Sorry for the delay. My wi-fi has been showing me pepper 😦 Enjoy
Teni dropped her plate, the potatoes suddenly felt like cement in her stomach.
“What do you mean Tejiri is your ex-wife? How’s that even possible?”
Kachi stood staring at her for a few seconds without answering.
“Kachi, I’m asking you! How is it possible that Tejiri is your ex-wife?”
“You’re gonna tell me ‘I told you so’”
Teni got up from the bed and raised both palms up as if restraining him from coming closer
“Don’t do that! Don’t do that right now. Apparently you have some serious explaining to do and I’m waiting for it to happen right now!”
“Tejiri is Cynthia. The woman I married. The one I told you about. Tejiri is her native name.”
“I don’t care about her native name. I’m wondering why the story she told me is utterly different from what you told me. You told me your romance was short. That’s the only thing that is accurate with both your stories. You told me she died in a car accident. So can you tell me how or why it is that she’s alive and living in my estate?!”
Kachi looked as though he was trying to suppress both anger and hurt
“Tee, please calm down.-”
“Don’t frigging tell me to calm down! She called you a wife-beater Kachi! When did you start hitting women?! And you’re married again? And your wife can’t have children so you’re hunting her down? We’re supposed to be best friends. Apparently, I don’t even know who you are-”
Kachi grabbed her shoulders mid-sentence and shook her violently.
“I need you to calm down and listen to me!”
Teni had fear in her eyes. In all her years of being friends with Kachi, he had never touched her or grabbed her so violently. She was scared. She kept quiet and stood staring at him, heart thumping wildly in her chest
“Tejiri lied to you. The same way she’s been lying to everyone who cared to listen. The unfortunate thing is she mixed her lies with some iotas of truth so people believed her.”
He walked away and stood by the window. Teni looked at him in shock. She tried to register what he just said and she instantly felt bad for judging him based on Tejiri’s version alone. But she had just asked and he had seemed shifty with his response…
“When I first met Tejiri, she was fun, exciting and adventurous. I thought she was just the woman I needed. She was huge on PDAs and she made a man feel like the world revolved around him. She seemed like a determined, focused lady but she was merely a hunter. You remember we had a huge fight over her when I told you we were getting married and I was really mad coz I thought you were jealous-”
“And you banned me from your wedding.” Teni shook her head. “I swear, you should always listen to me. Bad things happen to you when you don’t.”
“Well, I was mad coz you hadn’t even met her and you were so disapproving. Soon after we settled down, I started noticing the changes. You know how I’m always travelling for business and stuff. We used to make trips together until she started wrecking my credit cards.”
Teni snorted. She couldn’t even help herself
“It’s not funny. From Milan to Paris. She would shop till she dropped. Teni, the babe was ruining my life. I tried talking to her about it. I mean, I have no problems spoiling my woman but not to the point of my own financial ruin. She never listened. She accused me of being selfish. So I changed the pins for all my cards, reduced her own allowance, told her to get a job and she stopped traveling with me. I think that’s when it got worse. She started chasing men. Like, she didn’t care who she slept with, as long as the money was good, she was game. She slept with some of my friends and my business partners. Tee, I was going crazy. I never caught her and she always denied it! She turned into this really wild, terrible person, it became extremely difficult for me to reconcile the woman I’d married with the woman she’d become.
Anyways, she was constantly getting on my nerves. I was going to divorce her but I kept thinking of what the church would say so I endured her. She was rude, disrespectful and utterly selfish. Never a thoughtful or kind gesture. It always had to be all about her. And after almost a year, I was certain I’d had enough. The last straw was on our anniversary. I took her to Rio, Brazil for the weekend. I told myself that even though we’d had our differences, maybe we could try and work things out. I had reduced my travels and tried to be around more and she had seemingly calmed down. I had business in Rio so I thought I would tidy it up Friday and Saturday then we could have a lovely anniversary dinner Saturday night. I wanted to surprise her so I made all the necessary arrangements with the hotel staff then called her and told her I would be back at 9:00pm when actually I was going to return at 7:00pm.
