Efe dumped her things on her bed and took off her shoes and jacket. The muscles on her arms ached from all the tying and filing of papers. It had been a long day and she was glad they were closing for the year next tomorrow. She would have loved to travel back home to see her dad and probably have her daughter for the holidays, but she didn’t want to face any family member and listen to any advice from them. She had been hoping she would have been done with the divorce proceedings but Daniel was deliberately making it hard for her. Why was it so hard for him to respect her wishes and just leave her alone?
She opened her bag and brought out the things he sent to her. Not the least bit interested in any of them. The roses weren’t necessary ‘cause they would wither and die. The chocolate and Victoria Secret gifts meant nothing to her. She threw the latter items on Pamela’s bed and threw the roses in the bin.
Did he honestly think he could find his way into her heart by buying material things? Did he think her cheap?
What kind of woman does he think I am anyway?
Efe hissed and took off her clothes.
“What’s the problem now?” Pamela walked into the room and when she saw the things on her bed she grinned broadly. She looked back at Efe. “Are these for me?”
“Yeah, you can have them.”
“Ahn-ahn. You went shopping or what happened? Abi, is it Amanze that gave you these things?”
Why so much questions? Efe shook her head. “Daniel sent them to me.”
“Awww . . . That’s so sweet.”
Efe wanted to smack the lovey-duvey look off Pamela’s face. “But I don’t want them.”
Pamela raised a brow. “Why nau? He’s trying to make amends. At least give him the chance.”
“By buying gifts for me?”
“It’s just a way for him to break the ice.”
“He should break the ice on his head, maybe it would let him come to his senses and he would leave me alone.”
Pamela tilted her head to the side. “Do you really want him to leave you alone? Or this is just you playing hard to get?”
Efe looked at her and frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean? Of-course I want him to leave me alone. He has caused more of pain to me than anything. Am I so stupid to want him back in my life? The only good thing we have together is our daughter.”
“What about second chances? I remember when I used to insult him and you would stand up for him.”
“I guess I have had time to think things through.”
Pamela folded her arms and shook her head; surprised etched on her face. “What has happened to you Efe? You used to read your bible every morning and listen to gospel music and pray. Now you don’t do anyone of them. What changed you?”
“Are you now judging me?”
Efe raised her hand at her. “Did I judge you when you were so determined to sleep around with men just so you could be a model? Did I judge you when you said you were pregnant? Did I judge you when you were naive and supported my relationship with Amanze? So who are you to come and tell me all this? Just because you have become a Christian for three days doesn’t mean you’re better than me or you are a complete saint!”
As soon as the words left her mouth she regretted them. But then it was too late to take them back. Efe looked down at the floor. She closed her eyes briefly then looked back at Pamela who was now seated on her bed. A forlorn look on her face.
God, what have I done?
“I’m sorry I said that. It’s – it’s just that you put me on the spot.” Efe walked to her and sat beside her. Thankfully, she didn’t shift away. “I’m just stressed out. Work. Daniel. Amanze. The whole divorce thing. It’s just getting to me.”
Pamela nodded. “I wasn’t judging you. Why should I when my life is not much better than yours. I just feel you should give Daniel a chance to explain things to you and try to make things right. He’s still your husband. If you were in his shoes wouldn’t you want forgiveness? It’s like we going to God for forgiveness and He turns His back on us.” Pamela looked at Efe with a questioning gaze. “Can He really do that? Would He really turn His back on us?”
Efe shook her head. “No, God isn’t like that. It’s only if we fail to for-”
“If we fail to do what?”
Efe couldn’t complete her statement. She literally felt her heart drop to her stomach. The scripture convicted her. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Lord, You want me to forgive? I thought Your will was Amanze . . .
“My brother loves his wife so much. As in, their love leaves me dreaming about Doyin and I. The way he takes care of her and spoils her just amazes me.” Fiyin went on and on to her friends. Zainab even found herself falling for the couple and thinking about her and I.K and how they would have been if they had gotten married. Maybe their love would have gone stronger or they wouldn’t have lasted the long haul. Whatever the case she was learning that no matter the situation she found herself in, God knew best.
Zainab paused as she picked up a foundation. She sniffed. It was the smell of her perfume that first caught her attention. She wanted to believe there were hundreds of people who could have that scent as their signature. She wanted so badly to believe it. But it was only wishful thinking. She looked up from what she was doing and saw her.
