dress was and he…grabbed me and…” She stopped again.

“And what?”

“He tore my underwear and…”

“Did he rape you?”

“God, no,” she answered quickly. “But he…he was touching me everywhere… I was screaming and begging him but he refused to stop. It was so embarrassing and I was scared for my life. I thought they were all going to rape me. That was when Tahir came in…”

“What is wrong with you, Damaris?! Really, what were you thinking could have happened if Tahir had not been at home at that point and walked in to save you?! You think those boys wouldn’t have raped you?! That you would just wear your clothes and have them drop you at home?!”

“Don’t shout on me! How was I supposed to know that Aminu would even think of touching me like that?! I trusted him!” she cried.

“You don’t trust a boy with your boobs in his freaking face! My God! I don’t even know what to tell you, if I should feel sorry for you or slap you silly! Did it not occur to you that from the moment you took off your dress you were merely seconds from being raped?!”

“You know what, Uyi? I don’t want to talk about this again! I’m going home!”

“My friend, stop being a child!”

“I thought you were going to understand!”

“Understand what?!”

“Me! Understand me! If you love me, you would!”

“Well, I’m sorry that I don’t.”

The music from the sitting room stopped at that moment, bringing with it complete silence and a chorus of complain from the partiers.

“You don’t what, Uyi?” Dami asked with a face of dread, her voice missing at the edges. “You don’t understand me or you don’t love me. Which one?”

“Neither,” Uyi replied and rubbed his forehead. He saw a miserable look fill her eyes but there was nothing he could do to stop it. He didn’t even attempt to. Black, mascara tears slid down her porcelain face and it seemed she had something to say but she only rubbed her eyes and walked away from him. Reggae music broke into the air and his head began to pound, enhanced by the fact that he had not slept in twenty-four hours. He watched as she disrobed from the jalabiya Tahir had given her and got into her own dress. Something told him to stop her from leaving but he just couldn’t. She picked her handbag and phone and stood before him.

“You’re going to be my first heartbreak,” she said. Uyi knew she wasn’t lying. It was written all over her face and it had even gone all the way down to her perfect shoulders which were presently slouched. His inner voice congratulated him for hurting two girls in one day.

“I thought the feelings were shared. I thought you really felt something, Uyi. I thought… You know what? Let’s just end this.”

“Damaris…”

“No, it’s fine. I’m fine.”

But she was not. Her body was literally shaking as she sobbed.

“Okay,” Uyi said. “It’s over then.”

She turned around and walked out the door. He didn’t go after her but locked the door, fell on his bed and crucified himself for what he had just done to her.

************

Uyi slept through the night and through the following day, having taken a sleeping pill from Doctor Ahmed next door. He didn’t hear the knocks on his door or even his phone ringing a million times. Peter and Ovie were worried he was dead when they got back from work, so they went to one of his windows and hosed in a full force of water. He shot up from his bed and when he collected himself, rained abuses on them. It was dark now and he picked his phone to go through his missed calls and texts. They were mostly from Dami. The other ones were from Ovie and Peter. He also noticed his Twitter icon indicating that he had alerts. And to confirm it, Ovie stuck his face to his window, telling him to check what Twitter had in store for him. So Uyi did, and to his horror, discovered that Dami was trending. The story was that her ex, Aminu and his friends had actually set her up the night before. While Aminu pretended to sleep, he was actually taking discrete photos of her nude body. He showed no mercy and uploaded them on Twitter and Totameavirgin.com, causing an immediate reaction from Dami’s fans and critics. His account was right away disabled by Twitter but the photos had gone round and still remained on Totameavirgin.com. As expected, Dami didn’t remain silent; she lashed back on Twitter. She replied to the tweets about her, claiming that Aminu had posted old photos from the time they were together. But the war took a new turn when people found Uyi’s hardly ever used Twitter handle and began a fresh trend about him.

Uyi sighed as he went through a few of the unfriendly tweets. He instantly deactivated his account, threw his phone to the bed and entered the bathroom for a shower.

When he returned to his room, his mind was made up. He was going to end it with Dami but first, he needed to return the check to her father. The problem was it wasn’t as easy as it sounded.

************

When Uyi rang the doorbell of the Alechenus’, he hadn’t expected to see Dami behind the door. Wearing a mini skirt and a bikini top, Uyi’s eyes were assaulted by her sexiness at first glance. He didn’t understand why his attraction to her was so feral, because as he stood there, all he could think of was the different ways he wanted to have sex with her in her father’s sitting room. But he looked at her face and saw her broken heart sketched on it and his senses returned to him. She moved away and let him in.

