“Are you ready?” Feyisetan blurted out over the phone. “I’m almost at your house.”
“Um…almost.” Tony giggled.
“Have you had your bathe?”
“Yes.” She tried to contain her give away laughter.
Tony laughed and ended the call. She ran into the bathroom to take a fast shower. She had laid her outfit on the bed. Thankfully her tailor had made the asoebi just in time for the wedding. She had persuaded Feyisetan to also buy Yvonne’s asoebi so that they could attend the wedding together. She didn’t want to go alone as she was in the last phase of her notice period and things were already getting awkward enough at work.
Feyisetan got to Tony’s flat in a few seconds just in time to do some work on Tony’s face before their Uber arrived.
“By the way, what’s up with Jimi?” Feyisetan asked, trying to attach the false eyelashes on Tony.
“I don’t even want to think of that idiot. I…I have been ignoring him. I had to pay a hundred thousand Naira to him during the week…”
“What?” Feyisetan opened her mouth. “Are you crazy?”
“I know…I didn’t have a choice.”
“But he signed an agreement the last time…”
“How enforceable is it? He probably knows I can’t go through with enforcing it because that way I would be making the secret an open one, wouldn’t I?”
Feyisetan nodded. She hadn’t given much thought to that angle.
“So is he going to keep blackmailing you for more money or what?”
“I don’t even have any more money. I’m just….weak. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t know why everything is so complicated. Even the Toba I’m trying to please, he has been so unavailable these days with meetings and meetings.” Tony said.
Feyisetan pursed her lips and continued Tony’s makeup.
In about thirty minutes, Feyi finished up and they called for the Uber.
“I hope you have your pepper spray. Just incase.” Feyi said. Tony laughed and nodded.
“Of course. Super necessary!” She responded.
The venue was in Ikeja so the ride was going to be a little while. She planned to stop over at her parents’ place after the wedding before heading back to the Island. It had been a while and she had to inform them that she was changing jobs in a bit. Mrs. Pius was due back in the country by Sunday and their meeting was for Monday afternoon.
Yvonne looked like a Hollywood star---a black version of Marilyn Monroe. She practically went blonde 360 degrees and her dress was extremely stunning with the complimentary bold red lip. They had gone to church for blessings. They had the traditional ceremony the week before. The groom was obviously way older. But according to Feyisetan, all that mattered was the financial benevolence of the man which was extremely evident in the décor and everything that had to do with the wedding.
After choice meals and lots of wine, the girls decided to join in on the dance floor with the DJ spewing different trending songs. Tony was determined to have her fun to the fullest and tried to ignore the obvious stares of her colleagues. She recorded so many Snapchat stories and Instagram stories and pictures. Her phone started to run on very low battery percentage and she still needed to call her parents so she asked for Feyi’s phone to continue recording all the fun they were having. After a while she got tired but Feyi in her usual manner still wanted to party. Tony went over to the bar and filled her glass with more liquid then started to scroll through Feyi’s gallery to select and delete the nice and un-nice shots. She mistakenly deleted a nice photo and hurriedly scrolled through her Recently Deleted album to recover it. As she scrolled through, she found a couple of nude photos --- Feyisetan’s nudes.
“Huh? What’s this idiot been up to?” Tony laughed. She continued to scroll and started to see nude photos of a guy without the face in it. She checked her Whatsapp gallery and saw the same pictures. She went through her Whatsapp and checked for suspicious chats. There was a contact saved as King Kong. She laughed. The guy wanted some and Feyi was enticing him with photos but refusing to give some just yet until he did something she had requested. Tony didn’t have the patience to read the entire chat history. The last guy Tony knew about was the supposed French photographer. She read some of the chats then she looked at King Kong’s display photo. It was
It was a picture of Toba.
She grabbed her phone and checked his contact information and his display picture. It was the same. She checked the phone numbers and it was a perfect match.
“There you are. I’ve been looking around for you.” Feyi started, joining her at the wedding bar.
“You are such a low life!” Tony screamed. The music drowned her voice but Feyisetan could hear her perfectly. She stared at Tony who was literally shaking and weeping profusely.