The sight of her made Zainab’s blood boil!
She couldn’t believe this was happening to her. It had to be some kind of joke or maybe she was stalking her. Sonia stood at the door-way and watched as Zainab did Fiyin’s make-up. She had also been shocked to see Zainab there, but she hid it quickly and forced a smile.
Why is she here of all places? How is she even related to the bride and groom? Zainab thought to herself as she tried to maintain concentration on her client’s oval-face. She was almost done with Fiyin and would have to move to the chief-bride’s maid quickly as time wasn’t on their side.
“Hope everything is going on smoothly.” She asked and walked into the room looking regal in the colours of the day; fuchsia pink and teal.
“Yes aunty Sonia. Everything is fine.” The bride responded.
She raised a brow. Aunty Sonia?
Zainab’s whole body tensed as Sonia came to stand behind the bride and smiled at her. “I’m happy to hear that. Today is a big day for you. Your brother flew all the way from the states just to make it to your wedding.”
Fiyin smiled. “I’m really grateful. Thanks so much aunty Sonia.”
Sonia is married to Jacob? That handsome hot-chocolate?! He’s not a fat blob any-more. He must have been deaf and dumb when deciding to marry her silly ass! And apparently he was crazy about her. Zainab had only seen few pictures of Sonia’s husband and back then he had been slightly over-weight, making it harder for her to remember him. But now he was drop-dead gorgeous and her cousin was still playing around? But then I.K wasn’t bad looking either and she had messed up her relationship with him for not being able to say no to Sonia. Sonia alone wasn’t to blame for her predicament.
“It’s fine.” Sonia’s eyes shifted to Zainab’s but Zainab didn’t make eye contact. She just wanted to get the job done and get out of there. “Your make-up artist should join us for the wedding. Since you would be changing to your evening wear later on she should be on ground to make sure you remain as beautiful at that time as you are now.”
The eye-brush hung in the air when Zainab heard that and she looked at Fiyin. “That wasn’t part of our agreement.”
Fiyin opened her mouth to respond but Sonia answered for her. “Yes, but you’re a professional right? These pictures would be in newspapers and magazines and if anything goes wrong it’s your reputation you have hanging on the line. So I suggest you be available.”
“Are you out of your mind?” Zainab said to her without thinking twice about it. Who is she to give me orders? If she wants to talk with me talking with that attitude was ridiculous!
The room suddenly fell silent and Zainab could feel eyes on her. She didn’t care. Sonia’s eyes pleaded for her to not make a scene. Everything in Zainab wanted to yank at her Brazillian hair and slap her a thousand times to mess up her perfect make-up, but instead she looked away from her and resumed work. Sonia took that as her cue and walked out of the room. The silence gradually dissipated and people began talking again but stole glances once in a while in her direction. Zainab wasn’t bothered. She just wanted out.
After she was done with the make-up and the bride and her entourage had left, Zainab stayed back to pack her things when Sonia showed up again. “I’m sorry about what happened earlier. I was trying to find a way to keep you from going so I could talk to you.”
Zainab said nothing.
“Zee please . . . I know I’ve wronged you. I’ve been trying to reach you all this while but not been able to. You kept cutting my calls and now you have blocked my number. I came over to your place, but the security guard wouldn’t let me in. Has it gotten to that stage?”
Zainab glared at her. “If you ask me that stupid question again I would slap you so hard you would have a migraine lasting for days. You’re crazy! You tell me you’re sorry now after ruining my life? You didn’t think that what you were going to do was wrong? You are extremely selfish! You have a husband. You have a family and yet you want to deprive me of one?”
“I didn’t want to lose you.”
“Zainab, you wouldn’t have been happy with that man.”
“Oh, so you aren’t happy with your husband?”
Sonia sighed and took a seat. “Our relationship is complicated. He’s a good man but I’m not necessarily attracted to him. Everyday I ask myself why I got married when I know my true sexual state. I’m tired of hiding. I’m tired. I know I was born this way -”
Zainab was quick to disagree. “No one is born an homosexual. It’s just a useless trick of the devil.”
Sonia raised her brow. “How do you know?”
“Because I know God didn’t create me to be like that. The bible lets me know that.”
“The bible?” Her cousin was dazed.
“I’m a Christian. After all you did to me I wanted to commit suicide. I felt my life wasn’t worth living. It was my father and friends that helped pull me out of that rot and I gave my life to Jesus. Everything just worked out for my good.”
