By Adeola Nissi
If eyes could kill, I was pretty sure i should be dead already. I swallowed heavily as I thought I might have gone too far in my little melodramatic displays. Alex seemed to be boiling with rage as he marched to the place I was standing, seizing me by the shoulder. “Are you crazy woman?” he roared. “Was I not clear enough when I told you expressly to shut your stinking mouth? Do you have any idea as to the tenacity of what your stupidity has just caused?”
“Alex” the Senator bellowed. “How dare you constitute a nuisance of yourself in my presence? And when in the history of your life have you seen me rough handle your mother the way you are doing currently? Let go of her this instant” the Senator was on his feet in anger. I had trouble determining whose anger seemed greater as they both glared; Alex glared at me, the senator glared at Alex. The equation became balanced when the senator’s wife turned to glare at her husband.
“Mark, you should be in support of your son instead of scolding him because of this piece of trash here. I don’t blame Alex for treating her like a maid, she certainly looks like one.”
“Will you shut up woman” he barked at her as he faced her. “Do I blame Alex? I wonder what devil transformed him into this, and I would wager that the devil looks very much like you” she gasped and her face turned red. Alex’s fingers dug into my shoulder painfully. I had definitely done everything wrongly, I thought sternly. As much as I disliked my evil looking mother-in-law, I did not want everyone to get insulted because of me. I opened my mouth to speak but before I could jump in, the senator proceeded. “Why do I have the strange feeling that the whole ‘maid’ thing was your idea?” he glared at her.
“Are you insulting my mum because of this thing dad?” Alex rasped and his anger seemed to have increased several degrees.
“This ‘thing’ is the woman you impregnated, and as long as you remain my son, you would have to accept her. If you don’t love her, learn to.” He said with a dead serious look on his face.
“I am a grown up man dad. As much as I respect you as my father, you cannot teach me how to run my family. I am capable to do whatever I damn well please in my own home, irrespective of your opinions. You know me well enough to know that I don’t take orders from anyone” he took his hands off me and stood taller, like an immovable pillar. I knew without a doubt that he was dead serious. I could not imagine anyone making Alex do what he did not want to do. Even though he was coerced into marrying me, I wondered how he had been pressured into the messy arrangement.
The Senator smiled dangerously, making my heart skip in fear as I anticipated what he was about to say. Alex was so much like his dad in so many ways, I noted, as they faced each other. I wondered within splits of seconds why Alex took everything from his dad, except his dad’s character; although the charming character had been evident in the village. It was probably just deceptive pretense, with the sole aim of getting into my pants, I thought. My thoughts came back to the sitting room when the Senator paced gently, circling Alex and I.
“You, my son, are probably the most stubborn man on earth, I agree, but you should know that every stubborn man has a father. If I remember correctly, Amara’s father threatened to disown her if she did not get married to you.” My heart raced as my eyes widened at the direction his words were going.
“Sir” I called, pleading.
“Be quiet, Amara, I am talking to my son” he scolded and my lips slammed shut.
He continued. “I would not threaten to disown you, because, apparently, you are my only child. However, the child in Amara’s womb in most definitely my grandchild and I would not have you subjecting her into unpleasant duties. If you refuse to treat Amara, your wife, with the respect she deserves, I would withdraw you from your position as the head of ‘The Bellos Crow’”
“What?” Alex gasped out as the words sank in. I was pretty sure I was as pale as a plain sheet. What have I done?
“You can’t be serious honey?” The senator’s wife said in horror.
“You can’t do that dad; I have spent several years of my life serving the company. You surely would not take it from me now.” He gasped out. I vaguely wondered how that was even possible since he just finished his service but that was the least of my worries.
“I can, and I will do just that Alex. Not only that, you would no longer be a member of the board at Belzinc. I say what I mean Alex, you know that”
“Oh my God” I gasped. “There is no need for all these sir. It is really not necessary. Please don’t fight your family on my behalf sir, I am sure I can’t bear that” I choked slightly at the thought. I had definitely done everything wrong. “As you can all see” I pointed to the sack of clothes on the floor. “I was about to leave this house. I can’t possibly stay in this house. I assure you that I was not pressured into that decision. Being a maid was a good thing because it kept me busy; I really am not used to having people do things for me. I am a village girl. Please don’t withdraw the company from him or anything for that matter. I have caused too many problems and it would be good if I just leave”
The senator smiled. “Like Alex rightly said, I can’t run his family for him.” He turned to Alex. “Son, the mother of my unborn grandchild wants to leave your house; it is for the both of you to decide. You either find a way to make her stay, or let her leave. Chris has been eyeing your position for years, I am sure he has the managerial abilities I look out for” he said with silent threats which nonetheless were loud enough for the deaf to hear.
He turned to his wife and said sternly. “I believe we should be heading home. We have a lot to talk about” he murmured. For the first time, the senator’s wife seemed agitated. They both swept out of the sitting room and within seconds, I was stunned to find myself alone with the man who was supposed to be my husband.
My knees started going weak from all the tension I had just experienced, but staring at Alex as he paced, I discovered that facing his wrath would be much more sapping that what I had just witnessed. I was exhausted though, and was not in the mood to get into any meaningless arguments with Alex. Watching him pace was exhausting enough. I walked silently towards my sack with a heavy heart. I could not believe that I was being separated from my husband, barely a week into the marriage. Normal couples would still be on their blissful honeymoon by now, but we are definitely not the picture of a perfect couple. It felt like a heavy weight had just landed on my shoulders as I thought of leaving. Why does it hurt so much to leave Alex despite all he has done? I wondered. I surely should not still love him after all these! I swallowed painfully as I cleared my throat.
