… Previously on Roulette Of The Damned!!!
On Abbey’s orders, Bukunmi drove to a nearby restaurant. The girls picked a table in a quiet corner and ordered drinks from the menu. They waited in silence until the waitress served them and left.
Needing to have the first word, Abbey spoke. “I know this mess isn’t entirely your fault.” Abbey said to Edirin. “That doesn’t mean that I could ever forgive you.”
“I’m so sorry,” Edirin said. ” It just sort of happened in a hurry, Abbey. I honestly fell in love with Jafar. He told me he loved me too. He said we were meant to be together.”
“He’s a lying bastard,” Abbey said. “He was just using you.”
Edirin choked back a sob. “I know that now. I always felt guilty about never telling you and your mum about it but he kept promising me that it would all work out.”
“I don’t want to hear this,” Abbey said. “I can’t. Not right now.” Abbey started to get up but Bukunmi grabbed her hand. “Wait,” she said. “Its really important that you listen to the rest.”
“You don’t know him like I do,” Abbey said to both Bukunmi and Edirin. “There’s no point continuing this conversation. You’d never understand.”
“I’m pregnant,” Edirin said flatly.
“Oh my God” Abbey muttered. She sank back down into the chair.
Bukunmi pursed her lips at Abbey. “Told you you’d want to hear the rest.” she said.
Abbey dropped her bag on the chair beside her. “You’ve got my full attention. Start from the beginning and leave nothing out.” Abbey said to Edirin.
==========AND NOW on Roulette Of The Damned!!!==========
—– TOXIC —–
Definition of Toxic: Acting as or having the effect of a poison.
Synonyms: Poison, Lethal, Harmful, Deadly, Unhealthy.
Edirin started rambling. “You have to understand, Abbey. He was a perfect gentleman at first. I couldn’t help myself. It all happened so fast.”
Abbey held Edirin’s hand tightly to stop her from ranting on. “Edirin, I know now that you didn’t mean to let any of it happen but I am going to need you to start from the very beginning. Can you do that for me?”
Edirin nodded like a child being told she would get a big present if she was a good girl from now on.
“Okay, so tell me. How did this all start.” Abbey asked.
Taking a deep breath, Edirin started. “It all started one day five years ago when I came to visit you at home. You told me that someone you had always had a crush on for over a year was visiting Nigeria from London but you had never made a move on him because he wasn’t permanently based in Nigeria. You said he was only visiting Nigeria for a little while and you wanted to finally come clean and tell him about how you truly felt about him. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought that the guy you had a mad crush on all those years ago would be Andrew.”
Bukunmi did a double take and stared at Abbey. “Shut the front door! Somebody slap me, I need to wake up. Abbey, is what Edirin saying true? Did you have a crush on Andrew five years ago?”
Abbey looked flushed. “Yes, its true.” she said, knowing that Bukunmi would not let Edirin continue her story until she knew the details of her crush on Andrew. “When Andrew was still living in the UK all those years ago, he visited Nigeria for a couple of weeks. I was so madly in lust with him that I decided to tell him how I felt.”
Bukunmi’s jaw dropped in shock. “This is too good to be true. You mean to tell me that you fell for Andrew before you fell for Jiro and now you’ve fallen for Andrew’s cousin?
Trying to sort out the logistics in her head, Bukunmi said “So technically, you are currently dating your ex-boyfriend’s lover’s cousin whose cousin is your ex’s boyfriend’s lover. In other words, the same ex boyfriend’s lover that you had a crush on all those years ago before you dated your ex-boyfriend is now going to be your cousin-in-law if you marry Mofe.”
Feeling like she was in the hot seat, Abbey felt the need to defend herself. “What? his sexuality aside, Andrew is drop-dead gorgeous. You said it yourself at the birthday dinner that you would have fallen for either Andrew or Jiro. Imagine my shock when, on the day I chose to tell Andrew how I truly felt about him, he introduced me to Jiro. That hurt. I felt like he pawned me off to his best male friend when all I had done in the last year was waste money buying recharge cards for the sole purpose of calling the UK to talk to him. I let myself create a future with Andrew in my head. We women can daydream sometimes. Anyway, short version of the story, I moved on from Andrew but hated Jiro. It was only after a year of Jiro asking me out almost everyday and being an absolute gentleman that I realized I actually liked him too. How was I to know that my crush on Andrew would lead to a relationship with Jiro before leading me to Mofe, who just so happens to be Andrew’s cousin?”
