As promised…although it’s coming very late. Goodnight, ye nightcrawlers
Evening falls and I am chill. I have turned off the air conditioners and parted the curtains to let the air in. I have switched off the lights too. Jiney is asleep and I have the house all to myself. A glass of wine, a bowl of chicken, a collection of my favorite songs and I’m fighting depression like a pro.
Okay, not really like a pro. I feel far from ace but I will pretend that everything is fine. My doctor won’t write me a prescription for the sake of Jiney, although he admits that the pills wouldn’t have any effects on her.
“Talk it out with your husband, Honey,” he advises me. “If you settle your fight with him, I’m certain you’ll feel better. If you don’t, then come back to me.”
So, here I am, listening to I Fall to Pieces, but holding it together, hoping Nne has gotten through to her son’s blockhead and he’ll come home to me.
The baby monitor makes a sound and Jiney’s scream comes next. I break away from my ‘me time’ and hurry to She who must be fed. I bring her back to the living room and we activate nursing mode. As usual, she sucks me dry until I almost fall asleep. When she is satisfied, she goes back to bed without even as much as giving me a smile. After I put her away, I slip into my nightshirt. It’s 8pm already and I doubt that Jide will come home tonight. Suddenly the chicken and wine lose their appeal. I am on my way to dumping them in the kitchen when I hear Jide’s car making it into the compound. It’s a sound I have missed. However, I hold back from my usual running to the door to welcome him. Instead, I take a leisurely walk to it, unlock it and wait…
But he does not come in. He takes the backdoor, and I do not realize this until he calls me.
I turn around to see my husband in scrubs with a contrite smile and hands bearing gifts.
“I’m so sorry, sugams.”
“Me too.” I give off something between a laugh and a muffled sob as I rush to him. When I throw my arms around him, the gifts hit the floor. He is about to speak but I hush him with my lips over his. I rape the man’s mouth which is by the way, the sweetest thing ever. I can see he still wants to apologize but really who apology epp when hormones are on a high?
Soon my hotstuff responds to my urgency with the same fire and we’re flinging clothes to the floor. I push him to one of the couches. I go after him. I use my mouth on him, tasting, nibbling, licking, sucking. I get him speaking in strange languages. I handle that tool like a boss. By the time I’m done with it, it will nod only to me.
But Jide cannot wait. He stops me, pulls me to him and takes my waist. I am lifted by strong arms and I sink down on him. We stop for a second and I smile for no reason as his fingers dig into my bum.
“Do your thing, Hon.”
And I do my thing. I do my man. In a way I had never done before. I am savage. Blame it on Hauwa and the wild imaginings in my head. Nne has told me to trust my husband but this mind of mine will not stop thinking the worst. Anyways, I have decided to channel my insecurity into better use and Jide will be happier for it.
“You’re crazy, you know that?” he says to me in-between inaudible sounds of pleasure. I laugh, stop and lower myself to kiss him. He pushes my hair which has fallen over his face backwards and buries his fingers in to deepen the kiss.
“I love you, Hon.”
“Me too, baby.”
I go back to my former position. The ride is wilder this time and Jide cannot just keep quiet. You know when a man gets it so good he starts to call you all the sweet and nasty names you ever heard. He even promises you heaven on earth.
“iPhone 7,” I request.
“Yes! iPhone 7 with the EarPods. Chai! This woman, you’ll kill me.”
And kill him I do – when I stop just as he is at the brink, and finish it off with some mouth love, giving him a full brain drain. He dies for some minutes, unable to speak or move. I microwave the chicken and serve it with chilled wine. Both naked, we lie under the coziness of a blanket in our bedroom. He then takes his time to explain to me who Hauwa is to him. Although I feel better now that I know there’s absolutely nothing between them, I am jealous of their relationship. I want that with him – the friendship part. We don’t have it yet. We’re still lovers. I want to be his best friend. No other woman should take that spot.
“But why did you get angry and walk away like that, hotstuff?” I ask, circling my finger around a mole on his thigh.
“I was angry, that’s all.”
“That’s not all, Jide. Something pushed you. You don’t get angry like that. It builds up. What pushed you?”
He lets out a long sigh. “Can I sit up for this?”
He pulls down the blanket and rests his back on a pillow as he sits straight.
“This is going to be brutally honest, Hon. You’re sure you want to hear it?”