“What are you talking about babe? Are you okay?” Feyi searched her best friend.
“You’ve been standing there pretending to me all this while! How long has this rubbish been going on?”
She slammed the phone in Feyisetan’s chest and stood up. Some people were starting to look at them.
“Babe, please let’s not cause a scene. Can we go outside?” Feyi stammered, losing control of her stability.
“Outside? Feyi you are my best friend! How could you? What explanation can justify this? I read the chats! I saw the photos! Toba?!” She couldn’t control her tears. She hurried out of the hall and Feyisetan hurried behind, trying to catch up with her.
“Tony please…” Feyi called.
Tony stopped her tracks and her hands continued to shake as she booked a cab on her phone to come pick her up.
“What? What explanation do you have?” Tony said, trying to maintain her cool.
Feyisetan opened her mouth but her eyes were the ones streaming out tears.
“I’m so sorry…” She whispered.
Tony shook her head.
“I have nothing to say to you anymore Feyisetan.” She said.
The Uber driver called in a bit and as soon as she saw the car, she walked away.
By the next day, she was back at her flat. She had spent the night at her parents’ house. She needed to talk to someone---Kiky. Kiky was the only person she could talk to at that point. Normally it would have been Feyi, but for obvious reasons. She had poured out her entire heart’s content to her sister. She told her about all the loans (and free money) she gave to Jimi during the relationship, the engagement, hooking up with Toba and the circumstances in which they got engaged, his mixed signals attitude of being in love one minute and being a total jerk the next. She talked about the issues at work and her resignation and most recently, how she just found out that her best friend was being intimate with her fiancé.
She remembered he asked her to send him nude photos of herself at a time but she refused because she did not want to ever have to deal with blackmail. Well the joke was on her. Jimi was having a field day making money off her active nudity.
Kiky wanted to head straight on to their parents’ bedroom to inform them about Jimi. In her opinion, he would never stop asking for more money.
“You can never tell them! Please. Especially daddy. It will be horrible and I can’t live with that.” Tony had pleaded with Kiky.
Her parents; especially her mother had been all over her that night asking if she and Toba had finally agreed on a date for the wedding. They wanted to start preparing towards it.
“Yes but they can’t hold it against you forever. Isn’t that better than having to deal with Jimi for a really long time?”
“He threatened to send the video to Toba. Well, that’s a closed chapter. I’m done with Toba.”
Kiky held her hands and looked at her.
“Even if you and Toba are no more together, would you want him to think you were also having your own fun time, just as he was with Feyisetan?”
Tony bit her lip. She knew it was true. She had also cheated. And it did not occur to her until Kiky said it.
She thought of changing her phone number. That would be the best way to get away from all the filth around her. She would also get a new apartment and start afresh with the new job which would involve a lot of travelling. She needed that to get her mind in shape and to move on as fast as possible. She postponed changing her number just yet until after her meeting with Mrs. Pius as she did not want to have to call her with a number unknown to her.
She had ignored all the missed calls and messages from Feyisetan. She did not bother to read them because she did not even want to confront or deal with the issue. She just wanted it to die a natural death. Maybe Feyi had betrayed her and told Toba about the quick time with Jimi and also the video clip. She could not trust her best friend anymore. She just did not understand why and that was what hurt her the most. When the calls would not stop, she finally blocked her number. She blocked Toba too. She did not even have the strength to argue over it with him.
He showed up at her door step by Sunday evening. She was surprised. He stood by the door post for a while before asking if he could come inside the flat.
“Did you block my number?” That was the first thing he said.
“Why?” He said.
She looked at him and laughed sarcastically.
“Really dude?” She said.
“What’s going on?” He continued.
“Have you asked Feyisetan? Is it that she hasn’t told you yet or she did and you’re here to question me?” Tony said.
He licked his lower lip. He often did that.
“I haven’t spoken with her.” He said.
“Oh, I see.” She said uninterested.
“You tell me what’s going on.”
“Toba, please drop the pretense. I know you guys have something going on. I saw the photos and chats.” She blurted out.
He sighed and looked around, licking his lower lip yet again. He moved over to where she was seated and tried to hold her but she flinched and pushed him away.
