HOUSE ON THE ROCK
EPISODE 7 – What Lies Beneath
My Den of Secrets
Posted by FemmeFaçade in My Life on July 31, 2012
I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why my school holds its seniors’ graduation ceremony a term after the seniors actually graduate. Oh well, I guess it just gives me an entire summer to shop for the perfect dress, shoes, bag and accessories. I finally get to leave this school and its murky walls; it’s weird now, because I’m fairly certain I will need to leave my seat every 15 minutes to the bathroom. I’m grateful the nausea hasn’t kicked in yet, summer’s almost over.
I finally got the courage to tell him the yesterday when he came into my room. It felt a lot sweeter when he kissed me, but I got really sick to my stomach, when the TrueLine pack, at the bottom of my bin, caught my eye. He got really cold at first, demanding I show him the test, then pulled me into a hug and cried into my braids. It is amazing how two lines can flip everything you knew as life, upside down…
… All I could think of was “Shit, Mummy will kill me.”
He’s been a myriad of emotions since then; it’s almost irritating. He needs to stop acting like a worried woman, urgh! I’m the one carrying the baby, not him.*sigh* I guess he has every reason to freak out, his future is probably about to fall apart. He’s going to Harvard med school soon and everybody carries him on their heads like an egg. Mr. McSmarty Pants.
I passed by a HUGE baby store on my way to Café 24 today; and I could have sworn it was never there before! I like totally go through the same route every time I go there with Mummy’s friends’ kids (who suck really). This is so weird, but I feel a little warm inside.
Is it too early to feel my baby kicking?
Jide sat up in bed, welcoming the thoughts he’d discarded the moment he inhaled her intoxicating perfume. He glanced at the woman, and then returned to drink in her figure clad in sheer nude lingerie, peeking through her black nightdress. One look at the child-like peace on her face, which age hadn’t won over, drew out a calm sigh from amidst his riotous thoughts. He smiled; she was always able to make him smile without trying. Over the years, he had come to love this woman, even though he’d only indulged in the affair to spite his best friend initially. She’d become much more than the occasional romp in bed – a close friend and confidant – and he’d come to value her opinions and advice especially as she was yet to steer him wrong. Now, he was in trouble again and needed her help. Thinking about everything she’d been though in the past couple of days, he couldn’t bear to wake her, but it had to be done.
He called her name gently a couple of times, but no reply came. So he shoved her repeatedly until she stirred and then resumed his sitting position, making sure to look lost in thought.
Mosun roused and her face registered confusion at first, and finally deep concern when she completely woke to find Jide up and sitting in bed, a worried expression on his face. A quick glimpse at the bedside clock told her it was nowhere near time for idle bed-chat; something was up. She gathered her clothing around her and placed a tender hand on her lover’s back.
“Jide dear, is everything okay?”
Her sudden touch made Jide jump a little and a frown spread across his face. “Oh, Mosun, I hope I didn’t wake you?”
“Not at all, sweetie…” She rubbed his back gently “…, But why are you up at two in the morning, looking like you are caught in a mouse trap? Is everything alright?”
Sighing, Jide pulled her closer “Wo, it’s nothing, my dear. I’ll be fine. You should go back to bed.”
“You can’t be serious.” Mosun interjected “All you’ve done is take care of me for years now. The least I can do is to listen to what’s on your mind.”
“I really don’t want to worry you.”
“Tell me jo, Jide.”
“Fine, Fine” sighing again, he rubbed his temples “I think I might be in a bit of trouble with the EFCC.”
“EFCC ke?” Mosun bolted upright “What happened?!”
“I’m not entirely sure, but it might have something to do with the bribe I’ve been giving customs officials to clear some of my goods.”
“That’s all?” Mosun laughed “I honestly don’t understand this country anymore. Don’t they have better things to do with their resources?”
“This is serious, Mosun. My career and reputation are at stake. I don’t know what to do.”
Mosun was quiet for a while “Have you spoken to Chief?”
“No, I wasn’t able to see him again. Couldn’t bear to be away from you a second longer.”
Giggling, Mosun placed her head on his chest “He’ll know what to do. Just talk to him about it. But be careful. This whole Sola matter is making all of us act crazy a little. Maybe after the funeral. OK? Meanwhile, get some rest; everything will be fine.”
Jide smiled down at her “How is it that you manage to make me believe you every time you say that?”
Mosun smiled back “Because when I say it…” she nibbled on his earlobe “… I’m never wrong.”
