Story: Without Bridges

Without Bridges

    Episode 1

    Mother sent me on an errand to get a pack of cigarette for father. It was drizzling but yet I still walked in the rain in dire search for a pack of cigarette; I was only fourteen. Basically all shops were closed, it was a Sunday morning. My mate had gone to church, but here I was in search for “Roman” cigarette dad would prefer I go to the mosque anyway since he’s a Muslim.
    I got tired of searching but I couldn’t go home. I dare not go home . I was scared of how angry father would get. I was scared of the ‘koboko’ underneath his bed. He would beat the hell out of me and then mal-handle my mother. I sometimes doubt the authenticity of his paternity.
    Severally I would try to hide my scars away from curious eyes but there was one person I couldn’t hide it from; Miss Zainab Danjuma, my social studies teacher in school. After tirelessly searching for a shop opened on a Sunday in the village, I gave up.
    Suddenly I sat on a bush path and busted into tears; a rehearsal of what was yet to come if I returned back home without the Cigarette. I sat down and pondered on how pathetic life is for me. Severally I had I had imagined and dreamt of running off with mother only to wake up to a disappointing reality of life in her father’s dungeon. I sobbed harder and louder then I felt a hand touch my back.
    I gasped almost running away when I noticed it was no other than Mr Titus, a well known and influential man who came visiting with his family and kids. “It’s even you Sir” “Sorry for scaring you dear” he apologized and I sniffed from crying then I cleaned my tears. “Why are you crying?” He asked, I simply looked down then fiddled with my fingers; a hundred naira in my hand.
    “Sir… my father sent me on an errand to get him…..” I trailed off usually embarrassed to tell someone my father was a smoker. “Cigarette” I completed.
    “So?” he asked, “I couldn’t find it”
    “Go back home and tell him you didn’t see it”
    “Ha Sir….. My father would kill me….I can’t oh” I replied as tears came building up once more. “Sir, do you know where else I can get…. Maybe you’ve seen any shop opened from the direction you took”
    “No” he replied and I was saddened by his reply being so frustrated and desperate. “On a second thought; I did see one open” he added as if trying to remember where”
    A smile crept through my face and I found myself already thanking the man. “Where?” I asked and he pointed and I walked the direction. After five minute of walking in the bush path, I turned towards Mr.Titus seeking for more direction only to see him with a grin on his face. “Sir where is the place?”
    “I don’t remember again” he answered and I became worried. Something struck me as wrong that moment but I just couldn’t point my fingers at what exactly. “What’s your name?” he asked, “My name is Aishat Narudeen”
    “Do you know you’re pretty?” he asked placing his hands on my cheek, “Thank you Sir” I replied feeling uncomfortable. “How old are you?”
    “Fourteen”
    “Wow…” he muttered his eyes fixed on my bre*st. My naïve mind immediately interpreted the whole thing. I’ve heard of cases like this, Mrs Aisha would always advise girls to run at this moment.
     I immediately surveyed the whole place for escaped route then I felt Mr. Titus’ hand on my left bre*st. I let out a soft gasp trembling in fear and before I knew it, both hands were massaging my bre*st. “Sir” I manage to say slightly moving backwards. “What?” he asked laughing, “You like it shea?”
    “No” I replied moving backward.

    Episode 2

    “No” I replied moving back.
    “I don’t like it and I don’t want it” I answered and he grabbed me by the waist while I tried to struggle out of his strong and tight grip. My effort was futile! My fourteen years old strength was no match for him.
    Mr. Titus began to kiss me on my neck while raising the gown I wore. I bit his arm with hopes that he’d leave me so i could run but it only worsened things. He threw me on the floor and I screamed for help but he threatened to kill me if I did.
    Then he mounted on me, unfastening his belt, I cried silently praying for God’s help… no one came, the only sound I heard around was the rustling on leaves from where I laid and the sound of Him unzipping his trousers then next thing I felt was a sharp pain that almost drove me mad. It didn’t stop, it continued as he further thrust in and out of me! Boiling tears trickled down the edges of my eye. I had just been forced…..
    I went back home, hardly able to walk. Fortunately for me, dad wasn’t home but mom was in the kitchen still preparing breakfast. She was busy turning the fufu from the pot into a blue basin. She noticed my movement and asked why I walked that way.
    I sobbed uncontrollable as she immediately moved close for a hug. “You didn’t see the cigar shea?” she asked and I nodded as more tears fell.
    “It’s okay dear…. I’ll think of something to tell your father so he can let you off”
    “But he’ll beat you” I whined.
    “At least you’ll be fine” Mother replied hugging me; my face now rested on her breast.
    Five weeks went by and I felt diseased, filthy and sinful. Focusing on my academics became difficult as I couldn’t concentrate any longer. I felt insecure; every time I closed my eyes, all I could see was the infuriating and disgusting image of Mr. Titus forcefully defiling me.
    On a Thursday, I refused going to school because I felt sick. Later that afternoon Miss Zainab paid a visit to me. We had a long chat as she insisted on knowing the reason for my sudden withdrawal from everyone. After a while, she called my mom aside; I overheard her tell mother that I had gone through something emotional and I was keeping it away from her.
    She ended the conversation by telling mom that if i don’t open up and if I keep shutting everyone out, I might not recover; the more open I become, the better for me.
    I made a decision afterwards to reveal the whole thing to mother but something within didn’t want to face the shame so I kept shut and held my peace.
    I fainted on a Saturday morning while drying my father’s clothes on the wire hung just outside the house. Then I was rushed to the hospital where the worst was confirmed. I was a month pregnant!! I never knew until mom came into the ward where I was in tears. “How could you do this to me Aisha?” mom, asked a confused me.
    “I don’t understand” I replied racking my brain in search of what I must have done wrong. “How long has it been?” she added and I became even more confused. “Mother have I done anything wrong?” I asked receiving a loud slap on the face.
    For a moment, I thought my ear drum broke. It slap resounded over and over as I heard a ringing sound in continuum.
    “How long have you been having s*x?” she asked almost immediately after the slap. I grew scared, I have been found out, I began to wonder how since I hadn’t said anything to anyone concerning my rape.
    Mom held tightly to the top I wore as if trying to get a customer to pay a debt. “You had better kill me Aisha or else I’ll kill you myself then kill myself before your father does cause if he finds out, you’re a dead meat!”
    Miss Zainab walked in that moment pulling my mother away from me; all I could do was cry in silence. If only I could bring myself down to tell her. “Why are you treating her that way now?” she asked holding firm mom’s hands together; though mom was struggling to free herself from the grip.
    “What happened?” she asked, “Ask her!” mom yelled pointing at me.
    Miss Zainab turned to me then back at mom. “Mrs Narudeen, what’s going on?” she asked, “Aisha’s pregnant! My daughter…..” mom trailed off.
    I couldn’t believe it…. I couldn’t believe my ears.
    Miss Zainab gaze fell on me. “That’s impossible” she muttered then walked close to me. “Aisha is a good girl…she wouldn’t”
    “She can’t even speak! Look at her!” mom yelled pointing at me. I felt ashamed, “Aisha” Miss Zainab called out with a soft voice, “How long has it been since you….” She trailed off, I couldn’t give her a reply; I only cried with my head bowed in indignity.
    “Who’s responsible for it?” she added but I kept mute. “Aisha!” she shouted which provoke me sobbing uncontrollably.
    "Did he entice you with gift? That’s what they usually do”
    I shook my head now looking up at her. I could see the care on her face. “He didn’t entice me Miss Zainab….he r*ped me”
    Both mom and Miss Zainab gawked in shock; mom covered her mouth with her palm.

    Episode 3

    I was released from the hospital the next day. Dad didn’t take the news of me being pregnant well. He was about to beat the hell out of me when mom took it all on my behalf. We both cried afterwards as she held my hands in regrets of letting me go out that day. The thought that I had gotten r*ped because of a pack of cigarette made her even angrier.
    “Aisha” she called out and I answered.
    “Do you want to have the baby?” she asked, and I shook my head. “Don’t worry… . We’ll have it removed”
    “We would kill it right?” I asked going down bible study and Sunday school memory lane. “Thou shall not kill” I mumbled, “I won’t be able to live with myself”
    “Do you know what it takes to be a mother?” mom asked, “Worst of it, you’d be living in this hell called home”
    She paused then sniffed looking down as if embarrassed. She had just said more than expected. “Why do you stick with him mom….why stick with dad?” I finally summoned the courage to ask.
    “Why not leave him?”
    Mom turned back as if trying to survey if father was anywhere near. “Because I loved him…..i loved your dad…
    Now I’m just doing it to fulfil all righteousness; I don’t want to divorce since it’s against our religion”
    “Until dad dies” I added and mom shot a glare at me. “Aisha!”
    “That’s if he doesn’t kill you first” I came clean with a scoff. “I pray to God everyday to change him… hopefully someday he would”
    Miss Zainab came the following morning with her fiancé a human right lawyer who seemed really angry about my being r*ped. He brought an offer to sue Mr. Titus to court for r*ped.
    I didn’t like the idea of going to court because obviously the whole town would find out about it therefore stigmatizing me but after being oriented that my success in court would make other girls in my position come out clean about their experience and probably bring those criminals to book; I accepted to their bid; at least a chance to make a difference.
    Christopher Ajayi, the lawyer then requested I tell him everything that happened without missing a single detail.
    The court proceeding commenced, Mr. Titus had left for Lagos and was summoned back to town. He pleaded not guilty that I was a liar and probably a machinery employed by political adversary to tarnish his image.
    Things heated up within days; it was my word against Mr. Titus’ I had hope of winning the case.
     I couldn’t wait to see him pay for his sins but everything crumbled after the wife came in to bear witness of his so called “innocence”
    “Where was your husband on the fourth of February, 2003?” Christopher asked, “At home….we…. the kids we didn’t go to church that day; my son Junior was sick…we called in a nurse to take care of him…you can as well ask the nurse” she busted into tears looking at her husband.
    “My husband is innocent of this charges; this girl lies!”
    “So he didn’t go out that day?”
    “He did…. He was the one who brought the nurse in.”
    “Perhaps the r*pe occurred the moment he went out”
    “Objection my lord!” the defense attorney announced but was overruled.
    “He didn’t take up to fifteen minutes and he came along with Janet; she’s a witness to my husband’s innocence. I know my husband has political enemies, but I never knew they would stoop this low as to accuse my husband of r*ping a fifteen year old”
    “She’s just fourteen! And you’re a liar!” I heard mom yell while Miss Aisha tried to calm her.
    She was good at lieing, that I can say. I almost believed her own story amidst those tears; I noticed others did too.
    After several testimonies from various false witnesses including Mr. Titus’ first son Junior; I lost the case.
    I rose up very early one morning, walked to their family home and demanded to see Mr. Titus but I wasn’t given the chance to.
     I waited outside until I saw a car coming out of the gate.
    I took my chance and walked into the car. I could see the terror in the wife’s eyes, she was scared as i walked into the moving car.
    “Are you crazy?” I heard her ask as she came out, slamming the door of the car. “You could have died!” she added, well I would prefer death any day to this embarrassment, I thought within. Mr. Titus came out shaking his head.
    “You this girl, what do you want from me again?”
    “The baby” I replied in tears, “It’s your flesh and blood; please accept your responsibility” I added then laughed. I had no idea why I laughed, I felt like I was going insane. This was followed by a long hiss from him.
    “You had better find the father of that bastard and stop looking for whom to pin it on…. Or better yet, flush the useless thing out” he added and I knelt down holding firmly to his legs. “Please Sir”
    Mr. Titus pushed me away making a move back to his car. “Honey let’s go” he chipped in and the wife followed. They drove off leaving a pathetic me on the ground in tears.