My heart misses a beat. “You cheated again?”
“No, no, no. Haba, Erhinyuse. Trust me nau. Trust your husband. I promised that I’ll never touch another woman. I even just told you that I never cheated on you with Hauwa. Why can’t you just trust me?”
The sadness in his tone gets me sad as well. “I’m sorry.”
It takes him some time to recover from my accusation and go back to what he wants to say.
“Remember when you put me through one week of hell after I confessed to you that I cheated on you in Zanzibar?”
“And how a wedding date was fixed and all?”
“Honey… the truth is… I wasn’t ready to get married. I felt kind of forced into it. Marriage was not what I wanted at the time.”
I shift away from him a little. This is not consciously; my body just shifts away.
“I understood that you were pregnant and didn’t want to be showing at the wedding and that also, you needed to stamp yourself in my life, following what I had done… I understood, but I wasn’t ready. My own plan was for us to have the baby and then fix a date. So much had happened to me in a short while—the accident, my neurological issues, my infidelity… I didn’t want any of that carried into our marriage. I wanted a clean slate, to heal properly, to go to therapy with you, to help you with your depression, to enjoy being pregnant with you. I wanted to know you better, Erhinyuse, to become your best friend through our struggles. There was so much we could have done without the pressure of marriage.
“But you wanted the fairytale so badly you took all the issues between us and slathered them over with a magical wedding. I was hurting inside. I felt hamstrung. But I didn’t want you to know because I was scared to kick off your bipolar. I just wanted you to be happy. You needed to know that I was not like every other man out there, and so even when you bugged my phone again and the spy detection app I installed informed me, I was silent. When you said you didn’t feel like sex because of the pregnancy, I didn’t complain. And when you became a pregzilla and constantly demanded for an arm and a foot, I gave you all you wanted, denying my own pleasures. For me, the marriage came too early. The wedding spoiled a good thing. Resentment built up in me and I didn’t even know. When Hauwa came into the scene, I didn’t decide to hang out with her just to spite you. No, it was just a window to get away, to be reminded of who I was before I bore the husband title.
“It was wrong to seek that in her. I should have come to you, spoken to you and together we’ll trace our way back but no, I enjoyed the escape. And so when we had our fight on Sunday, I snapped. I am sorry I held all of that for so long, Hon.”
He looks at my face and sees it covered with tears. He slips back into the blanket.
“Please, don’t cry.”
“I’m so sorry, Jide. I didn’t know you didn’t want to get married.”
“I didn’t say that, Use. I said I was not ready at the time. Are you crazy? How can I not want to marry the most beautiful woman in the world? Who will I now leave you with? You’re my best friend.”
He wipes my tears. “You are.”
“Not Hauwa or Tomiwa?”
“Have you seen me near Mary of late? Abeg o! She’s somebody else’s property. Just like you’re mine.” He kisses my nose. “You and I will love like there’s no tomorrow but please, learn to trust me. I’ll never cheat on you.”
“But can Hauwa just disappear already?”
“You feel threatened by her?”
“Nope,” I lie.
“Hauwa wants to settle down. Badly. So, if you can give her one of your male friends, she will forever be loyal.”
I have no intention of doing that so I keep my mouth shut.
“Do you want to eat microwaved popcorn and watch Power or just make love?” Jide asks.
“Power, popcorn and your fine ass,” I reply, my hand stroking his junk, which is already hard, by the way.
“You’re looking for trouble, sugar lips.” He throws off the blanket, climbs over me and soon he’s filling every inch of me. Power and popcorn come much later, after I have been made love to like a princess, pounded like a whore and eaten out like a honey pot.
It’s almost midnight now and Jiney has had another feed. Jide changes her diapers while I make popcorn and then we both cuddle up to watch Power. We haven’t quite gone into it when my phone rings.
“It’s Yazmin,” I tell Jide.
“Again? What has Mex done this time?”
I take the call.
“Honey, I sent you some messages on Whatsapp. Please check them.”
“Is everything okay?”
“No… erm…I don’t know. I Just… please, check them and tell me what to do.”
She goes off the line. I get on Whatsapp and see two messages from her, telling me that Emeka has just left the house to Omoh’s place.
-Who gave him Omoh’s address?
-He got it from me
-How did you know the way to Omoh’s house??
-He sent it to me. He invited me over
-And you went?
