By Zainab Sanusi



Sometimes during the wee hours of the morning, Bolarinwa rolled on his side staring at the hotel room. It’s been a long time, a time he was sure he couldn’t remembered he slept on something closer to the floor. He lifted himself up, shoulders aching, he stared at the couple smuggled together. He shook his head. So much for being a brother.

He packed his clothing and went to the bed shaking lightly while calling Wande’s name. Feeling a gentle touch on his shoulder, Wande pried his heavy-lidded eye opened.

“What the hell..”

“Shut up jo, and come and lock your door” Bolarinwa retorted moving to the door.

Wande trodded behind him and stopped him from opening door.

“I haven’t thank you for last night”

“It’s fine. I was very scared. One moment everything was fine and the next it was horrible. We need to go back home and talk to the elders” he said while Wande nodded

A sudden smile appeared on Bolarinwa’s face

“Bayo, you bashed his face. You have to call him”

“I wish it was that stupid Kunle” Wande said chuckling

“See you later in the morning” Bolarinwa said while he locked the door behind him.

He moved back to the bed, his temples thumped dully—-a stress headache forming. He wasn’t surprised, with what he went through the previous night. He could still remember everything clearly. Bola really did a lot for him keeping his insanity private. Even Grace that was called on a short notice was not aware. He couldn’t imagine how it would wrecked him publicly if other people were to found out. Whoever did that evil to him deserved nothing short of death. His restless body woke up his wife, she turned staring at him with delight in her eyes.

“What’s the time?” she whispered

“3:am” he whispered back after checking his wrist watch

She snuggled closer to him, trying to sleep when a thought occurred to her.

“Grace. I saw her last night” she said in that low tone

“You can quit with that whispering, your brother is gone. Its just you and I” But he knew his wife loved conversing in low tones.

“Is he?” she asked sitting up on the bed looking around.

Wande saw the white bracelet adorning her hand. He examined it and saw nothing extraordinary. It was just white beads.

“If you remove that bracelet, do you suppose I won’t be my normal self?” He asked softening the word after she reprimanded him for saying he was mad.

“I didn’t ask her. But I wouldn’t want to know by removing it now. Let’s wait till morning and call her” she said, leaning on him as they slipped deeper beneath the duvet.

“You and Grace..” she started

“She’s married” he explained further when she stared at him with wide eyes.

“She works for me. That’s all. We are not lovers or anything relating to that”

She was relieved to hear that. The market was free of all competitors off. Just an unknown enemy hovering above them. She asked him about the night at her restaurant. Why he was angry at her.

“I thought you were pregnant” he said explaining all about the note and the conversation he over heard.

“My dad has been concerned about that aspect of my life since I was seventeen”

“Your brother told me about it. He heard it from your stepmother” Wande said

“Really? Did my stepmother mentioned how she told her friends and our neighbours that I don’t have womanliness. That I can’t give birth. It was really hard on me then. And there’s this incision here” she said raising her gown up from her leg to her stomach oblivious of the excitement thrill in her husband’s eyes. She drew the gown down while her husband frowned inwardly.

“The Doctor performed surgery on me which was really unnecessary to view if I had a complete reproductive organs. Everything is fine now” she said.

But Wande was not interested in the tale. Though he had a lot to say from telling her to forgive her stepmother to empathizing with her. But his interest had shiftedto a more baser needs.

Without warning, Wande sprang off the bed carting her with him.

“What..”

“Let’s shower” he replied helping her with her gown

“I want to talk”she said

“In the shower” he replied striding into the ensuite bathroom and straight into the spacious shower with her.

He pressed a button, warm water cascaded down their body. Olaronke grabbed her body wash and stood on her toes pouring some on his head, their body merging together in the process.

“Smell nice” he murmured, his hand cupping her derrière.

He watched her lips moved without hearing a thing. He grinned, sometimes nodded to whatever she was saying.

