Sacrilege – Episode 14
© Adeola Nissi
It was several hours before Deolu woke up. It was a little before the crack of dawn and darkness still engulfed the room to a certain degree. It was the most bitter-sweet night he’s had in a long time. He must have been asleep for about four hours. He hadn’t slept so much nor felt so relaxed in a long time. He felt like a piece of hot iron thrown into a bowl of cold water. Sleep had relaxed his wound up nerves. He had gotten so used to sleeping with Laura by his side that he had almost forgotten the impact her presence had. It had taken the past days to show him just what he would be missing if he didn’t get Laura back. She was his anchor to sanity!
Deolu turned his head fractionally, staring at the woman beside him as a different kind of tension engulfed him. His eyes stared through the dark at the sleeping face of his wife. Laura lay still on her side, snuggled beside him. It was like she hadn’t moved from where she lay. Her full spongy hair made the most tantalizing disheveled pillow around her head and face. Gosh, how he missed this sight. Nothing kick started his day better than beholding Laura’s sleep swollen face.
He had kept his hands to himself all through the night, knowing he might not be able to control himself if he had her skin against his. Her scent engulfed his senses, making his hands twitch. It was agonizing enough to have bathed her while doing his best to keep his touch impersonal; to have his hands roam her nude body without doing anything about it. Though he had seen his wife’s nakedness more times than he could count, it had taken every ounce of self control to keep his hands on her without being on her. He knew if he had attempted to make love to her right there and then, he would have met no resistance. She wanted him to. He had seen her desire hanging to the lids of her tired eyes; pronounced in the frequency of her breathing. Her lips had parted slightly of their own volition everytime he came too close and it had taken divine strength to hold on to his resolve and not to kiss her. It was the most mind-numbing torture he’s faced in a while. The temptation was almost more than he could bear. But something held him back. As he bathed her, beyond his unabated desire, something made his heart ache heavily.
His eyes traced the length of Laura’s sleeping body, feeling a stab of guilt. Not only did his betrayal affect Laura emotionally, Deolu had seen and felt the effects last night. Laura had lost so much weight. He knew her body like the back of his hand, bathing her last night had sent alarm bells ringing in his head. Her sumptuously curvaceous body was heavily trimmed down, it was definitely the reason why she had little or no strength. Not only hadn’t she been sleeping, she hadn’t been eating as well, and it didn’t come as a surprise. She never could eat anything substantial whenever she wasn’t happy. He hated the fact that he did this to her; that she suffered on his account.
He raised his hand and caressed her hair gently. Giving her one last lingering look, Deolu shifted very gently and pushed out of bed.
Deolu whistled gently as he went around the kitchen. It had been a while since he did that, definitely been a while since he was happy enough to go around the kitchen with an apron wrapped around him. Anything that had to do with kitchen always needed a bit of motivation for him, the kitchen was not his favorite place to be but Laura was always his motivation. He moved with enthusiasm towards the frying pan on the gas cooker and turned the plantain over, watching the bubbles of the vegetable oil with delight. He stared with satisfaction at the fried eggs already dished in two plates. With fresh pepper, tomatoes, onions and a bit of mushroom, the eggs looked like something made by a pro.
This was one thing he would always be grateful to Chris for. Of the two male friends, Chris was the cook. He could conveniently prepare any kind of meal. Deolu had no knowledge of cooking whatsoever, his mother never bothered to give him proper education in that aspect because she always maintained that cooking and domestic works were made for women. But before getting married, Deolu was not comfy with the thought of Laura doing everything in the house. It had been easy to get around house chores without any problem, but cooking, it was more challenging than he had thought. He fancied the idea of serving Laura breakfast in bed once in a while, but how was he going to achieve that if he didn’t have the slightest knowledge about kitchen stuffs?
The thought of asking Teju to teach him had crossed his mind but pride wouldn’t let him, so, he had gone to Chris. All he wanted to know was how to prepare Laura’s favourite meals. He had no desire to be a world class chef, he only wanted to be able to do something unexpected for Laura once in a while.
Chris had been reluctant, tried to dodge it giving different excuses but he eventually gave in and did a good job of showing Deolu the way. Even now, Deolu could still remember the look on Laura’s face the first time he made her dinner. She had goaded him over and over again, trying to make him confess to ordering the food, Deolu remembered, smiling to himself. He had never been more proud of himself. The look in her eyes made him feel ten feet tall, and damn, breakfast in bed did have mindblowing rewards. Since then, he had tried to improve on his cooking skills, wanting to constantly surprise Laura.
Now however, the aim was not to surprise Laura. It was to get as much food as needed into her system. She hadn’t been eating and it was all his fault. It was his duty to make it right. Deolu took out all the brown plantain slices from the pan and filled up Laura’s plate. Anything with plantain was Laura’s favorite. Lifting two mugs, he went to fill them with hot water from the dispenser; even as he did, he cast a glance towards the door, hoping Laura was still asleep in the bedroom.
