The slight noise I heard coming from the sitting room the next day was enough to rouse my attention and lift my eyes from the book I was occupying myself with. I had been advised by the hospital nurses to get the book titled ‘Every Woman’ and Tina had helped me purchase it from a nearby bookshop. The book proved to possess a lot of stunning information, however, as I read it to divert my depressing thoughts, the continuous noise from the sitting room was proving a strong distraction. I placed the book on my bed, opened face down, in order to know where I stopped. I opened the door to my bedroom and walked curiously down the stairs. Alex’s voice became clear to me even before I got to the stairs, and then I heard her voice.
“Oh no” I whispered. “Do I have to deal with this witch again?” I asked, like answers would come from the walls. I got to the stairs and what I saw below was enough to make me take the stairs two at a time, without minding my condition. There were boxes sprawled everywhere almost enough to fill the massive sitting room. I watched absently as Alex monitored the movements of the traveling boxes, looking overwhelmingly tired. The driver was also there, with Tina and Tola, carrying out the orders of Alex and Lisa. Despite the exhausted expressions of everyone there, Lisa, on the other hand, looked like a magazine model in her trouser gown. I did not have the time to even envy her beauty as I landed on solid ground and confronted the rather confusing scene.
“What is going on here?” I interrupted their subtle conversation.
Lisa smiled at me. “What does it look like?” she asked with a satisfied superior look on her face.
I cast a glance around. “It certainly looks like someone is about to open a box selling business. What I don’t know is if this house would be the shop” I said smugly.
“Well, I don’t blame your slow brain. You never did go beyond secondary school after all. Oh wait! You did not even finish secondary school” she laughed heartily and I felt my anger rise. I so wanted to grab her weave-on and tear it off her scalp. I forcefully looked beyond her at Alex who was also looking at me.
“She is moving in Amara” he mouthed.
Lisa grinned as she stared at my pale face. “You heard him, or do you have ear defects also? I am moving in. Just as you can’t afford to have your bastard child in your parent’s house, or hut, as the case may be, I have no intention of delivering my precious little angel…” she rubbed her flat tummy. “… Outside the father’s house” she smiled at Alex. “Our wedding arrangements are ongoing and I believe we would be married soon” she declared.
The very ground rocked under my feet as I stared unseeing at the pair in front of me. I went rock still and Lisa, after waiting fruitlessly for a response, turned to Alex. “I think we should take these bags upstairs now.”
“You are out of your mind if you think you would be living here” I countered. “Are you crazy?” I roared. “No, correction. Are you both crazy? You seem to think I am a fool, right?”
Alex looked angry but Lisa was quick to talk. “No. I don’t think you are a fool, I know you are. You think I won’t live here?” she laughed. “Watch me” she mouthed. I swallowed and blinked back angry tears. It is times like this that I wish I wasn’t so emotional. Why on earth should I cry at this junction? Anger at myself and the delectable two in front of me almost ran me mad. Lisa pecked Alex on the cheeks and played with top button of his shirt, tracing his chest in the process. “Am I going to be staying in your room with you?” she asked with a coy smile and my ears suddenly started working perfectly.
Alex went still for a nanosecond, and then shook his head. “These bags, coupled with my own clothes would make the room clumsy. You can choose any room you want” he said. She looked disappointed for some seconds, then she seemed to brighten up like a fresh idea had popped into her head.
“Any room?” she asked again and he nodded.
I swallowed. He had said the same thing to me. What the hell was going on here? I had stated once that he was probably a baby-making factory; I couldn’t have been more accurate. I wondered how many women would pour into the house, claiming that Alex was breeding a new life in their womb. Tears of hurt burned in my eyes as Lisa ran upstairs like an excited puppy. “I am going to choose the best room, the best” she squealed as she went.
I faced Alex who did not even spare me a glance. He dismissed me like I was not even relevant and my anger bubbled. “Are you not going to offer an explanation for what is going on here Alex?” I bellowed as confused angry tears rolled down my cold cheeks.
He looked bored when he turned to face me. “What else is there to explain again?” he sighed out. “Listen Amara, I am really exhausted. There should be nothing to worry about. This house is so big; a thousand people would live here conveniently. Luckily for you, you are used to staying in your room, so I guess it would be very easy to ignore her presence in the house.”
