” …Right there. that’s where she was buried. No matter how many times I walk past that fl@p, i still feel sad. My kid sister died of br@in tumour and my parents tried all they could to save her but she couldn’t make it. My Mum also battled with cancer. She was critically ill and my dad who is a retired soldier poured in his life savings just for her to get well but it didn’t work out. We used to be well to do but we are just at a standard level right now. My dad sold his properties, his as-sets and cars because of my Mum’s health. He is only left with just a car and few other things including this building. I was re-ady to do anything just to as-sist him because the burden was too much. He didn’t want me to do some menial jobs. I’m a graduate, I re-ad biochemistry but due to the way the country is I resulted to doing anything legal I find to do. I worked in a big company but my salary was delayed for months. I resigned and started working at the sto-re where you met me first and I was sacked because I left my duty in search of burgundy polish… I like going out of my ways for people just to plea-se them, that’s the way I was raised. you later gave me a job to care for your home. Did you know that I lied to my dad that I was working in a hospitality industry and stays in the staff quarters. I told him I will be coming home once in a while. My dad never knew my real job because if he finds out he will come and drag me away. Of all the job to do definitely not a house keeper or maid in a single man’s house. I asked my brother never to review it to him. My brother is the only one aware and he also has his own fears of me working and living with you. I transfer money to my dad’s account almost every month and my brother who is faraway does the same thing. We nee-ded to do all we can to keep my Mum alive but strength failed us and the bills kept on piling up. My Mum died three months ago after you sacked me for a wrong I never did. I believe my mum and my sister, Ruki are in a better place. She suffered so much. If money could bring her back she will be alive right now but God’s will must be done…
We were sitting outside the house, within the compound. This was my third time coming to see her.
During the first time she wasn’t so friendly and refused to give me audience.
I left and c@m£ back the second time. She gave me a cold attitude. But we had little chat and I kept apologizing for what I did.
On this third time she was open. No more cold attitude. She wasn’t so friendly but I enjoyed her company and listened to her attentively as if i was in an examination clas-s.
I looked round the big compound. Then saw the two graves at a very far end. One belonged to her mum and the other smaller one in size was for her sister, Ruki.
” Your dad is a strong man. He has endured alot. And yo.. you never said anything concerning your ill mother before. You only mentioned your sister and I heard you praying for your Mom but I don’t know that she was critically ill. I’m sorry Sandra…de-eply sorry for everything. I want to be here for you if you will let me. I… miss you so much. I have always wanted to reveal my true feelings for you, how I felt about you but I was scared of been turned down. You occu-py every p@rt of me and I wish to make up for every of your tear drop. I’m not joking Sandra. i was mislead with Ireti’s beauty and never knew she was capable of those thing she did. I wish to be in your life but I know you love Jeff… and I don’t want to sound selfish even though that’s all I wished to do right now… to have you all to myself…
Sandra turned to me and said.
” you mean Jeff?… C’mon. Jeffrey is my elder brother. My only brother and I love him so dearly. He is the only sibling I have but he traveled back after mum’s burial, back to Canada where he works. I’m even planning to join him soon. my dad and Jeff are ma-king arrangement concerning that. I was supposed to travel towards the end of this year… once everything is set. It seems all my hustle to keep my Mum alive and to support my dad with the accvmulated bills was all in vain so I have to travel out and start all over. My dad will be alright, he can always come for a visit when I’m well settled because I will be staying with Jeff who alre-ady had a girl he plans to marry. She’s white and we talk and chat almost everyday. She is looking forward to seeing me in Canada soon. Jeffrey is my brother not lover but if you hear us talking over the phone you may as-sume I’m speaking with my lover because I relate so well with him…
” Wow, oh really… that’s so good to know.
I exclaimed excitedly.
I g@sped out in self relief. I felt like jumping round the whole compound happily after knowing that Jeff was her elder brother after all.
She brou-ght my excited self back to reality with her questions
“… concerning Ireti? You told me in your messages that you ended things with her after the incident. Her supposed Papi was her lover and you locked her up for stealing your burgundy shoe and aquarium. after all the ordeal she was later bailed out and that was the end of two of you… is that true?
Sandra asked while looking at me. I cleared my voice and said.
” Uhmm! yeah. I… I ended things with Ireti. We aren’t together anymore. All I want is you… but I’m willing to wait until you are re-ady.
