It was a warm bright beautiful day. Itohan woke up very happy. It was her husband’s birthday. She was elated. She stretched on the bed again and yawned. Itohan intends to give her husband a surprise. She looked at the bed but Nosa wasn’t there. Itohan searched everywhere then concluded he had gone to work.
“He has forgotten today is his birthday oo”
Smiling, Itohan prepared her son and dropped him in a daycare close to the house. After dropping him, she returned home to cook Nosa’s favourite dish.
The previous day, she had gone to the market to buy some stuff. She took her time to cook the meal. Satisfied, she dished the food in a food warmer. She began to imagine how pleased he will be. Dressed in a simple red gown, Itohan left for Nosa’s shop.
She highlighted at the front of the shop. Itohan was surprised that though the two shops were opened but her husband wasn’t there.
“What of the sales girl?” She asked rhetorically.
She decided to enter the small room her husband carved for himself. Sometimes she finds him there sleeping when there is no rush. The door was half opened, so she pushed the door wider.
“Hey!” She exclaimed.
The bag fell from her hand.
“Nosaa!” She shouted.
The movement in the room was swift. Nosa jumped out of the bed, he was naked. The sales girl picked Nosa’s shirt to cover herself. She was shaking and moving further into the room.
“So you did not learn from the previous mistake?. Aaah!, See as you dey play with fire”
Nosa went on his knees but Itohan had already picked the bag and ran out.
At home, she brought out the food warmer from the bag and started eating. She finished the food without a care in the world.
When she was through, she rushed to pick her child from the daycare. Even when Nosa returned, Itohan never raised the issue again. She refused to discuss it with him and Nosa kept dying inside.
Days went by and Itohan went her normal way. She would prefer to discuss every other thing with Nosa but not on his adulterous act. Nosa knew Itohan was dying inside but pretending to put on a bold front.
He was expecting Itohan to fight him or keep him malice, but she didn’t. Itohan though not convinced to give him the money he requested, decided to go to the bank to withdraw the money.
“I lodged in N3m in my account, how come I have N1.4m” She queried the bank manager.
Her bank statement was printed. It shows she was the one withdrawing. She began to cry.
“How come I did not get any notifications” She asked.
Before she got home, she began to put pieces together.
“You withdrew my money” She told Nosa.
Nosa didn’t comment. He just looked away.
“You showed me no respect by withdrawing my money. You played a fast one on me Nosa. No problem”
She was very angry. Itohan cried. It was a heart wrenching cry. All the events of the past years began to play before her eyes.
“May God help you that I ever forgive you. You have hurt me Nosa, beyond repair, but I won’t take it anymore”
Itohan’s tears and cries broke Nosa’s heart into pieces. Before his very eyes he saw walls growing between them.
Nicole had made up her mind to send Adenike out of her life. She was tired of her daunting. Ade had not been home for days and whenever she comes, she would ask her to leave her house.
Meanwhile, she have been so familiar with the little girl. Weekends the girl spends it with her. She noticed that the girl wears undersized clothes. She took her for shopping and even bought some things for the maid. She thanked Nicole endlessly.
“When is your boss returning” She asked the maid one day.
“I don’t know oo. This is the longest he has stayed. The money he gave me has finished” She complained.
“You should have told me” She said.
“Don’t worry I will stock the house. Write what you need” She instructed
“And also give me his number”
The maid laughed.
“Why are you laughing?”
“His number doesn’t go” She said.
“I will keep trying”
The maid gave her a piece of paper where she copied the number. After costing the items she needed, Nicole went home and returned with money.
“Go and buy the items. Depend on me for whatever you need until your boss returns” She said.
The maid hugged her.
Ade was watching a television program when Nicole returned from work. On the table was a bowl of pop corn and a chilled drink.
She stood up and greeted Nicole. She helped take her bag and drop on the chair.
“I am sorry Nicole. Sorry for everything”
Nicole nodded and sat on the chair.
“It’s alright. I was just trying to help” She said shrugging her shoulder.
“You helped Nicole. Sebastian is married and i found out”
“But I have decided to stick to him. He loves me Nicole”
“Are you okay Ade?. You are making a fatal mistake”
“I don’t care, I am pregnant for him”
“Don’t be desperate Ade”
“I am over 40 Nicole. How much more should I wait?”
