The day was Saturday. Adenike and Nicole sat outside washing their clothes. It was a good day to wash because the sun was bright and pleasant.
“Has Sebastian show you his house?”
“Yes oo. Well furnished apartment. He said it was me that did not hear the number correctly”.
“I don’t know why Sebastian is so reluctant to give me money to purchase the needed items for the wedding. He keeps postponing”
“Anyway, I have bought some things with my money oo” She said smiling.
“I have exhausted what I have in my account too”.
“I think both of you should sit and write out the things you need Ade. You don’t know how deep his pocket is, do you?”
Ade shrugged her shoulder.
“You don’t need to close your account just because you want to wed. There is life after marriage, be wise. He too doesn’t need to close his account. Both of you should sit and plan”.
“Abeg!. Marriage is done once and having a lavish marriage is not bad. It is because you are not the one getting married Nicole. If it is you, you will spend more. Don’t tell me how to plan my marriage oo. When you are fortunate to get a man, do your marriage shabbily”
“I am sorry for interfering in your marriage Ade, but stop reminding me that I have not gotten a man yet” She said.
Both of them sat quietly washing with different thoughts in their heads.
Throughout the day, they didn’t speak with each other. In the afternoon, Nicole visited a saloon to make her hair, then decided to get some items from the shopping mall. She stepped out of her car and behold it was Sebastian she saw.
He came out of the mall with a polythene bag with his left hand and holding a boy of about six years with his right hand.
A pregnant woman was beside him too holding polythene bags in both hands. The little boy was trying to collect the bag from him.
“Mom can you please tell Dad to give me the bag?” He asked.
Nicole watched with mouth opened wide as the woman handed him one of her bags and the cute little boy laughed. Sebastian raked the boys hair with his hand after he dropped his bag on the floor beside him. He opened the car door for his wife and son to enter before going over to the boot to drop the nylons. He then entered the car and drove away.
Nicole rubbed her eyes to make sure she wasn’t dreaming.
“So Sebastian is married”
Nicole entered her car and sat. Was she to tell Ade this?. Wouldn’t Ade say she is jealous? Should she allow her friend to find out herself?. How will she find out?. So many questions kept popping and at the end she told herself to keep quiet. She went inside the shop and picked what she needed.
As she drove home, her heart was pounding hard.
“I will be a bad friend if I don’t tell Ade what I saw” She said
Nicole increased her speed. As she drove into her street, she noticed a girl sitting on a pavement beside her gate. She came down and walked towards her. The girl was in tears.
“Why are you crying?” She asked standing over her.
The girl looked at her without saying anything.
“Why are you seating here?. Don’t you have a home to go to?. Won’t your parents miss you”
“I want to go to grandma’s house in Benin”
Nicole was surprised.
“This is Abuja not Benin”
“I want to go there”
“If you miss your grandma, then tell your parents to take you to her”
Suddenly, Nicole saw the bruises on the girls hand. One of her finger was swollen. She tried to touch it but the girl withdrew her hand quickly.
“What happened to you?. You have bruises. Aaah even your legs”
The girl began to cry
“It’s the nanny. She sent me out because her brother came to visit. This is not the first time he would come. Anytime he comes, she would send me out until he leaves. Whenever dad is not home, she would lock me in and go out to return the following morning” She sobbed.
“Her brother is around today and she asked me to wait outside but I refused. I was watching my favourite program. She and her brother beat me up”
Nicole began to cry. She hugged the girl.
“Take me to your house”
She held her hand and they walked down to her house. It wasn’t far from Nicole’s.The gate was locked outside.
“Where could she be?” Nicole asked.
“I don’t know”
She sat with the little girl outside waiting for the maid. Nicole kept looking at the time.
“Are you hungry?” She asked.
“No!, I just want to go to grandma”
“What time does your parents normally return?”
“Dad travelled and I don’t have a mom. She is dead”
“Ooh!, I am sorry” She hugged her again.