“Talk” Olaronke said poking his chest

“It’s nice” he commented

She rolled her eyes “I was left alone at the hospital to face the surgery. That’s not nice”

“I’m sorry” he said, his lips capturing hers in a soul searing kiss. The desire to talk was soon forgotten replaced with a white hot passion that sizzled across her skin. His hands were all over her. His long fingers tampering with her shower cap.

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“Don’t. Not under the shower” she managed to say

He lifted her out of the ensuite bathroom to the bed. The offending cap was thrown across the room.

“Wande?” she called

“Can you please make your mouth busy elsewhere? Must you talk?” he groaned, his hand trailed along her throat urgently searching for her breasts.

She sighed with pure contentment as she closed her eyes. Her fingers roved from his chest down to his muscular thighs. It was finally here. The wedding night she had looked forward too. Well, it was morning for them. When she tried to tell him the experience was new for her.

“Don’t talk” he silenced her with his mouth.

It seemed making love was a serious business to him

************

Olaronke sat at the reception with her husband waiting for Oluwaniyi who sounded distraught on phone. They should have left with her brother this morning but when she received his call, her husband had convinced her to wait and hear him out.

“What’s the next thing for us?” She asked Wande

“Go home, talk to my uncles about what happened to us. Start a family” he said while she nodded.

“That sounds great. But I will like us to have a proper marriage. A court marriage” she told him.

Aina had raised her fears on that subject.

“We will arrange one when we get home” he replied

“So you and this your ex did not get down?” he asked, while she raised her eyebrows

“Sorry, I know its a silly question but I am just surprised” he said

“I don’t believe in premarital sex” she told him

“You have been waiting for me? That guy is such a loser. A big one” he said grinning like the a typical male

She rolled her eyes “No, I actually made a choice that suit me. No man is worth waiting for” she said smiling inwardly

It was Wande turn to roll his eyes ” You do know how to massage a man’s ego”

She was about to reply him, when she saw Oluwaniyi entered the reception looking around him.

“Hey” Olaronke called waving

Seeing him again did nothing to her. It brought no pain or joy. It was just like seeing someone new. She couldn’t believed she had once spent three years of her life with him and was hoping to spend the rest of their lives together.

She introduced him to her husband who seemed happy with himself for reasons she did not know.

“I don’t even know where to start from” Oluwaniyi said facing her

“I am very sorry Adunni. I shouldn’t have done what I did to you. But then, things weren’t clear to me”

“What things?” Wande asked

“Barely twenty four hours to our wedding, I received a mail and some pictures”

“What pictures?” She asked him

Oluwaniyi looked doubtful, he was not sure if he should revealed those pictures or not. Especially with Adunni’s husband present. He wouldn’t want to destroyed the trust that existed between them

“Oluwaniyi, let’s see the pictures. Whatever it is, I have my husband’s trust” Olaronke said smiling at Wande

“Let’s see the pictures” Wande added

Oluwaniyi brought out a replica of the pictures she showed her husband the previous night. Except that the one he was holding was printed in black and white and photo shopped.

“How did you get this?” she was shocked

“Someone sent it with a mail that says you cannot give birth that you have had several abortions. I was stupid to believe it”

“You only trust yourself. You have never shown faith in another human” Olaronke said while he grimaced

“I have never seen those pictures on your phone and I remembered you once read about IVF on my phone” he explained

“That’s enough reason to believe all that lies? Our three years together meant nothing to you. I intend to give you these pictures on our wedding night as a gift. If you remembered I said I have pleasant pictures I want to show you. A phone call would have cleared all this” Olaronke was annoyed

“Thank God there was no phone call” Wande added

“I am very sorry once again. Bonuade said she sent the mail to me” Oluwaniyi said feeling uncomfortable

“Bonuade? I am surprise. I can’t believe she did that” Olaronke said shaking her head

“Me too. There’s something she’s keeping from me. She told me the message in the mail were all lies and it was not her words. She said its someone closer to you. But she wouldn’t say. She said something about oath and death” Oluwaniyi said

“Oath and death?” Olaronke repeated while Oluwaniyi nodded.

