Rosita walked into the gate of her children’s school and made her way inside the school premises. She saw the gateman, standing at his post and she spoke to him.

“Good afternoon sir, I am here to pick up my children.” She said.

“Ma?” He asked.

“Yes, my children, I am here to pick them.” She said.

“There are no children in the school ma.” He said.

“What? What do you mean that there are no children left in the school? Where are my kids?” She screamed.

“Madam, please calm down, this is not a screaming issue. You can speak to the administrative head since she’s still in her office. There are no children left in the school.” He said.

Rosita rushed into the administrative office and saw the head seated behind her computer.

“Madam Florence, where are my children?” She fired.

The woman looked at her and stood up in surprise.

“They have gone home…I believe.” She said.

“What do you mean by they have gone home? I didn’t come to pick them…” Rosita shouted, she was frantic with worry.

“They waited for you for a while and your daughter gave us her dad’s phone number. We cross-checked it with the phone number you wrote in your children’s file and it matched it so we called him. He came to pick them up some minutes ago.”

Rosita didn’t know whether to be relieved or not.

“Didn’t your husband tell you?” The administrative head asked.

The school authorities knew nothing about her estrangement from her husband and she had made her children promise her not to tell anyone at school that daddy didn’t live with them anymore.

“Madam…are you alright?” Madam Florence asked.

Rosita nodded.

“Thank you, I am well…” She said and left the office.

As soon as she stepped out of the gate, she looked at her phone and sighed. She hadn’t bothered calling her husband since they separated as even the text messages she’d sent to him informing him of the children’s school fees had been ignored. She was about to dial his number when she heard her name.

“Auntie Rossy.” A young boy of seven ran to her and gave her a hug.

She was thrown off balance. She looked at the boy and pain gnawed in her heart, it was Tobi, Anna’s first child.

“Tobs, what are you doing here?” She asked with a smile. “I’ve missed you darling…”

“I’ve missed you too.” He said to her with a wide smile.

“How have you been? How are your sisters?” She asked.

“They are fine…they are in the car over there, with daddy.” He said pointing at a car parked at the corner.

Rosita squinted under the gaze of the sun to see his father alight from the car with his sisters.

“School is over…” Rosita started. “Did you forget something?”

“Yes, we forgot to pick up Kate’s bag and her homework is in it.” He said with a smile.

Rosita’s children and Anna’s children attended the same school but she hadn’t seen them since their mother’s burial. She felt so ashamed, she had been so engrossed in her own problems that she hadn’t reached out to her friend’s family.

Anna’s husband walked up to her with his children.

“Rosita, what a pleasant surprise.” He said with a smile.

Rosita smiled at him, he looked leaner and there were circles under his eyes but he looked well, generally.

“How have you been Tom?” She greeted, reaching out to hug him.

He returned the hug and after hugging the girls, she said.

“I am so sorry for being MIA these past few months. How have you been holding up?” She asked.

“The Lord has been our strength.” He said with a smile.

His children hurried into the school to pick up Kate’s school bag.

“I feel guilty for not checking up on you guys as I should. I feel so guilty.” She said.

“There is no problem, Rosita, God has been awesome.” He said.

“I am so glad to see you happy.” She said to him.

“Well…I am happy because I have hope that I will see her again and that Anna knew God before she departed the world. She is in heaven.”

“Yes…I miss…her…so…much.” She said with tears in her eyes.

He reached out to pat her shoulder.

“Let’s stop crying like those who have no hope. We have the hope that on the resurrection day, we will meet her again.” He said.

“She was the pillar of our women of faith group, she was the cord that bound us together. You won’t believe that I am the only one who has been at meetings for the past two months. Things have fallen apart.”

“You are wrong. Anna was never the cord that bound the women of faith group.” He said.

“Didn’t you hear what I said? I am the only one who attends prayer meetings…”

“Don’t you see that Anna was never the cord? If indeed there is one person left in the prayer group, then, it was never Anna that held the group together but God.” He said.

She nodded and blinked back the tears.

“So, tell me…when is your next prayer meeting?”

“Tomorrow.” She sniffed.

“Can I come? I’d like to join. I am not a woman but that won’t be a problem, would it?”

She smiled and shook her head vigorously.

“No, that’s not a problem. Thank you for asking to come.”

“My pleasure.” He said. “Say hello to your husband and the kids for me.”

Rosita nodded, she didn’t know how to tell him that her husband had run off with his colleague at work and now, had taken her children. She watched his children run out of the school, they looked happy and content. They held on to their father’s hand and made their way to the car, chatting and laughing.

Rosita opened her phone and dialled her husband’s number.

There was no answer.

*****

Patricia wanted to tell her husband the good news but how could she? The child she was carrying in her womb wasn’t his, at least, he had no idea of it and from all she’d planned, he would never have an idea of it.

She paced the bedroom, holding the stick in her hand as though a trophy, a prize which tested that she could indeed get pregnant. The fault had been her husband, all along but she couldn’t hold that against him, especially as she loved him with all her heart.

She was still pacing when she heard her phone ring. She answered.

