The secret lover
The room was quiet now besides the sound of the air-conditioner shrieking loudly at the top of the wall.
“That was good!” Omotore grinned, whispering into his ears as she brushed her fingers round his nipple.
“Yea? I’m glad you liked it” he replied placing a kiss on her forehead. “I’ve missed you!”
“Me too! But I have to get going now” she announced struggling out of his reluctant arms. If she didn’t leave now, she may never want to and there was Delilah. Her baby would be crying her eyes out for her now. Even though she had called Ejaife to watch over her, she still didn’t like being away from her baby for so long…
Two rounds of this for five hours? Geezs! It’s really been a while! She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed him until now.
“Aww, do you have to? Couldn’t you just stay a little bit longer? Please?” she heard his pleading voice call after her as she threw on her underwear and began to struggle with her jeans. She could feel his eyes all over her even though she wasn’t watching him as she threw on her t-shirt. That stupid smile, she shook her head.
“I don’t want to be late for our family dinner” Omotore explained, throwing her hair back so she could don on her face cap. He had left the bed and was now standing few inches behind her. She could feel the heat expelling from him and the feel of his groins against her backside. “and..” she stammered as he put his hands around her and spun her round to face him.
“…there will be a lot of drama too. I certainly do not want to miss that” she continued but he wasn’t listening. His tongue was already edging its way between the lobes of her ears.
“Are you even listening to me?” she asked in between gashed teeth. He has to stop doing that, she shivered trying to ignore the wetness growing gradually between her legs.
Gosh! Why can’t I get enough of him?
“Yeah yeah, I am. It’s just that I’m a bit busy right now” he answered in husky voice. He was now on her neck using his tongue to pick out the nerves in it.
“We both know you do not have to be there if you don’t want to” he continued as his hands found the hinge of her bra under her t-shirt and undid it.
“True, but I really want to. We are also going to be discussing the logistics of mum’s funeral and I really want to see the look on Odafe’s face when dad finally tells him” She giggled throwing her neck further down for more but suddenly, he stopped, edging his way towards the bed.
“Odafe is back?” he asked turning back to look at her as if he hadn’t heard her before.
Duh! Omotore thought ran…
“Yea, he came in this afternoon. I thought I mentioned it before” She responded as she redid her bra and picked up her bag but her shoes seemed to be missing.
“No, you didn’t” he snapped angrily “Tore, don’t you know what this means?” he asked suddenly agitated.
Omotore nodded ignoring the fear she could now see in his eyes. She really didn’t have the time for this now.
Where are her shoes?
“It means all our plans might just…..” He paused, afraid to finish the sentence. Like if he did, they might just happen.
Omotore paused. She hadn’t really thought of it.
“Isn’t that if he’ll stay?” she asked uncertain. She didn’t like the sound of it at all.
“I doubt if Odafe will stay” she continued after a moment, throwing the frightened thought off her mind. “Have you seen what dad is putting him through recently?” she asked him smirking as she spotted her shoes beneath the wardrobe.
“There is no way in hell, he would stay” she answered reassuringly as she threw them on and then walked towards him.
“Relax Uncle, no one will ever find out” she continued as she placed a kiss on his lips “I promise”
The air was pitch-black and cold as Efetobo struggled to make out the figure swatting on the floor in the room. Everything in the room (a room that seemed so familiar to him) was fading fast like dust in a wind. As he stared harder, he realized the figure was his wife and she was sobbing bitterly because he could see the consistent up and down movement of her shoulders although he couldn’t hear a sound.
She looked young again and was dressed in the same gown she had had on, on the pageant night- the night she had won the Miss Nigeria Pageant-but her gown had been ripped from chest down exposing her lingerie. Her crown was worn round her neck instead on her head and she looked like she was gasping for breath. A heavy wind like a hurricane was now hovering round the room and Efetobo felt panic rise up in his chest as he rushed towards her but each time he got closer, she seemed further away and he could hear a voice in the wind, her voice, whispering his name but where he stood he could see that her lips were not moving.