He had saw some documents about Aina in his wife’s bedroom after they moved back to their house. His wife had Aina investigated for reasons alien to him. And he asked her, but she wouldn’t tell him. When he became persistent she had dissolved into uncontrollable tears. There was a hold Aina had over his wife but she refused to tell him. He was helpless, he wished he could help her.

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“Someone sent a note to my husband. The note said I was pregnant for you and that was why I married Wande after you left me. Did Bonuade confessed to that too?” Olaronke asked him.

“No” he said looking shocked

“Who knew about these pictures?” Wande asked her

“Myself, you, my brother, Aina, the photographer, Oluwaniyi and Bonuade” Olaronke told him.

“That means someone in that list is behind all these notes we received” Oluwaniyi said, getting the logic behind Wande’s question

“Someone that has something to gain” Wande added

“That’s Bonuade, she wants you and she has you now” Olaronke said to Oluwaniyi

“It’s not Bonuade. She has him now so why send me a note? Its someone that is out to destroy your happiness. The photographer has nothing to gain. He can’t blackmail you with it because its not a Unclad picture” Wande said

“It’s not your brother. Have you thought about Aina?” Oluwaniyi said while Wande nodded his agreement

“Aina? She’s a gentle soul. She will never do that”

“I don’t like her” Wande said

“Me too” Oluwaniyi added

“Do you know what we should do? Let’s hirer a private investigator” Wande told the other man.

Olaronke sat back watching the two men planned together like they were a team. Oluwaniyi provided the contacts of the private investigator firm he knew. They called the firm and waites for the agency to showed up.

“This is not necessary. Would you say Aina is behind what happened to you last night?” She asked Wande, who only raised his eyebrow

“I know Aina more than you, do you know she came to my office ……”

“I knew she came to your office and you had your security throw her out just because she mentioned my name. That’s wickedness” Olaronke said angrily.

“That’s not true. She came there trying to seduce me and saying all sort about you” Oluwaniyi said

“Stop flattering yourself” Olaronke said

“Its OK. Adunni I need Aina details for the investigator” Wande said

“I will not betray my best friend” she said stubbornly

“Your friend that lied against you. Do you know what she told Kunle?” Wande asked her

“She said we went everywhere. That’s not exactly a lie. But I have never been to Glorious night” Olaronke said

“Glorious night? I missed those days” Oluwaniyi said

That set another conversation in. The guys talked about those days, careful to avoid offending topics. Olaronke kept rolling her eyes wondering what was special in those games they indulged in.

The private investigator came, she reluctantly provided the details they needed after the investigator convinced her that she shouldn’t trust anyone at this point. Later on, they saw him off while she went back to the hotel room to gathered her things. She came back to see Oluwaniyi still waiting with her husband.

“Adunni I am very sorry for what I did that day” he apologized

“It’s fine. I have forgiven you” she said smiling

“How did it went that day” he asked

She told him everything and they burst out laughing.

“How’s Bonuade?”

“She’s fine, except this big secret weighing us down. She’s pregnant and always worried” he told her

“Everything will be fine. Tell her that I am happy for her”

“I will. Are you happy?” he asked her

“I am fizzing with it” she answered

“You deserved all the happiness. Can I tell you something?” he asked

“Yes” she answered

“While we were dating, Aina still sent me nudes of her that I deleted instantly. She’s not worth your trust” he said

She mulled over his words while they waited for their flight at the airport. Aina had done a lot for her, when she had no one. She was the one who cared for her when she was sick. She was always there for her. Was it now she should doubt her best friend? Someone who gave her warmth when her own family never really cared about her until now. All her holidays were spent at ogbomosho and Aina’s parents were good people.

“How can you be friends with someone that does not mirror you? She drinks alcohol, club, sleep around and you are none of those things” Wande said to her

Olaronke brought out her phone and decided to do her own little investigation. She dialed Stevie’s number

“Stevie calm down please. I am sorry I was rude to you that day. I was annoyed you used and dumped my friend” she said to him

She listened to him. He said he would sent some pictures to her. Since she was not on social media, she gave him her husband’s number. They waited for many minutes, when the pictures started coming in. She stared at them with wide eyes especially pictures of her best friend with Mrs Georgina’s husband.

