In the evening,
Aina barely made it in time to escape the rain before she entered the restaurant. She had traveled to three different places all in forty eight hours and it took it toll on her. She traveled to Delta to meet her fiancé’s parents. His parents were loving and they accepted her as their daughter. She had slept in their home and the following morning, she had traveled back to her parents house at Ogbomosho for their anniversary and six pm she was in Lagos already. She felt very weak. She should be on bed resting like her fiance suggested but her best girl was celebrating today and she had to be there. She sighed as rode the elevator to the first floor. Her mind took in all her plans and she was pleased with the shape they took. Soon, very soon she would triumph over them all. She stepped out of the elevator and walked casually in the midst of teeming crowd moving in and out of Ronny Restaurant. She smiled, the place was beautiful with the lighting. The interior of the restaurant was decorated in serene shades of blue and gray. The chairs and tables sat in cozy groupings and the floor was mirror like. It was shining as she looked at her reflection. A pleasant faced lady whom she believed was one of the employees greeted her and handed her fruit juice. She drank it in one gulp and nodded her thanks returning the glass cup to her. She saw her friend through the architectural glass and called out to her.
“Madam, she can’t hear you. Do you have your invitation card so you could come inside” the lady said smiling at her.
“I thought it’s free for all” Aina said
“Yes ma, in the afternoon ” she informed
“Go in there, and tell her Aina is here” she instructed
Aina watched the lady mulled over her words and began to shook her head, she stopped her and promised her she was not in trouble
Aina laughter rang out as she saw Adunni struggled to run with her heels. The sliding door opened and Aina embraced her tightly.
“Aina Orosun” Olaronke mimicked Aina’s mother
“Shut up” she retorted
“I feel complete with you here” Olaronke said and released her to move back to the group.
“I’m always happy to see you happy” Aina said smiling
Olaronke introduced her to the men in the small group, most of them were her husband’s friends whom she never met before until today.
“And this handsome man there is my husband” she grinned.
Aina made a great show of her excitement by holding Wande’s two big hands in her small ones.
“I am pleased to meet you. I must tell you something about Adunni. She has a good heart, she’s not arrogant and she deserves all the happiness in the world. You will never regret marrying her. Do you know even with our age difference, she has always respect me like we are equal. Please do take care of her” her voice clogged with tears
“Aina” Olaronke chided taking her friend into another embrace.
“Don’t cry, trust me the trouble days are over. I have everything I want now. My family and a husband who cares about me” she would have said a husband who loved her but she was not sure of Wande’s feelings towards her.
“And you my best friend is here with me. What more can I ask for. Come, let’s go and greet my Dad” Olaronke said taking her along.
Mr and Mrs Olaonipekun sat in one of the cozy chairs sampling the meals before them. He was pleased with his daughter’s achievement but his happiness wavered as he watched Adunni walked towards him. She looked exactly like his late wife. It was twenty one years since she died and he still missed her. He wished she was alive to see her trees bore fruits.
“Good evening sir” Aina greeted kneeling down
” Good evening ma” she said including Mrs Olaonipekun
“Stand up, good child. You are here for your friend. God will reward your deeds” Mr Olaonipekun prayed
Aina whitened at Mr Olaonipekun’s prayer. The man was always saying the wrong things to her. She quickly stood up listening to her friend’s loud amen.
“Thank you sir” Aina said forcing a smile
“Aunty Adunni, can I see you for a minute” Mrs Olaonipekun said to her.
Olaronke nodded and exchanged eye contact with her father who shrugged. She told Aina she would be back and followed her step mother through the back door. Aina mood was spoilt, she knew she would have to endured many tales about friendship and betrayals. Sometimes she wondered if the old man knew it was her behind most of Olaronke’s problems.
“The Yoruba says ” eke ni pa eru, epe ni p’ole, ile dida ni pa ore (gossip kills the servants, curse kills thieves and betrayal kills friendship) but you are different, you have been with my daughter since her first year in school. God will reward you. Say, amen my child”
Wande drank the sixth glass of champagne in one gulp, he needed it to firm his resolve. He was slackening, his wife had him wrapped around her little finger. A touch here and there and he almost forgot about the letter in his office. It drove him crazy to realized he really did not care if she betrayed him or not. If he would father someone else child or not. All he wanted was to allow their feelings to blossomed into what he was sure would be popular like Romeo and Juliet but without the suicide. She had been amazing these past few days, and he could tell she was half in love with him. But there was some truth in the letter. A lady marrying another man two days after her failed wedding counted for something. It showed desperation.