I looked up at her. I was tem-pted to k!ssher but held back. She may not like me doing that and her “soldier father” maybe watching us from somewhere.
After sitting and talking for sometime I left, despite I don’t feel Like leaving but I have to respect myself and leave.
I did not have time for Ireti anymore. I was even looking for a chance to end things with her after I reconciled with Sandra.
I chat and call Sandra almost every minutes.
We get to talk de-ep into the night, do video calls and throw silly jokes at each other.
I was happy to have her back and listen to her laughter.
Having her back as the girl I truly love and not as my worker anymore.
I asked her to visit and she promised to do that soon.
She usually asked about Musa, her friend and I’m always glad to fill her in with my gate man’s funny activities.
I visited her twice again and even get to sit with her dad. The man was very outspoken and intelligent.
He made me feel relaxed, he brou-ght a wine and we drank and kept talking.
Sandra made food and served her father first before bringing mine.
I have missed Sandra’s cooking and couldn’t say no to the delicious food.
I told the man everything about me, about my parents and most importantly my intentions for his daughter which I couldn’t hide anymore.
Sandra’s father loves his children and warns me never to hurt his daughter or he will come straight at me.
I gave my promises and even swear never to do such.
My problem remains on how to fully dismiss Ireti because Sandra will be coming around next week.
And ever since I found Sandra, I ceased from tou-ching Ireti and st©pped her from slee-ping over at my place on weekends. Because I maybe tem-pted to t©uçh her if she pas-sed a night with me and I don’t want to do anything that will hurt Sandra ever again.
I respect both Sandra’s pres£nce and abs£nce and even k!ss!ngIreti makes me feel guilty so I st©pped every forms of intim-acy with her.
My mind was made up on calling it quit with Ireti.
Ever since we resumed our relationsh!pagain, the feeling is not like before and she kept giving me reasons to doubt her.
I will not let anyone or anything to bring misun-derstanding between me and Sandra.
I summoned courage and told Ireti the day she visited that I’m no longer interested in the relationsh!pand I want out of it.
I told her I found Sandra and she was kind enough to let go of the wrong I did to her in the past. she’s not in a relationsh!p, Jeff was actually her brother. I want to be with Sandra and I’m re-ady to give up everything Just to make it a reality
After saying that, Ireti exploded like a bomb. she ran to the kitchen and c@m£ back with a kitchen knife.
Ireti held the knife to her che-st, threatening to stab herself to death if I ever leave her.
I was shock and frozen while watching the drama queen. She kept shouting and threatening to kill herself right there in my ap@rtment.
I begged her to drop the knife, she refused, saying I have to promise that I won’t leave her.
She began to cry and I told her that I wasn’t going anywhere. I begged her to drop the knife before she hurt herself with it.
I try to as-sure her that I won’t leave her, all for her to hand the over weapon to me.
I kept repeating it like a promise.
She dropped the knife after a long plead and c@m£ into my arms crying.
I was de-eply troubled.
I brou-ght alcohol and starting drinking.
She joined me.
I just nee-ded to drink away my trouble.
And think of another way to end things with Ireti.
I drank and didn’t even know when I finished a whole bottle of alcoholic drink. Ireti wasn’t drinking much, she Just held the cu-p in her hand, sipping it gradually.
I felt dizzy and Just couldn’t get up from the ground.
I don’t even un-derstand what I was doing any more. I wanted to get inside but my legs couldn’t carry me so I remained in the sitting room beside Ireti who was quietly watching me.
She c@m£ to me but I ask her to stay away I don’t nee-d her help. I was fine.
She tried again and I fell for it.
I woke up the following morning in the sitting room, my eyes was cleared, the empty bottle and cu-ps lie carelessly on the ground, my cloths were off and Ireti was also lying n@ked beside me.
” heyyy! Did I…t©uçh you last night?
I asked her angrily and shocked at my careless self. I can’t remember ma-king out with her even with the influence of the alcohol I took
I can’t recall anything happening but she replied me with a smile curved at one corner of her mouth.
” Yes Mart, we made love and you did it without c0nd0m. For the first time you went raw with me. I really enjoyed it because I’m actually in my fertile period.
” Whaaat, I did what?…
I screamed in shock.
