Happy Reading ****
A day after the wedding, Uduak’s father, Bishop Ebebe had made reservations for their honeymoon in Scotland.
Uduak was excited as she reeled off words to Inibehe ” We are going to indulge in all the Downton Abbey daydreams at the northern archipelago off the coast of Scotland with green-topped islands and sandstone cliffs. Take a day trip and stand in awe at the Neolithic Ring of Brodgar, an ancient and eerie ring of standing stones, northeast of Stromness. Experts still don’t know how the stones were brought there or what the circle means. With the weather moving in and the water lapping at the shore, it makes for supernatural sights. Only rich people could afford places like that. We are lucky honey, the Lord is good. We are gonna make love, I can’t wait to be deflowered by you my love, it’s a privilege huh?”
Inibehe stared at her in the face pitifully. He was going to take something precious from her, but yet he didn’t love her enough to deserve it. He shifted uncomfortably, for a moment, they regarded each other in mutual embarrassment.
Uduak wondered if he’d heard all what she said.
A hollow feeling opened in the pit of his stomach.
Inibehe stared at the ornately carved wood, it looked exactly like the one he has in his house. He was alone with the shadows of his troubled thoughts.
He stalked back to the window. It had stopped raining and a light mist was rolling in over Kirkwall hotel in Orkney Scotland. Clouds circled the moon, making him think of the days he would sit with Nduke in the rain, by the beach side.
He’d been in Scotland for a month, and for a day he’d not looked at the face of Uduak. They had not achieved their adventurous trip Uduak had planned.
He was about to turn away when she hugged him backwardly.
“We have been here for a month now, and you’ve not touched me. I am your wife now Ini, touch me, I am your wife! I am not a piece of furniture who doesn’t have feelings.” Her eyes widened.
“I destroyed something special to be with you. That is enough for now. Give me time to know you better.” He said softly.
“Damn it! damn whatsoever special thing you had. Do you know how many men I walked out from to be with you?”
“You shouldn’t have come to me then. I never called you. I never paid a dime on you, my father did. I never asked you to marry me. I was on my own when your godmother…”
“Your mother…” She cuts in angrily.
“You have no idea how you make me feel Ini. I loved you then, I love you now…”
“But I don’t love you! I don’t care how you feel anymore. Leave me at peace. I detest naggers. Just go out, stroll around the beach side and leave me in peace.” He said and walked out of the room to the inner suite.
There was tension, as it drained on Uduak’s body. She nodded painfully to herself and sat on the bed.
Inibehe was a bitter man who felt unaccomplished in life.
The last thing he needed was Uduak’s body pasting on his. He hated the sound of her voice, her face, and the way she talked to him insolently. Nduke had never done that to him even in her worst moments, he thought.
He’d ran his hands around his neck, and when he felt the texture of the necklace, his heart skipped. He knew what it was, it was a reminder that his better half was somewhere with the same necklace, thinking of him and waiting to be found again.
He didn’t want to open the pendant so that he won’t see her face. It could drive him crazy. He might want to escape to London and never go back home again.
Now he wondered what had befallen him.
One month a husband and his wife still looked strange to him.
He heard Uduak’s cry from the inner room. His heart hurt, he hates to hurt someone, especially a woman.
He walked slowly to the inner room and sat by her on the bed. He surprised her by hugging her firmly.
“I am so sorry, I have been rude to you. I didn’t mean that.”
Tears dampened his shirt. She was tempted to unbutton his shirt and begin to kiss him from his sweet face to the zip of his trousers. But she was scared, he was going to resist and that will hurt her again.
He didn’t think much of her as a wife. He wanted her to be his friend, follow her heart, fall in love with another man, while he goes to the love of his life.
Clenching her fingers into his palms, she told herself she couldn’t care less what he thought about her, but she would never leave him for any other woman. They were in this together, whether he wanted to recognize that fact or not.
More than that, she would go back to Prophetess Nene and fast and pray more for the chains between him and whoever he’d love to be broken.
Prophetess Nene had told her that the woman he thinks of used juju to buy his soul and heart. And she was not ready to stand that. She will fast and pray with the seven stones of Jerusalem which she’d paid money for, and she will have her man back.