    Episode 4

    While I walked back home, it started raining. I was completely drenched. I slowly walked home panting as I felt dizzy even more, I kept on telling myself, "one more step and you'd get home" so I could gather more strength to get home.
    My legs were becoming weak and i was shivering. I thought of taking shelter in one of the shops but I didn't want to, part of me felt like dying . I just wished that the cold could finally do some justice and end my life.
    I panted even more as I saw the brown coloured building of my father's house. I was finally home, I can die now I assured myself from the way I felt that moment. Just as I saw mom approach me throwing questions at me about where I went to, i fell on the wet muddy ground then I blacked out.
    I became conscious hours later, my eyes were still close, but I heard two voices conversing. It was mom and some other lady. I was trying to make out where I must have heard the voice before."You don't have to worry Mama Aisha" she said in Hausa. "Aisha would be fine" the lady answered and then I opened my eyes slightly disappointed that I was still alive. The voice I heard was that of a village nurse.
    "Aisha!" Mom drew closer touching my cheek while I sat up adjusting the pillow behind me.
    "You had me worried and sick" she added and I apologised for it. "Is the baby gone?" I asked expecting a good news
     "I don't think so" the nurse answered in Hausa and I frowned.
    "Mama Aisha, would she still keep the baby?" She asked, turning to mom and mom's gaze fell on me.
    Mom told her I had no choice but to keep the baby since the whole town has heard about it else they would brand her the "mother who made her daughter go through with an abortion"
    "What about her studies?" She added and mom bowed her head speechless. Then dad walked in glaring at us.
    He hissed then walked away into the room. He has been doing that lately. As long as he didn't lay his hands on me, mom and I let him have his space.
    Days turned into weeks as weeks turned into month. I was seven months gone still attending school thanks to Miss Zainab now Mrs.Zainab who would go to the end of the earth to support me.
     I got called to the principal's office where I was told to officially leave the school as a result of parents consistent complains on being a pregnant student. According to them I made pregnancy lookokay and cool. They said I wasn't showing a good example the dangers of what pre-marital sex can do to your education.
    Mrs. Zainab apologized afterwards to me since she was powerless before the panel. Apparently, one of the parents had taken the matter to a higher power.
    She then promised to give me home lessons after school hours. I felt awful since I had to go to drop school and exams. Home lesson won't be as productive as learning from specialized teachers. Mrs. Zainab was only good at social studies and government.
    I went back home earlier, called mom's name to no avail. Then I walked into the kitchen just outside the house only to meet her fixed on the food she was making. "Mama good afternoon" I greeted and mom mumbled some inaudible response.
     "You're early today" she said trying hard not to look at me. I wondered why the strange behavior then I walked closer.
    "Go inside!" She ordered, "Mama I want to help out"
    "Go inside and rest" she added looking at the wall.
     It was too weird for me to ignore; I rushed to the front shocked to see mom's face. There was a big wound on her forehead. "Did Baba...." I trailed off, as if I needed to ask. "I caused it ," she accepted blamed for the beating. "Mama how long would you take this? You heard Mrs. Zainab, you can file for divorce and it's okay" I busted out in tears.
    I couldn't bear seeing her endure the beatings. For the past two months, it has been incessant. Especially when he's extremely drunk and high on Marijuana."
    I quickly hugged her while we cried in each other's arms.
    "It will be fine" mom assured.
    "Everything will be okay"
    That night, mom had told me to help her serve dad since her hands were broken to even hold the tray and I did. Just as I dropped the tray on the table, I heard dad scoff.
    "Why are you serving me?" He asked in hausa, "Mama is not feeling too well"
    "What's wrong with her?" He asked as though he wasn't aware of it.
    "Mama's hands are broken" I replied with a little hint of anger in my tone.
    "Is it because of that small beating I gave to her that's making her tired to serve me. Tell her that if she doesn't come out here this moment to fulfil her duty as a wife, I would personally end her life."
    "Baba it hasn't gotten to that" I spoke up for the first time.
    I didn't know where the strength came from. "Must you always beat her up? Isn't she human? Isn't she your wife?" I continued moving a step back.
    The next thing I knew, dad poured the water I left for him to wash his hands on my face this was followed by a loud slap on my face. I screamed in pain and mom came out to the sight of dad pulling my hair.
    "What gave you the right to speak back at me?" He kept on asking while hitting me on my back with his other hand. "A pregnant whore like you" he added.
    Mom held on to dad's hands begging him to pity my pregnant condition, all to no avail . He held my hair about to hit my head on the wall when mom bit him on the arm.
    Dad now turned his attention to her, beating her mercilessly. Mom wailed and cried out begging him but he turned deaf ears. I cried since there was little I could do. I wanted it to stop, I wanted the suffering to end for mom. A life without pain and assault from her husband. I turned to the ceramic breakable plate I used in serving him.
    ...Dad fell hitting his head on the table. I didn't realize I had given him a hit on the head. Not until I looked at my hands to see the plate broken.
    Then I dropped it in shock.

    Episode 5

    "Aisha" Mom called out my name in shock. "What have you done?" She asked a terrified me. "Mama I couldn't bear it, you were helpless what if he had killed you" I replied while mom knelt before father who was already bleeding.
    She touched his chest then felt his breathe underneath his nose. Mom turned to me in tears.
    "He's gone" she announced sitting on the floor.
    "Look at what you've cause Abdulai!" Mom ranted on and on in hausa.
    My heart beat continuously in fear as the thought of getting arrested crossed my mind . "Mama" I called out to mom, "Will I be taken by the police?" I asked and mom shook her head.
    "The police can't take you cause you didn't do anything; I did it Aisha, I killed your father" she stood up looking at father's lifeless body.
    "Mama no" I objected, I didn't want her to take the fall over something I did.
    "Listen to me!!" She yelled grabbing me by the hand.
    "I'll let my in-laws know. There'll blame me definitely and would want me arrested, but when the police comes for me, I'll tell them I did it. I did it Aisha not you" she explained in tears.
    "Baba was beating us to death Aisha, I feared for both our lives so I hit him on the head with the plate and he fell... don't say anything more than that"
    "Mama!!" I cried.
    Just as Mama presumed, my paternal uncles and aunt didn't waste time to accuse mom of killing their brother. They had her arrested despite her own side of the story. I rushed to Mrs. Zainab's house despite the pains I felt from dad's beating. "Aisha" she called out quite surprised to see me. She was about to leave for school.
    "What happened dear?" She asked in a worried tone cause I was in tears. "Mama had been arrested"
    "Why?" She asked, "My father is dead, I killed him mistakenly but Mama took the blame then uncle Ibrahim had her arrested."
    The information was too much for her to understand, I saw it on her face, she liked confused. "I don't understand Aisha, you'll never hurt anyone"
    I explained it all to her. Her fiancé travelled out of town, but she had to call him back on a special favor.
    Barrister Ajayi came back three days later. Mom had spent three days in jailed. Feeding would have been difficult but Mrs. Zainab made it easy.
    I went to the police station along with Barrister Christopher. Minutes later, we were permitted to see mom in the visiting room. Mom looked pale.
    I almost cried on seeing her. The police station only permitted me to give her food once.
    I hugged her tightly. I missed her warmth, I missed her care. It hasn't been the same without her. She sat on a chair, so did i but I sat opposite her looking back at a frowning policeman by the door. Then I kept her food on the table. "Good morning Ma" Barrister Christopher greeted then apologized for coming late. "I had a case I had to resolve in Lagos"
    "It's okay" mom replied with a gentle smile. "I hope you're feeding well?" She asked almost in tears, "Mama, Aunty Zainab is taking care of me very well you don't have to worry"
    "Please take care of my daughter when I'm gone"
    "Mama!" I cried out, "My husband's brother will stop at nothing but to see me locked up"
    "I know.." Barrister Christopher paused surveying the policemen. "I know what really happened, but it's a easy case to win, the judge will just have to rule it under self-defense"
    "My husband's family"
    "They have nothing against you, neither are there witnesses to what happened." He argued. "This is a case of domestic violence and you're a victim, you'll win the case definitely, but there has to be a lot of exaggeration in order to win the judge and members of the jury's heart"
    "Exaggeration equals lieing" Mama Aisha assumed, "Not like we're not doing already" I retorted, "I killed my father" I whispered and mom looked back to see if anyone was listening.
    "Shhh"
    "Mama Aisha, you're looking at life imprisonment here if you don't come out straight about your experiences and even exaggerate it. You have your daughter as a witness, you'll win the case. I'm certain of it."
    A month later, mom was released.
    On the 16th day of October, I was six months gone. I was at home, cooking rice as being instructed by mom who went to the market to get ingredients for stew.
    Suddenly I heard someone scream my name. I came out of the kitchen in fear. It was one of our church member, she was weeping. My mind pondered on what might be the cause.
    "Esther, I hope no problem" I asked, and she tried to catch her breath." What happened?"
    "How will I let you know?" She said swinging her hands nervously. "Please tell me now, what happened?"
    "A bus hit your mother a while ago" she answered with a pause, I was already out of my mind. "Your mom is dead" she blurted out in hausa and I screamed in pain.
    My heart ached at the thought of it. I touched my chest as I could not contain the pain. I wondered why bad things had to happen to me alone.
    I fell on the floor as I felt a sharp and burning pain in my waist and belly.
    "Are you okay?" Esther asked.
    "Jesus!" I shouted holding on to my belly then I grabbed a fistful of sand. Though I have never experienced how child birth felt like but I felt like the baby was coming.
    I had my baby on the sadest day of my life.
     "It's a boy" Mrs.. Zainab announced just after I had woken up. I had fainted just after I heard the baby cry.
    I wasn't bothered about the baby. I only thought of mom. It felt like a bad dream to me. "Where's Mama?" I asked and Mrs. Zainab looked down unhappy then she looked at me once more.
    "You shouldn't worry about that now Aisha, what you should think of is trying to eat to gain strength for your baby" she advised and I busted into tears once more.
    "She can't be dead, she can't be." I scratched my hair dementedly" Mama said she's going to take care of my baby. She'll come back, you'll see" I added.
    "She'll come back, if not for anything, for my baby" I assured myself.
    A name crossed my mind for the baby; Hope.
    My father's eldest brother took over dad's property so I moved in with Mrs zainab. Weeks passed and nothing happened.
    Mom didn't show up, not even when I was expecting her to. I still found it hard to accept that she was dead and gone.
    Mrs. Zainab and Barrister Chris grew worried, very worried..
    They suggested I met a specialist but I declined their offer.I knew i was going crazy; I had to snap out of it, I had to accept mom's death.
    A month later we moved permanently to Lagos where I began a new life.

