“Have you tried dating men?” Joseph asked quietly as he washed the ingredients. She sighed quietly.
“I have. They ended up hating me because I can’t feel anything for them. The terrible part is that I can’t stand it when they touch me. I freak out.” Her voice was terribly sad as she spiced up the ingredient and put the pot on the cooker.
“You are not born this way, Titi. We both know that. I will look for a good therapist and we will go for the counseling together. What do you think?” He turned to face her.
“I don’t know. I’m scared.” Her shoulders drooped with defeat.
“Baby, there is nothing to be scared of. I won’t allow anything bad to happen to you again. We will go through this together.” He turned her into his embrace and kissed her on both cheeks. She smiled.
‘You and your mum sure know how to dose out hugs and kisses in large amount. Thank you.” She grinned into his face.
“I will let you know how it goes. By the way, hope your new girlfriend had a great time today?” He cocked an eyebrow at her.
“You bet. I gave her multiple orgasms. She was flabbergasted.” She cocked one right back.
“Wow. What did you do?” His voice dropped to a whisper as he turned to stare at her. “Forget it. I can’t believe I’m asking a woman how she is satisfying her fellow woman. Chai.” He shook his head in self-disgust. She roared with laughter.
“I’m a woman. I know what gives me pleasure, where to touch and the amount of pressure to exert. It is quite easy.” She smiled at him.
“Really? You women are complicated and weird creatures. Maybe I should get a notebook and start taking notes.” He nodded to himself.
“Are you still sampling different women? You should be perfecting your skills on only one woman by now, bro.” She chided lightly.
“You can’t change the topic. I still need the tutorship. You never know when it comes handy.” He grinned at her. She elbowed his rib with a scowl.
“You are a terrible flirt. So who is she?” She asked quietly. He was silent as he went about preparing Semo.
“She is a married woman. Though her husband has abandoned her, she is insisting she is bounded by her vows.” He responded after a moment, wrapping the Semo in white nylon.
“Does she have feelings for you? Do you guys have a history together?” She asked curiously.
“It is a long story, Titi.” He put the warmer away with a smile.
“I want to hear. Talk to me while I made the soup so I won’t get nervous and over-salt it.” He laughed at that but he talked and she listened.
“You want to hear my verdict, bro?” She turned off the cooker and lifted the pot lid. Sweet aroma filled the kitchen. His stomach rumbled.
“Go ahead, Judge Titi but hurry up with the serving, I am starving.” He urged. She laughed as she dished the soup.
“Locate that idiot husband of hers and persuade her to serve him a divorce letter. She still gets a feeling for you but she will slide away if you allow her. Get into her space and fan those feelings to life.” She glanced at him.
“Trust your brother. I won’t disappoint.” He grinned.
“Can you please bring the soup before they are completely covered with your saliva? I’m starving.” Naomi called from the sitting room.
“We are coming.” Titilola rolled her eyes skyward as walked out of the kitchen, closely followed by Joseph.
Ifeoma sat down in her office and gazed blindly into space. Silent tears ran down her face. There was a short rap on the door. Before she could answer, the door swung open and Bella walked in, beaming. The smile died at her mother’s somber expression.
“What is wrong, mum?” Bella jumped to her mother’s side, crouching down in front of her.
“I’m alright. How are you, awaiting iyawo?’ She cupped her daughter’s cheek affectionately.
“I’m fine, mum. Tell me what is wrong. You are not alright.” Bella pulled a chair to sit down beside her. She sighed heavily.
“Your father wants a divorce but it is going to be a quiet one. Nothing will disturb your wedding plans.” She hastened to assure her as she looked into her daughter’s face. It tightened visibly.
“He has a son outside wedlock.” She added quietly.
“What the hell!” Bella jumped to her feet in cold anger.
“He swore he didn’t know until recently.” Ifeoma swallowed hard as she stared at the paper on her desk. Bella’s eyes narrowed at her mother’s bent head.
“What else are you not telling me? Please talk to me.” Bella pleaded, watching her mother swallowed hard.
“His son is Olamide’s father. Kayode Coker.” She met her daughter’s gaze squarely. Silence hummed between them.
“This is madness. Aliyah will be devastated.” Bella lowered herself to the chair again.
“Please don’t tell her anything for now. By the way, her father is in jail. A friend just told me this morning. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. No wonder he has been so silent these days.” Ifeoma rubbed her forehead where a headache has started brewing.
“May he rot in jail?” Bella swore ripely. Her mother gave a small smile.
“So what news do you have for me?” Ifeoma tried to cheer up visibly. Bella sighed inwardly.
