Sacrilege – Episode 7
© Adeola Nissi
“I want a divorce”
The world stood still as the words bounced against Deolu’s ear drums. The words echoed in Deolu’s head until he thought he might go insane. He stared at Laura for a full minute as he pulled to his full height. “No” he shook his head vigorously. “No… You can’t mean that”
Laura swallowed, wiping off tears from her face. “I mean it” she said evenly.
“No, you don’t” Deolu returned, looking incredulously at Laura. He stalked around the office in rapid nervous strides before turning on Laura. “I made a mistake, Laura… Just one stupid mistake” he raised his voice shakily. “And I… I am sorry” his voice broke as he looked earnestly at Laura. “I’m so sorry”
Laura swallowed. “It’s not enough to be sorry”
“What else do you want me to say?” Deolu yelled. “I’d give my life to be able to undo what has been done… Heaven knows I hate myself for causing you so much pain” he swallowed as his voice softened. “I’d give anything to take away the pain I caused you… to go back to what we used to be…” he swallowed as he drew nearer to Laura.”Just don’t… Don’t do this… Please”
Laura felt tears burn in her eyes before they flowed down her cheeks. It was useless to wipe them off. She had never seen Deolu looking so perplexed, he had never looked so shaken and unsure of himself. This situation had indeed brought out a part of Deolu she never knew. “There’s no other option”
“Yes, there is” Deolu grabbed Laura’s hand with one hand, tracing her face shakily with the rough pad of his thumb. “We can fight… We can fight for us, love”
Laura shook her head, trying to break free from Deolu. “Fight for us? What’s there to fight for?” she snapped. “You threw us into the trash the second you decided to break our marriage vows.”
Deolu shook his head. “You are the one I love… What happened with Teju was a terrible mistake, Laura”
Laura jerked out of Deolu’s hold and whirled round. “Tell that to the child she is expecting” she boomed. “What? Do you expect me to accept your baby mama and play the role of a doting godmother to the child? I’m sorry, I can’t” she shook her head so vigorously, it was a miracle if didn’t fall off.
“I’m not asking you to do that”
Laura raised her brow. “So, what are you asking? That I pretend like you are not about to be a parent, and I’m not? Pretend you did not just break my trust in you? Pretend you did not break your promise of fidelity?”
Deolu took a deep breath. “I only plead that you not give up on me” he mouthed. “I know I don’t have the right to make demands, but… but I can’t just give you what you seek, Laura… Please…” he pleaded. “I love you, Laura”
“Don’t say that” Laura yelled at him. “If you love me, you would grant me an annulment”
“It is your anger talking, I know you don’t mean that” Deolu advanced in her and she retreated until he had her backed against a wall.
Laura shook her head. “I hate you… I hate you, I hate you, I hate hmmph”
Deolu’s hand snaked out, closing around Laura’s waist as he tugged her hard against his chest. Breath knocked out of her lungs and she came chest to chest with Deolu. Her heart raced beyond control but it was certainly not from fear. Anger, anxiety and an emotion she vehemently denied engulfed her as she raised her eyes angrily to Deolu, gasping for air. His mouth covered hers, silencing whatever it was she had been about to say. Laura pushed against him, fighting against his brick wall chest fiercely in absolute failure as his powerful hands held her firmly and surely. Her effort to wrench herself from him was futile as his mouth awakened hers, in a quick sensuous dance.
For a moment there, everything seemed to fade away… the hurt, the pain, the unexpected stab of betrayal… it all faded away as Deolu’s scent engulfed her nostrils, his familiar feel awakened her hands and try as she may, she couldn’t hold back. She relaxed involuntarily, welcoming the knowing touch of her husband as she kissed him back. Life felt whole and complete again as her hands travelled up Deolu’s face, allowing his beards tickle her soft palms.
The kiss grew deeper and more intense as the flames of passion crackled and burned bright. Deolu’s hands swept to her full naturally spongy hair and she whimpered into his mouth, rising on tiptoes and fitting her body to his like a perfectly sized shoe. For a moment there, Laura couldn’t remember exactly what had gone wrong between them; it was just like the past six days had never happened. For a moment, she forgot about Teju, the baby and Deolu’s painful betrayal… she forgot everything but the feel of her husband and the feelings he evoked in her.
