She opened the door, and smiled, revealing her white set. He looked around, then walked in.
“I got you some fruits.” He said, taking a seat.
“Oh that’s so thoughtful of you. Thank you.” She replied.
“Is mama in? And where is the baby?”
Francisca rolled her eyes.
“Do you hate me that much Dotun? You can’t even have a decent conversation with me that doesn’t involve the baby. If anyone should be angry it should be me.” She had started to cry. “You knocked me up and went ahead to get married.”
“Francisca it was a fling!”
“Well, it meant more than a fling to me. We were together for about six months before you went back to her. She made you feel so spiritually inferior and you came back into my arms. I have never made you feel less of a man, Dotun. I carried your son. I loved you.”
“It was just…” he stuttered. She was crying. She walked to the door and opened it.
“In fact, please just leave.” She said.
He shook his head, and hesitated, then pulled her close and hugged her.
“I’m sorry Francisca. I had no idea you took it that far.” He said.
“You have hurt me so much.” She continued crying. “Now my life is miserable and lonely.”
He was lost for words or what to do. He could not leave her crying like that. He tried to hug her. She resisted at first, then slowly opened up.
“I just want you to give me some regard as the mother of your only child.” She said.
“I know. I am sorry. I will try to make amends.” He said.
She wiped her tears and went into the kitchen, then brought plates and cutlery.
“Will you start by having some food?” she smiled.
She went back in and came out with two ceramic bowls. The aroma of fresh egusi soup made his belly churn with eagerness. She carried a table, and uncovered the ceramic bowl. It was as though he was looking into heaven. The egusi lumps were rich in size and color. The splash of succulent green ugwu mixed with the egusi only made his taste buds tick. Jumbo sized crayfish and pomo stood out, enticing him, with dried fish and other assorted meat parts. She opened the other bowl and it was a delicacy of bush meat and snails. The height of it was the fluffy white mound of pounded yam she unwrapped before him.
“Please have some food, dear.” She said, smiling.
“Em..Fran..Francisca, I shouldn’t. My wife already made me food.” He stammered.
“But you said she travelled…” she said in a calm and soft pitch.
“Er.. yes she did. She made rice in the morning.”
“That means warmed food for you? And rice? Are you not tired of rice?”
He dipped his right hand into the plastic bowl she had brought for him to wash his hand, but then hesitated.
“I shouldn’t. Really.” He said.
“I don’t bite, man! I slaved over this meal for you because I thought you would be tired from work. I am just trying to show you some respect and concern here. I am not trying to break your marriage. It is a waste anyways. I’ll just go dump the meal in the bin.” She said, and covered the bowls.
Dotun watched as she lifted the tray. His stomach growled and he held it in embarrassment.
“Okay I want…” he said in a very low voice. She smiled, but pretended not to hear.
“I’m sorry what did you say?” she asked.
“I said…” he cleared his throat as his tummy growled again, louder. “I will eat it.” He said.
It was 9pm and Dotun had still not picked his call. She was getting worried. She had sent a couple of text messages and BBM messages but he had not replied any. Francisca looked at the phone, and saw the caller id. She hissed and removed the battery, then put the phone on her dresser. Dotun was fast asleep on her bed. After his meal, she brought chilled beer for him to top it up. She knew the man. He was a beer lover, and he could not resist cold beer. He drowned a bottle and she engaged him in a soccer conversation. She knew a lot about soccer. She talked about the economy too. Dotun was very engaged and she went to the freezer to bring two more bottles, as they watched soccer on TV. He was still conscious when she tried to help him to the bedroom, although he was half asleep.
She unbuttoned his shirt and placed her head on his chest, massaging it with her hands. She touched his head and rubbed it. She knew he liked it. He cleared his throat and placed his hand on her waist, pulling her closer.
Chichi packed her bag and left the room, when Captain Taiwo was still in the bathroom. For once, she had a conscience. She wanted to get back to Lagos, before Toyin spoilt everything and told her husband or Niran. She paid for a ticket at the airport, and waited for the next available flight back to Lagos.
Toyin lay in her bed, without finding any sleep. She thought of what to do. What if Chichi went ahead to tell Niran or Dotun about her past? Chichi had nothing to lose. She could always find another man. But not her. She couldn’t lose Dotun, and she couldn’t bear the scandal. She made up her mind to get this over with once and for all. What was the worst that could happen? By morning, she left instructions with her assistant to follow up on the décor in the hotel, and packed her bags. She would catch the next flight to Lagos.
Dotun hit his head on the steering, as he parked the vehicle in his compound. What had he done? How could he be that stupid? How was he any different from Esau that sold his birth right because of food? He had sold his loyalty because of egusi and beer.
“Oh God please help me find a way out of this please.” He said, trying to pull himself together. What if Francisca got pregnant again? Toyin would never forgive him. It was probably high time he stopped hiding things and came out plain. He grabbed his blazer and dragged his feet into the house. He tried to unlock the door but it was already open. He remembered he had sent the gateman to go buy him recharge cards for airtime as he drove in. Slowly, he walked in, trying not to make a sound. Who could be in the house?
Chichi cried as Niran walked out. She had confessed everything to him, and how she had recently been with Captain Taiwo, but decided not to sleep with him and came back to Lagos. He was beyond shocked. He was a calm man, and very reserved, and she had never seen this part of him before. He had raised his hand and had almost hit her, but then he regained composure, and slowly walked out of the house, without uttering a word.
“Niran please I am so sorry. I understand if you don’t want to have anything to do with me anymore. I just love you too much to cheat on you anymore.” She cried, holding his hand. He wriggled his hand from her grip, got into his SUV, and drove off.
She ran back into her apartment and grabbed her phone. She needed to talk to Dotun, his cousin. Dotun was the only one who could help her intercede. She remembered Toyin, and for a minute, thought it was even to drag her into her own mess, but decided not to. The poor woman had just been very naïve back then and truth be told, Chichi knew her conscience pricked her.
Dotun had found his wife in the living room, sitting on the sofa, crying.
‘Oh no! She knows!’ he thought. He walked up to her and dropped his phone on the stool, preparing in his head, what to say.
His phone rang out. He refused to answer it. It was Chichi. Her talk could wait. She had sent a text earlier saying they needed to talk. Toyin tried to avoid his eyes, and instead, looked at his phone. The call came through again. It was Chichi. He had stored her name as Chisom Niran. Goosebumps filled her flesh, and shivers went down her spine. He picked the call.
“Hello, Chichi. You said you had something to discuss earlier…can it please…”
What she said stopped him immediately and He couldn't complete his sentence. He looked at Toyin and frowned.
“What?!” he said.
Toyin got down on her knees immediately, crying.
“Dotun It was a mistake! Please,” she wept. “I thought an abortion was the only solution! We had no idea he was a quack. He destroyed my womb. I am sooo sorrryyyyy” she wept on uncontrollably.
“What?” Dotun said, and cut the call.
“Please Dotun forgive me. I didn’t know how to tell you I can’t have kids.” She cried.
“What are you talking about Toyin!” His eyes were red.
“Chichi…she told you…”
“She told me she hurt Niran and that he walked out and his phone is switched off. What are you saying!” He yelled.
Toyin sank into the floor, raising her hands on her head. What had she done?!
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