Chekwube had just gotten home, she was unnerved by all that had happened at her sister’s house that she went straight to the kitchen to drink a glass of cold water.
“Back already?” A masculine voice asked.
Chekwube turned around and stared at EM in surprise, she hadn’t known when he entered the kitchen.
‘Do you always sneak up on people?’ She wanted to blurt but she kept silent.
“Auntie Lizzie stepped out briefly, she said that you should wash and cook the meat before she gets back.” He said.
“Have you called your friends for the study group yet?”
Chekwube shook her head. He brought out his phone and handed it to her.
“You can call anyone you want.”
“I…think…I’ll wait for Auntie Lizzie, I’ll use her phone.”
“Why? Do I bite?” He asked with a smile.
Chekwube could see that EM was trying to be nice to her but no matter how nice he seemed, she couldn’t help but feel very uneasy.
“No, I didn’t say that.” She said.
“Then, take the phone and make the call.”
Chekwube took the phone and quietly punched in Gbenga’s phone number.
“Do you have the number in your head?” He asked.
“I like memorizing numbers.” She said.
“You must be good in maths…” He said to her..
Chekwube nodded and placed the phone against her ear. Gbenga picked the call on the second ring.
“Hello…” He greeted.
“Gbenga, it’s me, Chekwube. My aunt doesn’t want me to go to your place to study so she said I can invite you over to study at our place instead.”
“Oh Chekwube, sure…that sounds cool. When are we meeting to study?”
“Tomorrow…by three pm. I want us to study, Basic Science, Mathematics and Business Studies, so bring your textbooks when coming.”
“Okay…that sounds great.”
“I’ll send you directions to the house.”
“There’s no need, I’ve seen you go into the house. It’s on the street behind the school right? Uncle Soji pumped the car tires on that street last week after picking me up from school.”
“Okay…” She said.
“See you tomorrow.”
She ended the call and handed the phone back to EM.
“Thank you.” She said.
“I had no idea that you’re a big girl.” He said, taking the phone from her and making sure his palms grazed hers in the process.
“Big girl? I don’t understand.”
He inched closer and Chekwube’s heart stopped beating.
“You have a boyfriend. Or isn’t he the one you just called?”
“He’s not my boyfriend, he’s a study partner.” Chekwube said, desperate to get out of the kitchen and away from EM.
“We all did that trick. Back in my day, we used to lie that we had lessons all because we wanted to hang out with our girlfriends.”
“We don’t do that in our school.” Chekwube said quickly.
“Oh stop lying! I attended your school…and I can tell you sincerely that we went to lessons to see our girlfriends.” He said.
“Well…I don’t know…” She said.
“Stop forming and playing naive.” He said reaching out to touch her chin with his fingers.
“I…have to go and…” She started.
The bell rang and Chekwube quickly dashed out of the kitchen. She felt so relieved to be saved by the bell.
Chekwube rushed to open the door, not even bothering to ask who was at the door. She was shocked to see Ola.
“Ola, what are you doing here?” She asked.
“I need to talk to you.” Ola said with tears in her eyes.
Chekwube turned to look into the house to see if EM had followed her but seeing no one, she said.
Ola walked into the sitting room and sat on one of the sofas.
“Auntie Lizzie has a nice house.” She said.
“Yes.” Chekwube said.
“Is there cold water? Can I have a glass?”
Chekwube looked at the passageway that led to the kitchen and quickly said.
“No…there has been no power supply.” She lied, she didn’t want to have to go into that kitchen again and bump into EM. She had made up her mind to run far from him and never let their paths cross.
“Okay…” Ola said.
“What is wrong?” Chekwube asked.
Ola began to cry, Chekwube let her cry and sat there watching her.
“It’s all my fault.” Ola wept.
“Yes, it is….I wonder how you could be so stupid.” Chekwube said in a whisper.
“I didn’t know I would get pregnant.”
“Ha! How old are you? Two years old? Of course, pregnancy can occur especially when you’re grown and if you’ve started having your period.” Chekwube said. “But I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that you and Baba Tee….” She stopped as she didn’t want to say the rest.
“He loves me.” She said.
“Are you crazy? Ola! Do you know what you’re saying?” Chekwube asked.
“I know what I’m saying and the truth is, he loves me…” Ola said in a sob.
“You are married.”
“To a man who’s almost twenty years my senior!” Ola spat.
“Didn’t you know that before you said ‘I do’ to him? Besides, what has age got to do with this?”
“You won’t understand. I know what it feels like to have two men in my life. One who can probably be my father and one who is so close to my age. The feeling is different.” Ola said.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about. You wanted marriage and that’s why you got married.” Chekwube said.
“I didn’t know what I wanted, I let our parents pressure me just like they did, Ada.” Ola said, speaking of their eldest sister.
“Ada wasn’t pressured, she actually wanted to get married.” Chekwube said.
“But I was pressured…”
“Shut up Ola! You weren’t pressured. You even rubbed it in my face that you’ll be a married woman before me because you are two years my senior.”
Ola covered her face with her palms and cried harder.
“I don’t know if I should be happy or sad.”
“Be happy!” Chekwube said.
“I don’t know who the father of the baby is.” Ola said in a loud voice.
“Nne…stop shouting ooo….you know that this is Nosike’s aunt’s house.” Chekwube whispered as she walked over to check and see if EM was somewhere eavesdropping. When she was convinced that no one was listening to their conversation, she shut the door leading to the sitting room.
“Chekwube, you are the smart one…tell me what to do.”
“I can’t tell you what to do. Don’t drag me into this biko….I wasn’t there when he was wooing you and buying you gifts.” Chekwube said.
“You don’t know the real Baba Tee, he’s very nice…he’s loving…he’s kind.”
Chekwube rolled her eyes.
“He knew that you are married to his neighbour and he was hot on your heels. He’s not a nice man.”
Ola looked at Chekwube and said.
“I…I love him.”
Chekwube looked at her sister and felt like giving her a hard slap.
Mickey made sure that there were no traces of tears on her cheeks as she entered the compound. She saw Mr. Nosike, whistling a tune and walking in with a bag of goodies. She snickered.
“Na wah for you ooo…since you marry dis ya wife, you nor dey even shine teeth for ya neighbours lai lai. Wetin you carry for dat bag?” She asked.
“You sef ehn…” Nosike said to her with a smile.
“Abeg nor call me jo…na so you nor dey even give us de sweets wey you dey buy for dat construction site side wia you dey work again. Na only ya wife you know…”
“I dey sorry…oya, next time…I go buy something for you.” He said.
“No…I want de something now…” She said indicating to the bag of goodies in his hand.
“Abeg pardon me…dis one na for my wife and pikin.”
“Pikin ke?” Mickey asked staring at Nosike, when he smiled at her, she exclaimed. “Ola don carry?”
Nosike waved at her and made his way towards his room. Mickey stood there and watched him leave. Whose child was it? Was Ola carrying Nosike’s child or her nephew or niece? She wondered.
She made her way to the room she shared with her mother and saw Baba Tee there, eating three wraps of moi moi.
“Good evening…” She greeted.
He grunted in response and kept on eating.
“I hear good news from Mr. Nosike mouth ooo…” She said.
Baba Tee gave her a bored look and refocused on his meal.
“Ola don carry belle ooo…”
Baba Tee stopped eating and stared at her.
To be continued….