She was happy to have her husband back. She couldn't believe the same G.D that had walked out on her, was the one now dotting on her. He had cooked dinner, and spoon fed her, and rubbed her belly. What went right? Maybe a miracle happened somewhere.
When he started rubbing her feet, she had to sit up straight and ask him.
"Ayiba what's going on?" She asked.
"Going on?" He replied. He changed the TV station to her favorite...Ebony Life. He never liked to watch that station. Something was really going on.
"You're being...I don't know. You're showing me too much attention."
G.D stood up, arms akimbo, facing her. Then he shook his head, still staring at her with surprise.
"I don't understand women. I have tried! But I don't. I am showing too much attention? Umi you were the one complaining that I wasn't showing you any attention!"
She laughed, but still, she had this gut feeling that he was hiding something.
"How's Rolake? You haven't told me what happened exactly between you too. In fact, you owe me lots of explanations!" She pushed the blanket he had covered her legs with and stood up, so she could face him.
"You can't just walk in here and pretend like everything is fine! We have to talk about what happened."
G.D was confused. He had run out of ideas on how to please this woman he called wife.
His go-to person would have been Kema. Kema would have laughed and told him women were just strange like that and there was no point trying to understand them, and that, it was best to just agree to every allegation and charge.
"I'm sorry..." Those were the only words he could think of. He had never heard a woman complain about being pampered.
"This isn't about sorry. Ayiba, what happened between you and Rolake? Did you sleep with her?"
He heaved a sigh and walked away. She was just impossible. She followed after him into the bedroom, asking the same question.
"I need to know. Did you or did you not?" She asked, beginning to raise her voice.
"Umi, when I accused you of sending thugs to Rolake, what did you say? You said it was horrible of me to think you were capable of doing a thing like that. I'm giving you the same response." He said.
She rolled her eyes.
"Umi, look, I'm sorry I showed you some attention, okay? I'll try not to do that anymore since it offends you."
"Yeah. Because you can't wait to run back into her arms."
G.D let out an arrrgggghhhh and walked into the bathroom, then locked it up before she joined him in there with more nagging.
Rolake walked into her apartment. Involuntarily, each time she came back home, she always checked for weird male items in her living room. Her eyes were searching around when they sighted Jessy sitting and sobbing in a corner.
She ran towards her, hoping everything was alright.
"Jessy? What's the problem? Are you okay?" Rolake demanded, squatting beside her.
"Oh God..." Jessy cried.
When she wasn't saying anything, Rolake picked Jessy's phone up. It was beside her. She scrolled through her recent calls. She didn't find any clues.
"Is your mom okay?" Rolake asked again.
Then Jessy brought out the white paper that she had tucked into her pocket. Rolake read through it, and then opened her mouth wide.
"Oh my God!" She staggered.
"Rolake I'm finished! I'm done for." Jessy cried.
"I...I don't know what to say...Where..."
"I'm going to commit suicide."
Rolake hadn't even heard that. Her brain was working ten times faster than her ears.
If Jessy's HIV disease had come from Kola, then there was a very exceedingly huge 99.9% probability that she could also be HIV positive. Her heart began to beat really fast, like the soundtrack of a horror movie.
"Do you know how this happened...or through whom you...you got this?" Rolake said. Tears were streaming down her face.
"I don't know. I don't. I've been with different men." Jessy said.
"Ummm...when did you take this test?"
Jessy sniffed, wiping her face. But more tears kept coming. Her eyes were blood shot.
"I went to see my mom two days ago."
"Yeah I noticed you weren't around. I had no idea you traveled." Rolake replied.
"She sent for me. And I sort of had the money for her surgery. Kola actually credited my account with some money. I told him about my mom and he promised to give me money, and some big contacts."
Rolake flinched. But she didn't have the strength to be more disappointed in her friend.
"The previous time I went to the hospital where my mom is, I was told she needed blood transfusion, and my blood was a match. But the results came back. This was the result when they ran tests." She waved the paper at Rolake's face.