    Episode 7

    "You look amazing" Dave commented smiling at me. It was his sixth time saying it. "You're saying it again" I complained giving him a cold stare and he chuckled. I have never been the kind to entertain compliments.The last time night received one, I was raped. I didn't believe there was anything like an innocent compliment.
    "I won't stop saying it" he paused biting his lower lip. I've always hated when he does that thing with his lips, I don't understand why I get bothered . I slowly observed him, the short sleeve blue stripe shirt he wore which brought out his muscular biceps.
    It was actually my first time seeing him on short sleeves.
     My eyes darted away from his body back to the food on the table.
    "You're a natural..." He commented, "There's just something about you that drives me nuts." He continued, "Your beauty, your smile, you still look good when you're being cold" he added which forced a chuckle out of me. I didn't want to laugh but he had a way of cracking me up.
    "We didn't come here to talk about me did we?" I asked and he smiled shaking his head. "No, but you're my favorite topic"
    "Now you're being cheesy" I snapped rolling my eyes in disbelief.
    "I'm serious Aisha but I don't know why you have trust issues" he paused, "Fine I know Hope's dad must have hurt you and I've asked you a billion times but you don't want to let me know and I respect your privacy and the fact that several other must have hurt you, but I'm different"
    "Or you think you're different" i chipped in and then he sighed. Maybe he was getting tired, I smirked, good for me, maybe then he'll give up.
    "You be the judge of that. Why are you so cranky dear? It's Hope's birthday, you're supposed to be happy"
    "I would have been happy if you didn't force me to be on this stupid date"
    They was a brief silence except for the slow music playing. "I'm doing it all wrong shea?" Dave asked in guilt.
    I felt pity for him.
    "I'm trying not to screw things up Aisha"
    "Why do you even try? I'm not worth it; I'm not worth the stress."
    "You're worth every stress. It's no news that I'm in love with you" he paused and I immediately cut in.
    "You've been trying David, just give up" i suggested, "No" he laughed winking at me.
    "Eat up"
    While we walked out of the restaurant, I had a disturbimg feeling in my guts telling me to talk to Dave. As much as I struggled with the feeling, it won.
    "Today is my Hope's birthday and also my mom's death anniversary" I revealed to his shock. "I lost my mom the same day I had Hope" I added blinking my tears back in. I didn't want to ruin my make up.
    "You wanted to know why I was cranky..there you have it. How can I be on a date on the same day my mom died." I confessed then I saw him stretch his arms out at me. "Want a hug?" He asked and I scoffed walking away.
    "I'm sorry about your mom," he followed me; we were close to the car already. "Do you think your mom would want to see you unhappy?"
    "No" I replied, "She wanted the best for me"
    "Would she be happy to see you sob over her like you're doing now?" He asked and I shook my head cleaning a tear that was about to pour down.
    "Everyone has that part in their life you know?" he asked then scoffed giving that look as though in deep thought. I told him that I had doubt that he had such life experiences since he was always so playful and nonsensical.
    "When I was a teenager, i did something really bad, I still get haunted in my dreams for it. It made me who I am, if I take away the cheerful me, I'll be an empty man full of guilt."
    He spoke with so much emotion that I feared he was going to cry.
    "You were a teenager, it can't be that bad"
    "It wasn't bad, it was awful..
    I still feel like a terrible person... My past still haunts me but I was determined to let it go" he answered then resumed smiling.
    "I hate talking about it. That's why I love talking about you instead" he changed the topic.
    "Give up already" I begged. " Just give up on me. Like I said, David I'm not worth it. I can't make you happy, I'll only cause you pain"
    "That's impossible! Seeing your face everyday will make me an happy man"
    "I can't make any one happy, don't you get it?"
    "Why are you always so pessimistic about yourself?"
    "Cause...." I paused almost in tears. "I'm nothing but filth, I've been used and"
    "Urgh!!! Aisha I don't care about the numbers of guys you've been with"
    "It's not the..." I paused tightening my fist. "It's not about the number of guys I've slept with cause there have been none since i had hope...." I paused as tears streamed down my cheeks.
    "You wanted to know why I think all men are scum right? Why I think I'm not worth it that I can never reciprocate your love." I paused cleaning my tears with the tip of my fingers.
    "I'm not worth it cause I was r*ped. A stupid bastard r*ped me" I confessed feeling slightly ashame. A secret I've been keeping away from people, I finally told it my boss.
    "Do you still think I'm worth it?" I asked and I saw Dave move closer to me pressing a soft kiss on my lips. The last time someone tried a kiss move on me, he ended up with a hot slap.
    I've always known David would one day pull a kiss stunt, but whenever I imagine the moment, I usually picture myself slapping some sense into him not kissing him back as I was.

    Episode 6

    "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you Ho..Hope, happy birthday to you" everyone chorused and Hope gave me that familiar look. I knew what he was going to say, "why didn't you give me a longer name?" he would ask every year and this was his sixteenth year. It was my boy's sweet sixteen birthday; I was excited.
    I watched him grow up, I groomed him with massive help from Aunt Zainab . Severally I feared he was going to turn out to be like his father, a r*pist or a criminal but Hope was different.
    Music got turned out and some of Hope's friends danced in excitement while others extended birthday wishes to him.
    I noticed David stare at me; he has been staring since he came in. I turned to him rolling my eyes. I almost forgot he was here- the only unwelcomed guest present at the gathering.
    David is my boss at work, he has been asking me out for years but I've continuously turned him down. Not once has he given up, which gets me angry most times.
    All men are scum! They're not to be trusted. That's an ideology I've taken up since the experience I had with Mr. Titus.
    I've refused opening my heart to other men. Sure there have been so many admirers, but I swore never to date.
    I had to try it out after Aunt Zainab tucked me into trying a banker out.
     He was nice and all but I just didn't like the idea of having to get married to the same specie responsible for putting me through hell years ago. I wasn't into women either.
    The thought of getting married to a man and fulfilling his every desire irritated me. Being alone suited me. I was doing fine with just me and my son.
    I met David two years ago when he was transferred to work as the manager at Chike Aluminium. I had been working for three years in the company already. He made his intentions known from the start but i hated his guts.
    I sighted him walking towards Hope and I nervously stared at them. They talked and laughed for a while, I wondered why they would be laughing.
    I badly wanted to know what they were talking about then they both turned to me laughing. David even pointed at me.
    Just when I had it up to my neck, I approached them. "I never knew David was such a comedian, I just couldn't help but notice you guys were laughing and also talking about me" "Amebo will not kill some people" he replied which had Hope laughing.
    "Don't you think you've over stayed your welcome" I chipped in sending a message for him to leave.
    "Mom he wasn't saying anything bad, he was just commenting on how good you look on the dress." Hope said and I stared coldly at Dave. "Seriously?" I asked then he walked away.
    " Mom you were rude to him"
    "You don't understand Hope, I'm always being rude to him and he's not to be trusted"
    "I've known him for a while mom, I trust him"
    "Men are deceitful, they're scum" I continue and Hope scoffed rolling his eyes. "So am I mom.
    You've forgotten I'm a man" my boy argued and I felt bad, he had a point there.
    "You're a still my little boy" I corrected rubbing my palm on his cheek. "And I'm sure you won't grow up to be a scum"
    "Why not have that little faith in Uncle Dave, even a blind man would know he sincerely loves you"
    "I.." I stammered when Dave came back with a wrapped box of gift handing it to Hope. "Happy birthday to you" he said and Hope quickly opened it seeing jamb past questions on it. "Seriously?" He asked turning to Dave who was chuckling. "When we chatted, you talked about jamb classes."
    When he dug in, I saw him raise a game pad up. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" Hope immediately hugged him, I've never seen him more happier.
    "Can I steal your mom for the evening?" Dave requested now gazing at me.
    I felt weird.
    "Feel free to steal her for the night!" Hope answered and I tapped him on the arm. "Come on mom, have a little fun for once in your life"
    I felt hurt. I've had fun moments, I thought to myself. Taking care of my boy has been more than fun. Work has been fun.
    "I have things to do"
    "She has nothing" Hope argued. "Mom, just say yes, one night would not hurt anyone would it?"
    "Yes" I finally answered half-heartedly. His brow arced in surprise, he was definitely in shock.
    It was my first time saying yes to him. I watched him grin like a goat. My heart bled as a result of my injured pride. Why did Hope have to be so persuasive?
    "Where?" I asked him, "Erm..uh...I" he stammered. "I don't know but I have to go prepare" he said walking away then he came back now looking confused. "Are you sure?" He asked, "do you seriously want me to change my mind?"
    "No" he answered sharply. "Bye Hope" he paused then looked at me smiling. "I'll call you" he added rushing out.
    As much as I tried to forget and move on from mom's death, I couldn't. Sixteen years from when mom died and it still hurts as though it happened yesterday.
     I excused myself out of the party in the room where I let all my tears running.
    Aunt Zainab walked in immediately. "I knew you were going in to cry" she snapped and I tried to clean my tears with my hands. "I wasn't crying" I lied, "My eye hurts... I'm emotional, probably premenstrual symptoms"
    "You can't fool me Aisha" Aunt Zainab added sitting close to me. "You promised not to cry over your mom again. It's been sixteen years"
    " And I still miss her. I miss her cooking, I miss her stories, I miss a lot of things."
    "That's why I keep telling you to move on" she suggested.
    "Here we go again again" I answered rolling my eyes.
    "If you had two more kids to worry about, trust me, your mom's death anniversary would be the last thing on your mind" Aunt Zainab confessed and I chuckled. She says it every single time.
    "You've achieved so much Aisha, you have a good job and you're self-dependent. I'm proud of you and I'm sure your mom would have been so proud of you." She added and I smiled.
    "You think so?" I asked, "I know so" she answered rising from the bed.
    "I accepted Dave's offer to go on a stupid date with him" I blurted out and she resumed sitting. "Finally! It's about time"
    "Not like it's going to go further than this. I accepted because Hope persuaded me to go"
    Aunt Zainab sighed.
    "Give this guy a try ehn, how long has he been trying and how long do you plan on remaining single?" "I haven't seen the perfect guy yet and I don't know if I can trust David"
    "Everyone deserves a chance, just give him one."

