Always One More Time #14 By Temitope Ogunyinka
Vengeance is mine saith the Lord.
Adesewa slammed her bible shut having stumbled upon the bible passage. That wasn’t the scripture she needed. In fact she didn’t want to hear anything about the bible. She wanted to plan. She wanted to inflict pain. She wanted the both of them to know what it felt like to be disappointed and hurt.
God, you know what Daniel did to me . . . I’m justified to hurt him just as much. Aren’t I?
She knew the answer to her question but pushed it aside. She thought back to her moments with Daniel. A smile slowly appearing on her lips, as she stared off. She was sure Efe would have found her panties in her husband’s pocket. She could almost imagine the shocked look on the girl’s face. This was just the beginning of the plans she had for the both of them. They wanted to eat their cake and have it. Did they think it was fun toying with someone’s heart? Was it fun playing her for a fool? She would do the same to them.
Someone snapped fingers in-front of her eyes, rudely distracting her from her line of thoughts. She looked up to find John standing before her and frowned.
What does he want?
Adesewa gently removed a strand of hair from her face. She had begun attending Saving Grace only recently. It was a way for her to be close to Daniel and Efe. And when Efe went back to school, she needed Daniel close to her. The saying, ‘keep your enemies close’ was working for her.
“Hi John. What’s up?”
“Can I talk to you?”
She shrugged. “You are already doing that.”
He sat down beside her. “What really went on between you and Daniel when I saw you guys?”
Okay? How does that concern you? “What did Daniel tell you?”
He shrugged. “Nothing major. Just hinted that you guys got down in the toilet.”
That we what? Daniel wouldn’t say that to him. Would he? Adesewa realized then that John was fishing for answers. She decided to play it cool. “So why are you asking me then? Since you already seem to have all the answers . . .”
He heaved a sigh. “Why are you doing this Ade? What for? You know Daniel is married -”’
“But not happily married.” She interjected.
“He would come around soon. I’m sorry but you have no say in his life any-more. I care about you, don’t waste your life plotting revenge over a man. It’s not worth it.”
I don’t need to hear this. She grabbed her bag from the empty seat beside her and got up. “I’m sorry pastor but I didn’t come here for counselling sessions. And speaking of marriage . . . I heard you’re getting married to Funlola. Isn’t she way beyond your league? She isn’t exactly wife material considering all her promiscuous ways.”
He rose up.
“Thank you for your concern.”
She smiled. He got her message. “Likewise.”
She got on her dark designer shades and walked out of the church into the hot sun that shone on her back.
Her eyes fluttered open. She shifted on her back and stretched her hands out, but careful not to hit Daniel as he slept. Memories of last night flooded her mind and she couldn’t stop herself from smiling.
Last night had been wonderful.
Efe remembered his kisses and touches. His hands on her body. He had been gentle with her since she hadn’t been with any other man since their first time. Daniel was her first and only lover. He’s my husband and lover . . . She bit her lip, excited as a school girl told she could have all the candy she wanted. She turned to look at Daniel who was still fast asleep. I can have him all to myself now.
She looked away and said her prayers while in bed; thanking God for the wedding and letting it be successful. She thanked God for Daniel and asked for God to help their marriage.
When she was done she wrapped the bed-sheet around her and got out of the bed. Her foot on his trousers. She picked it up and was about placing it on the bed when her eye caught on to something red peeping out of his pocket.
She squinted; curiosity got the best of her. “What’s this?”
She pulled out a lacy red underwear. She frowned as she looked at it, holding it with her thumb and index finger.
It obviously wasn’t hers. Her backside wasn’t that small. She looked back at Daniel. He was till asleep. Who does this belong to? Anger and dread swallowed up the glee she had felt moments earlier. Tears shimmered in her eyes as horrid thoughts filled her mind.
She shoved the underwear back in his trousers and placed it on the bed. She bit her lip and took quick steps to the bathroom and washed her hands thoroughly after locking the door after her. It was best not to jump to conclusions and assume.
