Their flight was for Friday night. He wasn’t even sure if he still wanted to go on the honeymoon. He had wanted to cancel but Ladi had advised against such a decision. His best friend told him to use Greece as an opportunity to work things out with his woman. She would probably even let him finally consummate the marriage. He knew it was just six days old, but he felt like a man married for ten years and starved of sex.
He checked his hand luggage again and found the gift he bought for her. He was going to make this very special for them both. He heard the door creak open and he hurriedly zipped the bag.
“Hey Love,” He said.
“I went to have lunch at the hotel reception. Have you had anything to eat?” she replied faintly.
“Wow. You are assuming your wifely duties I see.” He laughed.
She smiled and sat on the bed.
“Dotun I was thinking about us…” she started. “We are already in this marriage. We might as well just make it work.”
He rushed beside her and hugged her.
“Baby I have waited forever for you to say this! Of course I am willing to work this out. Anything you want, I am yours Toyin! I am so sorry for all I have put you through.”
“You hurt me so bad! How could you get Francisca pregnant?” she cried.
He pulled her close and kissed her face.
“I am so sorry my angel! I have been very stupid and I know I have been unfair to you.” He kept on kissing her face.
She flinched and moved back.
“Get away from me!” she yelled.
She was shocked by her reaction, but more by her husband’s expression. She had scared him and made him feel worse.
“I should go get some lunch too.” He smiled coldly and walked out of the room.
Her mother and his had come to see them off at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport. Mrs Fayemi held her daughter’s hand shortly after they had checked in their luggage.
“Oluwatoyin, my sweet girl,” Her mother started. Toyin smiled like a child.
“No marriage is easy. Please try to make things work between you and your husband, sogbo?”
“Mom we are fine. There is nothing wrong…” Toyin said, searching her mother’s eyes. Were they that transparent? Had Dotun said something to her mom?
“I gave birth to you and I know you, but God knows you more. Cast ALL your burdens on Him.”
She laughed. What did her mother know? She went to that old Presbyterian Church in the neighborhood where they did not give deep rev like she wanted to hear.
“Yes mom. I appreciate it. We no longer feed on elementary principles like that. There are more important things in the kingdom of God.”
After they had passed the departure lounge and waved their mothers farewell, Dotun held her hand as they proceeded to their boarding gate. He was determined to make this work, no matter what.
Francisca watched her clock strike 12 AM. She knew calls would start coming in. it was her Thirtieth birthday. She was right. Her phone rang. It was Chichi, her best friend.
“Babes of life!” Her friend cheered.
“Chichi how far.” She responded flatly.
“Wetin do you na? You suppose dey plan trips for us today o! Ehn baby mama of life!”
“Girl, just free me. I no dey mood.”
“What’s biting you now?”
“Nothing. I’m just…I am not happy. I thought by this age, I would be settled in my husband’s house with a baby, not out of it.”
Chichi sighed and hissed. “Husband fire! You this certified aristo chic” she laughed.
“Chichi I am done with that. I need something serious. I am thirty years old for God’s sake. I have a baby whose dad is married to someone else.”
“You are the one dulling.”
“What do you expect me to do? I have tried talking to him but he’s so stuck up on his wife.”
Chichi laughed, then hissed again.
“We shall plan well. That baby is your ticket to the Marriage world. Anyway since you are done with those rich men, just pass them over to me. I am twenty eight, not ready at all. He he he.”
Francisca looked over the bed into the small cot. Dotun Junior was sleeping soundly. She ran her index finger over his curly hair. He was as handsome as his father. He raised his arm and turned, holding her finger in his tiny fist.
“Daddy will come for you, my love.” She said.
They checked into the apartment he had booked and dropped their bags. Toyin was tired. She could not sleep throughout the whole flight. She had not found any sleep. She had watched Dotun sleep off and she knew in her heart she had waited so long for their wedding and when she would finally give herself to him as man with wife, but this was just too complicated. First, he had been with other women, and even fathered a baby. Second, each time he touched her, she could not help but remember Bro Gideon.
She had gathered her torn chiffon blouse and her stained skirt, and tried to hold back her tears. She looked at him as he kept pleading and begging.
“Can I go now please, Brother Gideon.” She said, torn, embittered and distressed.
“Let me take you home please.”
He gave her his mother’s old wrapper and she tied it round her waist then he sneaked her into his car. He did not utter a word all through the ride to her house. She wondered what she would tell her mother. She prayed the woman would not be home.
“I have prayer meeting by 6pm. I have to go soon.” He said, avoiding her eyes, when she would not get down from the car. She was shocked. That was his problem? Being late for prayer meeting?
“I am going to report this to the police.” She said, and opened the door.
“To..Toyin we don’t have to go about it this way. I love you, please. I am going to take responsibility and marry you. You can’t tell the police. It is the work of the devil. Please don’t let the devil destroy our story together…we have purpose…”
“Oh just shut up! Gideon Baker-Kolawole Please shut up.” She cried, and leaped into the house.
Almost two months had passed and she had not seen her period. Her mother had noticed changes in her behaviour, and was suggesting she went to see a doctor. The University was about resuming, and excos in her fellowship were required to come to school a week earlier. She did not want to resume ill, so she decided to get some medical attention. She went to another clinic. She did not want to go to the hospital their family used. She was hoping it was not what she thought.
“This is the urine sample, nurse.” Toyin handed it over to the unwilling nurse. She eyeballed her and collected the bottle.
“Go and sit down.” She said, pointing to the rusted seats at the reception. After an hour, the nurse told her to go home. NEPA had taken the light and the clinic staff wanted to go home.
She went back the next day, and the expressions on the unwilling nurse affirmed her doubts.
“You don carry bele.” She said.