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By Adeola Nissi
One week passed and the idea of being a maid in my husband’s house was still like a bomb. Each passing day added to my shock and dismay at this display of impunity. I have never felt more like garbage like I did now, having to work with the maids in the house. Ever since Corper walked out of my room, I hadn’t set my eyes on him. I was careful to ensure that we never happened to be in the same place together. My hatred for him grew with each passing day, but my love for him was not eliminated either. I still could not understand why thoughts of him still plagued my dreams. Every time, I entertained the hope that he would change and love me the way he professed in the village. Unfortunately, there was no indication that this would ever happen.
My pale state and vomiting had made it known almost immediately I arrived that I was pregnant. Tina had been very helpful, encouraging me and making me laugh whenever my mood turned sour – which was almost all the time. I had been careful enough to avoid the subject of my child’s paternity whenever she tried to bring it up. Changing the subject had always been my way out of that sticky situation. Tola, the cleaner, on the other hand, had been a real pain in the butt. She never spared a change to throw well-aimed insults at me. The fact that I had to share the house chores with her, instead of making her happy, made her terribly furious. We became instant enemies and she never stops expressing her wish that I would ‘go back to whatever stinking village I come from’. Even though Tina was constantly coming to my aid, dealing with Tola’s sharp mouth along with my other problems was beginning to really get on my nerves. The fact that I should naturally be the madam of the house was what stopped me from bantering words with her. It was infuriating that someone who should naturally report to me was giving me a really tough time; it made the idea of being a maid sink in.
One fateful morning, I woke up extremely early, partly from lack of sleep and also from the desire to use the general maids’ bathroom before the other girls, since we had to share bathroom and toilet. I was certainly in no mood Tola’s ranting. After a refreshing shower, I dressed myself in the maids’ uniform and still had too much time to myself before starting the house chores. After drinking the bitter village herbs to drive away nausea and dizziness, I decided to lose my already rough hair. The ‘all back’ had lasted way longer than it ought. Loosening it took just a few minutes and I combed my hair out, letting the long strands fall freely past my shoulders. Satisfied that I looked a bit better than before, even without a mirror to confirm that, I straightened up my bed and decided to start the house chores, regardless of the time.
The work was a good thing for me because it helped me to keep myself busy and push away depressing thoughts. I could not imagine how terrible it would have been if I had to just sit idle and watch the ticking hands of the clock. As I cleaned the furniture, songs of sadness escaped my lips. Thoughts of corper stayed permanently on my mind, probably because his picture frames hung all around the extra-large sitting room. He had seen the product of our union as a crime, but I refused to see the life growing in me as the cause of my sadness. Notwithstanding the circumstances surrounding my conception, I vowed to give my child all the love and care that he or she deserved. Even if the child never knew the love of a father, I promised to fill both the spot of a mother and that of a father in my child’s life. At first, recapturing corper Bello’s love had crossed my mind, but considering all that I was being made to go through, I was not sure I even felt anything but hate for him again.
Footsteps alerted me, telling me that I was not alone. I tensed, knowing exactly who it was before I even saw him. My thoughts may have summoned him but his presence engulfed the entire sitting room, immediately he started climbing down the steps. What was he doing up so early? I wished he did not have such an effect on me and the admission that I still harbored feelings for him made me extremely angry. I stopped singing and cleaned the couch I was cleaning furiously, with undiluted anger.
“I suppose you were taught how to greet” he murmured.
My hands stilled slightly, and then wordlessly, I continued.
“You are not deaf, are you?” he asked as anger crept into his voice. He must have some nerves!
I dropped the duster instantly and faced him, wanting to show him that I was not born mute. “Excuse me sir, if I remember correctly, the duties of a maid that was assigned to me was to clean the house. That does not include greeting you, does it?”
He clenched his fists dangerously. “Are you raising your voice at me?” he growled, advancing menacingly.
I stood my ground. I had entered the lion’s den; I might as well face the consequences. “What if I am?” his palm connected with my cheeks, sending me backwards from the force. My face burnt bright red and my eyes had trouble focusing on him as dizziness gripped me with full force. He grabbed my neck and dragged me to him and I started panicking. I don’t think I have ever been this scared.
“Never” he boomed. “Never you talk back at me, you hear me? Never” he roared and pushed me out of his hands. I almost fell flat on my face from the force of the push and I stumbled furiously, trying to get my footing. Immediately I did, I turned and fled into my room like the devil was at my heels. Slamming the door forcefully, I collapsed on my bed, in tears. It had become abundantly clear now that this is not the Corper I fell in love with, because the man out there was nothing more than a monster.
