Haliru and Tehilah went out for a business lunch with some movie makers from the U.S, who wanted to adapt her second novel, at an upscale restaurant on Mbadiwe. After the movie people had gone, Tehilah wanted to say goodbye to Haliru, but the latter waved her back down.
“Is something wrong?” Tehilah watched his face, which was cloudy, like he was fighting a battle with himself.
“I am actually fighting a battle inside” he said, as if he had heard Tehilah’s thoughts. “I am wondering if I should say a word or forever hold my peace, now that you are pregnant”
Tehilah was taken aback. It was obvious to her that Haliru had seen the news. Would it jeopardize her contract with the publishing company, she wondered. “You know?”
“I wasn’t sure, but it wasn’t something far -fetched, seeing as you are in a committed relationship” Haliru peered into her eyes and he almost thought they were glassy with tears. It must be tears of joy, he thought.
Tehilah swallowed hard, the lump that had formed in her throat. How could she tell Haliru, that all the while she had been dating a married man and now she was pregnant for a man who had deceived her so and whom, she didn’t want to ever see again?
Instead, she said, “Yes I am pregnant” and flashed him a smile she did not feel. “I really need to hurry now, I have a doctor’s appointment” she pointed to her belly, and then blew a kiss to Haliru, before leaving the restaurant.
Tehilah drove into the Bamanga complex and as she parked in her space, she saw that Haliru had just arrived also. They smiled at each other as they exited their cars and Haliru could not help but notice her happiness.
“There is no way, she would listen to anything I say” he thought as he got caught up in her.
“Earth to Haliru” Tehilah waved a hand in his face and he blinked.
“Sorry, I am always blown away by your beauty and grace”
“You look amazing yourself” Tehilah swept her eyes over his tall frame, clothed in a dress pant and a cashmere shirt.
They were so caught up in each other and did not realize when a hive of reporters pressed upon them.
“Mr Bamanga, are you the father of her baby? Are you two secretly dating?” one of the reporter shoved a microphone into Haliru’s face, while the others flashed their cameras.
Tehilah was stunned, not by their presence, but by their question. She was dumbstruck and gaped at the reporters.
“Don’t you have the word ‘privacy’ in your dictionaries?” Haliru pulled Tehilah by the hand and they escaped into the lobby.
When they got into the elevator, Haliru turned to Tehilah and demanded for answers. He had seen the look on her face when the question was asked and wondered why she had not told everyone about Wale, the father of her baby. Now, that he thought about it, her relationship with Wale, was secretive.
“Why were you confounded?” he asked.
“I am not ready to talk about it. I have shoved my problems aside until my novel is done” Tehilah could not stop the tears from pooling in her eyes.
“I thought we were friends, you can always lean on me, when you need a shoulder” Haliru rubbed his shaved head, wearily. “I didn’t have to find out about your pregnancy on television”
The elevator parked on their floor and Tehilah turned to Haliru. “I am sorry, but this was personal. I appreciate your friendship, I really do” she left the elevator and Haliru went after her until they got to the door of her office.
“You are not just my friend, you are the…” Haliru was stopped by the shrill sound of Tehilah’s phone.
“Let’s talk later” she took her phone and went into her office, closing the door after her.
Onome alighted from the taxi with a small luggage in hand, in front of the Four Seasons. She grumbled as she walked into the lobby. This was not an expense she had budgeted for, but if she wanted to save her marriage, she had to make them. Her purpose for coming to Lagos was to see Tehilah, even though she still didn’t know what she would say to her. She was sure of one thing though, and that was to keep the pregnancy away from Wale.
In Abuja, Wale closed from the office early, because he could not concentrate on anything. Tehilah was on his mind. He had not tried calling her since the day he suspected she came to his house and met his wife, because he felt guilty and there was no way he could convince Tehilah that he truly loved her, even though he had not done full disclosure, when they met.
He took out his phone and called his buddy Osas. Osas was in town for business and there was no one he would rather talk about his problems with, aside Osas.
“Oboy, where you dey na?”
“I dey Wuse 2. You Abuja people and una garden, I dey one garden like that”
“That should be Eden Garden. I will join you, because my head wan burst as I dey here”
Wale dropped the call and hurried out of the office, after giving instructions to his secretary. While he drove to Wuse from his office in Garki, he thought of the memories he built with Tehilah. At the beginning, all he wanted was someone to while away the boredom and ease the pain he felt from his broken marriage. He had only realized the extent of his feelings after they unceremoniously broke apart. For a while he had been angry at her, for walking away without a backward glance and then he had been angry at his conniving wife. Now, he just wanted to move on with his life, without either of the women, or not.
At the garden, Wale saw that Osas had already ordered bowls of isi-ewu with bottles of spirit. “Osas my correct guy”
“Life is one, my guy. Enjoy it while you have it oh” he said in his usual offhanded way.
“Man’s not hot abeg”
While they dined, Wale told him of his predicament. “I love that woman, but she won’t believe me. She has moved on, like nothing happened”
“I told you before, that your woman, Tehilah was someone who had probably gone through a lot and was putting up a brave front to hide her fear. Now, I think this is her way of coping with the betrayal. I think you should just let her be”
“Come oh, are you on my side or hers?”
“I am on the side of truth. If you still love Onome, then fight for your marriage and let Tehilah be. If it is Tehilah you want, fight for her and let Onome go”
Wale became thoughtful. He didn’t want to hear it, but Osas was telling him the bitter truth, but what decision he would take, he didn’t know. The first step was to get in touch with Tehilah. They needed to talk.