-Wait, you mean you didn’t block him as I advised???
-I did but he went on Twitter and sent me a DM and then Papi saw it and now he’s on his way there. Please, help. Do I go after him
-Are you alright? It’s 12 midnight. Stay back.
-But you sef you light a fire and sit back to watch it burn. I have a feeling you’re enjoying this
-I am not, I swear
I roll my eyes. Yazmin is quite dumb for not completely blocking Omoh from all her social media accounts. You don’t deal with creepy men using kids gloves, unless you like the attention. I have a feeling she enjoys getting a rise out of Emeka.
And the Omoh person, he clearly needs to be buried alive for a few minutes. He had promised me when we met earlier today in his office that he would back off Yazmin, although he insisted that she didn’t deserve to be anyone’s second wife. What’s with sending his house address to her?
And finally, Mex cum Papi cum hothead brother-in-law, what is he thinking he’s up to?
-Yaz, if things get hairy, call me or Jide
I dump my phone on the nightstand and relate to Jide details of the chat.
“Should we step in?” I ask.
“Nope. They’re adults. Ignore them jare.”
He drags me close and nestles me between his legs. Soon his fingers begin to work on my nipples.
“Really?” I ask as I feel him grow hard again.
“You starved me for seven months, ma’am.”
“So you want to catch up in one night?”
“Just the tip. I promise.”
“Jide…” I whine but weakly. I still need more of him even though my body is exhausted. Well, one more orgasm won’t hurt.
He moves me into a spooning position and gently slides into me. When he starts moving, my body falls into a relaxed state. This is his famous sleep potion. It’s pleasurable, at the same time soothing.
I don’t know when I fall asleep.
∞∞∞∞ ∞∞∞∞ ∞∞∞∞
Party Celia is back, and it takes me less than twenty-four hours to put together a Saturday shindig, inviting all our friends. I had not bothered with the little details of preparing the small chops. I simply called a catering service and made orders. This was after I had a set of furniture and curtains brought into the new house. It seems I am beginning to enjoy the effects of being able to afford stuff. Things happen at the click of your fingers when you have the means.
I love our new home. The rent is on debt, though. A certain sum will be taken out of Shady’s salary until it is all paid off; this fundamentally means that he is stuck with Ibro for a while. But it’s a good deal since Shady is a massive hit to the business in the short time he has been there.
“I went there, knowing nothing about selling cars,” he tells me as we both fix the new curtains.
“But you’ve always been a fantastic salesman, Shade.”
He bends to give me a kiss on my nose. He loves when I call him Shade. No one else does that.
“At that your stupid, old job, they overused and underpaid you,” I reminded him, passing him a pole and a pair of curtains.
“Well, I kept all the details of their clientele and sent them newsletters. Ibro didn’t want to do a slash on the prices at first. But after a one-week test run, he was singing a different tune. Now, he wants us to extend it to a month. I told him it would be too much of a good thing. We need to maintain our standard.”
Dara strolls in with her sippy cup in her hand. “Mommy, tea.” She points it at me. I follow her to the kitchen, make some hot chocolate for her and we return to Shady.
“How about Nollywood? Don’t you want to act anymore?”
He looks at me. “Babe, do you want us to go down that road again or do you want to make money?”
“Just asking.” I pass over the last set of curtains to him. Dara and I watch him fix them and three of us stand back to enjoy the beautiful mix of rainbow colors on all four windows.
“It’s beautiful,” he mentions and then rests his chin on my head. “You color my world, Cee. Don’t ever leave me again.”
“Daddy?” Dara lifts both hands in the air at him.
“Didn’t you just drink some now?” I question her.
“Tea,” she repeats, her face coming to a sob. Shady lifts her up and takes her to the kitchen.
“You are spoiling that girl, Shadrach.” I go around picking little bits of gold threads and discarded décor pieces from the floor. When I’m almost through, I remember I have a phone call to make. I take a break from cleaning and call Naomi.
“Hi sweetheart,” she answers.
“How was your night?”
“Awesome. The husband came home last night. He was smelling of roses. You know I hate roses. No lipstick stain, this time. Thank God. But I found a red strand of hair on his shoulder. Red, synthetic hair. How can he stoop so low?”
This is not why I called. I am not interested in what happens in her marriage but she never gets the memo.
“I’m sorry to hear that, Nay.”