Out of the corner of his eyes, he watched his friend approached him. He was seated in a secluded corner where he could watched the happenings around him. He had purposely left his friends, they were stumbling all over his emotions and he did not know how long he could hold himself before punching them.
“Here you are” Bolarinwa said dropping to the seat before him
“You look worried” Bolarinwa said again. Wande raised his brow at him.
“Come on, I know you. You don’t drink except you want to forget something”
If he denied it, he would be lying to both of them “Yes, I errm troubled” Wande replied
“My sister?” Bolarinwa asked.
“No” Wande lied
“Oh please, I know its her. You looked at her as if you want to kiss and strangled her” Bolarinwa said again
Wande sighed, there were things one do not discussed with brother in-laws. Bola would not be pleased if he told him he planned to dealt with his father and his sister for duping him.
“Everything is fine, don’t worry yourself” Wande assured
It was Bolarinwa’s turn to sigh, his friend hardly shared his problems with him since he got married. Especially if it was related to his sister. The perks of being a brother in-law.
“Wande, I am still your friend and you can always talk to me” he said and stood up to leave when his sister approached him.
“Brother Bola, daddy’s wife wants to see you” that was what they called Mrs Olaonipekun behind her.
“Why?” he asked. His memory of the woman was not fun either. She was the reason behind his holidays in the boarding house. The woman was not cruel to them but she treated them like they never existed. It was just her, husband and her daughters. The rest of them were out of the picture.
“She apologized to me, saying she wants us to be one big family. That she was wrong with her treatment of us” Olaronke said
“What do you think?” Bolarinwa asked her
“I have you and that’s all that matters to me” she said this hugging him, while he did a tongue out at Wande
“All right let me see her” Bolarinwa said leaving her alone with her husband.
“Oko Mi (my husband)” Olaronke said excitedly jumping on his laps.
Her use of endearment started four days ago and he was enjoying it. In fact, iroomsected his libido in a way he could not explain. She leaned in after looking around her and quickly kissed him on his lips. He almost laughed. She was still shy about some things after the intimacies they shared. They no longer slept in different rooms, she had moved into his after the night at the hotel. He had enjoyed every waking moments with her. She whispered most of her words as if she was worried someone was listening.
“I am excited about today. Thank you very much” she grinned
“You are welcome” he said
“Do you like my friend? She’s my best friend” Olaronke said
“That eccentric girl. How well do you know her?” Wande asked.
One of his friends had recognized the tatoo on Aina’s hand. Kunle said she was one of the girls that frequented Glorious night. But it was hard to believe Kunle, he always claimed he had slept with beautiful women that came his way. It was mostly lies.
“Very well, she’s my friend” she replied
“She’s how many years younger than you?”
“Two years and months” she answered
Aina 25th birthday was in December.
Wande did the calculation in his head, it was possible Aina had visited the hotel during the period of ten years. Had Olaronke visited too?
“My period ended this morning” she whispered.
He almost did not hear her with different thoughts crowding his mind
“And?” Wande asked smiling
“It means tonight, you and me…” She smiled
He laughed at her expression until someone tapped him on his shoulder, it was her father.
“Daddy” he greeted lifting his wife off his laps
“Babawande, my good child” the man praised while he rolled his eyes.
“It’s late, the party is dying down and I am about to retire. Let me see your wife” Mr Olaonipekun said taking his daughter with him.
Wande looked around the restaurant,most guests had left. Only his friends and some few others were left behind. He saw his wife’s friend sitting closely with Kunle his friend who was running his hand over her. Was it true she visited that hotel? Was Adunni with her? He hated his train of thoughts.
If she was there, he would have known. Would he have known? Aina was there and he didn’t know. The ladies usually wore masks to concealed their appearance. He needed to question his wife. He searched for her wondering where her father took her. He asked one of the staffs who pointed to the direction. He was about to make his presence known when he heard her father’s voice.