Deolu ended the kiss slowly and pulled back enough to stare deep into Laura’s eyes. There and then, everything came back to Laura, the pain, the hurt… her lips tingled from the kiss and she wished he had never kissed her again, it only made it even more painful. It only reminded her of what she would be losing the moment she pulled through with the divorce. She would be losing her husband, her lover… but most of all, she would be losing her friend. She blinked back tears but couldn’t prevent a tears drop from cascading down her hot cheek. Deolu kissed it away as he cradled her cheek with his palm. “I am not giving you a divorce, Laura” he said quietly. “I made you a promise of forever and I am not backing down on my promise. I will fight for us. I wouldn’t give up on us, I promise, love” Deolu kissed Laura’s forehead. “I promise”
Laura stared mutely at him. She didn’t think she could talk without bursting out in tears. Her throat ached from holding tears at bay. Deolu kissed her forehead lingeringly, and then let her go. He turned and walked out of the office.
Mrs. Johnson pulled a shirt over her head and shuffled the wardrobe for a matching skirt. She was done following the dictates of her husband. She shook her head as she pushed her legs into a skirt. It had been years since she got married to Laura’s father, and though she was not the biological mother of her husband’s children, she loved them just as much as she would love her own daughter. She had never gotten pregnant since she got married to Frank and that had never surprised her. She had known a long time ago that she couldn’t get pregnant. It was the main reason why she got married to a man who already had children, so she wouldn’t be under any pressure to give birth to a child.
What Laura was going through hurt so much and she should understand because it struck home to something she had experienced though it was not exactly the same. And no matter what her husband’s stance on it was, she would help her step-daughter in whatever way she could. Sighing, Gloria pulled out a shawl and froze when her eyes fell on something small. She stared at the object for a few seconds but eventually, her hand moved of its own accord, towards the object. Her hand pulled out a small bottle which looked old and ancient. She stared at the slightly impure water inside and her eyes watered. A tear drop left the confines of her lashes, landing on the small bottle of water. After all these years, she still held on to the only connection she had with her past.
Closing her eyes, she brought the bottle to her lips, kissing it tenderly. “Till we meet again, my Tinuke” she whispered. With aching heart, she kept the bottle safely, closed the wardrobe and left the room.
Laura bit her lips hard as tears blurred her eyes, rolling down her cheeks. She wondered if there would ever be an end to her tears. She had been pretending to be all brave… pretending she wasn’t as affected as she actually was, but it had taken only one visit from Deolu to pull down her walls. She had known it was not a good idea to see Deolu just yet, that was why she had avoided him for as long as possible. But this day was going to come sooner or later.
How did they find themselves in this mess? She tried to stop the usual bout of self blame but she couldn’t help but wonder if she was actually responsible for what was going on. Had she not been a good enough wife? Was she not enough to satisfy her husband that he had to turn to another woman? Was she to blame for pushing her husband out into the arms of another woman? Maybe if she had given him a child or two, he wouldn’t have thought of experimenting another woman.
She should never have kissed him. The kiss he gave her told her clearly that Deolu loved her but she couldn’t help but wonder if Teju had also felt the same way when she was busy making love with her husband. Laura shook her head and swallowed hard as pain stabbed at her heart. She had done all she knew she could to be a good wife to Deolu. She had put up with his mean mother, harboring the hope that Mrs. Aderigbe would one day accept her. She had gone against her father’s blatant rejection of Deolu, just because she loved Deolu. So why? Why should she be the one to go through so much pain?
A knock snapped her out of her reverie and her head snapped up. Honestly, she was not ready to see any other person. The door opened slightly and Laura’s secretary entered anxiously.
“Ma’am” she called and Laura looked up at her. “Someone is here to see you” her voice came out cautiously and Laura couldn’t help but feel guilty for putting the lady in an uncomfortable position.
“I’m not ready to see anyone” Laura answered automatically.
“Its… it’s your sister”
“And I don’t need an introduction” the door flung wide open and Jane bounced in. it took a moment for Laura to recognize her baby sister. It had been two years since Laura saw her troublesome kid sister. She hadn’t seen her since she got admitted into the University of Ilorin and though they had kept in touch on phone; Laura was taken aback at the changes she saw in her sister.