“I’ve been driving Andrew crazy with the wedding plans. He doesn’t want to hear anything about it again.” She laughed as she brought out a magazine from her handbag.
“Men develop cold feet when it comes to such matter. Have you picked your wedding dress?” Ifeoma smiled as she reached for the magazine.
‘Yes, I have. I swear I’m not changing it again after this time. The last time I was discussing with my mother in law, you need to see how the men disappear one after the other. Joseph’s dad was the first person to stand up with the excuse that he wanted to check something in the bedroom. He didn’t come out again. Joseph went to the kitchen to get a drink and never came back. Andrew went to check on him and the kitchen turned silent.” She tried to pout, even as laughter shook her frame. Ifeoma joined her.
“Poor men! I don’t blame them. You are a handful, Bella. Which is it? Is it this one?’ Ifeoma pointed at the white simple, elegant gown she circled.
“Yes. I have even ordered it. What do you think, mum?” She looked at her mother anxiously.
“It is very beautiful but it is quite expensive. Do you think your father will pay that much for a wedding gown when there are other expenses on the ground?” Ifeoma kept staring at the gown, wishing she could rewind the past.
“Joseph’s Dad is paying for it.” She beamed at her mother.
“That is settled then. We really need to go shopping for our wedding attire. When are we doing that?” Ifeoma grinned back.
“We will decide and let you know. Don’t worry, mum. Everything will be fine.” Bella moved to hug her mother.
“Thank you, dear. I am happy for you. You deserve the best.” Ifeoma held her tight.
“It is good to see the beautiful faces of my family in one sitting.” Afolake rubbed her hands together gleefully as she looked down the long table. They were in her large dining room which could easily seat fifty guests comfortably.
Olayemi was seated beside his mother, his face deprived of any expression. Naomi was beside him while Patricia sat directly opposite her. If looks could kill, Naomi knew she would have dropped dead the moment she walked into the Coker’s premises. There was a small smile on her face.
Joseph and Titilola sat beside each other while Kayode sat opposite them, beside his mother. He seemed preoccupied with his phone but Titilola knew he was nervous and tensed by the way he was slumped forward.
Joseph couldn’t forget the shocked look on his half-brother’s face when he saw him got down from the car. He looked like someone who just met a ghost. It confirmed the fact that he was guilty as charged.
‘Grandma, let’s get this over with. We have other important things to attend to.’ Kayode said with a briskness which belied his nervousness.
‘I will get to it, grandson.’ The emphasis on the title didn’t go unnoticed and his heart picked up speed.
Does she know? The old bat is definitely enjoying this, Kayode thought bitterly as he shot an angry glance at his mother.
Drinks and small chops were passed around but no one touched it.
Afolake cleared her voice and the expression on her face hardened immediately.
‘Patricia, I loved you like my daughter. Your mother was my best friend before she died. I ask for your hand in marriage on behalf of my only son. You know I detest deceit with every fiber of my being. I want to know why you don’t want Kayode to marry Aliyah Awodele.’ She stated quietly, holding her gaze.
Patricia paled visibly and her legs trembled as she opened her mouth. No words came out.
‘Mum, what is this?’ Olayemi gave his mother a puzzled glance before looking at his ex-wife. ‘Pat, is everything okay between you and mum?’
‘Olayemi, Shut up your mouth and listen to what she has to say. I’m all ears, Pat dear.’ She gave her a sweet smile that didn’t match the hostility in her eyes.
Patricia went on her knees as tears welled up in her eyes and cascaded down her face. She held up her hands in a plea.
‘Mama, please forgive me. I beg you in the name of God to forgive me.’ She began in a low voice.
‘What are you begging for, pat? I want to know why Kayode cannot marry his baby mama. Olamide is a sweet child who needs his parent around him.’ She added sweetly, raising her eyebrow.
Patricia sighed heavily. Her doom-day has come. She should have spoken to Salmon before voicing her disapproval. Afterall, Aliyah is not even Salmon’s biological daughter which means she is not related to Kayode by blood but it is already too late.
‘I thought both of them belong to the same father.’ She murmured in a small voice but it was like shouting in the suddenly silent room. Kayode covered his face with a groan.
‘What do you mean by that statement? Titi is my only daughter.’ Olayemi glanced at her with a confused expression while she rolled her eyes at her father’s naivety. His mother sent him a withering look.
‘Which father is that, Pat?’ Afolake asked primly. She swallowed hard.
‘Salmon Awodele.’ She bowed her head in shame.
‘What!’ Naomi and Olayemi stated simultaneously.
‘Are you saying Kayode is not my biological son? You foisted him on me?’ Olayemi asked in disbelieve and shock as he surged to his feet.