    Episode 8

    My lips were still locked in Dave's, while he slowly glided over them. I didn't want him to stop neither did I intend stopping him.
    I have never felt like this before, i had tingles where I never had them before. I've always thought I was made of rock, Dave scratched that notion off with just a kiss.
    His hands now made way down to my waist as he held me gently while i touched his biceps. I've been staring at it all evening.
    It's real, I almost said out loud if my mouth were not kiss sealed.
    It broke my heart, but I had to break off the kiss . There he was just staring at me with that infectious smile on his face. I bowed my head in shame, if only the earth could swallow me up.
    "It finally makes sense" he said, "what?" I asked, "Your constant withdrawal and crankiness. Your conclusion that all men are scum" he paused pulling me closer with his hands resting on my waist.
    "He's not just a scum, he's the worst of it. You have every right to be angry"
    "And you don't think I'm filthy?" I asked quietly pouting like a kid. "I never have and I never will. Aisha you're most amazing woman I've ever met, even when you're being annoying I loved you.
    Nothing would stop the way I feel about you" he confessed.
    I became overwhelmed with emotion and then I resumed crying.
    I never thought there would be someone out there who would ignore the fact that I had been raped once.
    I never saw myself accepting any man but it all changed that night. I just stood in awe of a man that literally took my breath away and my speech too cause I didn't say a word afterwards.
    Not until I replied"good night" to him after he had dropped me home.
    I walked into the house trying as much as possible to avoid meeting Hope. I didn't want him asking questions that I won't be able to answer. The door made a rusty sound. I closed my eyes in anxiety, keeping my fingers crossed but I wasn't in luck.
    Hope wasn't alone, he was with Aunt Zainab, they were watching an American series, "Suits" it was Hope's favorite series. I hated it; I did my best to avoid movies with court cases cause they pretty much reminded me of the past.
    "Welcome back Mom" Hope announced grinning at me suspiciously as though I had some stain on my face. I felt as though I've been caught.
    "Why are you staring at me that way?" I asked then turned to Aunt Zainab"
    "Good evening Ma, I thought you must have left"
    " Well my dear, I wanted to get all the gist by myself" she tapped the chair signifying that I join her and I did sitting in between her and my son.
    "How was it?" She asked and I cleared my throat. "It was...it.." I stammered. "Why are you nervous?" Hope asked, "I'm not nervous, I'm just..." I paused feeling a bit embarrassed.
    "It was better than I thought it would be" I finally gave a response. All of the sudden the whole house became very hot. I sweating even with the ceiling fan on.
    "What happened to your lipstick?" Hope asked, his eyes burrowing into my skin as if trying to read my mind. I was panicking.
    "They had dinner" Aunt Zainab came to my rescue, "maybe...." She trailed off looking at me. "Except it wasn't the food" Hope added laughing and I closed my eyes wishing for the earth to open up and just swallow me up.
    "It wasn't just..." I stammered, "We ..we kissed" I confessed.
    "Thank God!" Aunt Zainab exclaimed. "Its not as if we're dating" I chipped in, "He didn't even mention whether we're dating or not, I don't know what to think. At least he's supposed to say, hey Aisha, we're now an item." I poured out angrily and Hope laughed at me.
    "When last did you date mom? Things don't happen that way again. Welcome to the 21st century mom, you're both dating"
    My alarm rang by 5:30, l felt reluctant to stand as I couldn't bear going to work to face Dave. I grumbled to myself then built up strength to do my usual morning routine.
    Immediately I got into my the building I saw Grace the receptionist making a call. "Good morning Grace" I said to her and she smiled using her hands to cover the earpiece of the phone.
    "Good morning Ma" she replied looking at a task book. "Mr. David requested you meet him in office. He said it's very important"
    "Which of the Mr. David?" I asked stupidly, I could see her face go "which other Mr. David would be calling you again?"
    "Thanks for the info, I'll go now" I replied walking up the stairs down to Dave's office. I was nervous, I didn't understand why I was.
    I knocked slightly then heard him mumble sometlhing like "come in" and I did. He stood up from his swivel chair the moment he saw me walk in.
    "Good morning Sir" i said to him and he laughed. I didn't know why he did. "For the millionth time Aisha, just call me David; Morning baby" he replied pulling me close to himself. "What?" He asked, "You're acting strange" he added.
    "How strange?" I asked, "As though you woke up with an amnesia"
    "I'm fine. I just don't know how to react to what happened yesterday" I confessed.
    Then I went ahead to ask him if we were dating or not. "What do you think?" He asked bringing his lips closer to mine.
    "Oh wait.. were you waiting for a proposal?" He asked chuckling, and I playfully tapped him on the arm.
    "Your hands are painful" he complained still chuckling. "Apologies to you, I should have known.
     You're the most ancient person I've ever met" he joked and I laughed.
    It wasn't my first time hearing someone say that. My thoughts and ideologies are usually primitive. "But I love you that way" he bit his lip looking right into my eyes.
    "It hasn't been up to a day and I miss it already" he added probably referring to the lips. I want sure, all I wanted was for him to take my lips and do whatever he pleased with it.
    As if reading my mind, he slid his mouth opened over mine. He kissed me and I positively responded to it. I dreamt all night of just having to taste him, I felt fulfilled. I hated the way I felt that moment. I didn't know how to describe it.
    I knew I had to talk to my best friend, Kasie about it, but I had doubt as a result of the nature of her job. Being an upcoming actress really steal her away from friends and family.
    "Would you Aisha Nurudeen take an unworthy soul like me to be a boyfriend and perhaps the father of your three other children?" He threw in and I chuckled, seconds later, I was blushing like a little kid. I nodded in agreement. "Boyfriend first...."
    Wrapping his hands around me, his lips covered mine again and and I opened for him welcoming his tongue.
    Just then, I had memories of Mr.Titus face and my cry for help. "Stop!" I cried out and then pushed Dave away, leaving his office.

    Episode 10

    "Would you be the mother of my three other kids?" He asked which had me giggling. I didn't see it coming so soon.
    "Yes I will" I replied and he fixed the ring into my finger. "Thank you baby" he rose up then kissed me on the lips. "Did I mention how beautiful you look tonight?"
    "Four times" I answered going in for a kiss, it's not everyday I make the move but I just felt like we've been talking all night and we needed to spark things up a bit.
    Dave gently parted my lips with his tongue our kiss was longer this time, as he encircled his tongue in my mouth.
    He pulled me closer and moved his hand down to my waist, slightly going to my ass then he stopped looking at me.
    "Do you want to go home?" He asked, "How badly do you want me gone?" I retorted, "It's not that, I'm just concerned"
    "About?" I asked moving my lips close to his. "Ending up in bed with you cause, as much as I am a gentleman, I'm not made of stone." He confessed moving backwards and i giggled once more. This was one of the attribute I loved in him; his honesty.
    "Don't you want this to exceed more than this?" I asked seductively following him, "I dream of it but I don't want to hurt you"
    "No one said anything about feeling hurt." I asked pushing him slightly and he fell on the sofa.
     I climbed on, sitting on him and we kissed. As I slowly buttoned down his shirt, David got the message I was trying to send to him. I wanted it badly; I wanted him, I wanted to get over my fear of being with a man. I was ready for it. David carried me up in his arms taking me into his room.
    I jerked up in the middle of the night from having a nightmare about Mr. Titus. "Shhhh" I heard Dave said wrapping his arms around me, pulling me closer to his chest. It was still bare.
    We were still naked except the bed sheet over us. "It's okay" he whispered to me. "You're safe with me" he added and I stopped trembling. I felt safe in his arms.
    All my life I've had a dysfunctional ideology which affected my relationship with others. Last night was different from my first, though I felt pains, but it was pleasurable than the first. David made my day.
    I had the best birthday present ever! A proposal and this.I had hope once again. I felt like this year had better things to offer.
    "You're not asleep yet. We have work tomorrow" I let out a soft moan then placed my head on his chest. "I woke up a while ago" he replied. "It felt like a dream, I had to confirm how true it was" he explained interlocking his fingers with mine.
    "I love you so much Aisha" he confessed, "I love you too" I replied back for the first time.
    Weeks passed and Dave began making plans for the wedding after we made it relationship known to everyone. He made preparations for me to meet his entire family.
    He fixed our meeting on a Saturday, I was excited and nervous at the same time. I didn't know if they would welcome me or not.
    A day before the meeting, while I cuddled up in Dave's arm, I opened up my fears to him and he advised me to brush them off. "Who wouldn't like you? Aisha, you're lovable"
    "Tell me about your family" I requested, I realized that I've never asked. "There's nothing interesting about them"
    "Please give me some hints"
    "Urgh!!!" He grumbled, "I don't really like talking about them"
    "Should I be scared?" I asked and he chuckled shaking his head. "No... I grew up with mom, dad and my two sisters. My grandfather David Coker originally hail from Kogi state. He was a soldier so he was transferred to Kano state where he settled with his wife. That was where I got the name David from" he explained smiling.
    "When I was little, everyone would call me junior until I outgrew it"
    "How about your dad?" I asked and David hissed. "Let me give you a headstart, I'm not all that close with Dad."
    "Why?"
    "He doesn't exactly have the right character. He's a slimy politician while mom works as a lecturer in the University of Lagos. She teaches international relations, Prof. Elizabeth Coker."
    "Like I'm supposed to know her" I snapped and he laughed scratching his eyelid. "I know how it feels to have a father that isn't exactly worth being called one. Before my dad died, he would beat mom and I almost into pulp." I paused as I remembered the night he died.
    "Come on!" Dave interrupted, "Let's not talk about things that would make us sad. Let's talk about our three kids" he suggested and I laughed at how forward and consistent he was.
    "Two girls and a boy"
    "I want just two more kids and nothing more" I argued then watched him pout his lip as though he was a baby. He looked cute.
    "I love children"
    "Two kids and nothing more"
    "Three" he insisted then I changed course. "One then"
    "Two sounds fine" he agreed and i kissed him laughing in his mouth. "How about we start working on it?" I suggested and he rolled me over getting on top.
    I was a nervous wreck that Saturday morning. Hope had to call Aunt Zainab and Kasie to help fix me up. I had already changed my mind on going and i switched off my phone to make sure David didn't come. I was supposed to meet him at the family house in an estate. "Get a grip of yourself Aiyii!" Kasie yelled holding my arms shaking some sense into me. "I'm scared Kasie"
    "Of what?" Aunt Zainab asked, "Dave loves you"
    "What if the parents kick against the fact that I have a grown up child" I blurted my fears out. David already told his parents and according to him, they were okay with it, I just didn't buy it. Who would let their son get married to a woman who has a sixteen years old son. Anyone would think their son is getting married to an old woman.
    "Take a deep breath Aisha" Kasie advised and I did. "It's going to be fine" she added and I nodded in agreement. " You're going to put on your dress and wear some really nice and sexy make up, and then meet David's parents and let them know their son caught a real sexy fish"
    I chuckled. Kasie had her way of getting to me.
    I wore a blue Lacy knee-length gown. Just as I walked out of the room into the sitting room, I saw David talking to Hope. They were obviously gossiping.
    I was surprised since he was supposed to be at his dad's house waiting for me.
    I almost rolled my eyes at the two gossip. I knew Hope must have explained it all to him. Aunt Zainab and Kasie walked in that moment too.
    "Thank God he's here o" Kasie shouted which took his attention to me.
    "What are you doing here?" I asked, "Baby, I tried your number but it was switched off so...I " he trailed off then said, "Whoa" he said smiling as though noticing my look.
    "You look...." He paused, and I crossed my fingers hoping he wouldn't say 'amazing' again.
    "You look amazing" he said and I giggled shaking my head. "Doesn't your vocabulary exceed compliments like amazing?"
    "Haba Aisha! You're not even romantic" Kasie complained. "You won't leave this village girl" he joked and everyone laughed.
    "She's even lucky that this fine city guy is getting married to him" he added to tease me and of course everyone were amused by it.
    "I'm now an object of mockery shea?" I asked feigning anger. "Let's go and meet your family let them see the bush girl you want to get married to"
    "Baby, i said village girl not bush girl there's a huge difference" he answered and I struggled not to laugh.
    When i turned towards my son, I saw him smile at me, he seemed really happy. He has been that way since I started dating Dave.
    "Good luck Mom" he said while Aunt Zainab leaned on his shoulder.
    The drive over to his house was a funny one. David tried his best to make me less worried. The worry surfaced the moment the security opened the gate and Dave drove into the compound.
    "I'll be here for you" Dave held my hands then have it a gentle squeeze. I felt reassured.
    "Assuming all this family thing was not important, I wouldn't have put you through all this"
    "It's okay" I tried to stop him. My nerves were getting to him."
    "Just let me know when you want to leave" he added then got out of the car, so did I. The house was a really big one like those in the movie. I was marveled.
    "Didn't Daddy teach you how to treat a lady" A guy shouted and I turned to him. I wondered who he was since Dave was the only guy in the family.
     "You were supposed to open her side of the door" he walked close to us. "The last time I checked, Daddy has never been a gentleman" He answered then hugged him.
    "I guess this is the beauty you're getting married to." He added afterwards and I smiled.
    "Forgive me Aisha, this is my cousin Frank, Frank meet Aisha"
    "She's a goddess" he complimented, "Thanks" I replied then he raised my palm up giving it a gentle kiss. "Where are they?" Dave asked him.u can send hi to Lordsamuel on 0543589658 to be added to adults chat room to enjoy more stories.
    "By the garden, your old man already prepared barbeque and other interesting stuffs"
    "Is he that excited?"
    "Beats me too" he answered then turned him gaze at me. "Wow Dave, she's a keeper" he commented finally.
    Then we walked over to the garden were they were. I saw a girl run towards me hugging me. She should be about four years old.
    "That's Lovett" a young lady said to me. "She's my daughter; she hugs anyone she sees" she explained. "Good morning Brother Dave and you must be Aisha" she said then i greeted her.
    She smiled then carried the kid away.
    "You told me none of your sisters were married" I whispered to him and he scratched his hair, "Well, it's a long story" he said just before I heard someone shout, "Here comes the bride!" I turned to see a face I kind of recognized. I couldn't believe my eyes. It can't be him! My mind screamed. It can't!
    "Good morning Dad" Dave said and I joined in the greeting. My thoughts were jumbled up. "We finally get to meet the woman that stole my son's heart" he added and I faked a smile.
    "Let me introduce myself dear, my name is Honourable Titus David Coker, what's your name princess?"

