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“It’s been six weeks”

“And that is enough time to be pregnant.”

Of course he knew that. He was just overwhelmed by all the work he had to do and the shocking news of Kicks’ pregnancy.

They had returned separately from the States; Kicks earlier than him and he, two weeks later.

The reason for the early separation had been clear – he’d been inattentive to her and her needs.

When he had asked her to come with him to the States, it had been because he was carrying a huge burden of guilt placed on him by his involvement in Ife’s father’s death.

But a few trips to a therapist’s office, purging himself of negative emotions and finding a way to forgive himself so much had quickly set him on the long but sure path to recovery.

And then, he had barely paid Kicks’ any attention, had refused to give in to her soft touch when they laid side by side at night in his tastefully furnished condo in Beverly Hills and only managed a few words when she spoke to him during the day.

He somehow did not want her around anymore but he did not say, he wanted to be nice and polite and then tell her when they returned home to Nigeria that they might have had one bad sex on the night they got to the US, but he was not interested in them anymore.

But Kicks had sensed what was coming. She knew him and so she left quietly one afternoon after making them a lunch of pasta and sauce.

He knew she was leaving when she had slipped into her stylish six inch boots, taken a sad mirror selfie and uploaded to Instagram with the caption #LeavingLove and kissed him softly on the forehead.

Knowing that he would feel bad, he had gone into his room, locked himself up and waited for the front door to shut before he returned

They had barely spoken after then and very much unlike Kicks, she had stayed out of his way whenever she visited Gidi Music.

The result of that was part relief and part guilt. He wished he could do something about it but he knew there was nothing he could do.

So he basically stayed out of her way too and out of everyone’s way.

And it had been quiet in his world until she walked into his Office that evening, dressed in an orange skater skirt and lacy top with heels.

Her face had looked as dull as her dark shade of brown lipstick and she had delivered the news to him almost immediately the door shut behind her. “I’m pregnant” She’d said after placing a used Pee stick on the table in front of him.

He was shocked. He wanted kids alright but he had never for once thought it would come that soon and with Kicks.

She was the mother to a six year old son who she barely saw and whose father had sole custody of back in the UK, so his initial reaction had been that he did not want his kid coming from her.

She was going to have the kid and leave it with him and never look back. He did not want that for his child and for a second her cursed himself for not using protection that night they had sex.

He stood by the window to his Office and looked out, his eyes catching Ife’s car driving into the compound.

That one had acted like he did not exist and had been topping charts, gracing magazine covers and attending shows.

She had acted like they did not make love once, like what they felt the day the intimacy between them occurred, she had felt nothing.

Mildly angry at her indifference to him and what could have been between them, he closed the curtains and looked at Kicks.

“Do you want to have it?”

Kicks stared back, mute. She weighed his expression, hoping to see an answer to the question in her mind – did he want her as much as she wanted him? Would the pregnancy change anything between them? Would he try to do something about them now?

The States had changed a lot of things between them but she had found herself falling in love with him, again.

It had hurt her to see him draw farther away from her every time she tried to reach for him and she had left because she couldn’t take it anymore but she wanted more.

She was willing to change for him, for their child.

“Kicks?”

“I want what you want.” She replied simply, her eyes expectant.

He sighed and spoke the truth to her without holding back. “I don’t know what I want, Kicks.”

“You need time. I need time. All these emotions I am feeling are foreign to me and I need time to stay sane and to find out if I am sane at all.” She sounded unsure of herself and her feelings and that made him reach out to her.

He stroked her chin and placed her head on his shoulder, “Whatever happens, we would be fine.” he whispered and heard her stifle a sob.

Ife’s past weeks had been predictable – wake up, head to the studio, work hard, take pictures and upload on Instagram and go for meetings with her manager and publicist.

One other constant feature was Ayo. He was always top of the things that crossed her mind every day.
Initially, she tried to fight him off her mind. Then, she realized that the more she tried, the harder it became to be rid of him.

So she tried to understand the reason she was carrying him around like he was her air supply.

And the answer had come to her one day while she stood in the shower taking a warm bath; she was falling for him.

As the warm water cascaded her back, her hair drenched by the shower, her mind took a trip back to the day she suspected it all began.

It was the night she had received the file from him asking her to quit if she wanted. Somehow, all he had written had softened her heart towards him.

She had realized how much he meant his apology and how much she wanted to forgive him.

But that had scared her and had made her try to push him out of her mind as much as possible.

She wanted to stay mad at him and make him pay for every tear he caused and every pain she felt.

Her father was never Daddy of the year and he had not exactly been the best person to her mother but he was still her father and Ayo had no right to snuff life out of him like that.

So she carried her hate for him for more weeks till he returned to Nigeria, refused to leave his label and continued to carry on like he did not exist.

But that did not mean she did not notice the news blogs and media houses carried about him and Kicks, their suspected rekindled affair and this evening, the news that she might be pregnant.

She stared hard at her phone, hoping that the popular gossip site she was on was unsure of their news as usual.

Amanda joined her on the couch, a glass of cocktail in her hands. “Wassup. Mase is having an exhibition this Friday, do you want to come? He asked me to give you an Invite.”

She nodded absentmindedly, her eyes still glued to the phone clutched in her hands.

“Okay. Here.” Amanda dropped the gold plated invite near her and disappeared into the room.