This wasn’t the time or place to discuss how she had been attracted to men that she had only recently found out were attracted to other men. There’d be time for that when she was drinking away her lousy choices of men, with the grand exception of Mofe. Eager to change the topic, Abbey said, “Can we please get back to Edirin’s case now?”
Edirin looked lost. “Wait, what birthday dinner? What relationship between Jiro and Andrew? What did I miss?”
Abbey had forgotten that Edirin was out of the loop on a lot of things because Abbey had cut Edirin off from her life. Now was not the time to catch Edirin up on the madness that was Abbey’s life. The only thing that was truly important now was hearing Edirin’s side of the story. “I promise I’ll give you all the gist that you have missed out on later. Right now, I need you to concentrate on telling me the rest of your own story.”
Reluctantly, Edirin agreed and continued her story. “Anyway, After Andrew went back to the UK and Jiro started asking you out, you and I went out clubbing one Friday night and I drove you home. You were really tipsy so I led you to your room and put you to bed. As I walked out of your room and made my way downstairs, your father was waiting for me in the living room. He told me to sit down and eat something to soak up all the alcohol I had taken at the club so that I don’t have an accident on my way home. I asked about your mum but your dad said she had gone out for vigil. He shoved a glass of juice in my hands and insisted I eat something before I left. You have to understand, I didn’t want to say no to your dad because he represented a father figure to me at the time. I ate and drank what he gave me, not knowing that he had drugged the glass of orange juice. I did not know when I slept off on the couch in your living room. When I woke up, your father was already inside me, making love to me.”
“You mean raping you.” Bukunmi corrected angrily.
“Yes…yes, That’s what I meant.” Edirin agreed. “I wanted to cry out but he crushed his lips on mine and kept going until he was done. It was my first time. I told him I would tell everyone what he had done and he replied saying no one would believe me. He said he would tell the world that I used juju (black magic) on him to have sex with me and he was none the wiser. I don’t know how the switch happened really. One minute I was threatening to expose him and the next minute, I was begging him not to expose me. He promised not to expose me only if I agreed to keep sleeping with him. I agreed and he has been the only man I have ever been with.”
“Oh my God,” Abbey and Bukunmi said in Unison.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” Abbey asked, her voice sad.
“I thought I would lose you if you ever found out. I felt you would choose to believe your father over me so I let him have his way. After a while, I got used to letting him have his way and at some point, I started enjoying it. What can I say? I was naive at the time. He would always whisper sweet words into my ear, spending endlessly on me, and tell me he loved me.” Edirin had a look on her face like she remembered a good memory before the smile was replaced with a look of irritation. “Before long, I fell in love with him too. He was the only man I had ever known. After a while, It didn’t even matter that he had raped me the very first time. I convinced myself that bad things sometimes happened for good reasons. Five years down the line and here I am, pregnant and still naive. My God I’m so stupid.”
Bukunmi held Edirin’s hands tightly. “Oh honey, You were sexually assaulted and because you didn’t know any better, you thought it was love. I’m so sorry you had to go through this alone for so long.”
“Edirin, I am so sorry.” Abbey said. “I never knew.” Abbey shuddered at the thought of her father having sex with her friend all these years. He had molested Edirin physically and physiologically with his words and actions. The worst part was that Jafar was old enough to be Edirin’s father. In fact, now that she thought about it, Jafar was actually older than Edirin’s father by three or four years; and Abbey was older than Edirin by a year and six months.
Edirin’s situation, although she wasn’t exactly an underage girl, seemed like the future any underage girl would have if she was forced to marry prematurely. The whole issue only reminded Abbey of Stella Damasus’s Youtube video where she spoke against the proposed legislative bill in Nigeria that sought to allow older men marry underage girls in Nigeria.
