© Nissi Adeola
That Wednesday seemed to be the longest day of my life. Everything had happened all at once. I hadn’t spent one minute with Richard when he left. I knew he wouldn’t let a man die, no matter what the person had done. I hadn’t said anything when he picked up his stethoscope and headed out. I had said the only thing that came to my mouth: ‘I love you Richard, no one else but you’. He had nodded and left without turning back.
I placed my hand on my belly, feeling the life growing in me. I smiled and maybe the baby wanted to confirm his presence because I had an instant urge to throw up. I ran to Richard’s office toilet and emptied my tummy. I started feeling dizzy and nausea.
I lay on the couch, feeling slightly light-headed. It didn’t take long before I slipped into the wonderful comfort of sleep, forgetting all the troubles around me.
Prisca watched closely as Oyinade shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. She knew that the lady before her hadn’t seen her in the hotel when she was dressed like a whore. She also hadn’t looked at her face when they bumped into each other. She had been too furious to even spare her a glance. Prisca wondered what her function was in the hospital as she sat down comfortably, intimidating the young lady with her presence.
“How can I help you ma’am?” Oyinade asked, gathering her shattered confidence. She had heard many things about the woman who sat on the chair, facing her. Her beauty has been a subject of public debate, just like Belina; and having her sit in her office should be a pleasure. One other thing had been publicly acknowledged though: the fact that Prisca ought to be a detective. She could draw out the truth from you with only a glance. She shared almost the same personality with Belina. One thing is different though: Belina could pretend that she possessed no emotions at all but you can play on her emotions easily. You only need to touch a vulnerable part of her; Richard to be precise, and you have her in your grasp. Prisca, on the other hand, knows how to keep emotions at bay and see beyond the facial façade of her opponent. She can be very dangerous if she sets out to be.
“Why don’t you sit down, you look like you might fall over anytime now” Prisca said with a pleasant smile playing on her face. Oyinade wanted to pursue that statement but decided against it. She sat down on her chair with charisma which made Prisca laugh out, leaving Oyinade confused. Prisca sat the tag on her suit.
“Oyinade right?” she asked and Oyin nodded. “Great. I am sure you know who I am but if not, I am Prisca Williams. I would go straight to the point and I hope you would not waste my time. What is your mission in the hospital?”
Oyinade was taken aback. “I don’t know what you are talking about” she said feigning innocence.
Prisca smiled, stood up and paced slowly. “Nice try dear. You know? it is not often that I get to see harlots occupying the post of a doctor in a hospital as big and highly organized as BRH; care to tell me what you are really doing here?”
Oyinade shot up. “Are you insulting me ma’am?” she asked angrily, her veins coming to view.
Prisca grinned. “For once, I thought you were totally incapable of anger. To answer your question, no. I was merely asking a question, but it seems I struck a nerve, so tell me: are you a harlot?” Prisca sat down back.
Oyinade was practically foaming. “I am afraid I would have to ask you to leave ma’am. I would not have you insult me in my office” she growled.
Prisca got up again and made for the door. “Thanks for cooperating with me dear. The conversation you had on the phone is so inspiring. I am sure you would like to explain to your boss, why you hate his wife so much” she said, holding the doorknob.
Oyinade gasped. “I… I d… don’t understand”
“Oh… don’t stammer my dear; it is not good for your vocal cords. And don’t worry, I am sure you would understand when I play the recording I have with me to the hearing of your boss. I have your voice recorded dear, so it is not your word against mine” Prisca said in one breath, not for once, taking away the pleasant infuriating smile she had on.
Oyinade was lost. She couldn’t believe everything was falling apart in one day. She hadn’t even got one day of complete victory.
“Please ma, I mean her no harm. Please believe me”. She said in a hurry, stopping Prisca from leaving.
“You want me to believe you? Ok” she said, going back to sit. She checked her wristwatch. “I have just ten minutes. Spill it now and think twice about lying to me. Trust me; I have got a mind’s eye”
I woke up in the car, on our way home. I thought I had had a dream of Richard carrying me in his arms but it obviously isn’t. Richard looked at me, taking his eyes away from the steering. He looked worried and concerned about me. He put one hand on my laps, controlling the wheels with the other.
“How are you feeling princess?” he asked
I nodded, too weak to open my mouth; I still felt sleepy. He smiled faintly and moved his fingers through my hair.
“Go back to sleep baby. C’mon” he whispered and I went back to sleep.
I woke up fully in bed. I was in my underwear, no clothes. I was covered with a blanket. Richard came into the bedroom and smiled when he saw me awake. My heart melted as I stared at his handsome profile.
He climbed in bed beside me and kissed me gently on the lips. “How are you, my love?”
I smiled. “I feel better than before, thanks. Why am I naked”?
Richard grinned. “Your temperature was so high; it could boil a cup of water so I took your clothes out of the way. Little Richard needs a very comfortable environment to grow” he said, placing his hand on my stomach.
My heartbeat skipped. Today had been a very long day but I would demand to have this day and none other, if only to feel the way I did when I heard the news of my pregnancy. I looked at Richard critically. “Are you sure you did not take off my clothes for your advantage?” I asked cocking my head at an awkward angle.
“Oh sweet, what are you insinuating?” He asked, looking as innocent as possible. I laughed hard, looking at him. Oh… I am so much in love with this guy. Even though I saw the desire in his eyes and written all over him, his concern for my health and condition was more evident. He stopped my laughter with his mouth, covering mine in a fierce, demanding manner. We shared similar desire as I held on to him, kissing him deeply. Something flashed through my mind and I instantly became still. Richard noticed this and stopped abruptly, bringing his ragged breathing under control.
“What is wrong?” he breathed.
“Nothing. I… I remembered that I hadn’t asked you how Kelvin is doing” I said slowly. Something seemed to pass through his face within seconds.