“It’s lunchtime. let us go eat.” Inibehe said. It was the first time he’d said that to her. His breath smelled like peaches, she perceived it.
Inibehe and Uduak arrived Nigeria after their honeymoon.
He was welcomed by his new church members and his driver Faro at the airport. He was a young and handsome pastor who thrilled the heart of the congregation when he walked to the podium to deliver a sermon. He spoke eloquently, he was a good preacher and this pleased his wife’s heart and his church members. He was amiable, he had charisma.
Within a period of one year, pastor Inibehe had over a thousand church members in his own branch. And within a period of one year, he had not still touched his wife, not even a kiss. He’d only pecked her on the cheeks in public. He gave her endearments, praised her before his church members. They’d thought Inibehe and Uduak were happily married.
Uduak patiently waited for one year, and when she saw that Inibehe was not going to touch her she went to her mother’s office in tears.
“He won’t still touch me, mom. I wear sexy night gowns, I make beautiful hairs, I flaunt them before him at night, but he won’t touch me.” She said tearily. Her mother stared at her pitifully for long moments and then said, “We should visit the prophetess today.”
Her mother drove speedily to Prophetess Nene’s house. A stylish woman in her late forties who had chains and anklets on her legs. She had long, green painted nails, a long brown shiny hair and her obviously bleached skin was almost white, mixed with some dark spots. When she came out of her room and saw that it was Uduak and her mother she gave a strange attitude, but she didn’t say a word. She peered into Uduak’s furious face. She didn’t smile, she gave a stern stare directly into her eyes.
She rushed into her room and came out with seven stones, a bottle of olive oil and a big bible.
“Oh Abasi!” She exclaimed, threw the bible on the floor and sat on it. She rubbed each of the stones with anointing oil and handed it over to Uduak. Uduak knelt down immediately and collected it.
“I can see that he hasn’t been touching you!” She said aloud. Uduak nodded.
“Take these stones, bury it in the compound, but before you do that call your husband’s name seven times. I had done the padlock assignment for you when you were not around, you will pay two hundred thousand for the assignment.” She said boldly, coughed and continued. “The woman has bought his heart with a very big charm. She said in her heart that since he cannot marry her, that you won’t be happy in this marriage!”
“God forbid, we rebuke by fire!” Uduak’s mother exclaimed shaking her head.
“I say shout fire!”
“Shout fire seven times!”
“fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire!” Uduak and her mother screamed with all their strength in unison.There was a deep silence as Uduak’s mother brought out clean naira notes, counted it and handed it to the prophetess.
Uduak felt relieved. It was like her dream had finally come to reality.
She repeated and echoed the very words the prophetess said to her as she drove home.
She did just as she had instructed, without being seen by anyone.
Her heart began to beat thunderously when she walked into the sitting room and saw Inibehe reading the bible and jotting down notes in a book. He didn’t notice if anyone was by his side or not. She’d wore her favorite designer’s perfume, it smelt like strawberry and raspberry. The smell of it went into the air, but Inibehe did not sniff delightfully a bit.
For months, it has always been like this. She felt he had no passion for sex or maybe something was wrong with him. She’d wanted him so bad; to have him roused inside her, and to have it so different from the romantic fantasy she’d seen in Indian movies, where they only kiss but don’t make love. Emotions stunned her.
When he finally noticed she was behind him, he dropped his pen and paused.
“I will be leaving for London by next week, I just bought my ticket online a few hours ago,” Inibehe said without looking at her face.
“For what?” She asked with a broken heart.
“To see my school son.”
“You’re leaving Nigeria to London just to see your school son?”
Inibehe nodded. Uduak stared at him, dumbfounded.
He turned and held her hands. She wanted to tear his pyjamas apart and make him touch her. His hands were holding hers, she could feel them imprinted on her flesh, warm and inviting. He was saying things to her, things that made no sense, things she didn’t want to hear.
They were all lies, her instincts were true.
He was going in search for the love of his life, the only woman he’d ever love, and even Uduak’s tears were never going to stop him; he thought in his heart.