“Thanks. I should get me my own little sidechick, you know?”
“Hopefully she’s not me.”
“Hopefully, she is.”
“Anyways, I’m calling to remind you of my little get-together this evening. Are you coming?”
“Yes. but just briefly. The husband and I are having sex tonight. I’m ovulating. He wants this baby badly.”
Naomi is not interested in having a kid. Her husband believes that she has infertility issues but nothing is wrong with her. She is on the pill and he has no idea.
“Nay, soon he’ll find out the truth. You can’t pay off every hospital to keep lying to him.”
“Until he finds out, my womb stays untouched.”
“So you’re coming?”
“Okay. See you by seven.”
After I drop the call, Shady and I put everything together to ensure that the party turns out well. Daylight breezes by speedily and darkness skulks in. Bobby and Kate are the first to arrive, owing to Bobby’s punctual nature. I hear that these days he is busy with a small tech hub he opened on the island. It is particularly set up for students and for people like him who have other things taking up their time but are crazy about IT. I hear Kate manages the hub well.
We hug as they walk in. Kate hands me a bottle of wine while fighting off their chubby son who feels the wine should not belong to me. We have a laugh over it and I point her to a couch.
Mary and Ekene are next. My former best friend embraces me like I have just returned from the dead. She asks me a lot of questions in a short stretch of one minute. She wants to catch up before the other wives come. I don’t have time for that as I hear the doorbell ringing again.
I dash for it and we have Peace smiling at me like the freaking sun. Behind her is her German boyfriend. I wonder if he finally got circumcised.
Next are Jide and Honey. They are wearing matching traditional attires, having just left a wedding. I tell them they look adorable. Honey hands me the fourth bottle of wine for the evening, and as they walk in to join the others, Jide holds her from behind, whispering into her ear. I smile at them. They give all of us relationship goals.
Lastly, her highness, Noka, steps in with Ibro.
“And she finally comes home,” she mutters after giving me an up and down look. “Nice wedges, sha. Prada?”
I nod. You can’t fault Noka’s eye for fashion. She always hits it on the head, although I feel like when it comes to wearing the chicest outfits, Honey is queen.
Ibro gives me an unexpected hug and whispers into my ear, “you did us all a solid by disappearing. It would be nice if it keeps happening.”
I laugh and he lets me go.
“How are you, though?”
“I’m good and I’m indebted to you, Ibrahim.”
“Ba yawa. We were just upset that you guys hid what was going on for so long. Why?”
I look down in embarrassment.
“Well, we thank God that all is good now. If you need anything…”
“Just call me,” Noka chips in with a smile that says ‘don’t you dare go near my husband.’
“Thank you, Ibro,” I answer.
They walk in and the others hail them with cheerful shouts. I grin. I have missed this. All of it—friends, laughter, naughtiness and a good time. I have the whole package for them tonight.
It starts with light conversation. Over drinks and small chops, we catch up on what has been going on in each other’s lives. I notice I haven’t missed anything much, save for the pictures a certain Hauwa lady shared of Jide and herself in Canada. Jide gets the heat from all of us and we demand he issues a dramatic apology to Honey even though he keeps explaining that they are past the issue.
“Apologize, oga.” Noka passes around her phone where she has saved the photos.
“You people should leave my hubs alone, biko,” Honey protests. We all shut her down. Jide must apologize.
He leaves his space beside her and stands in front of her. We are all expecting him to swing out some magical words but Jide lowers and gives her a long French kiss that leaves all of us embarrassed.
“You guys shouldn’t have insisted,” Bobby comments, breaking the intense silence.
“E don do o!” Noka claps, stopping them.
“Leave them alone,” Peace hushes her and stares longingly. I doubt that she is still seeing Reno. The German is becoming a fixture in her life.
Finally, the lovebirds part lips.
“Two of you are so shameless,” Mary says.
“Look who is talking,” Honey throws back.
Ekene politely asks for a drink of water. I dash into the kitchen to bring another round of drinks. Mary comes along and I hand her a tray containing small glasses of cocktail.
“What are they for?”
When we return to the living room, we meet the others arguing over something political. It’s not the way I want the evening to go, so I take over the mood and announce that I have a game for them.
“This is why I’m actually here,” Bobby exclaims in a dance.
“We’ve actually missed your silly games, Cee,” Mary mentions.
