Ella heard the knock at the door and stood up to answer it,
she glanced at the clock on the wall and yawned. It was still four am in the
morning.

“Ella…wake up.” A voice whispered. It was Tamara, her
sister.
Ella rolled her eyes wearily, Tamara had decided to come
spend a few days with her in her home as she was on a short break from work.

She opened the door and stared at Tamara who looked very
grumpy.
“What is it? It’s four am in the morning.”
“I can’t sleep! This house is so hot.” Tamara whined. “Plus
that pregnant lady keeps rolling on the bed and snoring like a pig.”
“C’mon T.” Ella said sounding tired. “I really can’t do
anything about it. I told you before you followed me home yesterday that this
house has no air-conditioning and that the only spare room has been occupied by
my husband’s relative.”
Tamara scoffed.
“Husband’s relative my foot!”
“What do you mean by that? Will you stop this rubbish,
Tamara?”
“Ella, I don’t know what it is but something is not right
about that woman…” Tamara hissed. “Come out to the sitting room and let’s
talk.”
Ella looked at her wearily.
“I have to get ready for work in an hour.” She whined.
“Well, why don’t we both stay up till then?” Tamara
suggested.
Ella hissed uncomfortably and walked out of the room,
closing the door shut quietly behind her so as not to disturb her husband. She
walked over to the sitting room and took a seat on the sofa and her sister
followed suit.
“This chair is so hard.” Tamara whined.
“Quit complaining Tamara.” Ella said.
“I’m not complaining, I’m stating the obvious fact. The
chair is as hard as a brick.”
“Well, my husband has had the furniture before I joined him
so….”
“Well…let’s forget that. I was talking about the woman in
the bedroom. What’s her name again?”
“Lola.” Ella informed.
“Yes, Lola! Did you say she’s your husband’s relative?”
“Yes, she’s a distant relative of my husband.”
“How sure are you of that?” Tamara asked.
“I’m sure…why would Jacob lie to me.”
“I smell a stinky fish sis, and that fish is a rotten one.”
Tamara stressed.
“Will you stop being paranoid? Lola is related to Jacob and
she’s here because she has no place to go.”
“Hmmmm….”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Did you see the way she looked at us yesterday when we came
into the house? She had this hostile look in her eyes. It was as though we’d
stepped on private property.”
“Stop imagining things!”
“Do you know my problem with you? You think that being
ignorant is the best thing, you have the motto which says ‘what you don’t know
won’t hurt you’. You’re so ignorant of everything even when the truth stares
you in the face.”
“What truth? Tamara please stop this.”
“Have you asked questions like, why is she here? When is she
leaving? Will she stay here forever? Have you asked yourself those questions?”
“I let her stay…she didn’t have anywhere to go so I let
her in.” Ella said in anger.
“What happened to your husband’s other relatives? Couldn’t
she go to their homes? Who knocked her up? Can’t the child’s father take
responsibility for his baby? I’m baffled at you! You can as well as let a
random human being into your home because as far as I’m concerned, that’s no
relative of your husband.”
“Why do you say that? Must you turn everything into a big
issue?”
“Ella, you are my sister and I love you. I also know that
you’ve lived a sheltered life and you take people at face value but mehn,
you’re a woman now ooo and you must be smart. Why would you allow this kind of
baggage into your home in the early stage of your marriage? Do you know what
this could bring to you?”
“Can we drop this subject? I believe you’re only saying all
this because you want to have that room to yourself.”
“Well…partly. I’m a spoilt kid and I’ve been used to
having my own space right from childhood and then again, I’m a smart woman and
unlike you, I read meaning in every action. I saw the way she stared at you
when we walked into the house yesterday and I knew that my bones chilled at the
look in her eyes. That woman is not what or who you think she is.”
Ella stood up from the sofa and raised her hand in anger.
“Stop it will you? If you have nothing important to say, I’m
