And just like Game of Thrones resumes today, so does Biyankavitch.
I’m glad to be back. I’m sure you’re excited too. Biyankavitch would run just for a few episodes before it ends. After that, we’ll start a new series. For those of you who have been asking for Amaka and the clan, you might just have your wish granted.
Have a great GOT day as you read this episode of Biyankavitch! Can you predict who’s going to die?
Here comes the bride!
Or rather, here cums the bride. Screaming at the top of lungs, calling out the name of a guy that’s not the groom. Out of control. Oh, so out of control.
“I’m going to miss you.”
Lanre’s kisses on the nape of my neck were too much to handle. I turned around and gave him my lips instead; still shuddering from the burst of erotic release I had seconds earlier.
“I’m going to miss the abyss too.”
You know your coitus game is badass when the men you’re with start giving pet names to your vagina. Archibong had his, as did Kashimu. But my all-time favorite was Lanre’s.
“You can’t miss the abyss. I’m not going anywhere, Dada.”
“I know, but this thing we have ends today.”
I saw that he wasn’t joking. I also read his hurt. He had done everything within his power to stop me from marrying Kashimu, but I was resolute on my decision. And he wasn’t the only one who had tried. Family too. Victoria, especially. She had pleaded and threatened, and tried all manner of tricks to get me to change my mind. Nothing worked. She gave up and took charge of the wedding plans. #Biankash had to be loud and colorful. Bigger than #Munarchie.
“If you’re going to marry a criminal so scandalous, we might as well paint the town red… or black.”
Those had been her words to me a month ago as we both sat in one of the hardly-ever used sitting rooms at the family house. She had invited the most expensive bridal shop in all of Lagos for my wedding dress fitting. They had entered the house, pushing in garment racks that held designer wedding dresses.
The next day, Kashimu was invited for lunch. The entire family was there, and he was debriefed by them. Nobody bought the romance we both tried to display. My brothers were the hardest to convince. Muna alone supported our relationship. And it wasn’t because she thought we were cute or she wanted the best for me; she was simply being the tiny bitch that she was.
“Awww… You guys would make an amazing couple,” she had cooed. “Crime and disloyalty, all in one house. How romantic.”
I rubbed Kashimu’s lap underneath the table to placate him. My family was rude as fuck. He returned the favor with a gentle hand on mine. It was strange that I could understand that he was placating me as well.
I looked at him with a smile. I’d gotten to the point where I could read his unspoken words and understand what each twitch on his face meant. I knew when he was upset or happy and didn’t want to show it. I had fallen into the habit of finishing off his sentences or anticipating his needs before he voiced them out. Strange thing.
Maybe Muna was right. We would make an amazing couple. Love was not the bonding force that held us together. We were never going to make it to that level, unfortunately. But what we had was fine. It was political and transactional. It was also convenient for both of us. Becoming Mrs. Lamidi didn’t mean I had to give up being Biyankavitch or the Black Witch. This was what I was trying to make Lanre understand.
Now, spool back to what he said after trying to shift my uterus with his dick.
“This thing we have ends today.”
“Why though?” I threw back. “Nothing changes…”
He got off my body. “Everything changes, Bianca. Marriage changes people, and I know you’re doing this for noble reasons, but it’s going to affect you. You might end up regretting it or-or you might just fall in love with him.”
“And that bothers you?”
“What bothers me? The love part? No. It doesn’t.”
“Not in the sense that you think I’d be jealous or something. I mean, what we have has been great, and I know that I’ve asked you to give up this life and come away with me, but that’s just it. I get really lonely, surrounded by friends who are all married and paired up. Yes, I have the occasional girlfriend here and there, but none of them knows me as you do, Bianca. They don’t know this other me. Not even my friends. Only you do, B. I feel that that is special enough for me to want to own you, but for a bit. Not permanently like Kashimu is doing.”
“It is not permanent, and for the nth time, Olanrewaju, I still own my time and body, and I can do whatever the fuck I want.”
He stood up. “Yeah. You can keep me as a sidecock.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Bianca, this ends today. I don’t fuck people’s wives. Get married to your man and don’t come running here for dick.” He walked towards the door. “It’s over.”
Jeez! Men like to complicate things. You let them have the cookie, but they want to get stuck in the jar.
I followed him out to his living room, a wide, dark space that was a glimpse of his clandestine life.
“Go home, Bianca.”
“Just like that?”
He made sure to look into my eyes. “Get the fuck out.”
I got the fuck out as he requested. It hurt a little, but what was a girl supposed to do?