“He is in a comma now; all we can do is pray that he comes out alive”. I nodded and stared at nothing in particular. He was silent; so was I.
“You told me to trust you. How can I do that if you also don’t trust me?” I asked. He was silent; he just stared into space. “What is between you and your assistant?”
“We share only one relationship: working relationship. There is nothing going on between us. I know she sent a message at an ungodly hour but she was just apologizing for her misconduct the previous day” he assured.
“Which misconduct are you talking about?” I asked intent on finding any loop holes.
Richard sighed. “She was dressed inappropriately. Her body was on public display and I rebuked her indecency. She felt guilty and decided to send a message. She felt she couldn’t face me after what she did”.
“Oh…” I breathed. The pregnancy sickness took over before I could think of anything. I ran into the toilet to throw up. Richard rinsed my face and led me back to bed. He was able to shove some food down my throat before I used some drugs. It can be upsetting to have a doctor as a husband especially when you have to use drugs every now and then. I lamented the irrelevance of drugs but he did not rest until I had it down my throat. I cuddled next to him and he had his arms around me till I dozed off.
Oyinade drove her car so recklessly that she had almost gotten herself killed by on-coming vehicles. It is so early in the morning and no one should be seen in such speed. She needed to see Ronke. She could really use some advice.
The previous day is what you would term her worst nightmare. She couldn’t believe she had actually spilled the beans to that tormentor. She closed her eyes briefly as she remembered the awkward tension she felt in her own office.
“I love Richard ma” she had dropped immediately Prisca stopped talking. Prisca’s facial expression did not change one bit. You would assume that she already knew it with the way she pasted that smile on her face.
“I have seen him times without number on the television and I decided to work here in BRH, hoping that he would love me back” she said in one breath.
“Oh… so you are trying to tell me that you never knew he was married?” Prisca asked.
Oyinade sniffed and shook her head. “I never knew until I got here. When I got here and discovered he was married, I just wished I would have something with him”.
“You are a terrible liar. I am going to let that slide though. I thought you denied being a whore; tell me: what ‘plan’ did you put in place to ensure that Richard leaves his beautiful bride?” Prisca asked
Oyinade looked at her. She had truly heard everything she said to Ronke, she thought. She had hoped that she didn’t hear everything; the ending part particularly. “You would tell her ma’am. You would tell them and my life would be shattered, I would be jobless.” She had cried.
“No. I would not tell a single soul. I just want to determine if you are the best person for me to use. You see, Belina came into my family, taking away my parents’ attention and drawing it to herself. She became showered with all kinds of gifts and my parents scolded me all the time because of her. She became a peasant; a thorn in my flesh. I have wanted to pay her back somehow, anyhow, but I hadn’t got the chance till now. You taking Richard would mean that I have my revenge and you also have your man. What do you think?”
Oyinade was speechless. She had known from her distant study of Prisca that she is dangerous and unpredictable but she hadn’t expected her to be that way with her sister. She knew how neglect can make you do silly things having experienced it first-hand with her parents.
“Ok ma. I tried to seduce him with my body but he is too immune towards me. The only thing I did and succeeded with was to create discord between them. Maybe you can give me an advice as to how to go about it though, I have not even had twenty-four hours of complete victory.” Oyin said, happy that she now had a formidable ally.
Prisca stood up, raising her phone in the air. “Thanks for you sincerity my dear, it was most helpful. For the record, I did not have your earlier phone conversation recorded, it was just bait. Now, I have your confessions recorded. Next time, think twice about screwing with my family because Richard and Belina are family. Chaos. MUAH” Prisca blew her a kiss and waltzed out of the office with a cool smile. All the blood flowing through Oyinade’s veins seemed to freeze as she choked.
Oyinade parked her car in front of Ronke’s compound. She had been too worn out to call her last night but she could really use some advice right now. She had rejected all of Ronke’s advices, relying on her own ideas and impulses but presently, she could not even think of a single line of action.
She knocked on the entrance door and Ronke came out in her night gown to open. They greeted normally and she sat down on the chair forcefully. Ronke stared at Oyin, expecting her to begin her blabbing about her stupidity and asking how they were going to deal with Belina’s pregnancy but instead, she just sat there, looking at her with her head in her hands.
“I am finished Ronke. Totally screwed” Oyin said after long silence.
“Yeah, I got it. The pretty wife is pregnant” she said sarcastically, going to grab a bottle of water even though she really wanted to drink something strong.
“No. it is much worse than that” Oyin said, catching Ronke’s attention with her grim face. She narrated all that happened the previous day, right from the very top where she had refused to see Richard, making him feel guilty, to the very bottom. Ronke just gaped at her when she finished like she had ten heads.
“You are the most stupid idiot I have ever seen in my life. Were you possessed or something?” she barked.
“Don’t insult me, damn you. Let’s just find a way to solve this problem, please” Oyin said.
“You must be crazy if you think that I am going to help you with anything. The time I was there to help, you did not listen to me. This is your problem and you would solve it yourself. If I were you, I would be more concerned about a bigger problem.” She said, finally grabbing a drink.
Oyinade was confused and stricken. “What are you talking about?”
“I can blow the whistle faster than any referee in a football match. I know of all your plans, everything you did just to get Richard and his wealth to yourself. I also know of the two million naira fraud you committed last year in your former hospital before leaving”.
Oyinade blanched. “How do you know about that?” she asked, shaken to her roots.
Ronke walked back to her seat, glass of whiskey in one hand. “Unlike you, I am not so stupid. Now, if I were you, I would be looking for five million Naira. I give you two weeks; two weeks to get the money, if not, you would be behind bars faster than you can ever imagine” Ronke said, placed her glass against her lips and took in a mouth-full of whiskey.