Laura turned over, her hand stretching to where she knew Deolu lay. The bed was empty. Her sleepy eyes pushed open lazily, staring at the empty bed. She felt well rested even though her eyes screamed to go back to sleep. She had deprived herself of sleep for so long and her eyes wanted to make up for lost time. Though, she was tempted to oblige, she kept her eyes open staring at the room bathed in the gentle morning light. It felt weird being here again. It was like she had been away for ages. This room and mattress had way too many memories, most of them pleasant, remembering them brought both smiles and tears to her eyes but she definitely didn’t have the strength to cry now.
Her marriage started off on a shaky ground. She wasn’t her mother-in-law’s favorite, neither was Deolu her father’s favorite. Even after their wedding, Deolu tried everything in his power to reconcile her back to her father. He went to her father’s place on countless occasions, trying to gain his forgiveness even when Laura asked him not to. He felt responsible for the rift between her and her father, he couldn’t accept that the rift had always been there. They never saw eye to eye. So, when he refused to give his blessings, rejecting her desire to marry Deolu just because of tribal differences, Laura couldn’t care less. To her, having her uncle – Tito’s father – was more than enough. Oh, she had been wrong… she had been so wrong.
Laura shifted on the bed, remembering all that happened the previous day. everything she heard… It still seemed like a mirage. It was just so hard to accept that she had been wrong all along. Wrong about everything and everyone. She had treated Frank Johnson with so much disdain and disregard. She had been so narrowminded that she did not see past his charade of coldness into the sad and hurt man within. She had judged him based on face value, hated what the world had shaped him into. How couldn’t she have tried to understand him? To show him the love that was snatched from him… but more to the point… how could she have loved the very person she should have despised?
Laura shook her head. Her uncle had been the epitome of perfection. Till now, she couldn’t believe he actually did all he claimed to have done. As he talked last night, it ws like he was talking about a totally different person. The Mark Johnson she knew was the exact opposite of the one she saw last night. The man she saw last night was a monster and it was like she was always doomed to be fathered by the bad man. When she thought Frank Johnson was her father, he was the monster. Now that she knew he was the good man, she realized he wasn’t her father afterall. Laura swallowed. There were so many unanswered questions floating around her head, and the top of them all would be, ‘Who is responsible for Teju’s pregnancy?’ If Deolu feels responsible for Teju’s pregnancy, he definitely must have slept with her, Laura thought painfully. But when did that happen? Was that before or after the rape?
Laura shook her head as she pushed to a sitting position. She was tired of thinking too much. Everything was becoming too much for her brain to assimilate. Casting a look round the room, she wondered where Deolu was. She had been awake for minutes but there was no sign of him anywhere. She knew she ought to leave now that he was nowhere to be seen. She knew she couldn’t afford to complicate things any further but she seemed to remember that she didn’t mind the complication last night; would have welcomed it with open arms last night. Her heart raced remembering last night even as her disappointment mounted. Tired as she was, having Deolu strip her naked was torture, but having him bathe her was another thing entirely. At that moment, she could not remember exactly what caused the rift between them. All that she knew was that she wanted Deolu, the way any wife would want her husband. She wanted him to do more than bathe her… she wanted his knowing hands on her without the sponge acting as an intermediary. But surely, he had nothing of such in mind. He had seemed so calm and collected through it all, like he was bathing a small baby. He had kissed her on the forehead, not even on the cheek and had headed out of the room. Even when she had begged him to stay, he didn’t touch her all night, Laura thought painfully. And to think he was now nowhere to be found? Sleeping beside her must be such a chore. Had she become that unappealing that Deolu found it so easy to ignore her even when she was naked before him? Maybe that was what pushed him into Teju’s arms… she had probably lost her appeal, Laura thought.
She pushed her legs around and was about getting out of the bed when suddenly, the door of the room opened. Laura froze as Deolu walked in carrying a large tray. Their eyes met and his eyes held hers as he pushed the door back against its hinges. His eyes gave her body a brief scrutiny and a mischievous smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. Laura became self conscious. This particular nightie was translucent and Laura could bet he saw the naked body beneath the gown. The short loose nightie she had on was riding high on her left thigh as her other leg dangled above the ground. Try as she may, she couldn’t hide the blush that stained her cheeks. The cynical man! Of all the nighties he could pick out, it had to be this one.
“Good morning, Love” Deolu’s baritone voice held a smile as he moved closer. The scent of fried eggs assaulted her senses before she even saw the content of the tray.
“Good morning” she responded, as she stared at the tray. How was it that Deolu could hurt her so much but she still seemed to love him more? It was probably because of times like these… He had a way of doing the sweetest things. Having a man that knew how to cook was amazing, but the sheer fact that he had learnt how to cook just for her was the most romantic thing ever.
