He was supposed to be working till like 9 PM but he had hurried over his work. He didn't want to let Umi down. He knew he had told her he was working late but he really wanted to be with her and give her the attention she wanted.
He needed to tell himself the truth. He had done a reality check and truly, maybe he was getting too close to Rolake. He had realized that they spoke or text more than once a day...and she was a single attractive woman. He was getting attracted to Rolake, and he needed to hold his horses before things got out of hand.
That night when he had hugged her, he hadn't really wanted to let go. What bugged him more was that he had felt a tinge of jealousy when she had told him she was in love with someone.
He just had to put his home in order before things broke beyond repair.
The frame of their wedding photo fell from her hands, and got broken...beyond repair. She had taken it off the wall. She was so hurt and she needed something to hold on to. She couldn't believe what Kema told her. How could G.D have given her art work to his mistress, Rolake? Yes. As far as she was concerned, Rolake was his mistress. Only a mistress had the right to act the way Rolake had.
She looked at the glass on the floor. It was shattered into tiny and large bits of sharpness. That's how her heart felt. She never would have doubted G.D. He was one of the very few good men she had met. Breaking her heart when they weren't even into one year of matrimony was beyond her!
She picked up her phone and dialed Hajia. She had to talk to someone who really cared about her.
"My darling, how are you?" Hajia said.
"Mom, I'm not okay. I'm so confused!"
Hajia was surprised. This was her daughter who had left her house only some hours ago.
"What's the problem? Eh?" Hajia said.
"I don't know what to do. I think my husband is cheating on me. Mom, what do I do? Ko za ka taimake ni? (Can you help me?)" Umi cried.
"Talk to me, Umi. Zan zo? (Should I come?)"
Umi was still narrating everything that had happened so far when she heard G.D park his car. She told Hajia that she would call her back and begged her not to mention a word to Alhaji.
G.D came into the house, and dropped his laptop bag, opening his arms wide to hug her.
"I rushed. It's 8.15 PM." He said, grinning.
Umi didn't take her eyes away from him, as she sat down in the couch, with the shattered wedding picture still on the floor. G.D saw it and walked up to her.
"Oh my, what happened Umi?" He said, trying to pick the pieces.
"Are you okay, baby?" He asked her, when she didn't respond.
"Did you use protection at least." Umi said. The coldest he had ever heard her voice. It was bereft of any accent. Just cold. Ice cold.
"What are you talking about?" He said, confused.
"Good Destiny don't play me! Tell me the answers to my question right now!" She yelled. He stepped back a bit, surprised at this woman he was seeing. This was not Umi.
"I'm lost, babe."
"Oh yeah right, you are. So you deceived me, bought my art work, and gave it to your side chic, right? Oh wait. I think i'm the side chic now. Cos you spend more time with her."
His heart began to thump. She had found out about the painting. But how? He had seen Rolake's calls when he was driving but he had ignored them. He didn't want to encourage the closeness.
"Em...Umi, it's not what you think, really." He stuttered.
"Oh so tell me what it is. You gave it to her as a gift. That is the height of disrespect! I have done nothing but love you since day one. I have never ever disrespected you, even when my father disapproved!"
"I..." He didn't even know where to start or how to explain because he didn't know what had happened exactly. How would he explain to her.
"Even if you needed to buy her something in return for sex, because she's a whore, right! Why my painting? That's just crazy. I just can't deal, man!" Umi kept on yelling.
She was a very calm girl. He had never seen this angry side of her. Mata and Yarinya wouldn't work here.
"I was looking out for you. I just did not want you to feel bad. And I couldn't bring it home or put it in my office because you would see it. I love you, Umi." He said calmly.
"Because you think I'm a failure and I can't do any successful painting. Just...have fun. Knock yourself out. Good night." Umi got up and walked away. He chased after her.
"Please..." He said.
"If I hadn't gone by her house today..."
"Wait!" G.D said, surprised at what he had heard. "You went to her house?"
"Oh yeah I did. And she disrespected me. Cos you've let it."
"No, you let it! Why didn't you just let me handle this?Why would you do that? Umi, that's not classy."
"Classy?" She laughed. "Coming from you who's sleeping with..."
"Shut up! I am not!"
"Where's your class, Ayiba? When did you become a dog?"
He raised his hand but then, restrained himself before he slapped her face. He felt insulted to his blood. She had never called him such insulting names before.
"I'm disappointed that you went to her house." He said.
"I am disappointed in you too." She retorted.
He clenched his fists and grabbed his car key then stepped out. He just wanted to stay away from her before he did something he would regret. He loved her too much to hit her or get abusive. He drove down and grabbed his phone to dial Kema, but Kema's phone was switched off. He stopped at a bar and begun to drown himself in beer.
Umi burst into tears, as he slammed the door. He had slammed it against her fragile heart.
Rolake had noticed a particular black Honda that always lurked around at her Avenue. She had been concerned at first, when a few times, she had noticed the car following her from a distance, but she had discarded her fears when Jessy had told her the car probably belonged to one of the neighbors.
She had decided to close early from her boutique that day. She wanted to get enough rest because she hadn't been feeling too well. Her store attendant took note of the instructions Rolake gave, and then Rolake grabbed her hand bag and walked down to the car park where her car was parked. She turned on the ignition but the car wasn't responding. She had rushed out that morning without doing the necessary vehicle routine checks, but she knew her car was fine. She didn't know why it wasn't starting.
Jessy needed her own car so she couldn't ask her for it, because she had gone out to see a very high profile client who wanted some interior decoration for his new hotel.
She had noticed G.D had been avoiding her calls. She had wanted to tell him about Umi coming to her house. She hated it and had wanted to warn him to prevent such embarrassment from happening again. But she was glad that she had intimidated Umi. The girl had looked so shaken, especially when Rolake had said she could sleep with G.D if she wanted to. Of course she knew she wasn't sleeping with him, but she just wanted Umi to feel like she had the ruling power.