Inibehe arrived London uninvited.
He stared deep into Eddie’s eyes when he narrated what happened to Nduke.
“She was very sick after you got married, she had to go,” Eddie said.
“I don’t know. The school ambulance took her away.” Eddie shrugged. Inibehe began to weep like a child. His school son could not console him. He took a long walk to the reverend’s office to find out where Nduke had been taken to.
“She was terribly sick. She was at the Cambridge hospital for months, after her recovery she bought a ticket. I am not certain about where she went to.” He said in a high-pitched tone.
Inibehe cried out and brought his fist to his mouth. The Reverend was confused. His breath halted. Slowly walking away, he walked down to the school waterfall behind the school chapel, a monolithic cascade of crushing water that tumbled a hundred feet to the boulders below. The river was fed from a dozen creeks and smaller tributaries that snaked the hills and made the slope too slippery to descend. It was his father’s school. He built it in 1978, he’d said it at home countless times, that he would give Rhapsody missionaries to his favorite son. Growing up, Inibehe wanted to be that favorite son. But right there, as he stood in front of the waterfall, he never wanted to be his father’s favorite son anymore.
Heart pounding, he dropped behind the rocks and sat there like he was expecting someone.
“Nduke where are you please?” He asked rhetorically.
She didn’t drop her number with anyone. He couldn’t even find her school daughter Serena to ask of her whereabouts. She didn’t have a friend, he was her only friend. She was an introvert, hardly talked to anyone except it was necessary, she was talkative only to him.
He couldn’t hear anything else except the falls. A sick feeling ate at his stomach.
Heart racing in his throat, he crawled backward into the sphagnum beneath the protruding root of a large oak. It was as if he was running away from something. But he was looking for a more weird and comfortable place to stay and be wild in his thoughts. He felt in his heart that he’d lost Nduke forever. He wept bitterly like a baby. After he had thought about Nduke and how he’d lost her for hours, he began to sweat. He was very tired. The school had given him a luxurious guest room to stay. He wanted to be only in bed, in the heavy, total darkness of his room, drowned in the glottal underwater song of the air conditioner. He wondered fleetingly if Nduke was really meant to be his, or Uduak.
He went to bed with one thought in his heart, he will get a ticket to Nigeria and be a good husband to his wife. He’d wanted to cut the necklace on his neck and dispose it in the room bin, but his heart said no.
He became cheerful and energetic the next morning, waiting impatiently for the school driver to come pick him up to Canary Wharf shopping center, where he can get gifts for Uduak. He must really be better, he thought to himself.
When he goes back to Nigeria, he will make love to her, tell her he is sorry and be a good husband, while they make babies. They will read the Bible, pray together and fulfill their dreams together. And even if he didn’t love her, he would like her and try his best to serve her right.
He laughed when he got into the plane and stared at his wedding pictures, and everything went normal again.
When he arrived Nigeria and got back home the next day, he suddenly appeared in his sitting room and walked straight to the kitchen where he suspected Uduak might be. When she saw him, she was surprised. “I didn’t expect you to be back so soon.” She said looking amazed when he hugged her.
He handed her the gifts he bought from London and she wondered if it’s Inibehe who was standing right in front of her or she was dreaming in her wish world.
She was in shock while she stared at him eat the food she’d made for the first time. He was always encouraging employing a cook, but Uduak protested against female cooks in the house.
“Your meal is delicious baby.” He said delightedly.
Did he just call her ‘baby?’ she didn’t hear him clearly.
She got into bed with a tattered volume of Chimamanda Adichie’s half of a yellow sun, and lay propped against the pillows, alternately scanning the pages and listening to Bishop Cosmos’s preaching on the TV.
She felt something move down her legs, her heart fell when she realized it was Inibehe’s hands. Her heart zoomed and sang, and the sharp lump of submerged anguish the estrangement from him had left in her chest melted away as if it had never been.
She felt giddy, light, exuberant.
Her eyes flew wide when the tip of his finger brushed her chin. She was already wanting him with her whole body. And when he began to kiss her, he didn’t like the kiss, it wasn’t passionate, but she did like it and it was passionate to her.
