Terrible things had happened to her before but at no point in time had they broken her. They bent her but never broke her.

She was of a strong breed, nothing killed her, and she was stronger for every devastating experience she ever went through.

But not this one…

This one was not easy; it was never going to be easy. She would never be able to comprehend it and she would live every second of the rest of her life asking questions she was certain she would not get answers to.

“He said they had been fighting a lot in the past few months and that they had a fight yesterday and Lamide got angry and threatened to hit a bottle on his head. It was during the whole fracas that he pushed her mistakenly and she hit her head and died”

Tamilore had not shed a tear since she heard of her sister’s passing. She had not even said a word. Timilehin had made the call to her mother, he had brought her back to Yetunde’s house and she had refused to respond when everyone was asking about Yetunde.

It was Timilehin who had answered every question, telling them what he knew.

She looked at the man that was talking, he was Lamide’s boyfriend’s Uncle and he had been the one that made the call to Timilehin.

Earlier when Timilehin had asked why he was called, the Uncle had mentioned that Lamide and her boyfriend had gotten into a fight because of Timilehin. He had been jealous that his girlfriend was talking to another man.

Lamide was going to dial the number to prove to him that it was not true, Timilehin was Tamilore’s friend and he could prove it.

Somehow she had ended up dead before she could do that, they had tried to reach Tamilore and when they couldn’t, they called her friend, Timilehin.

“Your nephew killed my sister because of jealousy, he became animalistic because he thought she was seeing someone else and snuffed the life out of her.” Those were the first words she was uttering in hours and everyone was shocked to hear her speak. She’d refused to speak even when she could.

“He is going to pay for this. Don’t think your presence here will make us forgive him.”

The Uncle made to speak, but she did not let him.

“I have been hurt in the past but I have never made anyone that hurt me pay for their sins, that time is gone. Now it’s an eye for an eye.”

Timilehin held her hand and squeezed it tight.

——–

Alero was not one to joke with her anything she considered hers. When she was younger, she was known to have beaten a notorious bully in her school for taking her ruler and refusing to return it to her.

She was vindictive, she never allowed anyone who messed with her get away with anything and whenever strength failed her, she resorted to blackmail.

But with Jide, she seemed unperturbed that his old flame had returned to his life to take her place.

She had sat and witnessed the whole scenario when it happened and she’d done nothing. She hadn’t even questioned the situation or bothered to ask Jide why he had not told her the whole truth.

She was unbothered, unmoved and she did not care about what happened. That was because she did not want to marry him. She did not want him and she did not want to be a part of his life.

She did not want to be a part of any man’s life, it was not who she was.

She picked her phone and dialed the number of the only person she cared about and the only person she ever wanted to be with.

The phone rang but she did not pick. Angry that she might still be keeping grudges against her, she flung the phone against the wall and dragged her gaze to the laptop in front of her.

She did not feel like working, not now that she wouldn’t speak with her.

Her office phone rang and she picked it, “Yes? Let her in.”

Then she hung up and braced herself for the unexpected and unwanted visit of her mother.

Agnes breezed into the room, her personal assistant, a girl Alero knew would breathe only if her mother gave her the permission to, followed her and hurriedly shut the door behind them.

Agnes was dressed in an expensive french lace, exquisite beads adorning her neck. Her hair was braided in a neatly made Ghana braids and chandelier earrings hung from each ear.

She sat on one of the black leather seats in the office and faced Alero, “What is this I hear about your husband being married to a stripper?” she asked in disgust.

Her make up was heavy, like she was headed to a party after the visit to that office and her yellow skin, which cost thousands of naira to maintain, was clearly not natural. But it glowed, it glowed and shone and made her more beautiful in her late sixties.

“She said they got married when he went to London for holiday four years ago.”

“And?”

“Now she will not let him marry someone else. It’s very serious, mummy. I think we should let them be.”

Agnes eyed her with disdain, she was not fond of her only child and the reason was not far fetched- Alero was a lesbian.

She had never been attracted to boys and had never done what girls did. When she was fifteen and in the boarding house in one of the most expensive schools on the Island in Lagos, Agnes had received a call from the school principal. When she got to the school, she had been informed that her daughter had been caught having sex with another girl in the school bathroom.

Agnes had been enraged, her family had a name to be protective of and she did not want anything to taint the reputation. She had done everything to cast out the demon of homosexuality that had possessed her daughter but nothing she did worked.

She had become increasingly irritated and disgusted by her and had eventually told her that to inherit everything she had, she had to change her sexuality and marry a man and give her grandchildren.

“Iru oro jatijati wo niyen?” she asked in anger, her eyes were turning red, the way it did when she was livid. “I don’t even know where I got you from. I don’t know who I offended that now decided to punish me. I don’t deserve you. You must have been a curse placed on me by your father’s mother. Oloriburuku ara e o kuku gba temi tele. She did not want your father to marry a Yoruba woman. Maybe that’s why I ended up with you.”

Alero was hurt by the words but she did not say anything. She owed her whole existence to her mother and she could not disagree with her.

“I am going to call Grace now and tell her this rubbish cannot happen. You’re going to marry Jide and you will be his only wife. Ibi ti egbere yen ba ti wa ko ya pada sibe ni.”

She stood and gestured to her personal assistant who hurried to the door and opened it for her.

“But mummy, what if he insists on going back to her?”

Agnes laughed, “Ko to be.”

Alero knew her mother was powerful but she did not know how she wanted to bend the Ademola-Rogers into doing her bid.

“Nkan to wa leyin efa, o ju eje lo. We’ve all got secrets my dear and I make it my business to know everyone’s secrets.”

As she left her office, her PA in tow, Alero knew that her mother had something she could use against the Ademola-Rogers and that made her depressed.

That meant no matter what, Jide would be her husband and she would have to be happy being who she wasn’t for the rest of her life.

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