Story: Brides At War Season 1

    Episode One

    The hall was decked with roses; embellished with ribbons and balloons. The DJ did not fail in his duties as he played current hit tracks and set the mood for a romantic wedding reception.
    People graced the hall that had been prepared for the wedding; those that were invited and those that weren’t. Young men that had come to flirt; young women that had come to check potential husbands out.
    Shayera was getting married to the love of her life Yahaya; they had dated from secondary school till through their university days and now they both danced arm in arm as man and wife.
    ‘I can’t believe these two are finally getting married after such a long time’ Melody whispered to her friend Jane as they took their seats in the enormous hall.
    ‘Well, patience is a virtue. I courted my husband for just two years so it really doesn’t have to be so long before it is perfect’ Jane replied.
    They were four friends, Shayera, Jane, Melody, and Oluwadara (who was the signature latecomer).
    ‘I am glad it worked out for them, I welcome them to the world of marriage officially’ Melody raised a glass of cherry wine to her lips.
    ‘Yea’ Jane murmured.
    ‘Hello ladies, how do I look?’ Dara rushed into the hall in a tight skimpy dress that brought out all her curves.
    ‘Oh my God, this is indecent for a lady of your age! Why would you wear something like this?’ Jane stared at her friend horrified.
    ‘Really? Is this all I get after spending hours in front of the mirror? What do you think Melody?’ Dara rolled her eyes and settled into a seat.
    ‘It is inappropriate, it may send the wrong signal’ Melody glanced round the hall, some men were already ogling her friend.
    ‘Well, all men cheat. It’s not as if dressing decently would stop them from looking outside’ she hissed and poured herself some wine.
    ‘Liar. The fact that your marriage with Edward isn’t working doesn’t mean that those of us who dress decently will end up that way’ Jane chipped in.
    She was the religious one of the four. Words like “God forbid”, “God bless you”, “By God’s grace” were part of her vocabulary. She used the words every day and in all situations.
    ‘Are we really doing this? Today is Shayera’s wedding, we should be happy and not arguing over nonsense’ Melody reminded them why they had gathered.
    ‘No, I can handle her. She thinks she is better than us. Being religious will not save Wale from cheating on you; he may pretend to be all nice and caring towards you and Angela but trust me, it is only a matter of time. All men are cheats. Thank you’ Dara sighed and gulped her wine.
    ‘God forbid! How can you say something so callous? My husband would never cheat on me’ Jane spat out angrily.
    ‘If I can be this hot and Edward still cheat, I have a feeling Wale is really screwing them girls’ Dara looked her friend over.
    Jane avoided make-up like it was some kind of plague; she preferred to wear her hair natural or plait it with thread. She didn’t wear trousers or skimpy clothes, just normal length skirts, gathers or Ankara. She believed in herself, trusted her husband who loved her and their daughter Angela, completely.
    ‘Hey Dara, don’t be so immersed in your situation; nobody forced you to marry Edward; you chose him, so live with that. My husband Jerry isn’t a cheat, I can swear for him anytime any day. So just stop with the generalization’ Melody added.
    ‘Exactly! Stop it. Not all men are cheats’ Jane concurred and felt happy Melody had joined her side of the argument.
    ‘Alright, I am sorry. Let’s focus on the wedding’ Dara shrugged. Maybe her friends were right; maybe she had given up on love because her marriage wasn’t working.
    She had met Edward at a wedding party like this. They had an attraction and got married a year later. Everything changed when they got married, right from the wedding night. She only stayed in the marriage because her family wasn’t ready to accept divorce, but she knew deep down that she was a very unhappy woman.
    Edward had no regard for her; he chased after everything in skirts and she was done trusting and believing in him. She had lost faith in all men and was convinced that regardless of what her friends said in defense of their husbands, the men were all cheating.
    ‘Stand up guys, let us capture this moment. See how beautiful she looks’ Jane was the first to rise as the couple danced in.
    ‘Oh my God! She looks so adorable’ Melody fetched her camera and took snapshots of her friend Shayera.
    ‘I wonder how long this would last’ Dara muttered to herself then joined the others in clapping and ushering in the latest couple in town.
    The men sat on a table far away from their wives; they were having their own “men” time.
    ‘Why do you two always show up late?’ Wale stared at Edward who had just walked into the hall with his wife Dara, minutes before the couple danced in.
    ‘Because she likes to spend eternity looking at the mirror’ Edward replied.
    ‘That’s women for you, Melody does same but I don’t bother because she has her own car to transport herself anywhere’ Jerry said.
    ‘Good for you both. Though my wife has a car, I prefer we ride in the same car to avoid temptation’ Wale added. Just like his wife Jane, he was religious.
    ‘Really? It’s not as if she wears make up or dresses well’ Edward winked. They all knew the religious Jane and her husband.
    ‘I will pretend I didn’t just hear you insult my wife’s choice of dressing but I am saying the fact here. Look at this scenario’ he gestured with his hands.
    ‘Yea?’ Jerry and Edwards chorused.
    ‘You are a handsome looking man driving in a car alone and you see this beautiful young woman who asks for a lift. If you decide to pick her, that is trouble. I don’t ever want to cheat on my wife Jane, I love her too much, so I do all it takes to avoid cheating’ he explained.
    ‘Guy, e don do, why must you always act the saint. Cheating isn’t bad, men are polygamous by nature’ Edward snorted.
    He loved his wife Dara, although she didn’t believe it. He loved her, just that he couldn’t have sex with one woman for the rest of his life.
    ‘That’s a lame thing to say, I am not polygamous by nature’ Jerry opposed.
    ‘Same with me’ Wale raised his hand.
    ‘So I am the devil huh? You know what? Let’s talk about something else since you all want to play nice. I can’t imagine eating fried rice all my life’ he scoffed.
    ‘Whatever. What do you know about Shayera’s husband?’ Wale inquired. Edward seemed to have information about everything.
    ‘Well, I don’t know Yahaya much but I think he is a good guy, too good for her’ he bit his lip.
    ‘Too good for her? What do you mean?’ Jerry raised a brow.
    ‘Sorry I said that it was a blunder’ he winked and drew a deep breath.

    Episode Two

    ‘Too good for her? What do you mean?’ Jerry raised a brow.
    ‘Sorry I said that it was a blunder’ he winked and drew a deep breath.
    ‘So, where are going for our honeymoon?’ Shayera stepped out of the bathroom and joined her husband on the bed.
    ‘The Bahamas, I have made arrangements for that, I know you’ll like it very much’ he replied and pulled his bride towards the bed.
    ‘You’re so beautiful my love’ he caressed her face with his hands.
    ‘Thank you’ she smiled while avoiding his penetrating gaze.
    Shayera was a pretty Fulani woman; she was blessed with a fair complexion; long legs which made her very sexy; average hips and firm and rounded breasts. She had the face of an angel, a straight nose that stood out on her face; her light brown eyes which were heavily lidded with lashes and thin lips. She was the most beautiful of her group of four friends.
    ‘I am happy we are married, we are free to have sex with each other now’ Yahaya winked.
    He had fallen in love with Shayera when they were in Secondary school; his parents had objected to the relationship because she was not from a high-class family like his.’ They wanted him, as the son of a billionaire, to marry a wealthy man’s daughter but he objected because love never considered class.
    He loved Shayera with all of his heart and had stood by her wishes. He had respected her values and norms as a good Muslim woman.
    She had told him from the beginning that she wouldn’t engage in pre-marital sex; it was difficult for him at first but by the grace of God, Insha Allah, he was able to keep himself for her.
    ‘I love you my husband’ she pressed a soft kiss on his lips. Yahaya was a handsome man, tall and well built. His complexion was tanned; his beard was trimmed and he always smelt nice.
    Yahaya had a good heart and she knew she was the luckiest woman in the world to have him; to be his wife.
    He returned the kiss; drew her soft lips into her mouth and sucked it carefully, afraid he may hurt her. His hands went to her head and untied the turban that covered her long black hair that fell to her waist, she had very good hair and he was blessed to be the only man that would ever see that.
    A soft moan escaped her lips as his hands caressed her head. She liked the feel of it. She loved the way he touched her.
    He couldn’t wait to quench all the pent-up desires in him; he had not been with any woman until this moment; he had saved himself for her and it was time to have his reward.
    He broke the kiss and stared into her beautiful eyes. They glowed with passion and desire for him. His heart raced as he looked into her eyes, the eyes of the woman that he loved.
    ‘I want to make love to you my wife, my Amaria’ he winked and parted her bathrobe. Her brilliant firm breasts fell out and he cupped them with his hands.
    ‘I want to make love to you too’ she replied and peeled the robe off  her.
    He caressed the tips of her breasts and drew her naked body closer to him; he engaged her lips in another kiss, she didn’t resist him. She let him take full control of her body.
    ‘Stop’ she jerked away from him as things were getting heated, just as his hands cupped her firm buttocks.
    ‘What is it? Did I do something wrong?’ He wondered.
    ‘I…I think my period has just started’ she stuttered then rushed into the bathroom.
    ‘Oh no! Alright, go wash, we’ll just cuddle and sleep’ he fell back on the bed exhilarated. He felt very disappointed at what had just happened.
    ‘Well, you are my wife now, there is no need to rush. We will be together forever’ that was his consolation as he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep after such a tiring day.

    ‘Why are you ignoring me? You have been quiet since we returned from Shayera’s wedding’ Edward watched his wife’s face.
    Dara hardly got depressed nor stayed angry for too long, unless he cheated on her. He had not cheated for a week now, so her behavior was not ordinary. As she laid silent next to him, he went through the day’s event to see if he had said anything to piss her off.
    He knew just how sensitive women could be because he had spent time with a lot of them; he had spent time with skinny girls and they hated the word “toothpick”; he had spent time with fat girls and they hated the word “fat”; he knew that for dark skinned girls, the favorite word was “melanin popping”
    ‘Talk to me baby, what is it?’ He moved closer to her.
    They had been married for ten years now but their union wasn’t blessed with a child yet. He loved Dara very much, even though his family didn’t like her; they persuaded him to send her out of his house and marry another who will bare him a son. He had chosen to stick with Dara; only a woman like her could tolerate his cheating habits.
    ‘What do you want me to say?’ Dara shifted far away from him. The sight of her husband irritated her that night as she remembered the conversation she had with her friends.
    ‘You’re beautiful when you are angry, you know that? Anger fuels my desire, baby’ he deliberately played seductively.
    Oluwadara was a pretty but short woman; he didn’t mind the height though, he was tall enough for both of them and for their kids. She was short and plump with very rounded and firm hips which were her greatest assets. She was dark skinned, and her bright looking eyes were her most arresting facial features.
    He loved that she was confident, smart and intelligent. Dara had her own business and had made a name for herself in the perfume industry. Although he came from a very wealthy family, she didn’t depend on his wealth; she worked hard and made something for herself and that was what he admired most in a woman.
    ‘This marriage isn’t working. You cheat on me and I have become an object of mockery among my friends. We had an argument about cheating men today, I just realized my marriage is the worst of them all’ she hissed angrily.
    ‘Baby, you know I love you.The fact that I sleep with other women doesn’t mean I love them. I am a man and I have needs and fantasies that you cannot fulfill. You should really be thankful’ he paused as she interrupted him.
    ‘You’re such a mean person! What exactly should I be thankful for?’ Tears welled up in her eyes.
    ‘That I am honest and not cheating behind your back; and I always wear condoms. I love you that much’ he replied.
    ‘I can’t believe I married you. You are a joke. I hate you so much’ she cried and rose to her feet.
    ‘Dara, please don’t leave, don’t leave the room’ he jumped and followed her.He knew her friends must have said something to piss her off; he hated it when she cried but he couldn’t help himself.
    ‘Alright, tell me the truth, don’t I satisfy you in bed? Am I not good enough? Why do you keep hurting me?’ She stopped and faced him.

    Episode Three

    ‘Alright, tell me the truth, don’t I satisfy you in bed? Am I not good enough? Why do you keep hurting me?’ She stopped and faced him.
    ‘You are special to me, sex with other women doesn’t mean you are any less. Sometimes, you are too busy for me; sometimes you are menstruating or having a splitting headache. Other times, you bluntly refuse me sex when we argue. What am I supposed to do when I find myself in such situations? Masturbate? Honey, I am not gay and I don’t plan to become one’ he replied.
    ‘You are supposed to control yourself like I do when you aren’t there for me. I don’t just go sleeping around. Tell me, how would you feel if I cheated on you? If I picked a younger man and fucked him so good? Be honest’ she swallowed. She was really considering that option; maybe then, he would understand the pain she dealt with.
    His jaw clenched as he imagined another man having sex with his wife. There was only one thing that came to mind.
    ‘I’ll kill him’ he replied coolly. His handsome face had changed as he stared at Dara, was she planning to cheat?
    He trusted her completely; he had been the one to deflower her after their marriage; he knew she loved him and would never cheat on him.
    ‘Good answer. Two can play that game’ she winked. She would make him pay for hurting her all these years.
    ‘You better don’t do anything stupid’ he dragged her roughly towards him.
    ‘Get your stupid hands off me. I have endured you long enough, it’s time for me to go have some fun’ she hissed and struggled.
    He suddenly felt the urge to make love to her; he would love her till she cried out his name and remembered that there wasn’t any other man for her but him.
    He stared at her delicious lips, he was about to plant a kiss on them when the doorbell rang.
    ‘You’re such a selfish person’ she yanked away from him.
    ‘I am coming back for you’ he winked.
    ‘Did you invite your friends over?’ He asked.
    ‘No, I am not expecting anyone’ she shook her head.
    He shrugged and left the door; as he opened it, he froze.
    ‘Good evening mother’ he was surprised to see her.
    ‘Edward my son, I have come with good news’ she pushed a young looking girl with a protruded belly forward.
    ‘Good evening sir’ she bent her knee.
    ‘What is this?’ He ignored the girl and stared at his mother.
    ‘Are you asking me? When you made love to her, what were you thinking? This is the result, we should celebrate’ she pushed her way past him.
    ‘Yes darling husband, we should’ the young girl stepped into the house.
    ‘I am finished’ he exhaled.

    Wale tossed and turned uncomfortably on the bed; the day had been a little stressful but they had enough time to rest. His mind wandered to what he had discussed with his friends earlier and he decided that he would stick to the vow he had made to God.
    His wife Jane wasn’t making it easy for him but he would stick to her.
    ‘Baby’ he tapped her lightly. He had read their only child Angela a bedtime story and he was sure she was asleep.
    ‘Yes?’ She yawned and dropped the book she had been reading.
    ‘I miss your touch’ he winked and ran his hands on her neck.
    ‘Thank you’ she replied then sat up. She tied her scarf carefully on her head and fetched the book she had been reading. It was a very inspiring and motivational read.
    ‘Did you hear me?’ Wale asked. Was she that clueless? They had not had sex for three weeks now and he felt the need to ask for it. Normally he wouldn’t bother her but that night, he had the urge to make love.
    ‘I heard you my husband but I am not in the mood. Besides, you can see that I am reading a very important book. We should concern ourselves with the things of the spirit’ she grumbled. Wale was disturbing her reading.
    ‘Well, we will just have a quickie and then you go back to reading, huh?’ He eyed her.
    ‘I am not in the mood. That reminds me, are you getting ready for the fifty days fasting and prayers coming up in church?’ She switched the topic.
    ‘How does that have to do with what I asked for? I am horny Jane and ignoring my needs isn’t helping’ he hissed angrily.
    ‘You see, that is how men fall into adultery. The bible says if your right eye causes you to sin, you should cut it off. I am talking about an important spiritual exercise and you are here asking for sex. Okay, tell me Wale, when last did we pray together as a family? When last did we fast? We used to be so zealous and hot for the lord but our love for him has gone cold. Our service to God is more important than mundane wishes’ she gave him a piece of her mind.
    ‘So a husband asking his wife for sex is mundane?’ He bit his lip.
    ‘Exactly. Let us focus on our prayer life’ she shut the book then fetched her bible.
    ‘You know what? You are not making it easy for me to stay faithful. I need to have sex tonight and you better grant me access to your ‘honeypot’ he rose to his feet and pulled off his clothes.
    ‘I bind that demon speaking through you! I bind it. How dare you propose rape?’ She closed her eyes and began to pray.
    ‘Woman, take off your clothes; I am tired of your nonsense. I am a faithful husband and I don’t plan to sleep around. Your body is mine and mine is yours. Stop starving me’ he stood naked and erect before her.
    ‘Goodnight Wale, you need to see the pastor for deliverance; you aren’t yourself’ she opened her eyes once she was done praying.
    ‘Is that all you’re going to say?’ He stood before her naked and frustrated.
    ‘Goodnight darling husband, remember our fasting begins next week’ she winked.
    Melody had been married to Jerry about a year now; they weren’t ready to have children as they were busy with their careers, climbing greater heights.
    Melody was a well-known attorney in the city of Lagos. People trooped into her office daily to engage her services; this thrilled her greatly. She had worked hard for that recognition and she was glad when it finally came.
    Her husband, on the other hand, was a medical doctor; a gynecologist to be specific and he was the best in the country.
    ‘Honey, can you fix me something to eat?’ Jerry asked. His eyes were glued to the television, the club he favored Barcelona were leading the game. Their victory aroused his ravenous appetite, so he felt really hungry.
    ‘By this time? Honey, it’s late, it’s better to take something light’ She looked up at her files. Truth was, she wasn’t ready to leave her work for the kitchen. She wasn’t the typical Nigerian housewife whose job was cooking and cleaning.
    She cooked sometimes and at other times, she bought food for her husband; they had domestic staff for other domestic chores. She was a very busy woman and didn’t have time for all of that.
    ‘Please honey, I am famished’ he drawled.
    ‘Maybe you should get it done yourself, I am a little busy’ she snapped at him.
    Jerry felt the sharpness of her words; why would she speak to him that way?
    ‘Excuse me?’ He turned and faced her.