The only difference between her father and the other bastards in the senate that wanted to pass the bill to legalize underage marriage so that they could sleep with them was that her father had skipped the whole marriage idea and had just gone straight to the sex part. The fact that her dad was a well respected lawyer in the country only made matters worse. For someone of Jafar’s age to have disvirgined Edirin the way he did, Edirin might have as well been an underage girl forced into a life she didn’t choose for herself.
In that moment, Abbey was sure that there was a special place in hell reserved for her father. Abbey looked lost in thought for a minute before she spoke again. “Edirin, I really hate to ask you this but I need you to be absolutely sure of your convictions. Is the baby truly his?”
Edirin nodded, tears flooding her eyes. “I swear on my life and the life of my parents, Abbey. The baby is Jafar’s. I thought he’d take care of me. Of us.” She said as she rubbed her flat belly.
“You’ve told him?” Abbey asked in surprise.
“Yes.” Edirin said in a small voice.
“What did he say?” Abbey inquired.
Edirin shrank back against her chair. She shook her head and stifled a sob. Bukunmi spoke for her. “He told her to get an abortion.”
Abbey pressed her lips into a thin line. That sounded like something her father would say. “Is that what you want?” Abbey asked Edirin.
“No.” Edirin took a napkin and wiped her eyes. “He told me I had to do it because this baby would ruin everything. He was angry because it was my responsibility to keep myself from getting pregnant. Abbey, I swear I was on the pill. I didn’t mean for this to happen. But still, I thought maybe he’d be happy. When I said I didn’t want an abortion, he called me a whore and said it was probably not even his baby.”
Abbey reached across the table and took Edirin’s hands in hers. “I’m so sorry,” she said.
“I can’t go through with it.” Edirin said to Abbey, the tears falling freely now. “I can’t have an abortion. I just can’t”
“Then don’t.” Abbey replied. “You don’t have to.”
“But he told me I had to” Edirin insisted. “He’ll never speak to me again if I don’t do it.”
“It’s your baby and your body,” Abbey said. “Besides, he won’t be there for you, no matter what you decide.”
Edirin nodded absently. Abbey couldn’t tell if Edirin believed her or not. She said “Are you afraid of him?”
Edirin’s gaze dropped down. “I never used to be,” she said.
“You are now?” Abbey asked gently.
“Sort of.” Edirin said quietly.
“Does he hit you?” Abbey asked cautiously.
“He didn’t mean for it to happen.” Edirin said, making excuses for Jafar. “I shouldn’t have whined so much about missing him. He had warned me about being too clingy. He got angry about it but it was my fault. Really, it was an accident. He never meant for it to happen”
“You can’t hit someone by accident,” Abbey said flatly.
Edirin twisted her napkin around her index finger but said nothing. Abbey decided it was time to make Edirin see reality.
“He hits my mum all the time.” Abbey said.
Edirin’s eyes widened. “He does?”
Abbey nodded. “Don’t trust him.”
Why didn’t you ever tell us before now?” Bukunmi asked, clearly hinting that all of this could have been avoided if Abbey hadn’t kept her father’s behaviour a secret.
Abbey shrugged resolutely. “Its hard to explain,” she said. “I was brought up that way. It was a family secret and I was told by my mum never to tell. Things got worse as I got older. I was scared and ashamed.”
“He really hits your mum?” Edirin asked, still in shock. “You mean like slapping her every now and then?”
“No,” Abbey said. “I mean he beats her on a regular basis, sometimes just for the fun of it. She covers the bruises with makeup. He broke her arm and some of her ribs once.”
“Oh God,” Edirin muttered. “I can’t believe he would do that,”
“Yes you can,” Abbey said “Because he’s come close to doing the same thing with you, right?”
Edirin looked away and swiped at a new flood of tears. “What am I going to do?” she asked. “If I don’t have the abortion, he’ll deny the baby is his. He said he’ll tell people I’m a lying whore. He told me he’s a respected lawyer and he knows how to work the system in his favour. ”
The fact that Edirin was repeating Jafar’s words over and over only indicated to Abbey that her father had succeeded in making Edirin believe every word that came out of his mouth was the gospel truth.
“Yes, but he can’t change the results of a DNA test.” Abbey said. “And even if he can, you don’t need to worry about what he might say to people. You have to make a decision that’s right for you and this baby. Not him.”
