He threw the last of his clothes into the suitcase and tried to zip it. It got stuck and he forcefully pulled it backwards to unzip, then zip again. He cursed under his breath. She went by his side and knelt before him, holding his left leg.
“Please I beg you!” she cried.
He yanked his leg from her grip and went into the closet to get his other suitcase.
“Let’s at least spend the remaining five days we have to be here together. Where do you want us to go? We don’t know anyone in this Country…”
“We are going back to Lagos!” he shot at her.
“La—Lagos?” she stammered.
“I have called my agent and she got us rebooked. When we get there, I am taking you back to your mother. I can’t stay one more second with you!”
She stared at him, with disbelief, as tears streamed down her face.
“You can’t leave me now. You can’t do this to me!” she cried. She held his hand and he raised the other to hit her, but stopped himself.
“Do not make me hit you, please!” He said. It was not the words that startled her. It was his demeanor. She had never seen Dotun that angry before. Slowly, she stood, and dragged her suitcase out to start packing.
Chichi dashed into her best friend’s apartment, screaming her name.
“Keep your voice low, Chi! Dotun is asleep. I don’t want another round of wailing o.” Francisca said, waving her hands, beckoning her to shush.
“I’m sorry my love,” she peeked into the cot. The boy was just too cute. She wanted to carry him but Francisca pulled her away.
“It took me two hours to get that kid to sleep.” She hissed. “How far you?”
Chichi stretched out her left hand and put it up to Francisca’s face.
“Oh my God! You are engaged? To who? Do you even have a boyfriend?” Francisca held her finger and looked at the diamond ring. “It is sooo expensive!”
Chichi smiled, throwing her head back. “I have a boyfriend of course. The aristos are just for extra cash and to keep me less bored."
“So you hid him from me!”
“Yes na. I don’t want this one to slip away. Any way you will meet him soon. His father is having a small family get-together, and he plans to announce the engagement there. Rich pikin tins.” She said.
“Tell me his name now. At least now you are engaged I can’t snatch him from you.”
“Snatcher’s club hahaha. You will meet him after his family has announced the engagement. You are invited though, as my maid of honour to be.”
Francisca smiled, and then hugged her friend. “I am happy for you. I hope he represents o, and he is not one dulling guy.”
Chichi looked at her friend and knew she was unhappy inside.
“Sweetie, I didn’t mean to rub this engagement in your face. I know you are thinking of settling and all. That reminds me, any news from your baby daddy?”
Francisca shook her head, and then went over to her child’s cot. He had woken up and was crying.
“I need to breastfeed. See what your noise caused.” She laughed.
Ladi was his best friend and brother. He was the one person who would never condemn him, but who knew how to tell him the truth and how to get his act together, whenever he erred. They sat at the bar in King’s club at Opebi, over bottles of beer. Dotun was on the fourth bottle when Ladi snatched it from him.
“Guy you need to take this easy.” He said.
Dotun laughed. “Five bottles won’t make me even tipsy, you know. You don forget say my mama born me with bottle for mouth.”
Ladi hissed and dragged the beer mug too.
“I think you should go back home to your wife.”
“Wife or hypocrite? Can you believe she made me think she was a virgin! It is not even the not-virgin that I am concerned about. It is the fact that she always acted like she was too holy for me. That’s bull crap! For so many years I felt I was the sinner.”
“Guy, the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t.” Ladi said.
“Oh Toyin is one big fat devil then!”
“Just look beyond your anger. I know you love her. Remember she has always been there for you, even when you messed up. This is the time to show you are the bigger person and you are not the sinner. It is the sinner who doesn’t forgive."
Dotun got up, and grabbed his car keys.
“Let’s go to your place. I can’t listen to this rubbish.” He said.
“Okay.” Ladi replied.
They got into his Honda and Ladi drove down, keeping quiet. He stole glances at his best friend, as he began to doze off gradually. He got to turned by the roundabout and drove into the gated estate.
“What is the meaning of this nonsense, Ladi!” Dotun said, as they approached Dotun’s house. Toyin was standing by the entrance door.
“This is your home. Work it out.” Ladi said, and unlocked the door for Dotun to get off.
Toyin tried to get his blazer but he hushed her and walked into the bedroom. He wouldn’t even eat the food she had prepared. She knew she had to beg him even if it meant swallowing whatever ego she had left. She went into the guest room and found him sprawled on the bed. Locking the door, she put the key in her bra, and went to kneel before him.
“I won’t go until you forgive me Dotun. I love you, please. I am so sorry for everything I have done to upset you. I know I am the worst woman ever but please just try to forgive me. I can explain everything to you.”
After about forty minutes of tears and pleas, he pulled his wife close.
“Toyin, it is okay.” He said, looking into her eyes. “You should have told me all along. The big deal is that, you acted like you were all spotless, but you kept condemning me.”
“I am so sorry! I am ready to make it up.” She cried.
He paused, and then pulled her up to sit beside him.
“Let us work this out, okay.” He said. “I might as well just tell you that I drink. I don’t want us to keep anything from each other anymore. I drink, but try not to get wasted. Is that okay with you?”
She was going to say something but then decided to keep shut, and nodded her head.
“We will work on that.” She said.
“Good. Now I want you to tell me every single thing I don’t know about you.”
He stroked her hair as he comforted her. He couldn’t believe she had been through so much at such a young age. He wanted to go out and kill GBK but he was already dead. He got what he deserved. He felt worse because he had pushed her into the arms of that idiot.
“I am so sorry baby” he kissed her.
“It is fine dear. It is in my past now.”
“Thank God you did not get some infection or STDs, or even get pregnant!” he said, holding her close.
She swallowed hard, and her heart raced faster than it ever had.
“Yes dear. Thank God nothing happened.” She said.