Mitch was troubled, he really needed to talk to Cherry,
‘what was going on?’ he thought to himself. He stood up and paced the room,
pondering on what Basil had told him.
“I am engaged to her, she is my fiance.” He said aloud, he
looked at the clock on his room wall. It was some minutes past eleven pm and he
was quite certain she’ll be asleep. He took his phone and dialled Cherry’s
number, the phone rang for a while and she didn’t answer. He called her number
again, this time it was switched off. Mitch lay on his bed and stared at the
ceiling, he couldn’t sleep.
************
Cherry was experiencing the most gruesome two hours
of her life, she removed bullets from the body of the man she loved and she cringed
in horror as the blood splattered on her hands and the floor. Cherry didn’t
like the sight of blood and that was the reason she had decided to go the
commercial route in secondary school. During Biology, she had thrown up after
seeing the lifeless body of a rat being dissected. Now, she was standing before
her fiance and literally operating on him.

Sean’s eyes were closed tight and if he was experiencing any
pain, he didn’t yell or scream as she would have, instead he clenched the bed
frame tightly and squeezed his eyes shut. She had removed the bullet on his
thigh within forty-five minutes but the one lodged in his shoulder was very
difficult to remove as trying to bring it out seemed to push the bullet deeper.
“I can’t remove this Sean…I can’t…” She cried, as the
smell of blood further permeated the air.
“Remove the bullet gaddamit!” Sean swore.
Cherry burst into fresh tears, she didn’t know what she’d
gotten into, she didn’t know what Sean had gotten into. Where did he get the
bullet wounds from? What was happening? She thought as she cried loudly.
“Will you stop those tears you…f**king bitch? I’m the one
in pain here!” He swore at her.
Cherry nodded and tried desperately to remove the bullet,
her phone had rang countless times and Sean had been pissed so she put it off.
Soon, the second bullet was out and she could breathe
easily, she cleaned the wounds and was about bandaging it when Sean’s voice
sliced the air.
“Stitch it!” He said through grit teeth.
“What?” Cherry asked, swallowing the bile that risen in her
throat.
“Stitch the gaddam thing!” He spat.
“I wanted to wrap it up and…”
“Wrap what up? Is it a present of some sort?” Sean spat.
Sean had never spoken to her in such manner before and she realised that she was beginning to see his ‘other’ side.
“I…I…” She stammered.
“You got a needle didn’t you?” He spat.
“Yes…” She stammered recalling the puzzled look the sales
girl at the pharmacy had given her when she was making her purchase.
“You know how to sew can’t you?” He rasped at her.
Cherry nodded quietly and took out the needle from her bag of supplies, she really didn’t
know how to use this kind of needle but in an hour she was done. The work
looked horrible and Sean’s skin was badly mangled up with the stitch. By the
time she was done, her eyes were dry of tears, she felt so sour and bitter. She
left him and went to the bathroom to wash her face, she looked at her
reflection in the mirror and saw a pathetic woman stare at her and she began to
cry.
“Cherry!” Sean’s slurry voice called.
She left the bathroom and walked into the bedroom.
“Look at me…” He said.
She wondered how he could still be composed after the bullet
and stitches episode.
“Yes…” She said.
“Do not repeat this to anyone.” He said.
“What?” She asked.
“Are you deaf? I said, that what happens here remains a
secret. Am I clear?” He said.
Cherry nodded. Sean managed a smile.
“Now, come give me a big kiss. You’ve been such a good girl.”
Cherry was repelled but she pushed herself up to him and
gave him a kiss. Sean held her with his other arm and scanned the room.
“The room is bloodied…I want you to clean it up. Take the bed
sheet to the washing machine and wash it there. Mop the floors and clean up all
traces of blood….” He said.
“I have work tomorrow…I can’t possibly do all this
tonight, have you seen the time? It’s almost two am. You have a housekeeper…”
Cherry started.
“Are you tired of this relationship?” He asked.
Cherry looked at him and shook her head.
“Listen to me honey, we need to stick together now more than
ever. If I say ‘jump’ your response should be, ‘how high?’”