I got back to the hotel at 7:00pm and walked into the room to find her having sex with one of the guys I’d done business with only the day before. She had accompanied me to that meeting. Teni, I lost it. I swear, I’ve never been that mad my entire life. The guy hurried off and I descended on her. Like I actually did beat the crap out of her. She was crying and begging me to stop but I did not care. All the pent up frustration and anger of the past year came out in torrents. When I eventually stopped, I stormed out of the room and out of the hotel. I returned a few hours later and there was police everywhere. They arrested me and detained me until one of my guys came to bail me. I was ‘politely’ asked to leave the country the following day.
We returned to Nigeria and the witch had the guts to sue me. I could not believe it! Like she was basically going to take me to the cleaners. I spent a week in Pantin and it was hell. I can’t remember ever paying that much bribe my entire life. Everyone was sympathetic to her. She had pictures to prove that I’d beaten her that night and so she spun these tales of how I had constantly abused her and stuff. So I bribed my way out of it. We got divorced at the end of the day and she managed to clean out one of my major accounts. Fifty million naira Teni. I was gone. You can imagine the level of damage that did to my business. She took my fifty million naira and I spent about 10 million paying bribes and making the case go away. She essentially ruined my life.
I managed to find my foot again after a little over a year and she reappeared again with a baby she said was mine. If not for the fact that I remembered how much police trouble I could get into, I would have broken her neck. She insisted on a DNA test and I told her that even if the kid was mine, I did not want anything that would link us back together. I talked to mumsi about it and she said I should do the test and if he was really my son, I should take him from her. We did the test, it turned out he was my son and the witch said we should get back together or I would be paying her money for the boy’s upkeep-”
Teni’s eyes were big and round. Tejiri did not in any way look like someone who could be so evil.
“The blood! That’s quite some nerve!”
“I told her it would be over my dead body that she would collect a dime from me. I used Police to threaten her a little bit and she’s been on the run ever since. It felt good to harass her after all she did to me. I finally got my pound of flesh. I took away her peace. I’m not even keeping tabs anymore. I really don’t care about the boy. Each time she hears that I’m in the same town as her, she runs away. It’s amusing but I really don’t care. I don’t want to marry again, I don’t want to have kids. Women and their drama. I’ve had enough to last me a lifetime.
So there you have it. That’s the story.”
Teni got off the bed where she’d been sitting and gave Kachi a really warm hug.
“I’m so sorry love. On judgment day, be sure to tell this story to Jesus. You been to hell already.”
Kachi laughed and tightened his arms around her.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the truth. I was just too ashamed. She was dead to me anyways. So when you asked, I just concocted that story. It seemed easier than the truth at that time.”
Teni smiled. She didn’t care anymore. She knew it could not have been easy for him. They stayed locked in an embrace for a few minutes until Teni pulled back.
“But something is still off though. Tejiri has another kid. A baby girl. She gave birth a few months ago.”
“Oh? Well, that’s her problem. The child is certainly not mine.”
Teni raised her eyebrows.
“You really hate her that much?”
Kachi looked at her like she’d asked an utterly ridiculous question.
“Isn’t that obvious? Babe, this woman ruined my life. Because of her, I hit a woman; something I have never done my entire life. Please. I hate her and I won’t deny it.”
“And your son? Don’t tell me you feel nothing for him.”
“You’re not going to start mothering me again are you? I’d rather not discuss this further. I don’t want anything that’ll connect me to Tejiri. And that’s it.”
Teni could not understand the sadness that instantly washed over her. She really liked Austin. The kid was so lovely and well behaved. She however knew enough of Kachi to let the matter rest there and then but she knew she was going to bring it up again in the near future. Austin was her best friend’s son. The child meant something to her now.
She hugged him again and pecked him on the cheek.