A niggling memory appeared at the back of his mind. She was a childhood friend because their families were friends but they have never been close or even dated as adolescents. When his mother decided she should be his bride years after Naomi’s supposed death, he didn’t give a damn. The wedding preparation started in earnest. He flew home two weeks to the wedding and they went out on a date a week to the wedding date to get to know each other. He couldn’t remember much of what happened when they return from their dinner date that evening but he remembered waking up the following morning to find her in his bed. Both of them were naked.
‘That means nothing happened between us that night, right?’ He asked slowly. She shook her head in the negative.
‘I spiked your drink with the help of your sister. She thought she was helping us get together. I wanted to cover my ass in case of anything.’ She confessed, feeling as if a burden has been lifted off her.
‘Mum, if Ronke is not already dead, I would have killed her with my bare hand all over again.’ He gritted his teeth as he glowered at his mother.
‘I know, son. I’m sorry. Do forgive her so her troubled spirit can rest in peace.’ Afolake placed her hand on his shoulder.
‘She can rest in hell for all I care. Damn it! She ruined my life.’ He hissed viscously as he paced like a caged animal.
‘I’m disappointed in you, girl. I hope you have told your bastard who his real father is?’ Afolake asked coldly as she turned back to her.
‘Grandma!’ Joseph glowered at his grandmother angrily. Kayode got to his feet abruptly and stared coldly at her.
‘If those thugs have succeeded in killing you, you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to sit down there and be protesting.’ Afolake glared at him.
‘What are you talking about?’ Patricia asked in a whisper as she got to her feet. Can it get worse? She wondered in despair as she stared at their faces.
‘Don’t tell me you are not aware of Kayode’s plot to kill Joseph. He escaped death by a hair’s breath. If not for Joseph and Naomi, he would have been cooling his feet in jail by now for attempted murder. I don’t give a damn if he is mine biologically or not.’ Olayemi told her coldly.
‘What proof do you have against me?’ Kayode bluffed he hide his shaking hands in his pockets.
‘You want proves, right? Are you sure? I can air the video right here in this room and you won’t leave until the police arrive to take you away.’ He stared hard at him until the younger man dropped his gaze in shame and humiliation.
‘Bastard. Ti ile ba n toro, omo ale ibe o ti dagba ni(The household will live in peace until the bastard is well grown to cause havoc.) Hope you know both of you no longer have any right to the Coker’s dynasty? As a matter of fact, I want you to leave right away and never come back.’ Afolake rose to her height as she ordered them out.
‘Can we go in to pack our belongings?’ Patricia asked tentatively, ignoring her son who was glowering at her.
‘What do you want to pack? What source of income do you have? Didn’t you buy everything you own with the Coker’s money?’ The old woman glared at her.
‘Mama, that is not fair. Give them a few hours or even a day to get their stuff together. Please!’ Naomi pleaded with her mother in law. She knew she could be very ruthless from firsthand experience. Patricia gave her a look of undisguised gratitude.
‘Grandma, please give them a few days to move out. That is Titi’s mum and brother that you are sending out. It is not fair to her.’ Joseph tried not to wince when Titilola stepped forcefully on his toes beneath the table.
‘I promise you I will get you for that. Wicked soul.’ He stated from a corner of his mouth. Titilola coughed slightly as she tried to hide her smile. She didn’t meet either her mother or brother’s face. There is no love lost between them.
Afolake pouted her lips dramatically. Kayode maintained a defiance stance by the doorway and tried to maintain a bored indifference expression but anyone who knew him well the way Titilola did knew the way his throat was working up and down, he was terrified, miserable and furious. Patricia stood with her eyes downcast, tears running silently down her face. Her knees were locked together to prevent them from trembling and betraying her. She felt as if a hole should materialize before her and swallowed her whole.
That serves you right, bastard, Titilola thought gleefully as she lowered her eyelashes.
‘I give you 48 hours to get out of the Coker’s premises and out of our life. You can go with your personal cars and clothing but nothing else.’ She paused as she looked from mother to son and back again. ‘Nothing bad should happen to any member of this family. If anything happens to anyone here either by accident or not, I will hunt both of you down and make sure you spend the rest of your lives in jail.’ She raked them with a cold glance.
‘Kayode, tell the rest of your hired hooligans, Congratulations for me. Next time, they won’t go scot-free. Now get out.’ Olayemi’s cold voice jolted them and cut deeper than his mother’s obvious menacing one.
Kayode strolled out, closely followed by his mother at a slower pace.
It has been quite a while. Kindly drop your comments.