“Thank you, fam.” I curtesy. “So, down to business. This game is called Never Have I Ever. I’m sure you guys know it…”
“I don’t,” Ibro states.
“Well, it’s simple,” I say, pulling out a piece of paper from my jean pocket. “On this paper, I have over a hundred statements that describe acts starting with the line Never Have I Ever. When I read out anyone and you have ever done it, you will indicate by having a drink of what’s on that second tray. I know we have two breastfeeding mommies here, so we’ll have them drop five hundred bucks each time they have ever been guilty of anything I read out. If you know you’re going to be driving. please, drop five hundred bucks. Don’t worry. I have change, a whole bundle of hundreds.”
“What will you do with the money, madam?” Noka asks.
“It’s for charity, dear. So, are we ready?”
Enthusiastic nods meet my question. I smile evilly. They have no idea what awaits them. I take my seat.
“Never have I ever watched porn with someone else.”
A general gasp spreads across the room as they all stare at each other. Jide breaks the silence by reaching for a drink. Laughter follows and other hands go for cocktails. Honey drops five hundred naira. Only Kate and Mary do neither.
“Tomiwa, you’ve never watched porn with someone else before?” I probe.
“I have never watched porn before. Period.”
“That’s a lie!” Bobby counters. “In school, you walked in on me and my ex…”
“…watching porn. You remember?”
“I walked in and walked out. Remember I freaked out? Since then, I have never ever watched it again.”
“Holiness aunty,” Noka murmurs. “Dey carry Bible for your head.”
“Worefa. Continue jare.”
I read out the next statement. “Never have I ever taken someone’s virginity.”
“Jisos!” Bobby exclaims. We all laugh. But Jide, again, takes the lead. We glare at him. He downs his drink before he answers.
“We were teenagers. She wasn’t my first, though.”
Ekene goes next and everyone holds back stares, avoiding Honey’s eyes. We all know the love story they once shared. Bobby is third to pick a drink.
“But of course,” Jide says. Kate hides her face in a hanky.
There are no more candidates, so I reach forward and take a drink. Shady’s mouth drops open as do the others.
“You guys don’t want to know. Moving on!” I read out the third statement. “Never have I ever lied to protect a cheating friend.”
All the wives give their husbands accusatory glances as fresh laughter erupts. But I surprise them and go first. Gasps replace the laughter; they fix their eyes on me downing the cocktail. When I put the glass back on the tray, I catch Noka’s glare. I hold it but she looks away.
The men follow my lead. Kate drops a thousand naira note and I give her five hundred.
I read on. “Never have I ever woken up next to a complete stranger.”
“Everybody, abeg pick a glass and drink!” Ibro yells as Shady refills empty glasses.
“Y’all hoes,” Honey says, going first. “I’ll own my shame.”
I watch them all down their drinks. Kate and I are the only ones who have never woken up to total strangers.
“Behold, my wife in whom I am well pleased.” Shady blows me a kiss. I catch it and place it on my chest.
“Not like you met her a virgin,” Noka sneers.
“Moving on!” I cut her off, and continue with the game. My questions get more interesting and downright nasty. More drinks, more mirth and things wind up in the course of an hour. No one is colossally tipsy because I had ensured, while making the cocktail, that the alcohol percentage doesn’t cause any drunkenness.
“Celia, it’s good to have you back,” Jide tells me.
“We missed this.”
“Me too,” I reply. I begin to clear the table. Mary and Peace offer to help me. Honey joins them and we all walk to the kitchen.
“So, where did you go, aunty?” Mary probes. “You look so fresh and fluffy.”
“You should travel more often,” Honey adds. “It suits you.”
“Where exactly did you go?” Noka comes in.
I face her. “Fiji.”
“Your girlfriend took you there?”
“She’s not my girlfriend, Noks.”
“What girlfriend?” Honey and Peace ask simultaneously.
I place wine glasses in the sink. I have anticipated this moment and prepared a response.
“I just wanted to get away and Naomi was going on a short vacation and she took me along.”
“She didn’t kiss you again or anything like that?” Peace is genuinely worried.
“No, she didn’t.”
I chuckle. “I’m sure, P. By the way, she offered me a job which involves me traveling the world with her.”
“What type of job is that?” Mary queries.
Peace takes on a ‘mommy countenance’. “And you said no, right?”
“Actually, I said yes.”
Everyone stops what they’re doing to focus on me.
