Hi fam! Sorry for the delay. Here’s a lengthy read. Enjoy!
SEPARATED EPISODE 9
She had always loved big families. Every-time she watched those Christmas movies or movies that had to do with big families coming together to celebrate the holidays, she always had this glee in her heart. The feel of having family surround you and care about you. The atmosphere of love and laughter . . . Joy and warmth. Looking at the family she had now it all just felt surreal. That the family of her dreams would remain in her dreams.
Just like her dreams of becoming a model.
Pamela heard the bus-conductor call out where she was headed to and she waved it down and quickly got in. She remained in thought once she was settled. She was fed-up with how her life was at the moment. The way she didn’t know what the next five years would be like. Maybe her father would have her married off to a well-to-do man and she would be a stay at home mum or work as a lawyer. She would have two or three kids and be juggling being a wife and mother. Her life would continue like that and her children would grow and she would be busy trying to climb up her career-ladder and later be sad or depressed because she never got to live her dreams.
The life seemed rather pathetic to her. She didn’t want that for herself. The rich man, one that she loved, and kids weren’t so bad. But to live a life she would regret later on? She didn’t want that happening. Her ordeal with Rex, the photographer, had turned out to be a waste of her time. The guy had made empty promises and used her for his own selfish ambitions. She didn’t want to think more on it lest it spoiled her mood.
She got down at her bus-stop and walked the familiar path to her parents house. She checked the time. Her siblings should be at school and her mum she be home, probably making one delicious meal.
Her stomach growled and her steps quickened. She hoped there was light as well so she could charge her phone. CDS had been a waste of her time and she had ended up chatting with friends both at the CDS and onllne and browsing the latest in the modelling world and checking out fashion tips.
“Mum,” Pamela said, announcing her presence once she knocked on the door and pressed the bell.
“I’m coming o!”
As soon as her mother opened the door the smell of Afang soup wafted to her nostrils, as if welcoming her home with open arms.
She smiled broadly. “Good afternoon ma.”
“Pam-pam. How are you my dear? How was CDS?” She asked as she stood aside to let her into their small accommodation. It was a two bedroom apartment. Her parents had shared one room, without them biting their heads off, and Pamela and her sisters had shared the other room. The only boy in the house slept on the couch.
“It was a waste of my time. Today we were just standing and doing nothing.”
“Eh-ya sorry. God will help our government o. We should be praying for them. Shey you’re hungry? I just finished cooking the soup and I’m boiling water to make eba.”
Pamela nodded. Her mother’s cooking was one of the things she missed since she left the house. No matter how much she tried to cook the soup it seemed she couldn’t attain the same taste as her mother’s.
Efe was trying her best to learn the different delicacies in Calabar. Pamela remembered the conversation they had about it.
“I’m trying to make the best use of my time here.” Efe had said.
“To cook for that your yeye husband? No offence.”
“I just want to learn. I’ve always liked the soups . . . Why not learn how to cook them?”
Pamela had shrugged. “Suit yourself.”
Pamela had a feeling her friend was still waiting for her husband. Why would she do that when she had a hunk of a boss interested in her? If Pamela had that choice she would stay with Amanze and just forget about her loser husband. It was the same thing she wanted her mother to do. Wasn’t she tired of her father that never showed her any attention and just treated her like rubbish?
“Mum,” Pamela started while she bit into a piece of meat, “When are you going to leave dad?”
Her mum looked at her with disdain. “What kind of silly question is that?”
“Mum I don’t mean to be rude . . . But I’m just tired of how dad treats you. You deserve better mum. You keep saying you love dad and all that but don’t you think all this love thing an exaggeration?”
She was beginning to think it was all over-rated.
Her mother adjusted her wrapper around her waist and heaved a sigh. Pamela knew her sighs so well. It could mean she was tired or she was building up steam to blast anyone that annoyed her.
“Pamela, just because your father and I have problems doesn’t mean divorce is the solution. There are a lot of couples who go through difficulties and have testified to a happy home since they stood together instead of separating.”
“What if dad is tired of you? What if he doesn’t love you anymore?”
Her mother laughed. “Why would you think of such a thing?”
Maybe because he told it to my face that he doesn’t love you. Pamela shrugged. “I’m just asking. What if he doesn’t love you?”
“Then we would work it out between ourselves. It’s not for you to worry.” She reached out to touch Pamela’s hand that was free of soup stains. “And love is not an exaggeration. Love is the most beautiful thing. When you love, your love is not based on feelings . . . Haven’t I told you love goes on and on? How would you feel if I stopped loving you?”