“Have you talked to your gynae Doctor?” He asked
About what? Wande wondered
“Yes daddy, I saw him last week” she replied
“What did he say about pregnancy?” Mr Olaonipekun questioned again
“He said I can always get pregnant” she answered
“Be quick with that, you know you have to”
She laughed over that and replied “There’s no need to rush Wande will understand”
He didn’t wait to hear more. Her words confirmed his suspicion. Without saying goodbye to anyone, he walked out of the restaurant and headed home even though it was past ten already and they had rooms booked at a nearby hotel.
She cuddled the large pillow in her lonely bed for the fifth night in a row. Oluwaniyi was gone. He wouldn’t be coming back like he threatened and if he did it would be with a divorce papers. Her life had been happy the past few months and now it was in shambles. Her husband had gone from attentive to cold and dismissive. At first, it worried her but she consoled herself with the thought that they still had dinner together and made love afterwards. But their easy conversation had gone all in a drain and he pushed himself away from her every night they made love. He grew tired of her body and he even told her she disgust him. He started sleeping in his study room. He worked long hours and refused to shared dinner with her. She had thought that was the worst until she watched him packed his bags and left for Lagos five days ago. Bonuade shoulders shook with tears, she wished she had rethought her decision. Her sister had warned her but she was blinded by her love for him. She thought Aina was helping her, but it turned out she was planning her destruction. She remembered how her woes started.
It was during her NYSC, she received a phone call from her. Aina had been nice to her on phone and had even visited her at her primary place of assignment at Benin. Bonuade had thought she was her friend. They had discussed about Adunni and Oluwaniyi. Aina encouraged her not to relent if she really loved Oluwaniyi. She had believed her. The opportunity came a week to Adunni and Oluwaniyi’s wedding. Aina had visited her at Abuja with excitement.
“Trust me that wedding won’t work” she said beaming
“How?” Bonuade asked
She brought out some pairings of Adunni. She was seminude and the second picture was of her with another man.
“I can’t believe this. She’s cheating on Niyi” Bonuade screamed
“Exactly” Aina nodded
“And she always act innocent. She doesn’t club or drink and Niyi sang her praise everyday. I almost imitate her just to attract him” Bonuade hissed
“That’s not all. She can’t give birth. She had this abortion when she was very young and her tubes were affected” Aina added and watched Bonuade’s eyes grew like saucers.
“What! That’s terrible. But wait are you sure she has not told Oluwaniyi?” Bonuade asked
“No” she replied
“Let me call him then” she said dialing his number she knew by heart.
Aina took the phone away from her “Don’t be stupid. If you call him, he would call her to confirm. Out of his love for her, he could forgive her” she said while Bonuade nodded.
“This is what you will do, you will send this information to him a day to his wedding. Let’s hope he would be angry enough to call it off” Aina said.
Afterwards Aina had made her swore she would not revealed she was behind it. She had grabbed her small Bible to swear with when Aina brought out a scary looking bitter kola. At first she was scared until Aina bit from it and gave it to her.
“Swear, you won’t reveal my name” Aina said
“Why would I? You helped me” Bonuade said but she swore.
Her tears came in torrent. Aina had visited her again when she came back from her honeymoon. They met in a car park. Aina slapped her across the face, she was too stunned to react for several seconds.
“What was that for?” She screamed, her hands tightened around her.
“You little idiot, you think you are smart. Marrying him, just like that. You met a dead Buffalo in the yard, you brought out your knife, did you think it drank itself to death?” Aina said her eyes blazing in anger
“What’s all in this drama. I don’t understand you” she shouted back
“I plotted against my friend because I want Oluwaniyi for myself” Aina said
“What! You were helping me. So its been about your own interest all along. Look at my finger” Bonuade said flashing her ring finger at her “he belongs to me, not any other woman”
Aina clapped her hands “How poetic you sound. How brilliant. Let me remind you of something, if Oluwaniyi could abandoned the woman he loved because he thought she deceived him, your own case would be a piece of cake. He never loved you. I will inform him of your lies, anonymously of course” Aina said flashing that devilish smile she once thought was angelic.
Bonuade folded are arms and laughed “Aren’t you forgetting something? You swore to me”
“Really? Did I? You are the one who ate the kolanut and swore. Mention my name and watch yourself die” Aina said.