The rest of the day was spent at the office. Although I was on leave, I had a few documents that needed my attention. My boss saw me and dragged me to a meeting that lasted for the most part of the afternoon. Lanre was there. Each time he looked at me, he frowned. Each time, I winked discretely. I planned to be a problem to him.
Towards the end of the meeting, he texted me.
I don’t have the bandwidth for your nonsense. Cut it.
I drove to the family house once the meeting was over. The place was already occupied with relatives from all over who had come for the wedding. Idris requested a one-on-one with me.
I walked upstairs to his bedroom. He sat out at the balcony.
He took my hand and pressed his lips to it. “Sit down.”
I sat. He pushed a glass of something hot towards me. I tasted it.
“I know that what you’re about to do with Kashimu Lamidi is for the good of everyone, and I commend that. However, I am worried about you.”
“I’ll be fine, Daddy.”
“Are you going to be happy?”
“What has happiness got to do with anything?”
“Bianca…” he groaned.
“We’re building empires and changing the future… Happiness can decide to ride along or step out of the way.”
“Your mother would cringe at your thoughts wherever she is right now. She is all about her happiness. All about living her dreams and not letting anything or anyone get in the way.”
His words tugged at an old wound. I was never one to talk about my biological mom, but I felt her absence more than anyone knew. I wish I had known her before she passed away; then, I would have had memories to keep her essence alive in me. But all I had were photos and stories, not enough to piece a personality together. I knew only bits, and that alone was torture.
“You talk about her as if she is still here.”
Idris smiled. “She was remarkable. Very flawed and annoying and selfish, but a remarkable woman. Bianca, I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I won’t, Daddy.”
“That being said, I can’t wait to walk you down the aisle.”
He grinned at me. I blushed.
I spent some part of the night in Muna’s old bedroom with her because my room was occupied by my cousins. Muna was always in the family house these days. She fussed a lot about her pregnancy and drove everyone insane. Her real beef was with me, however. Ever since the incident with Archie in which he hit her, she’d been scathing towards me. My name, whenever we were alone, was ‘husband fucker’. But I was the lucky one. Archie had it worse for a whole month until she kicked him out of the house and stopped speaking to him entirely. She was sweet enough not to report to the family what he did, though. He would have been thrashed to a pulp by our brothers.
She and I spent the night not speaking to each other, but when she slept off, she crawled up to me and held me. I didn’t find it cute. Pregnancy had turned her into a snorer.
I left the house when the clock struck 3 a.m. There was a wife beater I needed to put straight. I found the smallish man in bed with his wife in their home somewhere in Yaba. Why was it always the short men that liked to marry big wives that enjoyed asserting their authority on them?
I gagged and dragged the prick to my car, dumping him in the trunk. I drove to Third Mainland Bridge and hung him upside down. Dude peed and pooped, begging me not to let him die. He promised never to hit his wife or any other human being.
“Even ants! I won’t even kill an ant again!” he cried. “Please, don’t let me fall!”
He was slipping off my hands. Petite as he was, he packed some weight.
I couldn’t hold on any longer. I let go, he slipped off. Oops!
He went all the way down and stopped just as the tip of his baldhead touched the water. Yeah, I might have forgotten to mention that his right foot was tethered to a rope.
Dude screamed like a bitch, shouting all sorts. I think he even said Mami Wata would kill him if a shark didn’t get him. Shit was hilarious.
I took the pains of pulling him back up. Unnecessary stress, but worth the high. I shot him up with something to knock him out for a while. The police would find him and the rope, and conclude that he attempted suicide. They would have him arrested.
Finally, I went home. It was almost 6 a.m. now. I changed into my running gear and hit the streets. I came back home for a shower and hearty breakfast.
It was just five days to my wedding. Apart from taking leave from work, Captain had asked me to have some time out for myself. Archie’s gym now had a new manager, which meant I was free to work only as a personal fitness instructor to certain clients, all of whom needed my services at the early hours of the day. The only part of me that didn’t take a break was the Black Witch. Almost every night, I was out there, because the more scum you try to get rid of, the more scum the world produced. It was as tiring as it was thrilling.
Daytime had me either flexing my muscles in Lanre’s martial arts studio, or at a shooting range, or at home reading comics and playing computer games with Duru.
This morning, I felt like staying at home, just to sit before the mirror and pamper my skin with luxuriant body lotions. Well, I did it, in the manner they did in TV commercials, with legs crossed and a smile on my face. I was in touch with my sensuality. Horny was the word. Before yesterday, I hadn’t shagged in a long while. Lanre and Kash were constantly out of the country, and Archibong was angry at me for refusing to elope with him. I thought the orgasms Lanre gave me yesterday would satisfy my animal craving, but he had gone and stirred a different kind of longing.
