All through the journey back home, Queen wasn’t herself. Her mind kept going back and forth on the conversation between her sisters-in-law and she was worried. She hated the silence and the lingering stares whenever she walked into the room where her husband’s sisters-in-law gossiped, it always felt like she was being observed or talked about.

“Are you okay?” Zach asked as he turned to look at her.

They were on the plane on their way back to Lagos.
“Junior…how are you feeling?” She asked, turning to regard her son and ignoring Zach completely.
“I’m sorry okay…I am sorry.” He said.
“Don’t speak to me. I don’t know who I married anymore.” She spat.
“Queen, you should understand that I’m so hurt by my father’s…”
“Don’t give me that! Don’t give me a pity story about how much you miss your dad and how you had to say all that rubbish about my son because you’re still hurting.”
He reached out to touch her arm.
“Darling, please…I never meant to hurt you with my words.”
“Do you know what? Just do me a favour and keep silent all through this flight because I don’t want to get upset. Do you hear me?” She spat at him.
Her husband nodded and looked away. Junior looked at his parents in confusion.
***************

Ella was about to step out of the house when her husband’s voice stopped her.

“Have you stopped to ponder on my request?” Jacob asked.
Ella turned around to face him.
“I can’t believe what you’re asking.” She said.
“What do you mean by you can’t believe what I’m asking? I’m talking about a life here. Lola’s life!”
“How can ask me to bring out such an amount of money? How are you sure that I have it?”
“I know you have it, Ella! Your dad is rich and you have enough from the inheritance you received from your grandfather,”
“What’s the meaning of this Jacob? What has gotten into you? How dare you refer to my money as though it’s yours?”
“Of course it’s mine! I am your husband remember? And we are bound together as man and wife!”
Ella stared at Jacob in frustration, she couldn’t believe that she was arguing with her husband over her money in the wee hours of the morning.
“I need to get going…I have some issues to sort at work today.” She said and turned towards the door.
“It’s a Saturday…” He said.
“I know it is but I have pending issues to work on.” She said.
“Ella, don’t walk out on me. You know you have the money to save Lola’s life and that of the baby…don’t turn your back on her.”
Ella’s shoulders slumped, she said.
“I really think we should tell the police about this…”
“You heard me when I said that telling the police will only make them kill her. Consider it as a charity affair, just like donating money to those in need. You can do it! I know you can. You have a heart of gold.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” She said and opening the door, she left the house.
**************
Jessica’s eyes had been wide open since two am, she hadn’t been able to sleep. Was Queen back yet? Had she checked out the house? What was going on? She wondered as she took her phone and placed a call to Queen. The phone was switched off. She stared at the time, it was some minutes past ten am.
“Where are you, Queen? Have you checked the house yet?” She asked aloud.
****************

Queen didn’t speak to her husband on their way back home from the airport and as soon as they stepped into the house, she took their luggage to the bedroom to unpack.

“Is this how it’s going to be?” He asked. “Are you giving me the silent treatment?”
“There’s nothing I want to talk to you about that’s why I’m silent.”
“Can’t you at least forgive my slip of the tongue?” He said.
“Slip of tongue? Do you call comparing our son to your nephews and nieces a slip of tongue? You really crossed the line, Zach, you really did!” She said raising her voice.
“You’re not even cutting me some slack here. Queen, I am still in mourning…”
“That doesn’t give you the right to speak about my son like that.”
“He’s my son too…”
“Does that give you the right to talk about him the way you did?”
Zach sighed.
“I see you are not ready to reason with me. I’m leaving…”
She shrugged and continued unpacking.
“I have to be in Abuja today and I’ll be back at the middle of next week.”
She looked up at him.
“Really? So, all the while you were to travel and you’re just telling me?”
“You didn’t want to talk to me besides, I just got the text message from my PA this morning. I have a meeting…”
“Hmmm…okay…”
“If you need anything, just tell me and I’ll send the money to your account.” He said.
Queen nodded and watched him leave, a part of her wanted to call him back and apologise and another part told her that she was right to be upset with him. She refocused on the unpacking then suddenly remembered her phone. She quickly picked up her bag and opened it, she retrieved her phone and turned it on. A text message came in, it was from Jessica.
“Oh that’s true, I promised Jessica that I’ll help her investigate the house her husband had paid for. I guess I’ll do it later…as soon as I unpack.” She said as she dropped the phone, not bothering to open the message to read it.
***************

Jessica was almost running out of her mind, she sat cross-legged on the sofa and was flipping through the TV channels when the door opened and Zach walked in.

“Hey, baby…” He greeted as he walked over to hug her.
All Jessica could think of at that moment was that he was a liar and a traitor.
“How have you been?” He asked.
“Fine.” She said.
“I just need to go have a shower.” He said.
“When’s the burial?” Jessica asked looking at him.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you…he was laid to rest in the wee hours of the morning. Like I said earlier, he didn’t want to have too many people around.”
Jessica nodded slowly, she was hurt and her eyes showed it.
“I’ll go have a shower and then, we could go for breakfast anywhere you want.” He said.
“I’ve already eaten.” She said.
“Then, we’ll just go out. I’d like to hang out with my wife today.”
“I would rather stay indoors.” She said.
“Then we’ll stay indoors together.” He said with a smile as he walked into the house.
***************
Queen was through with unpacking and had just had a shower, Junior was fast asleep so she decided to quickly go through the text message that Jessica had sent to her. She sat on the stool before the mirror and opened the text message.
‘I sent you an email with the scanned copy of the receipt he used to pay for the house. Thank you so much for doing this. I really appreciate it.’ Jessica had typed.
Queen opened her email and scanned through the messages in her box, she clicked on the one with Jessica’s name and stared at the scanned copy of the receipt, she was stunned.
Staring back at her was her house address and her husband’s name written in bold letters at the top of the receipt.
She was shocked to the roots of her hair.

 

To be continued next week…..

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