Kaine woke up the next morning with a head that was pounding, a memory that was blurry and a conscience that was pricking.
What was she thinking getting drunk in a party for Christ’s sake?
She let out a low moan and pressed a hand to her throbbing head. She managed to lift her head and glanced around. Dominic was nowhere in sight. He probably had left the house. It was Sunday. Mia usually went for Mass and Dominic, if he liked. Still struggling with the language, she still hasn’t chosen a place of worship. And now she was a shameless drunkard wife, she feared God might have no use for her that morning.
Kaine sighed and pushed back the covers. Darn it, she was still even in the dress she’d worn to the party! The thought both shamed and worried her. Last time—no, first time—she’d been tipsy, Dominic had undressed her before putting her to bed. Why hadn’t he done the same last night?
He probably had been furious last night, she thought, staggering to the bathroom. And why wouldn’t he be? She’d embarrassed him, no doubt. Had she made a scene? Another moan escaped her as she had a vague recollection of dancing with Kanayo.
Dear Lord, she’d gone to a party with her husband and had ended up dancing with another man. A man she barely knew! Kaine dropped down on the edge of the bathtub and slapped both her hands over her face, moaning repeatedly into her palms.
All she could remember was that the more she’d turned and seen Dominic still with Camilla, the more she’d emptied her glasses of wine and requested another. She wasn’t sure how many glasses she’d had before she started hearing the beats of the music come louder and louder until it was too tempting to resist. She’d grabbed Kanayo’s hands—or was it him who’d taken her hand and led her to the dance floor?
Kaine groaned as the clarity of that memory failed her. Gosh, how embarrassing! What must have the man thought to have his boss’s wife act so un-inhibited with him? And what must have Dominic thought when he saw her with him? He must have been so embarrassed—infuriated even. Little wonder he hadn’t bothered to help her take off her clothes—not that she minded him not undressing her as he’d done before.
And because her mind called her a liar for the last bit, Kaine heaved up and slogged to the cabinet to get out her toothbrush. She owed him a huge, gigantic apology and she was never drinking again. Never, ever again!
Done with her bath and feeling somewhat better after downing Catia’s for-hangover sweet drink and pain relievers, Kaine settled down on the sofa and decided to put a call through to Juliet. Mia was back from church and was right now having a playtime with her grandson, as she’d put it. She might as well use the time to talk with Juliet; she hadn’t yet told her about her new feelings for Dominic—which was turning her into a drunk at parties!
Still miffed at herself for her behaviour, Kaine sighed heavily before plugging in the earpiece as she heard the pick-up static. “I thought I should disturb you this late Sunday morning.” She said, a smile wiping of her self-directed scowl.
“And lucky you are that we just got back from church.” Juliet told her, her cheerful voice coming smoothly through the line. “How are you doing and how’s my little Tobi?”
“Tobi is having fun with his grandma. He’s probably going to end up a spoilt baby with all the pampering he’s being overwhelmed with here.” Kaine chuckled. “You won’t recognise him though, he’s added a ton of weight and his cheeks are so round right now. I threatened that I was going to put him on a baby diet and mama slammed me with a dark look.”
“I don’t blame her. Baby diet indeed… what’s that sef? Anyway, how are you, yourself?” Juliet added the question in a more sombre tone. “How are things between you and Nick?”
Kaine blew out a long breath. “I am a disgraceful wife, Juliet. You won’t believe I got drunk at a party Nick took me to yesterday.”
“Oh yes, your friend and sister embarrassed her husband big time yesterday. I can’t even recall all that happened… or how they happened.” Because she felt the shame afresh, Kaine sighed again and briefly shut her eyes. “I feel so jealous of that silly Camilla, Juliet. I don’t want to be… I am ashamed to be. But I am and it’s making me do crazy things.”
There was a pause before Juliet finally let out a soft sigh and said. “I knew this day would come. I knew it was inevitable. First time I saw that man, I knew you didn’t stand a fair chance. You have fallen in love with him, haven’t you?”