It was beyond just being horny, I guess. I needed a man. Anyone would do. I wanted to expend energy doing something vigorous, in which I would be subdued and dominated. Either that or I beat somebody’s son senseless. But none of the guys at Lanre’s martial arts studio was a match for my drive when it came to one-on-one combat. It seemed I had more testosterone than they did. I was bored and bursting with adrenaline.
I walked to the kitchen to fix myself a cocktail. Duru was out on some errand. He made the best cocktails. Mine always had more alcohol than normal.
I downed the cocktail and mixed another with the same ingredients, which were basically all the things in the kitchen that my hands could toss into the cocktail mixer.
I was halfway into chugging it down when I heard the doorbell go off. I felt for a revolver from underneath the kitchen table. I went to the living room and peeped out. Archie was outside. I put the revolver down and kicked it beneath the sofa before unlocking the door and letting him in.
A month ago, he had shown up in this manner, slammed the door behind him and pinned me against it. If I had a list of best fuck moments in my life, that would have crowned it. Sex with Archie always made it to the top. It wasn’t because he was the best; it was the emotions. It was never without the emotions, no matter how mindless it was.
He didn’t respond to my greeting. His eyes fell on me, going all the way down to my legs. I had one of those silky robes on. Something blue, pink and short.
I fastened the door. He sustained his stare.
“You want something to drink? I’m making these horrible cocktails that I think you’ll like.”
His eyes followed me to the kitchen. I came back with half a glass of cocktail and found those eyes still on me. He declined when I offered the glass to him.
“It has an olive.”
I picked the single olive I had stuck into the glass with a toothpick and held it between rosy red lips.
Archie reached into his back pocket and took out a little box of something. He sat on the armrest of the sofa behind him.
He opened the box. In it was a ring with black and white diamonds. One of the prettiest little things I had ever seen.
“Marry me, Bianca.”
My teeth chumped down on the olive. Juice spilled to the side of my lips. I licked it and washed it down with the rest of the cocktail. Archibong was out of his mind.
“Are we here, pretending that you’re not married to my sister? Because I know that we’ve done a lot of make believe, especially when we went stupid and bought a house in both our names and pretended that we were a real couple and spent an entire weekend there, doing God-knows-what.”
“And it was there I asked you to go away with me, to forget this life that cages us and doesn’t allow us love each other as we’re supposed to.”
I walked away from him. “Archibong, no. We can’t keep having this conversation, and ending up fighting, and not talking to each other because you get mad at me for refusing to elope with you.”
“That was just one time…”
“And it would happen again today if you don’t stop. Archie, you have Munachi…”
“I know. I know that I have her, but it’s you I want. You I need. You I want to be with. And Bianca, you know I am willing to give the middle finger to the world just to have you.”
“You have a baby on the way, Arch.”
“Being with you doesn’t stop me from being a father.”
He pulled up in front of me. “Please, B.”
I rested my hands on his chest. The earnestness in his eyes was killing me. Here I was again at the edge, ready to leave everything behind and just fall. I was the queen of impulse, the crazy one who did things at a whim. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to choose my own happiness over the safety of my family and the future of the country.
“My wedding is in five days,” I reminded Archie in a strained voice. “Don’t do this to me.”
“You don’t love him.”
“Stop lying to me.”
“Stop trying to own me. You can’t. Nobody can. Just love me now and every other time you get the chance to.”
“You know I value marriage, and that whole ‘keeping the marriage bed pure’ means a lot to me. I hate cheating on Muna. It’s either you or her. Let’s just get out of here to Dominican Republic or Cyprus or Ireland. I’m a citizen in all three countries, and I have the recognized certification to study medicine anywhere I want in this world…”
“I can’t.” I moved farther away. “I’m sorry.”
I had a sudden need to burst into tears. Only Archie could bring out the weak side of me. I loved and hated him for it.
“I think you should go.”
“I know you don’t love Kashimu. You’re doing this because your parents are pushing you to. Same way I felt pressured to marry Muna. I don’t want you stuck in the hell I’m stuck in, B. I want us to both break out of our cages and follow our hearts. We keep doing things to fit in, to make others happy. What about us? Does anyone care that we burn in the process? Do they care that we lose ourselves in the business of ensuring that they are happy?”
It was ironic that his questions also described my situation outside my romantic life. There I was, saving the world and losing myself in the process. I had often wondered what my purpose was. After doing everything that was required of me by the establishment, and after saving my family, what would I say I have accomplished for myself? What would I have gained for Bianca?