    Episode Four

    Jerry felt the sharpness of her words; why would she speak to him that way?
    ‘Excuse me?’ He turned and faced her.
    ‘Sorry. I didn’t mean that’ she moved towards the kitchen.
    Jerry was a good man no doubt but she hated the way he acted sometimes. He was being inconsiderate; why hadn’t he bought food from the Chinese restaurant close to the house? He loved to do Chinese.
    ‘Of course, he paid my bride price’ she snorted. Apart from being a lawyer, she was a hardcore feminist and she felt her marriage was beginning to play down on her values.
    She decided to cook him something simple. Porridge yam. It wouldn’t take long to get done and she would still have time for her work the next day.
    ‘Here, done’ she placed the food before him.
    ‘That was fast’ he stared at the unattractive meal Melody had prepared.
    He knew his wife wasn’t much of a cook and he had accepted that. He cooked for them whenever he was chanced; he had hoped she would learn after marriage but she seemed indifferent.
    ‘I can’t eat this, there’s too much pepper and salt. Did you taste the food?’ He pushed the plate away with a dissatisfied frown on his face.
    ‘Please stop complaining. I told you to go do it yourself but you refused!’ she yelled angrily at him.
    ‘I can’t believe this. You are a woman Melody, you need to learn how to cook’ he rose to his feet and approached her.
    ‘Now, that is a sexist thing to say. I don’t have time for this’ she left for her room.
    ‘Maybe you should get me a chef because I am tired of cooking for you to eat and when it’s time for you to do the cooking, your taste buds lose their ability to do their job’ he fired at her. Most times, her cooking lacked a particular ingredient. Sometimes her meals were tasteless, bland; other times they were salty. What kind of woman had he married?
    ‘A chef you want, a chef you shall get’ she sighed and jumped into bed. Her phone buzzed after.
    “Let’s meet up. Something bad has happened. I am broken. Venue: Blue Mountains Lounge. Oluwadara”.
    She read the disturbing text again but it still didn’t make sense. She forwarded it to the other two. What could have happened?
    Although they didn’t get to consummate their marriage; they slept peacefully in each other’s arms. It was the nicest feeling ever; they both felt a joy that would never end and love.
    Dawn scurried into the clouds and ushered in morning. They both rose up to pray and after prayers, they were served breakfast.
    Yahaya lived in a duplex with servants for his wife. As a bachelor, he had only one chef but he hired more so his wife wouldn’t bother herself with chores. He loved her that much.
    ‘What is this?’ He pointed at the plates.
    ‘Fura and Masa’ the chef bowed.
    ‘Good, my wife will like that’ he waved the elderly woman off. He had been with her for a very long time and knew her likes and dislikes.
    He thought about the night before and how her monthly visitor had interrupted their romantic session.
    He fetched a newspaper and decided to indulge himself before she returned from her purification bath.
    ‘Good morning darling’ she trotted into the dining room. She wore a lacy blue dress that stopped on her knees. Her eyes shimmered from the shadow she applied on them; her lips glistened red; the silver turban matched perfectly with the dress and she looked every inch regal.
    ‘Wow, stunning. Are you going somewhere?’ He lifted his brow and dropped the paper as he noticed her bag.
    ‘Um, yes. Dara is having a serious crisis and we all need to go see her’ she replied in a rush.
    ‘Oh, can I come?’ He asked.
    He knew all of her friends, just that he had not spent much time with them or their husbands.
    ‘No, don’t stress yourself, honey, I will be back soon’ she moved towards him and placed a light kiss on his lips.
    ‘Okay then, I guess I’ll eat Masa and Fura alone’ he gave her his sad face.
    ‘Honey, you can’t lure me with food’ she winked and moved towards the door.
    ‘Call Audu to drive you, I don’t want my bride to stress herself’ he suggested.
    ‘I am not an egg Yahaya, I will not crack’ she released her slender fingers in a wave before stepping out of the house.
    ‘Bye’ he returned and begun to feast on his meal. Thirty minutes later, the door flung wide open and his angry looking mother stepped right in alongside his elder sister, Hawanana.
    ‘Good morning Mother and sister’ he rose to acknowledge them.
    ‘Where is that prostitute that you married? Where is that whore?’ His mother scowled. This infuriated him greatly.
    ‘I honor and respect you mother but I will not take this; you just barged into my house and you are calling my wife names. I know you hate her because she comes from a poor family but you don’t have to call her abominable names’ he snapped at her.
    ‘Why don’t you sit and listen, brother? Your wife is not who you think she is’ Hawanana, his sister replied coolly.
    ‘Tell him Hawanana, tell him what you saw’ her mother urged him.
    ‘I saw your wife two weeks ago stepping out of a hotel with a man. If I was in the country, I wouldn’t have allowed you marry her. I just returned from Bulgaria’ she said.
    ‘Really?’ He scoffed. Why would his family stoop so low? What point were they trying to prove?
    ‘He doesn’t believe me mother’ Hawanana stared at her mother then back at him.
    ‘Yahaya, Shayera is not fit for you. Divorce her now and take a better bride for yourself’ his mother advised.
    ‘Where is the proof that she is a wayward woman?’ He drummed his fingers patiently on the table.
    ‘I don’t have any proof but my word is my honor. I cannot lie to you, what would be my gain in such futile endeavor?’ She asked me.
    ‘By God, there is a lot to gain. You both get to ruin my marriage to the only woman I have ever loved. I think you should both leave, I want to enjoy my breakfast in peace’ he pointed his hands towards the door.
    ‘Are you sending your mother out of your house because of that pig?’ She stared intently at him.
    ‘Mother, you should focus on curing Hawanana of her light fingers, it is not a good thing to have a thief as a daughter. You should focus on that instead of my marriage to my virgin wife’ he replied. His sister was a kleptomaniac and he used that to hurt her.
    ‘Let’s go, mother. He would come back to us’ Hawanana pulled her mother as they both walked out of his house. She felt hurt by her brother’s statement but she wouldn’t back down, she was ready to show him the truth.
    ‘Shit’ he rolled his eyes. How could his mother be that callous? Yes, he called that act callousness, trying to control whom your son married or fell in love with.
    He pushed the thoughts aside and focused on his meal.

    Episode Five

    He pushed the thoughts aside and focused on his meal.
    She glanced through the text her friend Melody had sent her once more; she hoped Dara was okay. Of all her three friends, she was closest to Dara.
    For one, Dara was the most open-minded and the least judgmental of her three friends, you could tell Dara almost anything and she wouldn’t make you feel bad about your choices.
    Secondly, she had a good sense of humor. You couldn’t spend a day with Dara and wallow in depression. It was an unfortunate thing that the man she married did not value her, he was a chronic cheat and everyone knew it.
    She took a deep breath and recalled the day Edwards had seen her with Tanko; fear suddenly gripped her, what if he told Yahaya about it?
    ‘That cannot happen’ she sighed. She would find a way to keep her husband away from the other men, Wale, Jerry, and Edward. She didn’t want anyone or anything to come between her marriage to Yahaya.
    Yahaya was a good man no doubt but she wasn’t in love with him; her family had only encouraged her to marry him because they were extremely poor and he became the light in their darkness.
    She had initially objected but one night when her mother almost died from an asthma attack and they didn’t have enough money to get an inhaler, she realized that money was everything. Only then did she fix her eyes on Yahaya.
    She took a deep breath and stepped out of the car; she was to meet the love of her life Tanko in the “Glowlight Lounge.” It was private enough for a person like her; she needed to end things with him and focus on her marriage.
    ‘Room 25’ she drummed her fingers and waited for the key.
    ‘Thank you ma, welcome’ the receptionist acknowledged her with a smile.
    ‘Thanks’ she replied.
    She reached the fifth floor where they were to meet and took off her sunshades immediately; she usually wore those, so people wouldn’t recognize her.
    ‘Oh, he is already here’ she noticed the door was open.
    ‘What took you so long?’ His gruff voice welcomed her as she stepped into the room.
    ‘You should be happy I am here Tanko, I am a married woman now’ she hesitated.
    Why was he so angry?
    ‘I know but that doesn’t mean anything. Did he touch you last night?’ He rose to his feet and faced her.
    ‘Of course, he is my husband’ she lied and avoided his eyes.
    ‘You should have waited for me Shayera. You should have believed in me, now you are trapped in an unhappy marriage’ he poured himself a glass of wine. He loved Shayera with all his heart; although he had cheated on her once at a party, he made sure she never found out.
    ‘I don’t understand Tanko, what are you talking about?’ She wondered.
    Tanko had also been in the same secondary school as she and Yahaya but he was from a poor home. He was extremely intelligent but he couldn’t afford money for fees most of the time, so he eventually dropped out.
    Years after, he was able to get into the university to study Electrical Engineering via scholarships. He later graduated but stayed home for five years because he couldn’t get a job.
    All that while, she had contemplated leaving Yahaya for him as they were still seeing each other secretly but she couldn’t. Tanko had nothing and being with him meant a life of suffering, something she wasn’t prepared for. Yahaya had seduced her with luxury and she became used to it.
    ‘I got this huge paying job, I’ll be working with Narasa Power holdings, the largest electrical company in Africa; I got the job Shayera and it’s too late for us’ tears welled up in his eyes as he stared at the woman he loved.
    He loved her deeply but now she belonged to someone else.
    ‘I…can’t believe this’ tears brimmed her eyes.
    ‘Here’ he fetched an envelope from his pocket and showed it to her.
    ‘Congratulations’ she sobbed, if only she had waited. Now luck had smiled on Tanko, her true love and she wouldn’t be there to enjoy it with him.
    ‘If only you had waited, darling. I begged you, I begged you to give me one more chance; just a year tops but you complained about age and the fact that some of your friends were married. Now we can never be together’ he cried.
    ‘I am sorry’ she whispered.
    ‘I know. I pray you find happiness with him. Does he treat you well?’ Tanko moved towards her. He searched her eyes to see if there was any trace of unhappiness.
    ‘Yes. He is a kind man,  only that I don’t love him. I have no desire to be in his bed’ she replied.
    She thought of Yahaya’s touch; she had not felt as much passion when his fingers roamed over her; only Tanko knew her body, only him could unleash her desires.
    ‘Do you still desire me?’ His eyes darkened with passion, passion for the woman that he loved.
    ‘Yes but only this once. I already lied to him that I am still a virgin, I don’t know how I’d get out of it’ she rolled her eyes.
    ‘I understand. Only this once and we will never see each other again’ he pressed a soft kiss on her head. He loved Shayera very much but he was willing to let her go, she belonged to another now and he needed to move on with his life.
    He took off the turban that covered her long hair, the longest he had ever seen and dropped it on the floor; his hands went to her zip and dragged it down; then he found the hook of her bra and undid it. Everything fell to the floor; dress and bra.
    She stood before him semi-nude with her round breasts calling out to be touched and her orange lacy pant that seemed very sexy.
    He took one long glance at her and knew this would be the last time. He needed to make it memorable.
    He took off his own clothes, then carried her gently and dropped her on the bed. He adorned her whole body with kisses, then stopped at her belly; his lips trailed a fine line from there to the center of her boobs. He licked the delicious skin hungrily then swallowed a swollen nipple in his wet mouth.
    His touches were maddening; he knew her body more than she did; he knew what could cause her pain and what could give her pleasure.
    She began to moan as his fingers slid under her pant and worked their way through her wet core. She couldn’t get enough of him.
    ‘You’re killing me’ she moaned and wriggled her waist.
    ‘I haven’t yet started’ he kissed her face, then slowly peeled the last shred of clothing that covered her nakedness and dropped it on the floor. He parted her legs wide and buried his hard and upright shaft into her. The feel of the golden rod sent shivers down her spine; she loved the sweetness of him and she yearned for more as she grabbed his hard and firm hips.
    He stared into her eyes as he made love to her; this was going to be the last time. He rocked her world. She rocked his with loud moans and her wet tightness.
    They both fell aside once they reached the height of their pleasure. In that moment, they became one, they landed on the clouds, everything was released.
    ‘Goodbye Shayera. I’ll always love you’ he whispered into her ears.
    She didn’t reply, a tear slipped from her eyes as she moved closer and kissed him.

    Episode Six

    She didn’t reply, a tear slipped from her eyes as she moved closer and kissed him.
    When Edward’s mother brought in a pregnant girl and told her to her face that the pregnancy belonged to her husband, she was dumbfounded. She had opened her mouth to say something but words fled her. She turned around, rushed to her bedroom and forced the door shut.
    The night had been slow for her; too slow for her liking. She didn’t know who to tell but her friends. Maybe they’d have an idea how she could handle the situation.
    Edward had hurt her beyond imagination this time; she had tolerated his cheating ways but what was she to do with this? How could she handle another woman who was pregnant for her husband?
    Tears ran down her face as she rubbed her belly.
    ‘God knows I have tried, I wish I had a child’ she sobbed. During their marriage of ten years, she had never conceived. Not once. She had gone to the doctor with Edward severally and they had told her nothing was wrong with either of them, that they were perfectly fine.
    How could he get another woman pregnant? Where was the love he spoke of? This was definitely it, she was going to file for a divorce but how would her family take it? How would her church members take it? She shuddered at the thought of being thirty-five and single.
    ‘Darling please open the door, please hear me out’ Edward pounded her door for the umpteenth time.
    ‘Go away Edward’ she wiped her face and jumped back in bed.
    She had asked her friends to meet up with her at Blue mountains but she still felt weak by the recent revelation; she was too weak to climb out of bed.
    ‘Dara, it’s you I love. Please just come out’ he sounded sober.
    ‘Bastard’ she replied and fetched her buzzing phone.
    ‘Oh my God, I am late’ she read the text from Melody. Apparently, her friends had reached “Blue Mountains” and she wasn’t there.
    She rushed towards the door; she needed to prepare herself to meet them.
    ‘Finally’ he sighed with relief as he spotted his wife.
    ‘Get out of my way you devil’ tears welled up in her eyes.
    ‘Baby, you need to listen to me’ he fell on his knees.
    ‘Listen to you? Do you think I am a fool? I endured, I tolerated you but read my lips, Edward, this marriage is over’ she hissed.
    ‘Please don’t say that’ fear gripped him as he imagined a life without her.
    ‘Okay, just answer this question, did you have sex with that girl or not?’ She stared intently at him.
    He shut his eyes; he couldn’t give her an answer because he was guilty. He would never forgive himself if his marriage ended, all because of a careless one night stand.
    ‘I thought so too’ she pushed him away and left the master bedroom.
    Once she was dressed, she strolled into the kitchen and found her mother-in-law and the pregnant girl engaged in a conversation.