"Had you taken a HIV test before you slept with Kola?"
Jessy looked away.
"Rolake, I slept with him four different times. But I swear, they were times you guys broke up or had problems."
Rolake couldn't take any more of this. She had wanted to ask if they had used protection, but at that point, nothing made sense. She didn't care that Jessy had stabbed her in the back, and the front, more than once. She grabbed her car key and drove off.
Umi heard G.D's phone beep. It was a text. He had left the phone on the bed when he went to lock himself in the bathroom.
She dashed for it, expecting it to be from Rolake.
-I'm dead! Ayiba I'm so afraid! Please I need you. I'm parked by the Recreation Park in my Estate. Please I need you to come over right now!!
Umi didn't know what to say. Maybe that was her answer. There was actually something going on between Rolake and her husband. She had started to reply with his phone.
-You slimy slut....
But then she erased the text and sent Okay. Will be with you soon.
Then she took off her sandals that made funny noises when she walked, so that G.D wouldn't hear her walk out. She took the key to his Camry and dashed out of the house. She'd had enough of this. She didn't know what she was going to say to Rolake. But she knew she wasn't going to be embarrassed like the last time. She dialed Kema. He didn't pick up the call.
G.D heard her start the engine of the car, and then it occurred to him that she was going out. He unlocked the bathroom door immediately and went after her, but she was gone. He went back into the room and searched for his phone. He knew he had been holding it with his small face towel. The towel was there, but there was no phone.
Umi parked the car by the side of the road, and then wore her sun glasses, and a fedora hat. She didn't want Rolake to identify her first. Then Umi spotted her; the figure eight slash hour glass light skinned girl who was gradually snatching her man. She brought out G.D's phone and sent a text to Rolake.
-Are you wearing a white shirt and white pants?
In a few seconds, her reply came in.
She saw Rolake turning around to look for G.D. Umi finally caught up with her and took off her shades.
She almost could bet on it that she saw Rolake stagger.
"We meet again, the woman who wants to be the new Mrs. Igobasi." Umi said, keeping a straight face.
"Umi, please. I'm not in the mood for this. Where's Ayiba?"
"You've got guts, you know? You're asking to see my man! What on earth is this stupid text about? Telling him you need him? I guess whoever sent the thugs didn't do a good job. In case you didn't know, I'm just one phone call from armed soldiers who can bundle you away. You know who my father is, right?"
Umi regretted saying the last question. She never bragged about whose daughter she was. She never liked to link herself to his power or fame. But she needed this one from daddy to scare the sexy monster called Rolake.
"Don't you ever text or call him again!"
"I shouldn't be the one to be worried about, my dear."
Umi narrowed her eyes at Rolake.
"What does that mean?" She asked.
"It means...oh God. It's nothing. I..I'm sorry." Rolake realized G.D hadn't told Umi about everything yet.
"No, you will talk. You are going to tell me what the problem is. What's going on?" Umi demanded, holding Rolake's arm tight.
"Let go! You're hurting me." Rolake wriggled her arm free.
"Please, let me know what the problem is." Umi said.
Rolake hesitated, but then, she didn't feel comfortable with the way Umi was now looking helpless, lost and confused.
Umi sat beside Rolake, waiting to listen to everything she had to say.
"Kema is gay." Rolake started.
"What? What? Huh? What?!" Umi screamed.
"Same reaction I had when your husband told me. Please stop screaming."
But Umi screamed louder when Rolake told her that Kema was in love with G.D.
"He didn't tell me. Ayiba didn't say a word. I knew he wanted to say something." Umi said.
"Well, Kema knows Ayiba's married to me. So nothing can possibly happen between them." Umi said.
"Umi, there's a lot happening. Kema wants to blackmail him."
"By telling you that...um...Oh, Umi, please you should be having this talk with him, not me." Rolake said.
"I'll pretend I didn't hear that. I'm listening to you." Umi said.