Pamela smiled. “You can’t stop loving me . . . I’m your daughter. You don’t have a choice.”
Her mother smiled at her and removed her hand from hers.
“Once in a while we may think love is overrated . . . But we have to think differently, ‘cause love is all we’ve got.”
Pamela looked confused. “What do you mean?”
Her mother smiled. “Don’t worry. That’s another talk for another day. Oya, finish your food.”
Baby what? What does she mean by baby mama?
“I would need your name to alert him that you’re here.”
She rolled her eyes and said, “Koko Johnson.”
Efe picked up the phone and called him. He picked on the first ring.
“Hi sweetheart, how are you doing?”
“Sir there’s a Koko Johnson here to see you.”
She heard him call out a profanity he often said when he was annoyed. “What is she doing here?” She heard him sigh. “Hold on.”
Efe took that time to look at the woman standing in-front of her table. She looked more like a model with her chocolate skin and classy clothes and expensive sun-glasses. Her eyes shifted to the boy on her arm and how cute he was. Her eyes widened.
Is the baby for Amanze?
“Send her in,” He said and the phone clicked in her ears.
Efe smiled up at the woman. “You can go in now.”
“Like he has a choice.” She muttered and sashayed into his office.
Efe wished Pamela was here so they could talk about what had just happened. Unfortunately, it was her CDS so she wouldn’t be in the office until the next-day.
She looked up and noticed then that some of her colleagues were whispering amongst themselves. She wished she could get up and join in on the gossip and find out who the mysterious woman was. She didn’t know if she should permit herself to be jealous at another woman, more beautiful than her, in the same office with the man she liked.
She took a deep breath and shook her head.
He was not her man and she had received clear instructions from God not to venture into any romantic relationship with the man. So that should be enough reason for her not to be bothered. Right? She bit her lip and tried to focus on the work she had to do.
Probably when Pamela comes tomorrow she can find out who the woman is. . .
It all seemed funny to her.; just when God was telling her to put her focus on Him and she was struggling with doing that . . . This happens.
His head bowed low and focused on the documents before him, he heard the door close but he didn’t bother looking up when he said, “What are you doing here Kokoma? I thought we agreed you wouldn’t set foot in this company again.”
“I would have followed the agreement if you had followed yours as well. Didn’t we agree you would see the baby first before writing him off?”
He could smell the expensive perfume she always used. The smell of lavender teasing his nostrils. And then he heard the a sound that made him snap his head up sharply and gaze at the baby-boy his ex-girlfriend held in her arms.
He frowned at her. “You brought him here?!”
“His name is Ezra.” She said and dropped the baby bag on a chair and took the other, carefully placing the baby on her lap and smiling down at him before planting a kiss on his forehead.
“Why would you bring him here Koko? I said I would come to him when I’m ready, bringing him here was unnecessary.”
“Amanze I’m tired of it all. Haven’t you punished me enough? I mean . . . What I did was wrong and all but don’t you forgive? You once loved me . . . You held me in your arms and told me you loved me -”
“Not before I found out you were the office prostitute.” He cut in.
She swiped a strand of her hair from her face and licked her red-stained lips “Don’t we all make mistakes?”
Amanze got up and backed her, facing the windows which gave him a clear view of the skies and whatever was happening on the streets. The sun was shone brightly and he could imagine there was a lot of heat outside.
“Amanze please just do a DNA test and find out that Ezra is yours.”
“Why the name Ezra?”
“I named him after your grand-father.” He could hear the smile in her voice. “You mentioned him a couple of times and I know he meant a lot to you.”
He turned to look at her. “If this is some silly scheme to get me to soften up and get me back in your life . . . It’s not going to work. If at all I have anything to do with you it’s only going to be about the baby and that’s all. I have had enough of all your drama in my lifetime.”
She looked hurt by what he had said but shook it off. She looked at her watch and picked up the baby-bag. “Fine. Have it your way then. When would you like to have the DNA test?”
“Tomorrow.” He rambled the name of the hospital to her. “Meet me there at seven o’clock and let’s get it done.”
She rose to her feet. “Fine.” She walked over to him with Ezra in her arms and searched his eyes. Long ago those eyes had held him enthralled. He had looked into those eyes and told her he loved her times without number.
“We had so much fun together, don’t forget that. I know deep inside you still love me Amanze; you’re just fighting it. See you tomorrow.”
She moved to kiss him on the cheek but he jerked away from her. Unfazed, she walked back to her seat, picked her bag and walked out of his office . . . Leaving behind the smell of her.
He rubbed the back of his neck and took his seat. He was sure the office gossips would enjoy talking about it.