I rushed to the bathroom and try to examine myself but couldn’t dictate anything. I had my bath and c@m£ out.
I went to my phone and it was off.
I asked Ireti why my phone was off she told me that Sandra was calling and disturbing our moment so she had to turn off the phone.
I later called Sandra and acted as if everything was fine. She told me she will postponed her coming to the second week.
that was really fine by me.
I nee-ded enough time to dismiss Ireti who had become a parasite to my person.
I asked Ireti to leave that I was going out. I had alre-ady changed my house lock and she doesn’t have free access anymore.
After she left, i asked Musa to always tell her that I wasn’t home anytime she comes looking for me.
After two weeks, as I was planing to go and pick up Sandra from the bust©p because she was Coming that day.
I got a message from Ireti that she missed her monthly flow and was confirmed pregnant.
Ireti said that she had the pregnancy test report which was given to her in the hospital and she is keeping the baby.
I bec@m£ devastated. I almost ran mad at the news of Ireti’s pregnancy.
Oh no, not now!. why must such thing happen when Sandra was alre-ady in the picture and was visiting today.
Oh my God! What am I supposed to do now?
I ran my hand on my head. I was sweating even un-der the air condition.
What should I do now?
That was the only question I kept asking myself.
I was tensed, I felt uneasy with the news of Ireti’s pregnancy. I lost appetite for food and everything.
“How can this be happening to me? Where did I ever go wrong? I was careless to have let this happen. I thought alcohol will help me out that night but it drag me into a dee-per mess that I never bargained for. How can I even make out with Ireti without recollecting it happening? I can’t even remember anything. I only remembered trying to get up and fell back to the ground and Ireti c@m£ to help me but I resisted and probably dozed off but I can’t just remember what happened after then. I only woke up with my clothes off and Ireti was lying n@ked beside me. Oh my God, I’m in a big trouble. What do I tell Sandra? I have alre-ady told her that the relationsh!pbetween me and Ireti was over. How can I explain this to her…ahhh! I’m in trouble. Sandra’s father will skin me alive if I hurt his daughter. My parents will be so disappointed. My Dad especially that believes in me and entrusted so much to my care, he will be very angry. This is definitely not how I planned my life. I have always wanted to make my parents proud. To marry a good woman and start my own family just as my Dad had always wanted. I fell for the wrong girl and got stuck now I’m in a de-ep mess. Jezzzzz. God, plea-se help me out of this….
I cried out to myself while driving down to pick up Sandra who was alre-ady at the bust©p waiting.
When I got there, she was so lively and I can feel her happiness. She gave me a warm hvg and I lead her to the car and started driving back home.
I was trying to concentrate as she sat beside me but my mind was divided between the trouble I’m in and Sandra sitting beside me cheerfully.
How could Ireti do this to me? How do I come out of all this? My God, I don’t want Sandra to find out but I don’t want to keep it as secret, because if she discovers the truth it will not be disheartening. I can’t live with myself if such happens….
“Are you alright?
Sandra asked while looking at me.
“Yea….sure. I’m fine.
I breathed de-eply and focused on my driving while trying to hide my discomfort from her.
She s-en-sed my troubled and volunteered to drive, I asked her if she knows how to drive and she replied that her father thought her and her elder brother how to drive with his car. And she sometimes drives her Dad’s car.
That was impressive. I parked and asked her to show me and she did.
Sandra drove the car to the house.
She and Musa went talking and laughing. Musa was happy to upd@t£ her on how much her abs£nce was felt.
I waited and after she was done exchanging plea-santry with Musa we went inside.
She also volunteered to prepare dinner that night and I was willing to join her like the old time.
While in the kitchen I heard my phone ringing. I rushed to it and it was Ireti.
I quietly walked into my room to receive the call. I began to talk in whisper. I don’t want Sandra to hear any of the ongoing trouble between me and Ireti.
“Hello, what is it again?
I asked getting impatient with Ireti
“Mart, I’m outside your house. Tell your lazy gate man to open the gate for me. You can’t keep shutting me out. I’m carrying your child and we nee-d to sit and talk concerning this baby.
With every word from her mouth my frustration grew. I punched the wall so ha-rd and withdraw my hand in pain.