“But he is married. What happens to his wife and kids. You are going to regret this oo. You are breaking a home”
“I love him and he loves me”
“What stupid love is that”
“Help me tell the church that the wedding can no longer hold”
Nicole stood speechless.
“What happened to you Ade?”
Ade picked the bowl of pop corn and started eating. Nicole sat by her and held her hand.
“Look at me Ade. Sebastian is deceiving you. You are pregnant fine, but quit the relationship. There is nothing there for you”
Ade withdrew her hand from Nicole, dropped the bowl on the table and stood up.
“You are trying to put asunder between me and Sebastian and I won’t allow it. It’s better I hook up with him than staying without a man”
Angry, she walked into the room. Few minutes later, she came out with her box.
“Thank you for all you did for me. I am out of here”
Nicole watched speechlessly as Ade dragged her box out of the compound.
The persistent knock on the gate made Nicole drop her spoon and rush to the gate. She had prepared to go to her shop early.
“Good morning” The maid greeted.
“Ehis is sick and I don’t know what to do”
“Aah!, Since when?”
“She was hot throughout the night”
Nicole went and collected her bag. She drove out of the compound then came down and locked the gate before driving with the maid. Ehis lay on the bed hot and very weak.
“Which hospital do you use?”
“I don’t know”
Nicole carried her to the hospital. She spent three days in the hospital before she was discharged. Nicole drove straight to her own house.
“I want to monitor her myself” She told the maid.
Nicole took care of her until she was strong enough.
Everyday Nicole would try Ehis father’s line, but it was always switched off. When she was strong enough, Ehis went home.
Nicole buried herself into her business. She discovered that the period she was in the hospital, the sales girl absconded with her money and some of her goods.
“One rarely get honest people these days” she murmured to herself.
The Sunday was far spent. She realized she had not checked on Ehis for close to three weeks. She made up her mind to do so in the evening before going to bed. Nicole went into the kitchen to prepare herself lunch. It was eba and ogbonor soup her favourite.
She set her food on the dining table and was ready to do justice to it. She heard the knock on the door and frowned.
“Must it be when I want to eat”
She stood up reluctantly and walked slowly to the gate. It was Ehis who first jumped on her, followed by Eghosa.
“What are you doing here?” Both of them asked at the same time
“Come in, come in” Nicole invited with her heart beating fast.
She invited them in and offered them juice. She stared at the dining table and smiled.
“You can eat your food” He said to her smiling too.
Nicole settled on the chair and ate her lunch. She kept glancing at Eghosa and how changed he had become.
“You abandoned me” Ehinwa said.
“I waited for you but you didn’t come and aunty Nancy won’t allow me come” Ehinwa complained
“I am sorry honey. I was very busy” She said.
“And you never said you knew my daddy” She said frowning.
“Hey Ehis. How about you allow her eat. Don’t forget your manners” He said smiling.
As Nicole swallowed her lumps of eba, her mind flashed to the dream she had about Eghosa and a smile spread on her face.
“Did you see that?” Ehis asked.
“Aunty is smiling”
“You’re becoming naughty” Nicole teased.
She sat with them in the sitting room. Ehis concentrated on the cartoon before her while Eghosa stared at her and smiled.
“You locked your house and fled. I couldn’t reach you. I went to your parents and discovered that you were not in good terms with them. They didn’t know where you were”
Nicole said nothing but stared at nothing in particular.
“Do you know how I prayed that our paths should cross again?. I prayed Nicole and God answered me. My daughter and the maid would not stop talking about you. I have been home for a week now” He said
“Today I decided to pay this aunty a visit and to discover it’s you”
Nicole smiled. Eghosa thanked her for her show of kindness
“I had an accident Nicole. I couldn’t remember anything. The kind doctor took me home and when I regained my memory I ran back ”
Nicole scrutinized his face for any mark.
“You’re staring at me Nicole”
“Ooh!, I am sorry”
They talked about other things and laughed. When he took his leave, it was as if he shouldn’t leave. She saw them off to the gate and hugged Ehis. He thanked her again and took her number before walking out of the compound.
To Be Continued…. . . . .
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