“Toba, please, just leave.” She said.
“I love you baby. Please.” He said.
“Did you remember you love me when you were at it with her?”
For a minute her own words tasted very bitter and metallic in her mouth like dysgeusia. And she realized it was the bitter taste of the hypocrisy for she had committed the very same crime against her love for him.
He held her left hand and glided his finger over the expensive diamond ring she was still wearing.
“You haven’t taken it off. We can work this out. We can’t tell our parents that we aren’t getting married anymore. My mother asked me this morning that we need to decide on a final date for the wedding. She wants us to have the traditional wedding here and the church ceremony in Italy.”
“Toba, this is not about the wedding. It’s about you and me.” She said.
“We have to work it out.”
“I need some time to think about everything.” She couldn’t believe she said that. An hour ago she was so sure she would never take Toba back but then she started to remember everything the doctor said about having kids ASAP.
He pulled her closer and hugged her, stroking her hair.
“It was a mistake. I am not in love with Feyisetan. I love you. I…”
“I don’t want to talk about it. Just let’s move on.” She cried.
To show his apology, he took her to the store one of her favorite designers; Ayo Van Elmar and got her a few items. Thereafter they went for a nice dinner at Shiro Restaurant.
“Am I forgiven yet?” He asked, smiling coyly.
“And what if I said no?” She said.
“Then I’d have to keep buying you more stuff. You women like gifts.”
“Us women? I’m not particularly moved by gifts sir. I just want you to stay faithful.” She said.
“Tell me which woman doesn’t like presents, Tony.” He laughed.
“My point is, the presents don’t take the sin away.” She said.
“Sweetheart, while I apologize wholeheartedly once more, are you trying to tell me you have never for once…not even one time, made a mistake as to discretion in your relationships…?”
She swallowed her sip of wine which seemed as hard as a rock to pass through her throat. She had gotten another demand notice from Jimi the night before asking for the money. She looked at her fiancée, wondering what to say. Had Feyisetan told him about her not so little escapade?
“When did the whole thing with Feyisetan start?” She asked, trying to change the topic to her utter disgust.
He cleared his throat.
“No, please. I just…I just want to know.” She said.
He looked at her for a little while then nodded again.
“It was actually at a friend’s bachelor’s eve last year.” He said.
Tony blinked. That was probably before she reconnected with and started dating him. But how come Feyi never mentioned it?
“She was at the party with a friend too and we got talking, got high and…it was just a one night stand. She avoided me during the wedding. Then I saw her again after I met you. We got talking on a platonic level to be honest. She asked me not to mention to you that we had been intimate and she wanted us to remain friends for your sake. We started chatting again and it became intimate…only on phone. I haven’t slept with her since that one time.”
Tony shook her head. She couldn’t look at him.
“This is just crazy…I need to go home.” She said.
“But you told me to talk about this! I don’t understand you! You’re acting crazy. Babe, I made a mistake. I’m sorry. Can we move past it?”
She hissed and grabbed her purse.
“You were asking her for sex. I read the chats.” She whispered.
“I am sorry. I have begged you. What else do you want? A trip to Maldives? Money? A new phone?”
She stood still for a second. A few people were starting to stare.
“Sit down, Tony. You are embarrassing us.” He said between gritted teeth.
“You know what, Toba, I’m done. I’m done with this shithole called a relationship. I thought I could cope and endure but I can’t. I can’t be with a man like you. I’m sorry.” She said and walked out of the restaurant. She laughed at herself. She was beginning to make it habitual to walk out of restaurants on her dead beat boyfriends.
She heard him run after her. She actually didn’t believe it. She knew he was proud and extremely egoistic. He grabbed her arm and she felt the pinch of his nails sink into her skin.
“You’re hurting me.” She screamed. They were in the car park.
“You need to grow up! Bose, grow up!”
“Oh shut up. You’re not the first woman whose man is going to step out on her. I’m marrying you for God’s sake. Not her. All these girls mean nothing!”
“All these girls? It’s not just Feyi?” She gasped.
He hesitated and looked away.
“I can’t do this man. I can’t.” She said softly.
He pushed her into the car and locked it then he got in and drove off.