Grace opened her eyes, the sun was high up in the sky and
the birds chirruped in the trees. She struggled to her feet and staggered out
of the uncompleted building. She placed her hands on her abdomen, her stomach
growled in hunger but she wasn’t interested in food. All she wanted was to find
her way out of the abandoned building.

No sooner had she left the building and walked
out to the busy road than she seen taxi cabs, she halted one of them and
watched as they zoomed past her quickly, she knew she wasn’t in the best state
but she really needed to get out of this place. Her phones were in Chief’s
house and there was no way she was going back there, she resolved.

She was almost tired of halting taxis when one actually
stopped and she ran towards it.,
“Isaac Mobola-Jacobs estate sir…” Grace supplied.
The man stared at her for a while and asked.
“You sure say you well so? You look like a mad woman!”
“Please sir, I am not mad…it’s really a long story but I
need to get home…” Grace said quickly, opening the door of the cab and
stepping in.
“Your money is five thousand naira…” The cab driver said.
“That’s no problem…please take me home.” Grace lay her
back on the back rest of the car and watched the driver zoom off, while they
were on their way, she stared at the review mirror and almost screamed at the
appearance of the woman staring back at her. She looked hideous, her face had
cuts and bruises, her hair was in tangles, eyes were blood shot and the fake
eye lashes she had fixed were already half-way down her face, no wonder cabs drivers
were in no hurry to pick her up, she was a sight.
She closed her eyes quickly and shifted her thoughts to
other things, like Isaac and how happy he would be when he sees her.
******
Isaac had made a firm resolve, never to walk into Grace’s
apartment again, he looked at her purse lying on the chair in a corner and taking
it, he zipped it open and placed her keys inside the purse. Quickly he took the
purse and left the house, heading for his normal morning jogging exercise
around the estate. He stopped at Grace’s compound and instead of heading to her
doorstep, he went to her neighbour’s.
Rap! Rap! Rap! He knocked.
“Who’s there?” A female voice asked from within.
“It’s Mr. Isaac…”
“Ohhhh….Mr. Isaac…good morning.” The woman replied,
opening the door of her house and stepping outside.
“I just wanted to give you Grace’s purse …please keep it
for her till she returns.” Isaac handed the purse over to the neighbour and
turned to walk away.
“Excuse me….Mr. Isaac…but I thought that you and Grace
were a couple. I mean…I used to see the both of you around together. I even
spotted you at ‘Chefnas’ restaurant some nights ago while I was with my
husband. I hope there is no problem.”
“No…there is no problem madam…”
“Err…I know that I am too much of a busy body but I saw
the huge car that pulled into your house yesterday and through the open gate I
was able to see a elderly woman alight and a younger one…are they your
family?”
“The elderly woman is my mom and the younger lady is an old
friend…”
“Old friend you say? Hmm… don’t tell me you are trying to
replace her with Grace.”
“Excuse me madam but I’d have to tell you to mind your
business.”
“I am sorry…I tend to talk a lot but…Mr. Isaac I wouldn’t
blame you for changing your mind about Grace. That lady has such questionable
movements you know…she stays indoors all day then she disappears at night.
Who does that? What kind of job is she into?”
“I have to go…thank you for your time….and please
deliver the purse to her when you see her.”
“When are we having our usual street meeting? You haven’t
told us any of your plans for the estate? If Grace is not available as the
secretary for the estate, I can step in, I was the secretary for my girls group
in secondary school…” The neighbour called out to him but Isaac was already
on his way out.
As Isaac jogged out of Grace’s compound he felt the urge to
cry, how could he let himself be used by her? She was a prostitute just as her
neighbour had guessed, he had even hired her services and didn’t suspect a
thing. He thought.
He had just rounded up towards the entrance to his house