    Episode 9

    Later in the day while I went out to get lunch at the cafeteria, I saw Dave walk up to me,he looked really worried. "Hey babe" he called out while I looked left and right the hall to make sure no one was close.
    "Are you trying to put me in trouble? The last thing I want is rumours flying around the office that we're dating. Can we just keep this between ourselves?"
    "Hope congratulated me last night" he answered
    . "I meant let's keep it away from office eyes and ears"
    "Deal" he agreed.
    "I'm sorry about what happened in the office" I apologised to my shock. It was rare to hear me apologise to him- I was getting soft all of the sudden.
    "What happened?"he asked, "I didn't want to push it, I thought I should let it lie a bit. Was it the kiss?"
    "No. It's nothing really"
    "Aisha" he whined letting out a low groan. "Please let me into your life. I want to know everything"
    "I saw him.... The man who.." I paused withholding my tears. "It's going to be really hard you know? I don't want to put you through this"
    "I don't want you to go through it alone either" he answered. "I'm willing to help you through this" He placed his hands above mine and then I shook it off before persons will begin to stare.
    If Muhammed doesn't go to the mountain, the mountain will as well go to Muhammed. That was the case of my only friend in the world; Chiakasiemobi, I called her Kasie for sorry.
    Since she had proved distant, I had to stop by at her house to see if anyone was home.
    She opened the door dressed in a blue jean short and a pink singlet.
    She was sweating profusely. She looked disappointed when I opened the door.
    "I guess you had someone else in mind" I paused, "I'll come back later"
    "No" she protested.
    "Who are they compared to my bestie?"
    "You sure looked disappointed"
    "I was expecting a guy .. Not a boyfriend sha... . Just one of those guys you..." She trailed off opening the door wisely and I walked in the door I took a seat.
    "Why are you sweating?"
    "I was doing yoga while watching it on YouTube"
    She was acting strangely, she had been acting that way for months now. "You didn't go to work today, and you definitely didn't go to work yesterday and you couldn't even stop by at the house"
    "Aiyii" she called out as she fondly calls me. "Yesterday was Hope's birthday and you didn't call him. Kasie, I don't understand you any longer. What's wrong with you?" I asked less concerned about what I initially came to do.
    Kasie sat close to me, her hands clasped together as though trying to plead for forgiveness. " Promise not to get mad at me" she begged and I agreed. I was now anxious than ever.
    "I've been having a major crush on Hope" she stood up immediately stretching her hands in fear. I couldn't believe my own ears. I clutched my fist trying to contain my anger.
    "I'm sorry, I know I'm a terrible friend for betraying your trust, that's why I've been away trying to get these dirty thought out"
    "You're supposed to be my friend"
    "I know but it just happened! He was there when I was vulnerable and Gosh! You raised a good looking and a wise boy. I didn't even know it was real until... " She trailed off in tears.
    "I care about our friendship and I place it above every other things that's why I've been staying away from you, and having sex that would make me forget"
    "Kas ... you know my fear for pedophiles"
    "I swear to God that I'm not one! I won't try to hurt your son or try anything stupid with him. It's a crush that would pass soon" she assured me moving closer. Then she got on her knees.
    "Don't be silly Kas... Get up!"
    She stood up, knowing me so well, she knew I came for something. "What about you, this one that you came compulsorily like this, what happened?"
    "Dave and I kissed yesterday" before I could finish my sentence, Kasie screamed in joy. "That's good news" "We're dating" I added scratching my neck.
    "So....what are you worried about?"
    "I never liked Dave and now we're dating and I'm all soft and acting nice"
    "Because you thought you didn't like him. All this shakara wey you dey always do" she teased laughing at me.
    I told her about the weird feelings I got from kissing him since I was naive in that area. If she could shed some light on the matter.
     She told me it was my body quavering at his touch, a feeling normal to all women. I loved the feeling and I wanted more.
    I was one of the million people given birth to on the first of January. After the happy new year and birthday party, Dave invited me to a special treat at his house.
    I accepted.
    It was my third time visiting him. I had felt that comfortable with him. I trusted him with my life. I have grown deeper in love with him within the short period of time. I felt like I had to be the most luckiest woman on Earth to have him.
    I laughed and complained over how raw the meat was. "Did you boil it all all? It's not even properly salted. David, you're an horrible cook"
    "There's one fundamental ingredient there, love .. ignore the fault and taste the love"
    "So I should taste the love and die?" I asked now laughing uncontrollably.
    "You could have just ordered for dinner instead of trying to kill me" I continued now coughing then I drank water to help control it.
    "How do I make it up to you for this?" He asked and I thought deeply.
    Suddenly I saw him kneel down... "Let me do this the conventional way, since you love old-school things" he paused for a sigh.
    "Aisha, would you marry me?"

