Bruce was inside his house and wondering how long he’d have to pay his secretary’s younger sister to take care of Zed when the security man hurried into the house.
“What are you doing here?” His wife asked.
“Sir…madam….e get one woman wey dey outside.” He security man said.
“Woman? What does she want? Who is she?” Bruce’s wife asked.
Bruce stood up and his wife stood up with him.
“I’ll take care of this.” Bruce started.
“Take care of what? I want to know why a strange woman is at our gate. I want to go and see what’s going on.” His wife stressed and walked out of the sitting room.
Bruce watched her leave, his heart beat quite fast and something told him that the supposed woman might be Bisiola. He shook his head. There was no way she’d be stupid to pull such a stunt. Bisiola knew that his home was off limits to her or whatever was connected to her. He followed his wife outside and when he reached the gate, lo and behold, Bisiola stood there with her hands on her hips.
“Finally! You’re out!” She said in a loud voice.
His wife turned to look at him when she realized that the strange woman wasn’t addressing her.
“Who are you?” His wife asked Bisiola.
“Should I spell it out to you or are you really daft that you don’t know who I am?” Bisiola said rudely.
“Excuse me young lady, this is my house and you have no right to speak to me in such manner”
“I don’t care how I speak to you ma’am, I actually have no business with you. The person I’m here to see is Bruce.”
“Bruce?” His wife asked, appalled that Bisiola had referred to her husband by his first name. “Why did she refer to you by your first name? She shouldn’t be older than our second daughter.” She asked her husband.
Bruce was short of words, nothing prepared him for this. He knew that the fact that he had another family outside his first family was risky especially as his grown kids might never forgive him for it. However, he’d hoped that Zed and Bisiola would come to light when he was dead and gone, thus, there would be no need for a confrontation.
“I am here for my son, Bruce. I know you’re hiding him and I want him out now!” Bisiola yelled.
“Your son? Bruce, talk now or I’m warning you…I will…” His wife started.
The gate to the compound flung open at that instant and Fred’s car drove in, he was quite startled to see his parents standing with Bisiola close to the security post. As soon as Bisiola saw him, her countenance changed from that of the fiery serpent to the meek mouse. She began to sob loudly.
“What is your problem? What is wrong with this woman?” Bruce’s wife asked.
Bisiola continued to sob. Fred stopped his car not too far from the gate and alighted. He looked stressed. He hurried to his parents and Bisiola. She flung herself at him as soon as he got close to them.
“Fred…Fred darling…Fred…” She cried.
Fred’s mother hurried to them and pulled Bisiola away from her son.
“Let go of my son you…you…mental patient!” She spat.
“Fred, tell them…tell your parents that you love me.” Bisiola said.
Fred looked at her, Bruce looked at her in shock. Everyone stared at her as though there was some sort of loose knot in her head.
“What are you doing in my parents’ house? Have you no shame?” Fred fired at her.
“Have I no what? Fred, how can you say this about me even after all I told you? Does it mean that you’re on your dad’s side even though he’s evil?” Bisiola accused.
“What are you talking about?” Bruce asked, speaking for the first time. “Son, what is she saying?”
Bruce looked at his father in anger, he tried to control himself but he couldn’t.
“Dad, we need to talk! Now!”
“What do you need to talk to your father about? Fred, do you know who this woman is? Why is she here?” His mother asked. “And how does she happen to know you and your dad?”
“Darling please could you excuse us for a moment?” Her husband asked.
“Excuse who? And for what?” Fred’s mother yelled raising her voice. “Who is this woman and how does she know you and our son?”
Fred looked at his father, Bruce looked away, he was short of words. Bisiola kept silent, it was at this point she realized how stupid she’d been to think of coming here.
“Am I speaking to dumb people? Someone should say something right now or I’m involving everyone in this family from my eldest son to…”
“Wait…I can explain honey but not now…please…” Bruce started.
“Fred, can you explain to me what’s going on here?” His mother asked with a pleading look in her eyes.
Fred didn’t know what to do, he knew it was out of place for him to tell his mother about his father’s affair but his father looked like one who’d suddenly gone mute.
“Mom, can we go inside…? I’d like you to sit…” Fred started.
“I am not going inside! I want to hear whatever it is that you have to say and I want to hear it now! Why is this woman here? What does she want and how does she know you and your dad? Why is she asking your dad to return her son to her? Who is her son anyway?” His mother yelled hysterically.
“Calm down mom…please…” Fred started.
Fred’s father looked so scared, it was as though he wanted to pee his pants. It was that moment that he realized that his family meant the world to him and that he was stupid to have gambled it away for nothing.
“Talk to me…son, talk to me…please.” Fred’s mother said.
“Mom, this is Bisiola, she…she used to be my girlfriend until recently. We…I mean…I found out yesterday, that she is in a relationship with dad and that they have a son together.” Fred said with difficulty.
Bisiola wanted to protest when Fred said that she wasn’t his girlfriend anymore but the look in Fred’s eyes silenced her.
Fred’s mother couldn’t believe her ears, she turned to look at her husband and then she stared at her son. Nodding silently as though she understood all that was happening, she took one step towards the house and fell. Everything went blank.