“Hello…” She greeted.

She knew who was at the end of the line but for the sake of her marriage, she didn’t dare call his name aloud in her home. Her husband knew about him and he knew the whole story of how she’d gotten pregnant for him at fifteen.

“Mar…marianna…” He called out weakly.

“Ye…yes?” She answered, wondering why all of a sudden, he sounded so low.

“I am dead…I am dead…” He cried.

“What are you talking about? What happened? Where are you?” She asked in worry.

“They are gone Marianna…gone!” He wept like a child.

“I don’t understand…what do you mean by they are gone?”

“My wife left me…she left with my kids…I am devastated.”

Marianna was stunned, the test stick in her hand fell to the ground.

“What happened?” She asked. “Why did she leave you?”

“She discovered that I have been having an affair and she left…she dropped a note and promised never to return home to me. What have I done?”

Marianna shook terribly.

“Wait, that’s not a good reason for her to leave you. Can’t you call her? Beg her and ask her to come home to you. The kids are yours. She has no right to take them away.”

“You don’t understand Marianna, we vowed to each other on our wedding day that we would never…never cheat on each other and I broke that trust when I started having an affair with you. I only did it because I felt so guilty that you hadn’t gotten pregnant since you got married and I felt that it was somehow my fault and I had to do something to remedy it but…. but look what it cost me. It cost me my marriage and family.”

Marianna paced the bedroom in fear, the door opened and her husband walked in.

“Darling…are we having lunch at the spot you…” He stopped and walked over to pick the pregnancy test stick on the ground.

Marianna was still on the phone and her eyes widened in horror when she saw her husband pick up the stick. She didn’t know whom to talk to first, her husband or her ex-boyfriend.

“My God!” Her husband exclaimed. “My good God! You are pregnant!”

Marianna’s mouth remained open, she had solved one problem but had opened up a can of dirty worms.

“Marianna! Are you pregnant?” Her ex-boyfriend asked over the phone. “The child is mine…right?”

Marianna ended the call quickly and turned to face her husband.

“Yes darling…yes…” She said as her heart pounded heavily against the walls of her chest.

Her husband rushed to hug her in delight. He was so happy.

*****

Patricia walked into the bridal shop inside the shopping mall and caressed a wedding dress. She was so happy. She was sure that Chuks was going to propose.

“Hello Madam, can I help you?” A sales attendant greeted.

“Yes, I would like to see your latest bridal collection.” She said.

“Are you buying or renting?” The sales girl asked.

“I’m buying of course.” She said.

“Please sit. Would you like tea or coffee as you wait?”

“Juice would be fine.” Patricia said as she made herself comfortable on the sofa and picked up a catalogue of wedding dresses.

She was just flipping through it when a lady walked in with an elderly woman. They both were met by another sales girl and they too sat on the opposite side of the couch and chatted.

“Mummy, do you know what? I am so excited and I feel like I can’t breathe.” The lady said.

“Yes my dear…many brides feel exactly the way you do.” Her mother said.

Patricia stared at the lady and her mother and wished that her mother could come to Lagos sooner so that they could shop for wedding things together.

“I wonder why you guys are rushing the wedding…” The lady’s mother said. “It’s so soon.”

“Well…you know that Chuks and I are relocating to Canada in two months…that’s the reason we’re rushing everything or do you want us to leave without giving you a wedding?”

Patricia’s brow creased at the mention of the name Chuks but she shrugged, there were a lot of Chuks in the world.

“Yes you’re right…” The lady’s mother said.

The lady looked at Patricia who was looking at them and waved.

“Hi…” She greeted. “Are you a bride to be?”

“Well. Hopefully.” Patricia said. “My fiancé is proposing soon.”

“Wow, the proactive bride. I love that.” The lady said. “Well, my wedding is in less than a month and I’m marrying the love of my life.”

“I heard you call your fiancé’s name. Is Chuks, his name?”

“Yes, why?”

“My fiancé’s name is Chuks as well.” Patricia said with a smile.

“Are you serious? What a delightful coincidence. If your fiancé had already proposed, we’d have had our weddings a week apart.” She said with a smile.

“You’re so right.” Patricia laughed.

“What’s your name?”

“Patricia…” She said.

“My name is Amanda.”

“It’s nice meeting you.” Patricia said.

“You know what? I don’t usually do this but I like you. You see, we are having an intimate engagement party with our friends on Saturday. We should have done this a long time ago but we’re rushing everything now. I’d like it if you could come.” Amanda invited.

“Really? That would be awesome.” Patricia said.

“I don’t have the invites here but give me your phone number and I’ll text you the venue for the party. It’s going to be an all in one party. A bachelors’ eve party, a hen’s night, a bridal shower and an engagement party. I would love for you to be there.”

Patricia smiled and quickly called out her number, she wasn’t going to miss out on the fun of the party, for the world.

 

To be continued…

Here’s the link to the new thrilling thriller, ‘A Sister’s Betrayal!’

https://okadabooks.com/book/about/a_sisters_betrayal/14819

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