Ayo sped towards Obalende with Ngozi on his mind. He was just finding out that she was an orphan. He now understood why she got married early. It was a pity that she also became a widow too early. So Chief’s family wanted to make her a communal wife; or why was Ebuka trying to sleep with her earlier on if she was meant to be Chidi’s second wife. He didn’t understand the whole drama. He was even more surprised that their mother agreed to such.
As he got closer to Kevwe’s place, he picked up his phone and called her. He hadn’t called her on his way because he couldn’t tell her he was just leaving home when she would have expected him to be close to her place.
Kevwe picked up on the first ring. “Ayo, wetin be dis nau? Why you no pick up your call since?”
“I’m sorry, Kevwe. I had some issues to attend to.”
“Which kain issue you get for this night when Madam don send me comot for house? I dey outside for corner.”
“I’m sorry Kevwe. Are you alone?”
“Yes nau. Oghogho stay here with me before but when we dey wait and you no pick up your call, she leave me go inside as Onome don call say Madam dey ask where she go.”
Ayo took a deep breath. “I’m almost with you. I’m so sorry, Kevwe.” He said.
“I don hear. I dey wait.”
In five minutes, Ayo reached Kevwe. She had just one travel bag containing all her clothes. He got out of the car, opened the booth and kept the travel bag inside while Kevwe eased into the passenger side. As Ayo eased into the car, he apologized again.
“I’m sorry I kept you waiting.”
“I don hear.” Kevwe replied.
“So how did Tutu hear about this? I’m a bit confused.” Ayo asked.
“I no even know but Madam just dey shout my name this night for room. She wan even bring her boys make dem come beat me if I no leave her house.”
Ayo looked at her with shock. “This your Madam must be wicked. Why didn’t she give you till tomorrow morning knowing that you are pregnant and have nowhere to go to?”
“You think say she dey care. E no be her business oh. Na only her money she dey after. You no fit get boyfriend if you dey with her. And if you do mistake carry belle, your own don finish be that.”
“Hmm….” Ayo grunted as he shook his head.
In a few minutes, they arrived home. Dubem opened the gate and Ayo drove in. Kevwe eased out of the car and looked at Ayo.
“You don tell your madam say I dey come?”
“Yes, I did. I had to explain to her.”
“Okay.” Kevwe said as she walked towards the boys’ quarters.
As Ayo walked behind Kevwe, he looked up towards Ngozi’s room and was shocked to see that she was standing by the window watching them. He stopped momentarily as the blinds in the room closed and the lights went off.
The next morning, Ayo went to the main house to pick the kids for school as usual. Kevwe was still in bed when he left and he decided not to disturb her. She had a rough night and he reckoned she needed all the rest she could get.
He tapped the doorbell and Ngozi opened the door to let him in. She was dressed in a black round neck tee-shirt on a navy blue pair of jeans. She had pulled her hair back into a bun and her face seemed brighter. Ayo smiled as he saw her.
“Good morning Ngozi. Hope you had a restful night.”
“Yes, I did. Thank you.” She replied.
“Are the kids ready?”
“Almost done. I decided to take them myself.”
Ayo looked at her. “Oh really?”
“Yes. You’ve got company and I did not want to feel like I was beginning to be a burden.”
“Oh c’mon. But I am only doing my job.” Ayo shrugged.
Ngozi smiled and for a brief second, it warmed Ayo’s heart.
“Let me do it. Besides, I think I need some fresh air to clear my head.” Ngozi said.
“Mummy, we are ready.” Amara and Amaka walked into the living room interrupting the conversation.
“Okay girls.” Ngozi said as she bent down and gave each one a kiss on the forehead.
“Let me drive you.” Ayo said as he stretched his hand to collect the car keys from Ngozi.
Ngozi took a deep breath. “Okay.” She said as she handed the car keys to Ayo.
Ayo drove Ngozi’s car while Ngozi and
the kids sat behind. The kids chatted all the way as they asked their mum
questions after questions. After the kids were dropped off, Ayo looked back at
Ngozi and asked;
“Is there any other place you want me to take you to?”
“The spa or the office?” Ayo asked.
Ngozi shook her head. “I don’t think I am ready for any. Besides, they are taking over the office soon. I might as well just stay away till the take-over.”
Ayo sighed and turned his face away from her.
“Just take me home.”
Ayo turned back to look at her again. “Are you sure?”
“Yes I am.” Ngozi replied.
As Ayo drove home, he watched Ngozi through the rear-view mirror intermittently. She was in her own world; her eyes on the window by her side as she watched life pass by. In a few minutes, they were home and Ngozi eased out of the car and walked towards the house. Ayo sat in the car watching her for a few minutes. For how long is she going to continue this way? He looked at the time on the dashboard. It was a quarter to 9:00am. He eased out of the car and strolled towards the main house. The door was open and Ayo walked in. He dropped the car keys in the basket on the hanging shelf beside the door.
Ngozi was seated in the couch facing the TV with her head slouched backwards and her eyes closed. He walked towards her and sat beside her.
“Ngozi.” He said as he sighed. “I won’t pretend to understand exactly how you feel. I just want you to know that if you need to talk, I am here. Please don’t bottle up.”
Ngozi was quiet.
“I need to go now.” He said as he touched her on the shoulder.
Ngozi raised her head and looked at him. “Thank you.”
Ayo stood up. He really did not want to leave her alone but Kevwe could wake up anytime and wonder where he was. He walked towards the door and took one last look at Ngozi before stepping out.
When Ayo walked into his bedroom, he met Kevwe awake. She was seated at the edge of the bed.
