I can hear him breathing, I know he is on the other end of the phone and I know he has a lot of things to say to me but he doesn’t know where to start.
I am also aware that he is sorry for what happened and how bad things went but I refuse to make things easy for him.
So I lay in the Jacuzzi, a glass of bubbly champagne in my hand, my phone glued to my ear.
“Sarah, are you there?”
I take a long sip from my glass. Probably the longest sip I have taken and that I have seen anyone take in my life.
“Yep” I say. “I’m here, Scott”
He inhales deeply before he continues, “I’m sorry things went this way. I really wanted to be in a relationship with you because I loved you. I still love you”
When a man or woman stays in a relationship because they feel the need to be committed, it turns my stomach faster than bad food.
Truth is, you should leave when things aren’t working not because you’re an asshole but because what’s the point?
If you aren’t happy with someone then why the hell are you staying with them?
“Scott I’m not saying this because I want you to be with me or anything but how can you decide to stay with someone because it is easy for you?” I realize I am more puzzled now that I have asked him the question.
“It is nothing close to easy” he replies
“But it is easier than walking away”
He sighs “Maybe”
I realize then what he must be going through and picturing him looking nothing like the Scott I know because he is sad makes me feel sympathetic.
I let myself feel pity and heartbreak. Because, once I allowed myself feel something, I opened the door to other feelings.
I hadn’t allowed myself to feel anything since AKT and I broke up.
I didn’t want to deal with the feelings.
But now, when I let it all go, I realize feeling sympathetic towards Scott makes me feel hurt about breaking up with Akin.
“I’m sorry about everything” I say to him
“Don’t be sorry, it’s not your fault”
“I know. I just imagine how complicated it all must seem”
He chuckles, “It is quite complicated” and I am happy he can still laugh albeit a little. “We have kids and I want to ensure they know Daddy isn’t a bad guy. I don’t want them to grow up resenting me”
My heart breaks for Scott and his situation and maybe because he’s a man who doesn’t deserve to be in a bad situation or because he is actually really sweet, I get angry.
“Your wife is manipulating you, shey you know” I say to him “This whole pregnancy business. Why didn’t she get contraceptives, why did she get pregnant in the middle of all that drama?”
“We got pregnant together though” he says lightly
“She had plans, Scott”
I cannot see him but I can imagine him taking it all in.
His wife had planned the whole thing and it had worked in her favor.
“I am not asking you to do anything. I just want you to be happy. I need you to be happy”
For seconds, he is silent and if I couldn’t hear him breathing, I would have thought he had gotten off the Phone.
“I miss you, Sarah”
I shut my eyes tightly. Despite it all, I missed him too.
“I miss you, Scott” I say and I realize there is someone else I miss badly, even more than Scott.
But I refuse to think about him.
I refuse to let my mind wander to him.
“Where are you?” I ask Scott
“Let’s have dinner” I suggest, “On me”
And when I get off the Phone, I text him the address of someplace good with great food and fine wine.
I asked the Chef to prepare something nice for my guests tonight.
Scratch that, I asked the Chef to prepare Jollof Rice, goat meat, diced plantain and freshly squeezed orange juice for my guests tonight.
The home theatre in my sitting room has been unused for a while, but I connect it to my Laptop tonight and select my old school playlist.
I particularly picked old Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and Onyeka Onwenu.
The music is low but audible and it wafts through the sitting room into the dining room which is well lit, thanks to the chandelier and lights on the wall.
I’m wearing a black Game Of Thrones shirt and a pair of denim – the reason is simple, it’s going to be a dramatic night – as I stroll into the dining room nodding to the music coming from my speakers.
My mother comes down the stairs, “Ahan Akin, ale yi a yato o” she says in Yoruba, the corners of her mouth giving way to a wide smile. “Abi you’re about to propose ni? This one you’re jamming music like this? Old music for that matter” she begins to sway her hips to the Sunny Ade tune playing now.
I smile, “Mummy e joko” I tell her in Yoruba.
She takes a seat and looks around, in time for Cynthia, her mother and father to join us.