It was overwhelming to finally have her husband touch her. As reality penetrated,
she startled into an awareness when she knew he was really the one kissing her and removing her nightwear from her body. He smelled like the morning mists that gathered over the field when the temperatures dropped.
A jarring rush of emotions fell on her. She took a shuddering breath. Her marriage was finally saved from the hands of a strange woman who had attempted buying her husband’s heart, for one year plus, he didn’t see the hand of her brassiere, and now he was right on the same bed with her, kissing her and about making love to her.
The next morning, she would call her mother, give her the good news and buy gifts for Prophetess Nene for saving her home.
She protested when he tried to pull her panties.
“Don’t worry, I will be gentle.” He said quietly.
She sank on the bed and relaxed her mind.
Still, as she watched him remove his pyjamas, she’d wondered how he was going to feel when he discovers that she wasn’t a virgin that he thought she was.
Inibehe fell into her, it wasn’t what he expected. He was more careful, he’d expected to pass through a broken hymen. But he didn’t care. After he touched her, and rose to shower, coming back to sleep, she’d expected him to ask about her virginity. But surprisingly he didn’t.
“I am sorry.” She said softly.
“For what?” Inibehe asked looking amazed.
“For lying to you that I am a virgin. I had a boyfriend before I met you. He raped me.” She began to cry.
“I didn’t marry you because you’re a virgin. Those things don’t matter to me. It won’t make you less human. You’re still my wife.” Inibehe said boldly and turned to sleep.
It was then that she noted that Prophetess Nene’s assignment really worked indeed.
Twisting around, she gave him her full attention and love. His face was strategically covered with his hands. All she could see was his mouth.
She found herself staring. He had sensual lips for a man, perfectly shaped. Lips that made a woman remember his kiss and want to return for more.
He was exhausted, although his body was relaxing. He was drifting to sleep and even forgot to pray.
No matter how much she’d convinced herself that Prophetess Nene’s assignment worked out, her instincts did not agree with her. She returned her attention to his face, she found that he was even more handsome while he slept. It was too hard to look away. Her feelings ran counter to everything she knew about him, her mother and herself. Now that he’d started loving her, she will reduce the attention she has for him to gain more love. She thought.
She let him slide his hand across her nape into her hair. But Inibehe hated being in the hands of a woman he wasn’t comfortable with, he slipped away and turned his back against her.
Two months later, the list for the new ordained pastors was out for postings In Nigeria. When the church Administrator evangelist Bassey took the list to Inibehe, he scanned through it and giggled. Uduak was sitting right opposite him.
“Pastor, the driver just arrived with the new assistant pastor from Rhapsody in London. I wanted to find out if we should take her to the church’s pastors quarters at Ewet or you will see her first?”
“Her?” Uduak asked looking amazed. “Is she married?” Uduak asked again.
“No ma.” The evangelist replied.
“Ah! how can an ordained single female pastor be sent to our branch? She should be reposted back to London please.” Uduak said rudely.
“What is wrong with you? What is wrong with a female pastor working with us? You’re not a pastor, you’re my wife. Every branch has one male and one female pastor. Except a pastor’s wife is a pastor too, that is when a branch won’t need an assistant.” Inibehe said softly, leaving Uduak’s face worried.
“Let her report here please to sign her church service oath letter,” Inibehe said with a sigh.
The evangelist walked out and appeared again with the assistant pastor.
“Welcome pastor, please what’s your name?”
Inibehe asked looking at his laptop. But he heard no reply immediately. Nduke was shocked, her legs were trembling. She’d almost passed out, her heart was beating fast. When she noticed Uduak was sitting there and their wedding picture was right on the office wall, she stammered, “Nduke … pastor Nduke…”
The name had rippled his heart into pieces. Stirring memories. That memory still had the power to shame him. Her voice still had the power to lift his face from his laptop to her. He stood up from his seat immediately he saw that she was the one.
The images from the past were sharpened right there, before his wife and the evangelist.
Nduke. So vibrantly beautiful.
Inibehe had been too distracted by her beauty to concentrate on anything besides her.