    ‘What do you think you are doing?’ Her nostrils flared in anger. She watched as the girl rearranged the position of things in her kitchen.
    ‘Oh, you are finally awake. Is this the good morning you’re supposed to say to me and my son’s wife? Look at the time you are waking up, you should be ashamed of yourself. Foolish woman’ the woman hissed. The young girl stared at her briefly; her gaze was fleeting and held mockery. She continued to arrange the kitchen.
    ‘Well, let’s be sure it’s my husband that is responsible for that thing she’s carrying’ Dara fired at the woman. She had never been liked by her mother-in-law and she wasn’t bothered. She knew the woman had objected to the marriage from the beginning; she was perturbed at first but now she no longer cared. She wasn’t the type of daughter-in-law that cowered; she was brave, respectful and courageous.
    ‘Useless woman! Look at you; you think all women are as barren as you are? Caro, please tell her what happened between you and my son’ she tapped the young girl.
    ‘Well, I was a virgin, ask him. He was the first man to make love to me and I saved that date in my diary; we had sex five months ago at the family house, so it belongs to him. If you need proof, let’s go to the doctor. This house is rightfully mine, so back off’ she waved a finger at Dara.
    Pain cut deep into her. She felt like giving up but she found herself staring back into the eyes of the woman that hated her. Obviously, the girl wasn’t lying. She sounded very confident and sure.
    Her hopes that the pregnancy didn’t belong to Edward crashed. This meant only one thing, her marriage was over.
    ‘Baby, please forgive me. I don’t plan to marry her’ Edward rushed towards her.
    ‘You don’t plan to marry her? Tell me Edward, is what she said true? That you deflowered her?’ She sobbed.
    ‘It was a mistake’ he returned.
    ‘No, it wasn’t. Nothing is a mistake with you. I am done here’ she wiped her face and rushed out of the house.
    ‘Yes, go! Once you get back, I want you out of my son’s house’ she heard her mother-in-law yell.
    ‘Mother, if she leaves me, you’ll regret this’ he issued a warning as the events of the night he had slept with Caro played in his mind. It had been a mistake; he would never sleep with an underage girl like Caro. She was just twenty-one years old and he liked them older. He had been set up.
    ‘I won’t regret anything young man. I am not your enemy, that barren fool is the enemy’ the woman replied.
    ‘I wonder what it is she wants to tell us’ Jane carried little Angela in her arms. Her daughter had a mild fever, so she had not taken her to school.
    ‘I am really scared guys, this is so unlike her. She is always the happy and bubbly one. Dara gives hope to us all’ Shayera added.
    ‘Happy one? Come off it, we all know she isn’t happy. Who would be happy with a husband like Edward? Dude sleeps with everything in skirt. I hate his guts’ Melody said.
    ‘Truly, I am proud of the man I married. Wale is a God fearing man and won’t cheat on me. I can swear on my life. God is really faithful, He knew the right man for me’ Jane bragged.
    ‘Same here. Jerry doesn’t have a cheating fiber in his body. We fight here and there but he has never looked outside before’ Melody joined.
    ‘You guys fight? You look so perfect’ Shayera rolled her eyes.
    ‘Of course, I had a fight with Wale last night. Everyone fights with their spouse, the important thing is resolving the fight. Never sleep on quarrels, never bear grudges. God hates it’ Jane dished out some advice.
    ‘Jerry keeps complaining about my cooking; I plan to get us a chef or a maid, either of the two’ Melody rolled her eyes as she recalled their quarrel the night before.
    ‘A maid?’ Her friends chorused.
    ‘Yes, a maid. Anything wrong?’ She raised her brows.
    ‘Well, don’t you think that is risky? You can never trust these maids o, especially around a cute husband like yours’ Shayera warned. Yahaya had hired servants but they were all advanced in age, so she had no fears.
    ‘What would you have me do?’ Melody asked.
    ‘Get an older woman or better still, a very ugly looking maid so your husband would never get close to her’ Shayera advised.

    Episode Seven

    ‘I am really scared guys, this is so unlike her. She is always the happy and bubbly one. Dara gives hope to us all’ Shayera added.
    ‘What do you think Jane because I am about calling the Housekeeping Agency?’ Melody fetched her phone.
    ‘Get an older woman’ Jane concurred. Melody excused herself so she could call the agency.
    ‘Speaking about husbands, how is yours? You are glowing’ Jane winked at her.
    ‘Why do I have a feeling that you just had sex before coming? Tell us how the sex was. You know, it was your first time’ Melody joined them shortly. Out of her three friends, only Jane and Shayera had kept their virginity till marriage.
    ‘No way. Avoid unclean conversations. It doesn’t edify the spirit’ Jane cut in.
    ‘Seriously, I am getting tired of your “Reverend Sister” attitude. Don’t you have sex? Don’t you moan when Wale fucks you from behind, grabs your breasts and licks them? Don’t you like it when he fingers your clit?’ Melody snapped at her.
    ‘Okay, that is raw’ Shayera rolled her eyes knowing Jane would not take it lightly with her.
    ‘Excuse me, I don’t hang around people like you’ Jane walked away from their table and moved to another.
    ‘Great, just how to start our day! Why did you have to do that?’ Shayera was uncomfortable that her friends were quarreling. They needed to be united so they could support Dara when she came.
    ‘I am just sick and tired of her attitude. Come on, we are all mature here. Ain’t nothing wrong with talking sex? It’s legal for us’ Melody replied.
    ‘Okay. You win’ Shayera threw her hands in the air.
    ‘So, how was the sex? Was it doggy, missionary, wheelbarrow or “banana fall on you”? Melody winked.
    ‘Ah! Na wa for you o, which one is Banana fall on you again? You won’t kill person’ Shayera laughed.
    Their chuckles vanished immediately Oluwadara walked into the restaurant; her face was swollen from crying, even the make-up she heavily applied couldn’t hide the fact that she was in pain.
    ‘Oh my God, what happened?’ They rose to their feet as she approached them.
    ‘I want you to be my lawyer Melody, I want a divorce’ she said in a firm voice.
    He was a religious man no doubt but he was being sex-starved by his wife and the only thing that kept his mind from sex was drinking. Wale had abandoned alcohol when he had gotten married to Jane but now, he had no choice. He needed to drink away his frustration.
    ‘Wow, are you switching religions?’ Jerry joined his friend on the dining table.
    Wale had come visiting after he had dropped Jane and Angela at the lounge for the date she had with her friends.
    ‘Oh, so Christians don’t drink?’ Wale opened another can of Gulder and gulped it greedily.
    ‘Yea, the Bible warns against wine and strong drink. Wait, haven’t you read that part?’ Jerry scoffed.
    ‘Sorry Pastor Jerry, I forgot you were a bible freak’ Wale scorned.
    ‘What’s wrong with you Wale? You are acting out of character’ Jerry noticed. Of his two friends, Wale was the most pious; he was a good man and a loving husband. The same couldn’t be said about Edward.
    ‘Nothing. I am just relieving myself of stress’ he replied. He didn’t want to talk about his marital issues with his friend. It was his personal rule: Never discuss your wife with your friends.
     ‘Hey, I think something is wrong with Edward. We had a chat this morning, he doesn’t seem okay’ Jerry called his attention.
    ‘Don’t mind the dude. He probably cheated again and Dara caught him. He’s always sober after he’s being caught. Let’s talk about last night’s match’ Wale tried to change the topic.
    ‘I am serious. I think I should invite him over. He sounded scared, really scared’ Jerry pressed the issue.
    ‘The person we need to invite over is Yahaya, let’s initiate him into our little cult of miserable husbands’ Wale belched. The drink was starting to get to him.
    ‘Miserable husbands? Where did that come from?’ Jerry widened his eyes in shock. Why were all his friends acting weird?
    ‘It is official, Jane’s perfect husband is drunk’ he rose to his feet and moved towards the door.
    ‘Are you sure you can drive in that state?’ Jerry was concerned.
    ‘Of course. What do you think about me inviting Yahaya for the games’ Edward asked?
    There was a live match between Nigeria and South Africa that would be held during the weekend at the National Stadium. He had gotten enough tickets for his friends and their wives; it was time for Yahaya to join the family.
    ‘Good idea. We’ll all go for the match’ Wale waved his friend goodbye and rushed out to pick his wife and daughter.
    ‘Phew, it’s not an easy thing at all’ he referred to marriage. He had a feeling Wale had a fight with Jane but he wasn’t the type to poke his nose into matters that didn’t concern him.
     He cleared the table and went to the kitchen; he decided to prepare himself something delicious.
    ‘Here we go ofada rice and sauce’ he fetched the pumpkin leaves from the fridge and begun to chop them.
    He hummed a tune while he worked; once Melody returned home, they would have a long talk. What was the plan for when children came? He sincerely hoped that she didn’t intend pushing that responsibility to him.
    He was a learned man and had been raised in a home filled with guys; he had no sister and their mother had taught them all how to cook and take good care of themselves but there were important things she also taught them.
    “Cook for your wife. Clean for her. Wash her clothes but never give her the chance to misuse your abilities. Don’t let a woman fool you’ she usually said to them.
    ‘You won’t fool me baby’ he shook his head because that was  exactly what Melody was doing. If her career was more important than marriage, she should have said it from the beginning and he would never have bothered her with a proposal.
    ‘Who could that be?’ He wondered and left for the door.
    ‘Hello, can I help you?’ He stared at the mischievous looking face of a middle-aged woman.
    ‘Good day sir, I am your new maid’ she replied. His face went white as he stared at her; this woman was old enough to be his mother for heaven’s sake. What had come over Melody?

    Episode Eight

    ‘Good day sir, I am your new maid’ she replied. His face went white as he stared at her; this woman was old enough to be his mother for heaven’s sake. What had come over Melody? 
    ‘Calm down baby girl, please tell us what really happened’ Shayera rubbed her back gently.
    ‘I am fed up, I am done with my farce of a marriage! I have been living in falsehood for ten years, I wasted ten years with a man like Edward thinking he would change. I hoped that one day he would stop cheating and focus on me.’ Tears trickled down her face, the pain was too much for her to bear.
    ‘Hey, slow down, you’re going to be alright’ Melody felt bad for her friend. She scanned the hall in search of Jane but she wasn’t there.
    ‘Last night, his mother came home with a young woman; she is five months pregnant for Edward. Can you imagine that? He disvirgined the girl. I stared into his eyes and hoped he would deny it, I prayed in my heart that he would throw the bitch out, but he stood there staring at me. He just stood there saying nothing to redeem his name. I felt it, silence is a mark of guilt’ she explained.
    ‘Oh my God! That is so painful. So what are you going to do? I understand how you feel. This is wickedness’ Shayera was bitter. How could one man hurt a woman countless times?
    ‘I want a divorce. You have to help me, Melody. I need to get far away from Edward. He isn’t the man for me’ she was determined to end their futile marriage.
    ‘Honey, I know you are hurt but you have to think this through. Once you file for that divorce, there is no going back. Are you sure you really want him gone? I know he cheated but he had his good sides’ Shayera advised.
    ‘Good sides? To hell with Edward! I support this divorce; this is what Dara needs at this point. Men need to stop taking their women for granted. You need to move on with your life darling, you need to leave that bastard. That is what a feminist would do’ Melody supported Dara’s decision to quit.
    ‘We are talking marriage here and not feminist ideas’ Shayera was disappointed in her friend. Why would she say something like that?
    ‘Now that’s the problem with the bulk of Nigerian women. Most of them prefer to stay in an unhappy marriage so that society wouldn’t castigate them. Divorce isn’t a bad thing; you need to move on with your life’ Melody patted Dara on the back. She was more than happy to stand by her friend; to represent her interest once the case was filed.
    ‘Did I just hear the “D” word?’ Jane joined the table. She was stunned to see Dara crying.
    ‘Yes, D stands for dick’ Melody started, she knew her friend would object to divorce.
    ‘What is going on? Why are you crying Dara? Is Edward okay?’ Jane felt bad seeing her friend like that.
    ‘The idiot is okay. He just got another woman pregnant and that is enough reason to divorce him’ Melody explained. Dara seemed too weak to talk.
    ‘Oh my God, I am so sorry. Please accept my condolences’ Jane reached out to her.
    ‘Condolences? Girl, you need a dictionary. The bastard is still alive’ Melody scoffed.
    ‘I don’t support divorce, God doesn’t like it. He’s made it very clear in his word that what he has joined, no man should put asunder’ Jane began to preach.
    ‘Oh lord, could it get more boring! Stop feeding her with your personal opinion. Dara is a strong and smart lady and she knows what she wants. She knows where it hurts and how to get rid of the pin. So back off, Mother Teresa’ Melody snapped angrily at her.
    ‘Hey, this isn’t the time to quarrel’ Shayera tried to calm them.
    ‘You are despicable’ Melody yelled at Jane.
    ‘And you are a devil in a blue dress. You are happily married to Jerry, I know it isn’t all rosy and perfect but you still endure him. Tell me, would you divorce Jerry if he cheated on you?’ Jane faced Melody.
    ‘Guys!’ Dara raised her hands up.
    ‘I have made up my mind’ she paused.
    ‘Haleluya! Let us hear it please’ Melody hissed sharply.
    ‘I will move out of the house and take some time to think. After a month, I will take a decision whether to divorce or forgive him and move on like nothing happened’ she replied. Her friends had really helped her think it through. Jane was right, divorce wasn’t the answer to everything but she feared for the future of their marriage should she stay.
    ‘Just make sure you’re divorcing him’ Melody replied sternly.
    ‘May God save us from “she-devils”’ Jane signed the cross.
    ‘Jane!’ Shayera called her sharply.
    ‘What?’ She replied innocently.
    ‘Good afternoon’ a lady walked towards their table.
    ‘Oh, are you ready sister Blessing?’ Jane asked.
    ‘Yes, my bags are ready’ she replied.
    ‘Good. Let’s go home, my husband will be here any minute now’ she turned and waved her friends goodbye.
    ‘Bye’ they chorused except Melody.
    ‘When will you two grow up?’ Shayera shook her head.
    ‘When hell freezes over and when Nigeria gets developed’ Melody replied.
    Dara chuckled softly at the joke, she felt happy she had friends like them. Friends that knew how to lift your spirit when you were down. She took a deep breath and focused on their bright faces; something bothered her, there was this sad expression in Shayera’s eyes.
    Was it because of her story? Or was something else bothering her
    Earlier, when Jane had stepped outside briefly with Angela, she had run into one of her church members, Sister Blessing Idoko.
    Sister Blessing had this worried look on her face; like all hope was lost and there was nothing left for her in this world.
    ‘Sister Jane, are you sure your husband will agree to this arrangement? Please, maybe you should just give me some money to stay in a hotel while I get back on my feet’ she begged.
    She had been robbed recently and had not been able to pay her rent. Her landlord had previously made advances at her but she turned him down; he seized this opportunity to humiliate her.
    ‘I  know how you must feel Sister Blessing but I promise that you are free to stay as long as you want. God said we should help one another, you have been a good friend; you are hardworking and zealous for the lord. Maybe this is my chance to sow into your life’ Jane patted her on the back.
    Blessing was a church member and a good friend of hers. She loved her mostly because she didn’t use make-up or synthetic weaves like other sisters did. She was natural, she was a woman who believed in her inner beauty.
    Minutes later, Wale showed up with the car.
    ‘Come on in Sister Blessing’ she beckoned as she burrowed in.
    ‘Good afternoon sir’ Blessing bowed her head slightly.
    ‘Good afternoon, how are you sister Blessing?’ He asked. She was one of Jane’s friends from church and he was surprised to see her there.
    ‘She’ll be going home with us darling, sister Blessing had just been robbed and her landlord threw her out of the house. Please, it will only be for a few days’ Jane whispered to her husband.
    Blessing shifted uncomfortably in the back as she realized she was the topic of discussion.
    ‘Sure, why not’ Wale flashed her a  smile.
    ‘Thank you sir’ she released the breath she held.