“I haven’t even told my parents about the pregnancy yet.” Edirin said, fear written all over her face. “You both know my parents are pastors. They are known as ‘pastor’ and ‘pastor Mrs.’ in my neighbourhood and everywhere they go. They will kill me when they find out. In fact, the shame will kill them after they kill me. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Dealing with Jafar is one thing. Dealing with my parents is something else entirely.”
“All will be well Edirin.” Bukunmi said, holding her friend’s hand “If you’d like, I can be there with you when you tell your parents.”
An appreciative smile formed across Edirin’s face. ” Bukunmi, I’d really like that. Maybe they will be slow to act if someone else is in the room when they find out. To be honest with both of you, I have thought about giving the baby up for adoption.” Edirin confessed.
“Don’t make any decisions just yet,” Bukunmi said. “You need to give yourself a little time so you don’t do something you will regret..”
Abbey squeezed Edirin’s hand and added, “Whatever you decide, Bukunmi and I will help you through it.”
“You are not going alone,” Mofe said defiantly.
“Well you can’t come with me,” Abbey replied smoothly. “It’s bad enough that I’m taking my mum’s place in going to pick my dad up from the airport. If anyone else that isn’t family shows up, he’ll go ballistic.”
Mofe paced across his living room, ready to wear the floor out. “I don’t care. You are not doing this alone. I won’t let you. I refuse to feed to you to the devil on a platter.”
Abbey sighed, a smile on her face. It was cute to see Mofe so worked up on her behalf. “What do you want me to do Mofe? Like it or not, he is still my father.”
Mofe didn’t ease up on his pacing back and forth. “Send a cab to pick him up. Metro taxi’s do it all the time. I’ll even foot the bill. Hell, I’d rent a limousine from Ikeja City Mall if I have to. You are not going to pick him up, Abbey.”
Abbey laughed. “Why waste money renting a limousine for him when you can easily pay that money into my bank account? And you know I’d make it worth your while.” She teased him before continuing. “And a metro taxi? really? He’d kill my mum and I for sure.”
Mofe quit pacing and looked at Abbey with a serious face “Don’t joke about that Abbey…anything but that.” he said. Walking over to her, Mofe squatted in front of Abbey and said “Please don’t go. From all you have told me about how your dad has treated you, your mum, and Edirin, surely you know you don’t owe him anything.”
“I know that but I’m not doing it for him. I’m doing it for my mum.” Abbey said gently as she touched Mofe’s face.
Turning his face into Abbey’s palm, Mofe kissed her hands and took a deep breath. “I know my love. It doesn’t mean that I like the idea,” Mofe said. “I’m sure your mum will understand if you don’t go. Just send a cab. I promise I’ll even pay the cabbie double for it if I have to and I’ll put some money into your account as an added bonus. It may not be up to the money for the limousine but it’ll be enough to get your mind off picking your dad up from the airport. You could always go shopping instead.” He smiled hopefully at her.
Abbey wanted to agree. She had never turned down the opportunity to go shopping before. Money and shopping with no expectations in return. Any girl would jump at the offer, especially if it was coming from her fiancé. The only thing that made Abbey rethink accepting the offer was the promise she had made to her mum. “I can’t, Mofe. It may not make any sense to you but I need to do this for my mum and I. Besides, this will give me the opportunity to talk to him one last time and say things I need to get off my chest.”
“Abbey –” Mofe started.
“Please Mofe. I have to do this. I will always regret it if I don’t and I’ll always blame you for it.” She kissed his forehead and continued. “Just be the amazing man that I know you to be and let me do this one thing for my own peace of mind. Please?”
Resigning to her whims, Mofe got up from his squatting position and collapsed on the couch beside Abbey. “Fine. I guess your mind is made up.”
She smiled triumphantly. “Yes it is”
Mofe stared at her with a serious face. “And you are absolutely sure that there is no way I can convince you on this one?”
Still smiling, Abbey said “Nope. No way in hell.”
Squinting his eyes as a smirk graced his handsome features, Mofe said “You drive me insane, you know that right?”
“I know.” Abbey said, sticking her tongue out in playful rebellion.
