If you missed the Easter post, Episode 23, please go back to catch up.
This episode won’t make sense if you don’t. I don’t think many got the email alert for some reason. Or maybe they just didn’t open it, Lol. Too busy celebrating Easter.
This one is dedicated to everyone that checked on us Easter Monday/Tuesday. Especially, Gorgeous, Nene, Rolakemi and Nnenna. If you have commented since then, thanks. Zeeiney, Atoba, saw your comments, thanks. And the ones that are still shy to abandon their incognito mode, we thank you. Anonymous 1 & 2, we love your comments.
Simplygold, we welcome you. It’s so good to see you here too. Thanks for not just reading but letting us know what you think.
Nnenna, I saw your comments. I don’t know how to thank you. God bless you. Thanks for caring so much. Amina, I promised to get back to you weeks ago, sorry. (I’m like that at the moment. Struggling to keep up with people. Apologies to people who have sent messages on social media, it’s hard to keep up because I’m juggling too many things at the moment)
Anyway, Amina, Nai, or anyone who might be interested. New readers, people who have been here a while. If you have a bit of free time towards the end of the year, please leave me a comment here. I’m looking for a few Beta readers for a novella. You can choose to read it slowly or just the first part. You don’t have to be strongly opinionated or be able to proof read (I have someone that will edit afterwards) I just need to know what you think. Let me know if you can, via the comments section. I’m throwing it to the house here because although I have a few people in mind who have watched me grow on here, I don’t want to approach people directly. In case they are too busy with babies, work, planning weddings (that one counts too) or whatever people are busy with these days.
Please let me know in the comments section.
Have a fabulous weekend.
Catch up on previous episodes of “Say You Will Stay” HERE
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“I slept with Jay. Go ahead and judge me.”
Biba looked up from the pregnancy article she was reading on her Samsung tablet. Isio had just returned from work. Armed with a steely exterior.
This was not new. She ignored her all weekend. Even when she came back on Saturday morning wearing the same dress she had on the day before.
She had not spoken to her since Thursday when she announced with the sternness of someone who no longer cared that they should part ways. That one of them should move out and the other could live on their own or find a flat mate.
“It’s okay,” Biba said. “I’m not going to judge you for sleeping with Jay.”
“You should.” Isio picked up her posts from the table and checked them. “Lucky has been texting me. I even…went on a group date type thing with him. Then I ended the day by going to Jays.”
“You are not dating Lucky, it’s fine. You said you are not ready to date, remember?”
“How can I be ready? When all I see is Jay’s face. At the hospital. On the streets. Even in my dreams.” She dumped the envelopes on the table. “More rubbish. Electricity and gas bill. Who’s got the money for them?” Her eyes gleamed and then narrowed as though she had remembered something. “Isn’t it your turn to pay the house bills?”
“Yeah. The thing is…”
“Don’t Bibs. Don’t start with your stories again.”
“They are not stories. My Dad’s new wife is so expensive. They said she has forbidden him from sending us money. And Idriss is no longer interested in giving me a job because I’m not balling him anymore.”
“Then get a job like everyone else did. It’s not my fault you are knocked up and penniless. I wasn’t the one who said you should sleep with your ex’s dad.”
She watched her leave. And even if she had not gone to her bedroom and slammed the door, she would not have told her that she was drunk that night. That her father had just called her a bastard and a whore. A bastard for not listening to him. A whore, she guessed for having Pete out of wedlock.
She had hoped to see Damian and Pete that night.
No one was in. She toddled to the pub opposite their house in her skimpy shorts and straps. By the time she saw Donald Preston’s car, she could barely strew a sentence together. Donald, Damian’s father had always been friendly. And all she could think of whilst lying on their sofa was why his face was so close to hers and why his breath fanned her face.
Her phone’s beeps alerted her to another message from Idriss. She picked up her phone and read his message. The third one from him in the last hour.
Why are you not picking up your phone, lepa? I need to see you. Today. London house. 7 sharp. That job I promise you is still there. Come to the house first xx
Biba looked up. Isio had come out of her room. Now dressed in leggings and a crop top. “I’m trying to get a job, babe.”
“No one is going to employ you when you look ready to pop out a baby.”
Isio smiled. It failed to warm up her whole face. Yet, it was a start. Biba asked her about Friday night. She had expected to hear on Saturday that Obinna and her were in a relationship again.