    Episode Nine

    ‘Sure, why not’ Wale flashed her a  smile.
    ‘Thank you sir’ she released the breath she held.
    Deep down, he was very unhappy with his wife’s behavior; how could she take such an important decision without consulting him?  He thought it rude and an action which undermined his position as the head of the family.
    ‘So where have you been?’ Jane perceived something very strange on her husband. His eyes seemed very weak and dull. Had he been drinking?
    ‘At Jerry’s, so what did you discuss with the girls?’ He switched the subject. Jerry had mentioned Edward’s strange behavior, this was the time to find out what the girls had discussed.
    ‘There is fire on the mountain o, we’ll talk once we get home but just know this; I am very proud to have you as a husband’ she was proud of him.
    ‘What will make me very happy is you granting me access to your ‘honeypot’ he thought to himself.
    ‘Thank you’ he said aloud.
    He knew she was mad at him; he knew she was hurt and would hold a grudge for long. That’s why he had not bothered to stop her when she had left the house. This was all his mother’s fault.
    When she had found out about Caro’s pregnancy, she should have alerted him before showing up at his house and ruining all the good years he had with Dara.
    ‘You must eat my son, your wife has prepared your favorite: Amala and Chicken Stew’ the woman said to her son.
    He surprised her greatly, he was supposed to be happy about Caro’s pregnancy. Which man in his right mind would prefer a barren woman to a fruitless one?
    ‘What wife? You better get that stupid girl out of Dara’s kitchen’ he hissed like a spoilt child.
    ‘Stupid girl ke, when you were enjoying on top of her, when you were oiling her, you didn’t know she was stupid. You better eat something; save your strength for her and the baby. They will both need you’ his mother replied.
    ‘I can’t believe you’re doing this, mum. Do you even care how hurt Dara might be? Why do you hate her so much? Did you have to bring Caro into this house?’ Edward rose to his feet. He would’ve sent them both out of the house but he had much respect for his mother.
    ‘I don’t hate your wife, Dara. I just don’t  like her for you. Caro is the woman you need now; she is heavily pregnant for you. We need this baby, you need this baby, Edward. Have you forgotten that you are my only son? Even your father is on my side, so you have no choice but to do as I say’ she clapped her hands.
    ‘Dad is on your side? I can’t believe this’ he ran his fingers into his hair. He knew he had messed up big time, how would he get out of the mess?
    ‘I accept responsibility for the baby but I will never marry Caro; Dara and I will take care of the child’ he replied firmly.
    ‘Dara what? God forbid!’ She yelled at him. How could he suggest something like that?
    ‘That witch will never touch my grandchild. You have to make a choice Edward, Caro or Dara’ she hissed angrily and walked away from him.
    He felt weak, his head spun like he had been walking in circles; was there a better way out of this? How would he face Dara? Would she ever forgive him?
    His heart raced as he peered out the window; she was back. He quickly rushed outside, he couldn’t stand her silence. It was maddening; it hurt more than anything he had ever experienced.
    ‘Baby, good evening, welcome’ he rushed and knelt at her feet.
    ‘Get out of my way Edward, this isn’t making sense’ she rolled her eyes. She had thought about what her friends said; she would stay away from him for a month, during that time, she would decide what her next step would be.
    ‘Aye mi! So this is how you kneel for her? This woman has bewitched my son but she shall never succeed. Will you stand up before I give you a dirty slap?’
    Dara watched as her mother-in-law matched towards them and pushed Edward to his feet.
    ‘Mother, stay out of this, you have already caused enough damage’ he replied.
    ‘Damage kini? And you, your days of having total control over my son are over. If I were you, I’d go in there and pack my things. You are no longer needed here Dara, Edward has gotten himself a new wife. Leave him alone!’ The woman clapped in her face.
    Tears filled her eyes as she stared at her husband. Edward did nothing; he simply stared at her in return.
    This was it. She was done.
    ‘Thank you very much ma, I agree and I will take your advice’ she pushed away the tears and offered the woman her best smile.
    ‘Good, go’ the woman nodded.
    ‘Dara, please don’t leave me. Don’t listen to my mother, don’t let her get to you, please remember the love we shared’ he reached out and held her tightly.
    ‘What love did we share and when? You cheated on me all these years and I tolerated you; you went as far as getting someone else pregnant and you still expect me to stand by you, you must be a real joker’ she pushed him away and rushed into the house.
    She quickly gathered her bags and took her other important documents. She was done with this marriage; she was done with Edward and his ungrateful family.
    ‘Get out of my way’ she pushed past him and rushed towards her car.
    ‘Dara please, I am not going to marry her. It’s you I love’ he went on his knees again.
    ‘That’s what you said all those years you cheated on me, “it is you I love”, now I look back, I realize that you never loved me. You never cared. You trampled on the love I had for you. Read my lips Edward, I am never coming back. Get ready, you’ll be hearing from my lawyers’ she started towards the gate.
    Tears stung his eyes; his ears twitched in disbelieve at the mention of divorce, he had not expected her to react this way. He rose to his feet and decided he would talk to her friends; maybe they could put in a good word for him.
    ‘Come over here darling, it’s just you and I now’ Caro widened her arms.
    ‘Get the hell away from me, daughter of Satan’ he eyed her angrily.
    ‘Mummy? Did you see that? Did you hear what he called me? Are you sure he’d ever love me like Dara’ Caro asked. The way Edward had begged his wife showed he really loved and valued her and that was what she yearned for.
    ‘Calm down my child. To win a lion’s heart, you must first tame him. You need to tame Edward all by yourself. Make him see that you are the woman he deserves, that way he will forget about that witch’ the woman replied.
    A smile played on her lips as she thought of ways to lure Edward.

    Episode Ten

    A smile played on her lips as she thought of ways to lure Edward.
    She had seen the level of pain adultery had caused Dara; Edward was the most adulterous of the husbands of her three best friends; he chased after everything in a skirt; that was how they had bumped into each other.
    She knew it would be difficult to forget Tanko but she had to. Yahaya was a good man who treated her with utmost kindness and respect; he did not deserve that kind of pain. Although she didn’t love him, she vowed in her heart to make him a happy man but that was after she told her last lie.
    ‘Jerry, Melody’s husband called me. He wants me to come to the games with them. What do you think?’ Yahaya snuggled close to his wife on the bed.
    ‘What?’ She held her breath. She couldn’t let him get close to them, what if Edward told him about Tanko and herself.
    ‘Jerry wants me to hang out with the other guys’ he repeated and wondered why his wife looked so startled.
    He still pondered on his sister’s accusation against Shayera; he did not believe her but her words wouldn’t leave his mind. He trusted Shayera with his whole life, he had never slept with her and she was a virgin.
    ‘I don’t think you should get close to them, they will be a bad influence’ she warned.
    ‘Bad influence? Tell me more’ he got curious.
    ‘Well, for starters Edward is a flirt, sooner or later the other guys will start acting like him and I don’t want that for us. Just look at the way that he ruined his marriage. Is that fair to Dara?’ Shayera shook her head in disappointment.
    ‘What are you talking about?’ He straightened on the bed; it seemed something serious had happened.
    ‘He got another woman pregnant. My friend is in so much pain, I feel terrible for her’ Shayera’s eyes brimmed with unshed tears.
    ‘Oh my God! Honey, I am so sorry’ he replied. He had thought the men who were married to her friends were responsible. Well, now she had mentioned it, he had no business hanging out with them.
    ‘Yes, that’s why I don’t want you to get close to them’ she sniffled.
    ‘I promise, I won’t hang out with them’ he replied and cuddled her.
    They fell silent, he noticed Shayera wasn’t in a very happy mood; something bothered her and it was his duty to find out what.
    ‘What is wrong with you?’ Yahaya asked.
    ‘There is something I must tell you, darling, swear you will not be angry with me’ she cried.
    ‘What is it?’ What would cause her so much pain?
    ‘Remember the time you were in Dubai for a one-month workshop?’ She asked.
    ‘Yes, yes, what happened?’ He wondered in confusion.
    ‘One night, robbers broke into my apartment…’ she broke into sobs.
    ‘Tell me what happened, I am a man, I can handle anything’ he urged her.
    ‘One of them raped me. I couldn’t bring myself to tell you that I had lost my virginity; that was why I lied last night that I was seeing my period. I was so ashamed. I didn’t know who to turn to’ she wept bitterly.
    He clenched his fist in anger; how could someone do such a wicked thing to his wife? He felt like ripping out the throat of the rapist.
    ‘Please say something, say that you forgive me. Please tell me that you aren’t mad at me’ she begged.
    ‘Baby, I know it hurts because I have yearned to be the man that would deflower you; it hurts me real bad but it hurts you more. You should’ve told me Shayera, nothing can ever stop me from loving you; you are my world. I love you with my whole being. Please don’t cry; you did nothing wrong, it wasn’t your fault’ he begged.
    ‘I really tried to save myself for our wedding night but they took everything away’ she sobbed.
    ‘It’s okay, what matters is that you are alive. You are alive Shayera, kiss me’ he commanded.
    She wiped her teary face with the back of her hand; she felt relieved that she had been able to explain her lost virginity to her husband.
    His kiss was filled with passion and promises. Hers was filled with lies and great betrayal.
    The new maid Mrs. Ekan was really diligent with her work; the woman worked tirelessly. She cleaned the floors that his wife had not bothered to clean for weeks; she even washed some of his clothes.
    ‘This really tastes nice, did you cook this Mrs. Ekan?’ Melody almost chewed her fingers off, the meal was indeed delicious.
    ‘No, Mr. Jerry did, I only cleaned the house but tomorrow I shall take charge of the kitchen’ she replied.
    ‘Okay, I hope you like your room at the boys quarters?’ She inquired.
    ‘Yes, I do, it’s quite spacious. Thank you. I am ready to leave, do you have anything else for me to do?’ She inquired.
    ‘No. Thank you Mrs. Ekan and goodnight’ Melody replied. She loved her new maid and was very comfortable with her age. This way, she didn’t have to worry about her husband cheating behind her back. She had everything covered.
    ‘Why aren’t you happy? What’s wrong?’ Melody asked.
    ‘I can’t believe you are asking me that; that woman is old enough to be your mother. I am not comfortable with her cooking and cleaning for us, maybe we should get a younger person’ he argued.
    ‘Well, I see nothing wrong with the age. It is perfect for you’ she reached for a bottle of water.
    ‘Excuse me? What is that supposed to mean?’ He snapped angrily at her.
    ‘Well, some men sleep with their maids; I don’t want to take chances’ she grinned.
    ‘If you must insult me, ask yourself why we need a maid in the first place. We don’t even have kids and you are this careless; I wonder what your priorities are, career or family’ he fired at her.
    ‘How dare you raise your voice at me?’ She was miffed.
    ‘You are a proud fool Melody, the earlier you played your role as a wife and mother, the better for you’ he suddenly lost his appetite. He had enough of her bad behavior.
    ‘Did you just call me a fool? I will deal with you in the worst way possible’ she felt humiliated, how could he use such abusive language on her.
    ‘You’ll crawl on your knees, you will beg to touch me’ she snapped her fingers. She knew where his weakness lay and she would use it for revenge.
    She exhaled sharply and fetched her buzzing phone. A smile lit up her face as she read the text.
    Dara had finally made up her mind to file for divorce.
    ‘Wise woman’ she nodded.

    Episode Eleven

    Dara had finally made up her mind to file for divorce.
    ‘Wise woman’ she nodded.

    Three weeks had passed since she moved out of Edward’s house; she found peace and joy staying away from him and his toxic mother. Jane had been right about moving out of the house; she was never going back to Edward. He was the kind of man that would never change, he would never treat her better.
    ‘Nice place you’ve got here. I like the drapes especially, nice touch of color’ Shayera remarked as she stepped into her friend’s house.
    The girls had decided to give Dara some space to heal; space to think about her life and make a decision on what next to do. They only sent her encouraging texts and left calls in her voicemail. She usually replied and assured them that she was doing fine.
    ‘I am glad you’re okay’ Shayera beamed. She loved her friend very much and would do anything to make her happy.
    ‘I had to leave Shayera. Can you imagine leaving in a house with a troublesome mother-in-law and your husband’s pregnant mistress; and the man you call husband doing nothing about it? That guy really took me for granted! I am happy I’m free now. The divorce proceedings will begin soon’ Dara replied.
    ‘I am happy for you and I will stand by whatever decision you take. Now that Edward is out of the picture, you’ll need a man, one that would love and cherish you more than he ever did’ Shayera said.
    ‘That’s fast. You know I am still married, right? We aren’t officially divorced. Besides, I am tired of men and their lies; I choose to focus on my business’ she shrugged.
    ‘Seriously? But Edward was equally married when he cheated on you’ Shayera scoffed.
    ‘I know but I am not him, I am better than he is and will ever be. I plan to make more money, adopt a kid or kids and move the hell on with my life’ she replied confidently.
    ‘Well, you’ll still need a man. Can a woman be happy without a man?’ She rolled her eyes.
    ‘I don’t know. I am willing to try. Maybe you should ask Melody that question, I am quite sure she has answers’ Dara snickered.
    ‘I guess you don’t like her very much; the ever-loyal feminist will have my eye if I suggest that a woman cannot be happy without a man’ Shayera laughed.
    ‘I think our friend is just a hypocrite. She is happily married to a man who adores her yet she goes about preaching that marriage isn’t a necessity’ Dara rolled her eyes.
    ‘Yea. Meanwhile, I am hungry. What’s there to eat?’ Shayera left for the kitchen.
    ‘How is Yahaya?’ Dara followed her closely. She felt her friend was hiding something but she wasn’t sure. Wasn’t she happy in the marriage?
    ‘We’re good’ Shayera flashed Dara a grin.
    ‘Are you sure?’ Dara lifted a brow.
    ‘Of course’ Shayera avoided Dara’s penetrating gaze.
    She had thought it would be an easy thing to get over Tanko but it was proving difficult; she could hardly go a day without thinking about him. For how long would she delude herself?
    She prayed for control, Yahaya was a good man and didn’t deserve infidelity.
    ‘Okay, if you say so’ Dara shrugged.
    Together, they prepared a light lunch of plantain porridge and beef chops with scent leaves.
    ‘Yummy, you’re a good cook Dara’ Shayera licked her lips as she devoured the meal.
    ‘Not as good as Jane, she is the cook amongst us’ Dara laughed off the compliment.
    She was the entrepreneur; Melody was the feminist; Jane was the religious cook and Shayera was the one with the looks.
    ‘Did you hear that?’ Shayera dropped her fork as a loud noise emanated from the adjoining building.
    ‘Hurray! My neighbors are fighting again’ Dara laughed.
    She had the money to afford a classy mansion but she chose to rent an average one; she chose to live a different life from the one Edward had taught her. She chose to do the opposite of everything she’d done while with him. That was the only way she could get over him completely.
    She had lied to her friend that he no longer affected her but it wasn’t that easy to forget a man that you had loved for more than ten years; a man whom you shared dreams with, built an empire with; a man who had warmed your bed every night. It wasn’t easy but living in a place like this one, with crazy neighbors, helped her get through dull and depressing days.
    ‘I have the urge to peep’ Shayera winked.
    ‘Trust me, there’s no fun there. It’s just a guy who keeps random girlfriends and they keep bumping into each other’ Dara explained.
    ‘His player boy skills suck’ Shayera rolled her eyes then rushed to the window.
    Dara joined her and they both stared at the fighters but something else drew their attention.
    ‘Can’t they get a room?’ Shayera pointed at a light-skinned girl who wore shorts and a tank top with sand shoes. She was engrossed in a passionate kiss with a man whose car was parked outside the compound.
    ‘Men and their lies’ Dara rolled her eyes.
    ‘You know him?’ Shayera faced her.
    ‘Of course. That is the owner of this building.’ she replied.
    ‘So? Kissing a woman he likes isn’t a big deal except of course he is…’ Shayera’s mouth fell open.
    ‘You’re damn right. The bastard is married’ Dara replied coolly.
    ‘I am so sorry’ Shayera spotted sadness in her friend’s eyes; this must have triggered memories of Edward.
    ‘It’s okay, I will be fine’ Dara replied and they moved back to the table.
    ‘So what are your plans for your perfume factory?’ Shayera changed the topic.
    ‘Um, you know I named it after my husband but now we are splitting, I am changing everything. I intend to paint the walls with new colors, call it a new name; there’s so much to be done’ Dara sighed.
    ‘Good idea’ Shayera replied.
    ‘Yes,’ she nodded.
    It was time to get rid of every trace of Edward in her life.
    She finally realized how boring her life had been since the day Blessing moved in with them… She had not felt it before but she did now.
    Unlike her friends, she wasn’t a career woman; she was a housewife and did all the chores on her own. Once Wale had left for work, she would cook, clean and do laundry, all in silence; but things had changed.
    ‘I can’t believe Sister Nancy was a thief, so she was the usher that stole the missing money?’ Jane’s eyes widened in surprise as Blessing fed her with more church gossip.
    ‘Yes, I am surprised you never heard. The news was all over’ Blessing replied.
    ‘How will I hear anything? You know how impatient my husband can get once the church is over. I hardly mix with others, we just rush back home’ Jane sighed.
    ‘You can’t blame him, men don’t like it when we women talk’ Blessing laughed.
    ‘I guess so. I know my husband has his flaws but he is a very good man, he is the best husband in the world’ Jane’s eyes shone dreamily as she spoke of her man.
    ‘Really? Tell me more’ Blessing lowered her eyes briefly and focused on the cloth she was mending.
    ‘He buys me a lot of gifts; Angela and I don’t lack a thing. He even does the cooking sometimes, when I am tired and worn out. Isn’t that sweet?’