Mofe sighed, finally allowing himself to smile. “Okay. How about a compromise? If you insist on going, let me come with you. At least if I’m there, I’d breathe easier knowing that you are safe and I’d be able to protect you if he tries anything.”
“No. Absolutely not.” Abbey said indignantly. “I’m a big girl Mofe. I can take care of myself. I know you can break all the bones in a man’s hands in an instant and cause serious damage if you really wanted to, but my answer is still no.”
Mofe pulled Abbey on top of him, exasperated at her defiance of him. He wrapped his arms around her, kissing her lips, needing a distraction from her consistent ‘no’ as her answers.
“Please, let me go with you,” he begged.
With a smile, Abbey half-heartedly wriggled to break free from Mofe’s hold but only succeeded in making him tighten his hold on her waist. She laughed at her defeat and melted into his arms. “I love you too, but no.”
“Then I’ll just have to do it my way.” Mofe said with a small smile on his face.
“What does that mean?” Abbey asked curiously.
“Nothing,” Mofe said, an evil smirk brightening his eyes.
“Mofe, I don’t want you doing anything crazy.” Abbey warned.
“Fine.” Mofe said easily.
Abbey frowned. “No. Don’t give me that.” she said. “Don’t say fine. Fine is what I say when things are not fine.” She narrowed her eyes and tilted her head ever so slightly. “What are you planning?”
He kissed her slowly, exploring the recesses of her mouth with a gradual build of passion. His breath was hot against her neck as he gave her love bites and started travelling down the curve of her breasts “I want you, so bad,” he murmured.
Abbey had never been kissed like this before. It was as if Mofe was trying to draw her soul out through her mouth. He explored the soft surface of her lips and when their tongues finally met, she thought she was going to explode.
She kissed him back just as hard before breaking the kiss, making Mofe moan in pain. “Nice try baby,” Abbey said, “but I wrote the book on seduction and averting questions.” She used the tip of her tongue to trace love lines on his lips and bit his lip until he moaned. She smiled. “Okay, I don’t need to know what you have planned but promise me you wont show up at the airport or at my father’s house. If you do, all of this” she ran his hands over the curves of her body slowly before smacking them away “All of this will not be anywhere near you for a long long long time.”
Mofe looked up like he was seriously deliberating on what to do before he spoke again. “That’s a difficult one but I’m sure I can learn to live with that. I am a patient man. I can wait for a long long long time”
“I will also make sure I only wear granny panties when coming to see you from now on.” she finished.
He gave her a look of mocked pain.”You little vixen. Now, you’re just playing dirty.”
“…and I will never trust you again.” Abbey added, looking more serious this time.
Mofe’s face lost his smile.”That’s going too far Abbey. C’mon, you have to try and understand things from my point of view.” he argued.
“That’s only because I want you safe.” Abbey replied. “He’s my father. He won’t hurt me. You, on the other hand, he will have no problem hurting. I’d never be able to live with myself if anything happened to you. Promise me Mofe…please.” Abbey insisted.
“Okay.” Mofe said with a groan and a roll of his eyes. “If it means so much to you, I promise.”
“Thank you my love.” she said as she kissed his cheek. “Now, in other news, any new information about Andrew and Jiro? I remember Andrew saying he was going to call you and tell you everything that happened.”
Not wanting to reveal everything Andrew had told him, but needing to take Abbey’s mind off her father’s case, he replied “They are both going good. Yes, I had a very long talk with Andrew. I can’t go into all the details just yet but from what he told me, the situation isn’t as bad as it seems.”
“But it’s a gay relationship Mofe. Your closest cousin who you say is as close as a brother to you is in a gay relationship with my ex boyfriend. Surely you can’t tell me you don’t have a problem with that.” Abbey said as she pursed her lips.
“Don’t you mean your ex-fiancé?” Mofe said with a cheeky smile. She punched him in his chest playfully and he laughed before continuing. “Yes Abbey, I know it is a gay relationship but they seem really happy together. I really can’t ask for more than that. If a woman doesn’t do it for either of them, I think it’s only fair that they go for what works for them. After all, one man’s poison is another man’s food.”