“I made you breakfast” Deolu lowered the tray onto the bed. Something flickered in Laura’s eyes as she stared at the tray filled with the most enticing meal. Anything that has Plantain with it was always a win win for her but the fried eggs caught her attention. It had to be the most enticing she had ever seen. Her stomach grumbled and her mouth watered. Who wouldn’t love plantain, fried eggs fully garnished with vegetables, bread and a mug of steaming chocolate tea?
“This looks really good” She confessed, unable to hide her appreciation.
Deolu smiled. “You should taste it, it might not taste as good as it looks”
Laura seriously doubted that. Just how long had she stayed without food? It was like she hadn’t eaten for ages. She lifted the tray unto her lap and glanced at Deolu. “Nothing’s changed” she murmured. Surely, he didnt think all he had to do was make her breakfast and she would forget he actually slept with another woman.
Deolu nodded. “I know. Eat up”
Laura took a bite of the eggs and almost let out a pleasurable sigh. The taste was so glorious. When did Deolu turn into such a wonderful cook? Without waiting a second longer, she dug into her meal. Satisfied, Deolu left the room.
He returned several minutes later and by then, the eggs and several slices of bread had already gone down her throat, she had some plantains left which she chewed lazily. She was totally filled up. “Feel better?” he asked as he sat on the bed. He was beyond pleased to know she had eaten.
“Yes, thank you”
He smiled. His penetrating gaze made her feel naked but his eyes were not on her body but on her face. She saw the question in his eyes before he even voiced it. “What happened last night?”
Laura gazed at him for a while, then looked away. “You don’t want to know”
“I do” he said firmly. “If there is something that kept you out so late at night, I want to know what it is.”
Laura’s smile didn’t reach her eyes. Where could she start from. Should she tell him that his best friend had been raped? Or should she tell him that the child he was expecting was most likely not his? Or better still, she could just tell him that the wife he got married to is a product of deception. Shaking her head, she stood. “I don’t want to talk about it” she said.
Deolu followed her with his eyes, her body forming a perfect distraction. She might have shed some weight but Laura could never be any less enticing. “You would feel better if you did”
”I doubt it…” she blinked back tears. “Nothing could make me better right now”
Deolu stood from the bed, walking towards her and standing in front of Laura. He could see pain in her eyes as she blinked back tears. He lifted his hand and cradled her cheek gently. ”I think something can make you feel better” he whispered as his thumb brushed against her lower lip, making her breath catch. He moved her into his arms gently, feeling the temperature of her skin heighten beneath the hand on her waist. His gaze lingered on her lips for a moment before they shifted to her eyes. His eyes were heavy with desire. ”Let me make you feel better”
Slowly, he lowered his head, covering her mouth with his. It was just like old times, but then, it wasn’t. There was something different. Laura responded like she had been waiting for that moment a long time as she stood on tip toes, gluing her body to his as her hand travelling up Deolu’s chest to curl around his neck. Deolu buried his hand into her hair as his mouth became more fervent and demanding. Every ounce of control he had exercised since last night was lost as he lifted the gown as slowly as he could manage, breaking of the kiss long enough to yank the cloth over Laura’s head.
Lifting her off the floor and into his arms, he marched purposefully towards their matrimonial bed.
There’s no greater detective that could rival a questing wife. It took just a few hours to get all the info she needed and to get her on her way. Glancing at the address in the piece of paper she was holding, and confirming it with the one on the black gate of a house, Gloria marched into the compound. She met a young lady in the compound, on her way out and stopped her with a skilr.
”Hello miss, please, could you direct me towards Teju’s flat?”
The lady pointed towards the back, indicating the boys quarters and told her to go upstairs. She smiled at the lady and walked towards the boys quarters.
On getting to the door, she knocked gently. There was this weird feeling she couldn’t shake off as she stood there. She wondered if it was still her anxieties at work. She knocked again and the door eased open.
Gloria stared at the young woman that stood behind the door with a puzzled look on her face. Her heart was racing wildly and she could not tell why.
”Yes?” Teju murmured when the woman who had interrupted her privacy wouldn’t talk.
Gloria could not explain what was going on with her. She felt momentarily paralysed as she stared at the lady. Why did it seem like she knew her somehow? She ran her eyes down Teju’s body, trying to remember where she had seen her. And then she saw it. “Oh no” she paled as her hand lifted shakily to her mouth. Her face registered horror as she stared at Teju, her gaze on the hand holding the door.
She surged forward, grabbing Teju’s hand as she lifted it to her face, staring closely at the black dot a little above her wrist.
“What is it?” Teju asked, frightened. She couldn’t seem to understand what was going on. Who was this woman?
Gloria stared at Teju’s face as tears came to her eyes. “Atinuke” she gasped.
To be continued