My eyes widened. “Are you being seriously vain or what? How dare you disrespect me in such manner? No matter the circumstances of our marriage, the fact remains that we are married and I would not have you drag me in the mud by flaunting another woman before me. I won’t allow it” I yelled on top of my lungs. God! Where is death when I really need it?
“Oh woman, would you stop yelling? You don’t have the right to allow or disallow anything in my house. I fail to see what your problem is. I thought this issue was over and done with.” He glared at me and opened his mouth to speak and suddenly realized that we had an audience. He turned to glare at Tina, Tola and the driver, Raman. He ordered them to start packing the luggage upstairs into any room that Lisa picked, then he turned back to me. He reduced his voice until it was a whisper. “We have an agreement Amara. If I remember correctly, we both have the liberty to do whatsoever we so wished. This is my house and I have the right to bring in whoever I deem fit. Lisa has as much rights as you have in this house, if not more, because she is obviously more sophisticated than you are and I don’t need signed documents where she is concerned. Stop making this hard on yourself, just accept things the way they are because if you push me, I would make rash decisions, and trust me, no amount of threat by my father would stop me from kicking you out, together with that thing you are carrying” he glared at me, and all I could do was look at him. He was practically grinding my heart until it was as smooth as paste. My heart ached painfully as I reeled from the impact of his words.
“Baby” Lisa’s voice called from the top of the stairs and Alex raised his eyes to her.
“Have you found the room that suits you Lisa?” Alex asked.
“I have” she said, with a smug mischievous smile on her face. “But I fear it is being occupied” she said.
“What do you mean?” Alex asked, not quite following what was being said.
“Baby, Tola was kind enough to tell me that the room is being occupied by that thing beside you. That is the only room that catches my fancy. It is ironic that the dirty village girl has eyes for good things” she said.
“You won’t dare” I challenged.
Alex must have noticed the strain because he said, “Really dear? But that room is small, not as big as the remaining rooms. Besides, you always told me that you liked the room beside mine.”
She frowned and quickly smiled. “Yeah baby, but you have to admit that when I said that, I was not thinking of living here. Now that I am made to choose, only two rooms appeal to me; that room and your room. So Alex, it is either I have that room, or I stay with you” she stated firmly.
I watched stupefied as Alex turned to me with an apologetic look. He opened his mouth but I was quick to silence him. “Don’t you dare say what I think you are about to say. Don’t you dare?”
“I am sorry” be began but his phone interrupted. He picked instantly. My brain was racing from the multiple things happening all at once. What the hell was going on? I felt like I had been going round in circles for God knows how long. The effect of it made me dizzy. Am I the only one the devil has his eyes on?
Alex seemed to have ended his call and he glanced at Lisa, not even looking at me. “I have to get back to the office” he said. “Get settled and feel at home sweetheart” he said with a smile. One that resembled the ones he used to capture my heart back in the village. Lisa walked down the steps, hugged him tight and gave him a loud exaggerated kiss. I felt like squeezing the life out of her.
“Be careful baby, don’t get yourself worked up” she tugged on his collars playfully. “And the room?” she asked, knowing that either option would affect me negatively, although I told myself that I did not give a damn if she stayed with Alex.
Alex nodded impatiently. “Ask the maids to move her things into another room, you can have her room”
“What?” I yelled.
“Look at it objectively Amara, you would have a bigger room. What is so special about that room, by the way?” he asked, turning to leave.
I dragged him back. “I don’t need a bigger room Alex. How dare you ask me to leave my room because her?” I yelled
He turned with alarming anger. “If you are not ok with it, you can as well go to hell” he roared and stormed out of the house before I could blink.
Lisa grinned satisfactorily at me. “Now, that is what I call payback. Revenge is best served cold. You had your time to display stupidity when I first saw you and now, it is my time to turn the tables. Alex would always do what I want him to do. Get used to it” She grinned and walked up the stairs and I saw Tina looking white-faced and shocked. Tola looked…like she was trying hard not to grin. I did not even try to blink; I let the tears flow unhindered.