“I don’t know how it happened, Juliet.” Kaine slumped back against the sofa. “I didn’t even plan for it to happen!”
Juliet laughed. “No one plans to fall in love, Kaine. Love is not something we plan; it is something that just happens. And it is not something to lament over when it is your husband that you’re in love with.”
“But he doesn’t feel the same for me, Juliet.” That was what hurt her heart and scared her—that he might never feel the same way. “You know our marriage was just for convenience and it’s even more hopeless when he has a gorgeous woman like Senhorita Camilla running after him.”
“But he married you and not Senhorita Camilla.” Juliet pointed out.
“He married me because he wanted his nephew to come home with him and that was the only way we could do it without a fight.” Since she was already on her back, Kaine adjusted so she could lie more comfortably. “What if he’s in love with Camilla? What if she’s the one he’s in love with, Juliet?”
“If he was in love with her, believe me when I tell you he wouldn’t have married you then—taking nephew home or not.” There was a brief pause before Juliet went on. “Kaine, I don’t think you have a reason to be jealous of this Camilla woman. It is my experience that most times we women—wives—can blow things out of proportion. If that woman was still having an affair with your husband, do you think she will waste time coming to brag and threaten you?”
“They work together and she’s—”
“And I’m sure there are other beautiful women Nick works with.” Juliet cut her off, her tone faintly impatient. “Camilla is only a small problem, if she is any at all, Kaine. Your biggest problem is the truth you haven’t confessed. Girl, it is time—way past time—you told him the truth. And it is most important you do so now that you have discovered you are in love with him.”
“I am even more afraid to confess that awful truth now that I love him, Juliet.” Kaine said. “Once I tell him, there is no doubt he will hate me.”
“You don’t know that, Kaine.”
“I don’t doubt it.” Kaine countered. “Once he knows I am not Tobi’s real mother he will realise he had no need to marry me and then he will probably think that I am just like my sister—like he thinks Anwuli is—a greedy woman who purposely had a baby for his brother so she could extort money from him.”
That was what Camilla thought. And no doubt, what she must be filling Dominic’s head with when they were alone.
“C’mon Kaine, don’t be melodramatic!” Juliet chided. “He may have thought that in the beginning about you—about Anwuli to be clear. But that doesn’t mean he still has that opinion of you. Ahn-ahn, something must have changed since you two started living together. He must have started seeing who you really are. And it is for you to clarify things for him and not him to find out elsewhere what the true situation is.”
“Yes, that is what worries me. When Anwuli comes back and demands for her baby—”
“Anwuli will have no right to be making demands when… or if she comes back.” Juliet interrupted. “That stupid girl left her son to go pursue a man who ended up being dead and even up till now, she has refused to communicate with you. So, demanding anything when she finally comes to her senses and returns is not a right she can wield.”
“She left because she was in love with Tobi, Juliet. And maybe, she doesn’t yet know that he is dead.”
“Whatever.” Juliet said dismissively. “My concern is for you, not for your selfish sister. And it is not when or if Anwuli comes back that should be scaring you. What of when you too finally make love and he finds you a virgin, how do you explain that? Because whether you like it or not, you two will be crossing that particular road someday very soon. He’s a man and I’m sure he’s already tired of waiting. Sex is like second nature for men.”
Unable to stop it, Kaine felt herself flush. The desire for sex was becoming second nature for her too. “You are right, Juliet. I’ve got to tell him… and mama. They will probably hate me, but I can’t hide the truth forever.”
“They won’t hate you… at least I hope not.” Juliet added. “Just have faith and be honest with him; with both of them. Maybe you should even tell his mother first. You said she’s very kind and really likes you. Confide in her. I’m sure as a mother, she will understand why you had to do what you did to protect Baby Tobi.”
Kaine wondered if Mia really would understand. “Okay, I’ll think of a way to make my confession. I can’t just blurt it out like it’s everyday news, you must agree with me.”
“Procrastination is the thief of time, Kaine.” Juliet said. “Time has already passed, don’t let it become too late.”
