FRIDAY, MARCH 14th, 2014.
Amaka Obi Ezenwa looked around the room with an air of satisfaction. She smiled as her eyes fell on the boxes close to the walk-in closet, all packed and carefully stacked in preparation for tomorrow’s trip.
Marriage is sweet, she reminded herself. It was going to be her second year wedding anniversary tomorrow and in celebration, her husband was taking the family to the Obudu mountain resort for a week, to use his words, to continue their honeymoon. ‘Honeymoon indeed,’ she had replied. ‘With Josh tagging along abi?’
‘If I remember correctly, you are the one who refused to drop him off at my sister’s place,’ Chika reminded her. ‘Don’t just complain, enjoy the honeymoon for three,’ he continued laughing.
Josh was four months old when it was their first year wedding anniversary and Chika, her husband, who had insisted during their honeymoon that they would be returning to the resort for their first year wedding anniversary had to put off the plan because of the baby and had instead gotten her a toyota corolla 2012 edition. It had blown her mind.
She had totally forgotten about the Obudu trip this year and was instead racking her brain on what she would like as a gift as she went shopping for her husband’s anniversary’s gift, when he dropped the Aero flight tickets on her laps on his return from the office three days ago.
‘I would have loved to surprise you with this a night before our anniversary but I remembered we have to do some packing for the trip,’ he said as he placed a soft kiss on her lips.
‘Thank God you didn’t,’ she replied smiling. ‘You would have ended up being the one surprised,’ she said as they both eased into laughter.
She glanced at her watch, it was fifteen minutes past eight. Josh was sleeping in the nursery while her big baby Chika had called earlier to say he might be a little late as he had to clear his desk to make sure nothing distracts him during the vacation. She made for the bathroom to prepare herself for him, she planned to set the tone for honeymoon number two, with an eve to remember.
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SATURDAY, MARCH 15th, 2014.
Omole Phase 1, Lagos.
The beep beep sound of a text message alert on her phone filtered into her cloudy head as she unwillingly reached out for the device. She normally stayed late in bed on Saturday mornings, usually until her boy Osas would come wake her up by jumping on her. Today definitely wasn’t going to be one of those Saturdays.
The text was from Funmi. Ese hurried over the contents of the text, poring over every written word, it was the first time Funmi was communicating with her since Wednesday when she had opened up about her past relationship with Bode. The text was an invite to a meeting that was supposed to start by eleven.
After the meet-up with Bode for lunch yesterday, she felt less burdened with guilt each time it crossed her mind that Funmi may retain her services and she might have to lead the prosecution of Bode. She saw for the first time the fading scar close to his temple, her eyes lingered on it for a while but before it crossed her mind to judge herself for his injury, she observed the huge gaps between the Bode she once dated and the person sitting across the table. He was still dashingly handsome but there was now a dark side to him. He was charming, maybe even more charming than when they were together in school, he was smooth and flirty like he used to be, but there was something cold about this Bode. He was calculative and manipulative. The old Bode was dead – probably she even murdered him and this one sitting opposite her was a monster.
As she punched on her phone to make a call to Mrs George informing her of the invite to the meeting, her door swung open and her little giant Osas, bounced into the room with a swagger only he could command. He ran his fingers on his eye brows as he approached the bed, ‘mummy, come and watch cartoon with me,’ he said lazily.
Ese smiled. Her Saturday just officially hit the start button. She got out of the bed, being led by her son, she could feel it deep inside of her that it was going to be an interesting day. She couldn’t place a finger on why she felt that way, but she couldn’t deny the feeling all the same.
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Chika smiled to himself as he ran his right hand on his head. It was the big day and he planned to make it special. Their flight was for ten ‘o’ clock and so there was a bit of time to do some personal stuff he reminded himself as he settled down on his chair in the study.
He dragged the cursor to the inbox section after duly waiting for the laptop to come on. He had received an email prompt on his phone while on the bed with his wife and seeing who the mail was from, had decided it was safer to check it on the laptop in the study. How do you explain an email from the girl you should have married, on your wedding anniversary? It just didn’t sound right.
Happy anniversary my teddy bear who became too good for me because of one mistake. I hope you are enjoying your sister Theresa wife? I saw this on the internet and being the caring person that I am, felt that you would find the tricks useful as you plan big for your anniversary night. Here’s the link http://wp.me/p3OYmd-A .
Love you dearie. Never stopped.
