Wande was surprised to see the Lagos road devoid of its signatory traffic. It was a good thing as he was driving slowly with the weight of Adunni’s properties crowding his boot and back seats. Bolarinwa promised to bring the rest of her belongings. His Range rover could not take them all. He looked at her from beneath his eyelashes, her face was puffed and stripped of all emotions except her bloodshot eyes that told their own story. She must have cried years worth of tears for her failed marriage ceremony. His mind drifted to their wedding, she had participated willingly. One of his aunties was invited and she officiated the traditional marriage. From sharing of cakes which he was hundred percent sure was made for her and her ex fiancé to “crowning” him with one of his father’s old handwoven caps which she did sitting on his laps rather than kneeling down. Despite the situation, he had found himself enjoying the ceremony and even smiled many times.
How did her father made her marry him? Was she threatened? Or she married him because she had no choice? It must be the latter. She had never called him all these years. It was him who called and text her. Send her airtime monthly without a thank you text messages from her. The jewelries and cakes on her birthdays. Her refusals to have lunch or dinner dates with him never bothered him because her father was calling him year in year out to marry his daughter. He had thought he was investing in his future wife. He was an idiot planning a life for them while she was busy seeing other men. His mouth tightened in anger.
Olaronke eyes ran up the length of her husband from his expensive black shiny sandals to the pants trousers that hugged his muscled thighs and blue shirt that opened to revealed his solid chest. Who got married in their casuals? Obviously they did. She was wearing her red Kampala skirt and blouse that showed enough cleavage to attract her husband’s interest. She could not believed the turn of events, here she was married after two days of her failed marriage ceremony to another man.
How lucky she was! After she woke up from a deep slumber of ten hours. No one had to tell her something was wrong: The pictures Oluwaniyi sent said it all. Why would he do this to her? She wondered. The camera captured his smiling face, he knew what he was doing. She checked his Facebook page, all her pictures were gone and now replaced by Bonuade’s grinning faces. She finally won. What stunt did she pull? Was Bonuade pregnant for him? How long had they been dating behind her? Was it a one night stand? She could have sworn with her life that Oluwaniyi never cheated on her. But now she was not sure of what to believe anymore. Her own Twitter page was brimming with questions from friends about the failed ceremony. The story of how guests were arrested on her wedding was trending, it was that moment she swore off social media. What should have been her private shame was now public.
Her father called her to his bed room and started with the praises that made her cried. He told her his decision to marry her off to her betrothed. She did not utter a word against his decision. In truth, there was nothing left for her. She tendered her resignation letter three weeks to her wedding at the private secondary school she worked. And she could not imagine herself going through the rigors of dating nor the gossips. No, if Wande still wants to wed her then she was willing too. That night she had tweeted about her failed nuptials and apologised to those that were affected. She told them she was quitting social media for now. She switched off her smart phone in what she hoped would be forever.
She stared at his hard handsome face. He seemed angry now when he was all smiles during their wedding ceremony that she was convinced he was excited to marry her. She sighed remembering her brother’s advice. He said her husband was an honorable man and he would never mistreat her while she should always communicate always communicate her feelings.
“Wande” she called taking her brother’s advice
“Hmm” he gave her a noncommittal reply. His gave fixed on the road leading to his house at Ikeja.
“You seem angry, did I do anything wrong? she asked
” You are” was his hard reply
“What?” she was shocked, most men would have pacified her with a good response.
“Just shut the hell up and talk only when I asked you to” this time he turned scowling at her while her brain told her she had made a grave mistake marrying him.
Wande maneuvered his car along the bad road to his home. The recent rain had spoiled the other good route to his house. His anger increased with her question, calling him Wande with her deceptive acts. She never for once called him to stop sending her gifts because she had a fiancé. Like every greedy female she kept receiving them without a word but was bold to tell him she can not visit him in school nor go out with him.
He drove to his gate, with no gateman, he opened his gate wider and got back into his car to drive in. He turned to her
“Madam, there is no helper in this house. I recently bought it and hadn’t got the time to hire domestic help. You will have to drag your belongings all by yourself as I am very tired” he completed with her face becoming paler than he could ever thought possible.
In his anger, he did not noticed the front door opened and a lady in a bum shot stepped out to greet him at his driver’s side.
“Sweetheart, you are finally back” she said her mouth pouting for a kiss.
“Grace, what are you doing here?”
it was a stupid question to ask. It was him who instructed his PA to give her his keys. He thought marrying Adunni was over and Grace was the one whom he planned to start his new life with.
“What do you mean by that?” Grace said, her eyes roaming over the other lady. Her prayers was finally answered; their no-string attached relationship had evolved into a more serious one. She could proudly call him her boyfriend. They began seeing each other last year October and he made it very clear from their first night together that he was engaged and would soon be married.
But she deluded herself thinking Wande would fall in love with her. If his fiancee was perfect, why would he be cheating on her? If she had no flaws, he wouldn’t be seeing another woman. She had consoled herself with the thought that she was better than his fiancée. Every compliments he paid her was the opposite of his soon to be wife. He had called her beautiful and she pictured his fiancée to be a plain looking woman. When he told her she was resourceful during one of their lunch dates she paid for, she had imagined his intended to be dull and uncreative. Her feelings for him continued to grow and she became bold demanding some rights; like spending the weekend with him, cooking for him and browsing through his phones. His phone gallery was devoid of pictures: not even his. If he really had a beau, why was she not marking her territory? What sensible woman would abandoned her handsome fiancé in a city full of willing women without checking up on him or living with him?
All these thoughts emboldened her to express her love for him at their dinner date. It was a night she hated to remember, Wande had stood up from their table calling the attention of the waitress. He paid for their untouched meals and right in the presence of other diners, he demanded for his keys and told her never to call him again. But she kept calling him and felt stupid every time he did not pick her calls.