Jide spun around and caught her bottom lip between his teeth, his hands gently lowering her back unto the bed.
After an afternoon out shopping with Kareem, Bisola was just returning home and opened the front door when Yinka ran into her. He was moving so fast, he almost knocked her over when they collided. “Ah ahn, Yinka!” she exclaimed, rubbing her shoulder, where he had hit her “Who is chasing you?”
“Sorry.” Yinka, who had already gotten to the bottom of the stairs and was already heading to his car, called back at her “Gotta go take care of something really important. Be back in a bit.”
Shaking her head, Bisola headed in to the house, up the stairs and to her bedroom. Once her door was locked behind her, she stripped herself of her clothes, flopped down on her bed, and turned on her laptop. Not long after her internet is up, she received a Skype call.
“AMBER!!!!” She squealed when her friend’s face came up on her screen.
Amber laughed and rolled her eyes “The way you’re screaming, someone will think something incredible is happening right now.”
“Ah! But you’re calling me love; that is something incredible! I mean, how long has been since our last conversation? What, six months? You abandoned me now.”
“Hmmnn, Bisi stop exaggerating. It hasn’t been that long, I’m sure.”
“I’m sure it has, but don’t worry. I can’t blame you. When I get married, me too I’ll cut off all my single friends.”
Amber burst into a fit of laughter “You are truly unwell, Bisola; and why are you naked?”
“I’m just saying, oh! And if you can’t be comfortably naked in your own house, then it isn’t your house.” She grinned and stretched languidly on her bed. “So, tell me. How are things for a newlywed in Paris?”
Amber blushed crimson at the question “Things are great, Bisi. I honestly can’t think of a time I’ve been happier than I am right now; and Paris is beautiful, you’d love it here.”
“You know, I’ve actually been thinking about that; I’m glad you brought it up.”
“Oh? You’re thinking about coming over?”
“Uh huh, I’m thinking sometime after my sister’s funeral, I need a break.”
At the mention of Sola’s funeral, Amber’s face fell. “I actually heard about that. It’s even why I needed to call. I’m so sorry, sweetie.”
“Thanks dear. I’m trying not to let it destroy me too so please don’t dwell on it. But I just need a pick-me-up trip, you know? And I have a feeling some pre-wedding shopping in Paris might do the trick.”
“Pre-wedding, huh? I take it things are going well with Kareem then?”
“They are, Amber! Honestly. He even came to Nigeria for Sola’s funeral and I actually just got back from seeing him.”
When Bisola spoke about Kareem, her eyes lit up and she couldn’t stop smiling. Amber could see how truly happy she was as she prattled on about wedding plans and a future with this man
“Amber…” Bisola lowered her voice “… I’m getting a re-virgination surgery.”
“A what, biko?” Amber asked, incredulity etched on every face muscle.
“Amber, think about for a second” Bisola grinned, watching her information unravel on Amber’s face.
“Yeaahh, because he’s… and you’re… and you guys are… Wow! You really are into this Kareem guy.” Amber said, her voice slowly losing its enthusiasm.
“I am! He is so sweet and lovely and he’s in Lagos!” Bisola giggled.
“B, I have to tell you something.”
Bisola stopped mid-animation and stared at her friend on the screen “What is it?”
“It’s about Kareem.” Amber’s tone was taut as she stared right at Bisola “When we were in school in London, we got really faded one night and dude started telling me some stuff. NO!” She laughed as Bisola started glaring at her “Not stuff like that, silly. I mean deep stuff, about his background and all.”
Bisola sat up on her bed, lost “Um, okay. Is that why you’re squeezing your face? He’s told me about his background m…”
“Just listen.” Amber interjected, rolling her eyes. “Kareem told me he had a wife and a daughter back in Abu Dhabi. I never really gave it much thought then because you guys were just starting out, you know? But I heard through the grapevine a couple of weeks back that he actually just left his wife and daughter.” She paused, waiting for Bisola to react. When no reaction came, she continued “I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing. I’m just saying this guy kept this marriage a secret for years. So, before you go ahead with this your virginity surgery and get swept away by fantasies of a happily ever after, take some time to think about how well you really know, or don’t know this guy. Especially with everything happening with your family right now.”
“Okay, Ambs, I’ll think about it. Now quit looking like you’re my mom and I’m about to have sex for the first time!” They burst out into fits of giggles.