Uduak and evangelist Bassey had started wondering what was happening when Inibehe realized where he was; in the presence of his wife.
His heart was still beating when he lowered himself on the chair.
Uduak and Evangelist Bassey were surprised, Inibehe had never stood in respect of anyone before. Not even his father nor her.
Uduak had stared at Nduke from her head to her feet. She admired her designer’s shoes, she loved the scent of her perfume, she liked her dreadlocks, and she adored her beauty. But she detested her at first sight. She’d just pretended to love her to avoid misunderstanding with her husband. There was something about Nduke that made her so insecure.
“Young lady, welcome to our Church. You will sign the church service oath letter and the driver will take you to your apartment while you get your official car later in the evening.” Uduak finally said when she realized her husband was lost of words.
“Thank you, ma.” She said calmly and took a pen from her wallet, She took several deep breaths before she signed the paper shakily, and walked out of the office in her elegant orange colored gown.
Inibehe had lost his mind.
“What was that for?” Uduak asked.
Inibehe forced his attention to Uduak.
“Nothing, her face is familiar. It seems I met her in London at a time.” He lied.
“Of course it’s possible you met her in school. I was wondering why you acted strange like she was a goddess.” She said jealously.
Inibehe giggled uncomfortably.
“I will be leaving now. Let me go prepare for midweek service.” Uduak said and walked out of the office.
Inibehe touched his neck chain and then the pendant attached to it. He clicked it open for the first time in a long while, and he couldn’t help but weep when he saw her face in it. It had not changed. She was still beautiful as ever.
He didn’t know what to say to convince her that he was still crazily in love with her. He saw hardness in her eyes when she realized he was the senior pastor she’s going to serve under. He could not concentrate on the laptop anymore, he sat there, thinking about her and staring at her signature.
Inibehe still lived in her heart. She knew it, but she was not ready to stare at him in the eye ever again. If she had known she was going to be sent to his church branch in Nigeria she would have chosen America or London for her country choice of posting. But her foster mother really wanted her to be around home.
After the midweek service, pastor Inibehe introduced Nduke as the new assistant pastor. The church welcomed her excitedly and in unison. Some of the youth members came to greet her. Everyone loved Nduke at first sight, she was stunning and loveable.
The official car and the papers were handed over to her by evangelist Bassey. It was a red colored Toyota Matrix, he’d wanted to drive her home, but she delightedly said “I can drive. I won’t need a driver.”
“Congratulations Pastor.” Evangelist Bassey said with a smile. Nduke nodded humbly.
She drove home that night, listening to gospel artiste’s Progress Effiong’s Ama song over the radio. She sang along and even whistled the lyrics with her mouth. By the time she got to her new luxurious apartment, Inibehe’s car was already parked inside. She didn’t know who it was at first, but she knew that car carried her from the airport to the church. She wondered if the person in the car already had a spare key to the house.
She wanted to eat, sleep and study her bible later at midnight, and not attend to any welcoming meeting from anyone.
When she alighted from her car and checked inside the other car to find out who it was, she didn’t see anyone. She strode into her apartment and clicked it open with the keys. The scent of masculine perfume could be perceived from the entrance to the house.
She switched on the light and her heart trembled as she saw Inibehe sitting on her couch. She paused, and attempted running out, but he ran after and grabbed her. locking the door and hiding the keys away from her.
“Get out of my house!” She yelled with a broken voice, she had almost cried it out.
“I came to look for you in London. I came so that we could have a secret wedding, and run away to a country where we could start life together.” Inibehe cried out and knelt by her feet.
“Get out! Go to your wife! leave me alone. Go! Go! Go! You’ve hurt me enough! I almost died out of being lovelorn and sad. You destroyed me, you destroyed us! You walked down the aisle with another woman because you didn’t respect our love!” She cried bitterly.
Their eyes burned with tears for several long seconds.
Inibehe had wept bitterly like a child at the feet of Nduke. He didn’t know what to say to her anymore.
“Just go back to your wife. You’re a pastor, you shouldn’t be seen this way.”
