Her eyes fluttered open like the wings of a butterfly perching delicately on a flower. She was lying on her back and her eyes took in the intricate Chinese design on the white ceiling. From the corner of her eyes she saw blue curtains shielding the sun from penetrating the cool room. Her head felt like a piece of goat meat being stirred in a pot of hot pepper soup by an angry cook. Her mouth was dry and tasted bitter. She shut her eyes for a few seconds to stop the feeling of being in motion. When she opened her eyes, she still felt the same. This time she moved her head slightly and saw the door to the bathroom and the television set mounted on the wall. Suddenly it came rushing to her that she was in a hotel room. Shade remembered drinking a cup of coffee prepared by Ngozi her friend. She remembered feeling light headed and slowly drifting into the helpless twilight of unconsciousness. She remembered reaching for Ngozi, but her long time friend had watched her fall to the floor under the effect of the drug.
How long had she been knocked out by the drug, she wondered.
“Aghh!” She groaned in pain as she turned on her side. She didn’t remember how she came to be by the foot of the bed. She tried lifting her right hand but it weighed a ton. She dropped it on the floor. “Lord, please help me,” she muttered a desperate prayer, with tears pouring down her face.
She turned on her stomach and lifted her head. She saw the bedside telephone. That was what she needed now. She began to crawl very painfully towards the bedside table which was three feet away but it felt like a mile. Her joints ached as she inched her way to the telephone. She finally got to the table, tried to lift up herself twice but fell down. She tried a third time and her hand grabbed the phone. She held on to it for a few seconds then pulled it and it crashed down to the floor. With great difficulty she managed to sit up, held the receiver and dialled.
“Reception, I need help,” she whispered into the mouthpiece of the phone. ” I feel ill,” she felt nauseous and brought her hand to her mouth to stop the rising bile in her throat from coming out, but she was too late. Her body shook as she wretched and threw up the breakfast in her stomach. She felt herself losing consciousness again. In her mind she struggled to stay awake but the drug was too strong for her body. She fell to her side, hit her head hard on the bed before she landed on the floor, then she started bleeding. She tried crying out but the sound laid buried in her throat like an Egyptian mummy in the secret depths of a pyramid. She remembered the wicked smirk on Ngozi’s face as she drifted into unconsciousness.
The maid kept her phone on the kitchen table and began washing the dishes. The phone vibrated as a text message flashed on the screen. It was from Mr Segun Adeniyi. She read it. ‘I will never allow any man disrespect you like Gbenga did today. I have strong feelings for you. Can we meet later this afternoon?”‘
Yemi ruminated over the words of the text. She dried the cups and kept them in their place in the cupboard. She cleaned her hands and her phone rang. It was Segun again. She let it ring out and waited for him to call again. She picked it at the third ring.
“Hi,”she liked his voice on the phone. It sounded mature, polished and confident.
“Hello Mr Adeniyi,” she answered.
“Please call me Segun,” he said.
“I really appreciate what you did for me today. Thanks.”
“It’s my pleasure, I wish I could do more,”
‘I shall give you the opportunity for you to do just that,’ Yemi thought.
Segun cleared his throat. “Can you have lunch with me at 2pm?”
Yemi looked at the time on her phone. It was 12:30pm. She liked Segun and wanted to thank him for rescuing her from Gbenga. Having lunch with him should suffice. “That would be nice.” She quickly put together an ensemble in her head. She would wear the black shoes Ngozi gave her last month.
“When do I come and pick you up?”
“You can pick me up at the Reeve’s restaurant near Falomo bridge. We have to be careful. Remember what happened with my boss this morning,” she warned.
“Hahaha! Don’t be scared. Nothing is going to happen. I will pick you up at 2pm.”
He sounded confident. Yemi liked that. He wasn’t a small boy like Kalu who had no clue about his life or what he really wanted from her. Segun was a real man. The kind of man she would have loved to get married to but recent events had taken control of her life and she couldn’t make such a decision. But if Segun promised to take good care of her, then he would stand a chance of winning her heart. Yemi laughed to herself at the thought of someone winning her heart. That would be extremely difficult because she had locked her heart to love and thrown away the key. The only thing that could open that lock was money, lots of it, even then she doubted it could be opened by anyone. As far as she was concerned, a relationship was about survival, not love.
“Hello? Are you there?”
“Yes, I am. See you soon. Bye.”
Gbenga didn’t know how to answer his mom. Should he admit that he already knew that the maid was pregnant and he had tried to get rid of her earlier in the day? If he had been successful in his attempt at murder, he would probably be in jail by now.
“Where is your wife?” mama asked again.
“We had a fight yesterday over the maid. Shade discovered that she was pregnant. She accused me of being responsible for it. She wouldn’t listen me. Before I knew it she packed a small case and left.”
“Ehen!” mama clapped her hands. “These young wives of today. Is this how to stay in a marriage? You found out your maid is pregnant and you pack your bags and leave your home? Have I not warned you about that woman? She is not good for you! How could she carry her bags and leave your home?”
“Mom, she was angry at me for being involved with the maid,”
“It seems like you don’t understand what is going on. You need a heir and if the maid is pregnant for you, our problem is solved.”
“But mom, things are not done that way. This is a very delicate situation. I don’t want to lose my marriage or my wife.”
“Lose your wife? You call that barren tree your wife? That woman that has failed to honour you with a child cannot lay claim to being your wife,” mama said. “A real woman would bear you a child. That woman is not your wife.”
“Mom, Shade and I love each other deeply. We got married in the church. We have gone through a lot of trials but by God’s grace we will find a way to resolve this issue.”
“Hmm,” Mama took a deep breath and sat up in her chair. Her eyes flashed with anger. “My son, listen very carefully. It is only the woman who blesses you with a baby that can lay claim to being your wife. I don’t care if you married that woman in the Vatican, and your wedding was conducted and blessed by the pope himself. If she cannot conceive for you, then she is not worthy to be called your wife.” Mama spoke deliberately, choosing her words carefully. “As the head of this family, as of this moment, as far as I am concerned, the maid is going to be your wife!” She said with finality.
To be continued.