“Let go of my cloth you this prostitute” I pitched and snatched my cloth from her hand.
She faced me furiously and laughed slightly. “I think ‘Slut’ should be your middle name you this dirty village girl. Why couldn’t you have found someone else to impregnate you, you had the nerve to choose my Alex. My own Alex! I would show you pepper in this house” she yelled, shaking her body vigorously like someone in battle. She faced the maids. “Pack her things” she ordered.
I blocked the doorway. If someone would remove my things from this room, they would have to first remove me from the entrance. I watched Tola grab my sack of clothes, as that was virtually the only the thing in that room that was mine. Tina looked as though she were about to cry. “Drop my bag this minute Tola” I said menacingly.
Lisa grabbed the bag that contained nothing of substance to make it heavy and held it up like it was a contaminable disease. “Do you call this bag?” she laughed heartily. “This thing is not dignified enough to sit in my dustbin” she said, looking irritated.
“Would you shut up” I yelled and before I could even notice my movement, my hand rose and connected firmly with her cheeks, sending her reeling. She fought for balance and red marks showed on her pale white face. She stood and retaliated soundly. The echo of the slap vibrated through me as I staggered. I heard Tina gasp as she made to stable me before I hit the wall. I had some seconds to catch my breath, but those seconds were all Lisa needed to have my clothes out of the room.
“Please don’t do this” Tina whispered. “You have to take it easy, do it for your baby”
I shrugged her off. I was in no mood to ‘take it easy’. All I wanted to do was scream my lungs out until I was completely exhausted.
I paced the cold floors of my new room in total frustration and anger. Lisa and I had yelled at each other, countless number of times and I found that my throat was a bit sore. The serene and quiet house had suddenly turned to a battle field as Lisa and I exchanged heated words. The house seemed to be boiling in tension and I could not even sit at one spot for five minutes without standing up to pace. Both Tina and Tola were on their toes, carrying out the orders of Lisa. The house seemed to be on fire. I couldn’t just calm down.
I did not know when Alex came in because of the strategic position of my new irritating room but immediately I heard his voice some distance from my room, I became alert. He was obviously talking to Lisa.
“Oh, my poor baby, you look so tired” she said. “You sure need to let off steam” I heard her say again.
“Any suggestions?” there seemed to be a smile in Alex’s voice.
There was silence and I told myself that I did not want to know what the silence meant.
“Why don’t you eat first?” she said again after the long silence.
“I know what I would rather eat but I am actually really hungry” I heard him say. “Let me take a shower and meet you at the dinning” he said and she murmured something I could not catch. I heard footsteps and knew Alex was going into his room. I swallowed and opened my door. I told myself that Alex would have to offer me some good explanations for the way he had been treating me. I walked to his bedroom and paused outside his room, wandering if I should knock or just go in. deciding that there was no need for me to show him any respect when he obviously could not do that for me, I pushed against the handle and entered. He was standing with his back to me.
“Did you have a change of heart Lisa?” he asked, obviously smiling.
“I wish you did” he turned around at that. I had to forcefully ignore his wide opened chest and the shirt that hung openly.
His eyes showed his irritation. “What the hell are you doing in here?” he growled.
“Why? Why Alex? Why did you choose to put me through this? I never asked for this” I gasped out.
“I am not in the mood for this-”
I cut in. “You approached me in the village, making me feel like the most outstanding woman on earth. You told me you loved me and that no other woman could take my place in your heart. What changed? What-”
“It was all a ploy” he cut in.
I started. “What does that mean?”
“I never meant all those nonsense I said to you. How could i?” he asked bewildered, like I was totally a fool for even believing it. “It was all part of the plan to get you into my bed.”
“What are you talking about Corper?” I asked with a sickly pale face.
He exhaled. “All the guys and corpers in the village could not get you into their bed, you know. They were so sure that you were untouchable and they wanted to see who had the capacity to deflower the ‘almighty Amara’. They placed a bet, and I, took the challenge. You were a sweet challenge and I wanted my Service days to be lively. I used those romantic words as bait and when you finally fell into my bed, I showed the guys the blood-stained sheet as the evidence of my victory. So, you see? Stop wondering what changed my feelings because there was never any feeling. I was all a bet”
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