Chika smiled, reading the mail a second time before proceeding to click on the link. He held his breath as the page opened up, his eyes glued to the screen. Hot couple in Valentine Action was the title on the page, the smile on Chika’s lips widened, from the blurry picture on the screen, he could see that it was a pornographic video. Sylvia had always been naughty. Why would she think Amaka was a sister Theresa? Why would she even think he would need a pornographic clip to get turned on by his wife on their anniversary?
He felt tempted to close the page and delete the mail from his inbox but ‘officer curiosity’ already had him arrested. He clicked on the play button, his eyes locked on the screen to watch the valentine action. It was just like he expected, it was a pornographic flick but something about the lady felt familiar as he listened to her moans. As he made to fast forward the flick, the camera shot for once in the twenty seconds already played, focused on the face of the lady -Chika froze- it was Amaka, his wife.
The saliva in his mouth tasted like murder as he growled like a wounded lion. He paused the flick and rose up sharply from his chair, pacing up and down the study, his fingers scratching the shrubs of his beard. He banged his head with his fist severally as he panted with rage, muttering bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch with every bang of his fist on his head. He was incensed.
The door creaked open at that moment as Amaka looking as beautiful as a Picasso painting rested on the frame of the door. ‘Happy anniversary darling,’ she cooed, her voice sensuous and smooth.
Like darts, the words pierced Chika as they rolled out of the mouth of his wife. His bloodshot eyes interrupting any romance she had brought with her to the study. ‘Is that you in there?’ He asked, his fingers pointing to the screen of the laptop sitting on the table.
Amaka waltzed to the table, taken aback by her husband’s response and strange attitude, he had hushed her down as she attempted to ask what was wrong and had instead pointed to the laptop on the table. She had never seen him like this in the two years they’ve been married and in the six months that they courted. ‘Yes?’ She asked as she stood in front of the laptop staring at blurry still pictures.
‘Press the play button,’ he said in a tone of voice that clearly displayed scorn and disdain.
‘I’m not pressing no play until you tell me what is going on here,’ Amaka fired back, angry at being ordered around like a kid.
‘I’ll kill you and kill myself if you don’t press that play button RIGHT NOW!!!’ Chika shouted, his voice rising with every syllable he uttered until it landed as a scream.
Amaka shuddered. With shaky hands she moved the cursor to the play button with a swift movement of the mouse and clicked on play, and just then, her jaw dropped.
The setting was familiar, the pictures were fresh in her memory and she recognized the scenery. Her lips vibrated from shock as an involuntary groan escaped from her mouth. The date was February 14, 2012, less than a month to her wedding with Chika -Bode had taped their escapade. ‘I can explain,’ she found herself saying. She didn’t plan the words, they just came out like they were from a guilty partners’ handbook.
Chika stared at his wife with disgust as she shook uncontrollably with tears running down her cheeks, ‘I’m leaving this house now, so I don’t commit murder, I will be back by 6pm and if for any reason you’re still here when I come back, I will kill you,’ he said, delivering the words with such fierceness the message could not be doubted. ‘That is the reason why I will not ask the gate man to throw you out, not because I want to give you respect but because I want you to be tempted to wait for me,’ Chika said, his eyes fiery and murderous. He stormed out of the study after the mini speech, grabbing his car keys as he passed by the sitting room on his way out of the house.
‘Ah, ah, ah,’ Amaka groaned continuously as she was embraced with confusion, unsure of the next step to take. She slammed the laptop shut as the sound from the video filtered into her head. ‘Heeeeey!’ She screamed, collapsing to the ground as her knees failed to keep her standing. ‘It’s Bode …’ She answered like she had been asked a question. She was teetering on the edge of insanity.
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There was a sombre mood in the sitting room as everyone seated wore a serious look. The meeting had been on for about fifty minutes with SP Umar sending a complimentary police officer to observe proceedings even though he didn’t expect anything dramatic to occur. He expected a settlement, especially since the families were already well acquainted with each other.
Dare Badejo looked at the prostrating figure of the man who had impregnated his daughter whether by rape or through concession and even though he wanted to tow the path of his daughter seeking justice, that decision seemed foolhardy and a journey into futility. ‘All I have to say…you can get up young man,’ Dare said, urging Bode who was still laying prostrate on the marbled floor to his seat, ‘There would be no need to offer to take care of the baby as there would be no baby,’ he announced, pausing for a second, to take in the surprise in the eyes of his guests. ‘My daughter here, had a miscarriage yesterday, something the doctor called spontaneous abortion and that is the reason I’m trying to hurry up this meeting so she can go and rest. This incidence has weighed heavily on her,’ he said, ignoring the gasps that greeted the miscarriage news from the female Johnsons.