Nevertheless, wild, crazy-filled thoughts accosted her.
Did Daniel sleep with someone else? Who was he with? Was he with Adesewa? Did he put the pant their as a reminder of his moments with Adesewa or another woman? Who did it belong to??? God, what’s all this about?
Efe couldn’t afford to know the answers. A part of her wanted to know and the other part wanted her to push it aside and remain ignorant. She was scared of what the answer would be. She tossed the cloth around her body on the floor and took a shower. A nice steamy one; spending time as she scrubbed at her body.
He had touched her and been with her when he had also been with another woman . . . and on their wedding day!
What kind of sick man is this? This isn’t the Daniel I know. Her tears mingled with the water pouring down on her from the shower head.
Why did he marry me then? Why did me sef agree to the wedding? He doesn’t love me and he never would. Why was I so silly to think he ever would? I made a mistake. He would never love me and I can never force him to. God I need you . . . What do I do?
She squatted and leaned against the cold white tiles. She knew this wasn’t a good start to their marriage. It wasn’t good at all.
Eghosa couldn’t still believe he had another daughter. There she was, seated in his study and looking through letters and photos he and her mother had between them. He still didn’t know how he would break the news to Efe. Apparently, Zainab was friends with Daniel’s ex-girlfriend and he couldn’t imagine how Zainab and Efe’s relationship would turn out.
Zainab said she was heading to Abuja next-week. He had to spend time with her.
“Is it possible you could spend sometime in Ibadan?”
She lifted her head to look at him.
“In this dead town? No way.”
“What about Lagos? Is that preferable?”
“Why do you want me to say? I already told you I want no relationship with you.”
“But I want to get to know you. I just found out that I have another daughter and I want to know her. Is that too much to ask?”
Zainab placed the letter in hand on the table and rested her back on the chair. “I know it’s not too much to ask but like I told you before, I’m not interested in getting to know you.”
“And I don’t mind.”
Her eyebrows drew together.
“Yes, I don’t mind.” He was certain the reason Samira had led her to him was so he could meet her and get through to her. He didn’t need anyone to tell him she took drugs due to the way she kept sniffing when she didn’t have a cold. She needed help and he wanted to be there for her. Whether she felt she needed his help or not.
“Look, Pastor Phillips -”
“Can I get an extra week with you? It doesn’t have to be here. I would sort out accommodation in Lagos and from there we can meet up. Please.” He added when it looked like she was going to deny him again.
She’s so head-strong like her mother. God, please make a way for me.
“Fine. A week and nothing more.”
“Thank you. When would you be going back to Lagos?”
“As soon as I’m done with the letters.” She grabbed the letter previously held. “I can’t believe my mum could be so expressive of her emotions. I knew she was poetic but – this is a whole different side of her I never really knew.”
“Your mum was a very determined woman, but fun when she freed herself. I had the privilege of knowing that side of her.”
Zainab nodded as she pored her eyes on the letter.
“Would you like anything to eat? What’s your best food?”
She shook her head then and he noticed a sudden sadness in her countenance. “You can’t make it.”
“Pancakes and scrambled eggs.” Zainab kept her head low and couldn’t see the shocked look on his face. “My- my mum used to make them for me.”
“I would make them for you.”
She looked up then. “No, let me just get done with this and I would leave.”
He didn’t push. He didn’t want to come between the sacred memories of Zainab and her mother. He also didn’t want to tell he had been the one to first make the meal of pancakes and scrambled eggs for Samira when they were together.
Ebuka tossed his pen on the table and took a swig of the cold beer. He couldn’t stop thinking of Adesewa in her short pink dress. He hadn’t heard from her since then and not allowed himself get close to her.
He had to talk to her. They had to meet up.