Sonia rose from her seat. “You have joined that Jesus clan? Seriously?”
“It’s the best thing that has happened to me in all my life and I don’t regret it. I suggest you do the same.”
The door opened and Jacob walked into the room then and asked if she was ready to leave, that they were already late. Sonia looked at her. Zainab so wanted to pay her back in her own coin. She wanted to spill the beans and tell Jacob everything about his wife. Instead, she picked up her bags and walked out the room.
That was the end to that chapter of her life.
Christmas and the new year came and went by swiftly. It hadn’t felt much like Christmas to him despite all the festivities all around him. He flew down to Lagos to settle some things and spend time with his parents and daughter but then took a couple of days off work, with the assurance he would handle some of his work there, and flew back to Calabar. But that didn’t stop him from sending Efe messages. Or trying to call her despite her offish response. He could imagine her spending time with the other guy and them getting to know each-other.
It didn’t seat well with him. What would he do if she really didn’t want him back and they were done for real? He had taken only two weeks off work and he was expecting God to do the miraculous. He hoped it wouldn’t take months like it did John or worse . . . Years.
He shuddered at the thought.
It seemed silly of him to expect her to just run into his arms after it took him months to come to his senses. Gradually, he was losing his confidence. Why was she being so difficult? How many times did he have to say he was sorry before she accepted him and believe he was changed for good? But then God could do wonders and Daniel was believing in Him for that. He dropped his bags in his hotel room and headed out again. The drive to her office was faster than he wanted and he found himself waiting in the reception area while Efe made her way to him. She looked pretty in a navy-blue corporate gown,
with black heels.
He spoke up first. “Happy new year!”
“Haven’t I told you to stop bothering me? Now what are you doing in my office?”
“I wanted to surprise you.”
“I thought you travelled back to Lagos. Why did you come back?”
He shrugged and shoved his hands into his pockets. “I told you. I won’t give you up without a fight. I meant it.”
She swiped her hair from her face and tucked it behind her ear. She licked her lips. “Look Daniel . . . I don’t want to fight with you -”
“Then let’s not fight. Let’s try to make things work.”
She closed her eyes and shook her head. “It’s not that easy Daniel. You hurt me. You betrayed me.”
“I know. We both hurt each-other. That’s the truth. But we have come a long way and shouldn’t just give up without at least trying to make it work. We can’t keep living in the past and expect the future to work out.”
“What if I’m pregnant with another man’s child. Would you still want us to work out?”
He blinked. The question taking him by surprise. He didn’t know what to say. He had never thought of them being physically involved with each-other. What if she was pregnant? Was he going to live raising another man’s child? Would he be able to take it? He clenched his jaw hard and balled up his fist. What man would be stupid enough to get a married woman pregnant?
The same man that can sleep with another man’s wife and get her pregnant.
He unclenched his fists. He had slept with Adesewa and they had a scare of her being pregnant. Daniel couldn’t point a finger at her when he had chased her into the arms of another man.
He swallowed hard and asked, “Are you?”
“If I am?”
He ran his palm across his head and let out a breath. “Then we would take care of the baby together. I meant it when I said I wouldn’t give you up without a fight, and if that means fighting for your heart then I would.”
Her eyes glistened with tears and it was all Daniel could do to keep from holding her. He damned the consequences and pulled her into his arms. She stiffened at his touch.
“Efe, are you okay?”
Daniel looked up to find a tall, handsome man close to the door. The concern on his face disturbed Daniel. Efe moved way from his arms and wiped her eyes clean of the tears.
“I’m fine sir.” She turned to look at the man and her face was blocked from Daniel’s view. Is this the guy?
“Are you sure?”
The man looked up at Daniel. “Who’s he?”
Before Efe could say anything he spoke. “I’m her husband. Daniel Nwachukwu. You?”
“I’m her boyfriend. Amanze. And don’t you mean soon to be ex-husband?”
TO BE CONTINUED….(Please Leavea Comment Behind)
Author: Temitope Ogunyinka
Temitope Ogunyinka, is a loving, caring and friendly person. She is passionate about impacting the world through timeless wisdom and knowledge found in her thought provoking stories and writing that applies to all ages. Her stories and articles cut across love, relationship and romance in a way that does not deny the relevance of God in our everyday life. She is a devoted christian, passionate about bringing people to the knowledge of God’s true and unfailing love.
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