    Episode 10

    "Would you be the mother of my three other kids?" He asked which had me giggling. I didn't see it coming so soon.
    "Yes I will" I replied and he fixed the ring into my finger. "Thank you baby" he rose up then kissed me on the lips. "Did I mention how beautiful you look tonight?"
    "Four times" I answered going in for a kiss, it's not everyday I make the move but I just felt like we've been talking all night and we needed to spark things up a bit.
    Dave gently parted my lips with his tongue our kiss was longer this time, as he encircled his tongue in my mouth.
    He pulled me closer and moved his hand down to my waist, slightly going to my ass then he stopped looking at me.
    "Do you want to go home?" He asked, "How badly do you want me gone?" I retorted, "It's not that, I'm just concerned"
    "About?" I asked moving my lips close to his. "Ending up in bed with you cause, as much as I am a gentleman, I'm not made of stone." He confessed moving backwards and i giggled once more. This was one of the attribute I loved in him; his honesty.
    "Don't you want this to exceed more than this?" I asked seductively following him, "I dream of it but I don't want to hurt you"
    "No one said anything about feeling hurt." I asked pushing him slightly and he fell on the sofa.
     I climbed on, sitting on him and we kissed. As I slowly buttoned down his shirt, David got the message I was trying to send to him. I wanted it badly; I wanted him, I wanted to get over my fear of being with a man. I was ready for it. David carried me up in his arms taking me into his room.
    I jerked up in the middle of the night from having a nightmare about Mr. Titus. "Shhhh" I heard Dave said wrapping his arms around me, pulling me closer to his chest. It was still bare.
    We were still naked except the bed sheet over us. "It's okay" he whispered to me. "You're safe with me" he added and I stopped trembling. I felt safe in his arms.
    All my life I've had a dysfunctional ideology which affected my relationship with others. Last night was different from my first, though I felt pains, but it was pleasurable than the first. David made my day.
    I had the best birthday present ever! A proposal and this.I had hope once again. I felt like this year had better things to offer.
    "You're not asleep yet. We have work tomorrow" I let out a soft moan then placed my head on his chest. "I woke up a while ago" he replied. "It felt like a dream, I had to confirm how true it was" he explained interlocking his fingers with mine.
    "I love you so much Aisha" he confessed, "I love you too" I replied back for the first time.
    Weeks passed and Dave began making plans for the wedding after we made it relationship known to everyone. He made preparations for me to meet his entire family.
    He fixed our meeting on a Saturday, I was excited and nervous at the same time. I didn't know if they would welcome me or not.
    A day before the meeting, while I cuddled up in Dave's arm, I opened up my fears to him and he advised me to brush them off. "Who wouldn't like you? Aisha, you're lovable"
    "Tell me about your family" I requested, I realized that I've never asked. "There's nothing interesting about them"
    "Please give me some hints"
    "Urgh!!!" He grumbled, "I don't really like talking about them"
    "Should I be scared?" I asked and he chuckled shaking his head. "No... I grew up with mom, dad and my two sisters. My grandfather David Coker originally hail from Kogi state. He was a soldier so he was transferred to Kano state where he settled with his wife. That was where I got the name David from" he explained smiling.
    "When I was little, everyone would call me junior until I outgrew it"
    "How about your dad?" I asked and David hissed. "Let me give you a headstart, I'm not all that close with Dad."
    "Why?"
    "He doesn't exactly have the right character. He's a slimy politician while mom works as a lecturer in the University of Lagos. She teaches international relations, Prof. Elizabeth Coker."
    "Like I'm supposed to know her" I snapped and he laughed scratching his eyelid. "I know how it feels to have a father that isn't exactly worth being called one. Before my dad died, he would beat mom and I almost into pulp." I paused as I remembered the night he died.
    "Come on!" Dave interrupted, "Let's not talk about things that would make us sad. Let's talk about our three kids" he suggested and I laughed at how forward and consistent he was.
    "Two girls and a boy"
    "I want just two more kids and nothing more" I argued then watched him pout his lip as though he was a baby. He looked cute.
    "I love children"
    "Two kids and nothing more"
    "Three" he insisted then I changed course. "One then"
    "Two sounds fine" he agreed and i kissed him laughing in his mouth. "How about we start working on it?" I suggested and he rolled me over getting on top.
    I was a nervous wreck that Saturday morning. Hope had to call Aunt Zainab and Kasie to help fix me up. I had already changed my mind on going and i switched off my phone to make sure David didn't come. I was supposed to meet him at the family house in an estate. "Get a grip of yourself Aiyii!" Kasie yelled holding my arms shaking some sense into me. "I'm scared Kasie"
    "Of what?" Aunt Zainab asked, "Dave loves you"
    "What if the parents kick against the fact that I have a grown up child" I blurted my fears out. David already told his parents and according to him, they were okay with it, I just didn't buy it. Who would let their son get married to a woman who has a sixteen years old son. Anyone would think their son is getting married to an old woman.
    "Take a deep breath Aisha" Kasie advised and I did. "It's going to be fine" she added and I nodded in agreement. " You're going to put on your dress and wear some really nice and sexy make up, and then meet David's parents and let them know their son caught a real sexy fish"
    I chuckled. Kasie had her way of getting to me.
    I wore a blue Lacy knee-length gown. Just as I walked out of the room into the sitting room, I saw David talking to Hope. They were obviously gossiping.
    I was surprised since he was supposed to be at his dad's house waiting for me.
    I almost rolled my eyes at the two gossip. I knew Hope must have explained it all to him. Aunt Zainab and Kasie walked in that moment too.
    "Thank God he's here o" Kasie shouted which took his attention to me.
    "What are you doing here?" I asked, "Baby, I tried your number but it was switched off so...I " he trailed off then said, "Whoa" he said smiling as though noticing my look.
    "You look...." He paused, and I crossed my fingers hoping he wouldn't say 'amazing' again.
    "You look amazing" he said and I giggled shaking my head. "Doesn't your vocabulary exceed compliments like amazing?"
    "Haba Aisha! You're not even romantic" Kasie complained. "You won't leave this village girl" he joked and everyone laughed.
    "She's even lucky that this fine city guy is getting married to him" he added to tease me and of course everyone were amused by it.
    "I'm now an object of mockery shea?" I asked feigning anger. "Let's go and meet your family let them see the bush girl you want to get married to"
    "Baby, i said village girl not bush girl there's a huge difference" he answered and I struggled not to laugh.
    When i turned towards my son, I saw him smile at me, he seemed really happy. He has been that way since I started dating Dave.
    "Good luck Mom" he said while Aunt Zainab leaned on his shoulder.
    The drive over to his house was a funny one. David tried his best to make me less worried. The worry surfaced the moment the security opened the gate and Dave drove into the compound.
    "I'll be here for you" Dave held my hands then have it a gentle squeeze. I felt reassured.
    "Assuming all this family thing was not important, I wouldn't have put you through all this"
    "It's okay" I tried to stop him. My nerves were getting to him."
    "Just let me know when you want to leave" he added then got out of the car, so did I. The house was a really big one like those in the movie. I was marveled.
    "Didn't Daddy teach you how to treat a lady" A guy shouted and I turned to him. I wondered who he was since Dave was the only guy in the family.
     "You were supposed to open her side of the door" he walked close to us. "The last time I checked, Daddy has never been a gentleman" He answered then hugged him.
    "I guess this is the beauty you're getting married to." He added afterwards and I smiled.
    "Forgive me Aisha, this is my cousin Frank, Frank meet Aisha"
    "She's a goddess" he complimented, "Thanks" I replied then he raised my palm up giving it a gentle kiss. "Where are they?" Dave asked him.u can send hi to Lordsamuel on 0543589658 to be added to adults chat room to enjoy more stories.
    "By the garden, your old man already prepared barbeque and other interesting stuffs"
    "Is he that excited?"
    "Beats me too" he answered then turned him gaze at me. "Wow Dave, she's a keeper" he commented finally.
    Then we walked over to the garden were they were. I saw a girl run towards me hugging me. She should be about four years old.
    "That's Lovett" a young lady said to me. "She's my daughter; she hugs anyone she sees" she explained. "Good morning Brother Dave and you must be Aisha" she said then i greeted her.
    She smiled then carried the kid away.
    "You told me none of your sisters were married" I whispered to him and he scratched his hair, "Well, it's a long story" he said just before I heard someone shout, "Here comes the bride!" I turned to see a face I kind of recognized. I couldn't believe my eyes. It can't be him! My mind screamed. It can't!
    "Good morning Dad" Dave said and I joined in the greeting. My thoughts were jumbled up. "We finally get to meet the woman that stole my son's heart" he added and I faked a smile.
    "Let me introduce myself dear, my name is Honourable Titus David Coker, what's your name princess?"

    Episode 11

    My heart was literally bleeding, how could life be so unfair? Making me fall in love with my r*pist's son.
     I felt like my life was entangled in one telemundo soap opera; a bad dream I needed to wake from.
    I almost went mad at the thought of it, though I didn't let it show. I only glared at him; I've been dating my r*pist's son.
    "My .. . My name is...." I stuttered.
    "Dad how many times do I have to tell you it's Aisha" David interrupted, "You're already making her nervous" he complained holding me closer.
    "I apologise dear" Mr. Titus said afterwards. I saw an older lady walk in. She was on a low cut, she had grey hair. She was holding a tray along with a younger one.
    "That's my mom and my sister" David whispered.
    Mrs. Coker's eyes were fixed on me. It looked at me strangely and I wondered why.
    "Good morning Mom" David greeted and I also did.
    "She's a beauty" the sister commented and I shut my eyes as my heart pounded faster. I didn't know if I could bear the pain, this shock- I was in love with in love with Mr. Titus son.
    Suddenly i remembered all David told me about his family and what he did as a kid.
    I turned to David, and all I could see was the boy who lied against me.
    I stepped back a bit shaking my head. "I can't do this" I muttered to myself, "What?" David asked, "I'm sorry but I can't" I replied running out.
    "Baby!" David called out to me, "Aisha!" He called out again, coming after me. "Darling what's going on?"
    "I need some time alone to think"
    "Is it your nerves? Let me drop you home"
    "I'll take a cab"
    "Aisha I can't let you do that" he argued and I ran past the car. "Aisha lets talk" he begged and I turned to him in tears. "I can't"
    "Why are you crying?" He asked, he looked really worried. "Please open the door" I said to the security and he did. I walked out of the gate and Dave followed me holding my hands.
    "Let's talk"
    "Leave me alone David!" I yelled, "I can't do this" I cried out then I stopped a cab.
    "Aisha"
    "I can't continue with this David, it's over" I announced then entered into the cab. I glanced at David who stood still in shock; he said nothing. Afterwards, I saw him run after the cab. It was too late.
    I rushed back home, screamed my head off the moment I walked in. My heart was burning, all the anger I've kept for years surfaced.
    "So fast?" Hope said and I walked past him. "Mom"
    "I want to be alone" I requested then locked myself inside my room, so I could cry my eyes out.
    Ten minutes later, I heard banging on the door. "Open up Aisha!" Aunty Zainab demanded and I grudgingly did. She came in faster than I expected. I knew Hope would call her but i didn't think she'll show up this quick.
    "David called me" she began barging into the room.
    "Oh" I said walking back in, it finally made sense.
    "Are you crazy? Is something wrong up in your head? What has that poor guy done to deserve all this? How could you just tell him it's over without any reason. Aisha I'm tired already. I've told you times without number to forget the past and move on. Forget it! But no o, now you're breaking things up with him.
    U can send hi to Lordsamuel on 0543589658 to be added to adults chat room to enjoy more stories.
     What did he do?" Aunt Zainab ranted and I rolled my eyes.
    "Can you at least ask me what happened? I love David and I couldn't have broken up with him if it wasn't necessary"
    "What did he do?"
    "It's not what he did...yeah it's what he did too. When I went to David's house, guess who I saw?" I asked and Aunt Zainab squinted her eyes trying to figure out who.
    "Mr. Titus Coker"
    Aunt Zainab stepped back in shock. "No" she muttered.
    "Yes... That boy who testified against me in court sixteen years ago was no one other than David!"
    "Oh my God" Aunt Zainab sat on the bed. "How is it possible? Of all human being in existence, you met with..." She trailed covering her mouth with her palm.
    "Just imagine how I feel now ... I just want to go mad!" I screamed brushing my hands through my braids.
    "Take it easy" Aunt Zainab begged holding my hands. "Take it easy?" I scoffed.
    That was the last thing I needed that moment- taking things easy or hearing someone say it to me.
     "He's roaming free! He's free and I'm here. He r*ped me Aunt Zainab"
    "I know!"
    "That animal r*ped me" "It's been years Aisha and he gave you a wonderful son; think of him"
    "I swore on my sweat that he would never know peace! You should have seen him aunty, so comfortable in his mansion."
    "Sometimes bad things don't happen to bad people"
    "Why did it have to happen to mom... She didn't deserve to die, if anyone deserved death, it should have been Mr.Titus" I quetched as tears streamed down my cheeks.
    "I wish I hadn't fallen in love" I sounded off in regrets.
    Hope walked in shortly, he wore a sad expression on his face. "Is that why you never wanted to talk about him"
    He had been listening in on us.