“Archie, go home. I don’t want to have this discussion again.” I looked at him, unable to hide my misery. With him, I was always Bianca. No Biyankavitch. No Black Witch. Just me, vulnerable and open, needy and affectionate. He made me complete. And that was a lot to say, coming from me.
He snatched my hand and held it behind me, pulling me to him. He teased me with his breath before he got lost between my lips. The fire that was lit seemed to have been waiting. I threw myself shamelessly at him and into what we had. My adrenaline came out to play, my affection was granted permission to expend itself. First in the living room, and then in the bedroom. We then took our affair to the house we had bought together weeks ago. It was located out of the city. One of the many appendages of Lagos where locals lived, and where you could find good houses with all the amenities at less than half the price of what it would cost you in the metropolitan. In such places, you would see grand houses, built by the rich and left to rot.
The woman we bought the house from was in her sixties. She had decided she was done with Nigeria and needed to relocate abroad where her children resided. She had done a magnificent job on the house, designed it in the manner of homes one would find outside the country. We weren’t surprised that she priced it higher than the other houses we had seen in the area. We acquired it, and by evening the next day, Archie had had it all decorated to our individual tastes.
“I think I enjoy being rich,” he had told me that night. His father had blessed him with money his siblings had enjoyed all their lives. Neither of us understood why the man was suddenly interested in Archie after abandoning him for three decades. Maybe he was dying, or some angel had visited him. I was somewhat uneasy about it, though. My parents also didn’t extend their hands of cordialness. Not even for Muna’s sake. It was said that the man had threatened to make Idris and Victoria’s lives miserable. It was also said that Akan Kentoro-Abassi was a man who followed up on his threats as much as he kept his promises.
There had been that one dinner at the family house, after much pressure from Muna. This was before she kicked Archie out of the house. His dad and stepmom were invited. How they all managed through that dinner without killing themselves is something I must commend them all for. There were no other family meetings after that.
Akan was one of the Acer originals, and had just publicly announced that he was running for presidency under the Acer-controlled political party. He had contenders from the same party, but knowing the way these men played their politics, I was certain that he was their man for the presidential seat. He had the ruthlessness and the special type of evil needed to wear the crown. Archie knew nothing about him. Nigerians were oblivious as well. He bore an Obama-like image – charming and youthful. Even Archie was carried away by the charisma. I itched to show him the other side of life that held the secrets about his family, mine and the Igwes. If Akan was going to drag him there, he needed to know.
However, I felt it wasn’t time.
For now, he would remain in his unawareness. And I, in mine. The forgetfulness that gave me back-to-back orgasms and kept me in the throes of his princely affection. So greedy was of his presence I that I spent two whole days with him, and some more, disremembering that I had a wedding coming up.
Morning. We were in the kitchen of our house. I sat on the counter with my legs spread open while he stood between them, facing away. I fed him an assortment of fruits dipped in whipped cream. His face and my fingers were a mess. The sun was barely getting up. My phone rang endlessly. It had been off for the period I was away. I had sent a careless text to the family’s Whatsapp group that I was fine and needed some time alone. I was sure everyone was worried about me.
“So, in two days I would force myself into a suit and come and wish you well as you get married to another man?” Archie asked.
“Wasn’t that what I did when you got married?”
He turned around and clasped me as if I said I was going to run away. “Don’t do this to me, B.”
His plea was weak. At this point, there was no turning back for me, and he knew it.
“I don’t know how else to express my feelings. Making love to you and buying you presents is not enough. What else can I do?”
“Nothing, Archie. You’re enough.”
He nuzzled his face in my neck.
“Make sure he treats you right.”
“If he hurts you…”
It had begun to rain. One of those late November rains. Archie lifted me off the counter and took me to our bedroom, and it was not to shag. We had both had enough of anything that had to do with our genitals. He had surgery in two hours while I had to find my way to the family house to receive a scolding from Victoria.
We showered together, and I let him dress me up. He had gotten me a fine collection of dresses, which hung in one of the spaces in the closet. He picked an orange dress with a rainbow flower over the left breast area. I never thought I’d look pretty in orange. He held me possessively as I admired myself in the mirror.
“Beautiful does not even come close to describing you.”
I was just realizing how close our skin tones came to matching each other’s. His clear, desert brown eyes contrasted with my black ones, but complemented them too. We seemed perfect for each other – in another existence.
He wouldn’t say a word all through the ride back into town. He stopped me at a point where Duru was waiting. I kissed his cheek and opened the door. He pulled me back for a full kiss.
