Chichi wrapped the large white towel around her light skinned body, as she stepped out of the bathroom. She glanced at the clock hanging on her wall. She had about an hour and forty minutes to prepare for the event. She was one to spend much time on make-up so it was only logical she had taken a bath. Her new purple dress lay adorably on her bed. She had just bought it, and it was worth every kobo for its price. Her phone rang. It was Francisca.
“Hi, Iyawo.” Francisca said. She could hear Dotun Junior’s baby noises from the background.
“Why is my booboo crying o? And are you bringing him today?” Chichi asked, squeezing some foundation on her index finger.
“No I think I have to drop him with Mom. Don’t wanna cramp my style tonight o. what if I meet potential husband…”
Chichi laughed. Her friend was so desperate for a man. She had brought the baby on the night of her engagement party with her fiancé, and had lost the attention of single hot guys who were looking for single girls, not single moms. Anyway, it was about time. She was thirty years old and it was only logical.
“I’m sorry love. I have to pick this call.” She said, cutting the call, and picking up her iPhone. It was Captain Taiwo. The man would just not let go. She had told him severally that she could no longer see him. He was her goodbye to the world of dating rich married men.
“Taiwo, please…” she started.
“Chichi, my baby girl, why are you avoiding me now?” he said with his thin voice and heavy Yoruba accent. If not that he had lots of cash to offer, she often wondered what she ever saw in him. He never shaved his beard such that it always appeared untidy. He was always sweating, and he had a mouth odour. She had laughed hysterically when his wife had called her number and threatened her to stay away from her husband.
“You young girls can’t bear to see a rich and handsome man!” the wife had said.
“I want to see you tonight. I need you to come with me to Abuja for the weekend.” He said.
“How much is in it for me? I hope it is not the one that your wife will start stalking my life?”
“Trust your honey now, Chi babe. Enough treats for you, better than the last time.”
“Okay but maybe tomorrow. I can’t be there tonight. My father is at the hospital so I need to be there.” She lied.
In an hour’s time, her fiancé was downstairs by her door, to pick her up for the event they were attending. They would pick up Francisca on the way.
Toyin had hardly touched her food. She kept picking at it. Her shop girl came into the inner room which served as her office.
“Madam, the customer is saying he will only pay seventy thousand naira last.” The girl said. It took like four repetitions for Toyin to jolt back into consciousness.
“Give me a minute,” she said, then covered the plate of food grown cold, and joined the customer in the bigger room.
“Hello Sir,” she forced a smile. He was a man in his thirties. He wore a shirt and pants with a silk tie. It was obvious he was on lunch break from work.
“My girl told me you said seventy last Sir. You know this flower vase is imported. You can see it is very sensuous in shape. Can you see the vintage detailing by the side, and it is marble. In fact giving you at eight five thousand naira is more than benevolent of me.” She said.
“My sister travels often now and it is not this expensive, you know. I just need it urgently because I am decorating my new office.”
“Oh wonderful! We also do interior décor sir,” the shop girl said.
Toyin shook her head. How could she forget to mention that she designed offices, homes and hotels? Her girl was a life saver!
“Please have our card sir. And if we design you you get a 10% knock-off on any item you purchase here at Toyinz décor.” She said.
The man collected the card and exchanged his, nodding. He got the vase for seventy nine thousand naira. She called her gateman and driver to help the man carry the packaged vase to his car.
She went back to her inner room and threw the pack of fried rice into the plastic bag it came with. She had lost her appetite. She tried to open her bible and find a scripture to lift her but nothing was forthcoming. She decided to surf the internet to while away time. She stumbled on a blog…”real Christian women.” There was a post about a woman who asked a question if she should leave her violent husband. 80 percent said she should stay in the marriage, and accept the bullying and abuse as her cross. Someone asked that what if he kills her? Then no one replied. Two said she should separate from her husband and pray for God to heal the marriage. As she clicked on the home page, and was about to close the window, she saw a post which read “I had an abortion. Should I disclose this to hubby?”
She read every single comment as though her life depended on it. She needed answers and solutions. She did not know what to do. It seemed as though God was silent and wasn’t speaking on this matter…or so she had chosen to believe. Whenever the thought of confessing to Dotun overflowed the better part of her mind, she always shut it out with something else to distract her. God could not be asking her to tell him. She knew the truth set free, but she was free already. At least she had her man back. Old things had passed away.