His feelings for her went beyond sex; he loved her. He was sure of it. He had seen her at the wedding and watched as Daniel hurried off to meet her. But then her friends had found a way to hold him up and later he had seen Daniel walk in and Adesewa was nowhere in sight.
He dropped the beer on the table and rose from his seat. He would go over to see her and find out where she stood.
The visit to John’s church was heavy on her mind that as she rounded off her classes in business school that afternoon. The first time she had gone it had been intense. First it was the atmosphere during praise and worship, she had stood as people raised hands up and sang to God with passion. Then the words of the pastor on righteousness and grace threatened to snap her attention, but she distracted herself with her phone. The people she sat with kept staring at her and she even caught one raise a brow at her disapprovingly.
Funlola was sure it pissed him off that she wasn’t the least bit concerned about what they thought. She had caught John staring at her once, but he didn’t look disappointed at her nonchalance to the service; he just smiled at her and looked away.
Little by little she was getting used to John and his melancholic behaviour. He was a kind man and a complete gentleman. She still questioned herself as to why he wanted to marry her. She had looked around his church. There were many beautiful ladies there, so why hadn’t he picked one of them for a wife?
Dele is right; we are complete opposites of each-other. I don’t think I would want to follow him to church again.
Funlola walked out of the building and got on her sun-shades. She had to call a cab and hurry over to John’s parent’s house to sort out the seating arrangements and then she had other things to do. She had asked Uche to be her maid-of-honour, actually John had told Uche first, and she had been pleased to do so; claiming that meant she would get married soon and the right man would soon sweep her off her feet like John did with his love.
After hailing a cab down and haggling his ridiculous price down to a reasonable one, she was then on her way. John hadn’t exactly swept her off her feet to make her agree to his marriage proposal. Aside from the perks that came with being his wife, her mother had called her weeks back to tell her John was her husband in her prophetic way. How did she know?
Funlola wasn’t exactly sure but experience had told her that sometimes what she said was true. But then she had always wondered why her mother hadn’t foreseen the kind of man she had married and played dumb to his wild behaviour.
Her late father was the biggest of players she knew. She had caught him on different occasions being with a woman other than her mother; and in their home after her mother had left for one of her long services. Funlola had peeped severally at his sexual encounters and had found herself growing wet just by looking. Even now as she thought about it she was disgusted and ashamed of her ignorance.
Her mother was fully aware of his philandering but she said she wasn’t going to kill herself over a man, that Jesus was enough for her and more man than her father would ever be. That she was responsible for her marriage; to love him, but he was responsible as well and he would be accountable for his actions. Their marriage was until death did them part.
Funlola had been stunned at her nonchalant manner to the whole thing and never understood her mother.
She had never understood what the meaning of marriage was and it’s importance when it could be broken any-time. She could sleep around all she wanted. What then was the use of getting married? She had even had her fair share of married men!
Funlola shook her head and chuckled.
She was through with his mother and John had joined them mid-way. They were headed to his sister’s apartment when Funlola’s phone rang.
She saw the caller ID and smiled.
“Hi Effy. What’s up?”
Funlola frowned. It sounded like she was crying. Her voice low.
“Efe what’s up? Why are you sounding like that?”
John turned to look at her with questions on his face. Funlola held up her hand and asked him to wait as Efe said in muffled tones all that had happened on her wedding day.
“Funlola I don’t know what to do . . .”
Funlola squeezed her face. You don’t know what to do ke? You should slap him ni! Funlola kept her thoughts a bay and said, “Where are you now? Can we come and see you?”
She looked at John and he nodded his approval.
“No – I don’t want Daniel hearing us. He’s at home. Can I come over to Uncle John’s instead?”
Funlola relayed the message to John and he checked the time on his dashboard clock.
“Okay we’ll see you in forty minutes. Bye.”
As soon as she ended the call John asked what happened. “She said she found someone’s panties in her husband’s trousers.”
John sighed. “It is well.”
She shifted on her seat so she faced him. “What do you mean it is well?”