“Get pregnant. Have my baby.”
“Stop being fucking annoying, Archibong.”
I stepped out of the car and into mine, displacing Duru. Alone, I drove to the family house.
Gunmetal grey. That was what the sky looked like when she stepped out in the morning. She was dressed for a walk, but the sky above loomed threateningly, giving her chills. Memories of one of the worst days of her life came at her. That morning had been similar to this. The chill in the air after a rainy night, the silence around her, the gunmetal greyness the clouds bore. The only difference between that day and today was the fetus she bore. She had it then; now, it was no more.
The pain was relentless, unending. And it didn’t help that she blamed herself. But who was she to blame?
Pero? Sufiat? And the surprise wedding they threw at her from nowhere that made her lose her mind and her baby?
She recalled Pero’s words that morning. He had just returned home after being away for an entire week. Tsakani had assumed he had gone on one of his business trips outside the country.
“We need to talk.”
It wasn’t every day a man started a conversation with those words. Tsakani saw something in her husband’s eyes that she didn’t like. She put away the kitchen napkin in her hands and followed him into their bedroom. She sat when he sat.
“Tsaka, I’m going to need you to forgive me for what I am about to tell you.”
She was quiet.
“Tsaka I got married to Sufiat on Friday.”
Tsakani eyes took a slow trip from his hands to his face. Her lips moved without words as she searched his eyes.
“I know I should have waited until our divorce was final, but I knew how long the process could take, and God knows that I didn’t have the heart to go through that alone. Sufiat… She was there for me. All the times you were away at Tanko’s… She was my support and comfort. And we got intimate – again. A couple of times… And I didn’t like that I put her through that. I didn’t want to be the man that had sex with a woman that wasn’t my wife…”
“And so, you went and made her your wife,” Tsakani whispered.
“It was the proper thing to do.”
“You just wanted to get back at me.” Tsakani didn’t feel the tears that hit her cheeks.
“I wouldn’t put it that way. Yes, I got some sort of pleasure marrying her, but it wasn’t done to spite you. I did it to simply move on, and to keep myself and her pure, according to our faith.”
“Adepero, I haven’t even gotten a divorce lawyer yet. The papers your lawyers sent are right there on the table… How could you do this to me? How, Pero? One blow after another?”
Tsakani needed that kitchen napkin now. She wanted to bury her face in it so badly and bawl hard. But she chose instead to get up on her feet.
“I need to take a walk before my heart explodes, Pero. I don’t understand this pain in my chest. I’ve never felt it before.”
She hurried out of the house. A bodyguard tailed her. She walked briskly, arms folded, eyes on the ground. She had no destination. She just wanted to expend her emotions in her movement. Her walk took her out of the estate, and down a street that was soon going to get busy. Cars and pedestrians were already making the place throb. Soon, shops and banks would open, and the mini market on the other side would come alive.
Tsakani stopped abruptly when she came to a junction. She looked up at the sky through teary eyes. It looked like it might rain. She wished it would. Perhaps the downpour would wash away her pain.
Her eyes spotted a fruit stand across the street, being set up by a northern man. The bananas and plums looked inviting. Tsakani wanted to stuff her mouth with them and cry like a baby.
Without a second thought, she aimed for the fruit stand. What she heard next was a woman scream out, “Jesus!” a screech, and then the sound of something being hit.
Tsakani woke up in a hospital, sore and cold. Her head and lips hurt. Her left leg was cast in a bandage, as was her left arm. Flashes of an SUV coming fast at her, the fruit stand, the busy street, the walk, Pero’s breaking news…
Tanko barged into the hospital room in anger, but softened when he looked at her.
“P-presh? What’appened?” He sat on the bed and stroke her cheek. Her lips didn’t move when she tried to reply him. He spoke in Hausa. It was still the only way he could communicate fluently, although he could string words in English a lot better now. “They said a car hit you. What were you doing there? Why didn’t you let your driver take you out?”
Apparently, the bodyguard had informed the Bahagos first. Tanko, particularly. The man was loyal to him.
Tsakani somehow found the strength to tell Tanko about Pero’s secret marriage to Sufiat. His reaction gave her a glimpse of how the other Bahagos would react to the news. She begged him not to tell them.
Shortly after, the doctor came in to check on her, and to let her know that she had lost her baby. As he spilled the words, the pain in her chest returned. This time, it sucked the air out of her. It took his intervention to get her breathing normally again. When she let out a wail and sought for something to hold on to, it was Tanko’s body that brought her comfort.