*****
*****
Mr Peters stretched his legs before him. Now, life was beginning to have shape, he thought happily. He felt overjoyed over the incidents of the past few weeks. It would have been a disaster if the person that impregnated Amara was a pauper. In fact, he was sure that he would have disowned her instantly.
He had known when his daughter started following the corper around. He had known that something like this might happen. It was then he had done a little research and found out that the corper was from a wealthy family. He did not know however, that the boy was this wealthy. When Alex had suggested he paid them off, the idea had sounded very palatable as he considered that it would be nice to have instant money. But he had calculated that the token that would be given can never be compared to what Amara could extort on the long run, if his daughter was married to the Senator’s son. He felt happy with himself. It was not every day that opportunities like this surfaced, and the earlier he grabbed it with two hands, the better for him. All he needed now was for Amara to use her brain and her ‘endowments’ to win her way into her husband’s heart. He knew that being the good girl that she was; she would still be having difficulty doing what he had hinted on her wedding day. He would have to work on that. A little visit to her place and some cunning advices would be able to set her in motion. Mr Peters knew that it would have been a great help if his wife was in support of this motion. She would have been able to train Amara properly, since they were both women and it was not a myth that Amara always listened to her mother. But that damn woman was too stubborn, he thought angrily. He would have to be contented with doing this by himself.
A big smile touched his dry lips as he considered getting an apartment here in the FCT instead of going back to that blasted village. He had gotten a pretty handsome amount for Amara’s dowry but now, he had no intention of using part of the money for an apartment. The Senator would have to get them an apartment if he wanted them out of his house; with a little taunting of course. He laughed. Life could be fun!
*****
*****
I walked the flower garden around the house in the evening, allowing the sweet smell wash over my face. Staying in the garden was always the highlight of my day because the sweet scent of the flowers seemed to bring joy to my soul. After the event of the morning, this walk was what I needed to sooth the hurt I was feeling. I banished my bad memories and thought about my happy times in the village. My fingers toyed with the flowers when unexpectedly; Corper’s car drove into the compound. I would have retreated hastily, in order to avoid facing him again, but instead, I stood where I was, looking. I caught sight of someone in the car with him and a frown crossed my face.
Corper turned round and opened the door for his passenger, who stepped out of the car stylishly. It was undoubtedly a woman, a very beautiful one at that. Who the hell is this, I wondered in shocked annoyance. She looked at Corper and smiled at him, murmuring something I could not grab, and the corper seemed to melt under her gaze. He closed the door of the car and put his hand around her waist, leading her inside. I had seen enough! I turned on my heels and marched towards the back door, entering the kitchen without preamble. Tina, who had been busy slicing tomatoes, looked up and frowned.
“What is the matter?” she asked. “Is Tola getting on your nerves again?”
I shook my head. Now that she mentioned it, I noticed that I hadn’t seen that big mouthed girl today but it was none of my concern. Frankly, I wished I would never set my eyes on her again. “No, she isn’t” I said softly.
“Then what is the matter with you?” she asked in a concerned tone.
I contemplated my answer. “Nothing. Just a mood swing” I said softly. She eyes me suspiciously. Unable to stop myself, I asked. “Who is that woman with… erm… Mr Alex?”
“He is back?” she asked in surprise.
I nodded briefly and she went to peep, in order to see the woman I was talking about. They had already reached the sitting room. She came back with a frown. “Oh, that is Mr. Alex’s fiancée, Miss Lisa” she declared.
“Fiancée?” I gasped out but, thank God,  she was oblivious to the tension I was feeling.
She nodded. “I don’t like her, she is too arrogant and disrespectful. I wonder what my boss sees in that woman” she said in irritation. “Anyways, I am sure her beauty is what captured him.” She continued. “She is too fine for her own good. I wonder what I would do when he marries her, my life would be hell”
I blanched. “Marry?”
She faced me. “Yes. Marry. Our boss plans to marry her, the wedding preparation is in progress”
“No, it can’t be” I breathed.
She frowned. “Why are you like this? You already dislike her too?” she asked in wonder.
I was finding it hard to breathe. This could not be happening. i shook my head and quickly exited the kitchen and Tina frowned in confusion. As I made a hasty retreat to my room, I decided there and then that there was no way I would stay in that house. This was obviously too much to take in. it is high time I take my destiny and that of my child into my hands, I told myself as I went to pack the few rags I owned.  
…to be continued

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