By Adeola Nissi
I stared at myself in the mirror in disbelief. I could not quite believe I was the one in the mirror. Tina had helped relax my hair and now, it fell freely and softly around my shoulders, with a gentle glow. The gown though was a sight to behold. Though simple, it hugged my upper body perfectly and the flare which began beneath the bust was more than enough to hide my growing tummy, making me look like the sexiest pregnant woman alive. I laughed at the vague thought and wondered why on earth I hadn’t agreed to this in the first place. Having good clothes was effectively driving away my sadness, making me forget my pain and regrets; I only hoped the feeling would last long because if not, I would continue to buy clothes to keep this feeling in place. I smiled in remembrance of my cheeky behaviors yesterday with Alex and Lisa. The stunned expressions which had taken over the two had been a sight to behold. Even after a hundred years, I don’t think I would be able to erase their shocked faces from my memory. It was still a surprise that I had actually pulled it off but I guess you never know what you are capable of until you are faced with challenges.
I gave myself one last glance and turned away from the mirror. I knew that Alex hadn’t left for the office, and if my calculations are right, he would be eating breakfast right now with his beloved mistress by his side. I opened the door of my room and stepped out. As I walked down the stairs, I met Tina, bringing my breakfast, obviously to my room.
“Good morning Tina” I greeted.
She opened her mouth, unable to close it for a few seconds. I instinctively knew what she was gaping at. “Woow” she gasped. “This gown was definitely made with you in mind” she breathed. “You look divine”.
I grinned. “I know, I was also gaping when I stared at myself in the mirror”
“And it is just a simple gown. What would you look like when you put on those outing dresses? I always knew you were a spectacular beauty.”
I grinned. “Now you are flattering me. If you were a man, ladies would fall for your sweet tongue”. Just like I fell for Alex. That thought was inevitable and it deflated my high spirit like a punctured balloon. Tina noticed this and her smile vanished. Mentally shaking myself, I looked at her. “Thanks Tina, from today, I would have my breakfasts on the dinning, along with everyone. I should stop adding to your work load. Besides, it would be fun to sit on the same table with my husband’s mistress” I smiled.
She frowned. “Are you sure you know what you are doing Amara? This new tactic might backfire and I am scared you might get hurt” she said softly, looking worried.
“I am already hurt Tina, what more can anyone do? No one can do more than what has been done already, and as long as that does not happen, I can handle anything that comes my way” I murmured.
“For your sake, I hope you are right”
“I am, stop worrying Tina. By the way, I am not the only one looking pretty, you look absolutely stunning today dear friend” I said with a wink as I walked down the stairs.
“All thanks to you” she returned. I held myself from responding as I drew closer to the dining and tried to gather momentum. I saw Alex sitting at the head of the chair with Lisa beside him looking angry. She looked just as angry as she looked the previous day and I smiled brightly as I got to the table. Alex and Lisa looked up and seemed to freeze on their seats. Alex held his cup of tea in the air, and the cup nearly dropped from his fingers in shock. I felt it as their eyes traced my body and my smile deepened. This should be an interesting morning!
“Well well” Lisa squeaked softly. “I guess the village tramp is now trying to fit into society” she murmured angrily.
I inhaled deeply, completely ignoring her cos I really did not have time for her today. “Uhmmmmm…” I sighed. “Something smells nice” I said with a dreamy look on my face. I walked to Alex and was terribly irritated when his eyes roamed my body, lingering on my chest, but I hid my irritation behind a fake smile. I got to Alex and suddenly bent to plant a firm kiss on his cheek, stunning him and drawing a sharp angry look from Lisa.
“Good morning dear husband” I said with excitement ringing in my voice. I glanced at Lisa. “Good morning mistress”. None of them answered and I frowned dramatically. “Awww… didn’t you both enjoy a good night’s sleep?” They looked at me impassively and I shook my head and looked pitifully at them. “That is a shame. I actually had a very nice sleep, the best I have had in a long time by the way, and a wonderful dream to go with it” I smiled gaily. I sank onto the chair on Alex’s left and picked a plate and served myself. Eating fried eggs did not seem like a good idea because I have noticed since I got pregnant, that I always ended up throwing up afterwards, so I opted for taking bread and tea only. I moaned softly in appreciation when the rich beverage slid down my throat and Alex looked up instantly.
Lisa cleared her throat and sat as straight as a stick on her chair and murmured something under her breath then faced Alex. “Sweetheart?” she called.
“Yes baby” Alex answered distractedly. I continued my meal as though there were not there.
“I had a talk with the wedding planner last night” she began.
“You did?” Alex seemed tense.
“Yes. All the decorations are in order and the baker is working on the cakes. The wedding gown I chose has been purchased and would be delivered soon. I think everything is in place. I want the wedding to be grand and not look like a shabby sitting room wedding” she declared.