“Sis” Jane pitched as she bounced round the office table, giving her sister an awkward bear hug. She kissed Laura’s cheek. “I’ve missed you, big sister” she said grinning.
All Laura’s problem vanished in an instant as she stood up. “Jane” she called in surprise, still stunned at her sister’s grown up look.
“In flesh and blood” Jane answered, grinning.
“Oh my God” she pulled her sister into her arms, hugging her as tight as she could.
Jane groaned, wriggling free from Laura’s hold. Her face pulled together as she feigned pain. “Dear God, I think you’ve broken my bones”
Laura ignored that. “Look at you. C’mon, give mummy the classic whirl”
Jane made a slow sensual turn that made Laura laugh out loud. God! It felt good to laugh again. She hugged her sister again, this time a bit gentler. “I’ve missed you so much” she moaned. She couldn’t tell just how much she missed the one connection she had with her own family. The one person who hadn’t deserted her because she chose to be happy with the one she loved. It felt a little weird to see Jane all grown up. What was she eating in school? Laura mentally noted that she was already eighteen years old, but to Laura, Jane would always be a kid.
Jane pulled back, grinning. “Wait till you see who I brought with me” she muttered.
Laura frowned. “You came with someone?” she asked, glancing at the entrance, only then noticing that the door had been left ajar all along.
Laura froze. All semblance of a smile vanished from her face as a figure moved into view. Her heart nearly stopped as she saw the only sibling that stood between herself and Jane. The one sibling that does only what daddy tells her to do. The one sibling that she hadn’t seen since her father sent her out of the house for choosing Deolu.
Margaret moved fully into the office, and just then, Laura saw the little hand clutching her sister’s hand. Laura’s heart nearly stopped as she saw a tiny replica of her sister. Margaret stared straight at Laura. “Hello sister”
Deolu turned off the engine of his car. He hadn’t been home for days and it amazed him just how much he had allowed people to invade his home. Laura’s words danced in his head, making his head bang. Never! He would never break the ties that bound him to the woman he loved. He had been asleep for so long, allowing strangers invade his home and dictate the tune, but not anymore. He had promised Laura that he would fight for them and the one thing that would never change about him was that he held his promises as dearly as he held life itself.
Remembering that he wasn’t alone, Deolu glanced at the guy seated beside him. It was his makeshift driver – Lukman. Opening his door, Deolu muttered. “Let’s go”. Lukman alighted together with Deolu and they both made for the house. Deolu stepped into the familiar, yet unfamiliar house. What he would give to have his home back! Mrs. Aderigbe came out of the guests’ room. She was fully dressed. Teju was nowhere in sight and Deolu was momentarily grateful for that.
Mrs. Aderigbe smiled at her son. “I knew you would be back” she said, smiling. “Oo kin se omo ale” (you are not a b******) her face creazed in a satisfied smile.
Deolu opened his mouth to speak but the words got stuck in his throat. Not that it mattered though because his mother made sure she filled the space with words. “Sooner or later Adeolu, you would forgive me and realize that this is all for your own good”
Deolu took a deep breath. “Where is Teju?”
Mrs. Aderigbe shrugged. “She should be in here somewhere”
Deolu nodded. He turned to Lukman who stood silently beside him, pretending to mind his business. He stretched his car keys towards Lukman who took it dutifully. He should have done this a long time ago but he hadn’t. His mother was the leading cause of the issues he’s had with Laura for the past six years. Her constant badgering and pressure had led to this chaos and a part of him wanted to blame all that was happening on his mother, knowing full well that if it hadn’t been for her, Teju would probably not be carrying his baby now. But no, he was not in the habit of blaming his failures and problems on others.
Deolu faced Lukman. “I would be back in a few minutes, when I get back; I don’t want to see my mother in this house.”
Mrs. Aderigbe’s eyes snapped up. “You are sending me out of your house?”