Maybe it was already too late, Kaine frowned. “I won’t.” She said aloud, nudging away the scary thought. “How are Uncle Udo and the kids?” She shifted the conversation to less troubling subjects.
They talked another couple of minutes and then the call ended. Kaine heaved off the sofa and with her phone in hand, made for the door.
She found Mia and Tobi on the plush carpeted floor of her bedroom. “I see you two are still enjoying your playtime.” She smiled, joining them. The bedroom was much like their own, only with more feminine touches and a distinct feminine aura.
“Me and my gorgeous little boy were just deciding if we should take our play outside into the garden or go spend the day on the beach.” Mia sent the humming toy car back to a gurgling Tobi. “You can join us, if you like. In fact, it will be nice since Nick has decided to spend the day at Chã das Caldeiras.”
So that was where he went to. Would Camilla be there too? Kaine forced aside the thought and tried to focus on Mia and her son.
“Yes, I…” her acceptance speech was cut off by the ringing off her phone. “I’m sorry, please let me take this, Mama.” She said before rising to take the call by the bed.
It wasn’t a number she recognised, so she wore a mild frown as she raised the phone to her ear. “Hello?”
“Hello, Kaine. It is Kanayo.”
Kaine was surprised it was him and then she had a vague recollection of him requesting her number and she piping it out with cheerful abandon. Dear Lord, no more alcohol for her for the rest of her life, she silently vowed.
“Hi, Kanayo. How are you?” Though she felt her question should be why are you calling me? Kaine decided to play it cool. She owed the man some politeness after her embarrassing act at the party after all.
“I’m good. Hope you’re too. And hope you’re well rested after the partying yesterday.”
There was no amusement in his tone, so Kaine was saved another flush of embarrassment. “I am, thank you.”
“Not to waste your time, I actually called to invite you to a small get-together just on the Island here.” Whilst Kaine frowned at the unexpected invitation, Kanayo continued to speak. “I actually thought of inviting you because you said something about not knowing any Nigerians here, so I figured this might be a good chance to. It is a casual get-together among our own people. Nothing heavy and definitely not intimate. Just open and friendly. What do you say?”
Her hesitation must have seeped through because he added. “I apologise if I appear presumptuous, you being the boss’s wife and all. I only thought it might be an opportunity to meet your own people and familiarise with them. But it’s okay if you can’t make it.”
Kaine didn’t think she should go. It didn’t feel right; didn’t seem proper—not without Dominic. “Thank you for the invitation, Kanayo. I wish I could come but I have prior plans with my mother-in-law. Maybe some other time?”
“No sweat. Have a good day, Kaine.”
She dropped her hand and turned to find Mia watching her with a curious expression. “It’s Kanayo, the hotel’s bar manager. He’s a Nigerian…” She let out a short nervous laugh. “I suppose you know that already. Anyway, I met him when Nick took me to the hotel and again whilst Tobi and I went for a drive the other day and yesterday too at the party. We kind of became friendly and now… well, he invited me to a get-together among Nigerians here. I guess he thinks that it would be nice if I met other Nigerians and everything. But I said no. I can’t go. Dominic is not here and besides, we’re making plans to go to the beach, right?”
“I don’t think it’s a bad idea if you go meet some of your own people.” Mia said after a momentary pause. “I can take Catia along with me to the beach, so you don’t worry your head about that.”
“You think I should go?” Kaine was shocked by her words. She’d expected her to support her decision not to go, not encourage her to make a different one.
“Well, why not?” Mia neatly caught the tiny bear Tobi tossed. “You need to meet your own people and this seems like a good chance to.”
“But Nick… he’s not home and he might not like it if he gets back and hears I went to such a gathering without his consent.”
Mia only chuckled at her protestation. “Sometimes, a woman must do what her man is likely not to like so as to get his attention.”
Kaine frowned at the mischievous twinkle in her eyes. “I’m not sure—”
“Go on, Kaine.” Mia cut her off. “Go with Kanayo and meet your people. It might be what my son needs to wake up from his slumber. A slap in the face can open our eyes to see what is glaring right in front of us.”