“Means everything would be okay.”
“How? You mean it would be okay if she just sits there and folds her arms?”
“Okay what did you want me to say? That she should break my cousin’s head and beat him? Common, violence never solved anything.”
“But it makes us feel good.”
His face screwed up in confusion. “Us who? What are we talking about?”
“Us women when men cheat! Not that I have a problem with all that nonsense but Efe is a good girl, she doesn’t deserve that.”
“Wait. What do you mean you don’t have a problem with a man cheating on you?”
She shrugged. “Means if you want a woman by the side you are well capable of getting it without me complaining.”
Did I say something wrong? “PJ is everything okay?”
He nodded absent-mindedly and kept driving. Not uttering a single word to her.
Funlola knew something was wrong and she almost regretted saying what she said, but then she knew men couldn’t keep their ‘stuff’ in their pants and would always cheat. There was no point in it. But then PJ is a pastor not some ordinary man, abi? But then again even pastors have weaknesses right?
Funlola tossed around different ideas in her head but when she got tired she pushed it aside and decided to let the future take care of itself.
Daniel flipped the station to a football match and scratched the stubble of beard on his chin. He heard the door to the bedroom and looked up to see Efe come out. She had been acting weird since they got back from Ibadan.
He wondered if she saw the panties in his pocket.
The guilt from what he had done the day of his wedding prodding his chest. He had been so pissed at Adesewa when he found out and called her when he popped out of the room to get order their breakfast; claiming the phone in the room was bad.
“What is wrong with you Ade? Why did you leave that there?!”
He brought the phone close to his mouth and said, “Your underwear jor! You left it in my pant pocket!”
“Oh! Was that where it was? Sorry . . .”
“Don’t act dumb Ade!”
“Daniel don’t shout at me. We were obviously lost in passion and I forgot to -”
“To put on your panties but remembered to put it in my pants? What silly game are you playing at? What if Efe found it?”
“I’m sorry. I’m not playing around. You know I can also go without wearing anything down there so I probably forgot in our hurry to leave the toilet. Did Efe see it?”
He rubbed the back of his neck.
“No. I kept it away before she saw it.”
“I’m sorry about it Daniel. I really am.”
Daniel believed her. He had no reason to think she would be lying to him. But even now as he stared at Efe putting on her shoes and dressed to go out, he doubted if she really didn’t know anything about it.
“Efe is everything okay?”
He scratched his head. “Dunno. You just seem off.”
She gave him a smile. “I’m fine. I’m just stepping out. Need to get some things from school and visit friends.”
“Oh? When would you be back?”
“Erm – two hours, maybe three? I’ll be back to make dinner.”
She waved him good-bye and walked out.
Daniel was fixated on the TV screen for a couple of minutes when his phone rang. Eyes on the screen he reached out for his phone on the table beside him. He picked it up without checking who was calling.
“Hi Danny. Are you free? I was thinking we could meet up.”
Even though he had just felt guilt minutes back at what he had done on his wedding night, he didn’t have the power to say no to Adesewa.
Days later . . .
Audrey’s angry face as Funlola walked down the aisle in the arm of her uncle, didn’t bother her. She was inconsequential. Her mother beamed from where she stood in the front; likewise John’s parents. But no smile could equal John’s. He looked at her with a love that made her want to stop and run out of the church and forget the whole wedding. She felt queasy despite just having two slices of bread that morning. The ceremony went through quickly, with a little surprise from John, and they were seated to hear the pastor preach. But Funlola was struggling to concentrate because of what John had said to her earlier on in the ceremony.
She looked up at the older pastor as he spoke.
“A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. Therefore, what God has put together let no man put asunder.”
The pastor looked up from his bible and faced the both of them.
“Marriage is a honourable thing and shouldn’t be defiled. As the good Lord has brought you two together, I want you to know that no one can separate the both of you. My wife and I have been married for twenty years now and I can say the love is getting sweeter and better like fine wine. I won’t say that it has been easy all the way, but God has been faithful.
