“I shouldn’t be here.” Even as Lisa said this to herself, her legs moved forward steadily. She had no control over them, their determined strides contrasted with her quivering heart. She got to the gate and knocked. ‘Leave! Leave now. It’s not too late to back out’ a small voice whispered in her ears. She turned slightly to leave, then the gate opened. She smiled tentatively at the security and walked into the elegant duplex. The evening breeze ruffled her hair, sending it flying in several directions. Harmattan season was near. She patted the hair, walked hurriedly to the door and rang the doorbell. Her heart was now beating loudly. ‘You can still leave. If that door opens, there is no going back.’ the small voice whispered again. She glanced back at the security who sat in a plastic chair, whistling an old tune. Then the door opened.
The bright smile that greeted her was reassuring. Her mind steadied. She smiled back and entered. Everything would be alright. Nobody would find out.
The living room was beautifully painted in shades of red, yellow and orange. The sofa was a soft cushion in a lovely shade of brown, an exquisite glass table sat on a soft orange centre rug. The effect was relaxing. She sat down as he went to get some drink for her. She shouldn’t have come here but suddenly, all her defences fled. While she was here, she would be bold enough to do everything she had been fantasising for weeks now. Abiye came back with a glass and a pack of Chivita juice on a silver tray. She smiled at him. He smiled back and poured the juice for her. Awkward silence. She shifted closer to him till their thighs touched. She saw his Adams apple bob up and down. She smiled. She put her hand on his thigh and squeezed lightly. He remained still. She could see his chest pounding away. She put her hand on his chin and lightly pushed his face to hers. Then she kissed him.
She woke up with a start the next morning. The sun was almost up. She hurriedly showered and began dressing. She found her shirt behind the chair and put it on. She went to the mirror and combed her hair slowly, her mind reliving the past moments. Abiye was sleeping soundly, his body relaxed and his mouth hanging open. She felt nauseated and went to throw up. She flushed, hoping the sound wouldn’t wake Abiye. She grabbed her bag and was about leaving when his voice stopped her.
“Where are you going?”
She paused. “Home.”
“Will I see you this evening?” He turned to look at her.
“No.” She still faced the door.
She didn’t answer. She opened the door and walked out into the morning sun. She hailed a cab and went home.
Home was a one bedroom apartment she shared with Amaka, or Doris as she preferred to be called. Doris was still sleeping. She dropped her bag on the bed and changed into a comfortable short and an old tank top. Her eyes fell on the dresser. Her engagement ring lay there, the diamond glittered in the early morning sun. She checked her phone. Desmond had called severally. The nausea came again.
That evening as she walked into church in black trousers and a pink shirt, the ushering uniform for the evening, she felt sure that everyone would know what she had been up to. Everything seemed normal. No accusing finger pointed at her, no one noticed how black her soul had become. She felt stained and dirty, her skin still crawled. She greeted Gilbert and Judith in her department and took a stand behind the first row. Desmond was already in church, seated at the front row as all the pastors did.
Thirty minutes into the service, Abiye walked in. Her body knew the moment he walked in even before she saw him. He walked past her, his familiar scent followed closely. She closed her eyes and saw him as he had been last night. She quickly opened them and looked straight at him. He gave her a look filled with hidden messages, glanced down at the engagement ring on her finger, then he sat down. Her body started to shake. The nausea came again. She swallowed and bit her tongue sharply. Different scenarios ran through her mind till the service ended. As people poured out of the building, she went to the back seat where she had kept her bag and sat down heavily, taking deep breaths. Then a hand touched her shoulder. She looked up. Desmond. She smiled at him. He didn’t smile back.
“Where were you last night? I called several times. You didn’t pick.” He sat down next to her.
“Am sorry. I forgot my phone in the parlour last night.” She hoped he wouldn’t see the weakness in her eyes.
He smiled and took her hand. “Are you okay?” He asked with a look of concern. “You seem a bit tense.” He said, brushing the hair from her face with his hand.
“Am fine. I just need a good sleep tonight.” She replied.
Somebody called out ‘pastor Desmond’ in the front row. He stood up. “Wait for me by the car. Am coming.”
“Okay” she said but he had gone. She carried the bag and went outside, answering the greetings that came her way with a smile. She got to the car and leaned on it, hoping desperately that Abiye had left. She looked up and saw him coming. No such luck. He reached her and immediately took her hand, squeezing her ring so it bit into her skin.
“What are you doing?” she muttered through gritted teeth.
“Meet me at the back staircase right now.” He left.
She looked around. Nobody seemed to notice. She walked slowly to the back staircase, hoping nobody would suspect anything. Abiye was leaning on the wall. He smiled when he saw her.
“What do you want Abiye?” she asked coldly.
He frowned. “Last night you were all over me. Now you’re asking what I want?” He seemed perplexed.
She smiled bitterly. “Last night was a mistake.”
He paused, then took a deep breath.
“If last night was a mistake, then we’re going to make that mistake again and again. You think you can use me to slake your lustful desires then dump me? Think again.”
He pulled her close roughly and kissed her. She struggled in his arms but it didn’t last. Soon, she began kissing him back. She didn’t know how long they stayed there. She would have continued if he hadn’t pulled away.
“Now tell me last night was a mistake.”
She didn’t say a word.
“I’ll see you tonight.” he said.
A throat cleared behind them.
Lisa and Abiye turned at the same time. Nobody was there. The voice had come from outside. She gave Abiye a dark look and walked away. Desmond was already waiting. She got into the car and he drove her home. She called a weak goodnight and got out quickly before he could say a word or kiss her goodnight.