Holding her gaze, he stood and pushed her to the wall and stared into her eyes.
“You’re my wife. You and I have been married. I made a blood oath with you, I made vows before God…”
“And who? Did we have a minister who joined us? Did your father approve of it? Does your family know me?”
“Love doesn’t recognize all those Bullshits. God doesn’t either. I love you, I married you a year ago by the beachside in London, I came back in search of you in London so we could wed in court which is even more legal and recognized everywhere in the world.”
She began to sob softly, struggling to get out of his arms. Raising her chin with his fingers he tried to kiss her, but she protested.
“We can’t do this Ini.”
“We can! that is what the society wants, this is what my father wants to see, this is what I want! I don’t care who I am anymore. I love you, you’re my life. My soul is tied to yours!”
“You’re a pastor and married!” Nduke yelled.
Inibehe quivered. “And if I denounce myself as a pastor will that make you mine again?”
“God forbid. You can’t do that,” she whispered.
“I can.” She leaned into that caress without thought, automatically turning her face into his palm. It had been so long. She felt his breath against her cheek. Her heart fluttered wildly in anticipation of his lips on hers once more.
Lighting flared, a catalyst that knifed through the chaos of her emotions.
She had missed him, same as he had missed her too. The sharpened image from the past drew them closer, it was the power of the bond they’d shared in the past.
She touched her necklace with one hand, and he touched his. It was for the remembrance of the strong blood oath they did in the past.
Inibehe was hungry for her. She was his wife. And he was now ready to do anything for her to stay.
Kisses hotter than fire. Hands that sought then found. Incredible sensations. Pleasure and need so explosively raw it trembled on the edge of the world.
The moan startled her.
His moan. And it came a longing so poignant it brought the threat of tears even closer.
His heart reminded him that he was a man of God, he was people’s mentor and a role model, but he said he was madly in love with the girl who will make him achieve the dreams God had for him.
He spent lots of moments kissing her lips alone.
She raised her hands in surrender, allowing him eat her whole body. And he kissed it, he put her on the couch and licked her body like she’d poured honey and chocolate on it.
His phone rang, it was his wife Uduak. He didn’t look at it to see who the caller was, he didn’t care anymore. Right there and then, he was with his favorite person in the world, and no one else mattered.
His mouth was doing incredible things to hers. His hands held her, stroking gently. She could die from the sensation alone. He made her want with intense yearning. She uttered a tiny sound of demand, her body sang with need.
He wanted to spend the night at her house and be part of her life forever. But no, she would not accept. She felt too fragile by letting him back in her life so easily. She wanted to make him suffer. But she would have suffered her heart too.
Stifling heat filled her sitting room despite the air conditioner she’d left on while she went for church service. She struggled to sort dream from reality.
Inibehe had been making love to her. She’d felt it before. But someone really was making love to her, and he was the man she’d fallen sick for, prayed for that the lord should bring them back together.
When Inibehe was done, he certainly looked like fantasy. Sweats coated all through his body. His lightly tanned skin glistened in the hot.
He was breathtakingly gorgeous. She watched him wear his clothes and knot his tie.
He kissed her again before he dashed out of the door. He gave her a heart-stopping smile, winked and waved cheerfully.
At about pass 1a:m, he blew his horn and drove into his compound. His driver Faro, and his wife were anxiously waiting outside, in the cold.
“Inibehe Okoko, where have you been? You left the church without alerting me!” Uduak yelled just when he alighted from the car.
His unconcerned attitude flooded her with heat.
“Welcome, sir.” Faro greeted and collected his briefcase.
He walked into the house without a word. He wasn’t acting like a man who had just offended his wife. He acted like a man who had just found something he’d lost, and he wasn’t ready to let it slip off his hands ever again.
Months after Nduke had become accustomed to her new church as an assistant pastor, everything changed.
Inibehe’s life changed. He changed toward his marriage.
It was on a Sunday morning, Nduke stood on the podium and preached about God’s mercies. Inibehe stared at her and wished the whole church knew she was the woman he’d first gotten married to, the woman he was really in love with.
He’d started keeping late nights since Nduke’s relocation to his church. He’d made love to her several times in his office, in his car and her house.