Cynthia is dressed in a knee length Ankara dress. It’s free flowing and the style bares her shoulder. She looks good in it.
Her face is made up and she is wearing a deep shade of lipstick. On her neck is a gold choker necklace and gold hoops adorn her ears.
I asked Ese to come too but I purposely told her to come fifteen minutes later than the others.
I would hate to let Cynthia have an idea that something is off.
I greet Cynthia’s parents politely and we all begin to eat.
“I didn’t want to do this in a quiet way” I begin to say right after texting Ese to come over “The relationship I have with Cynthia has not been quiet in any way. So why do it quietly?”
“Aww” she says and squeezes my arm.
“When I met Cynthia, it was in the most unconventional way ever and I must admit, I wasn’t looking out for her. However, after a while, I realized I had to grow up. I was expecting a child and whether or not the child asked to come, I had participated in the process of bringing it to life.”
“I am glad you finally came to your senses” Cynthia’s mother says, blasé.
“Let the young man finish” Cynthia’s father, dressed in a white Buba and Sokoto says. I suspect he is the only respectable person in Cynthia’s entire family tree.
“So I manned up and did things the right way even though Cynthia’s mother had a few issues…”
“My friend, get straight to the reason we are here. Like I told you before now, nobody is begging you to do the right thing. This girl is pregnant and she didn’t get there all by herself so if you want to do the needful, do it and let us move on…”
Her husband shoots her a stony glare. She keeps quiet grudgingly.
“Please continue” Cynthia’s father says
“Thank you Sir” I say to him and continue “And that was when I started making things right. Cynthia also seemed to be ready to make things right and we started taking baby steps…”
Ese walks in now.
I feel Cynthia tense near me. I think she has started suspecting something is off.
“Talking about Baby” I say, facing Cynthia who manages to tear her gaze away from Ese who is now sitting near her. “Cynthia, what did you do with ours?”
She frowns. “I don’t understand”
“Exactly my predicament; lack of understanding” I say to her. She has removed her hand from my arm now. “You were pregnant weeks ago, Ese could certify that. What happened between that time and yesterday?”
She stills. “Pardon?”
“Did you not hear him? Which one is pardon again?” My mother asks. Then she faces me, “Akin, please I’m confused. Is she no more pregnant?”
“Yes” I say, my eyes holding Cynthia’s gaze. “And I want to know what she did with my baby”
As Cynthia lowers her gaze, I realize I am actually more hurt than angry.
My child is gone for some reason and she didn’t let me know. She didn’t let me in on the fact that the child was gone. She didn’t let me mourn it, she didn’t let me in on what happened.
“Cynthia!” her father yells from across the Table. “Are you deaf? Talk!”
“How did you know?” she asks, her full eyelashes are lowered, her manicured hands toying with the end of her nails.
“Ese” I reply. “How long did you think you were going to hide it for?”
A tear escapes her eye and rolls down her well made up face.
“I’m sorry” she blinks rapidly, looks at her Parents now “I’m sorry, Daddy. I’m sorry mummy”
“You are directing your apologies to the wrong people, tell the young man what you did with his child” Her father says sternly
“I lost it”
There are gasps across the Table.
My heart is tied up in knots. This hurts like crazy.
“Why didn’t you tell me anything?” I ask calmly.
“So you can leave me? What other claim did I have to be in your life?”
I must say, I am surprised by her sheer honesty.
“When did you lose it?”
“Two weeks ago”
I glance at Ese, it must have been shortly after the first DNA test.
“It was late at night. I was going to call you, I wanted to… but I couldn’t.” she says and then hurries through the remaining words. “I was weak and scared and heartbroken and I wasn’t alone anyway so I was rushed to the Hospital and taken care of”
“Heartbroken? Do you have a heart?” I ask, the anger is returning now. “You lost my child and you didn’t think it was okay to tell me? You surprised me with this baby and then when it died, you didn’t think it was okay to tell me?!” I stand, quivering. Anger surges through me and I lean on the Wall for balance.
“I was going to give you another one!”
And then it dawns on me what she’d been playing at all along. Sarah was right.
She had been trying to warm her way back by being nice.