“I was confused. Really confused.” She picked up the puff close to the armchair then abandoned it and came over to sit beside her. “Jay left some messages about loving me forever. Even if I’m not with him. And Lucky was making all these moves…”
“In front of his brother and the others?”
“Yes. The guy is fast and sharp.”
“He is fine too.”
“Yeah. Drop dead gorgeous. I didn’t think I would say that about anyone after Jay with his insanely youthful looks, dreamy eyes and chiselled features.”
“The man looks good,” Biba agreed. “He is too yellow for me, though.”
“He is perfect for me. Perfect.”
“Why are you exchanging texts with Lucky then?”
“Lucky is not like Jay. He knows what hustling to survive means.” She snuggled into the corner of the settee.
Biba understood. Ekong and Lucky’s parents were killed in a car accident when they were young. On a bad road that had been left to become almost unusable.
“He knows what he wants and he goes after it. He says he wants his own practice and he would like to marry a nurse so they can run it together. Then boldly he asked if I would like to sign up for the job.” She giggled. “Bibs, London feels like the place to be for me right now.”
“I thought you were gonna concentrate on this new job. You are leaving London soon, remember?”
The giggle was not what worried her. It signalled attraction. Happiness. Perhaps love. What she was not happy about was hearing her almost rearranging her visions and plans in her head because she felt strongly for a man. In the same manner she did when she first met Obinna. When she talked about him and his daughter all the time.
“Take it easy, babe. Young men are not like Jay. I think you should get your head straight. You are not me. I tried to get busy when Daddy told me to leave my son and his father. In the end, the partying and hook ups did not help.”
“Yeah, I still love Jay. I love him so much, it hurts,” she paused for a while as if to let herself recover. “I miss what I had. I miss Annabel. And even Mummy.”
“He wants you back.”
“Then how do I explain kissing his brother. Chib sent me a text saying he missed me yesterday. You think he would ever forget we kissed?”
“Babe, maybe you can talk to him and explain. Idriss said Jay has lost his position as director of Aspire and he is facing a lot of issues with the board. Don’t you think this is your chance to support him. Like a friend or something. Show his family and friends it’s not his money that attracted you to him.””
“No. Leave it. Let them think whatever,” she sat up. “I’m going on a date with Lucky this weekend. Wasn’t it you who said the way to get over one man is to start balling another one?”
Biba tried to stem her giggles and failed.
Obinna’s beer did not taste as nice as it usually did. The hall was brimming with people and Ezinwa and her friend were laughing and leaning into each other. For the first time since they arrived, he grinned. Pleased that instead of saying no to attending the party, he had dragged Ikumapayi and Austin with him.
He had become fed up of watching his daughter shrouded in her blanket and sweater. Of her questions and tears. “What about Aunty Issy, Daddy? Why is she not coming over anymore? Is it because I’m ill?”
This morning, his tone was firm when he told her to be strong. That if she let everyone’s action affect her every time, she would never be able to get out of bed.
“Did Issy let you hold her then when she came?” Ikumapayi’s winked.
“She came to talk,” Obinna replied immediately.
“Obi, how did her earring fall in your bed then? Was she greeting you on your bed? Kneeling like girls in my hometown do and her earring fell out.”
It did not matter that Ikumapayi had seen him pass the earring to Austin as Isio wanted. That the young man asked for the earring when he arrived. But he would not talk about her like that.
“Why don’t you ask Kanyin’s husband why he decided to come out with us today” He said instead. “Normally we ask him out and he says no, thank you.” He mimicked. Veering more towards a woman’s voice on purpose.
“Maybe you did not give me free time to party, boss.” Austin uncovered the plump bottle of Hennessey on the table, picked it up and filled his cup with one hand. The other hand grabbed a meat kebab stick from the bowl next to the bottle.
“You always give yourself Friday evening off at Aspire.”
“Okay true. I like to be home with my wife. Now that she is pregnant, I’m taking the night off from home. She is chilling with her friends.”
“You dey worry you go wound the baby if you near your wife, abi?” Ikumapayi laughed and shifted his chair so his head could be nearer to Austin’s face. “Small boy, do the do. You will not poke your baby’s head with your kini. Just do your thing. The baby will be fine. Even if you are tall like Jay here, your kini will not reach where im no suppose rich.”
