Lola opened her eyes, she had been heavily sedated and she was feeling a bit groggy. She looked around the room and saw Ella seated beside her bed and staring at nothing in particular. She groaned. Ella shot up to her feet.

“Lola! You’re awake…” She said.

“Where is my baby?” Lola asked. “Wia my pikin?”

Ella didn’t respond, she just smiled at her.

“You need to get some rest, the doctor says you can be discharged today.” She pointed at some items on the fridge top. “See, I bought you Lucozade boost, fruits and crackers. I also paid someone to make you a bowl of hot fish pepper soup, pikinit should be here soon.” Ella said.

“Sister Ella, where is my baby?” Lola asked again, this time with a catch in her voice.

Ella stared at Lola and all she saw at that moment was a broken woman who desperately wanted to see her child. She had also called her ‘sister Ella’ something she’d never done before.

“I…am sorry…” Ella said with tears in her eyes.

Lola covered her face with her palms and let out a loud wail, she cried and cried hard while Ella tried all she could to console her.

“It’s okay, everything will be fine…” Ella said.

“Where is my child oooooh….” Lola screamed in tears.

“The baby was already dead before we got to the hospital…according to the doctor, the stress you passed through affected the child.”

Lola screamed and beat herself as she cried. One of the nurses came in.

“Madam, what happened?” She asked Ella.

“She…I told her…about the baby.” Ella said. “She asked me so I told her.”

“You should have called one of the nurses as soon as she woke up, you shouldn’t have relayed the news to her by yourself.” The nurse said.

“She asked me…I couldn’t…tell her a lie…” Ella said sadly.

The nurse nodded and began to calm Lola down but she refused to be consoled.

“The baby was born prematurely and he was already….” The nurse stared.

“Na boy?” Lola asked with tears in her eyes.

“Yes, it was a boy.”

“I wan see am…I want to see my child.” Lola said wiping the tears with the back of her palms.

“Your…I mean…the man who brought you asked that the hospital should do away with the child’s remains.” The nurse said.

“Who be dat?” Lola asked.

“Do you mean my husband?” Ella asked the nurse.

The nurse nodded slowly.

“Why he go do dat kain thing? Who give Jacob the right to tell una wetin you go do my pikin?” Lola cried.

“We initially thought he is the father of the child…and he had a right to make decisions.” The nurse said.

“Heiiii….my pikin ooo…” Lola began to wail again.

“Calm down…get some rest…please…” Ella begged.

Lola nodded, her face twisted in pain.

“Sister Ella, you be better pesin…na only God go bless you…na only God go use Him hand, reward you…” Lola said with tears in her eyes.

“Why are you thanking me? There’s nothing to thank.” Ella said.

“No…I must to thank you…because if not for you, I for still dey dat place…na ya money bring me out. God go bless you…God go reward you ma…” Lola said as tears streamed down her eyes.

“I’m happy that you’re okay…” Ella said and held Lola’s palms in hers.

*****************

Jacob was pissed, the doctors had asked him what to do with the still born and he had told them to do whatever they wanted to do. He had really wanted that child, he wanted to be a father and even though Ella hadn’t gotten pregnant yet, he had hopes that Lola’s child would help him feel like the father he was meant to be. He sat at a small beer parlour opposite the hospital and stared at the green bottle on the table before him.

“Since she is not carrying my child anymore, she has to leave the house.” He said to himself.

He was still brooding when a big truck filled with drinks drove beside the bar and parked there. He picked up the glass of beer and brought it to his lips and sipped while staring at the truck absent-mindedly.

The owner of the beer parlour walked out to meet the truck driver and together they settled the bills on the drinks while the bottles were loaded into the shop. As he stared, a new business venture formed in his mind.

He hastily finished the drink before him and hurried off towards the hospital.

********************

Ella sat outside Lola’s room and stared at the nurses’ station, she felt so sad for Lola. It wasn’t easy losing a child no matter how little the child was. Some people might say it’s more difficult if the parent knew the child already and the child was grown but the truth was, once a woman wanted a child, even a miscarriage is big enough to break her.