“Ireti, i will tell you when to come but definitely not today. I’m very busy right now. Go back to your place, we will get to talk about the pregnancy but give me time to come up with a perfect time Ireti.
“Mart, I’m not going anywhere. You can’t keep avoiding me…telling your gate man to dismiss me with the excuse that you aren’t around. I am not going anywhere. I will remain at this gate until you come to open up. I’m not the type of lady you can outsmart, I’m too wise for such. You are going to be a father soon so you better get that into your skull and st©p treating me like trash.
I try to convince her to leave but Ireti was adamant and refused to go.
I decided to ignore. Whenever she is tired she will leave but I won’t let her into my house and create a scene that I will forever regret. Sandra is all that matters not Ireti and I will not ruin this opportunity of having Sandra back.
I stepped out and saw Sandra setting the dining table. She looked up at me and said
“Is everything alright?
“Yes, everything is fine. I was talking with…with my Mum.
She smile before straightening.
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“Mummy’s boy. She still can’t get enough of you I guess….mothers are the best. Fathers are our hero. My Dad is an awesome father but I miss my Mum so much. Anyway, how is your Mum?
I try to smile back, my phone was ringing again and I know is Ireti. I totally ignored the call.
“My Mum is fine. I can’t wait to introduce you to my parents. You will love them because they are both amazing.
“I look forward to that Mart. Your phone is ringing again. Maybe your Mum who can’t still get enough of her only son is calling to hear your voice for the evening….
She laughed and I joined but the laughter did not come from de-ep within me. I was just acting along.
“I’m not sure is my Mum this time. Is probably some of my crazy friends or cousin trying to give me upd@t£ on a football match.
I can’t believe I was turning out to be a perfect liar. This is exactly the p@rt I don’t want to trade at all.
How long do I intend to keep lying just to cover up my sins, is either my sins finds me out or Sandra will dig it up. I know I can’t hide forever.
I was hearing a big ban-g on the gate. I guess Ireti was behind the heavy noise. Sandra draw my attention to the noise which I heard alre-ady but pretend not to notice. I waved it off with another lie, i told her to ignore the heavy ban-g and let’s eat.
I sighted Musa from the dining window walking towards the house. I quic-kly stood up and rushed to the door before he will get there.
I went outside and met Musa half way.
“Oga…big madam don dey mad oo. She wan spoil the gate. She talk say she no go comot until she see you. abeg Oga, go see her before she go fall the gate down.
I gave Musa sign to reduce his voice so that Sandra will not hear him and he quic-kly did.
I followed him to the gate and went outside and immediately Ireti saw me she st©pped hitting the gate, dropped the big stone in her hand and walked upto me angrily.
“What is wrong with you Mart? You are ma-king me feel like I’m insane. I’m pregnant and do not deserve all this from you.
“Ireti You will have to go home and I will come to see you tomorrow but I’m not letting you into my house. Go home Ireti and st©p disturbing the public peace with your noise. I agree to take responsibility but you have to respect my wishes. plea-se go home and I will be with you tomorrow…plea-se. I will transfer some money to you once I get back inside but you nee-d to leave this place…
She was quiet for some time and later said.
“If I don’t see you tomorrow, I will be back here and my craziness will be double. Don’t make me wait for too long…and don’t fail to transfer the money.
She turned and left. I watch her walk into her car, stayed a little before driving off.
I went back inside and Sandra was alre-ady done with her food.
She was watching her favorite show on the TV and did not bother to ask me what was happening.
I was glad she didn’t because that would have required me lying to her again.
There was no appetite for food anymore and i decided to leave the food. Sandra packed some of it to Musa who was hailing her happily. I can hear his jubilation from where I sat.
While sitting with the woman I truly love, my heart was racing so fast. She was relaxing in my arms after refreshing for the night.
I held her while she watch her normal programme. My mind was faraway and I was distracted.
Sandra noticed again, she asked what the problem is and I kept saying that I was fine.
The following morning while Sandra was still in be-d I went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. I was in the kitchen when she c@m£ to join me.
“Ooh, I wanted to bring breakfast to you in be-d. You shouldn’t have bother getting up from the be-d.
I gave her a warm Good morning k!ssand began to wish that we are alre-ady married and she do not have to ever go back.
She smile and said.
“Next time I will pretend to be asleep while breakfast is served. That will be really ro-mantic… Maybe we can take turns doing that. You serve me and I do the same for you.
