It was a long break huh? Thank you all so much for being patient with me. I tried to post on the blog as I prepared for my exams but I guess my body showed me that I am only human and I couldn’t read intensively, meet up with deadlines and also get the blog running with stories. Good news is, I’m back! So expect all your series at the scheduled days (God willing).
Thank you again for your patience. God bless you all.
Chioma stepped into the house carrying her son in her arms and followed closely by her daughters. Life was beginning to make her smile. She placed the baby in his walker and laughed when he held on to the large necklace around her neck and tugged.
“Mommy, why do babies like shiny things?” Her first daughter asked.
“I don’t know darling, I guess it catches their attention, that’s why.” She replied as she pried the necklace gently from his chubby fingers.
She looked at her son again and sighed, he had just been baptised and in two days, the photographer was to take the family photograph.
‘What are you doing?’ A voice in her head asked. ‘You know that this boy is not your son. Why then are you claiming him as yours?’
She tried to brush off the thoughts in her head but her mind instantly went to her daughter whom she’d exchanged. She felt so emotional.
‘I’m sorry baby…’ She said in her head. ‘I didn’t do the exchange because I don’t love you but because I have no other choice.’ She thought as tears stung her eyelids. She looked at the wall where the framed photographs of all her children sat and she wanted to cry so hard. ‘Why was life so difficult? What happened to her carefree days as a child? She wished she could turn the hands of time to when she was a kid who had little or no cares in the world. ‘Oh my God! I gave my daughter away and she’ll never know me or her sisters. She’ll never grow up with her family. Her picture will never sit on our wall and she’ll call a strange family, hers.’ She thought as she wiped the tears from her eyes with the back of her palms. She felt small arms wrap around her legs from behind. She turned and smiled, it was her second daughter, who was the most intuitive amongst her children. She went on her knees and hugged her daughter hard.
“No matter what, never doubt that mummy loves you…because she does…with all of her heart.” She whispered.
The little girl nodded and Chioma felt worse.
Lilian had spent the most uncomfortable night at a hotel in Asaba. She had tossed and turned all night and this morning, she had asked for a cab driver to take her to the nurse’s village. They had journeyed for about two hours till they finally reached their destination.
“Please wait for me…” She said to the driver as she stepped out of the car and headed into the compound.
A large poster of the nurse’s mother’s obituary stood at the entrance to the compound so, she was sure she was in the right place. She made her way into the compound. Everywhere was silent as there was no one in sight. She hoped with all her heart that she could speak to someone about the nurse, anyone at all.
She had just made her way to the front door when it opened and a young woman stepped outside.
“Good afternoon…” Lilian greeted.
“Welcome.” The woman said.
“Please…I am here to see nurse…” She started.
“Oh…nurse!” The woman said. “Are you a patient?” The woman asked.
“Yes…I mean…yes…” She lied swiftly.
“Please enter inside and sit down.” The woman said. “The nurse went to buy medicine for her clinic. She will be back soon.”
Lilian’s eyes widened. What? She thought. The nurse went to buy medicines? Does it mean that the nurse had turned herself into a doctor?
“Errr…if I may ask, is this her clinic?” Lilian asked.
“Yes, she opened it after her mother’s burial…” The woman said.
“Oh, good.” Lilian said.
“Did you come from Warri?” The woman asked. “Nurse told me that one of her old patients will be coming from Warri today.”
“No, I’m from Asaba…I heard about nurse from my very close friend but I had no idea that she has opened her own clinic.” She lied. “Congrats to her.” Lilian said.
The woman smiled.
“Yes, my cousin is very hardworking. You know, she left Lagos to settle here because she has to take care of this compound. Since she’s still single, she is the only one of her brothers and sisters who can settle here in her father’s compound.”
Lilian nodded. The woman continued.
“She came home with a lot of money from her work in Lagos and she renovated the sitting room and two of the rooms in the house, turning them into her clinic. According to her, she would buy hospital beds soon and many other things.”
Lilian nodded, as the woman spoke, her mind wandered.
Chioma was about to lay her son to sleep when her phone rang, she looked at the caller ID and found that it was a strange number. She answered.
“Madam Chioma…” The voice said.
“Yes, speaking. Who am I speaking with please?” She asked.