off to bed.” Ella said and walked away.
Tamara stared at her sister’s retreating back and shook her
head.
“What a shame!” She said.
****************
Tamara was still asleep when her sister left for work. She
woke up three hours later feeling, hungry, grumpy and uncomfortable. Lola was
not in the bedroom so she got off the bed, shoved her feet into her
indoor-slippers and stepped out to the sitting room.
The aroma of fried eggs and sauce greeted her and she saw
Jacob seated on the sofa smiling sheepishly as Lola served him breakfast. They
both shared a joke and laughed while Lola served him. Tamara took in Lola’s
dressing and frowned. The woman was on a micro-mini skirt and a clingy halter
top which made her protruding stomach look like one of the balloons used for
decoration at children’s parties.
“Good morning.” She greeted.
They both startled and stared at her.
“Good morning Tamara…hope you slept well?” Jacob asked.
“The house is so hot but if my sister can survive it, I can
as well.” She said. “So, what’s for breakfast?”
Lola gave her a mean stare.
“Errmm…eggs and bread, with tea of course.” Jacob said.
“I hope there’s some left for me.” Tamara asked.
“Errm…sure…Lola…is there any left?” Jacob asked.
Lola looked away in anger.
“Excuse me, is there any left for me? I believe your
relation just asked you a question.” Tamara said sounding superior.
“E remain small.” Lola hissed.
“Oh…can I have some then? It smells so good.” Tamara said
seating on the sofa.
Lola walked away in anger.
“So, are you not going to work?” Tamara asked.
“How long are you staying?” Jacob asked at the same time
Tamara asked her question.
“Do you want me to leave already?” Tamara asked.
“No, I was just wondering…because I know you work and…”
“Well, I’m on a short break and I was curious to see how my
sister’s been adjusting to married life.”
“She’s adjusting fine…fine…” He said.
“So, what’s up with work? It’s past seven already and you
aren’t even dressed for work.”
“Oh, I have a stomach upset so, I called in sick.”
“Really? You don’t look very sick to me, at least you should
have gone to work and maybe, the stomach upset would have stopped by the time
you got there.”
Lola walked into the sitting room with the eggs and placed
the plate on the side stool beside Tamara. Tamara took one look at the food and
rejected it. The eggs looked like they’ve been dipped in some kind of
disgusting sauce. It didn’t look like the eggs on Jacob’s plate.
“Hmmm…”Tamara murmured and peered at her eggs. “I seem to
have lost my appetite.”
“Wetin you talk?” Lola asked, sounding irritated.
“I said, I’m not hungry….please take the plate away.”
“Look hia auntie, I nor be ya mate ooo…I nor be ya mate at
all…”
“Lola, we spoke about your anger issues right? Kindly take
the plate away…please.” Jacob said to her.
“Does she want to beat me up?” Tamara asked, feigning
fright. “Does she really want to disrespect me in my sister’s home?”
“Don’t mind Lola, please forgive her.” Jacob apologized on
her behalf.
Tamara got up from the sofa and said.
“I need a good breakfast so, I’ll go have a bath and get
dressed so that I can get some food from a restaurant somewhere.”
Jacob nodded as he watched her leave the sitting room. As
soon as she left, Lola hissed and Jacob looked at her in warning.
An hour later, Tamara was hurrying downstairs with her purse
and dressed in white pair of denim ankle-length trousers and a red plaid shirt.
She had just stepped outside when she saw a lady opening her shop in the
compound.
“Good morning.” Tamara greeted cheerfully.
The lady looked at her and took in her appearance.
“Good morning…” She greeted stiffly.
“My name is Tamara and my sister is married to Jacob who
lives upstairs.”
“Oh….nor wonder! I talk say you too fine and too dey
classy to fit to be one of us for we compound.”
Tamara smiled.
“Is that a salon?” She asked indicating to the shop.
“Yes, this na FK salon, the best salon for we area.” FK said
with a smile.
“Really? One of these days, I’d come to your salon.” Tamara
said with a smile.
“You sure say, you and Jacob wife na de same mama and papa
born una two?”