    Episode Twelve

    ‘He buys me a lot of gifts; Angela and I don’t lack a thing. He even does the cooking sometimes, when I am tired and worn out. Isn’t that sweet?’
    ‘Yes it is’ Blessing nodded feeling sad that her own relationships never worked out well. If the man wasn’t a cheat, he was a broke ass or stingy. Her friend and sister in the lord were definitely lucky.
    ‘Ouch,’ she groaned as the needle pricked her.
    ‘Oh my God! Come with me, let’s clean that wound before it gets infected’ Jane rose to her feet and beckoned to her.
    Blessing trailed behind, she followed Jane as she led the way to the master bedroom.
    ‘It’s beautiful in here’ Blessing whispered. The bed was massive and well dressed with a colorful sheet. Chandeliers dripped from the ceiling; Jane even had a dressing mirror with a golden frame. It was so beautiful and cozy, something she never had.
    ‘Thanks, now come along let me treat that wound’ Jane beckoned.
    Once she was done, Blessing thanked her. Just then, there was a loud horn blast.
    ‘That’s my darling husband, he is back’ Jane smiled and led the way as they both rushed to welcome him.
    Melody usually left very early for work, Jerry wasn’t sure he would meet her on his return from the hospital. He had worked the night shift and it had been a very busy one.
    ‘I’m so tired’ he yawned as he peeled off his jacket.
    Two weeks had passed since he had raised the issue of having kids with Melody; she had not said anything positive to that effect.
    Instead, she had reminded him of her career and busy schedule, arguing that she would not have the time to raise kids. When she said that, he realized that he had made the mistake of getting married to a career woman and a staunch feminist like Melody.
    He didn’t share in her belief and values and that was where he had missed it.
    The week had been a rough one too; all his friends seemed to hide in a cave. The guys had not met for a drink in weeks; it seemed something had happened and he was being kept in the dark.
    He decided he would pay Edward a visit later and he would reach out to Wale on phone. He figured Yahaya wasn’t interested in being friends with him; he had called him about four times but he never answered or returned the calls.
    ‘Mrs. Ekan?’ He heard someone hum.
    Their maid, Mrs. Ekan, had proven to be a hardworking and devoted woman who was in love with what she did.
    ‘Hello?’ He wondered why she was ignoring him.
    He halted as he found a different person mopping the kitchen tiles. The stranger in their kitchen was much younger than Mrs Ekan and she was very sexy.
    ‘Welcome sir’ she swallowed and bowed her head.
    ‘Who are you and where is Mrs Ekan?’ He asked the girl.
    ‘I am her daughter, sir, she wasn’t feeling very well so I decided to help her out’ the young woman replied.
    ‘Okay, nice. Send my regards’ he quickly moved away. He felt unsettled by her beauty, something he had not felt since he got married. Well, who could blame him? After their last fight, Melody had stopped having sex with him.
    She was trying to prove her supremacy in the marriage and he had dared her to continue; he would never beg to have sex with her. He had sworn it.
    Once dinner was over, Blessing helped Jane with the dishes and they both retired for the night.
    Jane read her bible and prayed briefly then joined her husband in bed.
    ‘How was your day dear?’ She turned and faced him.
    ‘Fine’ he replied flatly. He focused on his android tab.
    ‘And work?’ She continued.
    ‘Fine’ he replied in the same disinterested tone.
    She got upset at his tone; why was he acting like a spoilt brat? She had already explained the reason why they couldn’t have sex and she wasn’t going back on her word. Being a good Christian was more important to her than being the perfect housewife.
    ‘Is this about me not having sex with you? Because if it is, then you really need to grow up. You’re sulking, just like our daughter would do’ she snapped angrily at him. She hated being ignored.
    ‘Okay’ Wale replied curtly.
    ‘What’s this about? Why are you giving me attitude?’ She jumped to her feet.
    ‘What do you want me to say, Jane? You are starving me sexually, you brought a woman into our house without asking for my opinion yet you stand there and act all righteous. You know nothing about being a godly wife’ he dropped the phone and faced her.
    ‘I knew it! I knew this was about the sex and as for Sister Blessing, I was doing what God commanded us to do; why do you have to make things so difficult for me? Jesus asked us to be the light for others in their time of darkness’ she replied.
    ‘Do you even know this woman, beyond seeing her in church every Sunday? You don’t feel comfortable having my own relatives in this house yet you open your arms widely to a stranger’ he rolled his eyes. This was it, he was done with religion, he was done with hypocrisy.
    ‘I know her dear, she is a nice person. She is God fearing and a prayer warrior; I think we’re doing the right thing by helping her’ Jane was sure of this.
    ‘No, point of correction, you are the one helping her. I am not comfortable with her staying in this house; a week has passed since she moved in but you told me it would only be for a few days, what happened to that?’ He eyed her skeptically.
    ‘Honey, she has nowhere to go, believe me she has tried. She has been making calls here and there but she’s not been able to resolve the situation.’ Jane replied.
    ‘Okay. Do whatever you like, I am not interested’ he fell back on the bed.
    ‘About the sex, once I am done with this fifty days of fasting and intense prayers, we would go back to our normal sex timetable, okay?’ She pressed a soft kiss on his head.
    ‘Whatever’ Wale hissed. Was she kidding? How could she starve him for two months and expect him to be a good sport?
    It seemed all his friends were avoiding him but he wasn’t ready to let go of the friendship yet; he needed to check in on them, that was his reason for visiting Edward.
    Jerry slid out of his car and moved towards the front door. He noticed Dara’s car wasn’t in the parking lot; he rolled his eyes, maybe she had gone out.
    He always admired the confidence and hardworking nature of that lady, very few women could pull that off and still stay submissive to a jackass like Edward. He wasn’t the trophy husband but she still respected him; even when they were out, she never treated him like scum; she still showed him respect.
    The same could not be said about his own wife. Melody wasn’t the kind of woman he would advise any man to marry. He felt sad that their marriage wasn’t even up to two years and he was beginning to feel trapped. For how long would he endure her selfishness? How long would he endure her inability to cook decent meals? How long would he wait for her to join him in starting a family?

    Episode Thirteen

    How long would he endure her inability to cook decent meals? How long would he wait for her to join him in starting a family?
    He took a deep breath and reminded himself that he had asked for it. He wasn’t an advocate of divorce and he had vowed not to be a divorcee. His parent’s marriage hadn’t exactly worked out. His father was abusive and his mother was a chronic cheat. He had vowed to be different from them but he now found himself in a hopeless situation.
    ‘Lord help me’ he said a quick prayer before ringing the doorbell.
    He rang the bell twice but got no response. He wondered where everybody was; the gateman had told him Edward was around.
    He pushed the door open and stepped into the house. ‘Hello? Is anybody home?’ Jerry trotted into the spacious living room.
    He called out to the owners of the house but there was no answer. He sighed and turned back, then paused as he heard voices. Wasn’t that Edward?
    He followed the direction of the voice which led him to the kitchen, Dara’s kitchen. He had eaten the woman’s food a few times, it reminded him of his mother’s cooking and caused him to feel worse about having a wife like Melody.
    His steps had been light, so there was no where they could have sensed they had company.
    ‘Edward’! Jerry screamed as he caught his friend pants down with a strange lady in his wife’s kitchen.
    ‘Baby fuck me…baby’ Caro wriggled her waist as Edward made love to her. Edward halted once he heard his name; he turned and found his friend staring at him.
    ‘What are you doing here?’ Blood rushed to his face.
    ‘You have a lot of explaining to do’ Jerry hissed angrily and walked away.
    ‘Baby, please continue’ Caro caressed his head.
    ‘I am sorry, I need to speak with my friend. I’ll be back’ he rushed into his clothes and chased after Jerry.
    ‘Wait, I need to explain’ Edward tried to stop Jerry from stepping into his car.
    ‘I am so disappointed in you Edward; so you now bring your whores into your matrimonial home? You’re insane. You’re wicked and heartless. How do you expect Dara to feel? Why are you hurting her? What exactly is her crime?’ Jerry was infuriated. He hated it when men cheated on good women; he hated it when men cheated at all.
    He was a medical doctor and knew the consequences of such action. Most times, such men contracted HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases which they passed on to their innocent wives.
    ‘I agree with all the names that you have called me but at least, hear me out before throwing stones at me’ Edward tried to calm him down.
    ‘You want me to listen to you so you can feed me with more lies? Is that what you want?’ Jerry felt like dishing him a blow for his recklessness.
    ‘You see that lady I was fucking? She is about to ruin my marriage and the only way to stop that is to make her listen to me’ Edward tried to explain.
    Jerry cut in angrily ‘You’re trying to save your marriage by fucking her? Geez! For what it’s worth, it was nice knowing you; we had good times but this friendship is over. I can’t be friends with someone like you Edward, you are a murderer’ Jerry jumped into his car and drove off.
    Edward didn’t try to stop him. Jerry’s words cut deep into him, just the way Dara’s words had. He deserved it, he deserved all of it.
    He was in this mess because of his uncontrollable lust; he hated himself the more. He had lost his wife and now he had lost his friend Jerry. Fear gripped him as he imagined living a life without his wife and all of his friends, he would die of loneliness.
    Tears brimmed in his eyes as he took stock of all the terrible things he had done to Dara; allowing Caro stay with him in the house was the height of it but he had his plans.
    He had allowed her to stay so he could get under her skin and get the truth out of her. It wasn’t in his habit to sleep with young girls like Caro, it had been a mistake. It had been a set up. He remembered seeing her at the house and  kissing her, then he took off her panties; but after that, everything else was a blur.
    Something fishy had happened that night and if he could just get the truth out of Caro, if he could get her to confess, his marriage to Dara might have a future.
    ‘Baby, let’s get back to bed. I still want you’ she came from behind and encircled him with her hands.
    ‘Okay honey’ he blinked away the tears that had stung his eyes. Now his mother was away, he would fight for his marriage.
    Jerry couldn’t believe his eyes; he couldn’t  believe that a man would make love to another woman in his wife’s kitchen. Edward had really gone beyond the limits; he could never be friends with such a dishonest person.
    He got back home and headed straight for the refrigerator; he needed to drink something cool to calm his nerves else he would explode or transfer the aggression to someone else.
    He poured a glass of fruit juice and sipped it coolly; he felt relaxed on the third glass.
    ‘Easy there tiger, are you trying to kill yourself? Too much of everything is bad’ Melody strolled into the kitchen.
    He chose to ignore her at first. He had so many reasons to be angry with her; she had refused to make love to him just because of their argument. Why did she act concerned now?
    ‘Baby?’ Melody saw the scowl on his face. He seemed really pissed.
    ‘Don’t baby me, just get the hell away from me’ he snapped angrily.
    ‘Jerry! What have I done to deserve such rudeness?’ Tears welled up in her eyes.
    ‘Okay, I am sorry, that’s why I channeled my anger into drinking of juice; I knew I would snap at someone. You and I still have a score to settle but this outburst has nothing to do with it’ he moved closer to her.
    ‘Then what is it? Is it because I refused to sleep with you?’ She swallowed.
    ‘No, you can keep your body to yourself’ he waved her off.
    That did it. She had expected him to beg as usual but this time, he showed her he wasn’t interested. Her heart raced as she observed him.
    When a man didn’t complain when you starved him sexually, he was definitely getting it from someone else.
    ‘Are you cheating on me?’ Her voice was shaky.
    ‘Maybe’ he shrugged.
    ‘Jerry…’ she called him gently. She would feel really bad if he had slept with another woman.
    ‘You know what, let’s talk about something else. I went over to Edward’s, I found him screwing another woman in his kitchen’ he said.
    ‘What?’ Color drained from her face as she stared at her husband in shock.
    ‘Yes, that guy is a hopeless fool, there is no salvation for him’ Jerry hissed.

    Episode Fourteen

    ‘Yes, that guy is a hopeless fool, there is no salvation for him’ Jerry hissed.
    ‘Oh my God, Dara is going to be real hurt when she hears this’ Melody sighed. She was right behind her friend and she intended to help Dara wipe his assets clean during the divorce proceedings.
    ‘Don’t tell her’ Jerry cut in.
    ‘Honey, it’s too late. I have agreed to be her lawyer, she needs to file for divorce and get the hell away from that man. He is a brute’ Melody replied, then suddenly remembered that her husband wasn’t aware that Edward had impregnated another woman.
    ‘What do you mean it’s too late?’ Jerry scoffed.
    ‘He got someone pregnant and Dara moved out of the house. She has her own apartment now and she is going to divorce him’ she explained.
    ‘Oh my God. Edward is really mean, I hope he rots in hell for hurting that poor woman’ Jerry reached for a seat. His legs felt weak.
    ‘Yes, he is. Dara needs us now, she is really hurt’ Melody returned.
    ‘You guys hang around her, this is too much to deal with alone’ Jerry advised.
    ‘Sure, that’s why I want the girls to come over for a night out’ Melody smiled.
    Once in a while, the girls did sleep over at each other’s houses; they would watch a movie, gossip, play cards and sleep. It was always beautiful; they all loved it and it tightened their bond of friendship.
    ‘Ok, good one’ Jerry nodded. He supported his wife when things like this came up.
    ‘So? What do you think about the divorce?’ Melody sought his opinion.
    ‘Affirmative. No woman has to suffer and risk getting an incurable STD in the name of marriage. Happiness is for everyone, it isn’t gender sensitive’ Jerry replied.
    ‘Meanwhile, this place looks so neat. You see? I told you getting a maid to do the dirty job was the way out for us. Now you’re happy, eating fine and I have time for my job’ she noticed the kitchen was unusually clean and dinner had  already been served.
    ‘The old woman is ill, it’s her daughter who did all these. Young hands fare better than old one’s’ Jerry shifted uncomfortably as he thought of the attractive lady he had seen earlier.
    ‘What are you talking about?’ Melody raised her brow.
    ‘Mrs Ekan called in sick, her daughter handled her job today’ he explained.
    ‘Wow. Are you thinking what I am thinking?’ An idea came to her. She knew her friends had advised her to get an old and unattractive maid but what was the point of that? Edward still cheated on Dara and they never had a maid.
    A cheating man would always be a cheating man, regardless of the circumstances.
    ‘And what are you thinking?’ He wondered.
    ‘Maybe we should hire her daughter; that is, if she is willing to work for us’ she replied.
    ‘Okay’ he shrugged as he mentally undressed the girl he had seen earlier.
    He thought of her fair skin; the bulge of her hips; her flat tummy and watermelon boobs. On top of that, she had a face to die for. He realized he was lusting after another woman but he couldn’t stop.
    ‘Are you okay with it? If you aren’t, we can stick to Mrs Ekan; just that you keep saying she is old enough to be my mother and truthfully, that makes me feel bad’ Melody noticed her husband wasn’t paying attention to what she was saying.
    ‘Sure, do whatever you want. It’s your call’ he stuttered.
    Her fighting neighbors woke her up and she realized morning had given birth to a bright yellow sun, a mild wind and honking of cars.
    ‘Up and busy’ Dara jumped out of bed and rushed towards her bathroom. She had called a Civil Engineering company to discuss the restructuring of her perfume factory.
    Water from the shower rained on her and she felt deep peace flow within her, like blood running through her veins. Talking to her friend Shayera had been very helpful, soon she would get over her husband completely.
    Her phone buzzed loudly as she stepped out of the shower and wrapped her hair in a clean white towel. She rolled her eyes and hoped it wasn’t Edward. She had blocked his number when he wouldn’t stop disturbing her with incessant calls but he always called back with a different number.
    She heaved a sigh of relief as she lifted her phone. Melody had sent her a message; they were having date night at her place.
    ‘Perfect’ Dara smiled. It had been two weeks since she last saw her other two friends Melody and Jane, this would be a mega “reunion”.
    She put on her clothes, applied make-up and rushed out of the house. She bumped into one of her neighbors, apologized quickly and slid into her Ferarri. Damn right, she deserved the fine things of life; she worked hard for it.
    As she drove past the neighborhood, she noticed the way people stared at her. Why would someone who could afford such an expensive car live in such a neighborhood?
    She laughed at their shocked faces; she didn’t care, she just kept driving till she arrived her perfume factory “Edwardar”.
    She paused and noticed some strange looking men in front of her shop, her workers were all outside; everyone was arguing about something. What was going on?
    ‘Good morning Madam, thank heavens you’re finally here. There’s fire on the mountain’ her personal assistant, who was a chatter box, rushed towards her.
    ‘What is going on Tiwa?’ Dara stared at the girl.
    ‘Edwardar is about to get demolished by the government’ she explained.
    ‘Why?’ Dara couldn’t believe her ears. No one would toil with her years of hard work. Did the government know how much she had spent in building her empire? How could they just wake up one morning and decide to bring it to the ground?