“I’m so sorry about yesterday,” She said with her head bent. “I’m also sorry about the whole Twitter thing. Aminu’s an ass.”

“Dami, I understand. No need to explain.”

She shut the door and offered him a comfortable sofa to sit.

“Daddy will soon be out.”

She took a couch opposite him and faced the television.

Uyi forced himself to look away from her but he couldn’t. He came to realize that every time his eyes considered her, it was a perfect moment that needed to be caught on camera. And he wasn’t so sure he wanted to throw away such moments just yet. Dami was an onion whose layers he still wanted to discover and it didn’t matter that her virginity was gone; to him, she was yet to be explored and he was finding it hard to accept that someone else was soon going to claim what he called his territory.

“Omoruyi!”

Uyi heard Anyebe’s voice and sprang from the sofa like someone who was caught doing something bad. The older man smiled, for he had actually seen Uyi’s covetous eyes on his daughter. He walked into the sitting room, his walking stick clacking beside him.

“Good evening, sir,” Uyi bowed his head.

“Evening. I have a meeting soon. Can we quickly speak in the kitchen?”

Uyi followed Anyebe and they entered a large, sparking, white kitchen with blinding lights. Anyebe went to one of the refrigerators and got out a bottle of beer for Uyi. He passed him a cork opener as he took out a transparent bowl that had a blue lid which he placed on the kitchen table. He went for a fork next and a bottle of salad dressing. He pointed a chair at Uyi, pulled his to sit and began to attend to his bowl of salad.

“Talk to me, Omoruyi.”

Uyi brought out his wallet from his pocket and got out Anyebe’s check. He walked to him and put the check in front of him. Anyebe unfolded it as Uyi went back to his chair.

“It’s still blank.” Anyebe continued with his salad as Uyi remained standing. “Why?”

“Sir…it’s not working with Dami and I. We’re not well-suited for each other and taking that check would only mean I’m with her because of the money and not because I love her.”

“And you think I didn’t know that when I gave it to you?”

Uyi looked at the man briefly before he replied. “Sir, I’m sorry, I just can’t accept it. Thank you for the offer, though.”

Anyebe smiled and Uyi was misled into thinking things were cool between them.

“I want to take my leave now.” He said and Anyebe smiled again. “Good night, sir.”

Uyi turned away from him and was making for the door when he heard Anyebe’s frosty voice.

“You refuse my check, you refuse my beer but you take my daughter’s virginity and think you can get away with it?”

Uyi was afraid to turn around. He rested his eyes on a scratched out area on the door that was caused by constant contact with human hands.

“There is no pond which the sun cannot dry up, Omoruyi. If you walk out that door, I will treat you as my enemy, one who came to take what I have preciously guarded for twenty-seven years. And in that respect, I will unleash the full vigor of my rage on you. Is that okay with you?”

Uyi continued staring at the defect on the door in front of him and he felt a strong need to paint over it, to make it like the rest of the door. And there, at that moment, he realized how perfect his life had been until Dami walked into it. But unlike the door, it was painfully clear to him that he couldn’t paint over her.

Uyi turned around to Anyebe, his mind concluded on the matter.

“I need you to understand that as untamed and as foolish as Damaris is, she’s still my jewel and I don’t have to tell you what a man like me can do to a man like you. She came home last night, brokenhearted and inconsolable and all she wanted was you.”

“Sir, honestly, Damaris is too much for me to handle.”

Anyebe laughed. “A man chases a woman until she catches him and then he begins to run away.”

“I want a job,” Uyi said out of nowhere.

“A job? Okay.” Anyebe forked around his salad in swift movements. “Is that all?”

“It has to be a good job where I can finish my NYSC and I can be retained.”

“Done. Anything more?”

“No, sir. I can handle myself with that. Can I go home now?”

“Why are you in a hurry? This is your home.” Anyebe rose up, still chewing. He opened the fridge and took out a bottle of water. On his way out, he stopped to tap Uyi on his shoulder.

“I hope you’re prepared for the life ahead of you. Where you’re going is somewhere you’ve never been before and Damaris will prove to be more than a handful. But bear with her; the novelty will eventually wear off.”

Anyebe walked out and Uyi collapsed into his chair. He let out a deep breath and felt it go with a rush of perspiration coming to his forehead. He pulled the beer bottle to himself, uncorked it and alone in the bright kitchen he tried to drink his conscience to numbness.

©Sally @moskedapages