“Have you forgotten me so soon?” The female voice said to her.
“Please tell me who you are…” Chioma said, already getting irritated.
“Have you forgotten the nurse who made it possible for you to have a son?”
Chioma’s heart froze.
“What…what do you want?” She asked in a whisper.
“Can’t I call to ask how you are? How’s the baby boy? It’s been almost five months since we did our transaction.”
“Yes, and it’s finished between us.” Chioma said, hurrying into the bathroom and closing the door.
“Finished? Who says it’s finished?” The nurse laughed.
“What do you want?” Chioma spat.
“You didn’t pay me well…” The nurse said. “You see, because of you, I had to leave Lagos and now I am in my village. All the hospitals and clinics here can’t pay me as much as I earn in Lagos so, I’m setting up a business. I need money for that.”
“I paid you two hundred thousand naira…wasn’t that enough?” Chioma spat.
“It’s finished…” She said.
“I don’t have any more money and this wasn’t our agreement.” Chioma said.
“It’s okay then…” The nurse said. “I think I’ll come back to Lagos and get the money I want from the boy’s mother. I’m sure that I can get her contacts from the hospital where I used to work.”
“Wait…” She said. “How much…”
“Good…now that’s what I want to hear. I need an extra sum of four hundred thousand naira.”
“Four hundred what?” Chioma gasped. “Where do I get the money from?”
“Do you want your secret out in the open?” The nurse asked.
“I can only raise two hundred thousand…” Chioma said.
“I need more than that!” The nurse said.
“What do you think I am? An ATM? I have been a stay-at-home mother since my last child. The money I gave you was all my savings.”
“You have a husband, don’t you? Tell him that you need money and I’m sure he’ll give it to you.”
“I can’t raise four hundred thousand naira.” Chioma insisted.
“Then, I can’t keep my mouth shut for too long.” The nurse said. “I’ll send you my account number. Please pay before the week runs out.”
Chioma stared at her phone as soon as the nurse hung up. She didn’t know what to do.
Ochuko packed her things into her large suitcase, her sisters pleaded with her to reconsider while her father picked up the clothes she’d tossed into the suitcase and took them back to the wardrobe.
“Don’t make things more difficult, dad.” Ochuko started.
“I don’t know what’s gotten into mum, it’s almost like she loves Vuoke more than she loves you.” Princess cried.
“Sis, please…don’t go…I’m sure mum is just angry but she’ll change her mind and wish she never said all she said.” Amanda said.
“Ochuko, I am your father and this is my house. I won’t allow you leave.” Her father said.
“Dad, please…I need to leave. Even if it’s just for now. Don’t worry, I’ll call often and we’ll see regularly, just let me do this.” She said.
Her father saw that there was no convincing her and nodded.
“Thanks dad, I love you.” She said and hugged her dad while her sisters joined in the hug.
Together they packed most of her clothes, saying that she didn’t need to empty her wardrobe since she’ll be coming back.
“Now I know the reason you didn’t want to pack your stuff a few days before your wedding. I was thinking that it was quite odd that you didn’t pack your stuff to move in with Vuoke after the wedding.” Amanda said.
“Thank God, I never went through with that wedding.” Ochuko said. “I’d have signed my death sentence.”
They all helped her carry her things out of the house and just as they stepped out into the front porch, they saw Vuoke, standing beside Ochuko’s mother.
Ochuko and her sisters were shocked, even her father was surprised to see him. As soon as Vuoke saw Ochuko, he fell on his knees.
“Ochuks…please…please…whatever the problem is, we will work it out.”
“What…are you doing here?” Ochuko’s dad thundered at him. “I know all you did to my daughter and I promise you that you will pay for it!”
“Let Vuoke talk to his wife, besides, isn’t that who she is? She’s his wife. They’ve done the introduction and paid the dowry so, in the right sense, she’s his wife.” Ochuko’s mother said.
“You called him here, didn’t you, mom?” Princess asked her mother in anger.
“Oh, keep quiet little girl, what do you know?” Ochuko’s mother spat.
“Ochuko, I just need to speak with you. I understand you don’t want to be with me anymore but can’t we just talk to each other? Please. Even if we’re going to part ways, will we do so as enemies?” Vuoke pleaded.