Kaine was sure she didn’t understand what the older woman was playing at, but she since she really would love the opportunity to meet other Nigerians, she inclined her head as she acquiesced. “All right. I’ll have to call him back then. I won’t stay long though. An hour tops and I’m back.”
“That’s all right. And I think I will postpone the beach visit to another day. Have fun, sweet girl.”
Dominic felt fatigued as he got out of the car and strode towards the front door. He’d left early for Chã das Caldeiras because he hadn’t had the chance to visit the vineyard since he came back with Kaine and little Tobi. But it had been an annoyance having to deal with Camilla who’d arrived the vineyard an hour after he had.
It hadn’t surprised him that she had come while he was there; it was something she’d formed the habit of doing whilst they still dated. But he hadn’t liked having her cling to him as he inspected the farm and worse, he’d hadn’t liked having to deal with the temptation of resisting her non-to-subtle advances, especially as he was really burning for the touch of a woman.
He absently responded to Raquel’s greeting as she held the door open for him and strolled down the foyer into the living room. His mother was there, knitting.
“Welcome back.” She smiled at him.
“Thank you, mama.” Dominic responded in the Portuguese she’d spoken to him, coming over to give her a kiss on the cheek. “Hope you all had a good day?”
“We did. And you should stop avoiding Mass. It is not good for your soul.” Mia chided before adding. “Anyway, how is the vineyard? Manuel doing a good job managing it?”
“You know he is, Mama. He always does.” Dominic considered sitting down just to get off his feet but he was dying to see Kaine. “Where’s Kaine and the baby? Are they napping?”
“Tobi is but Kaine went out.”
“Out?” He frowned down at her mother.
Mia inclined her head. “Yes, Kanny called and invited her to a get-together with other Nigerians here.”
“Kanny—as in Kanayo our bar manager?” His frown deepened and he winced at the instant punch of jealousy.
“Yes. That’s the only Kanny we know to my knowledge.” Mia responded with an affable smile. “Anyway, she didn’t want to go, the poor reserved girl. But I told her to. I practically had to chase her out of the house, as a matter of fact.” She let out a small laugh. “It’s a fine chance for her to meet with her own countrymen and maybe make some friends amongst them. And the day out will do her good—”
But Dominic wasn’t listening any longer as he turned and marched off.
“Where are you hurrying off to?”
His mother’s voice reached him just as he yanked open the front door but Dominic didn’t bother to respond, sweeping through and hurrying towards his car. He got in and swung the car around and down the driveway. She was out with Kanayo after dancing with him at the party?
He tried her number three times but she didn’t pick the calls and Dominic let out a cuss before trying Kanayo’s own. It was switched off. Telling himself he wasn’t acting like a demented, jealousy-blinded fool he stepped on the accelerator and pushed the car towards the part of the Island where he knew Kanayo lived.
He wasn’t home. No one was there and so he jumped back into his car and headed for Camilla’s. They were quite friendly and she probably would have an idea where Kanayo and his Nigerian friends were having their get-together.
“I don’t know where he is.” Camilla told him sourly, obviously still annoyed at the way he’d treated her at the vineyard. “But why the heck are you looking for him? How did you even know he had a get-together or whatever to attend?”
“Forget it, Camie.” Dominic turned and started back to his car.
“Did Kaine go out with Kanayo?” Camilla’s tone was mocking as she followed him. “Is that why you are all worked up? You left me at the vineyard and returned home only to find your sweet wife wasn’t home to welcome you, not so, poor naïve Nico?”
Dominic ignored her, opened the car and got inside.
“I think he likes her. I think maybe our dear bar manager has a thing for your wife.” Camilla held onto the car door, stopping him for shutting it. “And a woman who can go from brother to brother won’t have any qualms, none whatsoever, going from boss to staff.”
“Don’t be stupid, Camie, it doesn’t suit you.” Dominic hated that he’d allowed his blind jealousy bring him to her. “You know every well, as I do, that there is nothing between my wife and Kanayo. Of course, I’m sure it disappoints you that that is the case.”