when he saw the taxi cab pulling away from his house. Curious to see who it
was, he pushed open the gate and entered.
“Hey Isaac…I had to come in this morning…I hope I am not
too early.” Jemima said smiling.
“Hello Jemima…you’re welcome, the gateman will help you
take your bag upstairs.”
“Thank you so much Isaac. I’m sorry if it seems like I’m
infringing on you and all but your mom can be very persuasive and she asked
that I move in with you.” Jemima said.
Isaac took in Jemima’s appearance, she was not the pretty
sort but she had good carriage, a good body and obviously brains as well. Her
perfume was so soft and teasing and he loved the smell of it.
“It’s okay…you know you’re welcome here…”Isaac said.
“Thank You Isaac, you have no idea how much your statement
means to me…thank you again.” Jemima said.
As they were speaking, there was a noise of a vehicle engine
at the gate and soon after, a short knock.
“Abu…go and see who it is…” Isaac said.
Abu rushed to open the gate and the most-dishevelled looking
lady stepped into the compound, her feet were bare of shoes and grass particles
hung onto her skin.
“Na mad woman ooo…oya turn back!” Abu shouted in alarm.
Isaac stared at her and knew instinctively who she was, it
was Grace.
“Isaac…it’s me Grace…it’s Grace…” She said, ignoring
the gateman and walking towards Isaac.
“I know it’s you…” Isaac said quietly.
Grace looked for any sort of affection in Isaac’s stare but
didn’t see any, she fell to her knees in tears. Jemima stood there, confused of
what was happening, she kept staring at the very dirty-looking woman in torn
clothing.
Another rap was heard at the gate.
“Madam…I need my money.” The cab driver called.
“His money is five thousand naira…I don’t have any money
on me, could you help me pay him up?” Grace asked.
“Jemima…my wallet is upstairs, could you do me a favour
and pay the cab guy?” Isaac asked.
Jemima nodded and brought out money from her purse and
handed it to the gateman to give it to the taxi guy.
“Isaac you don’t look thrilled to see me…I’ve been through
hell and I…” Grace started.
“Spare me your stories Grace…I know the truth…I know
everything about you…don’t deny it…Femme Fatale!” Isaac spat.
Grace recoiled in shock at the fact that Isaac knew about
her secret name and instinctively, she knew that he knew about her life, she
opened her mouth and closed it.
“Do you have anything to say to prove me wrong?” Isaac
asked, waiting desperately for her to say something to change his thought of
her.
“No…I am guilty…: Grace said meekly.
“Please leave my house! Your keys and purse is with your
neighbour…and please do not ever contact me again! You are history Grace!”
“Isaac…who is she? What’s happening?” Jemima asked.
Grace turned to regard the sophisticated lady standing
beside Isaac and asked.
“Isaac…who is she?”
“She’s…she’s my fiancé…” Isaac answered with a stony
face.
Jemima’s eyes widened in excitement, she could hardly
believe her ears, Isaac had just proposed to her indirectly.
“How can you be engaged? I thought you love me? I came back
for you….I came back to be with you Isaac…I risked it all for us…for
our….” She was about to say, ‘baby’, but Isaac shouted an order to Abu.
“I want this woman out of my house and don’t you ever let
her into this compound again or you’ll lose your job. Am I clear?”
“Yes sir.” Abu answered and went to drag Grace up and
towards the gate of the compound.
“Please…Isaac…No! Please….” Grace begged.
Isaac took Jemima’s hand in his and they walked into the
house, as soon as they had closed the door behind them, Isaac opened his mouth
with the intention of saying, ‘I didn’t mean to tell her that you are my fiancé,
I just wanted her out of my house’ but Jemima’s reaction shocked him. Jemima
rushed to hug him and whispered.
“I’ve dreamed of being your wife, Isaac…I’ll call mom and
tell her the good news….” Jemima said quickly.
All the words Isaac wanted to say, flew right out of his
mouth as he watched an enthralled Jemima rush off with her phone and started
making calls.
‘Why were women this complicated?’ He thought.

To be continued tomorrow….

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