Many commenters said it was wise to tell the man but how many of them would do that in actual fact. It was the last comment that hit her beneath the bone and marrow.
“I had aborted three pregnancies when I was under twenty five. I found my man at twenty seven. I told him and he accepted me. Turned out I could not have children. Husband died in an accident and baby mama showed up at the burial with twins and a boy. His family supported her over me.”
It just occurred to her that Dotun might be seeing his son every weekend. For the past three to four months, he was hardly home during weekends. It was either he was hanging with the boys, or work. He was a contract staff with an oil company. What kind of work would take him away almost every weekend?
Dotun had sent a text for her to go freshen up. He would be home soon to pick her up, because his cousin had invited him for an event that evening.
“Look sexy o” he had added in another text. She smiled.
He thought her electric blue maxi evening dress with silver sequins was exquisite. He changed into another shirt, and a bow tie, and then they drove to the Riverstone restaurant in Victoria Island. It was obvious they were over thirty minutes late. The speeches had been read and item 7 was already taking its course. Dotun held her as he went to say hello to his old relatives and friends. Him and his cousin had practically grown up together till the man had left for the UK to pursue a bachelors, masters, and a PhD. Everyone thought he had a jewel for a wife.
“Lucky man you are isn’t it, Dot-man!” Mr Asiwaju said, teasing in his usual jovial manner. Mr. Asiwaju was his uncle. The event was the launch of a book his Lawyer son, and Dotun’s cousin, Niran, had written.
Toyin blushed, as she received the older man’s compliments.
Niran was around them in no time, hugging his cousin. “I am glad you could make it, D” he said.
“Please meet my wife, Toyin Da-Silva” Dotun said. Niran had been unable to attend their wedding. He had been abroad on some research.
“Oh what a beauty you are.” He said. “Thank God I have a fiancée. Please meet Chisom Okonkwo, my wife to be.”
Chisom smiled and hugged Dotun, and then their eyes met: Toyin and Chichi.
“Um…I am very pleased to meet you, Chichi…Chisom I mean.” Toyin stuttered.
Dotun spotted Francisca just beside Chisom, and tried to look away as quick as possible. Oh my God, he said underneath his breath. Thank God she had not brought the baby, and thank God Toyin had never seen her before! He ended the conversation quickly and pulled Toyin as they went back to their seat while Niran chatted with his other guests.
Toyin could hardly eat, and so did Dotun. She was so disturbed that she had not noticed Dotun’s attitude change. He wasn’t eating anything too.
“I need to use the bathroom. I will be right back,” she pecked him and went to the Ladies. Chichi and another lady where right in her face as she walked in.
“Oh God!” she screamed out of fright.
Chichi saw her from the huge bathroom mirror, and turned to face her.
“Toyin dear, it has been ages! I almost did not recognise you back there,” she said, starting conversation.
“Em…how have you been Chichi, so good to see you.” She muttered. “I see we ended up in the same family circle.”
Chichi smiled, then pulled Toyin aside.
“Girl, the past is past. I am getting married to Niran and I DON’T WANT YOU MESSING ANYTHING UP. IF YOU DO, YOU KNOW I HAVE YOUR SECRET IN MY HANDS.” She said in a very low but audible pitch.
“Are you threatning me?” Toyin said, shaking her head.
“No. I am telling you a fact.”
“If you rubbish me, I will rubbish you.” Toyin said. She could not believe those words had proceeded from her mouth.
“Funny enough, you are the one who can’t get pregnant yet you forced that innocent man to marry you. Niran talks about him all the time and how much he loves his angel of a wife. So you are the angel.” She laughed.
“What do you mean it is me who can’t…” Toyin started, and then she remembered Chichi had gotten pregnant even after two abortions.
“I am three weeks gone for Niran.” Chichi said.
Hot tears welled up in Toyin’s eyes as she ran out of the bathroom.
Francisca walked over to Chichi.
“That is Dotun’s wife!” she said. “That is the woman holding my baby daddy from me Chichi!”
Chichi screamed in surprise.
“Oh my God. Toyin? Ohhh you have it easy Francisca. That girl cannot have kids. Na me carry am for abortion that time. The thing went wrong.” She said.
“Oh no. what if she gets you arrested or something?” Francisca said.
“Arrest Fire. She is a church woman. She won’t want that scandal.”
As they walked out of the bathroom, Francisca stopped her friend.
“I had no idea you are pregnant!” she said.
“I am not. I just said that to gain ground.”
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