“No one would dare wed you in a sitting room baby” Alex responded. “You are way too precious for that”.
She laughed. “Thanks baby… Obviously. Only village dropouts get married in such manner” she said triumphantly.
“At least, the village dropout gets a wedding. You won’t be getting any” I said calmly as I chewed on the bread.
Tina faced me angrily. She had obviously been trying to get me angry with her comment and my calm statement got her infuriated. “Oh? Is your imagination playing tricks on you? We are getting married next week, if you are nice, i might invite you so you can see what a real wedding should look like” she said sharply with a cynical smile.
“Oh sweetheart, sorry to burst your bubble, there won’t be a wedding, not next week, not next year, not in the next life, do you understand?” I returned, focusing fully on my meal.
“There won’t? And what would you do to stop the wedding uhn?” I could hear her tapping her feet angrily under the table.
“Yes. How do you plan on stopping it?” Alex added and I noted his increasing anger in the taut lines of veins in his strong hands.
“Oh me? I won’t do anything; in fact, Alex would definitely stop the wedding by himself” I murmured with a deepening smile.
“What the hell are you talking about Amara?” Alex asked.
“Never mind” I dismissed and stood up. “Well, I have to go now”
“Sit down. You would explain the meaning of this nonsense right now tramp” Lisa yelled.
I raised my brows. “The next time you call me that, I would personally show you how villagers deal with people like you. Nonsense”
I stood up from the chair and walked into the kitchen. Tina and Tola were in the middle of a discussion when I entered the kitchen. “Hey ladies” I greeted with a smile.
“Good morning Miss Amara. Thanks again for the clothes” Tola said hastily.
“It’s nothing, besides, we are going to get more today” they both grinned and I had the feeling that I had won Tola over. She looked freer with me than she has ever been and I liked it. The less enemies I had, the better.“Ok, are you both ready?” they nodded frantically and we set out.
Alex placed his head on his office desk as thoughts ran through his mind, throwing him in a state of confusion, and everything was centered on Amara. She had changed and he could tell that the woman was not the same villager she used to be. She had challenged him; something that only a few people could do, but she had done it effectively. This annoyed him more than anything. He could not even begin to believe that Amara had stood up to him. Where had she found the courage to do that?
And this morning… she had looked… spectacular. Not for once looking like the same Amara he used to know. She had looked totally outstanding, even without make-up. He almost hadn’t been able to take his eyes off her bosom and the cleavage that was visible for all to see. She had always been beautiful but he never imagined that she could be that beautiful. This worried him also. He did not want her looking beautiful, he wanted her to look pathetic because that would give him the avenue to maltreat her freely. When he jad offered her the opportunity to own beautiful clothes, he hadn’t thought that she would look completely outstanding in them. It was probably not even the cloth that made her look outstandingly gorgeous; it can as well be the way she carried herself confidently, a trait that only just surfaced the previous day.
Now she feels he won’t go through with marrying Lisa. What on earth would give her that thought? Lisa is not only beautiful but sophisticated and rich; the ideal woman for him. He knew that he could take Lisa out to dinner parties and not be scared that she would disgrace him with bad village attitudes and poor table manners. Despite the fact that Lisa was a spoilt brat, she was perfectly mind blowing in bed and that was all he always looked for in a woman. Amara is a total novice where sex is concerned, she was nothing more than a ‘use and dump material’ to him, he never imagined that she would end up getting herself pregnant. He banged his fist on the table. Now, he would end up marrying two wives. He murmured a curse under his breath. Leaving Lisa was not an option and leaving Amara was even worse. He could not afford to lose this company. It was all he lived for.
The door to his office opened unceremoniously and Toba walked in with a grin. “Hey man” he cooed.
Alex raised his head wearily from the table and looked at his friend. Toba was smiling down at him but he could not even muster enough strength to return the smile. His face seemed to continuously hold a frown ever since Amara came into his life. He hadn’t seen Toba ever since they finished service and instead of him welcoming his friend with a beaming smile, all he had was a deep frown and sweaty palms. “Hey buddy” he murmured.
Toba frowned and accepted his friend’s handshake before sinking into the opposite chair. “This is not the kind of reception I expected to get after weeks apart” he said.
Alex exhaled. “I am sorry Toba, my thoughts just seem to be scattered all over west Africa”
Toba smiled. “If that is the case, I guess it would take years to fully gather your thoughts”
Alex’s frown deepened. “I am sure you are right”
Toba whistled and frowned deeply. “OK. I really need to know what is responsible for shaking the confidence of the almighty Alex Bello” he said. “Only a woman can do that”
“Very true. A lowlife village local champion for that matter” Alex returned.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Toba’s interest was already pricked.