Lilian was tired of waiting, it was almost nine pm and the nurse hadn’t showed up. Just when she stood up to leave, she heard a voice and then, the nurse opened the door of the house and stepped inside. Lilian recognized her instantly. It was the same nurse who had helped her deliver her child. She was sure of it and even though she had been unconscious later on, she was sure that she was the same woman from the hospital. The nurse saw her and seemed a little shocked to see her but from the look on her face, she could tell that she was having a hard time remembering her face.
“Hello nurse…remember me?” Lilian asked.
“Are you a patient? I’m sorry…to have kept you waiting. Where’s my cousin? She should have called my phone to tell me that a patient is waiting.”
“No need…I wanted to surprise you.” Lilian said. “Do you remember me?”
“No…I mean…your face looks familiar but…” The nurse started.
“You helped me deliver my child a few months ago.” Lilian said. “On the fourteenth. Precisely five months back.”
Lilian could see a cloud of recognition flicker on the woman’s features. She began to stammer.
“I…deliver…ed…a lot…of children…on fourteenth…and I…errr…I have taken care of many deliveries…” She said as she walked to the far side of the room.
“I just came here to tell you that you were the only nurse on duty on the night of my delivery. I don’t know what happened but I am sure that my baby was switched and I have proof of that.” Lilian said. She added a lie in other to shake the nurse up a little. “I have spoken to the DPO of police and investigations are ongoing. I will definitely get to the bottom of this.”
“Wait…what are you saying? Are you trying to tell me that I switched your baby?”
“I didn’t say that but I am having the whole thing investigated.” Lilian fired.
“Look, if you’re here to accuse me falsely of what I never did, I advise you to leave. It’s already late and you’re not a patient.”
Lilian looked at the nurse and shook her head.
“How much were you offered? Who did you give my child to? Was it an honest mistake or was it intentional? Did you give my child to ritualists? What happened that night?”
“Leave! Please leave now!” The nurse fired. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I’ll be back with the police. I advise you to confess if you really had anything to do with this or get ready to face the full force of the law.” Lillian said and left.
As soon as Lilian left, the nurse clutched her chest and breathed heavily, she had been caught by surprise.
Ochuko watched Vuoke busy about the house, he had prepared food for the two of them but she hadn’t touched it. She had a plan and she hoped that it worked. She wanted to irk him as much as possible.
“Haven’t you decided to eat yet?” Vuoke asked.
“You are holding me against my will. Let me go Vuoke!” Ochuko said.
“Eat this food Ochuko, I prepared it for you. You should be glad that I actually cooked for you. I never did this all the while I courted you.”
“I need to go.” Ochuko started.
“Over my dead body will I let you go to that good for nothing man. Even if I have to drag you to the registry tomorrow and make you my bride, I’ll do so.” He said.
“Vuoke, let me go.” Ochuko persisted.
“Shut up!” He screamed at her.
Ochuko almost smiled in triumph, she was achieving what she had in mind.
“Yes, I love Fred and I want to be with him. Do you know what? On the day I fled from the altar, he picked me up and I spent the night with him and it was the most beautiful experience ever. I don’t feel guilty that while you were miserable, I was with the love of my life.” She said, deliberately trying to make him upset.
Ochuko saw Vuoke’s fists clench.
“Fred is a good man.” She said. “I love the way he treats me…he’s not like you who think women are punching bags. He is very tender with me and he…”
Vuoke had had it, he swung a blow at her and she fell to the ground, he kicked her and she closed her eyes wincing at the blows he sent down her way. He suddenly stopped and stared at her, she was still. He took a small step towards her and shook her, she didn’t open her eyes. Blood was escaping from her nose.
“Ochuko! Ochuko! Wake up…please…don’t do this to me! Ochuko!” He yelled and shook her.
When she didn’t budge, he rushed to the door, pulled out the keys from his pocket and unlocked the door and dashed out of the house.
Ochuko felt pain coarse through her body as she quickly got up with difficulty. This was the only way to escape from Vuoke and she knew she had to leave or die trying. She made her way out of the open door and disappeared into the darkness.
Fred and his father stood in panic as they watched the nurses close the door of the emergency room. Bruce stared in stark pain as the doors were closed, he turned to his son and before he could speak, Fred turned away from him.
Fred was so angry, he wanted to curse someone, hard. Not only had his mother been rushed to the hospital, Ochuko was also nowhere to be found. Vuoke had taken her away and even after the hours spent searching for her, they had found nothing.
He was frustrated and very angry; with the whole situation, with himself, with life, with his father and then, Bisiola.
At that moment, Bisiola appeared at the entrance to the hospital, she saw father and son standing apart from each other and at that instant, she knew whom she chose and she made her way to him.
Fred was facing the wall and staring at the clock on the wall when he suddenly felt arms wrap around him.
“I’m here…” Bisiola whispered. “Everything is going to be alright.”
The force at which Fred shoved her away was shocking, Bisiola almost fell to the tiled ground but quickly found her footing.
“Get out of here you witch! Get out! Now!” He screamed, all the veins in his neck strained through his skin for all to see.
His father turned to stare at Bisiola, he said nothing but sat on the chair and buried his face in his palms. The hospital staff were alarmed at Fred’s outburst and security hurried to them.
“Please this is a hospital environment…” One of the nurses said.
“Send her out of here. She has no business in this hospital!” Fred yelled.
The security escorted a very defiant Bisiola out of the hospital, she kicked and screamed and asked to be released but all her screams fell on deaf ears.
Fred punched the wall with his fist and tears fell from his eyes.
To be continued….