Her phone vibrated. Abiye. She threw the phone back in her bag, disgusted at the smile that lit her face as she saw his name. Doris was lying on the couch watching a movie as she entered.
“Hi hi. How was service?” she asked gaily.
“It was okay.” Lisa replied and went into the room. Her phone vibrated again. Abiye. She ignored it. When she came out of the bathroom, he had called severally. She ignored the phone and switched on the fan before lying on the bed. She picked up her devotional and Bible and began to study. Her phone vibed again. She ignored it. As she knelt to pray, it vibed. She ignored it, closing her eyes to pray. An image of Abiye came into her head. She opened her eyes immediately, then stood up and lay down. She couldn’t pray, not with that sin hanging over her head. Then he called again. This time she picked.
“What?” she asked rudely.
“Why are you not here?” he asked.
“Are you mad? Do you really expect me to spend the night with you again?” she asked hotly.
“Yes Lisa, I expect you to spend the night with me again. Not just one night, many nights, so many more nights Lisa.” he replied with confidence.
“Don’t you have any conscience at all? Am engaged, to a pastor no less.” she said.
“Hey, don’t play that christian card with me. Last night when you were in my bed, that Christianity did not come up. Don’t try to play sanctimonious with me.” he replied.
She took a deep breath. “I made a mistake.” she said.
“What mistake?” he asked angrily. “Was it a mistake when you came to my house? Was it a mistake when you kissed me? Remember Lisa, you started this. I’ll finish it. Am coming to your place now.” he cut the call.
Lisa gasped and looked at her phone in disbelief. It was ten already. How would she explain this to Doris? Last night’s excuse of going to her sister’s place would not work again. She called Abiye again, ready to give him hell. His phone was switched off. She sat down on the bed confused, regretting the day Abiye had walked into church and she had gone to usher him in as a new comer. She wished somebody else had done that.
He called in fifteen minutes. “Am outside your gate. Come out let’s go.” was all he said before cutting the call. She went into the parlour. Doris had fallen asleep with the TV on. She tiptoed past her and went to the verandah, unlocked the padlock and went outside. Abiye was in his car. She tapped on the window. He rolled it down.
“Are you mad?” she asked hotly.
“Come inside let’s go Lisa.” he said calmly.
“Please leave here. I beg you. I know I made the mistake of going to your house yesterday. Forgive me for that. Just go.” she was close to tears.
He looked at her a while, then came out from the car, walked straight to her and held her close.
“What are you doing?” she was confused again.
“I don’t want us to quarrel.” he said with his mouth close to her ears. She shivered.
“There is no us Abiye.” she said, no force behind her words.
He kissed her ears lightly. She shivered again. Then she turned and he enveloped her lips in a fiery kiss that robbed her of all senses. She moaned and clung to him, holding his shirt tightly. He pulled her away. “Go get your things.” he whispered, then kissed her softly. Her heart melted. She smiled weakly and nodded.
Doris was still sleeping when she came in. She packed her necessities in a small bag before she woke Doris up. “Am going to my sister’s house again. She wants me to follow her to the market tomorrow.”
Doris nodded sleepily and turned to lie more comfortably on the couch. “Lock the door.” she called out as Lisa went out. Abiye was already in the car. She entered and they drove off to his house.
They entered his living room. He held her waist and she threw his hand away. “This is the last time Abiye.” she said as she pulled her shirt over her head.
He smiled ferociously. “Whatever you say, my lady.”
The next morning, as she made to stand up from the bed, Abiye held her close. “Don’t rush off. It’s saturday.”
she smiled. “I know, but I have to….”
“You don’t have to do anything.” he interrupted. “Stay with me a while. Please.” she grinned and nodded.
They stayed in bed all morning. As she took a bath later in the morning, the smell of fried plantain and eggs rose to her nose. She smiled warmly. Abiye was so sweet. She went down to meet Abiye standing beside the gas cooker wearing just his boxers, a tray of fried plantain and eggs with tea on the table. “I hope you like this.” he said.
“I love it. Thank you.” she sat down and began eating. “Won’t you join me?” she asked after a while.
“No, I don’t eat breakfast. Makes me slow.”
“Oh.” she said.
He left to take a bath, then came down to find her sitting in the parlour, her bag beside her. He frowned at the bag.
“What is it?” she asked as she noticed his frown.
“Do you have to leave? Can’t you just spend some time with me? I hate that bag.” he sat down grumpy.
“Yes I have to. I told Doris I was going to the market with my sister. Besides, I have to go to church for clean-up this evening.” she replied.
“Alright then, i’ll drop you off. But next time, you’re going to spend some real time with me.” he said as he picked her bag.
She stopped. He looked at her inquiringly. “I told you this was the last time. I meant it.”
His face became cold. “Let’s go.” He went outside, taking fast paces that she struggled to keep up with. He got into the car and slammed the door close. She jumped at the sound, then entered. They drove in silence. He stopped in the street before hers.
She sat, thinking of what to say to diffuse his anger. “I…” she started to say.
He cut her off. “You don’t have to say anything. Just go.”
She opened the door and came out. He sped off. She walked to her gate and entered. Doris was inside, playing a gospel song. She entered the parlour and sat down.
“Where are you coming from?” Doris asked, standing beside the door to the room.
“I told you I went to my sister’s house….”
“You lied.” Doris said simply. “I called your sister. You weren’t there.”
“Did you tell her anything?” Lisa asked anxiously.
“No. But you tell me where you spent the night.”
Lisa swallowed. She didn’t want to lie to her. Doris was like a sister. “Ummm….um…I went to…”
“You don’t have to lie Lisa. I know exactly where you slept last night. And with who.”
To be continued.