And what about Efe? What would she feel about this?
He didn’t want to talk about it now. At least not in the office. Just when things were looking up with the both of them this had to happen.
“What if the baby is mine?”
It was a possibility he couldn’t rule out.
His mother would be pleased to find out she was a grand-mother. He wouldn’t just abandon his child if he was really his. But one thing was sure, he wanted nothing to do with Kokoma.
“God I’m so confused . . . I don’t know what to do. I need You. . . I don’t know how to help her.” Adesewa uttered the prayer. She didn’t know what she could do for Zainab except pray for her. No matter how she told her how wrong it was to continue in an illicit relationship with her cousin . . . Zainab would not pay heed to it.
Unless it was through divine intervention.
She closed her eyes again and uttered another prayer for God to do something. The thought crossed her mind that probably she should just let things be and let Zainab live her life the way she wanted, but Adesewa knew if she was the one threading such path she would like to know.
Her thoughts drifted to Korede and how well they were relating with each-other. Things seemed to be moving fast and she was developing feelings for him. She didn;t want to get ahead of herself. No matter how much she may want him to be ‘the guy’ she didn’t want what God didn’t want. So she prayed for God’s direction hoped for the best, ‘cause that was what God had to offer . . . More than what she could give herself.
She heard her door open and opened her eyes to see Audrey walk in and seat on her bed. Adesewa sat up.
“I’m just worried about Zainab. I can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong. I know you know what’s happening and you won’t share it with me but we can both work on what to do to help her.”
Adesewa smiled a bit. “Yeah. That take it to heart that she didn’t tell you. I’m privileged to know about it ‘cause I stayed with her in Abuja. Do you know if she has left the house?”
“I saw her leave when I was heading to your room. She looked nervous. That’s the first time I would ever see her look that way.”
Adesewa bit her lip.
“You know you have changed.” Audrey said. “You’re much more calmer than before. You don’t throw tantrums when things get out of control and then Daniel . . . You have totally left him behind now, and it seems to be for good.”
“I decided to be more serious with Jesus. That’s the major source of whatever positive change you’re seeing. Daniel? That chapter of my life is closed for good. I wish him well with whatever he’s doing as long as it has nothing to do with me.”
“You know I spoke to my brother. He said Daniel isn’t doing too well. He’s stopped going to church and has isolated himself from everyone. He even told me Ulunma is staying with his parents for the time being.”
“Let’s keep hoping for the best. Audrey – can I ask? Why don’t you believe like your brother?”
“I’m not ready.”
Adesewa was confused. “Ready as in?”
“I’m not ready to make all that commitment you guys make. I’m not ready to give up the good life I have.”
“I used to think I had a good life but there was always something missing. There was this empty feeling I had. You may think you’re living the good life but you’re not. All those things we all think we enjoy or not really worth it at the end of the day.”
Audrey let out a breath. “Okay. Hopefully I would change my mind someday.”
“Yeah.” Someday soon. She realized she hadn’t really being praying for Audrey as well. Guess she had more prayer points on her plate.
Daniel thought about his conversation with Mitchell through-out the day. He also thought about what the elderly man had said back at the men bible study meeting. In truth what kind of man was he to abandon his daughter just because of a woman? He didn’t want to think he did anything wrong by asking Efe to leave; he was still miffed at her betrayal and how she had wormed her way into his life.
I don’t think I can ever take her back.
Then get a divorce then. It’s the right thing to do . . . The bible says so. You wouldn’t be doing any wrong.
But there is also forgiveness.
Daniel shook his head to ward away the thoughts. Right now he wasn’t ready to come to any decisions on what to do.
After a long day at work he thought about going home to rest but then he wanted to meet up with Mitchell so they could continue from where they stopped. He still had more questions on his mind. It didn’t freak him out that a girl way younger than him was providing him answers to his questions.
“What if I fall more than seven times? What happens?” He asked.
“God would forgive you, but then it shows you aren’t completely relying on the strength of God to help you through your weaknesses or struggles. The bible teaches us as believers that it’s not right for us to sin over and over again that we make sin a lifestyle.”
He reached out for his phone and dialled Mitchell’s number. It rang a few times then stopped. He tried again but it was a dead end. Few minutes later he received a text message from her telling him she was a little busy and would call him up later on. It busted his spirit but then he thought he would head home and crash as planned before.
Not too long after John called to tell him they were pregnant.
“Wow, congratulations cuz. I’m happy for you.”
“Thanks. I’m elated. Funlola has started making plans for baby shopping.”
Daniel chuckled. “Do you guys know the sex of the baby?”