“Where you dey since?”
“I went to drop the kids at school. Have you been awake for long?”
“No. E no tey wey I wake up. I just dey wonder when I no see you.”
“Okay.” Ayo replied.
“I think say na Chief you dey drive. You dey drive im madam too?”
“No, but she hasn’t been herself since her husband died and the kids need to go to school.” Ayo said as he sat down on the bed.
“Eeya, I pity her sha. Na young woman?”
“Kevwe, we need to start scouting for a room.” Ayo said ignoring her question.
“Na fast fast like that. Your madam don dey complain?”
Ayo took a deep breath. “It is not about my madam, Kevwe. Her husband’s people are moving here soon. I don’t want to wait till they throw me out before I do the needful.”
“Na wa oh. So where we go see fine place like this one nau?”
“Kevwe, we need to be realistic. I am not looking for a place like this.” Ayo said sweeping his hand across the room. “We have a baby on the way and we need to plan. You need to register for ante-natal care, cost of delivery and so on. They all cost money.”
Kevwe looked at him confused. “So wetin you come dey say because I no understand all this your grammar.”
“What I am saying is that we would have to step down. All this here is luxury for now. Don’t forget that as it is I am also jobless. We would have to survive on what I saved up till now pending when I get another job.”
“Ahn…ahn, so because your oga die, everything go just change like that.”
Ayo closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Kevwe was proving difficult and he did not need this right now. He stood up and started walking towards the living room.
“Where you come dey go now?”
“To look for a place for us. I don’t have much time on my hands. I need to be back on time to pick up the kids from school in the afternoon.”
“Ehn, wait make I quick baff nau, make we go look the place together.”
“I’ll wait in the living room. Please make it snappy.”
“Okay. I don hear oh.” Kevwe said as she stood up from the bed.
Kevwe and Ayo visited a number of rooms put up for rent but each one was beyond Ayo’s budget. After about an hour of roaming the streets, Kevwe began to complain that she was tired and hungry. Ayo took her to a buka where they both ordered food and ate before continuing their search. At noon, Ayo told Kevwe they had to call it a day as he had to pick the kids from school. He drove to the government hospital close to the house and got Kevwe registered for her ante-natal visits. In about an hour, they were done at the hospital and they headed home.
As Ayo drove into the compound, he saw Ngozi sitting in Chief’s chair in the garden. Kevwe saw her as well and was shocked.
“Na your madam be that?”
“Yes. That’s her.” Ayo said as he switched off the engine.
“Ayo, your madam na fine young woman like this? See as her skin clear.”
Ayo was silent. He eased out of the car and Kevwe did same.
“Go to the house, I will meet you there.” Ayo said to Kevwe.
Kevwe grunted a response.
“Good afternoon oh.” Kevwe said as she passed by Ngozi.
Ngozi looked up and forced a smile.
Kevwe walked towards the boys quarters while Ayo strolled into the garden.
“How are you doing?” Ayo asked when he got to Ngozi.
“I’m fine. Thank you.” Ngozi replied.
Ayo was quiet for a few seconds as he looked at Ngozi.
“I….I….” Ayo said as he cleared his throat. “We went in search of a place to stay.”
Ngozi looked up at him. “Are you moving out?”
“I will eventually have to. It doesn’t seem like your brother-in-law’s want me here.”
Ngozi looked away and nodded.
“Are you sure you are okay?”
“I will pick the girls at 2:00. Would you like to also go to their school?”
Ngozi took a deep breath and nodded.
Ayo stood uncomfortably. He cleared his throat again.
“Let me check on my girlfriend. I will be back in less than an hour.” He said as he looked at his wrist watch.
Ngozi’s face was still turned away and he contemplated holding her but thought against it. Dubem or Kevwe could be watching and he didn’t want to give anyone of them a wrong impression.
He turned back as he walked towards the boys’ quarters and it took him all his willpower not to look back and see what Ngozi was doing.
Kevwe was seated in the living room shaking her feet when Ayo walked in. She stood up immediately she saw him and hissed.
“So wetin you come dey do with your madam since?” She sneered.
“I don’t understand your question.”
“No be two o’clock you say you wan go carry children, so wetin you dey talk with her? Two o’clock never knack.”
Ayo sighed and ignored her as he walked into the bedroom. Kevwe got angrier and took quick steps behind him.
“Ayo, so my mouth dey smell, abi? No be you I dey talk to?”
Ayo lay on the bed and looked at her. “Kevwe, I don’t need this stress right now.”
Kevwe clapped her hands. “Ehen? So na me dey give you stress now?”
Ayo stood up and held Kevwe by the shoulders. “Kevwe stop this, please. I have enough to deal with already.”
Kevwe struggled to release herself from Ayo’s grip. “Why you say make me I dey go? Wetin you wan say wey you no fit talk for my presence?”
Ayo began to walk towards the living room.
“Where you dey go again? You dey go back go meet her, abi?”
“No, Kevwe. I am going outside so I can have some fresh air since you want to suffocate me in here.”
Kevwe ran after Ayo and held his hand. “Okay, okay, no vex, abeg. I just no like as you say make I dey go and you come go meet am. I no want make anybody snatch my boyfriend.”
Ayo looked back at her. “You are carrying my baby, Kevwe.”
Kevwe sneered. “E no matter.”
Ayo rolled his eyes and dropped his hands. “I give up.”
“I don talk say make you no vex nau.” She said hugging him.
“Oya come siddon here.” Kevwe said pulling him towards the couch.
Ayo allowed her lead him and Kevwe lay down on the couch with her head on Ayo’s laps.
The story continues…