Abbey laughed. “It’s actually the other way around Mofe. It’s ‘one man’s food is another man’s poison.’ but I get your point.” she grimaced before continuing. “I guess I could cut them some slack. I know people say a girl’s male best friend is usually a fag, but that isn’t always the case.”
Mofe touched his beard and said “Uh, you might not want to call them fags. That will only get you on their wrong side very quick. In Andrew’s and Jiro’s case, they are bisexual, not gay. From what Andrew explained to me, there’s a lot of labelling in their world. Every word, colour and gesture means something. According to Andrew, gays and bisexuals often feel an immediate camaraderie when they meet. When someone from that world meets another person in that world, they don’t know each other at first glance but they already have something in common. He said that being attracted to someone of the same sex could make the rest of the world feel a little distant at times, but it made the parties involved feel an instant familiar connection to others like them. They instantly become a family simply by choice. Some of them don’t even know they’ve become as close as family until someone else mentions it.”
“I understand what you are saying Jiro, but it still doesn’t make it right.” Abbey insisted.
Mofe sighed. “I had the same thoughts initially before Andrew explained his own personal experience to me. Before my birthday, very few people knew that Andrew was bisexual. It had been a secret he had held close to himself for years. Until he and Jiro’s relationship started, Andrew had always believed that he couldn’t put himself out there, put his heart and reputation on the line for any man or anyone for that matter. Opening up for love was difficult enough for both of them. Put yourself in their position. The butterflies they both felt for each other could have either assisted their attraction to each other or it could have choked them. They were not guaranteed which side of the coin they would get before they took that jump into risky waters. They were lucky that their butterflies assisted their attraction. Had it choked them, we would be singing a different tune right now. Others in their position usually aren’t so lucky. To have homosexual tendencies in the middle of a heterosexual community only makes what they have to live with on a daily basis ten times worse. Maybe you should focus on their personalities and not their sexual orientation. It would do you, and them, a world of good.”
“I guess you are right.” Abbey said. “With the way you are talking, I kinda wish I understood them more and not judge them simply on their sexuality. How about we meet up with them tomorrow as it’s a Friday. We can go for drinks and a movie or something. At least, I’d get the chance to apologise for being such a bitch to them and if I’m lucky, I’d get my two best make friends back. Besides,” she added, “I’m going to need a distraction tomorrow evening to celebrate successfully picking up my dad from the airport and walking away from him forever once I dump his ass outside my parent’s house.”
“That sounds like an awesome plan,” Mofe said, “but tomorrow’s not really a good time to plan anything with Jiro and Andrew. From what Andrew told me, they are both going to spend the weekend with Jiro’s parent’s to celebrate his parent’s anniversary with them. They should be there from tomorrow till Sunday but I’ll call him next week and see if they can fix us into their plans.”
“Hmmm,” Abbey said, clearly disappointed. “I guess we could do next week then. In the mean time, you can keep me busy tomorrow evening.”
“What did you have in mind?” Mofe asked with a sexy smile on his face and an evil glint in his eyes. I love teasing this awesome woman, he mused.
Rising to the challenge, Abbey replied. “That’s a hard question to answer. After-all, you have threatened to break Nnamdi’s bones twice now. If you met him a third time, you might just make good on your threat. Some would say that your actions while trying to protect me ultimately makes you a danger to me and my welfare.” she teased.
“They are right. I am.” Mofe said, playing the game with Abbey.
“Why?” she asked, still playing the role of the vixen.
“Because of what I want.” he replied huskily. “Because of what I would give in return.”
“What do you want?” she asked
“Everything.” he replied, ravishing her with his eyes.
“And what would you give for it?” Abbey asked as she clawed at his back with her fingernails and sunk her teeth into his neck.
“Anything.” he whispered breathlessly. He knew he was losing the game.
He didn’t care.
Still licking his flesh where she had bitten him, Abbey said “Some might call that obsession.” Her hands teasing his bare flesh around his abdomen.
Mofe swallowed hard. “It is” he replied.
Bringing her head up to his face and breathing ever so slightly on his lips, Abbey continued torturing Mofe.
“Some might call that possession.” Abbey said as she licked his lips with her tongue, her body destroying his with greedy hands as her sexy mouth that drove him insane.