She was looking for a cab when G.D called her.
"Ayiba, I have been calling you." She said.
"I know. I'm not happy with you, Roxy. Why did you talk to my wife like that! How could you let her see that painting." He said coldly.
"I should be the one angry. Why did she come into my property to harass me? I could get her sued or something. I'm just considering that she's your wife." Rolake said.
"Okay, I'm sorry about that. But you disrespected my wife. And that means you disrespected me too."
"Can we talk?" She said.
He hesitated at first.
"I'm still in the office. I'm busy. We have a board meeting tomorrow."
"I'm stranded sef. My car won't start and I don't have a mechanic."
"Oh. I can call mine and ask him to meet you up."
"But what if he can't fix it today? I'm really scared of taking cabs actually, especially as they are kidnapping people these days."
G.D paused then gave a suggestion.
"Alright. I'll ask my office driver to come meet you up with my car, and then you'll drive it home. He'll come back with public transport." He said.
"But what about you? How are you going home? I don't want Umi's palava!"
"I'm not going home. I'm working all night."
"Aww boo. Won't you be bored or something?" She said.
"Kema's here for some time, before he leaves."
She hissed. She didn't like Kema. The guy was just too all over the place.
"Thank you. I appreciate this a lot. And Ayiba..."
"I'm sorry about what happened with Umi. You know I'll never disrespect you."
He nodded and said Mmmhh then cut the call.
Rolake saw that car following her again. Now she was scared, because even if the person knew her car and was following her, this was not her car. It was G.D's Camry. She felt weird driving it though, because he had told her that Umi had bought him the car.
She stepped harder on the accelerator and increased her speed. The Honda driver increased its speed too, and then when they got to a corner with no street lights, the car over took hers and three armed and very heavily built men climbed out of it and came towards her car.
She missed America. She had reached for her phone to dial 911 but she remembered she was on her own in Nigeria. There was no emergency help code that she knew of. Before she could do anything, one of the guys pulled her door open and then pulled her out. She was shaking to her bones like a prisoner in Iceland.
"Rolake abi?" The man said. He was obviously high.
She shook her head. "No I'm not o! My name is Jessy." She said.
"Nonsense woman! You still dey lie ehn?"
They threw her to the ground and hit her several times. She kept on begging them not to kill her.
"Stay away from Ayiba. If you don't, we will be back for you. If you tink say you smart and you call police, e mean say you don ready to die be dat!" One of them said, kicking her big butt.
That road was usually deserted, so there was no one to help her out. They zoomed off and left her in the dirt.
Jessy squeezed the towel in hot water again and mopped Rolake's face and hands where she had been bruised. Rolake had called her immediately and she had come rushing down. She had been too weak to drive after being beat up. Fortunately, Jessy had gotten home by the time she saw Rolake's call.
"I think we should get you to the hospital. What if you have internal bruises or something?" Jessy said, careful not to burn her fingers with the steam.
"Call Ayiba for me." Rolake struggled to say, crying and in pain.
"For what na? Rolake you dey hear word so?" Jessy replied irately.
"Just call him. I have to tell him what Umi has done to me."
"I don't blame the Umi. You're taking her husband away from her! You have her painting in this house? Can you take that?"
Rolake hissed and tried to reach for the phone but Jessy got it for her and then called G.D.
"Oh my God! I'm on my way." G.D said, as soon as Jessy told him what happened. Kema had left for home already as at then so he couldn't hitch a ride with him. He called out the first bike man he saw and asked him to take him to Rolake's Estate all the way from his office.
He got her to the hospital, and then after the doctors had placed her on admission and had started giving her care, he had to go back to the office to finish up work in time for the next day's meeting. He called Kema and told him what happened. Kema rushed down to the office immediately. He had brought food too, because he knew his friend would be tired and hungry.
"Guy, wetin happen na!" Kema said, as soon as he walked into G.D's office.
"Men, I'm so confused. Told you Rolake was beaten up by thugs."
"Wow. Is she okay?" Kema asked.
"Yeah she's getting treatment now." He sighed. Kema went over and hugged him.
"Have you called Umi?" Kema asked, unwrapping the sandwich he had brought.
"Umi! That little...." He held himself from swearing.
"You think she did it?" Kema said.
"Rolake said the guys said she should stay away from Ayiba! Who else?"
"Oh, Umi...noo...She didn't have to go this far. Maybe it's because she saw Rolake driving your car."
"Exactly. Because she bought me that car. I don't know why she's so paranoid. When did she become this way?"
G.D's phone rang. It was Umi. He had purposely not called her...maybe because he still doubted that she could do something like that.
"Thank you very much. I'll see you tomorrow." Umi said, and then cut the call. She scrolled through her phone again.
She felt bad. She hadn't seen G.D since the night he walked out. She had been really angry too. The angriest she had ever been. But then she decided to call him and apologize.
She dialed his number from her call log. He didn't pick up. But then he called back.
"Ayiba, I'm sorry. Please come home." She started.
"You're sorry? Is sorry gonna get Rolake out of the hospital? Umi, I can't believe you these days. What's possessing you? How could you send thugs to beat her up!" G.D yelled at her.
"Ayiba? Ayiba?..." She said, but then she only heard the beep.
He had hung up the call on her.
"I can't even work right now." G.D said, scratching his head.
"Why do you have to do all this work? What of your assistant?" Kema asked.
"I'll come up with something. I just need to rest my head tonight." G.D said.
"You can't sleep here. And I don't think you should be near Umi right now, I mean, so you don't have to do something you'll regret."
"Yeah bro. Let's go to your place."
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