“Why, Cee?” Peace’s voice is broken. “You’ll leave Dara and Shady and follow a woman who forced her lips on you and told you she wanted an affair with you?”
“Na wa o!” Noka claps her hands. “Nothing we no go hear.”
“That’s not a sound decision coming from you, Cee,” Mary asserts.
“Can I explain myself?”
They give permission. I tell Kate who has just stepped in to shut the door. As she does, I take a pose with crossed arms.
“I really need this job. Not for the money, not for the long haul. I need it for now.”
“Why?” Honey asks.
“Girls, that slap Shady gave me woke me up. It made me think about my life and where I am headed as a person, as a woman. Money has always been an issue for us as a couple. I had had dreams. Huge dreams for us, but none of them came true; and for a moment it seemed like life was passing me by. In fact, life passed me by for a while. And then I went to Fiji and saw that there was a world out there that I wanted to be part of.
“I am not leaving my marriage or my kid. I am just…trying to live. When you get married, you leave a lot of yourself behind. Your goals become about you and your husband – and then the kids, when they start popping out. And so, you abandon yourself and years go by and you realize that you’re now old and you can’t find the person you used to be or the dreams you used to have.
“I don’t want to be a statistic. I want to have a story to tell my kids one day, of how I traveled the world and of all the places I’ve been and people I met. I don’t want to be some plain, old Jane who wakes up one day and regrets what she could have been, or if she could have had it better.”
“Awww, this is inspiring,” Noka utters blandly. “I actually have tears in my eyes.”
Honey flashes her a nasty glare.
“But you’ve forgotten to add that the person who is flying you up and down to fulfil this your dream of discovering yourself actually wants to fuck you.”
“I know that, Noka.”
“And I have no squabbles with that, Celia. In short, go ahead and have an affair with her if that makes you happy. It’s all part of your midlife crisis, your…self-discovery… But please, make arrangements to get Dara a nanny so that your husband would stop taking her to work.”
“Ojonoka!” Honey spins to face her.
“I have had enough of your spitefulness! Enough! This is your last warning! If you do or say anything unkind to any of us from today…”
“You’ll do what?” Noka moves towards her.
“Oh, please, try me.” Honey also takes a step forward.
“Ladies, abeg,” Kate pleads. Noka laughs and claps her hands in a taunt but I can see on her face that she is scared of Honey’s unspoken threat.
“Okay o. I’ll play nice before someone with mental issues claws out my eyes.”
Mary dives in-between them. “Noka, get out.”
“What did I do?”
“Get out!” Mary repeats.
Noka turns around, picks a samosa from a paper plate and leaves.
“Honey, ignore her words,” Mary begs.
“It’s fine. It’s okay. She can joke about my issues as much as she likes but I’ll get her. Oh, I’ll so get her. She doesn’t know me.”
Angry, Honey also leaves the kitchen. I exhale sadly. This is not how I wanted the evening to turn out.
“It’s not your fault, Cee.” Mary rubs my back. “They’ll both cool off. Honey will be back to say she’s sorry.”
“She doesn’t need to apologize,” Peace mutters. I see anger in her eyes too. “Noka has gotten out of hand. We need to do something about her.”
“Can we not make this beautiful evening about that dumb bitch?” Mary voices out in frustration. She holds my face. “Celia, I may not understand what you’re feeling or how badly you want to fulfil your itchy feet but I’m solidly behind you. Just talk to Shady about it and make adequate plans for Dara. It would be nice if you even took her along on some of your trips. She is part of you. Just…make sure you are not hurting her and Shady in the end. Okay?”
I nod. She hugs me. Peace joins in the hug.
“But the moment that Naomi touches you inappropriately, please get on the next flight back to Nigeria after you give her a dirty slap.”
“Trust me nau.”
We break away and find Kate washing wine and cocktail glasses. We help her out and in minutes the kitchen is clean. On our way out, Honey comes back in. She pulls me aside.
“I’m sorry for what just happened here. Noka gets on my nerves with her attitude.”
“Honey, it’s fine. No need to apologize. You handled her fuckup…”
“Not quite. I’m planning for her. She feels she’s better than all of us but I’ll show her that she isn’t. When I dig up dirt about her and expose her shit…”
I shake my head. “No need to, Hon.”