A perturbed Pero came in. Tanko sprang up and accosted him. Somehow, he could communicate better in Yoruba as well, and so he poured his rage on Pero.
“What sort of man are you?! You go and secretly marry another woman while your wife is pregnant?! You don’t even seek her permission?! You didn’t get divorced first?”
“Tanko, it’s okay.”
“It is n-n-not, Tsaka!” He switched back to Yoruba. “You killed the baby! She lost it because of you!”
Pero pushed past him to Tsakani’s side.
“Is it true?”
She nodded and broke down again. Pero hugged her and she held onto him. She couldn’t count the number of sorrys he told her that morning.
When she got home days later, the divorce papers were no longer there.
“We can wait until after you get better,” he said. “Right now, you need me.”
He became more loving, gentler, sweeter. His affection reminded her of the early days of their relationship and marriage, when he did everything to make her happy. She luxuriated in the love he offered, even though she knew that when he was not with her, he was with Sufiat. The other Bahagos were livid when they got the news of his nuptials to Sufiat. They all agreed that it was best that she divorced him.
“You have your real husband here,” Victoria reminded her. “Leave that man alone.”
Tanko was silent on the whole thing. He was not the same man that had confronted Pero in that hospital room. The aneurysm made him unstable, gave him highs and lows. The Tanko she knew would have gone to her house to pack her things by himself. But this one stayed silent, eyes glaring at her in indifference. He didn’t even flinch when she told Victoria that she loved Pero and had no plans of walking away from him.
“So, you don’t mind being a second wife?” Victoria was horrified.
“Second wife? I’m the first, and I don’t mind sharing.”
“That is ridiculous, Tsakani! You’re a Christian. We don’t believe in polygamy.”
It was always convenient for Victoria to pull out devious cards from her stack of Machiavellian collection. This was the religion card. It was a weak one. Tsakani was settled on her decision to remain with Pero. She intended to prove to him that she wasn’t controlled by the Bahagos, that her decisions were hers alone, and she had chosen to iron things out with him.
The following day, Pero brought Sufiat to the house for a formal introduction. Tsakani noticed the glow on her, the way her eyes worshipped their husband, and the manner in which she called him ‘Oko mi.’ She was the total package. Yoruba, pious Muslim. Pero’s mother must be proud.
That night, Tsaka hid in the guestroom and cried. Pero found her underneath the blanket. Her held her and comforted her.
“You can still walk away.”
“No, I can’t. I won’t. I love you, Pero…”
“But you love him too.”
Tsakani didn’t deny it.
“Just let me stay. For the kids. For us.”
Their lives progressed silently from that night. She didn’t seek to know the details of his relationship with Sufiat. He stopped breaking his head over what went on between her and Tanko. But Tsakani was in pain. She didn’t suffer from a broken heart alone. The agony of losing her baby was sometimes unbearable. She blamed herself, of course. Then, there were other emotions. She couldn’t put them in words every time she tried to explain to Tanko how she felt. He listened, though, even when he didn’t understand. He became her best friend again. He teased her sometimes.
“Your husband is w-w-with his iyawo th-thi-this night?” he would ask jokingly whenever she drove up to stay with him for the night. His speech had gotten better. His memory too. Sometimes, they watched boring documentaries together. Other times, they sat in silence, listening to the radio. He loved listening to old classics. On special occasions, whenever he sensed she was struggling with her loss, he would hold her in bed and constantly caress some part of her body until she fell asleep.
With time, and with the distraction of work, she got better. Today, however, she was a mess. A short walk around the estate was supposed to take the edge off, but one look at the sky made her change her mind. She went back into the house, just as the clouds gave way and the rain came down. Pero, already dressed for work, also had a change of plans.
They ended up underneath the sheets. The sex was deeply satisfying and emotional. They hadn’t been intimate in nearly three months.
“Is it like this with her?” Tsakani asked.
“You really want to know?”
“Is it like this with Tanko?”
“There’s nothing between us. You know that.”
Tsakani heard the sudden heaviness in Pero’s breath. He pushed away the blanket covering them and walked out of the bedroom. He came back with a glass of juice for her.
“We should revisit the idea of a divorce.”
Tsakani sighed. She suddenly felt exhausted. “I thought we were in a good place.”
“For how long, Tsakani? What are we holding onto? You love that man, more than my need to punish you by marrying Sufiat, more than what we have. So, just stop torturing me, and stop living in denial, and go and be with him.
For the first time, Tsakani entertained the idea of giving up and running back to Tanko.
“I married Sufiat, not just to punish you, but to move on. To find a new addiction. But the old addiction is not going away. You’re here, making it hard for me. Please, Tsaka, if you love me, go and be with your first husband.”