    Dara swallowed hard as she came face to face with the most handsome man she had ever seen. Her husband, Edward was hot and very sexy but this man was a hundred times more.
    ‘Isn’t he hot? All the girls are talking about him’ Tiwa grinned.
    ‘Shut up Tiwa, focus’ Dara put on her serious face and walked towards the six-footer. She suddenly felt like a dwarf and felt inadequate before him.
    ‘Excuse me, Mr Man, you don’t just wake up, get into your stupid car and come over here with some stupid plans to take down my building. Tell the government or whatever clown sent you here, that I am not willing to buy the crap they are selling’ she blasted him.
    Suddenly all arguments seized; it was like the world had stopped and there was no one else but she and the tall man.
    She felt so drawn to his dark eyes; he was muscular and well shaped. His nose was straight and his lips were sensuous. He wore a pair of faded jeans and a sleeveless shirt that showed off muscular arms, and he wore a hat that added more “sexy” to his look.
    ‘You’re extremely beautiful when angry’ he smiled at her.
    She suddenly felt stupid, was she beautiful?
    ‘Permit me, I am Engineer Tanko Adams, I was sent by my company to oversee this project’ he stretched out his hands.
    ‘I don’t care! If I were you, I’d get off this property before I call the police’ she clenched her jaw.
    ‘You cannot call the police Mrs Edwards’ he called her name after reading from a paper.
    ‘And why is that?’ She raised her brows.
    ‘Because your husband approved this project and this document states that he is a partner in ‘Edwardar’ Tanko replied.
    ‘What? He is a silent partner, he owns just 20% of this’ she pointed at the building.
    ‘20% or not, he agreed to this, so, if you’ll excuse me, there’s so much work to be done’ He flashed her a smile and trotted into the building.

    Episode Sixteen

    He shrugged and stepped out of his house; he was sure the truth would eventually be unveiled.
    The confidence he exuded further angered Dara; he walked around her company like he owned it; like he knew what she suffered, how she toiled. Well, she didn’t blame him, she blamed the fool she had married. Why would Edward want to ruin her life?
    She had wanted to call her lawyer Melody but decided against it; telling her something like this could upset her and that meant date night would be ruined.
    ‘You shouldn’t stare at me that way Mrs Edwards, you are married’ Tanko scoffed and moved towards her. They were the only ones inside now.
    From the moment he had set eyes on her, he felt glued. She was very pretty. He wasn’t a fan of “melanin popping” women but this one was different. She was strong and confident. How could one woman build such an empire by herself?
    ‘You can stop calling me Mrs Edwards, I have a name psycho’ she hissed angrily and prayed he would stop advancing towards her.
    ‘Really?’ His eyes darkened with desire for her plump body. She had a well-rounded backside, her breasts were full and she had killer lips.
    He knew her marriage was in trouble; how could a husband that truly loved his wife take such a decision to sell her empire to the government, knowing full well that it meant so much to her?
    ‘Dara, call me Dara’ she held her breath as he walked closer. She was fighting for strength but she looked calm on the outside.
    She had sent a text to the man she called husband; how could he be that callous? He had taken everything from her and now this? No, this wouldn’t happen. Although Edward was more wealthy and more powerful than she was, she would fight him with everything she had.
    ‘Dara… It’s a nice name for a black beauty’ Tanko charmed her with his smile.
    Suddenly the door burst open and Edward rushed in; a rage he didn’t understand crept inside of him as he stared at a familiar looking man standing close to his wife.
    ‘Oh, your husband is here’ Tanko announced and quickly moved away from her, he saw the way her husband looked at him. He resembled a tiger in search of a meal.
    ‘Darling, I am so happy to see you’ Edward hugged her. She almost pushed him away but she controlled herself.
    ‘I’ll leave you both now’ Tanko bowed and left.
    ‘Why are you doing this to me Edward? Why do you enjoy hurting me? Why? Just tell me’ tears welled up in her eyes as she faced him.
    ‘Come on baby, I don’t enjoy hurting you; it’s just that you’ve refused to listen to me. You don’t want to give me another chance’ he reached for her hands.
    ‘Another chance? Are you kidding? I gave you several chances but you still wouldn’t learn. How is your new wife by the way?’ Dara scoffed.
    She noticed Edward looked leaner and stressed up; she guessed it wasn’t only her that would be affected by their divorce.
    ‘You’re my wife Dara and you’ll always be, nothing can separate us. Only death can’ he replied.
    ‘I know I am not supposed to say this but let me make it very clear; I am filing for divorce in two days; Melody is my lawyer; I’ll advise you to get one’ she flashed him a grin and pushed him aside.
    ‘You cannot leave me. We are meant to be’ he was very scared.
    ‘Well, that’s not why I called you. What are you trying to do here? If you don’t enjoy hurting me, why would you call that stupid guy to come here and mark my building?’ She felt like punching him in the face.
    ‘If you promise not to leave me, I will call them back’ he replied.
    ‘Is that a threat?’ Her heart skipped as she realized Edward was trying to trap her in a miserable marriage with him.
    ‘No honey, remember this, we are meant to be’ he smiled as he spotted the fear in her eyes.
    ‘Really?’ She arched a brow. She suddenly hated him more than she ever loved him; she decided she would take Shayera’s advice and find a man for herself. He wasn’t even sorry for breaking her heart; instead he came out with more ways to prove she couldn’t do without him.
    She could do without Edwards and she would prove it to him.
    ‘Yes Dara, we are one and nothing can separate us’ he repeated confidently.
    ‘You are wrong Edward. Watch me leave’ she flashed him a mischievous grin, then trotted outside. She was about to do what she had never done before.
    ‘Hello, Mr Tanko’ she walked over to the cute guy that had flirted with her.
    ‘Tanko please’ he decided to tone it down.
    ‘Okay, Tanko here is my number, call me whenever you are free, let’s have a drink’ she winked and walked away.
    ‘Oh, I’ll look forward to that’ he was surprised and thrilled. The woman he had met minutes ago seemed shy and boring. He loved this new version.
    From where he stood watching, he knew that Dara had exchanged numbers with the familiar looking guy. Anger coursed through him as he imagined another man making love to Dara. As he imagined her cute lips parting in primal groans for another man, his face tightened and he became lost in a world of fantasy; one in which he killed his wife’s lover with a sword.
    ‘Sir…’ Tiwa stuttered as she stood next to her boss’ husband. He seemed lost.
    ‘Mr Edward’ she tapped him lightly on the shoulder.
    ‘Oh, Tiwa, how are you?’ He snapped out of his fantasy and faced the young woman.
    ‘Fine, are you okay?’ She inquired. Why were they both acting weird? She had noticed a change in Mrs. Edward and now him?
    ‘Yes, yes’ he forced a smile. He had always known his wife’s personal assistant had a crush on him from the way she acted but he couldn’t do anything with her; one, she was too young for him and more importantly, it would mean dishonoring his wife.
    It was that thought that convinced him he had not slept with Caro. If he didn’t, then who did?
    ‘I have a job for you, I promise to pay you handsomely if you’ll help me’ Edward fetched her hands. From the way her brown eyes melted, he knew she would do it.
    ‘You see, your boss and I had a little argument and she moved out of the house; I don’t know where she is staying. If you help me find out, I would take you on a date’ he promised.
    ‘Wow, you’ll really do that?’ Her eyes danced.
    ‘Of course, just get me what I want’ he replied.
    His next plan was to check the familiar looking guy out; when he had met the head of the electrical company, he had not seen that face, who was he?
    ‘Hello Mr, I am glad you guys responded swiftly. You can pause for two weeks, I’ll speak to your boss. I need to convince my wife to get on board with this’ Edward walked up to him.
    ‘Mr Tanko Adams’ he nodded.
    ‘Alright, that won’t be a problem at all, we’ll come back in two weeks’ Tanko put on his cap and gave a signal to the guys to pack up their machines.
    ‘Tanko Adams’ Edward murmured. He didn’t like the way he had stared at his wife; he would look into that.
    But first, he had to discourage Melody from tackling the divorce.

    Episode Seventeen

    But first, he had to discourage Melody from tackling the divorce.
    She considered Blessing a godsend. Jane didn’t have to bother about chores anymore; Blessing did the cooking, washing, and cleaning and that afforded her more time to study the bible.
    ‘What’s for dinner honey?’ Wale strolled towards the dining table. He had just read Angela “Princess and the Pea” and put her to sleep.
    ‘I don’t know, I am just as curious’ Jane rubbed her hands, Blessing had helped with dinner.
    ‘What do you mean by that? Didn’t you do the cooking?’ Wale rolled his eyes.
    ‘Just taste it’ Jane served him Yam fufu and Egusi soup made with chicken.
    He had wanted to warn his wife about Blessing cooking their meals but he restrained himself; he was tired of fighting. Since she wouldn’t have sex with him, he might as well enjoy his new found celibacy in peace.
    He washed his hand and rolled a fine ball of yam fufu, then dipped it into the colorful bowl of Egusi. It was wonderful, even better than Jane’s Egusi. Where did Blessing learn to cook like that?
    ‘Do you like it? It tastes wonderful’ Jane beamed.
    ‘I do, it’s delicious’ he agreed and his heart immediately softened towards Blessing. If she could offer him such delicacies, then he had no problem allowing her to stay in the house.

    ‘I thought of something’ Jane smacked her lips.
    ‘What?’ He asked.
    ‘What if she becomes our maid and we pay her? That way she can save some money and get on with her life’ Jane suggested.
    ‘I don’t like that idea, what if she feels insulted? She is our church member, remember?’ He wasn’t thrilled about the idea.
    ‘It doesn’t matter. The blessing is a humble person, I know her quite well, she would be glad we offered’ Jane decided.
    ‘Okay then, go ahead’ he shrugged; he didn’t want to argue with her.
    ‘No, you tell her yourself, I am tired of making all the big decisions. You tell her you want her to work for us’ Jane suggested.
    ‘Not a big deal’ he replied.
    ‘By the way, I’ll be leaving for Melody’s house after dinner, I’ll be back by morning’ she announced.
    ‘Okay’ he nodded. He wasn’t in the mood to argue. He thought about his own friends, Jerry and Edward.
    ‘The life of a man’ he muttered. They were breadwinners and their busy schedule wouldn’t let them see each other.
    ‘That reminds me, you said something happened between Dara and Edward’ he reminded her.
    ‘Yes, he got another girl pregnant; she moved out of the house and is filing for a divorce, something I warned her against. God is against divorce’ Jane washed her hands as she was done eating.
    ‘Oh my God! Edward fucked up big time’ Wale suddenly lost his appetite.
    ‘Yes, he did. I have to go now honey’ she rushed and kissed him.
    ‘Take the car and be careful’ he returned her kiss.
    ‘Love you’ she hugged him and rushed out.
    He still found it difficult to believe that his friend could do something so outrageous; he decided he would pay him a visit that night.
    ‘Excuse me sir, are you done with the food?’ Blessing showed up in the dining.
    ‘Um, yes, thank you’ he rose to his feet. He felt awkward around her now Jane wasn’t around.
    ‘How was the soup, sir? I hope there wasn’t too much pepper?’ Blessing smiled.
    ‘No, it was very delicious’ he replied.
    He noticed she wore a nightgown; it was very lacy and quite revealing. Her breasts shot out and he could even see their dark tits; his eyes traveled down to her backside, blood rushed in his veins. His wife had been right; he was starting to go carnal.
    ‘Thank you’ she smiled and resumed packing the plates.
    ‘Sister Blessing, would you like to work for us? We could pay you till you have enough money to get back on your feet?’ He asked.
    ‘Of course sir, I would love to. I love to help Sister Jane with the chores, you and your wife are too kind’ she fell on her knees and thanked him.
    ‘Get up. Get up’ he avoided looking at her breasts.
    ‘I’m leaving for my friend’s, don’t wait up; I’ll be late’ he instructed her.
    ‘Okay sir’ she rose to her feet.
    The girls had arrived in the usual order – Shayera, Jane and Dara (who was always late for everything).
    Melody’s house buzzed like a beehive; she had returned from work early so she could host her friends. She handled all the chores with her maid’s daughter, Nkechi. Jerry was out working again.
    ‘This wine tastes damn good’ Dara poured herself more of the non-alcoholic wine.
    ‘Better slow down before you get bloated, the food is yet to arrive’ Shayera warned her.
    Jane watched silently as her friends interacted; she was concerned about Dara’s marriage that was falling apart.
    ‘You look pale Shayera’ Melody observed.
    ‘Oh my God, she is pregnant!’ Dara spat the wine in excitement.
    ‘Are you pregnant?’ The three girls asked Shayera in a chorus.
    ‘No! Come on, we’ve just been married for three weeks’ she rolled her eyes.
    ‘It’s never too early to start’ Jane rolled her eyes, still waiting for the right time to bring up the topic.
    ‘I’m going to do a test tomorrow, I guess it’s just typhoid’ she shrugged.
    ‘Whatever. Nkechi! Bring the food, I am tired of waiting’ Melody yelled to Mrs Ekan’s daughter.
    ‘So tell us, how are you doing Dara? When last did you hear from Edward?’ Jane asked when they all fell quiet.
    ‘Today. He is really determined about us getting back together. I told him about the divorce and he totally freaked out; he has threatened to have my company demolished unless I agree not to divorce him’ she explained.
    ‘You see? Edward still loves you, you just need time to get over the pain’ Jane smiled.
    ‘Loves her? Hell no, can’t you see what he is doing to you? Edward is a devil and deserves to be punished. He is trying to manipulate you into staying with him; why would he want to demolish your building? He has cheated on you severally and finally got another woman pregnant. Why are you having second thoughts about the divorce? You need to get rid of him’ Melody warned.
    ‘Careful though, they are still married; from what she’s told us, she could give him just one more chance; remember Annie gave 2face seven chances’ Shayera rolled her eyes.
    ‘Please stop kidding me, that girl stayed with 2face because she would be mega broke without him. Dara’s case is different; she is a successful woman and can thrive on her own money. Dara doesn’t need Edward; she doesn’t need a man to make her happy’ Melody argued.
    ‘I do need a man, in fact, I found one today’ she licked her lips nervously. She couldn’t stop thinking about him.
    ‘Oh my! I need to drink some wine while listening to this romantic tale?’ Shayera rushed towards a bottle of red wine.
    ‘Careful, you may hurt the child. God would be very angry with you’ Jane held her hands and took the bottle away.
    ‘Whatever’ she rolled her eyes and relaxed.
    ‘He is tall, light skinned; his nose is straight; he has sexy lips and dark broody eyes. He is very cute, I met him today, he was one of the engineers assigned to demolish my building’ she described him dreamily.
    ‘From the way you sound, I’m guessing you’ll like to have him in your bed’ Melody snorted.
    ‘That won’t be a bad idea. Just do whatever it takes to be happy’ Shayera supported.