    Episode 12

    "Hope...." I called after a brief pause, I felt horrible. "It's not what it is"
    "I heard all your conversation. I'm tired of being in the dark" he snapped then I saw him cry.
    "From what I heard, I guess uncle David is my brother then" he concluded cleaning his tears.
    "How did everything get so messed up?" He added.
    "Don't let them make you cry baby, they're not worth it but I'm going to let him pay for his crime" I promised.
    "An eye for an eye.....I'll make him pay for raping me" I continued now placing my palm on my son's face, looking into his eyes.
    "Mom are you okay?" She asked and I laughed hysterically.
    "Have you been drinking?"
    "I'm perfectly okay dear" I answered. I wasn't okay, I didn't want to admit it . I was losing screws slowly. "Aunty" Hope called out to Aunt Zainab. "Is mom alright?" He asked and I scoffed. "I said I'm fine, is that so hard to believe?" I snapped then saw Aunt Zainab whisper into his ears. I grew curious, I wanted to know why they'll be whispering when I was in the room.
     "What are you telling him?" I asked, "I told him to prepare something for you to eat"
    "There's no need for that mom I don't have the appetite" I answered then laughed on realizing I had just called Aunt Zainab 'mom'
    "Did you see what I just did?" I turned to Hope, "I just called her mom" I paused as my countenance turned cold. "Mom died trying to find something for us to eat.
     I don't think I'll be able to eat."
    Hope turned to Aunt Zainab then left the room. I wondered why they were both acting strangely with eye signals and all but I was lost in my own vengeful imagination.
    "I'll sue him again mom, I'll sue him again you'll see and I'll win, I'll win this time around"
    Henry walked into the room an hour later with lunch, rice and stew with juice. Shortly after eating, I felt drowsy and I slept off.
    I woke up hours later in a room hearing voices in my head. "You could have brought her earlier" a voice said, "She was just fourteen and got over it" I heard aunt Zainab answered. "Well newsflash sis, it takes more than that to get over trauma"
    "You can't possibly blame me"
    "When you let me in on the case years ago Zainab, what did I demand that you do?"
    "To bring her for therapy but sue got over it"
    "Why now? She's practically a grown up, we can't keep her against her wish"
    "I'll sign whatever I need to Kareem,i just want to make sure she's okay"
    "Aunt Zainab" I called out and she walked up to me. There were tears on her face. "Where am I?" I asked looking around.
    "Remember when we wanted to get you help when you went into depression years ago?" She asked, "Aisha meet my elder brother Dr. Kareem. He's a psychiatrist"
    "I'm not mad"
    "No one is saying that you are my dear but you need to get help"
    "I need to leave right now aunt Zainab. We're wasting time, Mr. Titus needs to be arrested and jailed for r*pe." I walked to the door then tried to open it but it was locked.
    "You guys don't understand, Mr. Titus needs to be arrested" I turned to Aunt Aisha. "Please open the door".
    "Let's talk" Dr. Kareem proposed, "No way" I shook my head, "I'm not crazy so i'm not going to talk to you. "I have rights and i know them. You can't keep me here; I'll sue you along with Mr. Titus" I threatened but there was no move to open the door then I banged the door screaming for help.
    "Where are the keys?" I asked the psychiatrist, and he raised it then stretched it at me. Just as I turned my back to leave, I felt a prickly pain on my neck; he had injected me with something that made me feel woozy. I blacked out completely.
    "What do you want for Mr. Titus?" The annoying psychiatrist asked for the hundredth time. He has been asking the damn question for a week now. I was getting tired of being locked up. I just wanted to go out.
    "What do you"
    "I'm not answering!" I snapped, "Aisha"
    "You've asking me this damn question since I got here. Don't you understand that I don't like you and I'm tired of seeing your ugly face. Just let me go already!" I screamed out and he kept a straight face writing on his notepad.
    "What do you want for Mr. Titus"
    "Jail... Payback for what he did to me and mom"
    "What's the possibility that your mom wouldn't have died if the r*pe didn't happen?"
    "Well now we would never know would we?" I retorted then scoffed at him. "I don't understand the game you're playing at Mister man"
    "I'm trying to help you"
    "I don't need anyone's stupid help. All I want is to get out of here"
    "Aisha, how did you feel after your dad's death?"
    "Relieved that I didn't have to live in fear again.'" I answered in tears. "I felt like a horrible person... I should feel guilty over my father's death but I barely did"
    "Which was understandable since you were a victim of domestic violence" He replied looking at me.
    "Which side are you on?" I asked, I didn't understand why he would support the fact that I killed dad.
    "I'm not on any side, I'm just trying to figure out what's wrong with you." He paused writing on the notepad. "I don't feel safe with Mr. Titus around"
    "He can't hurt you Aisha, you're a grown woman"
    "When has that ever stopped pedophiles like him"
     "So... What is it you really want for Mr. Titus?" He asked and I smirked.
    "I want him dead" I replied then I felt the need to puke. I knelt down vomiting on the floor. I felt nauseated. I rose up touching my head.
    "How long have you been ...." I trailed off. "Since yesterday, I blame the food..it tastes horrible. Swallowing one spoon is like poison" I complained. I felt light-headed and I passed out.
    I gained consciousness a while later. From the smell, I could detect that I was in a hospital. I turned to see Hope holding on to my hands. "Hey dear" I said. I saw him try to force a smile. I missed those times when we were happy. Just the two of us.
    "You think I don't know you're faking your smile?" I snapped playfully, "It comes with the job description mom"
    "I missed the part that you got a job, please refresh my memory, what job is that?" I asked sarcastically and he laughed.
     A real laughter after all.
    "Worrying over you ...I've been doing that lately" He replied and I felt guilty. "I want you back"
    "I'm still here"
    "No" he disagreed, "You're all but okay. You're acting strange and crazy"
    "That's an insult Hope, I can still spank you even though I'm sick"
    "Mom the sooner you realize you're not okay, the better it'll be for you."
    "I'm perfectly fine...." I replied clearing my throat. "I need water" I requested and Hope poured me a glass of water to drink. "Mom you're pregnant" he announced and I spat the water out.
    "How come you didn't know?" I asked, "Cause I've never had real s*x before, not until David."
    "Weren't you careful?" He threw in and I shook my head. I wasn't ready to discuss my s*x life with my own son. "Can we not talk about this?" I asked. "I'd rather talk to Kasie or Aunt Zainab."
    After a very long talk with Aunty Zainab. I made a decision to do what I couldn't bring myself to do years ago; aborting the baby. Despite her argument, I chose to stick with my decision. I slept off a while later then woke up to someone's hands all over my face and braids.
    I recognized the touch, then I woke up staring at David.

