Mama Deji was armed with the proof she needed to show her husband that the woman he had sacrificed so much for was a two-timing gold-digger. She straightened her back, anticipating his reaction, he would feel foolish and she would feel victorious, the chief was finally getting a taste of his own medicine.
She walked down the stairs majestically with the brown envelope containing all the information she had received and saw the Chief, Mama Ayo, and Mama seated in the sitting room. It was just as well, the more people were present at Biola’s shaming, the better.
“Ah Mama Deji, good. I was just about to tell Gbemi to call you. Sit down.”
Mama Deji frowned, wondering what the old woman had to say. Her own news would have to wait.
“I’ve called this meeting to make an announcement. The other family members aren’t here but at this point, they’re irrelevant. They will be here in due time.”
“Maami what is the problem?” the chief asked worriedly. “Are you sick?”
“God forbid! I’m very well. In fact, I feel better than I have in a long time.”
Biola yawned, the old woman was too sensational for her liking. She’d had a long day and needed to sleep.
“There will be a new wife in the family.” Mama said calmly.
Mama Deji and Biola sat up sharply and stared at the chief who stared at his mother. He didn’t know what she was talking about.
“Maami…?” he said flabbergasted.
“I know, I know, I didn’t tell you but that’s the case.” She looked at the two women. “You both caused this. The both of you were too busy making money and being coy to pay attention to your husband’s needs so he found it elsewhere.”
The two women stared at each other, united by their disbelief at the news and their mother-in-law’s accusations.
“My son found warmth and respect in the arms of Gbemisola, your maid. While you people were too busy doing whatever you were doing, she was becoming attractive to a virile and potent man.” She smiled victoriously.
“So you’re going to marry our housegirl because you want sex?” Biola asked incredulously. “A fifteen year old girl?”
“He’s not just marrying her because of her ability to please him, he’s marrying her because she’s carrying his child.”
The three adults stared at the old woman who was having a marvelous time torturing them with the success of her plan.
“Yomi…!” Mama Deji said completely stupefied, unable to say more.
“She’s just fifteen…” the chief said lamely.
“If you were not a chief, I would have said that you are daft. Does she have the body of a fifteen year old? She’s twenty-two, she’s old enough to get married.”
It was then that the two wives knew that this had been the old woman’s plan. She had deliberately planted Gbemi into their home and they had been oblivious of her plan until it was too late.
“Can’t she abort the preg…?”
“Over my dead body! What if she dies? What do I tell her father who I promised to take care of her?”
The chief put his head in hands and exhaled deeply. Mama Deji got up and walked away, Biola soon followed.
“Don’t mind them. You’re a man, you can do whatever you want in your own house. Whoever doesn’t like it can leave.”
“I can’t marry another wife maami. I have too many problems with the ones I have. She’ll have to get rid of the pregnancy…”
“She will do no such thing! When you were busy enjoying yourself with her didn’t you know she could get pregnant?”
“Maami you planned this!”
“Are you accusing me of trying to wreck your home? Did I remove your trousers and force you to sleep with her? Or did I tell you not to use protection? Did I tell you to sleep with your maid? My only mistake is that I brought here her to help your wife. You’re the one who did everything! You did it all by yourself!”
“But you know my weakness maami.”
“What are you saying? That no woman is safe with you? That you have no control at all over your libido? That you can force yourself on me because you have a weakness?”
“I didn’t mean it like that…”
“You’re marrying her. Get ready for her.”
“Congratulations.” Biola said to the chief as he came into her room.
“It’s your fault! You were always too tired to make love!”
“Oh so now it’s my fault?” she shook her head, realizing how unwilling the man was to own up to his actions.
“Look just know that you’re still my favorite wife. I came here to tell you that. That girl was just a plaything, I just needed someone to relieve me from the stress I was going through.”
Biola shook her head, knowing that she would have believed him if she wasn’t in love with someone else and recognizing that his excuse had been almost the same thing when Mama brought Rhoda into the house some years ago. Chief Afonja loved women and he wasn’t willing to discipline himself. He had a mother who supported his actions and he had enough money to afford his debauchery.
“Chief you can do whatever you like with yourself.” She said quietly and returned her attention to her phone.
“What can I do to make you happy?”
At this Biola looked up, this was her opportunity to ask Chief to invest heavily in her sons’ names.
“I’m only concerned about my sons.”
“I’ll do anything to make you happy.” He said going over to her and caressing her arm. Biola permitted him to, it was a very small price to pay for her freedom.
Mama Deji was confused. The brown envelope she had held in her hands sat on the dressing table where she had abandoned it upon hearing Mama’s announcement.
What good would it do when another wife was coming in? Who knew if she wouldn’t be worse than Biola?
