“Where are we going?” Sadique asked.
Ngozi ignored his question. “Why didn’t you terminate the maid like I asked you to?” Ngozi asked.
Sadique’s brow creased slightly but he concentrated on the road and drove.
“Why did you question me? Have you forgotten what I did for you and your family?”
Sadique gripped the steering wheel tighter. “I haven’t forgotten,” he said through clenched teeth.
“Then why are you trying to make things difficult for yourself? When I ask you to do something, I expect you to do it.”
Sadique kept his eyes on the road. “The girl is innocent. Leave her alone.”
Ngozi turned in her seat to look at Sadique’s face. She studied him for a few seconds. Lights from oncoming traffic danced on his pensive face.
“Are you sleeping with her?” Ngozi asked.
Sadique bit his lips but said nothing.
His silence was proof enough for Ngozi. She chuckled. “Men! you are so predictable! I can see that you have been seduced by Yemi.”
“No woman can seduce me. I am with her because I like her.” Sadique said.
“You like her? You fool!” she said with disgust. “You are wasting your time with her. Why do you think I arranged for Yemi to come and work with the Phillips? She is incapable of loving anyone. She has got you where she wants and now she’s toying with your emotions, like a hungry cat toys with a mouse it is about to devour.”
“Ngozi, please stop talking like this. Nothing you say about Yemi will make me stop liking her. It is my business if I like Yemi. Of what concern is that to you?”
“Can’t you see?”
“Yemi is deceiving you. She wants to use you and after that she will dump you the way she left you for that trader from Alaba market. What’s his name again….I remember, Kalu.”
Sadique cast a side glance at Ngozi.
“I know everything that happens in that house even when you try to hide it from me.”
“You can believe whatever you want but I like Yemi.” He overtook a slow moving car. “And I am going to marry her.”
“Stop this car right now!” Ngozi ordered.
“Mr Philips needs urgent medical attention. We haven’t got time for this,” Sadique said.
Ngozi’s face had transformed into an angry mask. “I said stop the car! I don’t care who dies. Stop the car right now!”
Sadique manoeuvred the car to a stop by the side of the road and turned to Ngozi.
“You will not marry that girl. She will be sacked tomorrow morning and she will return to the ghetto from which she came.”
Sadique slowly removed his seatbelt. “Then I will have no other choice than to follow her to that ghetto,” he looked at Ngozi in the eye.
“Remember you have a wife and three kids back in Kaduna. What will happen to them?”
“My religion permits me to have more than one wife.”
“Don’t allow that girl to come between us. You know how for we’ve come together. There will always be other girls, more beautiful than Yemi. Why do you want to throw away all we have done together these years? Why do you want to risk your family in Kaduna? Why is Yemi so important to you?”
Sadique paused like a professor about to deliver the last sentence in a controversial lecture. He drew a breath. “I am in love with her. Ngozi, that is something you cannot and will never understand.”
Ngozi shook her head. “You are making a huge mistake with this girl. She will destroy you if you don’t stop this foolishness before it is too late. What has come over you?” she asked.
Sadique held the steering and bent his head for a few seconds. “This is not as important as Mr Phillip’s life. We should get…”
Ngozi flared up. “Don’t you EVER tell me what is important to me! I didn’t save you from prison for you to come and lecture me!”
Sadique looked at the dashboard. The time was 10:30pm. “If you don’t want to save Mr Phillips life, then I will.” He turned off the ignition and removed the key. “I am done with this.” He threw the key on the floor of the car by Ngozi’s feet. “Ngozi, you know what? You can go to hell.” He got out of the car, slammed the door and started walking away.
Ngozi opened the door and ran after him for a short distance.
“Sadique, come back here right now!” She shouted.
But the ex-military man ignored her calls like a vagrant dog and walked into the night until the darkness swallowed him.
“So you think you can take over my home by getting pregnant for my husband? You and that bastard child in your womb will leave my home this very night,” Shade said.
“You no longer have such power in this house. Gbenga and I will get married and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Yemi said.
Huge blobs of sweat formed on Gbenga’s forehead like red beads on the head of a princess of the Benin kingdom. “Both of you should take your bickering outside. You are making me very uncomfortable,” he managed to say.
Shade turned away from the maid and faced her husband who lay on the bed looking helpless like an invalid. “Uncomfortable? I am making you uncomfortable? You and this whore planned to ruin my marriage and my life and that is all you have to say? I will do more than that if this woman doesn’t vacate this premises tonight!”