Uduak would yelled every night, reported him to bishops and his father, but he only became worse.
After the Sunday service, Nduke took pictures with the youth choir and walked toward her car, when Uduak saw that she was leaving, she walked fast toward her.
“Have you and my husband met before?” Uduak asked. Nduke was surprised to have Uduak behind her. She rarely spoke with her, she only answered her good mornings and good nights in a cold manner.
“I don’t understand ma,” Nduke said quietly.
“I don’t care if you do.”
“I don’t still understand ma.”
“Pastor Nduke, my husband stares at you lustfully, when you preach, when you walk into the church he loses control and doesn’t give attention to any other thing…”
“I haven’t noticed that ma…”
“Do not interrupt! Has my husband made advances at you before?”
Nduke giggled, she was amazed that the all mighty Uduak would approach her to say these things.
“Pastor Inibehe is a good man. Whatever you think about him, I don’t know. He is your husband, you should know him better than I do.”
“Are you aware that he keeps late nights? Do you suspect if he is sleeping with one of these choristers?”
Nduke shrugged. “He is a pastor ma. He has responsibilities. Maybe he has been attending to church people.”
“Pastor Nduke, I do not like you near my husband. I don’t like to see you two talk, he is different when he talks to you, and I am not comfortable with it. I don’t care who you are in this church, but when I become even more uncomfortable with you around him, I will write to the church admin that you should be transferred to another branch.” Uduak said meanly and walked away.
Nduke drove off thinking of the things Uduak said to her that afternoon at the church.
She became emotional. She had a Sunday lunch date with Inibehe. She had made Afang soup and wheat, chilled the fruit wine she’d brought from London, she’d kept it for special dates.
Uduak’s words didn’t move her. She only felt heartbroken that Uduak referred to Inibehe as her husband.
The door clicked open and her heart sunk when she saw that it was Inibehe. He had a big shopping bag that contained groceries. He kissed her on the lips and helped her display the stuffs he bought on her kitchen shelf. He’d bought her favorite perfume. It was the same perfume he was using too.
“Thank you.” She said softly and kissed him. “I made soup.” She added, holding his hands to the dining table.
Moments later they were done eating. He enjoyed the food, it was obvious. He rushed to the bathroom and brushed his mouth with her toothbrush, rinsed it thoroughly and went to the kitchen to help her wash the dishes. And when they were done, he wiped his hands and held her backwardly.
“Your wife threaten…” She paused. Took a deep breath and corrected herself “Uduak threatened to transfer me to another branch if you keep staring at me in church.”
Inibehe laughed and dragged her closer to himself.
“Empty threats. She won’t do that. She knows I like you.” He said with a boyish grin. “but she doesn’t know what’s going on. Does it really matter if she knows?”
He slowly swept her from hair to toe with a gaze of masculine appreciation. His impossibly beautiful eyes shuttered with a slumberous look of desire.
“I keep loving you even deeper. I try to get out of this but it’s not working.” She said softly in his arms.
Inibehe smiled, a slow, sensual smile.
“Nobody can hurt you or take you away from me anymore. You’re my soulmate.”
He said and began to kiss her lips bit by bit. Her brain stopped functioning. Fantasies, memories, erotic dreams all flooded into her awareness in a rush.
Inibehe knew if he attempted making love to her, she would dissolve. If he didn’t, she would die.
He reached out. The room receded. Lightly, almost reverently, he threaded his fingers in her dreadlocks.
“You’re the love of my life. I am never tired of you.”
Mutely, she stared at him.
The doorbell suddenly rang. The amount of Adrenaline pumping through her body couldn’t possibly be a good visitor.
She stared at Inibehe. .
“Stay here, don’t come out.” she whispered to his ears. But he didn’t care whoever it was.
She walked slowing toward the door, clicked it open and her heart fell, she became confused and totally ashamed.
A throaty chuckle traveled down her spine.
Nduke’s face flushed a deep, dangerous crimson and her chest rose and fell like a neap tide.
