Modinat knew in that instance that he was going to kiss her. The unmistakable tilt of his chin and that dark, smouldering look in his eyes caused her tummy to lurch and she knew she had a choice; close her eyes and give in to the heady emotion or step away. There was no time to think…
“What is it babe?” He asked softly with the confusion that comes with getting mixed signals from a person you want so bad.
“I…I can’t. I am married and you are engaged!”
“But what we have transcends time and ties, I know you feel it just as strongly as I do”
“I feel nothing Azeez, we are not teenagers. This is crazy!”
Azeez grabbed my waist with a sudden aggression his breathe ragged in my ear.
“I will have you Modinat, I swear to you. Making you mine shall be my life’s mission…”
He kissed me deeply and with my thoughts in a maze of shock and unbridled passion I did the first thing that popped into my head.
“That’s for kissing me without my permission”
He grinned and rubbed his cheek in a way that was all too distracting. I turned and walked towards my car. I needed to be home with my husband.
“I am moving into your neighborhood hon, I hope you won’t get into the habit of slapping your neighbour…”
His deep chuckle was the last thing I heard as I drove off in a hurry.
“Having connections is koko in Naija”
Amaka smiled at my remark. Siki’s husband had been picked up and harassed by her father’s men and then he had signed an agreement never to come near her again. He hadn’t resisted and was just grateful to be allowed to leave without any permanent scars. We had all been shocked to realise that he wasn’t her ex. Siki had never divorced him. If the guy was more influential he could have made an issue out of it but instead he came after her. Siki was just a big bag of secrets. Almost as bad as I was lol. We waited patiently for her to be strong enough to talk while speculating about why she would choose to be a bigamist seeing as it was against the law. The only reason we could think of was the physical abuse. We watched over our friend like mother hens and her husband was grateful for the support. Siki could see the questions in our eyes but she was assured of our devotion and support. We were friends and friends stuck together no matter what. Which was of course one of the main reasons I couldn’t have anything to do with Azeez. I hadn’t seen him since that night but the way Mamus was carrying on, I knew she was in love and happy. I couldn’t take that away from her. There was also my Barry. The only real love of my life. That man’s love and devotion made hurting him a bizarre thought. He made me feel safe, secure and wanted and there was no way I was going to give up my marriage for a tall, dark stranger. There were too many stakes involved.
One bright Saturday morning Mamus, Zainab, Amaka and I were sitting around Siki’s bed making small talk when she took a deep breath and told us she was ready to tell us the story we were all itching to hear.
“Sometimes one mistake can haunt you for the rest of your life. I met Wasiu at a party in Lagos some years ago. He looked nice and talked like he was somebody and we felt the attraction immediately. Wasiu had told me he worked in an oil company and I had been blown away by the car he drove and his sweet tongue. We started dating soon after and I tried to be a good girl for him. I never asked him for money because I had all the money I could want from the business deals I did and I didn’t stress him in anyway. Our love was a fairytale and one day he asked me to marry him. He told me straight up that he didn’t believe in big weddings and that a court wedding with dinner afterwards with a few friends was his ideal wedding. I agreed. I didn’t need a big wedding anyway. I had visited him in the modest apartment he shared with his friend a couple of times and when asked about the modesty, he had told me he was almost done building his house in lekki and didn’t want to waste money paying for an expensive apartment. The day I became Mrs Ajibade the truth began to unfold. We had skipped the honeymoon because he had to be at work and soon after I had settled in the modest apartment with his friend as a flatmate based on the premise that his mansion was almost complete. In two weeks being the sharp babe I was, I began to get suspicious. He never brought his car home, one excuse after another. He was always broke though he blamed that on his mansion in progress and he was always fast to ask me for money. The love began to wane and one day I confronted him. I asked him to tell me the truth and the truth was shocking. He was a driver for a big shot who worked in an oil company, he had no house anywhere and he was currently squatting with his friend cos he hadn’t had money for rent due to some other pressing issues. I had almost fainted. I shouted and cursed and insulted him. I couldn’t believe I had been hoodwinked. I always considered myself a sharp babe. I guess I must have really bruised his ego because soon he was raining insults on me telling me he knew I slept with men for money and wasn’t fooled by my pretence and had only married me because my ‘business’ was so lucrative. I had cussed and thrown a stool at him and it must have triggered something because he beat the hell out of me. That night as I writhed in pain, he told me we were gonna move out of his friend’s apartment and that he had found us a new one and I was to pay for it the next morning or he would kill me. That was the beginning of my nightmare. I constantly walked the streets looking for men who would have their way with me in exchange for money at my husband’s insistence. He took all from me and left me with just enough to look good for the men and take care of any wounds I incurred from his constant beatings. He eventually quit his job and became my pimp, dictating who and who I was allowed to sleep with and even making me steal things from the men. I knew I had to escape. I had already met Tosin and he was quite smitten with me. One day I made up my mind to leave. I drugged Wasiu’s drink and ran. I lay low for a month avoiding all the places I usually hung out and didn’t pick any calls. I was constantly afraid he would find me and his threatening text messages had clogged up my inbox. I finally decided to change my SIM and move on with my life because I was seriously low on cash. I sent Tosin an sms with my new number and told him I had been kidnapped by unknown men and only just released. He came to get me and the fear in my eyes made him not doubt my story. He brought me here and in no time he made me his wife. I actually thought I was safe here till Wasiu broke into my home…”
I squeezed her hand as big fat tears rolled down her eyes. I wasn’t surprised at her story. I had encountered worse in my hustle. We were Lagos girls and we all had our sob stories. I looked at the other three, born with silver spoons- daring them to judge!
Amaka was the first to speak.
“I am so sorry Siki luv. I spoke to my father and Wasiu has been handled. He will never bother you again. You are safe here.”
Mamus dried her tears and Zainab seemed genuinely pained. Silver spoon or not, love and friendship prevailed. They may not have understood all of her pain or the reasons for some of her actions but they were behind her solidly. I smiled a grateful smile.
“Thanks guys, what would I do without friends like you? I hope you don’t think me a fool for not seeing Wasiu for what he was before marrying him. I truly fancied myself in love and love makes you do stupid things…”
We all nodded, lost in thought. Love did make us do stupid things and I was determined not to allow myself fall in love with Mamus’s fiance.
Just then Mamus looked at me and said;
“Toke I have been meaning to ask, how well do you know Azeez?”
My eyes widened, kai yawa don gas oh…
……………………………………………..to be continued………………………………….