The silence at home that evening was awkward. I could not understand anything. Try as I may, I could not get the phone call out of my mind. I had cancelled church for that day when I could not pull myself together. Richard also seemed very distant; I could not understand the reason for this or if I was just assuming things.
“Richard? Are you alright?” I asked after a while.
He nodded, saying he was ok but I was not convinced in the least. Richard is a quiet person but not that quiet, especially not when I am around. I swallowed and made for the bedroom. I can’t tell him. It would be unfair and unreasonable. He does not deserve that. I would not do anything until I have strong reasons for doing it – I am sure I would find none. I lay on the bed feeling more miserable than ever before. Richard’s silence this evening was not making things any easier. I felt burdened and even my physical weakness seemed to have doubled. My eyes suddenly became blurry and I closed my eyes tight.
I vibrated from shock when I felt someone touch me. I hadn’t noticed Richard’s entrance into the room. He looked at me with concern written all over him, placed his hand on my head and his frown deepened. “You are running a temperature” he exclaimed.
“It is just stress, I am fine” I said, trying to dismiss his worry.
He shook his head. “You are not fine. Sit up” he ordered. I obliged and within the twinkling of an eye, he transformed from a caring husband to a doctor. His eyes did the job of inspecting every inch of my body, feeling my temperature, checking my eyes and all other ceremonies doctors perform. I was getting tired of the scrutiny and I voiced my thoughts but he would have none of it. He finally concluded that I was being stressed up and I made the face of ‘I told you so’. He said I was to do a proper check-up at the hospital, then asked me to relax while he went to fix me a cup of tea.
He got back with a cup of steaming hot beverage and a sachet of painkiller tablets ranting my need for a house help. The house we live is a big one and the maintenance could be tasking at times but I did not see the need for a house help when my hands were functioning to capacity. Being at work everyday of the week asides weekends and maintaining the house was his basis for argument but I was not overwhelmed because he always lent a helping hand whenever he was home. He pampered me, forcing the drugs down my throat with continuous encouragements. Looking at him as he did all these, I found it increasingly impossible to believe a word I heard from the anonymous girl. I found myself forgetting everything I heard and relaxing. I slept soundly that night to my amazement and I woke up the next morning earlier than usual.
I saw Richard sleeping peacefully too and spared few seconds to gaze at him. He looked gorgeous in his sleep and even when he was sleeping, I had to agree that his male arrogance and confidence was evident. I went to fix breakfast and went to the room to prepare the bathtub for Richard. I wanted to make up for the doubt I had in him by doing something, anything, even though he did not know anything about it. Immediately I finished what I was doing, Richard’s phone beeped signaling the entrance of a new message. I was surprised because it was just 6 am. The message alert did not seem to awaken Richard, so I picked up his phone. It might be MTN and their silly messages, I thought; the name I saw was far from it though.
The sender of the message was Oyinade. I could not believe my eyes. I checked the time again and it was as before. Everything I heard and every doubt I felt came rushing back in full force. I dropped the phone carefully and left the room in a hurry. My vision became blurred as tears filled my eyes, clouding my sight. Perhaps it is an urgent message, I told myself. I tried to assume the message was a coincidence but the conviction did not hold water.
I rotated and looked at Richard like I would a villain as he approached. I must pull myself together, I thought, righting myself and putting up a passive front. He did not seem to notice any of these though because he approached with a concerned face.
“Good morning sir” I said quietly.
“Morning honey, and what’s with the ‘sir’” he asked looking at me critically. “Why are you up baby? You should be resting. How are you feeling?” he said all at once and I shifted uncomfortably. He touched my face tenderly and my body reacted to his touch as usual.
“I am feeling better” I lied. “Since I couldn’t sleep back, I decided to fix us breakfast and prepare the bathroom for you”.
He looked into my eyes, searching the way he does when he knew something was wrong. “You look troubled”.
I widened my eyes as if bewildered. “Why should I be?” I looked away. “Come and have your bath” I said, pulling him like a small kid into the room. He followed without question though I knew he must be curious.
He started undressing, still looking at me critically and I turned towards the wardrobe, not only because I felt he might find my doubt in my eyes but also because I still found his nakedness alluring.
“You received a message. Have you seen it?” I asked feigning disinterest.
“Oh…” he said grabbing his phone. Something seemed to pass through his face which I couldn’t understand. Is that surprise or anxiety? I shifted my weight from leg to leg, nervously.
“Who is it?” I asked.
He stared at me, knowing instantly that my attitude was linked with the message. Why am I so transparent to him, I asked within myself. He seemed to find it easier, reading my thoughts when I had the professional look on.
“It’s Oyin”. The name seemed more of an endearment than a name to me. Oyin; meaning honey. This kept repeating itself in my head repeatedly.
“Oh…” I breathed. “And what did she want at this time?” I asked, consoling myself with the fact that he hadn’t lied to me.