Tsakani was too exhausted to cry. “You want to try therapy…?”
“I really want us to save this marriage. I want us to work, Adepero. I believe we can get back to us, to the point where our insignificant others would mean nothing.”
“Maybe we weren’t meant to be.”
“Give us six months.”
Pero snatched his boxers from the bed. “That’s too long.”
“It’s not. Before you blink, time has passed. Just give us a try.”
He gave no reply. She watched him put on his clothes.
“You’re going to her house.”
“It’s stopped raining. I’m going to the office.”
“Six months, Pero.”
He leaned over, looked at her hair and eyes, and then, her lips, before he kissed her.
“I think it would be a waste of time, but…”
She grabbed his head for more kisses.
“Send my best wishes to Bianca. She’s the coolest Bahago asides Polo.”
After his departure, Tsakani called the housekeeper that doubled as a bodyguard and asked her to pack a bag for the weekend. She was going to the Bahagos for Bianca’s wedding.
It was the party after the wedding party. This was Kashimu’s gig. An exclusive collection of his friends and mine, although not a small gathering. It was to be a two-day thing, ending on Monday morning. You know how Yorubas like to party.
Leonel had graciously offered his resort at a giveaway price. The honeymoon suite was to die for. Kash and I had spent some time there after the wedding party, just stretched out on a bed, trying to find the strength to step out again for the after-party.
“So, we’re married,” he had said.
“Feels weird. I have to start referring to you as my wife now.”
He looked at me. “You were the most beautiful bride I ever saw in white, although I couldn’t help imagining you transforming to the Black Witch right there at the altar.”
He laughed. “The thought of it happening kept threatening to give me a boner.”
I shook my head.
“I’ve only seen you as the Black Witch once. Would you transform for me someday? Beat the hell out of me while at it?”
“This can’t be the type of conversation newlyweds have on their wedding day.”
“I want to get branded with that BW you scar your victims with. Or a nice tattoo of it somewhere on my chest.”
“Are you alright?”
He was on top of me in a flash. I waited for his kiss, but it didn’t come. He enjoyed teasing me.
“Let’s get dressed. We have guests waiting.”
I dragged myself out of the bed to the closet space. I changed into a grey bedazzled jumpsuit. It was a gift from Archie. It came with matching shoes and a purse.
Kashimu was standing behind me. He had a habit of appearing from nowhere.
“You’re so beautiful it hurts.”
He took a selfie of us, moved my hair to one side and kissed my shoulder.
“Let’s get out of here.”
Out in the living room, he had his security detail waiting. They walked us out to a waiting golf cart festooned with ribbons. The same cart had brought us here earlier. I ripped off the ribbons, causing Kashimu to laugh.
“You’re so not normal, Bianca.”
He drove us to the party venue. It was a large hall that had been converted into a lounge for our benefit. The size was to accommodate the number of guests. Thankfully, there were no taffetas and balloons falling on us as we made our entrance. Just applause and smiles. Everyone that meant something to me asides my parents, nieces and nephews, were all present. It wasn’t much of a party for Kashimu and I. We had guests to greet and to thank for making our day special. By the time we had gone round, my feet were hurting. Kashimu led me to a couch to sit. He ordered a waiter to get me a drink. A business affiliate came by and they had to move away to speak privately.
I got off the couch to use the ladies. I groaned when I thought about the stress of taking off the entire jumpsuit just to pee.
“Fuck.” It was the little things that irritated me.
I picked a toilet stall and took off the jumpsuit. Just then I heard someone come in. I knew it was a restroom, but it didn’t stop me from being instinctively alert. The person that came in went into the stall next to mine, on the right.
I was done with my urinal business. I stood up to pull up my jumpsuit, but I was interrupted by an unusual sound. My hand went for my purse from which I drew out a mini revolver. I aimed it at the top of the wall that separated both stalls, leaving enough space for anyone to climb through.
Shiloh’s head popped out. She showed surprise at the gun pointed at her.
“Na wa o. Somebody can’t catch you by surprise again?”
I was silent.
“Jumpsuits are a problem, aren’t they?”
I kept mute.
“Well, congratulations Mrs. Lamidi. Of all the people I imagined would get married, you never came to mind. Not even in the next twenty years. You’re full of surprises.”
“What do you want?”
“You, darling. Always you. That dress you walked down the aisle with. Tch-tch-tch. You got me wet.”
I lowered my gun and pulled up my jumpsuit.