“Is she a one night stand?” she whispered praying she was.
The woman was beautiful; every inch of her even though she looked distress.
“What?” Olaronke gasped in shock and quickly hid it from her husband, her eyes blazing in anger at him.
Wande got down from the car and took Grace arm dragging her along to the far end of the compound. Olaronke watched the exchange with her heart thudding. She did not need to strain her ears as the lady kept shouting. Her marriage had not yet begun; just unraveling and his past was already hanging like a threat over their head.
“Your wife? How did that happened. You said the marriage was cancelled” Grace cried out
“I am sorry it turned out to be this way I will…….” He didn’t complete the sentence before Grace interrupted again
“Listen here Wande, be ready to have two wives. I have packed my things all the way from Ibadan and this is where we will live together” she said again her face stained with tears.
“I only called you three days ago, that we should give our relationship a trial. Why are you acting like a betrayed fiancée? We were not even dating. And I warned you from the beginning, didn’t i?” Wande said each word slowly hoping she would get the message.
He regretted ever having any relationship with her. If he had known she would become clingy, he would not have approached her at that bar.
“How dare you say that to me? I am everything she is not” Grace said this pointing to the direction of Olaronke that was advancing towards them.
“I cook for you, clean your home, wash your clothes, keep your company, support you. Where was she while I was doing all those?”
Olaronke anger increased but she was not one to act on it quickly or else she would have slapped her wide mouth shut. It was her choice to do all that for a man who was not dating her and who warned her her of his engagement to another woman.
“Wande” Olaronke called ignoring the angry woman beside her
“I need the car keys. I want to pack my things inside” she informed. He was about to hand the keys over to her when Grace snatched it from him.
“Pack into where? In your dreams. You and I know you don’t deserve this man here. A man you didn’t work for and you want to have him on a platter of gold. You will have to fight to have him” Grace said facing Olaronke who was several inches taller than her. Her hands formed into fists, she was ready to pummel her.
Olaronke merely raise her eyebrow and genuinely smiled in pity at the short lady exhuming flames of anger. She had a flat nose and oval face, her wide mouth marring are almost pretty face. Her figure was flattering with the excess flesh adorning the anatomies that mattered. But with all her beauty, she would not allow her to poach her home nor her husband.
“Trust me I have two days worth of anger that could see me through a fight successfully. Mind you, I have never had a physical fight with anyone before and if you want to be my opponent you are welcome. I promise to inflict pains greater than the one you are going through right now” Olaronke said, raising her voice with each words.
“Adunni, please calm down. Go inside I will settle this” Wande pleaded with her.
She ignored him and forcefully snatched the key from her. It was not much of a struggle on her own part. She was stronger than her.
“If your name is really Grace try to stop me from moving into my house” Olaronke hissed carrying the first bag her hand reached. She dragged it along into the house. The situation had prevented her from admiring the duplex. She stared at the pristine perfection of the lavender colored walls and the carnival red giving it a glow. It reminded her how her life as always been; Shining for a moment with darkness hovering above. A funny sound escaped her lips she was on the verge of tears. But now was not the right time to usher the waterworks or succumbed to a deep slumber where she would no doubt had peace and woke up with forgetfulness. Tonight, she would fight it all.
She climbed the staircase that ushered her into a spacious sitting room. The black leather chairs looked pleasing and everywhere smelled nice. She dropped the luggage at the dining room. Grace had prepared a sumptuous meal of Semo and melon soup. Olaronke dipped the fork into the dish and lifted it into her mouth.
“Tasteless” she hissed.
She moved from room to room exploring its beauty. There were five rooms altogether. None of it has Grace possession. There must be a master bedroom hiding somewhere. She found it, it was larger than the rest of the rooms with a large bed covered in blue bed spread dominating it. She saw a gown strewn across the floor. The foolish lady must have changed hurriedly when she heard the car. She opened the wardrobe that was quarter filled with the other woman’s belonging.
“This look more like a three day journey packed clothes” Olaronke said packing Grace clothes into a nylon bag instead of the box she knew belonged to her. She emptied the laundry basket and her foot wears into another. She made sure none of her personal effect was lying dormant in her soon to be matrimonial room. Even her toothbrush and used soap was packed well except her bag. She was throwing her out of her home with a tag of “iyawo nylon bag”. With two filled nylon bags,she rushed down the stairs and saw her husband plucking Grace pleadind hands from him. It was dark already. It should be past seven
“Wande don’t do this to me” she cried
“Grace stop doing this to yourself. You are beautiful and you deserved to be love exclusively” Wande said frustrated.
Sixty minutes had passed since Adunni left them. He was not one who treated women harshly. And he felt guilty for giving Grace false hope the past few days. That was what made him soft else he would have thrown her out on her ears. He watched his wife approached them with a big smile on her face and her phone glued to her ear. What was she up to?
“Iyawo nylon bag, its about time you left. I called a uber for you. Its waiting at that secondary school closer to here. Your ATM is inside your purse. I made sure you left nothing behind” Olaronke said to her.
“Here is the gown you removed in the hope of seducing my husband” she added and threw it on the floor as Grace made to catch it.
The other lady picked up her nylons and her shattered pride.
With a final glance at Olaronke, she turned to him with tear stained face.
“I have been pleading with you for months to make me a wife but you humilated me. I promise you that after the bloom wore off, you will realise you married a thing. A woman who care less about you” she said and proudly sauntered off in what Wande prayed was forever.
Grace threw her gown over her head and banged the gate angrily.
Olaronke sighed “what a wedding night”.
…to be continued…