She was still seated when she heard footsteps approach. She looked up to see Jacob.

“Hey, love…” He greeted.

“I’m just coming from Lola’s room. She’s so devastated…the poor thing.” Ella said.

“Hmmm…” Jacob grunted.

“I really feel sorry for her, to think that the baby would have survived if she was never kidnapped…”

“Well…that’s life.” Jacob interjected. “The baby is gone and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”

“She’s allowed to mourn the loss of her child.”

“She needs to pull herself together and get off that bed. She’s not the only one to lose a child and besides, the longer she stays in there, the more bills we have to pay.”

Ella looked at her husband in surprise.

“What are you saying, Jake? Don’t you have any ounce of sympathy for her at all? She lost a baby!” Ella stressed.

“And the more she stays here, the more bills we pay.” Jacob stressed.

Ella looked at her husband and didn’t know what to say, she was stunned.

“Please ask the nurse for the bill, while I tell Lola to get ready to leave.” He said.

“The doctor has to discharge her.” Ella said.

“Don’t you want to leave this hospital or do you want to pay extra?” He demanded.

“Pay extra?” She asked.

“You’re settling the bills of course…” he said.

“Bills? Why me?” She asked.

“You’re the one with the money. I don’t have any money to settle the bills here…” He said. “And by the way, I just came up with the best business idea…when we get home, we’d discuss further.” He said giving her a quick kiss and hurrying towards Lola’s room.

********************

Lola lay on the bed and stared at the ceiling, tears streamed down her face.

“God please…abeg forgive me…na me carry wahala come give myself.” She cried. “I know say, e fit be say, Jacob nor get dis pikin but I carry am come meet am. I know say I nor get share for Jacob life but I go babalawo to help me thief am from him wife. Na dat babalawo place I dey come from before …before I meet de man wey kidnap me. God, please nor punish me again. Abeg forgive me. Sister Ella na good woman ooo…upon say she nor be my sister, she pay five million naira to save me…”

The door opened and Jacob walked in. Lola looked at him and didn’t say anything.

“You have to get up from that bed…” He said.

She didn’t respond.

“I will only give you three days to stay in my house but after that, I need you to leave besides, nothing binds us together.” He said. “The child is dead.”

“Something bound us…” She yelled at him accusingly. “De thing wey bound us na de lie wey we tell your wife, sister Ella.”

“What are you talking about?” He spat.

“We lie to am say I be ya relative but nor be true be dat.” She sniffed.

Jacob looked at her in menace.

“What are you trying to do? Do you want to end my marriage?” He fired.

“I nor go fit live with myself if I nor tell sister Ella de truth. Na God go use hand punish me if I nor tell de truth…” She cried.

Jacob raised his hand and hit her across the face.

“If you say a word about this to my wife, I promise to teach you a lesson you’ll never forget.” He spat at her.

The door opened and Ella walked in with a smile on her face.

“I just settled the bills.” She said. “Would you like to wait for a   while or do we go home immediately?” She asked Lola.

Ella noticed the awkward silence between Jacob and Lola.

“Is everything okay?” Ella asked.

“Yes, we’re fine…I was just telling Lola that she can recuperate better at home.” Jacob said.

“Are you ready to come home now?” Ella asked Lola.

Lola nodded silently.

“I’ll go and get us a taxi.” Jacob said and left the room.

As soon as he left, Lola burst into fresh tears, Ella rushed up to her side and rubbed her back gently.

“Shhh….it’s okay, I know you wish you had your baby in your arms and…” She started.

“No…no…I wan talk truth sister Ella…I wan talk truth…” Lola cried.

“Truth? What truth?”

“I wan talk truth of who I be to Jacob.” She said.

Ella stared at her, she was taken aback.

“Jacob nor be my relation…I be him former girlfriend…” She sobbed loudly. “I come una house because I feel say I wan marry and I want make him be de father of my pikin. Jacob think say de pikin na him own na why he allow me to live for de house.”

Ella stared at Lola, she didn’t say a word.

 

To be continued….

 

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