“The next time you step foot into my house, I would be sending you out of my life permanently” Deolu retorted. “You’ve brought nothing but misery to my life, mum, and frankly, if not for Laura, I would have done this a long time ago” he frowned deeply. “I thought you had changed… I honestly thought you had stopped being the self-centered heartless woman you always were” he shook his head. “I guess I was wrong. Some people can never change”
As mean as Deolu knew his mother to be, he had been shocked at her heartlessness towards Laura. For Laura’s sake, he had tolerated his mother, but no more.
Mrs. Aderigbe swallowed as a dry smile coated her face. “The same goes for your wife. How do you expect a barren woman to change into a fruitful one?” she raised her finely arched brow. “Believe it or not, leaving this house is the most sensible thing Laura has done since she came into your life, sooner or later, you would realize that you are better off without her.”
Deolu’s eyes flashed with fury as his fists folded in anger but he held back the retort hanging on the tip of his lips, not wanting to say something he would later regret. He turned to Lukman. “I don’t want to see her here when I return” he hissed through clenched teeth before storming out of the house.
Laura stared at Margaret for a long moment. She’d be damned if she knew what to say to her. It had been such an awfully long time; did Margaret actually feel she could just waltz into her office like six years had been nothing but six days? Laura tried to ignore the little girl that couldn’t be more than one year old, who tried to break free from Margaret’s hold. Laura’s chest ached. She had heard two years ago from Jane that Margaret had gotten married. How was it that Margaret had a child to show off after just two years of marriage and she was childless and on the verge of a divorce after six good years in marri
Laura swallowed, pushing herself back to a sitting position. “Margaret” she finally answered Margaret’s greeting.
Jane stared from one sister to the other. “This is cozy” she muttered with a dry smile. “Okay, I think I would leave you two alone”
“Don’t” Laura snapped hurriedly. Her eyes returned coldly to Margaret. “Margaret wouldn’t be staying long”
Margaret rolled her eyes. “Listen, if not for Jane, I surely wouldn’t be here, so you can stop licking up your wounds big sister, it is not like I have been dying to see you”
“Why are you here then?” Laura snapped. “Last time I checked, dad banned you from having anything to do with me, so why are you here?” Laura laughed bitterly. “Don’t tell me you suddenly turned disobedient overnight”
Margaret shook her head. “And here I was thinking the little episode with Deolu had probably thought you a lesson. If you had listened to dad and married Collins, all these wouldn’t have happened”
Jane looked on in confusion.
Laura jumped out of her chair, stalking forward. “Oh, sorry ‘daddy’s pet’” Laura’s eyes flashed with anger. “I’m sorry I have a mind of my own and have the full capacity to choose to marry whoever I want to marry” Laura folded her arm against her bosom. “Well, I heard you got married to Collins, is he such a terrible husband that you wish I had married him instead?”
Margaret’s eyes blazed in anger. “I married Collins and I have Tess to show for that” she smiled at the beautiful little kid she held so firmly before giving Laura a mock smile. “What do you have to show after marrying the man you love?”
The words hit Laura like a blazing knife on a wounded skin. “Can you both stop this?” Jane yelled into the sudden silence but no one seemed to notice her. Laura swallowed. She refused to allow Margaret see how much she had hurt her.
“Get out of my office” she said in a deceptively silent voice.
Margaret shrugged, pulling her child as she turned to leave. She got to the door then paused. “By the way, congratulations on the child” she smiled coldly. “You would be a great stepmother” she dropped and left.
It was dark when Deolu got back to the house. It was really quiet and for moment, he enjoyed the satisfaction of knowing his mother was out of the house. He saw nothing sign of Teju just as he hadn’t seen her in the morning and he hoped to God that she decided to stay out of his house today.
He walked through the sitting room and made for the bedroom. He pushed open the door and went inside. The lights were off so his hand moved automatically to where he knew the switch was, on the wall. He pressed the switch and light flooded the Master’s bedroom. Feeling the presence of somekne, he whirled round and his eyes instantly snapped to the bed. He grew completely still as he stared at the form lying on the bed.
Teju pushed to a sitting position, holding the covers of the bed to her chest. Her eyes connected with Deolu’s, holding his gaze. Deolu didn’t need to be told to know she was completely naked behind the sheets. His heart pounded in his ears. What on earth was going on? Deolu wandered but just when he thought he had seen the worst, Teju dropped the sheets.
To be continued