Yemi stepped in front of Shade. “I am not going anywhere!”she said with vehemence. Even Gbenga was surprised by her fierceness. “I will take care of the father of my child.”
“Yemi will stay and take care of me tonight. I can’t sleep in this room alone,” Gbenga added.
“You want her to share your bed with you right under my nose? You want to desecrate my home? Such an abomination will never happen while I am here.”
Gbenga raised himself up. “Then you may have to leave so that Yemi can do what she has to do to take care of me.”
Yemi inched closer to Shade. “Shade, you must admit to yourself that you have failed in this marriage. Your husband doesn’t want you anymore. I suggest you go and get married to your high flying executive job.”
The truth of the maid’s words pierced Shade’s heart like a nail hammered into soft wood. Her mom had warned her to give up her present job and find a less demanding one, so that she could pay attention to her husband and family, but her vanity and greed wouldn’t allow her. Now a common maid was giving her a lecture on life. As she stood there, a cloud of shame and helplessness descended on her pretty face, darkening her features, ageing her, making her look completely lost. Suddenly, she began to tremble like a green tree caught in the path of a violent hurricane. She pointed a shaky finger at Yemi who had no idea what she had caused by her last statement. “You are just a common maid and you think you can sleep your way to my husband’s heart? You lie!” Suddenly she leapt forward and grabbed Yemi’s blouse. Before Yemi could react, she pushed her like a wrestler pushes an opponent against the ropes. The maid staggered backwards like a drunk dancing to the imaginary music playing in his inebriated mind. She tried to regain her balance but couldn’t. She hit her head on the door of the wardrobe and dropped to the floor knocked out cold.
“Shade, what has possessed you?” Gbenga asked, his eyes opened wide, scared that he could be her next target.
There was a desperation in Shade’s eyes which made her look dangerous. It was the desperate look of a woman who was about to lose all that mattered to her, a woman who stood at the edge of an abyss and was about to tip over into an endless pit of pain, a woman who had no one to turn to, a woman whose heart was burdened by the weight of her own indiscretions, the weight of her mistakes, the weight of her sins, a woman who thought no one really cared about what happened to her, a woman who had made up her mind to put an end to this growing pain in her soul, but first she had to finish this.
Her eyes settled on a big vase on the floor beside the bathroom. She stepped over the maid and grabbed the vase. She dragged the vase on the floor and it made a screeching noise. Gbenga looked at her face and didn’t recognise his wife. Her eyes were blank, souless. She stood over the maid observing her like a juju priest about to offer a sacrifice to an evil deity.
“Shade, what’s come over you? What are you doing?” Gbenga asked his wife.
She ignored him. Looking at her, Gbenga could have sworn she was under the influence of drugs or possessed by spirits.
Shade stood over Yemi. “Before you and that bastard in your womb destroy me, I will destroy you. This is what happens to whores,” she lifted the vase high above her head and looked down at the maid with venom in her eyes.
“Take the next turn on your right,” Chioma instructed Michael who was driving her. She had called Shade’s phone several times but it was switched off. Why was her phone switched off? Was she okay? Chioma blamed herself for advising Shade to return to her home and fight for her marriage. If something tragic happened to Shade, she would never forgive herself.
“Stop in front of that gate,” she pointed at Shade’s house. The car rolled to a stop before the gate.
It was after Shade had left her at the beach that she started thinking that maybe she shouldn’t have allowed her to go and talk with her husband alone. Encouraging her to confront Ngozi was not a smart idea. Ngozi was dangerous and she could hurt Shade if that was what it took to steal her husband. Shade was no match for Ngozi’s devious mind.
“Lock the car and come with me.”
She tried the handle of the door of the side gate and found it unlocked. That was strange she thought. She pushed the door and it swung in slowly. She entered the compound and Michael followed her like a guardian angel. She walked to the main house and heard some voices downstairs.
“Wait here,” she told Michael who was looking around the living room like a detective.
The voices came from the visitor’s bedroom. The door was slightly open. She looked through the opening and in a moment took in the whole scene. Gbenga was lying on the bed, there was a woman on the floor and Shade raised a vase over her head, her eyes set on the woman lying on the floor.
Shade brought down the vase.
“Shade, no!” Chioma shouted and threw herself into the room.
To be continued.