    Episode Eighteen

    ‘That won’t be a bad idea. Just do whatever it takes to be happy’ Shayera supported.
    ‘She is still married to Edward and in God’s eyes, that would be adultery’ Jane was offended by their sinful conversation.
    ‘Girl, you are so spiritual; sometimes I forget you are human. Tell me Jane, when last did you fart?’ Melody asked and the other girls burst out laughing.
    ‘May God have mercy on you’ Jane hissed.
    ‘And you too’ they chorused.
    ‘So this handsome guy, your Mr Nigeria, does he have a name?’ Melody asked.
    ‘Yes’ Dara smiled.
    ‘We even exchanged numbers; we’ll have a date one of these days’ she rolled her eyes.
    Her mouth fell wide open as she discovered the girl who was having an affair with her landlord was serving them food.
    ‘Are you okay?’ Shayera followed her gaze and froze.
    ‘Is that you maid?’ Shayera whispered once the girl returned to the kitchen. She remembered the girl too well; she had been the one kissing a married man in front of Dara’s compound.
    ‘Not really, but I plan on hiring her’ Melody answered.
    ‘Please don’t!’ Dara and Shayera said at once.
    ‘Why? I even got a maid too myself. Listen, I know you are both worried about her husband but a man that loves his wife wouldn’t cheat with the maid’ Jane advised.
    ‘I still think you should be careful Melody; that girl is…’ she searched for the right words.
    ‘Is what? I don’t care honey, just because Edward cheated on you doesn’t mean our husbands would cheat on us. You cannot summarize everybody’s marriage based on yours’ Melody blurted out.
    ‘How can you say such a thing to me?’ Dara felt hurt by her words.
    ‘Geez Melody, that was a cruel thing to say!’ Shayera was stunned.
    ‘I am sorry, I didn’t mean it’ Melody felt horrible.
    ‘You know what? I don’t think I can stay here. Goodnight’ Dara rose to her feet and rushed out of the house before the other girls could stop her.
    ‘Shit’ Melody cursed under her breath.
    ‘I need to read my bible; good night guys’ Jane was speechless.
    ‘And I need to make a call’ Shayera rose to her feet and walked away.
    ‘I have really messed up’ tears welled up in Melody’s eyes.
    Tears bit her eyes as she rushed into her apartment; how could Melody say something so heartless?
    She realized Melody wasn’t really her friend; if she were her true friend, she wouldn’t have made such a cutting statement.
    She wiped her face, fetched a bottle of scotch from her collection and poured it into a glass; she needed something to numb the pain she was feeling; Melody still saw her as a failure even after she had decided to leave Edward.
    She felt Shayera and Jane felt the same way too; they felt their marriages were better than hers. They felt they were superior. She was sure that was what they all thought about her.
    She fetched her phone and dialed Tanko’s number; she needed a distraction that night; she needed to do something different; she needed someone to fill the void her friends and Edward had created.
    She sent him a text message asking him to come over to her place; she needed to explore all the fantasies she had about him; she needed a man to warm her body that night.
    Dara quickly peeled her clothes off her body and stepped into the bathroom; after a bottle of wine, the next thing that would help relax and numb all the pain she felt was a warm bath.
    As the water ran down her skin; she made some tough decisions. She decided that Melody would no longer be her attorney; in fact, she was putting the whole divorce business on hold.
    Also, she would avoid her friends for a while; she needed to be alone and focus on her own life.
    ‘Ding Dong.’ The doorbell cried.
    Her heart raced as she thought of Tanko, had he come? She burrowed into her bathrobe and rushed to get the door.
    ‘Tanko!’ She called his name excitedly.
    ‘Yes darling, I thought you’d never call’ he winked and ran his eyes over her.
    ‘I…I miss you’ she stuttered. She couldn’t believe she could whisper those words to a stranger. She had thought she would be faithful to Edward till death did them part; but that wasn’t the case with life, life fed you with surprises.
    ‘Can I come in?’ He finally asked. He noticed she was not certain about letting him into her house or into her life.
    From the moment he had seen her, he’d noted the chemistry between them; he was quite sure they would end up sleeping together.
    He knew Dara was married but he didn’t care; he was ready to do anything to forget the woman he truly loved; he was ready to erase all his memories of Shayera.
    ‘Oh, I am sorry about that’ she offered him a seat as he came in.
    Dara felt really nervous; what she was about to do would change her forever but she didn’t care; it was time for her to take care of herself; she deserved to be happy too.
    ‘Here’ she offered him a glass of scotch.
    ‘Thanks’ Tanko fetched it from her.
    ‘So, were you busy when I called? I know it’s late and I am sorry, I just needed to be with someone’ she sighed. She was stuttering, maybe this wasn’t a great idea after all.
    ‘No. In fact, I was also thinking about you’ he sipped coolly.
    Her heart fluttered as he said those words; so he thought about her too?
    ‘I am curious, why aren’t you with your husband? Are you sure he wouldn’t mind you keeping other friends?’ Tanko asked. Her staying apart from her husband confirmed his assumptions that they were having marital crisis.
    ‘Can we not talk about my husband? Let’s talk about something else’ she suggested. She felt uncomfortable talking about her failed marriage; it reminded her of the way Melody had mocked her earlier.
    ‘Okay, I am sorry about that’ he replied then searched his pocket for his phone. It was ringing.
    He fetched it and stared at the caller identity. His heart skipped, Shayera was calling.
    ‘You can take the call’ Dara shrugged.
    ‘No, it’s not important’ Tanko turned off his phone. Why would she call him after they had agreed not to see each other?
    ‘Okay’ she nodded. She suddenly got scared, was she doing the right thing? What if Jane’s opinion concerning divorce was gradually getting to her?
    ‘You look beautiful tonight’ he swallowed his drink and moved closer to her.
    ‘Am I?’ She avoided his penetrating gaze.
    ‘Yes, from the moment I set my eyes on you, I was drawn to you especially your lips’ his eyes traveled from her eyes to her lush lips.
    ‘I felt the same way too’ she whispered. He smelt so nice and it dulled her senses; that moment was theirs alone; all thoughts of her marriage had vanished as she was in a new world; a world was fantasy would blossom to life; where seeds of pleasure would germinate.
    ‘I want to kiss you, Dara, I want to kiss you badly’ his voice was filled with emotion.
    ‘Yes, you can kiss me’ she whispered back.
    He pulled her to her feet so they were both standing; he towered above her; he lowered his mouth and grabbed hers in a slow and intoxicating kiss.

    Episode Nineteen

    He pulled her to her feet so they were both standing; he towered above her; he lowered his mouth and grabbed hers in a slow and intoxicating kiss.
    She relished the taste of his mouth; it burned her with desire; his lips were soft; his tongue delved into her mouth and explored.
    She felt a throbbing between her thighs; her heart raced as her desire heightened. This was the first man she had ever desired after her husband.
    He loved this kiss; it tasted better than wine; her lips were sweeter than Shayera’s. He could drown in the sweetness, he decided to explore further with his hands.
    He started with her neck, then trailed a fine line from her nape to the swell of her hips, that fine place that drew him to her like butterflies to a flame; he scooped her mound of flesh and squeezed it while deepening the kiss.
    The touch of his hands sent pleasure reeling through her; she loved the way he touched and caressed her hips; she yearned for more.
    ‘I want you to touch me’ she broke the kiss and licked her lips.
    ‘Are you sure about that?’ He stared into her face.
    ‘Yes,’ she nodded.
    Slowly, he scooped her up and dropped her on the tiled floor. He peeled off his shirt and jeans before kissing her again; this time more slowly than the before.
    Once he was done with the kiss, he raised her up and found her zip; he took off her clothes with gentle ease until she was left in her red panties and matching bra.
    ‘You are so beautiful honey’ he held his breath as he took in her dark brown skin. It was the opposite of Shayera’s flawless cream complexion but it still appealed to him.
    ‘Thank you’ Dara replied and unclasped her bra hurriedly.
    He decided to bury Shayera’s memory completely as he led his mouth towards Dara’s breast and sucked on a tender nipple.
    He sucked her boobs like his life depended on it; then his hands reached for her waist and took off the pants very carefully.
    She was amazed; Edward had never been this gentle; he had never taken this great care in making love to her. She was tempted to ask Tanko if he was married or in a relationship, but that wasn’t necessary. They were both having fun and she wouldn’t ruin it.
    His hands ran between her legs and found the spot where she was already dripping; she was all wet and juicy for him. He placed his hands there and began to rub it in circles; each motion had her groaning and writhing against him.
    ‘You’re killing me’ she moaned.
    ‘Oh no, I am just getting started’ he stopped touching her tiny button and torturing her tits with his wet mouth. He took off his undershorts and stood fully naked before her.
    ‘Oh’ she gasped as she stared at the size of him. He was big and rugged.
    ‘Are you really sure about this? Because after now, there will be no turning back’ he asked.
    ‘I am sure’ she parted her legs, ready to receive him.
    He dipped his golden rod into her core and rode her like a stallion would ride a mare; her loud moans inspired him and he increased his pace. He enjoyed it too; he loved the wetness and warmness of her sacred core.
    She kept moaning till their pleasure ride came to an end; her hands squeezed his hard and firm hips as she released. He found his release right after hers and fell aside her.
    When all the pleasure was ended and her eyes were free from lustful blindness; fear gripped her as she realized he did not wear protection.
    ‘Oh my God’ she gasped. How could she have been so reckless?
    ‘What is it? Didn’t you enjoy it?’ Tanko smiled and begun to kiss her all over.
    ‘I did but I am sorry Tanko’ she swallowed. She had been so stupid.
    ‘Sorry about what?’ He stared at her in confusion.
    ‘You have to go’ she replied firmly.
    Caro had not returned home; she had called to inform Edward about the recent development in her mother’s health.
    He was thrilled that she wouldn’t be coming home soon; he had all the time to plan and think about the best way to get his wife back. Tiwa, her personal assistant, was yet to call back with information on her location; but he was a patient man; he would wait.
    He would have retired for the night except that he was waiting for his friend Wale who had called him. He felt bad that Jerry had ended their friendship but he didn’t take it personal because it was all his fault.
    He heard the doorbell and rushed to get the door, knowing full well it was Wale that had come.
    ‘Good evening’ he welcomed him into the house.
    ‘What’s good about the evening?’ Wale rolled his eyes. He had been very angry when Jane had told him about what Edward had done but he held himself. He wasn’t the type of man that judged people without hearing their side of the story. He was patient to a fault, the reason he could live with a wife like Jane who had starved him sexually for a month now.
    ‘I know Jerry told you everything but I am really sorry. I have had a time to think about this and I realize I may not be responsible for the pregnancy. I know that I have been bad in the past but it doesn’t mean I got Caro pregnant’ Edward rushed for words to vindicate himself.
    ‘So Jerry knew about this? Why didn’t he tell me?’ Wale was shocked.
    ‘He caught me making out with the girl in the kitchen; he got pissed up and ended our friendship’ Edward recounted all that had happened.
    ‘You slept with the girl again, why are you this wicked? Did Dara ever cheat on you? Why would you do something so callous to her?’ Wale was angry.
    ‘You need to hear me out. This is what everyone is doing, you are all blaming me; forgetting that I could be innocent; nobody wants to hear my side of the story but it is important. Please listen to me, please don’t turn your back on me’ he begged.
    Wale drew in a deep breath and decided to listen to his friend. He felt it was the exact thing Jerry should have done, instead of ending things with Edward. People made mistakes but it was the choices they took after the mistake that defined them. From the look on Edward’s face, he was genuinely sorry and could be given another chance.
    ‘The night I went to the family house, I found Caro dancing with my siblings; I thought she was very pretty; I even flirted with her but when I discovered she was in her early twenties, I backed off. You know my rule, I don’t sleep with very young girls. Then later that night, she came to my room, I was a bit tipsy then. I remember us kissing and fondling but I don’t remember having sex with her; then I woke up and found blood on the sheets and I thought I had deflowered her. She showed up after six months with a protruded belly and claimed I was the one that got her pregnant. Wale I swear to you, I remember it all so clearly, I didn’t have sex with Caro’ he felt so helpless now he remembered. He knew he wasn’t making sense; he just needed one person to believe him. To have faith in him.’

    Episode Twenty

    Wale, I swear to you, I remember it all so clearly, I didn’t have sex with Caro’ he felt so helpless now he remembered. He knew he wasn’t making sense; he just needed one person to believe him. To have faith in him.
    ‘Edward, I am not a fool. You have cheated on your wife countless times, how do you expect me to believe this?’ Wale scoffed. Edward’s story didn’t add up, it wasn’t making any sense. How could you sleep with a woman in the same room and nothing happened?
    ‘I swear to you, I am not lying. That’s why I had sex with her, I wanted to get close to Caro; I want her to confess’ he gave the reason for his action.
    ‘That was a stupid thing to do but I believe you’ Wale said flatly. Edward’s eyes were honest and held a huge degree of fear. The man still loved his wife and was scared of losing her.
    ‘You believe me?’ Tears welled up in Edward’s eyes as he spotted a ray of hope in his quest to win his wife back.
    ‘Yes but you must stop sleeping with that Caro girl; don’t think for a second that she will ever reveal the truth to you. What we must do now is focus on how to get Dara back to you’ Wale suggested.
    ‘Ok. But I am lost, I don’t know what to do’ Edward agreed.
    ‘If you hurt a child, what is the first thing you do to win back their love?’ Wale asked. He had a daughter so he knew how to handle a situation like this.
    ‘You buy them gifts, I think’ Edward raised his brow.
    ‘Good answer but not good enough. Now, if you hurt a woman, what do you do?’ Wale asked.
    ‘You prove to her that you are sorry’ Edward replied.
    ‘Good. I promise to help you get your wife back but first, Caro must leave this house, find a way to get rid of her’ Jerry advised.
    ‘Thanks so much for helping me’ Edward was happy.
    ‘I am not helping you. I am doing this for Dara because she is a good woman and deserves to be happy. However, if this works out and you cheat on her again, our friendship will really be over’ Wale warned.
    ‘Yes, I agree’ Edward rubbed his hands excitedly.
    Jerry was one of the best gynecologists in town; women with reproductive health issues trotted to his hospital every day; one of those women was his wife’s friend, Shayera Yahaya.
    Their doctor-patient relationship wasn’t well defined as they related to each other outside the hospital.
    Once he was done examining her; she tied the gown she was given and waited to hear the diagnosis.
    ‘How is your husband? I have sent him lots of messages, he must be a very busy man’ Jerry started small talk as he went through her file.
    ‘Yes, about that, he will be happy to join you guys for the game’ Shayera replied.
    Her mind was focused on Tanko who had ignored her calls the night before; he even turned off his phone. She felt jealous as she imagined him being with another woman. Had he gotten over her so easily? Had he tossed her aside like she meant nothing to him?
    She would find a way and see him; she missed him dearly; she missed his touch too.
    ‘Congratulations Shayera, you are two months pregnant, I am surprised it took you this long to come for a test’ Jerry took off his glasses and smiled at her. He felt very happy for her; he thought about his own wife and how stubborn she was about having children.
    He wished this was Melody’s moment.
    ‘Two months?’ Her eyes widened and blood drained from her cheeks.
    ‘Yes, I am very sure, you are 8 weeks gone. You should come back later for a scan so you can see your baby’ he replied.
    ‘Oh, thank you so much’ she forced a smile.
    This was bad news; how would she explain to Yahaya that she was two months pregnant when their marriage wasn’t even that old? Tears stung her eyes as she imagined all the bad things that would befall her if Yahaya found out the truth. Tanko was definitely responsible for the pregnancy, what would she do?
    ‘Can you keep this from Melody? I don’t want the girls to know’ she stuttered.
    ‘Sure, I am a doctor. It would be against the ethics of my profession’ he replied. That was an unusual request; he realized Shayera was not very happy about the news. Was Yahaya not a good husband? He had so many questions to ask but he held himself. He had played his own part.
    ‘Thank you, I want it to come as a surprise to them’ she gave him another smile. The smile lacked depth, it didn’t reach her eyes. She was lying and he wasn’t a fool.
    ‘Okay then, have a good day’ he replied.
    ‘Bye’ she muttered. She received a text once she reached her car, Dara asked to see her.
    She temporarily forgot about her situation and thought about her friend; Melody had been very mean the night before; she guessed Dara was ready to talk. She might as well distract herself for a bit, while she thought of a solution to her dilemma.