She nodded.
“What really happened to you?” She asked testily.
“It’s just a small misunderstanding….my friends and I went
to a bar for a drink and one of them got into a fight with some really rough
guys. Before we could say jack, the guy brought out a gun and began shooting, that
was how I sustained these injuries.”
Cherry was relieved by his explanation.
“Why didn’t you call the police?” Cherry said.
“Police? What has the police got to do with this?” Sean
asked in anger.
Cherry was surprised at his sudden change of tone.
“No…I just …feel you should have reported it…” She
said.
“There was no need of bringing the police into this,
besides, policemen are corrupt and we know they take sides with the people with
money.” Sean said quickly.
“I’m glad you’re okay…” She said quickly as she didn’t want to provoke him.
“So, go and do the things I told you to do. This is between
you and I and no one else. If I hear about this elsewhere then I’ll know I can’t
trust you.” He said to her.
Cherry walked over to pick up the soiled bed sheets from the
ground, she knew it was going to be a long night for her.
*********
Madu woke up to find his wife already gone, he looked at the
time, it was five thirty in the morning. ‘How come she left so early?’ he
wondered as he set his alarm for six am and slept the extra thirty minutes.
In forty minutes, he was awake, he got his daughter ready for school and quickly got ready for work. His
daughter was soon in the school bus and he was waving her off. As soon as the
bus left, he turned around and made his way back to the house when he saw his
neighbour’s wife.
“Good morning.” He said stiffly.
“Come on, Madu…I’m not going to eat you…” She smiled
like a Cheshire cat.
“I know you’re not but I’m off to work.” He said.
“Hmmm…it seems you have a new job and it seems to be
paying better than the last one.” She smiled.
“What’s the use of being a busy body?” He retorted.
“I’m not spoiling for a fight Madu, you know I really like
you.” She purred.
“Really? Is that why you were quick to reveal your breasts
at my apartment?” He spat.
“I’m glad you noticed them. They are really firm for a woman
who’s nursed many mouths.” She giggled.
“What do you want?”
“Nothing, I just wanted to say hi and ask why your wife left
very early this morning in a beautiful car.”
“What are you saying? She went to work.”
“When a woman starts coming home really late and then
suddenly starts leaving very early in the morning, that means there’s someone
scratching her itch.” His neighbour said.
“You must be mad.”
“One man’s meat is another man’s poison. You see, I like
you a lot, infact I lust after you and I can’t imagine why your wife can’t see
how much of a man you are.” She smiled.
“Can you stay out of my private life?” He asked.
“Sure…I’m just being a concerned neighbour. Sha…watch
your wife ooo…” His neighbour said and sashayed upstairs.
Madu walked into his house with an angry expression.
*********
Stella came into work at nine am, everyone turned to look at
her, it was really unlike her. Rhoda walked over to her desk and said to her.
“Madam, na so e be? Work resumes at eight…”
Stella smiled mischievously and turned on her computer.
“Wait…where were you?” Rhoda asked in a whisper.
“Let’s go to the toilet.” Stella hushed.
The two ladies left Stella’s desk and hurried over to the
toilet where they shut the door to make sure no one was eavesdropping.
“Guess where I’m coming from?” Stella asked.
“Where?” Rhoda asked.
“So, at about four am this morning, Duncan called me and
said he couldn’t sleep a wink without me and that I should pack up my outfit
for work and get ready for him. I did as he said and in thirty minutes, he was
at my house. You know the roads are free at the early hours of the morning.”
“Yes I doo…abeg gist me…” Rhoda said impatiently.
“So I followed him to his place and Rhoda, oh my God! That
man is rich!”
“You didn’t know before?”
“Duncan is everything I’ve ever wanted in a man! I don’t know
why life waited till now to serve him to me.” Stella said.
“Finish the gist. What happened there?” Rhoda asked.
“He has a swimming pool in his house, and a Jacuzzi
so…when I got there, we errr….”
“Wait, you guys did it?”
“We’ve done it before ….last night before I got home. You
know I told you he reserved a room for us.”
“Whaaat? This guy is freaking head over heels in love with you!”