“Onajite!” he called out desperately as he stopped to catch his breath but his voice faded off. Again he ran towards her and soon he got close, close enough to feel her warmth and hear her sobs but the wind was getting closer breaking through the walls that surrounded them. But just as he laid his hands on her, glad that he had caught her, she vanished and stood suddenly behind him. This time, she was in her fifties, exactly the way he had last seen her, in her night-wear with a strand of white hair falling on her face. On her lips stood a giant scowl…and like an echo, she screamed
Captain Efekobo jolted up in fright. There was a persistent knock on his bedroom door. He had been dreaming, he realized as he heaved a sigh of relief and struggled out of the bed. His dreams were getting worse, he asserted, frowning.
“Who’s there?” he called out at the door as he swept a quick glance over his body. He was covered in sweat and his singlet was soaked.
“Sir, it’s me, Tina. The chef says dinner is ready and the table is set!” a tiny voice called out from the door.
“Good! Good! I’ll be right down in a minute” he announced as he turned to walk into the bathroom. Suddenly, he remembered and added “inform the others!”
The dining table was crowded with everyone he’d expected to be there. Even his little grand-daughter was seated too on the table already churning down a piece of meat.
“I can see dinner has started without me” he announced as he took a seat on his side of the table pretending not to notice the empty seat next to his. Silence fell on the room and everyone stood. Everyone except Rhoda and Captain Efetobo’s smile faded.
“And I suppose you are crippled?” Captain Efekobo asked rudely. From the corner of his eyes, he could see Omotore sniggering quietly while Odafe shot him an angry stare.
Rhoda sprung up immediately ignoring her husband’s plea to remain seated. Satisfied, he gestured them to sit and the supper continued…in silence.
After the last course of the meal was served, Efetobo heard Odafe ask…
“So dad, what date has been fixed for mum’s funeral?”
“15th of this month” He answered churning down a mouthful of salad.
“That far?” Odafe asked surprised.
“It would give us a lot of time to plan for it” Captain Efetobo responded ignoring the look of desperation on his son’s face.
“It’s what? Like a week from today? It’s not that far” He insisted, dropping his glass of wine and then resumed his meal. From the corner of his eyes, he could see that Odafe was about to protest about something but decided against it and slumped back on his chair but after a few minutes, he asked again.
“How did she die?”
Silence enveloped the table. The forks, spoons and knives had suddenly ceased movements and Captain Efetobo could feel the rate of his heartbeat increase. He had thought he was getting good at this- holding his breath and lying to the face of anyone who asked him the same question. When his kids had fallen on his shoulders asking how their mother died, he had brushed off their tears and told them exactly what he had told the media and the paparazzi.
So why was it hanging on his throat now?
“Heart attack, brother” He heard Ejaife say breaking the silence and he heaved a sigh of relief.
“And then she suffered a stroke for a while” Omotore added as she wiped off a supposed tear. If he didn’t know better, he would say Omotore was really grieving for their mother but he knew. No-one was more delightful about her death than her. If they were to point fingers, his will go to her. Fake tears!
“My God! and no one told me?” Odafe flared angrily and silence fell again but it was Omotore who broke in this time, reminding Odafe of how he had run off to marry Rhoda forgetting how distraught their mother was about it.
“But I didn’t have a choice. Dad commanded me to leave. For God’s sakes Tore, he disowned me!” Odafe insisted almost tearfully throwing a pleading look at him but Captain Efetobo ignored the look. He didn’t have time for this. If looks could hurt, he would have been dead by now.
“And you gladly left Odafe, that showed how important we were to you” Omotore persisted sarcastically and Captain Efetobo couldn’t help but see how the blood had abruptly drained out of Odafe’s face. His son could no longer find his tongue. Captain Efetobo smirked.
“So is that all?” He asked stopping his smirk from growing wider as he dropped his glass of wine and glanced around the table. Delilah was busy picking up the grains of rice left on her table, oblivious to the tension in the room.
“No, that’s not all” Odafe answered, his jaws set aggressively. “I want to see her”
Captain Efetobo froze. He could see Omotore laughing now while Ejaife’s jaw fell open.
This is not going well
“You want to do what?” he asked swallowing nothing.
“I want to see her. Her body. What morgue did you keep her?” Odafe insisted looking from him to Omotore, obviously puzzled by her behavior.
“Tore, why the hell are you laughing?” Odafe asked Omotore but still, she laughed harder.