“Nothing important” he disappeared into the bathroom before I could turn back. I glared at the door, my anger spiraling over the edge. I marched out of the room with my legs pounding hard on the tiles. I was sorely tempted to go back to check the message myself but I could not bring myself to doing it. He never kept anything from me and never stopped me from browsing through his phone but I just could not check this message. I don’t even want to know what is there, I thought, lying to myself. I killed the gas, my appetite gone, even though I didn’t really have one before.
Richard was already out of the bathroom when I returned. I went about setting out my clothes. I saw a faint smile playing on his face but I didn’t even think of it. He saw what I was doing and started lamenting my need to stay at home due to my health. He complained that I was putting up a brave front just to avoid staying at home but I told him I had an important patient to attend to. It was a lie but I could not sit back at home while the person I loved the most was being taken away from me. He asked me to come to the hospital for a check up and I nodded. I would definitely go there. There is someone I need to have a boss’ wife to staff discussion with.
Oyinade got to work earlier than her usual time. She had to visit BRP Hospital. She was sure their efforts the previous day were yielding enormous results. She had seen Richard’s grim face when he left the hospital.
She arrived at the building looking for Tunde. He had been making advances towards her but she never obliged or noticed him. She had had enough, having to sleep with Kelvin, alongside Ronke once a week – a threesome. She needed a break since that was finally over.
“Hey Tunde” she said flirting with her eyes.
He looked surprised and pleased. “Hey beautiful, to what do I owe the pleasure of your attention today?” he asked coyly.
“Aaahn, it is not like that now” she said.
“I guess you need something then” he breathed, moving closer to her.
She nodded. “A little favour. I want to surprise my boss’ wife today but I don’t want to be caught unawares. You know the things you do to secure your position? Would you mind alerting me when she is coming over?” she asked, playing with his tie.
“One date for one favour” he cooed and she hastily nodded, knowing she had to get to her office before Richard arrived. They exchanged numbers and she was off.
Richard sat in his office expecting his assistant. He hadn’t sighted her throughout the day and he became worried. He had sent his secretary to call her since she was not responding to her intercom but he had seen none of them. Her bad dressing had instantly left his mind the moment he received that message about his wife. Thanks to Tony’s visit, he had been able to stop himself from doing a stupid thing by confronting Belina. Despite that, he had been cold towards Belina when he got home, always suspecting her movements and stupidly forgetting her state of health. His doubt had been taken over by worry when he felt her temperature. The sms was out of his mind as he took care of her.
His assistant’s indecency never crossed his mind till he read her text message this morning. The veiled jealousy he saw in Belina’s eyes and actions pleased him because it showed her love for him. He however knew that he could not tell her anything about Oyin’s innocent actions because it would reinforce her doubt in the poor girl. Oyin had felt so bad that she had sent a message, though too early; apologizing for her actions and claiming she might not be able to face him because of what she did. She was apparently trying to gain attention since her fiancé was not giving her enough. Richard felt bad for condemning her the way he did.
“Sir” his secretary called from the entrance
“Where is she?”
Entering, she replied, “Sir, she might not be able to come. She seems to have an emotional breakdown. She was crying when I saw her sir” she said looking concerned.
Richard’s guilt increased as he stood up. “Thanks. You can go now”
I got out of my chair with obvious frustration. My temper and emotions had been all over the place since morning. I just couldn’t get two people out of my mind. I concluded on confronting Richard and having a long chat with that Oyin of a girl. I had the conviction that Richard would not have extra-marital affairs even though that was the routine with men these days. He can’t betray our love like that, I thought as I left my office. I stopped by to give my secretary instructions before leaving.
Oyinade heard a knock on her door and smiled. She had anticipated this. She knew Richard didn’t like feeling guilty for anything. She had learnt that within days of working with him. She deliberately went to the door without asking who it was, framing up crocodile tears. She gave Richard enough time to see her tears before hurriedly mopping her face. Richard became angrier at himself for being so violent the previous day as he entered Oyin’s office for the first time since she became his assistant.
Oyin deliberately opened the door slightly enough for anyone to see what was going on inside. She just hoped that someone who gossips would see them. Her phone beeped on the table but she was unaware of it. She was so preoccupied with the joy of finally having Richard’s attention, though; she covered it with a dull emotion-stricken face.
She faced Richard. “I am sorry sir; I am a bit indisposed right now. You were right to reprove my action yesterday sir. My fiancé is seeing someone behind my back and is treating me like trash. I felt I wasn’t woman enough and I wanted attention from whoever could give me. I…” she broke down in tears.
Richard tried to console her with words but her tears just increased in tenacity. If there was something he was always confused about, it would be how to manage a crying woman. He was so glad that his wife was not the crying type and once she was moved to the point of tears, he was always shaken to his soul.
He held Oyin’s shoulder but instead, she collapsed in his arms, crying all over his chest. He held her awkwardly, not knowing what to do with each passing second but he didn’t have to do that for long as the door creaked open. Standing before him was a familiar face, looking alarmed.