Ochuko looked at him and sighed, he was right besides, she shouldn’t have left him like that at the altar, she should have dumped him long before the wedding.
“Okay…let’s talk.” She said.
“Are you going somewhere?” Vuoke asked, looking at her bags.
“No.” She said plainly.
“Please sir, can I speak with your daughter privately?” He asked her father.
Ochuko’s father looked at Vuoke, then at Ochuko and after a reluctant pause, he nodded.
“Let’s speak outside, I have things to tell you that I don’t want anyone else to hear.” Vuoke said meekly.
Ochuko nodded and followed him out of the compound. When they stepped out of her gate, she stopped.
“We can talk here…” She said.
“Why don’t we talk in my car?” He said. “The sun is hot and I have a lot of things to say.”
Ochuko looked at him and wanted to protest but she had a lot of things to say to him too so she nodded.
They both made their way to his car which was parked not too far from her gate, as they walked, he said.
“I almost committed suicide yesterday…I was drunk and I…” He started, then stopped.
“I’m sorry.” She said without emotion.
He hurried to open the car door for her and she got in, then he made his way to the driver’s side and got in as well. Ochuko turned to him to speak but stopped when she saw the changed look on Vuoke’s face. He looked like a raging animal. He latched the doors, started the engine and drove off so fast.
“Vuoke! Let me out! Vuoke!” She screamed, pulling at him as he drove.
“You are my wife and you belong to ME! Don’t forget that!” Vuoke shouted as he drove like a crazed fellow down the road.
Meanwhile, Ochuko’s sister, Princess heard a car drive away so fast, she ran to the gate and saw that neither her sister nor Vuoke was anywhere in sight. She ran back into the house and yelled at her parents who were seated in the sitting room.
“Mom! Dad! Vuoke has kidnapped Ochuko!”
Fred stared at Bisiola, he couldn’t believe his ears. Her words plunged deeply into his heart. What in the world was she saying? Did she want to destroy the love he had for his father or the bond they shared?
“Please…believe me…Fred…please…I would never have ended up as his mistress but I had no other choice. I didn’t want to abort the child and I couldn’t take care of the baby on my own, that was why I decided to give in to his advances. I swear! I swear on my mother’s grave.”
Fred stood there, his body shook with so much pent up emotions, he wanted to yell, but he didn’t speak.
“Fred, please say something honey…do you want a glass of water? I know that this is so hard for you to process but I want you to know that your dad is not the man you think he is.”
Suddenly, Fred’s phone rang, he slowly reached for his pocket and picked the phone. Without looking at the caller ID, he answered the phone.
“Hello…” He said, his voice was coarse.
“Hello…Uncle Fred, it’s Princess…my sister has been kidnapped by Vuoke!”
Fred quickly dashed out of Bisiola’s house as though he was being pursued.
“Fred…Fred…please…don’t do anything rash…I beg of you…” Bisiola called out to him.
As soon as he slammed the door behind him, Emem walked out from her place of hiding.
“You’re a terrible person, Bisiola! A very terrible human being!” She said.
“What’s this about? Are you mad? Don’t you dare judge me! Don’t you dare!” Bisiola screamed.
“You lied to Fred, his father never ever raped you…he never…” Emem started as tears threatened to choke her.
“Get out of my house Emem! Get out!” Bisiola screamed.
“You’ve just lost a friend because I can never be a friend to a woman like you. I pity Zed, he doesn’t deserve to have a mother as wicked and as cruel as you are.” Emem said.
“Do you know what? I don’t care! Right now, I’m sure that Fred is storming Bruce’s place and guess what? Bruce will never be able to erase my words from his son’s mind. You should have seen the look of sympathy in Fred’s eyes when I told him about his father. I’m sure he’s going to fight for our love despite the odds. I can imagine Bruce, begging me to talk to his son and clear his name. I am the one with all the power right now and I’m going to wield woman that I am.” She shouted.
“You’re sick! I wonder how I only realized it now.” Emem said. “How do you think that Fred would ruin his relationship with his father because of you? You’re so sick!”
“Hahahaha….no one messes with Bisiola and gets away with it. I will get what I want. Mark my words!”
Emem looked at her and shook her head, then she stepped into the house to pack her things. She had had it!
To be continued…