Bode had a sorrowful look plastered on his face but as his eyes caught Funmi’s, he gave her a mischievous wink that lasted a mini second, and then looked around to make sure he wasn’t noticed.
Dunni sitting next to Funmi had caught the wink but had quickly taken her eyes off the duo just in-case another person was watching. This was the most difficult meeting she had ever attended in her life.
Dare looked around to make sure he had the attention of everyone and then rested his gaze on his daughter, Funmi. ‘Funmi, you have heard everything that has been said, from Uncle Kunle, to Aunty Lara,’ he said gesturing at Dunni’s mum, ‘and then Bode’s mum and finally Bode himself. I am not the person that has been primarily hurt. That person is you, yes I’m hurt that there’s a situation like this but what matters is what you have to say,’ Dare said looking at his daughter, whose countenance had grown colder since he insisted that the young lawyer whom she had invited could not be part of the meeting. That had been the only up tempo moment in the meeting so far, as Funmi had stubbornly insisted on having the lawyer sit in the meeting before grudgingly settling to hosting her in her room while the meeting continued after being pleaded with by his friend Kunle, and the observing police officer.
Funmi rose up from her chair where she sat, her eyes cold and unforgiving, and running a tour of the persons in the room. The two Mrs Johnsons sat huddled together at her far right while Uncle Kunle sat to the left of her father who was flanked to his right by her mum. Bode sat almost opposite her while Dunni sat by her side, quiet and dumb as a statue. The police officer invited for the meeting sat further apart, peering at a newspaper, raising his head from time to time to observe proceedings. He shifted impatiently on his chair, seemingly waiting for the end of the meeting, a settlement by both parties which was the inevitable conclusion to a meeting of this nature.
‘Dunni, is it true that I am or that I was ever in a relationship with Bode, just like he has stated?’ Funmi asked her friend who was sitting next to her, her eyes lowered to catch her gaze.
‘Yes, y..you were friends,’ Dunni said, her eyes returning the stare from Funmi and her mouth delivering the speech with relative calmness, except with the stuttering motion as she opened her mouth.
Funmi smiled, even with the tears starting to trickle down her cheeks. She had asked the question to test the waters, to know where Dunni would stand when the shaking began and it was obvious where she had chosen to take her stand -with Bode.
Kunle Johnson could not miss the ironic smile on the face of Funmi, it was the smile of one betrayed. He always knew his daughter had been lying to him.
‘Dad, If I prove that I was raped by this bastard here, as my father, what would you do?’ Funmi asked pointing in the direction of Bode, the tears now freely flowing down her cheeks but her voice surprisingly stable and steely with resolve.
Bode’s mum cleared her throat, which seemed unusually loud because of the eerie silence that followed Funmi’s question. She remained quiet with her hands joined together and resting on her laps.
Dare hesitated, not sure if the question was rhetorical. The silence that followed the question made him realise that he needed to answer the question. ‘I will make sure he pays, I will make sure justice is done, he would go in for it,’ Dare stated looking into the crying eyes of his daughter like she was the only person in the room.
Dunni’s mum shifted uneasily, the meeting had been going smoothly until this moment, except of course for the small distraction of the uninvited guest -the barrister. She didn’t however like the direction it was beginning to take as the environment was becoming unnecessarily charged.
‘Dad,’ Funmi called in an emotion laden voice, ‘he did not just rape me,’ she said. ‘He made a video out of it.’
‘Eh!’ Her mum gasped, her eyes popping out from shock.
The sitting room was electric, even the police officer had dropped his magazine on the table and had inched closer to the group. Everyone was on the edge of their seats.
‘Yes mum, he made a video of it, it’s in my phone in the room,’ Funmi said wiping her face with her palm and heading to her room to retrieve her phone.
Dare looked at Bode and the expression in his eyes was different from some thirty minutes ago where indifference had by now been replaced with fury.
Bode looked squarely at Dunni as if to re-confirm that she indeed deleted the video and his gaze was met with a slight nod that only both of them could understand. He relaxed.
Everyone waiting with bated breath fixed their gaze on the door that Funmi was to reappear from. There was total silence as the ticking sound of the clock underlined the suspense in the room.
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As ‘The Morning After’ finally draws to a close with ‘TMA Finale’ dropping next week, The AideYarn Team would like to have your predictions on how you think the series will finally close out. Drop your thoughts in the comment section and the prediction that is most correct will have ‘TMA Finale’ delivered to his/her email 24hrs before it is officially released on the blog. Let the Sp!n continue…
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