“It is.” Mofe replied. He couldn’t breathe.
“Some might even be scared of such a love,” she said. “Such an all-consuming crazy kind of love. Lucky for you, I’m not one of those people.” She trailed her fingertips up and over the broad expanse of his shoulder, the base of his neck, and then finally his heart.
“I love you Mofe, and I’m not afraid to let the world know.” Abbey said, her love shining through from the depth of her soul and out to him through her eyes.
The vulnerability Abbey showed him was Mofe’s undoing.
Lifting her easily, Mofe held her like a priceless artefact. “I can tell you just how much I love you but that won’t do my feelings any justice. I’d rather show you.”
Kissing her thoroughly, Mofe carried Abbey towards his bedroom and kicked the door closed.
Andrew woke up instantly at 8am on Friday morning, the time between sleep and wakefulness measured in milliseconds. It took him a few seconds to realise that he wasn’t in his own bed, but Jiro’s . There was no sign of his best friend, though the distinctive aroma of eggs and toast bread told him what his lover was nearby.
Very still, lying flat on his stomach, Andrew acknowledged the word, tasted it and felt a sudden longing for the one man that knew him better than anyone else. In light of recent events, Andrew forced himself to re-evaluate his understanding of love. Seeing Jiro walk into the room, Andrew realised that he didn’t have the right to decide how many relationships he had in his life. Contrary to popular belief, there could be more than one epic love in one’s lifetime, but Andrew was content with the epic love that fate had thrown his way in the form of Jiro. As Jiro dropped the breakfast on the bed and smiled at him, Andrew finally admitted to himself that his heart’s capacity for love, and who he gave his heart and love to, was out of his control. Simply put, the heart wants what the hearts wants.
“Morning papi. Ready for the big meet and greet with my parents tonight?” Jiro asked Andrew as he made his way to the bathroom with his toothbrush.
“Absolutely,” Andrew lied.
“Great! They’ll love you. Now eat up and lets get ready for work.” Jiro said smiling at Andrew before disappearing into the bathroom.
“Right behind you cupcake.” Andrew replied with a shaky smile.
Sitting in bed with breakfast in hand, Andrew truly wondered if Jiro’s parents would love him as much as Jiro seemed to believe.
As she pulled up into the short stay parking lot, Abbey saw that her father had spotted her from where he stood. He looked at his wrist watch, adjusted his tie, and waited for her to drive the car over to where he stood.
Dressed impeccably in a grey suit, Jafar placed his matching hand luggage and suitcase at the back seat, got into the car beside Abbey, and stared into the distance. For a moment, Abbey allowed herself to consider what might have been if Jafar had been a better father. At the moment, he looked pissed. She knew why too: she was late. “Hi dad,” she said.
“Where is your mother?” Jafar asked, ignoring her greeting.
“She hasn’t been feeling very well since you left,” Abbey lied. “The doctor put her on bed rest so I told her I’d pick you up.”
“She’s sick?” Jafar asked, his poker face not hinting Abbey on his thoughts.
“Yes sir.” Abbey replied, putting her own poker face on too.
“I called her phone. There was no answer.” Jafar said.
Shrugging, Abbey said, “She’s probably sleeping or something. You know her and her headaches.”
Jafar turned and glared at Abbey, a stony silence between them. Abbey resisted the urge to get out of the car and run. He wore a scowl, turned his face away from her and said “Drive.”
Once they had settled into the car and she started driving, she inhaled deeply and said “you look good dad. How was the flight?”
“I’m coming from England, Abbey. It was on a six hour flight and I had to wait at the airport like I had nobody coming to pick me up. Those pesky taxi drivers outside the international airport kept trying to drag my bag from me asking me if I wanted a cab. How do you think it was?” Jafar’s voice held a dry note to it.
It had started raining.
“Okay sir.” Abbey said. “I’m guessing that means it was barely manageable” Abbey stared outside her window at the traffic as Jafar stared at her. He was in a foul mood and seemed to be spoiling for a fight.
Once the traffic lights gave way, she sped all the way to the estate they lived in. She pulled into the street, placing her foot hard on the accelerator. The sooner she got him home, the sooner she could escape him forever.