“I will o. Everyone has skeletons in their closet and I’ll find hers…”
“Trust me, you don’t want to dig out Noka’s. Just let it be.”
Jide pokes his head in. “I’m ready if you are, Hon.”
“Give me a second,” she responds. Jide thanks me for a wonderful night and leaves.
“Travel to anywhere you want to, Cee. Follow your heart but don’t forget those who need you.”
Honey squeezes me, pecks my cheek and dashes out. One after the other, they leave, but Ibro stays back to tidy up business deals with Shady. While they sit at the dining table and pore over some papers, Noka follows me into Dara’s bedroom.
“Nice place.” She looks around. Flowers, lush green lawn and butterflies are painted on the wall – all of Shady’s doing. The bed, wardrobe and floor are all in different hues of pink that match the decor. I am proud of him for this. It seems I am not the only one who found myself after that slap. He has changed quite a lot. My going away also did him some good. Having learned to care for his child all alone and to clean the house too, he is now hands-on with domestic responsibilities. Who knew he had this shade to him?
“Celia?” Noka calls.
“Yeah?” I reply. My hands are busy with Dara’s onesies.
“I know I come off as bitchy and insensitive but you know I’m not like that, Cee. You know I love you. All I was trying to say in the kitchen before Honey went all savage on me is that having Dara being in the showroom with Shady is unprofessional…”
“Did you know that Dara is starting school on Monday?”
“But what do you care? Your mind is occupied with the next blowjob you’re going to give the father of your illegitimate son just because you can’t pay up the blackmail money he keeps increasing every year.”
Noka’s shoulders slump down. “Why are you bringing this up?”
“Because your life is so perfect and one day Ibro will find out that the boy you call your little cousin is actually your son and you guys will live happily ever after.”
“Please, don’t tell Honey this or she’ll use it against me.”
“I’m not going to tell on you but I will if you don’t stop being a bitch.”
She watches me tuck Dara in and then she puts her arms around me for a hug. “Goodnight.”
She walks out of the bedroom and stops.
“He’s asking for more than blowjobs now. The last time, he wanted me to go all the way. I told him I couldn’t. I gave him some money. That was why I couldn’t contribute when the girls suggested that we should give you something.”
“Noka, don’t sleep with him. And stop giving him head. Tell the truth.”
“Just do. Your son needs to know who he is and Ibro needs to know the truth.”
“Then let us help you. We’ll tell our husbands and they’ll talk to him. Just stop lying and cheating on him.”
Her eyes glisten. “I can’t.”
Shady appears and she wipes her eyes subtly. “Ibro is ready to leave. Are you ladies done?”
I step out of Dara’s bedroom and together we walk to the sitting room. Shady and I escort them to their car. When they leave, we go back into the house and I find that my phone is ringing.
I put it to my ear.
A sobbing voice at the other end comes on. “Cece?”
“Nay, what’s wrong?”
“Can you come over, please?”
“Yes. Please, come over. Please…”
I don’t ask her what is wrong. I quickly explain to Shady that she needs me. We already talked about her last night and in his opinion, she is no threat to our relationship. However, I am not sure he will feel the same way if I tell him of my travel plans.
“You want me to drive you there?” he asks.
“No, I’m good.”
He passes me his car key and I hurry out of the house. I find that I am genuinely worried about Naomi. We had become quite close during the trip but solely as friends. I worry that something bad has happened to her.
When I arrive at her house and a maid leads me up to her bedroom, my breath is held.
I open the door. “Naomi?”
“I’m here,” she answers from the bathroom. I stroll through a messy room, not made untidy by habit but by what seems like a scuffle. I step over broken glass and cosmetics flung from the dressing table as I aim for the bathroom.
I push the door open and find Naomi on the floor. I can hardly recognize her as her face is red and black and swollen into twice its size in certain places.
“He found out, Cece. He found out I’ve been lying to him and he beat me. He almost killed me. He was choking me…”
Her voice is barely a whisper and fear rests on her face. I rush to her.
“Let’s get you to the hospital.”
I help her up and discover that the blood I see on the floor is from between her legs. The entire floor on which she sits is covered in a pool.
“He wanted to kill me,” she repeats. “He stomped on my tummy, telling me he’ll destroy my womb since I won’t carry his baby.”
I fume, mad at her a husband, a man I have neither seen nor spoken to. I help her out of her clothes and put her under the shower to wash away the mess. I need to clean her up before taking her to the hospital. I hope she hasn’t lost too much of blood.