Camilla made a low derisive noise. “You are the one who is acting disappointed—or should I say, worried? Are you worried that she might not be what you’re thinking she is after all?”
“I have to go, Camilla. Like I said at the vineyard, this is over between us and I’d truly appreciate it if you stop hounding me.”
“You are the one who came to me now, Nico.” Camilla retorted with a sneer.
“My mistake. And it won’t ever happen again. It is just business between us from now on, Camilla. Have a good Sunday.” He snatched the door and forcefully closed it.
He saw her mouth moving and knew she must be cussing him—and possibly everyone else on earth. Dominic didn’t care. He absently wished he hadn’t even started a relationship with her. As he got back on the road though, he frowned at his thoughtless act of coming to her place just because he was desperate to find out where Kanayo and Kaine were.
He cussed under his breath and shook his head in self-reproach. What had he been thinking acting like a jealous fool because his mother had said Kaine went out with Kanayo? When he’d told Camilla that they both knew there wasn’t anything between the two, he’d realised that deep inside of him, he hadn’t really doubted her. Not yesterday at the party when he’d found her dancing with him and not now.
He’d never thought Kaine capable of cheating on him. Darn it, the girl made a big case of having sex with him even when he was her husband for heaven’s sake! And he also kind of knew Kanayo and trusted him. Although there’d been a time, he’d wondered if there was something between him and Camilla given their closeness. But he’d dismissed it and the thought of it hadn’t even bothered him then.
Yet now, he was acting crazy just because Kaine had danced with him. What the heck was the matter with him?
Certain he didn’t want to ruminate over the reason why Kaine wrought jealous feelings in him no woman ever has, Dominic decided he was going back home and resume acting like a sane, reasoning man.
The get-together was at the home of a female friend of Kanayo’s who owned a salon on the Island. It was a small gathering of about twelve persons, ten of them Nigerians and two Cape Verdeans. They’d all been polite and friendly, except for a guy who’d made sniggering comments about Naija girls hustling big time. Kaine had chosen to ignore his insensitive joke and had mixed freely instead with the others. And making sure, she stuck with a bottle of soft drink and nothing else, she’d spent her first half hour listening to different stories about how each one of them came to be at Cape Verde.
After their chats and whilst the others wandered off to talk with more familiar faces, she remained at the small dining table at the corner of the medium-sized, moderately furnished living room talking with Kanayo.
“Wow! That is some story.” Kanayo looked thoroughly dazed.
Kaine had told him the truth about how she came to be at Praia because he’d confessed—with heartfelt apologies—that he’d sought her out at the party because Camilla had begged him to. But that once he’d seen how she kept throwing glances repeatedly towards where they were, he’d realised that it was all going to be pointless as he could see that she had fallen hard for the boss—as he put it. She also believed she confided in him because she was testing out how it will all sound when she finally found the courage to face Dominic and Mia.
“I know your sister. Saw her in Valiant Heart.” Kanayo was still speaking. “She’s a good actress. I felt she did a better job as supporting actress in that movie than the star actress who’d been played the leading role. But damn, she’s got some heart leaving her baby to go after a man.”
“She did it for love.” Kaine murmured, vaguely wondering if she will forever have to keep excusing her sister’s action.
“Maybe.” Kanayo didn’t look impressed. “But you’re some courageous woman though, fighting for your nephew like that.”
Kaine shrugged. “I did what I had to do. Anwuli left her baby in my care and I couldn’t let a man I didn’t know take him.”
“You made the sacrifice the mother of the child couldn’t make.” Kanayo said quietly. “I don’t know how the boss is going to feel when he finds out the truth but I think he’d be a fool not to recognise that you’re a good woman.”
“He won’t forgive me for making him get married when he didn’t have to.” Kaine felt a punch against her heart at the thought of what Dominic’s un-forgiveness will do to her. “If I’d told him I wasn’t Tobi’s mother, he wouldn’t have had to marry me and maybe he would have ended up marrying Camilla.”
Kanayo snorted in derision. “I don’t think the boss would have ever married Camilla. She was only a momentary interest I am certain he’s even relieved to be rid of. And just so you know, I don’t think there’s been anything between them since he came back with you. I don’t know for sure but my girl is not acting like a woman getting her way at all.”