As they got close to the house, Jafar said “So why don’t you tell me the truth about your mother? Unless your mother is dying, she knows better than to send someone else to pick me up. She knows even better not to avoid my calls on any given day of the damn week. So I ask you again young lady, where exactly is your mother?”
Abbey swallowed hard and fought to keep her poker face on. “I told you dad, she’s not feeling well. She’s sick in bed”
“That still doesn’t explain why she did not call me or answer the phone when I called her over an hour ago to find out where she was and why she was late to pick me up from the airport. If anything, she would have picked up her phone and told me she sent you instead.” He watched her with appraising eyes. “You better not be lying to me Abbey”
Eager to change the conversation, Abbey said “I spoke to Edirin the other day.”
Jafar stiffened and inhaled sharply. “And?”
“And she told me about the baby.” Abbey said, raising her chin as if to see if he would deny impregnating her.
“That girl needs to learn the value of silence.” Jafar said easily like Edirin meant nothing to him.
“That girl is carrying your baby! That fact is disgusting enough as it is but now you don’t even want to support her through it.” Abbey said. “You know very well it’s your baby but you still want her to get an abortion.”
“I did not force her to do anything she didn’t want to do.” Jafar retorted. “If anything, it’s that girl that seduced me”
“Seduced you? Oh please! You raped her and you know it.” Abbey said angrily.
Jafar took in a breath. “This issue is none of your concern” Jafar said smoothly. “It will be handled in due course and you will stay out of it. Do you understand me?”
Jafar’s tone left no room for argument. Abbey kept quiet as she parked the car. She didn’t want to be around him anymore, not right now. She looked onward like she was waiting for him to get out of the car so she could drive off. “Welcome home sir.” Abbey said, still not looking at her father. “I have to leave to grab some things from the market to cook dinner. If you’d kindly take your bags from the back, I’ll be back soon with the ingredients for dinner. When I return, we can discuss all about your trip.”
“Turn the car engine off.” Jafar said in an authoritative tone. “I’m sure you will want to check on your mum and see how she is doing briefly before you go buy the things for the house.”
Damn it. Obviously, her plan to avoiding answering his question had backfired on her. From his statement, he was letting her know that if she didn’t want to talk, she’d be forced to go inside the house. Abbey reluctantly switched off the engine. She had to find a way to get out of here immediately. Jafar got to the front door, unlocked it and pushed it open. His posture was rigid and his jaw was set. “Be a darling and carry my bags to the bedroom for me.” He said . “That way, you can check on your mother’s health before you go to the market. She might want a few things from the market. You never know with these things.”
Abbey’s stomach twisted into tight knots. Her mother had left the goodbye note propped on her father’s pillow. The last thing she wanted or needed today was to be upstairs with her father when he found that note. She hadn’t stopped to think about how suspicious he would be when her mother didn’t show up to the airport to get him. Abbey had been too preoccupied with getting her mother out of the house that she hadn’t really thought things through. Why hadn’t she just listened to Mofe when he had insisted she didn’t go?
Knowing it was useless to argue as it would only raise her father’s suspicions if she refused, Abbey swallowed back her anxiety. “I’ll run the bag upstairs,” she said.
Jafar said nothing. He stood in the living room watching as Abbey grabbed his bag and lugged it up the stairs. She hurried down the hall, dropping it inside her parents’ bedroom. The envelope caught her eye, with her father’s name scrawled across the front. Her mother had kept the note brief. She’d placed it on the pillow and they’d shared a sense of relief. They had both succeeded in escaping, or so she had thought. She would succeed at nothing if she didn’t get moving.
Abbey turned around to leave and she was startled to find her father behind her. His eye had been on the note as well. He said. “I’ll ask you again. Where is your mother?”
“I don’t know.” Abbey lied. Fear was clearly written on her face.
“From the hand-writing on that envelope, it seems that the note is from your mother.” Jafar said smoothly.
“I guess.” Abbey swallowed a lump in her throat. “I’ll leave you alone to –”
“You are not going anywhere.” Jafar said, his voice sounded deadly.
Jafar gently closed the door behind him.
No one had to tell her twice. Abbey knew she was in trouble.
To be continued…
I look forward to your comments!
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