“Please, don’t do this,” Shade pleaded with tears in her eyes.
Gbenga carried two suitcases and threw them on a heap of bags and boxes outside the gate. “You don’t belong here,” he threw her box of expensive jewellery into the street. The lock broke open and the contents scattered on the street.
“Gbenga, I love you,” she cried.
“If you love me, you won’t betray me like you did.” He said.
Shade held on to him. “I will never betray you. I love you.”
Gbenga shrugged her off and hurried back into the house. Moments later he came out of the house dragging a huge suitcase on the ground. He looked like a man possessed or under an evil spell.
“What have I done to deserve such treatment?” Shade asked her husband.
Miscreants and street urchins gathered in front of the gate waiting for an opportunity to pounce on her earthly belongings. Sadique the gateman stood vigilant over her scattered possessions brandishing a huge piece of wood.
Something made her look up at the house and she saw her friend Ngozi looking out from the window of the master bedroom.
“Ngozi, help me,” she cried out to her friend. “Tell him he is making a mistake and I am innocent.”
Ngozi didn’t answer her. She shut the curtains and disappeared into the room.
“Get out of my house and don’t ever come back,”Gbenga shouted at her.
Someone threw an object at her and it splattered on her face. She felt some warm liquid flowing down her neck, to her body. When she looked at her dress, it was covered in blood. She screamed.
Shade woke up.
Her pillow was soaked in sweat as if someone had sprinkled water on it. She looked at her watch lying on the bedside table. It was 3:00am. She got up from the bed and opened the fridge. She drank some water and got back into bed but she couldn’t go back to sleep. She sent Ngozi a text message telling her where she was and asked her to come as quickly as she could make it in the morning. She picked the remote and surfed the stations for a movie. She fell asleep again watching a Nollywood movie.
The hotel telephone woke her up.
“Ngozi is here to see you,” the receptionist said.
“Tell her to come up to my room.” Shade looked at her watch, it was 8:00am.
Minutes later there was a discreet knock on the door. She let Ngozi into the room.
“I came as soon as I could.” Ngozi entered the room and sat down on the only arm-chair in the room.
Shade walked slowly like a somnambulist, sat down on the bed and folded her legs in a meditative position. She was silent for a few minutes.
“Someone called me last night and told me that a woman wants to steal my husband from me.”
“Did you find out who called you?” Ngozi’s face had gone red, but Shade seemed not to notice.
“He said that everything was planned by my adversary to make my husband hate me. What have I done to deserve this?” Shade asked.
When Ngozi started her car in the morning, she discovered that all four tires had been deflated. Sadique the gateman had no idea what happened. He swore that no one entered the compound. Ngozi didn’t believe him. She suspected the maid had a hand in it. As soon as she got back to Gbenga’s place, she would make sure that the maid packed her things and left the house.
Shade entered the bathroom, came out to get something from her bag, entered again and stayed there for longer than usual. Ngozi heard running water in the bathroom. She stood up and began pacing the room. Her plan was not working. She thought Shade would give up her marriage when she discovered the indiscretions of her husband with the maid. But here she was talking about returning to her home to fight for her marriage. Who was encouraging such thoughts in her mind?
Shade came out of the bathroom looking dejected.
“Are you okay?” Ngozi asked, looking at what Shade held in her right hand. It was a pregnancy test strip.
Ngozi’s face fell.
Shade was pregnant! But that was impossible. The doctors said her womb couldn’t carry a child. This must be a mistake. A very big mistake. Everything she had planned had failed. All the months of meticulous planning had been rendered useless by a pregnancy.
Shade put both hands on her head and dropped to her knees. “I am dead. My life is finished!” Shade lamented.
“What is going on?” Ngozi asked.
“I am dead. Don’t you understand? This is the end of the road. My marriage is completely over. My enemies have won at last.”
Ngozi was confused.
“Shade, you are pregnant, that is a good thing isn’t it? You and Gbenga have been trying to have a baby since you got married. Now your are pregnant. You should be happy.”
“My friend, you don’t understand. I am dead.” Shade hid her face in her hands and started crying.
Ngozi watched her friend not knowing what was going on.
Shade lifted her head. Her face was covered in tears. “This pregnancy does not belong to Gbenga.” Shade spoke with remorse like a repentant criminal confessing his various crimes to a Catholic priest.
“What are you talking about?” Ngozi asked.
“I think it belongs to this guy I…I met. His name is Roberto.” Shade whispered the name with shame.
“Who is that?”
Shade told her the whole story.
“Hmmm,” Ngozi exhaled. She held Shade’s hands and pretended to commiserate with her but she was so relieved. For a moment there she thought her game was up and her friend was pregnant for Gbenga. Fate was obviously on her side. This was a sign that Gbenga belonged to her. Such a woman like Shade was undeserving of bearing a child for Gbenga Philips. She, Ngozi would bare that child for the man she loved. Her womb will carry Gbenga’s children. She wondered why she hadn’t taken this step a long time ago. This was as easy as standing and plucking low hanging fruit from an apple tree.
“You will be fine.Everything will be alright. I will find a way to fix this and make things right between you and Gbenga.” Ngozi lied with an expressionless face, then she gave Shade a hug.
“Thank you, Ngozi,” Shade muttered. “Thank you for being such a good friend. God will bless you for this.”
Behind her friend’s back, Ngozi’s face lit up with a smile like a hungry alligator let loose among unsuspecting piglets.
To be continued….