Yemi paced the small room looking at her phone, expecting it to ring but the screen remained as dark as the night sky. She had been waiting for Sadique for over thirty minutes but he wasn’t back. Why did he rush out of the room as if something terrible was pursuing him? Why was he in such a hurry? She came out of the room and entered the main house through the back door in the kitchen. She heard Sadique and Ngozi talking upstairs. She tiptoed out of the kitchen and stood near the staircase.
“My chest. I can’t stand this pain. Ngozi please do something.”
That was Gbenga’s voice. What happened to him? Why was Ngozi in the house at this time of the night? She heard someone coming down the stairs and she quickly hid in the visitor’s toilet near the staircase. She opened the door in a crack and saw Sadique enter the kitchen and return with the first aid box. He went upstairs with the kit.
Now she was convinced that something was going on. She came out of the toilet and went out of the house through the kitchen. She entered her room, reached for the switch and turned on the light.
“Did you miss me?”
Kalu sat on the edge of her bed, in a pair of jeans and a black shirt opened three buttons down. He held a bottle of vodka in his right hand. Yemi wanted to believe that the missing contents of the bottle wasn’t presently coursing through his body, poisoning his bloodstream, systematically destroying his liver, weakening his conscious mind, freeing him of his inhibitions, compromising his sense of judgment, exposing the very worst of his persona, making him as dangerous as a man high on cocaine.
“I didn’t expect to see you here,” Yemi tried to compose herself. “Did you drink that all by yourself?” she asked, pointing at the half empty bottle of vodka.
Kalu raised the bottle, “While you were busy with Segun the wife snatcher, I got myself this bottle. Seems like I am doing a good job, aren’t I?” he laughed drily.
“Kalu, we are not married. Don’t call me your wife!”
“See what money can cause? Now you deny our relationship. This is even worse than I thought.” He opened the bottle and drank some more.
Yemi was scared. Not for herself but for Kalu. If Sadique found him in her room, she couldn’t predict his reaction. She liked Kalu but her life had become too dangerous for him to remain with her.
“You have to leave. If Sadique finds you here…”
Kalu put the bottle down by his legs. “I am not leaving here tonight. This isn’t the first time I have spent the night with you.”
“Please Kalu, you must leave immediately.”
Kalu laid back casually on the bed. “I was here last night and there was no complaint. What is different about tonight?”
Yemi wanted to scream at him: ‘you fool, tonight is different! Sadique will hurt you if he finds you here with me,’ but she said nothing.
“Or is this about that deceiver, Mr Segun who tried to steal you away from me today?”
She stood before him. “Kalu, things are a bit complex. I can no longer guarantee your safety if you remain with me.”
Her words seemed to sink into a portion of his inebriated brain. “What do you mean?” he asked with a serious look on his face.
“I have done some terrible things in the past. Right now it seems like all I have done is catching up with me.” She looked into his eyes. ” Kalu, I don’t want you to suffer for what you know nothing about. Please leave now. I promise to call you tomorrow and explain everything.”
Kalu kept the bottle of vodka on the floor and stood up. He entered the bathroom and splashed some water on his face. He came out looking sober.
“You will call me tomorrow?”
“I promise,” Yemi said. She felt sad for treating Kalu this way. But she was playing with the big boys now and things could go awry very quickly. She stood up, gave him a hug. She lingered for a few seconds then gently pushed him away.”Now, go.”
Kalu walked to the door. He turned back to take another look at Yemi before he stepped out into the night.
Yemi exhaled and sat down on the bed.
What’s happening inside the house? Why didn’t Sadique tell her what he went to do inside the house? Sadique says he loves her, but why wouldn’t he let her know what was going on in the house?
She changed into a buttoned down white sheer blouse and jeans. She looked at herself in the mirror and liked what she saw. She applied some lip gloss and brushed her hair. She went back to the house and hid in the visitor’s toilet near the staircase.
“My man is here,” she heard Ngozi say. “You have to come with me to carry the medical supplies.”
“I think we should take him to a hospital,” Sadique said.
“Well, we can’t. Under these circumstances we all may end up in jail. Come with me.”
“What about Shade?” Sadique asked.
“I told her not to do anything stupid. We are going down to pick up the supplies three streets away from here. I don’t want the delivery man to come to this house. We must be very careful.”
Seconds later Yemi heard them both come down the stairs. They opened the door and went outside. She heard Ngozi’s car start and drive out of the gate.
She came out of the toilet and opened the door to the visitor’s bedroom.
“Who is there?” Gbenga asked in a weak voice.
Yemi came over to the bed and stood over Gbenga.
“Yemi, it is you.”
“What happened to you?” Yemi asked.
“My…my…wife…Shade shot me.”
Yemi’s eyes opened wide in shock and her hands went to her chest. “She shot you? Are you okay my darling?”
“I am. Sadique said it is just a flesh wound and I will be fine.”
“You must be strong for us. Be strong for me and your baby,” she rubbed her stomach and smiled. “Be strong for our future together.” She caressed his face then leaned in, with her breasts touching his chest and kissed him. His breathing quickened. He reached out with his left hand and held her.
“How do you feel?” Yemi asked him.
“Much better,” Gbenga said, still breathing hard.
“Would you want me to do anything for you?”
“Stay with me for a while. This room feels like a prison.”
Yemi found a towel in the bathroom, sat beside him on the bed and wiped his sweaty brow.
“You have nothing to worry about. I will take very good care of you,” Yemi said.
The door to the room swung open.
“You will do no such thing!”
Shade stood in the doorway, anger etched on her face.
“Get away from my husband, you whore!”
Gbenga held on tightly to Yemi’s hand. “Please don’t leave me with this woman. She wants to kill me!”
“I said get out of this room, right now!” Shade shouted and pointed at the door.
Yemi stood up slowly, her eyes set on Shade like a hawk. “I think you ought to know something. Your mother in-law was here and we had an interesting discussion.”
“What nonsense are you talking about?” Shade asked, wondering what mama would want to discuss with the maid.
“Gbenga and I….”
“Yemi, please don’t say anything,” he warned her. He didn’t like the look on his wife’s face.
“Oh, are you now on a first name basis with my husband? How long has this deception been going on in my home?”Shade asked.
Yemi looked at Gbenga but he said nothing.
“Answer me you shameless whore. How long has this been going on?”
“Shut up!” Yemi shouted. “I have had enough of your insults in this house!”
“What?!” Shade felt like Yemi slapped her on the face. No, the feeling was worse than that. It felt like a punch to her stomach and it came with a lot of pain. Her mouth hung open like dead fish at Iddo fish market. No one had ever spoken to her like that, especially not a common maid.
“And stop talking to me like I’m some ignorant illiterate brought from the village to be your slave,” Yemi said. “I’m not.”
Gbenga wanted to remind her that she was the maid but he held his tongue.
“Mama wants Gbenga and I to have a traditional wedding so that she can welcome her grandchild into this family with style.” Yemi looked down at Gbenga and smiled at him. He didn’t smile back. The pain had returned to his chest.
“You? Marry my husband? What is going on? Has everyone in this house gone MAD?”
“I am quite sane,” Yemi retorted.
“I doubt that very much because you have no idea what you are talking about. You are my maid and you will never be anything more than that in this house.”
As the women faced off like two Ifa priests engaged in a fierce territorial battle, hurling occult incantations at each other, Gbenga began sweating like a man carrying a sack of beans across an expressway who looks up to see a huge truck bearing down on him with reckless speed.
To be continued…