“Mommy, your son owns this pregnancy. If I am telling you a lie, may my ancestors punish me with leprosy or something worse,” Yemi said.
“And you want me to believe that?” Mama asked. “I don’t care about your ancestors punishing you, but you will curse the day you were born if I find out that this pregnancy belongs to someone else.”
Yemi went on her knees on the tiled kitchen floor and began crying. “Mommy, I am telling you the truth. Why should I lie about it? Your son promised to make me his wife if I keep this secret between us. I would have told you about it but I had to obey him.”
Mama shook her head. “So you have the guts to lie to my face?”
“Mommy, I swear, I am telling you the truth,” the maid sobbed.
Her tears fell from her face to the kitchen floor, forming a small puddle on the floor.
Mama regarded the maid with scorn. She looked exactly like the kind of woman who would entrap her son with a pregnancy. But she wanted the child this girl carried in her womb regardless of who owned it. Her son wanted a heir and if this maid would provide her with one, she would accept it. However she didn’t want complications in future in case the maid was lying. Mama regarded the maid who looked despondent on the kitchen floor. From her years of experience in the police force, she could tell when someone was lying. Mama was convinced that the woman kneeling before her, crying like a bereaved mother, soiling the kitchen floor with her tears, was one of the greatest liars she had ever met. Yemi was definitely telling her a lie. But she had no choice. Gbenga would take this child as his own.
As Yemi knelt on the floor, memories like the powerful flow of a clean river flooded her mind. She thought about the only man who had won her heart with love. She didn’t know how it happened or WHY it happened. She couldn’t be sure when it happened, when she started having feelings for him. Was it the first time she saw him?
She returned home from grocery shopping and saw a handsome man, in jeans and t-shirt, waiting outside the gate. She opened the gate and let him in. Later she found out that he was the new security guard. She observed him for over two months while her feelings for him grew, spreading without restraint, like the green leaves of a pumpkin plant growing in fertile soil. One day while talking with him by the gate, Sadique touched her hands playfully. It was a meaningless, random touch but it sparked a fire in her soul, like a match thrown into dry firewood in harmattan. Her soul was set ablaze with feelings to hold him and possess him. She lost concentration and couldn’t continue the conversation. She ran into her room, hoping that Sadique hadn’t noticed her body shiver at his touch. But she couldn’t hide her feelings from him. She just couldn’t help herself.
“Sadique,” she whispered as he held her in his strong arms. “I have feelings for you.”
She traced the scars on his left arm with her fingers. “Feelings that fill my waking and sleeping moments.” He was silent and looked at her with such intensity that she felt he was seeing the secrets of her soul.
“All I think about is you, to be with you and to spend my life with you.”
She lifted her head. There was a dazed look in her eyes. “Sadique, I think I am in love with you,” she confessed.
He didn’t say anything. He continued to look at her for a moment before his bearded face broke into a bright smile. He was about to say something but she put her slim fingers on his lips. He held her hands and kissed her fingers one by one with such tenderness that belied his military experience.
“I have had these feelings for a long time but I didn’t want to tell you. I didn’t know how you would react to it. I didn’t want to be rejected. I am scared of rejection.”
“Love expressed is never wasted,” Sadique sat up, Yemi laid down beside him on his bed. “Telling me about how you feel about me sets your soul free of the burden of hidden love. Love is a feeling to be shared, not to be hoarded. When you hide these feelings inside of you, they grow until they become a pain in your soul.”
Yemi sat up beside him. “I didn’t want to be rejected that was why I kept it to myself.”
“Yarinya,” Sadique whispered. “It is your youth that scares you.”
“What do you mean?” Yemi asked.
“When you have experienced life, you will no longer be afraid to express your feelings.”
Yemi regarded the ex-military man she had fallen in love with. “I want you so much. I want you to be mine, and mine alone.”
Sadique pulled her into his embrace and kissed her.
For the first time in her life, she let herself go and enjoyed the kiss. Every sound faded and the only thing she heard was their breaths, rising and falling in unison.
Yemi shut her eyes and fell helpless into a whirlpool of pleasure. Her pulse quickened as if she just ran a 50meter dash. A light film of sweat spread all over her quivering body as she experienced emotions she never knew existed.
“Get up from the floor,” mama broke into the thoughts of the maid.
Yemi opened her eyes. She was still kneeling on the kitchen floor. She stood up slowly from the floor and wiped her tears with the back of her hands.
“Yemi, listen very carefully. If you think you can use this pregnancy to take over my son and his life, you are very wrong.”
Yemi lifted her head and looked at the matriarch of the Phillips clan.
“You will become my son’s second wife, but you won’t live in this house.” Mama stood up from her chair. “I will rent an apartment for you until you give birth to this baby, then we will take it from there.”
Yemi looked relieved. “Thank you ma,” Yemi knelt down on the floor.
“Don’t thank me yet. I will punish you severely and do all in my power to ruin your life if I discover that you are lying to me,” mama walked out of the kitchen, leaving the maid still kneeling on the floor, very scared for her life.
To be continued,