“I don’t need lessons from the bros who gets his wife pregnant every year. Or maybe I do. Kanyinsola wants three kids.”
“Don’t even dare. Remember that girl is like my niece. My sweet god daughter. If I hear that you make her pregnant again, you for hear something.”
“Abeg, let’s hear word.” Obinna laughed. “The last we heard, your wife is pregnant again. With twins. You have a three year old and a two year old. Which one of you is the busy one?”
“That woman at the hospital got it wrong. My wife said she did not wear glasses. Maybe that’s why she did not see na only one child dey inside my wife. Please stop spreading rubbish. Who has money for twins when my youngest cousin is five years old back home and my uncle still dey born at sixty.”
Although Austin laughed, Ikumapayi’s jokes about his situation confirmed Obinna’s fears. Ikumapayi’s business had not taken off the way they all hoped. And from what he had heard, Hoya, his wife, loved holidaying in warm countries. She loved shopping. In the kind of shops most people would consider expensive.
He checked his phone without lifting it off the table. Isio had not called. He did not want the men knowing he had called her more times than he should have. He did not want them to know she picked up her phone once and told him to leave her alone.
“I’m seeing someone, okay. He is young and right for me.” Her voice was low. Soft. Softer than he had ever heard it.
He made his response as short as possible. It was after he saw pictures of Friday night on Ekong’s phone. Ekong had given his phone to Kaz whilst they were waiting for the team meeting to commence. He took the phone on its way back to its owner and because Ekong’s face showed his fear, Obinna tapped on the screen to view them. After asking Ekong politely for permission.
The picture of Isio next to a tall man did not reveal if she liked him. What worried him was the way the tall man carried himself. The arrogant, selfish way he posed beside the others. His raised chin. Placing himself in their middle as if he thought he was more important than the others.
I’m worried about you, Issy. You are rushing straight into another relationship. Life doesn’t work like that. I want you to be happy. I want you to do well in your new job. Please take the time you need. Look after yourself. Love always.
She did not reply.
“Dude,” Ikumapayi tapped his shoulder. “Have you seen the way Ezinwa’s friend is staring at you? She is not celebrating her birthday anymore, she dey celebrate finding you.”
Obinna glanced at Rukky briefly. With the rest of her friends. Smiling at him.
“I’m good on my own. Just because a woman is looking at me, doesn’t mean zilch.”
“Well, this one has stubborn eyes. She looks like someone wey no go back down. Not those pencil skirt women you give cold shoulder in your corporate world. This one na correct Lagos girl.”
Biba clicked on Idriss’ message, highlighted it and deleted it. He wanted her to come over and see him. Claiming he was worried about Anu who had undergone surgery at the hospital.
She thought about responding to his message. Picked up her phone once and then placed it back down. Anu’s surgery took place two weeks ago and Kanyin who had gone to stay with her said her father had not contacted his wife to see how she was.
Biba waddled to the kitchen, One hand on her stomach. She had started to feel pressure low down in her stomach. With it, guilty pangs. The chocolate bar she had gone to the kitchen for was quickly unwrapped. The end was snapped off.
It did not melt in her mouth slowly. Flavours coming alive together. It tasted just like the Lindt she had yesterday after Damian left.
“I can never forgive you.” Damian clicked his fingers and barked at her when she opened her mouth. “Listen to me for fuck sake. For once in your life, listen.”
“I know you are sorry. I got all your messages. I’m not gonna tell my mum. She loves her grandchild too much. She loves you too. I can’t tell her you fucked her husband.”
“It wasn’t like that.”
“Yeah, you said you were drunk. In a dark place, whatever.” He had jumped to his feet because she dared to come closer. “My dad took advantage of you. I will never forgive him for that.”
“Please don’t confront him.”
“Why would I? I can’t ruin my mother and son’s life, can I? We will just have to pretend nothing happened. None of them can find out.”
Biba picked up her phone when she got back to the living room. Isio had been out for a while with Lucky and she wanted to know if to wait up for her.
There was a message waiting for her on her phone from Idriss.
She read the message and laughed until tears fell from her eyes.
Are you high, Id?
I’m sober. I love you, lepa. I’m going to get my act together and be the man you need. I’m going to be a father to your child.
Go and sleep it off. Leave me alone. I have enough problems.
She went on her phone’s settings, scrolled down to notifications for Whatsapp and turned it off.
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