"'Okay. Gosh. How do I say this? Look, Kema is planning to reveal something about Ayiba's past, if he doesn't have a relationship...I mean, a sexual relationship with him."
"There's nothing about Ayiba that I don't know. Except you of course. Till you popped up, we were good." Umi said, reeking of scorn and sarcasm.
"Oh yeah? Including the fact that he's been with a man before, for money?" Rolake blurted out.
Umi raised her hand and slapped her across the face.
"What? Are you crazy, Umi?" Rolake held her face.
"You are crazy. You are very crazy, for saying that about my husband." Umi said.
But she saw Rolake's response from her expression...and she knew she wasn't telling a lie.
"He had just graduated from the University. And he was looking for a job. He had a second class upper, yet no firm, company, or business was willing to take him. He said they all wanted graduates with a minimum of three years working experience. So he moved to Abuja. He said everyone he knew that was making it, was making it big in Abuja. He just knew that contracts or jobs would come, or he could even be an aid to one of these government men.
So one day, he had gone out with the friend he was living with at the time, who worked for a Special adviser to the president. I think it was a party. That's where he met this man. The man was a senator at the time. Active member of the senate. He had a wife and some kids, all abroad. The man took special interest in Ayiba. He gave him his contact card and told Ayiba to contact him soonest.
Well, your husband was desperate for a job. So when he called the man, he asked him to come over to his private lodge. And then he didn't waste anytime in making it clear to Ayiba that he wanted to have a homosexual relationship with him. Kinda like, a sugar daddy thing."
Umi was horrified.
"Eeeeww !" She exclaimed with disgust, but her disgust was overshadowed by surprise from all she was hearing.
"He said he was disgusted and left immediately, but unfortunately, the man had marked him down, and anywhere in Abuja that he tried to get a job, he was turned down because of the man's strong connections. So he eventually went back to him out of frustration. You know Ayiba's family is quite a humble one, financially. He was supposed to be the bread winner because he had younger siblings and his parents expected him to start shouldering responsibilities. School fees, hospital bills, and all.
The senator gave him five hundred thousand Naira without even sleeping with him. In a few weeks, the money was gone on family responsibilities and his friend had started complaining that Ayiba wasn't contributing anything to rent or food stuff or fuel. So he went back again. He said the man refused to give him any more money if he didn't sleep with him. And that's how it started. The man gave him a lot of money and cars. He tried to run away many times, but like I said, strong connections. He said he started saving up. Finally, the man got really sick and he had to be flown abroad. He died in his sick bed in London.
Ayiba saw it as a miracle and a sign from God, to walk out of the whole web. He said it was always hell for him each time he had to do nasty things with the man. Especially because rumors started to spread that big men in Abuja were sleeping with young guys for juju. But I think the man was just...I don't know. He had a wife and kids, so I don't understand it too. But that's what happened. Ayiba fled for Lagos, and he started life afresh. Sadly, he told his best friend about it. Kema. And now, Kema wants to use it against him. He wants to tell you if Ayiba doesn't sleep with him. Right now, he feels he's back in the gay-slavery web again."
Umi didn't say a word. She just nodded and grabbed her small hand bag.
Rolake pulled her back.
"Please, Umi. I need you to come with me to the hospital. I'm scared. That's why I text Ayiba. I think I may HIV positive." Rolake said, with fear in her eyes.
Umi stared at her, eyes wide. She didn't know if Rolake had been sleeping with G.D.
"Did you..." Umi asked.
"No. I never slept with your husband." Rolake replied.
They got into the Camry, and neither of them could drive the car. They were both shaken with the news that pertained to their individual situations.
Umi watched as the Lab man called on Rolake to go in for a blood test. Her heart was running a marathon, on hurdles. Was Rolake really telling her the truth? What if G.D had slept with Rolake, and had transmitted the disease to her by extension. She was confused.
She shut her eyes. Images of G.D being with another man, flashed through her mind. She tried to shove the thoughts away, but she couldn't. They just kept coming. Then she began to imagine him with Kema. Kema! She still couldn't believe everything she had heard. She needed to talk to someone before she ran totally mad.
