“Yeah…” Obiora said reluctantly
“So what do you think is going on? And don’t say you don’t know because I know you do!”
Obiora sighed. “Effiong thinks Olayinka is having an affair.”
“Really?” Helen said shocked sitting up. “Why does he think so?”
“She’s been acting strange. He said she’s cold to him and the children, it’s almost as if she doesn’t care about them. She’s always too busy with work and when she’s home she’s chatting on her phone”
“But that could be work, she could be genuinely busy” Helen said refusing to believe that Olayinka could cheat on Effiong.
“Effiong believes his proof is or was on her phone. That’s why he was furious that she refused to unlock it. She deliberately shielded the information from him. They’ve not had sex in almost three months”
“Wow! But now his proof is gone. He shouldn’t have destroyed the phone. Even if he wants to divorce her he has no proof.” Helen said frowning.
“That’s precisely what I told him.” Obiora said.
“But why would Olayinka cheat on him? It makes no sense. Effiong is a good guy, he loves and respects her. He’s also great with the kids. I just don’t get it.” Helen said confused.
“Me neither. But you women are hard to understand, what do you guys really want?”
“Is that a general statement? “We women?”” Helen asked, her eyebrows arched.
“C’mon I was just trying to make a point. You know you’re different.” Obiora said pacifyingly, rubbing her shoulders.
“Yeah right!” Helen replied dryly, rolling her eyes.
“I love it when you do that, you have such beautiful eyes” He said staring at her twinkling eyes then kissed them.
“Do not flatter me Obiora!” She said trying not to be affected by his actions.
“Can we just talk?!” Olayinka said frustrated.
“There’s nothing to talk about.” Effiong replied coldly walking away.
“I forgave you!” Olayinka cried. This was more difficult than she thought, it seemed Effiong’s heart was made of stone. He didn’t even look her in the face.
“Because you knew I made a mistake! You haven’t made a mistake, you deliberately made a fool out of me! I left my high paying job because I wanted to be away from Sandra and commit fully to this marriage and you dare call me a salesboy!” Effiong said angrily
“Nothing happened, we’re just friends” she said desperately
“So now you’ve changed your story! Before you said nothing was wrong, now you’re admitting that you neglected us for someone but you didn’t sleep with him. Keep it coming, you’ll eventually tell the true story.” Effiong said walking away.
Peace had a new friend, life was even better. She had found “the thing” thankfully so all was well. Her new friend was Joy and she worked with the Aunty downstairs who just gave birth. Joy was different from her, she had been a maid in several homes and this was her fifth. She had a warm disposition and loved kids, Posi and the other children adored her. She often taught Peace how to work better and please her boss. Sometimes she felt threatened by her seeming perfection.
They shared everything; food, clothes, stories, books. The only thing Peace wouldn’t share was Ayodele. She had come to understand her body better and learnt that unprotected sex made a woman pregnant and not just a handshake. Her friends at school had also told her that sex was a pleasant thing and could be used to get the attention of any boy. But she didn’t want sex, she had heard that only bad girls did it and she wasn’t ready to be one.
“As I was saying, the boy said he wants to be my boyfriend but I don’t know what to say.” Joy was saying.
“Do you like him?”
“I think so…” Joy said bashfully
“Then say yes!”
“They said we shouldn’t have boyfriends in school.”
“Don’t mind them! Boyfriends are nice”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“And you didn’t tell me? Who is he?” Joy asked enthusiastically.
“One boy in my class…” Peace replied vaguely
“Peace!!!” Ronke called
“I’m leaving my madam is calling me” Peace said gratefully, running away.
The scales fell promptly, light had suddenly chased away the darkness and everything was very clear now. Pleasure had now turned into excruciating pain and cunningness into folly. Regret filled her soul and helplessness crippled her mind.
Olayinka stared at the two red lines of the strip and remembered the day she had forgotten to take the pill. She had been on a business trip (turned vacation) with her boss and had been too excited to remember to use her medication. She and Effiong had not had sex in about four months, the baby was definitely her boss’s. She was too stunned to cry, her body was cold with fear.
She climbed onto the bed with Effiong who was reading something on his phone and turned on her side gently.
“I’ll call Solape tomorrow. She’ll know a good doctor.” She thought easing into a fitful sleep.