Nuisance, Captain Efetobo thought trying to prevent his rage from surfacing.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the Oghenerunos?” a mocking voice called from the corridor and all the faces at the table turned to its direction. Omotore’s laughter ceased suddenly while Ejiafe resumed his.
Ojako! What the hell is he doing here? Captain Efetobo lamented grudgingly.
Ojakorotu who was his wife’s younger brother stood at six feet, with an infuriated smirk on his lips. He was dressed in traditional attire of a well-tailored Ankara shirt and plain trousers. He had saggy eyes and a straight nose like that of his wife’s. To Captain Efetobo, that was the only kindred features Ojako shared with his wife who was older than him by two years or thereabout; just the fine facial look and that was it. He was the complete opposite of her and never seemed to possess the same gentle spirit that she was known for.
Ojako had never seemed to be able to stay out of trouble or was it that trouble never seemed to be able to stay away from him? Both of which Captain Efetobo couldn’t really tell. Even at forty-nine, Ojakorotu still couldn’t boast of a family, despite the fact that almost all the Asaba girls could not stay off his bed. It was always one woman after another. He had no job or business either. Several times, Efetobo had tried to set up one for him partly because his wife pleaded and partly because he wanted to get rid of him but unfortunately, Ojako had squandered all the funds on women. It was like he had gone to maybe some oracle or juju priest to pledge that his life’s ambition was to rely solely on his sister and unfortunately for Captain Efetobo that meant only one thing…relying on him too.
But as fate would have it, after Odafe moved out of their house which was five years ago, Ojako was trialed and convicted for raping a fifteen years old girl. Even though he had pleaded not guilty, Efetobo had no doubt in his mind that he did it. Ojako had always been known for one thing: women!
Why would girls be an exception?
“I wasn’t invited for dinner?” Ojako asked ignoring the sharp stares hitting at him from all directions as he crossed the room to the table. Even the maids were now moping. Drawing out a chair, he winked at the maids which got them rushing back to their chores and then, glared at those of them at the table.
“What?” he asked.
“Uncle Ojako. It’s so good to see you again” Odafe answered sarcastically with a tiny smirk on his lips.
“Same, same, Dafe. How long has it been, five years? You look good” He responded sweeping his eyes over Odafe “See your belly o! You dey enjoy no be small. This must be our lovely wife” He continued as he got up and walked over to Rhoda.
Captain Efetobo snarled. Who let this fool out of jail?
“She’s a pretty one” He continued brushing his fingers across Rhoda’s chin.
Odafe shot him a furious look. Chuckling, Ojako backed away.
“What are you doing here?” Captain Efetobo asked effortlessly trying to conceal his irritation. He never liked Ojako, not then and definitely not now. He had tolerated his audacity back then because of his wife but now that she was dead, that meant he didn’t have to, anymore.
“Me?” Ojako asked innocently cutting through his thoughts.
“Well, I came to find out what the plans are for the funeral” Ojako answered ignoring his infuriating stare. He was looking at Delilah now as she raised her little chin to identify him but pulled away from his grip as soon as she couldn’t. She was in her mother’s arm in a flash.
“I didn’t know you were back” Captain Efetobo answered rising to his feet. He had truly forgotten that Ojako’s jail sentence was for five years.
God, how time flies!
“Could you believe that your father didn’t tell me about your mother’s death? I found out from my cellmate who found out from another inmate who had found out from our jailer” He complained to Odafe who now turned to look at him, surprised.
“And do you know he cremated her without even consulting me?” Ojako continued turning his gaze too to him. By then, Odafe’s mouth had dropped open.
“He did what?” Odafe asked too stunned to believe what he had just heard.
Omotore who had resumed her chuckling picked up Delilah and turned to him to ask
“I guess dinner is over now, dad?
Captain Efetobo nodded and then, she walked out of the room with Delilah glancing back at them. Ejaife after shaking and hugging Ojako excused himself, and also left the room.
“I cremated her” Captain Efetobo asserted suddenly feeling lightheaded.
“It was what she would have wanted” He continued and then left the room ignoring the stares that followed him but just before he began to climb the staircase to his room, he heard Ojako ask Odafe.
“Who’s the little girl? She looks like your mum. Did she have a child while I was away?”
“Oh no Uncle,” Odafe laughed “that’s Omotore’s baby”
“Omotore’s what?”Ojako exclaimed…
Captain Efetobo grinned….