Rhoda exclaimed.
“Yes he is and I’m so happy! I just want to lie in his arms
and…and never wake up.”
“So you guys spent the morning together, soaked up in
each other’s arms huh?”
“Yep!” Stella said with a smile.
“This is serious ooo…wow!”
“I sneaked out like a thief this morning because I wasn’t
ready for Madu’s questions.”
“What’s that looser’s own in all this? Can he stand in the
same lane with Duncan? Mtchewww…”
“Can you imagine that all because he’s earning one hundred
and fifty thousand naira as a PA, he thinks he can set a curfew for me.”
“Whaat?”
“My dear…I don suffer for this life. See as poor church
mouse dey give me command ehn.”
“Na wah ooo…”
“I’m for Duncan abeg…he is the man.” Stella said with a
smile.
“So you guys soaked up in the Jacuzzi…” Rhoda smiled.
“Yes ooo and guess what? My cycle was supposed to come two
days ago but it didn’t show up, maybe it knows that I am about to have fun so
it stalled. Thank God it stalled or I won’t have had Duncan to myself.” Stella said.
“Your what?” Rhoda asked as she was thrown off by Stella’s statement.
“My period na…aunty flow…” Stella said.
Rhoda stared at her in question.
“It didn’t come?”
“Yea…” Stella said absent mindedly.
Rhoda stared at her in silence. Stella looked at Rhoda and
widened her eyes.
“Do you think?”
“Yes…you might be pregnant…”
“Nooo….it can’t be…”
“Did you have sex with that looser husband of yours?”
“That was weeks ago…I mean…”
“Heeey! See as Stella don chook hand for eye ooo…” Rhoda
said stamping her foot.
“Maybe the period was delayed…maybe…I don’t know…”
Stella said in panic.
“You need to do a quick test ooo…” Rhoda said.
“My God! Not now na…ha!” Stella said sadly.
“What if you are…what will you do?” Rhoda said. “Pregnancy
can be a big turn off ooo…especially to a man that isn’t your husband.”
“I’m not ready for a pregnancy now…” Stella said. “I’ll go and get a knit now from
the pharmacy across the road. I’d better not be pregnant.” Stella said with a sigh.
Rhoda nodded and Stella opened the door and hurried out.
********
Cherry was trying not to sleep at her desk, she had finished
cleaning up and washing at five am and had just stolen one hour of sleep before
leaving for work. Her hands were as heavy as lead and she wanted so desperately
to run into one of the toilets and sleep.
Sean had slept through her cleaning and this morning, when
she was ready to go to work, he had told her to take two bundles of money from
his drawer. She had opened the drawer beside his bed to see so much cash she’d
ever seen. She took the wads of notes, thanked him and pushed them into her
bag. Without counting the money, she knew it was two hundred thousand naira
that she’d been given.
She was still staring at her computer when the front desk
called her intercom.
“Hey…” She greeted.
“You have a visitor.” The front desk said.
“Who? I’m not expecting anyone.” She said.
“It’s Mitch…”
“Have you told him that I’m at my desk?”
“Yes I have.”
Cherry hissed and rubbed the back of her head.
“Tell him I’m busy.”
“He said it’s urgent.” The receptionist said.
“Okay…I’m coming.”
As soon as she hung up the call, she got up and trudged out
of her office compartment, she didn’t know what Mitch wanted and she didn’t
know why he’d not called her phone instead.
She got downstairs to see Mitch seated on the chair at the reception.
“Hey babe…” She greeted tiredly.
Mitch stood up to look at her.
“Can we speak in private or should we rather do it here?” He
asked.
Cherry was surprised at his angry tone and nodded as she led him to
a private room beside the reception. As soon as they got inside, Cherry faced
an angry-looking Mitch.
“When my family told me, I refused to believe them till
Basil chatted me up and sent me a picture to prove it.” Mitch said.
“What are you talking about?” Cherry asked.
Mitch held out his phone and showed her the screen. There was a picture of her and Sean together. 
When Cherry didn’t speak, he said.
“I’m talking about your engagement to someone that’s not me!”

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