    ‘Ya Allah, that is her car, I am very sure of it’ Hawanana pointed at the black jeep that drove away.
    ‘What would she be doing in a hospital?’ Her mother asked.
    ‘She may be sick, just like me’ Hawanana said in a weak voice. She had lost a lot of blood the past week; her menstruation had refused to cease; someone had recommended her to one Dr. Jerry Clement, who was the best gynecologist in town.
    ‘What if she is pregnant?’ Her mother wore a frown.
    ‘Wouldn’t that be too fast? Yahaya claimed that loose woman was a virgin. We’ll see about that’ Hawanna hissed as they both stepped down from the car.
    Hawanna had recently traveled abroad to see Doctors but they couldn’t do much for her; they had told her she had a fibroid growth in her womb but she refused to believe them. She had undergone surgery twice already and the doctors had assured her the growth wouldn’t return.
    ‘You’ll wait here Madam, only the patient is allowed to see the doctor’ a nurse called her mother back.
    ‘Very well then, be strong Hawa, Allah is with you’ her mother waved at her.
    Jerry had been working on some patient files when he heard a knock; he thought that was Shayera, she had forgotten to collect her pregnancy test results from the lab.
    ‘Good morning doctor’ Hawanana strolled into the office.
    ‘Welcome Madam, please have a seat’ he offered.
    He regarded the Muslim woman for a while; maybe he was speculating but she looked a lot like Shayera’s husband.
    ‘So, how may I help you?’ he closed the files and faced her.
    ‘I have done two fibroid operations before but I feel the growth is back’ she begun.
    ‘Really? What makes you think so?’ He asked.
    ‘One of the signs is heavy and non-stop menstrual bleeding; I am afraid doctor. I have four children and if I die, no one would be there to take care of them’ she explained in a shaky voice.

    Episode Twenty-one

    ‘One of the signs is heavy and non-stop menstrual bleeding; I am afraid doctor. I have four children and if I die, no one would be there to take care of them’ she explained in a shaky voice.
    ‘I promise you, nothing will happen to your kids; but before you jump into conclusion, let’s examine you properly’ he rose to his feet and slipped on his gloves.
    Suddenly, the door flung open and a nurse rushed in ‘Doctor! There is an emergency, Dr. Nkanga needs you in the theatre right now’ she announced.
    ‘Okay, I’ll be right there’ Jerry replied and rushed outside, after begging his patient to wait for him.
    ‘Wow’ Hawanana rose to her feet. Should she wait for this man or should she leave?
    She scanned his office briefly and decided that the hospital was standard; something about the brown envelope that sat separately from the other files drew her attention.
    She was a kleptomaniac, so she was easily drawn to things that stood out. She took a deep breath and fetched the envelope; she slid it into her purse and rushed out of the office.
    ‘What did you steal from that doctor’s office?’ Her mother stared at her sternly.
    ‘I did not steal anything’ she replied firmly.
    ‘Bring it out, you disgraceful child’ the woman stretched out her hand.
    She swallowed deeply and took out the envelope, then gave it to her mother.
    ‘When will you stop stealing Hawa? You need to return this to the doctor’ her mother said.
    ‘How do I explain how it got into my bag?’ Her voice was broken. She couldn’t stop stealing petty things; she had suffered this disorder from childhood.
    ‘Oh my God’ the woman covered her mouth as she read what was written on the envelope.
    ‘What is that Mother?’ Hawa asked.
    ‘By God, Shayera is truly pregnant’ the woman replied.
    She was drowning in pain and regret; once the euphoria from her escapade the night before faded, she realized she had made a huge mistake sleeping with a total stranger without protection. She had been carried away by the pleasure she experienced with him.
    Worse, she had snapped at him and told him to leave, which he did without looking back; she suddenly felt so dirty and cheap.
    Although she’d cried till her lips trembled, she still felt guilt within her. It was her lowest point and she needed her friends. She wondered who to call. Who would hear her side of the story and not judge her?
    Definitely not Jane the religious one and definitely not Melody whose marriage was made in heaven. Shayera was the only one she could trust right now and she needed to tell her everything.
    ‘You have been crying? What happened? Honey, I am so sorry about what Melody said’ Shayera felt hurt seeing Dara this way. She even forgot about her problems and how she would explain being two months pregnant to a man who had just started sleeping with her.
    ‘I am lost Shayera, I have done the unthinkable’ Dara cried. She sobbed like a little child.
    ‘What did you do? Is this about Edward?’ Shayera tried to calm her down.
    ‘I had sex with another man. I thought it would make me feel better about myself; I thought it would make me feel better about Edward. I thought I would hurt him as much as he hurt me if I slept with another but I feel horrible. I feel empty and stupid’ she sobbed.
    ‘Oh my God. Baby, you know how such sex can be; you shouldn’t have jumped into this guy’s bed. That reminds me, you never told us his name’ Shayera started.
    ‘It’s not necessary, I walked him out of my house; I just couldn’t stand him after what we did’ she explained.
    ‘Oh my God, you really do feel bad’ Shayera shook her head.
    ‘Yes. That’s why I called you, I don’t know what to do’ Dara replied.
    Shayera stared at her friend intently; she pitied this woman whose husband had driven her to do something like this. Dara was not the type of woman to cheat on a man. Everything that had happened was Edward’s fault.
    ‘This is not your fault Dara; after all, Edward cheated on you severally’ Shayera said.
    ‘But that doesn’t make it right. You don’t know how I feel. Have you ever had sex with another man aside your husband?’ Dara wiped her face. Nobody could understand her.
    ‘I haven’t but you have to take it easy on you’ Shayera patted her back.
    ‘Easy? He didn’t wear a condom. What if I get an STD?’ She was shaken.
    ‘Oh my God! I see why you’re worried, what if you get pregnant?’ Shayera differed.
    ‘Excuse me, I have to take this call. It’s my personal assistant’ Dara fetched her buzzing phone.
    Tiwa: Madam, I need to see you urgently. I have found a way to save your factory from getting demolished.
    Dara: How can you do that? (She rolled her eyes)
    Tiwa: I have the documents here, we could alter it.
    Dara: I don’t think that is a good idea and now is really not a good time, maybe later.
    Tiwa: If “Edwardar” means something to you, you’d listen to me.
    Dara: Alright, it better be good. Come to Ladi Kwali steet No. 89.
    Tiwa: Thanks.
      ‘Are you okay? What was that about?’ Shayera inquired because Dara looked worried.
    ‘My personal assistant, it’s work related. She’ll be here in about an hour. I need to get ready; she cannot see me like this. No one can’ Dara wiped her face and sniffled.
    ‘Not too fast, we aren’t done talking’ Shayera pulled her back. Another problem that plagued Dara was indecision; she had to take a stand. Staying married to Edward was probably the only reason she felt guilty about having sex with another guy.
    ‘What do you really want, Dara? Take a stand. Be honest with me, don’t hold anything back; Melody isn’t here to judge your marriage. Are you still in love with Edward?’ Shayera asked.
    Dara  drew a deep breath; she had been married to the man for ten years. Did she think getting over him would happen just by having sex with a random guy? She remembered all the good times she had had with Edward; he was a generous and caring man whose only weakness was womanizing.
    But did she love him still?
    ‘Yes’ she forced her eyes shut; there was no shame in that.
    Mrs Ekan sat quietly and observed her two daughters whom she had given up prostitution to train; they had to take care of her now she had nothing.
    Nkechi her first daughter was equal to the task but her younger daughter always gave her trouble.
    ‘You are kidding Caro, if you think you’ll jeopardize our plans like this’ the woman waved a finger at her.
    ‘Kidding? I am tired of playing the devil mother; I saw the way that woman cried when I showed up with this pregnancy; I ruined their marriage. Have you ever thought of me? What would happen when I get married? Won’t God punish me for my evil deeds? I am tired of being your little toy mother’ Caro hissed angrily.

    Episode Twenty-two (Final)

    ‘What’s wrong?’ She noticed he looked worried
    ‘My mother and Hawanana want to come spend a few days here; I tried to stop them but you know how troublesome and forceful they can be’ he stuttered.
    Shayera bit her lip; she knew how annoying her in-laws could be but she knew just how to handle them.
    ‘Don’t worry honey, we’ll be fine, I promise. They are welcome’ Shayera assured him.
    A smile brightened his dull features as he stared at the most beautiful woman he had ever seen; he loved this other side of her that she had shown him, Shayera was accommodating.
    Jane was fully dressed for the wedding. Her ensemble included a simple brown dress, grey shoes, and a black headgear. She wasted no time on frivolities like fashion; she believed a godly woman had no need for worldly adornments.
    Little Angela was to stay home with Blessing while she and Wale attended the ceremony.
    ‘Blessing just told me that you have not touched your food, what is it?’ She stormed into their bedroom.
    ‘Nothing’ Wale avoided her eyes.
    All night, he had dreamed of making love to Blessing in that kitchen; he yearned to squeeze her succulent bum and caress her glorious neck, things Jane wouldn’t let him do to her.
    To Jane, foreplay was not necessary; she liked it straight to the point. Sex was a holy thing and those who indulged in it had to treat it as sacred.
    Sometimes, they prayed before and after sex. Most women enjoyed foreplay but his wife did not, she was icy and unromantic. Blessing’s touch those many weeks ago had opened a new fountain of desire that he never knew he had in him.
    ‘I am fasting Jane. You were right, I looked at my life and realized I was lagging behind in my faith walk. It is good for man to concentrate on things that edify the spirit and not those that brought him mundane glory’ he rose to his feet when he was done lacing his shoe.
    ‘Haleluyah! God be praised. I have been praying really hard for you my husband, thank God you have seen the light’ she was thrilled by his confession.
    ‘You’re welcome, we should leave now’ he ushered her to the door.
    ‘Of course’ she replied.
    ‘Alright Blessing, take care of the house’ Jane smiled and stepped outside.
    ‘I will’ Blessing replied, eyes locked with Wale’s.
    ‘Have a nice day sir’ she said to him.
    ‘You too Sister Blessing’ Wale winked.
    Melody had prepared herself for the wedding and vow renewal ceremony; she was the doubtful one of all her friends. She was a lawyer and a feminist and had much experience with men like Edward.
    ‘She is still going to divorce him in the end’ she sighed.
    Why was Dara so blind? Edward didn’t love her, he was only buying himself time; once his little act was over, he would return to his normal self and she would come back crying.
    ‘Baby, why aren’t you coming for this wedding? There’s no need hating on Edward. He is never going to change, a pig will always remain a pig’ she stared at Jerry who was still in bed.
    ‘I will not give him the honor of my presence. Let him rot in hell’ Jerry hissed angrily.
    ‘That marriage is not going to last; I can bet my savings on it’ Melody added.
    ‘You are right’ Jerry sighed and got out of bed. He had woken up erect as thoughts of Nkechi rubbing herself in the kitchen was glued to his memory.
    There was only one way to get that memory out; by replacing it with a more powerful one and there was nothing more powerful than a man and his wife making love on a Saturday morning.
    ‘Um, what are you doing?’ Melody shifted away from him, his breath stank.
    ‘Make love to me baby, I want you’ he wrapped his hands around her waist.
    ‘What you need to do is brush not make love’ she moved away from him.
    ‘What did you say to me?’ He snapped angrily.
    ‘I don’t have time for this Jerry. We’ll talk later’ she replied.
    ‘Why do you always act like you are better than me? Better than everyone else? Who do you think you are?’ He was amazed by her words.
    He felt embarrassed by the way she had addressed his morning breathe issue.
    ‘Maybe because I am better than everyone. Ciao’ she blew him a kiss and rushed out of the house.
    ‘Shit’ he slammed his hand on her dressing table. Getting married to Melody was a mistake. A huge one but there was nothing he could do now. He never wanted to be termed a divorced man
    Weeks had passed since he made love to Dara; he had been thoroughly embarrassed by her. She had only used him for her sex, not because she wanted them to be together.
    He had genuinely felt an attraction from the first moment he had set eyes on her but she had lied. She did not feel anything. She was a horny woman who had a fight with her husband and used him to help her sex-starved situation.
    Now he couldn’t stop thinking about her.
    He had told himself that it was only because sex with her was the best he had ever had; it was even better than the times he spent with Shayera but weeks had passed and she still occupied a place in his thoughts.
    Was this more than the sex? Did he have feelings for her?
    He felt scared as he knew the consequences of nursing feelings for a married woman; he needed to find a way to get rid of Dara forever.
    Someone rapped on his door. It was Saturday and he was not expecting any visitor. He didn’t even keep many friends. Shayera had been everything to him till she got married and he was left to face the hollowness of his social life.

    ‘Coming!’ He shouted. It was probably one of his neighbors.
    ‘Good afternoon Tanko’ she stood there with swollen eyelids.
    ‘Caro? What are you doing here?’ He stared at her in shock.
    He had gone to a party one time, she flirted with him and they had sex; in the morning when she discovered he was a broke ass, she left without a word.
    ‘I am pregnant with your child’ she rubbed her belly.
    ‘Come in’ he opened the door wide.
    Edward showed he was ready to treat his wife better. He deleted and blocked the phone numbers of all his mistresses and warned them sternly not to call his phone any longer.
    He bought his wife expensive gifts, made her breakfast and reassured her daily of his love.
    ‘I love you Edward’ Dara whispered as she stared at him. They were both in the back of  the Limousine that was to transport them to the venue of their vow renewal ceremony.
    ‘I love you too’ he replied.
    She looked regal in a silky white dress and a tiara that stood proudly on her head.
    ‘Fine woman’ he muttered and moved closer to her.
    ‘Fine man’ she muttered back and they both laughed.
    The laughter ceased as their eyes met and locked together, bound by flames of desire, fostered by new found love.
    ‘I want your hands all over my body’ she licked her lips nervously. She wanted her husband to prove that he loved her.
    ‘Right here?’ Edward was amazed.
    ‘Yes’ she replied.
    He closed the curtains that separated them from the driver then slid a hand under her white dress. She gasped as the hand yanked her panties and found the centre of her desires.
    ‘Kiss me darling’ Edward murmured and pulled her closer to him.
    She obeyed and brought her face close to his; he took her lips in a rush, possessed by his love for the angel of his life.
    The venue of the wedding ceremony and renewal of vows had been set. The halls were decked in roses; everywhere was decorated with ribbons and balloons. In the beginning was a wedding, and in the end was another.
    Three friends sat close to each other, this time with their husbands.
    ‘Where is your husband?’ Shayera asked eagerly as Melody joined them.
    ‘Um, he wasn’t able to make it’ she flashed the rest her best smile.
    ‘Oh’ Shayera’s face fell. She needed to see Jerry before it was too late.
    ‘And here they come’ Jane clapped excitedly as the couple marched into the hall.
    ‘Those two look like they just had car sex’ Melody rolled her eyes, then quickly noticed how the rest stared at her.
    ‘What? Don’t you all have sex?’ She snorted.
    ‘I am sorry darling; my friends can be a little forward’ Shayera rubbed her husband’s hand.
    ‘It’s okay, I like “forward”’ Yahaya’s eyes met Melody’s, he smiled and she returned it.
    ‘Ladies and gentlemen rise as we welcome Mr. and Mrs. Edward’ the Master of Ceremony announced.
    ‘Here we go again’ Melody was the first to stand.
    One by one, they peeled themselves from their seats and rose to honor Edward and Dara.
    They doubted, they prayed and hoped that being offered this second chance would cause love to reign supreme.


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