“What about your kids?”
“I’m taking them.”
“And you think they’ll want to go with you after they saw you holding a butcher knife over their mother?”
Effiong hadn’t thought of that. “I’ll file for sole custody”
“They might testify against you in court. Or do you think that Olayinka would just let them go?”
Effiong sighed. “You both made mistakes and trust me she’s sorry. Helen’s scared that her blood pressure might become higher than it already is. I saw her briefly, and man she’s a shadow of herself. If she could forgive you, please consider forgiving her.”
“Obiora don’t test my patience, the only reason I allowed you in here is because you’re my guy. Stay out of my business!” Effiong’s eyes were wild with anger.
“You think I’m glad to be here discussing your marriage? You know me better than that!” Obiora was equally angry. “I’m only here because you’re my guy. Get some sense into that thick skull of yours and don’t ruin what’s left of your home. Your kids saw you about to stab their mother, how are you going to explain that? They will never forget that image.” Obiora stood up unsteadily and dropped his can on the table. “Do what you like” he said and walked out of the house.
I sure hope that worked. Olayinka is lucky the guy loves his children, that’s her trump card in this situation.
“So you told Mummy abi?” Ayodele slapped the back of Posi’s head.
“I didn’t tell her anything!” Posi cried terrified that his brother was finally going to kill him.
“Kneel down there!”
“Ayodele what is it? Why are you beating him?” Joke asked coming in from school.
“He disobeyed me.”
“What did he do?”
“That’s not your business! Get out of here!”
“So you can kill him? I’m not going anywhere, leave him alone!” She grabbed Posi’s hand and pulled him to his feet. Ayodele pulled her back and slapped her face hard.
“I said you should go away!”
It was almost as if Joke had been waiting for this moment. She slapped Ayodele back and threw herself at him, clawing his face with her fingernails. Ayodele pushed her away and threw her on the floor where he began to punch her face.
“Help! Help! Aunty Banke!” Posi cried running downstairs and knocking on Banke’s door. Banke was furious, she had just gotten back from work and was very tired.
“What is it?” she snapped
“Brother Ayo is killing my sister!”
Banke ran up the stairs with Posi. Peace heard the commotion from the shop and ran upstairs too. Banke was holding Ayodele and Joke by the shoulders by the time she got up.
“What happened? Ayodele do you want to kill your sister?” Joke was already bleeding on her lips and her face was swollen. “What happened?” she asked Joke this time around.
“He wanted to beat my brother for no good reason and I would not let him so he beat me.”
“Is that so?” Ayodele couldn’t respond, what could he say that wouldn’t reveal the truth?
“Go and tell Joy to bring my phone.” She said to Peace who was staring wide-eyed at the scene before her.
Posi ate his chocolate slowly as Banke watched him, he had refused to stay upstairs with his siblings until their parents got back. The boy was traumatized even though the fight had been between Ayodele and Joke.
“Posi dear, are you okay?”
“Are you scared of something… someone?”
Posi didn’t know how to respond, he was crying again. Could he trust Aunty Banke? “Yes”
“Who are you scared of sweetheart?”
His mother never called him that, he could trust this Aunty. “Brother Ayodele…”
“Why are you scared of him?”
“He said he would kill me”
Banke was stunned. “Kill you? Why would he say that? What did you do?”
“It’s because I saw them”
“Brother Ayo and Sister Peace”
The hair on Banke’s neck had risen. “Where did you see them?”
“In our room”
“Okay, what were they doing?”
“Brother Ayo was lying down on top of her and she was telling him to stop”
Banke covered her mouth to muffle her gasp. And Ayodele’s Mum had taken the love letter lightly? “So what happened afterwards?”
“I ran away but he caught me and said if I told anybody he would kill me.”
Banke held the crying child. “No one will kill you dear, you’re alright, you’re alright”
“We need to talk please.” Banke said to Ronke as soon as she drove in.
“What about?” Ronke was tired after a long day at the market where she had another store. “I hope it is not the issue we talked about the other night? I’ve discussed with my son and he has told me that there is nothing ungodly going on between himself and Peace.”
“He was lying, you need to go upstairs and see the way he has beaten Joke up because she refused to let him beat Posi.”
“How does that prove anything? Ayodele and Joke are always fighting, it’s a normal sibling rivalry” Ronke slung her handbag on her arm and dragged herself out of the car, she was now angry with Banke. Why wouldn’t she just mind her own business?
“They are having sex!” Banke almost yelled.
“What?” Ronke held the car door for support.
“Posi just told me. He saw them once and said Ayodele threatened to kill him if he told anyone!”
“You this woman? What exactly is your problem? Why do you want to destroy my home?” Ronke was furious, how dare this slut accuse her children of fornication and assault. She had brought her children up in the way of the Lord, they had prayed several times for brothers and sisters who had fallen into the sin of fornication. Her child could never be involved in such folly.
“Why can’t you open your eyes and see what’s going on in your own home? Your husband is not around now…” Banke couldn’t understand this woman, was her pregnancy making her dumb?
“That is enough!” Ronke set her bag on the roof of the car and clapped her hands together. “You of all people who got pregnant out of wedlock! What gives you the right to accuse my innocent children of fornication? Posi must have seen something else, he’s a little boy, what does he know? Stay out of my family otherwise I will report you to your debtor husband!” She yanked up her bag, hissed and stormed off awkwardly. “Posi, go upstairs now!”
Banke stood by the car with her mouth agape, humiliated.
“What is going on downstairs?” Olayinka asked Helen who had just come into the guest bedroom.
“I have no idea, the noise woke me up too. How are you feeling now?”
“I’m okay… better… my head still aches a bit though”
“That’s hunger, you need to eat something. I’m about to make some garri and edikikong.”
“That sounds promising…”
“What is it again?” Olayinka’s mood had suddenly changed.
“Effiong loves edikikong” she smiled sadly.
“I believe he’ll come around, you just need to give him time” Helen smiled back.
“I hope so Helen, I really hope so”
“Don’t worry, everything will be alright.”
“You always say that, what assurance do you have?”
“The night doesn’t last forever, dawn comes eventually.”
“And what if things stay the same in the morning?”
“At least you can see when it dawns”
Olayinka sighed. “I really appreciate you Helen, I have been horrible to you…”
“Forgotten! Let’s move on.”
“What’s your secret Helen, you’re always happy?”
Helen laughed. “I choose to be happy no matter what, as for my secret, I’ll tell you another time. Obiora is terribly hungry.”