She pinched her hand, perhaps it was a dream. But this wasn't no dream. She was awake, still wearing her Fedora hat, and holding G.D's key and phone.
She picked her phone from her pocket. She scrolled through her contacts. She couldn't tell her mom. Hajia would definitely tell Alhaji. She had started to text Laraba, but she erased the message. Tears welled up in her eyes.
She felt absolutely disappointed in G.D. They were married! And he had missed out that one humongous information. What was he thinking? That she would never find out? Truth always catches up one way or the other. She sighed, her head throbbing, her stomach growling. Even the baby must have been disgusted. She tried to think of something pleasant, but they were attacked by images of G.D and other men.
Rolake joined her after some time. Umi didn't know what to say, but she knew Rolake was more scared than she could ever be. Hers was a fatal issue. Umi's was emotional and physical. She held Rolake's hand and squeezed it.
After what took like forever, Rolake was called in again. Umi could see her shaking.
In a few minutes, she was out. She was silent. She didn't say a word. Umi led her to the car and then decided to take her home to rest. As Umi drove, Rolake opened her mouth to talk.
"They said they can't get the further results now. I have to come back after some days. I don't know how I'm gonna survive waiting for the results." She said.
Umi didn't say a word. Rolake asked to be dropped off at home. She had left her car at the park. She wasn't in the right frame to drive it. Umi dropped her off at her house, then drove back home.
It was evening already. G.D opened the door, yelling at her to know where she had been all day. She ignored him, throwing his phone at him, and then walking into the bedroom.
G.D joined her in the room and found her packing clothes into her travel bag.
"What's going on, Umi? Where are you going to?" He asked.
She didn't say a word still. She dragged her bag and headed for the door. G.D blocked her. She grabbed the flower vase that was directly beside her, and threatened to break his head with it.
He held her hands tight till she screamed.
"What's wrong, talk to me!" He said.
"Get your filthy hands off me, you lying pretender! You ugly disgusting homosexual!" She yelled.
G.D dropped her hands like hot coal. He was lost for words.
"And to think you made me tell you everything about myself. I thought we had no secrets! But there you are, having sex with men and not telling me. You're so full of shit!" She cursed.
She grabbed the door open and ran out, then drove away.
He wanted to chase after her, but he was weak to his bones.
How did she find out?
He dialed Kema's number. The call wasn't answered. He wore his palm slippers and grabbed his car key. He was fully charged, very ready to fight him to his last blood. Then Rolake's call came through.
"Roxy this is bad timing! I'm..." He started.
"I'm sorry I told Umi everything." She said.
"Huh? What are you talking about?" He asked.
"I told her about your past. Everything you told me. She needed to know..."
G.D was quiet for a while.
"Go to hell, Rolake!" He ended the call.
Umi was weeping profusely as she drove the car. She had no destination. She didn't know where she was going to. She just knew she had to get away from the very breath of the man she had married. She decided to go to a hotel to spend the night. It was dangerous driving aimlessly.
G.D kept on calling her phone but she ignored each call. She didn't have anything to say to him. The very thought of him irritated her to her guts, worse than her usual morning nausea caused by pregnancy.
She parked her car in the hotel's car park and walked in. The receptionist chatted her up, and then after she had swiped her First Bank Visa Gold card on the POS terminal, she was given a key to an executive suite. She ignored the greetings of the man who had come to carry her luggage.
As she soaked herself in the bath tub of warm water, she tried to drown her thoughts with music. She had left her phone at the edge of the sink, which was a little far from the tub, so she couldn't walk down to change the song that was playing. She decided to just listen to it.
It was Katy Perry's Unconditionally.
...All your insecurities, all the dirty laundry, never made me blink one time...
Unconditional, Unconditionally, I will Love you, Unconditionally...
She had promised him that she would love him come what may. But now, she was just too confused. She burst into those tears she had been holding back since Rolake told her everything that had happened.