Feeling defeated and frustrated, she lay on her bed and thought of the many times her mother had implored her not to marry the charming Yomi Afonja.
Rhoda had just put the twins to bed and she was tired. She went to the kitchen for a glass of water when she heard Oladapo’s phone ringing in the sitting room. He was in the bathroom and she wondered who could be calling him at such a late hour.
Out of curiosity, she picked up his phone.
“Dapo why now? I’ve been calling you. Didn’t you get my text?” She heard a female voice say.
“Hello?” Rhoda answered. “Who is speaking?”
Immediately the call was disconnected. Rhoda knew what this was, furiously she went to their room.
“Dapo!” She said as soon as she opened the door.
“What is it?” He asked startled tying his towel around his waist.
“Who is Temitayo? She called you now, asking if you saw her text.”
Oladapo knew that he couldn’t lie. He had wanted to tell the truth so badly and he was glad that she had been the one who brought it up.
“You want to know who Temitayo is?” He replied calmy.
“Yes!” Rhoda yelled.
“Okay, sit down.” He pointed at the bed and sat in front of the dressing mirror.
Niniola had just written her exams and she was exhausted. It had been as gruelling as Dele said it would be but she had put in her best. She just hoped it was enough.
“Don’t worry, whatever happens, I know you did your best.” Her mother said to her.
“Thank you ma.” Niniola smiled tiredly.
“Go in and rest.”
Comfort loved to sit outside the house. It was cooler than the stuffy room and parlour where they all lived. She was able to reflect on the day’s activities and plan for the future.
She had closed earlier than usual because she and her boss had gotten into an argument.
Comfort had been cleaning the kitchen when Mrs Gbolahan came in.
“Comfort! My children can’t find their legos.”
“Lego? Did they check their toy drawer?”
“Are you asking me that?”
Comfort was bewildered, what was she supposed to ask. “I don’t know where they put their things. I just clean up the room and leave.”
“Comfort, no one else could have taken those toys.”
“I don’t understand what you’re saying madam.” Comfort replied, refusing to believe that she was being accused of theft.
“Did you take them?”
To actually hear her say it was stunning. “Ah ah? Madam, have I ever stolen from you before?”
“You’re not answering my question! You’re the one with six children who I’m sure have never seen such a toy before…”
Maybe it was the confidence that her business was doing well, or the fact that she’d had enough of the ill-treatment from her boss, Comfort spoke up and gave her boss a piece of her mind.
“I have six children and you have two. Does that make me a thief? Are your expensive toys more important than the food I give them or the money for their school fees? Please don’t insult me because I work for you. If your children can’t find their toys, let them look for them.”
She turned away and continued her work.
“You must be very stupid for talking back at me! Do you think I’m joking?”
Comfort merely shook her head and continued her work but this irated her boss. She moved over to her and shoved her by the shoulder, turning her towards her.
Comfort was provoked beyond measure.
“Madam what is it?” She yelled. “Don’t pass your boundary!”
“Really? What will you do?”
Comfort saw what she wanted, a confrontation. She wanted to test her patience and so far she was doing well. So instead of allowing herself to be goaded by the woman, she decided to walk away. She removed her apron and stepped back.
“What are you doing?” Mrs Gbolahan queried.
Comfort didn’t reply. She grabbed her bag and walked out.
As the breeze blew on her skin, soothing her frayed nerves, she knew she wasn’t going to go back. It was time for her to focus on her own business.
Chief Afonja and his mother were still arguing over Gbemi when Mama Deji walked in.
“What do you want?” The chief asked irritably.
“I decided to let you know after all.”
“Let me know what?”
“I’ve spent so much time asking myself where I went wrong in this marriage. And at the end of the day, all I can see is your lust and greediness. So, I thought I should let you know that the woman who you have sacrificed all of us for is having an affair with a younger, sophisticated man.” She brought out the pictures from the envelope and flung them at him.
“Apparently, you’re not the only one who knows how to enjoy side attractions. My mother was right after all, I shouldn’t have married you.”
She dropped the envelope at his feet and walked away.
Mama was stunned and angry. Chief Afonja sat still, unable to move. He merely stared at the photos of Biola and her boyfriend. It now all made sense, her reluctance to make love and spend time with him and her recent absences from the house.
“Why?” He asked over and over again. “Why?”
He hadn’t denied her anything. She got whatever she wanted, even at the expense of the other wives. He had chased Rhoda away because of her.
Still astonished, he sought her out. She was in her room, busy with her phone.
“Biola…” He laid the pictures on her bed. “Is this true?” He still asked, hoping that there was some kind of explanation for the pictures.
Biola was shocked to see pictures of her kissing Lekan and holding hands with him.
“Where did you get these?” She whispered.
“Tell me it’s not true…” The chief pleaded.
“It’s true.” She replied, looking straight at him.