“Don’t leave me,” she clutches my hands as the water hits her body.
∞∞∞∞ ∞∞∞∞ ∞∞∞∞
Genesis is startled out of her sleep. She had gone to bed quite early after organizing some seminar for financial moguls. The day hadn’t been exactly fun for her, as Zach had gotten into a crying spell that threw her into an unpleasant mood. When she couldn’t handle his tantrum, she left him in the care of Iya Idaya.
Mamisi had also been contributory to her grumpiness. The old woman showed up unannounced and dumped a heap of clothes in the laundry room. Genesis scolded her and they got into a fight. Iya Idaya stepped in with an offer to launder the clothes but Genesis would have none of it. She asked Mamisi to leave, then stomped up the stairs and went straight to bed.
Now she is awake, not sure why she is. She turns off the air conditioners and opens the windows. The night is cold and the sky clear with a full moon.
Genesis walks back to her bed. She clutches her rosary and soon falls asleep.
On the bed, lying beside her is Dominic. Motionless. Stiff. Cold. Pale.
She wakes up with a scream, her heart pounding painfully in her chest. Her rosary is still clutched in her hand but she holds it tighter. She begins to pray. She is incoherent, her words disjointed. But she prays on, until she finds some peace.
She lies back again and falls asleep once more. There are no more bad dreams waiting. She makes it to the morning.
When she stirs up at daylight, her nose picks the strong scent of Dominic’s perfume but she doesn’t give it much thought. Having had nothing to eat last night, hunger drives her downstairs. She bursts into the kitchen and is surprised to find Dominic with the twins.
“Look who’s finally awake!” he stretches a hand and she ambles to it.
“Why are you here?”
“I missed you guys so much that I decided to come back.”
She bends for a kiss from him, and then delivers several pecks on her children’s cheeks.
“Seriously, why are you back?”
“I missed you guys nau. I can’t miss my family again?”
“I’m thinking that maybe I’m still sleeping, so I’ll go back upstairs, crawl back into bed and wake up when morning comes.”
Dominic laughs heartily. “I’ll come and show you that I’m real.”
He calls for Iya Idaya and instructs her to continue feeding the kids. He drags Genesis upstairs. In their bedroom, he kisses her until she is breathless.
“Was that real enough or you need to wake up?”
He doesn’t let her answer. He kisses her again, lifting her nightshirt and kneading her backside.
“This feels real,” she moans.
“Not quite yet.”
He tosses her to the bed. Her mouth salivates at the sight of his blatant erection. She has always been able to get completely turned on by just seeing him aroused, whether nude or clothed. The man is impressively endowed. She waits in anticipation as he undresses. He makes it clear that he isn’t in the mood for foreplay. She isn’t either. A week ago she had found him too clingy. Now, she doesn’t mind if he is stuck in her all day.
He falls on the bed and goes straight to business. He is wild and nasty, reminiscent of that first night they made love when he went into her apartment and demanded her body like he owned it. Time and work took that edge away. Their sex life remains awesome but nothing can be compared to that night…
Soon, Genesis is screaming out his name. She has never been one to hold in her pleasure. She arches into his every possessive, powerful thrust. She gives back as she gets it but soon finds that she can’t match his energy. Not this morning, at least. This morning, it’s all about him and how much he can give.
So, she takes and takes until she runs out of staying power.
He stops, panting hard, body soaked in sweat.
“What on earth did you eat in Singapore, Ditorusin?”
He laughs and leaves for the bathroom. She falls back on the bed. Sheets wet. Genitals quivering.
When she finally catches her breath, a smile fills her face. As she begins to wonder what has come over her husband, her phone beeps.
She picks it up and there’s a message from a foreign number.
Hi Genny. How are you doing? I’m guessing Nick is at home now. Please, rush him to the hospital. He is not in top shape. He had a heart attack during our first meeting here. After a doctor cleared him, I put his ass back on a plane home. Please, have his doctor give him a check. Love, Seyi.
Genesis jumps out of bed and hurries to the bathroom in annoyance. She flings the door open.
“Domi, you had a heart attack and didn’t tell me?!”
Her movement halts. Her hand freezes in the air. Dominic is lying on the floor, eyes looking up at the celling.
“Call the ambulance,” he rasps.