It had been days since Nwando had last heard from Chief, and she was getting worried. He’d asked for a little time to come through on the rest of her request, and waiting was killing her slowly. She’d begun to question herself, and her judgment, wondering whether she’d allowed her soft spot for him get the best of her thereby allowing the chief to escape. Sighing, she shook her head as if trying to shake out the negative thoughts, turned off the shower and stepped out of the tub. The money will come. Good things come to those who wait abi? Nausea clouded her thoughts and she rushed to the toilet bowl just in time to avoid spilling the contents of her stomach all over the bathroom floor.
As she rinsed her face off, she heard her phone ring in the next room and she rushed to get it, thinking it was her boyfriend. On picking the phone up, the word ‘Chief’ flashing on the screen sent a wave of joy shooting through her. Clearing her throat, she pressed the green button and held the phone to her ear “Hello, Chief.” She half-whispered into the mouthpiece.
The Chief’s voice curt “I’ve paid twenty million naira into the account you gave me. That should be enough to get you to Canada. When you are there, contact me and I will send another twenty million.”
Nwando tried hard to restrain the excitement in her voice. “Thank you, Chief.”
“Don’t thank me, Nwando. Just remember to keep your dirty mouth shut, whore.” The line went dead.
Nwando knew he was being cruel on purpose, but she was beyond elated as the prospect of a new life, far away from her distorted past, with the life inside her and the man she loved. She hummed a song-less tune and skipped to her closet.
Chidera pulled up opposite the school gate and parked under the ample shade of one of the shorter trees there, the leaves making his car a little less conspicuous. Unable to get the scheduled post off his mind, he’d been visiting school frequently in order to find something that could help him figure out what Sola’s blog password could be. Besides that, he was growing increasingly concerned about his constant presence on school premises. The inspector is definitely getting suspicious, he’d thought to himself on several occasions when they’d bumped into each other, all the more reason to get what needs to be done over with soon. Backing out was no longer an option. Even now, he could see a police car parked outside the gate of the compound.
It just sucked that being around school reminded him about Sola all the time. There were memories at almost every corner he turned, and even now, parked opposite the school, he could see a younger version of himself and Sola walking out of the gate and down the road, deeply engaged in one of their more serious conversations.
“I honestly don’t know how you manage with it all.” Chidera took Sola’s hand in his as they walked down the road. “And please don’t start with the whole people-have-it-worse bit today.”
Sola smiled at the ground and kicked a stone “Writing helps. I get a lot off my chest that way.”
“Babe, writing’s not enough. Someone needs to do something… soon, before things really get out of hand.” His voice was stern, concerned.
Sola squeezed his hand and looked up at him, a little smile tugged at her lips “Someone will, Chi; and if no one does, I have a failsafe in place.”
“You have it all under control, yeah?” he smirked
“Pretty much” she returned, her cocky, I’ve-got-this grin claiming its rightful place. They unclasped hands as quickly as she heard Yinka call out to her from the rear end of the parking lot.
Some sort of commotion coming from the school compound abruptly dragged Chidera out of his thoughts. He looked up to see a group of unfamiliar police men dragging a protestant cleaner in handcuffs through the school gate. In a matter of seconds, Chidera was out of his car and closer to the scene. He asked one of the security men what’s going on.
“Bros,” the security man slurred “Police come carry Mr. David kill o. Say im sabi wetin happen to that your friend wey die.”
Infuriated, Chidera marched up to the police car as they were shoving the cleaner in “Hey! What are you doing?”
Inspector Tunji, domineering in stature, and with absolutely no comprehension of the words ‘patience’ and ‘understanding’, stepped up to Chidera and growled at him “Oloshi buruku, this is a police matter. Leave here before I slap your eyes out of your head!”
“Why are you arresting that man?!” Chidera protested
“I said get away, nonsense and ingredient!” With that, Tunji shoved him so hard he slipped and fell, got in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, slammed the door and drove off, leaving Chidera sitting on the side of the road confused and unbalanced.
He rose, dusted off the dirt that clung to his jeans after the fall and headed towards the hallway. And it hit him like a rush of wind; he knew what the password was! He could see her face contorting in mock disappointment at him that it had taken so long.
“You’re wrong, stupid, that’s not even close to it.” She’d have said and he’d have locked her in a stare until the laughter spilled out of her lips, and confirmed he was right.
This would be his last visit to school after all. He swiveled around and headed for his car. It was time to know.
HOUSE ON THE ROCK
Next Week: False Foundations
You can read all episodes of HOUSE ON THE ROCK HERE