    Episode 13

    "I don't want to see you" I said to him, turning my back against him.
    "I'll die if I don't see you" he replied in tears. "These few days have been hell without you" he held my hand and I withdrew it.
    "David you don't understand what's going on and you never will"
    "Baby I do. That's why I haven't been around to see you . I've been ashame"
    "Of what?" I ask, this time looking at him.
    "What my father and my family did to you" he cried and i shut my eyes in tears. "You've been talking to my Aunty"
    "I didn't need to, that day after you left the house, mom recognized you. I don't know how she managed to but she did. She requested to know your full name and that was it. I never thought for once that this will ever happen"
    "Against all odds baby, I love you and I'm ready when you are"
    "Ready for what David?" I shot at him, "I can't get married to you again. You're my son's step brother and my children will be his nephew or niece. It's crazy... I can't"
    "It's like not we're committing incest..."
    "It's worse David. Your father r*ped me and you helped testify against me."
    "I was fifteen years old, I had to do it but there was no day I didn't have nightmares over it.
     I went crazy over it. I had to go through therapy to get rid of every guilt I felt"
    "I won't stop until I see your family pay for what happened to me. You'll all pay" I shouted. "Leave me alone!" I screamed, "Please baby" David begged still in tears but I paid deaf ears to his cry.
    "Leave me alone!" I added and he left the room.
    I threw the pillows on the floor then scattered the whole room throwing things on the wall. A nurse walked in shortly and rushed out. I knew I had to leave before she comes back with doctors who would only give me sleepy inject shot. I walked out quickly carefully watching to avoid meeting persons who may recognize me.
    After avoiding several nurses, I finally got out. After several minutes of begging, I finally found a driver who agreed to stop me at my bus-stop for free.
     When I got home, I hopefully wished to still find my spare key where I usually kept it. I checked in the flower pot close to the door and there it was.
    I opened the door, then I took a step in. "Home sweet home" I sighed in relief. "There's no place like home" I whispered turning on the light. My mind wandered back to the clinic. They obviously must be looking for me right now.
    I knew I had to leave but I had no money on me and I needed a change of clothing. I wore a hoodie and a black jean trousers.
    I found my bag in the room, containing my ATM card. Immediately I changed up, I was out of the house. I had no destination, anywhere was better than spending another night in that mad house.
    I found myself in front of David's family house, I was aimless. I knocked at the gate and the security opened the door for me. "Good afternoon Ma" he greeted me with a smile. "Small Oga no dey o and the family don go work"
    "Oh" I paused, "but you can go in Ma, I'll let Madam know you're here" he suggested, "What if they complain?" I asked. "Why would they? You're small Oga's fiance" "What can I call you?" I asked, "Danladi".
    Danladi escorted me into the house where he introduced me to the maid and also ordered her to make me feel comfortable. I sat on the couch then looked at the wall seeing the happy picture of the Coker's. Everyone of them with smiles on their faces. I stood up then took a tour around the house. I pushed a door open; it was a room filled with books. It was definitely Mr. Titus or Mrs Coker's studyroom. The first thing I saw was a lighter on the table. Someone was definitely a smoker.
    Thoughts breezed in and out of my mind, I thought of burning the whole place down to the ground. Of what use? I asked myself, Mr. Titus wasn't inside; there was no point.
    When I opened a drawer, I saw something of interest; a gun. That can actually serve a purpose, I whispered and then the maid walked in. "Ma you're not supposed to be here" she said to me as I turned to her. I had a blank expression on my face. "I didn't know"
    "Mr Cooker doesn't let strangers into his study. I know you're Mr. David's fiance,"
    "It's okay" I interrupted, "I was admiring the study" I lied then she left.
    I went back to the sitting room where I waited for the whole family to come, especially Mr Titus. I had no game plan. All I had on my mind was blowing Mr. Titus' brains off. Though I wasn't sure I could bring myself down to do it.
    David's sister was the first to come in, the one with the kid. "Hey" she waved at me. "Good afternoon" she greeted looking at me strangely.
    I waved back, mumbling a reply.
    "Does David know you're here?" She asked, "I'm pretty sure the security must have informed him." I replied and she sat opposite me. "My name is Helen. You ran the other day, why?" She threw in and I rolled my eyes. "Can you spare me the chit-chat?" I snapped rather rudely. She was beginning to get under my skin with the questions. "I'm really not in the mood"
    Mr. Titus walked in with the youngest daughter. "Just the man I was looking for." I said rising up from where I sat, my hands in the pocket of my hoodie. "Good afternoon Mr. Titus" I greeted and he quietly stared at me. "Awwn so you're not going to respond to my greeting?" I asked pouting my lips. "Didn't anyone tell you it's rude to ignore people's greeting?"
    "What are you doing here?"
    "Didn't your security let you know?" I asked and his phone rang. "Hey honey" he paused, "Are aware David's fiance is here?" He asked, from his facial expression, I knew her answer was definitely yes. "Please do" he added then hung up.
    "My wife is coming" he cleared his throat, "I... We.." he stammered looking at his youngest daughter. "Why are you here?" He asked again and I scoffed then I laughed hysterically.
    "I came for a little introduction"
    "David is not here"
    "I didn't come for David Sir. I came for you" I answered removing the revolver from my pocket pointing it at him.
    "Jesus!" Helen yelled. "Shh!! This is not a robbery and I don't want you making any noise to attract the security"
    "Please" Helen begged, "Shut up" I pointed the gun at her. "Where did you get the gun from?" Mr. Titus asked and I told him where. "Drop your phones and get on your knees everyone" I ordered and they all did except Mr. Titus.
    "Dad is it loaded?" Janet asked and Mr. Titus dropped his phone on the table then knelt down with no response. I demanded they all move to the left side of the room and they did. I felt in charge like one of those hostage movies.
    "I don't have anything against you ladies. It's your father I need to settle some scores with" I began and David walked in with the mom. "What's going on here?" She asked and I pointed the gun at them. "Great then, the family is complete"
    "Drop your phones and join them" I ordered and Mrs. Coker did. David proved difficult, he didn't want to listen. "David I don't want to hurt you but if you make things difficult for me, I swear to God that I'll shoot you"
    David knelt down looking at his dad then he shook his head. "What?" Mr. Titus asked, "Your girlfriend is one holding a gun against us but yet I'm the one that gets to be the bad guy every time."
    "This is your fault"
    "I've I ever denied it David? Have I?"
    "You denied it in court" I replied sitting on the table, "You all denied what this criminal did to me"
    "Aisha we're sorry" Mr. Titus apologized and i scoffed laughing so hard that I almost choked on my own laughter. "You're sorry? Sorry doesn't cut"
     "Baby, just drop the gun, we can talk over this" David begged, "You... You testified against me"
    "Because he didn't have a choice, we all didn't. We had to protect our family"
    "We weren't protecting our family mom, it was dad's reputation and your face" Helen argued and her mom shot a glare at her. "Shut up Helen!"
    "If people found out about Daddy, his political reputation would have damaged your reputation"
    "You still don't understand that whatever we do is for your benefit"
    "What benefit?" Janet asked, "We shamed an innocent girl in court while Dad went scot free when he could have paid for his crime" she added in tears. I didn't understand what was going on, I didn't understand why they were turning against themselves.
    "I thought you've all let it go"
    "Oh please Daddy! Just because we promised not to speak on it doesn't mean we've forgotten about it" she snapped now looking at me.
    "Aisha" Mrs Cooker called out, "Can we talk about this like civilized individuals?"
    "In other words, I'm not civilized? Is that what you mean?" I asked walking towards her and she whimpered in fear. "No... Please don't do this"
    "What do you want?" David asked, "I want your father gone from existence. Pedophiles like him don't deserve a place in the world" "If you pull that trigger, this place will get crowded with policemen is that what you want?" He asked and I thought deeply on it. "I don't care"
    "What would happen to us? Think of Hope and how sad it'll make him" he added and this brought tears to my eyes. "I don't want to see your dad live! It's annoying! I would rather see him suffering!"
    "And who says I'm not suffering?" He asked, "Ever since I did that sinful act, I've spent sixteen years suffering for my crime."
    "Lies" I snapped at him. "You haven't even paid for what you did"
    "You're right I haven't, but my family has" He paused in as I saw tears trickle down his eyes. "Our daughter was r*ped five years ago by three men" Mrs. Elizabeth confessed to my shock, "She got pregnant and we couldn't abort it cause the baby was far gone by the time we realized it. Apparently Helen kept it away from us" she continued in tears.
    "Helen was tested positive for HIV/AIDS and Janet here has cancer, we're flying her out of the country for surgery and treatment. Fine, the sins of the father didn't come on the father, but the children has suffered enough." She sobbed.
    "We've suffered enough too"
    I just couldn't believe my ears. Just when I thought the Coker's were living comfortably, this shocking confession came in.
    It killed every zeal I had to harm Mr. Titus.
    He might have r*ped me but he gave the most wonderful present. A companion after I lost my parents.
    "We came back looking for you years ago to take responsibility, but you were no longer in Kano."
    "Did you guys dig deeper? No!" I answered pointing the gun at them.
    "Please drop the gun" David begged me then I heard police siren approaching the house. "Who called the cops?" David asked and they all looked at each other. I finally remembered the maid was still inside.
    "I came here so I can have you killed" i pointed the gun at Mr. Titus, "I can't live knowing you're alive and I can't kill you because..." I paused in thought.
     I was not nervous with the siren getting louder. "It's either you go" I pointed the gun at Mr. Titus, "Or I go" I said with the gun faced towards my head. "No!" David yelled rising up.
    "On your knees!" I pointed at him but he rather played adamant. "Go back David, please" I begged. "I don't want to hurt you"
    "Aisha you need help, you need to snap out of it! You need help" David held the gun trying to drag it off my hands but I struggled to get it back.
    A shot was fired.

    Episode 14 (Final)

    It has been a wonderful experience with Ebony Story. I want to thank everyone for theirmotivating and encouraging comments and contributions. You guys have been wonderful.
    "Let's give a minute of silence to him" A M.C proposed, removing the hat he wore, placing it on his chest. After a minute of silence, the whole invitees resumed mumbling.
    "Mr . Mbakwe was a wonderful man, a legend, even though he died so early" the Master of ceremony added and Kasie busted into tears once more leaning against me. Losing her dad was painful for her.
    Kasie had commented hours before the burial that it were her mom, she would have been celebrating. Crazy girl!
    "You have to pull yourself together girl" I advised then turned over to Mrs. Elizabeth Cooker who was at the table meant for people of high dignitaries.
    Chief Mbakwe was an highlife musician whose death shock the whole nation. Kasie loved him because he was the only one who showed her true support in her career as an actress.
    "Mrs. Coker has a few things to say concerning Chief Mbakwe. A round of applause for her as she comes quickly" The MC called out and I walked as quickly as I could, raising my long gown since it prevented fast movement.
    "Good afternoon everyone" I began, "I met Chief when I was in the polytechnic with Kasie my best friend in the world; his music was legendary" I paused resting my hands on my belly.
    Okay I know what you all must be thinking, Mrs. Coker? The last time you checked, I wasn't married.
    Four months ago after the shot was fired.
    Apparently I had pulled the trigger and David had gotten hurt. It took that one shot to make me realize I was sick in the head. The whole family rushed to his rescue.
    "I never wanted to hurt him. " I muttered dropping the gun on the floor. I was ready to go to jail for this.
    I wasn't arrested as anticipated, I was taken in back into the psychiatric hospital. I had to accept the fact that I needed help. I welcomed every help possible.
    I was worried sick about David and I was given a chance to see him. He was already bandaged up in the ward where he laid.
    "I'm sorry" I apologized, "I didn't want to hurt you but in my stupid quest for revenge, I did."
    "It's Okay" David smiled at me, the thought of it made me kind of angry.
    "It's not Okay David, you're supposed to be angry with me." "What kind of gentleman would that make me?" He asked which forced a chuckle from me.
    "How are you doing?" I asked, "I'm past danger zone baby, I'm fine"
    "I was so worried. I really don't want to have this baby without you" I confessed and he pulled me close kissing me on the lips and I responded then paused slowly biting on my lower lip.
    "Mom has a news for you"
    "What news?" I asked, "I prefer she tells you personally"
    I went out of the clinic with supervision from Hope. He hasn't let his eyes off me for a second. Then I saw Mrs. Coker coming towards me, just the person I was looking for.
    "Can we talk?" She requested looking at Hope.
    "To me or my son?" I asked, "You"
    "Can you leave me alone with her dear?" I asked and Hope gave me a 'Are you sure look'
    "I'll be fine Dad, you can go" I teased and he laughed leaving me alone with her.
    "I know I can't do much to take away the pains you've felt all these years"
    "Can we live past this?" I interrupted, "My husband turned himself in" she announced and I opened my mouth in shock. I didn't know why but part of me felt relieved and also bothered- justice at last.
    "He did?" I wondered how she must have felt that moment.
    "Yes. It was the right thing to do. We all never agreed with what he did years ago but we'll admit that we were wrong for covering it up. I'm sorry" she apologized in tears then she hugged me. "You deserve to be happy my dear" she added patting my back.
    "You deserve it"
    A month later, we resumed planning for a wedding but it wasn't as loud as we formerly planned. We did an in-house wedding. It was just the minister of God, me, David, his sisters, Auntie Zainab, Uncle Christopher, Kasie, Hope, Mrs. Coker with a few family members.
    Two months later, Kasie's father who was a popular highlife singer and song writer, Chief Mbakwe died. His death took the whole country by shock.
    I stood by the podium after being called out looking into the tiny piece of paper where I had written my little speech on.
    "Chief was a loving father and grandfather. It is to a great extent and not an exaggeration to say the world has just lost a gem.
    His songs will remain evergreen in our hearts" I concluded and the whole gathering applauded me.
    I stepped down walking towards my husband. "How was I?" I asked, "You were amazing" David replied giving me a kiss on the cheek.
    "Let's talk" I requested pulling him away from people's gaze.
    I dipped my hands in my purse removing a report giving it to him.
    "That's the sonogram test" I paused smiling, "We're having twins" I announced and he laughed. "The universe is on my side then; I wanted three and three I shall have"
    "Wait, I thought we agreed on two" I argued, "One pregnancy counts as one" "David I'm having twins" I argued, "Even if they're triplet" he replied chuckling then moved his lips close to mine. "But I get to be the one to carry them for nine months while you do nothing" I complained and he engulfed me in his arms kissing me.
    "I don't want Chief's ghost slapping the hell of me" I expressed my fears to him but he cared less. "Aren't you guys scared of angry ghost?" Hope asked from behind, interrupting our kiss. "You guys watch too much African Magic" David complained.
     "Sorry Mom but I have to steal him away a minute or more. Don't miss him too much, you'll have for the whole night." Hope teased leaving with him.
    I smiled as watched them walk together. I was still yet to get used the fact they're brothers even though I'm still in therapy.
    They never made it seem weird even when it felt weird to me.
    Sixteen years ago, my life felt ruined. I felt like I couldn't rise above the rubbles, I felt like filth. My life was without balance, without joy. Now, I feel like life is giving me a second chance at life, a chance to be happy and I'm not going to waste it; I'm going to cherish every moment.
     *The End*

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