Ife opened her Instagram page and checked out Kicks’ page, her last picture was a selife with the caption, #Expectant.
Ife’s heart skipped a beat.

She knew he would come. Mason Derek was one of his best friends and he would honour his invite so she had dressed up with him in mind.

After placing a call to her favorite Nigerian designer, they had picked for her a purple Ankara dress which hugged her figure and which had pearls intricately woven around the waist.

She’d worn the hair he gave her on Valentines day and a pair of comfortable silver heels.

When she arrived at the event, she had run into Demola Dabo, the heir to multi million Naira telecommunication company and he had asked to walk her into the hall prepared for the exhibition.

She knew about Demola Dabo, he was extremely wealthy, highly connected and very single at 31.

Women wanted him, chased him shamelessly and never stopped swarming around him. Yet, he had never been spotted in public with anyone.

A few gossip blogs had hinted he was gay but he had never been fazed.

“I am a huge fan of your music” He said as they stopped in front of Mason Derek who was just dismissing his personal assistant.

“Thank you” That made her feel good but she still found herself glancing around, hoping to see Ayo.

“Good to see you, Ife.” Mason said as they stopped in front of him. He shook hands with Demola, “Demo. How far.”

Ife smiled sweetly as they hugged, her eyes still scanning the room for him.

“Are you expecting someone?” Demola asked her when Mason stepped away to talk to another wealthy guest.

“No. Why?”

“Your eyes have been darting back and forth.” He said and smiled as if trying to tell her she needn’t be ashamed.

“You must notice a lot of things, Mr Dabo.”

“Oh I do. And one of the things I have noticed is that I like your music and the way your mind works. I would like for us to have conversations over dinner.”

He was asking her out. She was not sure she was ever going to be used to this life, millionaires falling at her feet, celebrities asking her for dates and the whole world buzzing about the two aforementioned types.

She nodded not because she wanted to but because she knew he would not stop asking and she did not want to be subjected to that.

They started looking through the huge work of arts on the wall, his hand found hers and held it protectively.

They stopped in front of a picture of a young beautiful woman who was crossing from the slums to a palace with the help of a dashing African prince.

“Something tells us that would be us.” Demola whispered and she almost rolled her eyes at the arrogance she was sure she sensed in his voice.

“Balo!”

She turned immediately she heard his name and saw him stroll into the hall with Kicks.

He was greeted by Mason and a few other people present.

“I see your boss is here.” Demola said with a voice that hinted he was not pleased.

“Yes.”

“And I see he found himself a girlfriend.”

Ife watched Ayo drape a protective arm around Kicks’ waist and she answered, “Yes.”

Ayo and Kicks turned and headed towards where they stood. Ayo’s eyes darkened when he saw Demola and Ife but he smiled still, drew a hand and shook hands with Demola.

“Demo”

“Balo”

Ife noticed they called each other like pals but what she also saw was the animosity that seemed to hang in the air as they eyed each other.

It was as if they were enemies who were once friends but were now trying to just stay civil with each other.

“Demola.” Kicks said with a soft laugh when Demola hugged her a little too tight.

Ayo watched her and said nothing, then he smiled, patted her on the shoulder, said “enjoy your night.”and left with Kicks.
Jealousy caused her heart to race, she was angry.

The next few hours was spent on Demola’s arms, her eyes boring into Kicks and Ayo and her hands finding the next glass of cocktail she could sight.

When she saw him excuse himself to go pick a call, she followed him.

She waited till he was done, stepped out of the darkness and stood in front of him. “I need to talk to you.”

He scoffed, “Finally”

“You don’t have to sound like that. If you don’t want to talk you can go away.”

He shrugged and made to walk past her, causing her to blink in surprise. “You’re going.” she said.

“Have you not noticed that I do what you want?”

“Oh please.” She said and hissed.

“What do you want Ife?” He asked her impatiently

She stood rooted to the spot, words eluding her.

“I have to go.”

“What is between you and Kicks? Is it true she’s pregnant?”

He did not miss the jealousy in her voice and eyes and for some reason, it caused him to want to kiss her.

“You’re jealous.” He said quietly, pulled her with him and took her to his car. “Get in” he ordered softly as he opened the back door.

She obeyed.

He got in after her, turned on the AC and pulled up her dress.

Ife knew what he was about to do but she did not stop him. He got between her and unzipped his trousers then he entered into her and thrust in slowly at first but soon got fast.

She matched his pace, her fingers digging into his back as they continued to pleasure each other.

She moaned his name and cried out in sheer ecstasy as he climaxed and poured into her.

They held each other for a while before he got up, zipped his trousers and waited for her to gather herself.

“Yes, she is pregnant and the baby is mine.” He answered her earlier question.

Ife’s eyes burned as she tried to swallow the information. He really was going to become a daddy.

They heard a knock on the door, it was Kicks. Ayo got down without saying one more word to her and she was at least grateful for that because it gave her time to fight back the tears and to tell herself she had just made the most stupid mistake of her life.

Kicks stared daggers at her when she got down but she ignored them both and walked back into the hall where she downed more liquor.

“I don’t joke with my man, Ho.” Kicks whispered into her ears when she returned into the room some minutes later and for some reason that made Ife want to cry.

Where did she ever get the idea she could get everything?Nobody did, she might have been lucky with all the career success so far but of course she was not getting the Prince.

It was never that easy. This was not Cinderella. It was fucking real life.

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