She made a funny face and I started laughing. She told me that she wanted to take over from me to finish up with the cooking.
I didn’t argue after she insisted.
I went back in, checked my phone which I changed to a silent mode so that it doesn’t ring out whenever Ireti calls.
I saw Iret’s missed calls that morning and a message. A reminder that I didn’t transfer the money to her yesterday.
I totally forgot and quic-kly did the transfer that morning.
I was supposed to see her that day and I wanted to go early so that I can return to be with Sandra who only have two days to spend with me before going.
During breakfast I told Sandra that I nee-ded to hurry out to meet up with a friend and will be right back.
She asked me to go ahead that lunch will be re-ady before I return.
I picked up my car key and left.
I drove to Ireti’s place and she c@m£ to open the door almost n@ked. ex-posing every p@rt of her b©dy for me to see.
I wasn’t move at all. Sandra was waiting for me at home and Sandra is all that matters now not Ireti.
Even if Ireti dance n@ked in front of me I wasn’t going to fall for her. I was tired and done with her. if not for the pregnancy and her numerous threats she would have been a history.
“I’m here to talk Ireti. plea-se get some cloths and cover up. St©p parading n@ked. I have things doing and do not have enough time to waste here.
She frown at my harsh tone and said.
“You used to die for this same b©dy. There was a time you couldn’t get enough of me. Do you remember then? Well, I’m carrying your child which is very important. So get re-ady to deal with my pres£nce because I will be in your life for a very long time. I will remain p@rt of you and this baby will have a father who will do the right thing.
“Okay. I have heard you. Is that all you want us to talk about? Well then…the only thing connecting us will be the child. I guess you can’t kill yourself now that you are pregnant.
I said more like to make her feel bad with her numerous threat of killing herself.
She laughed and I can s-en-se sarcasm in her voice.
“You don’t even know what you are into Mart. Get prepared for this journey with me because we will both carry the burden of this pregnancy. You can’t escape it. To avoid me disturbing you all the time then always be around me. I’m a ha-rd nut to crack and not an easy meat to chew so you are in for a long thing…
I took a step towards the exit door, I suddenly st©pped, turned to her and said.
“I will forever regret giving you another chance. I thought you are better, I thought you have truly change but you caused more havoc with this chance. When you stole my Burgundy shoe and my aquarium and gift to your papi I thought that was the most shocking thing about you but you keep giving me reasons to doubt and regret ever knowing you. Indeed a leopard can never change its skin.
She moved closer to me and try to ru-b her hands on my che-st but I sl@pped it off. She looked straight into my eyes and said.
“I’m not a leopard. My name is Ireti so deal with it. I actually changed Mart, I did. I wanted to become the woman you want me to be but I saw that you have your mind on your former maid. What did you expect me to do? You want me to close my mouth and fold my arms why you kick me out. No, I won’t do that, so get use to me and this baby. It was a good thing to watch you make out with me raw that night. I enjoyed every bit of it and I don’t care if you can remember squee-zing and lashing me so ha-rd . The only thing that matters is I’m carrying your child, a product of that same night. So you better tell Sandra or whatever her name is to keep off because I’m alre-ady pregnant with your child but I guess you can’t tell her that. You don’t have the liver to do so because you are afraid. You don’t want to hurt her. I know you will never be able to tell her your little secret. Listen to me Mart, in other to keep my mouth shut do everything I ask of you otherwise I will search Sandra out and tell her what you are keeping from her. Do as I say and our secret will be safe….i trust you are re-ady to do anything for me to keep mute and not spill out the truth.
She began to laugh again. I said to her calmly.
“I will do everything you want but plea-se keep your distance from Sandra and from my house. She is not your problem. Carry out your frustration on me but leave Sandra out of it. Make sure she doesn’t know any of this plea-se. I will give you enough money, I will do everything you want but all I ask is to leave Sandra out of this drama….i beg of you.
Ireti was laughing. She told me the money I transferred to her earlier wasn’t enough and she nee-ded more.
Right there in her house I transferred another money to her account before walking out.
I drove back home to meet with Sandra and i was planning to open up to her before she finds out or before Ireti who cannot be trusted fills her in.
But I’m afraid and I don’t know how Sandra will take the whole troubling news.