“Yes, why do you ask? Don’t we look alike?”
“Nor be resemblance I dey talk sef. Na de manner of
approach. Dat ya sister ehn, na wah for am.”
“Ella is nice…you must have done something to have seen
her bad side.”
“I nor do anything ooo…I just open mouth talk truth…dats
all.”
Tamara looked at the lady and decided that her breakfast
could wait, she needed to hear everything the woman had to say.
“FK, my hair is natural underneath my wig and I want a ‘didi’
plait underneath. Can you do that for me?” Tamara asked sweetly.
“That na my specialty na…come inside.” FK said invitingly.
****************
Lola was upset, Jacob was suddenly walking on egg shells
around his sister in-law and the way the lady looked at her instantly told her
that her days in the house were numbered. She couldn’t go back to auntie Iyabo’s
place and continue receiving insults from the woman’s children. No way! She
hissed. Jacob was her man and he belonged to her alone. He kept saying that
Ella was his passport to good living but for how long? She also needed to be
respected and her child needed to be brought up with its father and mother.
What if she sat here like a docile lamb and Ella suddenly got pregnant for
Jacob? He would suddenly switch from her to his rich wife and that wasn’t going
to favour her. She needed to do something and do it fast. She washed the plates
in the kitchen hurriedly and made her way into the bedroom she was presently sharing
with the rich, spoilt Tamara. She took one look at Tamara’s box and hissed, it
spelt of class.
“She even padlock de box sef, like say I be thief!” She
hissed as she looked at the box and her mouth suddenly began to water as she
thought of the things within. “But come ooo…dis gial fit get better thing wey
pesin fit sell for inside.” She said.
She sat on the bed and brought out her phone which she’d
held together with a rubber band. She dialled a number and placed it against
her ear.
“Hello…” A voice answered.
“Sisi London!” Lola said.
“Lola, how far? You don locate de man wey give you belle?”
The female voice asked.
“I know de man? You know how many men wey sex me five months
ago? Abeg leave matter jare…I just catch de one wey I fit to catch and the
worst thing be say, de guy don get wife.”
“Ha! Dat na serious problem ooo…”
“Yes ooo…my sister, but I dey dia house because de woman
be born-fool. You fit believe say, this woman think say I be her husband
relation?”
“Wetin? Relation ke? Na you dey dull na. You nor wan burst
bubble for dia?”
“My sister, I don try to burst bubble for long time now but
Jacob dey cover up. De man nor get anything wey e dey do ooo…na him wife
money e dey use chopulate.”
“How dat one come consign you? Abi you want make de man
still stay with him wife?”
“God know say, dat nor be my plan but Sisi London, I don
tire. If you see de kind insult wey I dey receive for this house ehn. As if de
insult nor do, the woman come carry her sister come and dat one mouth be like
razor. She wan turn me to house help.”
“God forbid!” Sisi London hissed.
“Na de reason I dey call you ooo…I just dey reason things
and something dey tell me say, I fit to dey like mumu for dis house and before
I know am, this man go give him wife belle and my pikin nor go matter at all.”
“Na deir way na…”
“I need help. I need advice…”
“Which kain advice you need again?”
“I need ya advice…”
“Jazz de woman comot na! You nor fit clean de man mind from
him wife?”
“Noooo….I nor wan do any jazz to affect Jacob, I like am
as he be. My problem na him wife….”
“Ehen, wetin you dey wait? Mama Caro dey na….come make we
go meet am. With five thousand naira, we go finish work.”
“De problem be say, I nor get even one thousand naira.”
“Na me you go ask? Ask ya man na….e nor get how he nor go
find money give you, just lie for am. Tell am say you wan go hospital for check
up and he go give you de money straightaway. Shebi you talk say him wife get
money? Even if he nor get, he go collect from him wife…give you.”
“You too wise….thank you.”
When Lola hung up the phone, it was as though a heavy load
had been lifted off her chest.

 

To be continued next week….

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