“And then the black one you wore for the reception… Biankavitch, baby, you’re my constant wet dream. Can I spend just one night with you? Just one. You’ll never want to go near a man again…”
I flushed the toilet to drown out the trash she was saying.
“Shai, what do you want?”
“I’m just here, doing the Lord’s work. I want to drop a warning. Kashimu has a target on him. He has enemies.”
“No, this is serious. Many people want him dead, and they’re not going to stop until he’s six feet under.”
Her words made me uncomfortable. Yes, we were all moving targets. From the Bahagos, to the Igwes, to members of the Cabal and Acer Society. Any of us could be shot dead any minute. But this was different. I recalled the day I finally signed the pre-nuptial agreement with Kashimu. Before then, we had gone back and forth on the terms. During that period, I had called off the engagement three times. The fourth time, Kashimu changed the prenuptial entirely, shocking my lawyer and I. He wanted me to be a signatory to all he owned. I had been curious as to why he would do that. When I questioned him about it, he told me I was the only person he could trust.
He had stroked my cheek. “You held my life in your hands and you kept it. You protected me.”
The papers were spread open, awaiting my signature. My lawyer had already read it thoroughly and found no hidden clause. A pen was held out for me.
“I can’t,” I had whispered to Kashimu. It was too much a burden for me to carry.
“Give us a minute,” he instructed the lawyers and his accounted. The men disappeared. “Bianca, I just told you I could trust you alone.”
“I mean it. Men like me are surrounded by enemies, by people who are loyal to me only because of the money. Give them the chance to rob me, and they would add a bullet in my heart for good measure. Look, iyawo mi…”
“Don’t call me that.”
“I love you. And I don’t expect you to love me back. That would be weird. Nonetheless, my feelings are real and deep, and I can give you the world right now.”
“We must focus, Kash. This marriage isn’t about…”
“Love. I know. And that’s not the point I wanted to make. I was just letting you know how I felt.” He looked at the papers on the table beside us. “That’s all my life’s sweat there, and I want you to own it, because I don’t know what would happen to me tomorrow.”
“Nothing would happen to you.”
“I haven’t lived a clean life, Bianca. I’ve done terrible things. I have killed people to get to where I am. I’m not exactly proud of this wealth. People are after me and death hangs over me. If I die…”
“Don’t talk like that.”
“If I die, I want you to have it all. Not Baka, not anyone else. So, go ahead and sign it.”
He gave me the pen. I hesitated.
I dropped my signature on all copies and handed him the pen. He put down his signature as well…
“Who are the people that want him dead?” I asked Shiloh now.
“So that you’ll go on a killing spree?”
“Who are they?”
“I don’t have their names. I just want you to be vigilant. The Acers are not loyal like the Cabal. Kashimu is ripe to be an original, but some people would rather die than see him grab that seat, especially now that he is married to a Cabalian. You know that saying that a man’s enemies are the members of his own household? It’s true. Watch your back. Watch your husband’s back.”
And she was gone.
I washed my hands and left the ladies. Kashimu was waiting outside. He was ready to retire to our suite. We needed to rest. We were flying out tomorrow for our honeymoon.
“Are you alright?” he asked, taking my hand.
“Let’s get out of here.”
We drove back to our suite in the cart we had come with. Once we got on, Kashimu lifted me in his arms. I put my legs around him. We kissed all the way to the bedroom. I was not too tired that I couldn’t get some dick.
We undressed. Nobody had energy for foreplay. I just wanted to feel him. He nudged my knees apart, positioning himself heavily at the entrance of the abyss.
He rubbed his face against my nipples, letting me feel his beard, nose, chin and lips. The abyss was dripping, my breath was choppy, but my thoughts were unsettled.
I had suddenly remembered Shiloh and her words. A man’s enemies are the members of his own household.
Certainly, she had been talking about the Acers; but I knew there was more to it. She didn’t throw words around anyhow.
As Kashimu drove into me unsheathed for the first time, I gasped. Compared to the other men in my life, this husband of mine was packing. But the abyss was always ready to take him in and get him lost.
He stayed still, allowing me to adjust to him, smiling tenderly at me. He kissed my neck and lifted his head so I could see his face again. And just in a split second, I saw Baka’s face in his.
And then it hit me! Shiloh was referring to Baka. Why else would she tell me to be extra careful and watch both our backs even when she knew Kashimu’s security detail was one of the best around? It made sense that his enemies would use his brother to get him.
I shivered at the thought, and moaned loudly as Kashimu moved out a little and delved back in, deeper and harder.
Well, here comes the bride, Baka. You had better watch your own back.
©Sally Kenneth Dadzie @moskedapages