“Maybe not, but she’s a very beautiful woman and I’m sure Nick must still feel some attraction for her.” Kaine could feel her heart swell with a small tug of hope though.
“You too are a beautiful woman, Kaine, and though I might not know what the boss particularly wants, but I know every man wants a woman who possesses more than just physical beauty. That’s why you should come clean with him. Tell him the truth and explain why you did it.”
Kaine looked at him. “I will have to but I’m really scared. I don’t want him to hate me. I don’t want him to send me away. And it’s not about his money or anything like that—”
“I know.” Kanayo interrupted with a smile. “I know you love him. I saw it yesterday and I definitely knew I couldn’t mess with love. Besides, I could never have truly trespassed my boss’s woman no matter what my lady Camilla wanted.”
Kaine noticed how he always addressed her familiarly. “Are you in love with her?”
Kanayo laughed. “No, I’m not. But I am attracted—big time. Not that that will do me any good. Camilla wants money, position and class and I am just a lowly bar manager.”
Kaine felt sorry for him. “I’m sure you will find someone good for you. Someone who will appreciate and love you.”
“I’m sure I will.” He smiled. “Anyway, I recommend telling the boss the soonest you can. Even if it will cost you something, it’s best if you tell him than he stumbles upon the truth.”
“I will. Thank you, Kanayo.” Kaine nodded, then rose to unhook her handbag from where it was hanging on the wall. She dug out her phone and exclaimed as she saw the missed calls. “Oh my God! Nick has been calling me. I put the phone on vibration and didn’t even hear it buzzing. He must have returned home.” She dropped back the phone into her bag and turned to Kanayo. “I have to get going.”
“Okay, no qualms. I’ll drop you off. Let’s go.”
Kaine prayed in her heart that Dominic wasn’t angry at her as she murmured her thanks to her hostess and then called out goodbyes to the rest of the guests.
It was a little over another thirty minutes before she opened their bedroom door and slipped into the room. She’d considered calling him back whilst in Kanayo’s car but had decided against it since she was heading home anyway.
“Hi.” She said, stopping just a few feet from the sofa where Dominic was sitting, watching a movie on the television.
He turned to her. “Finally you’re back. Did you have fun?”
Kaine studied his expression. He looked calm, un-offended and smiling even. “Yes. It was nice to meet some of my people here.” She took a tentative step forward. “Ah, I’m sorry I went out without first letting you know.”
“You can go out whenever you want to, Kaine. You’re not a prisoner here. But maybe you can refrain from going out with my bar manager… or with any other man for that matter.” His smile broadened. “I find it makes me act in unthinkable ways.”
Kaine wasn’t sure what he meant but she nodded. “Okay. I won’t go out with him again… not without you.” If he didn’t want her in the company of other men that was all right, he was her husband and men liked to jealously guard what was theirs. “And so you know, I didn’t take any alcoholic drinks there and I didn’t dance either. In fact, I’ve made a vow to avoid alcohol for the rest of my life.”
He let out a deep-throated chuckle. “That sounds like an extreme vow. But I didn’t think you could dance, you always acting all conservative all the time. You must show me that dance step you were so crazy about yesterday sometime.”
His eyes were caressing and Kaine could feel her entire body going warm and tingly. “I don’t really know how to dance. In fact, I wouldn’t have done so yesterday if I wasn’t… tipsy. I am sorry for that.” She added the apology because the fact still mortified her.
“No matter.” Dominic brushed aside the apology. “But you can dance that’s for sure. And you will dance for me, won’t you, querida? One special night—or day. Just the two of us. We will dance together.”
Kaine could only nod. Her heartbeat had started to race and she was beginning to imagine his lips caressing hers.
“Come.” He held out his hand. “We will watch the movie together.”
She came forward, put her hand in his and slid down beside him, nestling into him when his arm went around her.
She will tell him another day. The truth must wait another day. Today, she will enjoy his affectionate mood.