“Oh my God!” Nduke squealed. “What a surprise visit!” She added. Inibehe had rose from the seat to pay more attention to who Nduke was talking to.
Smiling her ferocious social smile, she closed the door behind her and was so uncomfortable within herself.
They were the girls from the youths choir, and there were seven of them.
“We’ve come to help you do house chores and some cleaning pastor Nduke.” One of the girls said excitedly.
“Oh my dears, thank you so much. I do not have chores or anything to do now. I did that yesterday. Thanks a lot.” Nduke said, smiling sheepishly.
“We saw pastor’s car parked here. Is he inside?” Another girl asked girlishly.
“Oh no my dear…” Nduke blushed. “He brought it for my mechanic to handle it.” She added.
“Okay pastor, bye bye God bless you.” The Girls said in unison as they prostrated and walked out of the compound.
She inhaled a deep breath and went inside the house.
Inibehe waited at the sitting room for her; smiling. When she saw his face she began to laugh. “I was so damn scared!” she exaggerated.
“I know. I heard from your voice.” Inibehe said and laughed out so loud.
“What if it was Uduak?” Inibehe asked staring at her eyes. She shrugged.
“She doesn’t know here. I don’t wanna talk about her.”
He smiled as if he knew exactly what she meant. He closed the distance between them, stroking the fire of curling desire building low in her belly.
“You’re eating me up alive with that look. Do you know I used to dream about how we got married on the island and our house was built in the middle of a Marathon street in London. And just us lived in this world and no one else.” He said thickly.
She laughed out so loud, excitingly staring at his face. He pulled her blouse up through her head. She smelled of sweat and cologne, of freshly mowed grass and sunscreen lotion. And such a combination was so unbearably stimulating for Inibehe.
“You’re gorgeous my love.” he whispered wondrously. “You’re my everything. And God brought us together for good. You will remain the love of my life.”
The prayer came from his soul, a whispered plea to heavens for help.
He carried her in his arms and walked to the bedroom.
He laid her carefully on the bed and began to kiss her incredibly. The kiss started out as soft as a sigh, as potent as an explosion. Every nerve in her body short circuited. His mouth moved with slow deliberation, tasting, sampling, savoring. The kiss lasted forever, over in the blink of an eye. She parted her lips, staring at him helplessly. He smiled and lowered his mouth to hers once more. He probed the hot, moist cavern of her mouth with his tongue.
He’d been there in her house for hours, making love to her. His phone rang countless times, but he didn’t answer the call.
His sister Sifon called, his father and his wife. When he was done, and he stared directly at the phone, he’d wondered why his father and his sister called almost at the same time.
His expression went from frowning concern to careful neutrality.
Not long after he wore his clothes, a text message got into his phone. “I will be at your office tomorrow, something important to discuss with ya. cheers, baby sister.”
After he read it, he was relieved. It was almost twelve midnight. He clasped his hands in Nduke’s hand and prayed for few minutes. And after the prayers he kissed her and drove home.
When he got to his gate and Faro opened it, he was surprised to see his father’s car parked in the garage. “Faro!” he called out his driver.
“Sa!” Faro ran to where he stood.
“What’s happening in the house. Why is Daddy here?”
“I don’t know sir. He came here since 7pm. I hear as madam dey cry for am, him dey tell am sorry.” Faro said.
Inibehe now had an idea why his father was in his house. He boldly walked into his sitting room and when his father saw him he wouldn’t let him say a word. He walked toward him and gave him a thunderous hard slap on his cheeks.
“Where are you coming from Udo?” He asked with a baritone voice. Inibehe held his cheeks and experienced a quiver of fear.
Uduak was sitting down on the single sofa. She was mute all through the Bishop’s presence.
“I ask you again Udo, where are you coming from? You keep your wife lonely at night and go to God knows where. From today let it stop! We gave you a driver, but you go out alone!” He yelled.
“You married her for me. Take her along with you as you’re going out.” Inibehe said and walked away.
“Udo come back here! Even your elder brother has never walked out on me!”
Inibehe slammed his bedroom door and slept off.
The next day, Uduak would visit her mother and pour out her heart to her.
Author: Vicky Bon Uzor