“You know those men?” Wande asked her

“Not all. Some of therm are lecturers but this elderly man is Mrs Georgina’s husband. I have to call her. Aina has been lying to me”

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She called the woman. The woman did not waste time before revealing everything to her.

“I am going to divorce him. He’s such a useless man” she told her

But Olaronke had nothing to say to her. In her opinion, it served her right. She was the one sending Aina to those lecturers and turned her to what she was today. If Aina used that knowledge on Mrs Georgina’s husband then it was no big deal.

**********

“Why do you want to help me?” Grace asked as Aina took her place opposite her. They were in a restaurant at Ibadan. Grace had called the number and invited her over to help Wande discovered who was behind it. She put her phone on record

“Let me introduce myself to you” Aina said in a croak voice. She did not trust this woman not to reveal her. So she had changed her look with the help of a makeup artist who added small tribal marks on her face. Her face was overly powdered with lipstick. A small hijab on her head she believed would hide her identity. The lady she wanted to impersonate was Olaronke’s mate in secondary school who became arrogant to her while they were in the university.

“My name is Nurat. Olaronke was my friend in secondary school but when we got to the the university. She became full of herself” she told her.

“I’m hungry, let’s eat” Grace said.

Aina tried not to wince when Grace ordered an expensive wine for herself with chicken. Grace had told her she would be the one to pay for their date.

“This hatred of yours have been going on for how many years?” Grace asked

“I didn’t hate her until she wronged me” Aina retorted and got a grip on herself before she made a mistake

“I came here to help you” Aina croaked more

“I understand that but I need to know who Olaronke is.

I need to understand her weakness and use it against her” Grace said

“Well she’s just some self-righteous fool that thinks she’s better than everyone” she replied

“Nurat, what is it that makes you angry with Olaronke” she asked

“All right, I admit I am angry with her but its because she’s contented and seems to enjoy a life without men. Especially during our university days. She has no problem being on her own and she talks down on me for going out with men”

Grace studied the miserable lady before her. Her words were conflicting. She was trying her damn best to find fault in Olaronke. And she was jealous but she didn’t know it.

“Why are you so miserable?” Grace asked her

“Who said I am miserable?” Aina spat out wondering if Grace had investigated her just like she did

“Why are you being defensive? It’s only a question” she said calmly

“I am not miserable” Aina said through gritted teeth

“How do you intend to help me?” Grace asked and watched the other lady’s face light up with joy. It seemed the only thing that gave her pleasure was seeing Olaronke sad.

She listened to the lady went on about her great plan. She wanted Grace to become pregnant for Wande and moved into the Lagos house. She confided that Olaronke had no one to fight or support her. Her mother was long dead and her father had another wife. She also mentioned that Olaronke had mental problem so she ran away from difficult situation.

“If you move into that house today, I assure you within a month Olaronke would leave that house for you” she croaked happily seeing the convinced look on Grace’s face.

“What is in it for you?” Grace asked her

“Nothing. I don’t want anything” Aina replied

“Except it will make you happy?” Grace questioned

“Yes”

“How much are you willing to pay for me to do this for you?”

“Pay? You are the one who wants the man” Aina was shocked she forgot to masked her voice.

Grace was a real bitch

“Yeah I want him but you are more desperate than i. This is your plan not mine, pay me and I will make her life miserable she would wish for a quick death”

Aina watched the other lady and was pleased with the the determination shimmering on the other lady’s face. She was exhausted of tracking down her enemies. If Grace would do the job, why not pay her? She would be able to focus on Bonuade and maybe mummy Kemi. And Mrs Georgina.

“How much do you want?”

“Five hundred thousand naira”

“Two fifty”

” Three fifty and its a deal” Grace said

Aina nodded and collected Grace’s account details. She promised to send the money to her the following day.

Aina watched Grace leave. She grabbed the bottle of wine Grace left behind and drank from it happily.

Grace stood at a corner and took Aina’s pictures. She hoped it would help Wande

…to be continued

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