“So I guess it is goodbye Corper” I said. It had felt so good to call him Alex in the presence of everyone. But now that everyone was gone, I decided it best to call him Corper. Calling him Alex now would create a picture of intimacy and I did not want that because it would make my exit more unbearable.
“And where the hell do you think you are going to?” he growled, coming to a stop at my front, making me shiver. Whether from fear or reaction to his nearness, I could not tell.
I swallowed. “To wherever I can find peace. I want a divorce, or an annulment since the marriage was not consummated after the wedding” I said with a raise of my head.
“Oh, so you can rejoice in the fact that you left me destroyed right?” he asked in anger and chills went through my spine. He glared at me then paced again. “In case you don’t know, let me tell you. ‘The Bellos Crow’ is my life. After my secondary school, I spent four years learning the managerial tactics from my father until I became an expert, even much better than my father. After gaining admission, I partly managed the company from school by giving orders of what should be done, even without being there. The company grew tremendously until it became as big as it is today. I would be damned if someone else would take over what I have toiled for all my life.”
I felt for him. With the way he talked about the company, I knew instantly that he really loved the company. Though I noted this, I saw no reason why all these should affect me. Surely the Senator’s threat was not real, was it? “I still don’t see why you are telling me this” I said to him and his face softened slowly, with embarrassment creeping in slightly.
“You can’t leave this house, you have to stay”
I inhaled as anger set in again. “You want me to stay? Sacrifice my happiness and freedom for you? Just because you want to keep your company? How dare you?” he really had a lot of nerves. “You have given me nothing but sadness. If not for this child, I would have cursed the day I set my eyes on you. Where is Corper Bello, because this man standing before me is not the man I met in my humble village” I ranted as I paced too.
A pained expression seemed to cross his features but it was gone in a second. “I am sorry, I know this is selfish of me but please look at it positively. Your parents would still disown you if you leave me and you would have nowhere to go in this large city. You could stay here instead, have a roof over your head and food also” he started pacing as if he could not believe the words coming out of his own mouth. “It is your only choice cos I won’t give you a divorce”
I laughed softly. “You think that would stop me?” I asked. “I would rather live on the streets than be a maid in my husband’s house”
“You don’t have to be a maid. You would be recognized as the… woman of the house. You would have your own room upstairs, including everything you need” he rasped in irritation.
I swallowed. “But there is one thing I cannot have, right? I can’t have my husband” I said.
He nodded. “We would both live together but have the freedom to do whatever we like. You have the right to go anywhere and do anything you like with anyone and I also have the same rights. We can be mature enough to manage this situation we found ourselves without inconveniencing each other in any way”
“In other words, you want us to live in the same house like tenants, or strangers, right?” I asked bitterly.
“You must admit that it makes perfect sense” he said.
The drama just never seemed to end. From being a maid, to being a housemate in my husband’s house. Can life get any worse? I sighed. But thinking about it, the proposition was not totally bad. In fact, it sounded ok. Once I get rid of the ridiculous motion that Alex would come to love me as much as I still foolishly love him, I should be able to live by those rules. I swallowed. “Ok” I murmured finally, feeling the last of my strength drain out of me.
He exhaled in relief. “Perfect then. Please ask Tina to show you to one of the rooms upstairs. There are four rooms there, you can choose anyone you like” he said in total indifference. I have to go out now, when I get back, I would give you a credit card for you to use for whatever you might need. I would also have a lawyer draft an agreement in order to make this arrangement legal. This would protect both our rights. I hope this is ok?” he asked and I nodded numbly. He turned towards the door instantly and was out of the house within seconds.
I did not know what a credit card is but I let him leave. I have had more than enough and I needed some space to assimilate the turn of events. I knew instinctively that Alex was probably going after the saucy girlfriend but I quenched the bitterness I felt at the thought. Since I have agreed to this insane arrangement, I would most likely experience this shit on a regular basis. And the legal agreement he talked about would definitely give him the legal rights to do that; I surely hadn’t seen that coming. I turned on my heels, walking slowly towards the kitchen. There was only one thing I wanted to do with the last iota of strength in me.
I got to the kitchen and met the two ladies looking as though they had just fallen into a ditch. I was sorry for keeping this away from Tina who had been extremely helpful from day one. They both looked scared but Tola looked like she wished the ground would swallow her. There was no mistaking the fact that they had heard everything. I smiled. “Tola, I want you to select a very good room for me upstairs, preferably anyone that has a good view of the beautiful garden. Make sure it is sparkling clean without a speck of dust, do you understand?” she was silent. I glared at her. “Do you understand me?” she nodded stiffly and I smiled. “Good girl”
I smiled softly at Tina and left the kitchen. The excitement of taking everyone by surprise vanished with each step I took, replaced firmly by an overwhelming sadness. By accepting this arrangement, I have given Alex the right to hurt me the more. Since we could both do anything we liked, I knew that he would take advantage of that by having as many women as he liked. I closed my eyes and prayed that I would have the ability to withstand what was to come.
…to be continued