She wanted to get me back in her bed and have me knock her up again.
Wow, this woman is the devil.
“And the guy you were sleeping with yesterday?”
A look of surprise flashes through her face.
“Yeah, I knew. What’s his own story?”
“He’s my Ex. We started seeing each other again just days before the miscarriage. He was with me when I lost the baby, took me to the Hospital” she replies.
“Were you also sleeping with him when you were pregnant…”
“Of course not!” she says.
“I’m so sorry, AKT” Ese mutters as she joins me where I am standing. My mother also comes to me.
“It’s fine” I say, trying to take it all in. I had thought Cynthia would deny and that was why I asked Ese to come over.
But now, it had all gone faster than expected.
“I called you all here because when it started, she managed to drag you all into it. And now that it is ending, it is only fair to let you guys know” I say. Cynthia’s father sighs deeply and stands. “Cynthia, please I don’t want to ever see you again. You can have everything you had before i.e the rented apartment and the car. After today, I never want to see you again. Thanks for teaching me the most important lesson of my life” I say to her and make to leave.
“Akin” Cynthia’s father calls me “On behalf of my family, I apologize”
“Thank you Sir” I say to the old man and make for my room.
My heart hurts so bad and I want Sarah.
But she doesn’t want me and I can’t make her want me.
Scott and I are halfway through dinner.
I raise a glass of wine to my lips and drink.
“So you and AKT dating now?”
I almost choke as I let the glass down. “What?”
He smiles “Come on, he’s crazy about you”
I am puzzled, “You know this how?”
“He did something stupid, for you. A grown ass man only does that if he wants the woman. Come on, that was pretty clear”
I nod, “Maybe it was” I rush through my wine and pour my third glass for the night.
I don’t want to talk or think about Akin. This is supposed to be my escape from him, yet, he follows me here.
Thoughts of him follow me everywhere it seems. I cannot escape him even when I try so hard.
“Do you like him?” Scott’s hand is on mine now.
“Sarah, it is fine if you do. It would hurt a little but it will be fine eventually. I have watched you around this guy for a while and I feel it is inevitable”
And I don’t know if it is the way he speaks the words or if it is because I am slightly buzzed, but I begin to tell him about Akin. And how much I like him and how I am worried it has “graduated” from like to something else.
God forbid it is love.
And how drama filled his life is right now.
“You should go to him and tell him you’re falling in love with him”
“I am not falling in love with him”
He laughs, “Is that the story we’re going with?”
I pout. “I hate love”
He relaxes his head against the chair he’s sitting on “Love found you still. You want to keep fighting it or you want to go tell him”
I shrug, “Just not tonight”
He says “Sometimes, saying things how we feel them when we feel them is the best”
“Whatever” I say and lift the glass of wine to my lips.
Scott drops me off at the Hotel and I realize I am slightly woozy as I step into the Hotel Reception.
Walking towards the Elevator, I sight him talking to the owner of the Hotel, his back to me.
He is wearing a black Game Of Thrones shirt, I see when he turns to look at me.
Biting my lower lip, I admit to my senses that he is utterly sexy dressed in a black shirt, denim and red Vans.
We hold each other’s gazes for long, neither saying a word before he grabs me and drags me into the Elevator.
In the Elevator, we remain silent, both of us looking at the doors until they close and open seconds later on the floor my room is on.
We walk side by side, quietly, as we approach my room.
When I open the door, I stand aside for him to walk in before shutting it.
“Never walk out on me again. Never” he says to me breathlessly before his mouth crushes into mine.
I drop everything I am holding, everything, including my resolve, wrap my legs around his waist and say to him “Please make love to me”
And when my back hits the sheets seconds later, my body naked under his, the whole of him thrusting into me easily aided by my moistness, I realize that I am in love with him.
I’m in love with AKT.
PS: I know a couple of people are skeptical about downloading from Kobo books cos the price is in dollars, I had to create another platform for non Android users and believe me, if there was another platform that offered in Naira, I would have used it. However, it is less than a N1000. On Okada Books, minimum crediting is N1000 anyway so it is about the same thing. So support and buy don’t be scared. LOL