She had cried for several days. There was no one she could confide in with the death threat hanging over her head. Her husband had noticed her sadness, he had persuaded her to speak up. She thought over their friendship that had developed the past four months and how she believed her instinct that he loved her. She opened up to him excluding Aina’s part and taking the blames for his failed wedding. He had not reacted at first, he only stood up and left for the balcony. She left him believing he needed the time to get over her confession.
The night before he left home, she had approached him in his study and knelt before him.
“Please forgive me, I did it because I love you”
“You ruined my love for Adunni’s because of your own deceitful one.” He said angrily towering over her
“I am sorry” she sobbed
“Get up Bonuade and go to bed” he said turning his back on her.
“Please” she held onto his pyjamas crying
His face twitched ” Bonuade, you are pregnant. Get up and go to your room” he said lifting her up
“I don’t want to go to bed without you” she said
“I am not in the mood for sex” he said prying her fingers off him.
For a wretchedly over sexed guy like her husband, his reply was a blow to her ragged ego. Their relationship had meant nothing but sex to him.
Lawyer Oluwaniyi sat at the reception waiting for his friend to call him in. He knew Oludare was less busy, he was just punishing him by keeping him waiting. He must have thought his impatience would got the better of him and he would leave. But not today, he was totally drained of all hormones that prompted him to act without proper thought. His temper and his ability to plot a well measured revenge was useful in his profession. But not in his relationship. He shouldn’t have done what he did to Adunni, where was she now?
He stared around the empty reception, there was no patient waiting to see the doctor and he had been waiting for the past two hours. It was cleared his best friend was not interested in seeing him. Should he leave? And if he did, who would listen to him like Dare? Who would argued with him or fight him because he was insensitive? He stood up and went to the doctor’s office ignoring the protests of his secretary. He opened the door and saw his friend for the first time in four months watching football.
“How dare you ignore me like that” Oluwaniyi was angried
“Leave us Helen, I have been awaiting him” Oludare said dismissing his secretary.
Oludare stood to his full height, facing his friend eye to eye.
“I can throw you out” he threatened
“You should because I am here to fight you. How could you ignore my calls for four months? You even had the gut to block me on WhatsApp” he said exasperated
Oludare ignored him and went back to his seat changing the channels. He hated to admit it, he missed his best friend of twenty years but Oluwaniyi was pig headed and he went too far in his revenge the last time. He even lied to him he had called Adunni only to read it on her Twitter’s page that he did not.
“Hi” Oluwaniyi amended dropping in a seat beside his friend
“Hi” he returned
“Dare, I am sorry I behaved badly” he apologized
“It’s fine, I have been waiting for this day, when you will come to me” Oludare said and added
“I have missed you”
“I missed you to. I was just stuck in Abuja, the clubs was boring without my home there” Oluwaniyi replied
“How’s Bonuade?” Oludare asked.
Oluwaniyi sighed and went into explanation on what he found out two weeks ago.
“What do you intend to do?” Oludare asked him
“Divorce her after she gives birth to my child” he replied
“That’s not right. Two wrongs does not make a right. Have you thought about forging her?” He asked him
“I won’t forgive her”
“Won’t or can’t?” Dare asked
“I can’t. She’s a liar” Oluwaniyi sighed.
If he was truthful with himself, he was in love with his wife. The four months had opened his eyes to the kind of marriage he would have had with Adunni. It would have been a quiet life without fun. Well his idea of fun was different from her, Adunni hated clubbing and alcohol and he had given up all that for her. Because he loved her. But Bonuade was excitement herself. She dragged him from one club to another. Their free days was spent watching car race, movies, making love and eating out. Adunni loved homemade foods unlike him who loved eating out. He could count the number of times his wife could for him. They sampled different meals at various joints.
“Divorce is not the solution. If you remarry, do you know what attitude the next wife will display? Don’t ruin your young life like this” his friend scolded while he sighed
“Have you seen Adunni?” Oluwaniyi asked him
“No, but she’s married. She got married two days after you left her” Oludare informed
“Two days after? Wow! She must have kept an assistant boyfriend afterall. There must be some truth in what my wife said” Oluwaniyi said
“That was my thought too. What would you do now?” He asked
“Nothing, I will just stay here in Lagos and think about my life” he answered
“It’s good to have you back” his friend said
“It’s good to be back. Let’s drink” Oluwaniyi said.
…to be continued