“I am talking about Amara”
“Who is Amara?”
Alex hissed. He could not blame his friend for not remembering the name of their betting contest. He would not have remembered her name too if she hadn’t shown up on his doorstep with pregnancy claims. “Amara. The girl I deflowered during service”
Toba’s eyes widened. “Yes! What about her? I thought you were done with her when you won the bet”
“I was” Alex exhaled. “Until she showed up in my father’s house claiming that I impregnated her”
“What?” He almost jumped out of the chair. “You see? I told you those village girls are witches, you can never touch them and go scot free. I warned you. Did you never hear of the word condom? How could you have been so careless?”
“Well, it is too late for me to answer that. I am already married to her”
Toba bolted up. “You are what?” He yelled. “Are you sure you are alright Alex? You seem to be saying rubbish”
“I got married to her about two months ago man”
“Are you sick?” He roared. “Did you never hear about abortion?”
“Shut up man, you are pissing me off. Did you listen to me at all? She showed up on my father’s doorstep, not mine. Her blasted father threatened to truncate my dad’s election by spreading the news if I don’t marry his daughter. My father made me marry the b**** and there was nothing I could do about it.”
Toba hissed. “Nothing? How did things get this far? Why didn’t you tell me anything?”
Alex exhaled. He knee that everything was a huge mess. “Sit down bro, you have not heard the full gist”
“There is more” he sounded bewildered as he sat back down.
“I made Amara a maid in the house but she flared up when she found me with Lisa and asked for a divorce”
“Good for you” Toba said instantly.
“Yeah. It would have been but dad threatened to take the company away from me if I let her go away with his grandchild.”
“Oh brother, your life is really messed up”
Alex frowned angrily. “Thanks. And it gets more messy because it also turns out that Lisa is also pregnant”
Toba stared at him, totally dumbfounded for some minutes then started to laugh uncontrollably. Alex scoffed and wanted to punch Toba in the throat. “It is nice to know that my predicament is funny”
Toba laughed and laughed, trying to stop himself. “Ol boy… I think… 2face is your role model” he laughed out loud and his laughter vibrated the walls. “But 2face never married his baby mamas so I think you need to take lectured from him”
“Shut up” Alex boomed angrily. “If you are not going to say anything sensible, get yourself out of here you swine”
Toba forcefully brought himself under control. “Sorry… So, is that all?”
Toba forced himself not to laugh as he tried to listen to the rest of the tale. Alex told him of the contract, how Lisa moved into the house and sped up the wedding date and how Amara moved out of her room for Lisa and how he had told her that she was merely a bet and…
“Wait” Toba stopped him with wide eyes. “Are you trying to tell me that you actually told her that you placed a bet on her?” Now, this did not sound funny.
“Oh, Alex, you are probably the most stupid man on earth. It seems this Amara knows how to make you do stupid things. How can you do that?”
“I really deserve whatever insult you throw because you are right. That is the most stupid thing I have done so far because she has changed. It is like she is about to invoke the spirits of hell” he explained all that happened ever since he told Amara about the bet and when he finished, Toba’s eyes were wide.
“Oh, you are in for trouble man”
Alex exhaled deeply. “I know but I can’t sit down and do nothing. I need to do something. Something to destroy that confidence she now has and give her back that inferiority complex”
Toba thought for a while. “Well, that shouldn’t be so difficult. She is a woman, you are a man. Beating her up every time she runs her mouth would cool her down a bit, it would be preferable to do it in presence of one or two people. That would give her a level of inferiority complex. Downplay her and put all her shortcomings before her, use it to taunt her in the presence of people and you would see that this newly found bravery would vanish. Although, I hope she won’t be pushed to do anything rash…” he said thoughtfully. “… Like kill you”
Alex swallowed. “That is a brilliant idea” he could not wait to get the control back. “Why did I not think of it before?” He remembered when he had hit her when she just entered the house. She had squirmed and fled. “It is an excellent idea” he breathed again. “And no, she won’t be tempted to kill me because I would make sure she does not have enough strength to even try”.
Lisa paced her room. This has got to stop. She could not sit back and watch Amara trample all over her. It was as if Amara knew how to get her blood boiling with anger. She has been with Alex for about two years now, and all of a sudden, this tramp shows up out of the blues to snatch him? No. Lisa was not ready to share Alex. And she was also sure she would still not be ready to do that fifty years from now. She needed to get Amara out of the house and she did not care how she achieved that.
She heard the driver enter the compound and minutes later, she heard the voices of the maids as they talked with Amara. Yes! She thought. She needed an accomplice to accomplish her mission and if her hunch was right, Tola would be her best bet.
…to be continued