The covenant of marriage between the both of you has been noted in heaven today. God has sealed it. Hence, there is no turning back and no backing out. If you should decide that things are getting tough, divorce is not an option. Always seek out a solution with God. My dear,” He looked straight at Funlola, “That ring on your finger is not to be taken off. The same thing goes for you John. The both of you must hold on to God and don’t ever let go of Him. Let Him be your ever-present help in time of need. But then He can’t be of help when you keep refusing to accept Him in your heart. . .”
The pastor rounded off his preaching and the couple were taken to sign their marriage certificate. Funlola was happy at how everything had turned out according to plan, but what had surprised her were the words John had said to her after giving her a little white bible.
I promise to love you and never withhold my love for you
I promise to be there for you all the days of my life
I promise to never leave you . . . To be there to nurture you in every area of your life to the best of my capability
I promise to love you the way God wants me to
Funlola didn’t have a vow for or promise of words to him but he didn’t mind. Even if he did mind, she didn’t know if she could make such a vow or fulfil the vows she had taken. Now as people rejoiced with them while they signed their marriage certificate, it was hitting her hard that she was now a married woman. From the corner of her eye she saw John and his broad smile.
I hope he remains happy.
The reception was equally beautiful. Her colours of Watermelon pink and Yellow merged well. She had seated all her haters at the back close to the speakers. She purposely requested for the speakers to be placed there and turned up a little high. They were all seated when John announced to her that he had a wedding gift.
“PJ, another surprise?” She whispered to him.
“What was the first one?”
“The vow at church.”
“That wasn’t a surprise. I meant it from my heart.”
He reached into his pocket and brought out a rectangular box. Funlola knew it wasn’t a ring.
So what is it?
She took it from him and he watched her as she opened it.
He nodded. “That’s the key to your new car. Happy married life Funlola dear.”
Funlola threw her arms around his neck and hugged him, wishing deep within her that he would be forever happy.
Few days later . . .
Dele didn’t think it would happen but it did. What could he do if she had decided to run into his arms and his bed?
“Babes . . .”
“Mmm . . .”
He bent he head low and planted a kiss on her soft lips. Her eyes flew open and she looked up at him.
“Good morning love.”
“Dele, what time is it?”
He shrugged. “Morning?”
“Be serious nau. Tell me what time it is.”
He grabbed his phone on the centre table and checked the time. “Seven.”
Her eyes widened. “Oh no! I overslept. Why didn’t you wake me Dele?!”
She pushed him aside and got off the floor and picked her clothes from the floor. He watched her.
“Thought you were tired from all the action last night.”
“Oh please Dele. You hype yourself too much.”
He winked at her.
She got on her trousers and top. She got on her shoes and ran out the door.
He crossed his hands on the back of his head and leaned on the couch. “Yep, Funlola is still mine.”
NEXT . . .
“What can I do for you?” He asked her.
He asked the question again. “What can I do for you to forget Daniel and move on with your life? Ade you know better than this. I really care about you Ade. I have loved you for a long time.”
He loved her? “You also know better than to sleep with your best-friend’s girlfriend.”
“Ex-girlfriend.” Ebuka corrected and Adesewa gave a cheeky grin.
He was confused at what she said until understanding dawned on him and he scowled.
“You are still messing around with Daniel?”
She picked up her drink as a form of reply.
He shook his head in amazement. “That’s really low of you Ade. Very low. After all Daniel did to you you still go around sleeping with him?!”
“Reduce your voice Ebuka.”
“Oh you don’t want people hearing you are behaving like a slut to win back a married man that rubbished you? Are you that desperate for a man? That cheap? Too proud to accept defeat after it has bitch-slapped you too many times on the face?”
Adesewa balled her fists tight.
“Go to hell Ebuka.”
“You seem to be so many steps ahead of me in that direction.”