© Nissi Adeola
I woke up with the intense desire to cook something wonderful for my hubby – it is a Saturday. After praying a short prayer, I set out to do just that. Richy had a very stressful day yesterday followed by a very extensive talk/argument. Yesterday night, we had talked and talked about all the events of the week. He had arrived looking so stressed out and tired that I almost discarded my anger to pamper him a bit, just as he does with me; but I reckoned that doing that would push aside the settlement of what was on ground.
He entered and I welcomed him in a casual way without the usual welcome kiss. He looked at me critically with his tired eyes almost pleading for a loving affection. “What is the matter honey? No welcome kiss?”
I shook my head slowly. “No sir. No kiss today, we need to talk”. I wanted to continue but I just couldn’t. He looked really tired that I decided to relent a little bit, even though I still had that carefully placed casual look. I collected his laptop bag and suit jacket, carrying them into the room. He tagged along, not uttering a word but I knew he must be terribly curious.
Immediately we entered the masters’ bedroom, he just lay flat on the bed, closing his eyes without removing anything. It dawned on me that he must be terribly tired; that could only explain why he was not pestering me already.
I pulled off his shoes and socks, massaging his feet with my hands. I moved to his shoulders, massaging them slowly. His tension eased a bit and he opened his eyes slowly. I felt stupid for challenging him immediately he entered even though that was the most reasonable thing to do when we tend to postpone issues a lot, enjoying each other’s company. Maybe that is why he did not even remember to tell me about Oyinade, I thought. Maybe he fired her because he already has a child on the way. I banished all evil thoughts from my brain as I stared at Richard’s tired profile. I tugged at his suit.
“Why don’t you take a shower while I set your dinner” I said quietly. He looked into my eyes with his blue eyes, maybe reading my thoughts. Normally, he would have tried to know what was on my mind but he just nodded and sat up; maybe he hadn’t even heard me. He started unbuttoning his shirt but I went and took over from him, he shook slightly and I smiled. He smiled back. “You know the power you have over me, don’t you?”
I feigned innocence which only made him smile more. After I had removed his clothes, I marched him to the bathroom like a kid, leaving him there to prepare his food.
We lay on the bed after eating and listening to news. He was fidgeting with my hair; he loves touching it.
“I am all ears. What do you want us to talk about that deprived me of my kiss?”
Oh! So he heard. I sighed. “We can start by you explaining why you sacked Oyinade without telling me anything about it”
Richard’s hand froze. I took that as affirmation and stood up. You are keeping secrets from me Richard and it is hurting me.” The very first time in months I would call him by his name. “I know the girl is a harlot bent on ruining other people’s marriages and I am partially happy that she is out of our lives but that does not negate the fact that you almost got her pregnant in the quest of having a child”
Richard was up too, looking at me tongue-tied like something was wrong with me. That even made me angrier. “Tell me: since when did you stop believing that I could actually get pregnant?”
He got back his tongue. “What nonsense are you ranting?” he growled.
My eyes widened. “So now I am saying nonsense, right?” I spat glaring.
“I don’t know what the hell is going through your brain but I certainly don’t know how a mere flimsy hug translates to getting her pregnant. What on earth put that idea in your head” he almost yelled, glaring.
We glared at each other for some seconds before I looked away.
“Well, it was not just the mere hug” I said quietly, boiling with anger. “I received a call a day before from an anonymous caller telling me of your escapades with your mistress. The hug was a confirmatory sign.” I laughed slightly; bitterly. “As if that was not enough, she had the guts to visit me on the hospital bed after I fainted to explain to me how you desperately needed a child and that since I could not give you one, she was-”
“What?” Richard yelled, cutting me short. He was pacing angrily while I stood with arms akimbo. “What rubbish? That lying wench…” he paced and paced, making me dizzy.
“Oh… so she is lying? Easy to say since she is not here to defend herself.” I said cheekily.
He stopped and glared at me. “You don’t believe me? Ok. Tell me what is between you and Kelvin. You met him before you met me and you must love him more but why must you have anything to do with him after all he did to you. I got the picture where you were holding him so affectionately and I saw him in your office also, so confident that you would not reject him. Tell me: what is going on?”
“I don’t love him. I didn’t love him before. I guess I was just attracted to him and I definitely did not hug him, I bumped into him” I said then proceeded to explain how it had all happened.
He nodded. “now, you want me to believe all that and you won’t believe me?” he said quietly. He inched closer to me, his anger obviously fading. “Oyinade is just an over-ambitious girl. You’ve known me for a long time now, who do you believe? You do know that you are free to believe what you want”
I looked at him silently. I trust him and always have but the evidence I had got was too much to put away. I looked down but he used his finger to raise my chin, causing me to look into his eyes again.
“I want you to discern the truth from my eyes, look at me. I have not told you about all these because I did not want to hurt your feelings; and also due to your condition. You told me you didn’t like her and I did not listen and it hurt me to have her confess her guilt. Prisca found out the truth and was wise enough to play the detective role” Richard smiled, causing me to smile also.