“Let’s go over to my house. We will return later”
Nicole took her home and fed her. From time to time she goes to check the maid. The fourth time, she met the maid opening the gate. The maid was frightened even as she greeted Nicole several times.
“You and your boyfriend best up this little girl enh”
“My boyfriend?. He is my brother oo” She defended.
“Aunty this girl can lie” She returned
“From school like this oo with marks on her body. I have been looking for her. Just because I put off the television, she became angry and ran away. This is not the first time she is doing this”
“Alright, what is your name?” She asked remembering she doesn’t even ask her earlier.
“My name is Ehinmwenma”
“Good, good!. I will check on you from time to time until your father returns from his travelling”
She nodded but still held on to Nicole’s hand with fear written on her face.
“I don’t want to go with her. She is lying. I didn’t get these marks from school. It is you and your brother that beat me. I will report you to my dad” She screamed.
Afraid to leave the girl, she took her home but promised to bring her back the following day.
When she returned to the house, Adenike wasn’t home. She didn’t leave a message. Nicole sat with Ehinmwenma watching television before showing her to the bathroom. Worried that it was late and Ade was yet to return home, she dialled her line.
It rang severally before she picked the call.
“I won’t be coming home tonight. I am with Sebastian”.She said
By the time she dropped the phone, Ehinmwenma was already asleep. Nicole looked at the beauty sleeping and smiled. She covered her properly and climbed the bed besides the girl but Sleep eluded her.
How could Sebastian live a double life. A married man pretending to be single?. He lied to Ade that his wife died few months after their wedding and since then he had been single searching for the right partner.
“I must tell Adenike when she returns” She said aloud.
Nicole woke to the heavy knock on the gate. She slept late and was surprised it was morning, when she was just starting to enjoy her sleep. It was the maid on the gate.
“What do you want?” She asked without allowing her to greet
“I came to pick Ehis”
“She is still sleeping. I will bring her myself later”
“And one more thing, it you touch her again or bring your brother into the house again, I will arrest both of you and make sure you rot in jail” She said frowning deeply.
When the maid left, Nicole had not entered the house when Adenike knocked.
“The work of opening and closing the gate is tedious. I must get a security man” She murmured
Adenike, so happy hugged Nicole. She forgot they had a misunderstanding the previous day.
“Sebastian is so sweet” She said.
“How do you mean?”
“Well, we went out and we ended up in an elegant hotel”
Nicole passed her quickly and entered the house. She sat down and was boiling with anger.
“And you went to an hotel with him. Have you forgotten who you are?. I thought you are a Christian. Sebastian came into your life and you lost control”
“Nicole, it was fun with him. We had sex. We have been having sex…”
“Will you shut up!. You are bragging about your escapade with him. What happens to you. You were supposed to wait until your wedding night Ade. Sex is for the married. Are you no longer a child of God. The bible says flee sexual immorality.
“Do you know Sebastian is married?”
“That is not true”
“But I am telling you now. He is married. I saw him with his pregnant wife and son”
Adenike laughed again.
“You’re jealous of me Nicole”
“That is not true”
“He left his wife and still lodged with you in a hotel. What lies is he telling his wife?”
“Stop Nicole. The Sebastian I know isn’t married. In two months time, we are walking down the aisle. You just want to stop my shine”
“If I were you, I will go and dig about him,
Adenike would not allow Nicole talk. She was so angry.
“You are not a good friend Nicole. Go and get married. Get your own man and stay out of my affairs. You may probably not get anyone as caring as Sebastian because you are always pokenosing in people’s affair”
Giving a long hiss, she entered her room and slammed the door shut.
Nicole stood transfixed for a long time. Ade’s words touched her to the marrow. The tears dropped. When she turned, Ehinmwenma stood at the entrance of the room staring at her in confusion.
“It’s alright. Let’s have some chat before you go home.”
To Be Continued… . . . .
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