“No. Funlola is faithing it. Said she it’s a girl and she’s shopping for girl things.”
“Are you for real? Good-luck with that.”
“Thanks.” John coughed then asked, “How have you been?”
Daniel rubbed his eyes. “Been good.”
“Glad to hear that. You haven’t been to church in a while and I’ve been worried.”
“It’s fine John. I’m okay. I’m attending another church at the moment.”
“Oh really? That’s good. What church is that?”
Suddenly he was fed-up with their line of conversation. He had an idea where his cousin was headed to. “John, can we please not have this conversation? You asked how I’m doing and I told you. Let’s leave it at that.”
“I’m sorry. I just worry about you. If at all there’s anything . . . Just let me know.”
“Will do. Thanks.”
The call ended and he took his leave. It occurred to Daniel that he never really knew much about Mitchell. Where she stayed, what she did for a living. Probably she was still in school or otherwise. He made it a point of duty to ask they next time they met.
Pamela got home some minutes after nine and Efe walked out of the kitchen to welcome her. She looked worn-out.
“Hey, I was just about to call you. How come you stayed out late today?”
She dumped her bag on the floor and sat on the couch. “Went to see my mum jare. I ended up spending more time than I wanted and from there I went somewhere else. How are you? How was work?”
“I’m okay. Work was fine but today I met someone new.”
Efe took a seat and narrated how Koko Johnson had showed up, her attitude towards her, the baby she was carrying and how the office gossips went on about it. “I still don’t know who the woman is.”
“Hmm, did you ask Amanze?”
She shook her head. “No, I didn’t. I felt if it was something important he would bring it up, but up till closing hours he didn’t say anything and he left the office before me. His attitude was just strange.”
“And let me guess you didn’t make a move to find out from any of the women at work who she was?”
Again Efe shook her head.
“Na wa o Efe . . . Okay, I would ask around tomorrow.”
Efe was torn in between saying yes and saying no, but she didn’t say anything.
“You really like Amanze?”
“But you know you can’t pursue anything with him without divorcing your husband right?”
Efe looked at her in shock. The thought had never crossed her mind. These days Daniel hadn’t really taken up much space in her mind. It was a good thing since she had stopped feeling depressed about it.
“I never really thought about it.”
“It’s been what? Five months since you guys last saw and he hasn’t even called you once. It’s obvious he’s not interested. He doesn’t love you. Probably he’s frolicking about with that babe he cheated on you with. He’s an adulterer and you have every right to divorce him. If you’re feeling guilty, you shouldn’t.”
It was true the bible said she could. It was true the law would accept her grounds for divorce. So what was she waiting for?
Efe rose from the couch. “I don’t know about that Pamela. That would be a huge step to take and I’m not ready for it. What about our daughter? And if I want to leave him for Amanze it would be a bad idea ‘cause there’s really nothing happening between us. And with what I saw today I doubt anything would.”
“What if I find out tomorrow that she’s just a joke or it’s nothing too serious?”
Efe wrapped her arms around her. “Till then.”
“Okay. What did you cook? I’m really hungry!”
Glad for the sudden change in topic, Efe smiled. “Jollof-rice with fried chicken. I even bought some vegetables and made salad.”
“Wow! Let me get these clothes off and change and I would join you. Abi have you eaten?”
“Yeah, you know I don’t really like eating late.”
“That’s true. I would eat a little and head to bed. I’m coming.” She picked up her bag and hurried to their room.
The next morning was casual Friday and everyone dressed down to work. Efe wore a stylish Ankara gown that did well to accentuate her figure. She told herself she wasn’t dressing to catch anyone’s attention.
Amanze didn’t get into work on time and when he did the expression on his face was unreadable. It didn’t help that Pamela had filled her in on Koko. She was a former employee of the company. There had been rumours about her misconduct and how she was secretly sleeping around with different men at work and a few clients and word got out to the MD. That was how she got fired.
Unfortunately, among the list of her men was Amanze who had been serious with her at the time but had shamed him. There was also rumour that he had been so deeply in love with her that he was planning on proposing. Efe felt sorry he had to go through all that. But then what about the baby. What if it was his? Would he go back to her and marry just like she had done with Daniel?
The office phone rang and she picked after the second ring.
“Please step into my office and bring the files for the proposal along.”
She did as she was told and nervously went to his office, files held closely to her chest. The tired lines on his face and bags under his eyes was evidence he was under a lot of stress.
“Here are the documents sir.” She dropped them on the table and turned to leave when he said, “Please let’s go out for dinner this evening and I would explain everything. I won’t hide anything from you . . . ‘cause I have fallen in love with you.”
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