“So what next for you? When are you leaving?”
“You know how to ruin a precious moment. See us here all cozy and you’re chasing me away already. I’ll be here for a while. Deal with it.”
Teni laughed and detached herself from the hug.
“I hope you have an extra shirt. I’m sleeping here tonight.”
Bobby held Ese’s hand and looked into her eyes.
“Yes, I am attracted to you. I enjoy talking to you and I enjoy being there for you. I think you’re a strong, hardworking, independent lady and I respect that. My attraction to you does not obligate you to feel the same way. I know you just lost your husband, I know you’re trying to piece your life together so I’m not asking you for anything. I like you, I think you’re great as a friend and frankly, I just want to be here for you. I’m not asking you to do anything in return. Just relax and let me take care of you. Stop shutting me out.”
Ese turned her eyes away.
“It’s really weird hearing you say all that.”
“Why is it weird? Coz I’m younger?”
She laughed and shook her head in protest
“No jor! It’s just the way you’re honest about how you feel and what your expectations are.”
Bobby smiled and said
“Of course I’m honest. Why should I lie about being attracted to you? Is it going to change anything?”
“Well, I dunno. But please, I don’t want you to get hurt.-”
He laughed and shook his head.
“Seriously, you need to calm down. I’m only attracted to you. I didn’t say anything about love. Love hurts people. I have enough sense to not chart those waters.”
She raised an eyebrow
“How can you say love hurts people? God is love. Love is such a beautiful thing…” she let her sentence trail off when she saw the look of incredulity on his face.
“Seriously? You’re gonna do that? Which god is love? Jesus? Allah? Buddha?”
Ese looked confused.
“Jesus of course!”
“Right! The same Jesus who let my Christian missionary mother be murdered in cold blood by Allah’s followers? Yeahh. That’s quite some love.”
“I’m really sorry. I had no idea.”
“It’s nothing. Happened a long time ago. I don’t talk about it anymore. But anyways, back to the matter. Like I said, love hurts people. I’ve seen it do enough damage to my friends for me to know not to venture into it.”
Ese was surprised.
“You’ve never fallen in love before?”
His reply was flippant
“How’s that even possible?”
“Ah. This woman! How is it not possible? I’ve never let my attraction to a lady turn into anything different. In fact, I can count on one hand how many women I’ve been attracted to my entire life and I won’t exhaust my fingers.”
Ese stared at him disbelievingly and he laughed.
“A good number of people think I’m gay. But mehh. I really don’t care.”
“Wait, I’m still lost. So what do you look out for in a woman? What things about a woman would make her attractive to you?”
“I just need her to be smart, hardworking and independent. No one wants a leech.”
“I see. Not even if she’s really hot and very pretty?”
He shook his head.
“Those terms are relative. What one guy would describe as hot, another guy would think is random. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, so they say. I never pay attention to such. Besides, physical beauty is ephemeral. Why pay attention to something that’s only transient? If I ever fall in love, then by god, that woman’s mind will be awesome and her heart will be really large.”
“Hmm. I see.”
“You need to get back inside. It’s pretty late. I’ll be here at 11 tomorrow to get the girls. Will you be joining us?”
“I’m not sure. My mum will leave tomorrow morning as well. I think I’ll just get some sleep. The girls are a handful. I’ll be grateful for a moment of peace and quiet without them around.”
“Alright. I’ll keep them out all day and when I bring them home, they’ll be so tired, they’ll fall asleep immediately.”
Ese hugged him.
“Thanks Bobby. This means a lot. But please, whatever you do, don’t give them too much sugar. They’ll go crazy on you.”
“Thanks for the heads up. Have a lovely night!”
He watched her walk back into the house before he got into his car. He sighed. He’d gotten that one off his chest and it was time to move on. He was certain he would not let her occupy his thoughts more than necessary. He called Jakes to ask where he was and when he told him he was at Dreams park, he kicked his car to life and went off in that direction.