I scoffed and said in a quiet voice. “And do you also believe that there is nothing between Kelvin and I? I don’t even love him, at least not even up to a quarter of how much I love you”
He smiled. “I knew that and that is why I made peace with Kelvin today”. I raised my eyebrow in surprise. He laughed. “yes, I was surprised I did that too. He finally gained consciousness and I just felt pity instead of the usual anger I feel. He challenged me for helping him despite our dispute, saying that all I wanted was to shove my victory in his face” he shook his head. “all I saw then was a man who is deeply embittered about the prospect of losing you. It is definitely too much to handle and if I were to be in his shoes, I would have done likewise. I offered him my friendship after a long time arguing my intentions, he accepted. I guess he was just touched that I could help him after all he did to me.”
I laughed happily and hugged him tight. I have already forgiven Kelvin immediately I heard of his accident. “I love you Richard, very very much”
He pulled me and held my waist, looking into my eyes with a thoughtful look. “Do I love you? Hmmm… I love you like kilode”
We roared in laughter, laughed and laughed. The Yoruba language sounded so awkward from his accentuated mouth that the mere thought of the word made me laughed the more.
“I love you” he kissed me deeply. “so we are settled now right?” he stretched lazily. “Do I now get a proper welcome kiss?”
I scoffed. “What of the one you stole now?”
“As you’ve said, it was stolen” he stood, waiting. I inched closer slowly and when his eyes were dropping shut, I kissed him on the cheek, leaving him spell bound. I jumped on the bed and covered myself with the blanket. Trust him, he ranted and ranted about how unfair that was, coming over to disturb the living daylight out of me.
Richard held my waist from behind, startling me. The aroma in the kitchen was so heavenly that even my mouth watered. After the usual kisses and greetings, I turned to him, holding his neck with my hands and gazing up at him. He looked round and round, trying to determine what I was preparing but I refused to tell him. After an extensive try, he gave up and took my advice of sitting in the sitting room and watching TV. I smiled. He has no idea what I had in store for him.
Oyinade frowned as she stared at the screen. She jumped up when the realization of what had just happened hit her. They had murdered the wrong person. It ought to be Ronke and not this Adejoke girl being displayed on TV. She became slightly dizzy. It had taken a whole lot of will-power to attempt murder and now to complicate issues, they just murdered the wrong person, meaning Ronke was still free. She hadn’t called for the past three days but that made her even more dangerous, not to mention the fact that they just killed her favorite step-sister. She remembered Ronke talking about her extensively countless number of times.
Oyinade grabbed her head, roaming the sitting room. She called Tikes but his number was not going through. She threw her phone on the chair. Ronke just got more dangerous. She had known that Ronke was too clever to be eliminated so easily but she also knew that Ronke would not have expected her do anything so stupid. What would Ronke do when she find out? She could not begin to imagine.
Ronke got tired of shedding tears. She could not imagine that she had lost her step-sister, the only family she had left. She still saw her yesterday looking so alive and happy. Why had she asked her to go over to the house? If she hadn’t done that, she would be alive now. She wiped her eyes after hours of wailing and crying. There was no one to comfort her in the hotel she was lodged in and she had to comfort herself.
She engaged her thoughts now. Who could have wanted Joke dead? She is the liveliest person she knew and could not think of anyone trying to harm her. ‘Wait. What if I was the target?’ the thought slammed into her, making her dizzy. It could have been her obituary on the screen. She shook her head vigorously, dismissing such evil thought. Silently, she thanked God for her life.
She poured herself another shot of whiskey and downed it at once. ‘who could have wanted me dead’ she wondered. The old man crossed her mind. It was a possibility but she felt the man could not be as stupid as to do that; killing her would mean he would not get his money back. That dismissed, only one person could have done it – Oyinade. She remembered that the deadline she gave would have ended yesterday, meaning, the truth would have been out today. ‘So that useless pig wanted to kill me ehn? She killed my Joke, my own Adejoke.’ She shook her head. She couldn’t come out of hiding because she was still wanted for theft, making her quest for revenge harder. She still couldn’t kill her. Even though it hurt so much, she could not imagine herself murdering a human being and not a fetus. “Ok. Let me give her exactly what she was preventing.” She said out loud.
Oyinade’s phone rang and she ran to pick it. It was a hidden number and only one person call with a hidden number.
“Hey you…. What rubbish did you do” she yelled.
“Would you shut up?” she heard over the receiver. She froze. She never expected to hear that voice again. She should be dead but by sheer luck and braveness, she was still alive. She shivered.
“Hey R…Ronke… I… I heard about your ehmm… your”
“Would you shut your dirty mouth you murderer. You think I am so dumb as to not know who did this? Just listen; you just stepped the lion’s tail, get ready to go down. After you go to jail for the fraud you committed, you would then hang for murdering my only family. They should be at your doorstep now. See you in hell”
The phone dropped from Oyinade’s hand and scattered all over the floor. Ronke had reported her. She was almost peeing on her body and her body shook so violently that you would assume she just had an encounter with Titanic’s iceberg. She picked her purse on the chair, gathered the ruins of her phone, took her car keys and dashed out. She drove out of the house without closing the gate.